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Author Topic: The Huskarls' Hold  (Read 11631 times)

Siegfried Marcus

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The Huskarls' Hold
« on: 27 May 2016, 22:50:58 »
The Huskarls’ Hold
Prologue

Planet Svelvik, Free Rasalhague Republic
31 October 3049
   
I should be entertaining ComStar dignitaries or renegotiating tax treaties in the gardens of New Coffton. Instead, Laura Nikula watched a holographic display from a crowded reconnaissance helicopter.  The pirates’ battlemechs outpaced the Republic’s Gustav tanks.  Soon they would reach the base of a rocky ledge and complete their escape.

The KungsArmé had been struggling for years to counter pirate raiding along the periphery border, and it had deployed two of its new Huskarl tank regiments to assist.  But the Huskarls were intended to stop to an invading army, not chase down pirates.  The Fourth Huskarl, or “Black Horse,” was nearing the end of its deployment.

Broad-shouldered Robert Latvala leaned in on Nikula’s right.  The Latvala family bitterly opposed the Huskarl reforms that had shifted emphasis from battlemechs to internal combustion vehicles.  On her left was Kazim Demerci, an advocate of the reforms.  Opposite her sat Lieutenant-Colonel Olmet.

“The hovercraft are in position to harass and allow our tanks to catch up,” Olmet announced.  Six Jackals waited to cut off the pirates’ retreat.  Each carried a medium laser and a machine gun.  They were supported by two militia hovercraft armed with rockets.   Even Nikula knew that wasn’t much against the three light mechs.  Did Olmet order them to attack solely for my benefit?

“This is pointless,” Latvala said.  “These vehicles aren’t just cheap, they’re worthless.”  The hovercraft are too weak to damage a mech, and the tanks are too slow.”  Latvala was technically an observer, but his actual purpose was to discredit the Huskarls.  Demerci had insisted on accompanying them as a counterweight.  Many in government had staked their careers on the Huskarl reforms.  Let these parliamentary pawns squabble.  Thank God I serve the Prince.

“It’s true we aren’t best suited to fighting pirates,” Olmet conceded.

“The army did have the perfect forces to do so,” Latvala said.  “They’re called battlemechs.  We would have beaten the pirates already if we had maintained our mech forces.  That Panther probably came from our own factories.  Instead of those glorified paperweights, we could have had a lance of mechs.”

Why did the Latvalas send him?  They ought to know I can’t abide the arrogance of youth, and a mechwarrior at that.  It’s just as well though; he has already provoked his equally useless counterpart.

“We both know you can’t actually buy a fusion engine for list price,” Demerci said.  “Practically every mech component also requires payment in favors and concessions.  Instead, we have traded those favors to increase our own productive capacity and –”

“More like traded for mercenaries because we are defenseless.”  Latvala paused for effect.  Mercenaries had a particularly poor reputation within the Republic.

If only you knew.  Mercenaries could be our most effective answer to piracy, but no one wants to hear that. “Enough,” Nikula said.  “If I need partisan bickering, I can get it straight from the Riksdag.  Prince Magnusson sent me to observe, and I can do that quite well without you.”  The next minute passed in silence.

Olmet indicated where the forces were about to clash, then switch to optical display.  The hovercraft swarmed to flank the two leading Jenner mechs.  The Jenners charged forward and concentrated fire, crippling a Jackal.  Then the unmistakable flash of a particle beam slashed across the battlefield; the Panther entered the fight.  A laser cut a gash across another Jackal, which swiveled unsteadily to hide its weak side.  From long range, the militia craft unleashed an impressive hail of rockets at the Panther, but they all missed.  Olmet inhaled sharply and glared as the militia withdrew. I suppose you had given them orders to close in and make their one shot count, but what did you expect from militia?

At first the mechs advanced slowly, letting the Panther’s PPC keep the Jackals at bay.  Suddenly, they seemed to remember the tanks closing behind them and ran for the ridge.     The Jackals refused to give the pirates an easy pass.  Although they were faster than the mechs, they had to skirt around patches of thick vegetation to make their attack runs.  The Jenners engaged in a running battle as the slower Panther kept full pace.  A stabilizer hit sent a Jackal  tumbling, but two pressed in close enough to use their machine guns.  Bullets scraped against the mechs’ armor like a knife against a pine door.  The lasers cut deeper which provoked the mechs to turn and level all their weapons on the pursuers.  Immediately the Jackals backed off, but not before the Panther cut one of them down.  Olmet ordered the remaining Jackals to fall back.  The tanks would get their chance. 

Our soldiers fought with courage and tenacity.  Perhaps I’ve underestimated the morale of this national army.  But the Prince demands tangible results.

The mechs had to climb a rocky bank before they could make the jump up the ridge.  As they did, the tanks came into position and fired.  A round slammed into the left side of the Panther, and its arm went slack dropping a crate of stolen loot.  Meanwhile, the Jenners activated their jump jets and cleared the ridge.  The tanks got off one more salvo as the Panther made its jump, but the high explosive shells only tore the face from a section of rock.  Seconds later, the Panther disappeared into a cloud of dust.

“Can you take us in closer?” Nikula asked.  “I want to see how much damage we did.”

Olmet gave her a surprised look.  “The pirate dropship is well armed and will be here soon, and that PPC has good range.  We should be able to assess damage from the footage.”

“Is the battlefield below safe now?”  Nikula persisted.

“Yeah probably,”  Olmet answered.  “We have an air defense vehicle just behind our tanks, and the pirates are unlikely to risk another fight with nothing to gain.”

“Take us down then, and give me your assessment of the battle.”

A few minutes later they were on the ground.  The smoke had cleared, but an acrid smell remained.  “Tell me Lieutenant-Colonel, how does this engagement compare to your previous encounters with pirates?”

Olmet answered carefully.  “The pirates have been bold lately, and we almost punished that.  We guessed their line of retreat, so we were able to intercept with hovercraft and even engage with our tanks.  We took some losses, but they risked losing a mech.”

“Are you saying this a victory?”

“No, but it could have been, and that threat may deter future raids,” Olmet said.  Nikula resisted a wry smile.  Perhaps, but explain that to the Prince.

“If I may,” Olmet continued, “that was a recon lance.  We need some big guns like the Saladin if the hovercraft are going to be engaging like this.  Faster tanks like the Vedette would help too.”  Nikula made a brief notation and gave an even briefer nod. 

One of the Jackal pilots ran up to them.  “Private Olson, reporting.  We recovered some of the uranium, but the seal is broken.  We better get a hazmat team.”  She was in her late teens.  Her hands and voice betrayed a tremor.

As Olmet issued orders by radio, Nikula spoke to the young soldier.  “You fought bravely.  Who commands your lance?”

The private looked to Olmet for confirmation.  He explained, “This is Nikula, Attaché to Prince Magnusson, and she is here to evaluate our performance.  You will be frank with her.”

Olson saluted then turned back to Nikula.  “Corporal Henry commands.  That is, if he’s still alive.  I lost my comm.”

“Your tactics seem well drilled.  Was this your first battle?”

“Yes.”

“Are you from a military family?”

“No.  My father served in the militia during independence is all.”

“I see….  How has your training prepared you for this type of engagement?”

“We are trained to pursue and harass battlemechs in support of our tanks.”

“But you took the primary engagement while the tanks were still closing….”  The private seemed to be searching for a response when Nikula concluded, “I thank you for your bravery in service to the Republic.”

Olmet looked up and said, “Attaché, with your permission, I would like to recommend one or two members of this unit for commendation.”

“Lieutenant-Colonel, it will take more than recovered cargo to impress anyone on Rasalhague.”

« Last Edit: 23 July 2016, 00:31:11 by Siegfried Marcus »
Here is my AU story set in the Free Rasalhague Republic.
http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=52953.0

David CGB

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Re: The Huskarls' Hold
« Reply #1 on: 28 May 2016, 00:32:07 »
nice story, will there be more
Federated Suns fan forever, Ghost Bear Fan since 1992, and as a Ghost Bear David Bekker star captain (in an Alt TL Loremaster)

DOC_Agren

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Re: The Huskarls' Hold
« Reply #2 on: 28 May 2016, 13:07:56 »
Interesting I hope to read more
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

Red Pins

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Re: The Huskarls' Hold
« Reply #3 on: 28 May 2016, 13:22:09 »
Agreed, nice to read a story that emphasizes the Lance of take vs single Mech.
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Siegfried Marcus

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Re: The Huskarls' Hold
« Reply #4 on: 03 June 2016, 13:05:44 »
 
Chapter 1-1

Rasalhague, Free Rasalhague Republic
3 January 3050

It was a matter of comparative advantage.  Tanks and mechs should each be assigned to the missions for which they are best suited.  Kazim Demerci had spent the last several years promoting increased reliance on conventional vehicles.  He believed they were a cost effective way to fulfill the KungsArmé’s primary mission of deterring or preventing an invasion from the Republic’s two more powerful neighbors.  But mechs were faster and more potent.  Despite their high cost, they were a better way to fight piracy.

It wasn’t that conventional forces couldn’t do the job.  With a strong enough presence, they could eventually reduce piracy to acceptable levels, but maintaining such a presence required a lot of support.  Mechs could do the job with less force and a much smaller logistical footprint.  Mechs were comparatively better at fighting pirates, just as tanks were comparatively better at defending planets. 

I can’t be the only one who sees that.  I have to convince Tobiassen to reconsider staking the Huskarls’ reputation on a task they can’t do well.  We can only shift and hide costs for so long before poor policy will catch up with us.  The Huskarls were never meant to be a total replacement for mechs.

Demerci reviewed the Requisition Confirmation for the Fourth Huskarl, which was consolidating to refit on St. John before dispersing again to defend the periphery.  Supporting an oversized regiment in the field was costly, but the Black Horse would want for little.  There would be the Saladin hovercraft requested by Lieutenant-Colonel Olmet, a generous fuel and ammunition allotment for training, and even a bonus to rations.

It was an impressive commitment,  proportional to the influence of Johan Tobiassen, who was the parliamentary force behind the Huskarl reforms.  Demerci had spent most of the last year observing the Fourth Huskarl to ensure that the Riksdag was getting its money’s worth.  Demerci had already sent Tobiassen and advanced copy of his findings.

Tobiassen’s office was sparsely decorated in the bucolic style of his homeworld, except for his ornate mahogany desk and chair.  He motioned for Demerci to enter, but continued talking into the comm.  “I don’t care if he is a major; that’s all the more reason I want him out.”  Tobiassen indicated the chair across from his desk.  “But no family connections, right?  Well then shunt him off to some garrison where he can’t make trouble.  Look, I have to go.  That was good work.”  Tobiassen turned to Demerci.  “Kazim, welcome back.  How are Charlotte and the baby?”

“They are well.  They remained here on Rasalhague, so it has been good to see them.”

“Good, good.  My staff reviewed your report.  They will have a new draft ready by tomorrow.”  No doubt the new report is more optimistic and less informative.  Tobiassen continued, “It needs to be less about numbers and more about esprit de corps.  Even Nikula noted it, and it’s what the Riksdag wants to hear.”  Demerci nodded.  He’s right I suppose, data will only go so far, and Tobiassen’s team tells a good story.

“You saw I’m sending you back with presents,” Tobiassen said.  “Make sure the Black Horse knows who loves them.”

“Yes, but if the Fourth Huskarl is to be based out of St. John now, we need a solid logistical base to support us.”

“‘Us?’  Have you enlisted now?  You know, they’ll never accept you if you keep calling them the Fourth Huskarl.”

Tobiassen found the folder he was seeking among his archaic paper files.  “That reminds me – Lieutenant-Colonel Olmet: is he one of us?”

“Hmm, yes I think so.  He was a tank commander with the Lyrans, and –”

“I know he what he has done; I need you to keep an eye on him.  We are going to be drawing on the Black Horse for promotions, and I need to know.”  Tobiassen tucked the folder away then continued, “Nikula’s  audit could have gone better.”

“I don’t think Robert Latvala was able –”

“They sent Robert?  What, did Vanessa die or something?  I don’t suppose you had the sense to stay quite the one time I wish you would have?”

