Alliance Civil War
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The Alliance Civil War (Japanese: 自由惑星同盟内戦) was a civil war which took place from the end of March to early August 797 UC (488 IC / 3597 CE) in the Free Planets Alliance. An ideological and military conflict, it pitted the rebelling forces of the National Salvation Military Council, led by Admiral Dwight Greenhill, against the loyalist elements of the Free Planets Star Fleet, led by Admiral Yang Wen-li.
The causes of the civil war can be traced back to changes in ideology in the Alliance. Originally a highly democratic population dedicated to the principles of democracy, the long war had seen several changes occurring in its psychological makeup. The influx of refugees from the Empire — not all of them republican-minded — and constant need to maintain a powerful military fleet caused a shift to a militaristic, nationalistic, viewpoint. This in turn invited increasing compromise, corruption and profiteering in the highest spheres of Alliance power.
Although it can be argued that such changes had been rather slow and gradual, they had become more pronounced in the 790s UC under the Sanford Administration, where defeating the 'evil' of the Galactic Empire and the re-election of the High Council became much more important than the economic and social situation of the Alliance in general. This led the Council to accept a poorly-devised military plan for an invasion of Imperial territory following Yang Wen-li's stunning taking of Iserlohn Fortress. The plan, designed by the unstable and overly-ambitious commodore Andrew Falk, was voted in despite some in the High Council voicing dissent. Several military leaders also questioned the vague strategy and tactical holes present in the plan, but were largely ignored. (LOGH: 'Invasion of the Imperial Territory')
Unsurprisingly, the invasion was a debacle, with roughly 60% of the combined military fleet being destroyed or captured due to far better planning on the Imperial side, and the fact that the plan had naively not prepared for any of the Imperial fleet's actions, despite some of the admirals having warned of such possibilities. The disaster was made worse when Fleet Admiral Lobos, the Space Fleet Commander, refused to have his remaining forces wisely retreat to Iserlohn, instead ordering a stand at Amritsar which saw even more of the fleet destroyed. Only the daring rearguard actions of the 13th Fleet under Yang Wen-li saved a portion of the Alliance forces. (LOGH: 'The Battle of Amritsar Starzone', 'New Trends')
The disaster of the invasion quickly created tensions within the surviving Alliance soldiers, with many — despite the incompetence of several officers such as Falk and Lobos aiding in this critical defeat — putting the general blame on the heads of the members of the largely corrupt Alliance High Council and the rampant profiteering within Alliance civil authorities and organisations. The military quickly became a powder keg, a bomb ready to blow. All it needed was a match.
The match came in the form of Arthur Lynch, a former rear admiral captured at the Battle of El Facil who was returned to his home country following a two million men prisoner-of-war exchange. Unknown to the rest of the Alliance forces, Lynch was a willing mole of Reinhard von Lohengramm. Having willingly abandoned civilians at El Facil, Lynch was shunned by all Alliance POWs. This, along with the fact that he felt that he had been doing the right thing, embittered him to the point that he lost all loyalty towards his comrades. It was Lynch who gave officers on the verge of rebellion the final push. Several high-ranking officers were swayed, the most important of which being Admiral Dwight Greenhill. (LOGH: 'Before the Storm')
As an admiral who had taken part in many battles, and as Chief Inspector of Alliance Headquarters, Greenhill was a highly respected officer, and this allowed him to gain many allies throughout the Alliance, while using his position to manoeuvre troops now loyal to the rebellion to key sectors. Among those troops were Vice Admiral Legrange of the 11th Fleet, Captain Christian of the ground forces, and the man who would ultimately become Greenhill's right arm, Captain Evans. With their plans approaching readiness, the only problem to be found was the status of the Yang Fleet and what it would do. The rebelling officers eventually decided to wait until the first stage of the military uprising had succeeded, and then attempt to recruit Yang into their ranks.
