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Federated Suns Reborn (Chapter Cover)

The Federated Suns Reborn
- Chapter 252
[]

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March 3072
Interlude: Battle of Rigil Kentarus


The Naval Battle of Rigil Kentarus []

AFFS Invasion Task Force secures the Jump Points[]

The AFFS High Command dispatched the invasion force for Rigil Kentares at the beginning of March. They drew the forces from the force which had completed the conquest of Devil's Rock, dispatching the 1st Kathil Uhlans, 1st Woodstock Borderers, 1st El Dorado Tercio RCT, 2nd Davion Guards RCT, 2nd Ceti Hussars RCT, 6th & 7th Chisholm Raiders LCTs, and the 22nd Avalon Hussars RCT. To escort this large force they also assigned 3rd Corvette Flotilla. It is decided to use exclusively the Zenith jump point in order to maximize the defenses available to the task force rather than splitting up the escorting naval forces.

Blakist Naval Task Force engages AFFS escorts[]

Zechetinu Class Corvette (2x Full Thrust)

Zechetinu Class Corvettes

The assignment of a large scale naval force proved of vital importance almost as soon as the AFFS Task Force jumped into the system. As the assembled DropShips began heading for the planet a large WoB squadron of warships jumped in right behind them. Leading the way came no less than five Dante class frigates, backed up by four Suffren class destroyers, and a dozen Zechetinu II class corvettes. The JumpShips of the Davion Task Force stood little to no chance. Those with LF batteries swiftly jumped away while the large force of assault DropShips, fighter carriers, and pocket warships left to defend them surged to their defense in a valiant attempt to buy them time to hot charge their KF drives and escape. On the scanners of the AFFS troopships and their escorting eight Fox II corvettes the entire jump zone was a riot of explosions and flickering and disappearing IFF icons. The troopships and escorts however continued on their way. They couldn't turn around in time to save the JumpShips flotillas and their only hope was to use the time their fellows were buying to get a strong lead on the WoB Task Force who's mission was clearly the destruction of the entire Davion invasion force.

Suffren Class Destroyer (Matt Plog)

Suffren Class Destroyer

Within the hour, the jump point is cleared of all Davion ships. Roughly a third of the JumpShips have escaped to nearby systems although many of those who hot charged their jump engines have suffered damage in the emergency jumps. The remaining two thirds have been destroyed or captured (largely destroyed). Of the defensive screen of DropShips and fighters they have all either been destroyed or crippled and boarded or driven off. A handful of Vengeance and Leopard CV class fighter carrier DropShips have managed to extricate themselves from the massacre and regroup out of enemy range to rearm the few fighters that they can. In return for one of the single greatest naval losses that the AFFS has suffered since the Battle of Cholame. The WoB naval forces have suffered one Dante crippled and two corvettes were destroyed.

Leopard CV (Underway in Space)

Leopard CV Class Fighter Carrier DropShip

Leaving the crippled Dante to make repairs and oversee the captured JumpShips and crippled DropShips that have been taken as well, the remainder of the WoB Warships begin a swift pursuit of the Davion Task Force heading for Rigil Kentarus. It is a stern chase and the Davion ships have a good head start but they cannot use their maximum thrust without risking overshooting the planet. The WoB Naval Precentor in charge of this task forces knows that it is only a matter of time before his ships overtake the fleeing troopships and the slaughter truly begins. The loss of such a significant force of combat units should throw the entire AFFS into despair and could potentially win the WoB forces on Terra at least another year to prepare defenses! Well worth the risk.


FedSun Navy's Major Task Forces Arrives[]

However even as the AFFS forces in the Rigil Kentarus system flee at their best speed while watching the red icons of the enemy warships closing from astern, the rest of the AFFS and in particular the Federated Suns Navy has become aware of their danger. Every Warship, assault DropShip flotilla, and naval air wing within reach is immediately ordered by Fleet Admiral Buchwald to "Make best speed to Rigil Kentarus. Once there engage the enemy with every weapon at your disposal. Destroy the enemy. The Federated Sun's expects every man and woman to do their duty.".

Tramp Jump Ship (CG Created fan art)

Tramp Class JumpShip

The first of the Federated Suns Navy forces to arrive are the 4th Cruiser Squadron and the 2nd Destroyer Squadron. Jumping from nearby Graham IV they arrive with a full Tramp LF equipped flotilla carrying accompanying DropShips and carriers. The four Avalon cruisers and three Davion III destroyers of the formation waste no time in launching everything they have at the crippled WoBS Rennes and the few DropShips it has assigned to aid it. The already damaged ship comes apart at the first volley and only manages a single volley which causes light damage to the FSS William Davion.


