The First Havenite-Manticoran War (1905-1915 PD) was an armed conflict fought between the People's Republic of Haven and the Manticoran Alliance, led by the Star Kingdom of Manticore. Because the war was not concluded with a formal peace treaty, it was in fact the first stage of the Havenite-Manticoran War (1905-1922 PD).
Tensions between Haven and Manticore began to rise in the late 19th century PD. The People's Republic suffered from crippling social and economic difficulties cultivated by the Basic Living Stipend. To secure their power, Havenite leaders used the armed conquest and exploitation of surrounding star systems and planets to strengthen Haven's economy. In 1883 PD, King Roger III of Manticore was assassinated by Havenite agents, though Manticore opted to conceal Haven's involvement, as the Star Kingdom was not yet ready for war. Soon after, with the Invasion of San Martin the People's Navy conquered a terminus of the Manticore Wormhole Junction, further antagonizing the Star Kingdom. (HOS)
In 1901 PD, Hereditary President Sidney Harris authorized Operation Odysseus, an attempt to take control of the Basilisk Terminus of the Manticore Junction in the Basilisk System. Covert operatives, including the Q-ship PMSS Sirius, deployed to the system. There, they sought to provoke an uprising by the native alien race of Medusa. As Manticore's possession of Basilisk rested on its responsibility for keeping order on the planet, the chaos of the uprising would have provided a pretext for Haven to supplant Manticore. Together with Trevor's Star, Haven would then control two direct paths of invasion into the Manticore Binary System itself.
The plan was uncovered by Commander Honor Harrington and the crew of her ship, the light cruiser HMS Fearless. The ship's Marines put down the Medusan uprising and, in the First Battle of Basilisk, Fearless barely managed to destroy the Sirius. The fleet of Havenite ships that had been tasked with asserting control over the system arrived, only to be confronted by a detachment of Manticore's Home Fleet. Haven and Manticore accused each other of provoking a war; Harrington was "convicted" of the "murder" of Sirius' crew in absentia in a Havenite show trial. (HH1)
Harrington again found herself immersed in Havenite antebellum aggression when Haven sponsored an attempt by the Faithful of Masada to conquer the Protectorate of Grayson. Harrington, who had been part of a diplomatic mission to Grayson, defeated the "Masadan" forces under the command of Captain Alfredo Yu and personally saved the life of Grayson Protector Benjamin IX from a Masadan assassination attempt. In the process, Manticore gained a critical ally and strategic buffer against future Havenite offensives.
By 1905 PD, Haven's government had resolved that it had no choice but to openly attack Manticore, as even its conquered territories could no longer support Haven's unsustainable welfare state. A political distraction and significant economic stimulus was needed immediately to prevent total collapse; a "short, victorious" conquest of Manticore presented the ideal solution. Haven was aware that Manticore would constitute the hardest military opponent it had yet faced, yet Havenite Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Amos Parnell still grossly underestimated Manticore's qualitative edge over Haven in tactics and technology.
Haven began a series of provocations and covert attacks along the frontier of Alliance Space, with variable success. As a result of the (officially unexplained) destruction of HMS Star Knight in the Poicters System, Manticore closed its wormhole junction to all Havenite shipping, ejected all Havenite diplomatic courier boats from Alliance space, and began shadowing Havenite convoys throughout Alliance territory. (HH3)
Course of war
Before declaration of war
Relying on Argus stealth sensor platforms planted in Alliance systems to watch the movements of enemy forces, the ships of the People's Navy began to penetrate Manticoran territory. They steadily increased provocations and hit-and-run attacks, relying on the sensor platforms' information to know when and where to hit without being conclusively identified. The Havenites knew that full-scale war was imminent; these measures were designed to push Manticore into a corner and paint it as the aggressor. Eventually, the threat posed by the platforms was neutralized, but not before many Manticoran ships and assets were lost to the "unidentified" enemy.
