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|Alternate, 4th Succession War History|
|Story Era||BattleTech 3025|
What follows is an Alternate History of the 4th Succession War. The personages, places, units, and events are drawn directly from the BattleTech game setting. The outcomes of certain events, key decisions, and the introduction of new characters however alter the course of the 4th Succession War to a different ending than that published in the game material. At the end of this writing are is the list of references used to create this material.
Comstar Historical Report 09303401A
This report is a study in the actions and policies of those Inner Sphere rulers that under this Order’s benevolent guidance formed the Concord of Kapetyn in November of 3025. Adapts being sent into the Free Worlds League, Capellan Confederation, and Draconis Combine should read this summary of the three rulers pursuance of what has become known as the Fourth Succession War. It provides proper incite into the motivations and reactions of the leadership in these three Inner Sphere realms and should be committed to memory when conducting business with those governments.
Historical summary follows...
The Fourth Succession War OPERATION VIOLET Since the announcement of the alliance between the Lyran Commonwealth and the Federated Suns, Captain-General Janos Marik believed his realm would be the first to feel the military implications of this shift of Inner Sphere power. This alliance is one of the major reasons the Marik signed the Concord of Kapetyn. However, the Captain-General had little faith that he could count very much on his allies to help him if his realm were invaded. Janos Marik felt the Free Worlds League would have to insure its own safety. Toward this end he began to slowly re-deploy his forces at the beginning of 3026. The Captain-General's plan was to put more League regular units along the border with the Lyran Commonwealth and provincial units already on the Lyran border would move to garrison worlds vacated on the Capellan border. By early 3027 this deployment was complete. This placed the majority of units along the Lyran border under the Captain-General's direct authority. Additionally, units along the Lyran border were to conduct readiness exercises in response to the Lyran Commonwealth's Operation Thor. The Captain-General also began to make the plans for Operation Violet. These plans were kept very secret and only a few of the Captain-General's military advisors were informed of them. Supply schedules and readiness exercises were all planned in such a way that all necessary transports and supplies would be at the right place and the right time. Lyran Intelligence Corp operatives were suspicious of all the activity, but the LCAF's scheduled exercises along the Draconis border and the mysterious disappearance of Archon-designate Melissa Steiner in November of 3027 was keeping them very busy.
FIRST STRIKE As the last days of November slipped by, Lyran Intelligence sent urgent warnings to the LCAF that the Marik border was swarming with activity. Marik Liberation units and SAFE agents were creating trouble on border worlds and there were too many jumpships in border systems to be considered routine. These messages however were mysteriously delayed and sometimes even contradicted each other. The Archon was perplexed and worried by all this confusing information so she ordered her troops into a higher state of readiness along the Marik border. Increased communications traffic as well as several heavy raids along the Draconian border kept her from taking further action. The activity along the Draconian border was a ruse. Janos Marik had sent messages to Subhash Indrahar, Director of the Combine's ISF, requesting that the Combine occupy the Lyrans attention during the ending weeks of November. On December 1, Marik invasion fleets jumped the border. The worlds targeted for this invasion were Wyatt, Lipton, Solaris, Cor Caroli, and Gacrux. The objectives were to take industrial worlds in the Skye region and to initially destroy Lyran border units to allow follow-up invasions to occur unimpeded.
WYATT Three ‘Mech regiments, the First Free Worlds Guards, Eighteenth Marik Militia, and Smithson's Chinese Bandits were given the task to conquer Wyatt. Nine conventional regiments would support them. These forces were assembled at the nadir jump point of Callison where the fleet took just enough time to recharge their ships for the 6.5 light year jump to Wyatt. Garrisoning the planet were the Eleventh Lyran Guard, Seventeenth Arcturan Guard, and seven conventional regiments. The great open prairies of Wyatt are ideal for BattleMech warfare and the Eleventh Lyran Guard tried to contest the Marik drop zones. Heavy fighting ensued immediately. After several hours Marik air superiority tipped the balance in their favor and the Eleventh was forced to retreat. The Seventeenth meanwhile was digging in near the mountain city of New Houston, so the Eleventh would have a defensive position to fall back on. The Eighteenth Marik Militia and First Free Worlds Guards continually attacked the Eleventh, attempting to wear them down. The Chinese Bandits remained in orbit as a mobile reserve. As the Eleventh retreated toward New Houston, the Seventeenth sent out units to help cover their withdrawal. The Bandits immediately dropped from low orbit to disrupt this movement. The Bandit's heavy battalion dropped in to intercept the covering units of the Seventeenth while its two light battalions harassed the defensive works of New Houston. The Eleventh was now in danger of being cut off. The Arcturan Guards left their positions to extricate them. The light battalions of the Chinese Bandits and swift hovertanks from the League's armor regiments continually harassed and delayed the Seventeenth. Meanwhile the Bandits heavy battalion turned around and hit the Eleventh Guards. With the constant attacks from two Marik regular regiments and now the Bandits, the Eleventh was severely mauled by the time the rest of the Seventeenth Arcturan Guards linked up with them. The two units then made their fighting withdrawal to New Houston. Harassing attacks made by the Marik light units and periodic assaults lead by the elite First Guards kept up the pressure. On December 18, the Lyran's fate was sealed with the appearance of a Marik Vengeance class fighter carrier in orbit. The Marik forces overwhelming air power pummeled the retreating Commonwealth units. The remaining Lyran units faced eventual destruction if they stayed, so on December 27 the eight remaining companies from the two Lyran ‘Mech regiments left Wyatt for Milton. The First Guards and the Bandits then boarded their dropships and left the system taking the fighter carrier with them. The Eighteenth Marik Militia stayed behind with the conventional units to garrison Wyatt.
LIPTON Carson's Renegades along with three conventional regiments invaded Lipton. Five militia battalions guarded the planet. The Renegades made short work of the militia units, using their own conventional troops to pin down the Lyrans and then assaulting through with their ‘Mechs. The planet capitulated on December 15.
SOLARIS The Twentieth, Twenty-third, Thirty-first Marik Militia, and twelve conventional regiments invaded the game world of Solaris. Defending against them were the Tenth Skye Rangers, Thirty-second Lyran Guard, and eight conventional regiments. The Tenth Skye Rangers immediately fought a delaying action using numerous ambush points from prepared positions. The Twentieth Militia pursued with its support regiments, using them to spring any traps or clear obstacles. The Thirty-second Guard tried the same tactic as the Tenth against the Twenty-third and Thirty-first Militia, but with very poor results. Their green experience kept them from coordinating their attacks well. The fact that the two Marik regiments fighting them were also green seems to be the only reason that their tactics were not a total failure. By December 20 the Thirty-second had gotten itself cornered by the Marik Militia and was slowly being ground to pieces. The Tenth managed to break free of the Twentieth Militia and help the Thirty-second break out of its encirclement. With both Lyran regiments in poor defensive positions and Marik units organizing for a counter-attack the Lyrans decided to retreat offworld before receiving any more losses. The Tenth had lost about two companies while the Thirty-second lost a whole battalion.
COR CAROLI The Twenty-fifth Marik Militia and three conventional regiments invaded the Cor Caroli system. The single garrison regiment was quickly overwhelmed. Many of the Marik units did not even debark from their dropships. On December 18 the Twenty-fifth Marik Militia blasted off for the jump point in preparation for Operation Violet's second strike.
GACRUX The Thirtieth Marik Militia and six conventional regiments invaded the border world of Gacrux. They faced four regiments of infantry and armor. The initial assaults were made on the three key cities of the planet where the Lyrans were dug in. After several days of heavy fighting Marik numbers and air superiority began to tell. On December 14 there was only sporadic fighting on the planet while most of the Lyran troops surrendered.
OVERVIEW The Free Worlds League offensive came as a great surprise to the Inner Sphere. It had been a long time since the League had attempted something so ambitious. The overall results of the operation succeeded beyond what any of the other House Lords thought possible. All the worlds invaded by the League were captured with the majority of the planetary industries intact. Losses were also a lot lighter than expected, making invasions for the Second Strike of Operation Violet possible. Lyran losses were heavy. Garrison forces on invaded planets were destroyed or surrendered to League troops. The ‘Mech regiments stationed on Solaris were the only units to escape intact. The LCAF was stunned by the attack. By the time the LCAF had taken stock of the situation and issued orders for counterattacks, the Free Worlds League Second Strike was already underway.
SECOND STRIKE The emphasis of the Second Strike was targeted in the Commonwealth's Rhaneshire and the planet Hesperus II. The plans for the assault of Hesperus II had been in the works for some time. Ever since the League had used Wolf's Dragoons to assault the planet in 3019, the Captain-General assigned SAFE's top commando force, the Eagle Corp, to devise a plan to capture the facilities using all the data available from previous assaults. The planet's intense sun, thin air, and the fact that the whole place was locked in an ice age made invasions particularly difficult. The plan had no clear time of execution and was revised from year to year. When the Captain-General revealed plans for Operation Violet to his top advisors he told Eagle Corp to prepare their plans and choose the units to be involved.
HESPERUS II Eagle Corp commandos and SAFE's Dark Shadows battalion dropped onto Hesperus II on December 14. The commandos were to scale the Myoo Mountains and destroy the anti-air defenses of Defiance Valley. The Dark Shadows were to avoid contact and provide intelligence for the coming invasion while striking at targets of opportunity. Meanwhile a Magellan class jumpship waited at a pirate point ready to relay the signal from the commandos that the air defenses were down. The Free Worlds invasion fleet waited in a dead system one jump away from Hesperus, ready to jump as soon as they received the word. The invasion fleet consisted of the Third and Fifth Fusiliers of Oriente, the Fourth Oriente Hussars, the elite Twenty-first Centauri Lancers along with Fuchida's Fusiliers. Twenty-five conventional regiments came as support. To take care of the aerospace defenses of Hesperus II the Vengeance class fighter carrier Enterprise was being sent along. The Dark Shadows and Eagle Corp made a high-gee burn to the planet hitting their dropzones before aerospace units could disrupt them. The Eagle Corp was immediately hidden in the vastness of the Myoo Mountains while the Dark Shadows were hidden in the great forests of the planet's northern continent. After about five days of torturous climbing and bad weather the Eagle Corp began their attacks on the Defiance Valley air defenses. As the attack began, they sent a signal to the waiting Magellan class jumpship. The Free Worlds invasion fleet immediately followed, coming in at the planet's closets pirate point. Aerospace forces slightly favored League forces and thus were able to punch a hold through the Lyran’s defensive fighter screen. LAMS of the Fusiliers Third Brigade were able to clear a landing area at the top of Defiance Valley where a crack battalion of the Fifth Brigade landed. The rest of the Oriente regiments made their landings outside of the Valley and began the long arduous approach to the factories. The Twenty-first Centauri Lancers and Fuchida's Fusiliers made their drop at the planet's chief spaceport near the capital of Maria's Elegy. The elite Sixth and Fifteenth Lyran Guard plus fifteen conventional regiments defended the planet. The Fifteenth was guarding the ‘Mech factories while the Sixth had their base at the capital. Fighting was fierce across the planet. With the help of the Dark Shadows the Twenty-first Lancers managed to secure the spaceport long enough to get their conventional units down. With the spaceport secure, Colonel Kusaka, Lancer commander overall commander of the mercenary force, was to continue his assault on the Sixth Lyran Guard and eliminate them. The Sixth retreated to the citadel in the capital of Maria's Elegy and directed their defense from there. Colonel Kusaka laid down a methodical plan for crushing the Lyrans. This plan would eventually level the city if the Lyran troops would not give ground. After several weeks of fighting this became apparent to the Lyran Guard. They then began their withdrawal to the Melrose Valley and the line of defenses that were being dug in there. Several thousand kilometers to the northeast the battle for the ‘Mech factories raged. At the top of the valley the battalion of the Fifth Fusiliers had its hands full. On the one side they had effectively blocked the entrance to the top of the valley and the main manufacturing complex there. They could not, however break into the complex itself because a group of the DSPF (Defiance Self Protection Force) had barricaded themselves inside the place. These forces were lead by none other than Duke Brewer, the company's CEO. Unfortunately for them a Fusilier LAM had been shot down during the initial attack and had crashed into the entry-way of the main complex, preventing the mighty blast doors from closing. The rest of the DSPF, lead by Hauptman-Kommandant Krankow, were hammering away at the Fusiliers from the other side. Bombing runs conducted by LAMs from the Third Fusiliers were of tremendous help holding them off. The rest of the Oriente troops at the bottom of the mountain were making very limited gains against the numerous bunkers and redoubts defending the valley. For three days and nights the fighting went on. Twice Marik Intruder class dropships landed in front of enemy redoubts bringing their formidable fire-power to bear and disgorging companies of heavy assault infantry. Then as the fourth day dawned, a great storm blew in. High winds and blowing snow grounded all aircraft. The Fusiliers could not fight both the Lyran Guards and the weather. They pulled back, content to shell the Lyrans until the storm blew over. Meanwhile at the top of the valley the Fusilier battalion made a last all out assault on the main manufacturing complex. The commander, Major Nevyetski, knew that without the heavy attacks from the Marik main force, the Lyrans would be able to bring more troops to bear against his battalion. He had to take the Mountain now or be crushed. Lead by Nevyetski's Banshee, the command lance charged the DSPF defenders. Major Nevyetski fought a brutal hand-to-hand fight with Duke Brewer in his Atlas. Ripping a steel girder from one of the roof supports, Major Nevyetski drove it into the heart of the Duke's BattleMech. The mighty Atlas toppled over. With their leader taken out, the DSPF forces were soon overcome. Major Nevyetski pulled the rest of his battered battalion into the cavernous manufacturing complex, closing the mighty blast doors behind him. Meanwhile the battle in space was evenly matched. An entire aerowing was devoted to ground support for the Marik invasion force. The rest fought for control of the planet above. The battle was a giant game of maneuver, with each side trying to get at the other side’s carrier. As the weather turned bad on the planet below, the Marik admiral tried to break the stalemate. Fighters assigned to the ground aerowing were secretly brought up from the planet's surface by ones and twos until the entire wing was in space. The fighters stayed near the Enterprise, but did not participate in the fighting. By having the Vengeance class carrier Enterprise feigning damage from a fighter crash landing, the Admiral hoped to fool the Lyrans that she had been heavily damaged. Fake debris was jettisoned and random thruster movements were used to simulate control problems. In response to the Marik ship's predicament the Lyrans made an all out assault. While the two evenly matched aerospace regiments were engaged, the Lyran’s carriers, three converted Union class dropships, moved in to finish off the Enterprise. Much to their surprise the Enterprise began launching fighters. The fighters from the ground aerowing attacked the Lyran ships. The Lyran carriers attempted to withdraw, but one ship was destroyed and the two others were seriously damaged during the fight. With the weather now severely hampering military operations Colonel Kusaka consolidated his position at the capital of Maria's Elegy. He used the League light armor units to harass the Sixth Lyran Guard as they withdrew to the Melrose Valley. For several days the weather worsened and military actions came practically to a standstill. With their carriers to damaged to be of any use, the Lyran aerospace units ceded victory in space to the Free Worlds League. The remaining fighters landed at airports in the city of Darkport or the Twin Cities of the Melrose Valley. On December 30 the weather cleared and fighting resumed across the planet. At the top of Defiance Valley the battalion of Fusiliers had managed to close the mighty blast doors and used the lull in fighting to repair their damaged ‘Mechs with the abundant spare parts found in the factory complex. As the weather cleared, the Fusiliers staged a vicious attack down the valley. LAMs from the Third Brigade were outfitted with bombs and were called in to support the attack. The rest of the Fusilier regiments attacked as well, inexorably grinding the Lyran defenders between them. Within a week the top of the valley was secured long enough for Marik dropships to land, lending additional support to the battalion there. Fighting in the Valley became more desperate as the outnumbered defenders were hammered into a tightening pocket. The Lyrans realized that defending Defiance Valley was pointless and untenable. The Fusiliers were already in possession of the main manufacturing complex and could soon shell them into submission. A desperate breakout plan was devised. The Fifteenth Lyran Guard and the remnants of the DSPF would hurl themselves against the Oriente regiments toward the bottom of the Valley. At the same time all Lyran aerospace units would keep the Marik fighters busy. A maneuver similar to that pulled by Katrina Steiner would then be tried. Three Leopard class dropships crammed with only ‘Mechs would take-off from the Sixth Lyran Guard's defensive positions in the Melrose Valley to help the Fifteenth Guard and the DSPF fight their way to freedom. The plan went off without a hitch. The Marik line began to bend then broke under the concerted attack staged by the heavy ‘Mechs of the Fifteenth Guard and DSPF. As they surged out onto the plain the three Leopards grounded, unloading eighteen fresh, undamaged BattleMechs. Those that were heavily damaged boarded the Leopards while the remainder of the force made their way to Elegy Pass. Meanwhile Colonel Kusaka received word of the Lyrans' surprise maneuver and immediately took advantage of it. He ordered a heavy assault against the Sixth Lyran Guard's positions while a sizeable contingent of their forces was away. The Sixth Guards, now outnumbered, began to crack under the heavy attack. Fighting was intense and they began to give ground. In Defiance Valley the Oriete 'Mech forces mopped up the last resistance of those defenders unable to break out. Light armor units pursued the Lyran Guards, harassing them every step of the way toward Elegy Pass. The Marik troops took a much needed rest and basked in the glow of their triumph. For now the BattleMech factories of Hesperus II were in their hands. By January 12, 3028, the mixed group of Lyran Guard and DSPF forces made it to the relative safety of Elegy Pass. They had smashed the small blocking force the Fusiliers had sent and linked up with the small outpost that had been guarding the pass at the time of the invasion. At this time the Marik forces definitely had the upper hand, but the Lyran Guard were certainly not defeated.
NEW KYOTO The Third Free Worlds Guard and the Tenth Marik Militia along with twelve conventional regiments invaded New Kyoto on December 18. Defending the planet were Hsien's Hotheads and eight regiments of conventional garrison troops. The Tenth Militia were eager for a fight and quickly captured the capital of Owari and its adjoining spaceport. The conventional garrison units put up stiff resistance, but were no match for the Tenth's heavy ‘Mechs. The Third Guards had the task of taking the Hothead's headquarters at Echigo Castle. The place was very well defended and the Guards were thrown back in disorder after their first assault. The Third Guards tried a second assault, but to no avail. They then dug in and waited for the Tenth to secure their objectives and lend them a hand. By January 1, the Tenth Marik Militia was ready to lend their heavy muscle to a combined assault with the Third Guards. As they began their attack they found the place almost entirely abandoned. Secret tunnels beneath the castle lead into the nearby seaport city of Kasaki. The Hotheads moved by sea to where they had hidden their dropships and then blasted their way through the Marik fighter cover while Echigo Castle was attacked. They left the system on January 10. After two more heavy fights with the local garrison at Musashi Pass and Tsuhin River, the planet surrendered on January 22.
RHANE The Head Hunters mercenary unit along with three conventional regiments invaded Rhane. They confronted three regiments of garrison troops. Having no ‘Mech support the garrison relinquished control of the spaceport to the invaders. The garrison planned to hold up in the major fortress of Mount Thunder. From there they would harass the Marik invasion force. Several SAFE agents had been dispatched to the planet before the invasion and managed to find out where a secret entrance to the fortress lay hidden. During the planet's Storm season the Head Hunters made their way to the secret entrance undetected and infiltrated the fortress. The place had been built with BattleMechs in mind so many of the passages were large enough for ‘Mechs to walk through. The Lyran garrison was taken totally by surprise and within two hours of fighting they had surrendered. The planetary ruler, Lord Endo, gave the planet's formal surrender on December 30.
CALEDONIA The Atrean Hussars along with eight conventional regiments invaded Caledonia. Their objective was to secure the planet as a supply base for the invasion force attacking Hesperus II. The two regiments of conventional troops were quickly crushed, although some troops scattered into the countryside. The planet was relatively secure by December 28.
OVERVIEW Operation Violet's second strike was as audacious as the first. Scarcely had reports come in that the invasion had begun than the worlds of the second strike were hit. The size of the force that had slipped in undetected until its invasion of Hesperus II, showed just how mobile the Free World's military was. The successes gained on that world, much to the dismay of the LCAF, gave a sharp blow to the belief that the Free Worlds military was ill suited to attain the type of conquests needed to win the Succession Wars. Though the fighting along the border was not concluded, the Free Worlds League definitely had the upper hand. With the Commonwealth's counter-blow swinging back at the League offensive, only time would tell whether they could keep what they had taken.
LYRAN COUNTERATTACK - OPERATION ANVIL The Commonwealth was stunned by the ambitious League offensive. The turmoil caused by Melissa Steiner's disappearance, with most of the evidence pointing at the Draconis Combine, put the Commonwealth's attention on that realm's border. With many of their key units knocked out or under assault, the LCAF High Command found it difficult to immediately counter the attack. The invasion of Hesperus II and the very real possibility of losing there spurred the High Command into action. General Neil, commander of the Ford Theater of operations, designed a plan that would not immediately relieve those worlds under attack, but would hopefully give Free Worlds military leaders incentive to slow down their assault and divert forces from the front. The Stealthy Tigers mercenary regiment would be sent to attack the BattleMech factories on Thermopolis and the Fourteenth Lyran Guard would attack the BattleMech factories on Kalidasa. Their mission was not to conquer the planet, but to raid or damage the facilities. The Free Worlds military would not be able to ignore these attacks on their vital industries and would hopefully divert forces to deal with them. This would give the LCAF time to organize a solid counterattack on their invaded worlds. For Hesperus II however, General Neil could not gamble that the League would slow down their attacks. He ordered the Second Donegal Guards from Hyde to reinforce the embattled defenders.
THERMOPOLIS The Stealthy Tigers made their drop on Thermopolis and headed straight for the factories, hoping to catch the defenders unprepared. The planet's normal defenders were crack armor and infantry regiments with a small BattleMech force owned and operated by the ‘Mech factory. The garrison was recently increased to include the Martian Cuirassiers, a green mercenary battalion that was equipped with its own armor and infantry units. The Tigers made a quick heavy assault on the factories during the predawn hours of December 22. The unexpected presence of the Cuirassiers beat back the attack. The Tigers next tried to lure the Cuirassiers and their supporting units away from the factory by attacking and then withdrawing in apparent disarray. Some Cuirassirs were fooled and charged out beyond the supporting fire of their defensive lines, but the rest of the garrison forces held their ground. Those Cuirassiers that did charge were destroyed. The Tigers kept up the pressure using various strategies to wear down the defenders. Feints, diversionary attacks, and night assaults were all tried. The green experience of the Cuirassiers began to show as they were continually picked apart by the Tigers. The conventional units fared better, having gained vast experience guarding the factories through countless raids. Two weeks after the Tiger's attack the Twelfth Atrean Dragoons arrived. They had recently moved from the Capellan front and had the duty of being a heavy mobile reserve just in case the Lyrans would try an assault across the border. With the veteran Dragoons on planet the Tigers decided to leave rather that chance a heavy fire fight and risk considerable damage.
KALIDASA The world of Kalidasa is a member of a group of worlds known as the Silver Hawks. This group is firmly entrenched in the camp of the opposition in the Free Worlds League Parliament and thus opposes the Captain-General's policies on almost all matters. Recently, separate peace treaties were negotiated by Sir Charles Smith, Member of Parliament from Amity, between the Silver Hawks and the Commonwealth planets of Rhane and Solaris. These treaties were denounced and not recognized by the Captain-General and Minister of Defense. Janos Marik however did not take immediate action against this slap of defiance because he was uncertain of the political backlash that might occur. Recently the Captain-General must have realized that his inaction was being seen as compliance. When executing the plans for Operation Violet ROM intelligence operatives quickly noted that the worlds of Rhane and Solaris were priority targets. As word of the invasion spread through the League, the Marik's political opponents denounced his actions as those of a "paranoid mad man" and "dangerous warmonger". Sir Charles Smith went so far as to call for a vote of no-confidence in the Captain-General. The Captain-General's supporters, notably government whip Shane Eastwick, MP from the Marik Commonwealth, defended the invasion saying that "striking at the Commonwealth now while it was disorganized would put them in a better position then when the alliance between Steiner and Davion was complete.” Debate raged across the Parliament floor for several weeks, but finally Sir Charles Smith convinced Parliament to have the vote. Results of the invasions were just coming in at this time and with the overwhelming success of the attacks, the Marik retained the confidence of Parliament. His supporters won by only a small margin and many MP's had abstained (201-169, 130 abstained). It was with these events coming to pass that the Fourteenth Lyran Guard dropped onto Kalidasa, on December 27. Defending the world were the Gryphons, a heavy ‘Mech regiment of the Silver Hawk Irregulars. The two forces were initially an even match. The Lyran Guards were a veteran unit and had good intelligence of the planet from countless raids in the past. The Gryphons on the other hand were an innovative unit fighting on home soil and the confidence inspired by their leader, Colonel Martha Zuritas, more than made up for any amount of experience deficit. After several days of inconclusive fighting the weather decided the conflict. One of the frequent dust storms blowing in from the Sighing Desert quickly developed into a huge sandstorm. The Fourteenth Lyran Guard was ill-prepared for the detrimental weather, which was particularly harsh on hi-tech equipment such as BattleMechs. The Gryphons could retreat to their underground shelters to weather out the storm. The Lyran Guard had only their dropships which would soon be half buried in the blowing sand. The Lyran Guards left after about two weeks of combat.
HESPERUS II The Second Donegal Guards entered the Hesperus system on January 7, at the nadir jump point. They then made a high-gee burn to the planet. The Second's commander, Caesar Steiner, signaled the Lyran forces on planet of his arrival and quickly coordinated an attack plan utilizing his forces and those currently holed up in Elegy Pass. The plan was to attempt to oust the Marik units currently in possession of the Defiance BattleMech facilities. The Second Donegal Guards dropped on the plain in front of Defiance Valley. Their conventional units, about three regiments worth, grounded about twelve kilometers behind them in their troopships. The force in the pass, a little more than two battalions of ‘Mechs and a regiment of conventional troops, linked up with them and advanced up the valley. The Marik defense was at first disorganized, but their fresh BattleMechs, fully repaired from the spare parts seized in the factories, began to come down the mountain. The Lyran troops from the pass, though well motivated, had not had the parts or tools to adequately repair their equipment. The Marik troops slowly pushed them back down the mountain valley. The Second Donegal Guards did however throw a fierce enough counterattack to keep the Oriente regiments from pushing them to the bottom of the valley. More than five thousand kilometers away Colonel Kusaka's assault on the Sixth Lyran Guard had stalled. The appearance of the Second Donegal Guards and their aerospace support had now put Marik air-superiority in jeopardy. Strafing runs made by Lyran fighters had blunted his attacks against the Sixth Guard several times before Marik fighters could chase them off. The deadlock in the Melrose Valley and in front of the BattleMech factories continued with no let up in sight. There was however a lot of activity at the top of Defiance Valley where Marik air cover was fiercest. Occasionally a Marik dropship would touch down and then several days later lift off where it would then be escorted to the zenith jump point which the Marik forces still controlled.
OVERVIEW Operation Anvil did not have the desired effect the Lyrans hoped for. The attacks at both Thermopolis and Kalidasa were beaten back after short, inconclusive fighting. The Marik invasion forces continued to consolidate those worlds thy had landed on without any pause. The situation on Hesperus II had gotten marginally better, but was far from over. General Neil and his staff could only guess what damage the Marik invaders had done to the factories.
LYRAN SECOND ASSAULT-OPERATION PILEDRIVER After the failure of Operation Anvil to produce any concrete results, General Neil in conjunction with his neighboring theater commander, General Joss, put together Operation Piledriver. On the one end General Neil would ensure Hesperus II would not fall. General Joss for his part would try to retake his theater capital of Wyatt. The generals attacked their objectives concurrently on February 2.
WYATT General Joss had a well prepared force with him when he returned to Wyatt. The Tenth Skye Rangers, Thirty-second Lyran Guard, and the remnants of the Seventeenth Arcturan and Eleventh Lyran Guard. Twenty conventional regiments were brought as support. The general was confident that he could crush any opposition. The Lyran ‘Mechs hit their dropzones, pushing aside the weak aerospace cover put up by the Eighteenth Marik Militia. The Lyran units encountered no ‘Mech forces upon initial landing. The only attacks made by Marik forces were those by the harassing light armor units the League was famous for. The Lyrans soon found that the Eighteenth was dug in at New Houston, much the same way the Eleventh Lyran and Seventeenth Arcturan Guard had done previously. General Joss then began a methodical approach of encircling and bombarding the Marik defenders. After two days of pounding the Marik Militia, the Lyran picket ship at the zenith jump point sent out a desperate alarm. Three Marik BattleMech regiments had arrived. The First Free Worlds Guards, Twenty-fifth Marik Militia, and Smithson's Chinese Bandits. After using them in the initial invasion the Marik had them put back in reserve to deal with any counterattack. As soon as the Lyran invasion force entered the Wyatt system, the Eighteenth Militia sent out a call for reinforcements. General Joss now found himself on the defensive. The Marik BattleMech regiments and almost twelve conventional regiments made their landings near New Houston, so they could immediately link up with the battered Eighteenth Militia. A running battle next ensued, with the Lyran task force herded north like the cattle that normally roamed the wide open plains of Wyatt. After two weeks of constant fighting, General Joss's task force had their back to the Littlehorn River which was in flood. The Lyran force could not cross the river while it was so high, so General Joss moved his force up river to a city with a large enough airport to land his dropships. The Marik commanders thought the place had an appropriate name, Tombstone. The Lyran dropships, which had scattered across the planet when the Marik reinforcements had arrived, now lifted off, converging at Tombstone. Lyran fighter cover barely managed to hold off most of the Marik aerospace fighters. The Lyran task force now found itself under constant attack and could not safely withdraw without risking the chance that the Marik force wouldn't over run their landing field. Unforeseen salvation arrived to save the Lyran task force. The Kell Hounds mercenary unit had just taken contract with House Steiner and had been informed of General Joss' predicament. The Kell Hounds managed to fool Marik aerospace commanders into thinking that they were friendly reinforcements. By the time Marik commanders discovered the ruse, the Kell Hounds were dropping in behind the Marik assault force. They managed to disrupt the League units long enough to allow the Lyran troops to board their dropships and make their escape. Then the Kell Hounds fought their way clear and made their own escape. The Lyrans did pay a hefty price for their attack on Wyatt. The Seventeenth Arcturan Guard were effectively destroyed. Less than a battalion of the Eleventh Lyran Guard remained. The Thirty-second Lyran Guard had lost a little more than a battalion, but the survivors had become hardened veterans. The Tenth Skye Rangers came through intact with repairable losses. Conventional material losses were staggering because much of it couldn't be loaded in time for the escape. Marik regiments fared better with both the Free Worlds Guards and Chinese Bandits coming through with minimal losses. The Twenty-fifth Militia was battered, but was still an effective fighting force. The Eighteenth Militia was hit hardest, being able to muster less than half the unit after the fighting.
