Baron lancred Sandoval left Woodbine at the head of a task force that included the surviving elements of the Mayetta DMM, reinforced by a combat command of the Third Crucis Lancers—a force of approximately two reinforced combat com mands—and a full combined-arms brigade from Marshal Mordecai Rand Davion's First Crucis Lancers. Having repaired and refitted from supplies taken from the Woodbine supply centers. Baron Sandoval's troops were eager to continue on, bringing the fight to the Arehon's door. For his next target, Sandoval chose Tsamma.

Though the Baron's plans had originally included targets almost exclusively within his father's Draconis March, he chose to attack Tsamma simply to keep the Tsamma CMM from later launching an attack at his back. He fell that with Marshal Rand-Pavion's assistance, he could quickly suppress the CMM and continue on with his plans in the Draconis March,

Fate stepped in to ensure those plans would fail.

Shortly after he arrived on Tsamma, Hauptmann General Ryan Pryce-Barnard arrived at the head of a combined task force made of units from the Bremond and the Milligan DMMs as well as a free brigade. Designated the First Royal Cavaliers, this task force had but one directive: to destroy Baron Sandoval's own task force and to either kill or capture the baron himself.

Baron Sandoval initially deployed his task force in a relatively straight-forward manner, presenting the Tsamma CMM a wide skirmishing line while keeping several quick response battalions In reserve to take advantage of any openings that the CMM might give them. The commander of the CMM was not the kind of militia commander that Sandoval had come to know, however. A former instructor at the Albion Military Academy, Leftenant General Michael Buckley did not fall for Sandoval's plan and instead used a mobile assault wing against him. moving up and down his line of battle while his CMM's artillery and fighters rained fire 'down on the baron.

Sandoval quickly changed his strategy, concentrating the bulk of his firepower into a tight formation that attacked the CMM from the left flank while he swung the rest of his force around to pin Buckley's assault wing in place. Before Sandoval could finish Buckley's assault wing off, the First Royal Cavaliers landed.

Rather than be trapped between two enemy forces, Sandoval broke off and regrouped his force, moving down into the Zappai Peninsula. Pryce-Barnard pursued, with a demi-brigade of the Tsamma CMM in tow, pushing Sandoval south into the snow covered high plains of the Cor-de-Francisco. Sandoval pulled back to Qonel, where he set up a temporary headquarters, and prepared to meet these new Cavaliers while calling for additional support from Marshal Rand-Davion.

The Cor-de-Francisco was just entering its thawing season, and as July wore on, a dozen heavy rainstorms struck the region, turning the ground into a sloppy mud that almost nothing could traverse—save the numerous hovercraft In service within the Tsamma CMM and the Cavaliers. Bogged down and with no way to escape until the storms ceased and the ground dried, Sandoval continued to fight.

In mid-August, Marshal Mordecai Rand-Davion arrived with the rest of his First Crucis Lancers and immediately tore into the Tsamma CMM, hoping to break at least one of the opposing units with his heavy 'Mechs and tanks. He, too, quickly became bogged down in the terrain, but the sheer power of the First Lancers was enough to push Pryce-Barnard back for the time being.

At the end of the month, however, the Loyalist general tried again, this time stranding a single Mayetta combat command from the rest of the Allied force and handily crushing it before Baron Sandoval could counter his move. The loss cowed Sandoval a bit, who became much more conservative in his movements, though Marshal Rand-Davion felt no such compunctions. Three times in early September he ordered his


Who does Baron Sandoval think he is? What right does he have bringing war to Tsamma when he should be out fighting the Dragons? None!

Tancred Sandoval is just another in a long line of the "new nobility" that we've been forced to put up with since the Fourth Succession War. Long gone are the days of Hanse and Andrew Davion. Those were real Princes. They didn't sit around on New Avalon waiting for something to happen. No. They went out and they bent history to their wills.

But what is Tancred Sandoval doing? Sure, he's fighting a war. But he's fighting the wrong one! The enemy isn't here on Tsamma. or on New Avalon or on Tharkad. No. The Draconis Combine is the enemy here. The Dragon is weak and it's time we finally taught them a lesson that they will never forget. Duke James Sandoval realizes that. Why can't his son?

Because he's a failure. And failures like to stick together. He may have been called the Hero of the Clan war or the destroyer of the Clans, but what good is Victor Davion? He isn't a general. He isn't a true leader. He's ridden on the coattails of others his entire life and has yet to make a good decision. And that's why Tancred Sandoval follows him. Because he's the same way.

Why can't we have more like James Sandoval, or even George Hasek? Those are real leaders, true generals. Tancred, do yourself and your people a favor. If you want to ever lead the Draconis March, it's time you decided to show its people just where your loyalties lie. Fight for your people, not against them.

- Thaddeus Applegate, in a letter to the editor of the Craddock Sentinel. 13 July 3064

troops to make high-risk combat drops that won the Allies an exit from the Zappai Peninsula, though admittedly at a heavy cost, including seven 'Mechs that could not be recovered after being swallowed up by the still-dangerous muddy ground.

Before the month was up, General Pryce-Barnard learned that he would soon be getting additional reinforcement of his own. In response, he redoubled his attack efforts, hoping to keep Baron Sandoval and his Allied troops pinned down until he could land the coup de grace.

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