The battle for Axton, originally designed to be a simple week-long operation for the Fifth F-C RCT, became one of the most tragic of the early Civil War battles. Hauptmann General James White was ordered to mobilize his RCT on Chesterton and either convince the officers and members of the First Bell Training Battalion to pledge their service to Archon Katrina or disarm the training unit. Expecting little resistance from the trainees, General White nevertheless assembled a fighting force that could take on a much greater threat than the training battalion and/or be quickly redeployed to another potential hot spot.

General White entered the Axton system with two combat commands, each led by a BattleMech battalion, In late August, but his unit's long string of bad luck seemed to follow along. At atmospheric Interface, one of the RCT's Union-class DropShips experienced engine problems that rapidly degenerated, causing one engine to explode, which in turn drove the ship Into another of the units DropShips. Both ships were lost with all hands on board—including Hauptmann General White—while two others were seriously damaged in the confusion of the Inci dent. The surviving DropShips grounded at several scattered locations and only managed to form up after a few days on-planet. By that time, Leftenant Colonel Milko Pochtarev had mobilized his training battalion, reinforced by two conventional militia regiments, to "lend assistance" to the Fifth F-C. Under the command of Leftenant General Klaus von Ludendorf, the Fifth F-C immediately opened fire on the training battalion and militia forces, driving them back but also very clearly stating their intentions.

With the Fifth F-C's strength barely equal to that of the combined forces under Pochtarev, the two forces sparred with each other at range for three weeks while both called up reinforce ments. Ludendorf received his first in the form of most of the rest of the RCT on September 23rd, with Leftenant General Annette Leyland, White's XO, taking command. The Fifth pushed Pochtarev and his men hard, dealing serious casualties, but Pochtarev's troops were natives of the world and easily fell back in the face of the Fifth's push, eventually taking refuge in the rain forests of Axton's Gehenna sub-continent. From there, they launched guerilla attacks against the Fifth that, while doing little physical damage, served to further exasperate the increasingly frustrated RCT.

Then Major General Robert Koenlg and his Fifth Syrtis Fusiliers appeared in the system. Commanded by one of Duke Hasek's most senior staff officers, the Fifth was technically dispatched to Axton by Field Marshal Suzanne Zellner after she learned of the Fifth F-C's treasonous attack on Axton.

General Koenlg landed in the first week of October and immediately put the Fifth F-C on the defensive, driving them back across the same ground they had themselves just taken from Pochtarev. Because Axton is primarily an agrarian world,

General Leyland had few key locations she could make a drive toward and simply chose to head to the southwest, deeper into the rainforests where she hoped to wait out the monsoon season while more reinforcements arrived.

Throughout November and December, Koenig kept pressure on Leyland and her Fifth F-C, but the weather prevented him from making best use of his aerospace fighter wings. In January of 3064 the weather began to clear, giving Koening two solid weeks of attacks, but then the weather turned for the worse again. A string of hurricanes blew in from the Hydra Sea to the east and, trapped by the Keilant Mountains to the southwest, dumped another five weeks of storms on top of the two fighting forces. Koenlg was finally able"to resume his aerial assaults in the final week of February, buftjy then General Leyland and her Fifth F-C had found a way through the Keilant Mountains and into the relative safety of the heavily forested Kel-Den Plateau beyond.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment