|Operation Zitadelle (part I)|
Operation Striker (part II)
|Pages||7 + 10|
|Publisher||FanPro (Wunderwelten magazine issue #26/#27)|
|Era||Succession Wars era|
|Timeline||ca. 3031 (see Notes)|
Operation Zitadelle and its counterpart, Operation Striker, is a campaign scenario for BattleTech that was published in FanPro's house magazine Wunderwelten in issue #26 (May 1995) and issue #27 (July/August 1995). The two missions are presented as part of the same storyline, but are designed to be stand-alone and could be played separately.
The former is a mercenary mission for a company of BattleMechs using the "Strategic Double Blind" campaign rules as previously laid out in issue #20 of the Wunderwelten magazine (see Schwarzer Tag), while the latter is an infantry action scenario set inside a fortification that is geared towards role-playing and MechWarrior (RPG)-level personal combat.
An expansion pack with additional color maps of important areas, the general planetary map, and detailed hex-maps of the Citadel installation on a 3.5" floppy disk for IBM-PC plus an extra booklet with guidelines for negotiating the contract with the Confederation, 'Strategic Double Blind' force listings for the rebel forces, and other extra content could be ordered via FanPro for 10 DM plus postage.
Romano Liao ascended to the throne of the Capellan Confederation in the wake of the Fourth Succession War after her father Maximilian Liao succumbed to madness. Even before she can begin rebuilding the shattered Confederation, the Duchy of Andurien and the Magistracy of Canopus attack and force the weakened, just defeated CCAF to fight off another invasion. This weakness of the Capellan state, combined with the fact that the entire remaining military is tied up, entices the rebellious population of No Return to declare their independence under their leader and elected president Nick Vorhees.
With no military reserves to speak of, Romano Liao decides against killing Vorhees and thus making him a martyr. Instead, she hires a company-sized mercenary unit (the player unit) with orders to abduct Vorhees, who will then be "turned" by the Maskirovka and sent back, to guide the planet back into the Confederation's fold. The mercenaries will have to accept the presence of liaison officer Anja Romanova; even if they negotiate for full command rights during the plan's first phase, Operation Zitadelle, Romanova will command the second part, Operation Striker.
A Fury-class DropShip, the Pan Ch'ao, will accompany the mercenaries and spearhead the landing. It carries infantry to secure the spaceport, trucks loaded with equipment for building a field base, and a mysterious modified Striker tank. The mercenary contract stipulates that they have to escort the Striker to the citadel, secure access, wait for its return and safely escort the Striker back to the DropShip.
The landings go smoothly, but to reach Vorhees's citadel, an ancient and gutted Star League era fortification, the attackers have to cross an old bridge spanning a gigantic gorge that BattleMechs can only cross via the bridge. No 'Mech exceeding 65 tons can move across the fragile construction. A strategic map is provided for "Strategic Double Blind" play for the approach to the citadel.
The new No Return government is defended by fanatical but poorly equipped guerrilla forces. They are mostly armed with SRMs or light militarized utility vehicles, but may also bring a Long Tom artillery piece to bear. At the citadel the gates must be breached, but only the Striker vehicle accompanying the 'Mechs is small enough to pass through—the BattleMechs cannot. After president Vorhees has been captured, civilians blockade the bridge with their bodies, forcing the mercenaries to make tough moral choices. Equally viable options including willingly committing a war crime, legally terminating their contract on the spot, make a secret deal to switch sides, or whatever other solution the mercenaries can come up with between themselves, Romanova, Vorhees, the guerrillas and the civilians.
Published separately in the next issue of Wunderwelten, Operation Striker details the mission of the Striker tank inside the citadel, namely the capture of president Nick Vorhees. This part of the mission is invariably led by Anja Romanova (who is secretly a Maskirovka agent). The player group and accompanying infantry can only use their personal equipment and the modified Striker (which was modified to feature experimental reactive armor for which extra rules are provided, a fusion engine, two PPCs and a machine gun). In the citadel, they have to fight past the defenders and locate and capture Vorhees. Other obstacles besides armed resistance may include (no) lighting and power outages. Both parties may make tactical use of several cargo elevators, control of which will likely become an important aspect of the fighting.
Romanova orders self-adhesive satchel charges to be shot or hurled to the ceiling on every level of the installation. She later reveals that these are actually poison gas bombs and threatens to kill everyone inside if Vorhees won't surrender himself. She's not bluffing. Possibly getting involved in a poison gas strike may further complicate the situation for the mercenaries.
Published exclusively in an apocryphal magazine, Operation Zitadelle and Operation Striker must be considered apocryphal as well.
Wunderwelten was the house magazine of FanPro, who were the German BattleTech licensee at the time of publication and later even held the complete BattleTech license. While Wunderwelten does not technically meet the current criteria for canon, its BattleTech-related content does therefore still have a claim to being an official publication under a valid license.
- Although the scenario is not properly dated, references to the Andurien/Canopus invasion narrow the time down to sometimes between late 3030 and early 3032.
- While there is no indication whatsoever in the scenario write-up as to which company-sized mercenary unit supposedly took the contract, the stand-in unit for Wunderwelten scenarios by Hartwig Nieder-Gassel was his personal unit, Camerons Legion, wherever one was named. This seems to indicate Operation Zitadelle/Operation Striker may also have been carried out by that unit. In that case it would have occurred shortly before the Drachentrick and Schwarzer Tag scenarios and also presumably prior to the Cargo Queen operation; Camerons Legion was eventually wiped out in the Ronin Wars in 3034.
Other Wunderwelten Scenarios
Other BattleTech scenarios published through the Wunderwelten magazine include
- Wunderwelten, issue #26 (May 1995), pp. 42-50 & #27 (July/August 1995), pp. 48-58