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Author Topic: "ComStar Guard and Militia" question re "The Jolly Roger Affair"  (Read 1461 times)

worktroll

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I couldn't find a ComStar-specific thread, so asking away here.

So, the Jolly Roger affair. Between 3001 and 3004, ComStar equipped pirates on the Lyran periphery with 'Mechs, ASF, other equipment, and even "lost" SL era bases, in order to stimulate fighting on the Lyran/Combine border (there being a lack of destructive action happening there at the time). But the pirates got uppity and started raiding ComStar installations in the periphery. This could not stand!

So the Primus of the day ordered the CSG&M 1st Division  (the name Com Guards only got used from the 4th SW, when they were 'created' by Primus Myndo Waterley) to squash the uppity peons. Which they did, eventually, with a loss ratio of 2.3:1 in the pirates' favour.

So, my questions. I know there's probably no canon answer, but in the best guess you can make,

1) Would the CSG&M forces be sent out in their all-white schemes, or "appropriate camo"?

2) Would the CSG&M forces use a lot of Star League specific 'Mech chasses, or would they have only sent "generic IS" models (eg not Emperors or King Crabs, but Marauders and Orions) - whether or not they were "Royals" not being the question here.


I'm looking to do a combined-arms company for the CSM&G, who not only laboured under the ungainly name but still used standard IS (SL) organisation at the time, and deciding what to paint them.

Cheers, and thanks in advance!

W.
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Natasha Kerensky

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Re: "ComStar Guard and Militia" question re "The Jolly Roger Affair"
« Reply #1 on: 22 August 2019, 18:28:11 »
ComStar maintained the Com Guards in secrecy until after the Fourth Succession War, which is about a quarter century into the future.  They posed as the Death Commandos during their raid on the NAIS, for example.

So I would assume not only appropriate camo, but a full-on false flag operation to ensure no Elsie or Drac intelligence agency looks twice at what’s happening on their borders.  Depending on where exactly the operation takes place, the Com Guards may pose as Periphery bandits or renegade mercs or low-grade ronin or enemy House forces.  Nothing too high profile to attract more attention.  But without some kind of cover (forget white paint), the Com Guards risk attracting investigations into where that force comes from that they don’t want in this timeframe.

That said, a lot of SLDF mechs continue to be manufactured in degraded form by the Houses into this timeframe.  The Elsies have the Flashman -7K and the Dracs have the Lancelot -02, for example.  So I think judicious use of TRO 2750 mechs is justifiable as long as they have Succession Wars variants in production.  That alone shouldn’t blow the Com Guards cover.
« Last Edit: 22 August 2019, 18:32:19 by Natasha Kerensky »
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Ogra_Chief

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Re: "ComStar Guard and Militia" question re "The Jolly Roger Affair"
« Reply #2 on: 22 August 2019, 18:34:22 »
The Jolly Roger's Affair, was a clandestine op gone awry, and thus Comstar (CS), was trying to do cleanup without getting made. As CS does not at all have a ultra-hidden army right... j/k. But, I believe at this time they have the mechs and equipment, but not the personnel, save for the ubiquitous 1st Division. So...

1. They would likely not paint their mechs white as that might 'later' give away their pirate hunting activities. However, they are hunting pirates in the periphery, so who would care? Think it's a judgment call.

2. Due too recent retcons you could likely get away with a few SL designs. But, too many and people would take notice, even in the periphery, but then again... it's the periphery. Who would care, since there's nothing or anyone important in that region of space.

Also, the few times the 1st Division is mentioned pre-revelation, they are sporting their traditional CS white camo and packing SL tech. Which is what made the losses so humiliating.

NK posted before I did. :'(
« Last Edit: 22 August 2019, 18:41:40 by Ogra_Chief »
BattleTech @CGL_BattleTech · Jul 17
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worktroll

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Re: "ComStar Guard and Militia" question re "The Jolly Roger Affair"
« Reply #3 on: 22 August 2019, 18:35:17 »
That all sounds good to me. I'm thinking greys and blacks, fully ironically riffing off the Gray Death scheme that didn't exist at that point. Or some other very generic scheme.

