Dalkeith

The Deneb Light Cavalry's preponderance of aerospace fighters gave the lightweight unit a devastating edge against the heavier units of the Thirteenth Donegal, sweeping the Guards' single fighter wing from the sky in the early weeks of the conflict and then pounding their opponent's fixed positions with relative impunity. Whenever the Donegal Guard staged a raid from their fortifications, the Fourth DLC would fade before them, using speed and maneuverability to escape, It seemed that there was little the Thirteenth could do to hamper their fast-moving opponents who would—given sufficient time—prevail. In early March, General Stokoi appealed to the High Command for help in containing the Fourth Deneb; on April 9 that assistance arrived in the form of the veteran Third Royal Guards RCT from Port Moesby.

The new arrival's over-strength aerospace contingent was almost a match for that of the DLC and with their dominance of the sky under threat, the DLC were forced to re-evaluate their position. The Third Royal—which participated in the campaign against Clan Smoke Jaguar—soon made inroads into the territory claimed by the Deneb unit, exploiting their Siglnt capabilities to home In on the DLC's command units and installations. By late April, the Fourth Deneb's position was precarious, with aggressive ground assaults by the Royal Guards forcing constant relocation of their fighters. While used to fighting a mobile war. the need to constantly move their stockpiles of ammunition and spare parts wrought havoc with the DLC's ability to fight and in early May General Vidal gave strong consideration to withdrawing from Dalkeith and surrendering the world—the DLC had already abandoned the LAAF base—to the Loyalist forces.

Salvation appeared on May 5 In the form of the Fourth Davion Guards, converted to the Allied cause by the Fifth Lyran Regulars' ill-advised assault on their position on Ycd Posterior. Though hurt by that battle—and their prior conflicts with the Fifth Alliance Guards on Ft. Loudon—the Fourth Davion were eager for a fight and their timely arrival swung the balance of the conflict away from the Loyalists.

For the next month the two sides jockeyed for position, testing the limits of their new strategic balance. The Davion Guards' tactics meshed well with those of the DLC both favored quick, light units—and the war of attrition against the loyalists began anew, pinprick strikes by the allied forces gradually denuding the Loyalist's strength.

On June 19. a flanking move by the Davion Guards prompted the Thirteenth Donegal to abandon positions around the repair complex though it was another five days of bitter fighting before the Allies fully regained control over the facility. Rather than he pinned down guarding the facility and thus loose their maneuverability advantage, the Allied RCTs rearmed and removed a significant amount of supplies to their own supply caches. What they couldn't remove or employ they rendered unusable, either destroying it or—in the case of the base's machinery—removing key circuits. They had no desire to be pinned down, but they didn't want the Loyalists to benefit from their withdrawal.

July 9 saw the largest single loss of life on Dalkeilh during the campaign, though it was not related to the conflict. Dalkeith's atmosphere contains high levels of dust and car bon dioxide. In the field, troopers wore breathing masks to render the air breathable and when off-duty they lived in sealed bubble-tents, each equipped with its own filtration and purification systems. Civilians on Dalkeith followed a similar process, using masks when outdoors and living in pressurized structures the rest of the time. Many towns were either subterranean or else encased in protective domes, and it was in one such town—Castleville—that members of the 478th Avalon Rifles were taking a hard-earned furlough from the fighting.

On the night of October 11, the dome over Castleville failed catastrophically. The residents avoided the bulk of the effects, their homes equipped with backup filtration and pres-surization systems, but many of the troopers had no such backup system, residing as they did in converted warehouses. Almost 750 people died, mostly soldiers who did not have functioning filter masks (most were awaiting new filter packs) and who were not able to reach a clean air zone before being poisoned. The official report into the, Castleville tragedy blames a design flaw that could have failed ¿it any time, but many of the survivors from the 478th Avalon believe Loyalist sabotage was the cause.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment