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Author Topic: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)  (Read 17398 times)

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #150 on: 13 October 2018, 13:58:08 »
Davion Drop Zones, Wallachian Badlands, Valexa, Capellan March, Week 1b Nov, 3020

The fighting in mid-October had landed hardest on the 8th Crucis Lancers and the 1st Mechanised Brigade. The Lancers’ Mech battalions were down anywhere from twenty-five to forty percent while five of the commands’ nine tank battalions were reduced by as much as two-thirds. The four line battalions of the 1st Mechanised Brigade had on average been reduced by nearly thirty percent while the fighters of Number 1 Group were also down by a third. In the case of the fighter squadrons this did not tell the entire story as damage to many fighters was such that, while they might fly, it would not take much additional damage to finish off the craft. As such, the Group could only field a single wing, of these only a few craft were reported as fully operational. The two fighter wings of the Crucis Lancers, on the other hand, were operational with nearly eighty-five percent of their fighters reported as serviceable. 

The Valexa CMM’s conventional regiments had been roughly handled but the Mech regiment had come away almost unscathed. It was the Mech battalions of Swann’s Cavaliers that bore the brunt of the fighting against Hamilton’s Highlanders and only its third battalion was over fifty percent strength. The rest of the Cavaliers had done very well and together with Valexa CMM these two commands now formed a screen forty kilometers in front of the drop zones were the Crucis Lancers and 1st Mechanised Brigade were now refitting.  Swann’s aerospace fighter wing was down by a third but the Valexa CMM’s wings had hardly been engaged and were at near full strength.

The Valexa garrison brigade, its main depots occupied by the Capellans, was also resting nearby. The fighting in October had drained most of the combat supplies their trucks and weapons carriers had managed to load. Their Techs could do little more than jury-rig repairs for now until the mounds of salvage collected from the battlefield could be sorted and examind. The ‘Volunteers’ heavy Mech battalion had just two operational Mechs while its heavy tank battalion was down sixty percent. The garrison's 2nd infantry regiment was reduced by a third and its mechanised infantry regiment was reduced by half. Its fighter wing was also down more than a third but could still field nearly two full squadrons.

The Capellan attackers were in worse shape overall and had retreated back within sight of the spaceport and their dropships. Both the Highlanders and the Grenadiers were down nearly forty percent while 3rd Chesterton Voltigeurs combined strength was barely forty-five percent of what it was when it landed on the planet. The combined fighter strength of the three commands had been reduced by two-thirds as had the strength of the two naval wings that provided support to the invasion. With almost no salvage recovered from the battlefield, spare parts were scarce and the commands were seen digging in to await relief. Despite their losses and supply position the Capellans made no show of planning to abandon their attempt to take Valexa.

The intensity of October fighting on Valexa had been overshadowed in the early days of November by the arrival of news that the Capellan offensive had also struck Ashkum and Bell. The 5th Crucis Lancers and 2nd Chisholm Raiders had arrived just in time to prevent the Ashkum garrison from being overrun by the 1st and 2nd Chesterton Voltigeurs. As on Valexa the enemy had not withdrawn from its target after their initial failure to gain their objective. On Bell the garrison was supported by the mercenaries of Grim Determination and together they made Hurloc’s Hussar’s pay a steep price before withdrawing.

While Tech and AsTechs bent to their repair tasks and the Brigade’s infantry dug in under the protection of the dropships’ guns, word had also arrived that both sides had reinforced the battle for Valexa. The crippled Enterprise and her escorts had withdrawn soon after a relief force led by the carrier groups FSS Federated Suns and Intrepid had jumped into the system’s Zenith Point. Following the carrier groups were the ground commands of the Davion Heavy and 1st Guards Regimental Combat Teams.

The importance the Capellans placed on this offensive was soon made clear by the nature of the reinforcements they had committed. Jumping into the Nadir point was one of the Capellan navy's three known Vengeance aerospace carrier groups along with second formation of standard assault dropships. Behind this wave of six assault dropship wings came a veritable cloud of troop transports of an estimated three ground commands.

As the last days of the first week of November approached the available planet based fighters for both combatants streaked into the sky and climbed for orbit just as the two opposing fleets came into close orbit. The second round of the battle for Valexa had begun.

*****
« Last Edit: 01 November 2018, 14:17:06 by The Purist »
Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought upon the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

"...Remember also the two "prime directives" in playing BattleTech:
1. HAVE FUN
2. DON'T LET YOURSELF GET SO CAUGHT UP IN THE RULES THAT YOU STOP HAVING FUN"
Page 168 - Reunification War

snakespinner

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #151 on: 13 October 2018, 19:13:50 »
The 1st and Heavy Guards. Those 3 additional commands would have to be very good to match them. :thumbsup:
I wish I could get a good grip on reality, then I would choke it.
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Watching TrueToaster create evil genius, priceless...everything else is just sub-par.

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #152 on: 20 October 2018, 10:27:05 »
Near Orbit, Valexa, Capellan March, Week 1b – 2a, Nov 3020

As his fleet approached Valexa Colonel Zheng He deployed the fighters from the CCS St Ives. The two heavy wings had formed up forward of the carrier group linking to their left with two veteran wings from Blackwind Lancers. To their right they tied in with medium fighter wings belonging to Preston’s Lancers. To the immediate left of the St Ives were the assault dropship wings of the Tikonov Commonality’s 1st Naval Division. The 1st Division had just completed the launching of the medium and heavy aerospace fighter wings belonging to McCrimmon’s Light Cavalry, which were no moving forward to take position in the lead row with the other six wings. Behind the Capellan fleet came the troopships and supply carriers already adjusting their formations and decelerating for their final atmospheric entry.

The tactical display in the carrier’s combat information centre showed the broad curve of the planet and the incoming Davion fleet of almost equal size vectoring in from their route from the star’s Zenith point. Like his own fleet Zheng He could note the fighters from the dropships by the shape of the red points of light. The assault dropships were either green or red dots depending on whether or not they were emitting recognised IFF signals, the troop and supply ships were noted by coloured squares. The multitude of aerospace fighters showed as triangles within a circle, with a small rectangle noting other information such as the size, parent squadron and wing if friendly. As the enemy fighters drew closer additional information regarding size or type would populate their currently empty labels.

As the fleet made its final adjustments to close with the enemy, Colonel Zheng He checked with the young naval sub commander to ensure his orders had been clear. The fleet was not to become engaged in a fight to the death with the Davion force. They would clear a path for the ground troops’ safe decent to the surface where they were to finish the conquest of Valexa. Once the dropships had safely entered the atmosphere the fighter wings belonging to ground forces would follow and escort their comrades to the surface. The fleet would cover the final landings from orbit and then withdraw deeper into the system, sending a report back to Sarna into the system via a scout jumpship already charged and ready to jump away with the news of the battle’s progress.

Zheng He’s attention was drawn to an aide who come to stand beside him, “Sang-shao, the enemy is closing directly. We will be engaged within a minute, no more.”

“Thanks you, Sang-wei. We are ready, victory will be ours.” Thinking for a moment the Capellan colonel could not think of anything else to add as he watched the tactical display adjust and the view changed to a depiction of the two fleets as their outer edges began to merge. Klaxons sounded and the lighting changed to a muted red just as the ship vibrated from the launches of the first barrages of long range missiles.

*****


Down on the surface of the planet Colonel Bedford was meeting once again with his command staff, John Ligny bringing everyone up to date on the state of repairs for the battle damage. The majority  of the light damage had been attended to and the techs were beginning to turn their attention to Mechs, tanks and other equipment that had been listed as “crippled”. These items would require more attention as well as support from the Davion Techs offered by the MarshaL. The Brigade had ample supply of spare parts but it was not quite fully staffed with the required technical support. This meant that on most duty station they either hired local Techs on a short term basis or accepted support from the Davion military.

John Ligny, 1st Service Battalion’s commanding officer, finished his summary, “Give it another week, perhaps ten days and we should be ninety percent combat ready, maybe ninety-five. As on Lyons, two and half years ago, we have ample captured salvage and repairable equipment but it will take time to repair this lot. For now we will mothball most of the captured equipment and load it aboard the cargo carriers.”

Pausing as he flipped through some notes on his computer tablet, the Brigade’s Tech commander continued.

“We have identified a number of vehicles that we will repair for the sole purpose of selling and roll the profits into further repairs for kit we do want to keep. The Davion accountants have already been snooping about with their abacus’, preparing to rob us blind, no doubt. Considering what we have dragged off the field the bill will be significant, even at rates based on heavy damage. We’ve dragged in a good haul,” looking at Major Thomas Bedford with a smile, “including a full thirty-six Mechs.”

Noting the smiles around the table and the implications of this news, John Ligny paused.

"Thirty-six? Exactly thirty-six Mechs?", came the major's reply. Thomas Bedford was the most experienced Mech commander in the Brigade and could have been in command of his own battalion, or even regiment, but his loyalty to the brigade and his brother had so far outweighed his ambition. The major commanded the oversized company called the "Brigade Combat Group" and included two Mech lances and two more of conventional armour. Its aim it was to protect the Brigade's headquarters lance led by a rebuilt Mobile Headquarters and its immediate infantry and light vehicle escort.   

“We should be able to repair most of thesm. Ten are light models, Wasps and such. Some we have never had in the Brigade before, such as the four Blackjacks. For now though, we will focus on filling the gaps in our ranks.”

Richard Bedford leaned forward on his elbows, his own smile fading slightly, “How is Number 1 Group? How badly are we hurting for replacement craft?”

With a nod John Ligny signalled to Philip Valois, the fighter group’s commander. “Well, technically we did not suffer the complete loss of even a single fighter but the Group is down to twenty-eight serviceable craft. Although, a many of these still sport some damage. The remaining eight craft will require more attention to complete repairs but we will be fully operational again before the end of the month if we can replace the armour. Aerospace fighters are more fragile than Mechs or tanks so armour is all the more important.”

John Ligny was quick to add, “We will do what we can for your teams Phil. What we couldn’t repair from the rubble of last month’s fight we have stripped clean wherever possible. I can’t promise every kilogram of armour will be provided but we’ll do what we can. We have plenty of fresh paint to go around as well.”

“See to it, John. Those fighters that took off a few hours ago are probably already engaged with the Capellan fleet that arrived with reinforcements. I want maximum air cover available in case we need to get engaged. We are still in reserve and ordered to refit along with the Crucis Lancers but I want us prepared in case thing change.”

As the meeting came to a close the sound of thunder rumbled in from the direction of the ‘front’. The skies were clear of any hint of a storm, loose tendrils of clouds drifted by in an otherwise clear sky. The exchanges of glances confirmed what everyone already knew, the rumbling in the distance was manmade.

*****

Nearly one hundred and fifty assault dropships and over 300 aerospace fighters came together in Valexa's high orbit as the two fleets came into contact. Both opted to screen the mass of dropships that followed the combatants and with few exceptions they both succeeded. Nevertheless, the sheer numbers of assault dropships and fighters could not help but take their toll on both fleets. The St Ives was badly damaged in an encounter with the Davion 19th and 20th Naval Assault Wings[/i] that screened FSS Intrepid. Three of the five Capellan naval wings suffered punishing damage while they inflicted similar damage to their Davion counterparts.

As the troopships entered the atmosphere the aerospace fighters followed, either trying to get in amongst the heavily laden transports to hammer them from the skies or attempting to protect them from just such an attack. Fighter losses were heaviest amongst McCrimmon’s fighter wings but losses were also significant amongst both the Blackwind and Preston’s Lancers. The four fighter wings belonging to the two Davion Guards commands and the carriers were also punished but support from the surface by the Valexa CMM and Swann’s Cavaliers’ comparatively intact wings helped distract enough fire to keep losses from becoming too damaging.

The two space faring fleets soon passed each other tracking along counter rotating orbits that would see them clash one more time on the opposite side of the planet before they drew apart. Recovering their fighters both carrier forces took station on opposite sides of the planet, each high above the northern hemisphere keeping a watchful eye on the other for moves against the ground forces. On the ground the three Capellan commands deployed quickly from their landings zones near the spaceport and capital and pushed quickly into the badlands.

Swann’s Cavalier’s and Valexa CMM’s regiments fell back quickly before the powerful advance until they were greeted by formations of the Davion Heavy and 1st Guards coming the other way. Wheeling about smartly the screen then became the centre of the Davion line as it marched forward. Following behind the advance at a discrete distance came the weary Valexa garrison brigade and its reduced battalions. Disobeying orders they had marched to the sound of the guns and now formed an unofficial reserve for the Davion forces as they prepared to meet the three fresh Capellan commands.

*****
« Last Edit: 20 October 2018, 11:32:05 by The Purist »
Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought upon the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

"...Remember also the two "prime directives" in playing BattleTech:
1. HAVE FUN
2. DON'T LET YOURSELF GET SO CAUGHT UP IN THE RULES THAT YOU STOP HAVING FUN"
Page 168 - Reunification War

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #153 on: 25 October 2018, 14:11:07 »
Wallachian Badlands, Valexa, Capellan March, Week 2a – 3b, Nov 3020

The Davion Guards commands on both wings of the Davion line opened fire with telling on the advancing Capellans as soon as their Mech and vehicles came into range. The elite Guards made use of their superior doctrine and more flexible command to control the battle and keep the engagements at ranges best suited to their weapons. At the same the two commands of the Capellan Lancers were not green troops and they responded with their own heavy volleys that did significant damage to the Guards. The Capellans also had the advantage in artillery and very soon the limited ground support the Davion troops had was tasked to suppressing the enemy guns, a mission they took to with a relish. By the end of the fighting near the end of the month four of six battalions had been withdrawn to the Capellan planethead.

In the air the numbers were tipped slightly in the favour of the AFFS once the Valexa CMM, Swann’s Cavaliers and the planet’s own aerospace craft were thrown in. As tempted as he was to make use of the aerospace fighters belonging to the 8th Crucis Lancers and the 1st Mechanised Brigade Marshal Wargo left them out of the battle to complete their refitting. As losses mounted on both sides one squadron after the other was withdrawn from the battle to a number of paved and makeshift landing fields behind the front lines. In orbit above the planet the two fleets engaged in a number skirmishes aimed at preventing the other side from intervening in the surface battle. Additional damage was scored by both sides most tellingly against CCS St Ives and the FSS Intrepid but damage was not severe enough to force either side to withdraw.

By the third week of November the battle had drifted closer to the capital on Valexa’s main spaceport. The weight of the Davion Heavy Guards firepower and larger command had taken its toll on Preston’s Lancers, which was down more than sixty percent. Similarly disadvantaged by numbers the Blackwind Lancers’ numbers had been had also been cut in half fighting the Davion 1st Guards. Only McCrimmon’s Light Cavalry had held its own, having the advantage over the already weakened Valexa CMM and Swann’s Cavaliers. It took the intervention of the Valexa garrison brigade to steady the line until the Capellan brigade retreated into the cordon held by battered battalions of the Hamilton Highlanders and Arian Grenadiers.

Marshal Wargo, confident that additional reinforcements were soon to arrive, did not press the attack more than he felt was prudent. The Valexa CMM and mercenary Cavaliers were each barely one-third of their original strength and were ordered to the rear as soon as the Capellan Light Cavalry broke off the battle. What was left of the Valexa garrison was formed into a single ad hoc regiment of four depleted battalions and attached to 1st Guards. The 1st Davion Guard were themselves reduced by nearly forty-five percent with a few battalions down as much as sixty or seventy percent. Finally, the Heavy Guards had been reduced by a third almost uniformly across its battalions and retained its main striking power. While both sides now had at roughly six commands on the planet neither side could count on more than two being in condition for heavy fighting and perhaps one other capable of skirmishing.

