6th Bolan Defenders
|Sixth Bolan Defenders|
|Unit Profile (as of 2785)|
|Parent Formation||Bolan Defenders|
The Sixth Bolan Defenders came into being as a result of the successful Age of War-era conquest by the Free Worlds League of the region of the Lyran Commonwealth that came to be known as the Bolan Thumb. Although the conquest of the various worlds of the Bolan Thumb was completed during the Sixth half of the twenty-sixth century the Sixth Bolan Defenders wouldn't reach full strength until after the signing of the Tharkad Accords in 2558, by which point the borders between the Free Worlds League and Lyran Commonwealth had been formalized and the pressure on the Free Worlds League Military (FWLM) units holding onto the various conquered worlds had reduced.
In an act of appeasement towards the populations of the various conquered worlds of the Bolan Thumb the majority of the personnel for the Sixth Bolan Defenders and its sister regiments were recruited from the worlds of the Thumb, although the FWLM included a sprinkling of liaisons from the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) put in place to watch for signs of subversion.When the NIA confirmed that the Defenders had been vetted for loyalty to the region the brigade was given free rein to police the region as it saw fit. The Sixth wasn't vetted primarily for loyalty to the Captain-General, and this was a distinction echoed somewhat in the nature of the Defenders' place within the FWLM, somewhere between federal and provincial forces.
The Star League
The Sixth and the other regiments of the Bolan Defenders continued to sit somewhere between provincial and federal status throughout the Star League era. With no Free Worlds League province to claim political ownership of the worlds of the Bolan Thumb, the Defenders were officially federal troops, controlled by the Dormuth Council and under the nominal authority of the Marshal of the Tamarind Military District. In contrast with most federal units the Defenders were given a great deal of autonomy and latitude by the Dormuth Council, allowing them to continue to respond rapidly to incidents and incursions within the Bolan Thumb - faster even than the locally-assigned Star League Defense Force garrisons. The Defenders remained very similar to provincial forces in other ways, however; in particular, no regiment of the Defenders ever deployed outside of the Bolan Thumb region or even below the area known as the Bolan Shoulders, the rimward edge of the Thumb region. The Bolan Thumb may not have been a Free Worlds League province but the Defenders treated it as such.
The majority of the personnel serving within the Sixth were still recruited from the Bolan region at this point, and those who joined the Sixth rarely requested a transfer outside the brigade. It was this dedication that was in large part responsible for the Defenders as a whole consistently maintaining one of the highest readiness ratings of any FWLM formation; intimately familiar with the landscape of the region - both political and topographical - the Defenders were effective at mobilizing against threats and responding to or repelling bandit raids consistently faster than their SLDF counterparts.
Like the other regiments of the Defenders, the Sixth began to suffer from the high tempo of activity within the Thumb during the closing years of the Star League; piracy and border raids ramped up sharply from the mid-2740s onwards, placing an increasing strain on the Sixth as the weariness of constantly being on high alert began to affect the morale and performance of the units. Also dragging the morale of the brigade down were the persistent rumors that despite the corrupt NIA having been replaced by SAFE the League continued to place SAFE agents within each regiment to search for seditious tendencies. The Sixth remained keen to jump across the Lyran border if required, and were determined to live up to the brigade motto "Ad Respiratio Ultimus" - To the last breath - but the Defenders were increasingly on edge. After Lyran Commonwealth Armed Forces performed a series of military actions in systems bordering the Free Worlds League and toppled the governments of Al Jafr, Ilzra and Maisons in the early 2760s the Sixth went on high alert for nine months before being stood down.
First Succession War
The Sixth was one of two regiments of Bolan Defenders garrisoning Bolan in March 2785 when the Lyran Commonwealth invaded. The Commanding Officer of the Sixth, Colonel Salam Tutt, was in overall command of the defending Bolan forces at the time from his headquarters in the Overwatch, the former Star League-era headquarters of the SLDF 418th Mechanized Infantry Division. The Lyran invasion began with the capture of the system zenith jump point recharge station, ahead of the arrival of a dozen Lyran WarShips - eight Mako-class corvettes and four Commonwealth-class cruisers escorting upwards of three regiments of BattleMechs and supporting forces. The Lyran forces arrived in two groups, one half arriving at the zenith jump point while the other half arrived via a LaGrange point located three days transit from Bolan. Three of the Free Worlds League WarShips assigned to the Bolan garrison, the League-class destroyers FWLS Talwar, FWLS Turk and FWLS Tyberium engaged the first Lyran group en route to Bolan and succeeded in disabling two Makos and nearly destroying a third before being forced to withdraw by the heavier Commonwealths; the Lyran WarShips then escorted the DropShips as they landed ground forces on Bolan.
The arrival of the second half of the Lyran ground forces led to a second major naval engagement between the two groups of WarShips, where the Free Worlds League forces managed to destroy two Makos and force a Commonwealth to retreat, but the Tyberium and the Aegis-class heavy cruiser FWLS Manaslu were crippled by the more numerous Lyran WarShips. This left the Lyrans in effective control of Bolan's orbital space; the Sixth and a sister regiment held out on the surface of Bolan for two weeks before the 101st and its commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Omar Malak were killed when the Lyran commanding officer, Leutnant-General Richard Johonson von Eilenburg had the city of Calcutta destroyed via bombing runs and heavy artillery barrage rather than dig the entrenched Bolan Defenders out of their fortifications within the city.
Colonel Tutt ordered the Talwar to bombard the grounded Lyran DropShips near the ruins of Calcutta in retaliation for the destruction of the city, but even as the Talwar fired on the DropShips Leutnant-General von Eilenburg was calling on Tutt to surrender. Tutt responded by ordering elements of the Bolan Defenders - including elements of the Sixth - to retreat from Bolan as best possible, with the Talwar and Turk running escort, whilst also ordering the nuclear weapons stockpiled within the Overwatch to be used to launch a scorched-earth campaign intended to ensure that the Lyrans received as little benefit as possible from the capture of Bolan and that the Lyrans couldn't capture the nuclear arsenal and use it against the League later. Whilst elements of the Bolan Defenders escaped, Colonel Tutt remained on Bolan, leading troops from the Sixth in a suicidal assault against the Lyran forces located near the ruins of Mumbai, Bolan's capital city.
In March 2785 the Command Officer of the Sixth was Colonel Salam Tutt. Tutt was killed during the invasion of Bolan, but his Executive Officer, Force Commander Faisel Hasheem, was one of those who managed to escape offworld.
Sixth Bolan Defenders (Veteran/Fanatical)
- Field Report 2765: FWLM, p. 12, "Bolan Defenders"
- Interstellar Operations, p. 226-229, "Falling Into Fire"
- Field Report 2765: FWLM, p. 12, "Regimental Status"