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Battle of Kathil (3062)

Battle of Kathil
Part of FedCom Civil War
Start Date 16 November 3062
End Date 10 October 3065
Location District City

Woodland


Birkshire Forest


Radcliffe
Planet Kathil
Result Costly Allied Victory
Territorial
changes
Kathil secured for the Allies
Factions
(Attacker)
Loyalists
(Defender)
Allies
Commanders and leaders
Hauptmann General Mitchell Weintraub

Hauptmann General Tadeusz Pashik


Hauptmann General Helen Eisner
Marshal Nathaniel Hasek

Marshal Linda Archer


General Rudolph Chapman


Major General Donald Sampreis


Major General Randy Hasek-Bills


Major General Richard Silver
Forces involved
Eighth FedCom RCT

Eighth Donegal Guards


Second Chisholm's Raiders
Kathil CMM

Second NAIS Training Cadre


First Capellan Dragoons


Sixth Syrtis Fusiliers


Fifth Davion Guards


First Federated Suns Armored Cavalry
Environment
Urban, Suburban, Plains, Forests
Conditions
Normal, Winter
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Overview[edit]

Considered by many to be the first true battle of the FedCom Civil War, the Battle of Kathil was the spark that ignited many other flashpoints across the Federated Commonwealth's territory as news of it spread like wildfire. Though initially a conflict between an untested unit of the Federated Commonwealth Corps and a Capellan March Militia unit supported by an NAIS Training Cadre, the battle soon grew to encompass such renowned units as the Donegal Guards, Syrtis Fusiliers, and the Davion Brigade of Guards. As with many other battles during the Civil War that followed, it was long, bloody, and costly for both factions.

Prelude[edit]

The roots of the Battle of Kathil begin in a few different places, chiefly and most often named being the growing resentment between the "Loyalist" supporters of Katherine Steiner-Davion and her Lyran Alliance and the supporters of Victor Steiner-Davion, whom the so-called "Allies" viewed to be the legitimate ruler of the Federated Commonwealth. But often overlooked in these analyses is the role that Field Marshal Duke George Hasek played in sparking the conflict. True to his family's history, Duke Hasek saw the conflict as an opportunity for the Capellan March to gain more independence from New Avalon. He had already commissioned the design of the Federated Suns' first home-produced BattleMech, the Templar, on Talon, and knew that the industrial juggernaut of Kathil was a lynchpin in maintaining the March's security. Hasek decided to consolidate his power base, and ordered the re-formation of the Kathil Capellan March Militia, a unit that had been off the AFFC rosters since the end of the Fourth Succession War.[1]

When the unit was finally re-formed in October of 3062, he deemed the Eighth FedCom RCT, which had been maintaining the planet's defenses for some time, unnecessary and ordered them off the world. He believed that by relocating the unit, which he knew to be very pro-Katherine, to Halloran V, he could sidestep any future conflict with either side of the brewing Civil War. Unfortunately, Hauptmann General Mitchell Weintraub flat-out refused the order, stating that he and his unit had been assigned to the Kathil garrison by the Archon-Princess herself and that the Duke's order could hardly countermand hers. Additionally, Weintraub noted that the Kathil CMM was brand new, and barely had the qualifications necessary for the world's defense. Hasek, sensing trouble, ordered the First Capellan Dragoons to Kathil. He knew that this unit was fiercely loyal to himself and believed that they might be able to help "convince" the Eighth FedCom to leave Kathil without a fight. This was not to be the case.[1]

Battle[edit]

Flashpoint[edit]

Opening Aggression[edit]

Upon hearing word that the Dragoons were on their way to Kathil, General Weintraub ordered that the capital city of Kathil, District City, be placed under immediate martial law. The Eighth FedCom RCT had been recently cut off from standard resupplies by Duke of Kathil Peter VanLees, so Weintraub ordered his palace surrounded in order to remind the Duke of who truly held the power on the planet. Now essentially under house arrest, Duke VanLees was forced to restart shipments to the Loyalist unit.[1]

