Part of the Dark Age era
Start Date 19 June 3144[1]
Planet Palmyra
Result Combine victory
Federated Suns lose the planet
Federated Suns
Draconis Combine
Forces involved
Second Federated Suns Armored Cavalry

First Federated Suns Lancers

1st Royal Cavaliers

22nd Avalon Hussars

27th Avalon Hussars

5th Ceti Hussars

2nd Crucis Lancers

4th Crucis Lancers

7th Crucis Lancers

Davion Heavy Guards

2nd Davion Guards

3rd Davion Guards

3rd Robinson Strikers[1]


Operation MANDRAGORA was a counterattack by First Prince Caleb Davion and the Federated Suns to stop the advance of Draconis Combine forces, the operation would later be called the Palmyra Disaster.


In 3143, Duke Corwin Sandoval of the Draconis March would launch an attack into the Draconis Reach which was a contested area of space between the Draconis Combine and the Federated Suns. Duke Corwin Sandoval had been ordered to cease the hostilities with the Draconis Combine directly from New Avalon. However the Duke was never punished for any attacks into either the Draconis Reach or the Draconis Combine. Duke Sandoval would continue to attacks into the Draconis Reach to strengthen his power and influence. The attack into The Draconis Reach would eventually prove unsuccessful. The Draconis Combine would then launch an attack in 3144 and invade the Draconis March of the Federated Suns through the Periphery Corridor. This action would force Caleb to react to the Draconis Combine push into Federated space.[2] Duke Sandoval's failed attack on the Draconis Reach would directly impact First Prince Caleb's operation into Capellan space.

Since Caleb Davion's ascension to First Prince of the Federated Suns, Caleb began concentrating AFFS forces and started planning a massive invasion of the Capellan Confederation.

The invasion would be named Operation SUNSHOWER, and was without doubt inspired by his great-grandfather, Hanse Davion. This invasion much like in the Fourth Succession War was meant to neutralize the Capellan Confederation once for all. For this invasion, Caleb reserved the bulk of the AFFS, neglecting all of the other Federated Suns frontiers.

Caleb especially ignored the Draconis Combine frontier. When Duke Sandoval's attack into the Draconis Reach failed, the Draconis Combine would launch a counterattack in 3144 through the Periphery corridor. This would allow both Wolf's Dragoons and the Ryuken regiments to easily conquer the Draconis Reach and push into the Draconis March. This attack into Davion space and the death of Duke Sandoval would force the First Prince to acknowledge the Kurita threat.


Furious for the audacity of the Combine's attack, Caleb initially was reluctant to stop Operation SUNSHOWER. The Kurita counterattack to Duke Sandoval's failed push into the Draconis Reach, was reaching deeper into Davion space. The Kurita advance had to be dealt with. Caleb was forced to focus his efforts on the Draconis Combine threat, and began moving the AFFC to meet the DCMS advance.

Operation MANDRAGORA was designed to attack deep into Draconis Combine space. The target would be the capital district of the Draconis Combine, New Samarkand. This attack was designed to stop the DCMS push and draw the Kurita invaders back into Combine space. Operation MANDRAGORA would force the DCMS to leave all of the newly captured systems in the Federated Suns and move to counter the AFFC attack aimed at New Samarkand.

Caleb chose the Palmyra system. Palmyra lay directly in the line of the Combine advance. This would be the staging point for the AFFS.

As the Davion naval assets were fewer than those of the Combine fleet, Caleb reached out for support from Raven Alliance Khan McKenna. Caleb had a previous relationship with Khan McKenna and the Khan promised to send several WarShips to Palmyra to support Caleb's attack into the Draconis Combine. Caleb would wait for Clan Snow Raven's fleet to arrive giving Caleb a decisive naval advantage and then launch his attack into Combine space.


On 19 June 3144, Caleb's plans came to an end. The Invasion was behind schedule. The Clan Raven WarShips failed to arrive... and never would. In their place, House Kurita came in force. A brilliantly executed sneak attack surprised the AFFS on Palmyra and First Prince Caleb. The first loss was the WarShip Lucien Davion which was destroyed by a concentrated attack of McFadden's Sky Storm.

