Battle of McCarel Farm
|Battle of McCarel Farm|
|Part of Battle of New Avalon|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Marshal James McFarland||Precentor Terry McQuinn|
|Tenth Lyran Guards||Thirty-first Division
The Battle of McCarel Farm took place on 11 December, 3067, during the larger campaign known as the First Battle of New Avalon at the start of the Jihad. It featured the Word of Blake's Thirty-first Division and a spot-hired mercenary unit named Grandin's Crusaders against the Tenth Lyran Guards of the Federated Suns.
In December 3067, a Word of Blake flotilla attacked New Avalon, the capital of the Federated Suns. This was in response to Princess-Regent Yvonne Steiner-Davion pulling the Federated Suns out of the Second Star League at the Fourth Whitting Conference. Combined with similar declarations by the Lyran Alliance and Capellan Confederation, this resulted in the collapse of the League. Enraged, the Blakists began an orbital bombardment of both Tharkad and New Avalon. In addition to three WarShips attacking from above, the Thirty-first Division (known as the Purity of Faith) landed in Avalon County under cover of the bombardment and rapidly moved on to the capital of Avalon City through the farmlands. 
Although defended by several prestigious units, those commands were still recovering from the FedCom Civil War and most had been scattered from the orbital attacks.  The Tenth Lyran Guards RCT had chosen to remain on New Avalon after the Civil War as part of the new Armed Forces of the Federated Suns, pledging their loyalty to Yvonne Steiner-Davion.  Although operating at only about one-third strength even before the Jihad,  they were the only unit able to mobilize in time to slow the invaders down, as the other defenders desperately attempted to regroup. 
11 December 3067
The Thirty-first, relatively inexperienced, attempted to go around the veteran Revenants by sending a defensive screen against them. This proved ineffective against the determined Tenth Lyrans, who punched their way through the defensive screen, beelining for the Thirty-first's supply train. The Blakists employed a trio of Prairie Schooner Land Trains loaded with sufficient supplies to wage a campaign for the capital. The Tenth found their quarry in the prairies of McCarel Farm, farmland owned by one Harold McCarel. Unbeknownst to the Tenth, the Blakists had spot-hired a mercenary unit named Grandin's Crusaders to assist them. The Crusaders were on New Avalon under contract to Interstellar Expeditions (IE) and charged with bringing a contact to the Blakist fleet, but the Thirty-First Division circumvented IE completely and hired Pierre Gardin and his unit directly to help them try and block the Lyran Guards. The Tenth managed to inflict serious damage before they were driven off by the superior numbers of the Thirty-first.  Grandin had deployed his infantry forces in the fields of the McCarel Farm under the command of Mad Jack Cunningham, and the unexpected attack from the concealed infantry units disrupted a company of the Tenth enough that the Thirty-first Division was able to wipe that company out. This prevented the Armed Forces of the Federated Suns from identifying Grandin's Crusaders as combatants in the battle.
Although the Tenth was forced to retreat, the delay gave Marshal of Armies Jackson Davion and the other defending units time to properly organize the defense of Avalon City.  The Thirty-first pushed ahead with the attack on the capital, but the defenders held and they were forced to retreat after three weeks of fighting.  Unfortunately by that time, casualties to the Tenth were too heavy to make them an effective independent fighting force, and by February 3068 they were merged into the First Davion Guards.  The Thirty-first would remain in-system and would later take part in the Second and Third Battles of New Avalon. By the time they retreated for the final time in September 3074, they had been effectively merged into the Thirty-sixth Division.  Farmer McCarel lost half his crops in the fighting. 
- Jihad Secrets: The Blake Documents, p. 94, "31st Division (Purity of Faith)"
- Jihad Turning Points: New Avalon, p. 8, "Unwelcome Guests"
- Total Chaos, p. 47, "Unwelcome Guests"
- Jihad Turning Points: New Avalon, p. 6, "Combatants: Tenth Lyran Guards"
- Field Manual: Updates p. 179, Lyran Alliance Armed Forces: Units in Federated Suns/Chaos March
- Jihad Turning Points: New Avalon, p. 8, "Unwelcome Guests" : Aftermath