Operation Damocles - (April 28th - May 6th, 3060) was a commando operation, conducted against a remaining Clan Smoke Jaguar stronghold on the planet Tranquil, to prevent the Clan's resurrection by Galaxy Commander Brendon Corbett. It is featured in the game MechWarrior 3. This article uses information from the novelization, Trial Under Fire as the more canonic source, although the name of the operation is only mentioned expicitely in the game (the novel refers to Damocles Commando)
List of participating Units of Operation Damocles
As a rapid, small scale operation, the forces sent to the operation were six lances of 'Mechs, each lance having three Mobile Field Base vehicles assigned to it. They were to be inserted via Drop Pods from two DropShips, Black Hammer (Union class) and Eclipse.
Background and preparations
After the fall of Huntress, Lincoln Osis went to Strana Mechty to prepare for the Great Refusal and rally his remaining forces. However, Galaxy Commander Brendon Corbett, the Smoke Jaguar officer who led forces back to Huntress, bypassed the capital for the colony world of Tranquil. From this command post, he has sent out a call that all surviving Smoke Jaguar warriors should rally to his position rather than to Khan Osis on Strana Mechty, and received several responses. Trent believed that Tranquil may possess the command and production resources to resurrect Clan Smoke Jaguar. Therefore, a plan was conducted to make a strike against said resources.
Due to the losses on Huntress, and lack of information about possible forces on Strana Mechty, only a small force could be spared, not enough for a direct assault. Instead, a decision was made to conduct a commando operation.
The planet was largely taken by Clan Wolf, with Corbett occupying a remote peninsula. It was believed that should the operation prove the Jaguars' weakness, the Wolves would finish the job for the Inner Sphere.
What the intel failed to reveal was that the Smoke Jaguars had constructed several tower platforms on the peninsula, armed with Naval Lasers. During the drop run, the Black Hammer was brought down. Seven 'Mechs deployed successfully despite that, three from Commando One, and two from Commando Two and Three each. Eclipse landed north of the peninsula and sent its forces by land, believing it unsafe to fly over the area. The remaining forces were ordered to complete the operation.
The operation from then on was commanded by Captain Taylor of the Eclipse. The book describes it from the point of view of Connor Sinclair, the commander of Commando One. His lance originally included himself in a Bushwacker, Dominic Paine in a Shadow Cat, Keith Andrew (a Catapult armed with Arrow IV assault missile launchers), and Tessa McCaughnell (Crusader).
Connor and Dominic (and the MFB vehicles, commanded by Corporal Thomas Sorenson) came close to their destination and linked up relatively early. Keith, however, dropped in a distant zone, and Tessa was lost along with her 'Mech due to damage to the parachute system.
It was discovered that the 'Mech Factory Commando One was to destroy was in fact, a fake (although they managed to destroy several greenhouses intended to feed the military forces). The two survivors from Team Two were killed by the Jaguar forces, but managed to discover the location of the real factory.
Brendon Corbett took an elite Binary and went to intercept the forces from the Eclipse. Thus he committed a grave mistake, ignoring the greater danger of the 'Mechs already wreaking havoc on his territory, and leaving his deputy Star Colonel Ratache Osis to deal with them.
The team lost one MFB vehicle, but managed to link up with Epona Rhi (Shadow Cat) from team three (and her one surviving MFB) and destroy the real 'Mech factory. From there, they made their way to the new Jaguar capital of Durghan and the nearby spaceport, hoping to use the DropShip stationed there to escape the planet.
After several more missions, the team linked up with Allen Mattila (Sunder). He pointed them to the location of the Black Hammer's wreckage, which, however, was stripped down by the Jaguars already.
Due to the team's success in their missions, Corbett ordered Osis to stop them, or face death along with the death of his legacy.
During the team's battle at Durghan, Keith Andrew provided artillery support for the team, which revealed his location to the Jaguars.
After the Damocles team destroyed the command building, Corbett considered his deputy's failure complete and relieved him of command.
The DropShip lifted off from the spaceport. The team went there regardless in order to destroy the structure. There, they fought and killed Ratache Osis, piloting a Supernova. A sizable Smoke Jaguar force arrived at the system, making it necessary to finish the operation quickly. The Eclipse's company was forced to draw back to the ship with heavy losses from Corbett's binary. Keith Andrew was pinned down and killed.
Corbett challenged the commando lance to a battle for their only way off the planet - a shuttle. He brought three 'Mechs in addition to his own (one member of his Star was lost in battle). He himself piloted a Daishi, his escorts being a Mad Cat, a Cauldron-Born and a Supernova. Against this, the Inner Sphere warriors had a Mad Cat (Sinclair), A Thor (Paine), an Avatar (Epona) and a Sunder (Allen). The Damocles Commando ultimately prevailed, although all but Sinclair lost their 'Mechs by the end of the battle. The team was forced to leave all of its equipment behind, but managed to use the shuttle and make rendezvous with the Eclipse.
Despite the heavy losses, the team managed to fulfill its objective of damaging the Smoke Jaguars' industrial capability. In addition, it deprived the Clan of its potential leadership. By the time the Inner Sphere forces left the planet, Clan Wolf was already issuing batchalls against incoming Jaguar forces.
Due to the critical situation, the Clan leaders took several actions which seem to contradict the usual ideas of Clan honor. In addition to the naval laser towers, the most notable examples are an order by Osis to breach tanks with incredibly corrosive waste during an underground battle (an action which would have destroyed not only the combatants, but also a number of Clan laborers), and Corbett wiring his shuttle to blow up in the event of his death.
In the novel, a Clan warrior states With Lincoln Osis’ death on Strana Mechty, the Galaxy Commander will be our next Khan.. This confirms the opinion that for some reason, when Lincoln became the ilKhan of the Clans, he did not step down from his position as the Khan of Clan Smoke Jaguar.