Opening Shots (March-April 797 UC (488 IC / 3597 CE))
Kubersly Assassination Attempt
Ironically, it was at the very centre of the Star Fleet's power that the rebellion could be said to have begun. On 30 March, at the Strategical Planning Centre, Admiral Kubersly was accosted by Commodore Falk. With the disaster of the invasion, many changes had been carried out on the political scene, but also within the military. Sidney Sithole, the Chief of the Joint Operations Headquarters and highest Star Fleet authority, had been forced to retire, as had Space Fleet Commander Lobos. While the latter's place was being filled by Alexandre Bewcock of the 5th Fleet, Sithole's position was given to Kubersly, who had competently led the 1st Fleet. (LOGH: 'New Trends', 'Before the Storm')
Commodore Falk, who had already by this time participated in rebellious clandestine meetings, approached Kubersly and requested to be reinstated to active duty. It is unknown if Falk's reinstatement was part of Greenhill's plans, or if the unstable officer made this move by himself, but the result was the same. Not seeing Falk as being fit for duty yet, Kubersly sternly rebuked him, and ordered him to work for his reinstatement through proper channels, with medical documents confirming his psychological health. At that moment, Falk's fragile mind snapped, and the drew a pistol. Before the bodyguard — whose efficiency was immediately called into question — could stop him, he shot the Chief of Headquarters. Although alive, Kubersly's wounds were life-threatening, and he was rushed to the hospital.
Small as one man gravely wounded might have been in the grand scheme of things, the added turmoil of Kubersly's near-assassination would later be stated as having been the incident which finally sparked open rebellion within the Alliance military. (LOGH: 'The Yang Fleet Goes Out')
On 3 April, a scant few days after Kubersly was grievously wounded, the major Alliance world of Neptise was taken by a large military force. Although it can be said that it is likely not all of the soldiers present on the planet supported the coup d'état, they were in the clear minority, and the world fell easily. This was followed on 5 April by planet Kaffer, and then by planet Palmeland on 8 April. Finally, a fourth major world, planet Shampool, fell on 10 April. All of these worlds fell easily, and their strategic emplacements, it was realized, would make a global rebellion difficult to defeat if Heinessen, at the centre of the four major occupied zones, was also overthrown and the rebellion could then both entrench and strengthen itself on all five worlds.
Admiral Bewcock, who had been warned by Admiral Yang that such a coup would likely occur, realized the extent of the problem, and resolved to keep Heinessen under loyalist control. However Bewcock, although an excellent fleet commander, lacked experience in dealing with internal affairs, and was unwittingly faced with Admiral Greenhill, whose knowledge of such things was much more extensive. It was Greenhill, after all, who ordered many of the troop movements which allowed the rebels to be so effective. As Greenhill was implicitly trusted, even Bewcock was unable to counter the rebel movements, try as he might.
Despite being caught off-guard, the Alliance high command did react to the taking of the four major worlds. Admiral Dawson, acting as Acting Chief of Headquarters while Kubersly was still out of action, called upon Yang in Iserlohn. Unlike the rest of the Alliance, Iserlohn was an island of stability, partly due to the fact that Yang, through his excellent command skills, had the loyalty of the soldiers under his command. Indeed, no move was ever made to usurp Yang's command while in Iserlohn.
Dawson gave Yang simple orders: to put down the four main areas of rebellion, figuring that the Empire, embroiled in its own civil war, would not attack Iserlohn, leaving the Yang Fleet free to move. While Yang accepted these orders and prepared his forces to march on the closest rebel stronghold of Shampool, disaster struck again. (LOGH: 'The Yang Fleet Goes Out')
The NSMC takes Control
On 13 April, as Yang and his commanders began their preparations, the news came that Heinessen had fallen to a coup d'état. An Alliance-wide broadcast was shown to the Alliance populace, where Captain Evans, as spokesman, announced the formation of the National Salvation Military Council, and laid out its basic political and social guidelines, which including the purging of politicians, forced service in the army, the abolishment of social welfare, and what was nothing less than the banning of free speech. Hearing the contents of the message, Yang noted that the NSMC's ideals were little different from those which Rudolph von Goldenbaum had used nearly half a millennia before to found the Galactic Empire. It was then that Dwight Greenhill publicly acknowledged his position as NSMC Chairman, to the astonishment of many loyalists, including Frederica Greenhill, his daughter and an officer of the Yang Fleet.
