Van der Bergh
|Van der Bergh|
The SLS Van der Bergh was the Luxor-class Flagship of Commodore Altran Serdamba and his convoy escort flotilla during the naval battle between Rim Worlds Republic forces and SLDF forces in the New Earth system in late December 2766 when Stefan Amaris launched Operation APOTHEOSIS.
The SLS Wales, a Texas-class battleship commanded by Vice Admiral Dmitrios Rummolo had arrived in the New Earth system accompanied by an escort consisting of a Congress-class frigate and two Essex-class destroyers, and were collectively en route to join the SLDF Ninth Fleet, which Rummolo was due to take command of on promotion to Admiral. As New Earth was a major supply world for the SLDF, a large convoy was already assembling in the system under the command of Commodore Serdamba, whose convoy defense flotilla consisted of his flagship, the heavy cruiser SLS Van der Bergh, four destroyers and nine corvettes. The Wales and her vessels were due to be attached to the convoy for their trip out to the Magistracy of Canopus when Stefan Amaris launched APOTHEOSIS, his coup to take over the Terran Hegemony and ultimately the Star League. As a part of APOTHEOSIS, the Rim Worlds Republic navy launched attacks across the Hegemony, and one such attack force consisting of twenty Rim Worlds WarShips attacked Serdamba's convoy as it assembled at the nadir point.
The RWR WarShips had the element of surprise, scoring a number of hits against the unprepared Wales after targeting both the Wales and the Van der Bergh as priority targets when they launched their attack. Commodore Serdamba had been running his defense flotilla through convoy protection drills when the attack was launched, and he and his ships immediately returned fire and began launching AeroSpace Fighters even as the Rim Worlds vessels were launching fighters of their own; the swift actions on the part of the defense flotilla bought valuable minutes for the Wales and her escort to come to battle stations and join the fight, and with the Wales and the firepower of her squadron added to that of Serdamba's forces, the fight became more even. The greater experience of the SLDF navy crews proved the tipping point, and after losing eight of the ships from their combined forces, Rummolo and Serdamba drove off the RWR ships, crippling fourteen enemy vessels in the process.
Unaware of what was happening outside the New Earth system, Rummolo ordered Serdamba to secure the Apollo Four shipyards at a LaGrange point near the fifth planet in the New Earth system, while the Wales and her two Essex-class escorts quick-charged their engines, the Congress having been lost in the ambush. The next day, Rummolo dispatched the two destroyers to join Serdamba's position at the shipyards, while the Wales led thirteen assorted government and military JumpShips out of the system to the secret naval base that would later become known as Freedom Station.
- Historical: Liberation of Terra Volume 1, p. 72, "Command of the Stars"