SLDF Task Force Canopus
|SLDF Task Force Canopus|
|Unit Profile (as of 2577)|
|Parent Formation||Star League Defense Force|
SLDF Task Force Canopus was the task force assigned to the conquest of the Magistracy of Canopus by the Star League and which was disbanded when the war was over, with part of the Task Force becoming the occupying garrison for the Magistracy. 
In the buildup to the Reunification War the Star League assembled a task force for each of the anticipated theatres the war was expected to be fought in - SLDF Task Force Taurus, focussed on the Taurian Concordat; SLDF Task Force Outworlds, focussed on the Outworlds Alliance, and SLDF Task Force Canopus, focussed on the Magistracy of Canopus. SLDF Task Force Canopus was built largely around the SLDF VII Corps, the largest of the SLDF corps to have formed by the beginning of the Reunification War and the only corps to be commanded by a member of a House military - Captain-General Marion Marik. With the Taurian Concordat chosen to be the first of the Periphery states to be annexed by the Star League, only VII Corps was assigned to the planned campaign against the Magistracy of Canopus. VII Corps was larger than any two or even three other SLDF corps, but the decision was made to further augment VII Corps through the addition of an auxiliary corps drawn from the FWLM. Although this auxiliary corps was technically only the same size as an SLDF reinforced division, consisting of 12 BattleMech regiments, it was given the designation of the 1st Marik Auxiliary Corps and placed under the command of General Ian Marik, son of Marion Marik. The two corps thereby formed SLDF Task Force Canopus.
Although the war against the Magistracy officially began in 2577, preparations had begun several years early and a so-called "Phony War" existed between 2575 and 2577 where the various intelligence agencies from the Terran Hegemony, Star League, Free Worlds League and the Magistracy sparred with each other and Task Force Canopus mustered. Although strong on paper, Task Force Canopus lacked both mobility and supplies - transport vessels in particular were a problem, limiting the ability of the task force to move troops between supply and garrison worlds... not to mention mustering worlds and invasion targets.
What had been intended to be a relatively brief campaign soon hit various problems that forces the Task Force to change plans and strategies several times. The Task Force struck at six worlds in the first year - Gouderak, Umka, Restitution, Cranston, Butzfleth and Vakarel. Several of these campaigns highlighted problems with the proposed campaign; Gouderak was an arid, desert world that was easily conquered, but which demonstrated that plans to "live off the land" would be difficult due to a lack of resources on a number of under-developed Magistracy worlds. At Cranston and Restitution the Magistracy Armed Forces played an elaborate bait-and-switch, rapidly moving garrisons between worlds to hit the SLDF troops with -unexpected numbers and in unanticipated ways, a tactic that became a veritable watchword for the MAF campign strategy. Then, the Magistracy Navy struck at the SLDF units at Vakarel weeks after the system was believed to be largely clear, badly damaging a number of transport ships and destroying multiple DropShips and their embarked troops.
These setbacks and problems forced the pace of the proposed campaign to slow, and forced the SLDF to restrict the number of transport movements made to those that could be protected by WarShip escorts, limiting the number of possible planetary invasions that could be launched. This slowed the campaign considerably, with Captain-General Marik targeting just three worlds in 2578, all former Free Worlds League planets that had defected to the Magistracy in the 2550s and all of which were occupied by relative ease, but the MAF wasn't content with just slowing the campaign. The commander of the MAF, Colonel Adam Buquoy, had realised how dependent the Task Force was on the extended supply chains running back into the Free Worlds League and Capellan Confederation, and over the course of the year launched several raids specifically targeting supply worlds believed to be safe. The worlds of Saonara, Granera and Ayn Tarma were all hit with regiment-level raids, but the most devastating raid came at the world of Meadowvale, where four mercenary units and the bulk of the Magistracy Navy struck and destroyed numerous supply camps. This tactic forced the Task Force to slow it's campaign even further as resources were tied up augmenting planetary garrisons and protecting supply bases, camps and routes.