Hearing of this, and with the approval and authorization of Duke Hasek and the Kathil Theater Commander, Field Marshal Suzanne Zellner, Major General Donald Sampreis ordered the men of his Kathil CMM to arrest General Weintraub and all of the Eighth FedCom's senior staff officers. Unfortunately for him, the Eighth FedCom discovered the undercover detachment that he had sent to apprehend their leaders and, in a moment of great historical gravity, opened fire on them. Weintraub, figuring he could use this skirmish as a pretext to quash the threat of the Kathil CMM, ordered an immediate strike on the CMM's base in Radcliffe. The Kathil CMM was ready and waiting, however, and repulsed the Loyalist attack in a series of bloody, inconclusive firefights.[1]

Duke Hasek, hoping to avoid further conflict and being dragged into choosing a side, pleaded with Weintraub to withdraw his unit to Lee while he opened an investigation on the incident. Weintraub ignored him, and targeted several key sites across Kathil that he felt would help secure his control of the planet: the Yare Industries microwave power uplink center, the General Motors factory complex in District City, and the orbiting McKenna Shipyards. His executive officer, Leftenant General Karen Fallon, led the attack on the power uplink center personally and was easily able to smash the Second NAIS Training Cadre garrisoned there, who had not yet declared for either side. Fallon set up a command post at that site and began constructing defenses for the inevitable counterattack. In orbit, the Loyalist Admiral Jonathan Kerr had successfully commandeered an Avalon-class battlecruiser, FCS Robert Davion, from the McKenna Yards and moved to interdict traffic to Kathil's surface.[1]

Loyalist Miscalculations[edit]

Hoping to force the CMM to capitulate, Weintraub ordered the Eighth FedCom to begin raids targeting the families of the unit's officers. These operations were wildly unsuccessful, and in the aftermath of one particularly abysmal failure, the CMM counterattacked the Eighth's position and was able to destroy the majority of the Loyalists' munitions stockpile. By December, the Eighth FedCom was desperate for supplies and was forced to shift priorities to raiding for supplies instead of intimidation. In the month's first week, the Eighth was able to drive elements of the Second NAIS Training Cadre out of a stockpile in Woodland, capturing the area for themselves. Hoping to follow up this initial success with additional momentum, Weintraub ordered the Eighth FedCom to continue their advance on 7 December, 3062.[1]

This attack was disastrous. The CMM was able to repulse the Eighth's advance and push them back into the Yare Industries power facility and quickly secure the power transmission dishes before Weintraub could turn them on the DropShips of the approaching First Capellan Dragoons, who had arrived in system and were now making planetfall. In the resulting carnage, the Eighth FedCom lost a battalion of 'Mechs, two support battalions, and Leftenant General Fallon, who was killed piloting her Hauptmann 'Mech. Major General Sampreis, seeing that the Loyalists were reeling, pushed the advantage and was able to drive his forces into District City and liberate Duke VanLees from his captivity. Meanwhile, as the FCS Robert Davion attempted to target the Dragoons' incoming transports, it was struck by a DropShip it had disabled. The WarShip was knocked into the upper atmosphere and disintegrated.[1]

Weintraub desperately ordered all of his remaining forces to fall back and concentrate on holding their position in District City, particularly the GM factory complex. Blaming the disaster at the Yare facility on Fallon's independence, he severely curtailed all of his subordinates' ability to issue orders without prior approval and settled in to wait. Sampreis, on the other hand, made the wise decision to fold the Second NAIS Training Cadre into his own Kathil CMM. This effectively doubled his 'Mech availability and gave him much more leeway to maneuver and probe Weintraub's defensive lines. Only minor skirmishes took place until Christmas Eve, when Sampreis, reinforced now by the First Capellan Dragoons, launched a coordinated assault on the Eighth FedCom positions.[1]

