The World Today

The World Today
Earth in 2013

Monday, November 29, 2010

Wing Commander reboot, part 24


The Epee Project

Early in the year, part of the Unseen Death threat was positively identified by Confed Intel. A new anti-ship missile, code-named Skippers, were part of this new threat, though not the whole story. She anti-ship missiles have a level of stealth beyond anything Confed developed. The missiles will actually cloak themselves, using a gravitational field to bend light around them, to elude detection. The code-name came from the fact that the skippers must de-cloak in order to regain lock. The advantage to bending light is it remains invisible; the disadvantage is that the missile can not see where it is going.

To combat the skippers, a new light fighter was put into design. The F-54 Epee is more maneuverable than the P-64 Ferrets, as well as packed with more sensitive sensors. Officially, the Epee was classified as a light fighter. In reality, it was designed solely to detect and destroy cloaked objects. If the Kilrathi can apply these cloaking devices to anti-ship missiles, than they can do the same thing with mines as well as fighters. Unknown at the time of the project’s inception, the Kilrathi had already deployed a limited number of fighters with cloaking technology. All of the Strakha fighters were constructed at an assembly plant at the Kilrah Pride’s shipyards, orbiting Kilrah. Due to navigational problems while cloaked, the production of these stealthy fighters has always been limited, as the scope of their mission parameters.

Destruction at Novaya Kiev

Admiral van Oranje arrived with his fleet of five carriers, three battleships and eight cruisers, as well as other, smaller ships, at Novaya Kiev early in the year, after a several month journey through several systems from the Vega Sector. His crew was tired and demoralized at the sudden turn of events. Unseen Death started to tip the balance of the war back in the Kilrathi’s favor. The Skippers were already a known threat by the time of van Oranje’s arrival. All Ferrets and Rapiers were on constant patrol, and a dozen frigates swept space with a full-spectrum sweep.

A Kilrathi task force, less than half the size of van Oranje’s, jumped into the system from Ghorah Khar, a recently colonized system. Van Oranje ordered an immediate launch of all Sabers and Broadswords to destroy the Kilrathi carriers. The two Kilrathi carriers turned out to be the decoys. Flanking around both sides of the carriers, on long arcs across the system, were one Fralthra each. These cruisers carried a flight of Strakhas as well as Skippers. The cruisers themselves were too large to cloak, but managed to slip into firing range undetected. The first indication that two large cruisers were approaching the fleet is when the sensors on the Eagle’s Talon, van Oranje’s flagship, detected them.

Four Confed cruisers and two battleships moved to intercept these two Kilrathi cruisers, with a battleship and pair of cruisers targeting each ship. It appeared to be an easy kill. However, the Strakha was still unknown to Confed, and the fighters carried modified IR missiles (each carrying an annihilation warhead instead of the standard fusion warhead). The fighters struck fast enough to kill the cruisers Vesta and Majesty outright, and damaged the rest of the ships. While they were focused on anti-spacecraft combat, the Kilrathi launched a spread of Skippers. The cruisers Salisbury and Praetor were destroyed, along with the battleship King George V. Charles Vreeland managed to limp away from the battle and escape the system.

The Kilrathi cruisers closed in on van Oranje’s main force. In an almost suicidal move, both cruisers attacked at their cruising speed, meaning they could not maneuver or evade. Instead, they swept in at 5 PSL, and launched two spreads of Skippers before passing out of range. A majority of the missiles were killed by the patrolling fighters and pickets. However, a number of them broke through and hit their targets. Admiral van Oranje was killed when the Eagle’s Talon exploded. The other carriers were damaged, but still functioning. The TCS Mons and Congress took on the Eagle’s Talon’s fighters and was set to rearm them.

The Kilrathi carriers launched a more conventional attack upon the battered fleet near the Heaven’s Gate jump point. After suffering such damage from the stealth attacks, the fleet began to fall back. There was some hope that reinforcements would jump in, but not before the Kilrathi fighters hit. Ferrets and Rapiers held off many of the fighters, and the heavier Sabers were launched as well. Four destroyers and the cruiser Lunapolis were destroyed and Mons had its flight deck destroyed, forcing surviving fighters to divert to the Congress. With such a bloody mess at their hands, Confed was forced to yield the system to the Kilrathi.

For the most part, the Kilrathi ignored the settlements in the system and set up constructing a supply depot in the system,. Kiev Station would serve as a forward base for the Kilrathi, to resupply its ships as well as its crew. Kilrathi ships jumped into the adjacent Talbot System, and captured it without much of a fight. The Terran fighters in the system were destroyed to the last, as were two corvettes. The three million Terrans living upon Talbot VII were put to work in constructing garrisons and fleet repair facilities for the Kilrathi. Part of the reason the system fell so swiftly, despite its weak garrison, was that the planetary defense network was knocked out. It was disabled by a cell of Mandarins operating on the planet.

Though the massacre at Novaya Kiev did much to hurt Confed, it was far from knocking them out of the fight. After twenty years of war, the shipyards across the Sol Sector were able to produce capital ships faster than the Kilrathi could destroy them. Confed would entrench itself at both Enigma and Heaven’s Gate, focusing its war effort on keeping the Kilrathi from reaching any closer to the Sol Sector. Parts of the Enigma Sector would have to be abandoned while Confed shortened its defensive lines and prepared for its own counterattack.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Wing Commander reboot, part 23


Unseen Death

The Sivar was not the only secret weapon the Kilrathi had been working on during the decade. Early in 2656, the Tiger’s Claw ventured into the corner of the Enigma Sector to investigate Mang Station, and perhaps even destroy it. However, the Kilrathi’s new weapon struck, destroying the Tiger’s Claw and most of its patrolling fighters. Only one survivor was recovered, a Lieutenant Commander Christopher Blair. Some in Confed, such as now Admiral Tolwyn, believed him to be a Mandarin, but this was never proven. Instead, he was banished to in-system patrols in a backwater system (until the war visited that system).