The destruction of the Davion WarShip stranded the Federated Suns forces on the surface of Palmyra, rendering them easy targets. The Combine's Pocket WarShips after finishing the destruction of the Lucien Davion, would then turn their weapons against the exposed AFFS ground forces, destroying them with impunity.

The Draconis fleet bombarded the surface of Palmyra for a full day. After the orbital bombardment ended, the DCMS ground forces landed on Palmyra to finish off any remaining combat capable forces. Over the next week, thirteen AFFS commands would be destroyed. Any remaining survivors found were captured.

Caleb, however would survive the orbital bombardment and the initial assault. Caleb was away at a staging area for the 1st Royal Cavaliers. Caleb would lead a detachment of survivors into the Tower Mountains before the camp was destroyed.

The Prince and the remaining survivors were found in the mountains six days later trying to avoid Combine patrols. Caleb was moving to a secondary DropPort to escape off planet. On 25 June 3144, the First Prince was discovered by a patrol from the Fifth Sword of Light. Following the direct orders from Kanrei Matsuhari Toranaga - "not to kill the First Prince" - the DCMS patrol surrounded Caleb's Marksman tank and did not attack. Seeing he was surrounded, Caleb's tank engaged a Kurita Shiro BattleMech. The MechWarrior, in response, kicked the tank, flipping it over and crushing the turret, killing First Price Caleb Davion.[3]


The loss of thirteen regiments was a devastating blow to the Federated Suns. The sudden loss of over 1400 BattleMechs, thirty armor and infantry regiments, and entire aerospace wings took a heavy toll on the AFFS. Among the losses was the AFFS High Command and their Support staff. The Prince's Champion, Erik Sandoval-Groell, the last remaining part of the Davion High Command would become the leader of the remaining AFFS left on Palmyra.

The DCMS forces exploited their success and in August 3144 took the Draconis March capital, Robinson . During the attack Duke Sandoval was killed. With the fall of New Syrtis to the Capellan Confederation in the following year New Avalon would fall to the Draconis Combine. The Federated Suns would face the worst period in its over 800 year history. This would leave Caleb's successor, Julian Davion, who was currently on the other side of the Inner Sphere, with the situation of Draconis and Capellan forces pushing deep into Federated space, a greatly reduced and demoralized AFFS, and the loss of both Duke Sandoval-Groell and Duchess Amanda Hasek.

Much of the disaster would be laid on Caleb's shoulders. Gathering so many units in one location broke all AFFS practices. Caleb ordered the WarShip Lucien Davion into a low geosynchronous orbit directly over his command section. This decision made the WarShip vulnerable to any attack from a higher orbit.

After the attack, Clan Snow Raven would also take Federated Suns worlds after the Palmyra Disaster. The clan may have betrayed Caleb in exchange for being left alone to conquer the Davion rimward worlds.[4] Beta Galaxy of Clan Snow Raven would capture the Federated Suns worlds of Sterlington and Kirbyville in the same year.

It is currently unknown how many survivors made it through the bombardment and the following assault on Palmyra. It is unconfirmed that the Combine's victory was complete in the total destruction of all thirteen 'Mech regiments. It is unknown if some or any remaining elements of the Davion Heavy Guards may have survived on Palmyra escaping into hiding or into fleeing into the wild to fight a guerrilla war against the DCMS.[5]

The losses of elite troops and death of key officers effectively decapitated the Suns, allowing the Combine to create what they called the Dragon's Tongue and take New Avalon in the Battle of New Avalon (3146), only two years later.[6]

Federated Suns Units Lost[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Field Manual: 3145, pp. 70–71: Debacle at Palymra
  2. Field Manual: 3145, p. 20
  3. Field Manual: 3145, p. 21
  4. Field Manual: 3145, p. 71
  5. Field Manual: 3145, p. 77
  6. Field Manual: 3145, pp. 70–71