Davion Civil War

Overview[edit]

The Davion Civil War was a war internal to the Federated Suns that began in 2525 and lasted until 2540. The War was ultimately fought between four major forces, each led by the ruler of one of the five Marches that constituted the Federated Suns, and was the result of a power struggle to claim the title of First Prince by various members of the Davion family.[1]

Timeline[edit]

Prelude to War[edit]

The Davion Civil War erupted as a result of the machinations of the Council of Regents while the legal heir to First Prince William Davion, the young Alexander Davion, was too young to rule. However, the origins of the war began somewhat earlier.

William Davion had been groomed to rule by his aunt, Ellen Davion, who had reigned as First Prince from 2467 to 2502. Ellen's claim to the throne had nearly been defeated by Richard Varnay, Chancellor of New Avalon and Constable of the Crucis March; to neutralize Richard, who had overreached himself in the attempt to seize the throne, Ellen promoted him to the post of Prince of the Capellan March, moving him away from New Avalon. Varnay's descendants would continue to lust after the throne of the Federated Suns, with tragic consequences.[2][3]

William had a single son, Edward Davion, who was serving as a young leftenant in a BattleMech unit within the Federated Peacekeeping Forces (FPF) during one of the border wars with the Capellan Confederation when he was killed in action on Royalston[4][5] in 2508.[3] Although Edward and his unit were killed by Capellan raiders, accusations of treachery on the part of the Varnays ran rampant because a nearby FPF unit loyal to the Varnays was in position to support Edward's unit, but somehow failed to arrive in time. While the commander of the unit was exonerated by a subsequent investigation, Edward left behind a two-year-old son, Alexander, and his wife, Sondra Black Davion, also a serving FPF officer.[4]

Sondra was killed in action when her DropShip was destroyed in battle above the world of Avigait in 2511.[4] Her death left Alexander as the direct heir to the throne of First Prince, with his aunts, Cassandra and Laura Davion as possible alternatives.[4][5] The same year Alexander was orphaned, Cassandra married David Varnay, the heir to the Capellan March - and a man every bit as ambitious as Richard Varnay had been.[6] While the throne seemed secure at the time - William Davion was only 43 years old, with plenty of time to father more heirs[4][5] - William died during an outbreak of a virulent plague on New Avalon in 2512.[4] Immediately complicating the succession was William's final action - having regained consciousness briefly before his death, William reaffirmed Alexander as his successor, but passed the signet ring of the First Prince to Cassandra Varnay, and his seal to Laura, the older of the two sisters. This was taken to indicate that William intended for Cassandra and Laura to serve as Regents until Alexander reached his majority.[4][6]

Council of Regents[edit]

The Council of Regents was formed in accordance with what were believed to be William's wishes and in line with the Act of Succession passed into law during the rule of Ellen Davion. Under the terms of the Act Laura and Cassandra would serve as the heads of the Council of Regents, and each was entitled to appoint another Regent. The fifth member of the Council was then selected by the Federated Suns High Council. Cassandra appointed her husband, David; Laura Davion chose to elect a powerful and popular FPF General, Nikolai Rostov. The fifth and last member of the Council was duly elected by the High Council, who chose Carmen Estevez Davion, widow of William Davion.[6][7]

The latter appointment was largely honorary, as the Dowager Princess had been crippled by a series of strokes suffered after the deaths of her son, her daughter-in-law and then her husband. Carmen never mustered the strength to oppose the machinations of Cassandra and Laura.[6][7]

Council Machinations[edit]

The various factions within the Council began jockeying for power on the day William Davion was buried;[7] the first to act was David Varnay, drawing on both his vote and his wife's; David tabled motions suggesting that the young Prince Alexander be betrothed to the Varnay's niece, Cynthia Varnay, and that Cynthia be named Heir-Apparent in the event of Alexander's death. The latter motion was rejected, but with Nikolai Rostov supporting the betrothal proposal the first motion passed.[6][7] Rostov's instinct was that the Varnays would be less brutal in their actions if they felt they had a clear route to power, thereby buying time for both himself and Laura to gain influence.[7]

The Dowager Princess retired to live in seclusion on Andalusia, destroying the High Council's hopes of moderating the actions of the various Regents; before retiring, Carmen passed her vote to Laura, effectively splitting the Council. With Laura controlling two votes and the Varnays controlling another two, the deciding vote invariably lay with General Rostov, but each member of the Council began openly exercising the power of their positions for personal gain.[6][7]

When Prince Vladimir Kerensky of the Draconis March died childless, Rostov supported Laura Davion's bid for the Principality[7] in late 2514,[8] giving her access to a power base of her own comparable to the Varnay's influence. When the Prince of the Terran March, Charles Leighton, and his immediate family were killed in a raid by the Hegemony Armed Forces on Robinson in 2515, the Varnays nominated Rostov as his successor; Laura had to support the nomination or risk alienating the General, but his rise to rule the Terran March also made him a direct competitor to both factions, reducing Laura's ability to trust him[7][8] - although Nikolai would spend the next five years repelling a Terran Hegemony offensive into the Terran March.[7] With Rostov occupied Cassandra and Laura began to lock horns increasingly often as each constantly attempted to gain the upper hand, with the Federated Suns suffering as a result.[8]

