Battle of Coventry (3148)
|Battle of Coventry (3148)|
|Start Date||15 February 3148|
|End Date||15 March 3148|
|Location(s)||Port St. William,|
Cross Divide Mountains,
Ridesein River Valley,
|Result||Lyran Commonwealth victory|
|Territorial Changes||No change|
|Affiliation||Clan Jade Falcon|
|Commanding Officer(s)||Galaxy Commander Stephanie Chistu|
|Command(s)||First Falcon Striker Cluster|
Fourth Falcon Dragoons
Fifth Battle Cluster
Eleventh Falcon Velites
Fifty-third Falcon Talon
Third Falcon Talon
Ninth Falcon Talon
|Commanding Officer(s)||Leutnant-General Francine Ross
|Command(s)||Seventeenth Arcturan Guards|
Coventry Training Battalion
As Khan of Clan Jade Falcon, Malvina Hazen knew that in addition to the military conflict she faced with the Lyran Commonwealth and other Clans, the Falcons also faced a philosophical conflict within their own ranks. While most of the Warriors followed Malvina's Mongol Doctrine, there were some Traditionalists who did not, and she feared the Falcons were in danger of sliding back into those "misguided ideals of what constitutes honor." One of the highest-ranking Traditionalists was Galaxy Commander Stephanie Chistu of Delta Galaxy, in an effort to coopt her to the Mongol doctrine, Khan Hazen assigned her the target of Coventry with orders to put Whitting, Lietnerton, and the Coventry Military Academy to the torch, for which Chistu was ordered to take a stockpile of fifteen tactical nuclear weapons. In doing so, the Falcons would also grind to ash some of the last memorials to the Second Star League. She was also ordered to "maintain an effective fighting force at the completion of the operations" to counter any aggression from the Exiled Wolves. To assist with this, Star Colonel Yaroslav, the Third and Ninth Falcon Talon from Gamma Galaxy were attached to Delta, though both Hazen and Chistu knew they were there more as minders to ensure a properly Mongol campaign.
The Lyran Intelligence Corps had detected this concentration of forces on Upano but were unable to predict which of the most likely targets the Falcons would strike; Coventry or Donegal. Accordingly, General of the Armies Roderick Steiner ordered picket ships into each system with orders to immediately jump out and send word back to the LCAF forces staging on Vorzel when the Falcons arrived.
On 15 February 3148 the Falcon flotilla jumped into a pirate point in the Coventry system. Their arrival was detected by a picket JumpShip which obtained visual images of the flotilla and then jumped out to alert the LCAF response force staging on Vorzel. After hearing nothing from the invaders, Leutnant-General Francine Ross of the 17th Arcturan Guards radioed to inquire if the Falcons intended to issue a batchall. She received a response from Chistu, "Per the will of Khan Malvina Hazen, neg. You are not to be granted the honor of a batchall. Prepare to feel our wrath." There was a brief orbital battle, but once the flotilla blew past the outer fighter screens and space superiority was lost, the surviving Lyran aerospace assets were withdrawn to be used in a ground support and air superiority missions. Among these was the LCS Necessity, a Trutzburg-class Transport DropShip which grounded near the capital city of Port St. William to serve as fire support and a command center. When the Falcons arrived in system, Cadet Isobel Carlyle was sitting for a Coventry Military Academy disciplinary hearing over accusations of vigilante activities targeting kangaroo-rustlers. The hearing was put on hold and Carlyle ordered to the field with the rest of the Cadets in the Coventry Training Battalion.
After pushing through the orbital defenses the Falcon DropShips, led by Chistu's flagship, the modified Overlord-C-class Admiral DiFranco, approached Port St. William Spaceport on the same trajectory used in the 3058 Incursion, per the Khan's orders. Flying at nape-of-the-earth altitude, the Falcon DropShips disgorged their troops over the Spaceport. Galaxy Commander Chistu led the way in her customized Jade Hawk, followed by the other ’Mechs and Elementals of First Falcon Striker Cluster from the DiFranco and other DropShips. In a lesson from history, she ordered a fast perimeter be formed a block out from the Spaceport and for smoke rounds to be deployed to obfuscate the landing zone to Lyran artillery in the hills that had so bloodied the Second Falcon Jaeger Cluster nearly a century earlier. Guarding the Spaceport was a lance of light BattleMechs consisting of an UrbanMech and a Hatchetman, and a reinforced platoon of armor consisting of matched pairs of Hetzers, SM1 Tank Destroyers, and Bellonas. Of those ten units, only the Hatchetman and a Bellona survived. Losses for the Falcons were virtually nonexistent, though MechWarrior Sockwell had his Eyrie downed by circling hovercraft and earned the ignoble distinction of "First Blood" for the day.