Not after you insisted that I directly challenge the Latvalas’ presence. “Even better, he looked like an ass interrupting me.”  Demerci immediately regretted his tone.   

Tobiassen narrowed his eyes, but then gave a snort of amusement.  “OK, what now?”

“The best approach would be use the Huskarls to free up mech forces.  The sheer bulk of a regiment of tanks can offset up to a battalion of mechs in a defensive –”

“I’m not asking for an approach.  I need you to justify our current policy.  I can think of plenty of reasons why it’s a lousy idea, but I need you to tell me why it’s brilliant.  You’re a clever bastard; give me something.  You must realize that we can’t just admit dependence on mechs against the one threat we actually face.  Our cause would lose credibility and influence.  Not to mention, you would be out of a job.  Anyway, I want you to meet with Ashlyn Garza and sit in on the SMAP.” 

The Strategic Military Assessment Panel served as Tobiassen’s think tank on military affairs.  When Prince Magnusson agreed to reform his army, he needed support from the Riksdag.  Tobiassen brokered that support, but in exchange the legislature assumed greater influence and oversight over the army.  It was still the KungsArmé, but now it had a more republican organization. 
« Last Edit: 15 February 2017, 11:51:13 by Siegfried Marcus »
Here is my AU story set in the Free Rasalhague Republic.
http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=52953.0

Siegfried Marcus

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Re: The Huskarls' Hold
« Reply #5 on: 03 June 2016, 14:05:55 »
Chapter 1-2

Rasalhague
3 January 3050

“Demerci, it’s an honor to finally meet you.”  Ashlyn Garza stood to greet him.  “I read your work on jump capacity as a limiting factor of large scale mech deployment.  Your suggestion that reduced force levels would be sufficient to fully exploit our response capability raised some eyebrows, even if it was hidden in a footnote.” 

Demerci fought to keep from smiling like a fool.  Did anyone really notice that? “Oh, from my graduate work?  I wasn’t the lead author,” he said.

“Then who was?  Rinck had been senile for years, and Solheim was spending more time in the lobby of the Riksdag than the Academy.  Some of us know what really goes on around here.  Please, be seated.”  Garza got them each a glass of water.  “Economics is an unusual field, especially for someone with no business connections, why did you choose it?”

“I have a knack for digesting disparate information and drawing conclusions about complex systems.”  What is she driving at?

“Your conclusions are somewhat unorthodox.”

“My studies lead me to appreciate the classical school with its emphasis on market prices.  I feel that modern states often suffer inefficiency from their reliance on vassal obligations and command-control of industrial policy.”  Demerci was warry, but if she really was familiar with his work, there was no point in hiding his views.

“Is that what lead you to support the Huskarl reforms?  You seek to rectify this error for the good of the people?  That makes you something of a patriot, doesn’t it?”

So that’s it.  She’s feeling out my loyalty.  What else would I expect from Tobiassen’s aid?  “I guess you could say that.”

“Johan is a patriot too, you know.  He may look like a grasping politician, and perhaps he is, but he understands the Republic better than anyone else.  It takes more than labor and capital to make a nation … or an army.”  Garza rose to look out the window.  “Did you know that Huskarl means ‘house man?’  In ancient Scandinavia the huskarls were the retainers of the nobility.  They formed a sort of professional military class.  Like the huskarls of old, many of ours have connections to military families – second sons, cousins, or just retainers.  But many do not.  Many come from the middle class, and they are proud to take their place in the new army.  You see, the Huskarl reforms aren’t about tanks.  They are the democratization of warfare.  Rasalhague cannot survive as a mere principality, but it can survive as a nation.”

Garza turned to face Demerci and continued.  “Johan saw how to bring the Prince to our side.  He showed Prince Magnusun how to claim the populist mantel and bolster his own standing against the nobles who might challenge his authority.  And yes, Johan played no small part in fostering and exploiting divisions among the warrior elite.  But of course, you must know about all that.”

It was this last issue that made Tobiassen one of the most divisive figures in government.  He convinced many mechwarrior families that despite their resentment, they had more to gain by supporting the Prince and cannibalizing their recalcitrant peers.  He found supporters in the opposition Motpart who favored military expansion by any means.  He further blunted criticism from Motpart by emphasizing that its leader, Christian Mansdottir, boasted of his role in acquiring tanks from Aldis Industries.  Tobiassen even supported Mansdottir as the man to negotiate technical assistance from Terran manufacturers to aid the Republic’s industrial expansion. 

Some families agreed to the sale of the mechs on which their status relied in exchange for shares in the new enterprises and positions in the new tank regiments.  Some immigrated along with their mechs while the Republic received skilled technicians and tank crews in return.  But not everyone gained as much from reform as Mansdottir.  Many mechwarriors could not abide the challenge to their prestige and power.  Conflict was inevitable, but when revolt fomented, the conspirators were betrayed from within.  Their lands were forfeited and turned over to more loyal families.  The state owned their battlemechs, which were sold to further accelerate conventional military production.  The mechwarriors who remained might feel slighted, but they were purged of open dissenters.  In all, the Republic had sold something close to half its mechs, though it retained the best of them.

“No one has accomplished more to reform the army,”  Demerci agreed.

“Your mentor, Professor Solheim didn’t agree.”

She’s definitely testing me – maybe to see if I’m afraid to challenge her and Tobiassen.  “I wouldn’t say that, but they definitely clashed over the Zaibatsu.  I think even Tobiassen would now agree that they have proven to be an asset.”

The Zaibatsu were self-styled industrial revolutionaries of Oriental heritage.  Prince Magnussen saw the opportunity to win allies by quietly allowing the Zaibatsu to invest in government backed initiatives even while shutting them out of the army leadership to appease Nordic conservatives.  They provided much of the seed capital and expertise needed to expand military production. 

“An asset perhaps, but not without risk,” said Garza.  “They control large shares in several vital suppliers, and their influence is growing in the Fourth Estate.”

“And if their investments had not been so successful, where would we be then?”  Careful, she’s trying to provoke you.  “We will need support from all segments of the population if our nation is to thrive.”

“I see.  So what is a deep thinker like you doing observing troops in the periphery?”

Good question.  You’re the one who claims to know what’s going on around here.  “I served as a logistics officer in the war.”

“So you did,” said Garza, “but Johan says you are lousy at political infighting.”

“My official duties do not include infighting.”

“Spare me.  I want you here at Strategic Assessment, but you need some seasoning and credentials first.  It would make waves if I brought you in too quickly.  Colonel Wahlgren is a good man, one of us.  He runs a tight operation.  Learn what you can on the ground, and you will be in this ivory tower by year’s end.  How does that sound?”

Demerci was dumbstruck for a moment, then he managed, “I agree that would be a better use of my talents.”

“Good.  I’m giving you access to the latest production estimates from Benson and Bjorn.  I want you to sit in on our meeting later.”

“I’ll be sure to look them over.  Thank you.”



[Note: I now have most of the vehicles designs I use posted here:
http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=53755.0

and a write-up for the Fourth Huskarl posted here:
http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=55453.0 ]
« Last Edit: 15 February 2017, 11:56:26 by Siegfried Marcus »
Here is my AU story set in the Free Rasalhague Republic.
http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=52953.0

Siegfried Marcus

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Re: The Huskarls' Hold
« Reply #6 on: 04 June 2016, 21:28:41 »
Chapter 1-3

Rasalhague
3 January 3050


Benson and Bjorn was the Republic’s primary manufacturer of combat vehicles.  It had expanded greatly to meet the KungsArmé’s demand.  The original facility on Spittal continued to churn out Axels, Vedettes, and Scorpions.  These tanks formed the second line armor units, and they were increasingly used to fill in gaps in new Huskarl formations.  In addition, B&B had a 40% stake in the new Gotland Armory on the capital world, Rasalhague.  Rasalhague’s large population, well-developed economy, and supporting military industries made it an especially favorable location.  The Gotland Armory produced several vehicles types, including the Huskarl’s signature Gustav. 

Demerci had seen the sprawling assembly lines where the resources of an interstellar economy took shape in war machines.  The Gustav had scores of skilled workers alongside precise industrial robots moving in a steady rhythm until the daily quota was met.  The Spyd and Scorpion lines were less glamorous and more rushed.  Two ten hour shifts had kept their machines running almost to full capacity.  Ammunition and parts were made on the outskirts of the main factories.  As big as it was, Demerci saw potential for much more.  With so much capital in place already and the supply chains established, the marginal cost of increasing production was modest.  Demerci’s analysis suggested that redoubling the investment could increase overall production five to eightfold.  That was the kind of economy of scale that would make the Republic unassailable. 

Garza wants the democratization of war, but that requires mass production commensurate with the size of the Republic.  A nation of billions need not rely on a tiny military elite for its defense.  Espirit de corps stirs the soul, but keeping those factories busy defends the Republic. 

Perhaps no other state could have undertaken such a revolution in military doctrine, but the Free Rasalhague Republic was a republic in more than name.  It was carved from the Inner Sphere, but without the calcified rigidity of a successor state.  This allowed it to shed the feudal model, and the Republic’s precarious strategic position made even desperate measures prudent.

Sadly, the latest projections from Benson and Bjorn showed a gradual tapering of orders, especially for the scorpion.  It seemed the KungsArmé was now content to pull vehicles from the auxiliaries to flesh out new Huskarl regiments.  At great cost and considerable risk, the Republic was now in a position to leverage its industrial potential.  It had moved quickly to close the gap left by the diminished mech forces, and then, on the verge of success, it fell into complacency. 

We risked so much to build this capability and now the government refuses to fully exploit it.  Contractors aren’t going to reinvestment unless they are assured of a buyer.  Could B&B find new buyers for its tanks?  Maybe, but it is less economical to ship them far, and our trade policy is a mess.  Would the central government encourage planetary governors to expand their own forces?  No, Rasalhague fears a militarized Valdherren almost as much as foreign invasion.

The Prince had always seen military reform primarily as a political maneuver, so he lacked sustained commitment, but where is Tobiassen?
  Then a sickening realization came over him.  He’s more interested in appearing successful than creating an army.  He doesn’t want to press the urgency of continued implementation.  Politics is ever the enemy of good policy.  And look at me, wading deeper into the muck.

The strategy session was informal and not well attended.  Garza introduced Demerci as an official guest, but she dismissed herself after just a few minutes.  Demerci decided he would keep his opinions to himself. 

Ms. Daines seemed to share his concerns.  “The Latvala faction has a point.  Battlemechs are better at fighting pirates than the Huskarls or the fusion armor.  Can’t we concentrate our Huskarls to relieve the remaining Kavelleri and Hussars?”

Mr. Masih answered patiently.  “Our remaining mech forces are committed as honor guards where their prestige is indispensable.  No number of tanks can serve this essential purpose; therefore, the Huskarls must combat piracy.”

“Can’t we at least incorporate Spyds with the mech forces already assigned to the periphery?”  At least I’m not the only one naïve enough to look for efficient solutions.

Ms. Svendsen gave a belabored sigh.  “If we could return to tank production… Odin Manufacturing will be increasing production of its LBX autocannon.  We are maintaining orders for the Gustav, especially since we have been unable to obtain gauss rifles again this year.  Furthermore, Odin is confident in its export potential if necessary, although we hope to absorb whatever they can produce.”

LBX technology was the cap stone of the Republic’s military industry.  Although ComStar had originally advised against the Huskarl reforms, it became a major buyer of the Republic’s mechs.  As payment, ComStar offered generous terms to expand the Republic’s industrial output.  Demerci suspected the joint project between Odin Manufacturing and Blankenburg Technologies was a back-door arrangement to transfer ComStar technology to the fledgling state.