With the Prince of the Outer March determinedly steering a neutral course, Laura became increasingly isolated as Rostov began securing his own power base; the Council made one last attempt to restrain the various Regents using the Dowager Princess, but her death in 2518 rendered the effort moot. The Varnays responded to the High Council's efforts by using secret service agents in their employ to produce evidence purportedly demonstrating an active plot to overthrow the Council of Regents originating within the moderate faction within the High Council[7] - and allegedly led by the High Council representative from Andalusia, who was also the late Dowager Princess' cousin.[8] From 2518 to 2520 infamous Treason Trials ran, purging the High Council of both the majority of the moderates and many supporters of Laura Davion, although they were careful to avoid harming anyone with connections to Rostov, as they hoped to secure him as an ally.[7][8]

By the time the Treason Trials had ended the Varnays had rendered the High Council all but powerless, leaving it a shambles staffed with replacement delegtes who were unwilling to stand up to the Varnays.[8]

Davion Versus Varnay[edit]

Threatened by both Rostov's power base within the military and the political influence of the Varnays, the High Council felt unable to name a replacement for Princess Carmen; this left the Council of regents effectively deadlocked, although Laura continued to argue that Carmen's delegation of voting rights had been permanent, rather than limited to her own lifetime, a position the High Council was again reluctant to take a view on out of fear of both Rostov and the Varnays.[8][9]

Rostov's influence within the military had been cemented by his brilliant five-year campaign against the Terran Hegemony, but when David Varnay attempted to establish his military credentials in actions on the Capellan border in 2521 he not only failed, but highlighted Rostov's abilities in the process. The Varnays then found their position undercut when Laura used Rostov's successes to suggest the creation of a new post - First Marshal of the Federated Suns - commanding all of the military posts across the five Principalities; with David still in combat, Cassandra made the mistake of opposing the motion, an action that not only failed but also alienated Rostov.[9]

With tensions mounting rapidly, the Varnays were forced to play a waiting game until an opportunity to act presented itself; that opportunity was the eruption of a border clash with the Draconis Combine that Marshal Rostov was forced to devote his attention to in 2523. With Rostov distracted the Varnays abducted Alexander and transported him to New Syrtis under the pretense that he was performing a grand tour in the style of his grandfather, Simon Davion.[9][10]

Alexander was sixteen when he was abducted by the Varnays, disliked his aunt Cassandra and actively hated David Varnay. At an early age one of Alexander's nurses had hinted that David was complicit in William's death, and Alexander had chosen to devote himself to both the study of military disciplines such as warfare, strategy and tactics, but also the memoirs of the most successful of his ancestors to hold either the Presidency of the Federated Suns or who had ruled as First Princes, including Reynard Davion, Paul Davion, Simon Davion and his great-aunt, Ellen Davion. The teenage Alexander had decided that he would avenge his father and remove his power-hungry relatives, a plan that he kept secret but worked towards with the same single-minded focus and drive that characterized many of the Davion line. To protect himself, he continued to act the role of the fop, even while he was being kept a prisoner on New Syrtis.[9] The Varnays actively encouraged his foppish attitude, intent on moulding him into a spoiled, effete and uninterested brat, someone that they could manipulate, all the while isolating him from the High Council and preventing him from receiving any news about the political climate within the Federated Suns.[11]

In 2524 the Varnays married Alexander to Cynthia Varnay, hoping for an heir to be born that would secure their route to the throne.[9][10][12] News of the marriage forced Laura to make a separate peace quickly with the Combine, to allow both her and Rostov to mobilize for a conflict between their forces and those controlled by the Varnays. Where both factions erred was in their estimations of Cynthia's character;[9] not only had Alexander and Cynthia discovered that they did in fact love each other, but Cynthia lacked the ambition typical to the Varnays but shared their strong will. When it was discovered in August 2524 that she was pregnant, Cynthia learned that her aunt and uncle considered Alexander to be a disposable asset, and reacted by actively working to save Alexander from her own family.[9][10]

With Prince Rostov working to resolve the conflicts plaguing the Terran March alongside his son Dmitri, a dynamic and skilled military leader in his own right, and Laura marshaling her forces, the Varnays became increasingly distracted, giving Cynthia and Alexander the opportunity to begin working on Alexander's escape.[13]

Laura surprised the Varnays when she arrived on New Avalon in late 2524, escorted by an elite strike force; supported by Marshal Rostov and still claiming control of the Dowager Princess' vote, she denounced the Varnays, claiming that they had abducted Alexander and were enemies of the state. Laura used the charges and the support of those members of the High Council who hadn't already fled to strip the Varnays of their respective Regencies; the Varnays responded by assembling a rump High Council of their own on New Syrtis and declaring that Laura was illegally occupying New Avalon, an act of treason, and began building a militia army within the Capellan March to oppose Laura's forces.[10][13]

Alexander was still too young to be of direct use to the Varnays at this point, as by Federated Suns law he wouldn't reach majority until his twentieth birthday in 2527; the Varnays decided to use him as a symbol of the legitimacy of their claims, at least until his heir was born,[13] and began by countering the stories of him being a prisoner through David taking him on a tour of several worlds within the Capellan March where Varnayist forces were being mustered while Cynthia remained on New Syrtis with Cassandra. Although he had little choice, Alexander went along with the tour, as he and Cynthia knew that their enforced separation would also present the best opportunity for Alexander to escape.[10][13]

