Clan Smoke Jaguar
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|Clan Smoke Jaguar|
|Time period:||2807 – 3060|
|Capital world:||was Huntress|
|Military:||Clan Smoke Jaguar Touman|
|Secret Service:||Clan Smoke Jaguar Watch|
Clan Smoke Jaguar is easily the most violent and aggressive of all the Clans. They are, however, not as brash and headstrong as Clan Jade Falcon; they are quicker to battle, but are also quicker to think before acting. This made a deadly combination, and Clan Smoke Jaguar was quite a strong Clan. However, the clan didn't have the immensity of the larger Clans or the autonomy of Clan Ghost Bear to support its claim. As such, Clan Smoke Jaguar was dangerous in combat, but never a serious contender to be the IlClan (ruling Clan) after the invasion of the Inner Sphere began and Terra supposedly free for the taking.
Clan Smoke Jaguar joined Clan Jade Falcon in the campaign for the Clan Invasion. They were amongst the first Clans to launch into the Invasion, although they did not rush headlong into the battle as the Jade Falcons and other Clans. The Jaguar's deliberated on the situation for a time, choosing not to invade Lyran Commonwealth territory, closest to the Jaguar's, as the Falcons had, but rather to cross to the other side of the Outer Rim and launch an offensive against the Draconis Combine. The Jaguars penetrated deep into the Inner Sphere, but as mentioned before, they did not have the autonomy to maintain proper defense. A lot of claimed territory was lost when the Draconis Combine went on the offensive. Clan Smoke Jaguar was in great peril until Clan Ghost Bear followed them into Draconis Combine territory. With a new threat, the Draconis Combine was forced into a defensive stance once more, and Smoke Jaguar returned to the offensive with the combined might of its sister clan.
Clan Smoke Jaguar and Clan Ghost Bear came very close to Terra when the Clans were defeated at the Battle of Tukayyid. Clan Ghost Bear, greatly weakened, turned its attention to driving a straight line to Terra, leaving Clan Smoke Jaguar to handle the Draconis Combine on its own. Without the protection of Clan Ghost Bear, and with little improved autonomy, Clan Smoke Jaguar was forced to take a defensive stance once more. Although they did not concede any territory, they gave the Draconis Combine time to recuperate from the shattering offensive. When the war between Clan Jade Falcon and Clan Wolf was over, Clan Wolf retreated towards the Outer Rim, leaving the remaining Clans to defend the abandoned worlds. When the Inner Sphere reformed the Star League in the face of the Clan threat, they launched the biggest Inner Sphere offensive against the Clans. Operation Serpent, led by General Ariana Winston of the elite Eridani Light Horse mercenary brigade secretly attacked the Smoke Jaguar homeworld of Huntress. Meanwhile, Operation Bulldog led by Prince Victor Steiner-Davion attacked the frontlines, forcing the Smoke Jaguar to fight a two-front war. When Bulldog got to Huntress, they found Operation Serpent a success; however General Winston had died. After the annihilation of Clan Smoke Jaguar, Victor led the new Star League to the Clan capital, Strana Mechty, to stop the Clan Invasion.
Like many of the Clan warriors it represents, the predator for whom Clan Smoke Jaguar is named owes its existence to science tampering with nature. Its genes are those of the Terran jaguar, altered in the laboratory to enable it to survive in a harsher environment. Imported by Aleksandr Kerensky's followers to the world of Strana Mechty, the Smoke Jaguar thrived in the fertile jungles that teemed with suitable prey.
Members of Clan Smoke Jaguar take fierce pride in their namesake, and are every bit as feral as it. They believe that the Clans' revered founder, Nicholas Kerensky, modeled all of Clan society on the smoke jaguar, and point proudly to the above entry from one of his many journals in which he extols the beast's virtues. Modern-day Smoke Jaguars often quote from this journal entry, which they revere above all literature save for the Clans' epic poem, The Remembrance.
The history of Clan Smoke Jaguar is certainly one of the most violent of the Clans. Driven to be the best warriors in the Clans, the Smoke Jaguars are relentless in their desire to be the ilClan.