Svendsen continued, “The Spyd light LRM carrier has attracted interest from foreign buyers, so B&B expects to maintain production levels for the time being.  The Vedette and Scorpion are slated for reductions, self-propelled artillery as well.  That brings us to the venerable Axel.  Existing stocks are deemed sufficient while the facilities on Spittal are retooled for the 55 ton Axellette.  Ultimately, the Axellette is expected to be 20%-25% cheaper with only minimal reduction in firepower.”
« Last Edit: 15 February 2017, 11:58:31 by Siegfried Marcus »
Here is my AU story set in the Free Rasalhague Republic.
http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=52953.0

Siegfried Marcus

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Re: The Huskarls' Hold
« Reply #7 on: 04 June 2016, 22:41:05 »
Perhaps I should mention this is an AU.  The Huskarl reforms are the only major twist.  I have also made a few simple non-cannon vehicles that are (in this AU) more or less standard issue for their purpose (e.g. the Jackal hovercraft, a tracked Thumper carrier, a tracked AA gun.)  I appreciate comments.

@Red Pins - The concept of scale is important to my story, so I'm glad you liked the small scale clash.  They won't all be small, so we'll see how I do.
Here is my AU story set in the Free Rasalhague Republic.
http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=52953.0

Shadow_Wraith

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Re: The Huskarls' Hold
« Reply #8 on: 05 June 2016, 10:28:08 »
 O0 nice update!  I like how the story is told!

Siegfried Marcus

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Re: The Huskarls' Hold
« Reply #9 on: 16 June 2016, 16:39:46 »
Chapter 2-1

St. John
4 March 3050

This isn’t about oversight.  You are after influence, Tobiassen, as always.  At first, Nikula resented being sent to follow up on the Fourth Huskarl’s retraining efforts, but on arrival she had received sealed orders to “evaluate the regiment's devotion to the crown, and identify any competing interests.”  Didn’t I warn you, my Prince?  At least the mechwarriors know whom they serve.

Demerci’s report to the Riksdag had been just the kind of puff piece she would expect from a Tobiassen flunky, but he kept coming up clean.  A week of digging gave her nothing.  He just doesn’t seem the type.  Either Demerci is more cunning than I can imagine, or Tobiassen is just looking out for the public good, which is even less likely, or … what?  Or … Tobiassen doesn’t need Demerci because he already owns the Fourth!  You won’t get your hooks in the KungsArmé, you upjumped yokel.

“Mikhail, dig into Colonel Wahlgren and his family.  Look for connections to parliament’s proxies, especially recent business deals.  Do the same for the other seniors.  Keep it quiet.”

“Yes ma’am,” Mikhail said.  “Remember there is a priority message from Colonel Meyer sent this morning.”  Nikula and her secretary worked from a private cottage on the outskirts of Joplin, where the Fourth Huskarl was now based, but she would need to use the military comm channel to see what the planetary militia leader thought was worth her attention.

“Very well, prep the car.  Anyway, I’d like to look Wahlgren in the eye.”

Nikula arrived at the regimental HQ half an hour later, but found Wahlgren was away conducting training exercises.  His staff reluctantly agreed to allow her to use his office to receive the confidential message.

A shield-shaped tapestry hung behind the desk.  It featured the silhouette of a rearing black stallion on a red and white background.  It looked suspiciously like a coat-of-arms, but they were reserved for mech regiments.  Some people just don’t know their place, or rather won’t accept it.

Meyer’s message was a bombshell.  The key phrases were: “probable dropship fleet” and “assumed hostile.”  Damn it, they should have sent for me immediately.

Nikula stormed back into the command area.  “Has Colonel Wahlgren received word from Colonel Meyer today?”

“Yes.  I am authorized to tell you he put our forces on high alert and cancelled all leave.  A detachment of helos will be transferring north to support the militia.”

“Put me on one of those helos.  I need to see Meyer ASAP.”

“I can’t do that without authorization, and Colonel Wahlgren won’t be available –”

“You sure as hell can if you serve the Prince,” Nikula said.

She arrived at the St. John Free Brigades HQ feeling sore and shaken.  Even a combat transport offered a better ride than wedging into the corner of a Warrior cockpit.  From what she could gather, there were multiple drop ships capable of landing in 16 hours, and they were not responding.

“Does this look like a pirate raid?” she asked Colonel Meyer.

He frowned.  “Honestly it must be a hell of a raid.  I don’t know what they would be after on St. John to justify over a half dozen dropships.”  A half dozen now?  Who do you think I am that you can sideline me?

“Have you gotten hold of Colonel Wahlgren?”

“No, but I’m told he is receiving updates,” Meyer said.

“You two better get on the same page.  I’m not convinced he’s taking this seriously enough.  And get me some food and a pain killer before I become irritable.”  Nikula felt only marginally better when they received an incoming message from the unidentified fleet.  Meyer seemed surprised when she followed him into his office to hear the transmission, but he said nothing.

The holo projector showed a striking man in an unfamiliar military uniform.  He said, “This is Star Colonel Ramon Sender of the 341st Assault Cluster, Beta Galaxy.  The Wolves of Kerensky have claimed this world for their own. What tame dogs defend it?"  The man faded from the projector, but he left an unnerving presence.

“He’s got a lot of balls,” said Meyer.  “Who the hell are the Wolves of Kerensky?  Any pirate outfit that can muster that kind of fleet has to be in the database.  Get me their file.  And prep the transmitter, he won’t wait long for my reply.” 

Something is off.  He has a true soldier’s posture and a sense of purpose.  Did he say “claim this world?”  He’s no pirate.  This is a political threat.  Suddenly, Nikula felt the spark of … was it divine inspiration?  She stood forcefully, and everyone looked to her.

“Belay that order.  I am assuming authority over these discussions in the name of the Prince.”  She wondered when she had decided that, but her actions betrayed no reluctance.  Before Meyer could respond she added, “These pirates have clearly come from outside your system Colonel.  That gives the crown jurisdiction.  As Attaché, I speak for the Prince in this matter.  Now prep the transmitter for my reply.”

There was a stunned silence, then Meyer turned to his staff and said, “Do it.”

“Pirate captain, this is Attaché Laura Nikula, I speak for Prince Magnussen who rules this world.  You are in violation of sovereign space.  You will stand down immediately and surrender your vessels or face the wrath of the Free Rasalhague Republic.”

Nikula cut the transmission and stepped away.  “Do we have anything that can contest those drop ships?”

Meyer laughed.  “I couldn’t even accept their surrender if they offered it."

"I suspect we will be spared that embarrassment," Nikula said.

Suddenly Meyer stood at full attention.  "Attaché, I must clarify, if … now that the crown has assumed jurisdiction here, are you placing the KungsArmé Colonel in overall command?” 

Wahlgren?  I think not.  “No,” Nikula said.  “You will retain command and responsibility for this world’s defense.”

Several minutes later another transmission came.  “Attaché Nikula, I will forgive your insolence but once.  I am Ramon Sender of Clan Wolf and I have come to conquer this world under the rite of batchall.  I have at my command the 341st Assault Cluster which consists of 50 battlemechs, 10 aerospace fighters, and 100 elementals.  I ask again, what forces would defend this world against me?”

The second transmission was more disconcerting than the first.  Sender was not merely foreign, he seemed almost alien.  His inflection was all wrong.  There was something haunting and archaic about him.  He has a mechwarrior’s superiority but with more discipline.  He exudes resolute devotion, but to what?

“He’s bluffing and hoping for some kind of concessions,” Colonel Meyer said.  “Does he think we are going to disclose our strength to him?”

“Is he bluffing?”  There was no response as Nikula pondered the question.  She walked back to the transmitter.

“Star Colonel Ramon Sender, I am unfamiliar with your batchall, and I see no reason to disclose our strength to you, but I assure you that your forces are inadequate to conquer this world.  Leave now and your transgression shall be forgiven.”

Meyer’s staff scurried about in the brief time while the signals travelled through space.  Meyer gave her a studious look before joining them.  Nikula replayed the incoming messages several times.  Then word from Sender arrived.

“Attaché Nikula, by accepting the terms of batchall, we agree to honorable combat.  If you are true warriors who wish to meet us in glorious battle, you will accept.  Additionally, if you disclose your forces with candor, I will submit a reasonable bid against them.  If you wish to provide additional terms, you may do so now.”

I don’t know what game you are playing, but I sense you sincerely want to play by some kind of rules.  Nikula turned to Meyer, “Colonel, how many regiments will you have ready by the time that fleet arrives.”

“You can’t seriously be thinking about giving in to that bullying?”  Meyer met Nikula’s eyes for a few seconds, then he said, “I will have four brigades Attaché.  They will need a little time to form up though.  Attaché, we don’t have to respond right away.  If this guy’s for real, he just made you an offer, he’ll wait an extra hour for your reply.  Let’s stop and think this trough.”

“No.  The iron is hot.  I can sense his impatience with what he sees as inevitable.  He is looking right through us, to some greater objective.  He doesn’t see us as a threat.  We will not disturb his delusions just yet.  Put me through.”  God I hope I’m right.

“Star Colonel Ramon Sender.  We agree to honorable combat.  The St. John Free Brigades are the militia of this world.  We send four brigades against you.  We have no battlemechs or fighters, but the hearts of our people are resilient.  Also there is most of a conventional tank regiment currently refitting.  As additional terms, I demand 48 hours in which to assemble our forces.  And I demand a written memorandum of our agreement with all terms clearly defined.”

Nikula walked back into the command center feeling slightly dazed.  Colonel Meyer asked her, “What was that?”

She answered, “I’m not sure.  Prepare for an all-out assault.  I need to send a high priority HPG.” 

After she returned, another message from Sender arrived.  “I decline your request for reprieve.  My word is my bond as your word is yours; there will be no writing.  You have requested no other terms.  I shall send against you Supernovas Command and Second as well as Trinary Battle.  Well bargained and done.”
« Last Edit: 15 February 2017, 11:59:27 by Siegfried Marcus »
Here is my AU story set in the Free Rasalhague Republic.
http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=52953.0

marauder648

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Re: The Huskarls' Hold
« Reply #10 on: 17 June 2016, 08:16:20 »
Excellent update! I'm really enjoying this well written story even if this is my first comment on it.
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Siegfried Marcus

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Re: The Huskarls' Hold
« Reply #11 on: 24 June 2016, 21:18:20 »
Chapter 2-2

St. John
5 March 3050

Colonel Wahlgren climbed from his CV and strode into his HQ. Militia always exaggerate the threat.  How was I to know this was the one time they really had something?  We’ve been chasing pirates across half a dozen worlds, and today they landed right in our lap.  His staff saluted as he entered, and he had them prepare to send a general announcement.

Wahlgren’s voice broadcast to every vehicle, garage, and warehouse in the regiment.  “Congratulations, Black Horse.  The enemy has come to meet us.  This could be the hottest action any Huskarls have ever seen.  The militia is afraid of these bandits, but we are eager for the fight.  These poor devils have no idea what they’re up against.”

Wahlgren grabbed a coffee and recomposed his demeanor for the senior officers.  Now, to acknowledge my staff without admitting error.  “All our deployments look solid.  It’s good to see you can handle that deployment on your own.  Now, let’s get into the fight.  Expand the recon perimeter another two clicks.  Tell the hovers to avoid combat; I don’t want to scare them off too soon.”

The raiders had a surprisingly large force using lances of five mechs.  There was a lance coming up from the south about to meet his recon.  Further south in Duluth, an assault lance with battle armor support threatened to capture the Sixth Free Brigade’s base.  Another lance had landed well to the north and occupied the road connecting him with Meyer’s main force.  A drop ship had landed near the training grounds where Wahlgren and the Second Battalion had just been.  Finally, a company with battle armor were engaging Meyer’s three brigades of militia in the north. 

I’ve never heard of a pirate raid this large, but it’s not nearly enough to take on our defenses.  They can’t expect to conquer the planet with that.  It’s strange that they issued no demands though, and stranger still that they are tearing straight into the militia.  But if they’re spoiling for a fight, we’ll give them one.

Most of the Black Horse forces were on leave or in training when Wahlgren heard about the incoming dropships.  Nevertheless, his staff got three companies into the field.  First Battalion’s light company screened for a heavy and a medium company from Third.  They were moving south to relieve the Sixth Brigade.