When Cynthia learned of the route that David's procession would be taking, she made contact with anti-Varnay elements within the Capellan March, preparing for Alexander's escape. She and Alexander had decided that the signal for him to escape would be the news arriving of the successful birth of their child,[13] which occurred in May 2525 when Cynthia gave birth to Vincent Davion. The arrival of the news coincided with Alexander's stop on Sekulmun,[10] the third stop of David's tour;[13] unable to restrict Alexander's movements as completely during the inevitable popular public celebrations around Vincent's birth, David couldn't prevent Alexander's escape. By the time David learned that Alexander was missing, he had already been smuggled off-world - and as Alexander was escaping, Laura launched the first open attack in what would become known as the Davion Civil War,[10][13] an assault against the world of Kluane which if successful could potentially sunder the Capellan March into two halves.[13]

Opening Offensive[edit]

Leading the combined forces from the Crucis, Draconis and Terran Marches was Marshal Rostov; units under Rostov's command struck[14][15] at a line of worlds stretching from Kluane to Royalston[15] with Rostov demonstrating his grasp of tactics and using the abilities of his trained regulars to good effect against Varnay's troops, which were often simply militias lacking in training.[14]

Talcott[edit]

One of the more famous battles of the initial campaign took place on Talcott; Rostov and his forces struck at the world of Salem, but pretended to retreat to Talcott in the face of superior forces. Once grounded on Talcott, Rostov's forces dispersed into the farmlands arrayed across the planet. Varnay's forces arrived on the planet but had no luck finding Rostov's troops, and settled for foraging to replenish their rations and sending a message to David Varnay notifying him of the disappearance of Rostov's forces.[16]

Varnay's response was predictable; given the significance of Rostov's forces, he ordered the troops on Talcott to continue searching for Rostov's forces. Rostov kept his troops concealed in deep cover with their equipment powered down, making them as difficult to detect as possible, waiting for indications that Varnay was coming to lead the search in person. When his forces intercepted an enemy transmission indicating that Varnay was en route, Rostov went on the offensive, launching a strike directly into the Varnayist camp, using the combination of the Varnay forces' exhaustion from extended searches and their distraction over Varnay's impending arrival to achieve complete surprise.[16]

Rostov's forces promptly overpowered the Varnayist troops, crippling their forces and destroying all of their newly-acquired provisions before vanishing back into the wilderness. When Varnay did arrive he found his forces decimated and in complete disarray, forcing him to withdraw from Talcott.[16]

Quittacas[edit]

Rostov's forces made significant initial gains, easily carving through Varnay's troops, although neither side knew that Alexander and the anti-Varnayists responsible for his rescue were passing through the Barrier Rift at the time - the Barrier Rift being an astrogeographical feature that marked the boundary between the Capellan March and the Crucis March.[14]

Nikolai Rostov's luck ran out on the world of Quittacas, deep inside the Capellan March. During the assault on the planet Nikolai was killed, and his death had a devastating effect on the morale of the FPF. Nikolai was the grand old warhorse of the Terran March, and loomed large in the minds of his troops; David Varnay quickly seized on the opportunity while Nikolai's forces were still reeling, and began offering bribes to a number of key figures within Nikolai's forces. The net result was a series of mutinies and the desertions within the ranks of his forces, and within weeks Laura Davion's offensive had ground to a halt.[14][15]

The loss of Nikolai Rostov and the wave of defections left his son, Dmitri, and the troops under his command cut off in enemy territory. Dmitri was a brilliant tactician in his own right, and wasn't willing to surrender to the Varnayists; rather than be captured, he disbanded his forces and fled with a handful of personal troops in 'Mechs, avoiding being caught up in the sudden swell of support for the Varnay cause.[14] Dmitri then led his small band of loyalists on a planet-hopping guerilla campaign.[17]

The Varnays had managed to stall the initial offensive, leading to a virtual stalemate; Laura was unwilling to back down, and had a large body of FPF troops under her command, along with the loyalty - at least nominally - of everyone outside the Capellan March.[14][15] Varnay lacked the trained troops needed to launch an offensive of his own into the territory held by Laura, and combat continued at a low level on the worlds bordering the Barrier Rift in a largely unchanged fashion for almost eighteen months before the next major shift in the Civil War occurred.[14]

Nahoni[edit]

Alexander and his immediate supporters had gone to ground on the world of Nahoni,[14] one of the Crucis March[18] worlds bordering the Barrier Rift, while both the Varnayists and Laura searched for him in secret. Having been declared dead by both factions, it was obvious to him that his days were numbered if either faction was able to find him, but he was determined to reclaim the throne he was born to in defiance of those hunting him.[14][18]

One of the units deployed to Nahoni by Laura was the First New Avalon Dragoons, a light armor unit commanded by Colonel John Gordon. The First Dragoons were unpopular with Laura, due to Colonel Gordon making no secret of the fact that his allegiance and those in his unit lay with New Avalon and the Prince of the Crucis March, not with her. Laura had therefore decided to use the First Dragoons as bait, and had deployed them to Nahoni, a largely unimportant world, and then kept them on short rations and receiving minimal supplies while she waited for Varnay to respond to their presence by attacking and wiping them out; Laura planned to then hit Varnay's forces with a counterattack.[18][19]

