STAR FLEET BATTLES

HISTORY

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE
GENERAL WAR
Copyright (c) 1995 Amarillo Design Bureau

    The General War was the largest and longest conflict ever fought in the Milky Way Galaxy. Volumes have been written on every aspect of the War; this brief outline is intended as a general guide for further research into the subject.
    This history is written primarily from Federation records and, as such, does not cover in any detail those operations that did not directly involve or affect the United Federation of Planets. Even in the case of Federation operations, only the more important and decisive campaigns are covered. (Some minor but well-known incidents are mentioned to provide the reader with a historical context.)

THE FOUR POWERS WAR, Y158-Y162

    The last of the small regional wars involved the Klingons and Lyrans against their enemies, the Kzintis and Hydrans, from Y158 to Y162. The war was savage (being the first to have large numbers of ships involved) but ultimately just another border war as the state of logistics made any deep strikes into enemy territory impossible to support. The logistical systems that would allow such deep attacks were developed in the last days of the Four Powers War, and were perfected in time for the next one.
    The Four Powers War was significant, however, for a radical technological innovation (previously known only to the Hydrans) that changed the galaxy forever: warp engines small enough to power armed shuttles. These rapidly evolved into "fighters" which dominated war for the next two decades. Coupled with the new faster drones, war was about to become more affordable and dangerous.

ASSAULT ON THE KZINTIS, Y168

   The animosity between the Lyrans and Kzintis is perhaps the most famous, and most violent, in the galaxy. Based on economic competition, but worsened by racism, the feud between them had produced several wars over the previous decades. (The Lyrans also have a racial hatred for the Hydrans, and it could be argued that this is actually worse than their animosity toward the Kzintis. It is possible that the Federation-Kzinti friendship has made the Federation more aware of the intra-feline conflict.)
    The Lyrans and Klingons had been negotiating terms for an alliance in a new (regional) war since at least Y166. The objective was to exploit a diplomatic rift between the Kzintis and Hydrans and destroy one of them before the other became involved. The Klingons wanted to attack the Hydrans first, since they were the weaker enemy, had no allies able to provide direct support (unlike the Kzintis who might obtain support from the Federation), and could be defeated more swiftly. The Lyrans were deeply divided among themselves. Some were concerned that the Kzintis, with new drone technology, were rapidly becom-ing too dangerous to ignore.
    Others agreed with the Klingons that it would be better to destroy the weaker Hydrans first. The Klingons had offered the Lyrans various items of new technology (pods, the UIM and DERFACS fire control systems) as an inducement to the Lyrans to accept their war plan. The Lyran Emperor had decided to accept the Klingon plan to attack the Hydrans, despite the strong objections of several of the Dukes and Counts, when a battle between a Lyran and Kzinti cruiser left the Emperor's son dead and the Emperor enraged. The Emperor, combining his rage with the political power of the "anti-Kzinti faction", finally decided on the northern strategy.
    The Klingons (concerned that the Federation might intervene in a second four-powers war and outraged that the Lyrans had effectively changed the Coalition plan) wanted the Lyrans to attack (the Kzintis) first. Both the Lyrans and Klingons began a massive military buildup during Y167-68. The Kzintis were engaged in their own buildup, deploying their new carriers as rapidly as possible. Increased military activity during this period resulted in a succession of small patrol actions along the Lyran-Kzinti and Klingon-Kzinti borders. The most famous of these pre-war battles, ironically, occurred in March Y168 when Lyran and Kzinti ships coincidentally arrived at the same location at the same time to conduct memorial ceremonies for those who gave their lives in the Four Powers War.

    The Lyrans launched their assault in August of Y168 and quickly destroyed the Kzinti border bases. The Kzinti starbase in that sector was saved (temporarily) due to the timely arrival of elements of the Duke's Fleet (from the Klingon border). Those fleet elements had to move back to their own bases in December when the Kzinti intelligence agency WHISKERS found signs of Klingon mobilization. The Kzintis attempted to disrupt the Klingon war preparations with a series of fighter raids, but were not successful in stopping it. The Klingon assault (in January Y169) quickly smashed the border bases and drove the Kzintis back to their capital. Two Coalition assaults on the Kzinti capital in October Y169 and February Y170 left it devastated but uncaptured.
   
It is significant to note that the Kzintis did not yet fully trust the Federation and maintained a strong squadron of warships on that border even while their capital was under fire. This may have reflected a fractional dispute within the Kzinti command over just how much of a threat the Federation posed, and there were apparently very real concerns (which lasted for some years) that the Federation would effectively absorb the Kzinti Hegemony under the guise of a protectorate.

THE TWO-FRONT WAR, Y169

    The Hydrans attacked the Lyran border in October Y169 with their Home and Second Fleets. The limited operation was intended to recover disputed territory and to show good faith toward the Kzintis (under their mutual defense pact). Their attack was a carefully planned "time on target" strike, with selected Lyran ships targeted for quick destruction. One Hydran force attempted to slip through LDR space to outflank the Lyran defenses, but the LDR forced the Hydrans back to the border. This incident, the first combat action of the Hydran assault, gave the Lyrans enough advanced warning to avoid the disaster that could have resulted.
   