In Pursuit of the Blakist Naval Commander[]

Even as the 4th Cruiser and 2nd Destroyer Squadrons are retaking the Zenith jump point they are joined by new arrivals. From Caph the escorting formation of the First Prince himself have arrived. The 1st Battleship Squadron, 1st Cruiser Squadron, and the 7th Corvette Flotilla joined them. Only the FSS Melissa Davion , the First Prince's own transportation is missing. Swiftly forming up the new arrivals throw themselves forward after the WoB ships. Except the 1st Battleship Squadron and 7th Corvette Flotilla who remain in position at the jump point.


Fleeing the Blakist Defenders[]

With the arrival of reinforcements in the system, the AFFS Task Force fleeing towards the planet of Rigil Kenatus shifts. They break off from their desperate run for the planet and now begin breaking back in a long loop towards the outer system. No longer having to make for the planet they can try and drag the chase out for as long as possible. With seven Avalon cruisers and three Davion III destroyers now gaining ground on the WoB Task Force (due to them keeping to the pace of their slowest ships the Suffren class destroyers) the troop transports and their Fox II corvettes can keep ahead of them long enough to avoid being brought to action. Unless the WoB leave the Suffren class ships behind and advance with only their four Dante and ten Zechetinu II warships.

Half an hour after the new FedSuns Navy FedSun, they began chasing him, the WoB Naval Precentor decides just that. Abandoning the slower four destroyers and a corvette who's engine damage prevents it keeping up he surges forward at his ships best possible speed after the fleeing AFFS ships. He orders the five ships he leaves behind to delay the pursuing relief force as much as possible to buy time for his own forces to make the kills needed to save Terra.


ComStar Fleet Arrives, Blakist Baited[]

The system would witness further arrivals when the 2nd ComGuard Fleet arrives. Two Dante class frigates, three Lola III, and two Davion III destroyers join the chase while the single remaining Suffren within the ComGuards takes up station alongside the AFFS's 1st Battleship Squadron.

Avalon Cruiser (Fan Made - Artist Unknown)

Avalon Class Cruiser, FSS Melissa Davion

The WoB Naval Precentor's choices become more complicated when suddenly at a pirate jump point the FSS Melissa Davion arrives. The personal ship of the First Prince her destruction would be a prize beyond compare for the WoB however it is highly unlikely that the First Prince is even on the ship. If he is the ship will still almost certainly use her LF batteries to jump out if threatened. Yet jumping from and into a pirate point is in itself inherently dangerous and if Victor Davion is indeed aboard the destruction of the ship could turn the tide potentially. The Precentor knows that the smart choice is to ignore the obvious bait, but simply cannot resist the lure and breaks off a single Dante to close on the FSS Melissa Davion and destroy it using all means possible. As suspected this turns into a wild goose chase when the FSS Melissa Davion jumps out as the WoB ship approaches. By that time the other naval engagements have completed and the Blakist warship opts to use the same pirate jump point to jump out.


AFFS Invasion forces splits off[]

An hour into the stern double stern chase, the original AFFS Task Force suddenly breaks into it's constituent components and breaks into eight separate headings. Each component is escorted by a single Fox II. Forcing the WoB to either break off to pursue each with only one or two ships or only pursue a fraction of the force. After a few minutes the WoB respond by breaking into four smaller components - two with a Dante and two Zechetinu II, one with a Dante and a single Zechetinu II and one with three Zechetinu II. Using the best intelligence he can he targets the 1st Kathil Uhlans, 22nd Avalon Hussars, 2nd Davion Guards, and 2nd Ceti Hussars. Even as he does this the four Suffren he has left as a rear guard begin coming under long range fire from the pursuing AFFS cruisers and destroyers along with fighter strikes. As soon as the targets for his four mini-squadrons is confirmed the other four AFFS formations each dispatch as many fighters and their carrier DropShips as they can to get as close to their targeting fellows as they can in support.

Fox Class Corvette (Delranes Fighting Ships 3061)

Fox II Class Corvette, FSS Clovis


AFFS Escorts deadly Engagement[]

The WoB formation chasing the 2nd Davion Guards consists of the frigate WoBS Retaliation and two corvettes. The two corvettes split, one falling back to cover the rear of the formation against any fighter strikes while the other moves ahead to try and take the fleeing AFFS formation under long range missile fire as soon as possible. They are however shocked when the FSS Clovis begins falling back and then prepared to engage them. Along with the Fox II corvette comes it's own aerospace fighter regiment, half the 2nd Davions Aerospace Brigade and the corvette's four assault and pocket DropShips reinforced by two additional Achilles class assault DropShips that had been assigned as close escort to the 2nd Davion Guard.