Hard hitting and totally unforgiving of the weakness of others, the Smoke Jaguars quickly established themselves as the most brutal and aggressive of the Clans. First led by Khan Franklin Osis, the Smoke Jaguars set extreme standards for members of their warrior caste. Khan Osis' lust for battle led the Jaguars to many victories in the Clan's early days; his vision of the Jaguars being the ultimate warrior Clan inspired his troops to greater feats of prowess on the battlefield, assuring their prominence amongst the Clans.
During the campaigns of Operation Klondike, Khan Osis' savagery and sheer fighting prowess set the pattern for Clan Smoke Jaguars' future. However, the warrior caste's view that they are the epitome of Clan society and all others are beneath them has caused numerous problems with the lower castes over the centuries. The harsh discipline maintained by the warrior caste meant that any transgression by the lower castes would be dealt with severely. This attitude has brought many negative repercussions for the Jaguars. Only by declaring dozens of Trials of Possession for everything from genetic legacies to OmniMech designs could the Smoke Jaguars maintain their viability as a Clan.
When the first calls for invasion were issued, the Smoke Jaguars were at the forefront, demanding an immediate assault on the Inner Sphere. Using data from the captured ComStar vessel, the Outbound Light, Smoke Jaguar Khan Leo Showers won a call for invasion and the post of ilKhan. In 3049, the Clans swept through the Periphery, destroying all opposition in their way. Confident that the warriors that they had faced thus far were typical of the Inner Sphere, the Clans proceeded with the invasion.
The invasion of the Inner Sphere was a mixed blessing for the Smoke Jaguars. The elite Jaguar Clusters cut through the opposing DCMS troops like a hot knife, but were stung by their inability to deal with Kurita partisans. This flaw was no more apparent than on the planet Turtle Bay. The Jaguars had unknowingly captured Hohiro Kurita, son of Theodore Kurita, but lost him during a jail break. Later, after several weeks of non-stop rioting, the local Jaguar commander unleashed the full power of his WarShip on the city of Edo Bay, bombarding it from orbit and completely destroying the city and killing nearly a million civilians.
On Wolcott, the Jaguars met their first true defeat when Hohiro Kurita tricked the Jaguars into attacking at a place and time of his choosing. As a result, the Combine captured several OmniMechs and two dozen suits of Elemental armor.
The shock of this defeat paled in comparison when it was learned that ilKhan Leo Showers was killed during the battle of Radstadt. Though the Jaguars protested a return to the homeworlds to select a new ilKhan, they eventually went along. During the year that the Clans spent back on their homeworlds, the Smoke Jaguar khans and several others conspired to elect Ulric Kerensky ilKhan, thereby forcing him to do things their way. Ulric proved to be more cunning than those attempting to manipulate him, by adding Clans Steel Viper and Nova Cat to the invasion force. Ulric's subsequent pairing of the hated Nova Cats with the Smoke Jaguars, coupled with his order that the Jaguars must cede worlds to the Nova Cats to ensure a secure supply line, further enraged Khans Furey and Weaver.
Shortly after the return to the Inner Sphere, ilKhan Ulric approved a plan that shook the Successor States. Using their combined forces, the Nova Cats and Smoke Jaguars launched a major offensive against Luthien, the capitol of the Draconis Combine. The Combine forces were hopelessly outgunned by the Clans, but received a major boost that would turn the tide of the battle.
Hanse Davion, Prince of the Federated Commonwealth, had sworn to Theodore Kurita that no AFFC forces would invade Combine space for the duration of the hostilities. When Hanse learned that the Clans were planning to invade Luthien, he faced a great dilemma. He could not break his word to Theodore by sending House troops in to Combine space - the capitol no less - but conceived of an alternate way of offering aid. Hanse ordered elite mercenary units, the Kell Hounds and Wolf's Dragoons, to Luthien to participate in the upcoming battle. Both the Hounds and the Dragoons had long, acrimonious relationships with the Combine and only reluctantly fought for their defense. The addition of these two elite mercenary units provided the extra push required to secure a Combine victory.
The Battle of Luthien was, in some ways, a precursor of the future for the Jaguars. A total of five Clan Galaxies - two Nova Cat and three Smoke Jaguar - landed on Luthien in December of 3051. The Combine force, bolstered by the addition of the mercenaries, totaled roughly 1300 BattleMechs. The Clans landed nearly 800 OmniMechs. The three-day battle that followed was remarkable for the savagery and intensity displayed on all sides. The addition of the mercenary forces ensured a turn from defeat into a narrow victory - fewer than a third of the combined Clan force withdrew from Luthien.