The Hydrans made a strategic mistake, however, in sending their Expeditionary Fleet into Klingon territory in a somewhat curious effort to reach the Federation. This involved the Klingons (who would just as soon have concentrated on capturing the Kzinti capital) in the war against the Hydrans and diverted power away from the Lyrans.

    Had the Hydrans sent the Expeditionary Fleet against the Lyrans instead, they very likely would have conquered most of the Enemy's Blood Duchy while the Klingons simply guarded their own border and watched. (At least until the Kzinti capital fell, at which point the Klingons would doubtless have helped the Lyrans recover their own territory in exchange for a share of Hydran space.)
   
In the event, the Expeditionary Fleet was destroyed before it reached Federation space, and the Klingons turned their attention toward the Hydrans. Strategically, the Hydran error may have unwittingly saved the Kzinti capital, and the diversion of Coalition resources to attack the Hydrans may have been one of the first of many small decisions that would ultimately cost the Coalition their long-sought victory.

DEFENSE OF THE FEDERATION, Y168-Y170

    There had been a series of Fed-Klingon clashes going back several decades, but the frequency of such incidents accelerated, including the Klingon raid on Rita's Planet in Y164 and the significant Battle of Adanerg (Y167) which convinced the Federation to enhance its training at the squadron and fleet level. There were brief moments of common cause against threats, most significantly against the inter-galactic Juggernaut in Y168. The Klingons attempted to establish a foothold in Federation territory at Airsis IV in Y168, but Star Fleet forced the Klingons to withdraw. An accident of astrogeography had resulted in the Fed-eration and Klingons both having bases in the Tyson Star Sys-tem, and these clashed in Y169. The tensions escalated sharply when Kumerian led a raid on the Federation colony on Sherman's Planet later that year, and went up another notch when Klingons attacked a Federation tug in the Neutral Zone and sent a huge asteroid toward a Federation colony the next year.
    The Federation had also had several clashes with the Romulans and Tholians, but clashes with the Kzintis and Gorns had all but ceased. There were increasing pirate operations, particularly in the sparsely-patrolled Survey Area.
   
It should also be noted that a minor skirmish between the Gorns and Romulans was the first combat action of two captains who would become prominent during the War: Romulan Commander Tiercellus and Gorn Captain S'Treleg.

THE FALL OF THE HYDRANS, Y170

-- "He who would defend everything, defends nothing."

    The Hydrans were irrevocably committed to the defense of their capital, and this ultimately led to their defeat in the initial stages of the General War. The Hydrans remembered their earlier defeat and the fact that they had only thrown off the yoke of Klingo-Lyran occupation some 35 years earlier. There were many Hydrans still living who remembered the pain of that earlier occupation, and their determination not to allow the home world to undergo occupation again resulted in rigid "die in place" and "no retreat" operations that made defeat inevitable. Holding that capital against the combined Klingon-Lyran assault was impossible, and trying to do so simply allowed the bulk of the Hydran fleet to be trapped and destroyed. (There was apparently some debate within the Hydran command about whether to abandon the capital, but once the Lyrans destroyed the only battle station between the capital and the Old Colonies, retreat became physically impossible and the debate became academic.)
    During the initial mobile stages of the campaign, both the Hydrans and the Coalition launched a series of raids on each other's logistical systems. The Hydrans came off the worse in the exchange. The Hydrans did, however, humiliate the Klingons by capturing the D7 battlecruiser Anarchist and using it in combat against its former masters.
    The Hydrans lost about 20% of their fleet in the ill-fated Expedition, and another 60% in the vain defense of Hydra, leaving only a fraction of their former firepower to escape to the Old Colonies and build again. The Coalition, with no information on the Old Colonies (and thinking that there was relatively little economic base there despite the fact that whatever economy was present had been enough to eject the Klingons and Lyrans a half-century before) elected not to launch a long and possibly endless pursuit into the unknown region. Such a campaign might well have taken two or three years, and there was still a war to be fought in Kzinti space. The Coalition appears to have believed (or at least wanted to believe) that there would be time to follow and wipe out the Hydrans after the Kzinti capital fell.
    The Lyrans (with some Klingon support) attempted to build and maintain a chain of bases to guard against the eventual return of the Hydrans from the Old Colonies. Once the Hydrans had established production facilities in the Old Colonies, they launched a series of raids and strikes that made the five-year "battle of the line" into one of the longest and most desperate of the entire war. It eventually became a "bleeding ulcer" to Coalition strength, draining combat power that could have been better employed on the Kzinti or Federation front. This line of bases held until Y178, when it collapsed, and the Lyrans quickly retreated to the original border in a bid to establish what amounted to a tacit separate peace with the Hydrans.
   
There were many tactical battles in Hydran space from Y171 through Y185, but the Hydrans were never again a strategic threat. At one point, the Romulan squadron led by Admiral Roxanna Vulpes was deployed to this theater, resulting in the tiny handful of historical Romulan-Hydran battles. The Romulans remained only a few months, despite having originally been assigned to remain there for at least two years.

