Operation SOLAR SHIELD
|Operation SOLAR SHIELD|
|Part of First Succession War|
|Draconis Combine||Federated Suns|
|Commanders and leaders|
|First Prince John Davion|
|Assorted naval and ground forces||First Davion Guards
Eighth Syrtis Fusiliers
Twenty-eighth Avalon Hussars
Six assorted armor and infantry regiments
|Space and limited ground regions|
Operation SOLAR SHIELD was a desperate attempt by First Prince John Davion to try and disrupt the large-scale invasion of the Federated Suns which had been launched by Coordinator Minoru Kurita in 2787. Underestimating the Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery forces significantly, Prince John drew together three ad hoc task forces based around three BattleMech regiments which had been earmarked for his planned invasion of the Capellan Confederation, augmented by six assorted regiments of armor and infantry and escorted by a small number of Armed Forces of the Federated Suns WarShips, and in February 2788 launched the task forces at the occupied systems of Cartago, Elbar and Schedar. The haste with which the task forces were assembled and launched was due to Prince John believing that speed was of the essence in disrupting the invasion, despite senior AFFS officers advising against the plan.
Prince John led the attack on Cartago personally, deploying the First Davion Guards and escorted by the Davion II-class destroyers FSS Duke Henry and FSS Edmund Davion. A Draconis Combine Admiralty picket force of two Baron-class destroyers briefly contested the AFFS landing, and the confident AFFS forces landed and only narrowly avoided an trap involving a nuclear weapon at the planetary capital spaceport. The Guards and supporting forces managed to retreat from Cartago along with Prince John, less the forces destroyed by the nuclear weapon, only to be attacked by DCA aerospace and naval forces, including both Barons and the DCS Omodaka, a Narukami II-class destroyer that had been lurking in hiding on the far side of Cartago. The DCA forces pursued the retreating AFFS DropShips, only breaking off the attack after the two Barons and the Duke Henry had been destroyed.
The Eighth Syrtis Fusiliers led the attack on Elbar in May 2788, but never reached the point of making planetfall; the Fusiliers and their attached ground forces were en route to Elbar in their DropShips with a small WarShip escort when the Narukami-class destroyer DCS Tsutsuji appeared, and with support from two squadrons of aerospace fighters launched an attack on the AFFS JumpShips while they were recharging.
Realizing that they were heading into a trap, and that the DCMS forces were well-prepared for any attack, the Fusiliers were faced with a difficult choice; their two-ship WarShip escort lacked enough docking collars to enable the Fusiliers to escape with all their DropShips, so the Fusiliers resorted to transferring as many of their DropShip crews, passengers and equipment into the Carrack-class transport FSS Port Victoria as they could before jumping out of the Elbar system, abandoning their DropShips behind them.
The Twenty-eighth Avalon Hussars led the attack on Schedar, which resulted in the majority of the AFFS casualties suffered during SOLAR SHIELD. When the Hussars jumped into the Schedar system, escorted by the Vincent-class corvette FSS Robespierre and the Carrack-class transport FSS Liverpool, the DCMS had complete aerospace superiority in the system, as well as a WarShip support to draw on. The Vincent-class corvette DCS Kaiten attacked and tied up the Robespierre, while aerospace fighters attacked and destroyed the Liverpool. The Lola I-class destroyers DCS Minekaze and DCS Shiokaze, having ignored the Liverpool, attacked the Hussars transports, destroying them one at a time; only two companies of Hussar troops managed to make groundfall, where DCMS troops were heavily fortified and waiting for them.
Operation SOLAR SHIELD was a complete failure for the AFFS. Already suffering from lack of resources and increasing casualties, SOLAR SHIELD cost the AFFS people, resources and ships that it couldn't afford to lose while failing to slow or disrupt the invasion of the Federated Suns.
- First Succession War, p. 40-41, "Fighting The Tsunami"
- First Succession War, p. 41, "An Expensive Learning Curve"