The new weapon, what the Kilrathi call Unseen Death, struck across both the Enigma and Vega Sectors. The Kilrathi’s first target were the three tiresome arsenal ships. The Ragnarok, Epoch and Last Judgement were all destroyed within days of each other. Other losses included lone ships and small patrols, such as the carrier Avenger, Kipling and battleship Ho Chi Minh were destroyed, along with their destroyer and frigate escorts. The attacks were all the same; a distant contact with a Kilrathi cruiser or carrier, and hours later, Confed ships abruptly exploded. Supply and troop convoys, with minimal protection, were lost to the last ship, taking tens of thousands to their death.

A general panic spread across the Enigma Sector as word of these stealth attacks became public knowledge. Commerce ground to a halt as shipping companies refused to launch anything. There was a greater panic along the frontier as millions of civilians tried to leave their worlds, but nobody would take to space with these invisible attackers on the loose. As it turned out, their fears were justified. Behind each of these stealthy strikes came a Kilrathi task force.

Invasion of the Enigma Sector

After years of fighting in the Vega Sector, but 2652, the Kilrathi High Command decided the sector too difficult of a route to Earth. They also noticed the great bulk of Confed’s strength was in the Sector. After several retreats, Confed ships were pulled further from the Sol Sector. As it turned out, the reason for Kilrathi retreats became clear in March of 2656, when the Kilrathi struck in force at Bradbury and Telamon, with a fleet of five carriers each. The reason Confed did not see as many ships at Cairo or Venice as they should have, is because the Kilrathi were preparing a massive flanking attack, with TCN several weeks, if not months, away.

Both systems fell with little resistance, and the Kilrathi wasted no time in fortifying them. The next system to fall was Cabrea, and it put up a stiffer resistance. Confed reacted immediately by ordering half of its Vega Sector fleet to the Enigma Sector. Older ships, such as the three remaining Vanguards, were pulled off escort duty and rushed towards the front. There was some serious talk about putting the old Concordias back into front-line service. Several new ships were quickly launched from ships yards at Mercury and other core worlds, manned with any personnel available regardless of the experience.

Ships from the Epsilon Sector, those that survived Unseen Death, were the first to do battle with the Kilrathi. Concordia and Gettysburg gave the Kilrathi a good fight at Cabrea, before Kilrathi numbers forced them to retreat to Niffleheim. The invasion was not nearly as disastrous as the invasion of the Vega Sector, at the start of the war, but losses were high. Kilrathi advances were slowed because Confed had been at war for more than twenty years. Any hope for the invasion of Enigma Sector to be a shining success as the victories in 2634-9 were quickly dashed by the arrival of van Oranje’s fleet in December at Novaya Kiev.

Nuclear Powers in the AHN Universe

Nuclear Powers

United States: 1945
Dutch Commonwealth: 1947
Sweden: 1951
France: 1954
Britain: 1956 (mostly disarmed by 2010)
China: 1964
German Empire: 1966
Italian Federation: 1981
Greece: 2009

Attempting to gain Nuclear Powers

Serbian Empire
Korean People’s Republic
Grand Colombia (New Grenada)
Persia (Iran)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Wing Commander reboot, part 22



Through small Prides and lone males have defected to the Confederation (or perhaps more accurately, away from the Empire) over the course of the war, never has a high born Kilrathi done so. That is until Ralgha nar Hhallas, only surviving king of the Hhallas Pride, was placed in command of the Fralthi-class Cruiser Ras Nik’hra. His plan to defect goes back two years, to the massacre of his Pride by the Imperial Pride. He survived by being in the services of a rival Pride in the Council of Eight. Ralgha was an able commander, and under his command, the Ras Nik’hra had won several victories, including against the cruise Petrograd.

The ship reached the Firekka System days before any other Kilrathi ship. Already in the system were the TCS Tiger’s Claw and the cruiser Austin. After a failed mutiny attempt by parts of his crew, Ralgha transmits a request to the Confed ships for asylum. This marks the first time Confed had its hands upon an intact and fully functional Fralthi, as well as its wing of Dralthi fighters. Nearly half of the ship’s crew was killed during the mutiny, including all those against it. A surprising number of Kilrathi spacemen were indifferent to the defection, with a majority having familiar connections with minor Prides that the Eight have exploited. In truth, there were very few minor Prides to have ever escaped exploitation.

A second mutiny almost started when Confed Marines attempted to remove the Kilrathi from the ship. While they were willing to fight against larger Prides of their own species, they assumed they would be doing so from their own ship. The thought of ending up in an internment camp caused more than one Kilrathi to commit ritual suicide rather than submit. Ralgha was thoroughly debriefed and interrogated by Intel, where he revealed Kilrathi plans for a Way of Sivar ceremony on Firekka.


The bird-like people of Firekka were in no place to fight a full scale Kilrathi invasion, which hit the system in September of 2655. As was expected, what little "defenses" the Firekka had in space were swept aside by the five carrier task forces that entered the system. With what they threw at Firekka, the Kilrathi could have conquered the rest of the Epsilon Sector. Instead, these warrior would be part of the ceremony, which involved mass slaughter of the hapless natives. Tiger’s Claw fought as hard as it could, with its fighters destroying several Kilrathi transports. The prohibition against being killed by the enemy caused a serious lap in escorts. Confed Intel estimated nearly ninety thousand Kilrathi were killed in space.