“Sir, Colonel Meyer wanted to talk with you as soon as you got in,” one of his staff reported.

“Put him on.”  Wahlgren addressed the holographic image.  “Sir, my forces are about to engage the raiders.  Don’t worry, we’ll rescue your brigade.”

Meyer scowled.  “These aren’t raiders, Colonel Wahlgren.  They say they are here to conquer this world, and they’re off to a good start.” 

“Colonel, a couple companies isn’t an invasion, –”

“Listen Wahlgren, these mechs and battle armor are far more advanced than anything I’ve seen before.  And it’s not just the ground forces.  They’re taking out our satellites, and they have fighters blockading us from orbit, so neither of us is going anywhere until this is over.”

“Sir, my regiment can deal with the ground threat, and we have substantial AA capability.  I’ve given orders to secure Duluth with a battalion.  They will get the job done.  By tomorrow morning, I’ll have the Second Battalion driving north to relieve you.”  I shouldn’t blame him for being so excitable.  He’s only militia, even if he was a hero.

“Negative,” said Meyer.  “You will be cut to pieces in detail unless you have overwhelming force.  You are to hold Joplin and support Sixth Brigade in consolidating on your position.  You are to review the latest data on enemy capabilities.  These mechs are big, and fast, and mean.”

Overwhelming force?  What do you think a Huskarl battalion is?  “With all due respect, Colonel –”

“I’m not asking for your respect, Wahlgren.  I’m ordering your compliance.  Is that clear?”

“Yes sir.  I understand and will comply.”  But first, I’ll bloody these raiders so badly, they’ll make me a general.

Soon one of his staff said, “Sir, our recon reports hostile mechs sighted.”

“Which lance?”  Wahlgren asked.

“HQ Lance.”  On the display, a red dot appeared inside the hover perimeter screen.  Huskarl doctrine often made the third lance the command and reserve.  Like most lances in the Fourth Huskarl, this one had six vehicles, but one of them was the unarmed Tio CV.  Two Vedettes, two anti-air Sentries, and a light close-quarters Rottweiler still made it a versatile, if not powerful lance.

“They are taking heavy fire,” his staff reported.

“Put me through to the major.”  Even as he spoke the display focused in on the HQ Lance, but the Tio’s electronics didn’t rise to the level of a true command vehicle.  He needed a clearer picture.  “Major Evensen, what is your situation?”

Evensen said, “Faster, damn it.”  A second voice, garbled by static, screamed before being cut off abruptly.  There was a small rumble of explosions punctuated by a detonation against the Tio’s armor.

“Major Evensen, this is Black Horse Actual.  What do you see?”

Evensen reduced the signal to his personal comm.  “Sir, three mechs right on us.  So fast.  Oh God, another one just cut us off.”

“Sir, we lost contact.  I’m showing no sign of the HQ lance.” 

Maybe Meyer is right. “I need eyes on that force.  Send the patrolling Warriors down the road, and get the other two in the air.  I need surrogate command for First Charlie.  Have them maintain the recon perimeter, but avoid contact.  Tell Jarvi to get turned around.  I don’t want to engage until we know what we’re up against.  And get First Alpha to join them ASAP.”

There was a second of hesitation before his staff responded.  No one expected an HQ lance to stand up to a lance of mechs, but they weren’t supposed to be annihilated in seconds either. 

Wahlgren said,  “I want to review the militia’s intel.  And find out if Sixth Brigade has eyes on that lance.”  Wahlgren gulped down the dregs of his coffee.  It had gone cold.
« Last Edit: 15 February 2017, 12:02:20 by Siegfried Marcus »
Here is my AU story set in the Free Rasalhague Republic.
http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=52953.0

Siegfried Marcus

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Re: The Huskarls' Hold
« Reply #12 on: 24 June 2016, 21:29:29 »
Chapter 2-3

St. John
5 March 3050

Major Yerzov commanded Third Battalion’s Bravo Company.  It was classified as heavy, but only the Axels exceeded 50 tons.  The Axel’s main job was to obliterate targets that got into close range.  Its complement was the well-armored 50 ton Halberd, armed with a long-range gauss rifle. Two over-sized lances gave him six of each.  The third lance consisted of his own command vehicle, four Gustavs, and a Sentry.  Finally, no front-line Huskarl company would be complete without a lance of fast and cheap missile support.  Six 25 ton Spyds each carried an LRM 15. 

From a small hill, Yerzov watched his column of tanks.  Fleeing infantry overtook them and got tangled in his formation.  This is ridiculous.  My company isn’t made for a fighting withdrawal, especially with routing friendlies.  He checked the map again.  We can’t link up with reinforcements in time.  I don’t care if those pirates are the Devil’s own spawn, I’d rather face them like we were trained.

Yerzov called in to Third Battalion HQ.  “Hey, I know we got orders, but this ain’t gonna work.  The militia is jamming up that little bridge ahead, and more keep bumping into me.  If we keep running, we’re gonna get caught all strung out.  I’d sure appreciate if you could get Wahlgren to let me stand and fight like a Huskarl.”

“I hear you Major, but orders come from Meyer, and he has overall command,” said Lieutenant Colonel Jarvi.

“What?  I’m not getting my men killed ‘cause of some half-wit militia commander.  It’s his men in my damn way.  I’m digging in.  You can have me shot later.”

“Don’t be melodramatic, Yerzov.  You say you don’t think you can cross the bridge in good order, and you want to dig in?  I’ll run that by Wahlgren and we’ll see what he says.  Meanwhile you have my permission to roll right over any militia that get in your way.”

“Copy that, thanks boss.”  Yerzov looked to the patchwork of trees near the stream.  That’s just enough cover, good line of sight, and the enemy is going to come tearing up that road hot on the heels of our militia.  I’ll be damned if I let half my company get across the bridge and then get permission to dig in.

“Hey Trine, I want you to come up another 300 meters and pull off to the right.  Get comfy in those woods.  We’re gonna blast ’em as they come up the road.”  Yerzov switched to the second lance and gave orders to take up position on the other side.  Unfortunately, that put them on lower ground, but he had to cover both approaches.  The Spyds hid further back.  His own lance would conscript some of the less panicked militia into helping to conceal the Axels and Halberds.

A short while later, Jarvi called back.  “Wahlgren agreed to leave tactical decisions to the commanders in the field.  Have you been able to clear that stream?”

“No, but I have a good position southeast of the bridge, and I’ll keep the bridge clear in case you got any help coming for me.”

“Damn it Yerzov, I don’t like you forcing my hand, but I do like that plan.  I’ll have Charlie back you up, but I don’t know if they’ll make it in time.”

“What about arty or helo support?” Yerzov asked.

“Negative.  Arty isn’t ready, and our air is making sure we don’t get blindsided.  Don’t expect any help from our recon either.”

“Still no sign of enemy eyes in the sky?”  With this cloud cover, we’ll see who gets blindsided this time.

“That’s right, but don’t get cocky, Major.  They’ve killed one major already.”

There hadn’t been time to prepare proper hull-down positions, but the six Axels and six Halberds were reasonably well concealed from the direct approach.  Another lance of Spyds had arrived.  The rest of Charlie Company would be here soon, but not before the enemy.

A detachment of infantry reported five mechs approaching fast.  The lead mech would soon be known as a Fenris.  It bounded gracefully into view.  Although nearly 50 tons, it was moving easily at 80 kph.  It fired its PPC into a likely tuft of woods near the road to flush out any hiding infantry.   

“All guns, on my mark.”  Just a few more seconds and even the Axels will have a good shot. Suddenly, the mech aimed and fired at the nearest tank hitting it square.  The First Lance responded with six guns and missed. 

A second later, two of the Halberds from the Second Lance fired as their target swerved for cover.  The two metal slugs were an iron and nickel alloy with a depleted uranium head.  One round tore through the top of the ridge and struck the left leg.  The uranium vaporized as it cut into the armor, which exhausted its strength dispersing and absorbing the massive shock.

The second round struck high on the head mount.  The metal rod burned then snapped through the armor.  Pyrophoric uranium, molten metal, and superheated ceramic poured into the internal section killing the pilot.  A gout of flame shot from the hole, and the 45 ton humanoid slumped to the ground with its head bent at a macabre angle.  A hail of missiles from the Axels redundantly showered the area.

The other mechs were further back, but they advanced quickly.  A Mad Cat and a Ryoken carried paired large lasers which began melting pools of armor from the tanks.  A Vulture provided missile support, and a Black Hawk took the flank.  But the Halberds were doing well.  One slug struck a Mad Cat arm.  Another narrowly missed as the Mad Cat took cover.  The Spyd’s heavy barrage of missiles shredded much sod, but scored only a few hits against the fast moving mechs.

Yerzov gave orders on the open channel.  “Trine, pull your lance back into better cover.  Ersan, get across the road and help her out.  I’m sending in Third Lance.”  Oversized lances and integrated missile support placed a heavy burden on company commanders.  Therefore, Yerzov stayed behind the lines in a ten ton Tio.  It had four tons of armor and could outrun a Vedette.  Instead of weapons, it had a modest suite of communications and sensory gear.  Even as his lance joined the battle, Yerzov remained well behind were he could focus on directing his forces from hiding.  The Sentry could engage ground targets, and it stayed with him to cover his retreat if it became necessary.

Clan Wolf advanced on the left, using the woods as cover.  Even at extreme range, their lasers fired at the exposed Second Lance and tore the tread off of a Halberd as it crested the ridge.  “Okay, Trine move up again to cover Second.”  Two of the Halberds got off a shot, but incendiary rounds fell around both tanks and set the woods ablaze.  One of them became trapped, and lost.  The Black Hawk flanked the First Lance.  It fired a battery of lasers which crippled a Halberd, but it also took a gauss rifle shot.

Yerzov addressed his sole staff officer, “Move up the Spyds for direct fire.”  The Halberds are doing all the work, and I’m losing them fast.  I have to risk the LRM support.  His six Axels added to the volume of missiles, and their AC 20s deterred the enemy from overrunning the position.  A lance from Charlie had just crossed the bridge. 

The mechs pulled back and casually eliminated the stranded Halberd on the ridge.  Their modest heat levels dissipated almost immediately.  Good God, they can outrange a gauss rifle?  They’ve got twice the firepower they should, they don’t go down easy, and even the heavies are fast.  The militia wasn’t kidding.

Yerzov ordered his forces further back into the woods.  The mechs continued to punish his tanks from long range, but smoke from the fires slowed the pace of battle.  They can gradually pick off my forces at that range.  I’ve got to get in closer or try to run.  When the lance of Gustavs reinforced his own four, he sent them all forward. 

The Black Horse relied on the Gustav as its primary battle tank.  It was faster than the heavies, and its excellent gun had good range and versatility.  They raced forward and fired cluster rounds in a tight pattern.  The Spyds were right behind, and sometimes ahead, adding fire where it was worth their dwindling ammunition.  The Axels joined the push.

The mechs gave ground, allowing only occasional opportunities for return fire.  Their lasers wore down the armor on several tanks, causing them to pull back.  Fortunately, the mechwarriors rarely teamed up to finish off a target immediately.  The Vulture got too close going after a Gustav it had damaged.  Dozens of small explosions lit up the mech and knocked it back, but it somehow kept its feet.  Its armor was mangled and it was throwing sparks from the left missile launcher.  Their mechwarriors are amazing, but so aggressive.
 
Clan Wolf retreated across the road and out of range of the tanks.  The two heavies concentrated fire to destroy a Gustav, while the Black Hawk escorted the heavily damaged Vulture from the field.  I can’t move across the highway over uneven ground.  They have range and speed on the Gustav.  He said, “Pull back, keep cover, and be ready to snap back on them if they pursue.”  A Gustav and a Spyd were cut to shreds in the retreat. 