What Laura hadn't counted on was the presence of Alexander on Nahoni. While he was ignorant of Laura's plans, he had heard details of both the low morale within the regiment and where their loyalties lay. In a daring plan intended to test the power that the Davion family name supposedly held, Alexander set out for the Dragoons headquarters on the 24th of January 2527 with just ten companions for support. When he unfurled the starburst banner of the Federated Suns on a hill overlooking the camp and proclaimed himself to be the rightful Prince of the Crucis March, his gamble paid off[19] - Colonel Gordon and his troops promptly declared their loyalty to him.[18][19]

The First Dragoons were ill-supplied, but they were still a regular FPF regiment and were eager to serve under Alexander; Gordon and his forces had just that opportunity to prove themselves when Varnay finally responded to the bait,[19] landing two divisions of Capellan March militia forces and two BattleMech regiments[18] with the intent of capturing the world for himself. Varnay's forces outnumbered the First Dragoons dramatically, but found themselves struggling with Nahoni's terrain; much of the planet was dominated by vast bogs, and those bogs hampered the movement of both 'Mechs and infantry.[19]

The First Dragoons were nowhere near as badly constrained by the bogs; the Dragoons had both jump infantry and hovercraft in their forces, scout and support elements that could move largely unhindered. The First Dragoons were also regular forces, not militia - and they had their lawful Prince on hand, a figure who provided a boost to morale that far outstripped his limited military experience.[19]

Alexander and his forces fought an inspired guerilla campaign against the Capellan March troops; withdrawing steadily deeper into the marshes and bogs, elements of the First Dragoons repeatedly struck out at isolated enemy columns attempting to pursue them. The hit-and-run attacks continued for two months before Colonel Gordon struck the decisive blow when he led two hovertank companies around the main strength of the advancing enemy forces and launched a surprise attack on the enemy base camp and landing zone. Gordon's forces destroyed both, leaving the enemy commander short on supplies; that commander, General Boefers, found himself with little choice other than to surrender.[19]

Boefers' surrender brought Alexander more than just a victory - when the troops under Beofers' command learned who Alexander was, the better part of a regiment of troops promptly switched sides,[18][19] including four units of MechWarriors. Alexander then dispatched Boefers to New Syrtis with a message for the Varnays; he was willing to exchange the men and equipment captured by his forces at Nahoni[19] - and what he demanded in return was the release of Cynthia and Vincent.[18][19] This was a demand that David Varnay would never have accepted, but David was busy on campaign; the terms of Alexander's demand were delivered to Cassandra, who promptly came under pressure from her Council, many of whom had relatives amongst the captives on Nahoni. Where David would have replied with an ultimatum insisting on Alexander's surrender backed up by threats against his relatives, Cassandra decided that she could ill-afford to lose more resources, and agreed to the exchange. Boefers was dispatched back to Nahoni with Cynthia and Vincent in tow and orders to salvage as much of his command as he could and retreat from Nahoni.[19]

Boefers arrived back on Nahoni just two days ahead of Laura Davion's forces,[18][19] which had learned of the Varnayist occupation of the planet and automatically launched their pre-planned counter-attack. Laura's forces remained oblivious to the presence of Alexander on the planet and the First Dragoons' victory over the Varnayists; Alexander swiftly concluded the agreed exchange with Boefers before leading his troops back into the marshes ahead of Laura's troops making planetfall, leaving Boefers to try and assemble some form of defense for his remaining forces.[19]

As Laura's forces went into battle with Boefers' forces, Alexander led an attack on a column of Laura's forces, winning another victory - and causing more Crucis March units to learn of his presence and defect from Laura's cause to his. Alexander soon had the beginnings of a reasonably large force, albeit one that was critically short of 'Mechs, but for undetermined reasons two weeks into the campaign he accepted a full-scale battle against Laura's forces on ground that gave her 'Mech forces and advantage. In what became known as the Battle of Davion Hill Alexander's voices squared off against Laura's forces in a pitched battle that was interrupted when General Boefers launched his troops on an attack targeting the rear of Alexander's forces.[19]

Whatever chance Alexander had of winning the battle evaporated with Boefers' attack, but with the Varnayists as keen to attack Laura's troops as they were Alexander's allowed Alexander to pull some of his forces out of the vice, salvaging his senior officers, his 'Mechs and 250 assorted infantry and armor troops from his disintegrated battle line. Fortunately for Alexander, those DropShips in Laura's force manned by crews from the Crucis March were every bit as eager to join Alexander's cause as their forces on the ground, and he and his followers were able to flee the Nahoni system while Laura's troops and the Varnayists continued to fight on the ground.[19]

While Alexander had been unable to win the battle on the ground, the victories he had won on Nahoni far outweighed the losses he had taken - news of his appearance traveled throughout the Federated Suns,[18][19] along with accounts of Boefers' defeat and his treacherous actions. When Dmitri Rostov learned that Alexander was alive, he and those who had managed to escape with him quickly transferred their loyalty from Laura to Alexander,[17][19] and six months after the battles at Nahoni Dmitri raised Alexander's banner on the world of Farwell. With Nikolai Rostov having been beloved by the FPF, the news that Dmitri had joined Alexander's cause swept through the Crucis March life wildfire, bringing many of the regular forces to his banner.[19]