The advantage may have been even more in favour of the Davion forces but the 8th Crucis Lancers and 1st Mechanised Brigade had received new orders and were hurriedly loading their dropships. Come December they would be joining a general counteroffensive aimed at driving the Liao invasion forces back into the Sarna Commonality or destroying them where they stood.

*****
« Last Edit: 01 November 2018, 12:07:23 by The Purist »
Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought upon the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

"...Remember also the two "prime directives" in playing BattleTech:
1. HAVE FUN
2. DON'T LET YOURSELF GET SO CAUGHT UP IN THE RULES THAT YOU STOP HAVING FUN"
Page 168 - Reunification War

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #154 on: 29 October 2018, 13:40:52 »
Headquarters 1st Mechanised Brigade, Wallachian Badlands, Valexa, Capellan March, Week 4b Nov, 3020

The activities around the 1st Mechanised Brigade’s dropships had increased markedly over the past week as equipment, spares and supplies not needed for immediate use were loaded. The haul of captured cripples had been sorted, stripped and stowed as cargo. John Ligny’s Techs had consumed nearly 80% or the captured parts and armour in their race to repair the equipment the Brigade could put to immediate use. Not all gaps in the lances and troops could be filled with the correct items but these gaps were filled even if it meant, as it did in one case, inserting a Hunter light tank into a Mech lance to bring it up to strength.

By borrowing extra Tech support from the Davion commands a list of captured armoured personnel carriers, light scout vehicles and even a pair of Maxim heavy hover tanks had been refurbished and turned over to agents for sale on the market. Profits were improved by some skilled negotiations by the Brigade’s agents on Galatea and New Avalon but the benefit came from the fact that the salvage feed owed to the Davion accountants was based on the original state of the captured kit, not its value after repair. Even so, once the cost of borrowed Tech and repairs were factored in the profit was not large. The cash would be rolled back into the funds for the next block of repairs.

Standing under a bright sun in a clear sky Richard Bedford signalled the group of the Brigade’s field and senior officer chatting idly nearby he was ready to begin the morning’s briefing. Sitting on folding chairs and camp stools the array of officers settled in a shallow arc around the Brigade commander.

“It looks like the Davion Guards have driven back the Capellan to their trench lines near the Spaceport. I am told additional troops are inbound to bolster the troops but we are bound for ‘higher things.’ I cannot give you our objective until after we lift off but we are packing for an assault and Marshal Wargo has advised it will not be an easy fight. His own command is not back up to full strength and we will be leaving behind Colonel Duvalier and his Cavaliers on this trip.”

This bit of news caused a stir as the nearly year-long association with Swann’s Cavaliers had brought with it a level of trust and cooperation between the two commands. This trust had been of benefit to both commands as they could be assured the other command would be at their side or have their backs when the chips were down. Even Richard Bedford felt a twinge of unease at being separated from the Cavaliers.

“I understand how you all feel but we were going to end up going our own way eventually in any case. Besides, the Cavaliers are burnt out and in need of a lot of rebuilding before they will be ready for combat again.”

Moving the discussion on, Bedford flipped to a new page in his note pad. Nodding to Thomas Burgh he continued, “Number 13 Commando, the infantry and Mechs of the 4th Dragoons will be prepared for a combat drop. That’s jump packs for Major Burgh’s commandoes and parachutes for Major Castilla’s Dragoons”

Everyone sat up with the announcement that part of the Brigade would be executing a combat drop. If this was against an enemy already on the ground the Brigade wanted it could lead to some very heavy fighting and heavy fighting.

“The objective landing zone is not expected to be occupied but it possesses a bridge over a large gorge. Once on the ground I want the scouts out and a perimeter formed around the objective before we land. The hover tanks will be the first off-loaded when we ground and they will move to join you. The Brigade will follow and pass over the gorge and deploy a bridgehead on the far side. We are to hold the bridgehead against all comers and keep the bridge open.”

Flipping the crisp note pad closed Bedford concluded, “I’m sorry there isn’t more to tell you at this time. Security is tight on this one and even Captain St James couldn’t add anything to the briefing we had last night with the Marshal.”

“Are there any questions?” 

There were and a short Q & A session followed where minor details were checked and a few questions that could not, or would not be answered at the time were set aside. With so much to do in the remaining 30 hours before launch the briefing broke up as the officers and their staff dispersed. As the group of mostly young men and women left on their various tasks Bedford could not help but wonder how many of them would come back from this operation this time.

*****

Sector MZ 9, Bell, Week 1a Dec 3020

As the Edward III flashed into existence in the Bell system, Major Catherine Woodville gave a muted curse of relieved tension. The officer commanding 302 Wing or Number 1 Group hated jumps to non-standard points even when well calculated and recorded. Under most circumstances she considered them an unnecessary risk in a universe where hyperspace travel and high tech war already added risk enough. As the effects of the jump cleared from her systems and the Leopard class aerospace dropship carrier slowly moved away from its jumpship, she saw the fighter bay’s launch light flick from red to bright green as the hatch rolled away from in front of her Kurita made Slayer 15A heavy fighter. With a roll of her shoulders she settled herself into the cockpit and pushed the fighter’s throttle forward.

The 80-ton fighter leapt from the its bay on the Leopard's starboard side where she was quickly joined by the other five fighters launched from Edward III. The remaining fighters of Number 1 Group were all launching from the mix jumpships provided by the Davion navy for this operation. Only the ‘Edward’ and Princess Philippa, a Gazelle troop transport, belonged to the Brigade, dropships had long been out of reach for the mercenary command considering the need to constantly repair or replace everything from assault rifles to heavy Mechs and aerospace fighters. The two dropships the brigade possessed had been captured from the Capellans on Alrescha during one of the Brigade’s missions supporting the AFFS’ strikes against Liao units defending the Tikonov Commonality.

Forming up into three ‘short wings’, Number 1 Group took the point position in the formation and began to accelerate towards the planet Bell. Behind the thirty-six fighters came the Brigade’s dropships plus one additional dropship squadron that carried the assorted Mechs of the Bell Training Battalion. Woodville noted that Colonel Bedford was initially taken aback by the offer to attach the green unit to his otherwise veteran formation but the offer of a full Mech battalion to augment his force was more than welcome. With the mixture of light, medium and heavy Mechs from the Davion battalion it meant the Brigade had nearly 140 Mechs with which to execute its mission.

At a steady rate of one-G the small fleet burned towards Bell for more than an hour without anyone appearing to take notice. Without warning the entire formation was suddenly ‘lit up’ by the sensors of a patrolling wing of Capellan fighters that were accelerating fast n their direction to intercept. Clearly the emergence from hyperspace had been spotted and the patrol had immediately moved to investigate. The question in Major Woodville’s mind turned to who the interceptors might be. The last word from the planet’s garrison before it fell was that Hurloc’s Hussar’s had been the attacking force that had taken the planet but they had done so at some cost to both ground and aerospace assets. That information was now almost two months old but the number of fighters coming towards her wing possessed numbers the Cappelans should not have had, even with time for repairs and replacements.

Her helmet’s headset briefly crackled on the general group channel before the voice of Lieutenant-Colonel Valois drew her attention from her cockpit read outs,

“Krakow One, Gloucester One, this is Nottingham Lead. It looks like we have a standard medium wing inbound. Krakow, hold back your wing and cover the dropships into the atmosphere. Nottingham will take the lead and tie them up. Gloucester One, stand by to assist in case they get past us. They may be slower but they have more guns and more fighters. Cover the Brigade’s rear until they are clear then come join the party.”

“Keep it tight people. Nottingham Lead, out.”

As soon as the Group commander had closed the channel the twelve light fighters of the Nottingham Wing pushed home the throttles of their assortment of Sholagar, Centurion and Sabre fighters and accelerated away from the main formation. Gloucester accelerated slightly as well but used the extra speed to manoeuvre themselves into a position between the incoming enemy wing and the dropships while Krakow slid over the top of the dropships still holding their course for the planet.

“Nottingham Lead, this is Ramshead. Good hunting.” The voice was that of Richard Bedford, undoubtedly on the bridge of Edward III watching the tactical display of the developing aerospace battle. Less than a minute later the mercenary fighter wing engaged the intercepting Capellans and the two neat formations of aerospace craft broke into a swirling chaos of wildly manoeuvering craft striving to gain a position of advantage over their opponent.

As the dropships pulled away they began their turnover in preparation to begin decelerating to set up their entry into the atmosphere. At the same moment the medium fighters of Gloucester Wing looped back and accelerated at maximum thrust towards the dogfight just two minutes behind them. As the dropships continued their deceleration sensors warning came alive once again as additional enemy fighters were spotted climbing up through the atmosphere heading directly for the dropship formation and its escort of heavy fighters.

*****


« Last Edit: 08 November 2018, 10:47:19 by The Purist »
Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought upon the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

"...Remember also the two "prime directives" in playing BattleTech:
1. HAVE FUN
2. DON'T LET YOURSELF GET SO CAUGHT UP IN THE RULES THAT YOU STOP HAVING FUN"
Page 168 - Reunification War

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #155 on: 02 November 2018, 13:15:27 »
Bell, Valexa PDZ, Capellan March, Week 1b-2a. Dec 3020

The planet Bell is not much more than a giant dustball in space. With only 20% surface water the planet is incredibly dry and only the distance from its A8V sun allows any life on the surface at all. The three small seas provide just enough moisture in the atmosphere to make it comfortable to breath even though the surface gravity of 1.2G can take some getting used to. As the 1st Mechanised Brigade and Bell Training Battalion hit the atmosphere their fighters engaged those of Devon’s Armored Infantry. The initial engagement in the inner zone was an almost a bloodless affair as neither side seemed intent to press their attacks.  Devon’s 2nd Aerospace Wing, already understrength from battles months before that had never been replaced, exchanged long range fire with 302 Wing before breaking off to rendezvous with the command’s medium wing and protect their ground forces.

No.1 Group, 1st Mechanised Brigade

Inner Zone 5 Fighter Screen

504 (Nottingham) Wing [r] - r19; lt; Mv: 10; Arm - 11:12; S: 3; M: 3; L: 0 – Spec: BOMB2

ACS Formation Stats: Mov: 10; Tac: 0; Skill: 4; Mor: 7 – Spec BOMB2

501 (Gloucester ) Wing [r] – r19; med; Mov: 5; Arm – 13; S: 4; M: 5; L: 3 – Spec: BOMB2

ACS Formation Stats: Mov: 5; Tac: 5; Skill: 4; Mor: 7 – Spec BOMB2

Dropship Escort Wing

302 (Krakow) Wing [r] – v21; hvy; Mv: 5; Arm – 19; S: 6; M: 7; L: 3 – BOMB4

ACS Formation Stats: Mov: 5; Tac: 4; Skill: 3; Mor: 6 – Spec BOMB4


Devon’s Armored Infantry Aerospace Regiment

Bell Patrol Group

Devon’s 1st Aerospace Wing [r] – r17; med; Mv: 6; Arm – 18:19; S: 6; M: 6; L: 1 – Spec BOMB4

ACS Formation Stats: Mov: 6; Tac: 4; Skill: 4; Mor: 7 – Spec: BOMB4

Dropship Interceptor Group

Devon’s 2nd Aerospace Wing [r] – r19; hvy; Mv: 5; Arm – 15:23; S: 6; M: 6; L: 1 – Spec BOMB4

ACS Formation Stats: Mov: 6; Tac: 4; Skill: 4; Mor: 7 – Spec: BOMB5

Covered by Number 1 Group’s heavy fighters the troop and supply ships of the 1st Mechanised Brigade executed their atmospheric entry. Two dropships separated from the main formation and adjusted their course to execute a combat drop on the two kilometer long “Pulteny Bridge”. A reinforced company of light Mechs along with two companies of infantry aimed to land near both sides of the massive structure. The bridge spanned a geological rift, the Pulteny Gorge, that ran for more than 2,500 kilometers north to south, east of the planetary capital of Mycroft. Pulteny Gorge was seldom less than 100 meters in depth and often more than two kilometers wide with steep cliffs or escarpments that in most places defied the movement of vehicles and sometimes even Mechs. By capturing the bridge more than two hundred kilometers north east of the capital, an attacker could outflank the approaches to the capital. The city lay in a natural defile between the narrowest point between the gorge and a large arid rocky mountain range to the west and north. The only other viable approach to Mycroft was from the south across open flat lands of rocky plains that got narrower the further north one progressed.

The normal method of defending Mycroft was to occupy a string of fortified boxes between the mountains and Pulteney Gorge. Each defensive Box consisted of deep minefields on all sides covered by reinforced bunkers, weapons, vehicle and Mech pits all deployed in depth. Movement between and through the boxes was made possible by unmarked lanes known only to the defenders and areas of command mines that could be turned off to allow friendly traffic to pass. Few had any doubts that the minefield maps that had existed before the invasion were now obsolete, the Capelallns had had ample time to reposition the lanes or open new gaps through the fields. Closer to the capital were three additional boxes intended to hold reserves in protected positions behind the main line and screen the capital should the forward line be penetrated. While most boxes were self-contained their one weakness was the static nature of the positions and the inability of one Box to support its neighbours, except for those positions almost within line of sight.  All weaknesses aside the defenses were formidable and would require prepared assaults to breach and then reduce each defensive position.
 
*****

The aerospace battle above Bell had triggered the alarm for the defenders on the surface of the planet but the use of the pirate jump point had drastically cut the transit time to the planet. While the main elements of Hurloc’s Hussar’s and Devon’s Armored Infantry prepared for battle, the attacking Mechs and infantry manage to gain tactical surprise at the bridge. The light Mechs landed some five kilometers west of the bridge in a natural depression while the jump infantry came down a few kilometers south and closer to the bridge. The parachute infantry of the 4th Dragoons, dressed in black camouflage and using black parachutes landed almost on top of the defenders on the east end of the bridge and took up their assault positions as close as twenty-five meters from the defenders. Quickly establishing communications the attackers coordinated their assault and struck both ends of  the bridge simultaneously. The fight for the west side of the bridge was over before it began, laser fire and SRMs shattering the guard post, heavy weapons positions and nearby barracks building. Those Capellan military policemen not killed outright quickly surrendered. Major Christina Castilla quickly ordered two lances to charge across the bridge to support the Dragoons infantry while the remaining Mechs and commandos searched for any explosives attached to the bridge.

On the far side of the bridge the black-clad infantrymen rushed the defenders and in many cases overwhelmed the defenders before they could properly respond. Just as the first Dragoons were entering the bridge a flare rocketed into the sky. It was soon joined by a second and then  a third. Three off-duty squads lodged in a nearby barracks managed to mount a counter attack that initially gained some ground but they were badly outnumbered and were soon killed, wounded or fled into the darkness. By the time the Hermes, Javelins and Jenners of the Dragoons 2nd and 3rd lances arrived the fighting was almost over.

Leaving a security detail on the east end of the bridge Major Castilla quickly dug in the infantry on the western approaches while the Mechs formed a patrol screen five kilometers to the west. With the troops detailed and immediate defences established the major keyed the send button on her radio, its directional antenna carefully aimed at where the rest of the Brigade should have come down.

“Ramshead, this is Romeo Nine. Somerset.”