In the end, outnumbered five-to-one, the Tiger’s Claw was forced to retreat from the system. Confed had spent three months trying to equip the Firekka. Their similar size to human made many Confederation Army vehicles easily adapted. Confed tanks and artillery operated by Firekka greeted the Kilrathi invasion force. Small arms were more difficult to adapt, given the different hand structures. The Kilrathi succeeded in capturing five of the planet’s major cities, but lack of a proper spaceport (by Kilrathi or Confed standards) made the landing of soldiers difficult. Old Scimitars, recently retired by Confed (and many bought up by the Landreich and other frontier communities) were piloted well by Firekka pilots, shooting down dozens of troop transports.

Only the rules of the Way of Sivar, which called for the mass killing to be done by claw and teeth, prevented the Kilrathi from simply bombing the planet. Thus, Kilrathi attempts to conquer the planet were slowed. After two months of brutal guerilla warfare, as well as massacring of civilians, Confed returned to the system in force. The Tiger’s Claw was accompanied by the Raj, Waterloo, Gettysburg and Confederation, as well as the battleship Half-moon along with ten cruisers and twice as many destroyers. Confed attacks failed to destroy any of the Kilrathi carriers, but forced them away from Firekka. Instead of losing valuable divisions on the planet, the Emperor ordered the planet abandoned as not to divert forces from Operation: Unseen Death.

Operations in the Enigma Sector

Kilrathi presence in the Enigma Sector was minimal at the start of 2655. Only the uninhabited system of K’tithrak Mang, where the Kilrathi had built a large starbase and other in depth defenses. Much of the fleet that retreated from Firekka escorted the battered legions to Mang Station. Several million Kilrathi soldiers were already garrisoned on Mang V and the moons of Mang VI, and fleet forces have massed for attacks across the Sector. By the middle of the year, they had already moved into several other systems outside of Confed control.

The first move of the Kilrathi was to invade the Repleetah System. Repleetah II was but a simply research colony, home to various orbiting telescopes and sensor arrays at the edge of Confederation space. Beyond it was the Landreich, and beyond that the unknown. The scientists on the planet were far from helpless. When the Kilrathi began to land on the planet, they responded with nuclear charges mounted on surface-to-space rockets. Before the research colony was overran and its population wiped out, researched managed to send out a distress signal.

Though Repleetah was of minimal strategic importance, Confed responded immediately by sending in half-a-million men to battle the Kilrathi. Over the course of the next eight years, forces in Repleetah would peak at 12 million Terrans and 15 million Kilrathi. Neither side needed the planet, but neither side was willing to give it up. Repleetah soon became synonymous with stubbornness and futility. Before the battle’s end, both sides would sink to depths of savagery that humanity had not seen in millennia.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wing Commander reboot, part 21


Goddard Colony

At the corner of the frontier, in the Goddard System, a terran colony had existed, technically outside of the boundaries of Confed, for more than a century. The founding of Goddard Colony, on Goddard II. For the first twenty years of the war, this corner of the Epsilon Sector had seen little in the way of the war, aside from occasional Kilrathi fleet incursions. That all changed in 2654. Goddard sat at a junction for serval jump points, including the one to Epsilon Prime, later administration area for the sector. Danger to the Goddard System was learned in February of 2654, when Confed Marines, escorted by the TCS Wolfhound raided a Kilrathi research colony on Warhammer XII, learning of a new weapon to be tested on Goddard. By the time the Tiger’s Clawreached the system, Goddard Colony was flattened, as if a giant hammer slammed down upon the colony, killing all 250,000 colonists.

Operation: Thor’s Hammer

From the raid on Warhammer XII, Confed learned of the Kilrathi battleships Sivar. This was no ordinary battleship. Its standard armament was only slightly better than the new Fralthras. But its main weapon was what could best be described as a Graviton Cannon. What this weapon did was magnify local gravitational fields, crushing its target. Thus the shape of Goddard Colony. More over, the Sivar could not use its graviton gun against ships, but rather only against targets that could not maneuver, such as stations, fortresses, habitats and entire planets. The development of this weapon also consumed a great deal of resources, which partially explains the Kilrathi apparent weakness in the past couple of years.

Tiger’s Claw pursued the Sivar, and after several thwarted attacks on the ship, switched tactics. Something as large as the Sivar could not easily scoop fuel from conveniently located gas giants. Instead, it (like the Terran Arsenal Ships) had to rely upon tankers. Tiger’s Claw swept through the Midgard System, as well as the Jotunheim and Bifrost Systems. In Midgard, Marines on board one of the carrier’s escorts managed to capture an in-tactDralthi. Though Confed had the aid of Kilrathi defectors over the years, they had few opportunities to capture anything of the Kilrathi’s in working order.

The Sivar was prevented again from resupply when the Tiger’s Claw destroyed a supply depot in the Valgard System, but was able to escape (albeit low on fuel) as the Tiger’s Claw had to fighter its way past Kilrathi destroyers and frigates. The Sivar was finally caught orbiting a gas giant in the Vigrid System. Rapiers andRaptors off the Tiger’s Claw (a great deal of the Scimitars were destroyed in Valgard) caught the warship in low orbit, attempting to refuel by use of an old gas mining station. Two wings of fighters, using the planet as cover, swept in from prograde as well as retrograde, catching the ship between it. The Sivar was destroyed while attempting to break orbit. With its engines destroyed, the ship fell from orbit and into the gas planet.