Alexander wasn't idle during those six months, however; he traveled from world to world, accompanied by Colonel Gordon and the other survivors of Nahoni, promoting his claim. In the early stages they had to dodge troops loyal to Laura,[19] with Alexander evading multiple attempts to eliminate him,[18] but by mid-2528 Laura's forces were pulling out of the Crucis March because of how strong Alexander's support had become.[19]

Whereas the Crucis March joined Alexander wholesale, the Draconis March was still loyal to Laura, and that was where she retreated too; the Terran March was split, with some remembering Laura's close ties to Nikolai Rostov, whereas others were swayed by Dmitri's authority as his father's son.[17][19] Had the Rostov's ruled the Terran March for longer, loyalty to the name might have been greater.[19]

Lull[edit]

By 2528 both Cassandra and Laura had declared themselves to be the rightful First Prince in defiance of Alexander's claim, and it was acknowledged that a peaceful solution wouldn't be found - nor would there be any pretense of legitimacy on either part. Having failed at both politics and intrigue, both sisters knew that only force could capture the throne of the Federated Suns for them. Despite their proclamations the civil war entered a lull that stretched out to 2530 as each of the leaders dealt with internal dissension in their respective realms and gathered strength for when the war would heat up again.[20]

In 2530 Alexander received a stroke of good fortune; David Varnay, the most dangerous of his various opponents, was on the planet Ashley dealing with the anti-Varnay riots on the world when he was killed.[20] Varnay had been an advocate of using old-fashioned politics wherever possible, despite his use of militia and secret police forces to eliminate his most dangerous opponents, and Ashley was the last of a number of worlds in which he'd been engaged in a public tour to let his people and his troops see him when the riot that killed him erupted.[21]

David's death left Cassandra heavily burdened; whilst she was a determined, strong-willed woman she was no strategist, and was swiftly fully occupied with holding the disparate elements of her cause together. David's death left Alexander free to concentrate the bulk of his efforts against his aunt Laura and her followers.[20] Alexander was well aware of Cassandra's limitations, and he correctly viewed Laura as being the larger threat.[21]

Alexander's relationship with Dmitri Rostov remained fraught, however, and was based on mutual need at best. Dmitri had both considerable intelligence and a keen strategic mind, but he craved the power his father had possessed, and supporting Alexander was simply the best way for him to achieve that end.[17]

Draconis March Campaign[edit]

Alexander's campaign in the Draconis March would take almost two years to achieve a final victory over Laura's forces. Much of the glory went to Dmitri, whose name was enough to win him support from various regular FPF forces within the Draconis March, although he wasn't the commanding officer that his father had been.[20][21]

Dmitri was also responsible for much of the slow progress in the campaign; a selfish pragmatist at heart, he was more interested in securing the Terran March for himself than dealing with Laura's main forces. Unfortunately for Alexander, he needed Rostov and his forces too much to alienate him, and had to resort to pleading with Rostov to push forward with finishing off Laura's forces while the Capellan March was still disorganized.[20]

Despite the delays, in November[21] 2533[20][21] Alexander landed a massive strike force on the March capital, Tancredi, and his forces achieved a comprehensive defeat over the best of Laura's remaining forces[20][21] in just two weeks.[21] Laura committed suicide rather than be taken captive, although she did take the time to write a twenty-six page suicide note.[20] The commander of her military forces, General Hubert K'Trinka,[21] surrendered unconditionally to Alexander[20] on the 27th of November,[21] the day after Laura's death, ending the campaign for the Draconis March.[20]

Capellan Front[edit]

Alexander had been able to rely on John Gordon during his campaign against the Draconis March; Alexander had promoted Gordon to the rank of General and tasked him with keeping the border secure against the Varnayist forces. Gordon approached this in a similar fashion to the early campaign on Nahoni; in a series of campaigns that would become legendary amongst MechWarriors, Gordon used guerilla tactics extensively, counterbalancing the very small number of 'Mechs he had available to him at any given time. Gordon used a combination of superior tactics and local terrain to wage campaigns involving raids, attacks and harassment actions across numerous worlds, resisting the urge to settle into a prolonged campaign on any one planet.[20] As a strategy, Gordon's operation was brilliant; Cassandra's forces continually failed to pin his troops down, and their attempts led to the Varnayist forces being so dispersed in their pursuit of his forces that they lost the initiative.[21]

However, while Gordon successfully hamstrung Cassandra's forces while Alexander and Dmitri were campaigning through the Draconis March, his skills would probably have resulted in a faster resolution to the conflict in the Draconis March if he had led Alexander's forces there.[20]

The length of the campaign to secure the Draconis March had made the actions on the Capellan March front costly; while Gordon had achieved a remarkable number of successes, the delay had given Cassandra the time to rally support, as well as acquiring the service of a mercenaries from the Capellan Confederation. Although both Cassandra and the Capellans denied them, rumors held that Cassandra had offered the Confederation large chunks of the Capellan March to the Capellans in exchange for the support, but it gave her the power she needed.[22]

Three Capellan Chancellors held power during the course of the Davion Civil War - Kalvin Liao, Mica Liao and Salicia Liao - and none would tolerate any official involvement in the Davion Civil War, despite those generals and nobles who felt that the Confederation should use the Civil War to invade. All three interfered in the Civil War, however, intent on destabilizing the Federated Suns. Acting in concert with those amongst the Capellan military and nobility who saw backing one of the factions in the Civil War as an opportunity to reclaim large reasons of the Federated Suns, they agreed with Cassandra to provide military forces in exchange for agreements that would see worlds ceded to the Confederation if Cassandra was victorious.[23]

