Marouk

Coordinator Theodore Kurita gave Tai-sa Laura Nelson a promotion to Sho-sho and the command to take what measures she saw as appropriate to win the world of Marduk. and Its ever-important BattleMech factory, back. With the First Chisholm's Raiders firmly entrenched there, she knew that she would need more than just her own Second Genyosha. Nelson made stops at Benjamin and Irurzun after coming off the Ghost Bear front, gathering a substantial conventional force, as well as the Sixteenth Galedon Regulars. While the Sixteenth Regulars were still considered a questionable unit, the Coordinator backed Nelson's decision to attach them to her assault force, knowing that Nelson had no alternatives.

The combined Genyosha and Galedon Regulars force landed on Marduk on 2 June. Sho-sho Nelson saw the Victory Industries complex as the key to the world, as did First Chisholm's commander General Arisota Neece when she had landed on the world over a year earlier, arid concentrated most of her forces on taking that objective. Like General Neece before her, Nelson also tasked significant strength to New Pontlac, though instead of just preventing the Raiders from reinforcing their Victory garrison, Nelson's troops were ordered to liberate a number of key locations from the FedSuns forces.

To New Pontiac Sho-sho Nelson assigned a battalion of battle armor, reinforced by a jump-infantry regiment, two companies of light and medium 'Mechs and several DEST units. Entering the city via airborne drop, this combat command very quickly tied up the city's defenders, and within three hours had taken every single one of their primary objectives, as well as quite a few secondary ones.

The battle for Victory Industries was decidedly more difficult, even with the bulk of Nelson's force landing there for the assault. General Neece's Raiders were'not only fully prepared for the assault, but they had also organized^ number of com panies armed solely with Victory-produced BattloMechs. As during their own initial assault on the factory, they made incredible use of the Combine-developed C^ system against the invaders. Unfortunately for them, while Nelson's troops initially sustained heavy casualties because of the Raiders' use ot C3 -networked 'Mechs and tanks, the Genyosha was also quite adept at neutralizing those very same networks.

The first day of the Victory assault proved exceedingly costly for both sides. The confusion and chaos of the first few hours on both sides was soon replaced by competent command and control, backed up by firm intelligence; the battle progressed nicely, though elements of the Combine force that had landed within the factory complex were in many cases fighting to get out while other elements were fighting to gain entry. For most of the first week, the lines of battle were so confused that fighters from neither side could effectively support their own troops without fear of hitting them too.

Within New Pontiac, matters were much different. Though Neece's troops held the numeric advantage, the Combine troops more than made up for that In skill and sheer determination. Assisted by the people of New Pontiac as well as the survivors of the Twenty-second Benjamin Regulars, the Combine troops pushed hard at the FedSuns infantry, who retaliated the only way they had left to them: by firing upon just about anything and everything that moved. While General Neece was fighting desperately to hold onto Victory, Major General Willson Florr gave his infantry brigade the go-ahead to effectively level the city in their fight to expel the Combine troops.

General Florr's infantry very handily laid waste to the city of New Pontiac, killing soldiers and citizens alike, though, as DMI investigations later determined, in many cases armed citizens were using unarmed civilian hordes as willing human shields against the FedSuns troops. As justified as they may have been, by firing on the citizens of New Pontiac, destroying their businesses and setting fire to much of the city, General Florr's troops stood no chance against the fury of the people they had until so recently peacefully governed.

Likewise, while General Neece held a good defensible position, she had overwhelming forces arrayed against her. She also faced a highly skilled enemy, one who fielded a size able special forces contingent thar often drilled in recapturing heavily defended targets such as Victory Industries. Following a series of successful raids into the complex, Sho sho Nelson was able to capture several key buildings. That her troops had inflicted heavy casualties on the Combine troops was of little consolation to General Neece when she realized that in the course of a week she had lost control of over half of the Victory complex.

She and her Raiders continued to fight on, but by the 20th of June everyone involved in the battle knew that Victory was lost to the FedSuns troops. Rather than continue to fight on and face annihilation of her unit. General Neece gave the order to withdraw from the world. With the bulk of her RCT holding the Victory spaceport and the attached storage yards, Neece could pull out at any time. Likewise, though harried by local forces, the various combat commands and independent battalions that she had stationed across the planet would have little difficulty in retreating, Only the units in and around New Pontiac were In jeopardy.

She gave the order to pull out on the 22nd, When the New Pontiac units had trouble disengaging, Neece attempted to land some of her 'Mechs and armor in the city to assist, but failed when the Sccond Gcnyosha appeared in her LZs. With no other option, she saved what troops she could. But of the three regiments committed to New Pontiac, less than two bat talions of troops escaped. Listed among the missing was Major General Florr, who later, it was discovered, was execut ed for his part in warcrimes on Marduk (though cleared of all wrongdoing by the DMI). A fact often overlooked by those on both sides looking to forget the entire Combine invasion was the execution of five hundred other AFFS soldiers for their crimes, and the continued imprisonment of at least another 1,500 In various prisons around the Combine.

General Neece returned to the Federated Suns in early July with her Raiders, taking up station on Breed.

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