Despite these setbacks, the Task Force continued to inexorably annex worlds across the Magistracy, with 2579-2583 being dominated by efforts to encircle and isolate the Magistracy capital, Canopus IV, while also attacking the ability of the MAF to fight. Two hammer blows were struck in 2582-2583, the first being a strike at the industrial world of Tetski that cost the MAF one of it's largest BattleMech repair and refit facilities outside Canopus, and the second being a carefully planned ambush that lured the bulk of the Magistracy Navy and several regiments of troops into the Thurrock system on a mission to repeat kind of strike performed at Meadowvale, only to overwhelm the Magistracy forces with a massive WarShip deployment that resulted in all of the Magistracy vessels being captured or destroyed and all three regiments captured.
In 2584 the Task Force launched a major invasion against Canopus IV using almost half it's strength, capturing the world and the Magestrix after several weeks of gruelling warfare, and signalling the beginning of the end for the Magistracy. Although the MAF refused to surrender and continued to fight against the Task Force, the various MAF units lacked WarShip escorts, transport vessels and resources and were slowly pinned down and destroyed as the Task Force took world after world. The final battle of the war was fought on Kossandra's Memory in 2588 and resulted in the last surviving MAF units surrendering. Throughout the war both sides had fought largely within the terms of the Ares Convention, making the campaign a remarkably civilised affair and one with a much lower casualty rate than the operations in other theatres.
Although the SLDF Task Force Canopus served as an operational command for more than a decade, it was a temporary organization just like the other Task Forces, and was disbanded at some point after the Reunification War. VII Corps became the de facto occupation force of the Magistracy, while the 1st Marik Auxiliary Corps disbanded with the various regiments rejoining the FWLM formations.
The Commanding Officer of the Task Force was Captain-General Marion Marik, who also served as the CO for VII Corps. The CO of the 1st Marik Auxiliary Corps was General Ian Marik, who commanded the Corps from 2577 to 2584.
- 12 BattleMech regiments
- WarShip Flotilla
- 60 WarShips
Colors and Unit Insignia
The force strength for VII Corps during the Reunification War given in Historical: Reunification War is completely disproportionate to the size of the other established corps detailed in the same sourcebook; other corps at full strength consist of 9 regiments each of BattleMechs, armor and infantry plus 3 regiments of AeroSpace Fighters.
A question was raised on the Catalyst Game Labs forum asking for clarification and received the following response:
|“|| Yep, it's high and suggests that each VII Corps brigade had the equivalent of 3 regiments of 'Mechs (plus conventional forces). There is a reference to the VIIth being overstrength in "The League's Might". The current force listing isn't explicit on the strength of each division though, so it's not always clear how big the VII is.
(As an aside, the size of VII corps is a conceit to reconcile the existing figures for the force sent against Canopus with this only being a single Corps; the assumption is that Marian 'used her authority' as a council member to best advantage and hoovered up a chunk of the reserves)
|— Chris Hartford, Historical: Reunification War writer|
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 95, "SLDF Task Force Canopus"
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 30, "VII Corps"
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 96, "The Canopian Campaign"
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 96, "The Phony War (2575-2577)"
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 97, "Gouderak (June 2577)"
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 97-98, "Restitution and Cranston (October-November 2577)"
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 98, "Butzfleth and Vakarel (October-November 2577)"
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 148, "Magistracy Of Canopus Front (Jump-Off - 2582)"
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 150, "Magistracy Of Canopus Front (Jump-Off - 2582)"
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 99, "Meadowvale (January 2583)"
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 101-102, "Tetski (September-November 2582)"
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 149, "Magistracy Of Canopus Front (2583-2588)"
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 151, "Magistracy Of Canopus Front (2583-2588)"
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 102-103, "Thurrock (July 2583)"
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 103-105, "Canopus (March-April 2584)"
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 105, "Mopping Up (2584-2588)"
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 65, "SLDF Task Force Taurus"