Sarna News: Bad 'Mechs - Hoplite

Operation CERBERUS

Operation CERBERUS
Part of Dark Age
Start Date November 3147
End Date December 3147
Result Federated Suns reclaims New Syrtis and other conquered worlds from Capellan Confederation
Factions
Federated Suns Capellan Confederation
Commanders and leaders
First Prince Julian Davion Chancellor Daoshen Liao
Forces involved
Armed Forces of the Federated Suns Capellan Confederation Armed Forces


Operation CERBERUS was a campaign mounted by the Federated Suns with the goal of reclaiming New Syrtis and other Capellan March worlds which had recently fallen to the Capellan Confederation. Launched in late 3147, the operation ended successfully for the AFFS with its primary objectives achieved.

Background[edit]

From late 3144 until May 3146 the Capellan Confederation carried out Operation CELESTIAL REWARD, an all-out invasion of the Capellan March that culminated with the fall of several key Suns worlds including Demeter, Victoria, Chesterton, Tikonov and New Syrtis, the March capital itself. Beleaguered as it was by an even more devastating assault from the Draconis Combine, the AFFS was unable to stop the Capellan advance until mid-3146. At that point the expected attack on Kathil was prevented thanks to Task Force Navarre, whose raids behind the Capellan front lines caused Chancellor Daoshen Liao to redirect the CCAF's attention towards his coreward border.[1][2][3][4]

Although his subsequent victory at Marlette finally ended the Capellan invasion with a ceasefire, Julian Davion then found himself officially taking control of a realm in a very precarious state. With New Avalon and Robinson both occupied by the Combine, and New Syrtis under Capellan rule, Davion needed to give his military and people a major victory to begin reversing his nation's ill fortunes. Deciding for the moment to have Operation PERCEVAL chip away at the Combine-occupied regions with raids, Julian approved Operation CERBERUS, which would see the AFFS' efforts focused upon reclaiming New Syrtis and the salient of worlds leading to it.[5][6][7]

Operation CERBERUS[edit]

CERBERUS began in early November 3147 and was carried out by three task forces, each comprised of a mixture of AFFS and mercenary units with the latter being assembled into ad hoc forces designated Fortune Able, Baker and Charlie.[8]

Task Force Chimera[edit]

Task Force Chimera, made up of the Dawn Guards and Fortune Able, first struck Hobson on November 2nd. Unable to engage the attackers in a stand-up fight, the defending Warrior House Kamata opted to wage guerrilla warfare instead. While unable to score any decisive success against their opponents, the Kamata warriors managed to delay Chimera's units for two weeks before finally leaving the planet.

Chimera's next target was Taygeta, which was invaded on November 16. Capellan aerospace fighters crippled two of Fortune Able's DropShips, forcing the mercenaries' BattleMechs to drop all over Taygeta's primary continent. The Dawn Guard engaged the Dynasty Guard even as Warrior House Tsang Xiao hunted the mercenaries across Taygeta. In the end the Dawn Guard and remaining mercenaries managed to link up for an assault on Taygeta's capital but both Capellan units withdrew on the Chancellor's orders, ceding the planet to the Federated Suns.[9]

Task Force Orthus[edit]

Comprised of the Fifth Crucis Lancers and Fortune Baker, Task Force Orthus first attacked Beenleigh in early November. The defending Harloc Raiders used ambush tactics and aerospace strikes to whittle away at Orthus' units as they advanced on the planetary capital, until its fall led to the Raiders abandoning Beenleigh. However, as Orthus' DropShips made their way to their JumpShips, the Harloc Corsairs unexpectedly struck, destroying two Crucis Lancers' DropShips before being driven off.

On Jaipur, Orthus' next target, Lockhardt's Ironsides hammered the FedSuns landing zone as soon as they had touched down, forcing their DropShips to leave. The stranded Lancers and Fortune Baker found themselves under constant attack as they attempted to secure another landing site; when they finally did so, the Ironsides' aerospace contingent destroyed over half of Orthus' DropShips. The task force units set up a defensive position around their remaining transport and the fighting on Jaipur turned into a low-key stalemate throughout December.[10]

Task Force Hydra[edit]

Taking personal command of Task Force Hydra, Julian Davion led its units - the First Davion Guards, the First and Second Davion Auxiliaries, and Fortune Charlie - on the riskiest strike of all. Hydra would hit the newly-conquered worlds situated closest to the prewar border in an effort to cut the salient off from the Confederation entirely.

Hydra's first target was Atlas. Landing on November 4th, the attackers drove the Second St. Ives Lancers off-planet after three days of heavy fighting. On November 17th Hydra struck Narellan, where Warrior House Imarra and the Second St. Ives Cheveau-Légers put up a sterner fight before withdrawing a week later. A similar situation played out on Avigait, Hydra's final target, where the Fourth Confederation Reserve Cavalry fought briefly before retreating farther back into the Confederation.

