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An American Tanker in Prince Davion's Court (Chapter Cover Art)

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Chapter 31 - An American Tanker in Prince Davion's Court[]

Heavy Metal[]

Rookhaven and elsewhere on the continent of Ohio
Harvest, Federated Commonwealth
May 12th, 3050

After the Batchall was completed, Ulric Kerensky and the other khans boarded their dropship and returned to the Clan flagship Dire Wolf, where orders were issued for the landings to begin immediately. These operations lasted for the next three days, and resulted in Clan contingents taking up positions all across the continent of Ohio; the Jade Falcons landed 240 kilometers west of the city of Rookhaven (defended by Field Marshal Hodges’s forces; consisting of ten division combat teams and five air cavalry divisions), while the Smoke Jaguars did likewise for the city of Aaron Ranch (located 350 kilometers to the southwest and defended by the 1st, 2nd, and 10th Lyran Royal Guards).

The city of Joseph’s Corner is located a further 150 kilometers southwest of Aaron Ranch, and is defended by the Davion Brigade of Guards, the Eridani Light Horse and the Hong Kong Cavaliers; it will be engaged by Clan Ghost Bear. The city of Pusou (located 480 kilometers west before the eastern slopes of the Skonnsen Mountain Range) is defended by the 1st and 2nd Sword of Light Regiments, plus the 1st Genyosha Regiment. Khan Severen Leroux of Clan Nova Cat chooses to land his troops west of the mountains in order to use them as a screen to cover his movements.

The Plains of Dangalobee are defended by Wolf’s Dragoons, the Royal Black Watch Regiment, the Northwind Highlanders, and the 331st Royal Battlemech Division; they are dug in on the east bank of the Ohio River. Due to the antipathy that Clan Wolf has for the 331st Royal Battlemech Division and Wolf’s Dragoons, Khan Kerensky of Clan Wolf exercises his command prerogative and chooses to attack here. Giving some forethought to the possibility that support might be needed if combat operations don’t go as planned, he issues orders that Clan Steel Viper and Clan Diamond Shark are to take up the role of theater reserve.

On the AEF side, the forces defending Aaron Ranch, Joseph’s Corner, Pusou and the Plains of Dangalobee are reinforced by contingents consisting of 20 RCTs each, while the theater reserve consists of a further 33 RCTs; which units consisting of one mech regiment (108 units), one tank brigade (324 units), one aerospace fighter wing (36 units), one infantry brigade and one transport & support regiment. In terms of technological parity, all of Field Marshal Hodges’ units are fully-upgraded with the latest weapons and equipment (including the Hong Kong Cavaliers, the Royal Black Watch, the 331st Royal Battlemech Division, the Northwind Highlanders and Wolf’s Dragoons), as are 20% of the Davion, Lyran and Draconis Combine contingents; the other 80% of the House troops (and all of the regimental combat teams) have a more limited upgrade package, consisting of multi-spectral rangefinders, weapon stabilization systems, combat computers and improved cooling jackets.

In the days before the batchall took place in Rookhaven, the several contingents of the Allied Expeditionary Force conducted their landings to best advantage and secured their landing zones according to the policy of the respective commanding officers. According to orders previously issued by Field Marshal Hodges, the Rookhaven landing zone is defended by a square brigade of superheavy battlemechs; this marks the first appearance of this class of machine on any battlefield. Needless to say, Hodges’s fellow officers were quite surprised when these gigantic machines took up their positions.

In a final command conference before Field Marshal Artan Sortek and the other officers see to the disposition of their forces, Duggan Marik (who commands the supporting RCTs) looks to Field Marshal Hodges and says “Is there any limit to your surprises, sir? I and the others had no idea that you had viable superheavy mechs in your TO & E…”

“General Marik, the surprise that you and the others are experiencing right now is only a token indicator of what the Jade Falcons will feel if they attempt to attack my landing zone. As for further surprises, just wait and see what happens.”

A brief pause, then Field Marshal Hodges salutes his fellow officers and says “gentlemen, let us look to this day; may fortune be ours.”

The action begins in the Rookhaven Area of Operations just as the forces of Clan Jade Falcon begin to move. Suddenly and without warning, a total of 1,000 Storm Shadow hypersonic cruise missiles rise from their launchers and divide themselves into two separate flocks of 500 missiles each. These missiles immediately assume a nap-of-the-earth flight profile (so as to avoid detection until it’s too late) and move to attack Clan Jade Falcon’s formation simultaneously from the southwest and northwest; simultaneously, two hundred theater ballistic missiles begin to rise atop columns of fire. The flight paths and flight time of each group of weapons was carefully calculated so that every weapon would arrive on target at the exact same time; a missile version of the ‘Time on Target’ artillery barrage.

Khan Elias Crichell began the Jade Falcon advance, supremely confident of victory against that dezgra barbarian Hodges; that confidence was quickly shattered as his communications officer shouted warnings of an incoming missile strike. The Jade Falcon anti-missile systems manage to shoot down half of the incoming cruise missiles; however, they are quickly overwhelmed, Some 500 Storm Shadows reach their designated target areas and deploy DPICM and thermobaric warheads, while those with unitary warheads go on to strike enemy dropships and ‘mech formations. As if things couldn’t get any worse, the theater ballistic missiles reach their IP and release their MIRVs. Just 60 seconds later, a total of 600 warheads come down all over Clan Jade Falcon’s formation, adding yet more death and destruction.

After the last enemy warhead goes off and the smoke of thousands of explosions begins to clear, Khan Crichell calls out “SaKhan Chistu, status report.” Aboard his Executioner Omnimech, Chistu replies “My Khan, I am grieved to report that, despite our anti-missile systems functioning as intended, twelve of our DropShips have been destroyed and we have lost a full 10% of our ground forces; this amounts to 70 Omnimechs, two trinaries worth of tanks, two trinaries worth of artillery and three binaries worth of Elementals. No losses of OmniFighters occurred, as they were already airborne when the missiles came in.”

“Very well. We will have vengeance for this stain upon the honor of our Clan; order the OmniFighters to press their attack. The rest of us will continue with the advance.”

“Aff, my Khan.”

Among the Mechwarriors coming across the field with Clan Jade Falcon is Ranna Kerensky, granddaughter of Natasha Kerensky; her presence is by her specific request and with the agreement of Khan Elias Crichell and her cousin Khan Ulric Kerensky. The reason for Ranna’s presence is that she’s been wanting to test herself on the battlefield against Field Marshal Hodges ever since she heard how he defeated her grandmother in just 30 seconds. Alone in the cockpit of her Warhawk, a frisson of excitement runs through Kerensky’s mind as she anticipates the coming battle.

Warhawk (Smoke Jaguar Colors - by SU-SMD)

Warhawk Assault Omnimech

On the other side of the battlefield, Field Marshal Hodges quickly reviews the status reports from his unit commanders and remarks to his adjutant Victor Steiner-Davion “Well Colonel, that certainly got their attention.”

“Indeed it did, sir. I’d be willing to bet that the Jade Turkeys are angry enough to chew nails and spit tacks.” Hodges chuckles malignantly as he replies “the angrier those people get, the better I like it.” Just then, an air raid warning comes in over the comms channel…

High over the battlefield, Field Marshal Hodges’ Aerospace Fighters have been orbiting safely out of the way of the outgoing missile fire. AWACS shows that there are 600 enemy fighters inbound, so Hodges’ own fighters are vectored in on the enemy.

“TALLYHO! Good luck and good hunting…”

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