|Twelfth Battle of Pendleton
|Date||January 26, 3400|
|Location||Pendleton, the Outback|
The Twelfth Battle of Pendleton was a space battle fought on January 26, 3400 between forces of an international coalition led by the United Star Kingdom of New Anglia against the Free Republic of Pendleton and the Collectors. It was also the background for a Centralite "rescue" attempt that the Anglian contingent stumbled upon, resulting in the capture of the stealth ship Datton.
- 1 Order of Battle
- 2 Prelude
- 3 The Battle
- 4 Datton Incident
- 5 Aftermath
Order of Battle
The Coalition fleet, under Admiral Lord John Fisher of the New Anglian Royal Navy, consisted of the following ships from the following nations:
Total Force: $5,385 Starships, $282 Combat Spacecraft, $128 Troop Transport Ships
- HMS Dauntless (flagship) ($225)
- HMS Imperator ($225)
- HMS Minotaur ($225)
- HMS Ruthless ($225)
- HMS Sentinel ($225)
- HMS Challenger ($225)
- 6 Myrmidon class destroyers ($40)
- 6 Campton class corvettes ($20)
- numerous troop transports
Total Anglian commitment: $1,710 Starships, $120 Combat Spacecraft, $60 Invasion Troops ($30 Royal Marines, $30 Elite Army formations)
- Botau (flagship) ($95)
- Makragitswana ($95)
- Sefati ($95)
- Farelan ($95)
- Sepee ($95)
- Lefsifi ($95)
- Sehori ($95)
- Kwanmitz ($95)
- Ocotox ($95)
- Kwahwi ($95)
- Numerous troop transports
Total NenAltKik commitment: $950 starships, $20 troops (all Keta)
- Mercenary cruiser Kilij ($70)
Total Klavostani commitment: $70 Starships
- RSS Annapolis ($75)
- RSS Baltimore ($75)
- RSS Upper Marlboro ($75)
Total Shepistani commitment: $225 Starships
15th Independent Patrol Group [flagship: Sabre class medium cruiser ANS Jeune Femme]
- 5 Sabre class medium cruisers ($75)
- 10 Morghann class light cruisers ($50)
- 10 Inquisiteur class corvettes ($20)
Total Ascendancy commitment: $1075 Starships
Empire Star Republic
- ESNS Niagra ($100)
- ESNS Astoria ($80)
- ESNS St Lawrence ($80)
- ESNS Intrepid ($80)
- ESNS Rochester ($80)
- 8 Knickerbocker class destroyers ($40)
Total ESR commitment: $740 Starships
Clans of Hiigara
- HCNV Gar Naabal ($175)
- HCNV Zhukyovi ($160)
- HCNV Braedlaie ($160)
- HCNV Agerholm ($40)
- HCNV Anderson ($40)
- HCNV Bailey ($40)
Total Hiigaran commitment: $615 Starships, $162 Combat Spacecraft, $48 Invasion Troops (Hiigaran Marines)
- 1 Monolith ($10000) (!?!)
- 4 Viper class cruisers (?)
- 4 Wasp class patrol craft (?)
- 20 Scythe class gunboat (?)
- 50 Mantis class fighter-bomber (?)
- 2 medium cruisers
- 4 destroyers
- undetermined number of smaller fleet elements
Centrality Black Ops Forces
- CNS Datton (Company-sized Black Beret force carried)
During the runup to Twelfth Pendleton, it had come to the attention of the Centrality government (under radical interventionist dictator Gabriel Enduvos) that several Centralite citizens had been taken into slavery on Pendleton. The intelligence branch detached an agent to round up these citizens, for fear that they would defect to foreign nations; the exact reason why their defection was viewed with such alarm is unclear. A stealth ship, CNS Datton, was assigned to pick up the agent and citizens. Moreover, in a fit of poor strategic judgment bordering on insanity, Enduvos directed the entire Centralist Fifth Fleet (Admiral Tardis commanding), totalling nearly 7500 points on the S-W scale, to take up position just outside the shoals. This was an attempt to support Datton's operations. The heavier capital ships remained outside the shoals, while a large portion of the fleet screening elements proceeded to the Bannerman system.