Cheers!
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
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Ogra_Chief

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Re: "ComStar Guard and Militia" question re "The Jolly Roger Affair"
« Reply #4 on: 22 August 2019, 18:44:55 »
I like in NK's suggestion of posing as pirates. Pirate on pirate action, yeah!
BattleTech @CGL_BattleTech · Jul 17
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R.Tempest

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Re: "ComStar Guard and Militia" question re "The Jolly Roger Affair"
« Reply #5 on: 23 August 2019, 00:20:32 »
 They might very well be painted in Lyran colours for operations near Kuritan space & vice versa. The original objective after all was to provoke combat between these two. Having enemy units operating in your near periphery area is going to get a reaction.

Frabby

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Re: "ComStar Guard and Militia" question re "The Jolly Roger Affair"
« Reply #6 on: 23 August 2019, 07:03:58 »
The first (known) deployment of the ComStar Guards and Militia after they had existed in a mostly dormant state for two centuries was the Vandenburg White Wings affair. I haven't checked the sources referenced, but Sarna says the stark white paint scheme on the aerospace fighters was specifically chosen to curtail their connection to ComStar.
It seems the later ComGuards' paint scheme was informed by a flat white that initially amounted to "unmarked".

At the time of Jolly Roger twenty years later, the same rationale would still have applied. (It wasn't until after the 4th Succession War that ComStar openly deployed armed guard forces under their own banner, thus unveiling the Com Guards.)

As for what equipment they had, the 1st Division's aerospace fighters in the Vandenburg White Wings situation were noted to be Star League level tech.
Again, the same probably applies here. Keep in mind that Kintero's extermination squad sprang into action after a serious falling-out between "Black" Jack McGirk and ComStar, and after a vengeful McGirk had destroyed the HPGs on Lost and Canal. ComStar, at this point, would have thrown everything and the kitchen sink at him with extreme prejudice, to kill him and his troops dead, with fire, no-holds-barred. The only limiting factor would be what was available to the 1st Division at short notice.
There would have been no attempt to conceal ComStar's technological edge because there were to be no survivors.

Disclaimer: I had a rough story idea for BattleCorps (working title: "White Lies") set around the Jolly Roger Affair so there's perhaps some headcanon here.
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Re: "ComStar Guard and Militia" question re "The Jolly Roger Affair"
« Reply #7 on: 23 August 2019, 08:48:37 »
If I were the planning staff for that operation of the CSG&M, I would go with a full false flag operation. So, there are pirates, whom I payed and provisioned to harass the Lyrans and now they turned on me? Well, that just sounds like a job for the Lyrans and theire mercenaries to do. So here is how this would go down in my head.

Note, during that time ComStar controls the mercenary business and, of course, FTL communications. Also, ComStar has the best code crackers, ROM, and basically reads all communications of all people in the known 'verse. So, faking communication protocols and proper usage of codes as well as complete IDs should be a cakewalk for them.

Thus, I would assume, they created a mercenary unit with some fake history - not too specific, just credible enough - and design a LCAF handler for them, just on paper of course, though a face in ROM should exist, just in case. Then let these mercs, who are of course CSG&M personnel, eradicate the pirates and receive proper payment from the LCAF handler. This should be noted with the The Mercenary Review Board, but probably the paper work should stop there as not to arouse LCAF suspicion. Alternatively, construct a minor Lyran noble and let him / her pay for the operation, making this a private venture and hence having less paper trail.

The important part is, all leads this possibly creates are red herrings. Nothing leads back to ComStar, and all trails point toward a regular, run-of-the-mill peripheral pirate hunt done by some unimportant mercs and financed properly, taken care of by a handler with solid paper work and paid for seemingly by a legitimate account.

The CSG&M mercenary outfit should apply regular camouflage and some merc logos. That's it.
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snewsom2997

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Re: "ComStar Guard and Militia" question re "The Jolly Roger Affair"
« Reply #8 on: 23 August 2019, 15:15:26 »
Until they went public, I would not expect to see comstar white outside of terra itself.

