By 1922 PD, it had become clear that the citizens of the Hypatia System would vote to secede from the Solarian League under Article 39 of its constitution. The Mandarins thus decided to send Task Force 1030 under Vice Admiral Hajdu Gyôzô to the system to dissuade the locals from following up on the result of the referendum, or otherwise devestate their economy as part of Operation Buccaneer.
Unaware that the understrength Task Group 110.2 of the Royal Manticoran Navy had already arrived in the system, Admiral Hajdu eventually gave the Hypatian government limited time to evacuate their orbital infrastructure, fully aware that they would not be able to bring all civilians to safety in time. The Manticoran task group in turn prepared to keep the Solarians from executing Buccaneer, with the exception of the destroyer HMS Arngrim, which was sent to the hyper limit to observe and report to any incoming reinforcements. (HH14)
Order of Battle Edit
- HMS Phantom (BC) † – CO Captain Květa Tonová (flagship)
- HMS Cinqueda (CA) † - CO Captain Ellis Rupp
- HMS Shikomizue (CA) † - CO Captain Jackson Ortega-Burns
- HMS Talwar (CA) † - CO Captain Ching-yan Lewis
- HMS Arngrim (DD) - CO Commander Megan Petersen
- battlecruiser element - 11 battlecruiser squadrons
- screen, CO Rear Admiral Yountz
- cruiser element - c.a. 5 squadrons
- destroyer element - c.a. 2 flotillas
- fleet support element
Course of Battle Edit
Task Group 110.2 approached the Solarian fleet under heavy stealth while the latter was preparing for the destruction of all Hypatian industrial space infrastructure. As Vice Admiral Hajdu's ultimatum was about to run out with millions of civilians unable to evacuate the threatened platforms, Rear Admiral Kotouč destroyed the three TUFT missile colliers holding the enemy's reserve ammunition, ramming them with the wedges of stealth recon drones, and then began launching salvo after salvo of ship killer missiles at the main force.
With no missile pods available, the salvos were limited to shipboard launchers only, each 300-plus strong, spaced twenty seconds apart, and targeted at a mere handful of Solarian battlecruisers. Over the next few minutes, Manticoran missile fire chewed through Task Force 1030's battlecruiser component in five and six ship bites.
Admiral Kotouč's hope had been to lure the Solarian forces into an alpha strike against the small RMN force so that the mass of missile pods the SLN had deployed could not be used against the Hypatians. The strategy worked, but meant the RMN forces, in turn, were devastated by the sheer amount of incoming fire; the hundred and twenty thousand Solarian missiles destroyed two heavy cruisers completely, while the third one was ripped in half and HMS Phantom was left a helpless wreck.
However, the salvos the RMN ships had launched prior to their destruction continued to rain down on the SLN battlecruisers, and if the missiles were less capable with no ships to update their attack profiles, the much reduced SLN formation was also less capable of anti-missile fire, and the SLN BCs continued to be washed away under the torrent of laserheads.
While watching his personnel continue to die even with the RMN defeated, in an obvious violation of the Deneb Accords, Vice Admiral Hajdu ordered a vengeance strike to be fired at the broken RMN remnants. However, just before his missiles killed off the helpless Manticoran survivors, Hajdu himself died when his own flagship, SLNS Camperdown, succumbed to one of the last Manticoran salvos.
Command of the surviving Solarian ships – 29 destroyers, 36 cruisers and a mere 11 (of an original 98) battlecruisers remained combat effective – fell to Rear Admiral Martin Gogunov, CO of BatCruRon 4012, who ordered his staff to proceed with executing Buccaneer under Hajdu's timeline, thus continuing to intend the deaths of millions of Hypatian civilians unable to evacuate the targeted space infrastructure in time. His flag captain protested the order as an Eridani Edict violation and was relieved of her post. He also ordered that his ships would fire on the Manticoran escape pods, in direct violation of the Deneb Accords.
Before the Solarians could open fire on Hypatia's space assets, HMS Arngrim charged at remaining SLN ships. Stacking a triple broadside of 36 missiles, and having her Ghost Rider platforms precisely identify SLNS Lepanto, Arngrim's CO, Commander Megan Petersen, aimed a decapitation blow at the Solarian task force's replacement flagship. Upon detecting the missile launch, the Solarians attempted to localize their attacker, but the destroyer remained hidden under stealth, using ballistically launched counter-missiles to take out approaching SLN recon drones and Lorelei decoys to draw return fire away from the Arngrim's real position.
The RMN missile strike was reduced to only nine missiles by the SLN defenses, but those remaining were Mark 16s armed with Mod-G warheads, capable of taking out superdreadnoughts, let alone battlecruisers, and the attack managed to penetrate to Lepanto's flag bridge.
With Rear Admiral Gogunov cut off from communication, command fell to Rear Admiral Thomas Yountz, who was then contacted by Commander Petersen. She informed him that her stealthy ship would continue to snipe each successive Solarian flagship until she found a commander who would decline to carry out Buccaneer and order the SLN task force out of the system. She then gave him ten minutes to reach a decision.
With the task force severely weakened and having personal doubts about Buccaneer, Rear Admiral Yountz relented and retreated to the hyper limit. (HH14)
The Hypatians began collecting the RMN and SLN life pods as HMS Arngrim oversaw the Solarian retreat.
60 Manticoran survivors, mostly from HMS Cinqueda, were among the rescued, out of almost two thousand serving on the destroyed ships. Rear Admiral Kotouč was among them.
A short time later, Arngrim escorted a Hypatian transport carrying Task Group 110.2's survivors back to the Manticore System. The ship also brought back SLNS Lepanto's data core for examination. (HH14)
- ↑ 60 survivors rescued.
- ↑ Rear Admiral Gogunov, as the only surviving commanding officer of the battlecruiser squadron, originally was ninth in command.
- ↑ Senior officer within screen after Vice Admiral Hajdu's death. Rear Admiral Gogunov charged him with command over the whole screen.
- ↑ While two cruisers were destroyed with all hands - Hajdu was responsible for the death of no more than 1,118 surviving Manticoran personnel.
|Operations of the Solarian-Manticoran War|
|Battles of the Solarian-Manticoran War|