Battle of Luthien (Clan Invasion)

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The Battle of Luthien, referred to by the Clans as Operation Dragonslayer, started on January 4th 3052[1], saw the combined forces of Clans Smoke Jaguar and Nova Cat stage an assault against Luthien, capital world of the Draconis Combine. [2] Aside from being one of the largest battles of the Clan Invasion and one of the few major defeats suffered by the Clans prior to the Battle of Tukayyid, the battle saw the first major co-operation between Houses Kurita and Davion to defeat the invaders, as well as the softening of Coordinator Takashi Kurita's Death to Mercenaries Order, thanks to the aid of the Wolf's Dragoons and Kell Hounds mercenary units.

Prelude to the Battle[edit]

After victory at the Battle of Wolcott, Theodore Kurita, Hohiro Kurita and Shin Yodama moved back to Luthien to review the previous engagement and plan for the Clan’s next attack. Intelligence reports came in from all along the frontline, but the Clans were perceived to have ceased their attacks on the Draconis Combine. It was suggested that the defeat on Wolcott forced the invaders to halt their offensive, later it was learned this apparent lull was caused by the death of ilKhan Leo Showers.

Clan Smoke Jaguar, still smarting from its embarrassing defeat, demanded that they be allowed to avenge themselves on the Draconis Combine by attacking Luthien. A target prompted not only by vengeance but also jealousy that Clan Wolf had captured the Capital world of Rasalhague. The new IlKhan, Ulric Kerensky agreed with their choice of targets, realising that success would mean much of the resistance faced by the Smoke Jaguars, Nova Cats and Ghost Bears would disappear. For this reason he approved Operation Dragonslayer, the assault on Luthien.

Luthien Prepares[edit]

Theodore Kurita orchestrated the defense of Luthien
The DCMS dispatched ISF officers and hired operatives into the Clan occupation zones in an attempt to gain information on the next target the Clans would attack. Shin Yodama also contacted the few Yakuza cells he knew of that remained active on occupied worlds, however, none of these agents succeeded, and many were never heard from again. Luckily in late November, a source in ComStar informed Theodore Kurita that the Clans planned to renew their invasion by striking at Luthien. [3] Although some reports place the source as deliberate leaks by the Clans as part of a psychological warfare strategy. [2]

An emergency meeting of regimental commanders stationed on Luthien was called in which Theodore announced that Luthien had been targeted. "Nothing can stop the Clans once they have determined where they will strike," the Kanrei told his military leaders. "We lack the naval vessels to challenge the Clan invasion fleet before it arrives in-system. Our only hope is to find the best way to drive the invaders off Luthien once they arrive."

The officers present all pledged their regiments to the defence of the capital, including Tai-sa Oda Hideyoshi of the Otomo and Tai-sa Shigeru Yoshida of the 1st Sword of Light. [4] It was suggested that the Ryuken units were recalled from their border posts, but this was rejected. They were considered more valuable where they were, threatening fast deep penetration raids that would force the Smoke Jaguars to garrison their captured worlds with large numbers of troops. The decision was made that no units would be requisitioned from other planets. Luthien would defend itself with the regiments on planet, along with whatever militia regiments could be mustered and equipped. [5]

On November 27, 3051, Theodore sent a request for help in the defence of Luthien to Hanse Davion of the Federated Commonwealth. [6] After much deliberation, Davion decided to help Theodore and sent messages to two of his most trusted mercenary commanders: Jaime Wolf, commander of Wolf's Dragoons, and Morgan Kell, commander of the Kell Hounds, requesting that they join in the defence of Luthien. Both Jaime Wolf and Morgan Kell accepted and transported their entire units to Luthien with the greatest haste. [7]

The Planning of Operation Dragonslayer[edit]

