Invasion corridor - Clan Steel Viper

Order of Battle[edit]

Clan Command
Triasch Keshik
Clan Steel Viper Naval Reserve
Alpha Galaxy (Steel Viper Galaxy)
Galaxy Command Star
1st Viper Guards
2nd Viper Guards
4th Viper Guards
400th Assault Cluster
Beta Galaxy (Steel Fangs Galaxy)
Galaxy Command Star
Viper Fusiliers
126th Striker Cluster
195th Striker Cluster
Gamma Galaxy (Striking Serpent Galaxy)
Galaxy Command Star
423rd Assault Cluster
428th Assault Cluster
51st Battle Cluster
94th Battle Cluster
57th Striker Cluster

Preparations and Early Waves[edit]

When the Grand Council made the fateful decision to invade the Inner Sphere, it was decided that just four Clans would be enough for the task. By dint of being Nicholas Kerensky's direct descendents Clan Wolf was guaranteed one of these four spots, while the other three would be decided by Trials of Combat. However the Warden faction argued heatedly for and won the inclusion of a fifth "reserve" Clan in case the invasion did not go as planned. This would prove fortuitous for Clan Steel Viper, which did well enough in the early rounds to remain one of the last six Clans still fighting for a spot, but in the end could not overcome Clan Smoke Jaguar, Clan Jade Falcon and Clan Ghost Bear. While they would still accompany the invasion force, Steel Viper units would have to watch as their rivals were the first to conquer the "lost paradise."[1][2]

Bitterly disappointed, the Bloodnamed of Clan Steel Viper challenged Khan Natalie Breen and saKhan Perigard Zalman to a Trial of Grievance, laying the blame for their Clan's failure on its highest officers. Both Khans made no excuse or apology for their Clan's poor performance in the final rounds of the Trials, but nevertheless defeated this challenge to their leadership. They ordered their warriors to resume preparations for the journey ahead, reminding them that they still had the honor of accompanying the invasion force and setting foot on worlds only dreamed about since the Exodus.[1][2]

During the first few months of Operation REVIVAL, Clan Steel Viper's primary task was to patrol the lines of communication between Clan Space and the invasion force. The dishonor of this thankless task was only compounded when, at the end of the Third Wave, Clan Ghost Bear contracted the Steel Vipers to garrison their worlds. Newly-promoted Khan Bjorn Jorgensson was in desperate need of all the troops he could muster for the coming bidding war against Clan Wolf over Rasalhague, even if it meant having to ask a hated rival for help. The Steel Viper warriors' grumbling at being given tasks normally reserved for freebirth garrison units was only tempered by the awe they felt exploring worlds not seen with Clan eyes in generations.[1][3]

At the same time Khan Breen was carefully studying the progress of the invasion. The four other Clans were achieving incredible victories, destroying large numbers of Inner Sphere units for little loss, but their progress was much slower than originally anticipated. Bringing this to the attention of her junior Khan, both Breen and Zalman recognized the implications. Sooner or later, the ilKhan would be forced to activate the Steel Vipers in order to shore up the advance.[1]

The Year of Peace[edit]

When Leo Showers called for a Grand Kurultai aboard the Dire Wolf, no one expected an attack against the ilKhan by forces of the Free Rasalhague Republic, much less the Rasalhagians themselves. In the final moments of the frantic assault by the Flying Drakøns, Kapten Tyra Miraborg piloted her Shilone fighter into the bridge of the Dire Wolf, killing Leo Showers and paralyzing the entire invasion. In the emergency meeting afterwards many of the assembled Khans argued for an immediate retaliatory strike against the Inner Sphere, while others advised against going against their previously-arraigned strategy in response to a "quirk of fate."[4][5]