As the spaceport was being secured, Lyran artillery began firing onto the landing zone. With their spotters hampered by smoke rounds, these amounted to little before Star Captain McKinney led his OmniFighters on strike sorties to silence the guns hidden among the surrounding hills and in the city itself. The LCS Necessity proved both formidable and resilient as they sowed the spaceport with incendiary and FASCAM munitions that slowed the Falcon advance enough to allow later ambushes to be set. When Falcon aircraft came to challenge her, a combination of her own fighters, artillery flak, and Extended LRMs drove them off. Ultimately the Necessity was boarded by Elementals and her guns silenced. With Lyran artillery silenced, Chistu ordered the rest of her DropShips to land at the spaceport with one exception – the Render was detached on a strategic mission. Handing spaceport security off to the Fourth Falcon Dragoons with a perimeter pushed out to three blocks while the other Clusters landed, the First Strikers pushed northwest into the city.
Ten blocks into the city, three squads of Albrecht hoverbikes began harassing the rear of the formation, hoping to draw out elements of the First and isolate them. While an Elemental Star pursued, none strayed beyond Chistu's predefined range. As the First cleared the edge of Port St. William's urban sprawl, a battalion of 17th Arcturan Guards emerged from their hidden positions in a scrapyard along the Falcon route of march. In the fierce melee, Chistu brought down a Marauder IIC with an assist from MechWarrior Schofield, who also downed a Trebuchet in his Mad Cat III. The Guards fell back into the city after the initial salvo. For the next eight hours, the Lyrans staged hit and run ambushes throughout the capital as more Falcon Clusters rushed to secure the city. Star Captain James Pryde of the Fifth Battle Cluster used his Bane 3 to pummel every target his Trinary found, exhausting and replenishing his munitions multiple times before the city was declared secure. With the capital lost, the Guards melted into the countryside to conduct a harassing campaign.
Simultaneously with the clearing of Port St. William, the Render with Star Captain Noonan Binetti and his Beak Trinary (consisting of Beak Star, Slasher Star, and Emerald Knight Star) from Third Falcon Talon embarked continued to the Cross-Divide Mountains that separated the continent of Veracruz from Dunnigan. In the previous campaign the Lyran defenders had gone to ground in those mountains, using ’Mech-sized mining tunnels to conceal their forces and store supplies. Utilizing Fuel-Air Munitions, the Trinary systematically destroyed the entrances, many of which already contained caches of supplies. MechWarrior Awtry was able to take advantage of his Griffin IICs hand actuators to plant the explosives. Upon completing their mission the Trinary returned to the spaceport in radio silence, then Chistu compiled the battleROMs and broadcast them on an unencrypted channel so the defenders could receive them alongside her message: "We have taken Port St. William and destroyed your hiding holes in the Cross Divide Mountains. I thought you should know. The old ways are of no use to you."
On 18 February Chistu struck out at multiple fronts at once, hoping to overtax the beleaguered Guards. Chistu led the majority of her forces west to the Ridesein River Valley where the Guards had been detected. A reinforced Trinary of First Striker and Ninth Talon led by Star Colonels Jagger Thastus and Yaroslav moved to the east in order to raze the town of Whitting. Facing three Clusters, the Guards were hard pressed, but having entrenched in the steep sides they proved difficult to shift. Several Black Lanners in the T-configuration utilized their plasma cannons to overheat larger Lyran ’Mechs and negate their effectiveness while lighter designs swarmed them. After repulsing the first wave, General Ross ordered a small force consisting of an Enfield, Rawhide, and Uziel to scout likely avenues of attack. The trio soon ran into a Nova of Strikers which quickly cut off their lines of retreat. Though they accounted for several battle armor suits and a Kit Fox the Uziel was swarmed by Elementals, a pair of Cougars brought down the Enfield, and the Rawhide fell to a Grand Summoner though it nearly went down with the Rawhide. Her scouting party lost, Ross retreated with what remained of her command after the second wave crested against her lines. Star Colonel Rose Faulk of the Fifth Battle identified a fleeing Guard ’Mech with valuable intel and dispatched a Star with two Black Lanners, two Fire Falcons, and a Fire Moth to course the target During the repositioning, a company of Guards commanded by Hauptmann Kohl von Grunwald became isolated and spent three days evading pursing Falcon ’Mechs while attempting to link up with the bulk of the Guards. In that time Grunwald and his Rawhide, "Cabbage's Ride," accounted for three kill including a brand-new Ion Sparrow
