Operation STEEL HAMMER
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Operation: Steel Hammer was a military operation conducted by the Word of Blake during the early years of the Jihad against the Lyran Alliance. The operation disrupted the Alliance's economic and industrial resources.
The Hesperus II operation was conducted in phases. In the first phase, the Sixteenth and Twenty-second Divisions conducted extensive raiding against the planet's defenders which began in 3068. Over the course of approximately two years, elements of the Light of Mankind were inserted on the planet, using the raids as a cover.
In 3070, a Blakist invasion force arrived in the form of the Thirty-eighth Division and the Fortieth Shadow Division. This force was escorted by the Lola III Class Destroyer, WoBS End of Wisdom, and a reinforced Level II of Pocket WarShips. The invasion's escort fleet overwhelmed and destroyed the Lyran Fox-class corvette LAS Melissa Steiner, effectively blockading the planet. The two divisions landed on the planet, where the Fortieth led a lightning strike against the factory's defenders and quickly overwhelmed them. The Blakists brought in Terran technicians to begin updating and running the factory for their forces. This resulted in improving the factory's output. Various Blakist military units used the factory to refit and resupply themselves during this time period. Devlin Stone's Coalition struck Hesperus II in November, 3074 against the Thirty-eighth Division and the Fortieth Shadow Divisions for control of the planet. Badly mauled, these units withdrew from the planet. It is speculated that survivors of the Fortieth Shadow may have gone to ground to conduct sabotage efforts against the planet's controls.
The Blakists used similar methods for the invasion of Donegal as those used on Hesperus. In 3068 the Second Division conducted raids against the planet three times. The Second's raids helped seed a Level II of troops, some ROM agents, and tactical nuclear weapons onto Donegal.
The Second led the invasion force in 3070 where they conducted a full-fledged invasion of the planet and its orbital complexes. While the orbital complexes fell to Blakist forces easily, the ground invasion took weeks of heavy attacks on civilian centers and industrial complexes of the planet to seize control over the world. The planet's remaining resources were put online to supply the Word with needed resources to resupply its fighting units. In the same year, a small Lyran relief force attempted to break the blockade. Led by the Fox-class LAS Ian McQuiston, the relief force was forced to withdraw by the Vincent-class corvette WoBS Blake's Redemption. The Second Division was relieved of its garrison duties and replaced by the Eighteenth and Thirty-first Divisions, and the Fiftieth Shadow Division.
In February 3072 ComStar Precentor Martial Victor Davion led an allied force consisting of Clan Wolf-in-Exile, ComStar and Lyran forces to liberate Donegal. The Blakist elite forces concentrated their fire power on the ComStar and Clan forces, while mistakenly ignoring the Lyran units. While causing heavy damage to the allied forces, the Blakists were forced to quit the planet. They set off two nuclear devices at key industrial complexes after withdrawing.
In 3068, the Word of Blake's 30th Division, backed up by the Aegis Class WarShip, WoBS Immortal Spirit, attacked the system in an effective invasion of the planet. Coventry fell to the invaders in a matter of days, despite the 30th reportedly using only two Level-III formations to secure the planet. The planet's HPG was knocked out during the battle. All resistance was broken by 3071, with Blakist forces using a minimum staff to run the intact Coventry Metal Works. They used the factory during their occupation to refit several military commands. It was not until 3074 when two raiding forces from Devlin Stone's coalition forces consisting of the LAAF and Clan Jade Falcon liberated the planet. In the process, the two allied forces' commanders argued over who had the honors of certain parts of their mission. The Falcon's Aegis Heavy Cruiser, CJF Red Talon fought a heavy battle with the Immortal Spirit. The allied forces managed to disable and capture the Blakist WarShip. On the surface, allied forces fought against three of the 30th's Level IIIs in and around Coventry's capital. The fight ended four days later with the Coalition being victorious. In the system, the allies managed to capture an unusual prize, the Newgrange Class Yardship, WoBS Blake's Mercy which was servicing the Spirit at the time.
- Jihad Secrets: The Blake Documents, pp. 103-104 - "40th Shadow Division unit profile".
- Jihad Secrets: The Blake Documents, p. 24 - "Operation: Steel Hammer" - Donegal
- Jihad Secrets: The Blakist Documents, pp. 24-25 - "Coventry"