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Federated Suns Reborn (Chapter Cover)

The Federated Suns Reborn
- Chapter 168

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July 3070
Operation Nightmare

Operation Nightmare - Briefing[]

The Word of Blake Warships at Hesperus consist of the WoBS Invincible, the Tharkad class battlecruiser that the Blakists had mysteriously came into possession off and refurbished it. In addition to ship, its been supplemented by the WoBS Nantes & WoBS Limoges, both Suffren class destroyers and 3 Zechetinu II corvettes - the WoBS Hare, WoBS Foxhound, and WoBS Bunyoro. The Hare & Foxhound were deployed at the Zenith and Nadir jump points respectively, with the other ships orbiting the world of Hesperus itself. Their primary role was to safeguard the elite Shadow Divisions deployed upon the planet below and they were considered more than sufficient to defeat any Lyran Alliance effort to break the blockade of the planet.

What they were not sufficient to deal with however was the ships of Operation Nightfire. The AFFS High Command had been paying careful attention to the LAAF's intelligence briefings that were being forwarded to them about the enemy deployments at Hesperus and they knew that the bulk of the Warships were in orbit with a single corvette deployed at each jump point as a trip wire. As such Fleet Admiral Buchwald had made every effort to ensure that the Federated suns Navy would sweep the skies clear of the WOB ships.

Engagement at the Jump Points[]

Fox Class Corvette (Underway - BattleTech Space Wars Mod)

Fox I Class Corvette

On the 18th of July, Task Force Nightfire jumped into the Hesperus system in three flotillas. At the Nadir jump point the 1st Division of the 3rd Corvette Flotilla jumped into the system while at the Zenith Jump Point the 2nd Division of the 3rd Flotilla jumped in. Consisting of older Fox I vessels they were still considered more than adequate to take care of a single Zechetinu II corvette - particularly as they were all carrying a Vengeance class Fighter Carrier Dropship along with two Achilles class assault dropships, and two Overlord-A3 Pocket Warships Dropships attached to their hulls. Just to make sure each ship was carrying nuclear tipped warheads in their missile tubes right from the start. The Word of Blake had proven they were happy to use nuclear ordinance before and as such the FedSuns were more than happy to return the favor.

As soon as the two Divisions of Fox corvettes jumped into the system and had stabilized, two divisions begun firing missiles at the enemy corvettes and launching their dropships and fighters just as fast as they possibly good. At the Zenith jump point, the WoBS Hare was "lucky" enough to only have a single Fox materialized within range and as such managed to launch her own ready fighters (two) and Dropship before the first missile was slamming into her. Her own initial volleys were not nuclear tipped and this gave the FSS Sakhara a critical edge in the initial engagement. By the time the WoBS crew were rushing nuclear ordinance to the launchers their ship was already a streaming wreck and not only had the FSS Sakhara's dropships and fighters joined the battle but the FSS Filtvelt had got into range. At the Nadir jump point the WoBS Foxhound was even less lucky in that the FSS Benet III and FSS Goshen appeared in position to bracket her. Even before she could launch her dropship the missiles were streaming in. Neither Zechetinu II corvette survived the initial engagements and only the FSS Sakhara took any damage at all.

Explosion in Space

WoBS Hare exploding from a nuclear strike.

Naval Battle of Hespreus[]

The third and final group of Davion warships to jump into the system was also the largest, not only in numbers but in ship classes, size and firepower. Three New Sytris II Class Fleet Carriers led the way, with ten Davion III Class destroyers, four Congress-D II frigates, and twelve Fox II corvettes escorting them jumped into the system at a pirate point near Hesperus itself. Every single ship capable of carrying dropships was carrying a mix of Vengeance class fighter carriers and various Assault and Pocket Warship DropShips. While the air wings launched by the carriers were the single largest number of aerospace fighters each destroyer, frigate and even corvette when you included their dropships added at least a full aerospace regiment of 60 fighters to the task force.

New Syrtis-class carrier (Underway - painted by Psycho)

New Syrtis Class Fleet Carrier

A few seconds appraisal of the situation made the WOB Naval Precentor realize that any attempt to flee would be doomed. The enemy would simply swarm his ships under with repeated fighter strikes long before could withdraw to any safe pirate point and the regular jump points as well as being even further out were also now in the hands of the Federated Suns Navy! Hurriedly organizing his four warships and the large flotilla of dropships he broke orbit and began a full burn towards the ships of Operation Nightfire.

The probably suicidal charge of the WOB ships had been anticipated, so the Davion capital ships immediately turned around and began to "flee" to keep the range open. Although, the Davion III destroyers and Fox II corvettes deployed to hold their ground at the jump point along with the huge flotilla of Assault Dropships and Pocket Warships. Similar to the battle at Benjamin the Davion fighter wings broke into four separate groups. A ground consisting of 6 full aerospace regiments remained with the "fleeing" carriers and frigates, while another 5 regiments stayed with the blocking destroyers and corvettes. The other 10 regiments broken into two waves of 300 fighters and headed for the enemy in a staggered formation. However the second wave is also accompanied by a large formation of 24 Overlord-A3 pocket warships.

Just as at Benjamin, (and as was obviously now Federated Suns Navy doctrine) the first wave of fighters concentrated largely on clearing the way for the next wave, concentrating on destroying enemy fighters and dropships and damaging any screening light warships. The WOB dropships and fighters take the brunt of this wave in a swirling melee and are soon either destroyed or so crippled as to be almost worthless in a fleet engagement. Which leaves the way free for the second wave and it's accompanying capital missile armed pocket warships. Unlike at the jump points however this time both sides have nuclear tipped missiles waiting for the range to close. The initial exchange somewhat favors the Federated Suns dropships however as the range closes the pocket warships begin to take heavier and heavier damage as the non-missile weapons of the WOB ships come into range. Worse, a warships is simply able to absorb more damage. Still at the same time as the WOB warships are able to begin firing more and more of their fore mounted weapons at the oncoming dropships the 300 Davion aerospace fighters are also entering range. Both sides commit to a passing engagement that allows little room for tactical flexibility.