Frabby

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Re: "ComStar Guard and Militia" question re "The Jolly Roger Affair"
« Reply #9 on: 23 August 2019, 15:19:40 »
My point was that "ComStar White" didn't exist until the 3030s. There was only "unmarked" white, which later became the official Com Guards paint scheme.
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Decoy

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Re: "ComStar Guard and Militia" question re "The Jolly Roger Affair"
« Reply #10 on: 23 August 2019, 20:09:46 »
Weren't the Vandenberg White Wings painted.....white and consist of SLDF era equipment?

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Re: "ComStar Guard and Militia" question re "The Jolly Roger Affair"
« Reply #11 on: 23 August 2019, 21:38:28 »
The Vandenburg White Wings were a Comstar unit sent to destroy that Black Lion the Taurian's found.
It is still considered a mystery even though Comstar paints everything white.

So the same could happen for the Jolly Roger affair as no one at the time knew that Comstar had any military.
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Re: "ComStar Guard and Militia" question re "The Jolly Roger Affair"
« Reply #12 on: 25 August 2019, 01:51:24 »
The Vandenburg White Wings were a Comstar unit sent to destroy that Black Lion the Taurian's found.
It is still considered a mystery even though Comstar paints everything white.

So the same could happen for the Jolly Roger affair as no one at the time knew that Comstar had any military.

Actually, sending the ASFs in with full white paint actually sorta makes sense with Vandenburg White Wings.

Star League Navy ASFs used white paint jobs. Their analog of the Army's Olive Drab paintjobs.

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Re: "ComStar Guard and Militia" question re "The Jolly Roger Affair"
« Reply #13 on: 28 August 2019, 10:55:50 »
Standard IS organization?

Yeah, I am agreeing with the others for false flag ops.  Hire the mercs of Galatea or wherever and covertly seed in some ComGuard officers as mercs to provide a additional level of control.  The name of the game is to plan for failure, not success . . . so say a group of the pirates managed to capture one of your mechwarriors and escape the onslaught to one of the Houses they had been targeting- would the House be more likely to believe a pirate with a known merc, on contract, in hands or someone who pauses to pray every time someone flips a light switch?

You also have to think about how they travel to get out to the AO?  JS & DS crews who interact with other spacers and recharge station crew will need to avoid having a finger pointed at ComStar since the spacers will have intel assets inserted for major shipping lanes.  You want to hand anyone they encounter a nice safe stereotypical role so they can slot your covert action team into their mental catagories.
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worktroll

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Re: "ComStar Guard and Militia" question re "The Jolly Roger Affair"
« Reply #14 on: 28 August 2019, 11:39:42 »
Yes, standard organisation. The "by sixes" of the ComGuard we know so well was an invention of Anastasius Focht, therefore far into the future at this time.

It's explicit in canon that the CSG&M First Division was sent in to eliminate the pirates, so we don't need to rope in any casual pirate dupes this time ;) I'm selecting the minis from equipment available to the IS General or Mercs lists, with a Steiner leaning - eg. Commandos and a Zeus, with some Star League era equipment dropped in where it wouldn't be too noticeable (eg. SHD-2Hb, WHM-6rb, and maybe a Rifleman II if I can figure out how to bulk out an RTT mini a little ;) ) After all, they expected to just waltz in & flatten the pirates.