It was Perigard Zelman who cut through the discord and pointed out the obvious to all in attendance: without an ilKhan to provide some sort of guidance to the invasion and arbitrate any disputes, what little unity there was between the invading Clans would fall apart and with it the invasion. A new ilKhan would have to be elected, which would require a consultation with all Bloodnamed warriors, forcing the Bloodnamed of the five invading Clans to return to Strana Mechty and effectively put the invasion on hold. Objections were raised against this course of action, which would leave the Clans' hard-won gains vulnerable to counter-attack, but it was eventually agreed that electing a new ilKhan was necessary; the remaining Clan forces combined with the state of the Inner Sphere and assistance from ComStar made the possibility of a successful counter-attack slim. On 1 December 3050 the Bloodnamed of the five invading Clans began the long journey back home.[4]

During this time the Khans of the Jade Falcons, Ghost Bears and Smoke Jaguars conspired to charge Wolf Khan Ulric Kerensky in the culpability of Leo Showers' death and so strip him of his rank. They approached the other Khans with their revenge plot, including Breen and Zelman, but in the end the Steel Viper Khans threw their support behind Ulric and voted down the motion in the Grand Council.[6][7] It was while the Grand Council was still in session that Clan Steel Viper chose to fight a Trial of Possession with the Jade Falcons over the genetic material of their Khan, Elias Crichell. In spite of his age Khan Crichell led the Trial himself, throwing three Clusters of the Omega Galaxy against the entirety of the Steel Viper's Gamma Galaxy and soundly defeating them. In retaliation the Jade Falcons would fight another Trial of Possession, this time over control of the Clan planet Hellgate, which the Steel Vipers loss.[6]

After losing in the first phase of their revenge against Ulric, the Crusader conspirators initiated the second phase of their plan and chose to nominate him to the position of ilKhan. When he won, Ulric repaid their kindness by activating the Steel Vipers and Nova Cats as full members of the invasion, then pairing them with the Jade Falcons and Smoke Jaguars respectively to share the same invasion corridors. The Jade Falcons understood this to be a shrewd political move, intended to imply they needed help and saddle them with a "partner" more likely to slow them down, and planned accordingly. For their part the Steel Vipers were overjoyed to be an active part in the invasion, despite having to fight alongside the Jade Falcons; though neither Clan liked the other, the Jade Falcons were more intense in their hatred of the Steel Vipers than was repaid in kind.[6][1][8]

Wave 5 (November-December 3051)[edit]

By order of ilKhan Kerensky, the Jade Falcons were forced to surrender one of their worlds to the Steel Vipers as a base of operations, which they chose to be Waldorff. The Triasch Keshik was on hand to formally accept the handover in November 3051, but the insult was clear from the beginning. The planet, while technically only eight parsecs from the Federated Commonwealth border, was thirty parsecs distant from the nearest of the seven targeted planets along the invasion corridor, forcing the Steel Vipers to jump four times to reach the front lines. The Steel Vipers replied in kind by conducting a vicious Trial of Possession against the Jade Falcons for the right to invade Twycross, site of the Falcons' greatest defeat, and after winning proceeded to liberate the world from the occupying FedCom troops in less than a day.[1][2][9]

The Steel Vipers would challenge the Jade Falcons for the right to invade all seven of the targeted worlds in the Fifth Wave. Three of these the Jade Falcons conceded without contest, although the Steel Vipers would only attack two prior to the Battle of Tukayyid. Of the other four the Falcons won the Trials for La Grave and Quarell, while settling for a draw for Orkney. In their fighting against Inner Sphere forces, the Steel Vipers proved victorious, in part because of their willingness to use "dishonorable" tactics against opponents not worthy of zellbrigen.[1][9]

Steel Viper operation in wave 5

Fifth Wave
Date Location Attacker Defender Outcome
November 3051 Twycross (FC) Gamma Galaxy
423rd Assault Cluster
428th Assault Cluster
94th Battle Cluster
FedCom
10th Lyran Guards RCT
9th FedCom RCT
Steel Viper Victory
November 3051 Montmarault (FC) Alpha Galaxy
1st Viper Guards
Gyrfalcon Galaxy
305th Assault Cluster
Steel Viper Victory
November 3051 Benfled (FC) Alpha Galaxy
400th Assault Cluster
FedCom
Narhal's Raiders
Steel Viper Victory
November/December 3051 Orkney (FC) Gyrfalcon Galaxy
1st Falcon Striker Cluster
Beta Galaxy
104th Assault Cluster
Draw
December 3051 Jabuka (FRR) Alpha Galaxy
All Clusters
FedCom
17th Donegal Guards RCT
19th Lyran Guards RCT
Steel Viper Victory