HESPERUS II Hauptman-General Byas lead the Fifth and Thirteenth Donegal Guards to reinforce the Steiner units already fighting on Hesperus II. Since both regiments were green, Hauptman-General Byas did not want to risk heavy losses by trying a risky combat drop close to the fighting. Instead he settled for landing at the city of Darkport where Hesperus Fighter Command was headquartered. This meant that he had a long way to travel to engage the Marik units on planet, but it also ensured he would be able to land his troops safely at a secure base. The Twenty-first Centauri Lancers had not been able to crack the stubborn defense put up by the Sixth Lyran Guard. They had ground them down, but could not seem to take them out of the fight. Colonel Kusaka ordered one last heavy assault lead by Fuchida's Fusiliers before the new Lyran reinforcements could come into play. They proceeded with a twelve hour artillery bombardment followed by the Fusiliers and conventional units which were to pin down the defenders and then the Lancers would give the final blow. The Sixth Lyran Guards managed to hold on, but couldn't take much more punishment. The Fifth and Thirteenth Donegal Guards finally landed and their troops were swiftly moving up to support the Sixth Lyran Guard. Grudgingly Colonel Kusaka ordered his troops to fall back to Maria's Elegy. Meanwhile at Defiance Mountain, the Lyran troops had managed to keep the Oriente units from breaking out of the valley. The Fusilier and Hussar troops however did not seem to be trying to hard to make a breakout. Though it was tricky, Oriente dropships continued to land within the valley. Since the number of Oriente troops did not seem to be changing, the Lyrans could only guess at what all the activity was about. The Lyrans decided they had to make a concerted effort to remove the Marik forces from the valley very soon. Although many of the hidden entrances to the valley had been destroyed or sealed by Marik Eagle Corp commandos, there were still a few they had not discovered. The Lyrans hadn't used them yet because if they made an attempt to assault the Marik troops using these entrances and failed they would get no second chance. The Eagle Corp would make doubly sure that no other surprise attacks would come. With the new reinforcements on planet Leutnant-General Voss-Steiner decided to make the attack. DSPF assault infantry were sent in while the Lyran main body assaulted the Marik defensive lines. When the DSPF struck, the unexpected attack in the Marik rear disrupted their defense. The Lyrans were able to exploit this and made a breakthrough. The Marik troops retreated to their makeshift landing fields, boarding their dropships and leaving Defiance Mountain. The DSPF infantry discovered the factory buildings were wired with explosives. Their timely arrival had prevented the Marik troops from finishing the job. They quickly began to disarm and diffuse the bombs. The Lyrans also found something worse than the explosives, it seemed the Marik forces had stripped the factories of almost everything they could carry. Heavy machinery, primary assembly line components, and all the hi-tech spare parts they could find had been taken. Defiance Mountain would not be producing anything for quite awhile. The Marik forces now began an orderly retreat from Hesperus II. The Dark Shadows battalion was an invaluable asset during this operation. They set numerous ambushes, destroyed radar facilities, and harassed Lyran forces during the withdrawal. By February 15, the last Marik transports left the planet.
CALEDONIA Hsien's Hotheads unexpectedly hit the Caledonia system on January 31. They took the capital and chief spaceport after a pitched battle with the Atrean Hussars. The lighter Hussar ‘Mechs retreated into the wilderness doing their best to make life difficult for the Hotheads. For almost three weeks the two units played a deadly game of cat and mouse, always trying to ambush or lure the other side into a trap. On February 25, the Marik invasion force from Hesperus II entered the system. Upon receiving word of this the Hotheads quickly made preparations to leave the planet, unfortunately the Marik invasion force came in at both jump points. The Fourth and Fifth Brigades of the Fusiliers of Oriente came in at the zenith while the rest came in at the nadir. The Hothead's jumpship immediately jumped out of the system when the Lancers ordered her to surrender. Now it was the Hothead's turn to retreat into the wilderness as the Marik invasion force grounded on planet.
OVERVIEW Operation Piledriver was far from a resounding success. Though the Lyrans managed to push Marik forces off Hesperus II, the defeat on Wyatt and the damage done to the facilities at Defiance Industries made any victory seem hollow. No new offensives were made by either side after February. Strongly worded messages flowed from Tharkad to Atreus. The Archon denounced the League offensive and would not recognize the claim on those worlds they had taken. Along with these messages it was announced that the Archon's niece, Lisa Steiner, would be the Heir-designate to the Lyran Commonwealth. Though no direct accusations were made, the Archon implied that the Draconis Combine was to be blamed for Melissa Steiner's disappearance. Both the intelligence agencies of the Lyran Commonwealth and the Federated Suns went to great lengths to find out what happened to Melissa Steiner. We of Comstar can only surmise that these efforts were fruitless. Our investigation has brought only a very limited amount of information to light. When Melissa Steiner's jumpship jumped into the Combine’s Styx system by mistake while she was on a secret voyage to the Federated Suns, dissidents within House Steiner sent word to Coordinator Takashi Kurita. Coordinator Kurita sent members of the ISF and his new ‘Mech unit, the Genyosha, to capture her. The timely arrival of the Kell Hounds mercenary unit frustrated the Combine's efforts however. During the fighting a third group arrived. An unmarked Leopard class dropship came into the system from an equally unmarked freighter. It landed on the small planetoid where fighting was taking place between the Kell Hounds and Genyosha. A group of unmarked BattleMechs disembarked from the dropship and moved on the base where the Steiner dropship was being held. They avoided troops from either side, but shot at any who came to close. We can only assume they captured Melissa Steiner before members of the Kell Hounds, Genyosha, or ISF could find her. The mysterious dropship then boosted for the unmarked freighter. Since the freighter did not deploy its jump sail and was only in the system for twenty-two hours, it can be concluded that these people quick-charged their jumpship. Its been almost a year since the incident and no ransom notice or demands have been made. It is our conclusion that the freighter did not survive the jump.
WEDDING ANNOUNCEMENTS On May 1, Archon Katrina Steiner announced that the new Archon-designate, Lisa Steiner, would marry Prince Hanse Davion on August 20, 3028, on Terra. All the Inner Sphere rulers were invited to the wedding. It was a very hostile group that met at our beloved headquarters on Hilton Head Island for this mementos occasion. Our security managed to keep the seething hatred of the Successor Lords form breaking out into open combat. It mattered little in the end. During the reception the bride gave her husband an entire BattleMech regiment as a gift. In return Prince Davion declared to his new wife, "I give you the Capellan Confederation!" As he spoke those words, Davion invasion fleets attacked nine Capellan worlds simultaneously. On the Lyran/Draconis border the LCAF launched a broad offensive, invading twenty-three worlds. The other Successor Lords were shocked. Captain-General Janos Marik had been expecting the Lyrans to try something against him, but was pleasantly relieved that his realm was not feeling the full wrath of the LCAF. Maximillian Liao childishly threw a fit. Since all the plates at the reception tables had pictures and names of worlds from his realm, he told his followers to grab them as enemy intelligence information. Coordinator Takashi Kurita's reaction was more reserved. He had a few brief words with the Director of the ISF, Subhash Indrahar, and then promptly left with his retinue. The Capellan Chancellor and Captain-General Marik soon followed his example.
CAPELLAN FRONT The Federated Suns offensive code named Operation Rat, was initially designed to cut the Confederation in two along the New Aragon salient. Twenty-three Davion RCTs invaded the nine worlds of Shensi, Algol, Aldebaran, Styk, St. Andre, Liao, New Hessen, Gan Singh, and Poznan.
FIRST WAVE ST. ANDRE The Davion Light Guards RCT and the Alpha and Beta regiments of the Twelfth Vegan Rangers invaded the world of St. Andre. Defending the planet were two battalions of Justinia's Cuirassiers, one battalion of the Blackwind Lancers, and Cochraine's Goliaths. Six regiments of Home Guard units were there as conventional support. The Vegan Rangers surrounded the Cuirassiers at the highland city of Jerome. The two forces skirmished with one another for the first two weeks, then the Vegan Rangers attempted a trick. They allowed communication signals to be intercepted by the Capellans. These signals were fake cries for help from their base camp which was supposedly under attack by the Blackwind Lancers. Five battalions and most of their conventional support left the siege of Jerome, hoping that the Cuirassiers would come out and attack the remaining two battalions. The Blackwind Lancers in reality had already been defeated days earlier and many of them had been captured allowing the Rangers and a battalion of Light Guards to get their hands on radio codes and passwords. Unfortunately Capellan observers of the battle managed to leak word to the Cuirassiers, so they were not fooled by the ruse. Instead they slipped out of the city using little used paths through the highlands behind the city. All their conventional support had to stay put because the paths were much to rugged and could hardly be made by ‘Mechs much less slow moving vehicles. Capellan locals lead the Cuirassiers to where the Blackwind Lancer prisoners were being held. Guarding them were the third battalion of the Vegan Ranger's Beta regiment, a battalion of Davion Light Guards, and three infantry regiments. The Cuirassiers fell on them at night, gaining total surprise. Fighting was fierce, but the light ‘Mechs of the Davion Guard and the green troops of Beta regiment cracked under the Capellan onslaught. Though the Davion force had been routed, the Cuirassiers couldn't finish them off because the rest of the Vegan Rangers were on their way. They did however manage to free the Blackwind Lancers and liberate their equipment. The force then made their way back into the highlands. Thousands of kilometers to the north fighting was fierce from the moment Davion ‘Mechs hit the skies. Capellan aerospace units managed to scatter the Light Guards when they made their drops. The two Guard battalions were sent to take on Cochrine’s Goliaths who guarded a recently discovered Star League cache. Much of the Goliath’s equipment had been taken from the cache, thus their name was a literal description of the unit because the battalion contained twenty-eight Goliath assault ‘Mechs. The Light Guards were unable to link up with one another as the Goliaths quickly took advantage of the situation. Hanse Davion's experimental Delta company almost turned the tide. The company was twice the size of a normal one containing all light ‘Mechs. They used excellent concentration of firepower to overcome the large slow moving Goliaths. Unfortunately Delta company was scattered and engaged the Goliaths piecemeal. After losing several ‘Mechs they gathered together and assaulted. The Goliaths weathered the storm of light ‘Mechs. The Capellans then pulverized their lighter Davion opponents. Desperate, Delta company's commander, Captain Redburn, tried a tricky maneuver known as "death from above" to try to take out the Goliath's commander Colonel Fiona Cochraine. His attack succeeded, but his ‘Mech was destroyed in the process. The rest of Delta company renewed the energy of their attacks, but it was not enough. Their ‘Mechs could not take the punishment the Capellans were dishing out and there were not enough of them left to make their concentration of firepower effective. The Light Guards were torn to pieces and the remnants of the unit fled south.
LIAO The Thirty-third Avalon Hussars RCT and the three regiments of the Blue Star Irregulars invaded Liao. Defending the planet initially were the First Capellan Reserve Calvary, Vincent's Commandos, and Warrior House LuSann. The First BSI faced off with Vincent's Commandos and began a drawn out jungle campaign on the planet’s southern continent. The Thirty-third Hussars fought the First Reserve Cavalry on the large island of Anderia, slowly grinding them down and forcing them to retreat. The Cavalry crossed the Sangji straits coming upon the northern continent where the Third BSI was waiting for them. The Reserve Cavalry continued to retreat along the mountains to the south. The Thirty-third Avalon Hussars were having trouble crossing the Sangji straits because the coastal defenses guarding the straight were considerable. The Third BSI was ordered to continue pursuit of the Reserve Cavalry, hoping to keep them from linking up with House LuSann which was further south down the coast. The Third BSI managed to get ahead of the Reserve Cavalry which then retreated over the mountain ridge. As the Third BSI followed the Capellan trap snapped shut. The Second Capellan Hussars were on planet conducting maneuvers when the Davion invasion force arrived. They immediately placed themselves as a strong reserve so they could step in and help any Capellan unit in need. The Third BSI was hit from behind by the Capellan Hussars. The Reserve Cavalry then turned around and attacked as well. A heavy assault by Capellan aerospace units knocked out the Third BSI’s planetary communications and quickly shot down the fighters that were delegated to support the mercenary’s advance. Without planetary communications the unit was unable to send a message out to the other Davion units. The Third BSI along with the mercenary commander, General Troy, were destroyed. Unaware of events happening on the other side of the mountains, the Second BSI engaged Warrior House LuSann. The Warrior House unit was dug in at the main pass that lead south to the city Liao. Despite heavy fighter and conventional support, the Second BSI was unable to dislodge House LuSann. Instead they were forced to wait for the Thirty-third Avalon Hussars to catch up. The Hussars were still having trouble crossing the Sangji straits when a large Capellan naval flotilla attacked them. To make matters worse, elite infantry units from House LuSann slipped into the rear of the Second BSI creating all sorts of havoc. To end the campaign decisively General Mandella, of the Avalon Hussars, requested that reinforcements be sent in to assist the invasion. Unknown to him the Capellans had done the same. The only unit available to the Capellans was half of Warrior House Daidachi stationed on Nanking. The Warrior House unit slipped into the Liao system and onto the planet without being detected. They landed at The Forbidden City of Liao, where they stood ready to assist House LuSann if the enemy managed a breakthrough. The Davion reinforcements that arrived were the mercenary unit, Redfield's Renegades. They made their drop just outside The Forbidden City hoping to steal the prize right beneath the Capellans' noses. They were in for a horrible surprise when they swaggered into the city, thinking they would easily push over any militia troops they encountered. Warrior House Daidachi is what they found. The Warrior House unit turned the narrow streets into slaughterhouses. Fanatic citizens and militia put up quick barricades to pen in unsuspecting Davion ‘Mechs. The Warrior House units would then cut the Davion ‘Mechs down from well covered positions. Very few Renegade ‘Mechs made it out of the Forbidden City. The Thirty-third Avalon Hussars had linked up with the Second BSI by this time and began a withering assault that forced House LuSann to give ground. After hearing of the Renegades destruction, the Hussars and Second BSI knew it was up to them to salvage the campaign. House LuSann was soon reinforced by House Daidachi and the Two Warrior House units managed to halt the Davion advance. As the two Davion units prepared for anther big push they were attacked from behind. It was the First Reserve Cavalry and Second Capellan Hussars. The Warrior House units joined the assault. The Capellans would have eventually ground the Davions to pieces, but the First BSI arrived. Having finally destroyed Vincent's Commandos, the First BSI rushed to their beleaguered comrades rescue. With the First BSI's help the Davion invasion force managed to set up a perimeter with their backs to the sea and had their dropships land. They then began their withdrawal. By October 8, they had all left the planet.
OTHER ACTIONS On the Capellan worlds of Algol, Shensi, Styk, Aldebaran, Poznan, Gan Singh, and New Hessen the Davion invaders did very well. These invasion forces suffered very little casualties while inflicting heavy damage to the garrisons they encountered on those worlds. By the end of September all the worlds were subdued and Operation Rat stood poised to execute its Second Wave. Though the Capellans had defeated the invasion force on Liao with heavy losses inflicted and the campaign for St. Andre was in serous doubt, the initial invasion did very well. The Confederation was effectively cut in half. The low casualties of the successfully invaded worlds allowed those troops to participate and support the next wave of invasions. Much to the Capellans horror this initial invasion was just the beginning.
SECOND WAVE The Second Wave of Operation Rat focused on the Commonality capital of Tikinov. By taking this planet House Davion hoped to eliminate many of the Confederation's top units along with the commander of the Capellan military, Colonel Pavel Ridzik.
TIKINOV All eight RCTs of the Crucis Lancers were used in the invasion of Tikinov. Arrayed against them were about six ‘Mech regiments of various units with eighty conventional regiments as support. The Davion invasion force managed to punch through the substantial aerospace forces defending the planet and made their drops intact. Colonel Ridzik ordered his eight battle groups not to contest the landings and instead fall back behind the heavy fortifications of the major cities. Several cities and Capellan battle groups fell quickly to the elite units of the Crucis Lancers. On the southern continent the City of Buln was attacked by the Seventh Lancers which defeated MacGregors Armored Scouts' battle group. Far to the north on the main continent of Kazan the Eight Lancers wore down the Tau Ceti Ranger's Battle Group, eventually forcing them to leave the planet or be destroyed. On the isthmus between the Pskov and Kazan continents the First Lancers clashed with the Second Ariana Fusiliers. The two units slugged it out for a week, the Fusiliers had disobeyed Colonel Ridzik's order to fall behind the defenses of the city of Karaganda. After losing a battalion of ‘Mechs during the fight they were convinced to follow Colonel Ridzik's commands and withdrew to the city where the Lancers had them besieged. The Second Crucis Lancers attacked the mountain town of Gizhiga which was defended by the elite Ariana Grenadiers. The Grenadiers knew the terrain well and set their knowledge to their advantage. After two weeks of constant skirmishes , ambushes, and lighting assaults the Second Lancers reached the mining town. The use of heavy fighter attacks helped the Lancers in their assault on the town forcing the Grenadiers to withdraw, both sides received heavy losses. The Third Crucis Lancers attacked the First Chesterton Volitgeurs at the city of New Moscow. The Third Lancers surrounded the city and pummeled its defenses with artillery, fighters, and long range missiles. This continued for almost a week when the Lancers were prepared for a full frontal assault. As the Voltigeurs readied themselves for the attack, Davion hovertanks and infantry made a massive assault from the sea. When the Voltigeurs went to counter this , the rest of the RCT attacked. By sacrificing several conventional units the Voltigeurs and the faster units of their battle Group escaped south toward Vorguta. The Fourth Crucis Lancers took on the Second Chesterton Voltigeur's Battle group near the city of Ulan. The Lancers began their attacked by sending a hovertank regiment across the Ulan River to strike the battle group in the rear. The Voltigeurs immediately dispatched a ‘Mech battalion to blunt this move. Next a combined infantry and armor group attacked the southern bridge leading toward the city. A mechanized infantry regiment attempted to stop them from reaching the bridge, but was destroyed. A ‘Mech battalion and a leg infantry regiment did stop the Davion force. While the Chesterton Battle group reacted to these attacks, the ‘Mech regiment of the Lancer RCT attacked the northern bridges that lead to the city. Two infantry regiments were destroyed on the Lancer side of the river. Two armor regiments stopped the ‘Mech battalions from crossing the river with artillery support. The battalion attacking the northern bridge broke through and managed to take one of the Voltigeurs ‘Mech battalions in the rear as it was moving to support its sister battalion's attack on the hovertank regiment. With the Crucis Lancers securing a bridgehead on the west side of the river, the remaining battalions of the Second Chesterton Voltigeurs and what was left of their battle group retreated south. The Fifth Crucis Lancers RCT attacked the Third Chesterton Voltigeurs battle group on the edge of the Great Ufa desert near the city of Tselingrad. The Fifth Lancers had no ‘Mech regiment, instead they had three additional armor regiments to make up for it. Their lack of ‘Mechs was a hindrance and the stubborn defense put up by the Third Chesterton Voltigeurs battle group seemed to guarantee that the Lancers wouldn't take the city without additional support. Tikograd, the Tikinov capital, saw some of the heaviest fighting. With the rout of the Tau Ceti Battle Group both the Sixth and Eighth Crucis Lancer RCTs advanced on the fortress city. Colonel Pavel Ridzik personally lead the defense with Hamilton's Highlanders Battle Group. The battle seesawed back and forth for almost two weeks until October 11 when the Seventh Crucis Lancers ‘Mech regiment, fresh from their victory at Buln, dropped right on the city. The outcome of this battle was uncertain at first, but the overwhelming numbers of the Crucis Lancers began to tell. Hamilton's Highlanders were destroyed in the fighting, but Colonel Ridzik escaped and left the planet. On October 14 the rest of the Capellan Battle Group was prepared to surrender. New reinforcements however came to their aid. The Bloodriders mercenary unit dropped their unit on the industrial district of Tikograd. After heavy fighting the surprised Crucis Lancers were forced to fall back. This was not the only good news. Tormana Liao had brought a newly organized unit, the First Capellan Defenders, made up of members of his own First Ariana Fusiliers and the Fourth Confederation Reserve Cavalry. This two battalion ‘Mech unit dropped on Karaganda where Tormana knew his sister unit, the Second Ariana Fusiliers, had their defenses. In addition Tormana Liao had struck a secret deal with the Northwind Highlanders allowing him to use their units in the battle for Tikinov. The First and Second Kearny Highlanders were part of the reinforcements. The First Kearny landed at Vorguta while the Second landed at Tselingrad.
OTHER ACTIONS Eight other worlds were hit during the Second Wave of Operation Rat. Tsitsang was easily conquered by the First Davion Guards RCT. The Thirty-third Avalon Hussars and the remnants of the Blue Star Irregulars went after easier pickings after their defeat on Liao. They hit the world of Genoa, easily crushing its militia force. The Screaming Eagles assisted by the Fourth Garrison Force attacked the world of Gan Singh defeating their opposition without any trouble. Gamma and Delta regiments of the Twelfth Vegan Rangers along with the First Garrison Force took the world of Buchlau from disorganized militia units. The other Davion invasions found more difficult resistance. The Aragon Borderers were soundly defeated by Freemont's Cuirassiers on the world of Hunan. The scattered remnants of the Borderers barley made it back to their dropships. The Fourth Deneb Light Cavalry RCT faced off with a battalion from Trimaldi's Secutors on the world of Zurich. After initial heavy fighting the larger RCT overwhelmed the Secutors. Only a single company escaped. The planet Alrescha was the target of the First New Ivaarsen Chasseurs. Arrayed against them were the sister battalions of Hamilton's Highlanders and MacGregor's Armored Scouts. After several bloody engagements the Chasseurs crushed the two Capellan ‘Mech battalions. Their victory was not without loss. A Death Commando squad managed to wound Marshal Stephonson and his command staff, forcing his daughter, Colonel Ophelia Stephonson to take command. Two embarrassing defeats were handed to the AFFS while the invasion of the Second Wave was underway. The Bloodriders raided Algol freeing prisoners and stealing supplies, including two new fighters from the SolarHigh Aerotech factory on that world. The Bloodriders next stop was Styk. Here they threw away every shred of decency and ignored the centuries old Ares conventions. A small nuclear device was exploded on the far northern steppes of the planet's eastern continent when a Davion task force moved to engage them (see ROM file 00114789). The device created a devastating electromagnetic pulse, disrupting every electronic device down to a hand laser. The Bloodriders captured the Davion equipment and after making repairs they used it to defeat the remaining garrison of the Twentieth Avalon Hussars. They captured the Tao ‘MechWorks factories and freed the prisoners from the Fourth Confederation Reserve Cavalry battalion including the Reserve Cavalry’s ‘Mechs. With equipment salvaged from the Hussars and newly manufactured ‘Mechs from Tao ‘MechWorks the Bloodriders were expanded and Tormana Liao created his First Capellan Defenders unit.
OVERVIEW The Second Wave showed that the Confederation was much more prepared for the Davion assaults. The failure to secure Tikinov and the loss of Styk were major blows to the credibility of the AFFS. With the exception of Huan the Davion forces managed to take their target worlds fairly easily and destroyed the opposition they came against. The Capellans were knocked down, but not out. Prince Hanse Davion had something else to think about as well. Combine units had invaded border worlds as early as September. This by itself was not alarming. In fact the Prince indicated that he expected to lose some worlds on the Draconis border during his attack on the Capellan Confederation. It was a gamble, but sketchy reports claimed all was not well between the Combine and Wolf's Dragoons. If true it would do much to occupy the Dragon during the Prince's Capellan war. The problem was that there was a communications blackout within the Galedon Military District along the border worlds the Dragoons had been defending for the Combine, so intelligence reports were sketchy. On October 15, Prince Davion received confirmation of the true nature of affairs, the Draconis Combine was beginning to launch a massive offensive. The reports that the Dragoons and Combine were fighting were false. The Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery was throwing more than fifteen ‘Mech regiments at the thinly defended border of the Draconis March. The worst the Federated Suns had feared had become reality. Though the Dragon was reeling on its Lyran border, the DCMS had been funneling troops and transports into the Galedon Military District supposedly to take care of the Dragoons. It was all a ruse. The Dragon and the Wolf seemed to be on very good terms. Prince Davion and his marshals quickly drew up plans to counter this invasion. Since the war on the Capellan front was still going relatively well, the Prince gave the go-ahead for the Third Wave. Though troops were being shipped back toward the Draconis border, those troops already committed to the invasion were to stay. The main reason for this was that the Capellans did not seem like they could hold up much longer. Tikinov for instance, though resisting, would soon fall. Primarily however, the most important reason was that the Prince had declared before the entire Inner Sphere that he would take the Capellan Confederation. Though this ambition was now unrealistic, he was still determined to bring the Confederation to its knees.
THIRD WAVE Ten worlds were targeted for this phase of the invasion. Slocum, Arboris, Achernar, Tigress, Tybalt, Saiph, Yangtze, Ronel, Menkalien, and Kansu were all hit in early November. All planets fell to the AFFS by the end of December. Arboris and Saiph were two of the tougher planets to take. On Arboris the Thirty-third Avalon Hussars and Blue Star Irregulars were surprised to find the First regiment of McCarron's Armored Cavalry. After several heavy battles, McCarron's Cavalry were forced to withdraw with only a single battalion intact. On Saiph the Fourth Deneb Light Cavalry had a tough time against the Third battalion of Justine's Grenadiers. They eventually managed to push the Capellans onto a small peninsula, but the Grenadiers fought their way out. With Davion forces closing in, the Grenadiers retreated to their dropships and moved offworld.
OVERVIEW The Third Wave was a great success, taking all ten planets with moderate losses to Davion forces and in most cases inflicting heavy casualties to the Capellans. Though Tikinov was still holding out the Tikinov Commonality was in tatters. The AFFS could now focus on the Draconis invasion without worrying about a Capellan counterattack.
FEDERATED SUNS FRONT Coordinator Takashi Kurita had been planning his offensive against the Federate Suns since the beginning of the year. A pact made between the Dragon and the Wolf made this ambitious offensive possible There was truth to reports that all was not well between the two leaders. From Comstar sources it has been gathered that the Coordinator wanted the Dragoons kept with his House and allowed his underlings to conduct operations to force them into staying. The Dragoons however are not your typical mercenary unit and so were not going to be swayed by these underhanded tactics. Warlord Samsonov of Galedon however interpreted his master's intentions differently. It seems he began a scheme whose goal was to dishonor and eventually destroy the Dragoons. Unfortunately for the Warlord, several officers in the Galedon Regulars who felt their loyalty to the Coordinator was more important than their loyalty to the Warlord caught wind of his plot and gathered hard evidence to prove it. Uncertain as to who to bring their evidence to, they went before Tai-sa Tetsuhara, the former Mercenary Liason Officer to the Dragoons. Colonel Wolf and Tai-sa Tetsuhara traveled to Luthien where they personally informed the Coordinator. The three along with the ISF Director, Subhash Indrahar, devised a cunning plan to use this to their advantage. We at Comstar were surprised the Warlord was not immediately executed, he had gone so far as to try and use Davion agents to help him in the plot, thinking that he could use them to blame in case any hint of wrong-doing came to light. These Davion agents were not typical MIIO. We suspect that these agents were working on behalf of Duke Michael Hasek-Davion as part of some ploy in his endless ambition to rule the Federated Suns. The scheme that the Coordinator and his confidants came up with nourished the rumors and impression that the Dragon and the Wolf were going to fight. All the Dragoon regiments and an equal number of Galedon Regulars, plus the newly formed Ryuken ‘Mech regiments gathered on the inhospitable mining world of Misery. A communications blackout on that world and others along the border fostered the rumors of internal conflict. Davion intelligence operatives were wary as to what all this lack of information really meant. After bringing it to the attention of the Prince and his marshals, the Command Staff recommended that the Prince be cautious and not try so ambitious an offensive against the Confederation. The Prince evidently took to heart some of their warnings. Our ROM agents noted several last minute changes in destinations for certain mercenary units who had been moving away form the Draconis March and then were rerouted back. Despite these precautions the Federated Suns was not prepared for what came against them. Our own intelligence gathering apparatus may need adjustment after the surprises of this war. We were not aware of the military might the Coordinator had funneled into the area for this attack which we later learned was code named Dragon Strikes.
DRAGON STRIKES STAGE 1 The first stage was a moderate offensive to take key border worlds and clear the way for units coming afterward. It was later learned that the Coordinator considered abandoning the offensive and using his marshaled forces to stem the Commonwealth advance on his other border, but because of the specific agreement made with the Dragoons which had something to do with the extension of their contract, the operation was continued. Still, the Coordinator did not strike right away. He wanted to give the impression to Prince Davion that the Combine was not fully capable of launching a cohesive attack. For this reason the invasions of Harrow's Sun, Wapakoneta, and Glenmora were sent with just barely enough troops to succeed. As the Federated Suns became further enmeshed in its war against the Capellans, the Coordinator saw that the need to maintain this illusion was no longer necessary. After a month of sharp inconclusive fighting on the aforementioned border worlds, the rest of the Kurita invasion was launched on October 8.
WAPAKONETA The Second and Twelfth Galedon Regulars along with six conventional regiments invaded the border world of Wapakoneta. Intelligence had informed them that the three mercenary regiments of the Dismal Disinherited had been sent to this part of the border and that at least one of their regiments was on this planet. The Galedon Regulars soon found out that their opponents were O'Hare's Plague of Locusts. The Locusts quickly used the terrain to their advantage, using the forested hills and valleys to ambush their opponents and melt back into the wilderness. The Second and Twelfth Regulars were light units and so could keep up with the Locusts. Several running battles were fought across the sparsely populated New Wisconsin continent. The green warriors of the Galedon Regulars quickly became acquainted with the fighting style of the Locusts. The Locusts had local militia contingents helping them and were able to take advantage of the terrain while fighting on their native soil. By late October only two major battles had been fought with inconclusive results.
HARROW'S SUN The Eighth Galedon Regulars along with three regiments of conventional troops were sent to Harrow's Sun. They faced Ushida's Cryptkickers, the heavy regiment of the Dismal Disinherited. The Galedon Regular's invasion group landed just outside the city of Trenton and quickly moved north where aerospace units had spotted elements of the Cryptkickers. The two opposing forces met at the Jinxor River where heavy fighting ensued. The Cryptkickers were forced to pull back and for the next two months the two forces fought a running battle. The Cryptkickers retreated north to their headquarters of Ft. Belvoir. Two other major engagements were fought, one at the String Forest, and the other at Yustiss Pass, with inconclusive results before the Cryptkickers made it to their defensive positions.
GLENMORA The Fifth Galedon Regulars and three conventional regiments attacked Glenmora. Kelly's Hostile LAMs of the Disinherited chose to defend the planet form the planet's volcanically active Hades continent. There was only one major city along the continent's coast. The constant geologic activity made the whole area abundantly rich in rare metal and other raw materials which were brought in from small roving miner camps. From the city of Tronka they were shipped to other ports across the planet. The Hostile LAMs adopted a mobile campaign to harass and snipe at targets of opportunity. The LAMs of the regiment's Stinger battalion were especially effective at this. By early November the Galedon Regulars had still not fought any major engagements. With the rest of Operation Dragon Strikes already underway General Dok To of the Regulars called in reinforcements. The Sixteenth Galedon Regulars were sent in. Having been warned by MIIO operatives on the border that the Sixteenth Regulars were on their way, General Fontral of the Disinherited requested reinforcements as well. The Tenth Deneb Light Cavalry RCT responded and landed on the planet three days before the Sixteenth Galedon Regulars arrived. By December 1, the Combine forces were still no closer to taking the planet.
