Battle of Radstadt

Tyra Miraborg's kamikaze run into the Dire Wolf

The Battle of Radstadt refers to two separate engagements which took place on the surface of and in space above Radstadt during Operation REVIVAL, the Clan invasion of the Inner Sphere. Clan Wolf first attacked and captured the planet from the Free Rasalhague Republic during the fourth wave of the invasion. The planet's conquest symbolized the tremendous success Clan Wolf was enjoying compared to the other invading Clans' failures, and news of its fall especially enraged ilKhan Leo Showers. In an attempt to stymie the Wolf Clan's rapid advance, the ilKhan called for a Grand Kurultai to take place, and after negotiations it was agreed the meeting would be held aboard the Wolf Clan flagship Dire Wolf in orbit above Radstadt. Before the meeting could commence, Elected Prince Haakon Magnusson and his escort, fleeing from the fall of Rasalhague, jumped into the system without knowing the Clans already occupied it. In the surprise encounter which followed, the Elected Prince managed to escape and ilKhan Showers was killed when Tyra Miraborg rammed her Aerospace Fighter into the bridge of the Dire Wolf. The death of Leo Showers put the entire Clan invasion on hold and gave the Inner Sphere a "Year of Peace" as the Clans returned to their homeworlds to elect a new ilKhan.

Invasion of Radstadt[edit]

The planet Radstadt was one of the last targets in the Wolf Clan's fourth wave of the invasion, though it would not go down without a fight. The 4th Drakøns, a veteran unit of the KungsArmé under the command of Överste Carl Sleipness, stood ready to defend the planet alongside the native 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Radstadt Militia Divisions. The Överste's plan was to harry the Wolf Clan's landings with his aerospace forces and use the wooded hills and deep sound surrounding the capital Munich to his advantage.[1]

Unbeknownst to the Överste he also had another advantage: the Wolves believed the Flying Drakøns, the elite aerospace wing of the 1st Drakøns, was also present on Radstadt after their flight from Rasalhague. Because of this belief, Galaxy Commander Conal Ward chose to land his forces, the Red Keshik, 11th Wolf Guards, and 37th Striker Cluster, at a considerable distance from the capital. The Red Keshik and Wolf Guards made planetfall at the small village of Varberg, 300 kilometers west of Munich, while the Thirty-Seventh landed on the island of Froya some 500 kilometers distant.[1]

As the two units approached Munich, the Wolf Guards were the first to make contact with the enemy. Their advance came to a halt as they engaged in pitched combat with a Drakøn heavy company supported by a mechanized infantry regiment. Though the defenders were successful at first, their defense was undone with a Star of Elementals discovered a drainage culvert which allowed them to circumvent the Drakøn defensive line; with Elementals popping up in their rear area, the Drakøns were forced to retreat after suffering serious casualties. Pressing onward, the Wolf Guards continued to push the defenders backward despite several small-scale ambushes, outflanking them again in the battle at Tönsberg and causing further casualties.[1][2]

Meanwhile, the Thirty-Seventh was having an easier time during their advance towards Munich, following a chain of islands which lead directly towards the capital. Though their way was harried by air attacks and missile boats, they were able to quickly travel across the shallow waters between the islets. Their advance finally came to a halt at the small fishing village of Kjakan, located on the mainland where the island chain came closest to the shore, as the defenders had arrayed an imposing defensive line along the beaches.[1][2]

Fortunately for the Wolves, the situation became favorable following their victory at Tönsberg when Överste Sleipness was forced to pull forces away from Kjakan to defend the western approach to Munich. The defenses around Kjakan significantly reduced, Star Colonel Marcos Radick launched air strikers on the enemy's positions while his OmniMechs and Elementals marched underwater, braving depth charges along the way, towards the mainland. Emerging onto the beach the first wave of Elementals were gunned down by the shore defenses, but as more Wolf Clan units forced their way onto land the tide began to turn in their favor. When the Drakøn mobile HQ coordinating the defense was destroyed by a Star of Elementals, the defenders were forced to retreat.[2]

