Willibald Joachim von Merkatz was a renowned admiral in the Imperial Fleet who, after fleeing the Galactic Empire at the close of the Imperial Civil War, joined the Free Planets Alliance and served at Iserlohn Fortress, under Yang Wenli.
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 Staaden 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 Alliance was formed, Prince Otto von Braunschweig threatened harm to Merkatz's family if Merkatz did not volunteer himself as the commander of the alliance forces. Merkatz accepted only on the condition he have absolute control, which the prince agreed. The stipulation was a farce, as Merkatz knew Braunschwieg could not resist meddling in the affairs of battle. Merkatz's suspsicions became true when Braunschweig permitted a sortie led by nobles, without informing Merkatz. Merkatz proposed that the alliance forces wholly retreat to Geiersberg to consolidate power in an impenetrable fortress. Admiral Staaden tried to one-up Merkatz with a plan to station forces between Geiersberg and the Lohengramm fleets. The theory was that Lohengramm forces would exhaust themselves and stretch their supply lines on the way to Geiersberg. Braunschwieg gave preference to Staaden's plan, but elected Staaden to personally command the operation. In this way, Merkatz was rid of a nuisance like Staaden. The final straw against Merkatz was the division of Lippstadt forces without his notification. Braunschwieg allowed Prince Wilhelm von Littenheim to take nearly half of the Lippstadt fleets to reign control over rebellious fiefs. Really, Braunschweig let Littenheim and his fleet go just so he could remain in total control. Merkatz knew there was no way the alliance could survive any prolonged seige with the reduced manpower. Despite his loss of control as the alliance commander, Merkatz still dispatched the Geiersberg garrison to rescue Braunschweig when the prince personally led a protracted offense against the Lohengramm advanced fleet.
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.
After the surrender of the FPA at the Battle of Vermillion, 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 was killed at the Battle of Shiva when his flagship came under fire from the fleet under Ernst von Eisenach,
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