In 2533 Cassandra's forces managed to corner Gordon and some of his forces by keeping the planet Jaipur under constant siege. With the Draconis March campaign over, Alexander attempted to move quickly to relieve Godon's forces, but Dmitri pleaded that he had to remain in the Terran March, arguing that he had to continue to put down pockets of resistance still loyal to Laura and to keep the borders with the Draconis Combine and Terran Hegemony secure.[22]

This left Alexander acting alone, and forced to rely solely on his own forces - many of which were second-rate compared to the regular FPF units commanded by Dmitri. As result, Alexander's attempt to rescue Gordon were unsuccessful, and Gordon had little choice but to surrender.[22][21]

Cassandra promptly had Gordon put on trial for "war crimes"; Gordon was then condemned to death and executed. Cassandra then went a step further by having the majority of Gordon's troops executed as well;[22][21] this marked an escalation in the savagery with which the Civil War was being fought, with Alexander's forces becoming predictably more brutal in response to Cassandra's actions. Prisoner executions and attacks on civilian targets became more commonplace[21] capped by the actions one of the battalions[22] loyal to Alexander unleashing mass destruction on Smolensk, a Varnayist world. The unit on Smolensk destroyed industries and cities alike;[21] while the Ares Conventions may have been in place for conflicts between nations, the two remaining sides of the Civil War began ignoring them.[22]

Varnayist Offensive[edit]

Buoyed by the capture of General Gordon and the failure of Alexander's rescue attempt, Cassandra mustered her forces and launched an all-out assault on the Crucis March, beginning in 2534[21] and which she led personally.[24] Although the campaign moved slowly, it was systematic, taking Crucis March worlds one by one while Dmitri continued to play at politics in the Terran March. Dmitri may not have been the military commander his father was, but he was a more skilled politician, and while he was mainly concerned for the Terran March he had enough sense to continue supplying Alexander with just enough reinforcements to keep Alexander from giving up completely on Rostov's support.[22]

Despite Cassandra's progress into the Crucis March, her attempt to move forces through the United Hindu Collective (UHC) in 2535 was unsuccessful; her forces raided several UHC worlds but were engaged by the Collective's single BattleMech and aerospace fighter regiment, the Messengers of Shiva, on the world of Jodipur. The Messengers of Shiva used equipment that was older than that used by the Varnayist forces, but the Messengers were expert pilots and defeated Cassandra's forces in detail.[25]

In late 2536 Cassandra's forces captured El Dorado, one of the oldest Crucis worlds - and one of the most important. Even more significantly, the capture of El Dorada put Cassandra in a strong position to launch an attack on New Avalon.[22][24]

In early 2537 Dmitri arrived at Alexander's field headquarters, which was located on Belladonna. Dmitri was accompanied by just a small honor guard, but had come to Alexander with a daring plan to end the war.[22][24]

I could have done with a few more men and a lot less Rostov.
  — Alexander Davion, on learning the size of Rostov's honor guard on Belladonna in 2537

Alexander and Dmitri clashed immediately; Dmitri was dismissive of Alexander's campaign, demanding to know why Alexander wasn't attacking Cassandra's forces across a wide front, and accusing Alexander of simply watching Cassandra take his worlds. The bickering between the two was an inauspicious beginning for what was likely to be a crucial campaign.[22]

Dmitri had assembled a large army on Smolensk, poised at the edge of the Capellan March. The plan he recommended to Alexander was for Alexander to move his forces to one flank of the thrust Cassandra's forces had made into the Crucis March, while Dmitri's forces threatened the other flank. This would leave New Avalon open, but Dmitri proposed that as Cassandra's forces advanced, Dmitri's forces and Alexander's should launch a joint assault to destroy the supply lines feeding Cassandra's forces and unite their two armies behind hers. Isolated in the Crucis March, Cassandra's forces would then be forced to either wither through lack of supplies or face a larger army at a considerable disadvantage.[22][24]

Alexander agreed to the plan, which the combined forces managed to execute brilliantly. Before Cassandra's forces had any idea what was happening, Alexander and Dmitri's forces had cut off every jump route out of the El Dorado system. Cassandra had her forces attempt to break through the combined forces and retreat to the Capellan March, but Dmitri and Alexander's forces pursued her forces and forced her space fleet to fight them above the planet Meglan. Outnumbered, Cassandra's fleet was heavily damaged; most of the survivors scattered, although some troops managed to land on Meglan and attempted to make a last stand. Cassandra managed to escape from the Meglan system, but after Alexander crushed her remaning forces on the planet the threat she posed to his rule was effectively broken.[22][24]

Cassandra retreated into the Capellan Confederation along with the remaining Confederation mercenaries and her seven year old son, leaving Alexander's rule uncontested; Alexander made his first proclamation shortly after the victory on Meglan, declaring that henceforth Meglan would be known as Victoria[22] before returning to New Avalon to formally claim the throne.[24]

Peace?[edit]

The Davion Civil War had had a hugely damaging impact on the Federated Suns by the time of Alexander's victory over Cassandra in 2357. Battles had been fought on more than a hundred worlds, and millions had been killed; the Federated Suns economy had been damaged so badly that it was almost at a standstill, and the High Council was a shadow of what it had been prior to the Council of Regents. Some areas still had pockets of rebel forces holding out against Alexander's regime.[22][26][27]