Post-Invasion[edit]

In the wake of their defeat at Tukayyid, one in which Steel Viper warriors learned to respect Inner Sphere warriors, Khan Breen took the only honorable course left and publicly resigned from her position.[10] Despite the loss Clan Steel Viper nevertheless found themselves one of the best-positioned of the invading Clans. They had endured the fewest losses among the other participating Clans - suffering 38% casualties in total - and controlled worlds nearest to Terra herself when the truce inevitably expired. Khan Zelman, aided by the new saKhan Christoper Ahmed, was able to quickly rearm Steel Viper forces and found a target for their pent-up anger from having lost at Tukayyid: Clan Jade Falcon.[11]

Within a month of the defeat Steel Viper forces succeeded in capturing three Jade Falcon-held worlds; by the end of 3053 another four had been captured. This pace eventually slowed by the middle of 3055, while throughout this time the Steel Vipers also conducted raids against FedCom worlds "above" the Truce line. Successful as they were in military conquest, the Steel Vipers were less successful in governing their occupied worlds. Increasingly the number of civil disturbances and sabotage taking place on Steel Viper worlds tied down larger numbers of their forces, preventing them from taking advantage of future events such as the Refusal War.[11]

Post-Invasion Action
Date Location Attacker Defender Outcome
June 3052 Goat Path (FC) Beta Galaxy
Viper Fusiliers
126th Striker Cluster
Delta Galaxy
2nd Falcon Jaegers
5th Battle Cluster
Steel Viper Victory
June 3052 Blackjack (FC) Alpha Galaxy
4th Viper Guards
Alpha Newt Cluster
Alpha Solahma Cluster
Omicron Galaxy
3rd Talon Cluster
4th Talon Cluster
Steel Viper Victory
July 3052 Parakoila (FC) Gamma Galaxy
57th Striker Cluster
Rho Galaxy
5th PGC
Steel Viper Victory
November 3052 Blair Atholl (FC) Alpha Galaxy
4th Viper Guards
400th Assault Cluster
Vau Galaxy
89th Striker Cluster
94th Striker Cluster
Steel Viper Victory
April 3053 Trell I (FC) Gamma Galaxy
51st Battle Cluster
Epsilon Galaxy
8th PGC
Steel Viper Victory
September 3053 Antares (FC) Alpha Galaxy
1st Viper Guards
2nd Viper Guards
Delta Galaxy
2nd Falcon Jaegers
5th Battle Cluster
Steel Viper Victory
September 3053 Graus (FC) Alpha Galaxy
4th Viper Guards
400th Assault Cluster
Vau Galaxy
4th Falcon Velites
89th Striker Cluster
Steel Viper Victory
January-March 3054 Persistence (FC) Beta Galaxy
195th Striker Cluster
Omicron Galaxy
4th Talon Cluster
Steel Viper Victory
April 3055 Bensinger (FC) Beta Galaxy
Viper Fusiliers
Gamma Galaxy
305th Assault Cluster
Steel Viper Victory


References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Invading Clans, p. 86
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Field Manual: Warden Clans, p. 136
  3. Invading Clans, p. 23
  4. 4.0 4.1 Wolf Clan Sourcebook, p. 40-41
  5. Invading Clans, p. 25
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Jade Falcon Sourcebook, p. 29
  7. Invading Clans, p. 111
  8. Wolf Clan Sourcebook, p. 42
  9. 9.0 9.1 Invading Clans, p. 88
  10. Invading Clans, p. 87
  11. 11.0 11.1 Field Manual: Warden Clans, p. 137

Bibliography[edit]