Meanwhile, Thastus' group advanced on Whitting. The Watch had reported that a small contingent of Coventry Military Academy forces and Militia guarded the town, but some were also encountered on the approach and buoyed with members of the Coventry CPM who had armed themselves with new ’Mechs from the Coventry Metal Works that were still in Lyran hands. Ordering Yaroslav's Talons to swing around and approach the town from the rear while Thastus and the Strikers approached from the east along a small river that led through Whitting. While Khan Hazen had ordered the town razed, Chistu amended those orders to require honoring surrenders and evacuating the civilians first. Shortly after, Thastus' ’Mech was struck in the head, with enough force penetrating the cockpit to sear his forehead and knock him unconscious for twenty minutes. Now the ranking officer, Yaroslav quickly abandoned the restraint Chistu sought and ordered inferno rounds and other ordnance fired at civilian targets and any memorials to the 3058 Incursion or the Second Star League. Point Commander Roland of the Strikers fired his Skanda Light Tank's autocannon as the first shots in the ensuing carnage. The Ion Sparrow proved so effective at slaughtering infantry that Lyran forces named it "Butcherbird." Thousands of civilians were killed, and no surrenders were accepted. While the Khan had ordered footage of the razing to be broadcast, and written the accompanying script, Chistu first edited the battleROMs to obscure the magnitude of the war crimes, such as a Gamma Elemental beating a family of civilians to death. "Defenders of Coventry, I send you this footage of Whitting. I have been ordered by Khan Malvina Hazen to tell you these simple words. 'When the new Star League is born, it will be with Clan Jade Falcon as the ilClan.'"
Despite Chistu's efforts to sanitize the footage, news of the atrocity soon got out, which enraged the surviving defenders and pushed them to new levels of daring. Shortly after Whitting, the First Strikers made a push to level the Coventry Military Academy in accordance with the Khan's orders. Cadet Carlyle's company was dispatched to harry the Strikers' lines while kangaroo-mounted infantry known as "boomers" exploited the breach. Their combined actions disabled nearly a Binary before they were forced to fall back, but those losses required the Strikers to be pulled off the front lines for repairs, thus blunting the extermination of the Academy personnel though the Academy itself was destroyed. With that front contained, Carlyle rejoined the Training Battalion and rushed to reinforce the MetalWorks. They arrived just as the Lyran line broke, with Carlyle's brother Ronan, an intern at the MetalWorks, desperately trying to ward off several Points of Elementals in his Gauntlet. The additional Lyran ’Mechs were able to plug the line and the Falcons withdrew. They would return, and on 24 February the remaining Cadets struck out from the factory rather than use it for cover. They held up the Falcon advance for hours before their lines broke. Several Cadets, the Carlyles among them, managed to flee and link up with the remains of the Seventeenth along with any factory workers who could pilot ’Mechs or tanks. The entire Coventry Military Academy Class of 3148 fought to the death to allow their escape. The Falcons occupied the factory, cutting off the last major source of supplies for the 17th Arcturan Guards. After nine days of fighting, the RCT had been reduced below thirty percent effectiveness with two companies of ’Mechs and a short company of half-operational tanks.
The arrival of the General of the Armies Roderick Steiner and Hauptmann General Jasek Kelswa-Steiner at the head of the 2nd Royal Guards and 15th Arcturan Guards bolstered the flagging morale of the Seventeenth, or at least arrested its slide. The first objective Steiner set was to recapture the MetalWorks, properly surmising that the Falcons were using it as a source of supply and fabrication as Ross had. On 27 February, both units slammed into the Trinary Chistu had left to defend the factory. During the fighting, Roderick's Rifleman IIC became encircled by a Mad Dog and an Enyo, with Jasek's Templar clearing his backfield before his rear armor could be savaged. Several Elementals also moved in to reinforce their colleagues, managing to maul a company of the Fifteenth enough that they required repairs, and the Royal Guard also took "a few" companies out of service. Despite a desire to pursue the retreating Falcons north towards Lietnerton, Roderick let caution prevail as he assumed, correctly, Chistu had a sizable force in that area. Instead, they moved west towards the Ridesin River Valley to link up with the remaining Seventeenth. Once contact was made, the three units combined forces and established a field headquarters in the wild hilly region west of Lietnerton known as The Dales.