The Civil War wasn't over, however.[22]

Terran March Insurrection[edit]

After Cassandra's defeat, Alexander made it clear that he intended to lead the reconstruction of all five Marches, not just the Crucis March.[26][28] He announced proposals to make sweeping changes across the five Marches and to reform the High Council. This caused resentment amongst many, particularly amongst the political and noble leaders who had profited from the existing system,[24] but first and foremost amongst those disputing Alexander's right to act in Marches outside the Crucis March was Dmistri Rostov.[28]

Rostov's obsession with the power of his March led him to mobilize his troops in opposition to Prince Alexander[28] in April 2540[29]. Dmitri's attempted coup began with a tragedy; as his first act, Dmitri ordered his troops to kidnap Cynthia Davion, who was engaged in a goodwill tour of the Draconis March at the time. His troops not only failed in their attempt, but a stray shot killed Cynthia.[28][29] While he had gained considerable political support as a result of his argument that Alexander had no power to impose changes outside the Crucis March, mobilizing his March forces and attempting to kidnap Cynthia marked Dmitri crossing a point of no return.[29]

Cynthia's death had a profound effect, leaving him grief-striken; it also led him to act launch a campaign against Dmitri that would be marked by its speed, decisiveness and implacable savagery. While Dmitria was still an influential and popular man and widely acknowledged as being responsible for the triumph on victoria, he wasn't the First Prince. To a Federated Suns recently ravaged by war Alexander represented order, stability and an end to factionalism and infighting. Dmitri called for action against Alexander, describing him as a would-be despot, but few worlds or units outside his immediate sphere of influence responded; in comparison, Alexander quickly gathered an overwhelming army.[28]

Alexander struck directly towards Robinson with two large forces,[28][29] one launched from New Avalon and the other from the Draconis March,[29] and while he lacked Dmitri's military skills he had sheer numbers on his side, presenting Dmitri with little chance of victory. What finally ended the Civil War wasn't Alexander's command of his men, however; it was a final battle between Alexander and Dmitri, both fighting in 'Mechs.[28][29] Alexander's bravado in taking on Dmitri personally nearly resulted in his own death, but he triumphed over Dmitri, turning what could have been a follish stunt into an act of legend that further enhanced his reputation - despite allegations from historians after the event that one of Alexander's agents had secretly sabotaged Dmitri's 'Mech before the battle.[28]

Aftermath[edit]

Alexander would rule as First Prince for sixty years after the end of the Davion Civil War, and during that time no significant opposition to his rule would appear anywhere inside the Federated Suns; as a consequence, he was able to devote his efforts turning a military triumph into a solid political victory that secured the supremacy of the Davion family once and for all within the Federated Suns.[28]

Reconstruction efforts began immediately after the Civil War; Alexander promoted various economic measures to restore the Federated Suns economy, whilst also implementing measures to increase his personal power. His first step towards replacing the previous government administration and hopefully prevent a repetition of the Civil War was to disband the five co-equal Marches envisioned by Simon Davion. Instead, the First Prince would reign supreme over the entire nation, and all loyalties amongst the nobility would run back to the First Prince - preventing nobles from using their territory as a personal recruiting ground.[30] Only one Prince other than Alexander was still alive by this point, Prince Nuno Guitierrez on Filtvelt, Prince of the Outer March, who had remained completely out of the Civil War;[1] Alexander disbanded both the Outer March and the Terran March, with their worlds being incorporated into the three remaining Marches, and the remaining Marches became more akin to military divisions than the civilian divisions they had been.[30]

Alexander also reduced the powers of the High Council further, an acknowledgement that the High Council couldn't provide stable leadership, as well as making changes to the authority given to Regents and the system by which were they were appointed - including specifically excluding Regents from succession to the throne of First Prince and mandating that Regents be subject to review by a board[1][31] appointed by the High Council.[30] The worst offenders amongst the various Councilors were removed, with Alexander taking many of the Council's greater powers on himself.[1]

By 2545 Alexander had passed more laws than any of his predecessors had managed to enact in the entire of their individual reigns. While every proposal met with some form of opposition, Alexander had the support of the military, and even the most unpopular proposals usually passed given the implicit threat of military action. Despite Alexander reshaping the Federated Suns into an autocracy, he wasn't a despot; free speech was actively encouraged, but Alexander believed passionately that every proposal he made would be justified if it kept the Federated Suns safe from the threat of another Civil War.[31]

In addition to reforming the government, Alexander also restructured the Federated Peacekeeping Forces, creating the new Armed Forces of the Federated Suns.[31] The change in name was one part of erasing the identity of the FPF;[1] in reforms intended to minimize the significance of regional loyalties in comparison to devotion to the Federated Suns as a whole, Alexander ensured that while individual worlds would continue to recruit and field units, those units also had to integrate personnel recruited from other worlds, and such regiments were rarely to be posted to the region from which the majority of its personnel had been recruited.[31] Alexander also disbanded the five independent major March commands, replacing them with a central command structure and support organization. The changes took years to remove all of the old FPF schools of thought, but the end result of Alexander's reforms was the most professional and skilled military in the Inner Sphere.[1]

