Die Kanonen von Thunder Rock
|Die Kanonen von Thunder Rock|
|Cover artwork||Karsten Schreurs|
|Publisher||Ulisses Spiele GmbH|
|First published||19 August 2015|
|Era||Succession Wars era|
|Timeline||7 Juli 3027 - 29 September 3028|
Die Kanonen von Thunder Rock ("The Guns of Thunder Rock"), by Bernd Perplies, is the 28th in the line of German-language Classic BattleTech Novels that Ulisses Spiele took over from FanPro and continued.
Written in German and exclusively published in that language so far, Die Kanonen von Thunder Rock does not meet the current criteria for Canon in the BattleTech universe. As an official product published under a valid license, it should be regarded as apocryphal.
From the back cover (translated from German)
|“|| "My Love... I give you the Capellan Confederation."
August 3028. On the day of his wedding to Melissa Steiner of all days, Hanse Davion, First Prince of the Federated Suns, launches the attack on House Liao. Among the units in the first wave are Colonel Walther Hokala's mercenary Screaming Eagles. They are to establish a bridgehead on the Capellan border world of Pleione for following troops. The task appears easy, with two BattleMech regiments facing only a battalion of McCrimmon's Light Cavalry.
As of 3027 the Screaming Eagles, who are technically mercenaries but have faithfully served House Davion for the past 240 years, are garrisoning the agricultural world Skepptana and guarding it and a few surrounding worlds against pirate incursions. An eyes-only note delivered by messenger to Colonel Hokala notifies him that he should travel to a top-secret briefing to New Avalon under the pretext of giving a guest lecture. In a private barbecue session with Hanse Davion, Ardan Sortek and Quintus Allard he is informed of the plans for Operation Rat, the attack on the Capellan Confederation, and that his Screaming Eagles are the only mercenaries entrusted with participating in the first attack wave.
In preparation, they are to take part in the cover-up "Operation Galahad 3028" maneuvers and square off against other Davion units in mock battles on New Aragon before they are sent out in earnest on the eve of Hanse Davion's wedding with orders to conquer Pleione.
On Pleione, the defending Third Battalion of McCrimmon's Light Cavalry under Major Emile Loo has recently moved into the ancient Thunder Rock fortress which is built into a mesa next to the planetary capital. The vast Star League-era facility has not been used for the past 250 years and its ancient Long Tom batteries are deemed unsalvageable, but a group of techs from the Cavalry begin a pet project in their off-time and against all expectations find that they can bring the guns back to active status. Colonel Hokala procures a small amount of ammunition to test them (while proper ammunition supplies will be delivered with the usual bureaucratic delay).
The attack on Pleione catches the defenders by surprise and most of the planet's sole settled continent is quickly overrun. Trying to stall for time, Loo sends a company of his BattleMechs out to challenge the attackers to a honorable duel, threatening to turn Thunder Rock's cannons on the starport and the capital's industrial zones and thus rendering the planet strategically worthless to the attackers if they would not comply. However, it is really just a bluff because of the limited ammunition supply for the guns.
Hokala has been informed that a saboteur has rendered the defenders' Long Tom ammunition useless and sends his aerospace fighters against the arrayed BattleMechs, causing heavy losses. Loo orders to open fire to press his bluff, but the first Long Tom to fire explodes due to sabotaged ammunition. Investigating the devastating malfunction, the defenders figure out that their artillery ammunition has been tampered with, but they have one ammo crate with six rounds that was out of the saboteur's reach. Using these rounds they damage the Screaming Eagles' Overlord-class DropShips as they approach the capital city spaceport, forcing them to land further away and creating something of a standoff. The attackers nevertheless send infantry and vehicles to seize the capital city.
The entrenched defenders find a way to salvage the Long Tom ammunition, but they need certain chemicals to do it. A group of 'Mechs sallies from Thunder Rock into the capital city's industrial zone and successfully retrieves the needed supplies. Meanwhile, the attackers have figured out that the defenders are obviously very low on ammunition and move to besiege Thunder Rock, demolishing its outlying defense grid of PPC turrets with their own longer-ranged Long-range missiles while the artillery guns are out of ammunition. The steady barrage also serves to demoralize the defenders who in truth have only two artillery shots left, but are feverishly working on getting their other cartridges back to working order. Eventually, they open up on the unsuspecting siege forces after several days, driving them back and re-establishing morale. In the face of the defiant defenders, civil unrest in the occupied cities grows.
Colonel Hokala is under mounting pressure to wrap up the conquest of Pleione. He reluctantly opts to storm the fortress after sending sapper teams ahead to destroy the outlying defense turrets. His first attack is nevertheless repulsed with losses because the defenders place BattleMechs on the mountain top above the attackers as they prepare to storm an armored gate. Initially angry that he missed the 'Mech door on the mountain top, Hokala then opts to combat-drop an entire battalion there, out of reach of the defenders' fixed defenses, and press the attack through this upper entrance into the mountain. In close-quarters combat, Major Loo is killed. Deteriorating morale leads to some MechWarriors to desert but they run right into the arms of a strong enemy formation; only one Ostscout manages to evade immediate destruction. The small remnant of the Third Battalion of McCrimmon's Light Cavalry remaining in Thunder Rock surrenders, followed in short order by the planetary governor.
- Atlas (mentioned)
- Hermes II
- Phoenix Hawk
- Justin Allard (recording only)
- Quintus Allard
- Philip Capet (recording only)
- Hanse Davion
- Jeremiah Davion
- Walther Hokala
- Maximilian Liao
- Emile Loo
- Gray Noton (mentioned)
- Ardan Sortek
- The novel is based on a short entry describing the battle of Pleione in the NAIS The Fourth Succession War Military Atlas Volume 1 (p. 19).