Chain Gang Missions

Chain Gang Missions
Part of Succession Wars
Start Date 2824[citation needed]
End Date 2825[citation needed]
Planet Several Lyran and FedSuns Worlds
Result Diverse success. Each battle was different
Draconis Combine Lyran Commonwealth; Federated Suns
Commanders and leaders
Coordinator Jinjiro Kurita Several
Forces involved
Three regiments' worth of convicts, undesirables, Unproductives and disgraced officers Unknown

Launched by the Draconis Combine, the Chain Gang Missions were a series of suicidal raids intended to delay the reconstruction efforts of the Lyran Commonwealth and Federated Suns in the lead-up to the Second Succession War.


Despite the horrific losses in people, matériel and technology during the First Succession War, with the conflict ending in stalemate due to exhaustion rather than any decisive victory, all the so-called Successor States recognized that the war would resume as soon as they had caught their breath. In this the Draconis Combine was no different, with Coordinator Jinjiro Kurita focusing on rebuilding the Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery in preparation for renewed conflict as well as a means to keep his declining sanity in check, while his half-brother and heir-designate Zabu Kurita's guidance of the People's Reconstruction Effort saw to the rebuilding and preservation of the Combine's technology and knowledge base.[1][2]

Though well pleased with both his and Zabu's efforts by 2824, Jinjiro realized that the other states could match if not exceed them, yet he also lacked the available front-line troops to cripple the Lyran and Davion efforts. Unwilling to let the matter lie as his mental health continued to deteriorate, Jinjiro was instead inspired to look at the other end of the Combine's cultural spectrum from the honorable samurai.[1][2][3]

Traveling across the Combine, the DCMS proceeded to cobble together three regiments worth of convicts, undesirables, Unproductives and disgraced officers, emptying the Combine's prisons and penal camps. The new "recruits" earning their service with the promise of freedom, citizenship, and handsome monetary rewards. The men and women who joined these Chain Gang regiments were then issued ancient and cast-off BattleMechs one step from the wrecking yard, in many cases more deadly to their pilots than the enemy, and given the most rudimentary of MechWarrior training with only a few lance formations and maneuvers for practice.[4][5][3][6][7][8]

The Attacks[edit]

Coordinator Jinjiro Kurita dispatched his motley regiments in December 2824. Divided into lance and more rarely company groupings, in early 2825 the Chain Gang units would strike worlds along both the Commonwealth and Suns borders. Despite having made numerous promises of extraction and rewards for their service, which included full pardon, citizenship and wealth, the Combine DropShips and JumpShips lingered just long enough to monitor the attackers' effectiveness before returning to Kurita space, never to return. The only freedom the recruits were able to win was that of the grave.[4][9][5][6][7][8][10][3]

The Chain Gang forces struck all along the Commonwealth-Combine border, hitting almost two dozen worlds between Rigil Kentarus and New Caledonia. Rarely more than a company of force, and in some cases a lance or two, most inflicted little damage, and even planetary militias were able to fend them off. Reflecting the extreme diversity in their number, the effectiveness of the Chain Gangs varied greatly. Most of the attackers simply surrendered at the first sign of opposition, hoping for mercy. During the attacks on Altenmarkt and Vega, the troops even revolted against their nominal officers before surrendering. However a great number, with their passions inflamed by extremely large doses of battle stimulants such as ChemCourage, struck their targets as planned. Most of these were easily dispatched by the Steiner and Davion defenders thanks to their inexperience and inferior quality equipment, but some actually succeeded in destroying significant infrastructure and resources, sending reconstruction efforts in both the Lyran Commonwealth and Federated Suns into disarray.[4][9][5][6][7][8][3][11]

On Carse, the Hiyama Chain Gang destroyed several towns and two key industrial centers before being destroyed by the Seventh Lyran Guards, send from Arc-Royal. On Chateau and Maestu, attacked by Chain Gang 23, one of the few equipped with LAM, sowed similar devastation. The unit on Verthandi held out for almost nine weeks.[12] The most successful Chain Gang mission was that against Tamar. Conducted by the so-called Turkish Chain Gang, two lances of convicts from the Port Benjamin State Correctional Facility on Schuyler, these seven men and one woman successfully gutted three BattleMech factories and torched millions of acres of farmland before leading an entire continent on a three-month on and off chase. The Turkish Chain Gang were finally cornered in a massive firefight that destroyed the city of Chevy Chase and put the nearby spaceport out of commission for over a year.[3]

