Campaigns of Persuasion
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|Campaigns of Persuasion
Various independent worlds
|Commanders and leaders
|Director-General James McKenna
|Hegemony Armed Forces
|Federated Peacekeeping Forces
Various Capellan and independent militaries
The Campaigns of Persuasion were a series of military operations waged by the newly formed Terran Hegemony during the early twenty-fourth century with the aim of reuniting all of humanity under Terran rule. Initially successful in reclaiming many former Terran Alliance worlds, the Hegemony Armed Forces were eventually fought to a standstill by the nascent Great Houses.
After eight decades of isolationism following its defeat in the Outer Reaches Rebellion, the moribund Terran Alliance was finally overthrown by popular uprisings and a military coup by the Alliance Global Militia's leader Admiral James McKenna. Under McKenna, the Terran Hegemony which succeeded the Alliance soon began undertaking its self-proclaimed mandate of reunifying all human worlds.
McKenna started by ensuring that all of the former Terran Alliance worlds transferred their allegiance to its successor. While most of these worlds willingly joined the Hegemony, a dozen required political pressure before acquiescing, while Caph and Altair were only secured after military intervention.
The First and Second Campaigns of Persuasion
With the former Alliance systems all firmly under Hegemony rule by 2316, Director-General McKenna turned his attention to the neighboring worlds. His "carrot and stick" approach utilized both political propaganda and flooding of markets with cheap consumer goods intended to foster economic dependence upon Terra. A few worlds did join the Hegemony but most had grown used to independence from Terra and intended to remain free of Terran rule.
McKenna made it clear that he was resolved to unify all human worlds under Terra's banner, peacefully or by war, and resorted to the latter in dealing with a newly formed anti-Hegemony alliance between three wealthy planets: Quentin, Errai, and Helen. In March 2316, a large HAF fleet — including WarShips — departed Terra and proceeded to successfully conquer all three worlds. Their inhabitants, utilizing converted civilian craft as naval vessels and trained militia ground forces, put up a determined fight but were ultimately beaten. From the hard-won lessons of this campaign, the HAF drew up its blueprint for future conquests.
A standard Hegemony campaign would typically begin months prior to the assault with comprehensive intelligence gathering efforts. From this, a plan would be crafted and the armada would begin its journey. Two large WarShips and space fighter-carrying JumpShips would secure the target system's two jump points, then the troop transports would follow. Armed reconnaissance of the planet itself was then carried out, sometimes in the face of native opposition. With detailed information now available, the updated invasion plan would be carried out, with the transports and their WarShip escorts swiftly arriving in orbit and deploying their DropShips. Priority targets tended to be major population or industrial centers, and often water sources; planetary governments tended to surrender once the HAF had seized control of these.
In 2320, a second offensive was launched, with Hegemony troops occupying worlds from nearby Terra Firma to Nanking to distant Capella. All in all, the two campaigns between them saw over forty worlds added to the Terran Hegemony. However, by the early 2320s, several equipment-related problems with the HAF, such as the lack of a true aerospace fighter, interfered with its operations and led McKenna to call a halt to the Hegemony's armed expansion.
In addition to the HAF's military technology shortfalls, there was also the dwindling number of easy conquests to consider. With most independent worlds near Terra already conquered, the Hegemony now faced several small but increasingly powerful states on all sides, at least some of which had formed specifically to resist Terran expansionism. While the Hegemony was still the strongest nation in industrial and military might, the limits of interstellar transport meant that it would struggle to totally subdue even one of these new nations.
Realizing this, McKenna switched to diplomacy throughout the 2320s and early 2330s, softening his rhetoric — promoting Terra as humanity's cultural and academic center rather than the overlord of human space — while overseeing improvements to the HAF's fighting capabilities. Diplomatic relations were established with many of the surrounding nations, with the Hegemony consistently favoring the Free Worlds League and Federated Suns in disputes with the Capellan Zone states and refusing to recognize any of the latter as legitimate governments. In contrast, Shiro Kurita, founder of the Draconis Combine, not only declined McKenna's offer for his realm to join the Hegemony but, after this message, refused to even communicate with him.