THE GATHERING STORM

    By Y171, the Klingons and Lyrans were on the verge of victory. The Hydrans were defeated and effectively out of the war, and the Kzintis were barely hanging onto a capital that had been reduced to rubble. The Kzintis were at the point of suing for peace on any terms they could get when the Federation, alarmed at the prospect of a Klingon Empire that could nearly equal its economic power, began taking a serious interest in the war. The Federation began its own arms buildup and was on the verge of providing the Kzintis massive economic support and sending the 4th Fleet into Kzinti space.
    The Klingons, who had been watching the Federation "wake up" and build up its forces, became seriously alarmed at the prospect of a widened war. The Empire's strategic plan was originally to wait at least ten years (after conquering the Kzinti capital) before considering a war with the Federation.
    The Klingons attempted to defuse the situation diplomatically with a protest to the Organians. They argued that Federation interference was about to prolong a war that should be ending, and noted that the result of that war would be a situation far more stable than the previous three decades had been. The Organians remained silent on the question for reasons that have never been fully understood. The Klingons began extensive probing of the Neutral Zone and found that the decrease in Organian interference was rapidly accelerating. While historians continue to argue whether the Organians were allowing a war consciously or were simply involved in some other matter and not paying attention, the eventual result was the same.
    As sporadic conflict along the Federation-Klingon Neutral Zone escalated, the Federation began to mobilize. The Klingons recognized that a mobilized Federation was a very dangerous opponent and were unable to conceive of a defensive mobilization (which some Federation historians continue to insist it was). The Klingons faced a difficult choice. The Federation seemed determined to intervene in the Klingo-Kzinti War, and the Federation buildup was rapidly making any Klingon attack on the Federation a less certain proposition than it had been before.
   

KLINGON INVASION OF THE FEDERATION, Y171

    When the Organians ultimately disappeared in mid-Y171, the Klingons decided to be the masters of their own fate, rather than waiting to see what fate the Federation would provide for them. They invaded the Federation on 2 August Y171, swiftly destroying the border stations and driving the Federation back 2,000 to 3,000 parsecs by the end of Y172. The savage battles of the doomed border forces, including the cruiser Hood and the Ghostlight fighter squadron, have passed into legend.
    The Federation was able to bring the 4th (Kzinti border) and most of the 5th (Gorn border) fleets into action, but raids by Romulan "privateers" (which escalated through Y172) kept the powerful 6th Fleet tied down. Federation counter-attacks were local affairs, and their own Operation Hydra (a drive to reach Hydran space and help the Hydrans get back into the fight) destroyed one Klingon battle station before being badly defeated and forced to retreat. Most of the survivors of this expedition were trapped at Starbase #15. The Orions declared neutrality. The Klingons were, however, able to penetrate Federation space and send Ambassador Thad Vak Kaleen to the Romulan capital to discuss their alliance. It has often been speculated that the successful arrival of Kaleen on Romulus was the most significant and far-reaching event of the year.
    The Lyrans, not particularly happy with the developing strategic situation, recognized that it could not be helped and took over most of the Kzinti and Hydran fronts as well as sending a squadron to the Federation front.
    The newly-formed Klingon Northeast Fleet drove into the Fed-Kzinti border area, destroying the Kzinti starbase there but failing to destroy the Federation starbase as well. While this operation did succeed in tripling the length of travel between the Federation and Kzinti capitals, it did not completely sever that length, and the combat power expended here came from that which had been assembled for a final attack on the Kzinti home world, an attack that never happened.
   
By the end of Y172, the Federation situation was grave and could not possibly get much worse.

ROMULAN INVASION OF THE FEDERATION, Y173

    Then it got worse. The Day of the Eagle (4 January Y173) dawned, and the Romulan Fleet drove across the Federation border, smashing two starbases (those of the 6th and 7th Fleets) and eight battle stations of the "paper tiger" of the 6th Fleet, driving 2,000 parsecs into the Federation in two months and another 1,000 by the end of the year. The attack might have been more successful, even decisively so, except for a series of disasters. One Romulan attack force launched its operation prematurely and was badly disrupted by the cruiser Republic. The command cruiser Lexington became aware of the attack hours before it began (after rescuing a Federation spy) and launched an pre-emptive strike across the Romulan border, destroying several Romulan ships and alerting the 6th Fleet.

The Romulan decision to enter the General War is a fascinating study area. The Romulans were faced with three options:

Even after the initial attack was less than successful, the overwhelming power of the Romulan attack rolled the Federation forces back sharply, with the line stabilizing more than halfway to Earth.
    Somehow, the Federation hung on, although the fleet assembled to relieve the siege of Starbase #15 had to be sent to stop the Romulans instead. (Starbase #15 finally fell on 10 March Y173 to an assault by the 3rd Klingon Marine Division.) With what was left of the economy on full wartime production, the shipyards produced new fleets to replace those lost and the front line stabilized less than 2,000 parsecs from Earth.
    In the fall of Y173, the Coalition offered the Federation "an honorable peace" which would result in "demilitarization" of the Federation's outer provinces (which would then be policed by Coalition "peacekeeping" patrols). After much debate, Federation Council Chairman Buckner won a motion to accept the offer by a single vote. After months of intense negotiation of the finer points, Chairman Buckner met with Klingon Ambassador Extraordinaire Kaleen and Romulan Praetor Maxillus on Christmas Day Y173 for the formal ceremony. For reasons that are not entirely clear, the peace conference collapsed into a wild melee and Vice Chairman Baranov succeeded Buckner.
   