Which they did, but on the wrong side of a 2:1 loss ratio. Which does feed into the decision after the 4th War to hire Brion's Legion, to add some actual warfighting experience to the Sandhurst sim specialists ;)

Given it was an all-C* operation, I'd assume the JS & DS crew were all C* loyalists. There was presumably a "supply chain" - not a Pony Express, but 'traders' in place - to support the supply of equipment to the pirates in the first place; this shipment just came pre-crewed ;)

Currently thinking on a shabby grey, black & blue scheme, with fake damage and a little rust paint here & there.
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Re: "ComStar Guard and Militia" question re "The Jolly Roger Affair"
« Reply #15 on: 28 August 2019, 11:50:55 »
Well, as you said a all-ComGuard operation that went so badly WOULD be a reason to bring in actual warfighters and even Waterly trying to find a experienced commander for the ComGuard later on.  It could STILL be a ComGuard operation even if they dressed up as mercs doing a pirate hunt- make half the unit ComGuard officers and troopers then hire cannon fodder in case of discovery . . . besides, while they may have wiped out all the actual pirates did they also wipe out the slaves & other non-combatants?  If not then they need a face that can be used to explain why the band got wiped.
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worktroll

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Re: "ComStar Guard and Militia" question re "The Jolly Roger Affair"
« Reply #16 on: 28 August 2019, 11:53:18 »
The other idea would be to have all-C* personnel (remember, they didn't expect problems), with Steiner-ish 'Mechs in a paintjob reminiscent of Kuritans ...
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Re: "ComStar Guard and Militia" question re "The Jolly Roger Affair"
« Reply #17 on: 28 August 2019, 12:37:43 »
I think the politics behind it would determine some of the the results . . . I assume the pirates were a ROM idea for destabilization.  ROM's reputation gets blackened when the pirates turn, so when the problem comes up in the First Circuit its a chance for the Precentor Marial (or whatever the title was at that point) to make a splash and show the ComGuard should be in charge of any operations that involve the military.  'Trust us, WE will get it right,' before the proud go out and get pounded . . . with maybe the ROM advisor throwing a bit of sand in the gears to check a rival?  To me the 'its only us and we are barely disguised' would be the attitude of the op run from a military line officer.  Failure would definitely check any attempts by the senior military officers to get more power in the organization- IMO before Waterly spread out Guards, ROM would have been the primary branch of action in ComStar.  In a internal power contest, landing a bigger failure at the ComGuard commander's feet (we gave them crappy SW mechs, YOU were issued mechs from our SLDF stocks and lost what?) overshadows ROM's failure to maintain control of their asset, and with proper maneuvering could even hand Precentor ROM his own private military force on Terra (depends on contract and bribe/blackmail) to check the CSGM force on planet.

Its a viable scenario and honestly reminds me of some of the Cold War thrillers Clancy wrote getting into the Politburo's internal maneuvering. 

IF its still a ROM operation, then I think you get into more of the misdirection so that any observers have a easy answer to reach for rather than the mystery like the White Wings.  For more control, use officers & troops from CSGM but have dupes for fodder and be the ones who interact with the pirate non-combatants.

Did we ever get any details on the bases out in that area- tie in to the WWE?
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worktroll

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Re: "ComStar Guard and Militia" question re "The Jolly Roger Affair"
« Reply #18 on: 28 August 2019, 12:57:18 »
http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Jolly_Roger_Affair

Basically, Steiner & Kurita weren't fighting a lot (Kurita concentrating on Davion), and ComStar didn't want peace to break out. So the First Circuit ordered ROM to supply pirates on that border with cool stuff to make trouble. Problem is, the pirates got uppity & started making too much trouble; 1st Division was sent in to erase the problem.
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Re: "ComStar Guard and Militia" question re "The Jolly Roger Affair"
« Reply #19 on: 28 August 2019, 13:09:52 »
Oh I understand the reference but the 'how' it came to be done can get interesting.  For example, I had to explain the purpose of 'freedom of navigation' exercises in the South Chinese Sea to someone after it was on the news, they just took the 20 second snip-it without looking at all the unspoken or behind the scenes reasons/actions.  When it comes to governments you pay attention to the actions of course, but also all the other things behind the scenes.  As another example, we joke about the USAF hating the CAS mission and constantly trying to get rid of the A-10.  Comes up a lot, and one of the frequent responses from a common sense/simple answer is- 'Let the Army do it.'  Slightly more informed suggest the Marine model.  But the USAF does not want that to happen (they used to be the US-ARMY-AF) because they do not want to suggest they should fall in under the Army again or that they should in anyway be downsized or not control the US's air craft . . . they try to ignore the USN aircraft, that even the USMC has their own air power, and the Army has helos.  They would rather keep a mission they do not want to do than give away any turf/power to someone else.

