Battle of Mars
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|Battle of Mars|
|Part of The Jihad|
|Allied Mercenary Command||WoB|
|From Wolf’s Dragoons:
Aerospace elements of the Home Guard
2nd Dismal Disinherited
Plus two warships and several dropships and jumpships
|Space and Martian grounds|
|Space and no atmosphere fight|
The Battle of Mars, also known as Task Force Vengeance, was an assault by Wolf's Dragoons and the Allied Mercenary Command on Word of Blake-held Mars in the Terra system in 3067. It was a direct retaliation to the Word of Blake's mercenary attack on Outreach that had resulted in the death of Jaime Wolf. The battle ended with the complete destruction of the entire task force.
In 3066, Jaime Wolf, legendary commander of Wolf’s Dragoons, saw an expansionist Word of Blake slowly absorbing Chaos March worlds that were too weak and exhausted to resist. Distrusting the Blakists’ motives, he formed the Allied Mercenary Command, a collection of top mercenary units that would subsidize efforts by other Chaos March worlds to resist the Blakist expansion. The AMC hired other mercenary units to fight in these "proxy battles" while Wolfnet, the Dragoons’ formidable intelligence service, conducted a shadow war with the Word of Blake’s ROM. All of these efforts had mixed results, but they continued to irk the Blakist leadership. 
On October 15, 3067, a mixed group of mercenaries totalling roughly four regiments led by Colonel Wayne Waco launched a surprise attack on Harlech City on Outreach. This was coordinated with a series of terrorist strikes. It took the Dragoons and their Allied Mercenary Command allies completely unawares, doing massive damage to the capital city and completely destroying the Hiring Hall. Over the course of four days of vicious fighting, Epsilon Regiment and most of the Home Guard ground forces were effectively destroyed as effective fighting units, while Zeta Battalion, the Wolf Spider Battalion and Beta Regiment all took heavy damage. The worst came in the final hours of the battle on October 18 when the heart and soul of the Dragoons, Jaime Wolf, was killed during a final battle with Wayne Waco, who had claimed a feud with Wolf’s Dragoons dating back six decades. Of the rogue mercenary forces who had wrought these losses, all were completely destroyed.
While General Maeve Wolf and Alpha Regiment began the journey back to Outreach from the Draconis Combine-Clan Ghost Bear border, Wolfnet intelligence soon concluded the obvious: The attack had been sponsored by the Word of Blake. Along with the AMC, it was decided to strike back on the Word of Blake's doorstep. Not at Terra itself, but at the Mars colony.
Task Force Vengeance
- From Wolf’s Dragoons :
Naval Assets of the Task Force included the following :
- WDS Athena – a Sovetskii Soyuz-class Heavy Cruiser 
- WDS Beowulf – a Congress-class Frigate 
- An undetermined number of DropShips and JumpShips transporting Aerospace assets and ground forces. This included at least one Fortress-class DropShip as well as a few Intruder, Hannibal and Vengeance- class DropShips. 
- The combined aerospace fighter contingent was estimated to be over a hundred.
An exact breakdown of Word of Blake forces involved in the event is currently unavailable (see below).
The Task force appeared at a pirate jump point within Mars orbit.  The early phases of the operation seemed to go well for the task force, as they appeared to catch the defenders unawares. They quickly deployed a screen of aerospace fighters to protect their ships as they closed in on Mars. Then things went wrong.
Approximately three to four dozen unidentified vessels—apparently small assault DropShips—quickly launched from Mars and began to engage the Task Force. A dozen more quickly joined them in orbit. To their credit, the Dragoons responded, their ships and fighters closing ranks and snuffing out most of the smaller defenders. It bought enough time, however, for several dozen more of the new craft to engage, with devastating results. Soon, the Athena was lost, with most of the other task force ships taking heavy damage. Realizing they could not defeat the defending ships, the Beowulf attempted to disengage, possibly to regroup, or failing that, to escape. 