STAGE 2 As the first stage of the operation was becoming bogged down, the Coordinator ordered the other units waiting in the Galedon Military District to attack. Ten ‘Mech regiments had been gathered on Misery. All five regiments of Wolf's Dragoons, the two regiments of the Ryuken, two of the Galedon Regulars, and the Eighth Sword of Light all jumped the border to their pre-designated invasion points on November 10. The Seventeenth Galedon Regulars with eight conventional regiments invaded New Aberdeen. They quickly overwhelmed the three regiments of home guard units and the single company of ‘Mechs that garrisoned the planet. The Twenty-first Galedon Regulars also with eight conventional regiments hit Bergman's Planet. The defenders were four regiments of planetary guards who put up a tough fight, but were eventually defeated. Alpha regiment of Wolf's Dragoons and Ryuken-ni were sent to Benet III. They had twelve conventional regiments as support including conventional forces from the Dragoons. Five regiments of the planet's militia opposed them, but were soon crushed by this potent invasion force. The Eighth Sword of Light and Ryuken-go along with ten conventional regiments attacked Elidere IV. After two weeks of intense fighting the six regiments of planetary guard were forced to surrender. Beta and Delta regiments along with a regiment of Dragoon support troops invaded Barlow's End. The two and a half regiments of garrison troops were no match for the elite units of the Dragoons and were soon forced to surrender. Gamma and Epsilon regiments of Wolf's Dragoons along with two Combine and one of their own support regiments invaded Cassias. They faced the Seventeenth Avalon Hussars RCT. The Seventeenth put up a valiant fight, but were overpowered by the two Dragoon ‘Mech regiments. After a littler more than a month of fighting, the battered Avalon Hussars retreated offworld. Along the periphery edge of the Kurita/Davion border the Third Prosserpina Hussars and McGee's Cutthroats invaded Kasai IV with eighteen conventional regiments. They faced the Eleventh Avalon Hussars RCT. The mobile Prosserpina Hussars were ideally suited for the open deserts of this planet, but found that the Eleventh Hussars were a tough nut to crack. The Hussars had garrisoned that world for several years and knew the lay of the land better than anyone. The Cutthroats were lured into several ambushes by the Davion force only to be saved from annihilation by the Prosserpina Hussars. After two and a half months of constant fighting the superior numbers of the Combine force had worn down the Avalon Hussars. Faced with eventual destruction, the Davion force retreated offworld. The Fourth An Ting Legion with ten conventional regiments invaded Niles and defeated the three militia regiments in several weeks. Leaving behind half the conventional units, the rest of the Combine force left and invaded Groveld III. Though the defenders were better prepared they had no BattleMech support to counter the An Ting Legion and were defeated in about a month of bitter fighting.
OVERVIEW Other than the three diversionary invasions of Wapkoneta, Harrow's Sun, and Glenmora the Combine offensive was a great success. By early December the forces of the Second Stage were ready to move on. Losses were low on planets without ‘Mech opponents, those that did however put up a considerable fight. The Combine troops that had not been stationed on Misery were also a little disorganized because they had been unaware of the upcoming offensive. They were scarcely given time to load up on their ships where they could make battle plans. This guaranteed the secrecy of the invasion, but meant that many small mistakes were made while carrying out the attacks. These assaults were not like the lighting blitzkrieg the Federated Suns was conducting on the Capellan front. With the invasion well underway the Coordinator ordered the other District commanders to participate in the offensive. They were to draw up their own plans of attack and add their forces to the invasion while the Federate Suns was off balance.
COMBINE FOLLOW-UP INVASIONS The First and Second Amphigean Light Assault Groups invaded the Galtor Thumb, attacking the strategic worlds of Galtor and Marduk. The defenders were only planetary militia and both planets fell by early January. Extensive guerilla activity on those planets harassed the occupation forces however. The Ninth Benjamin Regulars with three support regiments attacked Klathandu IV. They faced only conventional guard units, but these units were hardened veterans from many previous campaigns. The Ninth Regulars made little headway by January. The Eleventh Benjamin Regulars attacked the world of Breed. They faced the Second Robinson Rangers. The Rangers had a larger support force, but the Combine troops managed to take the defenders by surprise, giving them a stinging defeat. Though the campaign was far from over, the Combine troops currently had the advantage. The Third and Sixth Benjamin Regulars along with twenty infantry and tank regiments hit the world of Deshler, defended by the First Chisholm Raiders RCT. Though the Raiders were heavily outnumbered they knew the planet very well. Using this knowledge the Raiders managed to ambush the Benjamin Regulars several times with little loss. However after getting too heavily engaged with a Combine armor battalion the Raiders were hit hard by a Benjamin Regular assault ‘Mech unit. The two forces were settling in for a long campaign. The Dieron Military District was currently being hit hard by the Lyran Commonwealth as the Combine offensive rolled across the Davion border. Warlord Cherenkov still used forces under his district command to participate in the attack. We of Comstar suspect that this was done in order to justify denying Theodore Kurita aid to his counterattacks on the Steiner Front. The Ninth Dieron Regulars and Brion's Legion invaded the world of David, facing the Twelfth Deneb Light Cavalry. The two forces seemed evenly matched and most of the fighting has been inconclusive.
QUENTIN The planet of Quentin was a vital world to the Federated Suns. Not only was it one of the worlds connecting the realm to Terra and hence the Lyran Commonwealth, but it also contained important war industries including an assault BattleMech production facility similar to its sister world of Al Na'ir in the Combine. Defending the system were the Twenty-Second Avalon Hussars. The planet had seen many invasions and raids in the past so the planetary garrison was always on the alert for any Combine attack. Therefore they were not surprised when a Kurita invasion force arrived. They were, however, dismayed by its numbers. The Fifth Sword of Light, Thirty-Sixth Dieron Regulars, and the new elite Genyosha regiment made up the assault force. Within several weeks the defenders were being hammered into the ground by the potent units. By the end of December, things looked grim for the Avalon Hussars. Then, reinforcements arrived. The Fifth Deneb Light Calvary and Team Banzai had come from Northwind to bolster the Hussars. The two fresh units delivered a devastating attack to the Thirty-sixth Dieron Regulars. As the Deneb Calvary and Team Banzai moved in to finish off the Regulars, the Genyosha delivered a deadly attack and saved the Regulars from being annihilated. Dr. B. Banzai was wounded in the assault, but the Combine invasion force was convinced to withdraw.
NORTHWIND As the new year was about to begin, Bradley's Bravos mercenary battalion watched the incoming news like many others that were not actively involved with the war. The Bravos were extremely apprehensive about losing Team Banzai and the Fifth Deneb Light Calvary, but were resigned to the fact that they would have to defend the planet on their own. Thus it was with much dread that the Bravos settled into their defensive positions when an unidentified invasion group entered the system. Within several days the Bravos soon found out who had come. It was the Northwind Highlanders who had, after more than two hundred years, come to reclaim their home. While the two Kearny Highlander regiments were off fighting on Tikinov, McCormak's Fusiliers and Marion's Highlanders fought with a fury the Bravos have never seen before. After two weeks, the Bravos were destroyed.
OVERVIEW This phase of the offensive against the Federated Suns was less organized then that along the Galedon District border. Consequently, their forces were more often bogged down on their assigned planets. The lack of cohesion was probably due to the fact that both the Dieron and Benjamin Military Districts were under Steiner attack. They did, however, broaden the Combine attack, forcing the Federated Suns to spread their defensive forces.
CAPELLAN FRONT When Prince Hanse Davion began marshaling his forces to combat the Kurita threat, he placed General Ardan Sortek in command of the Capellan Front. General Sortek was charged with defeating the enemy by using the forces that were already committed to the area. Though members of the command staff urged him to take up a defensive posture, General Sortek ordered the Fourth wave to commence. The command staff appealed to Prince Davion, but the Prince merely smiled and said, "General Sortek knows what he is doing."
FOURTH WAVE Ten worlds were targeted for the Fourth Wave. Azha, Second Try, Woodstock, Foot Fall, Foochow, Tall Trees, Hamal, Highspire, Menkalinan, and Shipka. To assault these worlds, twelve ‘Mech regiments and more than ninety infantry and tank regiments were used. Two new regiments were pulled from the lower Capellan border to replace units that were being pulled back.. The Second Ceti Hussars RCT and the Sixth Capellan March Militia. The Davion forces expected to encounter heavy resistance, much as they had for the previous invasions. As the Fourth Wave began in late December, the Davion task forces were surprised that they did not encounter any ‘Mech forces. Militia units on all worlds put up a tough fight, but were no match for the Davion ‘Mech regiments. By early January, all worlds had fallen or were on the verge of falling into Davion hands.
OPERATION RIPOSTE There was good reason that the Davion invasion forces encountered no ‘Mech units. The Capellans were about to launch a counterattack of their own. Colonel Ridzik was seething about his loss on Tikinov. It was heard that he wasn't very happy that Tormana Liao had usurped his authority by bringing troops to Tikinov on his own. What was worse was that Colonel Ridzik couldn't do anything about it because Tormana's gamble seemed to be working. In order to salvage his own pride, he ordered the Second Capellan Hussars and the Third battalion of Justine's Grenadiers, along with eight conventional regiments to attack Aldebaran. The First Confederation Reserve Calvary were to garrison Ridzik's personal holding of Styk while the battalion of Warrior House Daidachi returned to its garrison at Nanking. Warrior House Lusann remained to guard Liao. As Colonel Ridzik set these plans into motion, he received word from Chancellor Liao that he was to use all available forces in the Chancellor’s offensive Operation Riposte. After hearing the plan of attack, Colonel Ridzik refused, citing that the plan left them too vulnerable and spread their resources too thin. Chancellor Liao ordered him to comply, but Colonel Ridzik failed to respond. The units that did respond were those units that had been defeated and escaped from their worlds. These units included Warrior House Ijori, Warrior House Hiritsu, Trimaldi's Secutors, Laurel's Legion, McCrimmon's Light Calvary, MacGregor's Armored Scouts, and the First McCarron's Armored Cavalry regiment. All these units were only the shattered remnants of the once strong Capellan BattleMech Force. Each task group was assigned a small conventional force as support. These units were sent to hit worlds that the Capellan Maskirova had determined as vital supply points to the Davion war effort. These worlds included Halloran V, New Aragon, Basalt, Kawich, Axton, and Algot. If these raids were successful, it was believed that the Davion war effort would come to a crashing halt as new supplies would have to be brought up. The units all hit their designated worlds and moved in where Maskirovka intelligence had determined the crucial supply centers were. Instead of finding stockpiles of war material guarded by simple conventional units, the Capellans found crack Davion BattleMech regiments waiting in ambush. On each of the worlds, with the exception of Axton, the Capellan forces were utterly crushed. On Axton however the Fourth Tau Ceti Rangers hit a Davion research facility and escaped without loss. The other assaults were an incredible blow to the Capellan military. With the loss of those forces, their defensive capacity for any more attacks was in serious doubt. Prefectress Candace Liao, the Chancellor's daughter, begged her father to reinforce her brother on Tikinov. With the Tikinov Commonality all but gone, Pavel Ridzik disobeying orders, and his latest offensive crushed, the despondent Chancellor seemed unaware of her presence or anyone else. He merely sat on his throne for several hours without uttering a single word and then quietly retired. Candace left for St. Ives that same day.
FREE WORLDS LEAGUE FRONT OPERATION DAGGER, PHASE 1 As the final days of 3028 ticked away, a lull seemed to come over two of the main theaters of combat. Along the Capellan front, though fighting continued on several worlds, no new invasions or counter attacks occurred. Along the Draconis front the highly successful offensive by the Commonwealth also seemed to come to a halt as new troops and supplies were moved to replace those lost. On the Steiner/Marik border all had been relatively quiet. With the LCAF's offensive energy directed at the Draconis Combine, the Free Worlds League was spared the chaos of the huge military campaigns that had engulfed both its neighbors. The members of the League, especially those along the Lyran border, gave a collective sigh of relief and were thankful they were not feeling the fury the Commonwealth had unleashed on the Combine. Many in the League had believed that if hostilities were to be renewed than they would feel the brunt of it because of the Marik's recent invasion. Not only did this fighting not happen, but there was a total lack of any kind of activity along the border. This was soon to change. A call through our Comstar from Coordinator Kurita to the Captain-General spelled out in no uncertain terms that the Combine expected the League to live up to its obligations as a member of the Concord of Kapetyn. The Coordinator said that the League would soon feel the might of the LCAF if it did not take action to help its allies. Though the Captain-General was loath to start another campaign, he did order attacks to be made against the Lyran Commonwealth. Code named Operation Dagger, these attacks took place along the periphery edge of the two realms. The worlds of Poulsbo and Cavanaugh II were both invaded in an effort to destroy those world’s garrisons and thus relieve pressure on the Combine by forcing the Lyrans to send in troops to plug the holes.
CAVANAUGH II The Ducal Guard and the First Brigade of the Fusiliers of Oriente invaded the industrial world of Cavanaugh II in late December, 3028. Against them were the Ninth Lyran Regulars and the Thirty-sixth Lyran Guard. Colonel Selim Halas of the Ducal Guard had been very upset that his brigade had not participated in the League's highly successful Operation Violet. When ordered to attack Cavanaugh he was ecstatic and eager to show his regiment’s prowess on the battlefield. The two Fusilier brigades dropped separately on the planet to engage their opponents one on one. The Thirty-sixth Lyran Guard were at the capital of Bixby, while the huge ore refining facilities in the southern hemisphere were guarded by the Ninth Lyran Regulars. The Ducal Guard attacked the capital and after initial heavy fighting, the elite unit crushed the Lyran Guard. The Lyran Regulars were more fortunate. When the Marik invasion fleet arrived, the Regular's commander made a deal with the world's largest ore shipping company to transport the regiment offworld if the Marik invaders were about to win. The Lyran Regulars met the First Brigade on the ore flats outside of Fireforge City. The green Regulars were no match for the elite Fusiliers and were routed. The Fusiliers did not rush their pursuit however because they believed the Regulars were trapped on the planet. The spaceport had been taken and the few dropships there had either been captured or fled. The Fusiliers were rather surprised when they saw several ore transports take off from Fireforge City’s airport. When Marik fighters went to investigate, Lyran fighters attacked the Marik ships that got too close. Most of the Regulars managed to escape the system, much to the shame of the Fusiliers.
POULSBO The Sixth Orloff Grenadiers began their attack on Poulsbo initially intending the operation to be a raid. Though Narhal's Raiders usually garrisoned the planet, the Grenadiers found a single green ‘Mech regiment, the First Knights of St. Cameron, and several battalions of militia troops. The Grenadier's commander immediately called in supporting regiments to fully invade the world. The Grenadirs quickly made short work of the Knights after several pitched battles. The survivors of the Knights scattered across the countryside to keep from being destroyed.
OVERVIEW Though not nearly as ambitious as Operation Violet, Operation Dagger met with good success. Both the First Knights of St. Cameron and the Thirty-sixth Lyran Guard were effectively taken out. Further raids and reports from intelligence agents indicated that this sector was pitifully under defended. As the Marik drew up plans to exploit this, news reached him of an incident along the Capellan border. Evidently a Capellan tank battalion attacked the locals of the League planet where they were being allowed to refit after a terrorist bombing killed many of their wounded. The Duchess of Andurien, in whose territory this occurred, declared war on the Confederation and invaded several Capellan worlds. Before contemplating further offensive action on the Lyran border the Captain-General devoted all his energy to diffusing this new conflict.
NEW EVENTS FOR THE NEW YEAR Along both the Capellan and Lyran fronts a comparative lull took place as the allied nations of House Steiner and Davion prepared for new offensive operations. In January an assassination attempt failed to kill Colonel Pavel Ridzik, Prefect of the Tikinov Commonality. Capellan agents were purportedly involved though we are unsure if the Chancellor gave the direct order. Davion agents however saved the Colonel and brought him to New Avalon. Enroute to the Federated Suns capital a deal was made between General Sortek of House Davion and Colonel Pavel Ridzik. In exchange for arms, money, and other aid Colonel Ridzik would secede from the Confederation with the remaining worlds of the Tikinov Commonality. This new state would be a Davion ally and allow access between the Lyran Commonwealth and the Federated Suns. After arriving on New Avalon the Colonel and Prince Davion ratified this deal. The new nation was the Tikinov Free Republic. Those Capellan units in the area would swear allegiance to this new state and become part of the Republican Armed Forces. With this new ally the damage caused by the loss of Northwind was minimized and the new worlds of the Republic would save the AFFS the trouble of invading and garrisoning them. Another major event of the new year was the death of Duke Michael Hasek-Davion, ruler of the Federated Suns Capellan March. We of Comstar know that the Duke had been plotting against his bother-in-law, Hanse, since he came to power. The Duke was also sending information to the Capellans before and after the war started. We are uncertain as to why the Duke went to Sian during the last days of December, but ROM suspects that he felt his treasonous acts had been compromised and fled to Sian for sanctuary. The Chancellor seemed to blame the Duke for much of the trouble his realm was suffering and had him executed. The official story put out by Prince Hanse Davion was that Duke Michael had tried negotiating a separate peace agreement with the Confederation to stop the war and thus bury the evidence of Duke Michael's treason with his death.
FEDERATED SUNS FRONT As the other Inner Sphere powers stopped to rest their troops during the early months of 3029, the Draconis Combine was just starting its third stage of attacks on the worlds of the Federated Suns. Though the attacks made against the border worlds guarded by the Dismal Disinherited and those bordering the Dieron and Benjamin Military Districts had bogged down, the rest of the invasions along the Galedon border had been successfully completed. The Combine units still held the initiative and would exploit the Davions' disorganization for as long as it would hold.
STAGE 3 The ten ‘Mech regiments from Misery had spent eight months during 3028 preparing for the Federated Suns invasion, thus they conquered their initial target worlds quickly and with little loss. When the orders came for the third stage these units were eager and ready for the fight. Seven worlds were hit during this wave which began on December 20. On Lima the Seventeenth Galedon Regulars quickly subdued the Federated Suns militia while the Twenty-first Galedon Regulars took Tallmadge. Alpha regiment of Wolf's Dragoons and Ryunken-ni with eight regiments of conventional troops invaded Hoff. This world had been subject to countless raids because of the research facilities the Federated Suns kept there, so the planet's garrison consisted of twelve regiments of armor and infantry. Fighting was heavy, but Colonel Jaime Wolf and Tai-sa Tetsuhara used their elite ‘Mech regiments to great effect. After a month of fighting they had reduced resistance to the single city of Abadan. Two more weeks were required to subdue the defenders there. The Eighth Sword of Light and Ryuken-go had an easy time taking the world of Fairfield. The planetary militia was convinced to surrender when the capital city was all but destroyed during the initial fighting. McGee was the next border world to fall. Gamma and Epsilon regiments of Wolf's Dragoons along with two regiments of Dragoon armor and infantry took this world. Afterwards Combine garrison regiments relieved them from Cassias.
ROWE Beta and Delta regiments of Wolf's Dragoons plus three regiments of conventional troops invaded the world of Rowe. This planet had been considered vitally important in the past because of the Star League supply depot that had been constructed hundreds of years before. By the Thirty-first century most of these supplies had been used up or removed during the decades of warfare. The planet was a predictable target so the Forty-second Avalon Hussars moved from their garrison on Fallon II to the system. In addition the battered Seventeenth Avalon Hussars moved to this planet to lick their wounds before going back into the fight. The Seventeenth, true to their training, were able to quickly deploy the RCT as the Dragoons made their drops. This proved pivotal in the beginning because the green troops of the Forty-second had trouble organizing their men to bring into the fight. Combat dragged on for weeks without let up as the two forces slugged it out. As of April the ownership of the planet was still in doubt.
CONROE The two remaining battalions of the Eleventh Avalon Hussars and the battered regiments of their RCT fled to Conroe. Once there the commander inducted the Conroe Training Battalion into the RCT to replace the battalion lost on Kasai IV. The Third Prosserpina Hussars and McGee's Cutthroats with twelve conventional regiments followed them several weeks later when they invaded the planet. After weeks of inconclusive fighting, General Bernstein of the Prosserpina Hussars sent the Cutthroats to the city of Savoy with a pair of motorized infantry regiments as support. What General Bernstein neglected to tell Colonel McGee was that the Avalon Hussars were suspected of building up their forces there in preparation for an attack. The Cutthroats were used as bait and were soon under attack from the Avalon Hussars. General Bernstein sneaked his forces in behind the Davion force and attacked. During the resulting battle the Avalon Hussars were destroyed, with survivors scattering across the countryside. The Cutthroats were severely mauled during the fighting. Colonel McGee filed a formal protest with Comstar for the treatment of his unit by the Combine.
BRYCELAND The Fourth An Ting Legion and eight support regiments invaded the world of Bryceland. They faced the Third Draconis March Militia. The Draconis invasion force found it tough going because Bryceland was the capital of the Planetary Defense Zone and the home world of the militia unit. The Combine units were soon bogged down as the March Militia fought for every square mile of their planet. The fight for the city of Coral was typical of the battles being fought across the planet. A company of ‘Mechs and two battalions of infantry fought a battalion of tanks and one of ‘Mechs to a standstill, throwing up barricades at every street corner and making homemade firebombs to harass the Kurita troops. After more than three months of fighting the Kurita units had only made limited gains.
CAPELLAN FRONT OPERATION INTRUDER'S COMMUNION In April, 3029, a small Capellan raiding force attacked the world of Bethel. The Tau Ceti Ranger's attack on Axton five months earlier had given them information about a secret NAIS lab on the world of Bethel. A team was assembled with elements of the Tau Ceti Rangers as a diversion force and a crack Maskirovka unit as the actual raiding force. Defending the planet was a battalion of the Twenty-first Striker Regiment, Eridani Light Horse. The Eridani Light Horse quickly fought off the Rangers, but the Maskirovka unit accomplished its mission. This was despite the fact that the Light Horse command lance attempted to thwart the attack. The information obtained by the Maskirovaka was the formula for a new triple strength myomer to make BattleMechs physically stronger and more maneuverable.
FIFTH WAVE By late April Davion forces were ready to continue the fight. Prince Davion had recalled both regiments of the New Ivarrsson Chaussers, the Thirty-third Avalon Hussars RCT, and the elite First Davion Guards RCT to the Draconis front. With the Prince's attention on House Kurita and General Sortek assigned as advisor to the Tikinov Free Republic, the Capellan Operations Command took over the offensive operations against the Confederation. The COC planned and executed the Fifth Wave of Operation Rat with several factors in mind. With fewer units to garrison Confederation worlds and the reduced number of transports slotted for their use, the Capellan theater had a limited amount of resources to conduct their operations. The Fifth Wave was thus given two primary goals, the first was to end the fighting on contested worlds such as Aldebaran, St. Andre, and Tikinov. The second goal was to strike a major blow that would occupy the Confederation military command and demoralize their troops. To gain these objectives the Fourth Deneb Light Cavalry RCT was sent to support the Fourth Guards RCT on Aldebaran. The Seventy-first Light Horse of the Eridani Light Horse along with the Eighth Deneb Light Cavalry RCT were sent to reinforce Tikinov. The One hundred fifty-first Light Horse regiment was sent to St. Andre. To take care of the second objective the Fifth Syrtis Fusiliers RCT, two regiments of the Crater Cobras, the Second Screaming Eagles, and fifteen conventional regiments invaded the commonality capital of Sarna. With the capture of this world and the taking of these contested worlds in the Tikinov Commonality, the COC believed the Confederation would find it extremely difficult defending itself. A number of secondary invasions were made as well to pin down and destroy ‘Mech units that were still in the Sarna Commonality and prevent them from making a counterattack. These secondary invasions were sent to Menkib, New Maccao, Corey, Wei, Tsingtao, and Zaurak. More than half of these worlds were found to have no BattleMech forces.
INITIAL ACTION The Second Ceti Hussars had an easy time overcoming the militia on Menkib. The Sixth Capellan March Militia likewise had no problems taking New Macao. The Twentieth Avalon Hussars suffered damage to one of their jumships when its heat exchanger ruptured in the jump drive. Taking the world of Corey was not even a challenge for the Hussar's RCT. The planet Zaurak had only one major city and a few small settlements. The Third battalion of Gamma regiment, Twelfth Vegan Rangers along with six support regiments easily overcame the small militia.
WEI The Vegan ranger's Delta regiment and two battalions from Gamma regiment invaded Wei. Seven conventional regiments were used in support. Sung's Cuirassiers along with nine conventional regiments defended the planet. The AFFS knew that Wei would be a hard assignment because it was rumored that a Star League cache of deadly nerve gas was stored there. Though Davion commando squads were sent in prior to the invasion to destroy the gas caches, they did not succeed in destroying them all. The Vegan Rangers began the campaign cautiously by scattering their drop sites away from known enemy positions. For the next two months the Rangers began a slow methodical assault of Capellan strongholds and troop concentrations. By July the Capellan forces were isolated to the Vandannis Valley. The Capellans now used the deadly nerve gas. Almost two infantry battalions were wiped out in this first attack. The Davion units did find out that the nerve agent was easy to dilute and disperse with water. The effectiveness of the nerve agent was soon reduced because of the precautions and strict cleanup the Davion units subjected to themselves. At the end of July the Davion forces had finally inflicted enough damage to convince the Cuirassiers to leave. The planet surrendered soon afterward. The Vegan Rangers had lost two battalions of troops during the fighting.
TSINGTAO The Davion Heavy Guards RCT invaded the agricultural world of Tsingtao. Defending it was the second battalion of Hurloc's Hussars and several poorly armed militia regiments. After several heavy battles the Hussar's dropships were captured. The battalion had already suffered heavy losses and some members of the unit believed they should surrender. This was violently opposed by many members of the unit. A battle soon erupted between those who wanted to continue the fight and those who wanted to surrender. The survivors of the battle had little choice but to lay down their weapons when two battalions of the Heavy Guards arrived on the scene.
SARNA The invasion of Sarna got off to a very bad start when the Fifth Syrtis Fusiliers RCT disobeyed orders and sped ahead of the rest of the invasion group so that they would be able to hit the planet first. The Fusiliers had been itching to take their vengeance on the Confederation ever since they had heard that their lord, Duke Michael Hasek-Davion, had been executed on Sian. The rest of the invasion force, which included two regiments of the Crater Cobras, the Second Screaming Eagles, and fifteen conventional regiments would arrive two days later. The Fusiliers unknowingly landed in a trap. Four regiments of McCarron's Armored Cavalry were on the planet and gave the Fusiliers a very warm welcome. Within a day, less than a company of ‘Mechs and the remnants of two conventional regiments remained of the powerful RCT. The Crater Cobras and Screaming Eagles diverted to a single drop zone where they hoped to hold out against the Confederation forces. It was at this time that we of Comstar chose to interdict the Federated Suns. Sarna was the trigger for which the First Circuit had drawn the line. The Capellan Confederation was in serious jeopardy of being swallowed up by the Davion juggernaut despite their set back on Tikinov and the offensive staged by the Draconis Combine. The shift in power to the new alliance of the Federated Commonwealth is to much for our order to accept and runs counter to our own plans for the Inner Sphere. The destruction of our station on Sarna was arranged and the Fifth Syrtis Fusiliers implicated. This interdiction went into effect on May 30, 3029. Though the Capellan forces outnumbered the Davion invasion force, the Davion mercenaries had set up excellent defensive positions. It would take a long concerted effort to root them out.