As a result of the loss of the Sivar, Gilkarg nar Kilrah, the man in charge of the project, was executed. Thus died the last son of the Kilrathi Emperor. Taking his place was the Imperial grandson, Thrakhath nar Kilrah as Crown Prince and heir designated.

The New Concordia

In 2654, the first three of the new Confederation-class fleet carriers came on line. The first was, of course, the TCS Confederation. A month after that, the Congress was launched, and one after that came the new TCSConcordia. These three new ships brought Confed’s total frontline carrier strength to 18, counting the five newGettysburg-class fast carriers. With five carriers stationed at Munro at any given time, Confed believed that it had a 13:9 advantage in carrier strength. One problem with these numbers was that general Kilrathi design changed little, so that made positive identification on the ships difficult.

These new carriers brought with them new fighters. The Ferret (point-defense), Rapier II (escort and interceptor, slightly smaller and faster than the original Rapiers), Sabers (space-superiority, much larger than Rapiers it is replacing, and capable of carrying an anti-ship missile) and Broadswords (bombers almost big enough to be small corvettes). Three of these fighters were intended to completely replace the Hornets, Scimitars and Raptors by 2656. The new Concordia conducted a successful shakedown cruise during a tour of duty in Munro, where it launched its own raid on Munro III.

Increased Traffic

During Operation: Thor’s Hammer, the Tiger’s Claw discovered an increase in traffic in the Epsilon Sector. The Kilrathi had gone a long way in the past twenty years in building up the infrastructure. Several worlds that were rumored to have Terran colonies, such as Bifrost, Midgard and Asgard, were discovered to be utterly void of Terrans. There was some evidence that humans once lived in these systems, but if they had, then the Kilrathi exterminated them from these systems, and others that lead into the unprotected Enigma Sector.

Admiral Turner attempted to convince the General Staff that this could only mean the Kilrathi were going to hit the Enigma Sector, and try to outflank Confederation defenses that were built up in detail in the Vega Sector. However, Admiral Banbridge, now head of the Joint-Chiefs saw no evidence of troop movement. There was a great deal of building of stations and depots, as well as colonization of formerly Terran pioneer worlds. The fact that the Sivar was in the sector did not factor into the equation.

By the middle of the year, Confed Intel discovered a spacefaring (albeit only basic interplanetary) civilization that called itself the Firekka. The Firekkans were known to have outposts on the nearest planet to their homeworld, as well as orbital habitats. Little else was known about them, for Confed seldom had any interest in first-contact situations, and humanity had its own history of conquering aliens (the Wu more than a thousand years ago). Under normal circumstances, Confed would have labeled the system off-limits (for what good that would do on the frontier, which saw its natural leader as the Landreich). Given the system’s strategical location between two front lines, Confed had little choice but to send an embassy and introduce itself in 2655, as well as warn them about and protect them from the Kilrathi.

Europe and North America at the Millini... er... Year 2000.

Europe in 2000

North America in 2000

Monday, November 15, 2010

Wing Commander reboot, part 20


Last Stand at Venice

The final push against Kilrathi forces in the Vega Sector began in April of 2653, with two fleets prepared to strike at Venice Station. The first fleet, under the command of van Oranje, consisted of two battleships, an arsenal ship and four carriers, and would hit Venice from the McAuliffe System. A second fleet, under the command of Turner comprised of an additional four carriers, three battleships and a second arsenal ship. Both fleet would converge on the Kilrathi Sector HQ at Venice Station. The Kilrathi had seven of their own carriers ready, as well as nearly two hundred fighters on Venice Station, as well as sixteen thousand soldiers on the station.

Venice Station orbited an ocean world, which the Kilrathi had little interest in. Only limited colonization took place on the planet. All their Sector assets were in space. The final battle for the Vega Sector would not involve a full-scale planetary invasion. Instead, the target was Venice Station itself. Turner wanted to take the station and use it against the Kilrathi. However, van Oranje did not wish to pour tens of thousands of Marines on to the station, only to have the Kilrathi blow it up. He was in favor of destroying Venice Station.

The first attack came from van Oranje. Flights of Raptors tested the Kilrathi’s defenses, damaging several ships, but failing to destroy any. The Kilrathi Admiral was torn over which one to attack. He focused all seven of his carriers on attempting to destroy van Oranje first. Over three hundred Kilrathi fighters, as well as twice as many drones, descended upon van Oranje’s fleet. The attack was the fiercest the Kilrathi had ever launched, with more than one damaged Kilrathi fighter choosing to slam into the nearest ship rather than limp back home. Ragnarok destroyed most of the drones before being ordered to retreat behind the rest of the fleet. Van Oranje’s flagship took heavy damage, forcing the admiral to transfer his flag from the Prince of Orange to the Tiger’s Claw. Two destroyers, as well as the carrier Exeter were destroyed. The Kilrathi lost 19% of their fighters before returning home.

Turner’s fleet launched its own fighters, intercepting the Kilrathi on their way home. Depleted of missiles, the Kilrathi fought as hard as they could, but lost more fighters to Turner than van Oranje. Fighters launched from Venice Station struck back at Turner’s fighters, destroying a number of Raptors before the Last Judgement opened fire on them. Massed decoys fooled most of the missile swarm. Kilrathi bombers fired all their anti-ship missiles at the arsenal ship, with little effect. The Last Judgement was damaged, and like the Ragnarok, fell back behind the fleet.