It became clear that it was largely due to Greenhill's reputation and formidable management skills that the rebellion had been so successful, as the implicit trust he had from superiors allowed him to order the troop movements and personnel allocations which made the capture of five major worlds possible. The only major problem suffered in the rebellion had been that Job Trunicht, the Alliance Supreme Chairman and the foremost person to be purged by the NSMC, had successfully gone into hiding. Unknown to the Council, Trunicht had put a man loyal to him, an officer named Veigh, as a mole within the NSMC. This allowed him to escape, and go underground under the protection of the Heinessen branch of the Terraist Church. Admirals Dawson and Bewcock, however, were successfully arrested.
At this point, the NSMC held sway over a major portion of the Alliance military, including the 11th Fleet. Aside from Iserlohn's forces, however, the rest of the military forces decided to sit on the fence, observing a neutral stance in the conflict. This included the largest remaining Alliance space force, the 1st Fleet.
In Iserlohn, some suspicions arose as to the loyalty of some fleet members, including Fleet Commander Adjutant Greenhill. Yang, however, quickly showed his trust in Greenhill, retaining her services, and the budding turmoil quickly died down. During this time, Yang was asked to let the NSMC show their brutality, and only then take them out. The reasoning behind this being that, as liberator of the Free Planets Alliance, Yang could then have a free rein in countering the powerful Lohengramm instead of being constantly hindered. Although well aware that he would, at best, be restoring a corrupt democracy, Yang refused to go down the path of dictatorship, even a benevolent one. The subject was dropped.
With his forces secure from uprising, Yang resolved to take action. Having known of the possibility of a rebellion for some time, Yang had acquired a document signed by Admiral Bewcock, giving him orders to uphold Alliance laws and restore order in case of an uprising. This gave Yang the legal base he needed. Agreeing that no major assault would come from the Empire and that the fortress would be able to fend for itself against anything less than that, command of Iserlohn was passed on to the newly-arrived Rear Admiral Alex Cazerne. Formally rejecting the NSMC's offer to join them, Yang then set out with the entire Iserlohn Garrison Fleet, intent on defeating the rebellion. (LOGH: 'The Yang Fleet Goes Out')
Civil War (April-July 797 UC (488 IC / 3597 CE))
Battle of Doria
When Yang Wen-li refused to join the NSMC, the rebel leaders knew that it would be necessary to remove him quickly, and launched the 11th Fleet under Legrange to counter the Yang Fleet. Coincidentally, both forces launched on 20 April. With two major military fleets now at odds, the rebellion truly became a civil war.
Although Yang's plan was to drive towards Heinessen and suppress rebellion, he knew he had to make certain he would have clear supply lines, making planet Shampool a possible impediment. As such, he designated it as the first target of his operation, as he had wanted to do before the NSMC took over.
Although the 11th Fleet was a power to be reckoned with, Shampool had little in the way of space forces to counter the full might of a full fleet, and Yang's forces quickly achieved complete space and air superiority. With that achieved, a large ground detachment under Walter von Schönkopf was sent to retake the planet. The Liberation of Shampool was a short, if fierce, operation. Schönkopf, one of the best field commanders in the Alliance military, had a large, well-supplied force and could count on air support as well as support from the space elements of the 13th Fleet. Using a fierce blitzkrieg assault, he was thus able to free the planet within a mere three days.
Just as Shampool's liberation was completed, a defector from the 11th Fleet came with news of the rebellion. The man, Captain Baghdash, told Yang that Legrange was waiting for him in a certain starzone, wishing for a straight fight. Baghdash, however, had actually been sent deliberately by the NSMC to assassinate Yang and thus rob the Yang Fleet of its powerful leader, ensuring the 11th Fleet's victory in the ensuing command confusion. Schönkopf, with additional information from Lieutenant Greenhill, saw through the plot, and made certain that Baghdash's tank bed would not wake him up until after the 11th Fleet had been dealt with. Yang, also well aware of Baghdash's true intentions, had for his part found that the 11th Fleet was on the move, and that they would likely meet at Doria Starzone.