TIKINOV When the reinforcements of Tormana Liao arrived the defenders of Tikinov received new hope. Tormana’s Capellan Defenders made their landing at Karaganda where the Second Ariana Fusiliers’ battle group were defending. With these reinforcements the First Crucis Lancers were not strong enough to take the fortified city by storm. The First Lancers settled in for a siege with occasional probing attacks from both sides. It was Marshal Powel’s intent to call in reinforcements from the other Crucis Lancer RCTs to help crush the Capellan Battle Group. Several conventional regiments and a ‘Mech battalion from the Second Crucis Lancers responded after two weeks of the Capellan reinforcements’ arrival. The rest of the Second Lancers RCT were engaged in tracking down the Ariana Grenadiers and the remnants of their Battle Group. With these reinforcements Marshal Powell of the First Lancers ordered the attack. Fighters from both Lancer RCTs bombed the city fortifications while artillery added their firepower to the assault. Then a simultaneous attack from the western sea, from the south, and from the north all struck the Capellan defenses. Fighting was intense and the defenders put up strong resistance, but the bombing and artillery attacks had worn them down. The Davion forces also outnumbered them. Tormana Liao’s heroic rescue of the Ariana Fusiliers seemed to be short lived. The Second Crucis Lancers were hit from behind. The green troops were thrown into confusion. The Ariana Grenadiers had managed to sneak their way down to the Karaganda isthmus to help the Fusiliers. The Capellan Battle Group then retreated north into the mountains and forests of the Kazan continent. Losses were heavy however. The combined casualties of the Fusiliers and Capellan Defenders amounted to a battalion of ‘Mechs. Also at least half of their conventional forces, five regiments all totaled, were destroyed or surrendered. Davion forces suffered heavily as well. The battalion from the Second Lancers was destroyed along with one of their tank and infantry regiments. The First Lancers fared a little better, loosing one motorized infantry and one hovertank regiment. Further to the south the Fourth Lancers were having an easier time going after the Second Chesterton Battle Group. After its defeat at Ulan, the Second Chesterton Battle Group retreated south. The Fourth Lancers, under Major General Duncan, were quick to pursue. A three month long running battle occurred as the Second Chesterton continued its retreat south. Finally the Battle Group was cornered. With their supplies low and almost all their conventional forces lost, the Second Chesterton prepared for its final fight. The resulting battle lasted two days. The Second Chesterton was destroyed, but the Fourth Lancers suffered heavy losses to one of their ‘Mech battalions and a motorized infantry regiment. On the continent of Ufa the First Chesterton Battle Group was in dire straits. They had initially managed to escape from the Third Crucis Lancers’ attack on New Moscow, but after a week the Lancers had managed to pin down the Battle Group long enough for their heavy units to arrive. The First Chesterton found their backs to the sea and were a long way off from the city of Vorguta where they hoped to make a stand. Then with bagpipe music blaring across all radio frequencies the First Kearny Highlanders arrived. The veteran units of the Highlanders made their drops right behind the Lancers and began a vicious attack. This attack allowed the two remaining battalions of the First Chesterton Voltigeurs and its few remaining support units to fight their way free. The Third Lancers withdrew after losing a ‘Mech battalion and two of their conventional regiments. The Fifth Crucis Lancers were having a tough time rooting out the Third Chesterton Battle Group at Tselingrad. It seemed the city would be reduced to rubble during the intense fighting. The Third Chesterton were putting up a valiant fight, but were forced to give ground to the overwhelming numbers of the Fifth Crucis Lancers. The arrival of the Second Kearny Highlanders turned the tide. Despite the numbers of tanks in the Fifth Lancers, the Highlanders gave ample proof as to why the BattleMech is ‘king of the battlefield’. Many units of the Fifth Lancers were destroyed, the rest were scattered. Tikograd saw some of the heaviest fighting. With three Davion RCTs arrayed against them, the Bloodriders appeared to have little hope of surviving very long against them. Upon their initial landing the Bloodriders surprised the Lancer RCTs which were not prepared for the sudden assault. During the ensuing battle the Capellan Home Guard regiments attacked as well and Davion forces were driven from the industrial section of the city. The Bloodriders then made quick repairs on their ‘Mechs and attacked again. This time they traveled along the river bottom of the White Volga which ran through the city in order to sneak up on the Sixth and Seventh Lancers who were preparing to counterattack. The surprise assault threw the Davion troops into disarray and the conventional forces of the city attacked them. The two RCTs lost more than two battalions of ‘Mechs, tanks, and infantry during the battle. The Davion forces than pulled back and regrouped to prepare a more organized assault. The Eighth Lancers had a solid foothold in the administrative section of the city, but the Sixth and Seventh Lancers had withdrawn beyond the great outer wall. By this time communiqués from the other RCTs informed them of the status of the other battles across the planet. The Seventh Lancers immediately withdrew to Tselingrad where the Fifth Lancers were in danger of being annihilated. The Sixth and Eighth Lancers remained at Tikograd and began a series of continuous attacks to wear down the Bloodriders and the Capellan Home Guard units. The assaults were costly though. Missile armed infantry seemed to be hiding in every building and a tank or ‘Mech was striking from some hidden alley or street. The Davion forces resorted to destroying any building that enemy fire came from, but this did not seem to alleviate the problem. If anything it stiffened Capellan resistance. Artillery and bombing strikes only succeeded in destroying buildings. When ground forces moved in to occupy the area they would be attacked by troops hidden in the rubble. As troops and equipment began to wear down from the attrition, the Davion RCTs concentrated on taking the ‘Mech factories which were the principle suppliers and repairers for the Bloodrider ‘Mech force. Fighting around the factory was intense as the Bloodriders and the Home Guard fought for every square meter of ground. During the second day of the battle the frontline Davion troops received warnings from the units guarding in the rear. A couple of Bloodrider ‘Mech lances had slipped out of the industrial section and onto the surrounding steppes about the city to attack the supply and ammunition stores of the Lancers. With the enormous wear on equipment the Lancers had moved their supply depots closer to the city so they wouldn’t have to haul it all from the Lancer dropships that were more than a hundred kilometers away. The Bloodrider ‘Mechs and accompanying Home Guard units had great success destroying ammunition and fuel for fighters and conventional units. The Davion commanders immediately dispatched troops to better protect the rear areas and patrol the surrounding steppes. The damage had been done however and after a final unsuccessful push the Lancers pulled back. By April Tikinov was still being hotly contested. The First and Second Crucis Lancers were playing hide and seek with Tormana Liao’s Battle Group in the Western Boreal Forest of Kazan. The Third and Fourth Crucis Lancers were squaring off against the First Chesterton Battle Group and the First Kearny Highlanders at the city of Vorguta. The Seventh and the remnants of the Fifth Crucis Lancers were battling it out in the Great Ufa Desert with the Third Chesterton Battle Group and Second Kearny Highlanders. At Tikograd the Sixth and Eighth Lancers were still having a tough time crushing the Bloodriders. It was with these state of affairs that the Davion COC sent in the Seventy-first Light Horse and the Eighth Deneb Light Cavalry. The Light Horse dropped into the Ufa desert, immediately causing havoc with Capellan forces there. The Eighth Deneb landed at Karaganda and assisted the First and Second Lancers in their efforts to pin down Tormana Liao’s Battle Group. Initial results of these reinforcements were good and the tides of war steadily turned against the Capellan troops of Tikinov.
ST. ANDRE With the virtual destruction of the Davion Light Guards’ ‘Mech regiment the invasion force faced a major, but not insurmountable set back. Two ‘Mech regiments of the Vegan Rangers and most of the conventional forces of the Davion RCT were intact. The Capellans were in good positions however. Justinia’s Cuirassiers and the Blackwind Lancers had turned the city of Jerome into a fortress. Cochraine’s Goliaths faced no opposition far to the north in the Ivaar Wastes. The Vegan Rangers decided to whittle their opponents down one at a time. A close siege was kept around Jerome with periodic attacks. They could not however encircle the city because of the rough highland terrain. Attempts to set up outposts within the highlands to prevent the Capellans from sneaking out as they did before also proved difficult. The highlands were crawling with Capellan infantry and partisans who intimately knew the terrain. Davion aerospace forces flew reconnaissance missions to map out the highlands and keep tabs on the Goliaths, but their efforts were hampered by the Capellan’s continued presence in the St. Andre skies. To shake things up Major Alekseyev, filling in for Colonel Cochraine, lead the Goliaths south to support the Capellan troops at Jerome. Davion fighters made numerous attempts to harass them, but Capellan aerospace forces did a good job of protecting the Capellan ‘Mechs. The Goliaths made one concerted attack on the Davion landing fields damaging two dropships, but hurriedly pulled back when the Vegan Rangers detached two ‘Mech battalions to their defense. The Goliaths retreated into the Swarthian Highlands with the two Vegan Ranger ‘Mech battalions, a tank battalion, and a motorized infantry regiment in pursuit. Capellan fighter activity stepped up their attacks and kept Davion fighter pilots busy. As the Davion force closed in, the Goliaths made their stand along a ridgeline. Fighting soon became fierce, but the Rangers felt they would eventually overpower the Goliaths. Much to the Ranger’s surprise they were hit from behind. A battalion of Justinia’s Cuirassiers and Blackwind Lancers plus two battalions of air mobile infantry had closed in. As the last of the Capellan fighter reserves occupied the attention of Davion fighter command, a taskforce from within Jerome slipped into the highlands behind the city along paths and trails known only to the locals. The Rangers sent out calls for help, and tried to pull themselves out of the trap. Both Ranger ‘Mech battalions suffered significant losses, the tank battalion, and two mechanized infantry battalions were destroyed by the time Davion air support could lend a hand. The Capellans retained possession of the battle field. The Goliaths had received a lot of damage, but with the salvage left by the Davion forces they could be repaired. The price of this ambush was high, the Capellan aerospace forces were decimated and no longer constituted an effective fighting force. Four days later the Capellan ‘Mech forces made another attack on the Davion landing fields near the city of Tyrell. Primary targets were the supply centers and landing strips of the Davion aerowing. The Ranger troops they face before managed to hold up the Capellan attack long enough for the Vegan Ranger’s Alpha regiment to arrive on the seen. The two forces briefly slugged it out, but the Capellans soon retreated back into the Swarthian Highlands. Once among the rocky hills and bluffs the pursuing Davion forces ran into trouble. Mines, pitfalls, and other ambush sites which the Capellan BattleMech force lured the Rangers into plagued the Davion troops who soon broke off the pursuit. This sort of back and forth fighting went on for months until the arrival of the One hundred fifty-first Light Horse regiment. The Light Horse ‘Mechs excelled at lighting warfare and the fresh fighters of the Eridani aerowing replenished the losses suffered over the past months. The Capellan ‘Mech forces managed to retreat back into Jerome. The Goliaths had to maintain a field base within the highlands however, because their Goliath assault ‘Mechs were too heavy and clumsy to follow the twisting paths back to Jerome.
ALDEBARAN During December of 3028, Colonel Ridzik ordered the Second Capellan Hussars and Justine’s Grenadiers to invade Aldebaran. Outwardly this invasion was part of Operation Riposte, but the invasion was not sanctioned by the Chancellor who wanted the units to invade Davion supply worlds. Colonel Ridzik convinced the Hussars commander and Major Justine that his plan offered a better chance of success because they knew who exactly was on Aldebaran and the fact that it was only one jump away from the planet Liao. Warrior House LuSann and Daidachi did not know that Colonel Ridzik was not following Chancellor Liao’s orders. When word did reach them, Colonel Ridzik had used all available jumpships for the Aldebaran invasion fleet leaving the two Warrior House units stranded in their home systems. The Capellan forces arrived at Aldebaran on December 9, the Fourth Davion Guards RCT guarded the planet. Using the main battle squadron from the Nanking Naval base, the Capellan forces swept away the Davion aerowing. The Fourth Guards had their forces split between the two major continents of the planet in order to better control the populace. The main group had its base centered at the city of Chouchu on the northern continent. The other was on the southern continent in the city of Tarling. The Capellan invasion force concentrated on Chouchu and after several weeks of heavy fighting, had routed the two ‘Mech battalions and four conventional regiments stationed there. The Fourth Guards suffered heavy casualties during the retreat. Marshal Drivers of the Fourth Guards was far from defeated however. His light strike forces scattered across the countryside to wage a guerilla campaign while the force at Tarling moved up to support them. The elite Davion units of the RCT made the Capellan invasion force pay for their earlier victory by continually stinging them with ambushes and lighting attacks. Though annoying, these attacks did little damage. The natives of the planet continually made reports on the Davion Guards’ which hindered the Davion assaults. At the end of December Colonel Ridzik defected to the Federated Suns. He called for a halt to the Aldebaran attack, but the Capellan Hussar’s commander refused and took command of the invasion. Major Justine and the Captain of the Nanking Naval Squadron disagreed with the Colonel’s unauthorized usurpation of command. They were unwilling however to become traitors like Pavel Ridzik, so the fight for Aldebaran continued. For months the two sides tried to gain a decisive advantage, but failed. To help settle the campaign, Capellan Operations Command sent in reinforcements. The Fourth Deneb Light Cavalry from Tall Trees was sent to help. Maskirovka spies managed to receive word of this and informed the Capellan Hussar commander. After some deliberation the Capellan commanders agreed that they must call in their own reinforcements. Messages were sent to Liao and Nanking requesting that Warrior House LuSann and Warrior House Daidachi support the Capellan units on Aldebaran. The LuSannn House Master at first denied the Capellan Hussar’s request. One of the LuSann warriors challenged this decision and subsequently defeated and killed the LuSann House Master. With their new leader, House LuSann agreed to the Hussar’s request. House Daidachi had at first refused the Capellan Hussar’s request as well, but when they heard House LuSann was going to help, the Daidachi commander replied that he would send his troops as well. The Warrior House units arrived eight days before the Davion troops. The two Warrior House battalions made clandestine landings on the northern continent and made themselves ready as a quick reaction force to bring overwhelming force to bear when the Davion reinforcements arrived. The rest of the Capellan Hussars and Justine’s Grenadiers were broken into search and destroy units to hunt down the scattered elements of the Davion Guards. The Avenger class fighting dropships of the Nanking Naval Squadron were prepared to make heavy bombing runs on Davion troops if and when they could be pinned down long enough. The Deneb Light Cavalry finally arrived, more than half the RCT’s conventional regiments were left behind on Tall Trees as a garrison. As the Davion reinforcements approached, the Nanking Navel Squadron put up only light opposition to their combat drop. The Deneb Light Cavalry quickly moved in to secure the industrial city of Chouchu. Elements of the Fourth Guards joined them as the RCT recalled its scattered units from the field. As the combined Davion force began their assault on the city, the reassembled units of the Capellan Hussars and Grenadiers prepared to meet them. At this time the Nanking Naval Squadron struck. Three Capellan Leopard CV class dropships released their squadrons of fighters to punch a whole in Davion air cover. The real punch of the Nanking Naval Squadron came from its five Avenger class assault dropships. Prepped with full twenty ton bomb loads, these ships made their deadly attack runs along the Davion battle lines. After twenty minutes, the Naval Squadron had completed its attacks and proceeded to strafe targets of opportunity. The Capellan Hussars and the Grenadiers pressed home the attack which was soon followed by Warrior Houses LuSann and Daidachi. Losses to both Davion RCTs was heavy, but the two crack units weathered the storm and retreated without breaking. The Davion commanders had no choice but to leave Aldebaran in defeat.
OVERVIEW The Davion Fifth Wave of Operation Rat was a far cry from what the planners in the COC had envisioned. The invasions on Tikinov and St. Andre seemed to be taking a turn for the better and the six secondary invasions had been completed with success. The loss of Aldebaran and the destruction of the Fifth Syrtis Fusiliers just before the Comstar Interdict however cast a shadow over their limited successes. Three Davion RCTs had been severely damaged or destroyed in exchange for the mauling of two Capellan ‘Mech battalions on Wei and Tsingtao. That coupled with the Interdict would seriously curtail Davion offensive action along that front.
FREE WORLDS LEAGUE FRONT The Free Worlds League had not been a major participant in the war since the Davion offensive began in August, 3028. To date they had tried to stay out of the major fighting, making minor raids when the opportunity arose. After the general weakness of the Lyran border was discovered along the periphery edge, the Captain-General ordered a quick offensive to shatter the few Lyran units guarding the sector. These attacks netted the League Cavanaugh II and Poulsbo. When the Duchy of Andurien declared war on the Capellan Confederation during a border incident, the Captain-General was quickly occupied trying to bring peace between the fighting parties. The Captain-General asked his friend and councilor, Duke Christopher Halas of Oriente, to direct offensive action along the periphery edge. It was the Duke’s units that were partaking in the action there already and it was believed that with their own ruler directing them they would fight better. The Captain-General meanwhile conducted negotiations to end the conflict between Andurien and Liao. In addition to the Andurien/Liao crisis, the creation of the Tikinov Free Republic created additional problems. If that state decided to engage in hostilities against the League, the Marik would have a hard time reshuffling forces to guard against it. Ambassadors were sent to gauge the Republic’s intentions. SAFE also warned the Captain-General that Primus Grise of the Sirian Concordance had sent envoys to the Republic as well. The Captain-General and some of his advisors devised a plan to keep Primus Grise in line just in case his intentions were at all disloyal. A battalion commander in the Fusiliers of Oriente who lead the attack to secure the top of Defiance Mountain on Hesperus II was from the Concordance. Formerly from Terra, Major Nevyetski’s family had moved to Procyon when he was young. The man had been decorated for his actions on Hesperus II and with Duke Halas’ permission the Captain-General decided to send him home for a war heroes welcome and celebration. In addition the newly promoted Colonel Nevyetski and his command company (as well as several SAFE agents) would serve as an official liaison with the Sirian province to train that region’s troops in the tactics used so recently during the Steiner campaign. Colonel Nevyetski was also given the secret task of determining the loyalty of the provincial troops. In April, 3029, almost a month after Colonel Nevyetski’s arrival, he began making his reports which indicated that the Sirian troops were loyal to the Concordance if not so much to their current leader Primus Grise. The Concordance had become an oppressed dictatorship shortly after Grise’s take over. The people of the Concordance were by and large indifferent to the struggles of the Successor States, but were very particular about their own personal freedoms. Grise’s early reforms were taken as steps to ensure the safety of the Concordance from crime and inter-House terrorism. The real heart of the new Primus’ agenda was amassing personal power for himself. Within a few short years speaking out against the government was considered treasonous as Grise had his firmly entrenched officials tighten their control of the province. Resistance groups began to spring up and became more dedicated and organized as Grise became more tyrannical in his abuse of power. Riots occurred, but were put down with the help of the Primus’ personally picked BattleMech forces. Colonel Nevyetski indicated in his reports to the Captain-General that he was appalled at the political situation his adopted home had become and expressed his hope that the Marik would intercede. The replies to these reports stated that the Captain-General would only interfere if Primus Grise or his government actively participated in sedition against the League. The Colonel, seeing that his personal hopes would not help convince the Captain-General, threw himself into his work, making personal contacts within the Sirian military and trying to discover who was loyal to Grise and who was not. By May, Colonel Nevyetski had regular maneuvers scheduled for the training of Sirian troops. Usually it was the Sirian conventional forces that participated, but occasionally Primus Grise would allow his Second Sirian Lancers BattleMech regiment participate. The Colonel’s popularity began to grow in the Sirian military as he lived and trained with the troops. This was buoyed further when the Colonel lead Sirian troops to smash Capellan guerillas in the mountains just outside of the capital city of Calgary. The Primus was not unaware of the danger represented by Colonel Nevyetski and began making plans to counter him. On May 21, Colonel Nevyetski’s command company and a regiment of motorized infantry were on maneuvers near the city of New Detroit. The city had been a hotbed of discontent for the past year or so and government crackdowns were common. That day the workers of a hovercar plant went on strike to protest reductions in pay and benefits while their work hours were increased. Things quickly got out of hand as overzealous security troops became violent when the workers refused to give in and go back to work. The workers barricaded themselves inside the plant using laser cutting torches and other tools as improvised weapons to defend themselves. The military governor did not have enough security troops to take the place and called for help. Primus Grise saw this as his chance to get rid of the Captain-General’s hero. He ordered the Colonel to put down the ‘rebellion’. As Grise saw it no matter what the Colonel did he would lose. Since he was attached to the Sirian military he had to follow Grise’s orders or be sent away in disgrace. If he did obey then his popularity and hero status would be erased in the eyes of the common soldiers and he would be hated by the people. Colonel Nevyetski moved into the city and had his troops take up positions around the factory. He then met with the workers to negotiate. The city’s governor ordered him to immediately attack and put down the strike. The Colonel ignored him and went in to talk to the strikers. When he came back he said he felt he could end the situation peaceably. The governor laughed at him. The workers’ request for amnesty was not to be even considered and the governor once again ordered him to attack. Colonel Nevyetski refused. The governor ordered him arrested and the motorized infantry regiment’s commander was to take control and attack. Colonel Nevyetski ordered that the governor be arrested so a massacre could be avoided. The infantry commander as well as his troops sided with the Colonel. Though the governor’s security troops put up a brief fight, they were soon captured. When Primus Grise heard of these events he immediately sent his personal guard, the Second Sirian Lancers, to take Colonel Nevyetski. Publicly he declared that the Colonel overstepped his bounds and was to be court-martialed. The Colonel and his command company fled so the Sirian troops would not be involved further with his actions. As news of what happened in New Detroit spread across the planet other strikes and demonstrations occurred. Primus Grise ordered his troops to suppress them. In the capital of Calgary itself there were protests which Grise ordered to be put down by his BattleMech guards. Colonel Nevyetski arrived in the city intending to leave the planet from its spaceport. Before getting there he heard of the protests going on in the government plaza outside the Sirian Judicial Building and that a company of the Second Sirian Lancers were sent out to disperse them. Realizing that this would be a death sentence to the protestors the Colonel felt compelled to intervene. At first Colonel Nevyetski tried to reason with the Lancer commander, but since most of the BattleMech regiment’s officers were hand-picked by Grise they refused to listen and tried to apprehend the Colonel instead. It quickly became apparent that the Lancer company was clearly outclassed by the veterans of the Fusiliers of Oriente. Colonel Jenny Twofeathers, the Sirian Lancer commander, lead her command company out from the Primus’ palace barracks and joined her troops’ attack. The Fusilier ‘Mechs were hard pressed at first and the battle made its way to the palace grounds where fighting was fiercest. When it was over, the few Sirian ‘Mechs that were left fled. Colonel Twofeathers was dead as well as Primus Grise who died when his palace was plowed over during the fighting. As word spread of what happened in the capital, a group of former senators came forward proclaiming a provisional government. This was accepted at most cities where the locals and military troops were in agreement of the abolishment of Grise’s government. In other cities where Grise’s hand-picked governors were firmly entrenched, they spurned the new provisional government’s calls for reform. These governors soon began making overtures to the Sirian Lancers to secure themselves in Grise’s place. They could not agree however which among them would be the new Primus and began fighting among themselves. The Provisional Government asked Colonel Nevyetski to use his position and influence to secure the Sirian military. After a week of negotiations most of the Sirian military was persuaded to side with the new government. This included most of the Sirian Lancers. There were some die-hard holdouts to the new regime. These were the surviving military governors who stopped fighting each other and managed to purchase the loyalty of two companies worth of the Sirian Lancers. Colonel Nevyetski was given the task to bring these dissidents under control. The Colonel was severely handicapped in fighting the holdouts because most of the Sirian Lancers expressed extreme reluctance in fighting their former comrades. The Colonel went off to defeat the holdouts with his command company and two regiments of dedicated armor and infantry troops. Fighting went on for more than three weeks, but finally the last of the Grise government holdouts surrendered. Word soon came that Colonel Nevyetski was recalled to the military headquarters on Dieudonne to face an inquiry on the handling of the whole affair on Procyon. The Colonel declined however, resigning his commission in the Fusiliers and accepting the position offered him by the Sirian Provisional Government as General of the Sirian Military. One of his first acts as Sirian military commander was to recall the other two Sirian Lancer ‘Mech regiments to Procyon for reorganization and training. Most of Nevyetski’s command company joined their leader in the new Sirian military while others were given leave to return to the Fusilier regiments stationed on the Steiner border. They weren’t able to leave right away however, deep space radar detected an unidentified fleet just days away from the planet, approaching at high speed. As fighters were sent out to investigate they soon found out that it was an invasion fleet from the Tikinov Free Republic, shattering any hope that peace was possible between the League and Lord Pavel Ridzik’s fledgling government.
PROCYON Lord Ridzik led the attack on Procyon himself. Bored with negotiations and eager to turn internal dissention in his new government against an old enemy, he launched an ambitious invasion of Free World's territory. The main drive of the Procyon assault was to capture the capital of Calgary where the planet’s heaviest defenses would be. The other reason was that the capital was rather isolated. The city was on the north bank of the Charles River and the nearest population center was 60 kilometers south. North of the capital was untamed wilderness. Taking the capital would place the Charles River between the Republic invasion forces and any counter attacking troops from the south. They would then have a defensible base from which they could carry on the pacification of the planet. The Republican forces landed on both sides of the river attempting to seize the only three bridges across it in order to isolate the capital. General Nevyetski left light garrisons at two of the bridges, Vacor Junction and Bayson, but his main defense was centered about Charles Bridge right outside the capital. Sporadic and intense engagements occurred at and around the Vacor and Bayson bridges but, the Republican forces soon had them secured. The heaviest fighting took place at the Charles Bridge where Lord Ridzik himself led the attack. For several days the Republican forces made assaults to secure the bridge, but each time they were thrown back. Republican aerospace units were delaying Sirian reserve battalions headed north and the attack groups that had taken Vacor and Bayson were closing in. By the ninth day of the invasion the Sirian reserve force had managed to get in position to help the defenders at Calgary. The Sirian troops then attempted to link up. Republican aerospace units harassed the effort and Lord Ridzik personally led the attack to thwart it. General Nevyetski had taken his command company around the fighting and crossed the river where locals had told him the river bottom would support his ‘Mechs. Accompanied by a battalion of jump infantry, this surprise attack on the flank of Republican forces did terrific damage. General Nevyetski and Lord Ridzik fought each other ‘Mech to ‘Mech and only broke off when Lord Ridzik’s Orion had its arm blown off. The Republican forces retreated. Despite the continual harassment of Republican aerospace forces, Sirian reserve units continued moving north to protect the capital. Several more heavy attacks were made to break the Calgary and Charles bridge defenses, but they were thrown back. By July 12, the two forces were still pretty much stalemated when word arrived that the First Sirian Lancers had entered the system. With little hope of winning without reinforcements, Lord Ridzik ordered his troops to leave the planet.
OTHER ACTIONS The Republic forces hit three other Marik worlds. The Fourth Republican regiment along with two infantry and one armor regiment invaded Talitha. They quickly defeated that planet’s militia, taking the planet The Lyran Intelligence Corp informed Lord Ridzik that Van Dieman IV was practically undefended because the Marik Guard, normally stationed there, had left. The Fifth Republican was assigned to take that world. The Fifth was a green unit and did encounter heavy conventional resistance, but eventually won out and took the planet. Heavy fighting also took place on Wasat where the Third Republican with four armor and three infantry regiments attacked the Fifteenth Marik Militia. The invasion came as such a surprise that the Militia commander had little time to organize the defense. After several sharp engagements the Third Republican captured the headquarters unit of the Militia, breaking the back of Marik resistance. The rest of the Marik Militia soon left that world.
CONCLUSION The TFRA had struck a sound blown to the League. Though Procyon did not fall, the loss of the other three world's and the defeat of the Fifteenth Militia gave the League considerable concern. The world's all along that section of the border sent urgent pleas for extra garrison troops. Support for offensive operations in parliament also began to crumble and representatives lead by Sir Charles Smith blamed the Captain-General for the fiasco. Lord Ridzik’s triumphal return to Elgin was short-lived. A Capellan assassin who had failed to kill Ridzik the first time succeeded in her second attempt, killing him with poison. General Ardan Sortek temporarily took control of the Tikinov Free Republic.
LYRAN STRIKE The Lyran Commonwealth also attempted to capitalize on the Turf’s offensive. To tie up Marik forces in the area General of the Armies Edward Regis devised an audacious plan. Hsien’s Hotheads would conduct a daring raid on Wyatt. At the same time a battalion each of the Third and Seventh regiments of the Twelfth Star Guards would strike the Draconis Combine. The two remaining battalions of each regiment would split off and join in the attack on the Free Worlds League. The two battalions from the Third Star Guards would strike the planet Lipton and Carson’s Renegades. The two battalions from the Seventh would invade Castor. The Star Guard’s Seventh regiment also had a fourth ‘Mech battalion which would be sent to invade Devil’s Rock. The Star Guard’s First regiment would invade Alula Australis, taking on the Iron Guards of the Border Protectorate. The objective of these attacks was to support the TFRA offensive and keep Marik units off balance.
WYATT General Regis accompanied the attack on Wyatt. The Hotheads were broken up into battalion sized groups and were to harass Marik forces on the planet. At Tombstone, where the Lyrans had suffered their most recent defeat, the First Free Worlds Guards had set up their headquarters. A lance of Hothead ‘Mechs managed to destroy a warehouse of ammunition while other Hothead ‘Mechs were sniping at the outskirts of the city. A battalion of the Hotheads also dropped right outside of the city of New Houston. They immediately began striking targets of opportunity and engaged elements of the Twenty-fifth Marik Militia. While this was going on, the Third Hothead battalion dropped on the other side of the city. They made a fierce drive toward an area where intelligence had informed them Lyran POWs were being held. Almost two hundred were freed before elements of the Eighteenth Marik Militia drove them off.
LIPTON The small world of Lipton had been largely unimportant for most of the Succession Wars despite all the fighting that went on around it. That changed when Carson’s Renegades came in December of 3027. After defeating the local militia, the Renegades promptly began to celebrate... and celebrate... and celebrate. The Renegades had shown themselves to be capable soldiers on the battlefield, but off it they seemed to be the most disorganized bunch of slobs the galaxy has ever seen. Former militia soldiers and other hardcore Steiner loyalists tried to take advantage of the Renegade’s relaxed attitude. This was quickly put down by the unit’s network of scouts and spies who had a hand in all the nefarious dealings that surrounded the unit’s activities. When two battalions of the Twelfth Star Guard’s third regiment arrived, the Renegades quickly recalled their troops from the bars and brothels and prepared to meet them. The Twelfth Star Guards had six conventional regiments, easily outnumbering the few that the Renegades possessed. The Renegades had built their own command base just outside the planet’s principal spaceport of Campbell. The Twelfth Star Guards quickly surrounded the base and proceeded to assault the Renegade positions. The renegades put out repeated calls for help, but with the invasion of other League worlds in progress their calls went unanswered. Worse, there were no jumpships available to take the Renegades out of the system. After two weeks of almost constant fighting, it soon became clear the Renegades would be overwhelmed. Major Allberry, the Renegade’s commander, ordered his troops to make a breakout. Their dropships would take off and land at scattered points across the planet. Any units that succeeded in breaking out would then attempt to link up with their ships. The Renegades made their attack at the dead of night during a drizzling rain. As the Renegades made their heavy assault, the unit’s dropships took off. The Renegades did manage to breakout though fighting continued through morning. One of the Renegade’s Union class dropships was severely damaged when Lyran aerospace units attacked it after takeoff. It crash landed in a forest several thousand kilometers away.
ALULA AUSTRALIS Alula Australis had been hotly contested for the entire span of the Succession Wars. Thus League Armed forces maintained a significant presence. The First regiment of the Twelfth Star Guards and eighteen conventional regiments assaulted the planet. Garrisoning the place were the Iron Guards of the Border Protectorate and eight conventional regiments. Fighting was fierce and continued for five weeks. The weight of conventional forces brought by the Lyrans began to take its toll on the defenders however. The Iron Guards refused to give up and made their stand defending the planet’s capitol, New Horizon City. For two more months they held out, but the appearance of the Gray Death Legion finally gave the Twelfth Star Guards the extra strength they needed to overwhelm the Iron Guards. The surviving Marik soldiers surrendered.
OTHER ACTIONS On the planets of Castor and Devil’s Rock the battalions of the Star Guards crushed the militia units defending those worlds. They were both subdued by August. On Callison Smithson’s Chinese Bandits were preparing to leave and attack the Star Guards on Castor. They were taken by surprise when Hsien’s Hotheads arrived. The Hotheads had completed their raid on Wyatt and were here to harass the Bandits. The Bandits loss several caches of supplies as some troops tried to offload the dropships to engage the Hotheads while others stayed aboard and waited to boost. The Hotheads immediately took advantage of this and pressed the attack. The Bandits did finally get it together and held out long enough for all their troops to escape the planet. They did not attack the Twelfth Star Guards on Castor. After receiving so much damage, the unit’s commander decided it would be more prudent to jump back into Marik held space.
CONCLUSION With this new wave of setbacks and the opinion of Parliament turning against him, Captain-General Janos Marik abandoned fourteen worlds near Terra. Concluding that saving the military resources defending those worlds would save him more than dumping more troops and material into the region. Two of the recently invaded planets, Cor Caroli and Caledonia were also abandoned. Though the troops within the Sirian Concordat were ordered to withdraw with the regular Marik forces, they refused and continued to hold their home worlds. Though abandoned by the League the recent revolution and victory over TFRA invaders inspired Sirian military troops lead by General Nevyetski to hold out. A reorganized First Sirian Lancers reinforced the planet Oliver, offering that planet the protection and membership of the Concordat.
LYRAN FRONT OPERATION DAGGER PHASE 2 When Duke Christopher Halas was entrusted with the war effort against the Lyran Commonwealth he began plans for a new bold offensive. Not content to grab just a few worlds along the periphery edge, Duke Halas and the commander of the Fusiliers, General Waslewski, drafted plans for an attack stabbing deep into Lyran territory. This offensive, lead by the Ducal Guard, would pursue and destroy the defending ‘Mech regiments in the whole Cavanaugh Theater. They would then make a drive through the rear of the Commonwealth. New offensive action began in May, starting with the Sixth Orloff Grenadiers leaving Poulsbo to take on the Second Knights of St. Cameron on Pencader. Clifton’s Rangers replaced the Grenadiers by continuing mop up operations on Poulsbo. The Ducal Guard left Cavanaugh II to pursue the Ninth Lyran Regulars who had escaped. This chase lead them to Abramkovo. The First Fusiliers stayed behind to secure the planet and hunt down the remnants of the Thirty-sixth Lyran Guard. The Second Fusiliers of Oriente were then moved up from their garrison at Maxwell to invade Penobscot.