Baranov, a human dynamo of energy who had made a fortune in industry before retiring to run for public office, inspired the military command with new confidence and announced that nothing would be acceptable short of victory. While Baranov had no military experience at all, he was a quick study, and in his autobiography To Preserve the Federation, he emphasized that his policy was to let the military plan the operations within overall strategy directives from the council. (This contrasted sharply with Buckner, who held the rank of major general in the Earth National Guard and regarded himself as a tactical genius. It was noted, however, that his constant meddling with Star Fleet operations and deployments followed a consistent theme of assigning ships to protect the home planets of his most powerful political allies.)

THE WAR OF THE DEVASTATED ZONES, Y174-Y175

    During Y174 and Y175, the war raged back and forth across the "devastated zones", the area of Federation territory within 3,000 parsecs of the original border. Occasional Alliance raids reached the fringes of Coalition territory. The Orion Pirates sharply increased their raids (and the combat power of their ships) during this period.
    The entry of the Gorns into the General War in Y174 (a victory for the Federation diplomatic corps) changed little except for the length of the front line. (The Romulans had already pulled forces out of Federation territory to defend against an expected Gorn attack.)
    The Klingons and Romulans launched several raids on the Federation home worlds during this period, but never made a serious attempt to capture them.
    A faction of the Kzinti government attempted to negotiate a separate peace with the Klingons during Y174, but this effort collapsed when a "palace coup" by the Patriarch himself eliminated the defeatist faction. This was the nadir of the Grand Alliance; from that point on cooperation between the major Allies increased steadily.
    This period of the War was known for a series of unusual incidents and battles, including the famous mutiny on the Demonslayer, the rescue by Commodore Radey of a Federation squadron trapped in stasis fields, the mutiny of an entire squadron of Klingon ships from the mothball reserve fleet, a mysterious battle between a Federation NCL and an unknown (but extremely powerful) Klingon frigate (which thereafter disappeared and never reappeared), and (perhaps the most unusual incident of all) the wild battle around the Orion station known as Mad Jack's Hole.
    The Federation gained steadily in the overall balance, and the Coalition gradually lost the ability to control the conduct of the war. The initiative reached parity when the Hydrans, with a new shipyard fully operational in the Old Colonies, began launching a series of major assaults on the Lyran "Firewall" bases that began "the battle of the line".

OPERATION WEDGE, Y176

    With the front line stabilized and the Federation economy churning out new ships faster than the Coalition could kill them (and the Coalition economy just beginning to falter), the Federation went on the strategic offensive in Y176. Knowing full well that any offensive would have to be limited in scope and focused on a specific and valuable objective, Star Fleet Command decided on a drive toward the Tholians to separate the Klingons and Romulans. Such a move would divide the Coalition (preventing them from moving supplies and ships back and forth), make optimum use of the Federation's interior lines, draw ships from both the major Coalition powers away from the badly damaged Federation Allies, reduce the effectiveness of the Romulan KR class ships by cutting them off from spare parts they could not supply themselves, and ultimately allow the Alliance to force a separate peace on the Romulan Star Empire.
    The Federation drive was coordinated with a Hydran assault on the Lyran Firewall bases and with a Gorn feint at the Romulan home worlds. The Klingon front was disrupted by a deep raid by Commodore Mitchell's squadron, which destroyed a key Lyran supply base, forcing the Lyran fleet on the Federation front to transfer back to the Kzinti sector (or, perhaps, just giving the Lyrans an excuse to do so.)
    This plan had several advantages. Striking at the junction of Klingon and Romulan space would take advantage of the divided command. The Tholians were fiercely neutral, despite several minor Coalition attacks on their borders, and would in effect move the edge of the galaxy closer to the Federation start lines. The neutralized Orion cluster would, under the right circumstances, return to full membership in the Federation, allowing the bloodless conquest of one-third of the necessary distance to the Tholian border.
   
Several alternative operations for the first Federation strategic counter-offensive (as opposed to the numerous local counterattacks) were considered and rejected. These included:

    Ultimately, of course, the plan succeeded. Strong drives knocked out key Klingon and Romulan bases, and a swift maneuver encircled the Orion enclave and forced them (although not the pirate fleet) to return to the Federation. The second stage of the drive in the fall of Y176 reached the Tholian border, and the Tholians tentatively accepted a "friendly power" status just short of an outright alliance.
    All through the year, there were continual operations along the front line between the Federation and the Klingons and Romulans. In one such battle, a Klingon fleet launched a deep raid behind Federation lines but were barely able to escape after their frigate squadron (the deepest penetrating unit) was trapped and annihilated.
   
During Y176, there was a brief attempt by one Romulan commander (Admiral Tiercellus) to negotiate a separate peace (not for the Romulans; just for his fleet) with the Gorns. Alliance historians regard this as a false effort used to trap a key Gorn warship, but Coalition historians (noting that if it was a trap, they went to a great deal of trouble to destroy one Gorn ship) insist that it was a genuine effort and the cloaked ships in the area were simply there to guard against Gorn treachery. This was the most significant event in a year of continuous combat on the Gorn-Romulan border.

