I wrote this and I don't know why
Context: I had this pop into my head a week ago and it wouldn't leave, so I decided just to write it down. It centered around two events that ends a war between two interstellar powers and was probably inspired by The Lost Fleet and all these space-based wargaming blogs I read, like Super Galactic Dreadnought. So yeah, enjoy.
Two events ended the war between the Federation of Aligned Worlds and the Incorporated Commonwealth. Seemingly unconnected at first, they would prove cause and effect can be harsh mistresses. First, a brief review of the war and its causes. The war began as many do with a dispute between the Federation and Commonwealth over the ownership of a trio of systems along their mutual border. Decently rich in resources, both entities had nearly come to blows over them before, but mediation had created a status quo in which the systems were declared hands off until a resolution could be found. Unfortunately, settlers and miners from both sides held little regard for the agreement and freely violated it. Minor skirmishes quickly erupted with both groups quickly crying out for protection from their respective sides. The skirmishes escalated rapidly until the Battle of Waukeen where a group of Federation warships - the light cruiser Peaceful Resolve and destroyer escorts Lover's Quarrel, Civil Disagreement, and Unknown Pleasures - crossed paths and gun ranges with three heavy cruisers of the Incorporated Navy. When the dust settled, one heavy cruiser, along with Civil Disagreement and Unknown Pleasures were destroyed and the survivors retreated back to their respective territories.I originally did intend for it to get this long, but there you go.
Retaliation came when the Incorporated Commonwealth invaded the disputed area and when the Aligned Worlds deployed in response, war erupted. Lasting for half a decade, it was mainly consisted of attacks on border worlds and occasional deep thrusts into each others territories. Both powers were roughly equal in technology and forces, both favoring the hybrid doctrine of carriers and battleships. Here, the Commonwealth held a slight advantage in quantity, thanks to having more shipyards than their enemy. After five years of constant warfare, however, the Federation slowly began losing ground. Dissent was growing within public and government spheres. Protests calling for an end to the war were a daily occurrence, while more and more anti-war candidates were winning their way into parliament. The military was convinced they could still win and determined to see it through before the tide completely turned against the war. Fortunately, intelligence from turncoats within the Commonwealth gave them their two greatest opportunities. Several reports indicated that a larger than normal number of battleships and battlecruisers had been sent to the Tantalus Shipyards for repairs and refits. The most surprising reports were of secret documents revealing that the President of the Incorporated Commonwealth, Idi Amandoua, would be traveling to the front for a PR blitz with forces stationed there. Out of these revelations, two operations were created:
Operation Tsunami: Devised by Admiral Evan Flowers, a battlegroup of carriers, battleships, cruisers and destroyers commanded by Flowers himself would be sent on a deep strike mission to attack the Tantalus Shipyards. This was met with resistance by admirals who believed that the reports were fake and part of a trap. A compromise was eventually reached and the battlegroup was reduced to two aging carriers, destroyers, and a small number of battle, heavy and light cruisers, and unbeknownst to the rest of the admiralty, as many Trinity-class bombers as one of the carriers could carry, at the cost of most of its fighter squadrons.
The ships involved in this operation were:
- Carriers Spruance and Nelson
- Battlecruisers Victoria, Meiji, Napoleon III, and Faisal I
- Heavy cruisers Osaka, Calcutta, Doha, and Warsaw
- Light cruisers Peaceful Resolve, A Matter of Honor, Gentleman's Agreement, Heroic, Audacious, and Indignation
- Destroyer escorts Lover's Quarrel, Satsuma, Monitor, Victor, Perseus, Shiva, Samurai, and Knife Fight
Operation Shockwave: Also devised by Admiral Flowers, with input from Commodore Erin Rogers, this plan was met with the strongest resistance and required private approval of the Federation Chancellor herself. A strike group would intercept Amandoua's convoy and destroy his ship and escape. Both the Admiralty and Defense Minister were put off by the idea of assassinating the head of state of another government, even during war time. The number and strength of the ships escorting the president was also of concern, being comprised of heavies, the plan would have necessitated sending in an equal force.
Eventually, this force was downsized as well to just a single battlecruiser, four heavy and light cruisers and several destroyers:
- Battlecruiser Olympia
- Heavy cruisers Damascus, Prague, Wellington, and Brasilia
- Light cruisers Lionheart, Knight, Fransica, and Hornet
- Destroyer escorts Elric, Percy, Morning Star, Trajen, and Valiant
To say both missions were resounding successes would be an understatement. Battlegroup Gorgon arrived at Tantalus to find the shipyards moderately protected and abundant with docked warships of all sizes. Admiral Flowers had the carriers launch their fighters with half the destroyers, they cleared out stationary and fighter defenses while light cruisers engaged larger targets. Once the path was clear, the Nelson sent her oversized complement of bombers into the target rich environment. Here, Flowers had taken a grave risk. In order to carry the amount of bombers needed for this mission, he had reduced the carrier's fighter complement. He attempted to compensate for this by pulling the fighters of both carriers back, along with the second half of the destroyers to provide protection. The battlecruisers and heavy cruisers, meanwhile, joined the bombers in their attack.
In the end, the shipyard was decimated with two-thirds of the ships laid to waste and facilities destroyed. On the Federation's side, destroyers Shiva, Knife Fight, and light cruiser Gentleman's Agreement were lost. The Admiral's fear was almost realized when the forward section of a destroyed enemy heavy cruiser struck the Nelson. The carrier survived, but at a loss of a quarter of her crew. Despite the losses, Battlegroup Gorgon returned to Federation space victorious.
Operation Shockwave took place two weeks later and was a much bigger success. Designated Battlegroup Kraken and commanded by Commodore Rogers, they launched their attack as the convoy reached the halfway mark of its journey. What they found changed the circumstances of the mission. Instead of a heavy escort, the president's ship was protected by seven heavy cruisers. In that instance, Rogers decided to ignore her original orders to destroy their target and instead try and capture it. As the two forces moved to engage, a pair of destroyers (Percy and Trajen) and light cruiser Lionheart broke off from the main group to corner the president's ship.
In the ensuing battle, Elric, Fransica and Prague were destroyed, along with the entire enemy force. With its escorts gone and Battlegroup Kraken taking up firing positions around her, the presidential transport was forced to surrender.
The two operations devastated the Commonwealth's war efforts and sent their government into a crisis. The opposite occurred in the Federation with spontaneous celebrations in the street. Admiral Evan Flowers and Commodore Erin Rogers were hailed as heroes and duly promoted and showered with medals. The issue of Rogers' disregarding her orders was quietly swept under the rug. Flowers was appointed Chief of Naval Operations, while Rogers found herself in command of a fleet. President Amandoua was treated as a visiting dignitary and endured many photo ops during his stay, and was later exchanged for all POWs. Shortly after returning home, he resigned in disgrace.
He committed suicide days later.
It wouldn't be until later that a connection was made between the two operations. Interrogation revealed that many of the ships destroyed at Tantalus were meant for escort duty and with their loss at the hands of Battlegroup Gorgon, had deprived the convoy.
The war itself ended not long afterward, public support for the war in the Commonwealth collapsed and a new government was voted in on the promise of peace. An anonymous memo (widely attributed to the Chief of Naval Operations) from within the Federation Navy advised against harsh terms. Acting on the advice, the conflict was settled with the Federation of Aligned Worlds receiving the disputed systems and the option to purchase three more near the border after five years. A demilitarized zone was also created to act as a buffer. Despite pressure from warhawks within and without the government, the FAW didn't press for reparations or more territory.
The war was over, now it was time to rebuild.