Dorian Wirth, the main architect of the Clan assault
ilKhan Kerensky appointed the Khan of the Smoke Jaguars, as the overall commander for the assault. [2] The Jaguar Khan, in turn, appointed Galaxy Commander Dorian Wirth [8] of the Jaguars Alpha Galaxy to bid against Khan Severen Leroux of the Nova Cats for the honour of leading the assault on Luthien. In an unusual move each bidder was allowed access to forces of both Clans. Political rivals in both the Smoke Jaguars and Nova Cats have speculated that ilKhan Kerensky forced the Khan’s hand. His supporters insist that he had shown foresight and allowed the bidders access to both Clans because he knew that Luthien would provide the hardest and most fanatical resistance yet faced by either of the two Clans. [5]

Wirth opened the bidding: "I will take Luthien with four combined-arms Galaxies," he said, pausing momentarily just long enough to cut off his opponent's counter-offer with a quick amendment "Minus, that is, all naval support from our JumpShips." This act disrupted Khan Leroux's initial plan. Hurriedly, he countered by bidding away half his aerospace fighter support. Unknown to either man this move would give the Inner Sphere troops an invaluable advantage tactically in the coming battle. Wirth won the right to lead the assault force with three combat Galaxies and three aerospace Clusters. [7]

With the bidding complete, their thoughts turned to strategy. The Kuritan tricks on Wolcott fresh in their minds, it was agreed the invasion force would issue no Batchall, stating that it had been dishonoured on Wolcott by Combine troops without honour. This did not sit well with the Nova Cat Khan. Some sources state that a batchall was employed and that the Jaguars allowed their opponents the choice of battlefield, [2] however, the same sources then mention that the Clans were surprised at the presence of mercenaries; something that should have been included in any batchall. Events early in the battle suggest that in fact no batchall was used. [9]

Khan Leroux of the Nova Cats favoured a surgical strike, aimed at removing the DCMS command. He argued that the attack should be concentrated against the Imperial City, and that capturing the city quickly would throw the rest of the planet's defenders into disarray. Dorian Wirth preferred a wider area of operations, believing Leroux's plan would enable the Kurita defenders to concentrate their forces and draw the Clans into ground better suited to defence. He pointed out that this was what had happened in the Battle of Wolcott. Instead he suggested their forces spread across the planet, striking at key targets such as cities and manufacturing centres. He would commit his freeborn troops to secondary objectives, hoping to stretch the defenders to the breaking point.

Operation Dragonslayer would eventually be a compromise plan with the capture of the Imperial City becoming the primary objective. The Jaguar's Alpha Galaxy and the Nova Cats' Beta Galaxy would land near the capital and launch the attack. Meanwhile, clusters from both Clans would attack secondary targets simultaneously in order to prevent the Combine forces from reinforcing the city's defenders. The first Clan JumpShips appeared in the Luthien system in the early hours of January 4, 3052. [10]

Breakdown of the Fighting[edit]

Combine Aerospace Wings attempt to prevent Clan DropShips from landing

Luthien System[edit]

0530 Hours, 04 January 3052[edit]

As the clan forces began their approach run towards Luthien, warded by the fighter screen of the Nova Cat 3rd Aerospace Cluster, the 3rd Aerospace Wing and 7th Aerospace Wing intercepted them. The 3rd was ordered to draw away defending Clan fighters, clearing the way for the heavier fighters of the 7th to attack the DropShips. Technical problems with the 7th's catapult launch stations delayed their arrival. meanwhile the 3rd had destroyed nine Clan fighters and severely damaged two DropShips. When the 7th finally arrived, their heavy Slayer and Stuka fighters found the scattered Clan fighters easy targets, but apparently they did not press the attack against the DropShips. During the fighting, a pair of Kurita Shilones, under the command of Tai-i Michael Cannello spotted a crippled Jagatai A and forced it to land at Tsushima. Star Captain Yehud Nova Cat became the first prisoner taken in the Battle of Luthien. [11]