One of the objectives given by Khan Hazen was the complete destruction of Lietnerton. Giving the task to her Delta Galaxy to avoid a repeat of the slaughter at Whitting, Chistu evacuated the civilian populace and proceeded to being leveling the town. Ironically, this was helped by the Lyran defenders who staged a series of raids into the city that caused the frontlines to shift several times around the area of Lietnerton. The Lyrans never attempted to hold Lietnerton however, always fading back into the Dales which made Chistu instantly suspicious of a trap utilizing the favorable terrain. Roderick had miscalculated however, believing Chistu intended to hold Lietnerton, not simply destroy it. Without being tied to the city Chistu could bring her entire force to bear on the ambush waiting in the Dales instead of dividing forces as Roderick envisioned she must do. By analyzing the lines of retreat the Lyrans used in the last several battles, she believed she located the location the Lyrans wished her to hit, thus allowing her to surmise the general disposition of forces and the location of their rear support elements.
On 11 March Chistu departed Lietnerton, skirting the southern edge of the Dales along the Parish Highway that ran to the west of Lietnerton. After traversing fifty kilometers they left the highway and proceeded north for approximately thirty-two kilometers before encountering the artillery for the Lyran forces as Chistu had expected. Though vulnerable in the extreme, the JES II Strategic Missile Carriers and other artillery vehicles were not defenseless by themselves or with their supporting armor. MechWarrior Lafreniere's Fire Moth was the first casualty of the day as a swarm of missiles detonated her reactor. Chistu advanced, supported by Star Captain Bressel Helmer in his Warhawk. Seeded among the Lyran armor were infantry with inferno SRMs, which set a Viper piloted by Tholburn Pryde ablaze at the cost of their lives. Despite selling themselves dearly, the artillery reserves could not stand up to the sheer weight of the Falcons and they were shortly crushed. Hoping to end this campaign with a final decisive battle Chistu ordered her troops to charge into the rear and flank of the main Lyran combat formation. The battle was close quarters and particularly brutal, at one point Chistu even bested an Axman in hand to hand combat, skewering the pilot on her Jade Hawk's Talons. Just after Star Colonel Jagger Thastus' Hellbringer bested a Blackjack, it appeared the Lyran formation was about to rout or surrender. Before Chistu could order the final push, a company of Stormhammers led by Hauptmann General Jasek Kelswa-Steiner's Templar appeared on the Falcon's western flank, with a personal challenge from Kelswa to Chistu broadcast in the clear. Chistu gathered her Command Star to her and slammed into the Stormhammers. Thastus' Hellbringer went down first, followed by MechWarrior Odekirk Pryde and a Stormhammer BattleMaster being mutually devoured in engine explosions. It briefly seemed as if Jasek had the upper hand, though as he closed to kill Chistu she executed a Death From Above and landed directly on Jasek's cockpit. Though the Stormhammers counterattack stalled with Jasek's death, the Falcons took significant casualties in the fight. Hauptmann John Jacob “JJ” Smith of the Fifteenth Guard was unable to arrive in time to save Jasek, but leading from his Zeus his company held on long enough to frustrate Chistu's hopes of capitalizing on Jasek's death. Knowing she would not get the decisive single victory she had hoped for, Chistu ordered a withdrawal to Port St. William, ensuring no Falcon salvage or casualties would be left behind. Yaroslav loudly demanded Chistu target the Lyran formations with one of her tactical nuclear weapons. When Chistu refused he attempted to usurp her command but was in turn relieved of his command and challenged to a Trial of Grievance.
The next two days would be momentous for both belligerents, though no battles were fought while they regrouped. The Lyrans held a ceremony to honor Jasek Kelswa-Steiner, turning him into a symbol to inspire and enrage their troops. The Falcons witnessed treachery in a Circle of Equals that laid bare the bankruptcy of the Mongol Doctrine to those gathered. Yaroslav was grievously injured, and though Chistu would recover from her serious wounds she would be on the mend longer than the Lyrans would afford her.