More than two hundred kilometers to the east the rest of the Brigade’s dropships were just settling to the ground, or almost all. The Edward III along with two other Leopard aerospace carriers were still in orbit and the news of the bridge’s capture was soon relayed to the Brigade commander. With a relieved smile Richard Bedford ordered Edward, escorted by the light fighters of Nottingham, to land at the bridge. Other orders were flashed to the Brigade, “Get moving.”

*****

Pulteney Bridge, Bell, Capellan March, Week 2a, Dec, 3020   

The Probe

The first reinforcement to reach the bridge were the hovercraft of the 4th Dragoons Task Force 1.4. Loaded in order to allow for rapid deployment the scouts required little preparation before the tanks and hover APCs had sped off across the arid terrain. Following soon after were the remaining elements of the Task Force headquarters and its command lance. Within 30 minutes the four Karnov transports belonging to No 13 Commando had been unloaded from their transport and while the crews ran their checks, supplies and medical teams to evacuate the wounded from the fire fight for the bridge were loaded. In less than an hour the four light transports were on their way to marry up with their scout infantry. Before the sun had fully risen into Bell’s sky the Brigade’s four Planetlifter transports had also delivered the light lance of the Brigade’s Headquarters Battlegroup to the bridge.

Just as the large transports began to withdraw after unloading, aerial reconnaissance reported the approach of a formation of enemy armour. Task Force 1.4, reinforced by No 13 Commando, had already completed their well-practiced deployment into two demi-battalions and turned to meet the enemy. With the Brigade on the ground less than six hours the enemy had reacted and moved at least one regiment of medium armour more than 200 kilometers from the capital. A second column, this one containing Mechs, was known to be approximately one hour behind the first group. Finally, Number 1 Group also reported enemy aerospace was inbound and that they were moving to intercept.

Looking at his watch and then his map Lieutenant-Colonel John Beaufort spoke quietly to himself, “Well, this should be close.” Keying his microphone on his command channel he spoke to his company commanders and their Battle Captains.

“Romeo One, Romeo Two and Kilo One, Kilo Two, this is Nine. Enemy Tango call signs are inbound from the west. Approximately one hundred vehicles. Hotel Nine advises enemy fast air is inbound as well. Move to grid three, eight, two, four, four, three. Three up tee formation. We will buy time for the rest of the brigade to reach the bridgehead. Wait.”

Pausing to collect his thoughts Beaufort continued,

“Once we engage use your speed to keep the range open, do not become decisively engaged. We will fall back, companies leapfrogging each other, to the bridge but there we hold. Move now, out.”

As he released the send button on his microphone he pushed the throttle forward on his Phoenix Hawk 1K and the medium Mech responded immediately, a light rocking motion being felt in the cockpit. In his 360 degree display the task force commander could see the other Mechs, hover tanks and APCs moving forward.

*****

<<to be cont’d…>>
« Last Edit: 08 November 2018, 10:58:55 by The Purist »
Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought upon the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

"...Remember also the two "prime directives" in playing BattleTech:
1. HAVE FUN
2. DON'T LET YOURSELF GET SO CAUGHT UP IN THE RULES THAT YOU STOP HAVING FUN"
Page 168 - Reunification War

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #156 on: 03 November 2018, 09:35:54 »
Pulteney Bridge, Bell, Capellan March, Week 2a, Dec, 3020    

The Probe.... continued


Task Force 1.4 (4th Dragoons), 1st Mechanised Brigade

Demi-Battalion Alpha (c/s Romeo)[r]: v25; mix; Mv: 9; TM:4; Arm – 18; S: 6; M: 7; L: 2 – Spec RCN
Demi-Battalion Bravo (c/s Kilo) [r]: v25; mix; Mv: 9; TM:4; Arm – 15; S: 5; M: 4; L: 1 – Spec RCN

ACS Formation Stats: Mov: 9; Tac: 0; Skill: 3; Mor: 6 – Spec RCN


Devon’s 2nd Armoured Regiment

1st Battalion, Devon’s 2nd Armoured Regiment [r]: r18; CV; Mv: 7; TM: 3; Arm – 19:21; S: 9; M: 9; L: 3
2nd Battalion, Devon’s 2nd Armoured Regiment [r]: r17; CV; Mv: 7; TM: 3; Arm – 19:21; S: 9; M: 9; L: 3
3rd Battalion, Devon’s 2nd Armoured Regiment [r]: r18; CV; Mv: 7; TM: 3; Arm – 19:21; S: 9; M: 9; L: 3

ACS Formation Stats: Mov: 7; Tac: 3; Skill: 4; Mor: 7

*****

The approach of the lead Capellan armoured formation was given away by the large cloud of dust raised by the columns of vehicle as they crossed the arid landscape. The 2nd Armoured Regiment of Maxwell Devon’s command thundered straight towards the bridge some 30 kilometers away with all three battalions deployed ‘line abreast’. With little need to make use of their reconnaissance ability the 4th Dragoons’ two light battalions used their superior speed and formed two pincers that struck at the wings of the Capellan regiment. On the Capellan right Devon’s 1st Battalion tried to wheel to meet on coming mercenaries but could not close the range. Their salvos made little impression on the speeding hovercraft and fast Mechs as they raced past their right flank and then wheeled around behind them. For their part, the Dragoon’s long range missile and autocannon scored slightly  better, managing a few hits that damaged a number of medium and light tank.

On the Capellan left the 2nd Armoured Regiments’ 3rd Battalion also tried to wheel to meet the Dragoon attack. Consisting or the 4th Dragoon’s 3rd Squadron, No. 13 Commando and the battalion’s headquarters, the Dragoon armour and Mechs sped around the Capellan flank and managed a few hits with long range missile fire and the PPCs from the handful of Kurita made Panther Mechs. Return fire from the Capellans again failed to do any real notable damage as they split their fire, and attention, by trying to close with the four Karnov transports carrying the Commandos, the Karnovs wisely keeping out of reach. The result was that the two tank companies pursuing the hovercraft and Mechs where pulled out of formation and the third battalion became separated from the regiment as the Karnovs flitted away. The mercenary hovercraft and light Mechs then executed their own wheel in behind the Capellans while the Karnovs simply climbed over their pursuers at a safe altitude and rendezvoused with the rest of the battalion behind the enemy formation.

The two mercenary battalions came together as a single force in the center behind the Capellan armoured regiment. In swirling clouds of sand and dust the Capellan regiment had become disorganised. On the right the 1st battalion was closing on the mercenaries in a counter wheel but was no longer within supporting range of the center. Devon’s 2nd Battalion in the center was trying to execute a 180 degree turn while the 3rd battalion on the left, also no longer within supporting range of the other battalions, was trying to reform so it could attempt to re-engage.

Not waiting for the enemy to recover John Beaufort ordered his two light battalions to drive into the gap between the Capellan center and its disorganised 3rd Battalion. With visibility cut drastically by the billowing clouds of dust caused by the movement of so many vehicles and Mechs, actually hitting anything at long range would prove almost impossible. Hits were not the objective of this engagement, Lieutenant-Colonel Beaufort was trying to buy time for the rest of the Brigade to arrive at the bridge. He would make use of the dust and chaos of the melee to disrupt the enemy advance. Hit the enemy, force them to deploy and then withdraw step by step into the bridgehead.

Sliding to the left as they closed with the Capellan center the Dragoons were again able to hold the enemy at a respectable distance and score a few hits as they raced through the gap between Capellan battalions. Major Castilla, commanding C Squadron, directed the Mechs and hovercraft fire of her troops on the Capellan left managed a few additional hits. Not to be outdone, the Karnovs carrying No. 13 Commando raced in at low altitude and amongst even greater clouds of sand raised by their propellers, the entire company deployed in jump packs behind the Capellan tanks to add ballistic and laser rifle and machine gun fire into the chaos. The infantry then jumped away into the clouds of sand and dust to board their aircraft and quickly withdraw from the melee.

Almost as fast as it began the meeting engagement was over. Knowing better than to try and fight three battalions of tanks with a force designed for scouting and barely half the enemy’s size, the Dragoon’s withdrew well out of range and then deployed in a skirmish line. The light Mechs and Karnovs on loan from the brigade headquarters continued to fall back, under recall orders to rejoin their parent formation. As the Capellans reformed and prepared to come on again, the Dragoons now regrouped into a single large battalion, slowly began to withdraw back towards the Pulteney Bridge. Over his command channel John Beaufort had learned that the lead columns of Task Force 1.2 had reached the bridge and that the Brigade would soon be crossing the gorge.   


*****
« Last Edit: 08 November 2018, 13:50:25 by The Purist »
Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought upon the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

"...Remember also the two "prime directives" in playing BattleTech:
1. HAVE FUN
2. DON'T LET YOURSELF GET SO CAUGHT UP IN THE RULES THAT YOU STOP HAVING FUN"
Page 168 - Reunification War

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #157 on: 08 November 2018, 13:52:12 »
Pulteney Bridgehead, Bell, Week 2a – 3a Dec, 3020

Advance to Contact

John Fastolf and his command lance took position on a small rise a little over 500 meters northwest of the bridge’s western end but still within line of site of the structure itself. His Whitworth was joined by a Hunchback 4P, a Phoenix Hawk and a Valkyrie QA. The battalion’s own light cavalry lance was already moving west and Combat Teams 2.1 and 2.2 were deploying as they crossed over the bridge. The task force’s third combat team was nearing the end of the bridge, the column carefully spaced should enemy air make an appearance. The possibility of that happening had declined considerably as reports came in that the Brigade’s fighters, supported by the oversized wing from Grim Determination, had driven back the Capellan aerospace forces, inflicting significant damage. The aerospace wings belonging to the 8th Crucis Lancers had also engaged and the balance of power in the air had shifted markedly in favour of the Davion forces landing on the planet.

Behind Task Force 1.2 came Task Force 1.1, the Brigade’s heaviest and most powerful battalion. Its lead combat teams were already half way across the bridge and would deploy in the center of the bridgehead as his command moved to the right flank. Behind the Rifles came the Bell Training Battalion, intended as a reserve, with Task Force 1.3 following last and intending to deploy to the southwest of the bridge. Once all four battalions were across and deployed the Brigade’s field headquarters would enter the bridgehead, its Mobile Headquarters vehicle too precious to risk in the frontlines even with its escort of fast light vehicles and heavily armed infantry. Well behind the Brigade’s  march columns the Long Tom and Sniper artillery vehicles were struggling to move up as close as possible before deploying, allowing them to reach well beyond the bridgehead.

Southwest of the highway leading to the bridge Fastolf could see the Brigade’s tactical headquarters’ own command lance, along with the lance of four Panther Mechs recently returned from the delaying action fought by the 4th Dragoons. As he watched, the four Karnov transports used to carry No. 13 Commando lifted off near the headquarters Mechs and headed east over the gorge where they would ground and wait for the call from the commandos. The scout company were now on the ground deployed as jump infantry to support the headquarters. Finally, sitting amongst the tall forms of the Mechs were the squat shapes of the headquarters’ tank platoon. Two Manticore heavy tanks with a brace of Scorpion light tanks rounded out the Brigade Battle Group, a small fighting headquarters battalion. One of the Manticore heavy tanks would also hold the Brigade’s commander, Colonel Richard Bedford.

Although the colonel could have chosen any of the Brigade’s heavy Mechs as his mount, he had recognised early on in the Brigade’s history that he did not have the Mech training that others did. Not wanting one of the few heavies in the command at that time to be tied up at the headquarters, he had remained in his command vehicle or a tank when his presence near the front was required. The practice had become unofficial tradition even though the Techs held a perfectly maintained but seldom used Panther, captured back on Lyons in 3018, ready for him practice with or use in combat.

Colonel Bedford had learned his craft commanding a Vedette in the Free Worlds military and as the Brigade expanded and more equipment became available he kept directing the Mechs to trained Mech jockeys. He did accept a Manticore when one became available but his affinity for the Vedette never left him. The Manticore was modified to hold extra radio equipment that allowed him to monitor each of the battalion radio nets and keep track of his brigade’s constituent commands. He was also linked to the mobile headquarters vehicle and it vastly superior command and control systems, being fed up to date information as it came in. The command abilities from the Manticore was far from that found in the Mobile Headquarters, which itself was not fully functional, but it allowed him to be closer to the fighting without endangering the field headquarters itself.

As his gaze swung to the west Lieutenant-Colonel Fastolf could make out the dust clouds of the approaching enemy armoured regiment. Not quite yet visible the hovercraft and light Mechs of the 4th Dragoons would be falling back in front of the enemy advance. If the enemy armour was foolish enough to close on the bridgehead they would now have to deal with more than just the Brigade’s reconnaissance battalion.

As he hustled his lead teams forward into position he caught the first glimpses of the Dragoons light Mechs, followed soon after by hovercraft that darted between explosions and plumes of smoke and dust. Turning the magnification on his display up to maximum and cycling through visual, heat imagery and magscan settings he was soon able to make out the images of dozens of enemy tanks as they closed. Opening his communication channel so all his Mechs and vehicles would hear, he gave orders to his command to close up and get in position. After a last check of the various readouts and displays noting his Mechs health he keyed his comms switch and gave the order to advance.

