By the beginning of the first Wave of the Civil War, matters were progressing far better than Duke Sandoval had expected within the Draconis Combine. Proserpina had already fallen, as had An Ting and Marduk, while the campaign on Al Na'ir was quickly gaining ground. Unfortunately, as the Civil War Increased in intensity, Duke Sandoval found that more and more of his own combat strength was being siphoned off by supporters of both the Archon and her brother. Rather than being able to follow up with an assault even deeper into the Combine, Duke Sandoval found that he had only enough troops to garrison the worlds that he'd taken and follow up with an assault on Matsuida. While the Duke did indeed have a few BattleMech units that he could call upon—most notably the New Ivaarsen Chasseurs and the mercenary Harlock's Warriors, they were well out of place for anything but a follow-on attack from Al Na'ir—for which he already had sufficient force.
Having seriously miscalculated the effect that the Civil War would have on his March's resources, the Duke contented him self with raiding the DCMS' warehouses and supply dumps for as much materiel as his troops could take. He send dozens of cargo DropShips to Proserpina to empty both the DCMS supply caches and Bulldog Industries of military equipment and hardware while on Marduk AFS engineers and DQ personnel were busily assessing damage to the Victory factory complex as other officers prepared the 'Mechs that had been awaiting delivery to the DCMS for transport back into the Federated Suns.
Having won a significant foothold within Al Na'ir's maze of underground cities and military complexes, Major General Ariel Zibler and her Twelfth Deneb Light Cavalry were quickly working their way to Homai-Zakl, the seat of power on Al Na'ir. At the same time, the Fighting Urakhai's Eighth Striker regiment was primarily patrolling the surface of the world, protecting their landing zone and field headquarters from the strike teams that the Twenty-fourth Dieron Regulars were putting on the world's surface to keep Duke Sandoval's troops off guard.
By the first week in March, General Zibler had broken through to two of the four major caverns that housed Scarborough Manufacturers and was well within striking distance of Homai-Zaki. Tai-sa Buntari Akihito knew that he couldn't effectively fight the DLC within the caverns and tunnels of the underground city with his 'Mechs. so he lead the majority of his Twenty-fourth Dieron to the surface, leaving behind a short battalion to provide heavy back-up for the infantry units that were keeping the DLC from breaking through.
Emerging from half a dozen entrances hidden in the Miyazaki Mountains, Tai-sa Akihito lead his 'Mechs through the winding canyons and valleys to emerge just a few kilometers to the south of the AFFS landing zone. With less than a battalion guarding the LZ and only a handful of fighters flying high cover, the mercenary defenders were caught wholly off-guard and out-matched. The Dieron Regulars destroyed two companies of 'Mechs before the surviving mercenaries pulled back under the cover of their DropShips' guns. The Regulars did not stop their assault, though, and continued to trade extreme-range shots with the large, immobile DropShips, disabling a few and raining fire and confusion down on the AFFS command post. By the time that the patrolling mercenaries returned, the Regulars had vanished Into the land scape. Even after the AFFS fighters scrambled en masse. Sandoval's troops could not locate the Dieron Regulars.
Thus began a two-week intensive search-and-destroy opera tion, aided by a few companies of DLC 'Mechs that General Zibler had detached to aid General Bryan Holstead and his Fighting Urakhai. Holstead kept at least two squadrons of fighters in the skies at all times and he strengthened his patrols. Still, the Regulars hit his 'Mechs on a regular basis, killing several MechWarriors in cockpit decompressions. Indeed, General Holstead himself died on the 18th, leaving Colonel Gerald DuBois in command of the mercenaries.
Following the death of their commander, the Fighting Urakhai hit the field with a vengeance, intending on hunting down and destroying Tai-sa Akihito and his Regulars. For their part, the Regulars recognized the increased fury in the mercenaries and tried to keep their underground staging bases hidden, but Colonel DuBois's MechWarriors soon learned to track the Combine 'Mechs through the canyons, valleys and mountain passes— nearly all containing highly ferrous materials—with methods other than sensors. The mercenaries closed off a number of hidden egress points and eventually tracked the Regulars into a natural rock formation that a Urakhai MechWarrior had named "Sherwood Forest." The Mercenaries hammered the Regulars for two days, but on the 21th of April they received an urgent message from Victor Steiner-Davlon ordering them to give up their assault on the Combine and return to FedSuns space. The mercenaries returned to their LZ, leaving less than a battalion of Dieron Regulars in the field.
Major General Zibler was livid when Colonel DuBois informed her of his unit's decision to return to the Federated Suns, but short of firing on their 'Mechs, there was little she could do to prevent the mercenaries' retreat. Choosing to continue on within the underground maze, Zibler kept three 'Mech companies on the surface to protect the Landing Zone and recalled several companies of marines from positions throughout the system to assist her in the final stage of the assault on Homai-Zaki.
Tai-sa Akihito and his 'Mechs continued to harry the DLC landing zone on the surface, but by the third week in May, Zibler had fought her way into three of the smaller Homai-Zaki caverns, taking control of a third of the city, including some half of the industrial district. While she did not yet hold Yori 'Mech Works or the DCMS command center, the Combine troops were quickly losing their motivation. Though a few MechWarriors and several score of infantry soldiers had turned suicidal after being cornered and launched kamikaze attacks on the DLC troops,-Starting on 3 June that mindset seemed to take over the majority of the Jwenty-fourth Dieron and the underground militia defenders.
Tai-sa Akihito tried his best to dissuade his troops from doing so, but kamikaze attacks lasted a week and resulted in little more than the slaughter of the DCMS personnel as Major General Zibler simply placed her troops on the defensive, content to let the Combine soldiers do her work for her. Cut off from easy access to Homai-Zaki, Akihito had little choice but to hit the DLC landing zone in hopes of pulling some forces from their underground positions. Unfortunately for him, Akihito's attack did little more than cost him the lives of eighteen MechWarriors. He pulled out with the few operational 'Mechs he still had and retreated to a remote listening post.
Underground, General Zibler waited out the kamikaze attacks for two weeks before she resumed the offensive. By that time the majority of the DCMS defenders had either killed or exhausted themselves in the pointless suicide attacks and Zibler's DLC rolled right over what few remained.
Though she still faced a traditional Combine population, most had been factory workers or miners for their entire lives, and once the General proved that she had no desire to suppress the citizens of Homai-Zaki. the potential danger to the DLC troops subsided quickly. DMI officers assigned to the operation quickly poured into the DCMS Al Na'ir Prefecture headquarters, absorbing intelligence and interviewing captured officers. While both 7a/-sho Davis Tremelo and Sho-sho Richard Ouchiwa committed sep-puku rather than be captured, some of their senior officers did not follow their lead.
Indeed, as Major General Zibler consolidated her hold over the Al Na'ir system in July and August, cataloging the equipment and supplies that her troops captured—including entire produc tion lots from Yori and Scarborough—the biggest coup of the entire operation was the information that the DMI was learning from the DCMS headquarters, intelligence that would play a big part in operations for years to come.
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