The Beowulf would never make it out. Not far from the entry jump point was the Bonaventure-class training WarShip WoBS Sheridan, which was conducting instructions as part of the Military Academy of Aphros. Realizing that Mars was under attack, the ship’s captain, Precentor Teodore Kopulos, and a native of Mars, ordered his crew—primarily cadets—to abandon ship while he piloted the Sheridan on a collision course with the invading Task Force. Seeing the Beowulf attempting to disengage, he rammed his ship into the larger vessel, sacrificing himself in the process. 
Even if the Beowulf managed to survive the impact, it would have been far too crippled to flee the defending ships. It made a brief last communication to the Dragoons before the message was cut off, most likely by the Sheridan's impact. It was received by a Dragoon operative on Keid, and Wolfnet later concluded from reconstructing the communications that the defending force that destroyed the task force consisted of fighters, DropShips, and at least six WarShips. It also noted a heavy ECM presence in orbit that no doubt hampered the task force. Exact information on the nature of these forces remains inconclusive, however.
Some of the ground forces of the Task Force did survive planet-fall, including elements of Zeta Battalion and the Dismal Disinherited.  Unsupported and outgunned, these were quickly crushed by the defending forces, including the Word of Blake's 7th Division. 
The Word of Blake would soon retaliate with a major assault on Outreach, this time with the goal of destroying the Dragoons. Despite the betrayal by the Broadsword Legion, the Dragoons were able to rally and, at one point, pushed the Blakist invaders to the point of collapse. However, the Word of Blake had WarShips waiting in orbit, and when it was determined victory would not come through a ground battle alone, they launched nuclear strikes against the Dragoons, completely devastating the unit. General Maeve Wolf gathered what survivors she could and evacuated with the assistance of Clan Wolf-in-Exile and the Kell Hounds, finding sanctuary on Arc-Royal. Small units of Dragoons would continue to resist the occupying forces for years afterward. 
For the Allied Mercenary Command, the Battle of Mars represented the continuation of a chain of events that led to its effective collapse as an organization, with some units continuing to fight on within the Word of Blake Protectorate on a local level. Others abandoned the AMC altogether, finding employment elsewhere.
After two years of torture and interrogation, Major Lucas was brought to Outreach as part of a propaganda campaign to demoralize surviving Dragoon units still resisting the Blakist occupation. She was rescued thanks to Major Elson Novacat and his Elemental unit, and was later restored to her senses, taking a leadership role in the resistance. Though she was later killed in action against the occupiers, she died a Dragoon.
- Though by no means conclusive, based on the narrative descriptions of the craft attacking the Task Force and other information, it seems possible that the Word of Blake restored or rebuilt some version of the old Reagan SDS automated naval defense from the Star League era. That system, where legions of small, automated Warships would overwhelm an invading force in the Terran system was largely destroyed by Aleksandr Kerensky and the SLDF fleet in 2777 during the liberation of Terra from Stefan Amaris at the end of the Amaris Civil War. ComStar had never felt it necessary to rebuild the system. It seems likely, however, that the Word of Blake had the means, opportunity and motivation for doing so. This would also explain the failure of Case White in 3069, ComStar’s attempt to end the Jihad by retaking Terra. In that (still mysterious) operation, a vast fleet of Warships was completely destroyed, with most of their ground forces destroyed never reaching their destination of Terra.
- Dawn of the Jihad, pp. 30-31
- Blake Ascending, pp. 30-31
- Starterbook: Wolf and Blake, p. 16
- Shadows of Faith
- The Last Full Measure, p. 11
- Dawn of the Jihad, p. 34
- Blake Ascending, p. 34
- The Last Full Measure, p. 18
- The Last Full Measure, p. 12
- The Last Full Measure, pp. 17-24
- The Last Full Measure, pp. 23-24
- Starterbook: Wolf and Blake, p. 18
- Starterbook: Wolf and Blake, pp. 16-19
- Dawn of the Jihad, pp. 35-38
- Blake Ascending, pp. 35-38
- Starterbook: Wolf and Blake
- Starterbook: Wolf and Blake. pp. 18-19
- Jihad Hot Spots: Terra
- The Star League, p. 91
- Jihad Hot Spots: 3070
- Blake Ascending