Achilles Class DropShip (Underthrust)

Achilles Class Assault DropShip

The WoB forces attempt to rush past the slowing Fox II and it's escorts but soon find themselves in a bitter battle. The three DropShips that are assigned to the WoB WarShips and their twenty two remaining fighters are swamped by the AFFS fighters and DropShips while the FSS Clovis wastes no time in throwing out nuclear tipped missiles. Long range naval laser fire and missile strikes favour the AFFS ship and soon the first of the Zechetinu IIs is a blazing wreck from massed fighter strikes while the engines of the WoBS Retaliation are struggling to keep up the pace. The Dante class frigate attempts to close on the moderately damaged FSS Clovis in order to allow the still intact trailing corvette the WoBS White Hare to slip by and go for the AFFS troopships, but although successful in slipping past the Fox II, the Zechetinu II class corvette is swarmed by fighters as it passes wreck of it's compatriot. A flight of Stukas which have held back their nuclear tipped missiles completes the destruction of the light corvette well before it reaches range of the troopships. With both corvettes gone along with all three DropShips and nearly two thirds of it's fighters the WoBS Retaliation breaks off it's engagement with the FSS Clovis (itself heavily damaged at this point) and attempts to flee. However with damaged engines it doesn't get far before the sixty fighters dispatched from the FSS Goshen which is covering the 1st Woodstock Borderers attack it with nuclear tipped missiles. For the loss of four DropShips, thirty eight fighters and heavy damage to the FSS Clovis, the 2nd Davion Guards RCT was successfully been protected and while the WoB ships assigned the chase were wiped out.


The Blakists WarShips assigned to the 1st Kathil Uhlans unfortunately have better luck. Without the extra fighter wings of the 2nd Davion Guards, the FSS New Syrtis attempts to stay in close to protect the troopships. However, as the WoB WarShips reach long range the Fox II class corvette finds itself under heavy attack by both WoB Zechetinu II corvettes. The assault and pocket WarShip DropShips of the WarShip & escorts, attempt to stop the WoBS Peaceful Endeavours. But although hitting it multiple times with crippling missile and fighter strikes prove unable to prevent it opening fire on the troop transports. Only the arrival of the fighters and two Achilles assault DropShips from the FSS Filtvelt which is escorting the 1st El Dorado Tercio RCT, prevent the Uhlans from being wiped out. As it is they suffer the loss of five full companies of BattleMechs when the WoB WarShip manages to destroy an Overlord and two Union transport DropShips. All three WoB WarShips are destroyed, however the FSS New Syrtis is reduced to a burning wreck that would take longer to repair than to build a new ship. The hulk is subsequently scuttled.


The 2nd Ceti Hussars RCT is being guarded by the corvette, FSS Benet III. They prove to be the fortunate force that has only two enemy WarShips pursuing them - the WoBS Vengeance and the WoBS Rabbit's Speed. The captain of the Benet III manages to delay the closing WoB WarShips from reaching range with a series of extremely complex and taxing evasive maneuvers. Engineering reports after the battle suggest that every single DropShip and the FSS Benet III itself had taken years of normal wear & tear off their engines and frames from the maneuvers taken in the battle. A number of personnel throughout the force would suffer from injuries from the high gravities pulled. While she can't keep ahead of the enemy WarShips forever she does buy enough time for the fighters and DropShips from the FSS Marduk escorting the 7th Chisholm Raiders to get into range to support her. With the combined fighters of the two Fox II corvettes and over a dozen DropShips as well as the fighters of the 2nd Ceti Hussars aerospace wings she is confident she can keep the WoB ships off her charges. Clearly the enemy commanding officer agrees, and having just received reports of the destruction of the ships which had pursued the 2nd Davion Guards, so he breaks off the chase and swiftly heads for the nearest pirate point hoping to avoid any further fighting. A handful of fighter strikes manage to hit and cause minor damage but both WoB ships escape. It is later found that the engines of the FSS Benet III have suffered moderate damage which will require several months in a repair slip to rectify from the maneuvers.


