Deep Raid of 2987
|Deep Raid of 2987|
|Part of Third Succession War|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Archon Alessandro Steiner|
|6th Lyran Guards
54th Fighter Support Wing
|Several Marik Units|
The so-called Deep Raid of 2987 was a Third Succession War military operation launched in 2987 by the Lyran Commonwealth Armed Forces intended to take advantage of a lull in the fighting along the Free Worlds League/Capellan Confederation border to strike vital interior worlds in the League.
Shortly after becoming Archon, Alessandro Steiner reviewed intelligence reports with his Strategies and Tactics division and came to the realization that a lull in the fighting between Houses Marik and Liao presented a unique opportunity. With both sides having pulled back to regroup and recoup their losses after years of heavy fighting, Alessandro correctly guessed the Marik troops on the border would be relaxed and vulnerable to an attack from an unexpected quarter, including those guarding a "secret" BattleMech factory under construction on the League world of Ling. 
Alessandro selected the 6th Lyran Guards and the 54th Fighter Support Wing (the so-called 'The Ill Winds') to undertake the planned raid, two units who had recently distinguished themselves on a number of difficult and dramatic missions. The troops left Commonwealth space in 2987 aboard a JumpShip disguised as a commercial freighter, traveling a circuitous route via a series of unimportant worlds to avoid detection. After two months of tense jumps, the Steiner forces reached the Ling system and landed unchallenged onto Ling itself, the Archon's hunch proving correct. The Ill Wing struck first, the unit's many Chippewa aerospace fighters knocking out much of the planet's fighter support and communications network before the 6th Guards 'Mechs landed to totally destroy the BattleMech factory with only minimal losses to themselves.
However, where both units and the LCAF had assumed this would now bring a successful close to the mission, the raid's commanding officer now announced to the astonished group that rather than head directly home they would also attack the League worlds of Park Place, Ryerson, Irian, Nathan and Bordon. But with the element of surprise lost and the angry Marik forces eagerly looking to extract some measure of revenge for the loss of the factory on Ling, while the 6th Guards and the Ill Winds dutifully completed these raids they took major losses in the process, finally returning to Commonwealth space ten months after they had set off.
Despite its "dazzling success", the mission greatly damaged the LCAF and the government's trust in the Archon, many generals furious that Alessandro had kept them and the soldiers that took part in the operation in the dark about its full extent.  The situation only worsened when it was discovered that the commanding officer of the mission was a rising star with no prior combat experience from Strategies and Tactics, who had been appointed primarily on the back of his personal friendship with the Archon.
In the League, the loss of the vital BattleMech factory would prove to be a circuit breaker for the acrimonious tensions between Captain-General Stephan Marik and the League Parliament. While Stephan's own staff would blame Parliament's cutbacks to SAFE for the lack of warning that allowed the Lyran troops to strike, a desperate Stephan recognized that to receive the funding vital to strike back that he would finally have to swallow his pride and agree to accept further concessions and limitations on the powers of the Captain-General, most notably Special Resolution 512, the so-called Replevin Doctrine. With the political battle won, the renewed and strengthened FWLM were able to launch counterattacks and eventually allow Stephan's son Janos Marik to launch his own deep raids in 3006.
As part of his policy of Concentrated Weakness, Alessandro had stripped the defenses of interior worlds to strengthen the border and launch attacks against the League, with Janos taking advantage of this launching a series of deep raids over the border which inflicted heavy damage on the factories and administrative centers of Alarion, Bolan, Coventry and Pollux. Arguably more successful militarily than the Deep Raid of 2987, the damage to Alessandro's standing was even greater and would hasten his political demise, though this in turn backfired for the League when his much more militarily savvy niece Katrina Steiner took over the throne.
- House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 77 "Alessandro Steiner"
- House Marik (The Free Worlds League), pp. 46-47 "Concession to Parliament"
- Technical Readout: 3025, p. 162
- Handbook: House Steiner, p. 51 "Strategic Errors"
- Handbook: House Marik, p. 44, "Third Succession War"
- House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 80 "Ouster"
- Handbook: House Marik, p. 45 "Accession"
- Handbook: House Steiner, p. 53 "Katrina's Coup"