Marik Civil War (31st c.)
|Marik Civil War (31st c.)|
|Part of Succession Wars|
|Free Worlds League (Loyalists)||Free Worlds League (Rebels)|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Janos Marik||Anton Marik|
If any event could evoke sympathy for the Captain-General, it would be that day when Janos Marik confronted the truth that his own brother had made common cause with the Liao enemy. After a decade of disappointments it was the ultimate disappointment.
- From Crossed Swords, by Ema Kochkov, Rahne Publishing, 3021
The Marik Civil War, also known as Anton's Revolt, was a civil war that engulfed the Free Worlds League from 22 May 3014 until May 3015. Instigated by Anton Marik, who was covertly backed by the Capellan Confederation and ComStar, he aimed to usurp the Captain-Generalcy from his elder brother Janos Marik. After a year of bitter fighting Janos put down the rebellion, at the end of which Anton lost his life, but serious damage was dealt to the Free Worlds League that would last for years to come.
A series of mediocre Captains-General throughout the 30th Century left much disaffection with House Marik in both the League Parliament and its populace, dissension which culminated with a failed plot in 2988 against Captain-General Stephan Marik. When his son Janos Marik became the League's ruler in 2991, he set about turning his realm's fortunes around. During the first decade of his reign Janos succeeded not only in mending fences with Parliament and undertaking domestic improvements, but also achieved battlefield successes against the Lyran Commonwealth with a revitalized military.
Shortly after the turn of the millennium Janos enacted the first step of a bold plan to eventually weaken both of the League's traditional enemies, by damaging the Federation of Skye's industry and seizing more ex–Terran Hegemony worlds from the Tikonov Commonality. Instead, this vision would be derailed from the outset and plant the seeds of civil war. The opening assault on Loric in 3002 turned into a eight-month quagmire that ended in a Lyran victory, while the second attack, on Solaris VII, also ended in a drawn-out disaster. A simultaneous offensive on the Capellan front, overseen by Janos' brother Anton Marik, likewise foundered as reinforcements and supplies were diverted to the stalled Lyran campaign.
Compounding the military setbacks was the rift that erupted between Janos and Anton Marik. The two had previously been close, with Anton being a key supporter of his brother early in Janos' reign, but the most notable casualty from the Solaris debacle permanently sundered them. To dampen the political fallout, Captain-General Marik ordered the execution of the responsible General, Willis Crawford, a classmate and friend of Anton's. Crawford's death, which Anton unsuccessfully tried to prevent, left Anton festering with resentment, with Janos' compromises with House Marik's political opponents and his neglect of the Capellan front adding fuel to the fire.
Janos' Decline and Foreign Manipulation
Following these events, the masterminds behind the 2988 plot sounded out Anton Marik about making his own bid for the throne. Anton refused but did not abandon the idea or denounce the conspirators. Encouraged by this, Maximilian Liao, Chancellor of the Capellan Confederation, covertly established his own relationship with Anton and began prodding him towards open revolt against his brother.
Over the following decade Janos Marik's initial popularity within the League waned as personal tragedies led to his seclusion and battlefield successes against the Lyran Commonwealth did not translate into long-term gains or plentiful booty. Disaffection within Parliament grew as a result, and both Anton and other opponents of the Captain-General took notice.
Though their initial contact had been in the aftermath of Crawford's execution, it was not until 3014 that Anton and Maximilian met. At the Kashmir Arcology on Terra, the two men forged an alliance: Chancellor Liao would assign his best mercenary force, the legendary Wolf's Dragoons, to provide Anton's own threadbare army with a reasonable chance of victory in the inevitable civil war. To sweeten the deal, Anton was also offered a future betrothal to Candace Liao, Maximilian's eldest daughter. Regardless of how the coming civil war turned out, Maximilian had positioned himself as a winner. At worst, Janos Marik would be preoccupied for years with a divided and weakened realm, while if Anton won he would be a pliable ally to the Confederation.