Turner and van Oranje reached within 0.5 AU of Venice Station roughly the same time. Van Oranje, with seniority, assumed full command of the attack. Attempts to capture Venice Station were scrapped. Marines would secure the few settlements on the planet, but the station itself was to be destroyed. At 0.1 AU, both arsenal ships fired two spreads of anti-ship missiles at the Kilrathi fleet. Few missiles breached Kilrathi defenses, destroying two of their carriers. The Kilrathi had one last surprise; over ten thousand football sized drones, launched like bird shot towards the fleet, with their transponders screaming as loud as possible.

The collision of forces occurred first when both side’s fighters engaged at a half-way point between the fleets. The Kilrathi killed more Terrans than the other way around, but even this was not enough to hold the system. The Tiger’s Claw, broke off from the engagement and flanked the Kilrathi fleet. Fighters from the Tiger’s Claw drove through a gap in the defenses and hit Venice Station. The slip in the Kilrathi defenses allowed a number of anti-ship missiles to hit the station, blowing it wide open. Secondary explosions, including the station’s own stockpile of anti-ship missiles, destroyed the Kilrathi sector HQ.

Down two carriers and a number of other ships, the Kilrathi fought their way out of the battle and escaped from the Venice System, retreating into the Kilrah Sector. As soon as the engagement was over, Confed Marines landed on the planet, securing the few landmasses and turning them over to construction regiments. The battle for Venice was expensive, with Confed down a carrier, three cruisers, an assortment of smaller ships, as well as 30% of their fighters. The Prince of Orange finally had to be abandoned when its life-support system failed, and the fail-safe was activated. Kilrathi losses were heavier, but their retreat made the Admirals worry. With Venice under Confed’s control, attacks into the Kilrah Sector could commence. How easily the Kilrathi disengaged was worrisome to the brass.

With the conquest of Venice, Banbridge was able to declare the Vega Sector Campaign over. The Kilrathi also began to abandon other systems in the Vega Sector. Celebration raged across the Confederation, and some assumed the Kilrathi were already as good as beaten. After years of having the war in Confed’s favor, the people were growing complacent. Some politicians were pressuring the fleet to invade the Kilrah Sector. A few Admirals wanted to shift all their fleet to Munro, punch through, and drive on Kilrah itself. Confed HQ decided to hold off, and clear out any Kilrathi stragglers in the Sector, as well as close off any points where the Kilrathi can raid. What the public refused to see is that most of the Kilrathi’s fleet element escaped.

Hhallas Massacre

The Kilrah Pride moved on the planet Hhallas before the defeat at Venice. The Hhallas Pride opposed the Imperial Pride for years. The Emperor decided to seize control of the industry on the planet, and the planetary Pride resisted. In response, the Kilrah Pride invaded the planet, killing all the males of the Hhallas Pride on the planet, as well as the elder females. Imperial cousins moved in to take over as the kings of the Pride, and placed the Hhallas Pride into a dependency role beneath the Imperial Pride. Of the Pride, only one the kings survived, Ralgha nar Hhallas, captain of a Kilrathi cruiser serving in the Epsilon Sector. He did vanish during the invasion, and was believed dead, only to resurface in command of a Fralthi-class cruiser under the control of the Hhrass Fleet.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Wing Commander reboot, part 19


Kilrathi on the Run

Early in 2652, a Confed task force, built around the TCS Wolfhound entered the Delius System. Conquest of Delius was not vital to the campaign, but would put pressure on Kilrathi supply lines to the Epsilon Sector. The system was only marginally occupied by a Kilrathi supply depot orbiting Delius inside of its asteroid belt. The Kilrathi made use of small asteroids, mounting engines and cockpits into them and creating asteroid fighters. The natural armor of the metallic asteroids made these fighters difficult to destroy. Fortunately, they were no better armed than Dralthis and did little damage to the task force, save destroy several Rapiers.

The Kilrathi depot put up a stiff defense from the outside. No Kilrathi ships larger than corvettes patrolled the system, and were easily swept aside from the battleship Clive Arnold. Confederation Marines boarded the supply depot, and after a seven hour battle, were in control. Delius was the easiest victory of the war, and resulted in less than a hundred Confed deaths. Neighboring systems of Ariel and Caliban were similarly defended, and ignored for the time being. There would be plenty of time to mop up after the Vega Sector was firmly in Confederation hands.

Fall of Cairo

The big push came in May, when a fleet of seven carriers, three battleships, an arsenal ship, twelve cruisers, dozens of smaller vessels, and four million soldiers delegated to the operation, entered the Cairo System. Aside from Venice and Munro, this was the most crucial system for the Kilrathi in the entire sector. With it under Confed control, the final strike on Venice could take place. The Kilrathi would not let the system go without a fight. Their force was half the size of the TCN, and stayed at a distance while the TCS Last Judgement was on the loose.

Conquering the system would be a three-part opera. The first part would require clearing the space of opposition as well as taking Cairo Station, which orbited in polar orbit over the red dwarf Cairo at a distance of five million kilometers. The second stage would be an assault on Cairo I, an arid world larger than Earth and home to ninety million Kilrathi, with most Prides living in densely packed cities. Confed Intel estimated that at least two million Kilrathi soldiers were based on the planet, and thus would send in double that number over the course of a month. The final move would be to secure Cairo IV and its moons, the planet closest to the Venice jump point.

The first stage opened with a Kilrathi surprise. They sent out hundreds of drones with transponders, only this time they put annihilation warheads on the drones. Though only one gram of anti-matter were on board each drone, that was still more than enough to vaporize an entire ship if it penetrated the shield. The Last Judgement was forced to expend three salvos of FF missiles in order to destroy the swarm, but not before fifteen of the drones scored hits, vaporized six destroyers, the cruisers Pallas and Monarch, battleship Simon Bolivar and carrier Cobra’s Fang. All ships were lost with all hands, with the exception of the Cobra’s Fang, whose only survivors were the pilots already in space.