Utterly disappointed by their loss, the Smoke Jaguars took to raiding Nova Cat worlds and further restricting rights amongst the lower castes. To complicate matters more, the Jaguars were forced to slow their timetable while they recouped from their losses. Time, however, was not on the Jaguars' side. In early 3052, ilKhan Ulric Kerensky met with Precentor Martial Anastasius Focht to determine the fate of the Inner Sphere. Focht proposed a proxy battle for Terra. If the Clans won, then Terra and ComStar would be their's. If ComStar prevailed, the Clans would stop their advance for fifteen years. ComStar committed a force equaling fifty BattleMech regiments, plus support units, to the battle.
Word of Ulric's decision to battle ComStar shocked many within the Clans. The still-hurting Smoke Jaguars were outraged at the turn of events, but managed to convince the other invading Clans to leave the Wolves with the worst possible targets, while Khans Furey and Weaver managed to earn the Smoke Jaguars the right to land first.
The bidding for the Battle of Tukayyid began on the 18th of April, with all the invading Clans vying for the landing order and target cities they considered would win them the greatest glory. Led by Clan Smoke Jaguar, the khans of the other invading Clans conspired to prevent Clan Wolf from winning the rights to any favorable battle conditions. The conspiracy succeeded and Clan Wolf, landing a full five days after the other Clans, won the right only to attack the smallest and least well-defended cities of Brzo and Skupo.
Khan Osis of Clan Smoke Jaguar rejoiced in having beaten the Wolves, and also in having won the honor to be the first to set foot on Tukayyid; he believed that ComStar's Com Guards would be easy pickings, an inept honor guard serving a bureaucracy. The Jaguars' target cities also promised the Clan great glory in the winning, as both lay in terrain heavily favoring the defender: Dinju Heights, nestled in the Dinju Mountains, and Port Racice, near the treacherous Racice River Delta. Refusing to listen to the ilKhan's warnings about the dangers of scarce supplies, the Jaguar khans landed woefully unprepared for the battlefield siege they were soon to face. Instead, the Jaguar khans placed their faith in the ability of their Galaxies to overwhelm all opposition with two swift, brutal strikes.
Khan Osis led Alpha Galaxy, including the elite Sixth Jaguar Dragoons and the Jaguar Grenadiers, into the Dinju Mountains. Meanwhile, saKhan Weaver and the Mistweavers Galaxy landed in the marshes of the Racice River Delta. Both khans expected easy victory; neither was to have it.
The Dinju campaign began well for the Clan. The Sixth Jaguar Dragoons cut through the Com Guards' green 50th Division and easily secured Alpha Galaxy's drop site. When the Dragoons and the Grenadiers began their march on Dinju Heights, they encountered only modest resistance from remnants of the 50th, whose light raids did little damage. The Clan warriors advanced toward the seemingly undefended Dinju Pass, confident of swiftly capturing the city that lay beyond. Unknown to the Jaguars, they were marching straight toward the heavier elements of the Com Guards' 299th Division, hidden in the pass.
Only the un-Clanlike caution of Star ColonelBrandon Howell saved the Jaguar Grenadiers from annihilation. Believing the undefended pass too good to be true, Howell sent two Stars of the Grenadiers forward in a ploy to force any hidden Com Guards out into the open. He then ordered the rest of his OmniMechs to hug the walls of the pass while moving forward at flank speed. Though the Grenadiers took heavy losses when the 299th sprung the trap, elements of the unit broke through Com Guard forces to confront the 323rd Division on the doorstep of Dinju Heights.
Not to be outdone by one of his own Star Colonels, Khan Osis attempted to lead his Sixth Jaguar Dragoons on a similar charge through the pass. Unfortunately for the Dragoons, the remaining 'Mechs of the 299th and 323rd Divisions were swarming all over the floor and the far end of the pass. The Dragoons took heavy casualties, and a Com Guard MechWarrior picked off Khan Osis with a well-placed laser shot against Osis's Elemental.