PENCADER The Sixth Orloff Grenadiers had brought ten conventional regiments with them to help defeat the Knights of St. Cameron. The Knights had received word about the destruction of their sister regiment on Poulsbo and to avoid the same fate they began to make considerable defensive works on the planet. They also took precautions to hide their dropships in areas that they could easily fall back on in order to make their escape. To provide transport out of the system the unit cashed in favors with several merchant shipping lines who owed the unit from previous free lance jobs. When the Orloff Grenadiers arrived they found a well dug in enemy. Living up to their reputation as a veteran fighting unit the Grenadiers had their conventional units surround the Knight’s positions and began continuos artillery bombardment while the ‘Mech forces committed probing attacks. After several weeks the Grenadiers felt that they had enough knowledge of their opponents defensive network to make a heavy assault. In the middle of the night on June 20, a preparatory bombardment by artillery and LRM launchers began. This lasted for about an hour. A second one followed bout an hour later and lasted forty minutes. Two and a half hours later there came a third that lasted fifty-five minutes. Just before dawn there was a fourth artillery attack which lasted eighteen minutes, the Grenadiers then made their assault. ‘Mech units with tank support attacked the Knight’s positions followed by infantry. Hovertank units were sent through any breakthroughs to harass reserve forces and counterattacks. The Knight’s defenses began to crumble and then broke. As planned the Knights fell back to where they had hidden their dropships. This is where the Knight’s green experience began to show through. An orderly retreat with veterans is a touchy job especially under enemy pressure. Under the Grenadiers’ fierce attack the Knight’s retreat became a panicking rout. About half the Knights did not leave the planet. Those that did loaded up and made a high-gee burn to a pirate point in the system where several old merchant jumpships waited.
ABRAMKOVO Fresh from their victory at Cavanaugh II the Ducal Guard were ready to continue the invasion. Upon jumping into the Abramkovo system a fierce aerospace battle immediately erupted. The Ninth Lyran Regulars were only waiting for their jump sails to retract when the Fusiliers of Oriente arrived. Marik Reivers and Steiner Chippewas dueled among the ships of the two fleets, the Marik fighters going for crippling shots on the Steiner jump sails. Only one jump ship was prevented from escaping, it's jump sail retraction gear was slow and thus did not retract the sail in time before a Marik Reiver blew off one of the control arms. A battalion of the Lyran Regulars was on board. Though the battalion commander ordered the ship to jump anyway, the merchant captain refused. His ship would be crippled in the next system and replacing jumps sails was very expensive. The battalion commander had no time to force the merchant crew to submit so he ordered an emergency launch. General Iris Steiner, who lead the Regulars since their retreat, ordered the rest of the fleet to jump. Since it would take a week to recharge his ships, and a whole battalion of the Lyran Regulars was stranded here, Colonel Selim Halas ordered his dropships to pursue the Lyran ‘Mech battalion. The Lyrans arrived on the planet 18 hours before the Ducal Guard. The Guard saw no need to overtax their dropships by pushing them to the limit. Besides they outnumbered their opponents three to one and had six conventional regiments as support. The Lyran Regulars organized a hurried defense around the planet’s only spaceport in the capital of Frankburg. Augmented by the planet’s five militia battalions, the Regulars felt they could put up a good fight and then retreat into the hills. They were surprised when instead of dropping outside the spaceport and organizing their superior forces for the attack, the Ducal Guard was making a low orbit drop right on top of them. Fighting was fierce and chaotic with ‘Mechs of both sides intermixed and slugging it out around the Lyran dropships. The fighting went on for about twenty minutes when Fusilier conventional regiments began to arrive. Though the Ducal Guard suffered heavy damage, the Lyran Regulars were utterly destroyed.
CAVANAUGH II When the Ducal Guard left the planet in early May, the First Brigade of the Fusiliers of Oriente remained behind to hunt down the surviving units of the Thirty-sixth Lyran Guard. Colonel Barksdale of the Fusiliers used the troops under his command superbly, allowing him to quickly locate the holdouts of the Lyran Guard. Stinger LAMs were broken into recon groups to find the Lyran units. Once found, light armor units would move to slow down and cripple the enemy long enough for heavier units to arrive and finish them off. By the last week of May most of the Lyran garrison had been destroyed or captured. Unexpectedly however, radar reports indicated an unidentified fleet jumping into the system at a pirate point. The newcomers would arrive on planet in twenty hours. Colonel Barksdale had his dropships scatter to hidden locations north of the capital within the foot hills of the surrounding Kalgir Mountain Range. The spaceport at the capital was mined and a mechanized infantry regiment was set up in ambush to guard it. The rest of the Fusiliers and their support regiments set up defensive positions along the bowl shaped valley northeast of the capital. The newcomers proved to be the Tenth Lyran Regulars. Leutenant-General Ashberry had gathered his ‘Mech regiment and three support regiments from their garrison of Penobscot shortly after the Marik invasion began. After hearing of the invasions of Cavanaugh and Poulsbo, he realized he could not wait on his garrison world to be overwhelmed by the more numerous invaders. Though it took time to gather enough transports to carry his troops he began assembling them in a dead system near Penobscot. When all was ready he jumped his fleet to a pirate point in the Cavanaugh system . The Lyran Regulars were met by the elite fighters of the Fusiliers and several dropships were damaged while making their drops. The Lyrans main drop zone was southwest of the capital near the old fortress headquarters of General Iris Steiner and the Thirty-sixth Lyran Guard. They found the place abandoned and extremely damaged. Leutenant-General Ashberry sent out recon forces and gave orders for all surviving Lyran units on the planet to assemble at the old fortress headquarters. Not content to allow his enemy time to gather his forces, Colonel Barskdale attacked. Though the arrival of Leutenant-General Ashberry’s relief force made the two forces even, many of the former garrison troops that the Lyran commander was relying on were still scattered and would take time to gather. This meant that for the moment the Fusiliers could bring a larger force to bear against their Steiner enemy. The battle began as recon forces came across one another and aerospace forces battled for supremacy of the skies. Next the light armor regiments of Barksdale’s force attacked the flanks of the Lyran defensive line. By the second day of battle the main bodies of the two forces engaged. Though the elite ‘Mechs of the Fusiliers were able to outmaneuver and create breakthroughs in the enemy line, the heavier ‘Mechs of the Lyrans gave them the staying power to hold out and throw the Fusiliers back. On the third day of battle, conventional forces of the Cavanaugh garrison began arriving and began to hit the left flank of the Fusiliers. For two more days the two forces fought one another. With conventional forces continuing to arrive, the Fusiliers were threatened with being out flanked. The Fusiliers then withdrew to their defensive positions northeast of the capital. The Lyrans did not pursue the Free World’s troops and instead consolidated their forces in order to begin repairs. Several days went by as the two sides re-supplied and took a brief rest. Colonel Barksdale made the first strike after the lull. His light attack units went in to create havoc and disrupt the Lyrans rear areas. The heavier units followed on their heels. This attack was only partially successful. The heavy Lyran ‘Mechs once again were able to shrug off most of the attacks made by the Fusilier’s light units and saved themselves for the attacking main body. This type of back and forth fighting continued for two weeks. Though the Fusiliers seemed to be giving better than they got, they could not attain a clear victory. On June 14, Colonel Barksdale received inspiring news. Our Comstar order sent word to him that the Eighth Orloff Grenadiers had arrived at Epsilon from Periphery garrison duty. They would be arriving within the week. To capitalize on this Colonel Barksdale would use his troops to lure the Lyrans away from their headquarters near the capital. When the Grenadiers arrived in system the Lyrans would be out in the open moors far from any defensible terrain. The swifter troops of the Fusiliers would then interpose themselves between the Lyran Regulars and their base, ensuring that the Grenadiers would be able to join in the attack when the enemy was most vulnerable. The plan worked. Fusilier dropships took off from their hiding places in the Kalgir Mountain Range and flew to the southern hemisphere. The Lyran Regulars followed after them on the ground. When the Grenadiers entered the system and began making a high-gee burn toward the planet, the Lyrans quickly attempted to withdraw back north. Their heavier ‘Mechs now worked against them and slowed the Lyran withdraw. When the Grenadiers began making their drops, the Lyrans were still ninety kilometers from their base. Several days of fighting ensued until Leutenant-General Ashberry saw that there was no way his troops would be able to fight their way through. About a battalion of ‘Mechs, all that remained of the Tenth Lyran Regulars and their few remaining conventional units surrendered. The Marik troops used the large amounts of captured war material to bring themselves close to full strength.
OTHER ACTIONS The Fifth Oriente Hussars and twelve conventional regiments took the world of Khon Kaen defeating the three regiments of garrison troops. Caesar’s Cohorts with three support regiments crushed the small militia garrison on Timbiqui. After several heavy battles around the planetary capital the Second Fusiliers of Oriente and seven support regiments defeated the Lyran garrison stationed on Penobscot. There was one minor setback to the of Marik invasion. The Second Knights of St. Cameron who escaped from Pencader jumped to Poulsbo and succeeded in rescuing the shattered remnants of the Knight’s first regiment.
CONCLUSION With the main defenses of the Lyran border destroyed or on the run, the entire back of the Commonwealth was exposed. As LCAF generals sent a flurry of orders to remedy the situation, Duke Christopher Halas brought in his reserve troops to stab deeper into Lyran territory.
FEDERATED SUNS FRONT STAGE 4 The Combine offensive on the Davion front had been meeting more serious opposition then when the invasion first began. Though most of the target world's had been taken, five key world's were still heavily contested. Kurita Intelligence also warned that the AFFS was preparing to launch a major counter offensive. To blunt the Davion counter attack, Coordinator Takashi Kurita issued orders to reinforce the attacks on the five contested world's and for other units to push on. The new wave of attacks began on May 3. On Bryceland the An Ting Legion was reinforced by the Fourth Prosserpina Hussars. McGhee’s Cutthroats stayed behind on Conroe to mop up resistance and recuperate from the extensive damage they had taken. Gamma regiment from McGhee and Zeta battalion reinforced the other Dragoon units on Rowe. With these extra units the Dragoons quickly began to push back the Avalon Hussars. Fighting continued into June. Eventually half an RCT worth of troops escaped the planet. It was all that remained of the Seventeenth and Forty-second Hussars. On the three world's of Harrow’s Sun, Glenmora,, and Wapakoneta extra conventional forces were sent in because no BattleMech units were available. The Dismal Disinherited knew they would not be able to hold out much longer so its commander, General Fontrel, gave orders for their regiments to assemble on the planet of Crossing. The Tenth Deneb Cavalry RCT would accompany them. The Second, Fifth, Eighth, Twelfth, and Sixteenth Galedon Regulars soon followed. The newly arrived conventional units stayed behind on their respective planets to garrison them.
CROSSING The Davion forces assembled on the planet Crossing at a place known as the Tarterus Caldera, an old dormant volcano that was the site of an abandoned Star League research project. The Davion units quickly began preparing defensive works in anticipation of their enemy’s arrival. General Fontral’s soldiers had been tying up a large number of Combine troops and though each of his regiments were at about 50 percent strength, he felt he could still tie up the Draconis units long enough for the Davion counter offensive to get underway. The five Galedon Regular ‘Mech regiments arrived in the Crossing system on May 22, with seven conventional regiments as support. The Galedon Regulars had been damaged during the recent fighting so their actual ‘Mech strength was about 30 percent less than five regiments. They outnumbered the Davion defenders however and were confident that they could defeat them. Warlord of Galedon, Hsiun Chi, took personal control of the attack. Skirmishing began soon after the Galedon Regular’s arrival. The light ‘Mech units of the Second and Twelfth Regulars continuously probed the Davion positions, gauging the strengths and weaknesses of the defenders. After about a week of these light attacks, Warlord Hsuin Chi began a number of limited assaults to wear down the defenders. Gradually the attacks increased in frequency and ferocity. Combine Intelligence reports warned the Warlord that Davion counter invasions were imminent.
BRYCELAND The elite Third Prosserpina Hussar’s reinforcement of the An Ting Legion was the infusion the Draconis invasion needed to tip the balance in their favor on Bryceland. Already war weary, the Bryceland DMM crumbled under the fresh units of the Prosserpina Hussars. The last organized resistance was crushed at the city of Doverton on June 3, where the Davion defenders had been holding out since the invasion began. The Prosserpina Hussars prepared to move on as soon as additional garrison regiments arrived.
TISHOMINGO The Eighth Sword of Light with five lesser regiments invaded Tishomingo. Waiting for them were the Fifth Draconis March Militia who had been preparing to leave the planet and move to another that was closer to the front lines. Now that they were the frontlines they quickly unloaded from their dropships and began to prepare for the planet’s defense. The Sword of Light, true to their nature, made a full assault on the first day of their landing. Though the Sword of Light did heavy damage, the March Militia gave a good account of themselves and pulled back to their next line of defense. The Sword of Light did not give up so easily and continued to press home the attack. Their conventional forces, which had been unloading, finally got into the battle countering the March Militia’s own conventional units. The Sword of Light BattleMechs could now concentrate fully on the March Militia ‘Mechs which began to crumble under the Kuritan’s heavy attack. By the end of May, the March Militia was shattered while trying to escape to their next line of defense in the Wuzani Mountains.
OTHER ACTIONS Following the Coordinator’s commands, the Combine regiments all moved forward with a will. No less than twelve other Davion star systems were invaded. The Second Amphigean LAG with five conventional regiments invaded Royal, crushing the planetary militia after several intense battles. The Seventh Pesht Regulars which had been moved up from the reserve, quickly overwhelmed the undermanned militia on McComb. The Twenty-first Galedon Regulars invaded Bettendorf, but found the planetary guard a tough obstacle to overcome. It took more than a month to subdue the planet. Ryuken-go and its six supporting regiments attacked the desert world of Sakhara V. The planet has a small ‘MechWarrior Academy and its training battalion put up fanatic resistance to the Combine invasion. The green experience of the training battalion however put them at a great disadvantage against the Combine ‘Mech unit. After more than a month of hard fighting, the Davion defenders were wiped out. Epsilon regiment of Wolf’s Dragoons, along with five Combine mechanized infantry regiments hit the world of Cimeron. Within two weeks they had overpowered the planetary guard and began mop up operations. Delta regiment of the Dragoons and three Combine support regiments invaded the small world of Choudrant. Here too the Dragoons showed their skill and ferocity, whipping the planetary militia in three weeks. The planet Udibi had been passed up earlier when the Combine invasion began. The planet’s low-tech desert plains gave the place a low rating on the priority list both for Kurita’s invasion and for Davion’s defense. The Sixth Pesht Regulars was eventually sent to take the planet. After defeating the miniscule militia, the Pesht Regulars found the planet a bright and sunny paradise compared to their usual garrison posts in the Pesht Military District. Johiro’s regiment of the Night Stalkers were also part of the reserves brought up from the interior of the Combine. The regiment’s lighting attacks quickly overwhelmed the garrison on Colia, taking the planet in about three weeks. Alpha regiment of Wolf’s Dragoons and Ryuken-ni attacked the world of Dahar IV. The Seventeenth Galedon Regulars and Second Arkab Legion invaded New Ivaarsen. Gamma regiment and Zeta battalion of the Dragoons hit Fallon II. The Third Prosserpina Hussars moved on from Bryceland to invade Tancredi IV. All these invasions met considerable resistance from the conventional garrisons. The real threat that faced the Draconis invasions of these four worlds was that they became the target worlds for Hanse Davion’s counterattack.
FEDERATED SUNS FRONT OPERATION DRAGONSBANE The Federated Suns had up till now had a hard time shifting its military around to counter the Draconis invasion. Transports and supply shipments had to be rerouted from the Capellan front as well as troops shifted to the Draconis border. Prince Davion also did not want to feed his forces into battle piecemeal. He wanted to have sufficient strength brought to bear against the Draconis Combine so that their invasion would be stopped cold.
NEW IVAARSEN The Seventeenth Galedon Regulars and Second Arkab Legion came to New Ivaarsen expecting a tough fight. The world was fanatically loyal to the Davions and owed much of its prosperity to them. The planet was also the main base and recruiting center for one of the Federated Sun’s finest RCTs. The Arkab Legion dropped into an area of open farmland which they quickly secured for the rest of the invasion force. When the rest of the Kuritans were down, they made their advance toward the John Davion Memorial Dam which provided 24% of the power for that part of the continent. Along the way they were continually harassed by the planet’s conventional garrison. The Arkab Legion however were true masters of hit and run warfare, so they were able to anticipate or counter these attacks. When the Kuritan advance was several kilometers away from their objective, the Davions sprung their trap. Several squadrons of Davion aerospace fighters moved in to attack. Kurita aerospace cover moved to intercept these fighters, but the Davion attack was too heavy and too sudden to keep them from breaking through. The Davion fighters bombed and strafed the Kurita ground forces until their ordnance had been depleted. Then the Davion ‘Mech forces struck. On the planet were the Tenth Draconis March Militia from Robinson and the First NAIS Training Cadre. Hiding behind the planet’s moon were the First and Second New Ivaarsen Chasseurs, who were dropping in behind the Kuritan force. For three weeks the Kuritans fought a losing battle. They finally made it back to their dropships, but had to stave off numerous attacks as they loaded up and left. Several dropships were severely damaged and had to be abandoned. When the Kuritans finally managed to escape, the Galedon Regulars had lost two battalions, the Arkab Legion lost one battalion, and approximately half of the conventional forces were killed or captured.
DAHAR IV It had been almost two hundred years since the pastoral world of Dahar IV had seen any fighting. As the Kuritan advance moved deeper into Federated Suns territory, AFFS commanders realized Dahar IV would become a front-line world again. The Third NAIS Training Cadre moved up from Tarkio to set up a defense. Alpha regiment of Wolf’s Dragoons and Ryuken-ni along with seven support regiments came gunning for the planet. Colonel Wolf and Tai-sho Tetsuhara coordinated a daring plan where Ryuken-ni along with the support regiments would immediately engage the Third NAIS while Wolf’s Dragoons waited in orbit, ready to pounce as soon as the Davion troops began to waver. For two weeks the Ryuken troops pounded the NAIS Cadre. Then the Dragoons detected an unidentified fleet jumping into the system. The Dragoons quickly maneuvered to the other side of the planet so they wouldn’t be detected by the newcomers. Meanwhile, on the planet below, the Ryuken made sure to jam all communications coming from the NAIS Cadre. When the Davion dropships arrived and had committed themselves, the Dragoons attacked. The Davion troops were surprised, but soon recovered. After two days the more numerous Davion troops forced the Kuritans to fall back. Colonel Wolf and Tai-sho Tetsuhara soon found out they were facing the Thirty-third Avalon Hussars and the First Davion Guards. Colonel Wolf and Tai-sho Tetsuhara considered retreating offworld, but the Coordinator ordered them to hold out. For three weeks the Kuritans steadily gave ground, falling back on their dropships. As the Dragoons began to consider retreating despite their orders to the contrary, another fleet of jumpships entered the system on June 24. This new group was Ryuken-go with more than five support regiments just arriving from their conquest of Sakhara V. With these new reinforcements the Kuritans fought back the Davions as if possessed. The Third NAIS Cadre, battered from the latest fighting as well as the beating it took when the invasion began, was absorbed into the Avalon Hussars and Davion Guards. The Kuritans also had something the Davions did not. The Ryuken units and the Dragoons had trained for months to fight as a team and now put that training to the test. The Davion regiments in contrast were not as coordinated. Within their own regimental combat teams the Davion units fought well, but the Avalon Hussars and the Guards fought more competitively trying to out do each other, instead of teaming up their attacks. After several sharp defeats at the hands of the Kuritans, the campaign began to turn in the Combine’s favor. By August the center of the Davion defensive line had been pushed back almost sixty kilometers further than the flanks, creating a large salient in their defensive lines. To turn the campaign around the Davion commanders planned to attack the salient from the north and south, pinching it off and trapping the troops within. The Davion Guards would attack from the north and the Avalon Hussars would attack from the south. The Kuritans knew how precarious their position was and took steps to counter any attempt to encircle the troops within the salient. Tai-sho Tetsuhara, whose troops were within the salient, devised a plan to strengthen his flanks while Wolf’s Dragoons in the north would put all his strength on his own far right wing and Ryuken-go in the south would strengthen its far left wing. This way any attempt to pinch off the salient would find itself outflanked and subject to encirclement. The Davion commanders carried out their attack on August 12. The Davion troops encountered heavy resistance along their outer flanks as the two RCTs attacked from the north and south of the salient. The Davion commanders became suspicious when the resistance they met with came exclusively from Ryuken-ni. On the fifth day of the offensive the Davion spearheads were hit from the east and from behind by the other Kurita regiments. Intensive fighting continued for two weeks. In the end the Davions took heavier losses than the Kuritans. A lull in the fighting took place as the seasonal rains turned the grasslands of Dahar IV into seas of mud. For three weeks the two sides repaired damage and sent out skirmishers to probe the other’s defenses. When the rains ended the Kuritans got a small group of reinforcements. These were a company of DEST commandos to be used to break the stalemate on Dahar IV. Colonel Wolf and Tai-sho Tetsuhara believed they could convince the Davions to leave if they knocked one of the RCTs out of the fight. The DEST commandos would infiltrate the rear areas of the Thirty-third Avalon Hussars, sabotaging and wreaking havoc. Ryuken-ni would then spearhead forward, driving a wedge between the Hussars and the Davion Guard. Ryuken-go who was on the left flank would try to encircle the Hussars and with Ryuken-ni’s help they hoped to inflict heavy losses on the RCT. Wolf’s Dragoons would be responsible for holding off the Davion Guards long enough for this to happen. The attack began on September 20. The DEST commandos performed their job well. Though the Hussar’s security measures were good enough to keep them safe from any infantry groups bent on mayhem, the DEST commandos were all highly trained masters of clandestine warfare. The Hussars were in disarray when the Ryuken regiments struck. Ryuken-ni managed to create the wedge and Ryuken-go quickly began to increase the pressure of their attack. The Davion Guards respond to the Hussar’s pleas for assistance, but found their way blocked by the Dragoons. After four days of fighting the Hussars were suffering terribly. The Davion Guards however were very soon about to create a breakthrough on the Dragoons. Tai-sho Tetsuhara called an end to the attack and reinforced the Dragoons. The Avalon Hussars were in poor shape and after a heated conference between the Davion commanders it was agreed they would retreat off world to Allerton.
FALLON II Zeta battalion and Gamma regiment of Wolf’s Dragoons along with six Draconian support regiments invaded Fallon II. They knew they would be facing tough opposition because this planet was the headquarters of the Forty-second Avalon Hussars and was one jump away from the Bremond Command and Logistics Center. It was no surprise then when the Dragoons learned that the remnants of the Seventeenth Hussars and the Second Draconis March Militia from Bremond were also defending the planet. Colonel Korsht of Gamma regiment took a conservative approach to slowly wear down the defenders. Though the Davion conventional forces outnumbered his almost two to one, they lacked experience which the elite Dragoons soon capitalized on. The elite assault ‘Mechs of Zeta battalion also gave the Dragoons an edge that the Davions could not match. Slowly, but steadily the Davions began to wear down. Two defeats, one at Santen Ridge and the other at Bulox Hill, were two key battles that did major damage to the defenders and threatened to throw their line of defense into disarray. In both cases the Dragoons were able to call up their reserves faster than the Davions. The assault ‘Mechs of Zeta battalion would make a breakthrough which would then be exploited by lighter Dragoon units. On May 18, two more Davion RCTs arrived to counterattack the Dragoons. The Seventh Draconis March Militia from Mayettta and the Third Crucis March Militia from Kestral. Though still not as experienced as the Dragoons these reinforcements gave the numerical superiority to the Davions. Far from being discouraged, Colonel Korsht had his units fall back on a series of ridges that were easily defensible and proceeded to wait. The Davion units under Marshal Offendahl of the Forty-second Hussars made numerous probing attacks to gauge the Dragoon defenses. After a week of this the Davion units began to make their heavier assaults. They outnumbered the Dragoons three to one in ‘Mechs and aerospace forces. They also outnumbered the Dragoons four to one in infantry and tanks. The Dragoons were slowly being ground down. Even with Zeta battalion, which seemed to be everywhere at once plugging gaps in the defenses, they could not hold against the sheer numbers facing them. On June 15, additional Kurita reinforcements arrived. Delta regiment from Choudrant and Johiro’s regiment of the Night Stalkers from Colia arrived. With them were six conventional regiments. With the numbers evening up the Davions were thrown on the defensive. A campaign of sharp heavy fights followed by short lulls carried on through June and August. The Davion troops were well stocked with supplies and most had not seen any action till now. The Kuritans on the other hand had to ration their supplies. The scale and speed of the Combine offensive had made Kurita logistics a nightmare, with long supply lines and transportation for it becoming scarce. The Dragoons had also been fighting since the previous year with only small breaks to rest and recuperate. At the beginning of September the campaign for Fallon seemed long from being over.
TANCREDI IV The Third Prosserpina Hussars with five conventional regiments invaded the agricultural world of Tancredi IV. Having owned the planet six years previously the Combine troops were fairly familiar with it. They also knew that the Combine was responsible for several famines on the planet when their officials had exported most of the planetary harvests for several years to feed starving worlds deeper in the Combine. For this reason General Bernstien believed the Combine invasion would face considerable resistance from the planetary militia and the general population. The Combine units made their drops away from the major population centers. These advance units then made their way to the city of Parson which had an airport large enough to accommodate the invader’s dropships and then began to ferry down the rest of the Combine troops. Tancredi militia and partisans hindered the advance units so much that fighters were called in with bombs and infernos to help clear the way. Many buildings around the airport were reduced to rubble. Even when dropships did come down, personnel were subject to occasional sniper fire. By May 17, the Combine invasion force was fully on the ground and moved out to secure the capital city of Dolsonville. A week later the Kuritans detected the radar signatures of enemy dropships. It would take a week before the new dropships would arrive from the system’s jump point, so General Bernstein had his troops make an all out effort to take Dolsonville and secure its spaceport. The planetary militia and the general population put up so much resistance that General Bernstein resorted to wholesale artillery bombardment of the city. When the new dropships arrived the Kurita’s were still engaged with mop up operations clearing out the diehard units of the city. Part of the enemy dropship fleet burned ahead of the others to make a low orbital drop over the city. The ‘Mechs form these dropships were Lindon’s Company, a merc unit with a deep hatred of the Combine. The light and medium ‘Mechs of the merc battalion immediately dispersed into the city in lance sized groups, harassing the Kuritans and attacking targets of opportunity. They also discovered that the spaceport was mined and warned off the other dropships. The other dropships of the reinforcement fleet dropped their ‘Mechs well outside the city and with the help of militia commanders they found suitable areas for their dropships to land. This regiment was Greenburg’s Godzillas. Though the Hussar’s fighters did damage some of the dropping units, they were mostly preoccupied by the fighters from the Godzillas and Lindon’s Company. Not wanting to be caught in the city, General Berstein ordered his troops out, keeping only light mobile conventional units with him while the bulk of the conventional troops headed back to Parson. The Godzillas’ heavy ‘Mechs tried to oppose this move, but the hit-and-run attacks made by the Hussars foiled this. The Hussars would have done more damage, but Lindon’s Company had reorganized themselves from Dolsonville and attacked the Hussars. The Hussars continued to attempt to make their hit-and-run attacks on the Godzilllas who wore them down, but the light ‘Mechs of Lindon’s Company were able to blunt them in time for the heavier Godzillas to be prepared to meet them. By the end of September General Bernstein had no choice but to leave Tancredi IV. Infrequent re-supply shipments and constant harassment from partisans left his invasion force to weak to hold up to the Davion defenders.
OVERVIEW The Davion counter offensive had stopped Coordinator Kurita’s Operation Dragon Strikes dead in its tracks. Though fighting continued on Crossing and Fallon II, the failed invasions of New Ivaarsen and Tancredi IV forced the Combine on the defensive. Any offensive action by the Kuritans would risk losing more worlds to the Davion counter attack. The outcome of the battles on Crossing and Fallon II were critical for both sides. The victor on those planets would either give new life to Operation Dragon Strikes if Kurita forces won or cause a general retreat along the whole front if the Davion forces seized victory.
LYRAN FRONT Operation Dagger had thus far netted the Free Worlds League seven worlds along the periphery edge of the Commonwealth. Duke Christopher Halas had been attempting to broaden the offensive further, but was limited by the number of transports in the area. In July, Marik jump-fleets began arriving from the Dieudonne Theater Command. These fleets had been ordered to this region of the League when Operation Dagger began earlier that year. Though the Marshal of Dieudonne wanted the fleets brought back when Lyran and Tikinov Free Republic Army forces began making their attacks near Terra, the fleets had already entered the Tamarind Command Theater. The Marshal of Tamarind was on very good terms with Duke Halas and so they were turned over to him to be used in his offensive. Now having adequate transport and supplies available, Duke Halas could push deeper into the Commonwealth. With major enemy units in the area destroyed or routed, there was little the LCAF could do to stop the League offensive. Three ‘Mech regiments and almost thirty conventional regiments were assembled at Khon Kaen. The ‘Mech units consisted of the First and Fifth Oriente Hussars as well as the Sixth Orloff Grenadiers. From that planet the three invasion groups moved deeper into Commonwealth territory. The Fifth Hussars hit Maduin, the First Hussars invaded Stantsiya, and the Grenadiers attacked Rajkot. Though both the First and Fifth Hussars were light ‘Mech units, and under-strength at that, Duke Halas believed that they would be more than a match for any military forces the backwater worlds of this region could throw at them. On the other side of the front the First and Second Fusiliers of Oriente along with the Ducal Guard would attack from their current occupation worlds of Cavanaugh II, Penobscot, and Abramkovo. The First Fusiliers would attack Zdice, the Second would attack Brobruisk, and the Guard would invade Kamenz.
OVERVIEW Reinforced with several fresh infantry divisions that were brought up from rear areas, Duke Christopher Halas had the conventional reserves to replace the garrison units on the newly conquered worlds. The invasions of all six worlds met with success. The only ‘Mech forces encountered were centuries old machines attached to the planetary militias. They put up a spirited fight, but they were no match for the more numerous Marik troops. By the end of July all invasion groups were ready to push forward.
NEW INVASIONS - PHASE 3 The new wave of invasions expanded the League’s hold over Commonwealth territory. The First and Fifth Oriente Hussars along with the Sixth Orloff Grenadiers invaded the worlds of Son Hoa, Teyvareb, and Ilzra. On the other side of the front the First and Second Fusiliers of Oriente invaded Ellijay and Loburg. The Ducal Guard pushed from its position on Kamenz to Herzberg. Finally a hand picked team of crack raiders from the First Fusiliers moved to the planet Bolan to gather intelligence. Bolan would be the anchor of the Free World’s invasion flank.