The Battle of Doria was the only engagement between major fleets in the civil war, and later historians would agree that it was a decisive victory for Yang's forces. Aware that Baghdash had provided false data about the 11th Fleet's plans, Yang was able to position his force to catch the enemy's flank and attack, throwing the enemy into confusion. This assault was quickly by a thrust through the centre, cutting the enemy in two, effectively jamming communications between the two halves. As Commodore Dusty Attenborough used his squadron to stall the forward half, the rest of the fleet moved to encircle the other. Despite efforts by Legrange to salvage the situation, the 13th Fleet's greater combat experience, aided by Rear Admiral Fisher's masterful fleet movements, achieved this. With Attenborough managing to block half the enemy fleet, Legrange found himself hopelessly encircled and outnumbered.
Eventually, only little more than 10 vessels of the 11th Fleet's encircled half remained, and Legrange finally ordered a communication line with Yang opened. Effectively surrendering what little remained of his forces, Legrange then shot himself. With this, Yang rejoined Attenborough's squadron, and the rest of the 11th Fleet was effectively overwhelmed and crushed. The National Salvation Military Council had effectively lost its space arm, and the awakened Baghdash, who would swiftly switch sides, appraised that Yang's forces would likely win the conflict. (LOGH: 'The Battle of Doria Starzone, And...')
Heinessen Stadium Massacre
Just as the fate of the 11th Fleet became known to the NSMC, the leaders of the coup d'état learned that a great protest was being held in Heinessen Stadium. At the time that the leadership learned of it, the rally had already swollen to over 100,000 people, and was still growing. The Council soon learned that the anti-coup demonstration was being led by Jessica Edwards, a recently-elected representative from Terneuzen.
The demonstration was met with shock and anger in the NSMC, nowhere more so than in the person of Captain Christian, who saw the operation as the populace defying the military's will. Christian quickly requested that he be allowed to put the assemblage down and restore proper order. Admiral Greenhill, while giving his permission, also reminded Christian to restore order peacefully.
While the angered Captain agreed to do so on the surface, his actions quickly showed themselves to be the complete opposite. Coming to the peaceful rally with heavy forces, Christian quickly derided the anti-war posture of the people gathered there, openly resorting to threats and violence in an increasingly abusive attempt to cow the civilians into obeying. This did not sit well with Representative Edwards, who angrily stood up to Christian, scathingly rejecting his oppressive behaviour and commanding him to leave the stadium. Enraged, Christian proceeded to beat Edwards to death, causing the people's fear and anger to erupt into violence, and starting a riot.
While Greenhill quickly caught wind of the violence, and pulled the military back, the damage had been done. Over 1,500 military personnel — including Christian himself — lost their lives, while over 20,000 civilians were killed. Jessica Edwards died from her wounds during the riot.
The Heinessen Stadium Massacare was in many ways the final blow to the NSMC's credibility. Losing all remnants of popular support, the NSMC also lost the support of many 'neutral' units and squadrons in the military forces outside Heinessen proper as word of the defeat at Doria spread. At this point, as Captain Baghdash, who defected to Yang's camp, had said, the coup's defeat was only a matter of time. (LOGH: 'The Battle of Doria Starzone, And...')
Endgame (July-August 797 UC (488 IC / 3597 CE))
While Yang was aware that the coup d'état was doomed, he also feared that the desperate NSMC might resort to taking the civilian population of Heinessen hostage, forcing a stalemate that the Free Planets Alliance could not afford at all. Although Yang firmly believed that Greenhill himself would not go that far, the Heinessen Stadium Massacre made it clear that not all of Greenhill's subordinates shared their leader's more rational stance. In order to prevent the worst from happening, Yang prepared two operations which would unsettle the NSMC and allow for a quickened invasion if it became necessary.
The first part of the operation was to broadcast a message to the people of Heinessen, with the recently-defected Baghdash announcing that the civil war was actually but an Imperial plot to prevent the Alliance forces from interfering in the other civil war occurring within the Empire. Initially reluctant, especially as Yang admitted that he had no physical proof of his claims, Baghdash ultimately agreed to the broadcast as a show of his new loyalties.
The broadcast greatly unsettled the rebel military forces, who found their resolve shaken by the idea that their entire rebellion made them little more than Imperial pawns. Although Greenhill and the Council initially saw this merely as an effective lie to pressure their troops, Arthur Lynch revealed that it was not so, and that he had in fact steered them all towards rebellion under Lohengramm's plan. When asked why he would betray his nation, Lynch replied that he was, in the end, doing it merely to spite officers who he felt had self-righteously looked down on him after his surrender and fall from grace at El Facil. (LOGH: 'Victory for Whose Sake?')