Yerzov regrouped as more reinforcements arrived.  The two mechs were unwilling to risk another attack, but they held the battlefield under the threat of their guns.  This stalemate lasted a while, then Yerzov got word than an enemy drop ship was inbound, and he was to disengage.  It’s too bad we can’t grab that mech.  A prize like that might justify my losses. Yerzov had lost three Halberds, two Axels, and a Gustav.  That was over a third of his front line tanks.  Charlie had lost a Gustav and a Spyd.  Our one kill was thanks to surprise and luck; we can’t count on that again. Jesus, they might have cut up my whole company if we hadn’t been reinforced.  I don’t even want to think about if they caught us in column from behind.
« Last Edit: 15 February 2017, 12:04:01 by Siegfried Marcus »
Here is my AU story set in the Free Rasalhague Republic.
http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=52953.0

Dave Talley

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Re: The Huskarls' Hold
« Reply #13 on: 25 June 2016, 22:41:59 »
nice to see clanners bleed
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snakespinner

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Re: The Huskarls' Hold
« Reply #14 on: 26 June 2016, 07:05:06 »
Tanks against clan mechs. Good win. O0
I wish I could get a good grip on reality, then I would choke it.
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Challenger

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Re: The Huskarls' Hold
« Reply #15 on: 26 June 2016, 17:44:17 »
Realy enjoying ths.  I can realy feel the confusion the Black Horse are experiencing fighting an enemy they just arn't prepared for.

Challenger

Siegfried Marcus

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Re: The Huskarls' Hold
« Reply #16 on: 04 July 2016, 22:11:51 »
Chapter 3-1

St. John
7 March 3050

“These are terrible, but I’ll have another,” said Sylvie Olson.  They were drinking watered down booze made from whatever it was they grew on St. John.  The militia had established a camp and started consolidating stragglers.  The booze was meant as an incentive since the prospect of being shot for desertion was generally considered preferable to fighting the Clan.  As units reformed, they were sent back into combat.  So far, the Clan did not feel it was worthwhile to interfere.  Olson’s new friend David Forsyth was a Jackal pilot like her.  His friends had introduced her, and about a minute later, he ditched them to start buying her drinks.

Forsyth returned with two glasses in each hand.  They sat on the ground amidst the raucous soldiers  He asked, “So what’s a Huskarl doing slumming it with us militia?  I thought you only drank Terran vodka and spoke pure Swedish.” 

“Normally yes, but times are tough.  Actually, we lost our commander, so HQ decided to cut us loose to give you guys a hand.”

“Poor little orphan Huskarl.  But really we could use the help.  A Jackal is considered heavy fire support in the 60th Battalion.”

“I’ve had a taste of heavy fire, and I prefer light recon.  What did you mean earlier about the Clan not using patrols?”  Olson was half done with one drink already.  Drink fast or you won’t even get a buzz.

“Well they have patrols, but usually just one or two really strong groups, so they are easy to avoid.  The weird thing is, their garrisons just establish a perimeter and call it a day.  It’s like they are afraid to come out on patrol, but they fight like rabid dogs if you get too close.  And the really weird thing is they keep using the same two lances to hit our positions and take cities, then they send down support after the fight is over.”

“What about their dropships?”

“Yeah they are armed, but they don’t attack us.  Just the mechs and those infernal armored infantry.  They could probably wipe us out if they used those ships to overrun our bases.  I guess it doesn’t matter because we can’t scratch them anyway.  It will just take them a little longer is all.”

“How many of those have you had?  I’m not going to hang around and listen to that.  If you militia boys have the guts to defend your homes, the Huskarls won’t let you down, I promise that much.”

Forsyth looked a little hurt.  “Yeah, you’re right.  They knocked us on our ass, but now we have a chance to regroup thanks to your tanks.  They gave us a day of breathing room as that enemy lance patched up.”

“A day?  I heard they took serious damage.”

“They lost one, but they turned the rest around in no time.  They are way beyond what we can do.  I even heard they’re from some other galaxy.  You can tease if you like, but these guys are out of our league.  But tonight they are far enough away, so what do you say we live like there’s no tomorrow?  I got a bottle back at my bunk.”

“Well that is a tempting offer, but I’m due back soon.  Maybe I’ll see you around.”

“In this zoo?  Not likely.”  He gave her a smile.  This one’s not so bad, and cute.  And he’s right; we could be dead tomorrow. She kissed him.  He started to put his hands on her, but she broke away.

“The night is young; you still have time to try your moves on some other girl.”

Olson returned to the large tent that served as her lance’s barracks.  She was surprised to see a lot of techs bustling about, but none of the pilots.  She tried to slip in unnoticed.

“Olson, you’re late.  Have you been drinking?”  Corporal Henry was in the middle of a briefing.  He had a hand-drawn map taped to the wall.  “We’re moving out to intercept an enemy detachment.  They are starting to use mechs in pairs and even individually with their infantry.  These new tactics could put a lot of pressure on the militia, but it also means we have a chance of taking a fight.”

It was still light in the western sky when they set out.  The hostile fleet in low orbit was already visible.  Henry and Sassa piloted Saladins armed with a heavy autocannon.  The other four members still used the Jackal.  Two Jackal LRMs that had been assigned from the fire support lance were also with them.  Olson was sent ahead to scout, as usual.

For a planet being invaded, St. John was remarkably serene.  There was a curfew, but people in critical jobs were still going to work.  The police in captured areas were allowed to let civilians come and go in order to keep the lights on and the bread trucks moving.  There really was no “front” where sustained fighting took place.  The only real sign of war that Olson encountered was a gravel road that had been torn up by a column of heavy vehicles moving too fast.  Then she saw the large pole light of a farmhouse flicker.  Twice it disappeared for a split second.

Those lights are usually 5 meters off the ground.  Is the power grid straining, or did something really big just pass by? She switched to infra-red, but couldn’t make out anything. Those Clan mechs run so damn cool.  Don’t they just have a deck full of aces?  No, not a whole deck.  Just one really good hand.  The longer this game goes, the more chance we have.

“Olson investigating possible contact along Highway 37.”  She took her hovercraft into the ditch and accelerated.  The ditch ended where the ground rose up to meet the farm house driveway.  She took a couple seconds to cool off before poking up to have another look.  She could see the heads of two giant figures against the darkening sky, only two.  “Olson reporting two mechs just north of Highway 37 about 10 clicks east of the junction.  They are moving east at good speed.”

Henry said, “Copy that, Olson.  Maintain visual.  The LRMs will rendezvous with you; the rest of the lance will intercept.”  Olson spent the next several minutes dashing and ducking into hiding while trailing the two mechs.  She kept a lookout for more, but saw none.  She met up with the two Jackal LRMs, but she had them stay further back.  One of the mechs suddenly spun 180 degrees without missing a step. Oh my God, is that thing running backward? Olson slowed to a crawl then stopped behind a clump of bushes.  There was no indication that she had been spotted.  I’m small and low to the ground at least.  No chance of being skylined.

She renewed her pursuit, but kept a little more distance until she saw kilo marker 285 along the side of the road.  She confirmed the go ahead then punched it up to high gear.  The missile support pulled up beside her.  “Fire when ready, then circle round.”  Twenty missiles launched from the two hovercraft.  They failed to hit, but one of the mechs turned on them.  It fired a PPC bolt that sliced just above her, and she broke off.

Meanwhile, five hovercraft under Henry charged in from the opposite direction.  They concentrated fire on the mech with its back to them.  One of the lasers hit, and a burst of autocannon rounds detonated into the left arm of the Puma, blasting it to splinters.  The other mech, a Phantom, used a half dozen lasers to cut through one of the Saladins.  Olson started to lead another run, but changed her mind when she saw the second Saladin go down to the Puma’s remaining PPC.  The other Jackals sped away.  Amazingly, the Phantom kept pace with them as it fired missiles.  The one-armed Puma faced off against her and the missile support.  It set its feet as if issuing a challenge. I bet you’d like that. Olson turned her Jackal and fled. 
« Last Edit: 15 February 2017, 12:05:42 by Siegfried Marcus »
Here is my AU story set in the Free Rasalhague Republic.
http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=52953.0

Siegfried Marcus

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Re: The Huskarls' Hold
« Reply #17 on: 04 July 2016, 22:23:52 »
Chapter 3-2

St. John
8 March 3050

The remnants of Henry’s lance were gathered back at the tent.  The drawing of their battle plan was still tapped to the wall, but the actual operation had been torn to shreds the previous night.  Their leader was dead, and they lost two Salidin’s and a Jackal.  The mood was sullen, but Olson refused to be defeated.

“The militia is moving this camp today because Clan patrols are getting too close,” she said.  “Jakobs, you’re the senior now.  You need to take charge.  We have to strike and move our stuff.  I volunteer to help patrol.  We should have at least one more.”

Jakobs gave her a dejected and incredulous look.  “We’re done, Olson.  Henry is dead.  Evensen is dead.  Wahlgren is pinned down.  We just lost over half our strength.  We are officially combat ineffective.  But if you’re so eager to die too, I won’t stop you.”

“Our orders are to assist the militia, and that’s what I intend to do.  Is anyone else with me?”  Neither her surviving lancemates nor the two supporting pilots met her eyes. 

Henry’s lance had recruited Olaf Rudin from the Svelvik militia a couple months earlier to replace its losses.  “Half our lance died yesterday,” he said.  “I’m pretty sure that means we’re entitled to a day off.  You’re upset, don’t do something rash.”

“Rash?  You think covering our retreat is rash?  Why not just clasp on some shackles and present yourself to the Clan?”  Damn it, this isn’t getting me anywhere. “Fine.”  Olson stormed out and told the techs to prep her craft.  She set out to find David from the night before.

She found the commander of the 60th Battalion Provisional Special Reconnaissance Force.  That sounds awfully fancy for a haphazard collection of survivors, stragglers, and repentant deserters.  After showing her ID, she said, “I’m looking for a Jackal pilot named David….”  She realized she didn’t know his surname or rank.  “He’s medium height, kinda dark, provincial accent.” 

“What for?”

Oh, right.  “I uh, … need to discuss enemy dispositions.  I’m heading out, and I know he’s patrolled in that area.”

“Wait here.”

A while later, he showed up, and they went out to talk.  “Are you okay?  I heard you guys got torn up last night.  I was, well I’m glad to see you made it out.”

“Yeah thanks.”  Olson made a point of not answering his question.  “Are you going out today?”

“Not for a few hours.  Just sweeping east to make sure it’s clear.  Shouldn’t be too bad.”

“You still have that bottle?”  He retrieved the bottle, and they found a quiet spot to talk.  Olson took a long pull and said, “Hey, next round is on me, I promise.”

“Don’t worry about it.  So is your outfit still tagging along with us?”

“Yeah, I’m going out soon though.”  She gulped down more of the liquor.

“Don’t you think you better slow down on that?”  David took the bottle and capped it.  He hadn’t had any.

“Hey, you said the Clan was resupplying at Aulum?  What can you tell me about that?”

“Christ, they’re sending you to Aulum?  After last night?”

“Yeah, well …  You filed a report, right?  Here’s my info, send it to me.  I gotta go.”  She turned and walked briskly.

“Hey, take care of yourself.  You owe me a drink.”

A couple hours later she was cruising at a fuel efficient 60 kph.  Even if they somehow spotted her, a single Jackal wasn’t worth hunting down, or so she hoped.  And she could outrun almost any mech, but not the Phantom from last night.  She was thinking more clearly now.  It’s not a death wish, I just need to do something.  Henry had the wrong idea.  He wanted to use the Saladins to take down a mech.  Well that didn’t work, but we’ll see if I can find a softer target.  This Clan is hard as tungsten in the front, but they can’t be strong everywhere.

Jakobs’s voice came over the comm.  “Olson, I want to say sorry.  Just come back and we can –”  Olson turned it off.  Rudin must have put her up to that.  She replayed the audio of Forsyth’s info on Aulum.  If I come in from the north …,  but I don’t need to sneak up with the Jackal. Olson parked in an empty barn about three clicks outside of Aulum and set out on foot.  Unfortunately, she only had her uniform rather than infantry camo, but she stayed off the road and took her time. 

