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The Bull and the Genie[]

Chapter 6 - Book III - The Clan Invasion[]

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Interlude: Plans and Hopes[]

The tremendous success of the Clan Invasion led to many, both Clan and Inner Sphere, failing to understand just how fragile the coalition was that allowed for Frederick's plan of action to be implemented. The Ilkhan himself disdained Frederick's plan in many cases, and the Smoke Jaguars and Jade Falcons often departed from it. Ironically, while hostile in normal situations, Clan Ghost Bear and the Wolves found themselves being forced into a tense alliance in the Council, protecting Frederick.

The lack of a Bloodname, or even a chance to win one, was often used by his opponents, but his success granted him some protection.

Unfortunately, no amount of protection could prevent cracks from appearing in the Clan facade. The banning of various trials, while effective for military operations, deprived the clans, especially the conservative clans, of a vital method of societal "pressure relief". The focus on logistics and grand strategy saw many of the more moderate clans come to the fore, while the most traditional clans lagged, their leaders often giving (and paying for) impossible orders to their supply units. While they had achieved their goals, most of Clan Smoke Jaguar's front line units were expending anywhere from 120 to 150 percent the predicted munitions.

Other Clans were doing much better. Clan Wolf and Clan Ghost Bear hewing more closely to Frederick's plan scored the stunning victory in 3047 of convincing the Free Rasalhague Republic to declare itself neutral in the conflict. Accept Clan protection from outside aggressors, and allow Clan supply and industrial enclaves to establish themselves. A number of Clan leaders accused the two Clans of failing to properly conduct Operation Revival, allowing a successor state to retain independence. Both Khans pointed out that Rasalhague had never been a successor state, and in fact that been subjugated by such a state. Just showing that they were in fact carrying out the founder's vision. While it was clear from their papers that both the Ghost Bear and Wolf Khans expected to eventually absorb the state, the hybrid state that would emerge from the ashes of the Black Dragon Conflict was unexpected by all concerned.

A number of Warden and Crusader Clans agreed with them, although it must be said that the secret agreement to allow Clan Diamond Shark and Clan Snow Raven to establish their own enclaves might have had something to do with their surprising support. But tension was growing, as the Inner Sphere proved vast beyond any vision of maps or geopolitical surveys, and they needed a decisive victory—Especially Clan Smoke Jaguar.

The Inner Sphere would come close to providing that victory.

Both the Federated Commonwealth and the Draconis Combine faced the challenge that their people would not tolerate defeat after defeat. Whether they were Combine Warlords or Lyran nobility, they demanded action. The voices of caution were increasingly shouted down, especially by those who wondered loudly if Hanse Davion really cared for his wife's domain. For Takashi, the move to give up the Rasalhague region, however logical, led to whispers that perhaps his fire had been dimming.

It was true that the Clans had warships, but they had never faced massive strikes by an organized force. Simulations were spun, showing ship after ship dying to attacks, and if they were… optimistic simulations, they were not outright impossible.

They merely required that everything go as planned.

Intelligence reports that some clan formations were in fact periphery soldiers equipped with second line equipment led many to argue that the Clans were running a huge bluff—that the forces seen were all they had, and once broken they could be chased back to their homeworlds.

Ultimately, politics demanded action, and Hanse Davion and Takashi Kurita both independently decided that the worst thing they could do would be to launch a half-hearted assault. Comstar agreed to provide assistance, mostly battery equipped JumpShips to ensure that the first wave, at least could not be caught in a charge cycle, as well as 40 percent of their extant Warship strength, which would serve as hunter killer units, hopefully catching the scattered Clan fleets.

The Concordat, while only providing a single RCT(M) for ground assistance, provided nearly 70 percent of its combat Dropship strength. This assistance had the effect of filling out areas where there would be no warship support. The Concordat admiralty had adjusted their doctrine and were confident that a properly handled parasite warship force could engage all but the largest warships on an even keel.

OPERATION LIBERATION, as it was named, would use just over seventy percent of the space-capable and front line forces of the Federated Commonwealth and Draconis Combine, as well as a large amount of the mercenary units (save for Wolf's Dragoons, who in a supreme example of failing to read the room, had admitted that they had been sent to recon the inner sphere and were now offering their help), capable of effective operations against the Clans.

However the operation would not turn out as its planners anticipated…

The Rise and Fall of the Large Mercenary Force In the Inner Sphere

Outreach Press, 3120.

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