The Civil War may have been burning Itself out, but battles still raged out of control on dozens of worlds throughout the Federated Suns. Most of these battles involved nothing but militia and other conventional troops, but without the direct oversight of a senior military commander, many of these turned both bloody and savage, with civilians being killed in greater numbers than soldiers. These battles would continue on until well after the end of the Civil War, while the hatreds spawned from these fights would likely last for decades if not centuries.
As the war began to come to a conclusion, the senior commanders on each side were doing their best to gather what forces they could for the final battles. They were also doing everything in their power to prevent the other side from doing the same. Where units met, they clashed with a vigor only surpassed by the final battles of the war.
Field Marshal Suzanne Zellner ordered the Fifth Syrtis Fusiliers Into action one more time in Wave Six, this time dispatching Major General Robert Koenig to Achernar to prevent the Achernar SMM from moving off of the world and adding their firepower elsewhere. Koenig and his Fusiliers landed on the 18th of March and immediately swung Into action against the SMM, which was already preparing for a move to Tikonov.
The SMM was still mobilizing when the Fusiliers landed, and the resulting three weeks of confused battles found a third of the SMM crippled by Koenig's lightning strikes and heavy conventional support. The two major industrial cities of Kippinger and Maylai fell in mere hours of the Fusiliers' landing, with the capital city of River's End falling two days later and the Cornell Military Complex three days after that.
Leftenant General Bruce Haas tried to fight Keonig's powerful assaults as best as possible, but the sheer fury of the Fusiliers' assaults left his SMM nearly impotent. The SMM still held out for a while longer, but by the 25th of May, Haas knew the world was lost. He ordered the survivors of his SMM—less than a brigade worth—to give up the world. Intending on making the trek to Tikonov, Haas learned by the time his ships were ready to jump out of system that Victor Stelner-Davion had already landed there with a significant force. He also heard that the Seventeenth Arcturan Guards, en route to the Federated Suns from the Alliance, had been pinned down on Small World by a local mercenary unit. Haas made the decision to fight a battle that his SMM could win rather than throw his unit away needlessly, making the trek to Small World.
After the First Chisholm's Raiders retreated from Breed, they received orders from the Archon to proceed to New Valencia. There they would receive supplemental orders routing them either to New Avalon or to Marlette. They were on the world just a few weeks before Duke Tancred Sandoval arrived in-system with a virtual RCT built up around the Second Robinson Rangers. Though
the Raiders had fought for Tancred's father during the Combine Invasion, they had declared their allegiance for the Archon following their expulsion from Breed.
The new Duke Sandoval lead his troops in a frontal assault against the Raiders. Hauptmann General Neece expected to face a weakened unit when she learned that it was the Second Rangers that had jumped in to oppose her, but Duke Tancred had very rapidly rebuilt the 'Mech regiment from salvage taken from his whirlwind assault through the Draconis and Crucis Marches and MechWarriors culled from various units. Likewise, he stripped armored and mechanized infantry battalions from numerous other units to build his Second Robinson Rangers RCT.
Naturally, General Neece and her troops were unprepared for the sheer strength of Duke Sandoval's assault. They put up as much of a fight as they could, but the Duke quite simply overpowered them. General Neece gave the retreat order on 24 March, less than two weeks after the Duke's landing. The First Chisholm's Raiders left the world and set a direct course for New Avalon.
The Seventeenth Arcturan Guards were on their way into the Federated Suns to assist the Archon's war efforts, osten sibly assigned to the fight on Tikonov. But when they reached the Chaos March, they received orders to stand by on Small World, where New Avalon would Issue them new directions. The unit jumped into several pirate points surrounding Small World itself on the 20th of April and proceeded to land there to await new orders.
Unfortunately for Leutnant General Davis Lillie. the world was not undefended and its inhabitants did not take kindly to potential invaders. After literally years of serving on Solaris VII. the Seventeenth was well versed in many different combat styles, especially urban combat, but they were not entirely prepared for the nature of combat on Small World.
Smithson's Chinese Bandits were defending the world's major mining regions when the Seventeenth jumped in mere hours away from landing. That put the mercenaries on alert, and the Bandits immediately began to mobilize everything under their command, including militia forces. When the Seventeenth landed, they hit hard, surprising General Lillie, who was expecting simply to get his troops on the ground while they awaited additional orders.