*****

1st Mechanised Brigade (+), Pulteney Gorge Bridgehead Command

Task Force 1.2 (11th Hussars) [r] – v22; mix; Mv: 5; TM: 3; Arm – 42:44; S: 14; M: 13; L: 12(8'): Spec - (IF4), MHQ2
Task Force 1.4 (4th Dragoons) [r] – v25; mix; Mv: 9; TM: 4; Arm – 35; S: 12; M: 12; L: 4(2) – Spec: (IF2), MHQ2, RCN
Brigade Battle Group (1st Mechanised Bde) [r] – v24; mix; Mv: 8; TM: 4; Arm – 13:15; S: 6; M: 5; L: 3(2) – Spec: DCC20, (IF1), MHQ2

ACS Formation Stats: Mov: 5; Tac: 2; Skill: 3; Mor: 6 – Spec: DCC20, MHQ2

1st Mechanised Brigade (+), Reinforcement Group 1

Task Force 1.1 (1st Rifles) [r] – v24; mix; Mv: 5; TM: 3; Arm – 55; S: 19; M: 19; L: 13(9): Spec - (IF4), MHQ2
Task Force 1.3 (17th Lancers) [r] – r20; mix; Mv: 5; TM: 3; Arm – 45:47; S: 13; M: 13; L: 10(7): Spec - (IF3), MHQ2

ACS Formation Stats: Mov: 5; Tac: 3; Skill: 4; Mor: 7 – Spec: (IF4), MHQ2


1st Mechanised Brigade (+), Brigade HQ Reserve

1st Bell Training Battalion [r] – g10; BM; Mv: 5; TM: 4; Arm – 30; S: 9; M: 9; L: 3: Spec – none
1st Mechanised Brigade HQ [r] – v22; CV; Mv: 6; TM: 2; Arm – 7; S: 1; M: 1; L: 0: Spec – MHQ2

ACS Formation Stats: Mov: 5; Tac: 4; Skill: 5; Mor: 8 – Spec: none

1st Mechanised Brigade (+), Fire Support

1st Artillery Command (1st Horse Arty) [r] – r18; CV; Mv: 3; TM: 1; Arm – 26; S: 4; M: 1; L: 0: Spec – ART-LT/S14, MHQ2

ACS Formation Stats: Mov: 7; Tac: 5; Skill: 4; Mor: 7 – Spec: ART-LT/S14, MHQ2


Devon’s Armored Infantry, Pulteney Bridge Reconnaissance Force

1st Bn, Devon’s 2nd Armored Regiment[r] – r18; CV; Mv: 7; TM: 3; Arm – 14:21; S: 9; M: 9; L: 3: Spec - none
2nd Bn, Devon’s 2nd Armored Regiment[r] – r17; CV; Mv: 7; TM: 3; Arm – 7:21; S: 9; M: 9; L: 3: Spec – none
3rd Bn, Devon’s 2nd Armored Regiment[r] – r18; CV; Mv: 7; TM: 3; Arm – 11:21; S: 9; M: 9; L: 3: Spec - none

ACS Formation Stats: Mov: 7; Tac: 3; Skill: 4; Mor: 7: Spec – None

Devon’s Armoured Infantry, Pulteney Bridge Assault Force

1st Bn, Devon’s Armored Infantry[r] – r14; BM; Mv: 5; TM: 4; Arm – 21:34; S: 7; M: 7; L: 5: Spec – none
2nd Bn, Devon’s Armored Infantry[r] – r16; CV; Mv: 7; TM: 3; Arm – 21; S: 9; M: 9; L: 3: Spec – none
1st Bn, Devon’s Mechanised Infantry Regiment[r] – r18; CVI; Mv: 6; TM: 2; Arm – 21; S: 5; M: 5; L: 1: Spec - none
2nd Bn, Devon’s Mechanised Infantry Regiment[r] – r19; CVI; Mv: 6; TM: 2; Arm – 17:21; S: 5; M: 5; L: 1: Spec – none
3rd Bn, Devon’s Mechanised Infantry Regiment[r] – r18; CVI; Mv: 6; TM: 2; Arm – 21; S: 5; M: 5; L: 1: Spec – none

ACS Formation Stats: Mov: 5; Tac: 5; Skill: 4; Mor: 7: Spec – None

*****

The battle for the Pulteney Bridge coincided with the landing and assault on the fortified Mycroft Line southwest of city by the 8th Crucis Lancers reinforced by the artillery and assault Mech battalion from Grim Determination. The assault triggered the final air battles over Bell as Colonel Devon, now in overall command of the Capellan forces, ordered every aerospace fighter that could fly into the air in an all or nothing attempt to win air superiority or at least neutralize the Davion and mercenary aerospace forces. It took most of a week to eliminate or cripple the bulk of the remaining Capellan fighter defences so that the three heavy wings could turn to ground support missions. The Lancers continued to struggled to breach the fortified line defended by Hurloc’s Hussars and supported by the artillery of Devon’s command.

On the ground the Crucis Lancers put in a series of set piece attacks that wore down the Hussars and forced Devon to commit his remaining armour and all but one infantry regiment to support the line. With the known Capellan reserves committed Marshal Wargo chose this moment to throw in the bulk of Grim Determination. The heavy mercenary Mechs and armour came down behind the defensive line, almost on top of the two battalions of Devon’s artillery that had been giving the Crucis Lancers so much grief. The gunners did their best to defend themselves, inflicting serious damage on the attackers but the combination of heavy Mechs, tanks and air attacks shattered the artillery battalions.

As the mercenaries continued to push south they began dismantling the defences bunker by bunker. At the same time the Lancers pushed north through stubborn but failing resistance until the two forces met in the middle of the fortification. Hurloc’s and Devon’s troops were continually drawn from other positions to oppose the attack and the remaining line became thinner with each attack. Despite staggering losses few Capellans had surrendered or left the positions where their officers had placed them. Some battalion positions were down to individual platoons, tanks, Mech or guns but calls to surrender were more often than not met with a burst of fire. What few guns and Mechs remained were dug in deeper to await the next attack. The attackers, now a unified force within the minefields, prepared for the final assault and the probability of having to take each position at the point of the bayonet.   

*****

To the north the battle for bridge had begun in earnest as the Capellan tanks closed in. With orders to hold as many Capellan troops in the north as possible the 1st Mechanised Brigade marched out from their cordon around the western end of the bridge and met the inbound attackers out on the open steppes. The initial engagement did not see either side try to close the range. The Capellans were waiting for the Mechs, extra armour and a full regiment of mechanised infantry to arrive from the main column while the 1st Mechanised Brigade sought room to bring up its other two main line battalions and the Mechs of the Bell Training Battalion. The result was that the Capellans failed to score much damage while their 1st and 3rd battalions took additional hits from the more experienced mercenaries. In the centre the long range firepower of the oversized veteran Task Force 1.2 did considerably better, scoring repeated hits with barrages of missiles and direct fire that cut the attacking 2/2nd Devon Armored Regiments’ strength by more than half.

As both sides reinforced the Capellan advantages in numbers soon began to tell and Bedford committed the eager Bell Mechs to the fight. The gunners of the 1st Horse Artillery were also finally able to get far enough forward so that they could deploy, adding considerable to the Brigade’s firepower even though they had few opportunities to strike any stationary targets or fixed positions. The fire from the heavy guns did have a motivating effect on Capellan troops as they seldom remained in the same position for long lest they draw a heavy barrage of high explosives. The tactic of placing concentration of artillery fire in front of the Capellan mechanised infantry kept the tanks and APCs from closing in to assault the mercenary flanks.

The battle remained one of manoeuvre over firepower as the 1st Mechanised Brigade used superior tactics and skill to keep the range open and slowly drove the Capellans back towards Mycroft. By the middle of the third week of December both forces were still locked in combat northeast of the capital even if the Capellan force had definitely taken more punishment. The medium Mech battalion of Devon’s regiment took the full brunt of Task Force 1.1s heavy long range fire. The air support lent by 302 Wing failed to swing the battle in the Brigade’s favour while the heavy fighters suffered serious damage from ground fire. However, with air superiority now assured, the full weight of the Davion aerospace forces would now be directed towards supporting the ground operations both north of the capital and amongst the bunkers, pillboxes and minefields of the Mycroft Line.

*****
« Last Edit: 09 November 2018, 13:41:06 by The Purist »
Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought upon the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

"...Remember also the two "prime directives" in playing BattleTech:
1. HAVE FUN
2. DON'T LET YOURSELF GET SO CAUGHT UP IN THE RULES THAT YOU STOP HAVING FUN"
Page 168 - Reunification War

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #158 on: 10 November 2018, 12:04:07 »
Mycroft Capital Region, Bell, Week 3b – 4b Dec, 3020
   
War Crime

As the month of December wore on Colonel Maxwell Devon realised that if he was to retrieve the situation he would have to resort to desperate measures. In the latest staff briefings Colonel Devon had railed against House Davion and its use of mercenaries in so many campaigns, repeating his oath to kill any Davion or Davion hired mercenaries who fell into his hands. The main strength of his command along with entire strength of Hurloc’s Hussar’s were now trapped in the fortified Mycroft Line. His own Mech regiment along with another of medium armour and a third consisting of mechanised infantry were pinned down in heavy fighting northeast of the capital. The only way to save his command was for the main force to breakout to the north and for the northern force to break contact and withdraw south to the spaceport. Once reunited both combat commands would board their droships and abandon the planet.

Placing wounded soldiers in firing positions and crippled armour, Devon ordered a breakout to the northwest where the boundary between the Grim Determination and 8th Crucis Lancers met. Attacking in this direction would also lead the attackers to two safe lanes through the minefields that would allow them to break contact before turning north and exiting the line of defensive boxes. The remaining forces would then turn northeast and head for the link up at the spaceport.

As the sun rose early the next morning the remaining guns of Hurloc’s Hussars opened a short bombardment of the target area. Instead of detonations of high explosives the shells burst in the air releasing a yellow-green fog that drifted quickly to ground, droplets coating vehicles, Mechs, equipment and especially the men and women in the Davion trenches and captured bunkers. Within seconds those not already inside cockpits or crew compartment began to feel nauseous and began to vomit and convulse. Death followed within a few minutes as the victims began suffocating in their own bodily fluids. Before the warning could be passed the artillery adjusted its fire and the few remaining shells filled with the chemical agent landed amongst the suspected headquarters in the target area. Almost immediately as the last shells burst, Mechs, tanks and infantry rose from the Capellan positions and began to advance on the Davion lines.

In the Davion positions the worst effected units were from the 8th Crucis Lancers 2nd Battalion, 1st Motorised Infantry Regiment and heavy tanks of the 3rd Battalion 2nd Armoured Regiment. The 2/1st infantry was one of the few battalions still relative intact despite the heavy fighting and it had been sent forward to relieve its regiment’s other two battalions that had not been so fortunate. Immediate losses amongst the armour were less severe as the crews quickly recognised the danger and were able to close hatches and engage their NBC filtration systems. Even so not all the crews were in their vehicles and the battalions equipment was heavily contaminated.

The Capellan assault struck the seam between the two Davion commands and after a brief resistance the line gave way. Amazingly, most of the attacking infantry from Hurloc’s Hussars were not wearing proper protective gear themselves. Many wore their gas masks but protective suits had been damaged or abandoned in the fighting and the infantry had resorted to plastic sheets, blankets and anything else to keep the chemicals at bay. Soon enough Hurloc’s infantry teams that carried the assault into the Davion trenches began collapsing.

*****
   

The reports of the use of chemical weapons hit the Davion headquarters north of the Mycroft Line like a thunderbolt. The shock was soon replaced with anger and it took a major effort on the part of Marshal Wargo’s staff to convince him not to retaliate with a nuclear strike against the Capellan breakout now making its way through the minefields. A seething Wargo stabbed a finger at the holo display in his mobile headquarters and ordered every unit north of the breakout zone to immediately retrace their steps along the assault route from the north and to run down the fleeing Capellans. All units south of the breakout were to immediately attack what remained inside the pocket and “clean it out”.

Most of the units north of the Capellan attack belonged to Grim Determination and these units immediately wheeled about and began marching north through the safe lanes cleared by their assault. Losses had been less severe amongst the mercenary lines as the chemical attack struck only part of the command’s right wing, although infantry losses among the Determinion’s 1st Infantry Battalion were still heavy. Leaving a cordon of infantry, heavy armour and assault Mechs behind the remaining Mechs and armour drove north along with the Crucis Lancers’ 1st Mech battalion, 1st Mechanised Infantry and  two battalions of light and medium armoured battalions from the 1st Armoured regiment.   

Davion aerospace wings, including those of the No. 1 Group, were launched and directed against the Capellan retreat. The fighters pounced on the Capellan march columns while they were still in the constricting lanes of the minefield and inflicted heavy losses. The same conditions that forced the Capellan troops to bunch up amongst the minefields concentrated the ground fire and the number of aerospace fighters lost or damaged climbed dramatically.

The first troops to intercept the Capellans as they turned northeast after clearing the minefields were the light and medium tanks from the 8th Crucis Lancers. They immediately charged into the ranks of the seriously depleted formations of Hurloc’s Hussars while Devon’s own troops side slipped to the north and attempted to break contact. What remained of Hurloc’s Hussars either died in the remaining positions within the minefields or were destroyed in the open country south of Mycroft. The Davion light and medium armour eventually pinned down Devon’s columns of tanks and infantry in the southern suburbs of Mycroft. As more troops arrived from the south the fighting moved slowly into the city. By the end of December Devon’s troops in Mycroft had been reduce to just a company of tanks and less than two battalions of infantry.

No one had seemed to notice, or comment on the fact, that the number of prisoners taken seemed unusually low.

*****

While events to the south of Mycroft were playing themselves out the 1st Mechanised Brigade continued to harry the Devon troops one hundred kilometers to northeast of the city. Precautions were taken at all levels against a chemical attack with tanks crews and infantry troops adopting “Top Low” status. This meant troopers had to don protective suits but they did not need to wear gas masks or completely seal the suits. The suits were bulky and somewhat uncomfortable in the afternoon sun but many noted the extra insulation was welcome at night and in the cool temperatures the early winter mornings.

Task Forces 1.2 and 1.4, supported by the Brigade Battle Group and the 1st Horse Artillery kept after the medium tanks of Devon’s 2nd Armored Regiment and finally ran the formation to ground early in the fourth week of December. Only a handful of tanks were able to slip away and withdraw back to the capital where they linked up with Colonel Devon’s main command. The two task forces then began to envelop the southern flank of the remaining formation of Mechs, tank and infantry commanded by Major Kilgrain, itself being pressed hard by the rest of the Brigade.

With the return of the depleted wings of No. 1 Group in the fourth week of December, Task Forces 1.1 and 1.3 pressed their attacks and took the fight to Major Kilgrain’s Mechs and tanks from the east. In a series of running battles the Capellan Mech battalion was reduced further and the supporting tanks of Major Roundtren’s battalion were reduced by two-thirds. From the north the 1st Bell Training Battalion tried to come to grips with the mechanised infantry but the more experienced Capellans defied the Davion cadet’s attempts to close the range. Further air strikes were sent in and while they scored numerous hits, Capellan ground fire was amazingly accurate. With 50% of the Group soon out of action Colonel Bedford was compelled to withdraw the fighters to preserve what remained of his private aerospace command.

In the last few days of December the remaining Capellan troops were enclosed on three sides in a pocket still more than 50 kilometers from the capital. Consumables such as ammunition and fuel for tanks and APCs were extremely scarce while proper care for the wounded was almost totally lacking. The fact that the chemical weapons attack had happened far away and the troop fighting under Major Kilgrain were not implicated in the incident had so far saved the lives of many of the wounded and prisoners that had fallen into the Brigade’s hands. All the same word came via Marshall Wargo’s headquarters that Devon’s Armoured Infantry had been declared ‘outlaws’ by New Avalon and that so far as this unit was concerned the protections of the Ares Convention no longer applied.

While Richard Bedford and his officers were contemplating the implications of this declaration a messenger arrived from the Brigade headquarter’s communication center. The young corporal came to attention after entering the command tent and cleared her throat. Looking up at comtech Bedford asked,

“At ease corporal. What do you have there?”

“A Message from Colonel Ligny, sir,” she said. Holding out the piece of paper she continued,

“The Davion dropships, sir. They’re gone.”