Despite Julian's expectations of CCAF counterstrikes, Daoshen Liao cautiously refused to commit any more units against Hydra rather than risk overextending his army at a critical moment.[11]

Battle of New Syrtis[edit]

Following these attacks elements from all three task forces converged on Taygeta in preparation for striking at CERBERUS' chief objective: New Syrtis itself. Collectively dubbed Task Force Styx, this force comprised four AFFS and three mercenary regiments: the First Davion Guards, Fifth Crucis Lancers, First and Second Davion Auxiliaries, Fortune Charlie, the Twelfth Vegan Rangers and the Fifty-ninth Strike Regiment of the Illician Lancers.

On December 4th, Styx entered the New Syrtis system via pirate points and made landfall on the Mawreddog continent. Upon reaching the planetary capital Saso Styx's units set about pursuing multiple objectives.

The Fifth Lancers and First Auxiliary attempted to secure House Hasek's ducal mansion - which served both as a command center and a symbolic target - but the Dynasty Guard held the attackers off just long enough to evacuate Capellan personnel before they destroyed the palace with artillery.

In the fighting for Saso Spaceport the First MAC kept the Fifty-ninth Striker pinned down with aerospace strikes and stubborn defense fighting. Julian denied the mercenaries reinforcements, preferring to hold the Second Davion Auxiliaries in reserve.

The Twelfth Vegan Rangers also struggled to take their objective, the Capellan March capital complex, from Warrior House Hiritsu, until the Dynasty Guard arrived at the mercenaries' rear and forced them to retreat.

Julian Davion himself led the effort to secure the Cave, the underground command center for the Capellan March. Taking the First Davion Guards and Fortune Charlie with him, the First Prince was assailed by the Fourth MAC and Warrior House Kamata as he entered the tunnels. Fortune Charlie was tasked with keeping the Capellans tied up while the Davion Guards entered the Cave. Shortly after Fortune Charlie joined the First Prince, practically unscathed, before opening fire on their erstwhile employer. After an hour's brutal fighting the Fifth Crucis Lancers arrived and caught the Fourth MAC and Fortune Charlie between them and the Davion Guards, enabling Julian to finally capture the Cave.

Following the Cave's fall, the disorganized Capellan units began retreating while razing civilian areas to cover their withdrawal. By Christmas Day all of Styx's objectives had been secured and New Syrtis could be declared liberated, though Capellan holdouts persisted for another two months.[12]

Aftermath[edit]

While CERBERUS had ended in success, the high casualties among his mercenaries and their prominent role led both AFFS and mercenary soldiers to question Julian Davion's competence as a battlefield leader.[12] When he returned to Remagen early in 3148 to confer with his senior officers, Julian faced a storm of criticism from the AFFS High Command, and was forced to a compromise. Prince's Champion Erik Sandoval-Groell assumed effective leadership of the military in exchange for supporting Julian's overall strategy of postponing the liberation of New Avalon.[13] MIIO also followed up New Syrtis' liberation with Operation WHIRLWIND, a covert campaign aimed at nearby Capellan-occupied worlds that netted the Federated Suns three more planets by April.[14]

With New Syrtis once again a threat to the Confederation's spinward flank, Daoshen Liao ordered cells of Capellan saboteurs on the planet to conduct terror attacks throughout 3148. Culminating in nerve gas strikes, New Syrtis fell into near-anarchy by August and Julian Davion was forced to personally return to regain control of the world, where he would find himself fighting off another Capellan invasion and being maimed in the process.[15]

References[edit]

  1. Field Manual: 3145, p. 21-22
  2. Era Report: 3145, p. 35
  3. Era Report: 3145, p. 24-25, "Timeline of Events (cont.)"
  4. Shattered Fortress, p. 17-18
  5. Shattered Fortress, p. 22-23, "The Marlette Deception"
  6. Shattered Fortress, p. 31, "Searching for the Grail"
  7. Shattered Fortress, p. 39, "The Three-Headed Dog"
  8. Shattered Fortress, p. 39-41
  9. Shattered Fortress, p. 39-40, "Chimera"
  10. Shattered Fortress, p. 40, "Orthus"
  11. Shattered Fortress, p. 40-41, "Hydra"
  12. 12.0 12.1 Shattered Fortress, p. 41, "Crossing the River Styx"
  13. Shattered Fortress, p. 55, "Unfit to Lead"
  14. Shattered Fortress, p. 57, "The Fox Bites"
  15. Shattered Fortress, p. 55-57, "Costly Sacrifices"

Bibliography[edit]