16th Mechanized Infantry Division
|16th Mechanized Infantry Division|
|Unit Profile (as of 2764)|
|Parent Formation||XLIII Corps|
The Sixteenth Mechanized Infantry Division was a part of the Star League Defense Force Regular Army.
One of the units established as an early part of the SLDF following the creation of the Star League, the Sixteenth was initially assigned to VI Corps, serving alongside the Seventeenth Royal Division and the Eighteenth Division.
With the Rim Worlds Republic in a state of civil war from 2575 onward, the Star League was forced to send troops to restore the authority of First Consul Gregory Amaris. The operation was named Operation MAILED FIST and began with a troop buildup along the border between the Lyran Commonwealth and the Rim Worlds Republic; in 2579 military operations began, and Treeline was one of the first targets. Anticipating a quick victory over the Eighth Amaris Dragoons, who had sided with the Rim Provisional Government, the Star League Defense Force deployed the Sixteenth Mechanized Infantry Division to conquer Treeline.
The deployment of the Sixteenth was deliberately provocative, as the SLDF wanted to gauge the abilities of the Republican forces; the initial landings were uncontested, with the Sixteenth quickly seizing Felsonville and with it Treeline's administration and communication hubs. The Eighth Dragoons refused to surrender to the Sixteenth, and instead began a campaign of raids against the more numerous Sixteenth; while the Sixteenth had the advantage of both numbers and actual BattleMech forces - the Eighth being a regiment consisting of infantry and armor - the Eighth used their knowledge of the local terrain and their significant light armor forces to repeatedly launch quick strikes against the Sixteenth. The Eighth's campaign extended the battle for control of Treeline significantly beyond the SLDF's initial estimate of three weeks; it was three months before the SLDF felt that it had control of the worlds, and it was late December - a full seven months since the initial occupation of Felsonville - before the last Republican organized forces were rounded up.
Kikuyu was the garrison posting of the First Amaris Dragoons. The First Dragoons had lapsed into sectarian violence against each other, an internecine conflict sparked by the divided loyalties expressed within the Dragoons; when the SLDF launched the second wave of planetary campaigns as a part of MAILED FIST the internal conflict within the First Dragoons led the SLDF to believe that the conquest of Kikuyu would be a relatively short and easy affair.
The SLDF assigned the Sixteenth to the attack on Kikuyu; the Sixteenth landed in March 2584 and began combat operations, only to discover that their presence united the disparate elements of the First Dragoons by providing them with a common cause. Aided by irregulars raised from the civilian population, the heavily outnumbered First Dragoons turned the battle for Kikuyu into an extended campaign that didn't end until January 2585, almost a year after the initial landings. Casualties were high on both sides; the Rim Worlds losses amounted to thirty thousand people in total, two-thirds of whom were people who had joined the irregular formations that rose up after the SLDF landing. The Sixteenth had suffered two and a half thousand fatalities and another five and a half thousand injuries before the weary division finally secured the planet.
No major Rim Worlds Army units were known to be in place on Newtown Square, which meant that the planetary conquest was anticipated to involve only subjugating the local militias. General Isaacson assigned the Sixteenth to the campaign for Newtown Square in January 2588; the Sixteenth arrived in the Newtown Square system without anticipating any major surprises or setbacks, and within two weeks of making planetfall the Sixteenth was well on its way to neutering the local militias. As was standard operating doctrine for SLDF invasion forces during the campaign the Sixteenth had been escorted to Newtown Square by a WarShip contingent, in this case the cruiser-class SLS Rapacious and the frigate-class SLS Alacrity. While this doctrine was a security measure intended to protect the vulnerable transport ships from attacks by enemy naval forces, the RWA black water navy of the time consisted of just two destroyer-class and seven corvette-class WarShips, only one of which - a corvette crippled and boarded during the invasion of Finmark in 2586 - had been seen, and as a result the Republic navy had been largely dismissed as a threat.
The primary roadblock to the successful conquest of Newtown Square was discovered to be a complex of reinforced bunkers within the Ard Ri Mountains, a complex which was well protected by anti-air defenses and which was proving very difficult to attack by ground. With a determined defense in place proving difficult for the forces from the Sixteenth on the ground to defeat, the decision was made to have the Alacrity and the Rapacious subject the bunker complex to orbital bombardment to enable the Sixteenth to successfully prosecute the campaign, with the two WarShips promptly leaving the transport fleet behind and assuming an assault orbit to be able to conduct their bombardment.
What the SLDF hadn't realized was that the Admiral in charge of the Republic's black water navy, Admiral Hakim Wbika, knew full well that his small naval fleet would be easy prey for the SLDF WarShip fleet active within the Republic and had deliberately gathered the bulk of his ships together and kept them operating in secret, waiting for an opportunity to strike back against Task Force MAILED FIST. When Wbika was made aware of the situation on Newtown Square by agents on the planet, he decided that Newtown Square represented that opportunity he'd been looking for; mustering the Republic fleet in secret, Wbika used the redeployment of the Alacrity and the Rapacious to launch a devastating attack on the SLDF transport JumpShips and DropShips gathered at the system's zenith jump point. The resulting battle lasted sixty minutes and saw nineteen JumpShips and twenty-two DropShips destroyed, along with two complete regiments of infantry from the Sixteenth who had been embarked on various DropShips. None of the Republican WarShips were destroyed, and Wbika broke off the engagement to give his ships a chance to recharge their jump engines and try and escape the system.