2200 Hours[edit]

The aerospace engagement marking the opening of the Battle of Luthien was not a single epic battle, as is so often portrayed. In reality it was a series of short intense skirmishes. The first engagement by the Combine's 3rd Aerospace Wing lasted less than twenty minutes. A short time later the 7th Aerospace Wing attacked, this more protracted encounter lasting just under an hour. After this the Clans passed beyond the operational ranges of the two DCMS wings and travelled almost unimpeded for roughly fifteen hours until they reached the planet. At which point Combine and allied mercenary aerospace forces including the Black Dragons Aerospace Wing stationed on Luthien met the Clan DropShips as they entered the planet's atmosphere, trying to prevent their landing in the Tairakan Plains. [12] This series of engagements left the 3rd Nova Cat Aerospace Cluster a spent force and the Clans would have to rely on their Cluster's integral fighters for ground support during the coming battle.

Tairakana Plains[edit]

0500 Hours, 05 January 3052[edit]

As agreed no Batchall was issued, even though ilKhan Kerensky had given Khan Leroux a free reign on this matter. In an attempt to gain the information normally learned by such process, Theodore Kurita dispatched several reconnaissance patrols to the Clan landing zones on the Tairakana Plains. It was hoped that the data these patrols acquired would helped the DCMS adjust their defensive plans to maximize the effect of his forces. [13] One such patrol was led by Shin Yodama, [14] this was located and attacked by Elemental skirmishers of the 1106th Aggressor Cluster. [15]

The Otomo spring their trap

0715 Hours[edit]

The ground battle truly began when the 1st Jaguar Guards launched their opening probing attack. Facing them were three Kurita regiments drawn up along the shores of Basin Lake in what seemed a poor defensive position. The Guards opened the battle with long-range fire, [16] but quickly charged the line to close the combat range and manoeuvred straight into a trap. Closing with what they thought were 'Mechs of the Otomo regiment, the Clans discovered a vibrabomb minefield peppering the ground in front of the Combine unit's position, and that the "Otomo 'Mechs" were actually booby-trapped drones. As the Smoke Jaguars staggered from the effects of the mines and exploding "Q-Mechs", the real Otomo launched a sudden charge, which brought the Smoke Jaguars’ advance to a halt. [17]

0845 Hours[edit]

The Smoke Jaguar's probes against the Combine lines had bogged down. In an attempt to break through the elite Trinary Alpha of the First Jaguar Guards struck the centre of the 1st Sword of Light's position, [18] however, the Kuritan line held for almost an hour against this assault. As reinforcements of the Otomo and the 2nd Legion of Vega arrived they began forcing the Clans back. This counter attack was in turn broken by the arrival of Clan reinforcements [19] including the 5th Jaguar Regulars and Nova Cat clusters, supported by air strikes. The Combine defenders started to collapse and retreat. [20]

0915 Hours[edit]

These clan reinforcements soon found themselves embroiled with the 1st Sword of Light's secondary line; the Otomo, the 2nd Legion of Vega, and the freshly committed Genyosha who launched an all-out counter assault against both Clan flanks. The push by the Genyosha against the 5th Jaguar Regulars folded the Jaguar right flank back on itself inflicting heavy damage. As the Jaguar line turned to face the Genyosha, it siphoned warriors away from the 1st Sword of Light, the Otomo and the 2nd Legion of Vega leaving gaps along the battlefield. Defeat seemed inevitable for the Clans, but somehow they consolidated their force forming a wedge formation and pushed through the DCMS defenders for a second time, forcing them to retreat again. [21]

Dogfight over the Waseda Hills

Imperial City Air Defence Zone[edit]

1130 Hours[edit]

As the Combine line collapsed, the Clans began a march toward Imperial City. As they advanced they were supported by their aerospace forces. Approaching Basin Lake and the Waseda Hills sparked a desperate fight for air supremacy as fighters of the Wolf's Dragoons and the Kell Hounds' aerospace wings launched a series of attacks against the Clan fighter Trinaries of the 63rd Jaguar Regulars and the 25th Nova Cat Regulars, which quickly degenerated into a free-for-all until the battle swung in favour of the more numerous mercenaries. [22] Although the battle lasted for several more hours, this action was the real turning point. The lack of numbers from Khan Leroux's bid saw the Clan fighters driven from the area, leaving the defenders complete air superiority.