Sixty-four Kilrathi fighters came in behind the drones, using the reload time for the Last Judgement to strike at the arsenal ship and its escorts. The expensive arsenal ship suffered extensive damage before it reloaded and destroyed all the Kilrathi fighters. The damage was enough that the ship was forced to retreat, taking the Raj and Avenger as escorts, along with four destroyers. The rest of the Kilrathi defense put up stiff resistance in the space around Cairo Station, damaging every Confed ship to some extent, before retreating to Cairo I. Twenty thousand Marines were required to take Cairo Station, and only then they managed to take half of the station. The Kilrathi destroyed upwards to 46% of the station during the battle on board rather than let it fall into Terran hands.

Within a month, Confed moved on Cairo I. The planet was an industrial world, as well as food supply for the Kilrathi forces in the Vega Sector. Again the Kilrathi fought viciously, and again further damaged the Terran fleet, destroying two destroyers and the battleship Francis Drake. Confed had lost two of three battleships just in reaching Cairo I. Despite the importance of the planet, the Kilrathi were put to flight, after one of their carriers and two cruisers were destroyed. They headed immediately towards the Venice jump point and onward towards Venice Station, to fight Confed another day. Confed commenced its orbital blockade of Cairo I, and transmitted an offer to accept surrender. The Cairo Pride (Pride that rules the planet and the lesser Pride on it) responded by firing a salvo of surface-to-space missiles at the Terran fleet, causing no damage.

Seventy-three thousand Marines landed on the first day, securing two landing zones, one at the spaceport in Cairo’s capital. On the next day, a hundred thousand soldiers were delivered on to the planet. Intel’s estimate of two million defenders was not far from the truth. There were 1.8 million Kilrathi soldiers on the planet. However, they did not predict the Cairo Pride from siding with the Empire, and offering its hundred thousand strong Pride to aiding in defense. Lesser Prides were compelled to aid, and the fighting in the capital, as well as other cities, turned into brutal urban warfare. The use of combat drones was prohibited since artificial intelligence was not very (intelligent that is) and could not tell the difference between dangerous Kilrathi and passive ones.

All four million soldiers allocated for Cairo were needed in pacifying the planet. As the battle raged on the planet, parts of the Terran fleet in orbit were broken away from fire support to attack Cairo IV. Only one of its moons (the inner most) had a Kilrathi presence, and was overran within a single day. It was little more than a support facility for refueling ships that came towards the icy giant Cairo IV. Confed construction brigades set to build facilities on the other moons, including staging areas (once it became clear Cairo IV would not subdued until well into 2653) for the Venice operation, as well as fleet facilities and fighter bases to intercept any Kilrathi aid that tries to slip into the system. The base would also supply its fighters to close air support roles on Cairo I, some 3.9 AU away, as the fleet prepared for a joint attack on Venice.

231st Iroquois Regiment

The 231st Regiment, National Guard was formed when the state militia took on the official title of National Guard. The Iroquois militia was split into two regiments, the 231st and 171st. During the Great War, the 231st was called up to fight against the British in Canada. They participated in the liberation of northern Maine, and spent the duration of the war in trenches in New Brunswick. The regiment returned to inactive duty in 1917. It was mobilized again in 1940, following Japanese and Confederate attacks on American installations. During World War II, when the Army was seeking volunteers for new airborne units, the entire 231st Regiment stepped forward an volunteered. It is still questionable if it truly happened as stated, but what is not in doubt it that the 231st became one of the four regiments in the 101st Airborne Division. They saw action during Operation Overlord, and in campaigns in Europe. Following the end of World War II, the 231st stayed on active duty as part of the 101st Airborne. In the following decades, they saw action during the Mexican Intervention. The entire regiment is known for their love of hand-to-hand combat, and preference to using the tomahawk over the bayonet. This practice is not unique among Indians, for many American Army and Marine units are armed with tomahawks instead of combat knives.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wing Commander reboot, part 18


Fight for Trimble

Starting out the year 2651, Confed launched a small-scale invasion of the Trimble System. Trimble was not a terribly vital system, however it was a threat to the flank of the general advance across the Vega Sector, as well as the last avenue the Kilrathi had to attack the Vega System. Securing it would allow the campaign to continue smoothly. The Kilrathi knew this and planned to fight for the system. With their own new ships coming on line, the Kilrathi planned to take a firmer stand in Trimble than they had during the previous year.

A Kilrathi task force built around a carrier and two cruisers greeted the TCN and its two carriers and two cruisers as they jumped in from Vega. Confed was further handicapped in having to fight its way through a minefield. The two new cruisers, the Juno and Callisto packed enough firepower to clear a path. Minesweepers and perhaps an arsenal ship would have to come through later to completely clear out the area. One mine did strike the carrier Saratoga, damaging its port engines, though not enough to take it out of the fight.

The first Kilrathi attack came as the fleet had jumped into the system and was pathfinding through the field. Two flights of Jalthi shot up the other carrier Ranger, though failed as well in taking her out of the fight. The Hornets still assigned to these older carriers, as well as Rapiers, fought off the attack with minimal loss to either side. Once free in the system, both task forces chased each other across the system for over a month. Ranger was hit repeatedly, and finally destroyed while it was attempting to refuel in a gas giant. The ship fell from the sky and was eventually crushed inside the planet.

