5th FedCom RCT
|Fifth FedCom RCT|
|Nickname||The Black Rats|
(3037 - 3062)
|Parent Command||Federated Commonwealth Corps|
The Fifth Federated Commonwealth RCT was a military unit of the Federated Commonwealth and, later, the Federated Suns. Contrary to their parent unit's ideal of being the best and brightest, the unit was accident prone, fatalistic, and generally looked down on by other units thanks to their reputation of cowardice and abuse of weapons of mass destruction.
- 1 History
- 2 Officers
- 3 Tactics
- 4 Composition History
- 5 Color Scheme and Unit Insignia
- 6 Notes
- 7 Reference
- 8 Bibliography
The unit was officially established in 3037 and almost immediately began to earn its bad luck reputation. While in transit to a training operation on their homeworld of Tsitsang, before the unit had even seen combat, one of the Fifth FedCom's DropShips suffered a catastrophic propulsion failure. The resulting crash killed over a third of the unit's MechWarriors and sent the unit's morale plummeting. As they were still recouping their losses only six weeks later, a marauding Free Worlds League force attacked the planet. The raiders succeeding in inflicting further casualties and absolutely gutting the Fifth's morale before they were eventually beaten back. Murmurings about the unit's perpetual bad fortunes began to spread throughout its ranks after a freak accident completely destroyed one of the unit's repair bays while the unit was attempting to refit 'Mechs damaged during the raid. The resulting fire seriously injured or killed many personnel and led many to believe the unit was cursed.
War of 3039
This talk did not affect High Command's decision to send the unit to the Dieron Thrust during the War of 3039. The Fifth was ordered to secure the world of Halstead Station, which High Command saw as an easy victory that would boost the unit's faltering confidence. Though they were fairly confident the unit would redeem itself, the generals hedged their bets on the Fifth's success by assigning the Fighting Urukhai's Roman's Bar Hounds as an additional unit. The invasion was quite routine, as the mercenaries' early landing managed to wipe out all but the most token resistance. The Fifth FedCom merely had to mop up the few pockets of irregular fighters left in the mountains, which they did without much trouble. General Nial Slattery then turned his troops to fortifying the planet against the expected Draconis Combine counterassault.
When the counterattack arrived in August, it was not the expected Dieron Regulars but the First and Seventh Sword of Light regiments, elite and storied Draconis Combine units. The Sword of Light regiments immediately used a two pronged attack to fix and flank the Fifth FedCom, who attributed their initial successes in the defense to skill and not planned enemy concessions. While the First Sword of Light held the Fifth's attention at their fortified defensive line, the Seventh Sword of Light staged a daring orbital insertion directly to the rear of the unsuspecting FedCom unit. The Seventh landed square in the cached AFFS supplies and, bristling with Star League-era BattleMechs and weapons, immediately fell upon the hapless Fifth FedCom. Now surrounded on all sides, the Fifth panicked and broke. An entire battalion, led by Major Donald Trent, flat-out deserted their comrades, taking their DropShips, stealing one of the Fifth's JumpShips, and fleeing to the Free Rasalhague Republic to found a mercenary unit. Those who chose to stay fought desperately to survive and managed to hold until an assault by Roman's Bar Hounds broke the encirclement and allowed them to fall back to their remaining DropShips.
The dire circumstances of the Fifth's retreat forced them to abandon a large amount of BattleMechs, supplies, and equipment on Halstead Station. When they returned to their duty station on Tsitsang, they were reissued BattleMechs and assigned new personnel, but these replacements were second rate when compared to what had been used to found the unit. This was the final nail in the coffin for the unit's esprit de corps. After a series of horrific disasters, defeats, and setbacks, the perceived insult of receiving what amounted to surplus solidified the unit's perception of themselves as losers and led them to believe that even High Command considered them as such.
