Just looking at the statistics, it was becoming clear that the Civil War was beginning to run its course. No new battles were breaking out while more and more were coming to an end. At the height of the Civil War, almost half of the Federated Suns' worlds were gripped by fighting or general unrest of sorts. In this fifth wave, however, that number had dropped to less than a hundred worlds. Soldiers on both sides were exhausted and, in many cases, no longer had access to the supplies and weapons they needed to continue fighting. While that meant that Allied troops had to cut back their operations, that also meant that the Archon's enforcers were becoming more and more vulnerable to the citizens they had been oppressing.
Major General Torri Hughes continued on with her assault into the Kulmen Mountains, but as soon as she learned that the attack on New'Syrtis had happened, she knew she would never get reinforcements. She debated whether or not to pull out of the mountains for several weeks, but when Marshal Donna lona worked several mixed battalions around behind Hughes' Seventh F-C, catching Hughes' RCT in a pincer maneuver that almost cost her the entire command, she pulled her unit out of the mountains. She returned to Portland, where her under-strength RCT licked its wounds and carefully watched Marshal lona's Twenty-Second Avalon Hussars.
The Allied Crucis Lancers RCTs closed in on the Rrst Royal Cavaliers and their commander, Hauptmann General Ryan Pryce-Barnard, in their Fort Theodore Jannus encampment. Unfortunately for the Lancers, the fort was a decommissioning point for old weapons and ordnance, giving Pryce-Barnard a ready supply to use against the Lancers.
At first, the Lancers continued on in their advance down the Cor-de-Francisco, simply driving the advance elements of the Rrst Cavaliers ahead of them. But by late June, the Lancers' began to take heavy artillery fire from the fort; the closer they got, the heavier the volume of fire. The Lancers used their own artillery and fighters to return fire, and succeeded in destroying a few scattered batteries.
In July, the Cavaliers launched a counterattack, using a warehouse full of outdated artillery shells. More duds fell than live rounds, but the Cavaliers were able to keep up a massive volume of fire, forcing the Allied commanders to make a decision—either continue forward or pull back. Either way, they faced withering fire so Marshal Rand-Davion, General Zardetto and Baron Sandoval decided to continue on.
The Cavaliers used up the ammunition from the first bunker in mid-July and began to pull rounds from a second bunker. These unmarked rounds were not standard artillery shells, however, but chemical and gas rounds. The Cavaliers stopped firing the rounds as soon as they realized what they were. By that time, however, they'd already fired off several hundred rounds.
Quite a few were duds, their warheads inert or having lost most of their potency. Some weren't, however. More than half of the rounds fired in each volley proved harmless, while most of the rest were simply normal artillery shells. A handful in each salvo still retained much of their original potency, though, and killed hundreds in just the first few minutes. MechWarriors and armor crews, normally operating with hatches and external vents open, buttoned up as soon as they saw the gas plumes, but many did not react quickly enough. Some died immediately to nerve agents, while others suffered debilitating side-effects. In the first few minutes of the artillery bombardment, the two Crucis Lancers RCTs lost more than a dozen senior officers (colonels and higher), while many more were affected enough by the gas attacks that they could not perform their duties.
Baron Tancred Sandoval was one of the officers so stricken. His unit was hit with a combination of chemical and biological shells, and while most of his 'Mechs and tanks were able to button up quickly, the baron had some difficulties doing so and fell victim to the attacks. He was only exposed briefly, however, and was never in any mortal danger, though the bio-toxins he was exposed to laid him up in the hospital for weeks, wracking his body with attacks against various organs until the doc tors could isolate the toxin and eliminate it. The baron was one of the lucky ones, though; most exposed to that toxin died within hours or days in complete organ failure, while those that survived lost one or more organs to the toxin. As soon as Baron Tancred Sandoval recovered, however, he received word from Robinson that he should return home immediately.
Though the Cavaliers were just as horrified as the Crucis Lancers' by the artillery rounds they had fired, that did not stop them from taking advantage of the situation and driving back the two Lancers RCTs—who were all more than happy to pull back while they assessed the situation.
Wave Five ended with a cautious stand-off between the two sides. Though numerically superior, the Crucis Lancers were wary at charging in again without knowing what other surprised the Cavaliers might throw at them. For their part, the Cavaliers used that time to fully inventory the equipment and munitions they had at their disposal, determined to not let the same mistake happen again.
Whether or not they admitted it to themselves or their associates, the primary commanders on both sides were becoming acutely aware that the War was slowly coming to an end. While neither Jackson Davion nor Ardan Sortek had any "spare" units to suddenly throw into the mix, they did have units at their disposal that were becoming available from other battles.
Marshal of the Armies Davion knew that he was in the worse position, with Allied regiments having gobbled up most of the regional command centers and major production facilities in the Federated Suns. All hope was not yet lost, however, so long as he could hold a few key worlds. Tikonov was one, while Talon another. New Avalon, of course, was the key to the whole plan. Following their loss on Salem, Davion brought the Nineteenth Arcturan Guards to New Avalon to build up the world's defenses. Likewise, he also brought the Sixth Donegal Guards in, giving him a nearly-unbeatable defensive force. Though not under Davion's orders, Hansen's Roughrlders made the trek to Nunivak following their own defeat on Panpour.
Hoping to catch the Loyalist assault force before it left the world, Field Marshal Sortek moved the Second Ceti Hussars to Taygeta, but by the time they got there, the assault on New Syrtis had already begun. The Second remained on-world for some time though, securing the Loyalist bases and, more importantly, consolidating Allied control over the Capellan March's Edgeward Combat Theater.
After repelling the Combine assault on Kentares IV, Marshal James McFartand continued to move his Tenth Lyran Guards into the Lyran Alliance to rendezvous with Victor Steiner-Davion.
Laurel's Legion finally took up station on OzaWa after technical problems prevented the mercenaries from leaving Addicks earlier in the year. Even though -OCMS troops landed on Addick, Duke Sandoval determined that the mercenary unit would still better serve the Federated Suns by moving on to Ozawa and protect that important world from any potential Combine aggression.
Field Marshal Suzanne Zellner, taking more direct charge of her Capellan March Coreward Combat Theater since the invasion of New Syrtis, made several movements of her own to counter some of the redeployments she had been hearing about within the Capellan Confederation, primarily moving units "up" the march and into close proximity to the Chaos March. She moved the Third NAIS Cadre from Lee to Algol, freeing up the Twelfth Vegan Rangers to add their weight to the fight on Addicks. Finally, the Second Regiment of Cunningham's Commandos was transferred to Zurich, putting them in position to directly counter any potential Confederation strike into the Chaos March region, as was the Fifth Syrtis Fusiliers in their assignment to Woodstock.
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