She crawled through the grass until the town came into view.  She didn’t see the mech that was reported to be there, but there was a battle-armored infantryman.  She watched a while and saw another.  There were a few civilians moving around, but the town was basically locked down.  Most of the residents probably fled before the Clan arrived.  She watched a long while, then moved to another spot.  She finally decided there were four infantrymen.  A heavy truck drove in, and a fifth infantryman emerged with a team of workers to load crates onto it.  The crates were pretty large by civilian standards.  Even at maximum magnification she couldn’t make out the labels, but it had to be military supplies.  Soon the truck set out again heading east.

That truck is unescorted.  She carefully crawled back until she was out of sight, then stood and ran for her Jackal.  Why did I park so far away?  It had taken her an hour to get into position.  Now she ran with abandon.  They don’t have anyone here.  They are advancing past this area.  So long as some traitor didn’t tip them off to my Jackal, I’ll be okay. She hadn’t eaten since yesterday.  She didn’t sleep well the night before.  She was feeling the adrenaline crash after the fight.  Her body protested, but she embraced the suffering and increased her pace.  Each step stoked her anger.  By the time she reached her Jackal, she was in a frenzy.

She scarfed down a ration bar and put the Jackal into motion.  Soon she got on the main road and gunned it up to top speed at 150 kph.  She nearly lost control on a curve in the road, and decided to ease off a bit.  That truck isn’t turning down one of these farm roads.  I have time to catch up. There was a smaller truck going west, but it graciously pulled aside for her. 

Soon the truck came into view.  There was no shoulder, but it came to a stop.  She pulled her Jackal in front of it and turned to show her weapons.  The Jackal was a minnow on the battlefield, but fifteen tons of military hardware seemed to impress the truck driver.

Olson ordered her out of the truck, then emerged with her pistol aimed at the woman.  “Where are you going?”

“Skamstrup.  Don’t shoot.  I’m just delivering supplies.  I have a pass.”  She had a local accent. 

“Did you radio in?”

“I don’t have a radio.  Wait, who are you?”

“Private Sylvie Olson, Fourth Huskarl, KungsArmé.  You and that truck are coming with me.”

“I can’t.  If they think I betrayed them –”  Olson fired a round into the trailer.  The woman gasped, “Jesus, do you know what’s in there?”

“High explosives?”  Olson guessed.  “I’d be happy to leave your corpse as evidence of your loyalty to your new masters.”

“You can’t threaten a civilian like that,” the woman said with the defiant spark of a Free Rasalhague Republican.  “I’ll report you to your superiors.”

“My superiors?  My –”  Olson started to say it again, but she was interrupted by her own laughter.  The woman in front of her went pale; she just nodded slowly.  Olson pointed to the truck, and the woman got in.  By the time they got to the new camp, Olson was feeling much better.

« Last Edit: 15 February 2017, 12:07:49 by Siegfried Marcus »
Here is my AU story set in the Free Rasalhague Republic.
http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=52953.0

marauder648

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Re: The Huskarls' Hold
« Reply #18 on: 05 July 2016, 00:56:52 »
Superb stuff as always :) Its interesting to see this kind of warfare from a vehicle crewman's perspective.
Ghost Bears: Cute and cuddly. Until you remember its a BLOODY BEAR!

Siegfried Marcus

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Re: The Huskarls' Hold
« Reply #19 on: 11 July 2016, 21:08:53 »
Chapter 3-3

St. John
12 March 3050

“Sir Second Battalion has driven off the latest thrust, but they’ve lost another Gustav and suffered heavy damage to two more.  We had to use direct fire artillery again.”

Wahlgren’s staff didn’t bother reporting on enemy losses, which were assumed to be negligible.  Even the Vulture’s lost arm proved to be only a temporary set-back for the enemy.  By contrast, the Black Horse was being worn away with every engagement.  Also unmentioned were the militia’s losses, which were assumed to be substantial.

Wahlgren asked, “How soon can we put those tanks back in action?” 

“A day or two for one, closer to a week for the other.”  While they were well provisioned with fuel and ammunition, they had perilously little replacement armor.  They were relying on militia stocks, but those were running low.  On the other hand, his techs had ample support from civilian volunteers.

“Are we expecting any more attacks before nightfall?”  At least they take time to sleep now.  Those first two days I thought they might be robots.
“No sir.  Their Alpha lance is headed back west after hunting elements of the 60th Battalion, we beat up Bravo enough for one day, and Charlie has moved back up north.  Our air recon continues to go unchallenged.  Oh yes, Olmet requested permission to make field promotions in his light company.”

Those are the only forces I have outside the city, so it would be good for morale.  Olmet always was good with that.  “Sure.  If we ever make it off this dirtball, the high command won’t begrudge us that.  And speaking of command, tell Meyer I’m available now.” 

A holographic Meyer said, “Colonel, you’ve done well to hold Joplin.  I know you’ve been under heavy pressure, and you’ve saved half my Sixth Brigade, but I need more.  You can’t just hole up and wait this out.  Duluth will fall soon.  We need to press the attack.  I’ve been taking heavy losses, but I have kept them off balance, and they slipped up a couple times.  You have to be willing to take some risks.”

“Sir, I’ve read your reports, but you have to understand, I can’t just split up into seven man squads and infiltrate their positions.  So long as I have a credible force, we can hold Joplin as a bastion of resistance, and your infantry can use it as a base.  I’m looking for ways to hit harder, but I’ll bleed out in no time in the field.”

Meyer looked unconvinced.  “I have a shipment of replacement armor coming to you by boat from the Fifth Brigade’s stores.  I’ve been trying to convince Nikula to let me start calling them up, but she insists that the Clan would respond by committing more forces to their strike groups.  She seems to think she’s gotten inside Sender’s head and knows something about how they operate.”

Wahlgren had to chuckle.  “You’re alright Meyer.  I should have known it was political meddling.  At some point, you might need to just do what needs to be done.”  Yes I see that sour look, and I hope she is listening.

“You never mind the Fifth Brigade, Colonel.  I need you to do more with the Fourth Huskarl.  I’ve gotten some favorable reports about your detached recon force.  You will detach your other light company for skirmishing duty with the 60th Battalion.  The Clan is sending a star north to fight me.  That means they aren’t taking you seriously enough.  One more thing, Nikula wants a word with you, maybe you can convince her to untie my hands with those other brigades.”

“Yes sir.”  I’ve got to hand it to the guy.  He’s done more with those second rate militia than I would have imagined possible.  I wish I had another of him here leading the third rate Sixth Brigade.

Okay, let’s hear what the new military expert has to say.  Nikula appeared in the holotank.  “Attaché, how can I serve?”

“I want to review some of the points of my latest advisory memo.  Have you read it?”

“Yes, they call their lances ‘stars’ and their battle armor ‘elementals.’”

“Don’t get snide with me, Colonel.  I’m more concerned that you understand why the Clan is holding so much of its force in reserve.  The enemy commander insists on a victory on his own terms.  I haven’t determined his purpose, but I can see that he is frustrated.  We need to exploit that.

Nikula continued, “Colonel Meyer wanted to order you out of the city to seek battle.  I overruled him for one simple reason.  That is exactly what Sender wants.  I know because yesterday he requested we meet him for a decisive field battle.  He seems to have a number of grievances with the way we are conducting our defense.  So far I haven’t responded, but I will soon.  Before that happens, I would like you to poke him in the eye.  By all means, continue to deny battle with your main force, but do what you can to intensify the guerilla campaign.”

Well I’ll be damned.  The political advisor with no military background overruled a competent officer, and she is right.  Has the whole universe been turned on its head? “Yes Attaché, I believe you are right.  The Clan has shown a healthy respect for our guns since we decapitated that first mech, but they seem to be growing increasingly impatient.  I must admit, I initially underestimated their capabilities, but I now think we can fight only under the most favorable conditions.”

“Colonel, I am not sure defending that city will save this planet.  I have received no response to my HPGs.  ComStar is no longer convinced that my messages are getting through.  It is possible that the Clan has some way of interfering.  It is also possible that ours is not the only world under attack.  In any case, we must be prepared to prolong the fighting at any cost.  Even if St. John is lost, we will buy time so that the Republic can prepare.  Colonel Meyer is a local, but I expect you to appreciate the bigger picture.”

Dear God.  “The Black Horse will resist as long as we are able or until we have driven these invaders from the planet’s surface.”

“I expect nothing less.  And remember Colonel, for all their brashness, the Clan is very loss averse.  Our best hope is to convince them that the cost of fighting us is too great.  We will never be vanquished nor subjugated, nor will they ever enjoy the fruits of conquest here.  Like pirates, they may decide to find an easier victim.  Good luck, Colonel.”

Wahlgren spent a long while contemplating the lack of HPG communication.  Up until now, he had assumed that the fleet would be coming to their rescue soon.  Even without an HPG, Rasalhague would notice when one of its planets fell off the grid.  Is there a Republican armada about to jump in and rescue us?  Nikula doesn’t seem to think so.  She would know more about the fleet’s priorities than anyone else on this planet.  But it doesn’t really matter, does it?  It’s like making a drop on a hostile planet: either you live or you don’t.  Except that I have something to do.

Wahlgren took down the coat-of-arms from behind his desk and hung it from the front door of his command center.  Then he addressed his staff, “Pull back; dig in.  I want a new line at the highway.  Shift the Third Battalion to the south and have them cover the main bridge.  Tear down the other one.  I don’t care if you have to use pick axes.  We will hold the industrial district at all costs.  Tell Mäkinen I need her Charlie to prepare for independent operations.”

The militia’s heavy equipment was stationed in Duluth, but civilian contractors had been conscripted to fortify infantry positions.  The infantry were deployed at the squad level and served two purposes.  They prevented the Clan from moving freely along the streets, and they were spotters for LRM and artillery fire.

What I wouldn’t give for my engineers.  The Fourth Huskarl’s engineering company and much of their ancillary support remained on Kirchbach.  Huskarl regiments were designed to be a formidable fighting force that could operate independently, but the strength-in-numbers approach made them a royal pain to transport between systems.  So, thanks to Demerci’s hare-brained scheme, much of the equipment they were using was borrowed from the 24th Huskarl based on St. John.  Meanwhile the 24th was using Black Horse tanks on the various periphery border worlds.  Demerci is the reason I’m not on Kirchbach right now.  I’ve never met anyone more obsessed with saving a buck on freight. Nevertheless, other than his second VTOL company, which couldn’t be spared from its duties, Wahlgren had the entire fighting force of the Black Horse available to reshape into pirate hunters. 

Yet the great test of my Black Horse turns out to be an invasion after all.  We were ready for the Dracons or the Lyrans, so fate threw us this instead.  Plus an orbital blockade with no promise of relief.  What am I supposed to do about that?

“Sir.  Sir?  Collingnon from the 56th isn’t happy about abandoning the hospital.  They have a lot of wounded there.”

“Tell him the Clan won’t attack the hospital.”  Not if Nikula knows as much as she thinks she does. 
« Last Edit: 15 February 2017, 12:10:19 by Siegfried Marcus »
Here is my AU story set in the Free Rasalhague Republic.
http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=52953.0

Siegfried Marcus

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Re: The Huskarls' Hold
« Reply #20 on: 11 July 2016, 21:24:33 »
I've tried not to make revisions to what I've posted, but I mixed up my regiments and my battalions, so I changed David's unit to the 60th Battalion.  I'm a total amateur at military matters, so you'll have to forgive me for botching some details.
[Edit: I changed my mind about revisions to improve the writing, but I haven't made any significant changes.]

Also, I can't resist sharing that the gauss rifle shot to the head from Yerzov's company was the direct result of the dice.  I was committed to accepting the results of that first volley, and I'll be damned if I didn't roll a 10 to hit and box cars for the location.  The rest of that battle was loosely based on table top action, as will be some of the future battles.
« Last Edit: 02 September 2016, 14:18:46 by Siegfried Marcus »
Here is my AU story set in the Free Rasalhague Republic.
http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=52953.0

Siegfried Marcus

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Re: The Huskarls' Hold
« Reply #21 on: 23 July 2016, 00:49:44 »
Chapter 4-1

St. John
16 March 3050

Nikula ate alone.  Pickled herring was a rare delicacy on St. John, but being an Attaché had its perks.  She took care to relish each bite, though she did not particularly enjoy the flavor.  Instead it served to connect her to her ancestors.  Not the one’s from Terra, whose lives were far removed from her own.  Like many citizens of the Republic, she carried a Scandinavian name, but she neither knew nor cared how much her ancestry reflected that.

