Operation Crusade - 2655
|Part of Terran-Kilrathi War|
|Terran Confederation||Empire of Kilrah|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Vice Admiral Geoffrey Tolwyn||Crown Prince Thrakhath nar Kiranka|
|Confederation Diplomatic Corps||All Available Kilrathi Fleet Units|
| * TCS Tiger's Claw
* TCS Austin
* TCS General Powell
* TCS Perez de Cuellar
* TCS U Thant
* TCS Strygvie
* TCS Trygvie Lie
| * Five Snakeir-Class Carriers|
* Five Fralthi-Class Cruisers
** KIS Kraj'nishk
** KIS Ras Nik'hra
* Two Ralari-Class Destroyer
|Casualties and losses|
|Heavy Marine Casualties|| * Five Snakeir-Class Carriers|
* Five Fralthi-Class Cruisers
** KIS Kraj'nishk
** KIS Ras Nik'hra (Captured)
* Two Ralari-Class Destroyer
* Heavy fighter losses
|Work-in-progress, expect frequent changes. Help and feedback is welcome. See discussion page.|
Operation Crusade was a Confederation military operation that disrupted the Sivar-Eshard Ceremony in 2655 on Firekka. It resulted in a Kilrathi defeat and withdrawal.
The Confederation encountered the sentient avian-like creatures known as the Firekkans in the early 27th century.
Firekka Joins the Confederation
Starting in 2652, the Confederation Diplomatic Corps sought to expand the Confederation through the addition of the Firekkan race. A treaty of military alliance and defense was signed between the two powers on 2655.240. Vice Admiral Tolwyn, temporarily promoted to Vice Admiral for the treaty signing, and Teehyn Ree Kree'Kai, Leader of Flock-Leaders, signed the treaty for their respective governments. The treaty was tested several weeks later by a Kilrathi invasion. The Kilrathi had chosen Firekka as the site of their Sivar-Eshrad ceremony in 2655. Every Kilrathi fleet unit that could be pulled from the front was given orders to Firekka for the ceremony itself.
Confederation Honor Guard
The TCS Tiger's Claw had recently completed Operation Thor's Hammer and the operation to destroy the Sivar shipyards and had been assigned, along with the TCS Austin as Honor Guard for the Diplomatic Corps during the signing ceremony. The pilots of the 88th Fighter Wing began flying missions in the Firekka system on 2655.238 when they escorted diplomats onboard the TCS Perez de Cueller. The pilots continue to fly missions in the system for the next month.
The Kilrathi rebels on Ghorah Khar had decided at this same moment to send out a message to the Confederation asking for help. They selected Khantahr Ralgha nar Hhallas and his ship, the KIS Ras Nik'hra, to deliver the message to the Confederation in the Firekka system. His ship arrived in the Firekka system on 2655.271 where he then sent the following message to the Tiger's Claw:
"To the lord captain of of the Tiger's Claw. I am Ralgha nar Hhallas, lord of the Kilrathi Empire, and captain of the Fralthi cruiser Ras Nik'hra. In the names of the rebel lords of Ghorah Khar, I bid you welcome in all honor. At their request, I bring you messages suing for alliance with your Confederation against the Imperial Kilrathi, and my own Imperial ship as a gift. The Ras Nik'hra will continue toward the planet Firekka from this jump point, so that you may rendezvous with us at any time."
The Confederation sent out fighters to secure the Ras Nik'hra. In the process a Fralthi, the KIS Kraj'nishk, attempted to stop the defection but was destroyed by Captain Ian St. John. This act would start a decade long relationship between Captain St. John and Kirha nar Hhallas when Ralgha had Kirha swear an oath of fealty to the terran pilot.
During this time, Majors Kien Chen and Jeanette Deveraux were ambushed by pilots of the Kilrathi Imperial Guard. Hopelessly overwhelmed, Chen fought off the attackers and was killed in action, but in the process bought Deveraux the time she needed to escape. She was able to provide the Tiger's Claw with an advance warning of the Kilrathi fleet's arrival in system.