*****

1st Mechanised Brigade (+), End December, 3020

Brigade Battle Group (1st Mechanised Bde)) [r] – v24; mix; Mv: 8; TM: 4; Arm – 13:15; S: 6; M: 5; L: 3(2) – Spec: DCC20, (IF1), MHQ2
Task Force 1.1 (1st Rifles) [r] – v24; mix; Mv: 5; TM: 3; Arm – 48:55; S: 19; M: 19; L: 13(9): Spec - (IF4), MHQ2
Task Force 1.2 (11th Hussars) [r] – v22; mix; Mv: 5; TM: 3; Arm – 42:44; S: 14; M: 13; L: 12(8'): Spec - (IF4), MHQ2
Task Force 1.3 (17th Lancers) [r] – r20; mix; Mv: 5; TM: 3; Arm – 45:47; S: 13; M: 13; L: 10(7): Spec - (IF3), MHQ2
Task Force 1.4 (4th Dragoons) [r] – v25; mix; Mv: 9; TM: 4; Arm – 35; S: 12; M: 12; L: 4(2) – Spec: (IF2), MHQ2, RCN
1st Artillery Command (1st Horse Arty) [r] – r18; CV; Mv: 3; TM: 1; Arm – 26; S: 4; M: 1; L: 0: Spec – ART-LT/S14, MHQ2

Attached:
1st Bell Training Battalion [r] – g10; BM; Mv: 5; TM: 4; Arm – 30; S: 9; M: 9; L: 3: Spec – none

Number One Group, End December, 3020

504 Wing[r] – r19; lt; Mv: 10; Arm - 6:12; S: 3; M: 3; L: 0: Spec – BOMB2   
501 Wing[r] – r19; med; Mv: 5; Arm - 9:13; S: 4; M: 5; L: 3: Spec – BOMB2
302 Wing[r] – v21; hvy; Mv: 5; Arm - 7:19; S: 3; M: 3; L: 0: Spec – BOMB2

*****
« Last Edit: 11 November 2018, 13:36:47 by The Purist »
Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought upon the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

"...Remember also the two "prime directives" in playing BattleTech:
1. HAVE FUN
2. DON'T LET YOURSELF GET SO CAUGHT UP IN THE RULES THAT YOU STOP HAVING FUN"
Page 168 - Reunification War

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #159 on: 13 November 2018, 13:20:13 »
<<Game Note: The Third SW Campaign Game: Oct - Dec, 3020>>

LC-DC Front: Raid, counter-raid and active patrols continued along the border between the Isle of Skye and the Dieron Military District throughout the last three months of 3020. The only major new fighting occurred coreward when the 19th and 23rd Arcturan Guards, supported by the Grave Walkers 1st Regiment, undertook heavy raids against Quarell and Carse. Testing the defences the Lyrans planned to stay if resistance was light, or at least manageable. After two months of heavy fighting against 9th and 13th Rasalhaque Regulars supported by 4th Proserpina Hussars, the Lyrans were convinced to withdraw. In response the 2nd An Ting Legion struck Chateau in November but quickly withdrew when the 3rd Lyran Regulars were reinforced by The Blackhearts.

The Combine government did receive a request from Atreus for the DCMS to step up attacks against Lyran border positions in December. The proposal suggested a fully coordinated strategy against the Commonwealth to split the resources of their common enemy. The Coordinator sent his apologies, advising that until the situation in the Galedon district had been recovered no major offensive against the Lyrans could be contemplated. Takashi Kurita did advise that the number of raids would increase and that the Admiralty would do what it could to pull Lyran naval resources from the League front.

DC-FS Front: The Capellan assault on the Valexa PDZ was greeted with a sigh of relief by the DCMS as it bought further time for the troops facing the AFFS on the Galedon front  to recover from losses. Even the number of raids fell off to no more than one or two per month by either combatant as both sides fell back on patrols and short defensive sweeps by naval commands. There are concerns on both sides that the opposition would be able to capitalise on the lack of activity to recover and strike first in the new year. However, supplies for combat operations are considered scarce on both sides of the lines and rumours continue to circulate of entire commands lacking even basic supplies.

While active fighting fell to new lows the number of espionage and special operations increased to levels seldom seen before in this theatre. Terror attacks struck the Proserpina Prefecture and an open revolt broke out on Chatham, although it is unclear who instigated this rebellion. The Chatham revolt is considered to be of particular danger as the system is home to major military industries and most of the interior commands normally available for security have been sent to the front.  Only the second regiment of the Night Stalkers, transiting through Oshika are believed close enough to intervene before the rebellion turns to a movement for independence.

FS-CC Front: To say that the Capellan assault on Valexa, Ashkum and Bell was a surprise to the AFFS might be an understatement but only just. What was a surprise was the scale of the operation and the number of follow on commands directed at such a narrow front. Had it not been for the intelligence reports spotting the buildup, the Capellans may have easily broken through the front and driven to Chesterton or Axton with ease. Reinforcements directed to the Valexa PDZ were just in time to avert a disaster even though the next three months would see extremely hard fighting.

The Capellan offensive was effectively derailed in November when a well-placed special operations team sabotaged the Liao transportation network that was planning to reinforce Ashkum. Expecting strong reinforcements the battered invaders were caught with much of their equipment dismantled for repairs when the Kathil CMM and 2nd Crucis Lancers RCTs landed to replace the original defenders. Both Capellan commands were lost while inflicting only moderate damage to the Kathil troops. A large haul of captured equipment and usable salvage fell to the Davion troops. The Valexa defence was reinforced by two of the Davion Guards commands which linked with the defenders and fought McCrimmons Light Cavalry as well as Preston’s and the Blackwind Lancers to a standstill before slowly pushing them back towards the capital and spaceport.

In December the AFFS launched its counterattack. The Capellans were driven from Valexa when the 5th Crucis Lancers and Davion Assault Guards landed to finish the battle. At the same time weakened commands such as the Valexa CMM and Swann's Cavaliers rotated to the rear for refitting. A rearguard action by the 3rd Chesterton Voltigeurs and Hamilton Highlanders saw both commands sacrificed so that the Lght Cavalry, both Lancer commands and the Ariana Grenadiers could escape. The retreat through the system was only made possible because the Capellan high committed most of the remaining fleet elements available to House Liao. The CCS Capella was seriously damaged while the St Ives was crippled covering the troopships withdrawal. The Capellan carriers did exchange damage with the FSS Intrepid and the newly arrived New Syrtis carrier groups. Three other Capellan battered naval assault wings were destroyed and almost every aerospace fighter wing was crippled in the melee. While the Davion naval units also suffered heavy damage there could be little doubt who won the naval battle even though the troopships managed to escape.

On Bell, Hurloc’s Hussars were reinforced by Devon’s Armored Infantry but in December the 8th Crucis Lancers, Grim Determination and the 1st Mechanised Brigade landed and set about reducing the defenders positions. In a desperate attempt to break out of a pocket the Capellan commander resorted to the use of chemical weapons that inflicted heavy casualties on sub units of the 8th Crucis Lancers. The enraged Davion forces ran down what remained of Hurloc’s Hussars and destroyed the unit. By the end of December Devon’s Armored Infantry had been confined to two pockets, one of these inside the capital city of Mycroft. First Prince Hanse Davion has declared that, so far as the Federated Suns are concerned, Devon’s remaining troops are outlaws and will be destroyed.

Meanwhile, on Terra, the First Circuit of ComStar has been convened over what it described as the ‘very serious situation on Bell’. ComStar has yet to make any announcement regarding the use of chemical weapons or the fate of Devon’s besieged survivors but rumours have arisen speaking of a possible partial interdiction or, on the other hand, an intervention to save Colonel Devon’s command.

CC-FWL Front: With House Liao busy with their offensive against the Federated Suns and a full scale offensive by the Lyrans on their other front, the FWLM was content to leave well enough alone on the Liao border. Espionage operations were cut back and more resources put into counter-intelligence operations, especially after a number of foreign special operations badly damaged both Keystone and Irian. Not surprisingly Liao intelligence operations were focused on Hall and this attention was noted by the Captain-General. As much as Janos Marik wanted to transfer fresh commands to the Lyran front the implied threat to Hall meant that four of the five available Hussars of Oriente commands supported by three Regulan and one Marik Militia command had to remain to protect the border between Hall and Hassad. Otherwise, the border has remained quiet.

FWL-LC: The Lyrans kept up the pressure in October by resuming their offensive to liberate the Isle of Skye. Cor Caroli, Vindemiatrix, Haddings and Alioth were all attacked again but FWLM resistance was extremely stiff and sharp counterattacks actually retook Carsphaim. Both fleets pressed their attacks triggering a number of naval battles by units that had not been fully repaired. December saw four of the FWL Navy’s six carrier groups badly damaged and forced to withdraw, with only the newly commissioned FWLS Oriente remaining in the combat zone to support the defensive lines. The 3rd Lyran Fleet, also pushing its units hard, but with the advantage of greater numbers, suffered major damage to three carrier groups (Victorious, Argus, Defiant) with a fourth (Isle of Skye) lightly damaged in a battle against planet based fighter wings.

By the end of the year the Lyran offensive had actually lost ground and the offensive was almost derailed by a well-timed SAFE strike at Lyran transportation nodes in November near Menkent and Haddings. A FWL counterattack caught the depleted 6th Donegal Guards and 10th Lyran Regulars unsupported and both commands were shattered. Despite this setback the continuous waves of attacks by Lyran commands had badly worn down the defending League frontline positions. Lyran intelligence had identified seventeen FWLM commands that had been withdrawn back to Denebola, Gacrux, Zaniah or even deeper into the League itself for rebuilding. Many of these commands are estimated to require as many as three or four months to recuperate from the damage suffered. These commands might be rebuilt sooner but the FWL high command has been trying to avoid sending too many new recruits to units lest quality be degraded. The LCAF faces similar challenges with some twenty-one commands believed to have been sent back for rebuilding, albeit, in a number of cases these commands might affect repairs on newly liberated worlds.

The apparent lack of progress with the liberation of the Isle Skye and Rahnshire continued to be a political embarrassment to the Archon. The Archon and her supporters in the military claimed the FWLM could not take much more of the kind of punishment inflicted upon it in the last six months. Opponents believed the FWLM was using the advantages inherent in the defence to bleed the LCAF dry before resuming their drive on Summer and Skye itself. In order to increase the pressure the LIC had opened a second front through the use of sabotage against industrial targets. Production on Irian had been brought to a standstill while Keystone has been badly damaged, although it remains unclear who is responsible for all of the acts of sabotage. The success of Lyran espionage and sabotage is bound to deflect League resources away from the fighting front to secure the supply lines and flow of fresh equipment.

Despite the long casualty lists, the successful defence of the conquered systems had raised Janos Marik’s standing within parliament yet again. The heavy losses were a concern to many and some privately worried whether the line could hold much longer. The Captain-General’s nephew, Duncan Marik, recently played a leading role in the retaking of Carsphaim and has been promoted to command three Marik Militia commands on Zaniah. It has been reported that Duncan is the author of the strategy that has seen the rapid rotation of commands from elsewhere in League territory to the front, often arriving just in time to stymie the next Lyran push.
« Last Edit: 14 November 2018, 14:49:37 by The Purist »
Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought upon the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

"...Remember also the two "prime directives" in playing BattleTech:
1. HAVE FUN
2. DON'T LET YOURSELF GET SO CAUGHT UP IN THE RULES THAT YOU STOP HAVING FUN"
Page 168 - Reunification War

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #160 on: 15 November 2018, 14:07:06 »
Hilton Head Island, Terra, Week 1a Jan, 3021

Primus Julian Tiepolo took his place in great hall of the First Circuit, smoothing his robes as he sat. The events on Bell had provided ComStar with the opportunity to once again influence the political flow of events within the Inner Sphere. While he was not all that fussed about the use of chemical weapons, the death of a few hundred soldiers on both sides were merely incidental so long as the event could be used to further Blake’s Word and ComStar’ s mission to one day rescue mankind from itself.  That said the incident did need to be dealt with firmly , at least in appearances, with a clear message sent regarding weapons of mass destruction. Otherwise the great houses may slip once again into the unfettered use of weapons that killed entire worlds.


“Precentors, as we have deliberated over these last few days the fighting on Bell is clearly winding down. The Liao troops who made use of the weapons of mass destruction have been soundly defeated but it is time to end the fighting there. Recent defeats have weakened the Capellan Confederation and we do not want the balance of power to shift too far in any direction.”

We will use our position to act as neutral arbiter in resolving this crisis and thereby build the reputation of Comstar in the eyes of both Houses. House Liao will face a limited interdiction on Bell and its adjacent systems and Sian will be compelled to turn Colonel Devon over for trial by ComStar, if he lives long enough. The trial will find him guilty and he will receive a harsh sentence. This sentence, in the interests of reconciliation, will be commuted soon thereafter and the good colonel quietly be allowed to return home in order to continue his vendetta against House Davion and any mercenaries who cross his path.  We will be seen as saving the sons and daughters of the Liao families from imprisonment or annihilation.

“House Davion’s thirst for vengeance will be at least partially sated by the Interdiction and the Capellan Confederation seen to be chastised for their wickedness. The punishment will also be seen as warning to all Houses that backsliding into savagery will not be tolerated. We are mankind’s hope for salvation from the abyss, so we cannot simply stand by while the armies destroy what remains of civilisation.”

Precentor Sian, who could not understand why such a minor incident required such drastic action offered the only dissenting voice. The Precentor New Avalon stated flatly that the solution would not be as palatable as the Primus suggested but added it would be accepted by Hose Davion, at least in spirit. With that First Circuit adjourned, Adepts hurried to transmit the decision to capitals of the great houses and major periphery states. Particular haste was exercised in ensuring the message reached Bell before it was too late to be put into effect.

Mycroft Capital Region, Bell, Capellan March, Week 2a Jan, 3021

Three Packrat T5 Scout vehicles accompanied by two Vedette medium tanks approached the edge of small hillock from the east. The two tanks halted their approach one hundred meters from a small tent, two of the scout vehicles swung away at fifty meters and deployed two squads that formed a security detail. The last Packrat, paused while the infantry deployed and began to move forward, continued to base of the low rise where it halted and as its infantry compart opened.

Stepping out into the dull grey morning was Richard Bedford, commander of the 1st Mechanised Brigade, his adjutant, Captain David Miller, the Brigade’s senior medical officer, Major Samuel Proctor and the Davion Liaison Officer Captain Roger St James. An NCO along with two members of No 13 Commando also dismounted and took up positions around the Brigade commander. All the Brigade personnel were dressed in dull grey-brown disruptive pattern combat fatigues, combat webbing, soft field caps and personal weapons, Even Major Proctor carried a sidearm, a weapon intended for use only for self-defence or to defend the patients in his charge.

Richard Bedford sported a Lyran Stetta Auto-Pistol strapped to his right thigh but was otherwise unarmed. He was connected to his tactical headquarters by a small radio pack over his right shoulder, an ear piece in his right ear and thin microphone crossed his right cheek. Keying his radio he spoke to major Burgh, the commander of the brigades elite scout company

“India-Nine this is Sunray, we have arrived at the rendezvous. All clear?”

“Sunray, India-Nine, all clear. Other than the party in tent all other contacts are holding at the agreed locations”.

“India-Nine, acknowledged. We are proceeding to the parlay.”

Signalling to the rest of his party Bedford began marching up the low rise to the open sided tent where the Capellan officers waited. Entering the tent he paused briefly and his attention drawn to a tall officer with bandages on his right hand, shoulder and neck. The officer stepped forward and came to attention and saluted.

“I am Major Hudsenn Roundtren, acting Commanding Officer of Devon’s Armored Infantry, 2nd Battlegroup. Major Kilgrain sends his regrets but his wounds prevent his attending this parlay. I am to treat on his behalf” Pausing a moment he asked, “You are Colonel Bedford?”

Returning the salute Bedford replied, “Thank you Major Roundtren, I am Colonel Bedford, Commanding officer of the 1st Mechanised Brigade.” Motioning to the other officers in his party, “This is my adjutant Captain Miller, Captain St James of the AFFS and my senior medical officer, Major Proctor. Shall we get down to it then?”

“Yes, Colonel.” The Capellan Major was not nervous but he seemed taken aback by the abruptness of the mercenary commanders’ tone. Signalling his guests to chairs Roundtren made his way to the other side of the table but came up short when he saw that Richard Bedford had not moved to take the offered seat.   

“You will forgive me, Major, but I am not here to negotiate.” Taking two steps forward Bedford continued.

“What is left of your command is surrounded out here on this arid plain, no food, water, fuel and, if the weight of firepower over the past week is any indication, almost no ammunition. The last handful of your functioning Mechs and armour are little more than wrecks and I can only imagine that your wounded are suffering terribly.” Pausing only briefly he continued.