Another chain gang was more successful—not for the damage they caused but for their unexpected survival—one composed of criminals, sent to the Lyran planet Kobe. They destroyed their target, a local water processing plant, but then its leader, Rasalhagian rebel Sven Harlock, ordered them to escape, and they ran into a group of bandits piloting old Star League 'Mechs. As Lyran reinforcements were only hours away, both groups agreed to work together. Sven defeated the bandit leader in a duel, becoming the leader of both forces. After escaping in the bandits' DropShips, Sven founded a mercenary group, Harlock's Warriors, composed by most of his gang and the bandits.[13]


While the ComStar News Bureau sensationalized the damage incurred as part of Primus of ComStar Conrad Toyama's efforts to destabilize the Inner Sphere, for all the effort and resources expended, the Chain Gang raids actually resulted in only minor delays of a few months in both realms' reconstruction efforts. No matter their effectiveness, Jinjiro considered the raids highly successful. The Chain Gang missions would also make Jinjiro realize that the DCMS could use a few standing regiments of expendable shock troops to soften up tougher enemy targets, ultimately proposing the creation of Amphigean Light Assault Groups to fill that position.[4][9][5][6][7][8][14][15]

Suffering the worst losses and greater delays of the two realms struck, the Lyran Commonwealth's reconstruction efforts were delayed for around four months as it bulked up its border defenses and made additional plans to try and relocate as much of its important civil and military industries to the Lyran interior as possible. When it became obvious there would be no follow-up strikes, the LCAF unleashed its own raids against the Combine's own reconstruction efforts on a string of worlds from Aix-la-Chapelle to Darius. Though not all the counterstrikes would prove successful, the raids and the rescue of the Chahar Profit during the strike against Darius demonstrated the improved capabilities of the LCAF since the First Succession War.[5][6][16] On the Davion front, the Chain Gang attacks were directed against military targets, such as bases and supply caches, but were much less successful, and after the Kentares Massacre the Federated troops showed the attackers little mercy. Ironically, most of the (relative) success of the Chain Gang was due to the unknown assistance of a secret ally: ComStar hampered the Lyran response by delaying messages and altering signals, in order to sow chaos, and their "impartial" news service, the ComStar News Bureau presented them as much bigger and effective than they were really, to help reignite the Succession War.[17]

Suffering delays of only around two months thanks to a high level of preparedness, the most notable aftermath of the Chain Gang raids against the Federated Suns was a love story. Two members of the Chain Gang strike against Udibi, disgraced DCMS soldier Jur Sturlaugson and former prostitute Katrina Reban, fell in love during the voyage. As the AFFS troops easily repelled and scattered the Chain Gang attackers, Sturlaugson desperately searched for his beloved, eventually finding her Stinger cornered by a Davion Marauder and throwing himself in front of a PPC strike that would have killed her. Moved by the pair's plight and story of true love, the resulting media attention led First Prince Paul Davion to grant the pair citizenship in the Federated Suns, both in turn serving in the AFFS before eventually forming their own mercenary unit which they named the Ever-Free.[8][7][18]


  1. 1.0 1.1 House Kurita (The Draconis Combine), p. 62: "History - Second Succession War
  2. 2.0 2.1 House Kurita (The Draconis Combine), p. 63: "History - Second Succession War - Gearing Up
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Handbook: House Kurita, p. 46: "The Dragon's Chain Gangs"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 House Kurita (The Draconis Combine), p. 64: "History - Second Succession War - Chain Gang Missions
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth)", p. 55: "History - The Second Succession War - One Step Forward, Two Steps Back"
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Handbook: House Steiner, p. 39: "Dawn of the Succession Wars - Second Succession War (2830-2864) - Preludes to War"
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 House Davion (The Federated Suns), p. 68: "History - Second Succession War - War Heats Up"
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Handbook: House Davion, pp. 55–56: "History of the Federated Suns - Second Succession War - War Looms"
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 House Kurita (The Draconis Combine), p. 62: "History - Second Succession War - Gearing Up - Divine Wind
  10. Handbook: House Davion, p. 61: "History of the Federated Suns - Third Succession War - Timeline: Second Succession War"
  11. Second Succession War, pp. 20–21
  12. Second Succession War, p. 20
  13. Field Manual: Mercenaries Revised p. 73
  14. ComStar, p. 23: "The Word of Blake"
  15. Field Manual: Draconis Combine, p. 94: "Alternate Paths - Amphigean Light Assault Groups: Pack Mentality"
  16. House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth)", p. 56: "History - The Second Succession War - Rescue of the Chahar Profit"
  17. Second Succession War, p. 21
  18. House Davion (The Federated Suns), p. 69: "History - Second Succession War - War Heats Up - The Talon Sergeant and the Prostitute"