ILZRA The planet of Ilzra is primarily covered by wide open savannas and a few sprawling deserts. The planet’s only water is supplied by mountain glacial run off near the poles. Ilzra is subject to frequent droughts and with an average temperature of 30 degrees Celsius in the temperate zones, the major population zones reside near the mountains in the far northern and southern hemisphere. The planet is rich with small mammals, avian, reptiles, and insect life. When explorers discovered the place they deemed it ideal to bring certain rare species from Terra’s African continent in order to give them a new home similar to their indigenous environment. Terran animal life flourished on this new world without the hindering influence of mankind’s all encroaching civilization. Today the planet is still sparsely populated by people. Large plantations and ranches where crops and cattle are raised to export to the neighboring worlds is the planet’s only industry. There is only one large city with a space port for merchant traffic, the capital of Tabora. The Sixth Orloff Grenadiers expected to find this planet easy pickings, but were surprised to find enemy aerospace forces. The defenders were quickly identified as the Eighth Lyran Regulars. Living up to their veteran status the Grenadiers deployed for a conventional planetary assault. It soon became apparent to the Lyrans that they were clearly outclassed by the Grenadiers at open warfare. They soon fell back to prepared positions along the Arua Mountain Range. For several weeks the Grenadiers tried to break through the Lyran defense, but lacked the reserves to make a concerted push. By late August the other invasion forces had reported success, but the Grenadiers could not break the Lyran Regulars. The Second Oriente Hussars with an entire infantry division arrived in system to decide the issue. Knowing that they would not be able to hold out against the Marik attackers for much longer the Lyrans made a breakout attempt before the Oriente Hussars arrived. The attack was made during the dead of night, but the Grenadiers reacted quickly. The ferocity of the Lyran assault drove the Grenadiers back. For the next two days the Grenadirs and Lyran Regulars fought a running battle. On the third day the Lyran Regulars were approaching the outskirts of Tabora. Their dropships, which had been scattered and hidden across the planet, all lifted off to rendezvous at the capital space port. Seeing the Lyran’s intent to escape, the Grenadiers made an all out effort to stop them. Losses were heavy on both sides, but the Lyrans were delayed long enough for the Oriente Hussars to arrive. With fresh troops moving against them and many of their ‘Mechs and equipment failing, the Eighth Lyran Regulars surrendered.
BOLAN A company sized raiding force jumped into the Bolan system on July 29. They found the system swarming with activity. Using all the dropship activity in the system as cover the three Leopard class dropships of the raiding force were practically on top of the planet before they were discovered. The three Leopards made a low orbital ‘Mech drop and then split up to land at three separate locations. For a full week the Fusilier raiding force gathered intelligence data. The Lyran’s attempt to hunt them down was at first unorganized and was easily avoided. Then a new force arrived on the planet and took over the search. These troops were much more thorough and difficult to avoid. The Fusiliers fell into several ambushes and soon found out that their attackers were the Stealthy Tigers. The Fusiliers had about all the information they would be able to gather and made preparations to leave. This was not easy because of constant patrol sweeps made by the Tigers. The Fusilier’s escape evolved into a running battle to reach the hidden dropships. Three ‘Mechs did not make it. The others suffered great damage. When the dropships boosted they found themselves under heavy attack from Lyran fighters and with enemy dropships closing in. The six fighters from the Fusiliers were launched and a deadly duel ensued. Four of the Fusilier fighters did not make it and one of the Leopards had to surrender when its drive suffered critical damage. The other two made it to a pirate point where their jumpship was waiting and escaped.
OVERVIEW All six of the new invasions during this wave were successful. The attackers only faced token resistance from the small garrisons. The planetary governments were offered membership in the League after the invasion force had secured the capital. The planet Ilzra was the only planet to see heavy fighting. The Sixth Orloff Grenadiers had suffered heavy casualties and would require considerable time to repair and replace their losses. Reports from the Fusilier raiding force on Bolan told another story. The Lyrans had assembled more than three full ‘Mech regiments. They included the Fifth Lyran Guard, the Stealthy Tigers, the Filthy Lucre, and the remnants of the Ninth Lyran Regulars. In addition the Lyrans had gathered twenty conventional regiments. The Fusiliers had left behind a scout team of SAFE commandos to provide additional intelligence to any Marik forces that would enter the system. Duke Christopher Halas knew he had to marshal his forces quickly before the Lyrans attacked. The Duke threw in his last reserves, both the Eighth Orloff Grenadiers and the Steel Guards were moved up. General Waslewski of the Fusiliers of Oriente was given direct command of the invasion force assigned to attack Bolan. General Waslewski would take four ‘Mech regiments and twenty-seven conventional regiments, all that could be spared from the garrison units within the conquered territory and the surrounding Marik border worlds. The lead units of the invasion were the elite Ducal Guard and First Fusiliers of Oriente followed by the Second Fusiliers and the Eighth Orloff Grenadiers. The conventional force consisted of four infantry divisions and seven regiments of tanks. Due to the lack of combat transports many of the infantry and armor regiments would have to travel in merchant dropships. The Steel Guards would break into battalion sized garrison forces and occupy the worlds of Khon Kaen, Brobruisk, and Cavanaugh II. The Second and Fifth Oriente Hussars would push on with the invasion of the Commonwealth, attacking Binyang and Acrux. Both Ceasar’s Cohorts and Clifton’s Rangers were chafing under their garrison assignments in the conquered territory. To placate them and to expand League control Duke Halas assigned them the invasions of Shahr Kord, Biloela, and Althasten. These invasions, if successful would increase the League’s holdings, if not, then at least the mercenaries were expendable. The final attacks began with the invasion of Bolan on September 7.
FINAL ATTACK - PHASE 4 BOLAN The planet Bolan used to be a League world and had been heavily industrialized. The First Succession War changed that. Hit early during the war and subject to countless raids, the planet was eventually occupied by House Steiner. Counter raids staged by House Marik did more damage to the planet. By the end of the First War the industry and people of Bolan suffered enormously. During the following Second and Third Succession Wars the planet saw only a few raids and was mostly left alone. The planet had marginally recovered by the time of the Fourth Succession War. Though having a smaller population and industrial base than in years past, the world had grown into one of the major economic centers in the area and was the administrative head of the Lyran province. The Marik invasion force arrived in the Bolan system just before the Lyran troops were able to complete final preparations to leave. Critically short of transports, it had taken almost two months to bring in the troops of the Lyran expedition force. Knowing that she had lost the battle against time, General Iris Steiner ordered the waiting jumpships of her fleet to leave the system and escape capture. She then began hurriedly offloading her troops from their dropships and prepared for the arrival of the enemy. First contact between the opposing forces occurred a few hundred thousand kilometers from the planet when the two sides’ aerospace forces clashed. General Steiner had integrated commands so that Lyran aerospace forces were broken into two groups. Colonel Vermiatrix of the Stealthy Tigers would control the mercenary aerospace forces and act as the spearhead to punch a hole in the Marik aerospace cover while the fighters of the Lyran Regulars and Guard would attempt to make attack runs on the Marik dropships. During the battle some Lyran fighters did break through to make brief attack runs on Marik dropships. One Buccaneer class dropship suffered heavy damage and would be forced to ferry its troops and cargo to other ships. All other damage to the Marik dropships was minor. The greater experience and unit cohesion of the Fusilier aerospace forces made them too formidable an opponent to overcome and the Lyran fighters were beaten back. As the Marik dropships made it to the planet they began receiving communication signals from the scout unit left behind by the Fusilier raiding force. After several coded transmissions, the Fusilier’s First Brigade was ordered to break off from its scheduled drop zone and proceed to new target coordinates. The SAFE unit had been able to locate the headquarters unit for the Fifth Lyran Guard as well as several supply dumps. The First Brigade struck these sites with overwhelming force. The commander of the Fifth Lyran Guard was killed and the rest of the unit thrown into disarray. The other units of the Marik invasion force concerned themselves with securing cities that had airports capable of handling dropship landings. The Second Fusiliers of Oriente got bogged down early on by getting into several heavy firefights with the Filthy Lucre. Their dropship landings eventually had to be diverted. The other Marik units secured their dropzones and the rest of the invading force, including the bulk of the conventional units, began to disembark. There were many abandoned cities and industrial parks across the planet. The Stealthy Tigers chose one of these from which they would conduct their part of the defense. They were in the operational area of the Eighth Orloff Grenadiers who, like the Tigers, excelled at mobile warfare. The Tigers kept the Grenadiers off balance while the Marik conventional forces were being ferried down and kept the Grenadiers busy by forcing them to respond to the Tiger’s movements. The two regiments and their attending ground troops quickly began a running campaign across the plains, but neither side seemed able to gain the advantage. This continued for most of September until a battalion from the First Fusiliers of Oriente was able to move in and help the Grenadiers. At a highway intersection outside of a nearby city the Tigers were given a decisive defeat when a company sized raiding force was hit by the Grenadiers. Both sides called for reinforcements and soon turned the small fight into a major battle. The Grenadiers won the battle when troops of the Tigers were ambushed by the Fusiliers. Near the capital city of Dendright the Ducal Guard and the rest of the First Brigade of the Fusiliers engaged the Fifth Lyran Guard and the Ninth Lyran Regulars. True to the nature of the unit and its commander, Colonel Selim Halas lead the Ducal Guard in numerous heavy assaults against the Ninth Regulars trying to finish the job started on Abramkovo. The Ducal Guard was thrown back each time because Colonel Halas refused to wait for his conventional units to offload and move up to support him. After five days of heavy fighting the Regulars were mauled, but still holding out. The Ducal Guard however had spent itself and had to pull back for repairs. The First Brigade of the Fusiliers had inflicted significant damage to the Fifth Lyran Guard during the initial assault. With its commander dead it took awhile for the Lyrans to put together a cohesive defense. General Steiner took personal command of the unit and managed to throw the Fusiliers back. The Fusiliers then regrouped at the city of Kendrick where they waited for their conventional support to finish offloading General Steiner attempted a spoiling attack to damage the Fusiliers before they were ready to move, but Marik aerospace craft disrupted her advance long enough for the Fusiliers to send out their light attack groups. Within five days the Marik conventional troops had offloaded and Colonel Barksdale made his advance toward the capital of Dendright. Not wanting to bring the fight directly into the city, General Steiner moved her forces to the old bombed out ruins of Hampton, southwest of the capital. The Fusiliers moved to engage them. Sharp, inconclusive fighting took place in and about the ruins for the next two weeks. The Lyrans, under General Steiner, put up fanatic resistance. On September 29, the Marik forces made another assault. The Lyrans once again put up heavy resistance and even counterattacked. They were not expecting the next phase of the assault however. Marik Fury class dropships screamed overhead dropping more than a battalion of jump infantry into their midst. As troops were diverted to handle this new threat, the Marik troops played their trump card. General Waslewski ordered Colonel Halas to lead the Ducal Guard’s first battalion in a spearhead to break the Lyran’s flank. The Ducal Guard had finished repairing most of their damage and the shattered remnants of the Ninth Lyran Regulars could easily be handled by the other two battalions. Under the heavy assaults the Lyran defense began to crumble. General Steiner rallied her remaining troops and attempted to counterattack, but her Zeus command ‘Mech received several crippling hits and exploded when her fusion plant went critical. By the following day all of the holdouts were destroyed or surrendered. The Fusiliers had only two days to make repairs when a battalion of the First Brigade was sent to the northern continent to assist the Orloff Grenadiers. The Second Brigade of the Fusiliers had the task of securing the eastern part of the northern continent. Upon landing however they ran into elements of the Filthy Lucre near the city of Gainsborough, where the Fusiliers had intended to land their conventional forces. The Filthy Lucre had the majority of their forces nearby and forced the Marik commander to divert his landing zones. The old abandoned mining city of Klondike was used instead where several landing pads and stretches of highway could be used to land the dropships. The Second Brigade was filled with veterans from various units within the Oriente Hussars and the Fusiliers of Oriente. The previous fighting and invasions the unit took part in were a much needed training period to get the unit fighting as a cohesive formation. When the Second Brigade fought with the Filthy Lucre they did so as a well organized regiment of veteran troops. The fight between the two forces began with probing attacks from the Fusiliers. The Filthy Lucre was content to dig in and let the attackers come to them. Neither side could claim air superiority because their aerospace forces were evenly matched. The Filthy Lucre ‘Mech troops could boast numerical superiority because the Second Brigade was currently under-strength. The mercenaries also had a predominance of heavy ‘Mechs while those of the Second Brigade were mostly mediums. The only advantages the Fusiliers had were slightly more conventional support and the greater amount of experience of its ‘MechWarriors. The Fusiliers put their small advantages to good use by moving a battalion of ‘Mechs and light armor, mostly Galleon Light Support Tanks, north of Gainsborough into the Grandwood forest. The rest of the Fusiliers made a diversionary attack. While most of the mercenaries were engaged, the northern task force charged into the city. There they destroyed valuable supplies and repair equipment. The task force had some success until the Filthy Lucre managed to send two companies of medium and heavy ‘Mechs at them. The Fusiliers withdrew. Colonel Fuentes of the Fusiliers tried another variation of the diversionary tactic except this time all the ‘Mechs of the Second Brigade would be the diversion. The actual attack force would consist of a heavy armor battalion and a mechanized infantry regiment. The mercenaries accepted the diversion after seeing that the Fusiliers had committed their entire ‘Mech force. The conventional task force then made their sudden strike. They were slightly delayed when they encountered a mine field along the north side of the city, but their engineers quickly cleared the way. Once in the city the Marik forces attacked the mercenaries from the rear and flank. The Filthy Lucre staged a fierce counterattack and forced the Marik troops to fall back. Artillery bombardments directed into the city were necessary to give the Marik troops enough time to withdraw. Skirmishes and periodic raids carried out by both sides continued for the rest of the month. When the Filthy Lucre’s commander, Colonel Timson, heard of the defeats of the Steiner regiments on the southern continent, he became determined to break the dead lock in his area. The Filthy Lucre’s fighters currently outnumbered their opposition, so Colonel Timson decided to use this to his advantage. Heavy strafing attacks pummeled the Fusilier positions. The Filthy Lucre BattleMechs then easily pierced the Fusilier lines. The Fusiliers retreated in good order to their base of operations in the town of Klondike. There their conventional reserves set up defenses to ambush the approaching Steiner mercenaries. As the Filthy Lucre assaulted the town they were stopped cold by the numerous mines and hidden infantry positions set up by the Marik units. Colonel Fuentes of the Fusiliers then regrouped his ‘Mech forces and counterattacked. The Filthy Lucre were thrown back, but attacked the following day. For an entire week the Filthy Lucre continued their assault on the town. On October 10, elements of the Stealthy Tigers began arriving. Not far behind them however were the Eighth Orloff Grenadiers. The Filthy Lucre along with a company from the Stealthy Tigers made one more attempt to destroy the Second Fusiliers of Oriente. After two hours a company of the Filthy Lucre broke through the Fusilier lines. The company made their way to the Marik dropships where they heavily damaged a Mule class cargo dropship before they were driven off by arriving elements of the Eighth Orloff Grenadiers. Both Steiner mercenary regiments withdrew to the city of Gainsborough. General Waslewski began gathering his forces to surround the mercenaries. The Marik troops had suffered many losses already and would suffer even more trying to reduce the enemy held city. Over the objections of some of his regimental commanders, notably Colonel Selim Halas, General Waslewski opened negotiations with the mercenary commanders. On November 2, the opposing sides came to an agreement. The two mercenary units would leave Bolan unharmed with all their possessions and in return they would not attack any Marik forces within the Tamarind Command Theater for nine months. Once the Steiner mercenaries had left, there were still considerable mop up operations to continue. Lyran conventional units did not give up as easily and took almost the rest of the month to subdue.
OTHER ACTIONS The secondary Marik invasions were all successful during this final phase. The Lyran militias on two of the conquered worlds, Son Hoa and Bioloela, put up more resistance than expected. Both Caesar’s Cohorts and Clifton’s Rangers suffered several minor defeats before they could bring their superior firepower to bear. With only a few ancient BattleMechs to resist, these planets eventually fell. The planets of Acrux, Binyang, and Shahr Kord were taken with no major mishaps.
CONCLUSION After the capture of Bolan the Marik offensive ground to a halt. Duke Christopher Halas’ forces were worn out and all were under-strength from casualties lost during the rapid pace of the invasion. Several units, including the First and Second Fusiliers of Oriente and the Sixth Orloff Grenadiers were below 50% strength. The Duke’s conventional reserves were also used up. The Marshal of the Tamarind Theater Command was unable to give up any more troops or transports to push deeper into the Commonwealth. The final actions the Duke of Oriente took was to accept the surrenders of Inchicore, Danxian, and Maisons. Those three worlds were behind the Marik line of advance and felt that Marik invasion forces would soon be clouding their skies. Overall, Operation Dagger was a resounding success. The offensive had captured twenty-eight worlds and destroyed or seriously mauled six enemy BattleMech regiments. It was true that many of the conquered worlds were poor backwaters with very little material value to the Commonwealth, but the sheer number of worlds lost was a stinging defeat for the Steiners.
CAPELLAN FRONT SARNA The commonality capital of Sarna had seen heavy action since its invasion in April. The fighting there had already claimed one Davion RCT and it seemed the Second Screaming Eagles and the Crater Cobras would soon follow. The Davion mercenaries fought a delaying action to buy themselves time enough for reinforcements to arrive. McCarron’s Armored Cavalry were cautious and continually expected those Davion reinforcements to show up at any time. When none materialized after three weeks, they moved in on the Davion mercenaries. By September the Davion troops were being pushed back toward the west coast of the Canoshal continent. They chose to make their stand in a forested valley called Graves Hollow. The place was ideal for setting ambushes and defensive strongpoints. By this time Davion air cover was nonexistent. The city of Backtal which had been secured for the Davion dropships was in terrible shape because it had been the focus of the Capellan air campaign. The planet’s Home Guard regiments had concentrated their attacks on the city while McCarron’s Armored Cavalry had moved on to fight the Davion ‘Mech forces in the north. Many of the Davion dropships had been damaged by the Capellan air attacks and several would never fly again. The conventional units guarding the city however were still holding together well and had inflicted heavy losses on their attackers. On September 19, a new fleet entered the system. This fleet contained Cadace Liao and her First St. Ives Lancers. Additionally she had brought a battalion of Kamakura’s Hussars from Sakhalin and the Quetzcoatl, a Scout class jumpship converted into a fighter carrier. These Capellan reinforcements arrived on planet, but did not immediately join the fight. Candace planned to throw her troops into battle when all the Davion troops were critically engaged and then hit them where they least expected it. On October 3, McCarron’s Armored Cavalry made heavy probing attacks all along the defensive perimeter of the Davion mercenaries. While they were busy dealing with these attacks, the St. Ives Lancers and Kamakura’s Hussars moved in from the sea side coast. This swift attack in their rear threw the Davion mercenaries into disarray. As the Davion defense began to crumble McCarron’s Armored Cavalry threw all four regiments into the fight. During the two day battle that followed the Second Screaming Eagles and most of the conventional forces were wiped out. The Crater Cobras managed to fight their way clear and headed toward Backtal. The fighters Candace Liao brought now came in to play. Strafing and bomb attacks plagued the Crater Cobras during the entire journey to Backtal. The battered remnants fought their way into the city to join the beleaguered defenders there. As the Capellan ‘Mech regiments arrived, Colonel Westrick of the Crater Cobras sent out a delegation to discuss surrender. Candace Liao surprised the Colonel by giving him and his men generous terms. The Crater Cobras would retain their equipment, but would jump contract to House Liao who would pay them the same terms as House Davion. The mercenaries would then become part of the garrison of Sarna till the end of current hostilities at which time they could renegotiate for a new contract. To insure their good will a battalion of the Black Cobras, including Colonel Westrick, would accompany Candace Liao and the forces she was assembling. Colonel Westrick agreed to the terms. The Davion conventional force commander attempted to force the Crater Cobras to adhere to their original contract, but the Cobras fought their way out of the city. After a brief fight against the massed Capellan forces, the Davion conventional troops had no choice but to surrender.
ST. ANDRE In early May, 3029, Justina’s Cuirassiers and the Blackwind Lancers were still holed up in Jerome. Outside the city were two battered regiments of the Vegan Rangers as well as the shattered remnants of the Davion Light Guards RCT. On the other side of the low mountains and surrounding highlands that guarded the rear of Jerome were Cochraine’s Goliaths. To large and clumsy to travel the steep paths through to Jerome, the Goliaths were forced to set up their defense along the eastern highland slopes. Arrayed against them were the One Hundred fifty-first Light Horse Regiment of the Eridani Light Horse. With all Capellan forces surrounded and contained, the Davion forces began a concerted effort to take Jerome. Fighter bombings and artillery attacks were used to soften up Capellan defenses. Next, combined assaults of ‘Mechs, tanks, and infantry were made. For the entire month the Vegan Rangers attacked the city, but the Capellan forces managed to throw them back each time. On the other side of the mountains the One Hundred Fifty-first Light Horse was wearing down the Goliaths. Not strong enough to take them down in a frontal assault, the Light Horse did what they did best. Harassing attacks and slipping in behind the Goliaths destroying their supply shipments from Jerome. By the time of the Comstar Interdict the Davion mercenaries seemed certain of eventual victory. On June 1, a single jumpship entered the system with an aging Mule class dropship attached. The ship signaled that it was a Davion supply ship from New Aragon and gave the proper security protocols from that world. Though some of the codes were out of date the Davion commanders thought that the Comstar Interdict was to blame and the ship was allowed to approach. An aerospace flyby confirmed the ship’s registry as belonging to New Aragon Port Authority and was allowed to land at the spaceport where the rest of the Davion invasion forces’ dropships were. The ship began offloading food supplies and vehicle parts, but the process was extremely slow because the Captain claimed the primary cargo lift needed repair. During the evening of June 7, the Davion base lit up to the noise and chaos of combat. Freemont’s Cuirassiers from Hunan were attacking. The ship they used had been a transport of the Aragon Borderers, but was captured when the unit failed in their invasion of the Capellan world. The Capellans had managed to repair the dropship and convinced a merchant blockade runner to transport them to St. Andre. Colonel Freemont’s battalion, composed mostly of salvaged Davion Marauders, was now destroying the Davion base from within. Many aerospace fighters were destroyed on the ground and thousands of tons of military supplies were also destroyed. The Cuirassiers tossed aside the weak and disorganized defense of the base and then began firing at the Davion dropships. The Davion ships that were able made emergency liftoffs to escape capture or destruction. Two infantry companies had also accompanied the Cuirassiers and managed to capture a number of dropship and support personnel. With their supplies gone and most of the Vegan Ranger fighters destroyed, the Ranger commander called it quits. Conferring with the Eridani Light Horse commander it was agreed that without major re-supply and reinforcements, taking St. Andre would incur too high a price from the forces present. The Light Horse commander agreed to use his unit’s jumpships to ferry the invasion group out of the system. By the end of June all Davion forces had moved to the world of Tsitsang.
OVERVIEW The unexpected tenacity of Capellan units and the Comstar Interdict were giving the AFFS an extremely hard time along the Capellan front. The loss at St. Andre was a particularly annoying blow. The AFFS still was not as badly affected by the Interdict as Comstar would have believed. More surprisingly the COC ordered a sixth wave of attacks. The COC was not aware of the events that had taken place on Sarna however.
SIXTH WAVE The sixth wave began during the second week of September. The objective of the sixth wave was to capture more Capellan worlds and thereby isolate those worlds still holding out. The Davion COC considered re-invading St. Andre, but in light of the heavy opposition expected there, it was believed that they could bypass it and come back to it when the offensive stopped. The COC felt that now was the time to push forward after receiving reports from MIIO agents saying that Capellan worlds were more fearful of the Free Worlds League stepping in and taking their planets than the Federated Suns. The planets the AFFS invaded were Palos, Remshield, Mandate, and Matsu. Surprisingly only Matsu gave up easily, on all the other worlds the Capellans heavily resisted. On Matsu the Sixth Capellan March Militia encountered weak planetary guard units that ended up fighting amongst themselves when their leadership became divided on whether to surrender or fight. The March Militia stepped in to pick up the pieces when these groups had exhausted themselves.
PALOS Delta and Gamma regiments of the Vegan Rangers along with twelve conventional regiments invaded the resource poor world of Palos. The Second Confederation Reserve Cavalry with twenty Home Guard regiments were defending the planet. Also newly arrived were the two battered battalions of Sung’s Cuirassiers who had retreated from Wei. The Rangers made their drops two hundred kilometers south of the capital and chief industrial center of Xer. Capellan fighters managed to penetrate the Ranger fighter screen and severely damaged a Union and Leopard class dropship. Both ships managed to make their ‘Mech drops, but the Leopard lost control in the planet’s atmosphere and crashed. The Capellans did not oppose the Ranger dropzones and so the invasion force gathered itself for the advance on the capital. The Ranger’s advance was cautious because the planet’s natives protested vigorously when the Ranger troops plowed through the farm fields. Colonel Nelson, the Ranger commander, had his troops reprimanded by the COC for their ill treatment of the people of Wei, so he went out of his way to be kind to the citizens of Palos. He had his troops move across the roads and avoid the farmers’ fields whenever possible. The Capellan units took advantage of this when they attacked on September 9. The Davion ‘Mechs of Gamma regiment were bunched up on the road when Capellan aerospace fighters made a quick bombing attack on them. They were quickly chased away by Ranger fighters, but during the momentary confusion a company of light ‘Mechs from the Reserve Cavalry attacked and inflicted heavy damage to several Ranger ‘Mechs. Colonel Nelson, after hearing of this debacle, ordered his troops to make a standard advance and the farmers’ protests be damned. The Rangers were soon just outside of the capital of Xer. The Rangers approached the city from the west, which was in a valley with mountain arms curling down from the northeast and southeast. The Rangers sent two task forces consisting each of a battalion of ‘Mechs, two regiments of infantry, and a battalion of tanks. These task forces circled around the north and south sides of the city. Their job was to probe the mountain slopes to make sure the Capellans weren’t going to spring a trap. The Ranger’s main body waited till the two task forces made their preliminary scouting reports and then made its own advance directly onto the city. As they entered a small suburb several kilometers from the capital they were attacked by a battalion of Reserve Cavalry ‘Mechs, one infantry regiment, and one tank regiment. Though aerospace fighters had kept the area under heavy surveillance and it was known that Capellan units were in the capital, the Capellans were still able to surprise the Ranger force. It was later learned that there were highway tunnels connecting the city and its suburbs which the Capellans had used to sneak their force in. The Rangers gave ground, luring the Capellans further and further from the city and their only line of retreat. Too late the Capellans discovered that the Ranger main body had given ground on purpose so that the two Ranger task forces could close in from behind. Major Defrick, the Capellan battalion commander, used his tank regiment to screen his forces retreat while he pulled the ‘Mech battalion back to try to punch a hole through to safety. The more numerous Ranger ‘Mechs in his rear threw him back however. Colonel Nelson ordered Major Defrick to surrender, but was refused. The Rangers then moved in for the kill. What the Rangers didn’t know was that the two remaining battalions of Reserve Cavalry, Sung’s Cuirassiers, four mechanized infantry regiments, and four armor regiments were using the same hidden tunnels to move into the suburbs west of the capital. This group hit the Ranger’s western task force from behind. The resulting day long battle resulted in the destruction of almost four infantry regiments, two armor regiments, and the majority of the two Ranger ‘Mech battalions caught during the rear attack. The Capellans lost Major Defrick’s attack group and suffered moderate casualties to the rest of their forces. With the Davion invasion group too severely mauled to even hope of taking the planet, Colonel Nelson ordered his forces to withdraw.
REMSHIELD The Davion Heavy Guards RCT invaded the mineral rich world of Remshield. Guarding the planet were the First Battalion of Hurloc’s Hussars and the First Battalion of the Fourth Tau Ceti Rangers. Each Capellan ‘Mech battalion along with a portion of the planetary militia defended the two principal cities of the planet, Mineral City and Jewel Box. The Heavy Guards concentrated on the Tau Ceti Rangers first while a substantial blocking force was sent against the Hussars to ensure they would not help. The Davion ‘Mech regiment advanced on Jewel Box and engaged the Rangers in the hilly fields between two great concrete spillways that controlled flooding. Field Marshal Ran Felsner used his heavy ‘Mechs to pierce the Ranger’s defensive line in the center and then attacked from the rear and inner flanks. The Rangers were soon scattered and fled the planet to avoid total destruction. The Heavy Guards then moved to Mineral City where they attacked Hurloc’s Hussars. The Hussars put up a spirited fight, but were severely outnumbered and outclassed by the elite Davion RCT. Within two days the Hussars were destroyed.
MANDATE The Second Ceti Hussars RCT had the task of conquering Mandate. Though no Capellan ‘Mech units guarded the planet, it was known that Mandate contributed many sons and daughters to the Capellan Warrior House units and that they would put up fanatical opposition. The Ceti Hussars were opposed during every phase of the invasion. Conventional aircraft attempted to ram dropping ‘Mechs and dropships. Once on the ground militia and volunteer regiments employed suicidal bombings and wave attacks. As the Ceti Hussars advanced on the capital, Glory of Liao, the resistance intensified. When lead elements of the Ceti Hussars reached the outskirts of the city, the Capellans threw everything they had at them with the hope of overwhelming the Davion troops before reinforcements arrived. The Ceti Hussars grimly held on while the rest of the RCT moved up. Casualties were high among the Davion tank and infantry units. The Capellans’ losses were even more horrible with civilian volunteer regiments throwing themselves at the Davion troops with reckless abandon. The rest of the Ceti Hussars arrived on the seen and broke the Capellan wave attacks. The Mandate militia tank units moved in, but against the veteran fire from the Hussars they were quickly destroyed. With so many dead, the leaders of Mandate surrendered soon afterward.
OVERVIEW The Sixth Wave of Operation Rat was the final offensive attack staged by the COC. The heavy resistance on Remshield, Mandate, and the failed invasion of Palos convinced them that pushing on would be to costly. Resources were being stretched to their limits now and both equipment and troops needed a rest. The planets that continued to resist would also have to be taken care of and the COC began to make plans for these attacks.
