James was born on Robinson at Castle Sandoval. The "Old Duke", James' father Aaron, did not want his children to have the same kind of upbringing that he had resented. While his children, including James, never wanted for anything, they were not handed life on silver platter, either; he made them work for what they had.
Early Military Career
James enrolled at the Battle Academy of Robinson in 3010 at sixteen years old. He graduated four years later and was granted a billet in his father's military command, the First Robinson Rangers in 3014. James worked his way from command of a lance to a battalion in the space of seven years. During this time, First Prince Hanse Davion took notice of the heir to the Draconis March. Partly because of his talent as a motivator, he earned a transfer to the 2nd Davion Guards in 3021, becoming its executive officer and later the regiment's commanding officer, attaining the rank of Major General.
In 3022, James transferred to the NAIS's Federation War College and taught at the NAIS College of Military Science simultaneously. Upon graduation, he left New Avalon in 3023 to take up command of the Draconis March's Coreward Combat Theater, a position he retained for five years.
In 3028, Sandoval became commanding officer of the brand new 1st Federated Commonwealth RCT and was entrusted by Prince Hanse Davion to build the unit of recruits as he saw fit. During the Fourth Succession War, the unit was stationed in the Draconis March. As the FedCom grew into a corps, James was given its command, officially becoming commanding officer of the Federated Commonwealth Corps in 3030.
Marriage and children
Prince Hanse wanted James to command the Armed Forces of the Federated Commonwealth, but Sandoval's loyalty and sense of duty was to the Draconis March first. Sandoval commanded the 1st FedCom until 3033, when he stepped down to oversee the FedCom Corps full-time. Aaron Sandoval pressured James into moving the Corps' headquarters to Robinson, which he did in 3034. In that year, Aaron promoted his son to the rank of Marshal and "abdicated" in favor of his son, though he retained all titles. In 3037, Aaron formally retired from the AFFC, leaving James to become Minister of the Draconis March. He did not formally become the Duke of Robinson until his father's death eleven years later, in 3048.
War of 3039
In 3039, Prince Hanse Davion and Archon Melissa Steiner launched an invasion of the Draconis Combine that became known as the War of 3039. Davion named Field Marshal James Sandoval the commander of the Benjamin Thrust.
Sandoval believed the most important target of the first assault wave was Marduk, which the Combine had taken during the Fourth Succession War. In May 3039, he personally led the First Robinson Rangers, Tenth Deneb Light Cavalry, and supporting elements against a Combine garrison that included one battalion from the Sixth Benjamin Regulars. The force was able to secure the Victory Industries plant before they turned to deal with the Regulars. Sandoval led his troops into an ambush on 14 June on the Manschemman Dune Field that he was saved from by members of the Rangers. That battle turned into a decisive victory for the FedCom troops that secured the world for them.
The task force under Sandoval's command was allotted three months for rest and refit, so he chose to focus on overseeing the rest of the Benjamin Thrust. He believed that the war was going surprisingly well and began the process of authorizing commands to begin the second wave of assaults on 3 July.
The expected counterassault from the DCMS materialized on 1 August in the form of the Eighth Galedon Regulars under Tai-sa Homai Lu. The Sixth Benjamin Regulars under Sho-sho Shurin Goros, who was in command, reached Marduk three days later. The two commanders differed on how to prosecute the battle. Sandoval took advantage of their poor coordination and his superior numbers to drive the DCMS task force from town to town. On 2 September the Combine units took refuge in Fort Stroum, though Sandoval's troops kept them bottled up, resulting in a stalemate. Even three waves of reinforcements did little to change the balance.
Duke Sandoval left the siege to subordinates so that he could focus on managing the war. He sent personal missives to commanders in the field who had retreated, or wanted to. It was on 6 October that Sandoval received a recall order from Prince Hanse Davion. Sandoval sent messages to Davion, but to no avail. He ordered his troops to loot Victory Industries and other factories near major cities. Sandoval and his task force left Marduk on 13 October.