Stationed on the western flank of the Inner Sphere line in the foothills of the Waseda Hills Wolf's Dragoons Beta Regiment was determined to prevent the Clan forces breaking through or flanking the entire army. The first probing attacks against them came from the Nova Cat's 5003rd Harasser Cluster as it sent its fast light stars forward. The fighting was fierce, but eventually the Nova Cats were forced back, rumours persist that Jaime Wolf had equipped a company of the Third Battalion with power armor under the command of Major Marx. This unit dubbed the Tin Men of Outreach caused havoc with unprepared Nova Cat forces. [23]

Waseda Hills[edit]

1230 Hours[edit]

The Combine units struggled to contain the clan advance. Flush with the success of their counter attack and with disregard for the Jaguar attack plan the Nova Cats pushed Delta Galaxy deep into the Waseda Hills attempting to reach the Imperial City before the Smoke Jaguars. [24] Bypassing Basin Lake they pushed towards the Kado-Guchi Valley. ComStar intelligence had suggested that the area was defended by militia, but the Cats ran into three regiments of Wolf’s Dragoons and Kell Hounds who stopped the clan advance cold. [25] The mercenaries hoped to delay the Cats long enough that their aerospace forces could stage a bombing run. Stripped of their own air support the Nova Cats 119th Striker Cluster engaged head on as the 32nd Assault Cluster attempted a flank march into the valley. [26] The Combine troops did not think that the mercenaries could deal with such a large Clan force, and many commanders half expected to find their units pulled out of the line to support this action. [27]

Meanwhile, the third battalion of the 2nd Kell Hounds Regiment caught the 336th Jaguar Combat Cluster on the shores of Basin Lake. They launched an all-out assault to try and halt the clan advance. The mercenaries took heavy casualties and were only saved by the arrival of elements of the 1st Sword of Light, however the Hound’s battalion was spent as a force. [28]

Katsura River Valley[edit]

1345 Hours[edit]

The remnants of Kurita companies that had fought on the Tairakana Plains were regrouping, as the opening shots were being fired in the Waseda Hills. In the hope of increasing the pressure on the Smoke Jaguars, Theodore Kurita ordered two 2nd Genyosha companies of the 3rd Battalion and the 3rd Otomo company of the 3rd Battalion to launch a strike into the Clans' rear area against the Smoke Jaguars' reserves including the 32nd Jaguar Regulars, to cause as much damage and confusion as possible before withdrawing. The force moved along the river bed to avoid detection until they were in position. Almost all of the Kuritan 'Mechs took serious damage in this action, but left eight Clan machines destroyed or so badly damaged that the Regulars abandoned them. [29]

Amori Militia target a 'Mech of the 22nd Freebirth Cluster

Shaidan Basin: Amori Military District[edit]

1350 Hours[edit]

The Battle for Luthien did not consist solely of an attempt to take the Imperial City. As part of Dorian Wirth's plan forces landed elsewhere on the planet as well. The Clans assigned the capture of the Arisaka Munitions Complex to the 22nd Smoke Jaguar Freebirth Cluster. However, this choice was based on inaccurate intelligence. Tai-i Velk marshalled his Amori Militia in the rice paddies of the Shaidan Basin supported by the river Monitor Minikuchi of the 33rd Coastal Patrol Squadron. As the Cluster entered the rice paddies, Tai-i Velk sprung his trap. The very well trained Amori Militia put up a heavy resistance, then feigned a disorderly retreat across the two Shaidan River bridges. As the clan warriors followed them across the militia detonated charges that destroyed both bridges. Hidden militia ground armour advanced and the Minikuchi also came out of hiding, these enabled the militia to pin the 22nd Freebirth against the rain swollen river. In order to avoid the destruction of her command Star Captain Edna surrendered. [30]