RAID ON KATHIL With his Confederation crumbling before his very eyes, Chancellor Maximilian Liao ordered a desperate raid to be carried out. The Death Commandos and the Second Battalion of the Fourth Tau Ceti Rangers would launch an attack on the jumpship production facility of Kathil. This raid would not destroy the facilities, but would take out the power stations and up-link dishes required to run the facility. With this major blow the Chancellor hoped that the Davion war machine would have to seriously curtail its movements and give the Confederation time to reorganize. Unfortunately he had no idea that the Davion COC had already made that decision and that a spy who had been masterminding the Confederation’s demise throughout the war would foil this last attack of desperation. Justin Xiang-Allard, who had quickly risen to a high position within the Capellan Maskirovka, was a double agent. He slipped a message to Prince Davion by convincing Comstar that he wished to send a message disparaging the Davion invasion and making dire promises of vengeance against the Prince. There was a simple code concealed in the words which the Prince and his Intelligence Director, Quintus Allard, immediately recognized. Prince Davion sent his heir Morgan Hasek-Davion to Kathil to prepare the defenses there. Morgan had at his disposal the remnants of the Fifth Syrtis Fusiliers, who had been evacuated from Sarna just prior to the Comstar Interdict, and ‘MechWarriors from the Crucis March Militia to aid him. He arrived on Kathil in August, 3029. He immediately began organizing his new recruits, along with the Kathil militia, into a new military unit which he called the First Kathil Uhlans. The Capellans arrived on September 7. Microwave transmissions from the up-link stations that powered the orbital facilities were redirected at the incoming Capellan dropships and managed to destroy one of them while they were approaching the planet. The Death Commandos and the Tau Ceti Rangers split into two attack groups upon landing. The Death Commandos would attack the main power complex while the Rangers destroyed the power dishes and the up-link center. The Kathil Uhlans were broke up into two separate groups to intercept both attacks. Alpha Battalion, commanded by Major Damu of the Syrtis Fusiliers, was delegated to protect the up-link center. Duke Morgan and Delta Battalion would protect the main power complex. Delta Battalion attempted to lead the Death Commandos through a series of ambushes and mines around the town of Yare, where the main power complex was situated. These attacks were only marginally successful because the elite Commandos were able to avoid most of the traps. Realizing that they could not win against a more numerous and entrenched foe, the Death Commandos used most of their forces to maneuver the battle farther away from the direction of the real attack. The Capellan commanders’ headquarters lance then sneaked in toward the complex. Duke Morgan, along with some Syrtis Fusilier veterans had set his command post at the complex, so he directly engaged the Capellans. However the Death Commando commander had a desperate contingency planned if his force could not accomplish the mission. Several ‘Mechs broke off from the diversionary attack and managed to slip past the Kathil Uhlans. While the Death Commando headquarters lance sacrificed itself against Duke Morgan’s elite group, this small contingency attack group damaged the facility. To accomplish this the bulk of the Death Commandos of the diversionary attack group had to press their assault against Delta Battalion. After the battle ended only a handful of Death Commandos escaped. The Tau Ceti Rangers did not accomplish as much as the Death Commandos, but met a similar fate. Alpha Battalion set up their own ambushes within the forested hills surrounding the Median Up-link Power Station. They continually hit the Rangers as they tried to approach the facility. By morning the Rangers became surrounded. Then elements of Delta Battalion arrived and helped Alpha surround the Capellans. With little alternative left to them, the Rangers surrendered. Duke Morgan then came up with a plan to repay the damage done to the Davion facility. Using the Ranger’s dropships, he sneaked his raiding force into the heart of the Confederation. Morgan planned to raid the Capellan capital of Sian and recover the spy Justin Xiang-Allard.
SIAN In order to fool the Confederation defenses Duke Morgan had his force pose as the Tau Ceti Rangers and claimed to have himself as a prisoner to be personally delivered to the Chancellor. As the dropships carrying the bogus Tau Ceti Rangers approached the Chancellor’s personal spaceport, Warrior House Immarra, part of the Chancellor’s body-guard, were set up on parade. All ‘Mechs of Warrior House Immarra had been fitted with the new triple strength myomer recovered by the successful raid on Bethel earlier that year. Just moments before the dropships were about to land they fired missiles that spread a dense cloud of green gas across the spaceport. The dropships then fired on the Immarra ‘Mechs while the Kathil Uhlans jumped out of the ship’s bay doors. Any Immarra ‘Mech that had its armor pierced suddenly had its myomer muscles burst into flames. The triple strength formula had been a ruse to trick the Capellans. It rapidly deteriorated when exposed to the green gas. The Immarra ‘Mechs were quickly thrown into disarray. Meanwhile, Justin Xiang-Allard rescued another Davion spy that had been caught and the two of them got on board the waiting dropships. Soon afterward the dropships were boosting off planet to safety. With the realization of the fool Prince Davion had made of him, and the trickery that he had fell for, Chancellor Maximillian Liao began to slip further from reality and sanity.
FEDERATED SUNS FRONT FALLON II On September 30, the Dragoon and Kurita commanders were still stalemated against the Davion troops. With Coordinator Takashi Kurita becoming impatient, Epsilon regiment had its rest and refit cancelled on Cimeron and was called in to break the deadlock. Using the newly arrived ‘Mechs from Epsilon regiment to spearhead their attack, the Combine offensive rolled forward. The March Militia units interspersed with veterans from the Avalon Hussars resisted tenaciously. The Davion forces were however being slowly compressed into a fifty kilometer wide pocket centered on the city of Galway. By the third week in October, Marshal Offendahl was forced to realize that his troops were not going to win without further reinforcement. Since none was forthcoming his troops prepared to leave. Volunteers from the Avalon Hussars and surprisingly from the Crucis March Militia chose to form the rear guard for the rest of the Davion troops who would retreat offworld. For the next week the fighting began to slow down as the Dragoons saw the Davion dropships leaving the planet. The Combine Liason Officer urged the Dragoons to live up to their contract by pursuing the Davion troops till they were destroyed. Colonel Korsht and Arbuthnot were reluctant to pursue a defeated enemy especially when it was obvious that the Davions were leaving the planet to the Combine. Finally the Liason Officer carried a directive from the Coordinator himself ordering them to fulfill their contract and destroy the Davion troops. Still reluctant, the Dragoon Colonels obeyed and pressed the attack. On October 26, the few survivors of the Davion rearguard surrendered while the last of their transports made their way to the jump point.
CROSSING Warlord of the Galedon Military District, Hsiun Chi, had battered the Dismal Disinherited mercenary unit for ten straight months and on four different worlds. On June 30, the Warlord began what he believed would be the final assault on them. For three days the battle raged across the Tarterus Caldera with the Galedon Regulars pressing the attack from all sides. Then a group of dropships were detected making their final approach toward the planet. They were soon identified as the First New Ivaarsen Chaussers RCT. The Chaussers landed to the west of the Caldera and soon advanced on the Galedon Regulars. Warlord Hsiun Chi reformed his troops to meet this new threat. As the Chaussers entered the battle it soon became apparent that the Galedon Regulars would not be able to hold out against them for long. Using the Eighth and Twelfth Galedon Regulars to hold off the Chaussers, the Warlord made one last attempt to destroy the Dismal Disinherited and the supporting units of the Tenth Deneb Light Cavalry. Fighting lasted for an hour and though the Davion troops were beginning to break, the Galedon Regulars facing the Chaussers were reporting breakthroughs on their defensive lines. Soon elements of the fresh Davion RCT would be attacking the Warlord’s force in the rear. The Warlord of Galedon decided that retreat was the only option left. He rallied his forces and began an orderly withdrawal from the planet. When the final Kurita dropship left Crossing, the Galedon Regulars were at 40% strength and more than half their conventional forces had been destroyed. When General Stephenson of the Ivaarsen Chaussers made it to the Caldera, General Fontral reported that less than two companies were all that was left of the Dismal Disinherited. The Tenth Deneb Light Cavalry was little better with only a single battalion of ‘Mechs and less than a quarter of its own original conventional troops.
OVERVIEW Upon the Warlord’s return to Benet III he offered to commit seppuku, ritual suicide, for his defeat. The Coordinator denied him this and instead recalled him to Irurzun where the Coordinator was headquartered during the invasion. From there Coordinator Takashi Kurita would control the whole Davion front. Coordinator Kurita’s next command was for his troops to renew the attack. Crossing and New Ivaarsen would be invaded once again. While on the other side of the front Bremond and Tancredi IV would be attacked. When these orders reached Colonel Jaime Wolf he refused them. His reasons were that the Dragoons had been leading the attack for more than a year now, with the only time they had to rest was during the dropship ride to the next invaded world. His troops were tired, their equipment in need of repair, and his regiments in need of replacements. The Dragoons as a whole had lost 30% killed or wounded. Enraged by this defiance Coordinator Kurita sent an order to Tai-sho Tetsuhara on October 1. In it the Tai-sho was given command of the new prefecture that would be formed by the newly conquered Davion worlds. Tetsuhara was also ordered to destroy the Dragoons if they would not obey the Coordinator’s orders. Surprised and dismayed that he had to go against his long time friend, Tai-sho Tetsuhara informed Colonel Wolf of his instructions. He then challenged Alpha regiment of the Dragoons to honorable ‘Mech combat against his Ryuken-ni if they would not obey the Coordinator’s directive. Colonel Wolf reluctantly accepted the challenge. Unbeknownst to Tai-sho Tetsuhara the other Combine front line units were also given orders to attack the Dragoons if they did not carry on with the offensive. The other Draconian commanders were not as willing as Tai-sho Tetsuhara to honor the Dragoons by making a formal challenge.
DRAGON VS WOLF The battles fought between Wolf’s Dragoons and the Draconis Combine were brief and bloody. The first combat fought between them was on October 8, on the planet Rowe. Beta regiment of Wolf’s Dragoons was resting from the battering they had taken invading that world when the Eighth Sword of Light appeared. The Dragoons were as yet unaware of Tai-sho Tetsuhara’s formal challenge to Jaime Wolf and were thus unaware of the reasons for the Sword of Light’s arrival. The Sword of Light’s attack was vicious and without warning. None were spared. Horrendous casualties were suffered in the field hospitals and among the unit’s support personnel before the rest of the regiment could organize a defense. After a week of fighting the Sword of Light was pushed back and the two sides took some time to repair their damaged units. Beta regiment however had been reduced to below battalion strength and had no real hope of winning. The arrival of Delta regiment changed that. Delta dropped onto the rear elements of the Sword of Light throwing them into disarray. While the Kuritan commander tried to rally his troops, the Dragoons loaded up on their dropships and left the planet. On Fallon II the Nightstalkers were ordered to attack the Dragoons on that planet. Tai-sa Johiro was loathe to obey the Coordinator’s directive. Gamma and Epsilon regiments along with Zeta battalion were all on Fallon II, though the Kuritan commander would have the support of eight conventional regiments, these units were scattered trying to subdue the planet. On October 10, Tai-sa Johiro received word that a regiment of the Pesht Regulars had arrived in system to support him. With these reinforcements and with surprise, Tai-sa Johiro believed his troops would have a chance to defeat the Dragoons. Unfortunately the Dragoons received word about the surprise attack on their troops on Rowe, so when Tai-sa Johiro made his attack it was the Kuritans who were surprised. For three days the Dragoons pummeled the Kurita forces, destroying the Nightstalkers and mauling the Pesht Regulars. Given several more weeks the Dragoons would have been able to annihilate all Combine forces on the planet. On October 17, however, they inexplicably loaded up onto their dropships and left the planet. On Dahar IV Tai-sho Tetsuhara offered Jaime Wolf a fair fight. The two ‘Mech regiments held the fight in the open fields outside the capital and spaceport. The two sides were evenly matched at first, but after an hour Dragoon fighters bombed the rear ranks of Ryunken-ni throwing the unit into confusion. The Dragoons then withdrew to their dropships and left the planet on October 11. Dishonored because he failed his lord and betrayed his friend, Tai-sho Tetsuhara committed seppuku. Coordinator Takashi Kurita soon received word that the Dragoons had left Combine space and had signed a contract with House Davion and would defend against any attack from House Kurita. Though the Coordinator wished to continue the attack all the more now, the damage to his forces was to great. The battered Galedon Regulars would now have to take the place of the Dragoons to defend the long border against Davion counterattacks. On November 2, a katana and wakizashi wrapped in a torn Kurita flag appeared in front of the Coordinator’s headquarters on Iruzun. There was a note as well, but no ROM agents were able to find out what was written on it. It is believed that the swords belonged to Tai-sho Tetsuhara. In any case, the fighting along the Kurita-Davion border seemed to be over.
CAPELLAN FRONT OPERATION REDEMPTION The victory attained on Sarna prompted Duchess Candace Liao to conduct a counter-offensive to save the brave defenders still holding out in the Tikinov Commonality, which included her own brother Tormana. The task force she assembled consisted of her own First St. Ives Lancers, the four regiments of McCarron’s Armored Cavalry, the battalion of Black Cobras, and the fighter carrier jumpship Quetzcoatl. In addition six regiments of conventional troops from the Home Guard units on Sarna would accompany them. The task force would make extensive use of the dropships captured from the Davion invasion force. Being left behind to garrison the planet were the two under-strength battalions of the Black Cobras and Kamakura’s Hussars. Though the Duchess was hard pressed for jumpships, being Director of the Capellan Commonality Bank and Regulator of the Capellan Treasury gave her the clout and funds to hire or commandeer the ships she needed. Duchess Liao’s fleet made its final preparations and left the system on October 17. Their first jump took them to the Palos system where the task group spent two weeks loading the extra Davion dropships they had brought along so they could bring sixteen extra conventional regiments from the Palos garrison as well as Sung’s Cuirassiers. On October 29, the fleet jumped to St. Andre. Many of the Capellan units there wanted to accompany Duchess Liao’s task force, but with only three berths available in her jump fleet she chose Cochraine’s Goliaths and Justina’s Cuirassiers to come along. On November 3, the Capellan fleet jumped out of the St. Andre system beginning Duchess Liao’s new offensive codename Operation Redemption.
NEW ARAGON New Aragon had been a planet of the Capellan Chesterton Commonality, but since its conquest it had become a major staging area for Davion attacks. Most recently the planet had seen the demise of several Capellan units that were ambushed during Chancellor Maximillian Liao’s Operation Riposte. Throughout the current war the system saw an increase in military supply traffic, but keeping within Prince Hanse Davion’s policy, the planet was only one of many logistic centers. While the Comstar Interdict was in effect the traffic through the system had become less organized with random departures and arrivals becoming more and more common. System security had started to become lax in recent months because of the haphazard traffic through the system. The under-strength Aragon Borderers and the Fifth Crucis March Militia, who formed the garrison, had been on the planet since Operation Ambush last January. Their commanders believed that even though heavy fighting was only a jump away in the St. Andre system, they were confident that at best only a few rogue raiders might try something. When the Capellan fleet arrived at the zenith jump point, the Davion commanders were utterly surprised. The bitter resistance in the Tikinov Commonality was well known, but to believe that the Capellans could muster the resources to bring such a huge invasion force into Federated Suns territory was thought to be utterly impossible. The large size and strength of the Capellan fleet dispelled any doubts the Davion commanders had before. The battle for the jump point was a brief and bloody affair. The Olympus class recharging facility at the jump point had a squadron of heavy fighters on board, one Leopard CV fighter carrier with its own fighter squadron, and a pair of Avenger class attack dropships to aid in the station’s defense. Against the 116 fighters brought by the invasion force and the numerous Union and Overlord class dropships within the Capellan fleet, the Davion defenders were soon overwhelmed. A pair of Capellan Unions were heavily damaged in the fight and had to be left behind to make repairs while the rest of the invasion force headed toward the planet. Three and a half days later the Capellans were making their ‘Mech drops. The fighters of the Crucis March Militia and Aragon Borderers rose up to meet the Capellan fighter screen, but were soon swamped by them. The Capellan invasion force broke into two groups. The St. Ives Lancers, Black Cobras, Cochraines Goliaths, and the Second McCarrons Armored Cavalry with roughly have the conventional forces landed just west of the Davion military base of Fort Ellison. The other three regiments of McCarron’s Armored Cavalry landed just north of the other principal Davion base of Fort McMichael. Both these forts had been the targets of Operation Riposte ten months before. That time the Capellans had been heavily outnumbered and were destroyed. This time however the Capellans outnumbered their opponents three to one. Colonel McCarron encountered elements of the Crucis March Militia just north of the McMichael River. Scout units encountered a mine field and when engineers were brought up, enemy light ‘Mechs and tanks made a quick attack. Several infantry units suffered heavy casualties before reinforcements from the Armored Cavalry’s main body arrived to drive the enemy off. When the minefield was cleared and the advance resumed, reconnaissance units were once again sent out ahead of the main force. They found elements of the March Militia dug in along the hills of the northern bank along the McMichael River. These units were guarding the only bridge that was within 100 kilometers. The Armored Cavalry attacked the March Militia along a broad front supported by tanks and infantry. The March Militia held out for less than an hour as they were pushed back into the river. Those that could retreated across the bridge and then detonated the explosive charges that had been put in place prior to the battle. With the only easy means of crossing the river destroyed, Colonel McCarron called on his engineers to build him a new bridge. The next day a suitable sight was chosen where the river was wide, but shallow. Jump capable ‘Mechs and hovertanks were sent to guard the southern bank while the engineers went to work. March Militia units tried to disrupt this activity, but were driven off by Capellan fighters that now had complete air supremacy of the skies. Within two days the bridge was complete and the rest of Colonel McCarron’s troops crossed the river. On November 9, the Capellans came within artillery range of Fort McMichael. The two sides blasted at each other for several days, but with Capellan fighters making bombing attacks and sighting for their own artillery, the Militia’s heavy guns were soon silenced. The following day the Capellans staged a long artillery and bombing attack on the Fort’s defenses, Colonel McCarron then ordered his troops to charge in. For three days the two sides slugged it out, but under the relentless pressure of the more numerous Capellan force the Militia broke. Some Davion troops managed to escape into the hills, but most were either killed or captured. Several hundred kilometers away Duchess Liao was moving her force on Fort Ellison and the remnants of the Aragon Borderers. The Borderers had been mauled earlier during the war while invading Huan. Since then the unit had played a key role during Hanse Davion’s Operation Ambush where they helped lure in the Capellan forces to be destroyed by hidden Davion BattleMech units. As a reward the Borderers were awarded the salvage rights to much of the Capellan equipment and put on the road to recovery. At this time the unit had only two ‘Mech battalions and six conventional regiments as support. To fight the Capellans the Borderers used the same strategy they used during Operation Ambush. The Borderers dispersed their units into the hilly forests along the route the Capellans would have to follow to reach Fort Ellison. The Borderers staged numerous ambushes and harassing attacks as the Capellan force made its advance. The Second McCarron’s Armored Cavalry lead the way for Duchess Liao’s force. As soon as the Cavalry encountered elements of the Borderers they were ordered to smash their way through and allow the following units protect their rear and flanks. Though damaging to McCarron’s Armored Cavalry this tactic worked in pushing the Borderers toward Fort Ellison. Within two days the Capellan force was within artillery range of the fort. McCarron’s Armored Cavalry swept around the fort to cut off the retreat of any units trying to escape. The St. Ives Armored Cavalry including the Lancers and Goliaths made the main assault. The Borderers and their conventional units put up heavy resistance, but the battle was hopeless. When the Black Cobras were brought in, the Borderers began surrendering. In one last desperate act of defiance the Borderer’s commander, Colonel Kooper, used his ‘Mech to destroy the fort’s ammunition warehouse. Though it was unfortunate to lose the supplies at Fort Ellison, enough equipment and salvage was taken to make good the Capellan losses. The warehouses at Fort McMichael and at the main spaceport soon filled the Capellan dropships with enough supplies to sustain them for the heavy fighting expected ahead. The Fourth regiment of McCarron’s Armored Cavalry with five conventional regiments were left behind to garrison the planet. On November 21, the Capellan fleet jumped out of the system.
THANKSGIVING On November 16, during the Federated Suns Thanksgiving celebration, Prince Hanse Davion gave a speech in the Notre Dame cathedral on New Avalon. His greatest announcement was that his wife, Lisa Steiner-Davion, was with child. This was great news for the Steiner-Davion Alliance, because with a blood heir the two realms could more firmly cement themselves into a single nation. Three heroes were also decorated during the celebration. The first was Duke Morgan Hasek-Davion, receiving the Order of Davion for his defense of Kathil and subsequent raid on Sian. The two intelligence operatives that had done so much to handicap the Capellan Confederation during the war were honored also. Alex Mallory received the Diamond Sunburst and Justin Xiang-Allard was awarded the Medal Excalibur as well as the Order of Davion. The Prince also gave Justin a personal apology for the insults and hardships he had to undergo in order to win Chancellor Liao’s trust. The Prince then gave thanks for the cease-fire in effect along the Draconis border. With Wolf’s Dragoons aware of the deceitful and barbaric nature of their former employers there was little chance that the Dragon could resume his offensive against the Federated Suns. The people were relieved to hear the Prince talking about the end of the war. Though it took time for the Prince’s speech to circulate across the realm, many planetary governments took steps to resume prewar business and commerce in preparation for the day that the Comstar Interdict would be lifted.
CAPELLAN FROTNT OPERATION REDEMPTION HALLORAN V Once the Capellan fleet left New Aragon it split up. Cochraine’s Goliaths with four conventional regiments jumped to the Halloran system. On November 29, they reached the planet. The arctic world of Halloran V was very similar to the Goliath’s most recent garrison post in the icy tundra of the Ivaar Wastes on St. Andre. The planet had no BattleMech units so the militia fell back upon the defenses of Echo Base, the largest military installation on the planet. The Goliaths landed on an open ice field about fifty kilometers from the base. From there the Goliaths made a slow advance to the Davion base. The Halloran Militia hit the Goliaths when they were twenty kilometers from the base with light hovercraft and Warrior Attack Helicopters. These attacks were annoying, but did little real damage. As the Goliaths came in range, the gun emplacements of the base fired on them doing some damage. The twenty-four Goliath assault ‘Mechs returned fire, sending a deadly shower of LRMs and PPC beams into the defenders. The four Thunderbolts and two Vindicators that made up the rest of the battalion charged forward into the Militia’s trench line creating chaos. The Capellan conventional units then moved in. Under this murderous assault the Militia was broken. Any troops that did not surrender were wiped out. Within two weeks the planet was under Capellan control.
DEMETER When the Capellan fleet jumped from New Aragon the bulk of it went to Demeter. Here the Capellans did not enjoy the same surprise that they had in the previous star system. The jump point defenders were very alert when the Capellan fleet materialized. Two squadrons of fighters, an Achilles, and two Leopard class dropships made up the jump point defense. If not for the Quetzcoatyl and the three squadrons of heavy Transgressor fighters she carried, many Capellan dropships would have been damaged before they could even detach from their jumpships. Moments after entering the system the Capellan fighters launched and managed to delay the Davion ships long enough for the rest of the fleet to deploy. The Davion ships once again fought desperately, but were soon overwhelmed by Capellan numbers. After a bloody boarding action the recharging facility was taken also. The fleet then began utilizing the station’s facilities to repair and recharge their ships. Demeter was another of the lost Chesterton Commonality worlds. The planet had been known for its beautiful forests and wildlife, but since its occupation by House Davion much of the former nature preserves were stripped bare to make way for military installations. Today the planet is a major staging area for attacks into the Confederation. Since the rape of their world much of the indigenous population resented the Davion presence. For this reason Duchess Liao sent only the Fifth regiment of McCarron’s Armored Cavalry and five regiments of conventional troops to liberate the planet. They arrived on November 23. McCarron’s Fifth regiment, commanded by Colonel Robert Heptig, dropped their ‘Mechs just outside the chief spaceport and capital of Alpophorous. Five regiments of infantry and armor opposed them. The Davion defenses around the spaceport were considerable, so Colonel Heptig tried a plan typical of the Armored Cavalry’s style. First the regiment’s aerospace and artillery units made an hour long preparatory bombardment just after twilight. When darkness had fully set in, the main attack occurred using two ‘Mech battalions and most of the infantry and armor units whose dropships could use nearby stretches of highway to land. This attack was directed at the main control tower where the radar and communication facilities were located. The coordination between the artillery/aerospace attack and that of the ground forces was timed perfectly. The Capellan mercenaries pierced the Davion defensive lines and destroyed the control tower along with the radar and communication arrays. The Davion commander threw in his heavy armor reserves and managed to push the Capellans back soon afterward. This however is what Colonel Heptig had planned for. Sending a coded signal back to his dropships still in orbit an Overlord and a pair of Seeker class dropships began their descent onto the planet. Thirty minutes later they were making their final approach to the spaceport. Davion anti-air defenses picked up the Capellan ships only moments before they began descending on the runways. The Capellan dropships cleared away any units foolish enough to stay out in the open where they landed. Next the Capellan ‘Mechs and two battalions of infantry began offloading. They immediately tore into the Davion defenders creating havoc. Colonel Heptig then renewed his attack on the base perimeter. By morning all the defenders were dead or surrendered. A militia relief force of two regiments had been dispatched from surrounding installations, but they were delayed by Capellan aerospace units. By the time they reached the vicinity of the capital, McCarron’s Armored Cavalry met them out in the open where they were quickly defeated. The remaining Davion garrison soon fled into the hills where they were hunted by pro-Liao guerillas.
CHESTERTON As the Fifth regiment of McCarron’s Armored Cavalry headed toward the planet Demeter the rest of the Capellan fleet at the jump point broke into two groups. Duchess Liao utilized the recharging station to help quick charge her jumpships and left the system on November 26. Left behind were the Second and Third McCarron’s Armored Cavalry regiments as well as six conventional regiments under the direct command of Colonel Archibald McCarron. On November 29, his portion of the Capellan fleet left Demeter as well. Their destination was Chesterton. For almost two hundred years the commonality capital of Chesterton had been under Davion rule. In the past the planet was an important commerce center, exporting pharmaceuticals and clothing fiber. These industries were seriously hurt during the Succession Wars and today the planet was most noteworthy for its Davion military bases. Colonel McCarron’s invasion force arrived at the nadir jump point surprising two Merchant class jumpships that had been recharging their K-F drives. The single aerospace squadron at the recharging station was easily destroyed by the Capellan mercenaries’ fighters. The two jumpships were boarded and captured. On board the two ships were war supplies headed for the front. The Capellans made the journey to the planet in four and a half days, arriving on December 3. They landed on the planet’s largest continent called Matissa. McCarron’s Armored Cavalry destroyed the planetary militia that tried to oppose them in several pitched battles. Most of Chesterton’s original garrison had been taken offworld to occupy conquered Capellan worlds. Left behind were only four regiments of militia troops. Since 75% of Chesterton’s surface was covered by water, Colonel McCarron was faced with a unique problem in trying to conquer the planet. He attacked the problem with the typical audacity his unit was famous for. Instead of trying to take the planet all at once, he had his forces concentrate on controlling the continent of Matissa first. With this accomplished he fortified his position and then moved out to take the other island chains. Going after the larger islands first, Colonel McCarron slowly brought the planet under his control. Capturing Davion satellites in orbit and then reprogramming them for his own surveillance helped to keep track of Davion troop movements. By the end of December most of the planet was under his control.
TIKINOV The planet of Tikinov had probably seen the heaviest fighting of the entire war. When Tormana Liao lead reinforcements to the planet in October,3028, he managed to bolster the crumbling defenses. The tide almost turned against the invading Crucis Lancers when the Second and Third RCTs suffered heavy casualties near Karaganda and then the Fifth Lancers practically ceased to exist in the Great Ufa Desert. In April, 3029, the Capellan Operations Command sent the Eighth Deneb Light Cavalry RCT and the Seventy-first Light Horse regiment to help the Crucis Lancers take the planet once and for all. In the great western forests of the Kazan continent Tormana Liao’s Battle Group lead the First and Second Crucis Lancers on a never ending chase. With most of Tormana’s heavy equipment destroyed, the majority of their conventional units were infantry. The Battle Group did exceedingly well in leading the Crucis Lancers into numerous ambushes. Aerospace units did not help the Davion troops much both because of the denseness of the forest and the extensive use of decoys used by the Capellan forces. The small towns and logging communities provided food supplies to Tormana’s men during their guerilla campaign. The Ariana Grenadiers, foreseeing the need for ammunition and spare parts, had brought all their supply stores down from their post in the mountains. They were stored in hidden caches throughout the huge forest. In addition, the Capellans stripped bare any units they defeated. The First and Second Crucis Lancers relied on supply shipments from Karaganda and small ports along the southern Kazan coast. Many of these had to be shipped by rail or trucks which was rather hazardous especially when coming from the Karaganda isthmus. The Crucis Lancers could not rely on the locals very much for help. Many civilians had to be forced to work on the railroads and dockyards. When increasing inefficiency and occasional sabotage hampered their efforts, the Lancers had to delegate their troops to watch over the workers and sometimes use their troops exclusively, especially in areas that were particularly unfriendly to the Davion invaders. When the Eighth Deneb Light Cavalry showed up, Marshals Powell and Riggs welcomed the reinforcements. The three Davion Marshals developed a plan to finally destroy the Liao Battle Group. The First and Second Crucis Lancers would enter the great forest from the east and west trying to force the Capellan troops to fall back. The Eighth Deneb would then start moving up from the south. Between the three of them they hoped to force the Liao troops north and eventually out of the forest onto the central Kazan plateau. Then out in the open the Davion troops would be able to destroy the Liao defenders. The Davion commanders implemented their plan, but after a month they found that it was much easier to execute on the holotank than on the ground. The Kazan forest was a thousand kilometers long and 600 kilometers wide. The Davion commanders continued with the operation, doggedly interdicting themselves between the Capellans in every direction except north. Months began to pass and large sections of the forest were destroyed, but the Capellans were eventually caught in the Davion ring and were slowly pushed toward the open expanses of the northern plateau. In late November the Liao Battle Group had been reduced to five ‘Mech companies and two regiments of infantry. Supplies were very low with most of their caches used up or inaccessible behind enemy lines. The Davions had also suffered considerably. The First Lancers were down a battalion of ‘Mechs and had lost more than a third of their conventional force. The Second Lancers were even worse off. They had a single over-strength battalion of ‘Mechs and had lost a little more than half their conventional troops. The Deneb Light Cavalry RCT was still strong with only light ‘Mech losses and about five battalions of support troops taken out of action. On November 26, communication signals were received by the Davion Marshals stating that additional reinforcements had arrived. Colonel Westrick signaled that the Crater Cobras had been sent to end the fighting on Tikinov. Colonel Westrick was informed where the Capellan troops were suspected of being. The Colonel then told the Davion Marshals that he would land his force northeast of the Capellans along the edge of the Kazan Forest. Two hours before the Crater Cobras were due to arrive the Liao Battle Group broke from cover and headed forty-five kilometers north into the small town of Karska. Davion aerospace units immediately attacked them, killing some of the slower moving infantry units and taking down several ‘Mechs before the Battle Group could make it to the relative safety of the town. The Davion ‘Mech regiments were elated that they could finally bring their full force to bear on the annoying Capellans. Within an hour the Davion forces were spread out in a crescent formation south of the town, they then moved in to attack. The Deneb Light Cavalry formed the center while the First Lancers formed the left flank and the Second Lancers formed the right. By this time the Crater Cobra’s dropships were coming into the atmosphere. A pair of Davion fighter lances moved up to guide the reinforcements in, but were suddenly attacked. The Davion troops found that this new force was not just the Crater Cobras, but another Capellan Battle Group. Colonel Westrick of the Crater Cobras helped fool the Davion commanders so that Duchess Liao’s force could get into position for the attack. Her fleet had jumped into the Tikinov system at a non-standard jump point that was only several days away. The Capellan fighters now cut into those of House Davion. The Capellans had the advantage of attacking the Davion fighters from higher altitude and having their force augmented by the fighter wing from the Quetzcoatl. The Capellan dropships broke into two groups. The single battalion of the Black Cobras, the Crater Cobra assault unit, along with two heavy tank battalions landed at the northern edge of the Kazan Forest, behind the Davion forces. Candace Liao’s St. Ives Armored Cavalry along with the remainder of the conventional forces landed behind Tormana Liao’s Battle Group. Cadace Liao had been in contact with her brother since the Davion commanders had given them the whereabouts of her brother’s Battle Group. After a coded radio signal was sent to contact Tormana Liao, a laser transmitter was then set up between the Capellan forces so that they could communicate with each other without the Davion troops listening in. The plan they came up with was for Tormana to lure the Davion forces out. Then a heavy assault force would land in their rear. Cadace Liao’s St. Ives Lancers, Justinia’s Cuirassiers, Sung’s Cuirassiers, and five battalions of Home Guard troops would join Tormana’s Battle Group and push the Davion forces into the Black Cobras using the hammer and anvil technique to squash the Davion troops between them. The battle lasted all day and night. By morning the tattered remnants of the Davion RCTs had managed to break off. The price of the battle was heavy for both sides. Tormana’s ‘Mech strength was reduced to an over-strength company. All that remained of his infantry were two battered companies. Candace Liao’s Battle Group fared a little better with almost 50% casualties to Justinia’s and Sung’s Cuirassier ‘Mech regiments. Her own St. Ives Lancers had lost twenty-one ‘Mechs. Damage to the Home Guard regiments was slightly less than 40%. Colonel Westrick’s Black Cobras had received heavy damage, but very few of their ‘Mechs were actually destroyed. The Davion casualties were much worse. The Second Crucis Lancers for all practical purposes ceased to exist. The First Crucis Lancers were reduced to a single ‘Mech battalion and three battered conventional regiments. The Eighth Deneb Light Cavalry had lost almost half of its ‘Mech strength and slightly more than half its support regiments. The Davion forces retreated in good order back to Karaganda. The Capellans were content to let them leave.
