Traps Within Traps
Leftenant Craven surveyed his troops one final time. If the reports were correct, time was running out. The Jade Falcons would be closing in on his position any moment, threatening the Federated Commonwealth with the loss of both the planet Aiyina and the heir to the throne of the realm. "Here's the low-down, troops," Craven said, checking his timpiece. "Ten minutes ago we picked up signals indicating that a Star of Elementals is closing in on us. We have only one mission and that is to protect the Headquarters unit long enough to buy them and the Prince time to get off this rock if necessary.
"We have spent the last five months training you to respond to Clan tactics and fighting style. Until we get our own battle-armored troops on-line, you troopers are the best edge we have at hitting these Jade falcons on their own level. About three kilometers form here is a perfect point to intercept the Jade Falcons. They will reach that point in 25 minutes, and so will we. As much as I would like to say that we're going to slug it out with them, we won't be - not this time anyway. Our mission is to punch through their lines and go for their command center. The hope is that we an force them to pull back a good chunk of their assault force to hunt us down, buying HQ and Prince Davion some time.
"Load up on meal kits and gear. If we do manage to cut through them, we'll split up and lure them off. But don't press the fight if outnumbered. Make your way to one of the small supply caches in the area and then regroup. From there we'll try to make them pay dearly for their little stay here."
The leftenant checked his watch again as his troops rechecked their gear. In the distance he saw the glimmering shape of Mar Negro and the flashes of battle along its shore. As the artillery at HQ began to discharge barrage after barrage, Craven pulled on his combat helmet. "Holy crudstunk," he muttered, hearing the hellish blasts from nearby artillery. "What are we getting ourselves into?
"Say again, Leftenant. Your last
message didn't copy," came the voice of Sergeant Major Burns. "I said, sound
'Boots and Saddles,' Sergeant Major. We have a battle to fight."
Aiyana, 5 January 3052
When Clan Jade Falcon renewed their offensive, they began with a thrust toward the core of the Federated Commonwealth. Their primary push was against their old adversaries, the Tenth Lyran Guards and Prince Victor Stiener-Davion. The Jade Falcon Emerald Wing Cluster struck the Tenth Lyran Guards with force and fury, yet the Clan warriors did not find what they expected. In the time during which the Clans had halted their invasion to elect a new ilKhan, the Inner Sphere had braced itself for the next thrust of the invasion, training, and re-quipping, and adapting to Clan tactics and weaknesses. Instead of poorly armed infantry, the Jade Falcons were facing crack marksmen in combat armor, many with the firepower to damage and kill Elementals.
The plan to assault Aiyina was twofold. A primary attack force of OmniMechs from the 300th Attack Cluster would strike at the bulk of the BattleMech and armored forces along the narrow passes leading down to Mar Negro, the massive lake near the Tenth Guard HQ. Meanwhile, the Elemental forces of the Jade Falcons' elite Emerald Wing Cluster would drive through the nearby woods and farmlands, flanking the 'mech. battle near the lake, then striking at the Headquarters of the Guards. If successful, the maneuver would shatter the unit's chance to escape Aiyina, and would leave the BattleMech forces crippled, without support or supplies.
The Tenth Lyran Guards were, however, prepared for such a flanking attack. They had re-armed and re-grouped their Third Infantry Battalion with jump packs and combat armor. Their goal was to meet the threat of the Emerald Wing Cluster in the abandoned Kellogg Artillery Test Firing Range. There the Third Battalion would hit the Falcons hard, then disperse to their rear area. This attempted to track down the quickly moving infantry troopers before their rear area was hit.
Though the Tenth Lyran Guards were badly
damaged when the Jade Falcons took control of Aiyina, the Third Battalion's bold move
blunted the Emerald Wing Cluster's attempt to strike at the HQ. Though most of the FC
troops were captured several days after the battle, a handful continued to wage an ongoing
guerilla struggle against the Falcons until captured by the ComStar garrison forces
several weeks later.