The early years of the Blackwater War were not kind to the Imperial Legion. The army which had claimed hundreds of victories on the rolling fields of Cyrodiil was utterly unprepared to deal with the fetid bogs of Black Marsh.
To begin with, the Legion's gear was ill-suited for such an environment. Their armor, for instance, was heavy and prone to rust in the moist climate. Legionnaires spent hours scraping the mud from their boots and shields—desperately trying to lighten the load they carried into battle. By the end of the second year, legionnaires had abandoned their cuirasses and greaves entirely, preferring to die comfortably rather than drenched in sweat inside a metal suit.
The battle tactics the Imperials had developed over the centuries were just as useless as their armor in this inhospitable place. Their system of cohort deployment and rigid line organization was impossible to implement in the swampy interior. The thick cypress growth and sloppy terrain consistently fragmented the group, resulting in a tangled mass of small skirmishes that the Argonians routinely won. The chain of command deteriorated quickly in such conditions. This rapidly gave way to rampant insubordination and morale-draining power struggles among the troops.
Finally, the marsh itself seemed to devour whole cohorts time and time again. Rumors and half-truths constantly swirled around Legion campfires. Some assumed that the missing cohorts became lost and disoriented, dying of hunger and thirst before finding their way back to a safe location. Others blamed the greatly feared "Ghost Warriors," pale and hideous Argonians of gruesome reputation. There were even whisperings about some dark and malevolent creature lurking under the swamp that ate whole phalanxes in a single bite. Such rumors were clearly false, but had a significant impact on troop morale.
This complication of setbacks and circumstances set the stage for years of calamitous warfare. Thousands of soldiers would die before the end of hostilities finally came to Black Marsh.
|The Blackwater War|
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