The Thalassan War
18 November 1941
Gentle waves lapped against the hull of the Giokton Type 3A-class submarine C-23 as she cruised peacefully along the Tiauhai Sea on a calm November morning. She was one of the several submarines dispatched under a top-secret directive to launch an underwater offensive against Andallan shipping, only days after Giokton moles uncovered Andallan plans to deploy the 1st Infantry Division to reinforce Liamchia—an Andallan territory on Giokton soil. At the same time, in line with the Andallan plans, the SAS Teuvo Antonnen—a Kristian Steffenssen-class troop transport—departed for Liamchia with 2,553 soldiers and crew aboard...
"Tiu! (Captain!) Ship on the horizon, bearing three-two-zero. We've found the target."
"Good! All compartments, prepare for dive."
Captain Hong Hsu-eng's order rang throughout the boat. In seconds, the bridge was cleared—Hong himself sealing the hatch shut. One by one, red bulbs turned to green on a small panel indicating that all hull openings were being closed. As soon as the operator announced "Pressurized!", Captain Hong gave the order to dive. Crawling at a mere five knots, however, it would take a few long minutes before the ill-fated vessel would enter within range of the submarine's potent torpedoes.
"Forward room, ready tubes one, two and three. Zero-five feet depth."
"One and two ready, sir."
"Aye, ready tube one... fire! Tube two... fire! Tube three, standby... and, fire!"
"Torpedoes in the water."
Three torpedoes left the boat, zooming towards the transport at lighting speed. Leaving a visible white streak above them, they were quickly spotted by a crewmember on the Teuvo Antonnen. "Torpedo on the starboard! Approaching fast!"
A sharp order rang from within the bridge. "Haaaaaard to port!"
The vessel made a sharp, abrupt turn to port, startling and confusing many of her passengers. Though the first torpedo missed the ship's bow by several meters, the second one scored a hit on her forward cargo bay at 0832 hrs. The forward cargo bay began to flood with water while fires caused by the detonation licked up the surrounding cargo. But before any action could be taken, a third torpedo ripped through her amidships, causing even more flooding. Flames engulfed the forward cargo bay and threatened to spread to the upper decks, while raging seawater rushed through the two holes. The very few damage control personnel are sent to the forward cargo bay to put out the worsening fire, the breach amidships left almost unattended, while the Teuvo Antonnen listed 15 degrees to starboard.
At 0855 hrs, an explosion from the forward cargo bay rocked the lower decks near the bow. Damage control teams attempted to suppress the fire, yet their efforts were all in vain. The hole amidships caused by the third torpedo enlarged due to water pressure buckling the hull, increasing the list to 20 degrees and threatening to capsize the vessel.
The call to abandon ship was made at 0918 hrs, after the bow began to go down. As it was peacetime, the ship was not fully-equipped for an emergency and had thus lacked enough life rafts. The deck of the ship grew into a chaotic mess as it filled with soldiers and crew waiting for a life raft, with some opting to jump off the ship instead. The crew is ordered to cut out pieces of wood and other buoyant items and throw them into the sea, in order to provide the men in the water with something to hold on to.
At 0927 hrs, a loud creaking noise is heard from below decks, as the list increases by 10 more degrees over several minutes. At 0939 hrs, a second noise is heard and a small crack runs up to the starboard deck.
Suddenly, at 0943 hrs, the Teuvo Antonnen capsizes, trapping over 1,600 soldiers and crew below decks. Her keel continued to rise up out of the water as some of the trapped men escape the flooding vessel. The ship remained afloat for a while, her keel pointing upwards. At 1026 hrs, the Teuvo Antonnen began to sink again.
By 1031 hrs, the last of the ship had faded beneath the waves, taking over 1,100 lives with her. Just like that—in a snap of a finger—the 3rd Infantry Regiment had lost over half of its manpower.
The survivors, less than half of the initial 2,552 soldiers and crew, stayed afloat in clusters of life rafts and pieces of wood. They were picked up 10 hours later by the SAS Hjortshus, a Gammelberg-class destroyer. The rest of the troop transports underway to Liamchia were notified of the presence of Giokton submarines, forcing several vessels to turn back towards Andalla. The next day, the Andallan Congress declared war on Giokto and the first true shots of the war are fired against Giokton border entrenchments.
Thus the Thalassan War begins.