Saratoga struck back, damaging the Kilrathi carrier, and knocking out its flight deck. Further strikes hit Trimble Station, causing sufficient damage that the Kilrathi were forced to retreat to Cairo. With the fleet gone, Confed launched its invasion of Trimble Station. The station already lacked the ability to defend itself on the outside. However, on the inside, five thousand Confed Marines had ten days of hard fighting until the station was secured. With the space of the system in control, Confed could take the planets at its leisure.

Port Hadland

Sitting at the coreward edge of the Vega Sector, the Port Hadland System had jump points that lead deep into both Confed and Kilrathi territory. To secure its final flank before the push on Cairo, Confed dedicated no less than five carriers to kick the Kilrathi out of the system. The Kilrathi viewed it just as strategic, for they had launched raids from time to time from Port Hadland. The Kilrathi constructed Hurricane Station in orbit over one of two habitable planets in the system, Hurricane. On that planet was the city of Port Hadland, an arcology sticking straight out of the middle of the ocean. The city was some three kilometers tall, from ocean floor to high in the sky. It was also protected by several shield generators as well as anti-aerospace defenses.

Instead of striking there, Confed struck at the other, drier habitable world, McLaren. This planet was never settled by Terrans as it was too arid. The Kilrathi took to the planet much better than they would have an ocean world. With several million Kilrathi colonists, as well as logistical support, threatened, the Kilrathi fleet was forced into battle on Confed’s turns. The battle above McLaren was short and brutal, costing the Kilrathi two carriers before they retreated back to Hurricane Station. Confed took loses as well, the carrier Bengal was heavily damaged. To the point where its automatic self-destruct (with the life-support) was set off. Confed lost a pair of destroyers. The Kilrathi left the wreckage of three destroyers and a mess of corvettes in high orbit of the planet.

Confed Marines proceeded to land on McLaren in June, securing the largest Kilrathi city along with its spaceport. For the most part, the Prides who have settled the planet were indifferent to the Terrans. Many were forced from their original homes by the Empire. While they were moved out to spread Kilrathi civilization, the Eight Prides took what they had previously built for their own. On the other hands, the Kilrathi soldiers, as well as Pride kings, fought tooth and claw against the Marines, and later the Confederation Army. Kilrathi resistance ended after seven weeks of fighting. With McLaren secured, Confed began to build up its own presence in the system.

Confed HQ had no desire to form a second Munro in the Vega Sector. That system already had at least four carriers on duty full-time. In order to speed up the conquest of Port Hadland, the fleet was reinforced by the TCS Epoch, the third of four arsenal ships built. Epoch was escorted into firing range of Hurricane by the full force of the fleet. The Kilrathi recognized the threat for what it was, but did not back down. Instead, Hurricane Station launched thousands of small drones with loud transponders to reduce the effectiveness of missile swarms. Confed had little choice but to launch fighters and bombers to strike to knock out counter-measures in order for the Epoch to fire.

When Epoch was finally allowed to fire, the Kilrathi admiral contacted his Terran counterpart. Rather than be defeated, the Kilrathi threatened to destroy the arcology on the planet and everyone living within it. Port Hadland (the city) had a population in excess of one million, and Admiral Winston knew the Kilrathi would not bluff. They would rather destroy it that allow it to be liberated. The question on how the Kilrathi would do so was critical. If they planned to do so from orbit, then their soldiers were likely evacuated. In that case, disabling the weapons on Hurricane Station would save it. If it was to happen by demolition, then the Kilrathi still occupied the city, and could trigger the detonation when invasion ships approach.

Turner took the safe choice and launched every Raptor available for a strike on Hurricane Station. Though it cost him 35% of his bombers, as well as 37% of Scimitar escorts, Hurricane Station was disabled. His Rapiers fought pitch battles with Kilrathi fighters, securing space-superiority. Rather than risk his fleet, the Kilrathi admiral, a scion of the Ki’ra Pride, ordered his fleet to break orbit and head for the Baird’s Star jump point. Turner failed to capture Hurricane Station, for once the Kilrathi evacuated their own personnel from it, they destroyed it. Port Hadland itself was untouched, largely due to the Kilrathi having abandoned it, and planning on its destruction from orbit. Since the Kilrathi had little interest in Hurricane itself, their occupation never extended beyond the city. With the Kilrathi retreat, the Port Hadland System was firmly in Confed hands.


While two larger battles raged across the Vega Sector, the Kilrathi launched a number of small raids beyond Confed lines. For months at a time, Kilrathi destroyers and cruisers operated in Rostov, Alcor, Brimstone and even Hell’s Kitchen. The raids were small, targeting lone transports or freighters, ambushing system patrols, and otherwise forcing Confed to divert valuable resources to hunt them down. The lone Kilrathi ships could not approach the primary centers of the systems, but made the peripheries a hazard.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Operation: Overlord

Operation Overlord

On March 20, 1941, Operation Overlord was initiated, when one hundred thousand soldiers, under the command of General Eisenhower, landed on the Gulf Coast between Mobile and Tallahassee. The primary objective of Overlord was to secure the ports of Pensacola and Mobile, to allow addition forces to land. After the cities fell, a week into the fight, a rapid advance on Confederate Highway 10 to Jacksonville succeeded in cutting Florida off from the rest of the nation. The genesis of Operation Overlord came at the very start of the war, when Confederate General George Patton was tearing up the Maryland countryside. To turn the tide, the Joint Chiefs believed that a second front must be established far to the south of Patton.

