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Battle of Watership Down

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Watershipdown violence

Bigwig and General Woundwort battling in the Watership Down Warren.

The Battle of Watership Down was a conflict in which a group of roughly two dozen rabbits from Efrafa find and seek to destroy the Watership Down warren. After Hazel and Bigwig devised a plan to rescue the group of rabbits from Efrafa to join them on Watership Down and succeeds, General Woundwort plans a raid on Watership Down to take back his does and kill Blackavar and Thlayli (Bigwig). Bigwig had enterd Efrafa as a secret enemy, joining the Owsla and planning and executing a daring escape that ends in Woundwort's defeat as the Watership rabbits float down the River Test in a punt (an idea that came from Blackberry and Fiver).

The Efrafan's are spotted by a mouse who was saved by Hazel sometime before and therefore tells Hazel of the incoming enemy. Hazel makes an attempt to come to terms, suggesting that they work together rather than fight and also build a warren half way between them to make them all stronger and relieve the overcrowding in Efrafa. His offer is refused and countered with the demands that Bigwig, Blackavar, and the escaped does are waiting for them when they arrive on the Down or he'd tear the throats out of every buck in the warren.

Holed up inside the warren, the Efrafans must dig to reach the Watership rabbits. The Battle lasts all night as Woundwort and Bigwig stand off inside the warren while Hazel, Blackberry, and Dandelion run off with a plan to release, Bob, the fierce guard dog of Nuthanger Farm, and lead him to the Efrafans.

Bigwig guards a run that goes to a burrow containing the members of the Watership Down warren (save Fiver, who had to be left in the Honeycomb), including Clover and her litter and a pregnant Hyzenthlay. Digging a hole just large enough for himself, he hides until Woundwort passes by, attacking him and biting deep into the General's foreleg, injuring it so badly that Woundwort is forced to hobble on three legs. Despite this crippling blow, Woundwort puts up a ferocious fight against Bigwig, but ultimately succumbs to exhaustion and attempts to coax him out. Bigwig refuses, loyally stating that his Chief Rabbit asked him to defend the run and he would until told otherwise. No one had guessed that Bigwig was not the Chief and this gives Woundwort's patrol pause as they suspect that a Chief Rabbit would be larger and stronger than Bigwig. Woundwort, wounded and exhausted, surfaces and tells Vervain to fight Bigwig now. Fiver, now awake from his premonition stupor apologizes to Vervain for his death, scaring the latter back out into the open.

Dandelion and Blackberry return, the dog finally reaches the warren and attacks the Efrafans outside, killing a few and chasing off the rest. However, Woundwort fearlessly stands his ground, leaping towards the dog. The fate of Woundwort himself is not exactly clear, as his body is never found, but he is never seen or heard from again by any rabbit, bird, or mouse near the down.

As a result of this battle and his skill in returning to Efrafa with the patrol, Campion became the new Chief Rabbit of Efrafa, and Groundsel left to become the Chief Rabbit of a new warren called Vleflain.

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