Sirdar

Originally meant to be a quick operation, the battle for Sirdar turned into a long and hloody affair early in Wave One. Leftenant General Russel Ito and his significantly pro-Katherine Sirdar CMM, along with a handful of free AFFS regiment, garrisoned this head quarters world of the Sirdar PDZ, holding the Federated Suns' largest salient into the Capellan Confederation. From this world, the Archon could easily cut supply lines to the more than half-dozen neutral or pro Victor Regular Army and mercenary units stationed within the PDZ and instead favor the handful of units professing absolute loyalty to her.

While Marshal Adam Korsant, commander of the Sirdar PDZ, was an officer loyal to the deposed Prince, many members of his command staff were not. Surrounded by a distinctly pro-Katherlne group, Marshal Korsant was walking a tightrope of sorts during the first few months of the Civil War. Field Marshal Ardan Sortek recognized this and the importance of Sirdar itself to not only the Civil War, but to the security ot the entire Federated Suns, and took action in the final month of the "Flashpoint" to sccure the entire PDZ.

With the Second Davion Guards having pulled off of Bromhead In early February, Held Marshal Sortek contacted Fleet Admiral William Kossacks. commander of the

Second Guards, and gave him a number of orders. When the Second Guards landed on Mendham, Kossacks met with the commanders and staffs of the Davion Light Guards and the Twenty-first llllcian Lancers to determine their political leanings.

After a week on Mendham, Kossacks left the world with the Twenty-first llllcian Lancers in tow, leaving the Light Guards to defend the "lower" end of the Sirdar PDZ. He traveled through the Frazer system on his way to Sirdar and communicated with the commander Of the Second Ceti Hussars, Hauptmann General Oscar Cadson, who guaranteed that he would not interfere with the battle on Sirdar unless ordered to by New Syr lis or New Avalon. From there he jumped to Glentworth, where he picked up the Fourth lllician Lancers, before finally jumping to the Sirdar system.

SORTEK'S APOLOGV

You ask us to do the impossible, Field Marshal Gallagher. We will not lay our arms down like a conquered people, for your Archon has not yet accomplished what the Dragon or the Liaos have never been able to do. She may sit on the throne, but she has not drained the Federated Suns of its energy nor robbed its people of their will.

For too long we have done nothing, for it is our job to carry out the will of our leader, not to depose him. For too long wc have turned a blind eye towardsj)ur leader's policies of subjugation and oppression. Perhaps it Is appropriate, then, as your Archon has determined it is time to change the Federated Suns' views ol their people, It too Is time for us to change our viewpoint toward our leader. The First Davion Guards once put a Prince into power by the force of their guns. Perhaps it is time to do so again.

You ask for an apology, Field Marshal Gallagher, and it is my duty to give one. I am sorry that some unknown individuals dressed in the uniforms of my men and women committed acts of treason and terror. I am also sorry that your Archon feels so insecure In her position that she must send away the Heavy Guards and treat the First Guards like Capellan dogs. Most of all, I am sorry that her paranoia and your lack of determination will likely cover this world in blood.

It is not too late to end this, Field Marshal. A leader is only as strong as those who follow her. I beg you: let reason win the battle between conscience and obedience. Do not bring war to New Avalon. Do not bring about tragedy on the scale of Amarls or David Varnay or Jlnjlro Kurita. You can bring this tragic cycle to a close.

For, above all. you know that we will not bring war to our homeworld. I promise you now, though, the Brigade will end it.

- Marshal Bishop Sortek, 27 August 3063, from a message to Field Marshal Simon Gallagher

Kossacks' task force reached Sirdar on 23 March, and immediately dropped onto the CMM's positions in and around Selkirk and the attached Edgewood AFFC Military Complex. While the three combined air wings of the Allied force prevented any of the CMM's own fighters from contesting the drop, Leftenant General Gerald Mitchell, acting as commander of all Allied 'Mech forces, pushed the CMM hard to give Major General Bryce Staten, commander of the Second Guards' armor brigade and overall ground commander, the time to ground his armor and infantry forces.

Though the CMM had prepared for the arrival of Kossacks' forces for a week, they soon found themselves outmatched. Leftenant General Russel Ito ordered his troops to abandon Selkirk and the military complex before Kossacks could bring in the bulk of his ground forces. Before he did so, however, he evac uated the Sirdar PDZ staff from the complex. Further, acting under the Emergency Warpowers acts, he summarily executed Marshal Korsant and a dozen of his senior staff for acts of treason and sedition against the Federated Commonwealth.

In contrast to many other PDZ logistics centers, the Department of the Quartermaster built a decentralized system on Sirdar. When General Ito gave up the PDZ command center, he only gave Kossacks and his Allies a small slice of the logistics chain on the world. As he retreated across more than a thousand kilometers, DQ staff on the world, assisted by his own troops, secured the largest supply dumps and either transferred the most useful stock from the smaller ones or destroyed the entrances to the underground complexes.

Kossacks still held the upper hand on the world, and continued to pound Ito and his CMM hard, destroying a full brigade in the first fifteen days of the battle. Over the course of the next two weeks, he steadily ground the CMM down, and though Ito had a significant amount of materiel available as replacements, he found that he did not have the troops to man the 'Mechs and tanks that he had at his disposal.