In 3047, General Slattery's guilt over the loss of so many of his troops drove him to commit suicide. He was replaced by Hauptmann General James White, who helped the unit attain one of its few victories by crushing an uprising on Tsitsang fomented by the Zhanzheng de Guang in 3055. At some point between 3055 and 3061, the Fifth FedCom was transferred from Tsitsang to Chesterton and took up station there. By this point, it was clearly noted that the RCT's loyalties were moving more and more towards Katherine Steiner-Davion's camp.
While commanding the Fifth, White developed an addiction to a prescription narcotic called Taleridol, raising concerns amongst High Command about his fitness for duty. High Command was hesitant to relieve the Hauptman General, as they felt that the unit had grown attached to him and that doing so would further damage its tenuous morale. Instead, they suggested that his executive officer, Leftenant General Annette Leyland take over the day to day administration, allowing White time to kick his addiction. Unfortunately, deep in Taleridol-induced paranoia, he believed that she was conspiring to kill him and take his place.
FedCom Civil War
When the Federated Commonwealth Civil War broke out, the Fifth FedCom pledged their loyalties to Katherine Steiner-Davion. They were allowed to remain on Chesterton for the opening salvos of the conflict, out of harm's way. In August of 3063, they were given a simple task: relocate to Axton and either convince the First Bell Training Battalion stationed there to join the Lyran Alliance and swear fealty to Katherine or, failing that, disarm them. General White knew that trainees would likely not be able to offer up much resistance but assembled a formidable force anyway, as he predicted the Fifth's success on Axton could lead to further deployments elsewhere on the frontlines.
White took two battalions of his force to Axton, and arrived there in late August. Unfortunately, despite all his planning and hopes to improve his unit's fortunes, he could not escape the Fifth FedCom's streak of bad luck. As his DropShip was entering the atmosphere of the planet, it suffered a cascade engine failure that caused one of its engines to explode. Falling off course, the DropShip drifted into its formation partner and destroyed both ships along with all hands aboard. The RCT's other DropShips suffered serious damage from the resulting debris field and were forced to break formation and land wherever they could. Scattered across the planet, the Fifth FedCom took almost a week to form back up. By that time the target training battalion had mobilized, and with the assistance of two planetary militia regiments, moved to "assist" the survivors of the Fifth. Rallying behind one of their remaining generals, the Fifth opened fire on the training battalion as it approached, making it clear they were not on Axton peacefully.
In its current damaged state, what was left of the Fifth FedCom expeditionary force could not hope to stand up against the numbers of the training battalion and its local forces. They requested assistance, which arrived in the form of the rest of the RCT, under the command of General White's XO, Leftenant General Annette Leyland. Leyland set about rallying the Fifth FedCom and was able to hit the training battalion hard, forcing them to flee deep into the rainforests of Gehenna, one of Axton's subcontinents. There, they launched harassing attacks against the Fifth that, while doing minimal damage, only served to stymie the already frustrated Loyalists. The training battalion managed to hold out for nearly a month, when they were reinforced by the Fifth Syrtis Fusiliers. With the Fusiliers at their head, the Allied forces drove back the Fifth FedCom, compelling them to retreat deeper into the rainforests to the southwest. Leyland made the decision to lay low and use the monsoon season as cover while she waited for additional reinforcements. By February of 3064, though still conducting a running engagement with the Fifth Syrtis Fusiliers, she had managed to navigate her unit through hurricanes, the Keilant Mountains, and the Fusiliers' air strikes to the safety of the Kel-Den Plateau's dense forests.
General Leyland's hope for reinforcements from New Avalon was waning and by June 3064, she had all but given up hope on receiving any support from Loyalist command when she received a coded transmission from an unknown source. The transmission pinpointed the location of a hidden cache of matériel made by the Federated Commonwealth several years ago. Not questioning the source of this sudden help, she marshaled her forces and quickly stormed the secret weapons depot, which was guarded only by a token detail of troops. Once the facility was captured it became clear that the transmission must have been made by someone shockingly high in the chain of command: in addition to much needed supplies and conventional weapons, the facility contained fifty atomic warheads and their associated delivery systems. As powerful as the weapons were, Leyland realized that they would not win the day for the Fifth FedCom. Using the weapons to obtain victory would mean annihilating half of the planet's population. Achieving victory without using the atomics would require at least another regiment of BattleMechs, forces which she did not have. Resolving to use the weapons only as a last resort, Leyland continued the Fifth FedCom's fighting retreat until she found her forces outmaneuvered and cut in two by the Fifth Syrtis Fusiliers.