Destruction of the Artemis Necklace
Bereft of any significant mobile forces at this stage and with many of other neutral Alliance forces siding with Yang after the Battle of Doria, the NSMC was isolated on Heinessen but still refused to surrender, placing their hopes on the Artemis Necklace automated defence system that protected Heinessen. Purchased from the Dominion of Fezzan, the Necklace consisted of a series of 12 unmanned heavily armed and armoured satellites capable of holding off or destroying an entire fleet.
Yang resolved to swiftly destroy the Necklace to deal a crushing blow to the morale of the NSMC. Inspired by the tale of Arle Heinessen and the construction of the ice ship Ion Fazekath, Yang ordered his fleet to stop by Srinagar, the 6th planet of the Ba‘alat Starzone and used construction ships to cut out large ship-sized pieces of ice. These were fitted with Bussard ramjets, and the ice pieces were aimed at the individual satellites comprising the Necklace. Accelerating to near light speed, the relativistic mass of the ice pieces increased. Despite being hit by beam cannons and then missiles from the Necklace, the pieces of ice were too massive and fast to be stopped and struck their targets at near light speed, destroying all the satellites of the Necklace in quick succession. (LOGH: 'Victory for Whose Sake?')
Fall of the NSMC
With the destruction of the Necklace, Greenhill acknowledged further resistance as futile and ordered the NSMC to surrender, rejecting a suggestion to hold the civilian population of Heinessen hostage. Resolving to die with a clean reputation, Greenhill ordered the destruction of all evidence that might prove the NSMC's coup had been instigated by Lohengramm, and moved to deal with Arthur Lynch. In the ensuing firefight, even as the Yang Fleet began final landing operations, both Greenhill and Lynch were killed.
The remaining members of the NSMC, except for Veigh, either surrendered or killed themselves, holding fast to their beliefs to the end. Offered generous treatment, the remaining soldiers of the coup surrendered or simply rejected the NSMC as the loyalist forces retook control of the planet. (LOGH: 'Victory for Whose Sake?')
The aftermath of the civil war left the Alliance further weakened militarily. With the loss of the 11th Fleet, the Alliance had only the 1st Fleet and the Yang Fleet as frontline forces. With the 1st Fleet stationed as garrison for Heinessen, and the Yang Fleet stationed at Iserlohn Fortress, the Alliance had only local security squadrons to patrol its territory. This further weakening of the Free Planets Star Fleet would mean the Alliance would be severely outnumbered when the Galactic Empire invaded in 799 UC (1 NIC / 490 IC / 3599 CE). The leaders of the military also lost much public support, with people like Kubersly, Dawson and Bewcock barely tolerated because of their staunch — if largely ineffectual — opposition to the coup.
In contrast with most of the military, however, Yang Wen-li and his forces were hailed as heroes. It was later pointed out by several people — including Yang himself — that 'Miracle' Yang would have likely been able to install himself as benevolent dictator at this point, although Yang refused to even entertain the notion.
The destruction of the Artemis Necklace was another weakening that would have future consequences. The loss of the Necklace defence system meant the Imperial assault and landing on Heinessen in 799 UC (1 NIC / 490 IC / 3599 CE) proceeded more swiftly than it would have if the Necklace had still been operational. The swift fall of Heinessen and the capitulation of the Alliance government resulted in the ending of the Battle of Vermilion just before the victorious Yang Fleet was about to open fire on the Brünhild and Reinhard von Lohengramm.
Job Trunicht's civilian administration was restored to power with the downfall of the NSMC. The civilian backlash against the brutality of the NSMC's brief rule cemented Trunicht's hold on power. However a lingering mistrust of the military would remain in the politicians. Despite Yang's role in the restoration of civilian government, the politicians were wary of Yang's concentration of power and feared a second coup. These fears would result in Yang being summoned for an illegal hearing in 798 UC (489 IC / 3598 CE), leaving Iserlohn Fortress vulnerable to Imperial attack.
Even Yang's political ally João Rebelo developed an enduring distrust of the military, which would be borne out as his death came at the hands of elements of the Alliance military seeking favour with the New Galactic Empire.