Siege of District City[edit]

Advancing from the south, the Dragoons and the reinforced Kathil CMM were able to capture most of the southeastern portion of the city, securing the Kay Bume munitions manufactory there. They then drove the Eighth's troops from the city center, pushing them further and further back until they were forced to fall back into the GM complex proper. On Christmas Day, all of District City, save for the factory complex, was under control of the Allied forces. Sampreis attempted numerous times to dislodge the Loyalists from their positions in the complex but was met with fierce resistance. A raid by the Eighth FedCom on an ammunition factory in Woodland ensured that they had at least enough munitions to last until Loyalist forces could arrive.[1]

Wave One[edit]

Reinforcements Arrive[edit]

The Eighth Donegal Guards arrived in February 3063 to Weintraub's great relief. Their commanding officer, Hauptmann General Tadeusz Pashik, landed his unit in the cities of Kamar, Deleven, and Tunevia with relatively few losses from Allied aerospace assets and launched an attack on Sampreis' position just twelve scant hours after landing. As hard as the Major General fought and as quickly as he was able to redeploy his forces, he was still unsuccessful in preventing the Loyalists linkup. The Eighth Donegal was able to push through the Kathil CMM's lines and join with Weintraub's battered Eighth FedCom. Together, they were able to beat the CMM back from half of District City, pushing them back to Radcliffe. The Kathil CMM was also driven from a subsidiary GM engine plant located in Eden and forced to adopt defensive, hit and run tactics. General Sampreis knew that he had to buy some time for his own reinforcements to show up, and encouraged more raids, hoping to tie up more of the Loyalists forces with security concerns.[2]

Meanwhile, Marshal Zellner had received word of the events transpiring on Kathil and ordered the Sixth Syrtis Fusiliers, along with several regiments in her command that were free, to reinforce the Allied units there, rerouting them from their previous destination. They arrived on 18 February, landing virtually unopposed thanks to Sampreis' raiding tactics. More Allied forces landed in their wake, including in their numbers Marshal Nathaniel Hasek, who quickly assumed control of the Capellan March forces.[2]

Successes and Setbacks[edit]

Marshal Hasek quickly appointed Major General Sampreis to be his deputy commander and made Major General Randy Hasek-Bills the commanding officer of the Kathil CMM as his replacement. He also reorganized unit structures to reflect who had actually been leading them during the fighting, promoting the most talented and trusted officers to command. Marshal Hasek noted that the Eighth FedCom and the Eighth Donegal had gone on the offensive to try to cut off the Sixth Syrtis Fusiliers, leaving their critical GM factory complex lightly defended in so doing, and devised a plan. He had Colonel Geoff Lee lead his First Capellan Dragoons on a series of diversionary strikes in Woodland and Cooperstown and ordered General Hasek-Bills to advance on the factory at the head of two combined arms battalions. The plan was very successful, and thanks to the inclement weather of the continent's winter season, the Allied forces were easily able to capture the GM complex and the remainder of District City.[2]

The Eighth FedCom was forced to fall back forty kilometers east of their original headquarters and set up in a small city called Campbellsport. In addition, the Eighth Donegal Guard found themselves contending with poor weather and unfriendly terrain as the Muran continent fell further into winter, hindering their operations and allowing the Allies to easily isolate the Eighth FedCom. Marshal Hasek had General Hasek-Bills focus the Kathil CMM's full attention on eliminating the Eighth FedCom while he led his Sixth Syrtis Fusiliers in a careful flanking maneuver. Throughout March and April of 3063 the Allies harried the Loyalists, though with no conclusive engagements; Marshal Hasek was, however, able to land several battalion-minus detachments across the rest of Kathil's continents. These detachments quickly began to contest once strong Loyalist positions.[2]

