The Federated Suns Reborn
The guns blaze and then fall silent
With most all of his targets not only seized but for the most part secured against any counter attack the First Prince of the Federated Suns found himself facing an unexpected problem as February progressed. It was obvious to almost every AFFS officer reading the reports that the Draconis Combine-FedSuns border was woefully under manned and dozen's of worlds were being covered by conventional troops with a handful of battlemech units as stiffening. Many of which had already been either wiped out or mauled so badly as to be combat ineffective. Facing his "Task Force Bryceland" on the periphery border only a single green unit of Galedon Regulars appeared to stand between the Davion forces on Niles, Groveld and Delacruz and Galedon itself. Even the limited forces on that front could potentially drive deep into the Galedon District before the DCMS could redeploy to stop them. Many officers and not only ones from the Draconis March had began to speak out in favour of a more general and widespread offensive to reclaim or claim dozens of worlds for the Federated Suns.
Such a war however would no doubt lead to a long and blood fight with the Dragon and while Victor was relatively confident that his own forces would emerge victorious and be able to make substantial gains it would leave them bled out. As well as drawing dozens of regiments from the Combine's clan frontier, potentially destabilising the entire region. Not only that but such a major war between the Combine and Suns not only risked destroying the still new Second Star League but also potentially could drag in the other Successor States and touch off a general Sphere wide war.
So far his attacks had been limited in scope and could be characterised (at least by a generous observer) as a limited campaign. He had taken several key systems and secured them against any counter attack. If the war ended now then the AFFS would emerge from it victorious, with obvious gains and also intact. While several units had taken damage none had been wiped out or were even on the verge of becoming combat ineffective and even the worst damaged could be rebuild relatively quickly. Given even a few years the gains he had made so far would be a massive net asset to the FedSuns and AFFS and not a grinding war of attrition.
As such he hurried back to Robinson, being sure to take Baron Tancred, and discussed his thoughts and plans again with Duke James Sandoval. The old man was still convinced that they could make additional gains (he particularly had his sights set on Prosperina and Al Na'ir), but when faced with his Prince and his own son and heir speaking of the risks he finally agreed. For all his hatred of the Draconis Combine and it's ruling house Duke Sandoval had always been a Federated Suns patriot first and foremost.
Orders were sent out to all commands on the border, under both the Duke of Robinson and the First Princes's signature, to hold in place and prepare for any counter attack. Additional units were moved up into better defensive positions and supply dumps built up just in case the Kurita's didn't see reason. A number of lighter units and mercenary formations also continued to raid and smash up defensive formations along the border - no longer merely just around Prosperina and Galtor. This was to reduce the chances of the Combine being able to use these worlds as staging posts and also weaken their garrisons in the event of any further fighting.
Marshal of the Armies Jackson also began preparing orders and sending out preliminary orders to commands such as the Davion Assault Guards and Kestrel Grenadiers to prepare to seize the worlds of Quentin, Saffel, Fomalhault and Nirasaki in preparation for attacking Deiron in the event the war continued. These orders were deliberately sent out in such a way that ISF agents were likely to hear of the preparations and the potential targets. Not only would this force the DMCS to keep troops in the Deiron District rather than attempting to use them to counter attack, but it might make them aware that if the war continued the losses they faced could be staggering.
While this was ongoing the various AFFS forces continued to mop up any remaining resistance and fend of the few ill disciplined counter raids by isolated elements of the DCMS. The only major fighting continued on Skat and Cylene and with various raiding forces.
On Cylene the Fighting Urukhai's Sluggers regiment withstood the 12th Ghost's counter attack on the 8th February 3063. The battle lasted for 3 days, but on the 11th it was the Ghost regiment that was forced to withdraw. It was now operating at barely half strength and with most of it's supplies, spare parts and ammunition in the possession of Demestri's Sluggers had little chance of being able to repair and refit. Worse, the newly reformed 5th Deneb Light Cavalry RCT had arrived in orbit and already it's aerospace wings were beginning to hit any target of opportunity. While the 5th was formed from mostly recent graduates with a handful of experienced officers it's 2 battalions and command company along with supporting forces effectively sealed the fate on any potential counter attack. The 12th Ghost melted back into Cylene's wilderness and hoped to hold out until reinforcements or an extraction force arrived.
