Operation Back Lash - 2667

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Operation Back Lash
Part of Terran-Kilrathi War
Date 2667
Location Vukar Tag
Kilrah

Status Confederation Victory
Belligerents
Terran Confederation Empire of Kilrah
Commanders and leaders
Admiral Wayne Banbridge Crown Prince Thrakhath nar Kiranka
Units involved
Third Confederation Fleet
Strike Force Valkyrie
Kilrathi Home Fleet
Strength
Third Fleet
Four Carriers
* TCS Wolfhound, Flagship
* TCS Concordia
* TCS Trafalgar
* TCS Gettysburg
* Seventy Escort Vessels (corvettes, destroyers, cruisers, supply ships, minesweeps, and light battle frigates)

Strike Force Valkyrie
* TCS Tarawa
* TCS Intrepid
* TCS Kagimasha
Home Fleet
Vukar Tag Division
Seven Carriers
* Dozens of Escort Ships
* At least nineteen Troop Transports
* At least four Imperial Legions

Kilrah Division
Three Carriers
* KIS Karu
* KIS Torg
* unnamed carrier
* Two Fralthra-Class Cruisers
* Four Ralatha-Class Destroyers
* Six Kamekh-Class Corvettes
Casualties and losses
Third Fleet
* TCS Trafalgar Destroyed
* TCS Gettysburg seriously damaged requiring a year in dry dock
* Seven Escort Ships Destroyed
* Ninety Six Pilots KIA

Strike Force Valkyrie
* TCS Tarawa severely damaged, spending months in dry dock.
* 283 crew members on Tarawa KIA.
* 30 of 44 pilots KIA.
* TCS Intrepid destroyed.
TCS Kagimasha destroyed.
* Unknown number of members of First Marine Battalion KIA.
Vukar Tag Division
Five Carriers Destroyed
Two Carriers seriously damaged requiring over a year in dry dock
Sixteen Support Ships Destroyed
Nineteen Troop Transports Destroyed
Four Imperial Legions completely annihilated (40,000 troops)
Kalralahrs Rusmak and Gar KIA

Kilrah Division
* Six Carrier Construction Slips Destroyed.
* Six Carriers Under Construction Destroyed.
* Cruiser Assembly Facility Destroyed
* Over 4,000 Kilrathi Technicians KIA.
* One High Level Design Team KIA.* Two Orbital Stations Destroyed.
* Four Kamekh Corvettes Destroyed in Kilrah System.
* One Fralthra Cruiser Destroyed in Baragh System.
* Roughly 90 fighters destroyed throughout the entire battle



Work-in-progress, expect frequent changes. Help and feedback is welcome. See discussion page.


Operation Back Lash was a Confederation offensive launched in 2667 aimed at destroying a large portion of the Kilrathi Home Fleet. It was an overwhelming Confederation victory.

Background

Confederation Situation

In 2665 the Confederation won back the Enigma Sector. In 2666 they lost nine carriers with one, TCS Austerlitz, so heavily damaged it would be out of action for a year or more. This left the Confederation with seven active carriers. New heavy carriers would not be coming online for some time. Confederation military commanders needed to buy time and Operation Back Lash was the result. Confederation planners, mainly Admirals Banbridge and Tolwyn, spent six months planning the operation. They crafted a two-pronged operation designed to present the Kilrathi with a serious dilemma.

Kilrathi Situation

Graknala's ancestral home

Crown Prince Thrakhath had orchestrated the destruction of the Confederation 6th Fleet and the conquest of the Deneb Sector in 2666. The Kilrathi military situation looked promising for the future. Project Hari was several years from completion. When the twelve Hakaga-Class Super Carriers came online they would form the core of the Kilrathi fleet. The Kilrathi fleet contained at least twenty standard carriers, ten of which were stationed with the Home Fleet near Kilrah. More than a dozen new standard heavy carriers were going to join the Fleet in the next year as well. The Kilrathi military machine was on the rise.

