Second Hidden War
The Second Hidden War, also known as the War of Davion Succession or First Council War, was a full-scale war fought between House Kurita and House Davion from 2725 to 2729 over the question of succession to the throne of First Prince of the Federated Suns. The war ultimately ended with the intervention of the Star League and its declaration in favor of House Davion, however it resulted in the death of First Prince Joseph Davion and revealed weaknesses in the strategy and tactics of the AFFS.
The trouble began when Mary Davion, first child of Roger Davion and Mary Chandler, fell in love with Soto Kurita, the youngest son of Urizen Kurita, during an embassy to Luthien in 2696. The two were married in 2698 and Mary Davion-Kurita went to live with Sota in the Draconis Combine, bearing three children for him. Fearing that these heirs to House Davion would be raised as Kuritas, Prince Roger passed the Act of Succession in 2700, forbidding Mary or her children from assuming the throne of First Prince, which she signed two years later. Mary's younger brother Joseph Davion would assume the title on Roger's death in 2703
However, in 2715, at the death of Mary Davion-Kurita, Takiro Kurita came forth and presented evidence to the High Council of the Star League that Mary had never signed the Act of Succession, and indeed had intended Joseph to act as Regent until Vincent Kurita was rightful age to assume the throne. Not wanting to see the League splinter over the issue, First Lord Jonathan Cameron appointed an investigatory committee to examine the issue, with further warnings that if Joseph died before the matter was decided, he would rule in favor of House Davion. However, after the committee had failed to come to a conclusion after eight years, Takiro Kurita took matters into his own hands and invaded the Federated Suns in 2725 with the attack on Marduk by the 11th Benjamin Regulars.
Still plagued by prophetic visions of Terra burning, First Lord Jonathan refused to commit the SLDF to stop the fighting, leaving the Federated Suns to fend for itself. Prince Joseph, without considering all the implications, ordered the commander of the Draconis March, General Kessem, to launch a deep strike into Draconis Combine territory. General Kessem got as far as Ludwig before running into significant opposition, and the realization that the Kuritas were launching their own deep strike towards New Avalon. Fortunately, Kessem was able to conquer Ludwig after a one-year campaign, forcing the over-extended Kurita advance to halt.
Meanwhile, impatience with the First Lord's refusal to intervene was growing within the Court of the Star League, with Commanding General Ikolor Fredasa as the head of a growing conspiracy. General Fredasa attempted to convince Jonathan's sister, Jocasta Cameron, to take over as First Lord. When she refused, Ikolor began to spread rumors that she was planning a coup against her brother. Enraged by this false rumor, First Lord Jonathan discovered the plotters and had General Fredasa and his co-conspirators executed for treason. Ironically, the episode convinced the First Lord that he needed help ruling the Star League, and turned to his sister for frequent advice, making Jocasta the de facto First Lord.
At the same time, another civil war began over succession in the Free Worlds League, and House Liao and House Steiner urged the Star League to intervene militarily. However, Jocasta saw through their deception, rightly guessing that they wanted to make a play for Terran Hegemony worlds, and had the civil war declared an internal matter for House Marik. Jocasta had her close friend, Rebecca Fetladral, made the new CnC of the SLDF and begin working on a plan to end the War of Davion Succession.
After the conquest of Ludwig, General Kessem was forced to abandon his advance into Combine territory due to increased resistance and merge together with Prince Joseph's Crucis March forces, which were re-occupying conquered worlds. The two linked up in 2729 in the Royal system, catching Combine forces off-guard and inflicting heavy casualties. However, in another rash decision, Prince Joseph personally led his forces in the counter-attack from his Marauder. The prince's BattleMech was disabled in the fight, and a malfunctioning escape mechanism trapped Joseph within his 'Mech as Kurita forces surrounded and killed him. With the death of the First Prince, Federated Suns forces withdrew in a costly defeat from Royal.
However, before Kurita forces could exploit their advantage, the Star League finally intervened with the launch of Operation Smother. Five SLDF divisions were dispatched to the contested worlds of Royal, Breed, Klathandu IV, Lima and Wapakoneta: the 26th Royal BattleMech Division, 159th Royal Mechanized Infantry Division, 39th Royal BattleMech Division, 160th BattleMech Division and 1st Jump Infantry Division. The sudden and simultaneous arrival of SLDF forces shocked both Houses into inaction, and their landings on all five worlds went uncontested. On Breed, Combine forces attempted to retaliate against the First Jump Division, but were severely outclassed and quickly defeated. The same happened on Royal, where a young Captain Aleksandr Kerensky led forces of the 160th Division to victory, and the war was officially ended. First Lord Jonathan censured both sides, but directed the brunt of his condemnation on the Draconis Combine, restoring the borders to their pre-war positions and denying the Kurita's claim to the Davion throne forever.
Though House Davion had won its claim, it had come at great cost. The First Prince had been killed due to his rashness and, aside from General Kessem, the leadership of AFFS had proved to be equally ineffective. It had also discovered treachery on the part of House Kurita, not only in forging the evidence which had started the war, but in breaking the Council Edict of 2650 by secretly increasing the size of its Household Army. Learning their lesson, the new First Prince Richard Davion and the other Great Lords used loopholes in the law to began increasing their own military forces. Richard would never forgive the Star League for taking so long to intervene, while the Kuritas would not forget the discrimination and shame heaped on them in defeat, which would later prove to cause further problems for the Star League and start the events which would lead to its downfall.
- House Davion (The Federated Suns), p. 55-57
- The Star League, p. 63-65