Santanocheev Rebellion

This is the common name for the limited civil war that was fought in the Spinward Marches during 1123.  The then Admiral Lord Santanocheev, supported by several Dukes and Imperial Navy fleets, led a rebellion to oust Norris Aella Aledon from power and supplant him as Arcduke of the Domain of Deneb.

Early in 1123, Santanocheev discovered the proof that he had been seeking for a long time that Archduke Norris was a traitor to the Imperium and working to increase Zhodani influence in the Domain of Deneb.  These documents were presented to several high ranking Imperial Navy offices and subsector Dukes that were already favorable to him, and they were enough to convince them that he had a valid claim.  He assembled a large number of Imperial Navy fleets and moved against Norris at the capital of the Domain on Mora.

The operation was extensive and well planned, and involved the Sword Worlds as an ally on Santanocheev's side of the conflict.  The Darrian Confederation, and Federation of Arden remained officially neutral, as did the Zhodani Consulate which critics of Santanocheev have presented as evidence that his charges against Norris must have been false.

While the Rebellion is dated as beginning when the first engagement between Imperial ships occured, the first act leading up to it occured much earlier.  On 042-1122, Santanocheev took command of the Llanamith Tigress Battle Group stationed in Five Sisters at Iderati (0732 Spinward Marches, A887798-C).  He then took that fleet into Foreven sector, fighting several brief battles against the Hinay Protectorate in that sector.  There was an initial fight on 081-1122 followed by a more serious battle around 230 to 240-1122.  It is still unknown what he discovered in this excursion, but it seems to have been the spark which lead inexorably to civil war.

The early part of the plan involved mostly the far spinward fleets, with the others closer to Mora remaining unappropriated until they needed to move.  The first big gathering, and the start of the real movements, began at Dawnworld.

The Rimward Pincer

The Sword World Factor

For some reason, Santanocheev changed plans early on.  It was clear that he needed an ally to protect his rear as he advanced on the capital, and the Sword Worlds were to be that ally.  Through careful negotiation and clever diplomacy he took advantage of the internal divisions in the Confederacy.  He approached Narsil, Sacnoth, and Durendal with a deal too good to turn down.

Those three nations were to invade certain systems in the Lunion subsector -- principal among them Adabicci -- and hold them without a fight if possible.  In return, he would not only yield to the Sword Worlds the systems of Arba and Rabwhar in Lunion subsector, Margesi in Vilis, and the Sword World subsector worlds of Caladbolg, Gunn, and Caliburn, but also support the renewed Trilateral Alliance to take back rule of the Confederacy from Gram.

Important for later consequences, Santanocheev also therefore secured an alliance between the Sword Worlds -- or, at least, the Trilateral Alliance -- and the Imperium.  This was the first time in history that the Confederate would be on the side of the Imperium rather than joining the Zhodani in the Outworld Coalition.

On 131, nine Sword World fleets jumped for Imperial systems, to arrive on 138.  Three Narsil fleets would arrive at Caladbolg, where the Imperial Navy Wonstar fleet would ensure that there would be no resistance.  One Durendal fleet occupied Arba, one Sacnoth fleet Tenalphi, and the remaining four fleets -- two from Sacnoth, two from Durendal -- arrived at Adabicci where they established a blockade.

The operation was entirely successful, and no military action took place in any of those systems.

The Dawnworld skirmish (107-1123)

Ten fleets -- all those from Five Sisters and District 268 -- had gathered at Dawnworld by 102-1123.  They ran a defensive formation to prevent any disruption of the forces at this critical early stage.

Of those fleets, all but the Wonstar fleet jumped out on 107 to head for Mithras on the way to the Bicornn rendezvous.  The Wonstar fleet was scheduled to jump on 119 to Caladbolg, to prepare the way for the incoming Sword World forces from Narsil.

After the main body of the forces had left, later that same day Undisclosed Naval Assets (UNA) harried the Wonstar fleet, destroying or damaging at least eight ships.  The Wonstar fleet sent off a courier to Mithras, but remained on mission and would successfully prepare Caladbolg for an unresisted Sword World arrival.

While this could be considered the opening shots in the Santanocheev Rebellion, historians in general do not consider this to be important.  They date the military action as beginning at the Battle of Tussinian, an event of undisputed significance.

Collecting the Rebels: Bicornn (126-1123 to 131)

The main body of the forces moved on through Mithras to Bicorrn, arriving on 126-1123.  Here they met up with six of the fleets from Glisten.  This was the force that would swing towards Mora from Rimward.  This alone would present a formidible threat at Mora, were it to have arrived at full strength.  Ahead, however, lay the backwater system of Tussinian.

The Battle of Tussinian (137-1123 to 141)

The Duke of Trin had sent four fleets to fight the delaying action at Tussinian: the Trin Fleet, the Murchison Fleet, and the two expeditionary fleets TR-X-1 and TR-X-2, all under the command of Admiral Altrafe.  Their orders were to delay Santanocheev's forces for five days by any means possible, and then they could leave.  The assembly point for any ships that did manage to leave after the operation was to be Katarulu.