OPERATION NUTCRACKER, Y177

    With the links between them cut, the Coalition began a series of attacks on the Federation to regain the territory and reopen the routes. When these failed, the Coalition (perhaps in frustration) looked at Tholian territory as a possible new route. This was a another strategic mistake that would change the course of the General War and the nature of the alliances.
    The Klingons (based on the success of a local attack by a fighter swarm that destroyed a Tholian BATS) reasoned that the Tholians could be easily conquered (the cost of the operation was to be offset by the captured resources) and that the Federation was too over-extended to give them any significant aid. The Tholians occupied what had once been Klingon territory, and the Klingons had long wanted it back. The Lyrans argued against the drive, saying it would simply add dozens of ships to the Alliance forces. The Romulans argued against it because their cloaked ships were vulnerable to web.
    The Romulans did launch the last raid on the Federation home worlds, devastating Rigel IV. The loss of the dreadnought Consul in that attack brought an end to strategic penetration attacks by the Coalition. Thereafter, the Romulans made only token attacks but did tie down some Alliance forces.
    The Klingons insisted and launched a series of furious attacks that lasted the entire year. All new Klingon production was thrown into the operation, along with the strategic reserves. The Klingons finally pulled out of the "firewall" bases on the Hydran front, leaving them to the Lyrans. The Lyrans "temporarily" took over sections of Kzinti territory to release Klingon fleets for the attack and (for the one and only time) sent a full squadron of ships to the Tholian border. Some Lyran ships returned to the Federation border, but the limited logistical support in that sector made it difficult to support them, and the Federation continually raided their tenuous supply line, keeping them from being effective.
    In a desperate panic, the Tholians allowed Gorn and Kzinti squadrons to enter their space and participate in the defense against the Klingon (and to a lesser extent Romulan) onslaught. This was the first significant deployment of Kzinti and Gorn forces outside of their own territory, and the first outside of the range of their own supply lines, and provided valuable lessons for future operations, such as REMUS.
    As the year dragged on, the Klingons pulled specialist ships (maulers, carriers) off the Federation border for the attack on the Tholians. By December, the Tholians had lost virtually everything except their capital, and that had been devastated.
    At the very moment of victory, in the spring of Y178, the Klingons encountered a new Tholian force, the Neo-Tholian 312th Battle Squadron. The exhausted Klingons were unable to develop tactics against this new technology in time and were forced back away from the Tholian capital with losses. The Romulans were ejected completely from Tholian territory. The crisis had passed, but the war had changed forever, and not in the Coalition's favor.
   
In the final analysis, the Klingons (who must take the blame because they championed the ill-fated campaign) made a major error in attacking the Tholians. The operation failed, and worse it destroyed the last strategic reserves of Klingon ships. (The last Lyran reserves were lost in a dozen small indecisive battles on the Kzinti and Hydran fronts.) The strategic initiative passed firmly into Alliance hands. The episode enhanced the cooperation of the Alliance (by the deployment of fleets outside of their home theaters) and added a new (if minor) power (the Tholians, with their ships and resources) to the Alliance as the Lyrans had warned. It weakened the links between the Klingons and the Romulans (who blamed each other for the failure) and effectively ended their alliance and reduced them to mere co-belligerents.

THE BALANCE OF POWER, Y178-180

    After the failure of Operation Nutcracker, the Coalition (particularly the Klingons) was at a severe disadvantage in total forces available due to the steadily eroding economic situation. The Federation was able to push the Klingons and Romulans back to the original borders, where they ran into the original network of Coalition bases that had been steadily upgraded during ten years of war. Here the Federation advance stalled. The advent of fast patrol ships turned the war into one of attrition, and the campaign developed into trench warfare.
    The Gorns and Romulans fought several major battles. One of them, the Battle of Demlac in Y178, is the best known because of the renowned Flight of the Archeopteryx that followed the debacle. In another major battle, the Gorns, Romulans, and Federation fought over the ruins of an ancient civilization, and the incident caused a brief rift in the Fed-Gorn alliance. During Y178, the Romulan NovaHawk cruiser Loyal Hawk broke through the blockade, one of the last major Romulan warships to do so.
    Y179 was a year marked by heavy fighting on the Fed-Klingon front, including the first Federation attacks into Klingon space in several years. Klingon G1 PFs appeared on the Federation front for the first time. On the Romulan front, the new Decurion Interceptors presaged a difficult time for the Gorns and the Federation. The Tholians managed to restore their borders and rebuild their defensive bases, effectively establishing a tacit ceasefire. They refused to provide ships to support Alliance operations in Romulan space because of the heavy fighting in their own space. A combined Tholian-Gorn-Kzinti force defeated the last serious Romulan threat to the Holdfast.
    During this period, the Vudar Enclave finally broke completely away from the Klingon Empire and became an independent political entity. While they expanded over the following years, their strategic effect was limited as neither the Klingons nor the Hydrans had any forces to spare for another fighting front and the Klingon economic loss was minor.
   