Seeing that several thousand of her men were in danger of being killed or captured, Leyland authorized the use of two atomic warheads. Delivered by an aerospace fighter on 17 June, they completely eradicated the First Bell Training Battalion and a large portion of the Fusiliers' armor and infantry detachments. Initially shocked that the Fifth FedCom had unleashed nuclear fire, the Fifth Syrtis Fusiliers fell back to regroup. The Loyalists were able to link up and continue their retreat towards Topell, the planet's capital city and the location of a major Wangker Aerospace factory. When word of the use of atomics reached the Fusiliers' commanding officer, Major General Robert Koenig, he was enraged. He ordered an immediate heavy assault against the Fifth FedCom that heavily damaged the surviving Loyalist troops and threatened to cut them off from their escape route. Seeing no other option, on 6 July Leyland again authorized the use of atomics, deploying a total of fourteen of them against the Fusiliers over the span of a week. The weapons had their intended effect, completely obliterating much of the Fusiliers' command and allowing the Fifth FedCom to raid the aerospace factory and make their escape offworld on 29 July. Left behind were the shattered remnants of the Fifth Syrtis Fusiliers, now down to a mere three combat commands, and a contaminated world that would require a full year of dedicated cleanup to restore.
After some time to regroup and reconsider, General Leyland made the decision to reinforce embattled Loyalist forces on Marlette. The unit arrived in system on 24 November, 3064 via a pirate point and immediately generated a controversy. Word of the atrocities she and the Fifth had perpetrated on Axton had reached both Loyalist and Allied commands. Marshal Peter Chesterton, the Achernar Combat Region's overall commander, although a Loyalist himself, initially demanded that the entire unit be rounded up and all of its senior leadership summarily executed. After being reminded how desperate their position against the Allies on Marlette was, however, Chesterton grudgingly allowed the Fifth FedCom to make landfall on the planet. Leyland, despite what the rumors said, was still gravely haunted by her actions on Axton. She made a personal promise that she would not resort to the use of atomics this time.
The Fifth was given a place in the defensive effort and shortly managed to help the Loyalists capture the city of Argentan from the Fifth Crucis Lancers. Unable to maintain momentum, both sides were forced to settle into static lines by January of 3065. This all changed when both sides received word that General Jack Roberts and his Twentieth Avalon Hussars had arrived in system. Though the Fifth Crucis cheered their arrival, Roberts and his men had no real intention of securing Marlette: they were here for Leyland and her Fifth FedCom.
Designating only a few units to reinforce the Lancers, Roberts set the majority of his men down directly across from Leyland's position and immediately attacked. In the nearly two-month battle that followed, Roberts was able to encircle and annihilate a full third of the Fifth FedCom. Leyland, though she could have used her remaining atomics to stop him, remained true to her word until the Hussars had surrounded the remnants of her RCT and threatened her with total destruction. Leyland ordered one warhead to be detonated in a remote area as a warning. It was a warning that Roberts ignored as he continued to tighten the noose on her forces. She attempted to launch fighters carrying more warheads, but they either failed to detonate or were shot down by Hussar anti-air before they could do any damage. The Hussars continued their relentless advance and secured the airfield the Fifth FedCom was using as a base. This cut the Loyalist unit off from the rest of their nuclear weapons and Leyland, seeing no other option, ordered a desperate retreat. Of her unit, only four damaged companies of 'Mechs and two casualty-ridden combined arms battalions were able to make their escape. The rest of the unit was captured and eventually folded into the Marlette CMM, though only with great protest by commanders on both sides. On 11 March, 3065, Leyland and what was left of the Fifth disappeared from the Inner Sphere.