AFAIK no fiction has really been written up about it, so the motiviation & players on the ComStar side for HOW they responded to the rogue pirates is still up in the air.
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Re: "ComStar Guard and Militia" question re "The Jolly Roger Affair"
« Reply #20 on: 28 August 2019, 15:21:56 »
I assume the pirates were a ROM idea for destabilization.  ROM's reputation gets blackened when the pirates turn, so when the problem comes up in the First Circuit its a chance for the Precentor Marial (or whatever the title was at that point) to make a splash and show the ComGuard should be in charge of any operations that involve the military.
The ComStar Guards & Militia were a direct branche of ROM until 3035, when ComStar restructured ROM to be a branch of the ComGuards. Yes, that was a complete flip.

So, essentially ROM just sent in its most "direct" action team.
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Re: "ComStar Guard and Militia" question re "The Jolly Roger Affair"
« Reply #21 on: 01 September 2019, 05:11:15 »
They might very well be painted in Lyran colours for operations near Kuritan space & vice versa. The original objective after all was to provoke combat between these two. Having enemy units operating in your near periphery area is going to get a reaction.
certainly plausible

yet, the trigger was the destruction of HPGs on Lost & Canal in the Rim Worlds region of the LC periphery, which CS blamed on a minor bandit raid -- perhaps the CGs were painted as bandit mercenary hires ?  Too far from either the DC or FWL to bother mimicking them ?  Make it all look like random pirate activity ?

https://www.sarna.net/wiki/Jolly_Roger_Affair

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Re: "ComStar Guard and Militia" question re "The Jolly Roger Affair"
« Reply #22 on: 09 September 2019, 10:45:01 »
given that the Comstar Militia/Proto-Comguard had a fair number of (former) mercenaries acting as trainers and cadre, and iirc Comstar used "mercenary units" as the cover for its militia defense of their HPG's, it would seem likely they would have a number of merc units on the public books with the MRB. i don't think anyone in the IS would bat an eye at Comstar contracting out some of the mercs it uses for guard duty into doing some anti-pirate work after those HPG's were destroyed. as long as they avoided any blantantly star league hardware (mechs and vees that were extinct/super-rare outside comstar basically) they ought to be able to masquerade as those comstar employed merc units.

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Re: "ComStar Guard and Militia" question re "The Jolly Roger Affair"
« Reply #23 on: 09 September 2019, 15:40:14 »
given that the Comstar Militia/Proto-Comguard had a fair number of (former) mercenaries acting as trainers and cadre, and iirc Comstar used "mercenary units" as the cover for its militia defense of their HPG's, it would seem likely they would have a number of merc units on the public books with the MRB. i don't think anyone in the IS would bat an eye at Comstar contracting out some of the mercs it uses for guard duty into doing some anti-pirate work after those HPG's were destroyed. as long as they avoided any blantantly star league hardware (mechs and vees that were extinct/super-rare outside comstar basically) they ought to be able to masquerade as those comstar employed merc units.

 I never thought/realized pseudo ComStar mercs. That makes for some great scenarios. Never put the two together. Thanks.
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Re: "ComStar Guard and Militia" question re "The Jolly Roger Affair"
« Reply #24 on: 13 September 2019, 23:11:58 »
If Comstar routinely hired mercs to do guard duty at their stations, wouldn't in make more sense simply to use some of those to clean up a mess? If pirates destroyed a couple of stations, they'd have all the excuse they needed to send someone out to eliminate the problem, and no one else in the IS would even notice.

