Flash: 26 December 3063
Duke James Sandoval chose the Seventeenth Avalon Hussars for the assault on An Ting for a number of reasons. Not only did the Seventeenth Hussars have a long history of service to the people of the Draconis March, but they also expressed an absolute contempt for the Combine. Additionally, the Seventeenth was a part of the push into the Combine during the War of 3039—action in which they assaulted the world of An Ting, but were ultimately pushed back by Theodore Kurita's counterattack. The officers and men of the Seventeenth Avalon Hussars were naturally eager to get another shot at An Ting, but the unit faced one major stumbling block: the AFFC High Command had stripped the unit of its JumpShip group years earlier in preparation for Operations Bulldog and Serpent.
Duke Sandoval partially solved the Seventeenth Hussars' woes by assigning them JumpShips from his own March transport "pool" while he commandeered a majority of the merchant ships within the Draconis March under his emergency war powers. Still, it took almost a month and a half to gather enough JumpShips for the assault and even then the Seventeenth Hussars had only enough ships to transport its
'Mech regiment and two mixed combat commands of armor and infantry to An Ting for the initial assault. Rather than wait to gather more JumpShips, Duke Sandoval ordered the Seventeenth Hussars into action in mid-December, some five weeks behind schedule.
The Seventeenth Hussars had to deal with more than just transportation issues, however. The captains of two of the dragooned JumpShips either refused to listen to the orders of Hauptmann General Kev Evans or somehow misunderstood them; while most of the Seventeenth Hussars arrived at pirate points less than a day from An Ting, those two JumpShips—carrying a 'Mech battalion, a third of the ground forces and almost half of the technical and support crews—arrived at the Nadir jump point. Incensed, Evans ordered the ship crcws arrested and his DropShips to burn into system at 2Gs.
Evans didn't wait for his errant DropShips to catch up before ho landed, however. Ho had the element of surprise and he used it for all it was worth. Evans hit the world with only half of his task force and still very quickly gained the upper hand, though he did only face a planetary militia reinforced by several conventional regiments.
On the 26th of December he literally dropped on top of the planetary capital of Tule Mod, catching Shosho Isamu Tatsuma and his militia completely off-guard. By the end of the day, Evans had destroyed or rendered impotent two regiments of militia armor and infantry, completely occupying Tule Mod with his own men. Even the rabidly fanatical students and staff of the An Ting University proved little threat to the Hussars. At the same time, a 'Mech drop on Hugid—two thousand kilometers away—achieved just as powerful a victory against the armor battalion stationed there.
With the planetary command structure effectively crushed within a 12-hour period, the rest of An Ting's militia was slow to mobilize and had little cohesion. While the rest of his force burned into the planet, General Evans hopped from city to city with his two 'Mech battalions, crushing what little opposition the militia could put up. In cach City, his MPs rounded up local political and Industrial leaders, as well as their families, and transported them to Tule Mod, where he had taken over a former military spaceport that had been turned into a museum for his headquarters. By the time the rest or his assault force landed—four days after his own grounding—Hauptmann General Evans had taken control of almost two-thirds of the planet.
The next two weeks proved just as easy for the men and women of the Seventeenth Avalon Hussars. Though a mixed combat command of militia and regular army troops gave Evans a hard time near the provincial capital of Singpan, he simply surrounded them with his own superior force. Once he had positioned all of his units, they simply tightened the ring around the city. Lead by his 'Mechs, the Seventeenth Hussars made short work of the defenders, though at the same time the light industrial city took serious damage. Several militia companies took refuge within a refinery along Lake Hails while others kept to the warehouses and industrial complexes. Though they tried to root the defenders out without causing too much serious damage, the Seventeenth Hussars ended up destroying the refinery. The resulting fires consumed nearly half of the city before the blaze could be brought under control. Even then, the fire continued to burn on the lake and in the refinery for two months.
Hauptmann General Evans officially declared An Ting under his control on the 13th of February. Pressuring key planetary leaders by keeping some of their families and friends as "guests" within Tule Mod, Evans quite effectively maintained control over the world. At the same time, however, he also allowed the local leaders to rule as they wished, in some cases even gaining some support from provinces that had telt oppressed by Combine rule. While his JumpShip group transported more of his RCT to the world, he made plans for pressing on deeper into the Combine.
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