The Glass Tiger battle group was being held in reserve at Trin to defend against any side forces that might have been sent to secure the subsector capital.

On 133-1123, UNA arrived at Tussinian and joined the defending forces.  UNA were to play a small part in the battle itself, although too insignificant to detail.

Santanocheev's fleets began to arrive on 137-1123, although the bulk of the ships of course came in a day later.  His flagship Llannamith was among the last to arrive, on 139-1123, although Admiral Darfield aboard Darotukshi would be well capable of holding command for that intermediate day.  But the Rebels had to take the mainworld to refuel, forcing their hand and requiring that action start immediately, especially as they easily outnumber the Loyallists.

At 23:00 on 138-1123, the Rebel Imperial Navy forces opened fire on the Loyalist Imperial Navy fleets.  The rebellion had become a Civil War.

Admiral Altrafe broke from all conventional strategical thinking and ran the defense entirely within the gravity well of the mainworld.  He used orbital situations to set up local advantages, and forced the attacking ships to fight under unfamiliar conditions.  The defenders had been drilling low orbit fleet action since their arrival and had superior strategic and tactical knowledge under those conditions.

In addition, several small but effective strike units launched precision attacks deep into the Rebel main and reserve lines, targetting the flagships and other critical capital targets.

What Altrafe had not known, however, was that Tussinian had been prepared in advance.  Deep meson sites had been built in secret, and those opened fire a few hours into the battle at the Loyalist fleets in orbit.  Like the Loyalist strike forces, these targetted capital ships in order of seniority, and wreaked havoc among Trin's fleets until they could be suppressed.  The meson sites were taken down with unprecedented violence which had major environmental consequences -- but they had to be eliminated immediately, or the Loyalist fleets would have been defeated a mere half day into the battle.

With the top twelve of Trin's command chain capital ships eliminated, that left the Loyalist fleets under the command of Commodore Eneri von Krantzhoff.

139-1123 opened with a morning full of heavy fleet action.  Casualties were heavy, especially on the attacking side, and there was no rescue for damaged ships as they crashed down onto the mainworld close below.  Llanamith arrived on that day too, and the Rebels performed standard regrouping procedures to strengthen the forces in system.

The afternoon brought a break in the main battle as the Rebels prepared for another onslaught, taking up position near the moons.  Even then they were not safe from Loyallist precision strikes, losing a cruiser in a surprise hit and run attack.  In addition, the Egypt and Mirriam fleets took sufficient casualties that they could play no part in the next attack.

On 140-1123 the Rebels lauched their assault, committing all 13 oprational fleets as an enveloping shell pyramid against the flat rectangle of the Loyallist fleets in orbit.  At 06:00 battle was again joined, at an intensity that had perhaps never been seen before in Imperial Navy actions.

That engagement has been detailed elsewhere many times, not the least in official Imperial Navy training materials.  All we will say here is that it is believed to be the largest single engagement in the history of the Third Imperium.  It lasted almost until noon, when the Rebels pulled out of the battle and regrouped up by the moons.

After that engagement, a period of negotiation added more time to the Rebel delay.  It was clear that neither side wished to push the battle to its inevitable conclusion, and on 19:00 of 141-1123, the Battle of Tussinian was officially over.

What remained of the von Krantzhoff's Loyallist fleets left the mainworld and moved out toward the innermost orbit to rendezvous with the Battle Rider carriers.  They would spend some time searching for survivors of the battle, then jump away to Katarulu.

Loyallists at Katarulu

Unfortunately for von Kranzthoff's survivors, the Bendor Fleet had been sent here to protect Tussinian's flank (the Romar Fleet had been likewise dispatched to Edenelt).  WHAT HAPPENED HERE?

On to Mora

So the Rebels had been severely delayed by the Battle of Tussinian, and left heavily damaged.  They would follow their planned route, splitting into several paths through Duale and Grille, Meleto and Moran, Meleto and Fornice, and Hexos and Fornice, before the arranged jump into Mora.  They would arrive in Mora on 177-1123, 6 days later than the planned arrival on 172.

The jumps to Mora itself were costly.  Although repairs continued whenever possible, ships had to be dropped from the fleet at every jump.  It is estimated that 10% of the ships fell behind at each jump, but it was essential to get to Mora quickly.

The Coreward Pincer

Lanth and Rhylanor subsector fleets were also part of Santanocheev's forces.  They had a much easier time of it, but it was not without incident.  Fleets in these subsectors were added to the Rebels shortly before they would need to jump: the two fleets at Lanth on 117-1123, and the remainder on 129-1123.

The Count of Fulacin

The new Count of Fulacin, ex-Admiral Rikk Banoi, expected an INISO takeover of the expeditionary fleet stationed at Fulacin.  He took personal command of RH-X-1, executing the INISO agents after commandeered the fleet and he had access to their plans.  Knowing they would be outnumbered as a Loyallist fleet in a Rebel subsector, he nevertheless moved on to meet the next planned rendezvous and disrupt the coreward part of the pincer move.