In addition, a close advisor to Anton during this time was Vesar Kristofur, the Precentor of ROM, who was working behind the scenes to advance his own and ComStar's agenda. By encouraging Anton's rebellion, the Order would weaken the Eagle, which had grown too powerful against the C-Bill for ComStar's liking. In addition, Kristofur hoped to uncover the secret of Wolf's Dragoons' origins, a mystery which had thus far eluded ROM's efforts to unveil.
On May 22, 3014, Anton Marik openly began his rebellion, assuming the position of Captain-General for himself and calling upon all provinces and military units of the Free Worlds League to join him in unseating the "mad tyrant" Janos. Two days later, Janos received word of his brother's treason and set about planning his next response. The next day he emerged from seclusion to address Parliament, declaring Anton dead to him and issuing Executive Order 1136, which branded all supporters of Anton enemies of the League who would be subject to dispossession and death. While this edict backed the existing rebels into a corner - now they had to fight or die - it also dissuaded more of Janos' opponents or waverers from joining the revolt. Nonetheless, with neither side now capable of achieving a swift victory, the Free Worlds League would suffer a lengthy conflict.
Two weeks after the rebellion's beginning, the battle lines had formed. About a quarter of the League's provinces flocked to Anton's banner, along with a few FWLM regiments and Janos' son Gerald. The Protectorate served as Anton's chief base of operations, positioning his forces within striking distance of both Marik and Atreus, and his supporters also seized control of Zion and Ohren Provinces bordering the Capellan Confederation. Twenty-six independent worlds throughout the League also declared their support for Anton.
But this support paled in comparison to the number of provinces which remained loyal to the Captain-General or at least chose neutrality. None of the four major provinces sided with the would-be usurper; the Marik Commonwealth and Duchy of Oriente remained firm supporters of Janos, the Principality of Regulus declared neutrality (though a couple of its regiments sided with Anton), and Duchess Catherine Humphreys of Andurien refused to support either scion of House Marik. The rest of the League's minor provinces and individual planets either declared themselves for the Captain-General or opted for neutrality. However, the latter tended to invoke the Home Defense Act, denying provincial units to the anti-rebel war effort, and even loyalist provinces along the border with the Lyran Commonwealth retained such forces for defense against the LCAF, providing political backing for Janos instead.
In reality, the division between loyalist, rebel and neutral was rarely as clear-cut as the maps suggested. Not only did Anton have supporters in Regulus, Marik and other provinces, but practically every individual world in the League suffered disunity in one form or another, be it between whole continents or private homes and local communities.
Anton's Opening Offensive
Anton's strategy was to mount a three-pronged assault aimed at his two primary objectives - the League capital of Atreus and his dynastic homeworld Marik - and the secondary objective of transferring military industry from loyalist control to his own side. Codenamed 'Eagle', 'Peregrine' and 'Falcon', respectively, the plan's intention was to yield a swift victory to Anton.
Spearheaded by Wolf's Dragoons, the Eagle thrust initially proved successful, with Nova Roma falling quickly in June and its government coerced into declaring their support for Anton when he arrived soon after. There he made an inflammatory speech which was widely broadcast and did more to stiffen support for Janos than anything the Captain-General himself had done. The rebels then proceeded to Emris IV, a key industrial world where Anton hoped to win a triumph which would garner more support for his claim among the League's neutral denizens. Instead the loyalists were driven offworld only after a protracted fight for its two main cities.
On Sophie's World, loyalist regular and mercenary units were deployed to slow Anton's advance, successfully creating a quagmire when Anton decided to commit his reserves there instead of modifying his planned thrust towards Atreus. On Matheran, the same stalemate occurred when the rebel Twelfth Atrean Dragoons struck at its loyalist sister unit, the Eleventh, in a fight which devolved into a protracted guerrilla war. A rebel victory was averted when the mercenary Smithson's Chinese Bandits arrived to turn the tables and prolong the fighting.
Elsewhere during the opening stage of the rebellion, Anton's supporters managed to persuade or force several worlds near The Protectorate and the Capellan border to join the revolt. Throughout the rest of the League, however, Anton was far less successful and gained no real support from any key world or major province.
After his initial victories Anton's drives toward Atreus and Marik had stalled by mid-September. While his supporters had secured some important industrial worlds and won a number of battles, there had also been worrying defeats and stalemates as well. Even so, Anton could still count on aid from those with long-standing grievances with the Captain-General and Wolf's Dragoons continued to defeat their opponents.