James did not return directly to Robinson, however. He diverted to Breed, which was a staging ground for the second wave. The world had been attacked by the Third and Fourth Ghost in July and the Third still remained, able to raid at will, though not in control. Sandoval jumped in-system with the First and Second Robinson Rangers. He landed on 1 November, eager for the chance to earn a decisive victory. The Ghost denied him that by lifting off-world on the 4th.
Sandoval believed that the AFFC could weather the counterassault, then press on. However, the Federated Commonwealth's intelligence agencies were unsure of just how strong the Combine was. Unwilling to take a gamble, Hanse and Melissa called for an armistice, despite James and Aaron Sandoval's strenuous calls to continue the war.
FedCom Civil War
Sandoval was a strong supporter of the formation of Federated Commonwealth, but he did not trust Hanse's son, Victor Steiner-Davion, because of his romantic entanglement with Omi Kurita. Victor never married Omi because of threats that the Draconis March would secede, though it was never clear what role, if any, Duke James played. Following the secession of the Lyran Alliance in 3057, Sandoval used the threat of the Draconis Combine as a catalyst to unite the people of his March.
In 3059, Victor led a task force to the Clan homeworlds. He left his little sister Yvonne as regent. In the fall of 3060, Katherine usurped this regency from her sister. She immediately sought to appease the Sandovals in order to consolidate her power.
In the early 3060s, James Sandoval became close to Arthur Steiner-Davion, who attended the Robinson Battle Academy. He befriended the young Steiner-Davion scion and began influence him. In 3062, James' son Tancred returned to Robinson to visit. James and Tancred had grown distant with Tancred's duties on New Avalon and because of his loyalty to Archon-Prince Victor. Tancred confronted James about his growing influence over Arthur, specially seeding him with resentment toward the Draconis Combine.
Rogue elements from the Draconis Combine raided Robinson, Markab, and Doneval II in October 3062. Combined with the assassination of Arthur on 6 December, James became completely convinced that was the plot of his hated enemy. He launched a major military campaign against key Combine worlds. Tancred refused to lead First Robinson Rangers because he believed the true threat to the March and Federated Commonwealth was Katherine Steiner-Davion.
Katherine Steiner-Davion's Loyalist forces attacked the March world of Woodbine. James attempted to respond, only to find his son Tancred had already rescued the nobility of the world. His slow response to the Woodbine ducal family's pleas for help weakened his position with the nobles under him.
Beginning in 3065, the Combine was able to counter the March's invasion and launched a counter-invasion of their own. Emotional and mental stress took a toll on James, and he became delusional to the realities of his invasion and state of affairs of his beloved nation.
Death and afterward
Philosophical or political views
James' upbringing gave him a belief in civic duty, to the Suns and Commonwealth as a whole, but more particularly to the Draconis March. That upbringing combined with his time at Robinson Battle Academy and his life experience on the border left him with a deep mistrust, and possibly even hatred, of the Draconis Combine.
|Duke of Robinson
| Succeeded by|
|Minister & Field Marshal of Draconis March
| Succeeded by|
- Field Manual: Federated Suns, pp. 32-33, "DMI Profile DC62-RS22331U"
- FedCom Civil War (sourcebook), p. 179, "Revelations"
- Historical: War of 3039, pp. 24-25, "Field Marshal Duke James Sandoval"
- House Davion (The Federated Suns), p. 181
- Field Manual: Federated Suns, p. 91, "1st FedCom RCT"
- Historical: War of 3039, p. 11
- Historical: War of 3039, pp. 42-44, "Marduk (May-July)"
- Historical: War of 3039, pp. 91-93, "Marduk (August - October)"
- Historical: War of 3039, pp. 112-113, "Breed (July - November)"
- Historical: War of 3039, p. 130, "Aftermath"
- FedCom Civil War, pp. 22-25, "Rise of the March Lords"
- FedCom Civil War, p. 16, "Civil War Timeline"
- Patriots and Tyrants
- FedCom Civil War, p. 21, "Robinson" & "Markab and Doneval II"
- FedCom Civil War, p. 43, "War Within the Draconis Combine"
- Patriots and Tyrants
- FedCom Civil War, pp. 79-80, "Woodbine"
- FedCom Civil War, p. 132, "Draconis Combine"