Haven finally committed its wall of battle in a coordinated assault on Hancock Station and Grayson. Haven struck with a partial element of surprise and nearly prevailed in Hancock before Manticoran reinforcements arrived and pushed them back. Admiral White Haven managed to deceive the task force that attacked Grayson under the command of Admiral Parnell into believing that Alliance forces were understrength there. With the trap sprung, Parnell was still able to salvage most of his fleet from what otherwise would have been complete disaster for the People's Navy. As it was, Manticore seized the initiative and quickly took Seaford Nine, where the Havenite attack had originated. Manticore paused its counter-assault in lieu of political authorization.
After these first disastrous battles of the war, three Havenite revolutionaries – Rob S. Pierre, Oscar Saint-Just and Cordelia Ransom – led the overthrow of the Legislaturist government by assassinating Hereditary President Harris and nearly all of his immediate subordinates with an air strike that was blamed on the Navy. They used the rising fear of a possible military coup to form the Committee of Public Safety, ostensibly to rule the Republic until a new government could be formed. In reality, Pierre's cabal intended to retain power through the Committee for at least the duration of hostilities with Manticore, which they had no intention of ending. They began a purge of senior military officers and political figures to strengthen their rule. (HH3)
Early war period (1905–1911 PD)
Following a period of political turmoil caused mainly by the Court-martial of Pavel Young after the Battle of Hancock, the Star Kingdom finally declared war on the People's Republic of Haven. The still-destabilized Havenites surrendered vast amounts of territory to a renewed Manticoran offensive, but a pivotal opportunity to fully exploit Haven's political chaos had been lost. Haven relied on costly draconian measures to discipline its military leadership, and its sheer expanse of territory, in order to buy itself time on the strategic front. Slowly but surely, the lines of battle began to stabilize. Haven also began to receive significant assistance from Solarian weapons firms to help close the technological edge that Manticore enjoyed. (HH4)
After the first phases of the war, Manticore found itself hobbled by numerically inferior forces that were in constant demand for duties such as garrisoning conquered systems, protecting the Star Kingdom's commerce, or manning fortifications on the Manticore Wormhole Junction to prevent a surprise assault from Havenite-controlled Trevor's Star. Admiral White Haven's long term plans called for an eventual capture of that system, but until then, Manticore's tactical flexibility was limited. On the Havenite side, in the war's early days, the Committee compromised the Navy's cohesion and morale by executing or "disappearing" any naval officer who suffered misfortune at Manticoran hands. Haven also dealt with its longstanding inferior tech base and lack of tactical efficiency and professional initiative that all but neutralized its far-superior numbers.
Over time, Haven began to close the tech gap it suffered against Manticore with Solarian assistance. Concurrently, while the Committee's purges had largely deprived the People's Navy of experienced leadership, they also opened the door for highly competent replacements from the lower ranks. Officers like Esther McQueen, Thomas Theisman, Javier Giscard and Lester Tourville had lacked the Legislaturalist sponsorship necessary for high rank prior to the coup. The aggressive political draconianism practiced by the new regime aside, they were now much more able to advance on the basis of merit and effectiveness in combat. Manticore's ability to make reliable gains on the offensive front was eventually brought to a halt after the Second Battle of Nightingale.
In 1907 PD, the People's Navy made its first major effort at a strategic-level counterattack in Operations Stalking Horse and Dagger. Grayson was again in Havenite crosshairs, but Harrington managed to save the system in the Fourth Battle of Yeltsin's Star; she also blocked Haven's attempt to destabilize the Manticoran occupation of Masada. In 1908, Giscard commanded a force, designated Task Force 29, that set out to raid Manticoran commerce in the Silesian Confederacy and worsen the losses Manticore was already suffering there at the hands of rampant piracy. Manticore blunted this effort and gained a hand on the overall security problem in Silesia by deploying heavily armed Q Ships that were disguised as Andermani freighters. Later in 1911 PD, Manticore resumed the offensive and White Haven finally managed to liberate Trevor's Star, though at great cost in lives and ships.
