Concord of Kapteyn
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Signed on 13 October 3022 but finalized only on 10 August 3024, the Concord of Kapteyn (also called the Treaty of Kapteyn or the Kapteyn Accords) was a three-sided agreement between Houses Kurita, Marik and Liao that called for an end to hostilities and mutual support in training and intelligence. It was meant to counterbalance the formation of the powerful Federated Commonwealth alliance by Houses Steiner and Davion.
The shaky alliance failed to truly reconcile Houses Marik and Liao, however, who continued to raid each other with deniable mercenary assets. In the Fourth Succession War, whatever military strategy the Concord may have had (if any) was rendered ineffective by the Steiner-Davion surprise assault upon Liao and Kurita.
Historical background and context
As the Third Succession War was slowly grinding to a halt—not due to any peace agreements but simply because total exhaustion had reduced the fighting to objective raids and small border skirmishes—Katrina Steiner issued a call for peace to the other great Houses. Only Hanse Davion replied, yet he went so far as to suggest an alliance between Steiner's Lyran Commonwealth and his Federated Suns that would be cemented by his marriage to Katrina's daughter Melissa Steiner. The talks were moderated by ComStar messengers and the historic FedCom Accords document was signed on Hilton Head Island, Terra, (the seat of ComStar's First Circuit) in 3022.
Information about this upcoming alliance reached the other Houses (unbeknownst to all involved, ComStar leaked the information on purpose). As ComStar had hoped, this promted the others into making their own alliance as a counterweight. Through the ISF director Subhash Indrahar the Draconis Combine arranged a meeting between Coordinator Takashi Kurita, Captain-General Janos Marik of the Free Worlds League and Chancellor Maximilian Liao of the Capellan Confederation for a week in September 3022 at the Terran Alps retreat of Elmau. Marik initially refused to even consider to ally the Free Worlds League with House Liao's Capellan Confederation, who had incited the devastating Marik Civil War in 3014, but Kurita coldly pointed out that the League needed the Combine's military support in any future war with the Steiner-Davion alliance. Faced with the prospect of standing alone against the nascent Federated Commonwealth, Marik caved in and agreed to the alliance.
The treaty was finally signed on 13th October 3022 at "Kapteyn" (explicitly at Elmau according to later sources, suggesting that Kapteyn might be a place at Elmau; alternatively, the name might refer to the otherwise unmapped Capellan world of Kapteyn that is only mentioned in the MechWarrior, First Edition RPG rulebook).
Results and Legacy
The modest benefits that the Concord of Kapteyn brought include a relatively low-level technology exchange program, and trade agreements for BattleMechs, research results and similar sensitive items and information. The following are known aspects or results of the Concord of Kapteyn:
- The Free Worlds League purchased BattleMechs from the Draconis Combine, including Marauders and Dragons, and in turn produced the HER-4K Hermes II variant (known as the Hermes III) for export to the Combine and sold them sensitive information about the Federated Suns. The League also refitted Combine BattleMechs, most notably Theodore Kurita’s Orion.
- The Draconis Combine and the Capellan Confederation began a technology exchange program to remedy the similar design faults on their disk-winged AeroSpace Fighter designs, the Sholagar and the Thrush respectively, but it did not stop the Sholagar from being phased out eventually.
- A limited trade was established between the League and the Confederation. The former provided sophisticated targeting systems and other electronics, alloys and light Galleon tanks to the latter and received much needed PPCs as well as laser pistols and hovercraft, among other items, in turn.
- According to apocryphal information, the Draconis Combine purchased a functional prototype of the abortive Linesman BattleMech project from the Capellans just prior to the Fourth Succession War. Called Nainokami, it was said to be the inspiration for the outwardly identical Daboku design which in turn evolved into the Mauler.
On a political level, however, the mistrust between the unruly Free Worlds League and the Capellan Confederation continued to linger, and if the Concord of Kapteyn had ever been intended to actually function as a military alliance then it was a failure in that respect. It did, however, pacify the Marik/Liao border to some degree and freed up forces to be stationed along the Steiner and Davion borders, respectively, which in turn tied up enemy forces there and thus took pressure off House Kurita. It was Kurita who stood to gain most from the Concord, as his realm lay between the Steiner and Davion realms like a wedge and feared a unified enemy on two thirds of its borders. As such, the Draconis Combine was the obvious first target of the Steiner-Davion alliance.
However, in the Fourth Succession War that the united Federated Commonwealth launched six years later, the main thrust was actually directed against the Capellan Confederation. Weakened from within by a high-ranking double agent it was utterly devastated and overrun, losing around half of its star systems and left in shambles after the war. House Marik initially refused to honor its treaty obligations, offering desultory aid to the Capellans, and only at the insistent urging of Kurita did the League finally attempt to open a second front against House Steiner. This League offensive was ineffectual, while Takashi Kurita was goaded into making ineffective assaults against Wolf’s Dragoons on their Davion border that effectively neutralized the Combine as a threat to the Federated Suns during the war.
Thus, the diffidence of Janos Marik and the obsessive private war of Takashi Kurita prevented either the League or the Combine from aiding the Capellans, or each other. As a result, the Concord utterly failed to prevent the nascent Federated Commonwealth from crushing the Confederation and mauling the Combine. While Theodore Kurita later managed to neutralize most of House Steiner's gains through the creation of the Free Rasalhague Republic, the Concord played no role in this. Nor were the other two members in any position to attack the Combine's enemies during the War of 3039 or the Clan Invasion.
While the tripartite alliance was thus effectively moribund after the Fourth Succession War, the Concord of Kapteyn never technically expired, nor was it ever formally canceled by the signatory parties. After the War of 3039 the Draconis Combine supplied Listen-Kill Missile technology (and the countermeasures) to the League and the Confederation in an attempt to rekindle the Concord of Kapteyn. The Concord would also be revived in spirit during the 3050s when Sun-Tzu Liao and Thomas Marik signed several treaties benefitting their respective realms.
- This cooperation agreement was already mentioned (although not in name) in the core rule book of the first BattleTech boardgame, as is the fledgling Davion/Steiner alliance.
- When asked, BT author and line developer Herbert A. Beas II confirmed that
- the meaning of the name is lost to antiquity;
- the correct spelling is "Concord of Kapteyn", and not Kapetyn as it is often misspelled.
- Kapteyn is listed as a House Liao world in the random encounter tables on p. 106 of MechWarrior: The BattleTech Role Playing Game.