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Chapter 8[]

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

Book 1- A Time to Plan, A Time to Plot

  • "Excerpt from “Liberating the Tamar March on 5 C-Bills a day”,
    Kommandant Sara Bennigan, AFFC (Ret), McMillan-New Avalon Press, New Avalon, 3069

“I remember the first time I found out about Clover Spear. It was late in the summer of 3055 on Koniz..which was known for bestial summers. Nothing like back home on Chesterton, it’s like Koniz only had two seasons, winter and summer, and they both sucked. There was about 100-150 of us in a rented warehouse on Koniz..and my god it was hot. The locals didn’t like anybody much, except themselves..and I won’t even mention the fact that all life was left handed amino acid based, so we couldn’t eat it..and vice versa, yet it did not prevent it from trying.

So, there we were, being briefed on an operation that was probably going to change the damn face of the Inner Sphere, and they could not spare something for some portable A/C! God I hated Koniz..not much to recommend that place. The idea we were finally doing something..and getting off of Koniz made a lot of folks in my company happy, including myself.

So there we were, standing at attention, waiting for the briefer to come no less than personage than Marshal Poulin himself. The command of “take seats” bellowed out, and we screamed the Argyle Lancers motto. “For God, Argyle, and Davion!” and took our now scalding hot metal seats (of which I still have the scars on my arse to prove it. Thank god we were not wearing Mechwarrior togs that day.)

After a moment of trying to find the most comfortable position of which to endure this small indignity, we were treated to some short remarks about how important an operation this was that we were about to embark on and how we will be able to tell our grandkids that we spearheaded the operation that would drive the Clans back from whence they came. Now, I will admit, I was droning off, but when I heard that comment..the first thought that came to my mind was. Christ, Hanse got divorced and no one told us. He only started major wars on his wedding day, don’t you know!

In any case, Colonel Bannock soon took over and I was beginning to nod off again, I can read the damn briefing notes and the oporder. It was becoming death by Powerpoint 3050 I suppose…when he said..”..and as always, our irrepressible Hauptmann Bennigan will lead off, and find and fix the clanners in place so the rest of us can smash them!”

Memory does not serve to recall the look on my face at that moment…but a friend assured me it was something between daggers at Colonel Bannock for again volunteering my boys and girls to play pop up targets for the Tankers, and wonder if I could hire a couple of Tong hitmen from back home to wack the Colonel?...I do remember my response “Colonel darling, we are so delighted to be in the lead again!” The hell I was. And don’t think, dear reader, that my Medal Excalibur says otherwise. I’d rather have my favorite left leg back.”

  • Page 199, “Reflections”, by Victor Steiner-Davion,
    Davion Palace Press, New Avalon, 3071

As 3055 became 3056, the movement of forces began to accelerate, the logistical demands just for the buildup became nothing short of titanic. How we managed to surprise the Clans at all is beyond me, especially when the Marik/Capellan Alliance got off that nasty little surprise in September. We did notice their movements to an extent, but it is hard getting good intelligence out of a closed society like the Capellan Confederation. In short, they hoodwinked us to a good extent. Not completely, as we knew we would get hit..the size of the hit..that shocked us.

That, and the depths the Capellans were willing to go to paralyze us. But more on that later, especially since my prosthesis is itching like crazy right now as I write this.

As I said, it was incredible the logistical effort that was required just to sustain the AFFC units massing in Tamar. Every projection we sent to my father..he said “double it”. Panapour was working three shifts just to produce enough autocannon ammunition…

I will never forget the night of August 1st, 3056. It was our last conference before Clover Spear kicked off. We’d been doing 18 hour days and we were dead on our feet..some staff flak was presenting the final projected enemy prisoner of war figures and what we’d need to care for them..and all of a sudden…I hear this infernal snoring…well, I am just mad as hell. Somebody’s fallen asleep here at the damn last conference before this mighty endeavor kicks off.. I just lost it. “Who the hell is snoring?” I roared.

God bless Ardan Sortek. He leaned over with an impish smile and looked me right in the eye with his smartphone facing me. And there was a lovely, MP10 quality image of me, the very First Prince of the Federated Suns..sawing wood like a lumberjack.

If that does not teach you any damn form of humility…nothing will.”

  • Page 166, “Blood of a Partisan”

"...they say you never know a guy till you fight him. I can thus, safely say. I know Jade Falcons very well..especially how to kill them in a variety of un-amusing ways. With the arrival of the Rabid Foxes, we went on nothing less than a rampage.

We hit numerous small targets of opportunity, anywhere those Green Pidgeon bastards hung out, we hit, hard. Drive bys, IEDs, truck bombs, hell once, we flew an traffic drone into one of their dropships filled with munitions..that made a very nice bang, I do tell you. Explosives though, became our stock and trade. But our piece de resistance, well, that was the Clawfell job.