Överste Sleipness tried to regroup his forces for a final stand at Munich, but the speed of the Wolf Clan's advance was too much. By October 9th, with his defenses compromised in several locations, Överste Sleipness was ready to surrender. The stubbornness of the planet's political and religious leaders, however, would allow no capitulations and forced the defenders to fight on. By the end of the month, the 4th Drakøns had been obliterated in a holocaust all too similar to the destruction of Rasalhague.[2]

Political Machinations[edit]

Although the victory at Radstadt was, on the face of it, a positive outcome for the Clan invasion as a whole, ilKhan Showers was furious. The fall of Radstadt represented the culmination of stunning Clan Wolf success during the fourth wave, compared to the shortfalls of the other participating Clans; his own Clan Smoke Jaguar had failed to capture half as many worlds during the same time frame. Privately the ilKhan hoped the 4th Drakøns would manage to inflict an embarrassing defeat on the Wolves and so slow down their offensive. With that hope gone, the ilKhan was forced to come up with an alternative.[2]

Representatives from the other invading Clans met aboard the Dire Wolf in orbit above Engadin and, over the course of a week of negotiations, hashed out a planned meeting of the entire Grand Council to take place aboard the flagship on 1 November. What exactly the ilKhan planned for this meeting was not known, but at the least he was expected to bring forth a vote of censure against Khan Ulric Kerensky of Clan Wolf; at worst he would attempt to have him removed from his leadership position. Ulric however was able to gain two significant concessions before the meeting took place: first, that the meeting take place at Radstadt, and second that none of the other Khans arrive in ships as large or larger than the Dire Wolf.[2][3]

Ostensibly, Ulric wanted these concessions for practical purposes, arguing for example that having too many large WarShips converging on one location would potentially tip off the Inner Sphere to the meeting and precipitate an attack on the entire Clan leadership. His true reason was more Machiavellian: if it came to blows with the ilKhan and the other Khans, the Wolves would be ready for anything. Though other Khans saw through Ulric's public reasoning and guessed the true purpose for these concessions,[4] the ilKhan nevertheless agreed to them, for reasons which will never be known.[2]

During this time, Haakon Magnusson was on the run aboard his flagship, the Norseman, accompanied by three Scout-class JumpShips and the Flying Drakøns. The plan had been for the Elected Prince to reach Radstadt by traveling only through uninhabited systems so as to avoid Clan forces. However, twice during this journey the engine drive and power core of the Norseman broke down, delaying the fleet for several weeks whilst repairs were conducted. By the time they were ready to make their final jump to Radstadt, neither the Elected Prince or any of his escorts knew that Radstadt had already fallen to Clan Wolf.[5]

Death of an ilKhan[edit]

On 31 October, hours before the meeting was to occur, the Dire Wolf and an escort of three smaller vessels made the jump from Egadin to Radstadt's nadir jump point. Just moments after their arrival, another fleet of ships materialized just minutes away from the Dire Wolf: the Norseman and her escort. Both forces were caught off-guard by the surprise encounter, but the Rasalhagians were the first to respond, launching all ships to engage the enemy.[3][6]

The twenty-four Aerospace Fighters and five combat DropShips of the Flying Drakøns boosted straight towards the Dire Wolf, the closest of the Clan warships to the Norseman.[5][7] Several of the DropShips even opened their cargo holds to space so that the BattleMechs they carried could shoot out the open doors and add their firepower to the battle.[6] The Drakøns knew very likely that this was a one-way trip but were willing to do what was necessary to buy enough time for the Norseman, which had been equipped with a special Lithium-Fusion battery, to make its escape.[5]

Against this attack, the Dire Wolf was supported by four Overlord-class DropShips - Snap, Snarl, Howl and Lair - and the ten OmniFighters of the Golden Keshik. None of the other ships accompanying the Dire Wolf were able to come to its immediate aid.[5][7] In a move similar to the Rasalhagian DropShips, a number of OmniMechs aboard the Dire Wolf were allowed onto the outer hull of the vessel to ward off the fighters.[6] Both ilKhan Showers and Khan Kerensky, along with most of the vessel's command crew, watched the battle unfold via Holotank from the Dire Wolf's bridge.[5][8]

