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Clover Spear - Chapter Cover Art

Chapter 11[]

Clover Spear - The Story of the '56 War[]

Prologue, Book 2, The Hammer Falls


Taken from the book “Shattering the Edifice
A History of the Fall of Clans Jade Falcon and Steel Viper in the War of ’56.”

(Force Commander Anton Jursaik, Irian, 3070)

“What was the most impressive about the fall of the Falcons and Vipers was that the FC offensive was both so overwhelming, and so brutal from the initial hours. Nowhere was an attempt made to play by the Clan “rules”. Special Operations units (like the Liberation Units of the FWLM) figured heavily in the initial hours of the assaults, and a general uprising plagued the Falcon/Viper defense from the start. It is estimated that at least 4 Star Colonels of both Clans died due to guerilla activity, one of the most famous deaths being the ambush of Star Colonel Diane Anu and an aide in her hovercar as it raced to her command post to put down what they thought was little more than a “freebirth uprising”. She died under the guns of those freebirths, one witness stating that ‘we more poured her body from the car than moved it by the time we were done.’

Across the Occupation Zone, the Falcons and Vipers were faced with acts of resistance, great and small as every inhabited planet simply exploded. Everything from random acts of graffiti to the destruction of maglev lines seemingly erupted in the first week of the FC offensive. And it accomplished the goal Hanse had had from the beginning, it either pinned the Jade Falcons and Steel Vipers in their bases, or it scattered them in penny packets that were easily overwhelmed by the weight of the FC counterattack.”

Taken from the daily FC operational briefing provided to Field Marshal Ranier Poulin,
Supreme Commander of “Operation Clover Spear”,
declassified October 9th, 3076.

Jade Falcon and Steel Viper units on the initial target worlds are in a state of chaos and operations have been up to this point, very favorable, Steel Viper units have proven to be more flexible in the face of our operations, but they have also succumbed to the weight of our firepower, coupled with lack of a secure rear area.”

A summary of the status of the first wave is below:

Roadside:

We hit Roadside with the entirety of the Eridani Light Horse, the 2nd and 3rd Crucis Lancers RCTs and the 1st Kearny Highlanders. The enemy consisted of the Jade Falcon 5th Battle Cluster, which was scattered in star and trinary-sized penny packets across the main continent of Arcadia. We capitalized on the death of their Star Colonel, Diane Anu, and we managed to destroy two of these small forces with little trouble, the rest we have, over the past month, managed to hunt down, and the world is now secured as of two days ago. Casualties have been minimal and the new artillery brigades have more than proven their worth, breaking up a counterattack by two trinaries upon the flank of the 2nd Crucis Lancer’s flank during a night march.

Bone-Norman

The 94th Striker Cluster was mostly caught in barracks during a hurricane drop by the 17th Skye Rangers and the 26th Lyran Guards RCT. Most of the 94th was taken without a shot, and we have at least a battalion’s worth of Jade Falcon prisoners plus massive amounts of salvage. The raid on the on-world ELINT facility was a success, and it has been a massive intelligence haul.

Blair Atholl

The Steel Vipers had enough forces to cover their rear areas better, but the arrival of all 5 regiments of Wolf’s Dragoons, plus the 11th and 20th Avalon Hussar RCTs was enough force to crack them under sheer weight of numbers. The penultimate event of the campaign was both artillery brigades of the two Avalon Hussar RCTs, plus the Dragoon Artillery Support Group firing in support of an assault of Zeta Battalion into the exposed flank of the 400th Assault Cluster. The rest of the 400th was quickly overrun, and the 1st Legion, still scattered as part of their COIN duties, was cut to pieces, as the 4th Viper Guards fought a rearguard under heavy pressure to their dropships. They left the world three days later under heavy FC and Dragoon aerospace interdiction. We estimate they are at least 40-50% attributed.

Alyina

We hit Alyina with the 7th Crucis Lancers RCT and the Davion Light Guards RCT. The defending 2nd Falcon Jaegers were attempted to hole up in the planetary capitol, but after an attempt at surrender negotiations. We used both artillery brigades to pound them to dust, then sent both RCTs in after them. We took very few survivors prisoner.

Black Earth

We hit Black Earth with the Grey Death Legion, the 1st Federated Suns Armored Cavalry, and the 1st Aragon Borderers, the Falcon 89th Striker Cluster tried to fight a mobile campaign, but the FSAC and the GDL have had an almost preternatural ability to get around the flanks of the 89th. We expect the campaign there to be wrapped up in another week to ten days.

Hot Springs

The 1st, 2nd and Davion Assault Guards RCTs caught the 3rd and 4th Falcon Velites in COIN penny packets putting down a massive revolt amongst the populace. The Davion Guards didn’t allow the Falcons time at all to reform, and smashed both units underfoot within 2 weeks. We have accepted the surrender of both units, about 300 or so survivors, mostly rear-area personnel and 18 mechs of varying states of repair.

Operations are currently ongoing and we expect the second wave of Clover Spear to commence on schedule. Falcon and Viper resistance, while in some cases fierce, is very disorganized, and prisoner interrogations reveal that many Viper warriors are blaming the Falcons for the current problems facing both Clans.


