2nd Army Group (Star League)
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|Second Army Group|
|Nickname||Army Group Marik|
|Parent Command||Star League Defense Force (2765)|
Task Force Commonwealth (2772)
The Second Army Group - also known as Army Group Marik - was the Star League Defense Force Army Group formed to command the various SLDF Armies responsible for the Free Worlds League Military Region.
Star League Era
In common with the other SLDF Army Groups, the Second Army Group was commanded by a General who answered only to the SLDF High Command and the First Lord of the Star League. In 2764 the Headquarters of the Second Army Group was located on Talitha; Talitha was also home to the headquarters of the Eighth Army, as well as the navy attachés and primary Member-State Liaison command offices for the Free Worlds League - and it was the central clearing house for information on the Free Worlds League for the SLDF, with the Star League Intelligence Command basing its primary analysis pool for the region on Talitha as well. By the beginning of the Periphery Uprising, Army Group Marik was responsible for the Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Armies. When the Periphery Uprising saw the mass deployment of the majority of the SLDF into the territorial states, the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Armies were deployed as part of that mass mobilisation. This left the Second Army Group with just one active Army, the Eighth, but 29 assorted regiments of troops were transferred from the First Army to the Eighth, which was now responsible for the entire Free Worlds League Military Region alone.
As part of the preparations for Operation CHIEFTAIN, Commanding General Aleksandr Kerensky mobilised the Second Army Group for the campaign. With the Ninth and Tenth Armies having deployed into the Periphery in response to the Periphery Uprising, both armies were assigned to other Army Groups during the Uprising and then assigned onwards as part of the CHIEFTAIN preparations. The Second Army Group retained the Eighth Army, and assigned the Twentieth Army - the former core of Army Group Amaris. The Second Army Group was assigned to Task Force Commonwealth, along with the Fifteenth and Twentieth Army Groups under the overall command of Admiral Joan Brandt.
Wave 1 A
When Operation CHIEFTAIN began in mid-2772 the Second Army Group was responsible for the majority of the Tyrfing Province of the former Terran Hegemony, including all of the Province's border with the Free Worlds League and the majority of the border with the Lyran Commonwealth. Admiral Brandt assigned the invasion of the Bordon, Callison, Chertan, Dieudonne, Dubhe, Marcus and Wing systems to the Eighth Army, while the Twentiwth Army was deployed into the Alchiba, Milton and Wyatt systems. Of these targets, four were systems that had been under shared administration betweenthe Terran Hegemony and another state, prior to Stefan Amaris taking full control of each and incorporating them into the Amaris Empire, and were expected to be relatively soft targets. For those invasions anticipated to be the easiest facing the Second Army Group, only a single division of troops was allocated to each; the Eighth Army's invasions of Callison, Dieudonne, Dubhe and Wing and the Twentieth Army's invasion of Alchiba all fell into that category. Chertan and Milton were border systems with relatively small Amaris Empire Armed Forces garrisons, and the Eighth Army dropped two divisions on Chertan while the Twentieth Army did the same on Milton. While there were a few minor problems, including a battalion of Amaris Regulars on Alchiba, the majority of the defenders were Patriot forces or mercenaries, these campaigns were all swift and easier on the deploying SLDF troops than the battles for many other worlds among the outer systems of the Empire.
Of the attacks performed during the first wave of CHIEFTAIN by the Second Army Group, the most challenging were the battles for Bordon, Marcus and Wing. Bordon was considered a minor threat, and the invasion force assembled to take the world consised of the Twelfth Volunteer Brigade, an infantry brigade from each of III Corps and XIX Corps and three provisional brigades each made up from three free regiments, for a total strength of approximately two divisions under the overall command of Lieutenant General Braedon Thastus. While only Corps typically warranted permanent WarShip escorts, each system invasion force was assigned an escort, and for the invasion of Bordon, that escort consisted of seven SLDF WarShips under the command of Rear Admiral Dal Heng. The invading forces secured the jump point and started transiting to the planet, but were unable to stop a JumpShip already in-system from escaping. A few hours after the JumpShip escaped, the invasion fleet detected an AEAF WarShip force consisting of thirteen WarShips just an hour behind them. Admiral Heng immediately moved to engage the enemy WarShips, while General Thastus deployed the ground-support aerospace fighter squadrons to assist the Navy forces, and ordered his infantry carriers to attack and seize Republican WarShips. The battle lasted forty minutes, and cost Heng six of his seven WarShips, as well as almost five regiments of infantry. In exchange, the SLDF troops captured two Republican WarShips, and destroyed five more; three infantry DropShips were able to successfully deploy hundreds of infantry in boarding attacks, capturing a destroyer and a cruiser, and one of the five Republican WarShips destroyed was a destroyer that was deliberately scuttled by its captain, who was unwilling to let it be captured by the infantry.