Third Campaign of Persuasion
By 2335, McKenna felt able to begin a new campaign. This time the Hegemony focused its efforts coreward and anti-spinward of Terra; this area of space contained most of the remaining independent worlds that had not yet joined one of the emerging interstellar nations. The HAF, having improved in equipment and training, easily conquered Denebola, Milton, Alioth, Mizar, and Lyons, while an assault on New Rhodes III was also successful, after the Federated Suns deserted that world's defenders following a token battle. The HAF Navy, now with over 300 WarShips and commanded by the Director-General's charismatic and flamboyant son Admiral Konrad McKenna, appeared unbeatable and both the Hegemony populace and military were confident of more victories to come.
Forced to retire from the front lines by ailing health, James McKenna turned over de facto command of the campaign to Konrad. The admiral proceeded to carry out the assaults upon Galatea and Syrma, the two primary targets of the campaign, but his recklessness would cost the Hegemony dearly.
In July 2335, the HAF under Konrad successfully invaded Galatea, but his overconfident attack without the standard prior reconnaissance and blithe dismissal of the pacifist and backward inhabitants as a threat — which proved mistaken when the Galateans took up guerrilla warfare and were subdued only after a costly year-long campaign — antagonized many HAF commanders.
Defeat at Syrma
Despite his experience at Galatea, Konrad again chose to discard standard procedure when planning the invasion of Syrma. This time, instead of WarShips and fighters jumping in first to secure the jump points, the entire armada would all make the journey together. Konrad believed that, because the Syrmans colonists were antitechnology, they would pose no threat to the HAF ships and so the transports could safely head straight for the planet. Despite intense opposition from all of his subordinates, Konrad insisted on proceeding with his risky plan.
When the invasion began on July 23, 2338, the HAF immediately stumbled into an ambush. While the neighboring Federation of Skye did not wish to openly fight the Hegemony over Syrma and Galatea, nor was it pleased at the prospect of Terran power anchored so close to its eponymous capital. Thus, the Federation had opted for a more subtle form of opposition: establishing vast networks of mines and sleeper missiles around Syrma's jump points. The result was disaster for the Hegemony fleet; while the WarShips could handle multiple hits from the mines and missiles, the more vulnerable troopships in the first invasion wave were virtually annihilated with twenty-seven out of twenty-nine vessels destroyed. When the second wave of ships started jumping in, unknowing of what had taken place, the resulting collisions resulted in more vessels lost. All in all, thirty-three troop transports and thirty-four WarShips were destroyed.
Konrad McKenna blamed his subordinate, Vice Admiral Harris Cather, for this defeat rather than accept responsibility for his own mistakes. Conducting a court martial amid the wreckage of his fleet, Konrad unfairly blamed Cather, prompting at least ten angry crews to contemplate mutiny against him. The sudden arrival of the Director-General brought about a resolution to the issue, with James McKenna stripping Konrad of all his ranks and apologizing to the survivors. The remnants of the Terran armada then made for home.
The fallout from Syrma resulted in a brief political crisis within the Hegemony, which was defused when James McKenna announced his resignation to avoid having to prosecute his own son. With McKenna's own death from cancer just ten days later, the Campaigns of Persuasion and further large-scale Hegemony expansion effectively came to an end.
- Jihad Hot Spots: Terra, p. 148
- The Star League, p. 15, "Terra's Errant Flock"
- The Star League, p. 16, "Terra's Errant Flock"
- The Star League, p. 18, "Interrealm Relations"
- House Liao (The Capellan Confederation), p 19
- House Kurita (The Draconis Combine), p. 25
- The Star League, p. 18-19, "The Syrma Ambush"
- The Star League, p. 19, "Death of James McKenna"