The Battle of Rhylanor

And delay the fleets the Count certainly did.  When RH-X-1 jumped into Rhylanor, he took the fleet in as if they were going to meet up and move against Mora.  But when the fleets were assembled, the Count launched his attack.

Interspersed with the Rebel fleets, the Loyallist RH-X-1 never stood a chance.  Lined up against them were not only the Rhylanor fleet, but the Yathanyi Tigress Battle Group.  Losses were pretty much even both sides in the short intense battle: RH-X-1 was eliminated, but took with it more than one fleet worth of ships.

Regrouping and Advancing

Combining what they had left, and leaving as planned the RH-X-2 fleet which had remained shipyard-bound under refit the whole time, the Rebels came away with just the Yathanyi battle group, at a mere 75% strength.  Even then it took significant time to repair the fleet, but it was simple enough with the Rhylanor pincer elements closing in to alert them and re-coordinate the approach.  The Lanth fleets involved in the Coreward Pincer would be alerted at Rorise and re-coordinated too.

Rhylanor/Rh and RH-X-2/Rh fleets were eliminated from the books.

The Coreward Pincer would arrive at Mora on 178-1123, just one day off the Rimward Pincer.

The Adabicci Holocaust

The arrival of four Sword World fleets was not the most serious problem at Adabicci.  Unexpected external circumstances were to result in a major disaster that would render the mainworld uninhabitable.

Adabicci Reinforces

The standing fleet at Adabicci went on alert before the Sword Worlds arrived.  They were joined later on (about) 138-1123) by Lunion's SP-X-1 under Grand Admiral Winchester, summoned by the Duke of Adabicci despite being very much under strength and in the middle of a refit.  That meant that one and a half fleets were ready to defend Adabicci, one of them thoroughly battle hardened after the Foreven Expeditionary Force operation.


Sword Worlds Arrive

The Errant Missile (156-1123)

Rescue and Recovery

Securing the Edges

Several of the Lanth and Rhylanor fleets were not deployed to Mora.  Some of these were strategic choices, other were astrographical.  The mission of these fleets was to tie down any potential outside support for Norris at Mora, and at that they succeeded perfectly.


Showdown at Mora (176-1123 to 182-1123)

The main body Rimward Pincer arrived on 177-1123, with the Coreward Pincer running a day later.  The first elements of the fleet therefore came into the system on 176-1123.

Rebel Order of Battle at Mora

Rimward Pincer
Severely weakened from the Battle of Tussinian and the march on Mora, the Rimward Pincer was at least battle-hardened with experience in fighting standard Imperial Navy defenders reinforced with UNA.  The losses in several fleets have had capships overrepresented.

This represents the equivalent of 8.4 fleets.
Coreward Pincer
Coreward Reinforcements
These would arrive at Mora on 194-1123, via Gerome on 171-175, Somem on 182-187.

The Fifth Column (19:00 on 170-1123)

On 170-1123, one day before the first ships were due to arrive under the original plan, fifth column elements carried out a series of operations in the Mora system.  With one exception, these were not INISO operations, but independent cells.
Naval Sabotage
The exception was the bombing of the Imperial Navy command staff on Strephon's Hand.  An INISO sleeper agent detonated a standard nuclear missile warhead in the maintenance shafts near the main Strategic Command Center while commanding officers were attending a strategy meeting.  The entire command staff of the defending fleets was killed, and while Strephon's Hand was still operational, it would not be usable as a flagship for the defense of the system.

Independent cells also mission-killed the meson gun defense system at P1-30, significantly weakening the forces protecting the inner gas giant.  Naval ships would have to be pulled from the line of battle to take over those capabilities.
Assassinations on Mora
Timed to coordinate with the explosion on board the flagship, a sweep of assassinations was carried out on civilian targets on the mainworld itself.  Many of Norris's closest advisors and associates and significant nobility -- those not within the Archducal palace at the time -- were killed in extremely well planned and effective operations.

Among the dead were Judi Tarrassi, Countess of Maitz; Elinor DaLana, Countess of Brodie; Alin Wardammer, Marquis of Meleto; and Gratha and Alania Delrio, Count and Countess of Nexine.  Maitz thus joined Fulacin as an open County, the other titles having heirs.

Just one assassination operation was thwarted, at the wedding reception of then-Baron Bridgehead, Lord Rorise.  It is not known who would have been the target as it was well attended by Norris supporters.  Kalida Siena, Marchioness of Nakege, is credited with preventing this through the actions of her entourage, including Sir Misha Ravanos.
Bombings on Mora
In addition to the assassinations, four small nuclear demolition devices exploded in the capital city itself, destroying certain residential buildings.  From the resulting wreckage, it seems that each of these had a secret bunker, also destroyed in the explosion.  The buildings contained the residences of several local nobility, and it was not immediately known whether some of those nobles were killed or simply offworld at the time.

A fifth device was found and disabled by Imperial Intelligence mere minutes before it was due to explode.  It would have destroyed the central Imperial Intelligence headquarters itself.

Birth of the Regency (183-1123)

Suddenly and unexpectedly, the military standoff ended with a compromise solution.

-cam MW