Nova Cat Secondary Landing Zone[edit]

1400 Hours[edit]

Theodore Kurita ordered the 6th DEST to begin Operation Black Thunder just as the fighting in the Tairakana Plains was winding down. Led by Tai-i Shingen the previously concealed team members attacked the Clan Nova Cat Union Class DropShip the Broadsword. After a short fire fight in the vessel's main 'Mech deck the DEST troopers captured the Broadsword, along with two of her crew. The action left four DEST troopers dead and another four wounded. The DropShip lifted off just as a Star of Elementals closed to recapture it. The captured DropShip made its way towards the main military spaceport southeast of Imperial City. However, trouble with the backpack transponder meant that it came under friendly fire before being taken under a fighter escort. [31]

Luthien Armor Works: Jirushi City[edit]

1400 Hours[edit]

In an attempt to cripple the DCMS' efforts to regroup, a Star from the 22nd Jaguar Regulars attacked the Luthien Armor Works. Here they encountered a unit assembling from the remnants of 'Mech companies shattered earlier in the fighting. The situation was not as the clans had expected though. The complex's machinery and steel-reinforced buildings blocked almost all communications and sensors, while playing havoc with 'Mechs' targeting systems. The Clan Star found itself facing a stronger unit than was expected, however they managed to inflict moderate damage before fleeing to their landing zone for evacuation. Some reports have pointed that this was an attempt to cripple the Combine's means of production, but at this stage the Clans were still aiming to capture the planet. [32]

An Ebon Jaguar of the 1st Jaguar Guards Cluster advances into the Kado-Guchi Valley

Kado-guchi Valley[edit]

1600 Hours[edit]

The Nova Cats smashed their way through the Kell Hounds and Wolf's Dragoons, and finally succeeded in breaking out of the Waseda Hills and into the Kado-Guchi Valley. They had faced stiffer opposition than previously expected, leaving the Cats wary of another assault. Coordinator Takashi Kurita did not disappoint them as he personally led the veteran Dragon's Claws against them. Sho-sa Shin Yodama had been placed as a liaison officer with the Dragon's Claws by Theodore Kurita. [33] It was Yodama's responsibility, as Theodore put it, to "keep Takashi on a leash," and prevent him from making a suicidal charge in the style of the ancient Terran samurai. [34]

1630 Hours[edit]

The Dragon's Claws advanced down the slopes of the Kado-Guchi Valley catching the Nova Cats' 32nd Assault Cluster and preventing their advance toward the Imperial City. [35] Several Clan 'Mechs were destroyed in the opening volley. The Cats then attempted to execute a fighting withdrawal, but the situation worsened as the Kell Hounds launched themselves against the Nova Cat flank and rear. [36] Willing to admit defeat and live to fight another day Khan Leroux ordered a full retreat of the Nova Cat forces remaining. [24]

Kado-Guchi Valley and Nijunen Desert Operations Areas

1700 Hours[edit]

Conversely, the Jaguars launched an all or nothing counter assault. However, things started to go wrong from the outset as the 145th Jaguar Regulars were cut off from on the flank of the attack by Delta Regiment Wolf’s Dragoons and slaughtered to the last warrior. The Clan line broke when the 315th Jaguar Battle Cluster crumbled in a push from the 1st Genyosha and the Kell Hounds, this forward thrust by the Combine troops opening a gap in their ranks which was exploited by the 22nd Jaguar Regulars breaking through the Otomo and 2nd Legion of Vega their thrust was short lived as they were surrounded by Alpha Regiment of Wolf’s Dragoons. The few warriors of the 22nd to survive were taken prisoner. This blow was the last straw and the Jaguars were forced to perform a fighting retreat. [37]

One of the hundreds of 'Mechs left burning after the battle

Imperial City[edit]