That first battle soon turned into an extended fight for control of the world. The Chinese Bandits constantly kept on the move through the world's arctic terrain while the Arcturan Guards tried to hunt them down. The Guards received reinforcements In the form of the Achernar SMM on 14 June. While the two commanders immediately found that they could not stand each other, they nevertheless cooperated to hunt down and destroy the Chinese Bandits on the 17th.
Four days later Major General Koenig arrived in-system with a reinforced brigade of troops. He squared off against the two Loyalist forces, using ranged fire to wear down the Arcturan Guards and the SMM. He succeeded to an extent, but on the 2nd of July, the two units attacked en masse, pushing Koenig's lines back and nearly overrunning his LZ.
On the 4th, the balance of power on Small World drastically shifted with the arrival of two battalions of mercenary BattleMechs. Lead by Wilson's Hussars, the mercenaries had been contracted by General Koenig and gathered from nearby Chaos March worlds to assist his cause on Small World. Though he could not pay them in cash, he promised quite favorable salvage rights and preferential treatment in future contract negotiations with the AFFS.
The addition of the mercenaries, no matter their skill level, technology rating or ability to cooperate in a military campaign, gave Koenig the advantage he needed. In just two short weeks he turned operations on the world around 180 degrees, putting the Loyalists on the run. By the 23rd, the two Loyalist units were ready to pull out. Koenig was unwilling to let them go so easily, however. Before they could completely load their DropShips, he executed a combat drop right on top of their LZ with the bulk of the 'Mechs he had at his disposal, followed up by a massive armored advance.
The Loyalists broke a day later, with General Lillie surrendering under the watchful eyes of a dozen mercenary
BattleMechs. Koenig remained on Small World with his command to oversee the incarceration of the Loyalists. That his presence there also gave the Federated Suns de facto control over the world was officially a secondary concern.
The final chapter in the battle for Tsamma came in early February. The First Royal Cavaliers had checked through their entire ammunition stockpiles to segregate the chemical and biological warheads, but the commanders of the Crucis Lancers RCTs did not know that. Seeing the Cavaliers and their Hauptmann General Ryan Prycc Barnard as a great threat. Marshal Rand-Davion and General Zardetto launched an extremely dangerous assault designed to remove the threat the Cavaliers posed once and for all.
The two Allied commanders tasked their remaining armored infantry, plus a battalion of special forces and jump Infantry troops, to make an assault on Fort Theodore Jannus by climbing up the cliffs at the edge of the Cor-de-Francisco. Though dangerous, the assault caught the Cavaliers by com plete surprise, with the Allied troops crossing twenty kilometers of enemy-held territory without running Into so much as a patrol. They secured one of the fort's airbases, paving the way for the Crucis Lancers RCTs to land a battalion of 'Mechs 30 minutes later and a total of a regiment of 'Mechs and two more of mechanized infantry within the fort three hours after the assault began. Allied commandos and armored infantry reached the first of the Cavaliers' ammunition bunkers an hour after they secured the airbase.
General Pryce-Barnard tried to rally his Cavaliers, but their it was soon clear to everyone involved that the battle for the world was all but over, 17 hours after the first Allied troops entered Fort Jannus, General Pryce-Barnard surrendered his First Royal Cavaliers. The two Allied units remained on-world just long enough to secure the POWs, track down the last remaining Loyalist units and repair the bulk of their battle damage. On the 27th of February, the First and the Third Crucis Lancers departed for New Valencia and eventually Galax, their eyes set on New Avalon.
The war was ending. That much was certain. For Katherine Steiner-Davion and her closest advisors, the final months of the conflict would not be easy. The bulk of the Federated Suns was lost to them, though they still held on to a handful of key worlds, including New Avalon. Unfortunately, except for what was already en route to the capital world of the Federated Suns, they had no additional units to call upon.
On the other hand. Victor Steiner Davion and Field Marshal Ardan Sortek had significant forces they could call upon. While that would mean denuding a number of worlds of defenders, they knew they could not hope to take New Avalon without significant assistance. To the Allied forces already on their way to New Avalon, Field Marshal Sortek added the Second Davion Guards, dispatching them to rendezvous on Galax with the Davion Heavy Guards and the Crucis Lancers RCTs moving in from Tsamma.
The final battle for the Federated Suns would indeed be grand.
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