In the meantime, saKhan Weaver and the Mistweavers' OmniMechs were bogged down close to their landing zone. The initial drop went well, as the pools and marshes of the Racice Delta gave the Smoke Jaguar 'Mechs and Elementals a soft landing, inflicting fewer casualties than usual for such a maneuver. The Jaguars discovered, however, that wading through the swamps forced them to move at a painfully slow pace. Com Guard 'Mechs concealed in the delta's deep pools and sluggish river channels repeatedly ambushed the Jaguars, negating the Clans' weapon-range advantage and their 'Mechs' superior heat sink technology. Ongoing artillery barrages herded the Clan 'Mechs ever deeper into the delta, where still more Com Guard 'Mechs waited in ambush. Near the end of the third day's march toward Port Racice, the 'Mechs of the Com Guards' 207th Division surrounded the Galaxy's Command Star and launched a coordinated attack against its units. Khan Sarah Weaver died in the fighting when her Warhawk's fusion engine went critical.
With the leaderless Clan Smoke Jaguars facing the fresh troops of the Com Guards' Second Army, ilKhan Ulric Kerensky ordered the Jaguars to retreat from Tukayyid. The dispirited warriors of the Mistweavers Galaxy obediently retreated towards their drop zone, but several of Alpha Galaxy's units refused. The Sixth Jaguar Dragoons viewed ilKhan Kerensky's orders as a Wolf Clan ploy, intended to erase the honor they had gained through the sacrifice of the Jaguar Grenadiers and the loss of Khan Osis. Proud and defiant, they continued their advance down the Dinju Pass, accompanied by several warriors from Alpha Galaxy's surviving Clusters. The sheer numerical superiority of the Com Guards' forces in the pass, however, eventually overwhelmed them.
Unable to fight their way back through the pass to aid their floundering companions, the few remaining warriors of the Jaguar Grenadiers launched a death-or-glory attack on Dinju Heights. The assault had no chance of succeeding, but forced the Com Guards' 82nd Division and 322nd Divisions to pull back into the city. With the Com Guards' retreat, a few of the Grenadiers managed to escape back to their drop zone.
The Battle for Tukayyid ranks as one of the greatest defeats in the history of the Smoke Jaguars. Khans Kinkaid Furey and Sara Weaver led their Galaxies in an all-out battle against the Com Guards, only to be beaten at every turn by their enemies. Out-gunned and out-manned, the elite Jaguar Clusters fell one at time to the relentless fury of the Com Guard forces. Even after both Khans were killed in the fighting, elements of Alpha Galaxy continued to fight until they were forced off-planet. Only a handful of Stars from Beta Galaxy and fewer from Alpha survived the debacle. Shortly after the battle ended, Brandon Howell was chosen as Khan. Lincoln Osis was then discovered alive by a salvage team, so Brandon Howell stepped down and accepted the vacant position of saKhan instead.
In the intervening years since the Battle of Tukayyid, the Smoke Jaguars have been under relentless assault by both Inner Sphere and Clan forces. Nova Cat and Wolf raids have stoked the Jaguars' intense hatred of those Clans. The Draconis Combine, meanwhile, has spent the last few years launching numerous raids against various Smoke Jaguar planets in the occupation zone.
The Smoke Jaguars suffered considerable losses of manpower and equipment to ComStar forces on Tukayyid, but, unlike the other Clans, have not managed to recover sufficiently to resume military operations in the Inner Sphere to any significant degree, being kept in a defensive stance by several sources.
Kurita raiders have staged near-constant raids against Clan Smoke Jaguar in recent years, which have prevented that Clan from effectively recovering from the heavy casualties it suffered on Tukayyid. Nova Cat raiders have begun harassing Smoke Jaguar forces recently as well, further hampering the Clan's attempts to rebuild. As a result, the Smoke Jaguars seem unlikely to challenge the Ghost Bears for leadership of the Clans. Clan Smoke Jaguar's weakness has filled its warriors with frustration and a fierce desire to prove they are still a force to be reckoned with - which makes the Jaguars a potentially dangerous enemy for their Clan brethren and Inner Sphere powers.
Neither the Steel Vipers nor the Nova Cats have the strength to challenge the Ghost Bears, but both Clans are far from harmless. The Viper khan, Perigard Zalman, has shown remarkable restraint while patiently rebuilding his Clan, which marks him as a canny and dangerous leader. Meanwhile, the Nova Cats continue to rebuild following their losses on Luthien and Tukayyid. Their weakened condition, however, has not prevented them from raiding worlds located above the truce line.
