The Second Battle of Manticore was an armed engagement in the Manticore System after the Solarian League Navy initiated Operation Raging Justice, which called for the newly created Eleventh Fleet to invade the system and force the Manticorans into surrender.
The battle ended in a devastating defeat for the Solarian fleet at the hands of the newly formed Grand Fleet, leaving hundreds of ships-of-the-wall destroyed, as well as a hundred more captured.
Order of Battle
- "Tango One" - a task force of Eighth Fleet, RMN - Fleet Admiral Harrington commanding
- "Tango Three" - the expedition force of the Grayson Space Navy - High Admiral Judah Yanakov commanding
- "Tango Four" - Second Fleet, RHN - Admiral Lester Tourville commmanding
Probably five task forces, including Admiral Haverty's task force.
Course of Battle
Eleventh Fleet dropped out of hyper near Manticore-A as per its orders and began approaching Sphinx. Upon detecting the incoming fleet, Harrington sent the destroyer HMS Timberlake into hyper and revealed her initial force: forty superdreadnoughts (designated Tango Two by Filareta's staff) between Eleventh Fleet and Sphinx, and sixty between Sphinx and Manticore (designated Tango One). A swarm of LACs near Tango Two killed the Solarian advance recon platforms. Nevertheless, believing himself to have an overwhelming advantage against the divided Manticoran forces, Filareta pressed on at full acceleration.
Dispatch boat SLNS DB 17025, stationed undercover in the guise of an INS vessel at the Junction, requested expedited clearance to proceed to the Beowulf Terminus, with the intent of summoning the reinforcements under Admiral Imogene Tsang. Unbeknownst to the Solarians, the Royal Manticoran Astro-Control Service was aware of the boat's true identity, but the political decision was made to permit their plans to proceed anyway, and DB 17025 made the transit.
When Eleventh Fleet came within 14.875 million km of Tango Two, a few minutes from the hyper limit, Harrington contacted Filareta. A cautious Filareta ordered the fleet to prepare to hyper out just short of the limit if necessary. A brief back-and-forth took place between the two admirals, after which Filareta decided to move ahead and cross the hyper limit.
Timberlake made contact with the Havenite component of Grand Fleet. When Eleventh Fleet reached a range of 12.3 million km from Tango Two, a force of the Grayson Space Navy (Tango Three) made its appearance: 800 LACs between Eleventh Fleet and Tango Two, and 150 superdreadnoughts just behind Sphinx. A few seconds later, 250 Havenite superdreadnoughts (Tango Four) dropped out of hyper behind Eleventh Fleet, 10 million kilometers from the hyper limit. Harrington commed Filareta again, this time using Manticore's FTL capability to emphasize her technological superiority, and further revealed the Grayson and Havenite involvement in the operation, including introducing Admiral Thomas Theisman on her flag deck. To complete the threat, Harrington showed Filareta a portion of her missile pods (far more numerous and superior to the League ones) and told him that Manticoran missile defenses were designed to deal with threats far greater than what Eleventh Fleet was capable of. She demanded the complete surrender of Eleventh Fleet.
Recognizing the hopelessness of the situation, Filareta ordered ops officer Admiral William Daniels to scuttle the pods and strike the wedges. Instead, implanted Mesan nanotechnology took over Daniels' brain, making him flush the pods at Grand Fleet and detonate a bomb that killed everyone on the flag bridge of SLNS Philip Oppenheimer. Harrington gave the order to return fire, and most of the Eleventh Fleet was destroyed.
Attack Attempt via the Sigma Draconis Terminus
Prior to the battle, Beowulf instructed Task Force 11.6 under Fleet Admiral Imogene Tsang not to attack Manticore via the Junction, as this would result in disastrous loss of life among SLN personnel. It stated that an attempt to do so against the system government's wishes would be illegal and unconstitutional. (HH13ch.7,14)
After Eleventh Fleet arrived in the Manticore system, dispatch boat DB 17025 emerged from the Beowulf Terminus, signaling Task Force 11.6 under Fleet Admiral Imogene Tsang to commence Operation Arbela in support of Eleventh Fleet. When TF 11.6 began advancing towards the terminus, Vice Admiral Marianne Holmon-Sanders of the Beowulf System-Defense Force First Fleet again ordered Tsang to cease her efforts to force a transit of the Junction. Holmon-Sanders threatened to use lethal force to prevent TF 11.6 from coercing Beowulfan citizens into assisting with the transit. Tsang, in turn, threatened to destroy First Fleet if necessary to undertake Arbela, as per her secret orders from the Solarian CNO, Fleet Admiral Rajampet Rajani.
RMN Vice Admiral Alice Truman interceded, revealing a task force including 60 Manticoran superdreadnoughts and again instructing Tsang to stand down. Holmon-Sanders revealed that the conversation was recorded and would be released to the media, revealing the Solarian League government's illegal actions and threats to kill League citizens. The appearance of the RMN ships negated TF 11.6's numerical advantage over First Fleet (originally over 100 superdreadnoughts against 36), and the SLN was forced to withdraw. (HH13ch.23)
The Grand Fleet suffered only minimal damage compared to the enemy, losing a number of LACs and about 2000 spacers, with eleven starships slightly damaged. (HH13)
A total of 296 superdreadnoughts were completely destroyed, and few of the remaining ones survived the battle undamaged. The total manpower loss was estimated at about 1.2 million. (HH13)
Mesa's nanotechnology caused Fleet Admiral Rajani to commit suicide after the results of the battle became known, and Battle Fleet commander Admiral Winston Kingsford succeeded him as CNO. Recognizing that Solarian wallers were hopelessly incapable of facing Manticoran weapons, Kingsford advised Senior Undersecretary Kolokoltsov to discontinue attempts to invade Manticore, instead of resorting to a strategy of commerce raiding. (HH13ch.29,31)
Kolokoltsov and the other Senior Undersecretaries plotted to salvage the political situation. They decided to use Kingsford's strategy to secure enough military victories that they could offer Manticore a peace settlement that was not completely one-sided while focusing public anger on Beowulf's interference in the operation. (HH13ch.32)
|Operations of the Solarian-Manticoran War|
|Battles of the Solarian-Manticoran War|