The Flying Drakøns drew first blood, attacking the Dire Wolf virtually unopposed in their first pass on the Dire Wolf as the Wolves had been unprepared to defend themselves. Drakøn fighters were able to cause damage to the vessel, flying just meters above its hull to avoid antiaircraft fire and blasting enemy 'Mechs off into space. With each succeeding attack against the Dire Wolf though, the Drakøns were pushed further and further back from the flagship as Clan aerospace units put up spirited resistance. Momentum was shifting in Clan Wolf's favor, and fighters launched from the other accompanying warships were en route to join the battle, when the Norseman engaged its jump drive and disappeared in a flash of light.[5][6]

The disappearance of the JumpShip surprised the Clan pilots, giving the remaining Drakøns a moment's respite to exploit. A group of seven fighters, led by Kapten Tyra Miraborg, were able to make two more strafing runs on the Dire Wolf before most of them were disabled or destroyed. With her own fighter heavily damaged and bleeding from multiple injuries, Kapten Miraborg turned her Shilone to face the Dire Wolf, disengaged all engine power restraints, and powered full throttle into the vessel's bridge.[5][7]

While the armored hull was able to absorb most of the impact, a hole was punched through which sprayed the interior with deadly shrapnel and caused tremendous destruction. Many of those on the bridge were killed in the explosion. Bondsman Phelan Kell and Precentor Martial Anastasius Focht were themselves heading for the bridge and close by when the fighter impacted, throwing them off their feet. With the help of a damage control team, they were able to open up the door to the bridge; the ship's HarJel system had created a temporary barrier to keep the atmosphere in, but was close to breaking point and would fail at any moment. Working against the clock, Phelan was able to rescue Ulric Kerensky and another Clan officer just it time before the HarJel failed, sucking everything in the bridge out into space.[5][8]

Aftermath[edit]

The death of Leo Showers was a stunning shock to the entire Clan invasion force. When the Council finally did convene some time after the attack, it was to decide what should be done next. Many wanted to launch an immediate attack on the Inner Sphere to punish them.[9] The Smoke Jaguars in particular wanted to immediately raze Radstadt to the ground, thinking any surviving Drakøns would have taken refuge there.[10] Most realized though that the only person truly responsible for the ilKhan's death was already dead herself.[9]

It was Khan Perigard Zalman of Clan Steel Viper who pointed out the obvious: in order for the invasion to succeed, a new ilKhan would have to be elected to take Showers' place. Electing a new ilKhan however required a consultation with all of the Bloodnamed warriors, including all those left behind by the invasion force. While some objected to this course of action, arguments for the return to Clan Space won out. The invasion was placed on hold while the Bloodnamed of the invading Clans traveled to and from their homeworlds, giving the Inner Sphere much-needed time to recover and rebuild.[9]

Both the Clans and the Inner Sphere would honor Tyra Miraborg's sacrifice in their own ways. In the rump Free Rasalhague Republic, the Tyra Miraborg Memorial Academy was founded, training a new generation of pilots and naval crewmen to resist the Clan advance.[11] Among the Clans, Tyra's actions were memorialized with several lines in The Remembrance and a new class of DropShip, the Miraborg, was named in her honor.[12]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Wolf Clan Sourcebook, p. 38
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Wolf Clan Sourcebook, p. 39
  3. 3.0 3.1 Lethal Heritage, Ch. 39
  4. Invading Clans, p. 110
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Wolf Clan Sourcebook, p. 40
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Lethal Heritage, Ch. 40
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 BattleSpace, p. 34-35
  8. 8.0 8.1 Lethal Heritage, ch. 41
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Wolf Clan Sourcebook, p. 41
  10. Lethal Heritage, Epilogue
  11. Field Manual: ComStar, p. 68
  12. Technical Readout: 3057, p. 86

Bibliography[edit]