The Importance of Vukar Tag

Vukar Tag was the ancestral home of the Dowager Empress Graknala. The Confederation succeeded in gaining intelligence on the planet on the third mission sent to the system. The first two attempts to obtain information on Vukar Tag had ended with a Venture-Class Corvette destroyed each time with all hands lost. The TCS Johnny Greene successfully obtained imagery of the planet through the self-sacrificing efforts of Lieutenant Commander Ramona Chekhova.

A castle structure, reminiscent of medieval castles on Earth, was located in the southern hemisphere of Vukar Tag. This was the ancestral home of the Dowager Empress. The castle was contained alabaster and sapphire and from multiple human descriptions was labeled a "fairy-tale castle." This castle was the primary objective of the Invasion of Vukar Tag. Its destruction would set in motion the main aspects of Operation Back Lash and lead to the battles of Vukar Tag and Kilrah.

Operation Back Lash

Operation Back Lash consisted of three military engagements: the Invasion of Vukar Tag, the Battle of Vukar Tag and the First Battle of Kilrah. War games four weeks prior to the operation commencing showed that only with the presence of Strike Force Valkyrie raiding in the Kilrah system did the Confederation task force at Vukar Tag stand a chance of defeating the superior Kilrathi forces.

Overall Operational Briefing

Admiral Banbridge's general briefing to those involved following the initial invasion of Vukar Tag:

"I should now clarify something here. Our objective was not, and never was, to seize this planet. As a jump point into the Kilrathi Empire it is but a secondary approach, a single line of jump points with no branch-offs. To approach this way would be a slugging match and we simply don't have the resources. Our main objective was this.

Eight months ago intelligence ascertained that this building was the ancestral home of the Emperor's mother, the Dowager Empress Graknala. Our Kilrathi Psychological and Societal Profile Sector reported that such sites are considered to be sacred and out of bounds in time of war. The Kilrathi Empire has been wreaked by numerous civil wars down through its history, but never have such historic sites been violated. We have changed that approach.

We allowed a Kilrathi comm center to stay in operation throughout the assault and we are certain that this same image, of the Empress's home going up in flames, has already been viewed by the Emperor himself...We knew that the Empress was back on her home world of Kilrah at the Imperial Palace , but the Kilrathi don't know that we are aware of this. They can only assume that we came to destroy that sacred place, and perhaps to seize or kill the Empress as well.

Our action has caused a tremendous loss of face for the Imperial family and has undoubtably struck at a raw nerve. It is a defilement undreamed of. Our Psych Profile people have assured my staff and me that the only response possible will be a sortie of the entire home fleet, a crushing display of force to retake the planet as quickly as possible and to slaughter any and all humans who dared to step foot on the planet. We've noticed a standard profile that when a deep insult has been offered, the only response possible is a crushing retaliation; to do otherwise is to show a lack of strength and resolve.

Deep space drone surveillance has already detected a threefold increase in sub space transmissions on their fleet channels. Gentlemen, the Kilrathi fleet will move and it will come straight here...straight in to Vukar Tag. And we shall be there to meet them with this entire task force.

We have spent half a year planning this campaign, making sure ever piece was in place. Here at this rendezvous point we have assembled the largest task force in nearly a decade, four major carriers and over seventy other ships. We will position ourselves one jump point back from Vukar Tag. A number of drones and several corvettes are already being vectored over to the Enigma Sector to establish a heavy pattern of false transmissions, to lead the Kilrathi into believing that our fleet is weeks away from Vukar.