Strategically, Manticore experienced a windfall. The capture of Trevor's Star solved its most pressing logistical issue almost immediately: manpower. Before it, Haven had constantly held a dagger against the throat of the Manticore Binary System. While the massive fortifications positioned on the Manticore Wormhole Junction ensured that virtually any unilateral assault from Trevor's Star would be suicide, the forts were an absolute necessity, to make sure that Haven would never have any doubt about that fact. As a result, millions of Manticorans in uniform -- part of a military that was composed entirely of volunteers drawn from the population of one star system -- were needed to man the forts. The liberation of Trevor's Star mostly alleviated that need and for the first time, Manticore had the ability to crew ships of war as quickly as they could be built.
Yet crippling problems also arose. White Haven had managed to keep the Star Kingdom's offensive momentum alive for just long enough to capture Trevor's Star, but now that he had it, many of his ships had been destroyed or rendered combat ineffective. Most of the rest were in urgent need of refit. This forced Manticore to suspend virtually all offensive operations.
Late war (1911–1915 PD)
McQueen found herself elevated to overall command of Haven's military as Secretary of War after she independently acted to crush the Leveller Uprising. McQueen was aware of Manticore's vulnerability in an entirely defensive posture. The Star Kingdom had conquered too much Havenite space, and had too many vulnerabilities behind the front lines, to effectively defend all of its territory. She sold Rob Pierre (and, more importantly, Oscar Saint-Just) on her plan to exploit this. It would start with steadily increasing aggression on the frontiers, to draw Manticore out of position, but McQueen's real aim was to hit Manticore in such as way as to permanently render the initiative out of the Star Kingdom's hands, and she nearly succeeded.
Operation Icarus under Admiral Giscard destroyed Alliance infrastructure in the Basilisk, Zanzibar and Alizon systems, and retook a number of Alliance-held systems. The attacks on the home systems of several Alliance members and even the Star Kingdom's Basilisk caused widespread panic, forcing the diversion of ships from offensive operations to defend the Alliance's systems.
However, McQueen's successes and popularity increased the concerns of Saint-Just on the risk that she would overthrow the Committee of Public Safety (as she indeed intended to do). Saint-Just ordered the laying of groundwork to put McQueen and her staff on trial for execution. Wrongly believing that Saint-Just was already moving against her, McQueen launched her coup attempt prematurely; this ended in the deaths of herself and her staff, the entire Committee except Saint-Just, and 1,300,000 citizens of Nouveau Paris when Saint-Just detonated a nuclear charge under the Octagon.
Meanwhile, Manticore's Weapons Development Board was developing revolutionary new weapons technology. After limited use during the Second Battle of Hancock and Operation Scylla, Eighth Fleet was fully equipped with the new weapons and proved utterly unstoppable during Operation Buttercup in 1915 PD.
Truce and aftermath
After the assassination of Manticoran Prime Minister Allen Summervale, Chairman Saint-Just offered a truce to the new High Ridge government led by Michael Janvier. Even though the Alliance was only weeks from an overall victory over Haven, High Ridge agreed to the truce against the wishes of Queen Elizabeth III, and the First Havenite-Manitcoran War ended with an unstable truce.
With the military threat lifted, Saint-Just decided to decapitate the People's Navy once and for all and absorb it into State Security. Theisman, then in command of Capital Fleet, launched the Theisman Coup and killed Saint-Just, overthrowing the Committee of Public Safety. This was followed by the restoration of the original Republic of Haven, under President Eloise Pritchart. (HH9, HH10)
Some State Security forces went into resistance against the restored Republic, such as the People's Navy in Exile. The new Republic of Haven Navy fought the Havenite Civil War removing the ex-SS warlords from its territory. (HH10)
Manticore's High Ridge government deliberately avoided securing a formal peace treaty with the Republic, in order to justify continued wartime tax rates. Combined with the secret falsification of diplomatic correspondence by Havenite Secretary of State Arnold Giancola, this led to increasing anger of the Pritchart administration towards Manticore, and in 1919 PD the Havenite president ordered a resumption of hostilities with Operation Thunderbolt. (HH10)
- A fact known only to few people, the public believed it to be a tragic accident.
- These were purchased from the Solarian League.
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First Havenite-Manticoran War
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First Havenite-Manticoran War