In the aftermath of the hostilities, Federated Suns intelligence agencies were able to determine that of the fifty nuclear devices Leyland had retrieved on Axton, fourteen were detonated there, one was used on Marlette, six were recovered from aerospace fighters shot down by the Twentieth Avalon Hussars, and twenty-three were recovered from the capture Fifth FedCom encampment. This left six warheads missing, and multiple sources suggested that Leyland still had these missing warheads with her when she fled off planet. A standing bounty of twenty million C-bills was placed on Annette Leyland's head, and she received the derogatory nickname of "Atomic Annie" for her prolific war crimes.
The battle for control of New Avalon, which had begun in December of 3067, had dragged on for five long, bloody years. The Word of Blake had so far managed to maintain orbital supremacy with its three WarShips, and following the Second Battle of New Avalon, Blakist supplies and reinforcements were due to arrive soon. Then the Fifth FedCom suddenly reappeared. Seemingly from nowhere, on 10 December, 3072, Annette Leyland and her long-missing RCT made their return in a burst of nuclear fire. Deploying three of their remaining atomic warheads, they destroyed the Blakist WarShip Red Angel and the pocket WarShip Holy Dagger and made planetfall. There, they linked up with the beleaguered AFFS resistance forces.
Despite some initial misgivings due to their status as war criminals on the run, Marshal of the Armies Jackson Davion saw little choice but to accept the help that the Fifth FedCom offered. The unit was assigned to combat operations alongside the rest of the defenders. With the arrival of the Forty-fourth Shadow Division and Bronson's Horde, things began to look even bleaker for the Davion holdouts. On 21 January, 3074, the entire Forty-fourth launched an assault on the Fifth FedCom's position. Although the Fifth was able to use clever tactics to inflict significant losses on the Blakist division, they were heavily damaged and were folded into the Davion Heavy Guards, though they still retained their unit name and designation. After several weeks of pitched fighting, Leyland, still holding on to her last remaining nuclear warhead, decided to do something that would turn the tide. As the company-sized remnant of the unit deployed to Cormarc Falls, she personally scouted a way through the Blakist ground sensor net using a hoverbike, and eventually located a position that would cause the most casualties amongst the marshaling enemies.
As her unit launched a diversionary attack on the Blakist position in Cormarc Falls on the morning of 4 February, 3074, she set her plan into motion. Using a specially modified Penetrator BattleMech, she worked her way through an undefended portion of the Blakist lines, hoping to detonate her last nuclear warhead and eliminate the Word's command units on the planet. She was stopped by Marshal Davion and the Fifth's executive officer, Colonel Mark Scar, who relieved her of command and convinced her to stand down. Davion had predicted her plan, and already suspicious that a traitor in his ranks was responsible for key defeats, believed that the Fifth FedCom and Leyland had both been manipulated. Leyland's testimony that William Kossacks had provided her with the location of the warheads back in the Civil War and had aided her in initiating her suicide attack was all he needed to hear. He transmitted a recording of his conversation with her back to AFFS High Command in the Fox's Den which subsequently brought Kossacks to justice and helped to begin clearing the Fifth FedCom's name.
Unfortunately, both Jackson Davion and Annette Leyland were killed by Manei Domini Precentor Avitue when she set upon their party with her personal Level II. The Fifth FedCom, whose already dwindling numbers had been ravaged by a force of Blakist assault and heavy 'Mechs in their diversion, was all but eliminated. Though they were deployed to Hamilton City to stave off elements of the heavily damaged Bronson's Horde in April, the loss of their longtime commanding officer and so many of their personnel meant that they were effectively nonexistent. They were ostensibly absorbed by the Davion Heavy Guards and the Twelfth Vegan Rangers by the time the Davion forces witnessed the Blakist departure and subsequent destruction of Mount Davion in September of 3064.
