Of any of the battles fought early in the Civil War, the first battle for New Avalon was easily the bloodiest and the most cruel. As with every other major world within the Federated Suns, New Avalon was gripped by the tensions that lead up to the Civil War. And like many others, the Archon severely repressed the populace. New Avalon was the seat of the Davion empire, though, the capital world of the entire Federated Suns. While the people had grown used to the loss of certain freedoms in times of crisis, the Archon enacted a slew of provisions during 3061 and 3062 that stripped the people of New Avalon of virtually every personal freedom. While the people of New Avalon had only rarely protested their leader en masse, and never within Avalon City itself, they took to the streets of every major city on the world starting in mid-3062.
During the final months of 3062, the Archon's steadily growing secret police identified literally millions of potential dissidents on New Avalon alone, and in October began mass arrests of the most vociferous. Intended to put the growing rebellion down, the Archon's actions only brought more people out against her, and the protests continued. While her police and loyal military forces tried to put the protests down, they were simply outnumbered and had to content themselves on detaining the few thousand that they could arrest.
Try as they did, Katherine's supporters could not put down the growing discord on New Avalon, and even many of her "supporters" were having difficulty reconciling the orders she was giving with their consciences. With the war quickly spirallng out of control throughout the former Federated Commonwealth, the Archon's strategists knew they had to do something about the problem on New Avalon before it could interfere with their ability to wage the war.
On the 23rd of June, the Archon's supporters secretly staged an incident that would force the hands of all Loyalists on the planet. Loyalist soldiers dressed in the uniforms of the First Davion Guards, the only major unit on New Avalon that had not professed absolute loyalty to the Archon, attacked a number of prime military installations across the world. In response, the Archon ordered the entire RCl to stand down and submit to DMI investigations Into the terrorist activities. Marshal Bishop Sortek, commander of the entire Davion Brigade of Guards and titular leader of the rust Guards, instead suspended the RCT's operations and launched his own investigation into the matter. When the First Guards had yet to give up their arms two days later, the Archon flew into a rage and ordered the entire command arrested, disbanded and stricken from the rolls. Field Marshal Gallagher apparently attempted to speak with Marshal Sortek, but the Guards' commander would not even let Gallagher into his base at Fort Melissa Davion. A day later, Marshal Sortek released his preliminary findings that indicated little potential culpability on the part of First Guards' personnel, but that any AFFS personnel implicated in the crimes would be tried and punished to the limits of the law.
The Archon was still displeased and ordered Marshal of the Armies Jackson Davion to deal with the situation. Davion, who himself had commanded the Davion Brigade of Guards in the past, attempted to intervene and find a solution that both the Archon and Marshal Sortek could accept, but Sortek was unwilling to lay down his arms and effectively commit suicide. Likewise, the Archon wanted the entire RCT disarmed and imprisoned.
Two more days of a tense standoff outside of Fort Melissa Davion ended when Field Marshal Gallagher ordered the Loyalist forces on New Avalon to forcibly disarm and disband the First Guards. Lead by the Third Robinson Rangers, a Loyalist task force attempted to enter the fort. Instead, the First Davion Guards hit the task force headlong while Marshal Sortek attempted to transmit his own call to arms to the people of New Avalon. Unfortunately for him, the Archon's agents quickly dropped a complete news blackout over New Avalon, including all incoming and outgoing HPG transmissions.
Marshal Sortek had but one option truly left open to him. It was obvious to him that the Archon would only rest when he and his entire command was destroyed. Though the First Davion Guards were perhaps the most elite RCT within the AFFS, arrayed against them were three BattleMech units—the Tenth Deneb Light Cavalry, the Third Robinson Rangers and the New Avalon CMM in addition to the host of secondary units that were stationed on New Avalon. For their part, the Guards had the support of a handful of conventional regiments, plus those soldiers and
MechWarriors that deserted their posts within other commands to rally behind the Marshal. Additionally, Marshal Sortek still had the ears of dozens of senior officers within the AFFS High Command who, while they would not openly declare their opposi tion to the Archon, could potentially help he and his RCT out in more subtle means.
Marshal Sortek easily bowled through the opposing Loyalist force, scattering the two combined-arms brigades that Field Marshal Gallagher had formed for this operation. Sortek ordered his more mobile elements to give chase while he brought together the rest of his RCT and affiliated Allied troops. A day later the Marshal began his grand march on Avalon City.
On the 30th of June the Robinson Rangers again met the First Guards, halting the advance, though only at tHb coat of more than half of their strength. Their sacrifice, however, gave the Loyalists the time they needed to call up reinforcements from across the planet, who, under the direction of Marshal of the Armies Davion, quickly surrounded the First Guards. Both Davion and Sortek knew full well the capabilities of the First Guards and Sortek again lead the RCT in a breakout that crushed two Loyalist combat commands and gave them a clear line of march towards Avalon City.
Marshal Werner Gast, a Lyran national and senior deputy within the High Command, took direct command of the Loyalist forces and, utilizing the many DropShips available on the planet, immediately dropped a full brigade of troops in front of the Guards' advance while he gathered the rest of the available forces on-world to blunt the Guards' advance. Again Sortek lead the Rrst Guards into a direct frontal attack, delivering crushing blow after blow to the Loyalists while taking only relatively minor casualties. Sortek leapfrogged from province to province, avoiding the biggest cities and towns, instead using major highways as airbases for his fighter squadrons and keeping his headquarters completely mobile. Sortek did this for five days, coming within 20 kilometers of Avalon City before Marshal Gast could bring together a large enough force to halt the Guards.
Marshal Sortek still had access to much of New Avalon's intelligence network, especially orbital imagery, As soon as he rccognized the size of the force arrayed against him, he made a sharp turn, bowling through a combat command spearheaded by the Third Rangers that was holding his left flank. Leaving the Rangers behind, he rushed to the Camelot Region to the south west of Avalon City, driving just past both the NAIS and the Albion Military Academy. Indeed, the Marshal picked up a number of supporters from each of those prestigious institutions, both from their faculties and from their student populations.
Within the Camelot region, Sortek was protected to the north and west by the Grand Avalon mountain range, which ran right to Mount Davion in Avalon City, while to the south the river Albion provided some amount of protection. The Marshal secreted his supply caches within the mountains and in two minor military installations in the region and prepared to play the waiting game. Indeed, throughout the month of July, it seemed that Sortek was content to keep himself bottled up within Camelot.
On the contrary.
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