Alerted to what had happened, the Alacrity and the Rapacious conducted their orbital bombardment as quickly as possible and made for the zenith jump point as fast as they could, keeping up punishing levels of acceleration in a determined effort to exact vengeance on the Republican fleet. It soon became obvious that the heavier SLDF WarShips would catch up with the lighter RWA fleet before the Republican ships would've been able to jump, leading Wbika to take his ships into the Newtown Shoals, a cometary debris field located in the outer reaches of the Newtown Square system. Wbika couldn't plan for the greater skill of the SLDF WarShips or the determination of their crews to destroy the Republican ships, and as a result the majority of the Republican fleet was caught and engaged within the debris field; one corvette managed to escape, and two more corvettes were disabled and captured. The remaining two destroyers and three corvettes were destroyed in battle, with one of the survivors being Wbika himself. When Wbika was recovered in an escape pod by the Rapacious he only narrowly escaped being lynched by the vengeful crew, and elements within the SLDF subsequently petitioned for Wbika to be put on trial for war crimes; fortunately for Wbika, General Isaacson knew that to charge Wbika with war crimes would expose others within Task Force MAILED FIST to similar charges due to their actions on various Republic worlds.
Illium was a personal holding of the Amaris family, famed for the ornate "topless towers" built in the capital city, Troy. Befitting its status Illium was garrisoned by the Tartan Brigade, a contingent of troops originally of Free Worlds League origin but now household troops of the Amaris family. The Tartan Brigade and their commanding officer, Colonel Gordon, remained loyal to Amaris throughout the civil war, and the Brigade spent the next decade in place on Illium.
The Sixteenth was assigned to the conquest of Illium in 2589 and landed on Illium in March, meeting immediate resistance from the Tartan Brigade. However, when faced with the prospect of bitter battles in the very streets of Troy itself, Gordon made the pragmatic decision to surrender his forces to the Sixteenth, rather than risk damaging the city; First Consul Gregory Amaris subsequently approved of the decision, personally decorating Gordon after the war.
The third planetary campaign for the Sixteenth in three years, the campaign for Gwynedd saw the Sixteenth go up against the Fourth Amaris Legionnaires. When the civil war erupted in 2575, a local Baron on Gwynedd named Daffyd Ap Brendan seized on it as an opportunity and arranged to have the senior officers of the Fourth assassinated, and replaced with cronies loyal to himself; this put Colonel Samuel Baraou in charge of the Fourth Legionnaires.
The Sixteenth arrived on Gwynedd in April 2590 to discover Baron Brendan still in control of the planet and the Fourth Amaris Legionnaires and professing his loyalty to the Amaris family. However, despite Baron Brendan's protestations to the contrary, the local population was actively rebellious; while Brendan insisted that he wasn't willing to fight against the SLDF, the arrival of the Sixteenth quickly caused fractures among the population of the planet and the Fourth Legionnaires, shortly followed by open conflict as both split along various factional lines. The net result was an eleven-month peacekeeping operation to try and separate the various warring camps and restore order.
The last campaign of the Reunification War for the Sixteenth, the battle for Steelton saw the Sixteenth fight against the last elements of the Fifth Amaris Fusiliers. General Isaacson took no chances with the capture of Steelton, assigning both the Sixteenth as well as the Eleventh Royal Division, drawn from IV Corps, to the battle. With the defeat of the Fifth Fusiliers and the capture of Steelton Task Force MAILED FIST had secured the last world controlling the approaches to Apollo although military operations continued; the Sixteenth remained on Steelton until the end of Operation MAILED FIST in late 2596, but the Eleventh redeployed in 2596 to capture the Vulture's Nest system.
Star League Era
In 2764 the Sixteenth was a part of XLIII Corps within the Seventeenth Army and was assigned to the Periphery Military Region. The Sixteenth was moved to an undisclosed area of the Periphery to take part in the SLDF response to the Periphery Uprising by 2765.. The 16th survived the war and the Hegemony Campaign, and followed General Aleksandr Kerensky on the Exodus in 2784.
The Mechanized Infantry Divisions of the Star League were used offensively to exploit gaps in the enemy front created by the BattleMech Divisions. They also bore the brunt of defensive actions.
The Division comprised two Brigades of Mechanized Infantry and a single BattleMech Brigade. Also attached was a Ground Aero Wing.
- The Sixteenth Mechanized Infantry Division may Bank Initiative.
- The Sixteenth Mechanized Infantry Division may use the Off-Map Movement ability.
- In each battle there is a 50% chance that the Sixteenth Mechanized Infantry Division may select half of the maps used during that battle and may select their home edge.
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 152, "Rim Worlds Republic Front (Jump-off - 2587)"
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 132, "Persistence, Treeline, Star's End and Black Earth (May-December 2581)
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 134, "Helbrent to Nightwish (July 2582 - November 2584)"
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 135, "Newtown Shoals: Sharks Among Minnows (January 2588)
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 136, "Illium to Barcelona (March 2589 - August 2591)"
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 128, "Reunification War: Rim Worlds Republic Front Deployments (2581)"
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 154, "Rim Worlds Republic Front (Jump-off - 2587)"
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 155, "Rim Worlds Republic Front (2588-2596)"
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 153, "Rim Worlds Republic Front (2588-2596)"
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 135-136, "Illium to Barcelona (March 2589 - August 2591)
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 139, "Bitter Harvests (2591-2596)"
- The Star League, p. 155, "Seventeenth"
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 181, "VI Corps"