Her people were those of the Principality of Rasalhague who had claimed these planets from the void.  They had carried traditions and culture from the Old World.  Those had faded and morphed over time, but the symbolism remained.  The common bond was important in putting down roots in virgin soil, but the precise character of the culture wasn’t important.  It was like sharing a common language; Swedenese would do nicely, but so would any other. 

She had a single glass of white wine with her meal.  The touch of alcohol would help prepare her for battle.  Her adversary, Ramon Sender had the advantage in their first engagement, but Nikula had learned much since. 

Earlier, a lance of Jackals found an isolated garrison of five Elementals and killed them with LRMs.  Nikula made arrangements to speak with Sender.  Those Elementals weren’t part of your bid, but they must be warrior caste.  You can’t stand the thought that we could inflict even a single defeat on you, can you?

After finishing her meal, she dressed into her uniform and had an attendant touch her up.  Then Nikula stood before the projector with all the pride she could muster.  “Colonel Sender, I apologize that affairs of state have precluded me from responding earlier to your concerns.  I hope that I can address them now.”

Sender’s form appeared before her and spoke.  “You agreed to the terms of batchal.  You will abide by them or be declared dezgra.”  He glared, expecting her to account for the Republic’s actions.

“Your claims are false.  We have not employed civilians to fight against you, nor have we targeted non-combatants.” 

“I have laid out your violations in detail.  How can you deny them?”

Nikula spoke slowly.  “You have identified specific conduct, but you have made no case for your claims.  We have no obligation to ensure your subjugation of land you claim to have conquered.  The military forces of my government have, in some instances, surrendered but you cannot expect your oppression to go unchallenged by a free people.”  Sender looked dumbfounded, so she continued.  “Furthermore, our military has struck at your invading warriors, killing five of them just hours ago, as well as their bases of operation and logistical assets.”

“You have deliberately killed technicians and laborers.” 

“They were directly involved in supporting your attack.  Every invasion depends on defending its supply lines.  You tacitly acknowledge as much by using garrison forces to protect them – though poorly.”

“You have agreed to batchal.”

“I agreed only to honorable combat.  And we have fought honorably.”

“No.  I will not let you twist words to escape their meaning.” 

“My word is my bond as your word is yours.”  Nikula had practiced mirroring Sender’s cadence and inflection; he clearly recognized his own statement being thrown back at him.  She gave a slight smile.  I do love the classics.  “When I use a word,” she said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”

“That is absurd.  You would void our agreement by making it meaningless.”

“Not at all.  You agreed to your words, and I agreed to mine.  Just as you said.”

Sender sputtered then managed to say, “That is not what I meant.”

“Perhaps not, but just now we are speaking of what I meant.”

“I will hear no more of this.  I am declaring the city of Duluth to be conquered.  Your forces no longer offer consistent or organized resistance.  Furthermore, if you continue to disregard the distinction between warriors and workers, your government and your people will suffer.”

Sender waved his hand abruptly, and the transmission ended.  That went quite well, I think.
« Last Edit: 15 February 2017, 12:11:28 by Siegfried Marcus »
Here is my AU story set in the Free Rasalhague Republic.
http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=52953.0

Siegfried Marcus

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Re: The Huskarls' Hold
« Reply #22 on: 23 July 2016, 01:00:28 »
Chapter 4-2

St. John
17 March 3050

Wahlgren addressed his senior staff.  “The Clan is gearing up for a big push on us.  Their assault lance and battle armor have left Duluth.  They have pulled back from their minor outposts to deprive our skirmishers of targets.  That means the two lances that’ve been containing us have no distractions.  They’re even recalling the lance they sent north a few days ago.  At least that will relieve pressure on Meyer.  I’ve ordered our light companies to harass and delay that last lance.  Overall, we face 19 mechs, many of them heavy, and a couple dozen battle armor.  Hayashi, will give us a run-down of our available forces.”

Hayashi said, “Regarding the light companies, Second Charlie is mostly intact, and First Charlie has shown surprising effectiveness at guerrilla war despite heavy losses, including its command.  Nevertheless, we predict they will be unable to significantly delay the enemy.  First Battalion has lost four Gustavs with another three in the shop.  That puts them at 27, or about 80%.  Second Battalion has suffered heavy losses with only 23, or two thirds, of its Gustavs effective.  We have prioritized repairs for the heavier tanks, so Third Battalion still has eight Axels and ten Halberds, all of which can be deployed if needed.  Third Battalion has all three companies present, so they also have 20 Gustavs.  Of course, that’s not counting the Gustav with each Battalion HQ.  We’ve lost some Spyds, but still have over 75% of our LRM support.  We have seven combat helos, but we hope to continue using them for recon and spotting.  Across the regiment, we have 11 Thumpers and 4 Snipers, although ammo is becoming an issue for the artillery.  The Sentries are at full strength, but they are being kept for air defense despite the lack of air attacks so far.”

As one of the original Huskarl regiments, the Black Horse was expected to retain its cohesion in the face of such losses.  They had even done extensive training with reduced strength lances.  Furthermore, Huskarl members were selected for martial enthusiasm, and their training cultivated a certain degree of self-sacrifice.  While only average in terms of skill, the Huskarls were exceptionally devoted.  Even Huskarl morale can’t endure this slow death with no sign of progress or relief.  Let the enemy come and settle this.  My men and I are sick to death of waiting, and urban warfare plays to our strengths.

“Thank you, Hayashi.  Given our reduced strength, and the Clan’s superiority in small engagements, I’m concentrating our forces in two districts.  First and Second will hold downtown, along with most of the militia.  Third will hold the southern industrial center.  So long as the Clan doesn’t use artillery or support weapons, there should be little danger in ceding otherwise important ground to them.  Our artillery can keep up a harassing fire if they decide to camp out.  Recon reports Clan mechs are using a different weapons loadouts that emphasizes close range.  If they want to go toe to toe, this could be our chance to bring numbers to bear and take a clear victory.  I know it’s been a hard week, but all the chips are down today, and that’s how we like to play.”

Two hours later, The Clan’s Alpha Second Nova as well as Alpha and Bravo Battle Stars waited on the western outskirts of Joplin.  Charlie Battle Star was still 50 kilometers north and making steady progress despite its hovercraft shadow.  Svenskovich wanted to begin artillery bombardment, but Wahlgren had a different plan to draw in the attackers.

He broadcast a message to the enemy commander using loudspeakers.  “Lee Kerensky of Clan Wolf, you have come to conquer this city, have you not?  Several times you challenged me and my men to fight you, but you’re the ones who claimed you would defeat us, so we await your attempt.  Or does this man who bears Kerensky’s name need more time to summon his courage?”

A few minutes later, the Ryoken started in their direction, but fell back when the assault lance failed to follow.   Well, so much for that idea.  But when Charlie Battle Star arrived, it did not join their forces to the west.  Instead, it attacked immediately from the north where it met only light resistance.  Meanwhile the rest of the Clan forces drove hard to cut in between the strongholds in the south and center of the city.

Soon the Clan’s plan became clear.  The assault mechs and one of the battle stars moved against Third Battalion in the south, while the Elementals and the remaining star took up defensive positions to cut off reinforcement.  Most of the infantry is downtown and useless on the attack.  Third Battalion has nowhere to run.  The district is too small and we’ve barricaded the only bridge left.  Congratulations Wolves, you’ve cornered your prey.  Now let’s see if you can bring it down.

Wahlgren studied the map before issuing orders.  “Dispatch a lance of Gustavs and the militia’s flat-beds to tie up that norther lance.  First and Second Battalion need to break through; they have priority for artillery support.  Third Battalion will just have to weather this.  That’s what they were made for.”

Within a minute the images on Wahlgren’s tactical display were responding to his orders.  First Battalion met determined resistance, but it forced both battle stars to respond to their counterattack.  That left only the mighty assault mechs to press the Third Battalion.  They were headed for Alpha’s position.  Why is Third Bravo not moving?  “Jarvi, report.”

Lieutenant-Colonel Jarvi said,  “Sir, I’ve deployed Alpha in two lines.  The outer perimeter can’t hold, but it should buy us time to consolidate.  If they wait on that Daishi, we should have a chance to fall back.  After that, we’ve got our backs to the river, so “hold at all costs” goes without saying.  Bravo company is coming in radio-silent, so I can’t say exactly where they are.”

“Understood.”  Wahlgren looked to his tactical display where Third Bravo glowed steadily, while the real company was doing God-knows-what. Yerzov, this stunt is your idea.  That man has too much independence for a major, especially of a heavy company.  Damn it Yerzov, how am I supposed to lead this regiment when my officers disappear like that?
« Last Edit: 15 February 2017, 12:12:39 by Siegfried Marcus »
Here is my AU story set in the Free Rasalhague Republic.
http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=52953.0

Siegfried Marcus

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Re: The Huskarls' Hold
« Reply #23 on: 23 July 2016, 01:09:08 »
Chapter 4-3

St. John
17 March 3050

Major Yerzov lead his company through the narrow and twisted back roads of Joplin’s industrial district.  The rear camera display showed his tanks forcibly widening the path by plowing over vendor carts, personal vehicles, and any other obstruction that was easier to roll over than around.  The heavier tanks struggled to keep the pace he was setting, but he had to make up for the time lost by taking a less obvious approach.  It was dangerous to lead with the command lance, but if it added to the sense of sense of urgency for the drivers, it would be worth it.  Besides, his men had orders to charge headlong into battle if he should be killed, say by turning this next corner and meeting a hostile mech.

At the end of the next block, his guide waited on a motorbike.  Yerzov guessed he was not yet fifteen, and certainly not official militia.  He didn’t wear a uniform, but he knew his way around, and he wasn’t afraid to drive straight at the enemy without so much as a helmet.  The fool.  No boy that age knows what it means to risk death … but four more years makes all the difference, right?  How many kids following me will die today? The boy on the bike snapped out his left arm holding a red flag.  One Gustav moved toward the boy while the CV and its escorts waited facing him.  It was important that the lead heavy tanks saw which way he went.  What I wouldn’t have done at that age to usher a company of tanks into battle.  Yerzov pushed the boy from his mind. 

He could still receive some incoming data.  This indicated that he was about to come face to face with an assault lance.  One or two mechs were guarding against an approach from his direction, so they were expecting him, but probably not from this street.  They wouldn’t hear him coming.  Thousands of tons of heavy metal crashing around made a terrible racket, but it was nothing compared to the autocannons and missiles just ahead.  The low boom of Third Battalion’s four Thumpers added to the noise, but they were not positioned for direct fire, and their shells were falling far away. 

The boy ditched his bike just before reaching the main highway.  He peeked around the corner then signaled one enemy.  Not bad, kid.  This isn’t as narrow as I feared, and the buildings are tall enough to give us good cover.  Despite the desperate situation of the Third Battalion, Yerzov took a moment to form up.  Again the boy checked around the corner.  Judging by the skyward inclination of his head, the enemy was close.  Some of the tanks still hadn’t caught up, but there was no more time. 

“Charge!”  Yerzov broke radio silence with the most venerable of all battle cries.  Over a dozen tanks came pouring out of the inconspicuous avenue and opened fire on the nearby Man O’ War.  A Halberd and an Axel each scored hits, along with all three of the Gustavs.  From down the street, a Halberd from Alpha fired from its concealed position and hit.  The avalanche of heavy metal and explosives tore into the mech’s legs and all along its right side.  But the tanks had left their sides exposed as they rushed into position.  The Man O’ War’s heavy autocannon unloaded rounds a fearful rate and stripped the armor from a Halberd.  It’s lasers heavily damaged the treads of an Axel.  Still don’t respect the toughness or our tanks?  Or are you just desperate to reduce our numbers fast?