The Kilrathi Fleet Arrives
Starting on 2655.276, the Kilrathi began an invasion of Firekka. Troopships began landing on the planet while the Firekkans offer resistance using weapons given to them by Confederation forces. The Confederation, despite Firekka being the newest member of the Confederation, does not send any additional forces to defend the system from the Kilrathi onslaught and prepares for withdrawal.
Crown Prince Thrakhath transmitted the following message to Confederation forces in Firekka on 2655.278.
"Warriors of the Human ships, hear me now. You are trespassing on the holy ground of Lord Sivar. If you remain, the Sons of Kilrah will destroy you. We must prepare the Way of Lord Sivar, and no unbelievers may remain here alive. But because you are brave warriors, I shall grant you this: You have one planetary rotation to leave this system. Leave here now, and no harm will come to you until we meet again in honourable combat. Thus speaks Prince Thrakhath, Firstborn of the Firstborn, Heir to Kilrah."
Following reception of the message, Confederation forces began withdrawing from the Firekka system. After escorting several evacuating transports, the Tiger's Claw and Austin retreat to the nearby Corsair System. Confederation High Command had authorized the use of Dralthis for reconnaissance purposes after Captain Ian St. John had used one to save the Austin from an attack by a wing of Hhriss.
The Kilrathi had previously ordered that all available fleet units move to the Firekka system for the Sivar-Eshrad ceremony. By using captured Dralthi, Confederation forces were able to gain some intelligence on Kilrathi deployments. This information would help in the planning of Operation Crusade. Five Kilrathi carriers, three light cruisers, four tankers and at least eight corvettes had jumped into the Firekka System by the time the Confederation withdrawal was complete.
Planning the Raid
During the debriefing of Khantahr Ralgha nar Hhallas, the Confederation learned of the planned Sivar-Eshrad ceremony and its significance to Kilrathi culture. A plan was devised to disrupt the Kilrathi ceremony. Confederation Marines were to land on Firekka and launch an assault against the Kilrathi war priestesses.
On 2655.293, two battalions of Confederation Marines landed on Firekka in four assault shuttles. They submerge the shuttles to conceal them from the Kilrathi and with the aid of the Firekkan leaders plan the assaults on the priestesses conducting the Sivar-Eshrad ceremony. The Marines and Firekkans launch successful assaults on the ceremonies, however the marines suffer heavy casualties in the process. Four transports are later shot down by the Kilrathi trying to flee the planet, stranding some marines on the surface.
Crown Prince Thrakhath took this moment to address Confederation forces a second time.
"Human warriors, hear me now. You have proven that you are brave, astonishingly brave, for mere apes. Because of this bravery, I shall grant you one quarter of a planetary rotation to leave this sector. But your land soldiers are ours. We shall run them to ground like the apes that they are. Thus speaks Prince Thrakhath, Firstborn of the Firstborn, Heir to Kilrah.”
By interrupting the ceremony, the Confederation put the Kilrathi fleet on edge. It was a major blow to their morale and the Kilrathi were afraid to fight and die with the ceremony interrupted. As Kirha and Ralgha explained upon learning of the disruption of the ceremony to their Confederation captors:
Kirha: "If the ceremony is corrupted, it is because Sivar is displeased and has rejected the ceremony and those who sponsored the ceremony. The warriors that perished in the battle to take Firekka are no longer Sivar's favored servants; they are simply his fighters, standing between the Light of Sivar and the Great Dark which ever threatens the Light and seeks to devour souls. Because the ceremony was corrupted, those that survived cannot dedicate themselves to Sivar for the coming year, and they fear their souls will be lost in the Great Dark if they perish in combat."
Ralgha: "So, fearing that their souls will be lost, there is no inducement Thrakhath can offer to make them fight. If he attempts to force them, they will revolt. They are now as fearful as cublings in the moon-dark, and every ill that befalls them will be attributed to the loss of Sivar's favor. They are as eager now to escape with a whole skin as they once were to die."
On 2655.315, Kilrathi forces leave the surface of Firekka. In the process of evacuating their forces, the Kilrathi take the Firekkan flock leaders hostage. James Taggart, Ian St. John and several others would later lead a rescue mission to retrieve the Firekkan hostages.
The Kilrathi evacuation of the system signaled the end of Operation Crusade.