The Masadan task force entered Grayson space in the early morning, Austin City time. They attacked and destroyed Orbital Four, yet the station was able to get a salvo of missiles off against the attackers, destroying the Masadan flagship, MNS Abraham.
The rest of the Masadan Fleet moved to a range of six million kilometers or more and fired their missiles in large amounts, destroying Orbital Five and Six. After the attack, a newly formed Grayson-Manticoran Combined Fleet pursued the exiting attackers. A lone Masadan destroyer interrupted the GMCF's anticipated free-time.
Order of battle
- GNS Austin Grayson (CL) † – High Admiral Yanakov's flagship
- GNS Covington (CL) - Commodore Matthews' flagship
- HMS Madrigal (DD) † – Admiral Courvosier's flagship
- GNS Ararat (DD) †
- GNS David (DD) †
- GNS Judah (DD) †
- GNS Saul (DD)
- attacking force, CO Admiral Ernst Franks:
- ambush force, CO Sword of the Faithful Matthew Simonds:
Course of battle
The main Masadan task force was en route to Orbital Seven in the Blackbird System when they were intercepted by the GMCF, which went into the planned vector that was laid down by Captain Alfredo Yu of the People's Navy. The Masadan ambush force was actually waiting for the GMCF to get into position, so that the Masadans could cross in front of the GMCF, or cross their T. Captain Yu had MNS Principality spinning on its central axis to provide better firing arcs.
The GMCF attempted to cut across the vector of the Masadan task force, but it led them into a trap set by the Masadans. At the last moment, the Masadan task force altered course that led the GMCF into another Masadan task force, which had the GMCF point defense lasers pointed in the wrong direction.
The Masadans fired their modern missiles and destroyed the destroyers Ararat and Judah with their opening salvos, while MNS Thunder of God jammed the GMCF's sensors. HMS Madrigal was able to defend itself, with little to no damage. The destroyer GNS David was heavily damaged with an atmosphere trail. The light cruisers GNS Austin Grayson and GNS Covington were both hit. Austin Grayson was in an uncontrollable roll, trailing atmosphere and debris, and the impeller wedge was fluctuating, while Covington was trailing atmosphere. GNS Saul was the only GMCF ship not damaged in the opening shots.
In the second salvo, both David and Austin Grayson were destroyed. Saul emerged undamaged again, and Covington was heavily damaged. Madrigal became the GMCF flagship, but was also damaged. Admiral Raoul Courvosier was killed aboard Madrigal, and Commodore Wesley Matthews of the Covington became the new GMCF Commanding Officer.
Covington and Saul retreated, while Madrigal stayed behind to cover their retreat.
Against the advice of Thunder's captain, Alfredo Yu, Admiral Franks ordered the Masadan task force to gather together and attack Madrigal, which, though its impeller drive was crippled, was far superior to the Masadan ships in both defensive and offensive capabilities. Yu later compared the ensuing debacle to "a mob armed with clubs charging a man with a pulser." The light cruisers MNS Noah and MNS Samson together with the destroyer MNS Throne were destroyed by the first Manticoran counter-attack, while MNS David was so badly damaged that it became a useless hulk. The destroyers MNS Cherubim and MNS Seraphim were disabled, MNS Angel and MNS Archangel took the full brunt of the Madrigal's last salvo before the Madrigal itself was destroyed. Archangel was destroyed, and the light cruiser MNS Solomon and the destroyer MNS Dominion were the only Masadan vessels still combat worthy. (HH2)
The Navy of Masada chose to patrol the outer fringes of the system, rather than to invade Grayson. This was primarily out of fear from the damage Madrigal had inflicted during the latter part of the battle.
The Masadan fleet picked up the survivors from Madrigal at Yu's insistence. He later protested the turning over of the Manticoran prisoners to Captain Williams on Blackbird Base, an action Simonds deemed "insubordinate". (HH5ch.9,10)