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Age of War

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The Age of War was a century and a half long period characterized by constant warfare. Officially beginning in 2398 when the Free Worlds League and Capellan Confederation went to war over the Andurien system, fighting soon spread across the entire Inner Sphere. Initially the era was marked by escalating levels of violence and atrocity, until the horrific civilian death toll on Tintavel resulted in the adoption of the Ares Conventions in 2412 by all major powers.

While the Conventions did result in more 'civilized' fighting that usually spared civilians, it also legitimized warfare as 'diplomacy by other means'. The introduction of the BattleMech in 2439 and the rise of the MechWarrior as a latter-day knight ensured that these conflicts became both more frequent and less destructive overall.[1]

Nonetheless, the endless state of war took its toll on all combatants, and by the mid-26th Century peacemaking efforts were begun in earnest by Ian Cameron and Albert Marik. Their efforts resulted in the unification of the Inner Sphere under the Star League in 2571, bringing the Age of War to an end.

BackgroundEdit

Following the Outer Reaches Rebellion and the subsequent withdrawal of the Terran Alliance from nearly all of its colonies, the hundreds of now-free worlds across the nascent Inner Sphere were forced to carve out new destinies for themselves. While some colonies perished, many others successfully forged themselves as interstellar powers in their own right. Throughout the 23rd Century numerous proto-states emerged and during a century-long period (2271 - 2366) these small nations merged by treaty or conquest into five interstellar states ruled by the Great Houses.[2]

Some conflicts had already been fought between these small states or their Great House successors, notably the Terran Hegemony's Campaigns of Persuasion, Shiro Kurita's relentless expansion of his empire, and numerous petty wars fought by the Capellan Zone proto-states with each other or the neighboring Free Worlds League and Federated Suns.[2]

As the 24th Century drew to a close, these localized and relatively short conflicts would give way to an era of endless fighting on a grander scale. A key factor in this change was the growth in centralized, neo-feudal governments with access to far greater resources in population, raw materials, industry and science - all of which could now be redirected from colonial survival to large-scale warfare. State militaries and border world defenses were transformed into technologically sophisticated forces, even as local disputes now risked war between vast empires rather than small states.[2] [3]

Initial Phase (2398-2412)Edit

The Age of War is held to have begun with the First Andurien War in 2398 when Chancellor Kurnath Liao launched a major offensive aimed at reclaiming Andurien, which had been annexed by the Free Worlds League three decades prior. The six-year conflict which followed - which was eventually won by Captain-General Peter Marik - proved to be bloodier than any in recent memory.[4][5]

Only a year after the Andurien War began, the Capellan Confederation was also at war with the Federated Suns. Opening this front with a brutal attack which virtually depopulated Novaya Zemlya, the Capellans were largely successful against House Davion. Forced to fight a largely defensive war while building up its naval strength, the Federated Suns' war effort soon suffered under the rule of weak leaders.[6][7]

The Lyran Commonwealth enjoyed another decade of peace before a surprise offensive by the Draconis Combine began on New Years Day 2407. The next six months saw the Lyran defenders driven from several worlds, even as they resorted to scorched earth tactics which devastated whole continents. The Combine advance was only halted when Archon Alistair Marsden took command of the Combine front and stopped their offensive on Morningside. However, House Kurita's advance had placed its troops barely one jump away from the Lyran capital, and so the Commonwealth moved its seat of government to Tharkad. The Archon then led a successful strike at Vega, crippling a planned Combine thrust into the Federation of Skye, but was killed soon after repelling a Kuritan raid on Menkent. His death resulted in the ascension of his wife to the Archonship, and as a result House Steiner's rule over the Lyran Commonwealth.[8]

In addition to these major offensives, fighting also took place between the Federated Suns and Draconis Combine, whose borders now abutted in the Inner Sphere's spinward half, while the Terran Hegemony also weighed in seeking to reclaim former Terran Alliance colonies.[9]

The Ares Conventions and After (2412-2439)Edit

CC vs FWL, Tintavel and the Ares Conventions (2412)Edit

Main article: Tintavel Tragedy

In 2412 the Free Worlds League attacked the Capellan Confederation world of Tintavel. The reasons and greater context of this attack is unknown, and neither is it know if this was the first battle of the resumed hostilities. The battle escalated, weapons of mass destruction were deployed and excessive civilian deaths resulted. The horrors of the battle prompted Aleisha Liao to instigate the Ares Conventions. The Conventions were signed by the then six great houses, the Rim Worlds Republic and the Principality of Rasalhague. The Taurian Concordat and the United Hindu Collective did not sign the conventions. The Conventions limited warfare in many ways, including fighting outside of urban areas and restricting the use of NBC weaponry. This had the unintended effect of sanitizing warfare and turning it into an acceptable method of settling disputes, leading to the long era of protracted bloodshed.[10][11][12] No further mentions about open conflict between the Confederation and the League can be found until the Second Andurien War starts.

FWL vs LC, the Dieudonne war (2416-2418)Edit

Main article: Dieudonne War

In 2416 the Lyran Commonwealth attacked the Free Worlds League world of Dieudonne. This attack degenerated into a debacle. Shortly afterwards a relief force led by Captain-General Peter Marik drove back the besieging forces and began a counteroffensive into Lyran space. By 2418 planets as far as Rochelle had been conquered and occupied by League forces. At this point, the League Parliament, with forces overextended, agreed to a truce. This respite was to last only two years.[13][14][15]

CC vs TC, The Rim War (2418-2422)Edit

Main article: Rim War

FWL vs LC, Lyrans strike back (2420-2422)Edit

Main article:

In 2420 the Lyrans started an offensive to retake worlds lost 2416-18 to the League. The League Parliament choose Joseph Stewart as Captain-General, after Peter Marik turned down the offer. The conflict was a major victory for the Lyrans, allowing them to retake and conquer several worlds. The Lyrans abandoned the offensive when they were satisfied by their gains. The League-Lyran front was quiet until 2427.[16][17]

FWL vs LC, Bolan and getting bogged down (2427-2440)Edit

Main article:

In 2427 the Lyrans started an offensive to conquer Bolan. While the Lyrans managed to capture Bolan and Kamenz, Captain-General Terrence Marik managed to turn the offensive into a costly grinding that went on for several years.[18][19][20]

Debut of the Battlemech (2439-2475)Edit

Endless War (2475-2550)Edit

Winding Down (2550-2571)Edit

The Age of War came to close when the Terran Hegemony negotiated a settlement, ironically between the League and Confederation over Andurien. Though they signed this agreement in 2556, 2550 is traditionally considered the end of the Age of War.[citation needed]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Handbook: House Marik, p. 15, 17
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Era Digest: Age of War, p. 4
  3. House Kurita (The Draconis Combine), p. 29
  4. Handbook: House Marik, p. 15, 17
  5. Handbook: House Liao, p. 18, 24
  6. Handbook: House Liao, p. 24
  7. Handbook. House Davion, p. 25-26
  8. Handbook: House Steiner, p. 17-18
  9. Era Digest: Age of War, p. 4-5
  10. Era Digest: Age of War, p. 5, 13
  11. Handbook: House Marik, p. 18
  12. Handbook: House Liao, p. 19
  13. Handbook: House Steiner, p. 19
  14. Handbook: House Marik, p. 18
  15. Field Manual: Free Worlds League, p. 7
  16. Handbook: House Marik, p. 18
  17. Field Manual: Free Worlds League, p. 7
  18. Handbook: House Marik, p. 18
  19. Handbook: House Steiner, p. 19
  20. Field Manual: Free Worlds League, p. 7

BibliographyEdit