THE ROMULAN CAMPAIGN PLAN OF Y180

    Several years of attrition battles had been fought in the devastated zones, and the Romulans were the last Coalition power capable of a strategic offensive.
[Note: Entire fleets will be desig-nated by the flagship, which was invariably a capital ship. For the Romulans, these flagships included: Condors Imperator, Proconsul, Senator, and Gemini; Condor-Vs Colossus and Leviathan; the K9R Behemoth; and the SuperHawk-B Imperial Standard.] The Romulan deploy-ments at the start of Y180 were as follows:

Imperator, with the 2nd Star Legion, was poised for Operation Tribune (an attack on the Gorns). In support was Colossus with the 1st Star Legion.

Gemini, with the 3rd Star Legion, was on the Federation border, as was the Imperial Standard, with 5th Star Legion, and the Behemoth, with the 4th Star Legion.

Proconsul was with the just-forming 7th Star Legion, defending the frontier against new incursions by the recently encountered Interstellar Concordium.

    A small squadron remained on the Tholian border, but the Romulans had reached a tacit non-aggression pact with the Holdfast, freeing ships for the Federation border. This move by the Tholians was not popular in the Federation Council, but as no formal treaty had been signed, the Federation could not in fact "prove" that any such agreement existed.
    A good deal has been written about the "controversy" of assigning the Senator and Leviathan to the shipyards at Romulus and Remus, respectively. These ships were eventually completed as Space Control Ships. Senator became the first (and last) of the "ROC" class, which carried PFs but no fighters; Leviathan became the first (but not last) of the "Phoenix" class, which carried both PFs and fighters. Leviathan, which entered the yard undamaged, should have been completed by the end of Y182, but was delayed as we shall presently see. Senator, which had been badly damaged in Y179, could not be completed before mid-Y183.
    The assignment of these ships to multi-year conversion projects has, in retrospect, been considered a major error, but was not considered particularly controversial at the time. It really should not be considered as dangerous or foolish, although as the situation developed it became unfortunate. The Romulan economy was crumbling rapidly, and they were economically incapable of starting production of new dreadnought hulls.
    The Romulan attrition campaign of Y180 was carefully planned and should have "run on rails", but in fact it quickly ran off of them.
    The ISC became more aggressive and unwittingly aided the Grand Alliance's plans. Panic swept through the Romulan Star Empire when the first two ISC dreadnoughts appeared on the border and a SparrowHawk disappeared without a trace. The Romulans found it necessary to divert the nearest heavy unit, Colossus and the 1st Star Legion, to the ISC border to support the 7th Star Legion. The Romulans then had the choice of canceling Operation Tribune or the other scheduled operation on the Federation border. Deciding (probably correctly) that the Gorns could be knocked out of the war by Tribune while the Federation could only be damaged, the Romulans ordered the Behemoth and the 4th Star Legion to the Gorn border. This created a logistical nightmare, as the KRs had been concentrated on the Federation border to make it easier to maintain them. (The few factories that produced spare parts for the KRs were located near the Tholian border.)
    Only days before Behemoth could arrive, however, the Romulans detected a major shift in the Gorn fleet deployment. The Romulan commander on the scene made a command decision to launch his operation early to take advantage of the opportunity, but this turned out to be another unfortunate error. In the resulting attrition, Imperator was destroyed and most of the 2nd Star Legion's ships were crippled or wrecked. Behemoth and the 4th Star Legion were only barely able to contain the ensuing Gorn counterattack. The Gorn losses were also heavy, and this (along with the need to send more and more Gorn ships to watch the ISC frontier) would have repercussions the next year.
   
On the Federation frontier, the 3rd and 5th Star Legions conducted minor operations against Federation patrols. The lower pressure, however, allowed the Federation to build new battle stations in the devastated zone, capture a key planet in the original Neutral Zone, and assemble a battle fleet to take the offensive.

OPERATIONS ON THE KLINGON FRONT, Y180-Y181

    This was a time of attrition battles on the Klingon front. Federation police ships discovered one group of Klingons which had been left behind during the retreat. The first X-ships reached the front lines, but they were not present in sufficient numbers to have a strategic effect.
    The Kzinti offensive reached Zamyan, retaking that planet from the Lyrans, and destroyed a newly-built Lyran base. Federation ships were operating in Kzinti space in support of the offensive against the Lyrans. The newly-formed Kzinti Fi-Con unit proved fatally flawed in its first battles and was relegated to rear-area service thereafter. The Klingon 77th Gunboat Division, using new tactics to concentrate more PFs into a single battle zone, devastated several Federation squadrons. In a minor operation with major implications, Admiral Kumerian (head of the northern training fleet) arranged to trap and destroy a Kzinti drone bombardment cruiser. This brought him to the attention of the Emperor, who would later decide to give that officer a field command that would prove unfortunate.
    The WYN conducted their most extended operation to date, sending a raiding force all the way to the Federation border in Y180. The Lyrans launched their ill-fated invasion of the WYN Cluster in Y181, losing several major ships.
   