Marcus and Wyatt were both harder targets because of the presence of Castles Brian and substantial AEAF garrisons. The bulk of XIX Corps attacked Marcus, dropping in a dispersed fashion intended to seize as many of the most important manufacturing centers as possible, as well as attacking the major Republican bases directly, and relying on superior numbers to carry individual battles. While this approach did see many of the manufacturing centers captured intact, a victory that would see the manufacturers provide vital logistic support to the SLDF in the future years of the campaign, it also meant that XIX Corps couldn't fully contain the AEAF defenders or seize either Castle Brian, and more than two brigades of SLDF troops were lost in the next few days to a combination of AEAF counterattacks and solid defenses. The AEAF had manufactured nuclear weapons on Marcus from uranium mined locally, and deployed these weapons against XIX Corps as well; it took several weeks for XIX Corps to fix the lines of battle, at which point the SLDF aerospace forces were able to begin concentrating attacks, rather than being spread across multiple ground battles. Once XIX Corps was able to concentrate its strength on the major AEAF defenses in the cities and on the Castles Brian, the corps was able to seize the world, although the battle lasted well into 2773.
The battle for Wyatt also took the better part of a year; while the Second Army Group had anticipated a strong defensive force and deployed VII Corps to conquer the world. When VII Corps landed, they discoverd that the garrison was substantially stronger than anticipated; it had been believed to consist of just a single Castle Brian and two brigades of defenders, but the AEAF had constructed strong defensive formations around every major target, and established massively overstrength Patriot battalions on the planet, significantly boosting the number of AEAF troops present. The AEAF garrison had also dragooned huge numbers of citizens into serving as human shields, slowing the campaign further as VII Corps tried to minimise civilian casualties.
After the initial wave of attacks, elements of Task Force Commonwealth launched further attacks, with the Twentieth Army Group launching attacks on Afleir and Zosma using LIX Corps. The attack on Afleir was nearly disastrous for the LIX Corps' four-brigade-strong invasion force; a week after the invasion force entered the system, an AEAF WarShip squadron arrived in-system and proceeded to destroy the invasion forces' escorts. The garrison on Afleir was two brigades in strength, and a combination of nuclear attacks and orbital bombardment from the enemy WarShips cost the LIX Corps units half their strength. The surviving SLDF ground forces had to retreat into the Silver Goat Mountain Range, and only survived because SLDF intelligence ships in the system sent to monitor the invasion reported back on what was happening, leading to an SLDF WarShip task force being quickly cobbled together from several different escort groups and deployed into the system. The SLDF WarShips provided orbital support to the ground forces until the AEAF troops were forced to withdraw into prepared strongholds on the surface, where the remaining SLDF ground forces waged a careful campaign against each stronghold in turn until reinforcements arrived in late 2773, allowing a return to the more conventional SLDF tactics. In contrast, the attack on Zosma was much simpler affair, despite the determination shown by the defending AEAF troops, although it would take considerably longer to flush out AEAF agents and allies than it did to crush the military garrison.
In mid-2773 the Eighth Army had secured most of their first wave targets, and turned to the Connaught system. Connaught was a heavily-built up and defended system even before the Coup, the latter being a consequence of its location close to the Hegemony border with the Free Worlds League. It was known to be protected by three Castles Brian, with a thirty-strong AEAF WarShip fleet assigned to the system, and it was believed that an elite disivion of AEAF troops were stationed on the planet. The campaign to seize control of Connaught would be long and brutal, and the world didn't fall until November 2774. The assault began with small groups of troops arriving in-system and disguised as merchants, infiltrating onto the planet. Admiral Marina Akkayev-Cameron took the lessons learned from the SLDF attack on New Dallas and used them for the opening attacks on Connaught; SLDF crews used captured Republication WarShips and jumped them into the two jump points, and used them to successfully get marines and infantry forces onto three of the four defense stations located there, making it considerably safer to bring in the bulk of her invasion fleet. While her WarShips crushed the Republican WarShips and burned towards the planet, three Potemkin-class cruisers jumped to a pirate point near Connaught and dropped the 157th BattleMech Division and two regiments of troops on-world, where they joined the earlier infiltrators and fought for days to take and hold the highest-priority targets. Stefan Amaris considered the industrial output of Connaught to be important, and the defending AEAF units routinely used chemical and biological weapons against the SLDF, as well as nuclear strike - although the latter were only used when important infrastructure and industrial sites were not at direct risk. Unlike the other systems the Second Army Group attacked during the first wave of attacks, Stefan Amaris also deployed reinforcements to Connaught in an attempt to keep control of the system - pulling forces from Castor, Devil's Rock and Tyrfing to do so. This helped prolong the campaign, and Connaught would be the last world attacked during the initial wave of Operation CHIEFTAIN to fall to the SLDF.
|Commanding Officers of the Fourth Army Group|
|General||Martin Ost||2758 until at least 2765|
- Eighth Army
- Historical: Liberation of Terra Volume 1, p. 37, "Military Regions and Army Groups"
- Historical: Liberation of Terra Volume 1, p. 120-121, "Operation CHIEFTAIN Star League Defense Forces Order of Battle"
- Field Manual: SLDF, p. 105, "Eighth Army"
- Historical: Liberation of Terra Volume 1, p. 43, "Eighth Army"
- Historical: Liberation of Terra Volume 1, p. 122, "When the Hammer Falls"
- Historical: Liberation of Terra Volume 1, p. 127-128, "Free Worlds Front"
- Historical: Liberation of Terra Volume 1, p. 129-130, "Follow-on Actions"
- Historical: Liberation of Terra Volume 1, p. 130, "Connaught"