“You have no hope of escape and none of rescue. If you continue to resist what troops you have left will be destroyed and with the ComStar interdiction in place, no one will even no your fate.”

“You have only one option, sir.” He emphasised his final points by stabbing one finger towards the ground as he concluded. “Surrender. Surrender today, right now.”

Major Roundtren seemed to deflate at these final words but only slightly.

“You will grant us honours of war? I ca -”

Holding up his hand to halt the Capellan in mid-sentence, Colonel interrupted.

“No, major. No honours. Your commanding officer forfeited any hopes of that when he unleashed chemical weapons against the Crucis Lancers and Grim Determination.” Leaning forward with both hands on the top of the field chairs’ back he continued,

“I grant you your lives and the hope of repatriation one day. I grant your wounded immediate medical care to the best abilities of my command. However, all your weapons, equipment and supplies or forfeit. I claim them as the spoils of war.”

Major Roundtren looked hard at Richard Bedford for long seconds, trying to gauge whether he could accept the word of this mercenary.

Stepping back from the chair Bedford concluded, “I have it in themy power to destroy your command to last man and woman but that is not my wish. If I leave this tent without your surrender the next words from me will be from the muzzles of my guns and lasers.”

Drawing himself to his full height Hudsenn Roundtren asked, “I have your word that my soldiers will be treated fairly under the rules of the Ares Convention? That my wounded will be well cared for?”

“I have given you my word, Major. We have field ambulances ready to move. It's now up to you.”

Major Roundtren considered Bedford for a moment more then, having made his decision, he moved around the table and came to stiff attention, the heels of his combat boots making a soft thud as they came together. Reaching to his holster he withdrew his pistol, causing a momentary start from Captain Miller, but he reversed the weapon and handed it to the mercenary commander.

“Colonel Bedford, I surrender myself and my command to the 1st Mechanised Brigade.”

*****

1st Mechanised Brigade (+), End January, 3021

Brigade Battle Group (1st Mechanised Bde)) [r] – v24; mix; Mv: 8; TM: 4; Arm – 13:15; S: 6; M: 5; L: 3(2) – Spec: DCC20, (IF1), MHQ2
Task Force 1.1 (1st Rifles) [r] – v24; mix; Mv: 5; TM: 3; Arm – 48:55; S: 19; M: 19; L: 13(9): Spec - (IF4), MHQ2
Task Force 1.2 (11th Hussars) [r] – v22; mix; Mv: 5; TM: 3; Arm – 35:44; S: 14; M: 13; L: 12(8'): Spec - (IF4), MHQ2
Task Force 1.3 (17th Lancers) [r] – r20; mix; Mv: 5; TM: 3; Arm – 43:47; S: 13; M: 13; L: 10(7): Spec - (IF3), MHQ2
Task Force 1.4 (4th Dragoons) [r] – v25; mix; Mv: 9; TM: 4; Arm – 31:35; S: 12; M: 12; L: 4(2) – Spec: (IF2), MHQ2, RCN
1st Artillery Command (1st Horse Arty) [r] – r18; CV; Mv: 3; TM: 1; Arm – 26; S: 4; M: 1; L: 0: Spec – ART-LT/S14, MHQ2

Number One Group, End January, 3021

504 Wing[r] – r19; lt; Mv: 10; Arm - 6:12; S: 3; M: 3; L: 0: Spec – BOMB2   
501 Wing[r] – r19; med; Mv: 5; Arm - 9:13; S: 4; M: 5; L: 3: Spec – BOMB2
302 Wing[r] – v21; hvy; Mv: 5; Arm - 7:19; S: 3; M: 3; L: 0: Spec – BOMB2

*****

While the formalities of the surrender were being arranged a short message was passed to Major Burgh and No 13 Commando. Minutes after the message to cease all hostilities was broadcast to all combatants the commandos and their Karnovs lifted off with an escort from the 501 Wing. On the far side of Pulteney Gorge four Planetlifter aircraft, loaded with technicians and a combined arms escort, used the broad paved highway as a runway and followed the Karnovs soon after.

Their objective was the landing grounds at and near the spaceport. Major Burgh’s mission was to get his troops on as many Capellan dropships as possible and claim them for the brigade. The clock was ticking down on the expiration of the current contract with House Davion and the instruction to Burgh were clear. If necessary, any captured dropships were to be ‘crippled’ in order to drop their salvage value. To aid in that task the techs being sent along were to oversee the operation and ensure the commandos did not set about their task with too much zeal.

With the withdrawal of the Davion dropships the 1st Mechanised Brigade had effectively been stranded on Bell by orders from high up the AFFS chain of command. Until he had received a satisfactory explanation for this bit of brinksmanship he would seize what enemy ships he could and negotiate a settlement later. With luck, holding the transports for the better part of an entire Capellan combined arms combat command would give the Brigade major leverage in those negotiations and he intended to use it.

*****
« Last Edit: 16 November 2018, 13:02:30 by The Purist »
Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought upon the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

"...Remember also the two "prime directives" in playing BattleTech:
1. HAVE FUN
2. DON'T LET YOURSELF GET SO CAUGHT UP IN THE RULES THAT YOU STOP HAVING FUN"
Page 168 - Reunification War

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #161 on: 18 November 2018, 13:35:50 »
Fort Holmes, Mycroft, Bell, Capellan March, Week 3b Jan, 3021

Headquarters 8th Crucis Lancers

The final report from the Federated Suns Navy and the Depart of Mercenary Relations was not overly lengthy but its conclusions were nonetheless satisfactory to Richard Bedford and his officers. The withdrawal of the entire wing of military dropships and the supply ships was the work of one Michael Hasek-Davion, Duke of New Syrtis and March Lord of the Capellan March. As such he had certain rights regarding the military assets belonging to the AFFS operation in his area or responsibility. Amongst these rights was the authority to requisition military transports not permanently assigned Federated Suns formations engaged in active operations. The vessels assigned to the 1st Mechanised Brigade were therefore subject to his authority and he had ordered their withdrawal for use elsewhere in the Capellan March to move units and supplies he deemed necessary to its defence.

Despite the need, it was still customary for the commands effected by such transfers to be notified in advance so that other arrangements could be made. In this case there was no advance warning and that made the entire episode suspect in the opinion of many involved in the incident including Marshal Neale Wargo and Vice Admiral Stephani Vincent. A Board of Inquiry was set up to establish whether the withdrawal of the vessels constituted a breach of contract on the part of the AFFS. In just over a week of investigations and lawyers pouring over the contract it was decided that the Duke was in his rights as March Lord. However, the way the withdrawal was handled was deemed to be a breach of contract but the Duke’s position made pressing the case against New Syrtis a politically sensitive issue.

Rather than award compensation to the 1st Mechanised Brigade it was agreed that the brigade would be granted certain ‘concessions’ where salvage rights were concerned. While the Board could not dictate what these concessions might be it was left to the commanding officer of the AFFS on the spot to implement the Board’s ‘intent’. To that end Richard Bedford and John Ligny came up with a lengthy list of “compensatory corrections” that they wished to see applied to the salvage claims. The list was deliberately aggressive and Marshal Wargo recognised it as such. After viewing the list he smiled and handed the list to an aide with the instruction to, “whittle this down to something more reasonable.”

With that John Ligny, Talbot, Beaufort and the Brigade’s legal officers were turned loose on their Davion counterparts to finalise the deal and squeeze from their employer every ‘concession’ they could. Their mission from the Brigade’s commander was summed up in single word – ‘Transports’.

*****

Mycroft Spaceport Administrative Offices, Bell, Capellan March, Week 4a Jan 3021

As had happened after every major campaign the priority for the officers and senior NCOs of the 1st Mechanised Brigade was to get their troops out of the field and stood down as soon as possible. Combat stress could undo a formation almost as fast as a defeat in battle could and the Brigade had been in combat for nearly five weeks without a break. Once the garrison was reinforced by two new commands the Brigade was moved closer to the capital city but far enough from the spaceport to avoid the worst of the noise from the coming and going of dropships and aerospace fighter patrols.

Each battalion was assigned a bivouac area where they established small tent villages with as many comforts as could be brought along in two duffle bags and one barrack’s box. The battalion RSMs and their immediate staffs did what RSMs had done since first RSM was given his sash – he or she looked after the troops. The Regimental Sergeant-Major in the old British military system could be the enlisted soldier’s greatest nightmare in regards to discipline and deportment but the RSM always saw one of their primary roles was to care for the morale of the troops under their care. A version of this tradition lived on in most of the professional militaries of the 31st Century to one degree or another. In the 1st Mechanised Brigade, with its deep immersion in that old earth tradition, the RSMs took this responsibility very seriously.

While the RSM and his Company or Squadron Sargeant-Majors looked after the enlisted ranks, the officers were looked after by ‘the Colonel’. A long misunderstood view of military organisations held that officers were the pampered and privileged in the military hierarchy. In most professional armies of the modern era this was far from the truth. A professional military was organised such that responsibility flowed from the top down. The amount of rest decreased the further one moved from the rank of private. While a private or corporal could flop down on any piece of open ground when their exertions were done their sergeant had to ensure their needs were looked after before he made his report to his immediate superior officer. The platoon or troop officer would then to fulfill his responsibility to the soldiers under his command before he reported to his company or squadron commander. The routine was followed up the chain of command right to the commanding officer of the battalion, which, in the case of the Brigade were the lieutenant-colonels commanding the 1st Rifles, 11th Hussars, 17th Lancers, 4th Dragoons, 1st Horse Artillery, 1st Service Battalion and finally, Number One Group. 

As the senior officers of the Brigade filed into the boardroom that acted as the current administrative center for the Brigade, Richard Bedford could see the fatigue of the past seven weeks etched into the faces of the men and women who led his battalions. As they settled into their places and their aides took seats along an outer ring of chairs along the board room’s walls he decided the meeting would be kept as short as possible. The Brigade needed rest and he was pleased they would be getting some very soon.

“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I know we are all tired but lets get this meeting out of the way so you can all get back to your units and relax. Major Proctor, if you would please, give us the final count on the blood price we paid last month.”

“Yes, sir,” came the senior medical officers reply. “We had twenty-five dead from all ranks, mostly among the infantry but including three fighter pilots. Another eighty-two suffered wounds that will require hospitalisation for everything from a few more days to another two months. Lieutenant-Colonel Valois of Number One Group is among the wounded and he will be out action for a few more weeks yet.”

Closing his computer tablet the major concluded, “Seventy-Seven more suffered light wounds that required minor stitching, slings and bandages.”   

“Thank you, Doctor. Do you have everything you need?” receiving a nod Bedford turned to the service battalion commander, “Colonel Ligny, how is our equipment?”

“Widespread damage across all the combat battalions once again, sir, but the number of permanent losses is smaller than we first thought.”

Calling up the screens on the table and a larger wall monitor the statistics for each command were slowly scrolled through.

“Seven aerospace fighters lost but we can repair four of those. Unfortunately, the losses fell mostly on our Kurita made craft and we will be using our last spare Sholigar to make up losses in the light squadron. Five scout vehicles, eight APCs, one hover tank and another Valkyrie were also lost but we’ll manage to recover two of the Packrats, two of the APCs and the Valkyrie. We also have a hell of a lot crippled kit and this covers everything from the light Scorpion tanks up to a number of heaviest Mechs.”

Highlighting a number of unit slots he called up crippled Javelins, Trebuchets, Hunchbacks, a pair of Rifleman heavy Mechs, a Dragon and two Archers. The lists enumerated dozens of other tanks and Mechs with damage less severe but all would task the Brigade’s resources and Tech teams.

“Thankfully, the amount of Salvage was again very good so we can be made whole again within a month or so.”

“Ah! Speaking of salvage, how are the negotiations going back in Mycroft?” asked Bedford.

A smiled crawled across John Ligny’s face from ear to ear.

“Not too bad at all, Colonel. The haggling over the dropships continues but we are naturally giving some ground there. Major Burgh managed to get his people on twenty-nine military dropships that remained on the main landing pads but we know that Davion will never let us keep all those Overlords, Unions and the like. Instead we’re manoeuvring for some of the smaller craft in order to keep one or two of the larger ones.”

“No guarantees on the numbers but for the battlefield salvage we have managed to obtain a flat rate for all cripples we recovered and have to pay for. Once repaired, we can keep them as spares, expand the brigade or our agents sell what isn’t wanted for hard cash. We do have a few holes that can only be filled by new purchases if we want to replace like for like. Some are big ticket items.”

Bedford looked at his chief Tech for a few heartbeats and marvelled at the man’s zest for equipment and any chance to talk about what can be fixed, what can’t and why.

“Thank you John. In a weeks’ time we will be paid out for this current contract so we will be flush with money. I have no doubt that we may end spending a good portion of it to pay out the salvage charges and repair what we have and what we will keep. Maybe we can finally deploy the 8th Hussars as our second reconnaissance battalion and Bill Pole can stop hanging around my headquarters.”

A few tired laughs circled the room along with smile and nod from Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel Willian de la Pole. The man had shown a great deal of patience waiting for this opportunity. He had been given the heads up about commanding the 8th Hussars some eighteen months before but the opportunity to equip a new battalion had remained beyond the brigade’s reach until now.

So far the 8th Hussars had only taken to the field when 4th Dragoon was reinforced by No. 13 Commando and the light Mech lance from the Brigade HQ Battlegroup. When split into two demi-battalions the 8th Hussars command team, the only actually members of the battalion, led the second demi-battalion from a trio of APCs and the cockpit of the commander’s Mech.

As the chuckles subsided Richard Bedford brought the meeting to a close with a final hint of good news for the new Hussars commander.

“After all, I can’t have a battalion commander running his command from the cockpit of a Panther. Your dignity, sir, requires something with more,” pausing for effect he finished, “with more gravitas.”

*****

« Last Edit: 18 November 2018, 14:10:09 by The Purist »
Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought upon the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

"...Remember also the two "prime directives" in playing BattleTech:
1. HAVE FUN
2. DON'T LET YOURSELF GET SO CAUGHT UP IN THE RULES THAT YOU STOP HAVING FUN"
Page 168 - Reunification War

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #162 on: 24 November 2018, 09:45:29 »
Headquarters 1st Mechanised Brigade, Mycroft, Bell, Week 1b Feb, 3021

Major Christina Castilla arrived in the outer office of the brigade commander exactly five minutes before her scheduled appointment. The Brigade had been awash with rumours regarding the addition of a second reconnaissance battalion and possible new contracts. There was nothing unusual about rumours where new contracts were concerned but the expansion of the Brigade was another story. There was no doubt about who would lead the 8th Hussars and even who the battalion staff might be. What remained a mystery was who would command the squadron combat teams. Major Edmund Beaufort was a prime candidate for a move up as was Captain Wittlesbach, who could easily move from battle captain to squadron commander. The major also knew she was a prime candidate for a move.

As Officer Commanding C Squadron (Lancer), 4th Dragoons she was an experienced combat officer with a dozen years in light Mechs before joining the Brigade and more recent training in medium models since joining the Brigade in 3017. The combat team doctrine had been knew to her when she first arrived since, like so many others, the movement towards true combined arms tactics was still relatively unheard of. At first skeptical that tanks and infantry could mesh their different tactics together with Mechs, the past three and a half years had made her a convert. Properly coordinated, Mechs and tanks of the same class could compliment each other on the battlefield, alternatively taking on the role of fire base or manoeuver unit depending on the situation. Mechanised infantry, mounted in fast armoured vehicles of their own, could support both Mech and tank with quick strikes from the flanks or fire support from within the ranks of the squadron itself.