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Re: "ComStar Guard and Militia" question re "The Jolly Roger Affair"
« Reply #25 on: 13 September 2019, 23:49:33 »
If Comstar routinely hired mercs to do guard duty at their stations, wouldn't in make more sense simply to use some of those to clean up a mess? If pirates destroyed a couple of stations, they'd have all the excuse they needed to send someone out to eliminate the problem, and no one else in the IS would even notice.
Didn't CS equip the pirates with advanced technology, and they turned on CS?  So CS would not want to repeat the process, arming more mercenary pirates over whom they might lose control again... wasn't this the impetus for the formation of the Com Guard keeping everything "in house" ?

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Re: "ComStar Guard and Militia" question re "The Jolly Roger Affair"
« Reply #26 on: 14 September 2019, 00:26:53 »
Didn't CS equip the pirates with advanced technology, and they turned on CS?  So CS would not want to repeat the process, arming more mercenary pirates over whom they might lose control again... wasn't this the impetus for the formation of the Com Guard keeping everything "in house" ?

More than likely ComStar and its' attendant bureaucrats/technocrats fell victim to age-old mission creep. Starts as a hands off op, then went sideways, mitigating addons that further failed, all hands on deck - throw everything you got at the problem to appease TPTB's, a critical final evaluation, and poof...  ComGuards are born as an overreaction. Sure they existed before in form, but not what the technocrats wanted or the bureaucrats were willing to fund. But, the mess demands corrective action to prevent future occurrences. Sprinkle some ambition and hidden agendas, and now all the justification to build a force completely out-of-bounds from the original problem. That some well paid and supported mercs could have done the job more competently; no one inside the power centers of ROM, ComGuard, or First Circuit could be bothered. In the end, everyone had a different agenda. Twenty years later, mention Jolly Roger's to even the Head of ROM, and they would would like think you're talking about a seafood eatery. That's how bureaucracy work. So, yup they (ComStar) kept it in-house.  :o
« Last Edit: 14 September 2019, 13:15:21 by Ogra_Chief »
BattleTech @CGL_BattleTech · Jul 17
Harmony Gold no longer has any say in our decisions, however, the original mechs have been redesigned enough to not cause problems.

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Re: "ComStar Guard and Militia" question re "The Jolly Roger Affair"
« Reply #27 on: 14 September 2019, 13:08:04 »
ComStar's problem was that the pirates knew by then who their anonymous benefactor had been: ComStar. It's why McGirk destroyed the Canal and Lost HPGs, to take revenge on ComStar.

Would you really use your mercenary deniable asset false flag operatives to hunt down your other mercenary deniable asset false flag operatives? Especially when the hunted may actually have a valid reason to think you betrayed them?
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Re: "ComStar Guard and Militia" question re "The Jolly Roger Affair"
« Reply #28 on: 14 September 2019, 13:22:37 »
ComStar's problem was that the pirates knew by then who their anonymous benefactor had been: ComStar. It's why McGirk destroyed the Canal and Lost HPGs, to take revenge on ComStar.

Would you really use your mercenary deniable asset false flag operatives to hunt down your other mercenary deniable asset false flag operatives? Especially when the hunted may actually have a valid reason to think you betrayed them?

Because, technically, ComStar doesn't have any combat forces. This is exactly the jobs mercs are meant to take on, dirty under-the-table messes your employer wants to forget or have forgotten via PPC expediency. Though as mentioned above ComStar came to the same conconclusion, and opted to handle the problem itself, with a mix of hilarity and slice of humble pie. End result, 'we need better combat forces.'

Though as mentioned by Glitterboy2098, who is to say those hired mercs are really mercs afterall?
BattleTech @CGL_BattleTech · Jul 17
Harmony Gold no longer has any say in our decisions, however, the original mechs have been redesigned enough to not cause problems.

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Re: "ComStar Guard and Militia" question re "The Jolly Roger Affair"
« Reply #29 on: 14 September 2019, 16:42:37 »
Well, we do know in canon that the then Primus ordered the First Division of the CSG&M to wipe out the pirates. So I'm going to paint up a unit of "common" 'Mechs that would be available to C* from their hidden reserves, in a Lyran-ish do. Not sure whether to include some Royal units, or some Kuritan-style 'Mechs, for best confusion.
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