Alexander also took the title of First Marshal, and ensured that the rank and authority would remain in the hands of the First Prince.[1][31] The rank of Field Marshal was created for senior generals, but even they would be accountable to the First Prince. He also decreed that any heir to the throne would have to complete at least five years of military training and field training before being eligible to be recognised legitimately as First Prince. With these reforms, Alexander hoped that future generals would be unable to use popularity as a means to challenge the legitimate government.[31]

When the Star League formed in 2571, Alexander took the opportunity to further cement the changes to the military of the Federated Suns that he had put in place in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War; the requirement for each of the Great Houses to provide units, equipment and personnel for the new Star League Defense Force gave Alexander the opportunity to purge the AFFS of various elements, including those units which continued to harbour discontent against his reforms. Amongst those transferred out of the AFFS wholesale was the entire of the Terran Brigade, once the flagship military formation within the former Terran March.[32] While six regiments of Avalon Hussars joined the SLDF out of loyalty to their origins in the Terran Marines,[33] Alexander also sent thirty-one additional regiments he wished to be rid of; these regiments included not just the entire Terran Brigade but also several private commands and almost half the Syrtis Fusiliers, who had sided with the Varnayists during the Civil War.[32]

Notes[edit]

  • Although the factions involved in the Davion Civil War were highly aggressive towards each other and the Civil War escalated in brutality as it continued, it is notable that at no point did any of the factions resort to the use of weapons of mass destruction.[34]
  • In addition to providing military aid to Cassandra, the Capellan Confederation also worked to assassinate political leaders within the Federated Suns, to incite rebellion and to hijack merchant ships, all with the intention of destabilizing the Federated Suns further. These tactics were effective, but too limited to do more than prolong the war by a couple of years, and the discovery that the Confederation was aiding Cassandra during the War saw much of her support within the Federated Suns abandon her.[23]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Handbook: House Davion, p. 37, "Timeline: Revolution and Civil War"
  2. House Davion (The Federated Suns), p. 37-38, "Against All Odds"
  3. 3.0 3.1 Handbook: House Davion, p. 29, "Battling Varnay"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 House Davion (The Federated Suns), p. 39, "William The Fair"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Handbook: House Davion, p. 30-31, "Destiny Approaches"
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Handbook: House Davion, p. 31, "Council of Regents"
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 House Davion (The Federated Suns), p. 41, "The Regency"
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 Handbook: House Davion, p. 31-32, "Reign of Terror"
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 House Davion (The Federated Suns), p. 41-42, "Varnay vs Davion"
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 Handbook: House Davion, p. 32-33, "Hostage Prince"
  11. Handbook: House Davion, p. 33, "Royal Surprise"
  12. Inner Sphere (sourcebook), p. 37
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 13.7 House Davion (The Federated Suns), p. 43, "Alexander Escapes"
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 14.6 14.7 14.8 House Davion (The Federated Suns), p. 44, "Alexander in Exile"
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Handbook: House Davion, p. 33-34, "Flames of War"
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 House Davion (The Federated Suns), p. 44, "Bait and Switch"
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 Handbook: House Davion, p. 34-35, "Rostov's Legacy"
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 18.5 18.6 18.7 18.8 18.9 Handbook: House Davion, p. 34, "General Alexander"
  19. 19.00 19.01 19.02 19.03 19.04 19.05 19.06 19.07 19.08 19.09 19.10 19.11 19.12 19.13 19.14 19.15 19.16 19.17 19.18 19.19 19.20 19.21 House Davion (The Federated Suns), p. 45, "Victor of Nahoni"
  20. 20.00 20.01 20.02 20.03 20.04 20.05 20.06 20.07 20.08 20.09 20.10 20.11 House Davion (The Federated Suns), p. 46, "Alexander's Campaign"
  21. 21.00 21.01 21.02 21.03 21.04 21.05 21.06 21.07 21.08 21.09 21.10 21.11 21.12 21.13 21.14 Handbook: House Davion, p. 35, "Bringing the War to the Pretenders"
  22. 22.00 22.01 22.02 22.03 22.04 22.05 22.06 22.07 22.08 22.09 22.10 22.11 22.12 22.13 22.14 House Davion (The Federated Suns), p. 46-47, "Rostov's Plan"
  23. 23.0 23.1 Handbook: House Davion, p. 35, "Capellan Strings"
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 24.5 24.6 Handbook: House Davion, p. 36, "Rostov Victorious"
  25. Era Digest: Age of War, p. 8, "The United Hindu Collective"
  26. 26.0 26.1 Handbook: House Davion, p. 36, "Prince Alexander"
  27. Inner Sphere (sourcebook), p. 38
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 28.4 28.5 28.6 28.7 28.8 House Davion (The Federated Suns), p. 48, "Rostov Defiant"
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 29.3 29.4 29.5 Handbook: House Davion, p. 36, "Putting Down Rostov"
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 House Davion (The Federated Suns), p. 49, "Time To Heal"
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 31.4 31.5 House Davion (The Federated Suns), p. 50-51, "The Davions Supreme"
  32. 32.0 32.1 Historical: Reunification War, p. 32-33, "Integration with the SLDF"
  33. Field Report: Federated Suns 2765, p. 8, "Avalon Hussars"
  34. Era Digest: Age of War, p. 18, "Wars Civil And Andurien: 2525 to 2550"

Bibliography[edit]

Dates[edit]