New Vandenberg Uprising
The New Vandenberg Uprising was a rebellion that took place from 2765 to 2766. Begun with the secession of New Vandenberg and several other worlds from the Star League, it would engulf a majority of the Periphery in heavy, brutal fighting against the Star League Defense Force. The fighting would end in a ceasefire with the onset of the Amaris Civil War, for which it had been part of an elaborate plot by Stefan Amaris to facilitate his coup.
Those living within the Periphery had long felt hostility towards the Star League and Inner Sphere in general, stemming from their defeat in the Reunification War, though anti-League feelings rose and fell over the years. Terrorist attacks and revolts (and their secret backing by member-states) tended to be more frequent when oppressive measures were enacted by the League. Such was the case with the passage of the Taxation Edict of 2763 by First Lord Richard Cameron, placing a heavy financial burden on the Periphery states. When several of the states simply refused to pay the new taxes, Lord Richard ordered General Aleksandr Kerensky to take charge personally of the situation and reinforce the region with more troops. The equivalent of 98 divisions were stationed in the Periphery Military Region.
While in the Periphery, General Kerensky had a meeting with Lord Richard's closest adviser, Stefan Amaris, in 2764, though the two had been at odds with each other regarding influence over the young First Lord. Amaris, as a peace offering to mend the fragile relationship between the two, offered Kerensky detailed information about the Taurian Freedom Army, one of the most intractable terrorist groups operating within the Taurian Concordat. Acting on his advice, Kerensky attacked the TFA's stronghold on Camadeirre and captured not only the group's leadership, but incriminating evidence they were being supported by the Concordat's government.
Despite the dismantling of the TFA, terrorist activities in the region continued to rise, and by the dawn of 2765 many loyal systems had turned anti-League. The worst of these attacks was the bombing of Fort Simpson, home of the 265th Heavy Assault Regiment, by a nuclear device hidden within a car. Only within the Rim Worlds Republic was there very little terrorist activity, which was quickly stamped out by the local military.
Events came to a head when New Vandenberg and seventeen other Taurian worlds, with the blessing of President Nicoletta Calderon, announced their secession from the Star League while remaining part of the Concordat. Hoping to put down the rebellion quickly without bloodshed, General Kerensky traveled to New Vandenberg and ordered the militia units stationed there to stand down, thinking them still loyal and that such an act would inspire others to defuse the situation. The militia units refused, and the incident had the opposite effect of inspiring defiance elsewhere in the Periphery and making negotiations with the rebels more difficult.
While on patrol, a vehicle carrying a squad from the 1st French Regiment broke down in front of Fort Gorki, a militia regimental base. Anxious and assuming the worst, a patrolling militia platoon opened fire on the soldiers and killed them all in a running battle. The First Regiment's commander, Lieutenant General Dominique Petain, had no intention of retaliating, knowing that her friend Kerensky's negotiations hung in the balance. The Taurians, again assuming the worst, waited thirty tense hours for the retaliatory attack before launching their own assault. The Battle of Fort Gorki was costly and resulted in a SLDF victory due to their superior technology and training; however it was a strategic loss as news of the battle triggered rebellion on worlds all across the Periphery.
Uprising in the Periphery
Within the three realms of the Taurian Concordat, Magistracy of Canopus and the Outworlds Alliance, SLDF units found themselves suddenly isolated on hostile planets. Only seven units, having witnessed the injustices suffered by Periphery citizens, chose to side with the rebels, while the rest remained loyal. For most SLDF forces, their only enemies were regiments of brave but untrained rebel infantry, as most militia units chose to stand off and wait. During the first month of the uprising, suicide attacks were the primary method of attack for the Periphery rebels; one of the most infamous occurred when the battleship SLS Nebraska was destroyed when a fuel-laden cargo ship detonated inside her cargo hold.
