von Merkatz Willibald Joachim
Battle of Astarte
Merkatz was one of five officers assigned to Reinhard von Lohengramm to replace Reinhard's loyal subordinates. While the others were Vice Admirals (except Fahrenheit who was a Rear Admiral) Merkatz was an Admiral. However he allowed Staden to take the lead in criticising Reinhard's decision to seek battle. Typically he did not express an opinion on the plan even when directly queried by his aide. However, during the battle Merkatz fought well against both the 4th and 6th Fleets.
The Lippstadt Rebellion
When the Lippstadt League was formed, Duke Otho von Braunschweig threatened harm to Merkatz's family if Merkatz did not volunteer himself as the military commander of the Lippstadt forces. Merkatz accepted only on the condition he have absolute control over military affairs, which the duke agreed. The stipulation was a farce, as Merkatz knew Braunschwieg could not resist meddling.
Braunschweig had initially planned to station forces at 9 bases between Odin and Geiersberg Fortress, thinking the Lohengramm forces would exhaust themselves assaulting each base in series and stretch their supply lines. Merkatz opposed this dispersion of forces arguing the bases could be isolated and cut off. He instead proposed that the Lippstadt forces wholly retreat to Geiersberg to consolidate power in an impenetrable fortress. Admiral Staden tried to one-up Merkatz with adding an additional plan of sending a sortie against Odin to capture and then "protect" the infant Kaiser. However when chosen to implement this plan, Staden was defeated.
The Lippstadt League's sole military success came during the brief period Merkatz was allowed free rein to fight as he chose, resulting in Merkatz forcing Admiral Oskar von Reuenthal into withdrawing from the Schann-tau system. However Merkatz's authority was undermined by the division of Lippstadt forces without his notification. Braunschweig had allowed Marquis Wilhelm von Littenheim to take a third of the Lippstadt forces ostensibly to regain control over rebellious frontier fiefs. The political rivalry between Braunschweig and Littenheim was longstanding and the ulterior motive of this was to get Littenheim away from Geiersberg Fortress. Littenheim would ultimately be defeated and Geiersberg Fortress itself would come under siege by Lohengramm forces. The final straw for Merkatz was when Braunschweig declined to punish insubordinate nobles that had sortied from the fortress without permission. Despite his loss of control as the Lippstadt military commander, Merkatz still rescued Braunschweig when the duke personally led an ill advised offensive against the besieging Lohengramm forces.
When the Duke Braunschweig launched a final desperate attack against the besieging Lohengramm forces, Merkatz participated despite knowing the attack was a poor tactical decision. The Lippstadt forces were dramatically weakened from poor morale and numerous desertions in the aftermath of the Westerland Massacre. When the Lohengramm forces counterattacked, a swift collapse of the Lippstadt forces ensued and Geiersberg Fortress fell due to internal insurrection. Cut off from returning to the fortress by Lohengramm forces, Merkatz initially planned to commit suicide as he would not serve under Duke Lohengramm, having previously sworn loyalty to the Goldenbaum Dynasty. Merkatz was persuaded by his subordinate, Bernhard von Schneider, to seek refuge with Yang Wenli instead.
At first Merkatz served with the exiled court of Erwin Josef II, even after many of the court deserted the child Kaiser. However, during Reinhard von Lohengramm's first invasion of the Free Planets Alliance Merkatz and his aide Bernhard von Schneider offered their support to Yang Wen-li along with the 5 enlisted members that comprised the whole of the government-in-exile's military.
After the surrender of the Alliance at the Battle of Vermilion, Yang asked Merkatz to take a small fleet into hiding. This force became the core of the Yang Fleet a year later and Merkatz was a prominent commander at the Battle of the Corridor. After the death of Yang, he transferred his support to Julian Mintz, basing his decision on personal loyalty to the other officers of the Yang Fleet. Merkatz played an important role in leading a squadron of ships in the Eleventh Battle of Iserlohn.
Merkatz was killed at the Battle of Shiva when his flagship came under fire from the fleet under Ernst von Eisenach. He died at the age of 63 and Bernard von Schneider set out to return his remains to his family in the Empire.
Voice actor: Naya Goro
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