Her thoughts were interrupted by the Colonel’s administrative assistant, a sergeant with the Brigade’s technical services. Her uniform was standard ‘work dress’ used when the Brigade was in garrison but she also sported a infantry combat badge and two red wound ‘circles’ over her right breast pocket. The eye patch over her left eye spoke to the wounds, a white scar worked its way from under the eye patch almost to her left ear before it moved down to her jaw and neck, disappearing under her collar.

“The Colonel will see you now, Major.” Standing from her desk she held the door open for the major, smiling slightly as the officer moved passed her and into the inner office.

Coming to attention as the door closed behind her she saluted Colonel Bedford. “Major Castilla, reporting as ordered, sir.” She noted the Lieutenant-Colonels John Beaufort and Willian de la Pole were already present as was Major Edmund Beaufort, her colleague and officer commanding the 4th Dragoons B Squadron.

Standing from behind his desk Richard Bedford returned the salute, “Good morning Major, please come in and join us.” 

Taking the offered chair between John and Edmund Beaufort Major Castilla smoothed back a stray strand of black hair and tucked it behind her left ear.

“I suppose you are wondering what this is all about,” began Bedford. “No doubt the rumours are flying about the standing up of the 8th Hussars and who will fill the unit rosters.”

“Yes, sir, like everyone else I am very curious about the changes that are coming,” Castilla said.

“That’s good major because I intend on giving you the 4th Dragoons. How would you feel about that?”

Her mind immediately filled with a multitude of questions and she struggled to find the right words for a few seconds. Realising the Colonel was waiting for an answer she replied, “Why, yes, sir. I would like that very much.” By now she had failed completely to keep the growing smile from her face. But the smile soon disappeared as she considered some of the implication in her taking over the Dragoons.

“Thank you for opportunity but -,” looking to her left at Edmund Beaufort and then to her right at John Beaufort with a puzzled look.

“Nothing to worry about there, Major. The changes to the brigade are bigger than many thought or expected.” Standing from his desk Bedford picked up a small remote and turned on a wall screen with classical pyramid shaped blocks noting military hierarchies and chains of command.

Walking over to the screen he began outlining the new Brigade structure. “The Brigade will be splitting and expanding into to two combat regiments, Alpha and Beta, as well as third regiment, Gamma based around 4th Dragoons and 8th Hussars.”

“We can’t form Beta at the moment, mainly due to a lack of personnel but also support units and artillery. Gamma, on the other hand, we will have stood up by the end of March, with most of the major sub units in place. John Beaufort will move up to command the Regiment. Bill will take command of the 8th Hussars, with Edmund moving across to take on the role of 2IC. As you are senior squadron commander in 4th Dragoons the battalion is yours.”

“John Talbot from the 1st Rifles will move up to take over the newly named Alpha Regiment, 1st Mechanised Brigade. It will still contain the 1st Rifles, 11th Hussars and 17th Lancers but each battalion will have to give up drafts as a cadre for the new combat units as they are raised. 1st Horse and 1st Service Battalions will also remain with Alpha.

“A new regimental headquarters battle group will also be raised for Alpha as the current headquarters will be moving up one level as well. The ‘Brigade’ headquarters will now form a true headquarters support battalion. It will retain the No. 13 Commando and a small combat group but otherwise will contain the Brigade’s combat support units such as signals, the Hi-Scout Drone carrier platoon, or ‘platoons’ once we expand fully. Some tactical airlift capability will also be held by the Brigade HQ along with our ground liaison team with our growing number of dropships.”

Turning off the screen Richard Bedford turned back to the officers, his particular attention focused on Major Castilla. Signaling to John Beaufort the new commander of Gamma regiment withdrew a small silver box from his tunic and handed it to the colonel. As he stood back Bedford flipped the lit open, exposing two small diamond shaped ‘pips’. As he turned towards Major Castilla she stood to attention.

“Major Christina Castilla. For your dedication and leadership in C Squadron, 4th Dragoons and with the concurrence of your senior officers I hereby promote you to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. Furthermore, as you have been instrumental in the success of your squadron, your regiment and the Brigade in numerous combat missions you are promoted to Commanding Officer, 4th Dragoons, effective this day. Congratulations”

Handing her the small box he stepped back. Lieutenant-Colonel Castilla saluted the Brigade commander, receiving his salute in return.

John Beaufort stepped forward next and pulled a pair of work dress epaulettes from his pocket. Stepping up to the new battalion commander, he removed first one and then the other from her shoulders and slipped the new rank insignia in their place. To the single embroidered crown that noted her previous rank as major was added the same diamond shape pip as those presented to her moments before.

“I hope you’ll give me a few days to clean out my desk,” he added. Then more seriously, “A formal ceremony will take place on Friday at the full dress parade. That same parade will see the formal change-over of command. I hope your account at the officer’s mess is in order Christina because you will be buying the first round of drinks.”

“It will be my pleasure, sir,” came her quick reply. 

“Alright then, Lady and Gentlemen, if you will excuse me I have a meeting with the Davion liaison officer.”

Stepping back to his desk he held up four coloured folders that everyone knew held contract offers.

“I have to disappoint the man regarding their latest contract offer. Like the Lyran, Kurita and League offers, the timing is off and doesn’t grant us adequate time to rest or refit. We will continue to offer our garrison services here on Bell gratis in exchange for a place to refit until the end of March. If we cannot agree to a new contract by then we will move on.”

Taking their cue to withdraw the other four officers came to attention and, as senior officer, John Beaufort offered the salute to the brigade commander. They collected their possessions and left Richard Bedford to the remaining administrative items on his daily agenda.

*****
« Last Edit: 24 November 2018, 10:45:06 by The Purist »
Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought upon the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

"...Remember also the two "prime directives" in playing BattleTech:
1. HAVE FUN
2. DON'T LET YOURSELF GET SO CAUGHT UP IN THE RULES THAT YOU STOP HAVING FUN"
Page 168 - Reunification War

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #163 on: 26 November 2018, 13:10:43 »
Headquarters 1st Mechanised Brigade, Mycroft, Bell, Week 4a Feb, 3021

The negotiations over the level of salvage and what amount was to be paid had been settled at just over 85 million C-Bills. These funds were transferred back to the Federated Suns after the payout for the just completed contract at the end of January. Repairs to the Brigade’s battle damage had cost more than 10 million more and used a large portion of spare parts, even if captured stocks were included in the mix. The issue of the captured dropships was proving more difficult to resolve. The 1st Mechanised Brigade had either captured or jointly took possession of 29 dropships that were taken by surprise in mid-January. Likely because they were expecting the standard honours of war agreement for defeated forces to be granted, the ships required to carry away the remains of Hurloc’s Hussar’s and Devon’s Armored Infantry had remained on the ground along with a fair number of cargo vessels. The excess dropships had boosted for orbit and burned hard for their dropships back in December as the defence began to fail.

Richard Bedford was under no illusions that he would be allowed to keep all 29 vessels. In fact, such an acquisition would likely have proven to be more burden than bonus to his command. Nevertheless, Bedford had every intention of pressing his case for as many vessels as his command could absorb. After a month of haggling and pounding tables the Federated Suns negotiators had agreed to turn over three Fury, one Gazelle, an Intruder and a Seeker. This was not a small achievement but the Brigade needed Mech carriers that could lead an assault. Without them it made independent operations without relying employer vessels almost impossible.

The brigade was insisting on keeping two of three Overlord and two of the three Union Mech carriers. The Davion side had dug in their heels and were adamant that all six of the larger Mech carriers remain in the hands of the AFFS. They offered instead two Leopard CV, two Leopard Mech carriers and the bulk of the captured aerospace wreckage that remained at the spaceport. It was not a deal Bedford was willing to accept. Not after his command was effectively abandoned by the Davion craft in December.

Regrouping his team he prepared to send them back with one final offer with the minimum he was willing to accept. If this failed he would appeal to the Naval Board and its instruction to the AFFS to give ‘considerations’ in the negotiations. Failing that the decision would go to ComStar and their Mercenary Review Board.

Scrolling through the pages of the final offer Richard Bedford saved the file and shut down the tablet. Turning to John Ligny he handed over the small computer and gave his instructions.

“Alright, John. That’s it, no more mucking about with this. We’ll go with just one Overlord, one Union and two Leopards. That will allow us to lift the 17th Lancers plus two command lances from other battalions or the headquarters battle group. The Fury’s and Gazelle added to Philippa will allow us to lift the 1st Rifles with a bit of spare room for supplies.”

“In exchange we will give up the aerospace carriers and two-thirds of the fighter salvage. Of what we do keep we will repair Transit and Lightning craft and then sell them back to the Suns at a reasonable discount. Major Woodville wants the two Hellcats so we keep those.”

Pausing for a moment Bedford added, “See if you can get a couple of Mules. We have a lot of spare Mechs, vehicles and parts to move now and the Brigade’s combat weight alone exceeds 17,000 tons. If we count your service battalion and our own supplies we will still need to hire bulk cargo capacity for our next move.”

Bedford rubbed both hands briskly over his face and then back through his short hair. He was exhausted and this had not been lost on his officers and other headquarters staff. John Ligny tucked the computer under his arm and signalled the Brigade’s legal officer and chief accountant to leave the office. After the two officers had left he turned to his commander and stated flatly,

“Colonel, sir, you need to rest. You’ve been going full out since the surrender and you need some down time.” Leaning forward in his chair on the opposite side of the colonel’s desk he add, “It isn’t just me who thinks this. Your staff has commented on it, all your battalion commanders know it and Major Proctor has also made a point of it in the mess more than once over the past few days.”

“Well, John, you know what they say. No rest for the wicked. Besides, once we wrap up things here and we sign a new contract I can sleep plenty on our transit to the next duty station.”

John Ligny did not buy it. “Oh come now, Colonel. Who do you think you’re fooling? No sooner will we sign up for our next assignment then you will be off making arrangement for the move. John Talbot has Alpha in hand and will soon have the headquarters sorted out. The same goes for John Beaufort over at Gamma. His first new hires have arrived and are drawing their kit. By this time next month his recce regiment will be able to deploy. You can’t be everywhere and do everything so don’t try. You have capable officers, let them step into their jobs and take some of the weight.”

Suddenly very tired, Richard Bedford did not have the energy to argue. “Alright Doctor Ligny. Once you nail down these last negotiations I promise to take some time off. Deal?”

“Fine by me sir,” Ligny said as he rose from the armchair, “Just be aware that our good Doctor has rather large, nasty looking syringes with a host of cocktails that could probably lay you out for a week. I don’t doubt for a moment that he won’t use one of them if you don’t get some rest.”

Feigning a shocked expression Richard replied, “What’s this? Mutiny in the ranks! That’s a flogging offence, sir.”

The attempt at humour only partly mollified the Brigade’s chief technician. Placing his cap on his head he gave his commanding officer a relaxed salute and added, “Rest, Richard. You’ve earned it.”

Returning the salute with an equally casual move of his hand to his brow, “Thank you, John. Close this deal and I promise I will take the weekend off.”

*****
« Last Edit: 26 November 2018, 13:30:23 by The Purist »
Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought upon the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

"...Remember also the two "prime directives" in playing BattleTech:
1. HAVE FUN
2. DON'T LET YOURSELF GET SO CAUGHT UP IN THE RULES THAT YOU STOP HAVING FUN"
Page 168 - Reunification War

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #164 on: 30 November 2018, 13:31:34 »
Headquarters 1st Service Battalion, Mycroft Spaceport, Bell, Week 2a Mar, 3021

Captain Talbardon had been on a tear for the past two weeks, pushing his teams hard to get repairs and rebuilds done before the Brigade received its next orders to move. What this meant for Sergeant Yolande d’Aragon and her own ‘platoon’ of “technical specialists” were endless hours of overtime with little time off. The service battalion had been going full out since early February, first with the extensive repairs to existing equipment in the brigade, then with the recovered and captured kit taken from the battlefield and now with service checks on new equipment purchases that had begun to arrive.

The new equipment was intended to fill gaps in the newly raised 8th Hussars that was currently forming as the second battalion of Gamma Regiment of the Brigade. In order to support the existing Tech teams it had been decided to hire new teams as quickly as they could be vetted but even so, there were simply not enough to do the job. The battalion had to fall back on hiring local Techs or make use of Davion military Tech teams. Both solutions were expensive and these ‘foreigners’, as the Brigade Techs called the outsiders, still required supervision. It would not be the first time the employer or other parties slipped in spies or saboteurs into a mercenary unit that was desperate for manpower.

The long term solution was for Gamma Regiment to be given its own service battalion, even if it was pared down to support just two combat battalions. This would allow the security office of the Brigade to check into past records of applicants to ensure that, at the very least, the criminal element in the Brigade was kept to a minimum. The forming of a new service battalion would also mean the purchasing of additional support vehicles ranging from cargo hauler to recovery vehicles, coolant and fuel trucks, mobile hospital vehicles, field ambulance and medivac helicopters. Rumours were already circulating that the ‘1st Service’ would be tapped to give up a percentage of their experienced Tech teams for the new 3rd Service Battalion. Changes within military organisations was standard proceedure, with personnel being rotated through their parent units to new sub units on a regular basis. The intent was to prevent any group of soldiers from becoming too set in their ways but also to expose the soldiers to different tasks and working under different leadership methods.

Yolande had the sneaking suspicion she would be one of the Techs moved to the new battalion. She had always loved anything mechanical or electronic and had attended the technical college in Three Valley Gap back on New Delos before becoming an apprentice with Pembroke Heavy Equipment. Pembroke manufactured various mining and agricultural vehicles as well as repaired and modified both mining and agricultural Mechs to suit local conditions and requirements. The main shop even had fusion ‘bunker’ where they could safely strip down and repair most fusion engines up to a 250 rating. She seemed set for a promising career. Then came the Anton Marik Rebellion.

As a result of her remaining with the ‘rebel’ portion of the 14th Mechanised Infantry out of unit loyalty rather than political conviction, Yolande had decided on joining the newly formed mercenary regiment in 3015. Leaving the Three Valley’s seemed a lesser evil than risking being caught up in the post-rebellion dragnets that brought to so many to ruin even if the “Lord Commander” of the Three Valleys did his best to protect his subjects. Her past was considered unimportant to the Brigade she had worked her way up through the ranks since then. It would be unfortunate to be transferred but she owed a lot to the Brigade and would go if ordered.

*****
       

Headquarters 1st Mechanised Brigade, Mycroft, Bell, Week 2b Mar, 3021

Louis Wittelsbach was enjoying a cold amber ale in the officer’s mess. This beer was all the more precious as he could would not be enjoying many for the foreseeable future thanks to heavy bill placed against his name following his promotion to major and command of B Squadron, 4th Dragoons. His one solace was that he was not alone in financial misery, every officer that had received a promotion over the past few of weeks had suffered the same fate. If Louis were a suspicious man it almost seemed the promotions were timed to keep the flow of free alcohol flowing for those who were not so ‘honoured’.

“Enjoying the peace and quiet of a cold brew, Louis?”

Lost in his thoughts while pondering the frosty mug, Major Wittelsbach had missed seeing Lieutenant-Colonel Castilla approaching from across the officer’s mess. Momentarily startled he made as if to rise but was waved back down by his regimental commander.