OPERATION REMUS, Y181

    The Grand Alliance launched Operation Remus early in Y181. This was a three-pronged offensive. A Federation fleet, including the CVA MacArthur, was aimed directly at the nearer Romulan capital (Remus) from a new base in the original Neutral Zone. A Gorn fleet drove into Romulan territory and was supposed to rendezvous with MacArthur at Remus.
    The Kzinti fleet (headed by the SCS Titan and the PFT Unicorn) was to screen the open rimward flank of the Federation force by operating independently on their right. [This force was the same one that was originally deployed in Tholian space.] This was the key to Operation Remus. The Romulans did not suspect that a Kzinti fleet was anywhere near their territory, assuming that the expeditionary fleet (which had disappeared from Tholian territory) had gone home.
    The Federation attack engaged the 5th Star Legion and destroyed the heavy carrier Imperial Standard. The MacArthur then headed straight for Remus.
    The Gorns, however, had less success. With a weaker fleet due to their previous losses and strong Romulan forces in their sector (which was a shorter path from the front line to the Romu-lan capital), they were unable to drive directly toward Remus but were diverted west toward the Federation. The Gorn admiral reasoned that by rendezvousing with the Federation and Kzinti forces to the west of Remus, they could make a concerted drive on the capital. In any event, this rendezvous never took place, freeing some Romulan ships for use against the Federation. (Later, there would be sharp words from the Federation council to the Gorn ambassador, who was able to restore the good image of his race as allies only by promising to send a fleet to Operation Cavalry.)
    The Romulans positioned the Gemini and the 3rd Star Legion to hit the MacArthur from the flank, but the Kzinti fleet, which was operating in the chaos of the Romulan rear, caught the Romulans at anchor. The badly broken 3rd Star Legion, with the gutted Gemini in tow, retreated into the relatively unoccupied areas of the Empire near the galactic rim. Gemini would be repaired, but not for three years.
    The Kzintis, reasoning that their job was to screen and that they had eliminated everything worth screening, withdrew on the pretext of a minor Klingon attack on the Kzinti front. This action, considered treachery by many in the Federation, ultimately worsened (although it did not cause) the disaster.
    The MacArthur finally reached Remus, destroying virtually every military and industrial facility in the entire system. Leviathan and several other ships under construction but still incomplete had been towed to Romulus and were saved, but everything else was lost.
    The battle was not, however, entirely a Romulan defeat. Some ten flotillas of the new PFs, until then untested in battle, ripped into the Federation fleet. They ignored all other ships, concentrating their attack on the "Big Mac". At terrible loss, they were successful, and MacArthur (unable to separate its saucer section) crashed into the planet. It landed uncontrolled directly into the capital city (also called Remus), at which point the nuclear reactors exploded in a 174-megaton explosion. The entire planet was reduced, quite literally, to the stone age in the ensuing planet-wide earthquake and the brief "nuclear winter" that kept the planet shrouded in clouds for three years.
   
As the Federation fleet withdrew, however, they were attacked by the 1st Star Legion and Colossus, which had picked up PFs at Romulus and then penetrated the gap left by the Kzintis. Advised of what had happened to Remus (which was the home world for many of the officers and crewmen of the Romulan fleet), the Romulans pressed home their attacks with a ferocity which, even for Romulans, was incomprehensible. Most of the Federation force was destroyed in the long pursuit that followed.

THE AFTERMATH OF OPERATION REMUS

    The Federation urged its allies to launch a renewed offensive against the Romulans in Y182. They reasoned that with only a handful of dreadnoughts on the front line, two-thirds of the Romulan empire literally burned to the ground, and the imperial fleet in tatters, actual conquest (or subjugation) of the Romulans was possible. This would solve a long-term problem that had faced the Federation and Gorns for more than a century.
    The problem was that no such offensive was possible without drawing one Federation fleet and one Kzinti fleet from the Klingon-Lyran theater. The Kzintis flatly refused and presented good arguments in favor of their position. (Two Federation fleets could not be transferred, as the Kzintis would have had to divert parts of their fleet to defend Federation territory.) While the subjugation of the Romulan Star Empire would solve Federation and Gorn problems, it would do nothing for the Kzintis (at least not immediately). The Kzintis also considered the key victory of the Operation Remus campaign (that of their own expeditionary fleet) to have been a matter of sheer luck that could not be counted on again. Moreover, the Romulans, even left to themselves, would not become a threat to the Federation and Gorns for at least a decade. The Grand Alliance then turned its attention to the Klingons. Considering that the fleets that would have been required as garrisons would have been no smaller than those left on combat patrol, there is little validity in claims that the war would have turned out any more favorably for the Alliance.
    The Romulans rushed to get the ROC Senator into service, but then repaired Gemini (it was not converted to an SCS) before completing the conversion of Leviathan. Romulan DN strength, which had been eight in Y178, fell to only three (Colossus, Proconsul, and Behemoth), although this increased to six by the end of Y184 with the completion of Leviathan and Senator and the repair of Gemini. They also converted Superhawk cruisers to the questionable Killerhawk and ThunderHawk designs.
   
Their efforts were devoted exclusively, from that point, to retaining what was left of their economy. Low-level attrition battles continued through Y185, but there were no major operations in the Romulan theater that could affect the course of the war. The Romulans (and the Gorns) devoted more and more of their forces to the ISC frontier.

THE RETURN OF THE KING

    The Hydrans launched a continuing series of attacks on the Lyran Firewall Bases during Y173-Y178 without success. One of the most spectacular failures came in Y176, when a Hydran squadron was trapped with its back to a gas giant and cut to ribbons by Klingon forces. The Lyrans had begun launching raids into the Old Colonies area to disrupt convoys supporting the forward-deployed Hydran forces.
    The Hydrans managed to destroy the Lyran Firewall Bases during a major offensive in Y178, recapturing their capital in Y180. The Lyrans retreated to the original border, effectively accepting a tacit separate peace. The Klingons continued a fighting retreat through at least Y183, but these were mostly small patrol actions involving attrition units.
   