In May of 3063, however, the Eighth Donegal was able to mount a devastating counteroffensive against Hasek-Bills' CMM. In a three week series of operations coordinated with the wavering Eighth FedCom, the Eighth Donegal inflicted more than four thousand casualties on the militia and captured one thousand more of their personnel. These losses, while catastrophic to some other units or commands, only slightly slowed the Kathil CMM. Hasek-Bills quickly pivoted, shifted units to fill holes where necessary, and captured both Fort Harris and Quentin Airbase from the Loyalists.[2]

At the end of July, the losses of matériel and men had begun to set in for the Allies. The Loyalists had more experience, manpower, and the bloody back and forth brawling had merely left both factions with roughly the same amount of territory and critical objectives under their control. Unless something changed, it appeared that the Loyalists would be the ones to secure the ultimate victory. That was until August, when Marshal Linda Archer and her veteran Fifth Davion Guards arrived on-world.[2]

Marshal Hasek had Marshal Archer set her forces down directly confronting the Eighth Donegal, where they began immediate combat operations. While they occupied the Eighth Donegal, Hasek attacked the Eighth FedCom with the First Capellan Dragoons, the Kathil CMM, and the Sixth Syrtis Fusiliers. The Dragoons, still led by Colonel Lee, made a daring hot drop directly on top of a major Loyalist armor strongpoint and were able to knock the Eighth FedCom out of position, forcing them to a headlong retreat. By the end of Wave One in August 3063, the GM factory complexes near District City had been entirely secured by the Allies, but the overall status quo remained unchanged.[2]

Wave Two[edit]

Stalemates and Suffering[edit]

As spring dawned on the continent of Muran, it became clear that the war had taken its toll on the planet. The agrarian industries had been damaged so badly that they were down to a mere third of their production capacity and supplies for the two entrenched factions would have to be flown in from other systems if demands were to be met.[3]

While the Allies had driven the Loyalists out of District City, smart maneuvering and use of terrain by both Weintraub and Pashik had stalled their advance. Infiltrating elements of 'Mechs through Allied lines, the Loyalists mounted a surprise attack that forced them back across the Howell and Furillo Rivers and secured Woodland for the Loyalists. Unfortunately, they could not maintain their initiative for long. By December, both sides had occupied fixed positions on either side of the twin rivers.[3]

Marshal Hasek began to slowly amass troops for a planned flanking attack, hoping to recapture Woodland, when General Weintraub got word that several thousand Loyalist prisoners of war were being held outside Hammelberg. On 3 January, 3064, Weintraub launched a daring raid under heavy aerospace cover, hoping to free the POWs. The raid was perhaps too successful, as it liberated over five thousand captured troops, of which the Eighth FedCom was only able to transport a thousand back to their lines. Weintraub ordered that the remaining POWs be armed with rifles and had them head back towards his lines, promising that he would ride out to meet them as soon as he was able.[3]

As the brigade-sized force slowly pushed south towards the Furillo River, harried by an Allied armor regiment, Weintraub screened them from the worst of the Allies' wrath by keeping steady pressure on the armor regiment from the air. Simultaneously, he sent out his ground troops across the Furillo to fight their way to a link up with the POWs. His efforts culminated in a successful link-up on 14 January, 3064. While the POWs had suffered massive losses, the return of what was left of them raised Loyalist morale significantly and boosted their efforts to break out from their stagnant battle line.[3]

The Loyalists kept up their offense for the remainder of January, chipping away at the Fifth Davion Guards' fresh numbers. While the Loyalists were hammering the Guards, General Hasek-Bills executed the planned Allied flanking attack, splitting the Eighth Donegal in two as he drove south down the Howell River and cutting the Eighth FedCom off from support. In February Marshal Archer and her Guards had ground Weintraub's attack to a halt in Birkshire Forest while the Eighth Donegal Guards halted Hasek-Bills by flooding the river valley. Once again, the two factions were stalemated.[3]

Wave Three[edit]

Battle of Birkshire Forest[edit]