However, Janos had shaken off his previous malaise and successfully maintained his rule over most of the League. The growing rumors that Anton was being supported by one heredity enemy caused many provinces to reject his cause in disgust, while a surge in raids by the League's other long-standing foe roused yet more patriotic sentiment in Janos' favor. The Captain-General's own efforts with diplomacy and bribery also kept many provinces either on his side or at least neutral. Nonetheless, the upswing in attacks from the Lyran Commonwealth forced Janos to keep many units deployed to counter House Steiner's troops, and so during the latter half of 3014 he was unable to mount a counteroffensive against the rebels.
With Wolf's Dragoons continuing to lead the rebel war effort Anton's supporters managed to achieve victory on Sophie's World and Matheran, and captured a number of other worlds without significant resistance. Where the Dragoons were absent, however, rebel forces were either driven offworld or outright beaten. The key manufacturing planet of Irian was secured by the loyalists after a long standoff with Anton's supporters, while a drawn-out battle on New Olympia between the Fifth Ducal Guard and loyalist cadets ended with the Fifth quitting the field upon the appearance of fresh loyalist mercenaries. Similar situations on Berenson, Asellus Borealis and Abadan all ended in loyalist victory.
The Rebellion Founders
Throughout early 3015 the tide turned inexorably in the loyalists' favor. The Principality of Regulus finally joined the war on the Captain-General's side, and even Duchess Humphreys grudgingly dispatched one regiment from Andurien to aid Janos (though she retained her other units to ward off any Capellan threats). Humphreys' decision not to side with "a Liao puppet" enabled loyalist Oriente to threaten Anton's rimward border, and prompted him to attempt a decapitating strike against Oriente. This fourth offensive, codenamed "Condor", ended in a shattering defeat for Wolf's Dragoons and the rebels on Calloway VI.
Elsewhere a final rebel thrust towards Atreus failed, with the Dragoons and their allies winning a Pyrrhic victory on Vanra before mounting an invasion of Tiber that ended in defeat. These defeats and others saw the rebels driven back to their starting territory centered around New Delos and Ling. In addition Anton's request to Maximilian Liao for further aid was refused. The rebel forces were now hemorrhaging time and resources they could ill-afford to lose.
Betrayal and Rebellion's End
Sensing that Anton's rebellion was now a lost cause, Jaime Wolf had begun preparations to extract the Dragoons from the war. In late February an already-suspicious Anton summoned Wolf to his headquarters on New Delos, where he issued orders for the Dragoons to be dispersed among his forces in order to bolster their morale. Wolf refused as his contract stipulated that Dragoon units were not to be placed under the command of other officers, and suggested instead using his troops to mount attacks against the loyalist supply lines. Anton seemed to acquiesce to this and allow the Dragoons to leave with their dependents, but asked for Dragoon staff members to remain behind to coordinate the operation with him.
On March 6th Anton sprang his trap, arresting Jaime's brother, Joshua Wolf and the other liaison staff members as well as some Dragoon dependents. He then sent a message to Jaime ordering him to follow his original plan, with the prisoners serving as hostages to guarantee this. Colonel Wolf responded by sending part of his force and the dependents with them on to Second Chance while taking the bulk of the Dragoons back to New Delos.
Accounts differed as to what exactly happened next, but in a struggle in Anton's office Joshua Wolf was shot dead by Anton's advisor and ComStar agent Vesar Kristofur. A panicking Anton hastily ordered the remaining hostages executed for "treason"; unknown to him, Jaime Wolf's wife and two daughters were among the dead. In so doing, Anton sealed his own fate and that of the rebellion.
The furious Dragoons descended upon the remnants of Anton's army holed up in the fortified headquarters of Cienfuegos, and a three-day battle to the death ensued. While the Dragoons' main force kept the rebels preoccupied with defending Cienfuegos' formidable walls, Natasha Kerensky led her Black Widow Company through a forest fire into the rear of Anton's palace and slew the would-be Captain-General. Kristofur himself survived the fighting and escaped into Capellan territory, but his failure later resulted in his exile to Alpha Hydri in the Periphery.