The battle for Sirdar entered its second phase in May of 3063 while Kossacks was still hammering away at the CMM. Having been ordered to Sirdar by Marshal Lyle Cerny, acting commander of the Sirdar PDZ. the Fourth Donegal Guards reached Verio in mid-April and, upon learning of the attack upon their support elements on Velhas by the First FedSuns Armored Cavalry, they added the Second Chisholm's Raiders to their number and made the two jumps to Sirdar with the intent of destroying Kossacks and his Allied force.

Hauptmann Generals Victor Amelio and Helen Eisner, commanders respectively of the Fourth Donegal and the Second Chisholm's Raiders, arrived in the Sirdar system on 5 May. As soon as he learned of the newly arrived Loyalist units, Kossacks dispatched a message to Mendham ordering the Davion Light Guards to make the journey to Sirdar. He also asked Field Marshal Sortek for additional support; Sortek replied that the First Federated Suns Armored Cavalry and the Ninth lllician Lancers were also on the way, currently on the tail the Fourth Donegal. Kossacks reluctantly went on the defensive while the Loyalists grounded.

Admiral Kossacks and his Allied forces were now faced with an enemy of roughly the same strength, but the Allied units still had the edge in aerospace power. Kossacks' own fighters, strengthened by the lllician fighter wings, bitterly contested the Loyalist landings while Major General Staten moved his four com bined-arms ground brigades to oppose what landing zones they could reach, using extensive artillery fire missions to seriously damage a Second Chisholm's mixed combat command before its own artillery could return with counter-battery fire.

For the next month, Kossacks remained primarily on the defensive within the vicinity of Selkirk while the Loyalist forces surrounded his own units. The Loyalists had the advantage in numbers, but Kossacks kept absolute air superiority over his battlefields and severely punished every Loyalist push. Unfortunately, with the numbers on his side, Hauptmann General Amello dealt Kossacks a number of defeats when the weather turned against the Allies in late May. Over the course of four days Amelio drove the Allied force back sixty kilometers, inflicting heavy casualties as his Fourth Donegal and Eisner's Second Raiders mounted a massive assault. When the weather broke, the Allied forces again retook the skies, just in time to cover the arrival of the Davion Light Guards. A week later, the First Federated Suns Armored Cavalry and the Ninth lllician Lancers also arrived, escorted by the Fox-class FSS Brest, turning the balance well in favor of the Allies.

Starting from the minute of the Rrst FedSuns Armored Cav's arrival, the Allied force went on the offensive. The Armored Cav's General Rudolph Chapman took charge of the ground forces, dividing the various Allied units into two divisions—Chapman took charge of the Cavalry, the Light Guards and the Ninth lllician while Major General Staten remained in command of the remainder—and pushing the Loyalists hard. While Staten broke out of Selkirk, Chapman hit the Loyalists' flank hard from their landing zones in Argenta, Kule and Lac Du Gulene. In a bizarre coincidence within a mostly traditional AFFS Allied force, the mercenary lllician Lancers fielded the heaviest BattleMechs and formed the core of Chapman's seven combined-arms brigades. With speed, firepower and sheer experience behind them, the Allies tore through the Loyalist forces, taking advantage of the Chisholm's Raiders decentralized command structure and the rapidly disintegrating CMM.

Just two weeks after the Cavalry's arrival, Chapman had driven the Loyalists across five hundred kilometers of Sirdar plains and foothills, and into the Qechar badlands. General Amelio's forces fell back into the badlands, hoping to reach two DQ facilities just a hundred kilometers away. While elements of the Fourth Donegal did reach the DeSaulle DQ complex, Chapman's Armored Cavalry blitzed hard with the support of the Light Guards, cutting off most of the Loyalist retreat and forcing them to divert from a western to a southern withdrawal.

While Amelio was forced to accept the city of Sicamous, a mining and light industrial urban center, as a temporary headquarters. he did receive word that the Twenty-second Avalon Hussars had arrived in-system. Ordered to Sirdar by Marshal Cery when the Second Ceti Hussars refused the order to mobilize in support of the Loyalist forces, Marshal Donna lona brought with her a reinforcedmixed brigade. When she learned of the situation on the world, however, she refused to land her troops, unwilling to throw her fresh Avalon Hussars into a battle that they could not hope to win.

Try as they did, neither Generals Amello nor Eisner could change Marshal lona's mind. Left with few other options, they began to collapse their lines into a tight circle around Sicamous and prepared for a retreat from the world. While Leftenant General Ito, along with several of the PDZ command staff, initially resisted the proposition, Marshal Cerny reluctantly agreed. After all, Sirdar was but a minor world in the grand scheme of the growing Civil War, and the Archon had much greater fish to fry. None of the generals would leave without first raiding the world's supply dumps for as much as they could, however.

Throughout the month of July, General Amello used the fighters and DropShips at his disposal to form a mobile raiding force. While Admiral Kossacks maintained an undeniable aerospace superiority over the planet, he and his senior commanders balked at the outright destruction of so much AFFS materiel. Instead, the Allies contented themselves to reacting to Amelio's movements and taking as many DQ facilities as they could. By the end of July, the Loyalist forces made final preparations for withdrawal. General Chapman again pushed hard with his ground forces, laying waste to some three total combined arms regiments before the Loyalists finally began boosting off of Sirdar on 6 August.

The battle of Sirdar brought the equivalent of some eight RCTs, well more than a hundred thousand men, into direct conflict with each other. While many other battles would eclipse that of Sirdar both In size and in importance, Sirdar was certainly the largest battle of the early Civil War. Moreover, the battles were still governed by the morals and common principles of war—concepts that would soon be thrown out on dozens of worlds throughout the former Federated Commonwealth.

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