They'll strike with everything they have. The marine regiments will be down there, and well dug in. We will be sending in a number of supply ships with heavy ground armor, and a construction battalion to help with the fortifications and to create the impression that we plan to stay and convert the planet into a main base. We want the Kilrathi to think that we are there to stay and that a counterstrike must hit as quickly as possible. The mission for the marines now is simply to hold out against a concentrated and deadly assault from the finest ships and troops the Empire can throw at them...We want their fleet in the bag as well. Just as the Kilrathi start to launch their own ground assault, with what we expect to be a fair portion of their Imperial legions, this entire task force will jump into the sector, move at flank speed, and engage the enemy at close range in a battle of annihilation. It will be an attack dependent on total surprise. If all goes right we'll catch them with their fighters and bombers committed and configured for ground assault, their attention focused in on the planet.

Gentlemen, I expect to tear the guts out of the Kilrathi Home Fleet, smash their carriers, and shatter their ground assault legions in their transports or while trapped in their landing assault craft."

Strike Force Valkyrie Briefing

Admiral Banbridge:

"...Four weeks ago I took part in a series of full-scale computer-holo simulations of the battle we are planning at Vukar. That simulation confirmed exactly what you just said. If the Kilrathi arrive with ten carriers, we will most likely kill three, perhaps as many as five in the first strike. But that will leave five left over, and half our strike fighters and bombers already out of the fight due to damage or depletion.



After our first strike they will reorganize, pursue, and most likely destroy our carriers in turn, perhaps losing two or three more of their ships in the process if we should decide to strip our own defensive combat patrol and sortie them straight in for another offensive strike. We replayed that simulation from every angle possible and it came out the same.

Quite frankly, and quite coldly, it'd be worth the trade-off if we were outproducing them in capital ships and trained pilots, but we are not. We're just barely hanging on. You are right, if we lose four more fleet carriers, half of all we've got left, the war is lost...Out of that simulation came a plan. What we have to do is to divert three, better yet four of the enemy carriers. If we're facing six or seven rather than nine or ten, we just might clean their clocks. What we have to do is get them to split their fleet.

As of this moment Tarawa and the escort ships Intrepid and Kagimasha are hereby designated Strike Force Valkyrie. The First Marine Battalion is hereby reassigned for transport aboard the Tarawa with ten landing craft. Captain O'Brian, you are hereby promoted to acting commodore of this strike force.

And your mission is this, gentlemen...to drive straight into the heart of the Kilrathi Empire and to launch a strike on their home system.

If anything will split off the home fleet it will be this action. We've traced out a route into the Empire which will follow back trade lanes, using a recently discovered jump point that will take you across a dozen sectors in a single leap. From there, you'll be down into the bottom side of the Empire nearly five hundred parsecs from here and just four jumps from their home world of Kilrah. You'll then drive straight up, relying on speed and stealth. The key point, however, is that you will let the Kilrathi know you're coming.

...that's the heart of the plan. We expect that once you've completed that long jump, the Kilrathi home fleet will be over halfway out here to Vukar and then, suddenly, you push the backdoor alarm bell. They'll be between a rock and a hard place. They won't know about the trap waiting at Vukar, but they will know about you. We expect that interior defenses will be damn near stripped for their offensive. Ignore you, and the home planet gets a hell of a shaking up. Abandon the offensive and race back home and honor is lost for not immediately retaking Vukar.

They'll walk into the trap with part of their fleet missing and we'll smash it to pieces. If it works, it just might trigger a political crisis that could bring down the Emperor himself and at the very least we'll have bagged half a dozen of their finest capital ships.

I expect your task force to reach the home system of the Kilrathi. Do as much damage as you can, though I should add that for political reasons, the Emperor's residence is off-limits for right now. We have information that the outer moon orbiting Kilrah is a major military construction base and naval yard and I would suggest that as your primary target. We could bomb their capital for propaganda purposes but I want hard results that are going to help us out here on the front line.

We're trying to trigger a civil war here, not a holy war of revenge, so he is strictly off limits. If we hit him the entire Empire will bury its differences, unite under Prince Thrakhath, and go absolutely berserk.