The arrival of a Centralist fleet so far from their home space raised major questions about their intentions and would have likely caused a significant international incident in its own right. This was greatly exacerbated when Datton, near Pendleton's south pole, was detected by the Anglian star cruiser HMS Challenger in the aftermath of the battle against the Monolith. After being detected, the operation was accelerated, and Datton entered the planetary atmosphere to pick up the agent, her Black Beret support team, and the former slaves they were planning to repatriate.
Since Challenger was attempting to blockade the planet and prevent the escape of Pendletonian naval forces and smugglers, her captain predictably challenged Datton as to her identity and intentions, calling on the stealth ship to submit to boarding and investigation. At this point, the situation was further complicated when Pendletonian aerospace defense missile batteries opened fire on Datton. The Anglians responded by simultaneously firing a high-energy warning shot across the Centralist ship's bow and laying down covering fire to engage the surface batteries and intercept the missiles attacking her.
Shinra Republic reconnaissance units at Bannerman were the first to detect the arrival of a portion of Fifth Fleet, under the command of Vice Admiral Kordis, but the Centralist ships retreated as soon as they were challenged by the Bannerman blockade force. Meanwhile, the Anglians reacted quickly, mobilizing their Grand Fleet to move to Lochley's Retreat in support of the Bannerman detachment, which was dangerously outgunned in the event of Centralist attack, even if the Centralist capital ships stayed out of the battle.
The situation was increasingly tense. Communications with Datton were limited by shoal conditions, while Admiral Tardis was under intense pressure from Enduvos himself to (somehow!) bring the operation to a quick close in spite of his being two days away from Datton and in no position to do anything about events at Pendleton. Meanwhile, Datton managed to pick up the special forces team and the Centralist civilians, exploiting the atmospheric chaos created by nuclear initiations and naval gunfire as the Coalition fleet engaged the planet's surface defenses.
Unfortunately, at this point Commodore Forg, in command on Datton, committed a grave tactical blunder (see Things Not To Do So Your Cloaked Ship Doesn't Get Spotted) by send a max-power hyperwave transmission to Admiral Tardis, informing him of Datton's progress. This completely defeated the purpose of Datton's cloaking device and allowed Challenger to detect and pursue the stealth ship easily.
Faced with imminent disaster, Admiral Tardis decided that the only chance of actually accomplishing his mission was to abandon the pathological secrecy Enduvos has placed around it. He ordered his screen elements to openly contact the Coalition's Bannerman detachment, reveal the situation, and politely ask that Datton be granted safe passage. At the same time, Commodore Forg panicked and ordered his ship to decloak and open fire on Pendletonian surface installations. This did not endear them to the Anglians, who proceeded to detach destroyers to intercept the stealth ship and opened fire on it with light weapons aimed at thinning out its deflector shields.
The comedy of errors continued when a stray Shepistani Snark missile accidentally targeted the wrong continent and delivered a high-altitude airburst in Datton's vicinity, causing serious EMP damage to a ship already battered by nuclear attack and Anglian naval gunfire. This enabled Challenger to tractor Datton in and prepare for boarding. Forg threatened to engage one of his ship's self-destruct protocols and flood the ship with a deadly neurotoxin. The Anglians, meanwhile, devised a contingency plan to make him stop flooding the ship with a deadly neurotoxin, should he choose to do so.
Negotiations between Vice Admiral Kordis and Rear Admiral Paktu (CO Bannerman detachment) were successful in that they defused tensions between the two fleets, but this had little impact on events at Pendleton itself, where a boarding attempt by the Royal Marines ran into resistance from the reinforced platoon of Black Beret spec-ops troopers on the ship. At this point, Forg resolved to save the lives of himself and his crew by formally surrendering and identifying the Black Berets as renegades, a ploy which was largely successful.
The key lessons of the Datton Incident were that Gabriel Enduvos was an idiot, and that virtually all Centralist officers and agents were more afraid of disobeying him than they were of dying. In hindsight, it is easy to view the colossal failure and humiliation of the incident as the main trigger for the Valentine's Day Coup and Enduvos's death and replacement by the Triumvirate that was to direct Centrality affairs in months to follow.