While the two sides were deadlocked, General Hasek-Bills had indeed managed to cut the Eighth Donegal off from the Eighth FedCom, and had surrounded their outpost in Woodland. While Hauptmann General Weintraub was more than accustomed to operating without additional support, the choice he had made earlier in the campaign to limit his subordinates' tactical and strategic independence began to haunt him. In March of 3064, Marshal Archer and her Fifth Davion Guard began to stab at his lines using the First Capellan Dragoons and quickly learned that the junior officers of the Eighth FedCom were unable to shift their tactics without first receiving the approval of Weintraub and his staff. This made the Eighth FedCom's perimeter sluggish in their response to Allied raids and incursions, and unable to react in time to crush Archer's nimble strikes.[4]

On 23 March, a well-timed assault caused a portion of the Eighth's lines to crumble. While General Hasek-Bills held the Eighth Donegal at bay with an attack on Woodland, the Dragoons immediately shifted the focus of their advance and surged through the newly created gap, supported by the Fifth Davion Guards' armor and infantry units. The Allies punched through to the Eighth's rear echelon in the Birkshire Forest where they found Weintraub's command post, defended only by the bedraggled POW brigade and some scant, unassigned armor assets. Within two hours, the Dragoons and their support units had annihilated these forces and overrun the command post. In a panic, Weintraub sent an immediate order for all units to converge on his position but it was too late. The Dragoons engaged and destroyed Weintraub's Nightstar BattleMech, killing the Hauptmann General before his reinforcements could arrive. Arrive they did, however, surrounding the Dragoons late in the 23rd's afternoon. In an hours-long, pyrrhic battle, the Dragoons were finally destroyed, but not before severely mauling the Eighth FedCom's remaining forces, which were easily mopped up by the Fifth Davion Guards. By 30 March, the Eighth FedCom were no more.[4]

The Raiders Arrive[edit]

On 22 July, 3064, Hauptmann General Helen Eisner and her Second Chisholm's Raiders ran the Allied orbital blockade and were able to make landfall, losing seven DropShips in the process. Despite these losses, the Raiders were the reinforcements that the Loyalists on Kathil desperately needed. Eisner set her troops down just outside District City, forcing Marshal Hasek to reroute troops to that lightly defended area and away from Woodland and Birkshire Forest. As the Sixth Syrtis Fusiliers began engaging the Raiders, the Loyalist unit broke down into maneuverable company-sized detachments that were easily able to slip past their larger, slower formations. The resulting fighting cost both sides many casualties, but when the dust settled, Eisner had occupied the GM factory complex and was preparing to assault District City proper.[4]

With the Allies distracted by the Raiders' sudden arrival, the Eighth Donegal was able to break out of the cordon at Woodland and drive back towards District City. Though their advance took the majority of the month of August thanks to intense Allied resistance, they were able to close the distance significantly. General Hasek-Bills, hoping to stop the Loyalist link up, occupied Carter City, Greenhaven, and Burlington with his heavily damaged command and was able to block their progress for an entire month. Try as he might, general could not hold for longer. A massed artillery and missile barrage from the Loyalists completely eradicated the command center he had set up in Greenhaven, taking the entire city and thousands of civilians with it. On 24 September, the Loyalists had managed to join forces and quickly surrounded Hasek-Bills' commands in Carter City and Burlington. After some consideration, however, General Eisner and General Pashik opted to consolidate their position in District City and fell back to that location.[4]

Wave Four[edit]

Wave Five[edit]

Aftermath[edit]

Units Involved[edit]

Allied (pro-Victor) Forces[edit]

FedCom.png
Lyran Alliance Logo.png

Loyalist (pro-Katherine) Forces[edit]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 FedCom Civil War, pp. 22–25: "Kathil"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 FedCom Civil War, pp. 56–57: "Kathil"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 FedCom Civil War, pp. 76–77: "Kathil"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 FedCom Civil War, pp. 95–96: "Kathil"

Bibliography[edit]