The waiting ended with the sudden arrival of dozens of BattleMech divisions that launched simultaneous attacks on the entrenched SLDF units. For the past five years, unrestricted 'Mech construction and secret training centers had resulted in the rebels' creation of fifty full 'Mech divisions. Many SLDF units suffered devastating blows as these new Periphery Divisions launched suicidal headhunter missions, killing the local military commanders. General Kerensky himself was nearly killed by such an effort when his headquarters on New Vandenberg was attacked by a battalion of enemy 'Mechs and supporting units. Kerensky was able to escape, thanks in part to his skills while piloting an Atlas and to the timely arrival of a Fortress DropShip.
As the General retreated from New Vandenberg, he ordered all SLDF units in the outer districts of the nearby Inner Sphere military regions to move with all haste to reinforce the Periphery. Their positions would be filled by units stationed in the inner districts and the Terran Military Region, a move that left Terra dangerously exposed with less than ten divisions in the Terran Hegemony. It was at this point that First Lord Richard revealed his secret treaty with Amaris, allowing for Republican forces to enter the Hegemony and provide for its defense. Reaction to this plan was very negative, especially from Kerensky himself, however the Rim Worlds Republic had proven itself loyal thus far, especially when it repulsed an invading Periphery 'Mech division at the Battle of Gotterdammerung. With Richard's permission, Republican forces were moved in to take up defensive positions around Terra.
First Lord Richard also called upon the other Great Houses to use their military forces to assist the SLDF in putting down the rebellion. They refused, partly because the First Lord had disbanded the High Council over the disastrous Executive Order 156 incident, partly because they felt his taxation edict had been largely responsible for the rebellion. Still, at the request of General Kerensky, they did provide transportation and other services to SLDF units moving through their territory towards the front.
However, most of the new units ordered into the Periphery would not arrive in time to save their embattled brethren. 50 divisions and regiments were cut-off from outside support during the Uprising, with many were forced into their bases for a final stand. After surrounded and given the opportunity to surrender, an offer most refused, they were wiped out through nuclear bombardment. 13 entire divisions and 18 regiments were annihilated in this manner. By the end of 2765, more than half of the original forces stationed in the Periphery had been lost or so severely beaten that they had to be disbanded, and General Kerensky was forced to retreat back to the Inner Sphere, where he began to prepare for an offensive with a massive mobilization of the SLDF. In January of 2766 he launched an attack to retake the Taurian Concordat, an invasion that would involve one-half to three-fourths of the entire SLDF. By January of 2767 Kerensky had finally gained the upper-hand, and with the capture of New Vandenberg the Concordat leadership was ready to give in. By this point Kerensky had lost the equivalent of 140 divisions, nearly a million soldiers, in the conquest of the Concordat.
On December 27, 2766, Stefan Amaris launched his coup, killing Richard and the entire Cameron family while his forces, already positioned within the Hegemony, conquered 95 of its 103 worlds within the day. Surprise had been complete and total, with many of the few remaining SLDF units wiped out in nuclear attacks. It was Amaris who had been secretly supporting terrorist groups within the Periphery and triggered the uprising, all so that he could position his Republican forces to conquer the Hegemony in one swift stroke. Efforts to appear loyal, such as giving Kerensky information about the TFA or the (revealed to be fictitious) Battle of Gotterdammerung, had all been a misdirection. The whole uprising was part of a conspiracy years in the making, started when Amaris befriended Richard in 2753, driven by Amaris' desire to avenge imagined "wrongs" done to his family by the Star League.
News of what had transpired reached Kerensky after the fall of New Vandenberg, its impact shocking him and the other leaders of the Great Houses into inaction. Kerensky was still embroiled in heavy fighting in the Periphery, in the cause of a nation which no longer existed. In May of that year, when Amaris ordered Kerensky to return to the "Amaris Empire" and join him, Kerensky finally had his response. A ceasefire was declared, ending the New Vandenberg Uprising, so that the SLDF could concentrate on the conquest of the Rim Worlds Republic, to serve as a base of operation for the liberation of Terra.
- The Star League, p. 76
- The Star League, p. 79
- The Star League, p. 77
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- The Star League, p. 83-84
- The Star League, p. 84-85