The second moon of the home planet is nothing but one giant military base and carrier construction center; it's an ideal target worth hitting and the one I'd recommend, but our surveillance is sketchy so that is not a hard and fast order.

You are to stay in the area until the Kilrathi fleet jumps back in after you. Once that happens, we expect to already be engaged at Vukar. We've traced out several escape and evasion routes; get out, and make a run for it."

Invasion of Vukar Tag

Vukar Tag was invaded by nine marine regiments supported by two of the newly commissioned Wake-Class Escort Carriers: TCS Tarawa and TCS Sevastapol. A single Kilrathi listening post was left in operation by Confederation forces in order to relay imagery of the attack back to Kilrah. Images included Confederation marines (including General Duke Grecko) urinating on the walls of the Imperial residence followed by the same troops carrying looted objects from the structure. This was followed by the destruction of the castle by explosives planted by marines. The insult to the Kiranka Clan's honor had to be avenged.

Confederation forces moved in heavy construction equipment and ground armor and began the process of fortifying the marines position on the planet. The Kilrathi listening post broadcast this information back to Kilrah. Emperor Joor'rad nar Kiranka ordered the Home Fleet to sortie and remove Confederation forces from Vukar Tag.

Strike Force Valkyrie

Strike Force Valkyrie's mission lead to the First Battle of Kilrah which diverted three carriers and their escorts to intercept and destroy the Confederation strike force. Baron Jukaga nar Ki'ra thought the Vukar Tag operation a fool's errand and perhaps even a trap by Confederation forces. Prince Thrakhath rewarded his skepticism by assigning him representative of the royal line with the main portion of the Home Fleet that went on the Vukar Tag while Thrakhath commanded the portion that chased down Strike Force Valkyrie.

Battle of Vukar Tag

The main battle of Operation Back Lash was the Battle of Vukar Tag. The Confederation won a major victory over the Kilrathi Home Fleet, smashing a good deal of it as the Kilrathi launched an assault against the planet.

Casualties

Battle of Vukar Tag

Confederation Task Force

  • TCS Trafalgar Destroyed
  • TCS Gettysburg seriously damaged requiring a year in dry dock
  • Seven Escort Ships Destroyed
  • Ninety Six Pilots KIA

Kilrathi Home Fleet

  • Five Carriers Destroyed
  • Two Carriers seriously damaged requiring over a year in dry dock
  • Sixteen Support Ships Destroyed
  • Nineteen Troop Transports Destroyed
  • Four Imperial Legions completely annihilated (40,000 troops)
  • Kalralahrs Rusmak and Gar KIA

First Battle of Kilrah

Strike Force Valkyrie

  • TCS Tarawa severely damaged, spending months in dry dock.
    • 283 crew members on Tarawa KIA.
    • 30 of 44 pilots KIA.
  • TCS Intrepid destroyed.
  • TCS Kagimasha destroyed.
  • Unknown number of members of First Marine Battalion KIA.

Kilrathi Forces

  • Heavy losses on the Kilrah satellite of Largkza:
    • Six Carrier Construction Slips Destroyed
    • Six Carriers Under Construction Destroyed
    • Cruiser Assembly Facility Destroyed
    • Over 4,000 Kilrathi Technicians Killed
    • One High Level Design Team Killed
  • Two Orbital Stations Destroyed:
    • One in Kilrah System
    • Second cannibalized and destroyed in unidentified system
  • One Fralthra Cruiser Destroyed in Baragh System
  • Four Kamekh Corvettes Destroyed in Kilrah System
  • Roughly 90 fighters destroyed throughout the battle

Results

Operation Back Lash succeeded in destroying a large portion of the Kilrathi Home Fleet, four Imperial Legions and a heavily damage the construction facilities on Largkza, including six carriers under construction. The operational goal of triggering a civil war was not achieved, however the success of Strike Force Valkyrie highlighted the vulnerability of Kilrathi construction facilities. This would lead to similar deep penetration raids and the development of Operation Red Three.