On Skat the 11th Ghost was doing better than their long term rivals in that they were still in with a chance of victory rather than merely hoping for extraction, yet that was at a huge cost in men and machines. The 11th Ghost and the 12th Deneb Light Cavalry had stopped the brutal and costly direct attacks on each other but were now engaging in a series of skirmishes and raids while manoeuvring for position. Most of the fighting at this stage was limited to company vs company skirmishes, but the body count was rising. So far the 11th Ghost was holding it's own and if they could just find the right opportunity might be able to defeat the 12th, but even their most optimistic of officers had to admit the chance of outright victory was slim.
The 3rd Benjamin Regulars had however made a dreadful and suicidal mistake on the 3rd February. They had made planet fall on Kentares and attempted to raid that almost sacred Davion world. The Clovis DMM on world although green had responded with absolute fury and thrown themselves headless of losses at the desecrating Combine troops. The 39th Avalon Hussars RCT on nearby Clovis an receiving word of the invaders had rushed to defend Kentares with the words of their commanding officer Marshal Bella Bragg ringing in their ears "Not again!". While the FSS Fox over Robinson began using its LF batteries to rush to the world to blockade it.
Suffering terrible damage the Clovis DMM point blank refused to stop smashing themselves into the 3rd Benjamin's landing zones and their fighter wing launched almost suicidal low bombing runs that crippled a number of Combine dropships. The 3rd's troops attempted as best they could to hold of the attacking March Militia while repairing the dropships having realised that they had made a terrible mistake but the delay allowed the 39th Avalon Hussars to arrive on the 25th February. The 39th combat dropped right onto the Benjamin Regulars by now battered landing zones and in a 4 hour battle wiped them out entirely. The few Regular's dropships who battled their way free found the FSS Fox in orbit and were swiftly destroyed.
Both the now renamed Kentares DMM and 39th Avalon Hussars were awarded the Dragon Slayers Ribbon and the entirety of the surviving DMM troops were awarded the Robinson Medal of Valour on the 28th February. The Kentares DMM had been reduced to a single battalion and a battered command company by the time they were relieved. Duke Sandoval promised they would be rebuilt with equipment drawn not only from his own Robinson BattleWorks plant but also the newly reborn Norse Battlemech Works.
Meanwhile CEO Judith Hotchkiss was rushed to New Avalon to meet with various members of the NAIS and Government and discuss the potential design's she had managed to acquire.
While this was all being done Victor Davion finally sent word to his friend the First Lord on the 24th of February that he was prepared to agree to a ceasefire and peace. As long as Theodore Kurita agreed to freeze the fighting at the current state of play. This was accepted on the 28th by a furious Theodore Kurita who had just been notified as to the extent of the treachery of the former CEO of Independence Weaponry and the total destruction of the 3rd Benjamin Regulars.
Both the Coordinator and the First Prince would send out halt and desist orders on the 28th February for all their commands to hold in place and make no more offensive actions. A few brief flare ups would continue into March.
In the Lyran Alliance, the 26th Lyran Guards RCT was ordered to move from it's garrison at Port Moseby and reinforce it's sister regiment of the 36th Lyran Guards to put down the armed mutiny of the 15th Lyran Guards. The 26th would arrive mid way through February and begin supporting the 36th, but the rebellious 15th would fall back into Hesperus's mountains and attempt to hold out, expecting at any moment to be reinforced with additional loyal units to the Archon.
On Tukayyid the trial of Archon Katherine Steiner-Davion was entering it's 4th month and the evidence was both technical and complex. Experts from across the Sphere had been called in regards to the evidence of the Archon's potential guilt and had then faced cross examination by both sides. A growing feeling however was spreading that the evidence for all it's contested nature was holding up to the scrutiny of even the experts called by the Archon's legal team. This blew up when on the 27th February in a fit of rage Katherine Steiner-Davion sacked her entire league team and declared that she would defend herself against these scurrilous accusations! A recess was called until the 14th of March to allow her to prepare herself or hire a new team.
The Chancellor of the Capellan Confederation during February issued two decrees to his Warrior Houses. Warrior House Imarra and Warrior House Ma-Tsu Kai would both receive permission to form a second battalion. Hints came from the court that these two gifts to the two houses would be followed by a more general expansion of the loyal Warrior Houses. Funding was also released to aid in rebuilding the shattered but honoured House Hiritsu which had been reduced to a single command lance with some supporting infantry platoons. The House was given permission to recruit new members from across the entire Capellan Confederation who would meet their stringent criteria.
The CCS Franco Martel also came online, behind schedule due to the occupation of the Necromo system. It took up guard duties within that vital system while the heavily damaged CCS Zhejiang underwent repairs.