As Wave Three of the Civil War officially began, Duke James Sandoval continued to be pleased with the success of his operations against the Draconis Combine. Major General Mai Fortuna was having great success on Ashio and was reporting that she would soon have that world—yet another Combine provincial capital—under FedSuns control. What Duke Sandoval did not realize, however, was that the Combine-Ghost Bear war had ended ami cably in late December of 3063 on the world of Courchevel, a final act that freed up much of the DCMS to look back to its ancient enemy within the Federated Suns.
To be sure, Duke Sandoval did certainly receive a briefing on the fact that that the Combine had ended their war on the Clan front, as did every other senior commander within the two nations of the former Federated Commonwealth. But with almost every intelligence officer within the Federated Suns and Lyran Alliance working on predicting troop movements within their own nations, it was inevitable that the details surrounding the end of the war would be lost within the deluge of information coming in from throughout the Inner Sphere. Had Sandoval known the details of the war's end. or even that the Ghost Bears had returned the DCS Urizen II Lo the control of the Combine Admiralty, he almost ccrtainly would have placed his forces within the Combine on a higher alert and would also have arranged for additional reinforcements.
That was not to be, however. When he learned of the end of the Combine War, he assigned what few additional forces he had at his disposal to the front and notified units still sta tioned within the Draconis March to be prepared for rapid deployments into the Combine. Duke Sandoval expected that the Combine would eventually send some of its regiments to retake those worlds that he had conquered. Vet he assumed that the DCMS would have to maintain a heavy presence along its border with the Ghost Bear Dominion, and thus never imagined that he would have to fortify those worlds that he had taken with dozens of conventional regiments if he were to have any hope of holding them.
Of course, the Duke was soon proven wrong.
Major General Ariel Zibler and her Twelfth Deneb Light Cavalry had almost a complete year of peace on Al Na'ir following their destruction of the Twenty-fourth Dieron Regulars. Production within the world's factories continued nearly unabated, giving her RCT a ready source of BattleMechs and armored vehicles with which to replenish their depleted numbers. Knowing that a concerted Combine counterattack would come eventually—she and her RCT had already fought off or crushed a number of "samurai" companies and battalions that made their way to the world in hopes of winning glory and recouping the loss of honor the DCMS faced by losing such an important world—her troops got to know the underground system of passages intimately.
The expected counterattack finally came in late June of 3064. Unlike Duke Sandoval, however, General Zibler and her senior officers fully expected a major landing force. When the Fifteenth Dieron Regulars and the Tenth Ghost arrived in orbit on the 5th of July, their expectations were confirmed.
Zibler had learned much from her assault on Al Na'ir and bitterly contested the DCMS landing on the world with the regiment of fighters and supporting DropShips she had at her disposal. In fact, her heavy aerospace forces repelled three different landing attempts in the first week of the assault, and when Tai-sa Samual Noda redirected his efforts toward the asteroid Yori's Perdition, Zibler likewise sent her fighters and an additional battalion of troops to prevent a Combine success there. She lost a number of fighters to the asteroid field, but Tai-sa Noda also lost many of his own fighters and took serious damage to several key DropShips. He withdrew to apparently make another attempt at Al Na'ir, but left behind his two battalions of ISF operatives within the aster oid field. While Zibler's fighters moved away to again protect Al Na'ir, the ISF forces slowly closed in on Yori's Perdition.
The ISF troops finally hit the asteroid complex on the 22nd of July. The ensuing battle turned bloody very quickly as the dug-in DLC troops punished the ISF operators hard. While the AFFS marines were no push-overs, the ISF troops were simply better trained and better equipped soldiers. Even then, it took Noda's troops six weeks to finally push the last DLC troops out of the complex in an operation that escalated to massive proportions when both sides fed reinforcements into the battle.
Noda had won Yori's Perdition by the middle of September, but that was only a small portion of the Al Na'ir operation. He had not yet managed to ground any of his units on Al Na'ir proper. Worse, his MechWarriors were slowly losing their edge as they continued to work in Zero G while he tried to ground on the world. He made two more attempts in early October before giving up and temporarily landing his troops on the third world in the system. There he awaited additional support from Dieron.
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