By the time the two formations pass through each other, the Davion pocket warship flotilla is a mess of heavily damaged and ruined wrecks. No less than 13 ships have been totally destroyed and not one of the other ships has taken anything less than catastrophic damage. However, in taking this damage they have managed to destroy the WoBS Nantes outright, and cripple the WoBS Invincible and WoBS Bunyoro. Only the WoBS Limoges comes through in anything approaching combat effective condition.

Tharkad Class Battlecruiser ( Mini by Phil Hays )

Tharkad Class Battlecruiser, WoBS Invincible

At this stage, the Davion Admiral would releases the fighters who have held position with the destroyers and corvettes to launch, giving them orders to concentrate their fire upon the WoBS Limoges. At the same time a number of NL-42 Battle Taxis, Vampire dropships, and Ares gunboats are also launched. They are given specific orders to target the WoBS Invincible. At the same time the Fleet Carriers FSS Morgan Hasek-Davion, FSS Ran Felsner and FSS Matilda Davion begin looping around in order to rendezvous with the first and second waves of fighters, along with their escorting frigates. The destroyers and corvettes at the pirate jump point also begin making their way behind their fighter waves to close the distance with the enemy warships slowly.

What few fighters and dropships remain to the WOB task force are nowhere near sufficient to ward off the incoming third wave which breaks into two contingents when it reaches range. The first, consisting of four whole aerospace regiments bares down on the WoBS Limoges and in a single pass destroys the vessel. No less than a dozen nuclear tipped missiles slam into it at almost the exact same moment. The fighters then sweep down on the heavily damaged WoBS Bunyoro and with on-board weapons strafe the corvette until it begins to break apart. At the same time the second element to the third wave consisting of the rest of the fighters as escorts and the various transports hurtles towards the WoBS Invincible. Within minutes reports are coming in from all over the ship that battle armored marines are breaking through the hull, forcing dropship docking ports and even forcing their way into the hangers. The few WOB marines and crewmen are soon fighting running gun battles against vastly better equipped and larger forces throughout the ship.

By the time the Davion warships come into range of the WoBS Invincible, the ship is largely in the hands of the marine contingents - who's only concern for most of the fighting has been to prevent some fanatical crew member destroying the ship by detonating the missiles and shells in the armories. A prize crew is swiftly dispatched. At the same time a message is sent via a corvette to the waiting transports of the ground forces who are soon jumping into the system and beginning to head for the planet - under warship escort.

Planetary Assault of Hesperus[]

Generic Aerodyne DropShip (Underway)

Command DropShip, ascending to the planet's surface.

Field Marshal Ardan Sortek from his command post aboard the Conquistador class, FSS Hanse's Right Hand, overseas the landing of his troops. The 1st Aragon Borderers and the 1st Kittery Borderers land at the ruined spaceport and capital city and begin a mixture of relief, rebuilding and fortification efforts. At the same time the initial landing is conducted by the elite troops of the 2nd New Avalon Cavaliers - who proceed to do a combat drop at the nearest suitable landing site to the huge mountain complex of DefHes. They are almost immedietly attacked by the 2nd Shadow Division and engage in a brutal and often short ranged firefight. The slight under strength reinforced regiment of the 2nd Cavaliers had dropped into the fight with 10 companies and a command lance. By the time they have thrown the Division back and secured the landing sites they have been reduced to a single reinforced battalion. The 2nd Shadow Division is in even worse shape, having less been repulsed and more wiped out. As soon as the landing zone is secure Field Marshal Sortek begins pouring the other formations under his command onto the planet. As soon as it has landed the 5th FedSuns Dragoons RCT heads straight for the main gates of the mountain complex and engages the defending 1st Shadow Division heavily. At the same time the 1st Arcadian RCT deploys hurriedly and having contacted the fighting garrison is admitted via some of the back doors and secret access tunnels that they still head. It joins the fight from the inside of the mountain, reinforcing and in many cases replacing the battered troops who have been fighting alone for so long. The 1st St. Ives Cheveau-Legers is the final unit to land and swiftly heads to reinforce the struggling 5th FedSuns Dragoons.

Sortek himself lands (under strict orders) with the St. Ives Cheveau-Legers with a small contingent of bodyguards from no lesser formation as the 1st Davion Guards. Ordering the 2nd New Avalon Cavaliers to stand down and repair as best they can he orders the 1st Aragon Borderers to deploy from their own landing zone and sweep towards the factory to pick off any roving WOB patrols or formations. Using the 1st Arcadians and whats left of the LAAF formations within the mountain as an anvil he has the 5th FedSuns Dragoons and 1st St Ives Cheveau-Legers act as a hammer, forcing their way slowly inside. The fighting around the main entrance is not only prolonged but also bloody and it isn't until the 28th. That is when the 5th Fedsuns finally manages to take and hold the gates. This traps the 1st, 4th & 5th Shadow Divisions within the mountain, between the Arcadians and LAAF forces and the rest of the AFFS units. The 2nd Shadow Division's survivors by this point have been folded into the 1st which suffered heavy losses trying to hold the gates. With the gate secured the large number of independent battle armored battalions that were dispatched with the task forces move forward and begin to deploy to take back the facility one fitting out bay, production line and storage depot at a time...

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