Anton's death effectively ended the revolt, although another six weeks passed before the final rebel units were subdued.
Beginning in mid-April 3015 Janos organized a six-month period of settling accounts with the rebels. Known as the "New Delos treason trials", these purges resulted in the executions of many of Anton's senior-most officers and supporters (including Janos' own son Gerald). Other rebels were sentenced to hard labor or exile on prison worlds.
The Free Worlds League Military emerged from the civil war badly damaged, not only in lost matériel and units but also in a visible divide, namely between those forces which had actively fought for the Captain-General and those who hailed from neutral provinces or even been protecting the Lyran border instead. Politically, the previous success Janos had achieved in unifying the League had been replaced with Parliamentary and provincial squabbling, while the general public markedly cooled towards Janos due to the harsh measures he had undertaken against both rebels and (to a lesser extent) neutrals. In addition, the League's previously strong economy now suffered from badly disrupted interstellar shipping. The only silver lining in all of this was the agreement of Wolf's Dragoons to switch employers and work for House Marik against the Lyran Commonwealth.
Janos Marik himself had won a Pyrrhic victory. Although he had retained his position as Captain-General, the rebellion of his brother (and second son as well) combined with other personal tragedies left Janos a bitter and suspicious man. To add insult to injury, the Steiner-Davion alliance begun in 3022 forced him to ally with Anton's benefactor two years later. The impact of all of this would be later felt by the League during and after the Fourth Succession War, culminating in the Andurien Secession and Duncan Marik's coup d'état of 3035.
In the short term, Maximilian Liao and the Capellan Confederation emerged as the true winners of the Marik Civil War. With the League effectively neutralized as a threat to his realm for the foreseeable future, Liao turned his efforts towards the Confederation's other hereditary enemy, the Federated Suns. But his attempt to repeat his success in pitting family members against each other backfired spectacularly. Hanse Davion not only out-schemed Maximilian Liao and his treasonous brother-in-law Michael Hasek-Davion, but was sufficiently angered enough to unleash the full might of the AFFS upon the Confederation in the Fourth Succession War, with catastrophic consequences for Chancellor Liao and his realm.
Liao's success in provoking Anton's rebellion came back to haunt him in another way during the Fourth War. Upon receiving an insulting demand from Chancellor Liao to honor their alliance, Janos Marik only very reluctantly, and after prodding from Takashi Kurita as well, offered some desultory medical and troop movement assistance. To rub his displeasure in, Janos added a darkly humorous twist to his aid: one DropShip of supplies uncovered from Anton's stronghold on New Delos - supplies bearing Capellan identity codes.
- House Marik (The Free Worlds League), p. 54 (print edition): Brother against Brother
- Historical: Brush Wars, pp. 7–9
- Historical: Brush Wars, pp. 9–10
- Handbook: House Marik, pp. 44–45
- House Liao (The Capellan Confederation), p. 52
- Handbook: House Liao, p. 36
- Historical: Brush Wars, pp. 13–14: "Vesar Kristofur profile"
- Historical: Brush Wars, pp. 18–20
- Handbook: House Marik, pp. 45–46
- House Marik (The Free Worlds League), pp. 54–55
- Historical: Brush Wars, pp. 20–23: "Provincial Loyalties during Anton's Revolt" (sidebar)
- Historical: Brush Wars, p. 20: "Nova Roma"
- Historical: Brush Wars, pp. 21–22: "Emris IV"
- Historical: Brush Wars, p. 23: "Sophie's World"
- Historical: Brush Wars, pp. 22–23: "Matheran"
- Historical: Brush Wars, pp. 23–24: "Other Actions"
- Historical: Brush Wars, p. 24: "Faltering Steps"
- House Marik (The Free Worlds League), p. 55
- Historical: Brush Wars, pp. 24–27
- Historical: Brush Wars, pp. 27–31
- Historical: Brush Wars, pp. 31–32
- Historical: Brush Wars, p. 32
- Historical: Brush Wars, pp. 11–12: "Janos Marik"
- Handbook: House Marik, p. 49: "Brothers in Arms?"