The 22nd Avalon Hussars RCT finds itself being pursued by the lightest WoB Task Force. The WoB Naval Precentor in charge has his three WarShips split up and attack from different angles. The captain of the FSS Sakhara is forced to have his WarShip engage one of the Zechetinu II corvettes while he assigns a mix of DropShips and fighters to attempt to screen against the other two. The FSS Sakhara engages it's opponent and using a combination of long range naval laser strikes and nuclear tipped missiles manages to cripple the enemy corvette in a swift battle. Rather than close and finish the now crippled enemy corvette the FSS Sakhara swings around and makes best speed to join the fight against one of the other corvettes. As the FSS Sakhara arrives the last pocket WarShip facing the WoBS Red Hare explodes. However, the sacrifice of the blocking DropShips have caused heavy damage to the WoB corvette and the Sakhara is able to finish off the crippled corvette. Not in time, however to do the same to the WoBS Running Hare which having destroyed the Overlord-A3 and two Avenger class DropShips facing it manages to reach weapons range of the flotilla carrying the 22nd Avalon Hussars. Although damaged the WoBS Running Hare strains it's engines knowing it has limited time before other AFFS forces manage to maneuver to engage it and plunges towards the fleeing Hussars. In a single pass it wipes out a battalion of BattleMechs, an infantry regiment and nearly four battalions of armor before turning to make another attack run. However, it isn't the only vessel straining it's engines and as it attempts to turn around and engage the transports again it finds itself under attack from the DropShips and fighters dispatched by the FSS Marduk. Already damaged the WoBS Running Hare breaks apart under a combined fighter and missile strike. The combined fighters and remaining DropShips shift around and go after the crippled original opponent of the FSS Sakhara.


Even as the four battles for the various AFFS ground forces flotillas are taking place the four Suffren and single damaged Zechetinu II left behind by the Naval Precentor are engaged by the pursuing seven Avalon cruisers and three Davion III destroyers. While the Avalon cruisers stay at range and pour long range missile fire in the three destroyers close the range and maneuverer to bring their heavy naval autocannon batteries to bare on the enemy. The first ship to explode is the WoBS Jumping Hare when it takes two AR-10 launched nuclear tipped Killer Whale missiles into it's already damaged aft quarters. The four Suffren destroyers and their DropShips do their best against the Federated Suns WarShips, but they were outnumbered 2.5:1, odds pointing to them not lasting long. They do however cause heavy damage to the destroyers FSS Dryad and FSS Diomede, the attack also does moderate damage to the FSS Daring. The attack does light damage to the FSS Ian Davion and FSS Marie Davion. The Dryad in particular is nearly destroyed and is in only marginally better shape than the FSS New Syrtis which is scuttled. However, it is felt that she can be repaired.


Aftermath[]

With the Blakist threat destroyed, the AFFS forces along with their ComGuard allies in the system, they reform and attempt to regroup. The 1st Kathil Uhlans and 22nd Avalon Hussars have suffered heavy losses, particularly the 1st Kathil Uhlans. With those losses the AFFS change their target from Rigil Kentarus itself and instead attack the inhabited moon of Riken Moon. Finding only light opposition from two Level III of locally raised troops the weakened AFFS task force has no problems with seizing the moon as a base. With that foothold secured they begin sending fighter strikes to hit the heavily entrenched WoB positions on Rigil Kentarus itself. At the same time the various damaged warships and DropShips begin heading out system to get repaired - under heavy escort. Going with them is the 1st Kathil Uhlans who are no longer considered combat viable. The 22nd Avalon Hussars RCT is kept in system but with it's morale at best considered "shaky" it is now tasked as a garrison force for Riken Moon.

On the face of it the AFFS and in particular the High Command attempts to pass the battle of as a victory. They have destroyed three Dante frigates, four Suffren destroyers, and eleven Zechetinu II corvettes. Their own warship losses are only a single Fox II Corvette - although another three Fox IIs and three Davion IIIs have suffered heavy to moderate damage and light damage to three Avalon class cruisers. However the losses of JumpShips, DropShips and fighters for the AFFS is staggering. The transport JumpShip flotillas of all eight AFFS commands have been devastated. Even those JumpShips that got away have often done varying degrees of damage by hot charging their jump engines. No less than seven Monolith class JumpShips alone have been destroyed and dozens of lighter JumpShips will require to be replaced. The losses amongst the escorting assault DropShips and fighter wings have similarly been heavy. Combined with the losses to the ground troops the results are clear. In confidential memos the High Command is clear - the battle has been a major defeat.


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