The Klingon commander on that front knew that he would not receive new ships while the Hydrans would and that, eventually, he must lose the fight and retreat to the original border defenses (which the Hydran fleet would be unable to breach). Before that happened, however, the commander knew that he must extract every credit-worth of resources from what territory he still held. His strategy included establishing PF bases in asteroid fields, leaving them behind during Hydran offensives to disrupt their logistics and open the way for limited counteroffensives.

OPERATION CAVALRY, Y182

    The Klingon-Lyran/Kzinti-Federation front had been stable since it returned to the original border about Y179. Occasional operations punctuated what was otherwise an attrition battle without major changes in ownership of terrain. (The WYNs had taken over the Orion-owned shipyard in the Cluster in Y181.)
    The Klingons had used their last operational reserves for an attack on the WYN Cluster that had not succeeded. (The original commander assigned to this operation, Admiral Korath, had been killed when Federation F-15 fighters had intercepted the PFL he was using for an inspection tour. Command then devolved onto Kommodore Ketrick, the officer who had drawn up most of the plans. Ketrick was killed, but his flagship, the battlecruiser Death, survived the debacle.)
    Shortly after this operation, the WYN frigate Black Dragon made an epic voyage to the LDR to obtain gatling phasers for use on new WYN warships that would take part in the War of Return (after the General War).
    After the success of Operation Remus, the Federation (facing an economy just starting to show the strain of war) sent its major units to the Klingon front and the Gorns deployed a fleet to that theater. (This fleet was, on arrival, found to be about half the strength that the Federation expected.) The joint Alliance Command decided on an operation to destroy the key northern Klingon starbase. The theory was that the destruction of this base would collapse the northern Klingon sector. In one of the prepatory operations to pave the way for Operation Cavalry, the Klingon 77th Gunboat Division was lured into a trap and destroyed.
    The combined "Cavalry" fleets drove into Klingon space, but the Gorn admiral-in-command allowed his forces to be dispersed to engage several smaller Klingon forces. The decisive battle against Kumerian's Red Fleet was an Alliance victory, but a Pyrrhic one as the remaining fleet was inadequate to assault a starbase and was virtually destroyed when it attempted to do so. In a strategic sense, however, the campaign was something of a victory as the last Klingon and Lyran elements were forced out of those parts of Kzinti space they still held. The Kzintis could not, however, make serious headway against the original Lyran and Klingon border defenses, or perhaps they did not try.
    Late in Y182, the Seltorian Tribunal Fleet arrived from the original Tholian home galaxy and began its attrition operations against the Tholians. The only real effect this had was to effectively end Tholian willingness to send expeditionary fleets into the Federation.
   
Also in Y182, an attempt by one Romulan faction to negotiate a separate peace was blocked at Oxvind-V by the last Klingon ships operational in Romulan territory.

END GAME, Y183-Y185

    The remainder of the war was much as the previous years had been, an attrition battle along the original border punctuated by occasional major battles. X-ships began to play a more prominent role and led most key operations. Admiral Kosnett led a year-long attrition campaign on the Klingon front during Y183.
    The Klingons assembled a huge "swarm" force of fighters and PFs in Y184 and, hoping that one major battle would give them the bargaining strength to end the war, launched an attack. Federation Admiral Jack "Cracker Jack" Radey bet the war on a single battle in the resulting Pleiades Turkey Shoot. After the victory, the Federation launched its only major attack on the Klingon capital, but this operation was defeated and accomplished little more than wrecking the incomplete Klingon battleship Inviolable, a major propaganda victory.
    By the end of Y184, the galaxy was literally exhausted, and there was no will in any government to launch new offensives. The ISC was starting to make serious incursions into Gorn and Romulan space, and the Galactic Intelligence Agency was sounding dire warnings of ISC spies operating inside the Federation itself. The appearance of Andromedan Dominators turned that mysterious race from a curious nuisance to a major threat.
    The last serious Klingon attack on the Kzintis destroyed the infamous 23rd Fi-Con Division but accomplished little else.
   
Tentative diplomatic initiatives by many races met with a warm (if grudging) reception, and a general peace agreement ended the General War in the spring of Y185 with the original borders more or less intact.

THE GALAXY AT PEACE

The idea of a Galaxy at Peace lasted only long enough for the media analysts to predict it would last a thousand years.

Within weeks of the end of the General War, a group of disgruntled officers had overthrown the Romulan government, precipitating the Romulan Civil War.

On 14 August Y186, the WYNs launched their War of Return against the Kzintis, sparking months of Civil War.

The Hydrans launched a local operation to recapture the Landfalk system from a former Klingon satrap, but failed.

The ISC launched their "pacification campaign" on 14 February Y186; they had reached the borders of the Lyran Democratic Republic in Y188 when the Andromedan invasion began with a vengeance. The Andromedan War was not effectively over until Operation Unity in Y203-205.

The Trade Wars began shortly thereafter

 

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Updated 8 April 1999