Saratoga (Individual WarShip)
The Saratoga was a WarShip that served in the Star League Defense Force black water navy as the SLS Saratoga during the Star League Civil War. The Saratoga was the lead ship of a six-ship squadron operating as a part of the Sixteenth Fleet under the overall command of Admiral Kerron Sukhanov in 2776 when the Sixteenth Fleet joined the Twelfth Fleet in the SLDF assault on the vital industrial and agricultural world of Keid conducted as a part of Operation CHIEFTAIN.
The Keid system had solid and dangerous naval defenses, defenses which included an SDS, roving inspection teams of marines, heavy naval patrols and patrols made by Caspar drone squadrons. Despite that, the system had also been heavily infiltrated by SLDF loyalist forces; for years, elements of the Secret Fleet had been inserting themselves into the system via pirate points to conduct intelligence-gathering missions and to mount supply runs in support of the resistance elements of the planet. That meant that despite the efforts Amaris Empire forces went to as they tried to keep the system secure, Keid was actually one of the least secure systems in the occupied Terran Hegemony.
The importance Keid held as both an industrial and agricultural powerhouse made it an important target for Operation CHIEFTAIN, but the wide range of critical targets in the system meant that the invading SLDF task force would have to split its focus. In advance of the assault the SLDF used assistance from the Secret Fleet to insert marine strike teams into the system over the course of several months. General Aleksandr Kerensky also drew on the tactics of the Reunification War and recruited several regiments of volunteers, who were given rudimentary marine training and who would deploy inside the system along with the invasion forces to secure many of the secondary space installations held by the AEAF.
The main part of the initial assault fell to the Twelfth and Sixteenth fleets, who would be responsible for securing the nadir and zenith jump points and neutralizing the hostile naval assets in the system to enable the Fifteenth Army to begin ground operations. The two Fleets had years of electronic intelligence gathered by the Secret Fleet to draw on, and as a result were able to quickly neutralize the manned defenses at the two jump points, with the Twelfth Fleet under Vice Admiral Els Cainero responsible for the nadir point and the Sixteenth Fleet - including the Saratoga's squadron - taking responsibility for the zenith jump point.
Unfortunately for the Saratoga, a mistake made by SLDF Captain Ronald Rico left the Saratoga and her squadron out of place during the initial assault and isolated for the first twenty minutes of battle. This proved a critical mistake - one that the Caspar drones took advantage of, with a number of drones quickly moving to attack the Saratoga and her escorts. This weakened the Caspar fleet at the zenith point enough to allow Admiral Sukhanov and the remainder of the Sixteenth Fleet to bull through the drone fleet and then move to rescue the Saratoga, but by the time the remainder of the Sixteenth Fleet linked up with the Saratoga her escort vessels had all been destroyed by drone attacks and the Saratoga had been crippled.
- Historical: Liberation of Terra Volume 2, p. 50-51, "Eruption"