Fighting the Vipers[]

Plain of Tears
Benfled
Steel Viper Occupation Zone
August 27th, 3056


Leftenant Cory Rodgers, Lance Leader for Battle Lance, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Royal Guards was exultant. The Vipers had been caught flat-footed since their arrival on world. From all accounts, it looked as if they had had a complete intelligence failure like some of the surprises he had read about from his days at the Nagelring, like the Six Day War, or Pearl Harbor. Thank Heaven we are the Israelis, he thought.

His neurohelmet was heavy and his neck muscles ached, but he had been pushing his Phoenix Hawk as fast as he could manage it. The only Viper ‘Mechs he had seen thus far were burning ones, as they had either run afoul of aerospace or artillery. The special operations guys were proving to be downright deadly with just a radio link to the artillery brigade. And here I thought those redlegs would not amount to a damn thing?

Phoenix Hawk unseen fanmade

Phoenix Hawk Medium BattleMech

It was then that his threat alarms lit up, multiple claxons hooting for his attention as a dozen LRMs missed his ‘Mech by meters, their smoke trails betraying the firer as they led back to the verdant woodline some 200 meters ahead.

Shit, Vipers, and from the MAD readings…heavies.

“Lance, this is lead, refuse the left, bound back to the cover about a click back and I am going to get battalion on the horn and have them dump some smoke on those bastards, make them come to us.” As he did so, he worked the controls to backwalk the ‘Mech, selecting a route that made sure he didn’t skyline himself.

He got a flurry of acknowledgements as he keyed the frequency for the Battalion TOC “Alpha 6-1, this is Charlie 33, I have contact with what I estimate are Clan heavies, request support and mortar smoke, over?”

The radio crackled to life instantly, “33, hear your request, we are routing some help to you, ETA 10 minutes, we have priority of fires for you with the battalion mortars, and we are whistling up some more support as well, over?”

The sweat trickled down Rodger’s face into his green eyes, which burned with a mix of terror and excitement. 10 minutes, that might as well be an eternity. Oh well, we can trade space for time, maybe we bag one of the bastards, maybe not. “6-1, we may not last 10 minutes, there is at least 1-2 heavy mechs out there, and they out range us pretty good, either way, all we have is our T-bolt as a base of fire, I really need some help to discourage those guys, where the hell is that smoke, over?”

Thunderbolt (In Combat)

Thunderbolt Heavy BattleMech

More klaxons sounded in the cockpit as the Clan ‘Mechs cleared the woodline, the warbook cycled through images as it put red carets on the emerging targets. One was identified as a Galahad, and emerging to it’s left was a Baboon, two others to its right were a Hellhound and another Baboon. Why didn’t the Galahad open with her Gauss Rifles? Odd. Worse, the MAD was picking up 5 more contacts behind. Aw shit. All of the Clan mechs were a melange of dark green, with scars and gouges from previous fights, and some mismatched metal patches where their techs had slapped some armor on to keep the machines running.

As if to answer the question, one of the Galahad’s Gauss Rifles spoke, missing by mere meters, and gouging a furrow out of a nearby patch of ground, sending dirt chunks dozens of meters into the air and splattering Rodger’s ‘Mech.

His weapons, all Pulse lasers, were out of range, but considering the heaviest ‘Mech in the lance was a Thunderbolt, and it was probably already busy setting up a base of fire, and the rest of the ‘Mechs collapsing the perimeter around it before withdrawing in a file behind it’s guns. Or at least, that was the plan.

He heard the thud-thud-thud-thud of an autocannon, probably Edgerton’s Centurion some 100 meters off to his left, trying to discourage a ‘Tanker from getting around their flank, but they more than likely had the speed advantage.

“33, passing you over now to the FDC, their callsign is Starfire 12, over?”

“Roger, thank you 6-1. Starfire 12, how copy over?”

“Starfire 12 copies five by, understand you have some targets for me, over?”

“Roger that, I need a mix of smoke and HE at-“ Rodgers glanced down at his rolling map display, and selected a point half a klick in front of him, towards the center of the slowly advancing clan line. “-Papa Alpha 44718932, mix of smoke and HE Super Quick, over?”

“Roger that 33, spotting round out shortly. Observe impact.”

A few pregnant seconds passed, and then a small puff of smoke and dust as the round impacted, and then spewed a dirty orange smoke cloud, the new thermal smoke was designed to interfere with the superior Clan sensor systems, and reduce the fight to ranges where the FC forces could compete. So far, the rounds had done very well in that regard.

“Starfire 12, good shoot! Left 100, Drop 50, Fire for effect!”

“Roger that 33, firing for effect, we also have some other assets coming to the party shortly, hang in there 33!” Starfire responded

Rodger’s mech shuddered as it took a glancing blow from a Clan Large Laser, he knew if he took a few more of those, it was going to be the end of him, and as the rounds began to impact, the sky went from a verdant blue, to a world of dirty orange, as sensors began to fuzz over with static from interference from the smoke. The fire from the Clanners began to slacken off as they could not locate their targets, and they wandered slowly through the smoke, wary of close contact with their enemies.