OTHER ACTIONS On the other side of Tikinov on the continent of Ufa two other great battles were being fought. At the city of Vorguta the Third and Fourth Crucis Lancer RCTs were attacking the First Chesterton Voltigeurs Battle Group and the First Kearny Highlanders. Fighting had been harsh for the Capellan units because the two Lancer RCTs had a considerable numeric advantage in conventional support. By September, the city defenses were in shambles. Thousands of kilometers away at Tselingrad the defenders were only a little better off. When the Seventh Crucis Lancers RCT had moved in to support the remnants of the Fifth Lancer RCT, a harsh desert campaign ensued. The Capellans had the advantage of more ‘Mechs and a secure base at Tselingrad. The Lancers had more conventional troops, but had to rely on supply drops into the desert. The arrival of the Seventy-first Light Horse of the Eridani Light Horse turned things around for the Davion campaign. The lighting attacks and raids committed by the Light Horse soon put the Capellans on the defensive. By September the Second Chesterton Voltigeurs and Second Kearny Highlanders had been forced back into the city of Tselingrad. On September 5, an aerospace fighter managed to slip through the Davion fighter screen at Vorguta and made it to Tselingrad. Informants from inside the city told the Davion commanders that the Northwind Highlanders were going to pull out of Tikinov and would rejoin their brethren on their recaptured home world of Northwind. Observers at both Vorguta and Tselingrad confirmed that the Highlanders were making preparations to leave. On September 12, Highlander dropships from both cities lifted off. Davion fighters harassed them as the dropships lifted off for orbit, but the Davion commanders had most of their forces concentrate on the two under-strength Capellan garrisons. Now that the Highlanders were leaving the Davion commanders were overjoyed that they could bring an end to their portion of the Tikinov campaign. The Davion commanders’ plans were rudely interrupted when their fighters reported that the Highlander dropships were moving into position to make a ‘Mech drop. Before Davion fighters could stop them the Highlanders’ own fighters punched a hole through the Davion air cover allowing the First and Second Kearny Highlanders to drop onto the Third and Fourth Crucis Lancers around Vorguta. The Lancers reaction to the Highlander attack was disorganized and matters were made even more difficult when the First Chesterton Voltigeur’s Battle Group sallied out of city. The two Lancer RCTs suffered heavy casualties before fighters from the Davion forces around Tselingrad could support their retreat. The Capellan forces, after gathering all the battle salvage, loaded onto their dropships and took off. They soon landed back at Tselingrad whose defenses and stocks of supplies were much better than those at Vorguta. The Crucis Lancer RCTs on Ufa then gathered around Tselingrad, but the fight had been taken out of them. Sporadic artillery and fighter bombing attacks occurred, but the Davion commanders were inclined to wait until the Capellans could be crushed on the continent of Kazan and thus free up reinforcements to help them take Tselingrad.
TIKOGRAD In April when reinforcements arrived to help the Davion invasion of Tikinov, the Sixth and Eighth Crucis Lancers seemed very close to taking the city. Though they still had not been able to crush the Bloodriders, the Lancers occupied advantageous positions in the city. The Eighth Lancers held positions along the north side, encircling the administrative section of the city. The Sixth Lancers had the southern half of the city surrounded and occupied the residential section. Colonel Rider, assuming the role of commander of Tikograd, had elected to abandon the residential section, but encouraged the local Maskirovka to maintain a presence there. One armor and two infantry regiments were delegated to hold the administrative section. These units had received heavy casualties and were low on supplies. The underground subway tunnels, both commercial and the secret military ones, that linked the three major sections of the city had been found by Davion seismic sensors and destroyed. Two Bloodrider ‘Mechs were buried with their pilots when the tunnels were blown. Without re-supply or the mobile reinforcements of the Bloodriders to aid them the administrative section would soon be forced to surrender. The industrial section of the city was better off with two infantry and two armor regiments of the Home Guard as garrison. The two remaining companies of the Bloodriders also chose the industrial section as their base of operations. The armament factories and the stockpiles of repair parts and ammunition were key to the Capellans’ resistance. The Crucis Lancers also handicapped themselves by trying to avoid damaging the weapon factories. It was quickly becoming apparent that this would not last much longer. Several of the smaller munitions plants had already been selectively targeted and destroyed either by artillery or air attack. Rubble from buildings and burned out war machines littered the industrial section. Many workers now lived in their factories to keep the Capellan defenders supplied. The Earthwerks ‘Mech factory was the most fought over territory in the city. By far the most desirable industry of the planet, the Davion troops had staged countless attacks to retake the facility after being forced out back in October. Each time however they were thrown back. The ‘Mech factory was recognized by all to be the key for victory for the Davions and the last hope for survival of the city’s resistance. The Earthwerks factory was still running, though at vastly reduced capacity. About a third of the Bloodrider’s remaining ‘Mechs had been produced directly by the ‘Mech plant. Retirees and green cadets from Tikinov’s Martial Academy piloted the new machines that came off the assembly line so that even though fighting had been heavy, the Bloodrider’s numbers had remained fairly constant. On May 16, a terrible storm blew across the city of Tikograd. The Davion commanders, Marshal Wargo and Marshal Gossiage, decided to take advantage of the limited visibility and inaccurate sensor scans afforded by the storm. They mounted their attack from the north and south sides of the industrial section. Two small task groups then sneaked in from the east and west sides of the sector. These two groups would converge on the Earthwerks factory and try to capture it while the rest of the Capellan defenders were occupied by the main attack. While the Lancers tightened their ring around the city, the Eighth Crucis Lancers fell under attack from an unexpected direction. The Eighth Lancer’s commander, Marshal Wargo, was forced to divert troops back to his rear areas which according to reports were under attack by a large conventional force of Capellan troops. After the stormy night sky was lit up by the explosions coming from his ammunition dump outside the city, Marshal Wargo called off his portion of the assault on Tikograd’s industrial section. While the Eighth Lancers pulled back, a desperate firefight was taking place at the ‘Mech factory. A pair of Bloodrider heavy ‘Mechs were holding off the Sixth Lancer’s task group that had infiltrated the city. The Eighth Lancer’s task group had already been eliminated when it ran into a group of defenders moving to support the troops on the north wall. Reinforcements finally arrived at the ‘Mech factory and destroyed the Sixth Lancer’s assault unit, but in order to send the reinforcements, troops had been pulled from the southern wall. The Capellan forces were being eliminated at an alarming rate on the south wall against the Sixth Lancer’s main attack. The Capellan troops’ sacrifice did buy time for units on the north wall to move to their aid after the Eighth Lancers called off their assault. With the additional reinforcements and the Davion troops penetrating into unknown parts of the city, the Capellans halted the Sixth Lancer’s advance and counterattacked. As the storm continued to strengthen the Sixth Lancers decided to pull back. Several hours later the attacks on Marshal Wargo’s Eighth Lancer rear areas had ceased. By midmorning the storm had blown itself out and Davion air reconnaissance took off to locate and identify the unknown attackers. Over the next few days the night attackers had been spotted near the western mountains two hundred kilometers from Tikograd. Observation photos of unit markings and insignias identified the troops as units belonging to the Tau Ceti Battle Group defeated and scattered the year before. The Davion Marshals were mystified as to how the battle group could have been reformed without their knowledge and especially after such a long time since it had been defeated. What the Davion Marshals did not know was that the Capellan troops’ leader was Colonel Teng, Duke of Tikinov. The Colonel had been in command of the Tau Ceti Battle Group and was believed to have been killed when the Eighth Lancers defeated them last October. The Colonel had survived and had used all the remaining time to scrounge up as many survivors of the Battle Group as well any militia and reservists he could find. Instead of gathering them all in one location where they would easily be spotted by Davion aerial reconnaissance or the new Davion spy satellites that now orbited the planet, Colonel Teng had the troops assemble at numerous homesteads, farming communes, and other small towns across the great Kazani Steppe. The Colonel kept spies observing the battle at Tikinov while he bided his time to strike. Finally the Colonel received weather reports from the outposts along the northern coast of the continent. A large weather front was moving in that would blind most of the spy satellites and make aerial reconnaissance very difficult. Using the weather front to help hide his assembling force he was able to get very close to the preoccupied Eighth Lancers before they detected him. With nine regiments, a little more than half of which were reserves and militia, he attacked the Davion troops from the rear and succeeded in destroying tons of the Eighth Lancers’ supplies and repair apparatus. After the Davion RCT finally began to organize a defense against him, the Colonel pulled back to the western mountains where he had been stockpiling supplies and making suitable defenses. After taking stock of the damage done to his force, Marshal Wargo informed Marshal Gossiage that the Eighth Lancers could continue only at vastly reduced effectiveness. The loss of supplies and repair equipment would greatly inhibit the RCT’s ability to continue offensive operations even if they shared with the Sixth Lancers. The Eighth Lancers also suffered heavy casualties among their support personnel as well as the destruction of almost two regiments of infantry. Supplies could eventually be replaced after next month’s scheduled shipment from the Federated Suns, but getting replacement support personnel would take longer. With the new Capellan threat located, both Davion RCTs pulled back and started constructing obstacles to interdict Colonel Teng’s forces in the mountains. Though both Davion Marshals agreed that they would probably have an easier time defeating the Capellans in the mountains, such an idea was rejected because it would probably take both their RCTs to accomplish it. The defenders in Tikograd would meanwhile rebuild all the defenses the Davion forces had managed to destroy and thus force them to break through them again when they returned. The Davion Marshals took the rest of June and July to consolidate their gains and reorganize their forces. On June 20, Tikograd’s administrative section surrendered after a steady barrage of attacks. The Davion logistics and interplanetary transport network had previously been spread out to the cities surrounding Tikograd. This was changed and moved to a few large cities along the continent’s east coast. Though this put a great distance between the Davions and their supplies, it also put them out of harms way from any Capellan forces on the continent. Due to the terrain the supply routes were also much more easily defended, both from insurgents and any regular Capellan Armed Forces that tried to bypass the Davion RCTs at Tikograd. The defenders of Tikograd as well as Colonel Teng were not idle during this time. Despite frequent aerial and artillery bombardment, the Capellan forces inside Tikograd managed to strengthen the city’s defenses. Supplies however were becoming a problem. Tikograd had a vast underground network of bunkers and storage shelters where hordes of ammunition, spare parts, and raw materials were kept. Much of these, however, were spread throughout the city. When the great outer wall was taken and the defenders reduced to the single industrial section, many of the supply bunkers were lost to them. They were either destroyed by Davion troops or by the Capellans themselves. Colonel Rider felt that the Capellans had enough military supplies to last another month and a half under full battle conditions. There was a chance however that he could recover some of the supplies from a couple supply bunkers that were still hidden. Most of the supply bunkers in the residential section had been destroyed when the Capellans fell back upon the industrial section. Since the residential section was given up without a fight however, a few of the supply bunkers had been left intact. The only problem was that Colonel Rider had no way of getting to those bunkers. All the underground tunnels leading to the residential section had been destroyed and he did not have enough military strength to fight his way through and still be able to protect the supplies he meant to recover. Colonel Rider had little time to contemplate the matter further because on August 1, the Davion forces staged the first of a series of heavy assaults on the industrial section. The Sixth Crucis Lancers launched their spearhead from the southwest and the Eighth Crucis Lancers launched theirs from the northeast. Their objective was to cut the industrial section in two with the Earthwerks ‘Mech factory encircled in the smaller half. Any buildings around the ‘Mech factory even if they were weapons factories would be leveled to isolate the place. The Davion forces soon learned their advance would be very difficult. Despite a day long artillery and aerial bombardment the Davion assault units still had to slog through vibrabombs, anti-personal mines, conventional mines, concertina wire, and all other manner of obstacles and booby traps. A Davion ‘Mech couldn’t pass a pile of rubble without an infantryman lighting him up with an inferno launcher. Further complicating matters was that there were subway and hidden military tunnels within the industrial section that were as yet unknown to the Davion troops. This allowed Colonel Rider to divert his troops from sector to sector without being seen until they emerged with their guns blazing. The Davion Marshals were perplexed when their troops reported fighting almost two battalions of ‘Mechs, half of which seemed to be defending the city and the other half defending the ‘Mech factory. What they didn’t know was that there was a reinforced military supply tunnel connecting the Earthwerks factory with other industries in the city. This allowed Colonel Rider to move ‘Mech troops in and out of the heavy fighting around the factory as needed, his actual ‘Mech strength was only about a battalion. In September the Davion spearheads had linked up, isolating the factory. They then began attacking the complex in earnest. Since the Davion Marshals were still determined to take the factory without destroying it, the Bloodriders were able to throw back the troops sent against them. On September 9, the Davion troops delegated to guard the obstacles hemming in Colonel Teng’s Battle Group reported they were under attack by massed artillery fire. The Davion commanders suspected another heavy attack from them because heavy rains and high winds were predicted to sweep down into the region from the north. Aerospace forces were diverted to suppress the attack, but were themselves subject to massed anti-aircraft fire. On September 12, when the first heavy showers began to fall, the Capellan Battle Group advanced. The two Davion mechanized infantry and armor regiments meant to hold them were swept aside by the overwhelming numbers. The Sixth and Eighth Crucis Lancers soon had to send their entire aerowings to slow the Capellan troops. The Davion aeropilots reported massed infantry formations with many of them transporting their supplies by horse and mule! Davion aerofighters inflicted appalling casualties, but the Capellan Battle Group inexorably pushed forward. The fighter’s reports of Capellan numbers were confirmed by satellite photo blowups of the Capellan troop formations. Twelve regiments of Capellan conventional troops were advancing toward Tikograd. The Davion Marshals decided to stall their attack on Tikograd, to defeat the advancing Capellan Battle Group. Each Davion RCT devoted one ‘Mech battalion, one armor regiment and two infantry regiments to destroy the Capellan force. To pave the way for their attack the RCTs’ entire aerospace contingent would make a single massed assault. Colonel Rider within Tikograd immediately became aware of the Davion’s unwillingness to press the attack against him. Scouts who had slipped outside the city reported the diversion of Davion troops and had captured some Davion soldiers who told of heavy fighting to the northwest. Colonel Rider saw this as his one and only chance to go after the supplies in the residential section of the city. He quickly selected a force to make the attempt. During the evening of September 17, fourteen Bloodrider ‘Mechs assaulted the Sixth Crucis Lancer’s positions. The attack surprised the Davion troops and the Bloodrider ‘Mechs made it to the residential section before more Davion troops could be brought against them. The Bloodriders and the Maskirovka agents inside the residential section secured the supply caches. They then began loading the supplies on specially made transport capsules that would be propelled down the Blue Volga River which flowed through both the residential and industrial sections of the city. It was hoped that with the Bloodrider ‘Mechs escorting a convoy of trucks out of the residential section’s gate, the Davion troops would focus on them and not on the half submerged transport capsules moving down the river. The Bloodriders charged out of the residential section pushing as fast as they could with the convoy of trucks, filled mostly with scrap metal and refuse, following close behind. When the Bloodriders were halfway to the industrial section the Crucis Lancers sprung their own trap. A battalion of ‘Mechs reinforced with infantry and armor from the Sixth Crucis Lancers blocked the Bloodriders advance to the industrial section while a similar force from the Eighth Lancers blocked their retreat to the residential section. The day before on September 16, the Davion forces staged their heavy assault on Colonel Teng’s Capellan Battle Group. The torrent of firepower stopped the Capellans cold. Though foul weather hampered the Davion’s efforts, the ill-trained infantry and light vehicles arrayed against them were hardly a challenge for BattleMechs and aerospace fighters. The Capellan forces retreated with the Davion troops pursuing. The following day the Davion troops ran into heavy artillery fire and unexpected defensive obstacles thrown up by the Capellans during their prior advance. As the Davion forces became more enmeshed in this battle, Colonel Teng attacked with his real task force. Colonel Teng had amassed as many militia and artillery units as he could into his mountain stronghold, increasing his strength from nine to sixteen regiments of troops. The majority of these troops were the last of Tikinov’s reserves on the Kazan continent. Old men and boys comprised most of their ranks, but Colonel Teng needed a sizeable force to distract the Davion forces. Using the larger militia force as a diversion, Colonel Teng had gathered the veterans of his Home Guard units into two mechanized infantry and two armor regiments. These had slowly and secretly been deployed through the mountains to the south. When he was sure the Davions were fully committed against his troops to the northwest of Tikograd, he attacked. Colonel Teng planned on relieving the Tikograd garrison by giving them troops and supplies. With this latest setback to the Davion invasion the Colonel hoped to buy more time to rally reserve troops from the other continents. Colonel Teng’s veteran assault force hit the Sixth Crucis Lancers from the south on September 17. Much of the Sixth’s forward supply dumps and the airfield for its fighter wing were overrun. Soon they had pushed to the outskirts of Tikograd. Inside the city Colonel Rider felt that his force would soon be destroyed, but unexpectedly units from the Sixth Crucis Lancers began falling back. The Capellan troops within the industrial section were also attacking, but the Sixth Lancers were not diverting troops against them. Colonel Rider began receiving signals from Colonel Teng’s force outside the city. Soon Capellan hover APCs and tanks were moving through the large gaps blasted in Tikograd’s great outer wall. Colonel Rider’s troops covered them as they made their way into the industrial section. By morning most of the Capellan forces had made it. To the northwest the Crucis Lancer attack on the Tikinov reserve troops was halted and units sent streaming back to reinforce the units at Tikograd. This gave time for the routing Capellan troops to get back into the mountains and behind the more substantial defenses set there. Losses among the Capellan reserve units were high. Almost three whole regiments had been annihilated and enough troops to comprise three more were presumed captured or deserted. In return the Davion troops had suffered heavy casualties to an infantry and armor regiment. Many aerospace fighters were damaged by ground fire and weather, but few were actually destroyed. Losses to all other units were light. The Davion Marshals considered this most recent campaign however to be a hollow victory at best. The Capellan conventional forces inside Tikograd had almost doubled in size and been re-supplied. The Sixth Lancer forces around Tikograd had suffered significant damage as well as having lost much of their forward supplies. Of more critical importance was that they lost four aerospace fighters on the ground. On September 19, the Capellans in Tikograd staged a heavy attack. By evening the Sixth Lancers had been pushed outside the great outer wall of the city and the Eighth Lancers had to fall back into the administrative section. The following day the troops sent to deal with Colonel Teng’s diversionary Battle Group had returned and the Lancers staged a counterattack. Within two days the superior ‘Mech strength of the two Davion RCTs pushed the Capellans back. By September 24, the Capellans had been force back into the industrial section. Both sides postponed further attacks until repairs could be made. The Davions then began building extensive defensive works within Tikograd to contain the defenders within the industrial section. Artillery and aerial bombardment kept the Capellan’s interference to a minimum. On October 10, the New Volga River that flowed into Tikograd from the west before splitting into the White and Blue Volga Rivers began to diminish. By October 18, the mighty rivers had become only a pair of minor creeks. Capellan scouts who slipped outside the city reported a massive engineering project to the west where Davion troops had dammed up the river. The Davion Marshals waited almost a month before making their attack. The Marshals were optimistic, their infiltrators and reports from prisoners said that the Capellans were running out of water and that one of the industrial section’s water reservoirs had cracked and been contaminated by sewage. This caused an outbreak of bacteria poisoning among the Capellans. The Crucis Lancers began their first heavy assaults on November 16. Fighting was fierce for two weeks, but the Capellans managed to hold out. The supplies and troops added to the Tikograd defenders in September had given them an almost even parity in conventional troop strength against the Davions. The heavy BattleMechs of the two Lancer RCTs continued to push into the industrial section and the bloodiest fighting once again centered around the ‘Mech factory. The assault ‘Mechs of the Bloodriders however continued to throw them back. On November 27, the Davion attack was halted. Losses amongst conventional troops was hampering the Lancer’s attack. Word had also been received about the defeat of the Davion units west of the central Kazan Mountain Range and the arrival of Candace Liao’s Capellan reinforcement fleet. Marshals Wargo and Gossiage began considering the serious possibility of this new Battle Group making attacks on them. On December 1, the Davion Marshals of all the Regimental Combat Teams on Tikinov held a conference. Of the original eight and the two reinforcement RCTs sent to Tikinov, only about half remained. It was little consolation that the Capellans were little better off. Plans were made to consolidate forces and concentrate on their opponents one at a time. Marshals Wargo and Gossiage naturally felt Tikograd was the key to the planet, but the other Davion Marshals were not so certain. On December 3, the entire matter was taken out of their hands. The AFFS Capellan Operations Command had just received the latest reports of the situation along the Capellan Front and things did not look good. Defeat on Sarna, Palos, and St. Andre. Loss of New Aragon, Demeter, Halloran V, and Cheseterton. The damage done to the power facilities for the Kathil Naval Base also had implications for the Capellan Campaign. With these disasters taking their toll on men, material, and transport assets, the COC with Prince Hanse Davion’s permission ordered the withdrawal from Tikinov. Though many of the Davion Marshals were reluctant to give up yet, many of the RCTs’ soldiers were all too happy to be given the order to return home.
END OF WAR After the withdraw from Tikinov no more new offensives were attempted by any of the Successor States. All Houses began consolidating their gains by sending troops to garrison newly conquered worlds and making the occasional raid against their neighbors to make sure the unsteady peace would hold. The Successor State armies were all worn out and in dire need of repair, replacement parts, and personnel. Of all the Successor Lords Prince Hanse Davion seemed the most willing to continue the conflict. Troop movements along the Capellan Front seemed to indicate a renewed attack was imminent, but messages sent between Candace Liao and Takashi Kurita prompted the redeployment of Draconis troops along the Federated Suns border. A fact that was soon noticed by the AFFS. All across the Inner Sphere the skirmishing came to an end. Along the Steiner-Marik border both sides had called a truce. The Lyrans were stretched to their limit by fighting both the League and the Combine. Janos Marik was happy to see the truce because his army was also worn out. Parliament was threatening to cut defense funding if he did not stop the fighting. Coordinator Takashi Kurita, seeing that his nation was exhausted from fighting a two front war, ordered his troops to not take no more offensive action. As the Successor States sent out diplomats to formalize the cessation of hostilities, Comstar made preparations to lift the Interdict on House Davion. After stringent negotiation, the Interdict was lifted from the Federated Suns on December 17. Newly elected Primus of Comstar, Myndo Waterly, exacted a price for lifting the Interdict. The new state comprising the Steiner-Davion alliance had to agree to allow Comstar to place its own troops at all of its facilities. Though many within the Federated Suns and Lyran Commonwealth government did not like this arrangement, the nations could not go without Comstar services. Prince Davion sent word to Archon Katrina Steiner about his desire to send peace negotiators to formally end the war which the Archon wholeheartedly agreed to. With Comstar mediation a peace plan was hammered out between the Successor States. On February 19, members of the five Great Houses signed the Comstar Peace Pact. Romano Liao, now acting-Chancellor in place of her father, refused to sign or recognize the Pact. Tormana and Candace Liao signed over their sister’s objections. Tormana, who elevated himself to Prefect of the Tikinov Commonality, began secret negotiations with the puppet state of the Free Tikinov Republic. Tormana felt a mutual defense pact with the small state, especially when it was backed by the Federated Suns, would give his sister Romano second thoughts about forcing him to comply with her new rule. Candace Liao took things a step further by breaking formal government ties with the Confederation and declaring her St. Ives Commonality as the St. Ives Compact. Soon afterward she married her one-time lover, the spy, Justin Xiang-Allard and through him signed a defense pact with the Federated Suns. Lord Victor Hargreaves, Prefect of Chesterton Commonality in-exile slipped away from Romano Liao on Sian and made it to his family’s hereditary homeland of Chesterton. By drawing from his family’s vast fortune he hired McCarron’s Armored Cavalry and Cochrine’s Goliaths to be the protectors of the newly liberated Chesterton Commonality (and through his new employment of these troops ensured his position as head of the new Commonality government). Lord Hargreaves was also quick to sign defense pacts with Tormana Liao, the Tikinov Free Republic, and the Federated Suns.
SUPPLEMENTAL Before the Fourth Succession War’s official end in February, 3030, there were several noteworthy occurrences that happened during the final months of November and December, 3029. The first of these occurred during early November on New Avalon before the Federated Suns Thanksgiving celebration. As one final act to satisfy the Coordinator’s sense of pride he sent a strike force to destroy the New Avalon Institute of Science as payment for Prince Davion’s destruction of a Star League library cache the Combine had discovered some years before. The members of this unit were all awardees of the Combine’s Banner of the Fallen Samurai. Soldiers who either felt their honor needed to be further satisfied by Davion blood, those who performed poorly during the invasion, or some how failed their lord and Coordinator Takashi Kurita. Tai-sa Moriushi who had failed the Coordinator years before during the Galtor campaign was chosen to lead the assault. The ‘Mech battalion slipped onto New Avalon gaining complete surprise (those with Alpha 1 clearance may inquire further as to how this was accomplished). Moriushi’s Assault Battalion attacked the NAIS, but the First Prince himself lead a fierce counterattack with members of the recovering Team Banzai mercenary unit. After heavy fighting and the continual arrival of more Davion reinforcements, Moriushi’s Assault Battalion was crushed. The Kurita unit did manage to damage some of the NAIS facility. The Free Worlds League also sent a daring assault force to their enemy’s capital world. The Marik Guard was sent to Tharkad to damage an aerospace production facility. This was done in order to gain a quick high profile victory that would help silence that Captain-General’s opponents in the League Parliament especially after the debacle along the Lyran border near Terra. Once again the GOP lead by Member of Parliament Sir Charles Smith of Amity was calling for a vote of no confidence in Captain-General Janos Marik. The Marik Guard arrived in late December and the mission’s military goal was successful, but at a high cost. Casualties were high and the unit had to be disbanded upon their return. In addition, the political objective that produced the mission turned out to be unnecessary because of Duke Christopher Halas’ victory on Bolan and the overall success of Operation Dagger. The Captain-General put his support behind Sir Charles Smith’s call for the vote. The resulting totals were 357 in support of the Captain-General, 121 voted against him, and only 22 abstained.
CONCLUSION The Fourth Succession War killed approximately a hundred million people and many more than that were injured. Almost eighty trillion C-bills of property was destroyed and approximately seventy-five million people were displaced from their homes. The Capellan Confederation was by far the worst off after the war. It had lost 62 star systems to the Federated Suns and lost its influence on almost twenty more worlds after the Peace Pact was signed. The Capellan military and economy was in shambles. The defection of Colonel Ridzik and the destruction or defeat of some of the Confederation’s most prestigious units like the Death Commandos and Warrior House Immarra were terrible blows. At the same time however, the people were heartened by the impossible defense of the Tikinov Commonality worlds and the liberation of Chesterton, a fact that Romano Liao used to gain validity for her own usurpation of power. The Capellan state had also changed, it had become closer to being a true confederation. The Tikinov and Chesterton Commonalties, though outwardly maintaining ties to the Celestial Throne on Sian, considered themselves equal partners and would not be dictated too by any Capellan Chancellor. The Draconis Combine was both a loser and a winner at war’s end. It had lost an amazing 53 star systems to the Lyran Commonwealth which had always in the past been thought to be inferior. Their losses on the Lyran front were offset somewhat by their gains from the Federated Suns. The Dragon took 36 star systems from House Davion. The unexpected resistance on many of the systems, the war on the Lyran Front, and the Kuritan’s conventional approach to planetary assaults prevented them from taking more. The feud with Wolf’s Dragoons is another factor the Coordinator brought upon himself. His pursuit for victory over the Federated Suns blinded him to the needs of both his soldiers and his realm. The Free Worlds League had gained much more than it lost over the course of the war. The League had taken 33 star systems from the Lyran Commonwealth in exchange for the loss of 10 near Terra. The worlds along the periphery edge of the Commonwealth had long ago been affiliated with the League and were welcomed as long lost members. The isolation of many of these worlds also gave League traders new markets to freely explore. The worlds taken in the Skye region, though still chafing from their conquest, were welcome additions to the League industrial base. One of the League’s greatest prizes from the war was the technology and machinery taken from Hesperus II. Already the booty was being assimilated into two of the League’s key ‘Mech factories on the worlds of Kalidasa and Irian. The war was also a great personal victory for Captain-General Janos Marik. Though Parliament tried to downplay the victories of the Captain-General, it could not be ignored that it was the Marik’s policy reforms that won all that the Free Worlds had gained. The Lyran Commonwealth could also be considered a winner. The Commonwealth had taken 53 star systems from the Draconis Combine and lost only two from their counterattack. Five worlds were also wrested from the Free Worlds League near Terra. Though damage to the facilities on Hesperus II was a harsh blow, given time and the industriousness of Lyran businesses the Commonwealth would be able to make good their losses. The Federated Suns can only slightly be considered a winner. The worlds gained from the Capellan Confederation offset those lost from the Draconis Combine. The greatest blow received by the Federated Suns was to its military. Many of the units involved in the fighting were by wars end at 50% strength or less. Other units, especially along the Draconis Front, were eliminated entirely. The effects of the Comstar Interdict were also very damaging to the Federated Sun’s economy though its effect to the Davion military were less than expected. If not for the new alliance with the Lyran Commonwealth the Armed Forces of the Federated Suns would take a long time to recover. With the Commonwealth’s industrial might to back them however, the Capellan Confederation and Draconis Combine would not have much time before House Davion was rebuilt to its prewar strength. The newly formed nation formed by the alliance of House Davion and House Steiner could also be considered a winner. This new Federated Commonwealth had endured its first war and was now physically linked by the worlds they had conquered. It was also announced that Lisa Steiner-Davion, heir-designate to the Archonship on Tharkad, was pregnant with a Davion heir. This child stood to inherit the legacy of the combined nations, a chilling prospect to the Federated Commonwealth’s enemies.
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