Before her Trial with Yaroslav, Chistu ordered Savage Claw Trinary of the Fourth Falcon Dragoons to a small town twenty kilometers southwest of Port St. William, Guite. Located on the southern bank of the Ochoa River it was a identified as a natural chokepoint for any Lyran move on the capital <-- Despite the previous fighting and the Lyrans being to the north, not the south. --> so the Savage Claws were to serve as a tripwire. The Lyrans had relocated to Jukka Forest to regroup, and reorganized the survivors of the Seventeenth into the Fifteenth Arcturan Guards. On 14 March two squads of Second Royal Guard Himmelfahrtskommandos, troops on a suicide mission, infiltrated Guite and discovered the Savage Claws already in position. In their bloodlust they killed all but three of the Trinary, Roderick Steiner had to personally intervene to prevent even those from being slain as well. Roderick radioed Chistu, bluffing that he had captured Guite and the Trinary, threatening to execute them. Taken aback by the audacity of a freeborn to take Falcons prisoner, Chistu mounted a rescue mission at once. Even in this it would seem she saw the obvious trap as she assigned the Ninth Talon, Yaroslav's unit and the perpetrators of Whitting, to take point. After the Ninth crossed the bridge chokepoint, the Royals open fire on them from hidden positions. As the only Cluster on the far shore, they suffered from withering fire. Within minutes the Cluster was reduced to a few stragglers as the rest of the Falcon force struggled to support them from across the river. In rapid succession, Chistu's situation got even more untenable; DropShips bearing the Arcturan Guards flew over their heads enroute to Port St Williams and the Falcon logicistics capabilities, and a FLASH message from Khan Hazen arrived from the JumpShip Eyasses Brood ordering Chistu to immediately depart for Pobeda to fight back the Wolves who had captured Upano in another echo of the previous Coventry campaign.
Faced with a direct order to depart, and still possessing (barely) the "effective fighting force at the completion of the operations" Khan Hazen demanded Chistu saw only one option before her. She issued a challenge to Roderick Steiner to single combat, the winner to determine ownership of the world. He accepted, choosing to fight augmented in the flat expanse of the spaceport. Both Steiner's Rifleman IIC and Chistu's Summoner (formerly Yaroslav's but taken as isorla with his defeat) were battered from the fighting at Guite, and Chistu was still wounded from Yaroslav's treacherous performance in their Trial. Steiner emerged victorious, and granted hegira to Chistu, in yet another echo from a century before.
Before departing the world, Chistu, Steiner, and Ross met in Port St William to discuss the battle's conduct. In showing the tactical missiles she carried and her unwillingness to use them she hoped to demonstrate to the Lyrans that the entirety of the Clan Jade Falcon was not a Mongol adherent. She also surrendered Yaroslav to them, naming him as the commander responsible for the war crimes in Whitting.
After this battle Chistu went on to defeat the Exiled Wolves on Pobeda, and on 21 July 3148 Stephanie Chistu presented Cynthy with a dagger Stephanie had forged special for her. On 23 April 3151 at 1412 on Terra, Cynthy plunged that dagger into Malvina's back, hitting a pulmonary artery, which quickly resulted in her death.
- The Anvil puts Roderick Steiner's reinforcements landing on 5 March while Shattered Fortress states 27 February. This article has elected to use the 27 February date as it more closely aligns with the flotilla departure date of 18 February from Vorzel but readers should take note that the date Coventry MetalWorks falls to the Falcons, reinforcements land, and the Lyrans retake the MetalWorks might occur six days later. No other dates are affected.
- Shattered Fortress, pp. 49-51: "The Falcons Advance"
- The Anvil, ch. 10
- The Anvil, ch. 3
- The Anvil, ch. 4
- The Anvil, ch. 1
- The Anvil, ch. 2
- Technical Readout: 3150, p. 218: "Trutzburg"
- BattleTech: Legends, pp. 152-153: "Isobel 'Bel' Carlyle"
- Recognition Guide: ilClan, vol. 17, p. 10: "Bane (Kraken)"
- Recognition Guide: ilClan, vol. 15, p. 13: "Black Lanner"
- Recognition Guide: ilClan, vol. 15, p. 4: "RWD-R1 Rawhide"
- Recognition Guide: ilClan, vol. 11, p. 4: "Ion Sparrow (Butcherbird)"
- Technical Readout: 3150, p. 60: "Skanda Light Tank"
- The Anvil, ch. Epilogue
- The Anvil, ch. 5
- The Anvil, ch. 6
- Recognition Guide: ilClan, vol. 11, p. 13: "Zeus"
- The Anvil, ch. 7
- The Anvil, ch. 8
- The Anvil, ch. 9
- Hour of the Wolf, ch. 38 - wound description and effects consistent with traumatic pulmonary artery injury