“Relax, Major,” Castilla said as she sat in the low padded chair across from him. “The Colonel has called for senior officers conference at 1500h this afternoon. We’re all expecting word that a new contract has been signed. Personally, my money is on our remaining with Davion for the time being.”

“How is the Colonel? I heard he was in something of a rage over the loss of the Overlord during last month’s negotiations.” Taking a swallow of his beer he add, “Not that I blame him. That one ship would have given us a strong opening hand in any assault.”

Nodding her agreement Castilla replied, “No doubt. Having to settle for the single Union and two Leopards cuts our first wave numbers by sixty percent. Even if the Seeker is modified to carry Mechs we still can't lift more than two standard companies.”

“Then again, we now have a fleet of 14 dropships, even if most of them are smaller craft. On top of everything else going on with the Brigade, now we need naval officers and crews for the dropships.”

Sliding the cuff of her tunic from over her wrist time piece Castilla raised an eye brow. “I’ve a million things to do and we have two hours to the meeting, Louis. Swing by the office at 1440 and we will walk over with other officers.”

Wittelsbach stood, beer mug still in hand, as she rose to leave.

“I’ll be there by 1430, Ma’am.”

Smiling Wittelsbach took another pull on the mug of ale as his commander turned and strode from the mess.
   
*****

Richard Bedford almost exploded through the door into the conference room, catching a number of more junior officers by surprise, they scrambled to their feet as the room came to attention with the commanders entrance.

“Everyone be seated, please.” Signalling his aide, the room’s monitor on the wall behind him came to life.

“Good to see everyone. I see a lot of new crowns and pips on shoulders as well as some new faces. Welcome to John Beaufort and his team from Gamma as well as John Talbot’s new team from Alpha. It seems you’ve all put me out of a job.” He added with a smile.

“With all of our new changes I have been reduced to a mere figurehead. Last month I commanded a brigade of six battalions, today I only command a headquarters guard and some drone carriers. I’m not sure but I think I you lot are the cause of all that.”

The room chuckled at the lighthearted remark but everyone in the room knew that Richard Bedford still commanded the entire brigade even though actual combat command would now fall to the two regimental commanders and through them down to the combat battalions. Alpha and Gamma were ready, Beta would still take some months to staff and round out the equipment lists.

“Try as I might I couldn’t get the new contract to include Beta even with the proviso that the new battalions must be in the field to be eligible for pay. We will call them forward if needed but for now as Beta's battalions stand up they will form a garrison cadre as part of a secondary contract until called forward to join the Brigade. We won’t make much money on Beta for the next year but at least we will cover part of the costs of the expansion."

" As we all know our dependents are mostly on New Delos but as our numbers have grown, space in the Three Valleys has become something of problem, as are jobs for those of working age, resources for schools and so on. Those families that have been following us from posting to posting are mostly from troops that were hired from other than New Delos. The last of those families that were on Formalhaut will be with us in a week or so.”

There were a few smiles around the room at the thought of family reunions after more than a year.

Using a laser pointer Bedford drew a circle around DeWitt.

“As part of the new contract the families will be moved to DeWitt in the Kestrel Region for the duration of our stay in the Federated Suns. The land grant is temporary and we will be responsible to the local governor to provide a conventional garrison for the area. Our training company for conventional arms fits the bill and it will be augmented by a militia drawn from our civilians to form a mixed battalion. I am told the locals are happy to have guests who will contribute to the economy but nonetheless we will be billeted in our own rural district. There is plenty of workable land and the workers can keep the proceeds of their labour. After taxes to the local authorities that is.”

Pausing, Bedford looked around the room, “Any questions?” A few glanced around the room but most knew that the details of the dependents move and billeting would be made available in good time.

“Alright. Since we are sending our families to DeWitt it would seem pretty clear that we are remaining in the Federated Suns. We have a new combat contract and will be leaving Bell at the end of the this month. For security purposes I cannot give the details of our move as yet. It will be enough to say that everything that cannot be packed on our dropships will need to be packed away as cargo. We will be on the move for some weeks so ensure all storage and preservation procedures are followed.”

The monitor changed the view to the Draconis March and slowly scrolled from left to right, or from the Terran Corridor to the Outworld Alliance border and then back again. It finally settled on the Achemar Combat Region where the view changed to some contract specifics.

“We will be under a Combat Operations contract from 01 July of this year to 30 June, 3022. Most of these operations will be defensive in nature but don’t be surprised if we attack Kurita or Capellan targets in that time. As noted we will field  Alpha and Gamma Regiments, No. 1 Group, 1st Horse Artillery and 1st and 3rd Service Battalions.”

Turning towards the regimental and battalions officer Richard Bedford crossed his arms across his chest before he continued.

“Normally we aren’t paid to get to a new posting but this time we have negotiated a small transportation fee that will cover costs if little else. I suspect this may be an extra extended to us after we got a raw deal over the dropships negotiations.”

Turning back to the screen the laser pointer got busy again. “This time we have ‘Independent Command’, which means we will operate under the overall command of the Davion force commander but we do so without a Liaison Officer. We will also be reimbursed handsomely for our transportation and supply costs. Now that we have our own Mules to handle logistics, our supply and spare parts lifts should be more secure.”

“Finally, salvage rights. We keep everything we can drag off the battlefield.” That drew a positive wave of quiet cheers and clapping of hands as everyone understood how hard obtaining such rights could be.

Turning back to the audience he raised a cautionary finger. “That said, don’t get yourselves killed trying to lay claim to even so much as an assault rifle. Salvage is no good to us if your dead and your own equipment is lost to the Brigade.”

“That’s about it, Ladies and Gentlemen. The other details are on a need to know basis and you will all find your orders waiting for you back in your respective offices. We have less than two weeks before we boost for the jump point, so get your units ready. Full inspections of all kit from bootlaces to BattleMech are to be conducted before we leave. This extends to NBC gear. I don't want us to be suffer the same fate as the 8th Crucis Lancers.”
 
As the monitor screen went black Bedford concluded, “That will be all. Colonel’s Talbot and Beaufort, if you will see me in my office, please. The rest of you are dismissed.”

The seated officers stood and the room came to attention briefly as Richard Bedford strode through doors he came in just five minutes before.

*****
Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought upon the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

"...Remember also the two "prime directives" in playing BattleTech:
1. HAVE FUN
2. DON'T LET YOURSELF GET SO CAUGHT UP IN THE RULES THAT YOU STOP HAVING FUN"
Page 168 - Reunification War

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #165 on: 06 December 2018, 02:56:45 »
<<Game Note: The Third SW Campaign Game: Jan - Mar, 3021>>

LC-DC Front: The new year brought a new series of raids by two of Wolf’s Dragoons’ commands supported by the regular forces. Orestes, Camlann, Port Moseby and Aubisson were all struck by repeated attacks over three months, apparently aimed at wearing down the defenders. The DCMS attacked Konstance and Komephoros with a total of five commands in February but found the defences, backed by LCAF troops and supported by Wolf’s Dragoons’ Alpha and Delta commands, too strong to overcome without strong follow up waves. While these attacks pinned down Lyran ground and naval forces Combine formations such as the 2nd, 22nd, and 36th Dieron Regulars took heavy beatings before withdrawing.

It may be that these attack have weakened the DCMS position in the Kessel Prefecture rather than bolstering it. However, the Coordinator felt that the pledge to support the FWL must be honoured. Elsewhere the DCMS carried out raids near Carse, Kobe and Sevren that battered a number of garrison forces without involving regular LCAF commands.

DC-FS Front: The Kaznejov Prefecture had put the time granted by the Capellan offensive against the Federated Suns to good use and managed to recover much of its strength. The Galedon District was reinforced once more by a number of commands from the Pesht Military District as well as two new ‘Patrol Commands’ to block raids. To meet the next AFFS thrust a strong reserve has been organised on Galedon V consisting of five commands supported by three naval carrier groups (Kagoshima, Mikasa and Mutsu). There is debate amongst the high command that the rebuilt strength should be used immediately to retake the lost territory in the Kaznejov Prefecture rather than wait on the enemy. The Benjamin and Dieron sectors facing the Federated Suns also received a few additional troops to cover commerce and other raids but otherwise remained quiet.

For all the preparations to meet the next AFFS move Takashi Kurita was fixated on Chatham. The Night Stalkers second regiment moved against the rebels on Chatham but they misjudged the determination of the populace. The planet possessed major factory complexes close to the capital of Luthien which meant the aerospace garrison was well developed. When the rebellion broke out and there was no initial response from Luthien, the entire garrison went over to the rebels, including the three light, one medium and one heavy wing. The Night Stalkers arrived in February but with just a single medium wing they could not hope to penetrate the defending aerospace force. Forced to watch and listen while the planet declared itself independent the Night Stalker jumped away to Luthien in March to gather a stronger force with which to retake the planet.

There the mercenary command was joined by a newly built Vengeance carrier group built around the Haruna, carrying a full regiment of three fighter wings and two assault dropship wings. A newly raised garrison command, originally intended to replace the regular troops on Luthien was also assigned to the assault. Tai-sho Tadaki Johiro of the 2nd Night Stalkers was left with no illusions as to his mission – destroy the rebels on Chatham.

For their part the AFFS could only watch developments on the other side of the border and on Chatham. With resources still being diverted to defeat the Capellan offensive against Valexa the Federated Suns could do little more than keep an eye on other frontier systems. It was only in March that enough supplies could be diverted so that troop movements could begin again for the next phase of the planned conquest of the Kaznejov Prefecture.

FS-CC Front: Whatever plans the Capellan command may have had to continue their offensive against the Valexa PDZ fell apart when ComStar placed its Interdiction on all Capellan systems within 30 light years of Bell. The retreat from Valexa and Ashkum cost the CCAF of five commands destroyed while Bell saw the destruction both Devon’s Armoured Infantry and Hurloc’s Hussars. As the fighting died out in January it became clear that the offensive did more damage to the CCAF than the 3019 offensive into the Terran Corridor.

The AFFS did not get away unscathed as it took the efforts of some fifteen ground and five naval commands to defeat the offensive at considerable cost in lives and resources. The counterattack to clear the three systems of all Capellan ground and naval forces in in December and January added further to expenses. Resources required for refitting delayed redeployments but units began dispersing in March and a regrouping of the frontier between Mira and Mentasta is underway.

Duke Michael Hasek-Davion raised a major protest with New Avalon regarding the events surrounding the offensive and how it was allowed to happen. He has made fresh demands that additional forces be placed under his command so that the border can be properly defended. For his part First Prince Hanse Davion is said to have commented that the Capellans have launched two major invasions of the Federated Suns in 18 months, both times disrupting his own attacks against the Draconis Combine. This apparent coordination between two bordering enemy states is a new concern and the First Prince has noted cryptically that “something needs to be done about this.”

Finally, as promised, ComStar placed Colonel Maxwell Devon on trial for violations of Article VI of the Ares Conventions. The trial began on terra in February and went on for just three days before the prosecution rested its case. The defence lasted less than a day and a conviction was handed down after the First Circuit tribunal deliberated for less than a day after that. Maxwell Devon was sentenced to life in exile on an unnamed ComStar facility in the Periphery with no chance of parole for at least 25 years. The prison transport lifted off from Terra in the early days of March headed for an unknown destination. Maximillian Liao was said to be fuming over the sentence while on New Avalon Hanse Davion responded to the news with what has been described as ‘satisfied skepticism’.

CC-FWL Front: Captain-General Janos Marik could not have been happier with the news from the Federated Suns front with the Capellans. Not only had the Capellans distracted the Federated Suns from their attacks against the Draconis Combine, allowing the DCMS to turn some attention to their Lyran front, but the heavy defeat of the Capellans meant they would be unlikely to get up to any mischief along their border with the Free Worlds League. This suited the Marik goals nicely as they were able to maintain their focus on the ongoing battle in the Isle of Skye.

League espionage operations were increased a notch or two gather information on Capellan deployments and there was little doubt the Capellans were also keeping their own watchful eye on the same border. Whether either side uses the lack of activity on this border to transfer fresh troops to combat theatres remains to be seen.

FWL-LC: January saw yet another wave of attacks by the LCAF although the number of planets struck was reduced to just three. Vindemiatrix was attacked first but this proved to be a feint. The defending troops held and when reinforced by the Atrean Hussars and 1st Atrean Dragoons the 2nd Donegal Guards and 17th Skye Rangers withdrew. The main Lyran attacks fell on Alioth and Haddings triggering major battles including the dwindling naval resources of both sides.

On Alioth the 5th Marik Militia, Carson’s Renegades, Fuchida’s Fusiliers and the planetary defence brigade fought a rearguard action against the 17th Arcturan Guards, 24th Lyran Guards, 17th Donegal Guards and the 1st Isle of Skye Landwehr. The two sides’ aerospace forces were roughly evenly matched, the League fighters focusing on covering the slow retreat of their comrades on the ground. Losses to both sides were moderate with the more experienced FWLM formations holding a slight edge over their numerically superior enemy.

On Haddings the numbers were heavily in the favour of the Lyran attackers. The 1st Free Worlds Guards and green 1st Sirian Lancers supported by a small garrison were heavily outnumbered on the ground and in the air. The Lyrans committed the 1st Donegal Landweher along with the totally rebuilt 6th Donegal Guards and the “Tharkad Life Guard”. The new 6th Donegal Guards were deployed under a new combat command structure grouping a Mech regiment with twelve conventional regiments plus artillery and aerospace assets. The “Tharkad Life Guard”, a newly raised command from the Capital that had never seen combat before, was an unusually large command. Unusual for the Lyrans the Life Guard placed a medium Mech regiment alongside five armoured regiments, three mechanised infantry regiments, three regiments of motorised infantry, an airmobile infantry regiment with an attack helicopter battalion, two artillery battalions and four aerospace wings. 

When the Lyran force drew near the planet the defending aerospace forces deployed to cover the retreat of ground forces and, although outnumbered, they possessed more experienced units that were able to hold off their numerically superior foes. The garrison wing eventually sacrificed itself in a final stand as the Sirian Lancers and Guards aerospace withdrew. The inevitable rounds of counterattacks followed through February and March but in the end the Lyrans held on to their gains.

After a few ‘line straightening’ skirmishes the front line settled along the line running from Denebola-Cor Caroli-Carsphaim-Fianna-Rahne-Nestor. The Lyran liberation of Alcor, Mizar, Menkent, Haddings and Alioth had been definitive but many more systems in the Isle of Skye and Rahnshire remain occupied. It has been noted that some of the Lyrans systems, pacified by the FWL for more than a year, showed very little interest in who occupied the planet’s governor’s chair. The successes have lifted some pressure from the Archon’s shoulders butthere is still immense pressure from Skye to eject the invaders entirely from Commonwealth space. Aldo Lestrade has been assured that the LCAF will continue the offensive to its conclusion.

While some of the shine has worn off on the Captain-General’s achievement, the fact remains that fifteen Lyran systems are still under League control despite everything the Lyrans had thrown at the FWLM. This is being held up as a notable achievement for House Marik. The point has been raised in Parliament that regardless of whether the troops are Federal or from the Provincial militaries, they have all fought extremely well and for a common cause. This new found League unity has caused even the normally recalcitrant Dame Catherine Humphreys to give a nod to the Marik family, though notably, her faint praise was directed towards Duncan Marik’s handling of the defensive campaign.
« Last Edit: 06 December 2018, 03:16:09 by The Purist »
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