In an attempt to weaken both the Ghost Bears and Smoke Jaguars and to give themselves time to recover from the Refusal War with Clan Jade Falcon, the then-Jade Wolves set into motion a complex plan, with layers of plots and misinformation blaming both Clan Smoke Jaguar and the forces of Phelan Kell's Clan Wolf-in-Exile for the theft of Clan Ghost Bear founders' genetic material. The Ghost Bears, through a series of raids and information gathering missions, discovered the true nature of this deceit.
Although discovering that the blame lie with the Jade Wolves and not Clan Smoke Jaguar, the relative weakness of Clan Smoke Jaguar has left this Clan open to raiding and perhaps a trial of absorption by Clan Ghost Bear. Whether the Ghost Bears take advantage of this opportunity or not is left to be seen.
Khan Lincoln Osis was able to quickly rebuild Beta and Delta Galaxies with reinforcements from the homeworlds. But, the two Galaxies have spent the last few years in almost constant combat as the DCMS and Clans Wolf and Nova Cat staged numerous raids on the Jaguars. No sooner would the Jaguars replenish and refit one Cluster than another Cluster would take heavy damage in a raid.
In an attempt to regain lost honor, Khan Osis split his resources and ordered the reformation of Alpha Galaxy and the creation of Tau Galaxy. The reemergence of Alpha Galaxy and its centerpiece unit, the Sixth Jaguar Dragoons, was critical for Osis's personal honor. Tau Galaxy was formed to destroy Nova Cat forces in the Inner Sphere in reprisal for the recent losses the Jaguars had sustained at their hands. The Galaxy was lost, however, when the Northwind Highlanders regiment, Stirling's Fusiliers, landed on the planet Wayside V where Tau Galaxy was based in preparation to invade the Nova Cat worlds in the Inner Sphere. Tau Galaxy's three Clusters pursued the main body of the Fusiliers in a running battle across Wayside V. Unbeknownst to the Jaguars, the Fusiliers had one trump card to play. The Fusiliers sent a small unit, disguised as Smoke Jaguars, to stage several attacks against the Nova Cats in an attempt to goad the Nova Cats into following them back to Wayside V. After four such attacks, the Nova Cats khans sent two Clusters to Wayside V where they found Tau Galaxy engaged in a pitched battle with the remnants of Stirling's Fusiliers. In a fierce battle to the death, the Nova Cats destroyed the remaining elements of Tau Galaxy, but allowed the surviving Fusiliers to live. The loss of Tau Galaxy further deepened the hatred the Smoke Jaguars felt towards the Nova Cats.
In 3059, Khan Lincoln Osis was elected ilKhan and he immediately began planning the continuation of the invasion of the Inner Sphere. Wolf Khan Vladimir Ward and Jade Falcon Khan Marthe Pryde foiled this plan by forcing him to give the other Clans nine months to earn slots in the invasion force. Although deeply angered by their ploy, Osis had little choice but to accede to their demands. ilKhan Osis also used this time to order the formation of several new front-line Clusters as well as increasing the flow of supplies to the Clusters already in position in the occupation zone.
In May 3059, the Smoke Jaguars were shocked to find that the Inner Sphere, under the banner of the Star League, launched an offensive into their occupation zone. The first wave targeted only five worlds, but all fell quickly under the SLDF's enormous firepower. The Jaguars fared little better in the second wave, losing eleven worlds but managing to cripple two SLDF regiments on Luzerne.
During the short lull between the second and third waves, the Jaguars launched a counteroffensive aimed at weakening the SLDF support structure and forcing it to pull units back to deal with the counteroffensive. The plan quickly fell apart when it became apparent that the targeted worlds were more than capable of defending themselves. Again, the Jaguars sustained heavy losses with little to show for the effort.
The third wave signaled the end of the Smoke Jaguar presence in the Inner Sphere. What few units that remained retreated after putting up token resistance. The fourth wave finished the Jaguars as those garrison Clusters stranded fought until forced to surrender or, in some cases, to the death. By the end of August 3059, the Jaguars were beaten and in retreat.