The choice for the Gulf Coast was not the most obvious choice. Hitting the Carolinas from bases in the Bahamas would have had the same effect. However, such an attack was obvious, and defenses were far more formidable. The option to strike at the ‘Soft Underbelly of the Confederacy’ was made in June of 1940, and planning the invasion would fall to a Brigadier General named Dwight Eisenhower. At the time, Ike, as he is affectionately known, was rushing to Cuba to bolster defenses there and to defeat Holland Smith’s invasion force. Once Cuba was freed from Confederate occupation, addition American forces were funneled down south.

At first, it was not known if such an invasion would be needed. After the Battle of Gettysburg, Patton’s army was in a slow but steady retreat. The Americans would win the war, it was only a matter of time. But with war raging in Europe and the Pacific, President Roosevelt demanded the Confederates be beaten for good, and as expediently as possible. By January of 1941, the 101st Airborne Division (the famous Warbling Turkeys) along with 17th, 21st, and 8th Infantry Divisions had already joined the 2nd Marine Division in training for the amphibious invasion. Ike chose Pensacola as a primary objective because of its port facilities, as well as Mobile because of the Confederate Navy’s remaining assets holed up there. Southern Florida was out of the question, since it was mostly uninhabited, and New Orleans was too far of a stretch to risk a cut supply line.

The invasion port departed from Havana on March 17. With one hundred thousand soldiers and their transports came seven battleships, three carriers, sixteen cruisers and thirty destroyers, plus hundreds of frigates, corvettes, mind sweepers and other auxiliary craft. On the night of March 19, the 101st took off from airbases in Cuba and were dropped behind the invasion beaches in southern Florida and Alabama. Their goal was to secure several key points on Confederate Highway 10, and to prevent Confederate reinforcements from hampering the landings.

Reaching the coast was the easy part, and the transports had total surprise on their side. Blackouts were only imposed in the two cities and all along the coast. Twenty kilometers in land, and there might as well not even be a war waging. Confederate AAA was slow in catching on, but fifteen minutes after the first paratroopers had landed, the sky was aflame with flak and tracers. Many transports were too badly damaged to return to Cuba, and a few even managed to land on the highway.

The invasion struck the Confederacy as a total surprise. No Confederate plans ever existed to battle an invasion of their Gulf Coast. Apparently the Bund believed their navy would thwart any such attempt. When the fleet came within range of the coast at 0300 on March 20, they let loose a bombardment that lasted for three hours. The three carriers, Valcour Bay, Lexington and Yorktown provided sufficient combat air patrols to thwart the few Confederate bombers that tried to hamper the invasion. Battleships California, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Utah, Idaho, Lakoda and Indiana ceased firing at 0600. They would remain with the rest of the fleet to provide artillery support for the invasion.

At 0600, three division set out to their respective beaches. The 21st Division landed on the western most beach, code-named Coffee, and began their drive towards Mobile with minimal resistance. On the middle beach, code-named Cocoa, the 17th Division met serious resistance along the beaches from a few Confederate Marine units, as well as local wielding hunting rifles. Various local private militias went out to meet the 17th on Cocoa Beach. Out of the five thousand that did, only seven survived. The eastern most beach, code-named Sugar, was taken by the 2nd Marine Division and secured after an hour of fighting local militia. The Marines marched largely unopposed towards Pensacola. The 8th Division was held in reserved, and released at 1100 to Cocoa Beach.

By the next day, all three beaches were secure, and the infantry were moving towards their objectives. The 8th gave aid to the Marines in taking Pensacola, which fell on March 26. The 101st and 17th pushed towards Mobile, which fell a day earlier than Pensacola, but at a much higher cost in men. The USN moved its fleet towards Mobile once the beaches were secure, leaving behind a screening force to defend the beachheads. The battleships of the USN pounded the city, the harbor and what remained of the Confederate Navy from March 22 to 24. Units of the Iroquois Regiment of the 101st captured the Confederate Naval Academy in the late morning hours of March 23, tearing down the Confederate flag and raising Old Glory over the academy. The students put up a valiant effort to defend, but after two hours of fierce fighting, the Commandant decided to spare his students and surrendered the academy.

On March 30, reinforcements over Infantry, Armored and Artillery began disembarking at the two ports. This second front hastened the fall of the Confederacy, but more over taught the Americans about how to operate an amphibious invasion. These same lessons would be used again by Eisenhower during the invasion of North Africa, Spain and of Fortress Europe. Marine Corps landings would be used as template for their amphibious operations against the Japanese. In the eyes of the Marines, the Japanese would put up far fiercer resistance than did the Confederates on March 20, 1941.

Overlord Diversion

Operation Undertaker, the diversionary plan for Overlord, was stationed in the Bahamas. During the winter of 1940-41, the United States Navy and Marine Corp built up a large force in the Bahamas in plain sight of the Confederates. Confederate President Bedford believed that this invasion force would strike somewhere in Georgia or the Carolinas. So well was this deception that critical units were moved to Georgia and South Carolina that could have been in the Florida panhandle to thwart Eisenhower and Overlord. Carrier raids from the Bahamas added to the deception. Both carrier-borne and land-based bombers began to strike at Savannah, Georgia starting on February 28, 1941, almost a month before Overlord. The systematic destruction of Savannah’s defenses made some in the American War Department wonder if they could land there. However, nearly one hundred thousand Confederate soldiers based around the city for fifty kilometers north and south, was a prime reason why not. American loses in Undertaker were high, but it is believed these deaths saved more lives and made Overlord such a smashing success. Even after Overlord’s invasion force hit the Gulf Coast, Bedford was hesitant to move forces from the Georgian Coast, and did not do so until March 24.