1700 Hours[edit]

As the fighting in the Kado-Guchi Valley reached its zenith, Trinary Striker of the 4th Nova Cat Regulars slipped away from the Nova Cat retreat and moved towards to outskirts of the city attacking a small industrial park on the southeast side. Star Colonel Camille, the unit commander, was apparently seeking to ingratiate herself with the Smoke Jaguars. A vicious street fight broke out when elements of the 7th Imperial City Militia, along with armoured infantrymen of the 1st Omega Regiment moved to defend the area. A Wolf’s Dragoon air strike finally forced the Nova Cats to withdraw with heavy casualties. [38]

Nijunen Desert[edit]

0235 Hours, 06 January 3052[edit]

Realising the battle was lost the Smoke Jaguars attempted to cripple the Combine's ability to continue the war. Kincaid Furey ordered a force of the 225th Jaguar Battle Cluster to destroy the largest iron-ore mine on Luthien, located in the centre of the Nijunen Desert some 25 kilometers south of Takaoguchi. Information provided by ComStar proved accurate and under the cover of night, the veteran Jaguar Cluster attacked the 143rd Luthien Defense Regiment. Tai-sa Alexi Nagumo's troops fought the Jaguars to a standstill, using the sinkholes in the region as natural defensive positions. Eventually heavy losses forced the Combine regiment to retreat and allowed the Jaguars to complete their mission. [39]


The Battle of Luthien reached its climax in the Kado-Guchi Valley, where twelve Inner Sphere regiments faced off against five Clan Galaxies. The Valley had become a massive killing zone. when the battle was over, hundreds of burning 'Mechs streaked the sky with smoke. The Clan force was defeated and the few Clan warriors that survived the battle were taken prisoner. Out of the two Nova Cat Galaxies only 40% remained operational, [24] and less than half of the Jaguars boarded their DropShips to withdraw. [37]

Of the two Kell Hound regiments that came to Luthien just over two battalions of 'Mechs remained operational. Wolf's Dragoons had arrived with five full regiments and had been reduced to two and a half. The Combine's six regiments had suffered similar damage, with the Genyosha and the 2nd Legion of Vega faring the best, with only fifty percent casualties. The reserve regiment had been hurt most with only three 'Mechs operational at the battle's end.

Units Involved[40][edit]

Clan Smoke Jaguar[edit]


Clan Nova Cat[edit]

Clan Nova Cat (old).jpg

Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery[edit]


Mercenary Units[edit]



  1. Luthien, p. 29
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Invading Clans , p. 60
  3. Luthien, p. 6
  4. Blood Legacy, p.220
  5. 5.0 5.1 Luthien, p. 7
  6. Blood Legacy , p.224
  7. 7.0 7.1 Luthien, p. 8
  8. Era Report: 3052, p. 54
  9. Luthien, p. 35-7
  10. Luthien, p. 12
  11. Luthien, p. 29
  12. Luthien, p. 32
  13. Luthien , p. 35
  14. Blood Legacy, p.254
  15. Clan Troops, p. 42-3
  16. Blood Legacy, p.269
  17. Luthien, p. 38
  18. Blood Legacy, p.270
  19. Blood Legacy, p.271
  20. Luthien, p. 41
  21. Luthien, p. 44
  22. Luthien, p. 47
  23. Clan Troops, p. 44-45
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 Invading Clans , p. 118
  25. Blood Legacy, p.276
  26. Luthien, p. 49
  27. Luthien, p. 52
  28. Invading Clans, p. 60
  29. Luthien, p. 52-3
  30. Luthien, p. 55
  31. Luthien, p. 58
  32. Luthien, p. 62
  33. Blood Legacy, p.278
  34. Luthien, p. 68
  35. Blood Legacy, p.290
  36. Luthien, p. 71
  37. 37.0 37.1 Invading Clans, p. 62
  38. Luthien, p. 78
  39. Luthien, p. 65
  40. Luthien, p. 25-28