The Clawfell job was a demolition of the James Clawfell Memorial Bridge. Mr. Clawfell was a local boy who had made good during the Star League. Won the Star League Medal of Honor for some brave fool thing back during the Aramis revolt. They’d named a bridge after him when he and his family had left along with Kerensky. Guess we saved the planetary nobility the trouble of renaming the bridge later on, right?

The Clawfell Bridge was a large, modern structure, and like most bridges in Tamar, was pre-chambered for demolition. The only reason it wasn’t blown when the Tankers came was because well, things fell apart too fast for it to matter. But now, our FC benefactors wanted the bridge out of the picture, for reasons of which they did not deign to tell us. But it obviously was of some importance, that was for sure.

So, we briefed, rehearsed and then briefed again. We were getting rather good at this sort of thing. Yes, there was a point of Elementals, backed up by a couple of 2nd line ‘Mechs..and yes, there was all kinds of other issues..but our recon had found one chink in the Clanner security plan. They’d forgotten about the damn river. Simply put, they didn’t pay it any mind because they thought we would simply come at them head on and try to take it from them. After all the mayhem and chaos we were inflicting?

You would think the Tankers would have learned something?

The plan as it was, was genius. We wired up several charges of C-9 explosive on a command detonator…with a backup contact fuze. All of the charges were designed as shaped charges designed to vent all of their force against the bridge pylons. Add in a preprogrammed route into an R/C boat brain (Trying to control the boats might have prematurely set off the explosive.), and you have a fairly sneaky way to take down a bridge. We had a total of six charges...1 for each of the pylons..and two backups, just in case.

The good thing about the Clawfell Bridge, was that it, like most bridges, would not survive the loss of two of its four long as the pylons that were destroyed were on the same side. So, as it was, the mission was relatively simple..relatively.

After a two day trek through the Great Wetlands, we came to the Balduri River, crossed by the Clawfell Bridge. Security had not changed at all..and they still were not paying a bit of mind to the water. You’re going to regret that in a few moments..Mr. Tanker was all I could think. While our heavy weapons and snipers set up (They were there to occupy the Clan Elementals long enough for the bombs to reach their targets…if that’s what it took.) The bridge itself was 1000 meters long, and of a truss design that was pretty economical I guess...

I looked over the device. It was a simple, circular thing..with a mix of foliage and mud stuck to the top so as to make our infernal device look like simple junk drifting along with the river. The firing circuit, the guidance system, and the wiring, all looked good. I reattached the cover, then inspected the remaining five submersibles, amazingly, they all were good to go.

I placed the first submersible into the was about 10 kilos in weight..about 3 meters long..and filled to the brims with C-9. It took to the water quickly…and the motor kicked in with a start..leaving a trail of bubbles in its wake as it slowly made its way towards the bridge, some three kilometers downstream. We placed three more subs into the water right behind it and quickly made our way back to our earlier vantage point..with one of us running a stopwatch, with our calculations having been that at a speed of 2 knots, it would take half an hour for the charges to reach their target.

After a good twenty minute climb up the sheer face of the rock walls lining the river (Blackjack has a lot of mountains, so we are somewhat used to this), we took up a vantage point overlooking the bridge some five kilometers away, we waited patiently as the time counted down.






And there was nothing..but silence. It was frustrating..+10 seconds, +20 seconds, still nothing. Minutes passed by. Dammit, we missed. But how? Did it matter? We had to set the backup charges up..and get out of here.

We were about to make our way back down the cliff face when a momentary bright flash, centered on the bridge, lit up the darkness. Another flash soon followed, and then a third. The BAWUMP of a muffled explosion soon followed. The bridge was aflame..and wobbling, a enemy ‘Mech that had been standing guard in the middle of the bridge down across the traffic lanes atop the bridge, with a large support pylon from the upper works having been driven into the back of the ‘Mech, with a sheen of escaping waste heat shimmering and distorting the sky around it.

The bridge began to groan under the weight of the weakened pylons..and we heard the pops of multiple welds and rivets give way, and with a crash, a pylon collapsed into the river, taking the left hand side of the bridge with it, this then collapsed the other two pylons..and before long, the entire bridge crashed in a cacophony of protesting metal and splashing water as the entire wrecked mess crashed some 100 meters into the river below.

We all slapped each other on the back for that. For less than 1000 pounds worth of C-9, we had dropped the major route in and out of the planetary capitol. We hadn’t counted on the reaction by the Tankers, however.

The next day, Star Colonel Mark (the traitorous swine!) led an “indoctrination sweep” into several suburban neighborhoods of the planetary capitol. He turned OmniMechs armed with machineguns and autocannons on innocent civilians. And the sick bastard considered it his duty. Some 850 people died and another 1100 were injured. The Falcons considered it a mercy. That’s not what the people of Blackjack thought it was.

As for Star Colonel Mark, well, he soon found out what the wages of treason were, two weeks later. We delivered it through the window of his Avanti Sports Car one night..via Light Anti-Tank Weapon. I am happy to say this time, the message was successfully delivered…”

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