Rodgers continued to withdraw slowly, soon passing a familiar sight, the gold and blue painted Thunderbolt of his Lance Senior NCO, Staff Sergeant Amy Wilkins, his radio crackled to life “Can’t see shit, Sir. Hope they can’t either.”

“Tag anybody, Staff Sergeant?” he asked

“Yeah, got a captured Shadow Hawk of theirs. PPC shot to the head. He went down, didn’t get back up, or at least he didn’t before the smoke came in.”

It was at that moment that a Guillotine IIC lurched drunkenly from the smoke, he was 90 meters away, as close as it got in ‘Mech combat. It was trailing smoke from a mortar shell that had become wedged in it’s right shoulder where it met the body, it froze the PPC arm in place at a 45-degree downward angle. The rest of the ‘Mech was a patchwork of green and silver, blackened by weapons hits and exposure to smoke. And the ‘warrior inside looked as if he could not tell where he was going.

Both the Thunderbolt and Phoenix Hawk turned as one and fired, azure beams of charged lightning and focused light linking killer and victim for a few tortured second as new gouts of melted armor sloughed off the Guillotine IIC. A gout of green liquid erupted from several places on the ‘Mech, and a the ‘Mech went down in a flurry of limbs.

“Seems the smoke has them a bit confused, Staff Sergeant?”

“Won’t stay that way boss, we gotta bound back to the battalion, wait for the assaults to come up and crush these guys under artillery. No sense in playing ‘blind man’s bluff’ in this smoke.”<b

“Agreed, Staff Sergeant, let’s get the Lance out of here. Bounding overwatch till we get clear, then traveling back to the battalion lines. And tell everyone to put some fire into the smoke, it will confuse the bastards some more.”

“Charlie 33 this is Thor 24, understand you have a problem? Over?” the radio crackled.

Rodgers sighed in relief, he knew from the prelanding brief that any Thor call sign was artillery, and hopefully a lot of it
.

“Thor 24, can you give me three volleys of HE, mix of contact and superquick? I am trying to break contact with a superior Viper force six klicks west of Objective Frankfurt?”

“33 roger, I have three volleys, I can give you one volley of SADM rounds, do you need that, over?”

“Thor 24, I would love that, please lay that on last. I will get my people clear in time, over.”

“33 roger, these things make a hell of a mess. And they don’t differentiate between friendlies and enemies. Observe our spotting round, Shot out, Over.”

It wasn’t long before something that sounded like a freight train from hell screamed over the withdrawing FC troops and impacted 100 meters in front of the advancing Clan enemy, who had now picked up the pace to “hug the belt” of the FC troops and thus avoid the worst of the artillery. The FC Lance had foreseen this, and began to turn and run, to put more distance between themselves and the Jade Falcons.

Rodgers triggered his jump jets, riding a pillar of fire that propelled his ‘Mech into the air, and back 180 meters, keeping his face to the enemy, as he sent a blast from his Large Pulse Laser down range in the general direction of the enemy. The round had impacted right in front of the Falcon line of advance. It was perfect.

“Thor 24, Fire for Effect, make it rain!” he bellowed

“33, roger, rounds out now, get your heads down, it’s going to be close.”

A few seconds later, a cacophony of freight trains passed over the heads of his lance. The passage of the shells was enough to rock his ‘Mech and then the forward line of the smoke disappeared in a line of explosions, dust, dirt and small bushes disappearing in gouts of flame and smoke as they were hurled into the sky.

He saw a Baboon stagger from the dust and smoke, it was missing most of it’s left side. It had survived the first volley, it didn’t survive the second, as a 200mm round from a Long Tom landed right on the Light ‘Mech’s shoulder. The blast blew through the left torso, which smashed the engine, and knocked the ‘Mech down into the swirling smoke, where it was obscured by other explosions.

“Last volley, 33, get out of there!”, the radio shrieked

SADM (Sense and Destroy ‘Mech) rounds worked on the principle of that a Long Tom or Arrow IV warhead was filled with 30 bomblets, each with the power of an SRM warhead, and with a simple IR seeker attached. Once the carrier shell released the warheads, the warhead descended by parachute, and attacked the nearest ‘Mech sized heat signature they could find. NAIS had found in testing that it had an alarming tendency to score head hits, and while 1 or 2 hits didn’t usually penetrate the head, three or four did and considering a battery of six had just put 180 bomblets in the air…

It wasn’t long before a series of pops, about as loud as a car backfire erupted over the ‘Clan line. This was followed by a series of bangs and pops as the munitions found their targets and detonated. Rogers thought he’d seen one Clanner eject, but he wasn’t sure. There was just too much smoke, dirt, and explosions shrouding the Clan positions to know for sure. And he didn’t intend to find out.

“Charlie 33 Lance, Charlie 33 Actual, all Charlie 33 callsigns withdraw on me. We’re getting out of here, and leaving this to the big boys. They’re on their way. Actual Out.”


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