Battle for Huntress
In late 3060, an Inner Sphere task force, code-named Serpent, struck at the Smoke Jaguar homeworld, Huntress. The Jaguar garrison commander, Russou Howell, had only two Provisional Galaxies to withstand the onslaught of ten elite Inner Sphere regiments. Both sides wreaked enormous damage upon another. Howell used the opportunity to unleash a deadly new war machine. Dubbed ProtoMechs, these miniature 'Mechs were piloted by washed-out aerospace pilots using the new Enhanced Imaging system. The EI system coupled with the improved armor and weaponry allowed the ProtoMech pilots to wreak considerable damage on the Serpent forces before they were destroyed. After several days of almost non-stop combat, Task Force Serpent crushed the last of the Jaguar garrison forces.
Task Force Serpent's respite from battle was swept away when the remnants of the Smoke Jaguar Inner Sphere forces returned to Huntress for repairs and refitting. Shocked at finding their homeworld in the hands of Inner Sphere troops, the Smoke Jaguars, led by Galaxy Commander Hang Mehta, launched a brutal counterattack. With barely two Galaxies of troops, the Jaguars hammered mercilessly against the elite Serpent troops. Several days into the battle, ilKhan Lincoln Osis and his bodyguard unit arrived on Huntress to coordinate the counterattack. Both sides sustained losses in excess of sixty percent, with many pilots dead and hundreds of 'Mechs lain strewn across the battlefields.
The Jaguars launched one final counterattack with their remaining forces. The battle was almost lost for the Inner Sphere if not for the skill and valor of the Eridani Light Horse. The ELH troops held the line but at a tremendous cost. Their leader, General Ariana Winston, was killed in the final moments of the battle. Winston's death marked the turning point for the campaign. Prince Victor Steiner-Davion, leading another task group to Huntress, arrived in-system just before the final battle began. The fresh troops he led quickly hunted down and eliminated all Jaguar resistance within a few days. Unfortunately for the Inner Sphere, ilKhan Lincoln Osis was able to escape with a handful of warriors to Strana Mechty.
Following the battle for Huntress, Prince Victor led the SLDF troops to Strana Mechty for a final battle with the Clans. The Grand Council accepted his challenge. The eight Crusader Clans would each send a binary of troops against an equivalent SLDF company.
ilKhan Lincoln Osis led his remaining troops (9 Omnimech-Points and 1 Elemental-Point) in battle against Prince Victor and the Tenth Lyran Guards. The Jaguars fought with all the ferocity of their namesake, but were ultimately crushed by the Guards. ilKhan Osis challenged Victor Steiner-Davion to a personal fight, taking off his Elemental battle-armor. Victor climbed out of his 'mech with his Katana at his side, but declined the challenge. He declared, that Clan Smoke Jaguar was destroyed and that none of his warriors had to die anymore. The survivors would be welcomed to the Star League. Lincoln Osis realized, that his Crusader beliefs were wrong. He broke up in tears and his last words were >>What have we done?<<. But Lincoln Osis also wanted to die like a warrior. So he attacked Victor Steiner-Davion, very aware of his sword. Prince Victor Steiner-Davion instinctively beheaded him with his first strike, completely puzzled by Osis' charge.
With the death of Lincoln Osis, the Smoke Jaguar Clan effectively ceased to exist. Its holdings on Huntress were either destroyed or under SLDF control and its entire fighting arm crushed by the SLDF. The SLDF declared Lootera, the capital of Huntress, a neutral zone and Victor Steiner-Davion appointed Colonel Paul Masters, commander of the Knights of the Inner Sphere, as the Inner Sphere's first ambassador to the Clans. An attempt was made by Galaxy Commander Brendon Corbett to resurrect the Clan, but Operation Damocles put an end to that effort.
In the MechWarrior: Dark Age universe it has been revealed that the last of the Smoke Jaguar warrior caste were later brought to the Inner Sphere by former Star Colonel Paul Moon, and re-crafted into a secret fighting force known as the Fidelis (meaning: the True), a force held in reserve for use under catastrophic times for the Republic of the Sphere in a fashion similar to which Comstar hid the Com Guard. At the end of the events, 21 years after establishment of Fortress Republic, it was judged by Exarch Jonah Levin that they had fulfilled their debt to the Inner Sphere and they were freed to once again establish themselves as they chose. They have not been heard of since this revelation.