“Major Yerzov engaging at main highway.  Patching in to the tac data.  I need spotters.”  The tactical display lit up, but before he could orient himself, the floor beneath him lurched.

“We need to move,” said his driver even as the vehicle whipped past the fighting and ducked into the next side street.  A Fenris had come in behind him.  Its PPC and inferno missiles were a serious a threat to his CV.  Fortunately, one of the Axels was far enough behind to assist the Sentry as a rear guard and ward off the potential ambush.

The other Clan mechs shifted their position toward the beleaguered Man O’ War, but they were heavily engaged.  Now that Yerzov seized the initiative, Jarvi ordered a general advance.  The other Man O’ War quickly destroyed a Gustav with its heavy autocannon.  The Daishi damaged two tanks, and the Vulture finished one of them off at close range.  Ever since the first battle, Clan Wolf had shown a greater willingness to share kills.  The Vulture also pounded a Halberd at longer range with its missiles.  But the missiles flew both ways, and the volume of fire from two lances of Spyds overwhelmed the Vulture’s anti-missile system and did significant damage.

Although half surrounded, the damaged Man O’ War destroyed an Axel and made it across the street, depriving most of the tanks of a clear shot.  One exception was a Halberd which kept within optimal range for its gauss rifle.  The giant metal slug hit just below the right knee and took off half the leg while burning out the myomer tissue above it.  As the mech tumbled to the ground, a barrage of LRMs from Yerzov’s Spyds landed.  The Man O’ War’s AMS shot down several incoming missiles, but they still destroyed the mech’s right arm.  In less than half a minute, Bravo Company had crippled the neigh invincible omni-mech.

The Clan tried to withdraw toward where their lighter forces where faring better, but the Daishi was too slow.  The Vulture collapsed under the next salvo of missiles.  This allowed several Gustavs from the medium company to close distance.  They switched to cluster rounds to poke at the holes in the Vulture’s armor, and they damaged a foot actuator.  The two heavier mechs continued to punish the advancing tanks.  The Daishi destroyed one with its battery of lasers, and the second Man O’ War heavily damaged another, but Jarvi could afford to pull it back and press the attack with fresher forces. 

The dismembered Man O’ War managed to stand and didn’t go down again easily, but its fate was sealed.  Yerzov’s company pressed on as they took turns unloading rounds into the doomed mech.  The Fenris could only offer modest support as a swarm of tanks closed around the rest of its lance.  The Daishi soaked up considerable damage and heavily damaged another tank, but the Gustavs sped past it to fire more cluster rounds into the Vulture.  This time, the Vulture’s lower leg actuator locked up, further reducing its speed.

The remaining Man O’ War savaged another Gustav, but Yerzov’s company shoved itself into the fray and isolated The Daishi and Vulture.  The Third Battalion’s great numerical superiority quickly proved decisive over the heroic aspirations of the trapped Clan warriors. The hobbled Vulture went down in another hail of LRMs, and an Axel finally gutted the giant Daishi.  The remaining two mechs were in good condition, but they withdrew.  Word soon came that the Clan was withdrawing from the fight near the center of the city, but the Black Horse was in no condition to pursue.

No one can doubt the Huskarls now. Yerzov’s enthusiasm was soon tempered as the sobering data on Black Horse losses came in.  He had only lost an Axel and a Gustav, but the rest of the battalion lost five Gustavs and five heavier tanks, mostly before his forces had arrived.  First and Second Battalions were showing over a dozen losses total, but they also killed a mech and several battle armor.  We paid a brutal price, but we won.
« Last Edit: 15 February 2017, 12:13:51 by Siegfried Marcus »
Here is my AU story set in the Free Rasalhague Republic.
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Siegfried Marcus

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Re: The Huskarls' Hold
« Reply #24 on: 23 July 2016, 01:26:04 »
Of course after saying I don't like to make changes after posting, I decided to change something.  I renamed the Huskarl's signature tank the Gustav because: 1) I didn't really think about how Gustavus is a Latinized version of the original name, and it makes no sense that the FRR would use it.  (Gustaf might be even better, but I'm okay with using English spellings.)  2) It's shorter and has a more martial sound to my mind.  3) It looks way better when plural.

P.S. Acknowledgements to Lewis Carroll for the line I stole from Humpty Dumpty.
« Last Edit: 23 July 2016, 02:34:21 by Siegfried Marcus »
Here is my AU story set in the Free Rasalhague Republic.
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DOC_Agren

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Re: The Huskarls' Hold
« Reply #25 on: 23 July 2016, 23:12:58 »
Do we have stats on the Tanks?
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

Siegfried Marcus

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Re: The Huskarls' Hold
« Reply #26 on: 24 July 2016, 16:29:56 »
Stats and background for my combat vehicles are now here. 
http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=53755.msg1239177#msg1239177

I will also create a listing for the Fourth Huskarl on the non-canon units page.
Here is my AU story set in the Free Rasalhague Republic.
http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=52953.0

DOC_Agren

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Re: The Huskarls' Hold
« Reply #27 on: 25 July 2016, 12:30:20 »
thanks
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

Challenger

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Re: The Huskarls' Hold
« Reply #28 on: 25 July 2016, 18:02:12 »
I'm realy enjoying this! Good work!

Brings back bad memories of running into a company of Pattons with a lance of medium mechs. A painful learning experience.

Challenger

Siegfried Marcus

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Re: The Huskarls' Hold
« Reply #29 on: 22 September 2016, 21:33:11 »
Chapter 5-1

St. John
23 March 3050

Despite his security clearance, Demerci had been frozen out of high level intelligence briefings since the invasion.  That was to be expected for a legislative observer, especially with a Prince’s Attaché present, but he refused to be sidelined.  Sergeant Yoshida, the regiment’s logistics officer, had owed him a favor which he traded for information on the enemy fleet’s composition.

The  fleet seemed impossibly small.  Even if it came from just a few jumps away, it would still be inadequate.  Jump ship capacity was a major constraint on any invasion, and Demerci set out to find and exploit any related vulnerabilities. 

He wanted to examine the Clan’s ground logistics, but he was restricted to low-level reports.  One of those was by a Private Olson.  Demerci took notice because she claimed to have first-hand observations of enemy activity.  He got permission to contact her, and they soon formed a partnership.  She provided information, and he studied it to help her determine the lowest risk targets.  In the process, they recognized a shared view of the Clan threat.

Once again he considered something Olson said.  “Why garrison a town with elite forces?”  It has to be the limited jump capacity.  They need the smallest possible footprint.  And that means the garrisons are as indispensable as the front line.

During their morning conversation, Demerci asked, “Corporal, has the Clan augmented their garrison forces?”

“Augmented?  It’s the same gear, if that’s what you mean.  They still rely on civilian collaborators for support, but they haven’t armed any.  Sometimes the Elementals will ride a vee, but that’s it.  We haven’t seen any tanks, no hovers, no foot.  Nothing but the best for the Clanners.” 

“Clanners?  You’re starting to sound like the militia.”

“Well,” Olson said, “I don’t get a lot of support from HQ these days.”

“They gave you another lance.”

“That’s just twice the responsibility and still no support.”

“We’re all scrambling,” Demerci said.  “What is the latest from Duluth?”

“They say three mechs and maybe a couple dozen elementals.  There’s never more than one dropship.  Still not my idea of a soft target.  Won’t they just fly in reinforcements if they see us coming?”

“I don’t think they have enough reinforcements to spare.  I’ve been studying the militia data you sent me on Clan reactions in the northern theater, and I’m confident we can overwhelm their response capabilities.”  Reasonably confident, subject to the usual caveats.  “One more thing, I noticed a Forsyth in your lance, but I don’t see a listing.”

“Oh yeah, that’s David.  I got him from the militia too.  Jakobs wasn’t working out in my unit, so I traded her for Forsyth.”

“Can you do that?”  Demerci asked.

“I guess so.” 

Demerci laughed.  “I won’t tell.”  He ended the call.  The militia provides her with more secure intel than what the Fourth provides to me.  I suppose the militia feels more desperate.

The Sixth Free Brigade command was especially interested in Demerci’s idea to retake Duluth.  To him it was a potential target of opportunity, but to the Sixth Brigade, it meant restoring their primary base.  He reviewed their assessment of the city’s importance.  Most importantly, It was the only major port in the region.  To the south, a fleet waited to reinforce and resupply the Republic’s forces.  The fleet carried much needed replacement armor and artillery rounds, as well as two battalions that had been stationed on the big island. 

Will they do it?  Olmet is aggressive, but Wahlgren won’t like moving away from the Clan’s main force.  The Attaché is the wild card, and now she wants to talk.  At least I’ve gotten her attention.

Demerci went down the hall to get more biscuits and amphetamines, then he returned to his small office.  He pulled up his estimates for the Clan’s rapid response force.  He reviewed the data as he ate, then he leaned back and closed his eyes.  It’s as if they have no contingency reserve to replace losses.  Would the Clan have allowed Colonel Meyer’s offensives to go unanswered if they did?  Demerci imagined how the Clan would respond to an attack on Duluth under certain assumptions.  He visualized the scenario using the same schematics as his computer models.  Red lines converged on Duluth.  That wouldn’t give us much time. 

As he contemplated alternatives to the scenario, there was a knock.  Demerci opened his eyes to see Nikula standing in the doorway.  He said, “I didn’t realize you would be coming in person.”

Nikula closed the door and leaned against the wall.  “My schedule and movements are classified.  I’m told that Olmet’s new proposal is based on your work.  I’m concerned that your ideas rely upon an incomplete picture.  You don’t appreciate the significance of the Clan’s honor culture, and you are using outdated estimates of the enemy fleet size.”

“Then provide me with better information.  Has the Clan jumped in reinforcements?” 

Nikula regarded him skeptically.  “You really don’t know, do you?  I’ve watched you struggle to establish a network of contacts.”

“I never needed one before.”  Demerci tried to sound bland, but a tinge of resentment crept in.

“Yes, I see that now,” she finally said.  “There was no second jump, but there were additional dropships trailing the fleet.  They carried mechs and elementals that Sender did not disclose.  Nevertheless, I believe they sincerely intend to conquer this planet with the forces they bid.”

So, you have finally decided to trust me.  “Their intentions may be sincere, but they are also self-serving.  They want to limit the scope of the conflict to avoid straining their supply chain.  Their bid has focused our attention on the strike groups and away from the vulnerable garrisons.  I believe that the Clan has exhausted its reserves.”

“If you are wrong, and the Clan reinforces heavily, our forces risk being caught in the open.” 

… and annihilated.   “We need to start exploring high risk options.  Meyer has been imploring us to take the offensive from the start.”

Nikula nodded distractedly.  “Our situation is indeed becoming desperate.  The Clan is shifting two stars and the elementals north to subdue Meyer.  He believes he could hold the capital for a week or two at most.  One star has been left to intercept the Fourth Huskarl as it moves north to assist.  Colonel Olmet is proposing your plan to strike south and liberate Duluth first.  I’m inclined to agree.  Any losses we can inflict here will weaken the Clan’s next attack.”

“You think he plans to assault other worlds?”  Demerci still assumed that Sender would withdraw from St. John once he got what he wanted.

“Sender talks as if he has superiors and peers.  He fears that mere success will be overshadowed by others within the Clan.  Furthermore, Sender couldn’t expect to hold the planet against a concerted response.  I believe Clan Wolf has launched a full scale invasion of the Republic.”

From where?  Trying to explain Sender’s presence defies imagination.  So why couldn’t there be a whole wave of such attacks?  “If that’s true, we are not likely to see our families again.”

“Don’t be so sure.  The Kempten’s Shimmer made an emergency in-system jump when the Clan arrived.  We may be able to slip something past the blockade.  I want you to assist in optimizing the loadouts for a potential escape; I understand you are good at that.  But first you will be assisting Lieutenant-Colonel Olmet’s staff in retaking Duluth.  I will upgrade your operational clearance accordingly.”
« Last Edit: 15 February 2017, 00:24:15 by Siegfried Marcus »
Here is my AU story set in the Free Rasalhague Republic.
http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=52953.0