Their service until the bitter end, coupled with the word of the martyred hero Jackson Davion, did much to salvage the former unit's reputation: by 3085, the Fifth FedCom was memorialized as one of the many heroic AFFS units that had given their lives in the horrors of the Jihad.
|Commanding Officers of Fifth FedCom RCT|
|General||Nial Slattery||3037 - 3047|
|Hauptmann General||James White||3047 - 3063|
|Leftenant General||Annette Leyland||3063 - 3073|
The Fifth FedCom are generalists, with no special skills. They have a reputation for retreating from difficult situations, or if retreat is impossible, fighting with everything at their disposal in completely unrestricted warfare. During their stint as outlaws, working as a unit for hire, their techs developed a reputation for being able to make brilliant, effective repairs with little to no logistical support.
Fifth FedCom RCT (Regiment/Green/Reliable)
Fifth FedCom RCT (Regiment/Green/Reliable)
Fifth FedCom RCT (Regiment/Green/Reliable)
Fifth FedCom RCT (Regiment/Green/Reliable)
Fifth FedCom AeroSpace Brigade
- CO: Leftenant General Harry "Rockhopper" Peterson
Fifth FedCom Armor Brigade (Regiment/Green/Reliable)
Fifth FedCom Infantry Brigade (5 Regiments/Green/Reliable)
- CO: Leftenant General Dan Luger
- Aide: Kommandant Joely Rouse
- Ninth FedCom Infantry Regiment: Leftenant General Dan Luger
- Tenth FedCom Infantry Regiment: Leftenant General Charisse Turner
- Ninth FedCom Mechanized Infantry: Leftenant General Giles Rowsell
- Tenth FedCom Mechanized Infantry: Leftenant General Viv Batchelder
- Fifth FedCom Jump Infantry: Leftenant General Elspeth Burnside
Fifth FedCom RCT (Regiment/Heroic/Unknown)
Color Scheme and Unit Insignia
The parade color scheme of the Fifth FedCom is the same as other units in the FedCom Corps: navy blue with gold banding on the arms and legs of 'Mechs and gold checkerboard patterned highlight panels on the upper torsos of 'Mechs or the turrets of armor units. The unit often finds itself the victim of other units' vandalism, discovering their 'Mechs with broad yellow stripes painted on their backs. The unit uses the Federated Commonwealth crest on its 'Mechs, in conjunction with their own regimental insignia, a black rat overlaid on a white disc. During their time as outlaws and their final battles on New Avalon in the Jihad, they had replaced the FedCom insignia with their black rat, displaying it proudly on their 'Mech's chests.
The Fifth FedCom was made up of primarily light and medium BattleMechs, usually older models with a handful of more modern ones. On paper, the Fifth FedCom had three battalions, but in reality could only field around eighty 'Mechs.
- Field Manual: Federated Suns, p. 93
- Hard Luck Case
- Historical: War of 3039, pp. 36–37: "Halstead Station (April - May)"
- Historical: War of 3039, p. 83: "Halstead Station (August)"
- FedCom Civil War, p. 75
- FedCom Civil War, pp. 94–95: "Axton"
- FedCom Civil War, pp. 124–125
- Technical Readout: 3058 Upgrade, p. 226
- Isle of the Blessed, Book 1, Chapter 4: A New War
- Jihad Hot Spots: 3072, p. 102: "Nuclear Dawn"
- Isle of the Blessed, Book 1, Chapter 6: The Book of Lilith
- Isle of the Blessed, Book 2, Chapter 3: A Lord of the Realm
- Isle of the Blessed, Book 2, Chapter 6: The Third Battle of New Avalon
- Jihad Turning Points: New Avalon, pp. 7, 9–10
- Field Manual: 3085, p. 53: "Remembering the Fallen"
- Historical: War of 3039, p. 136
- 20 Year Update, p. 24
- Objective Raids, p. 17