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Mitch Nelson

Mitch Nelson
Affiliation 12th Vegan Rangers
Profession Colonel

Mitch Nelson was the commanding officer of Delta Regiment of the 12th Vegan Rangers between 3028 and 3039.[1][2]

HistoryEdit

He was in command during the Fourth Succession War, and had participated in some operations of the war when the AFFS launched the Fifth Wave of Operation RAT in late April 3029, his unit was assigned to Wei.[3] During the Fifth Wave of Operation RAT Delta Regiment was involved in one of the most high-risk invasions of the campaign. Intent on capturing the planet Wei, the AFFS was particularly concerned about long-term rumors which talked of a Star League era chemical weapons stockpile or facility on the planet. MIIO operatives had been dispatched to Wei to obtain more information on possible locations for the rumored chemical weapons stockpile, but had only been able to identify three possible locations, rather than a definitive location. When the Fourth Succession War began three Rabid Foxes teams were dispatched to destroy the three locations identified, but two teams failed and the one team that did destroy its target was unable to confirm that chemical weapons had been stored there. Contracting mercenary forces to conquer Wei was a compromise within the AFFS High Command, and the AFFS was honest in detailing the likely hazards involved. The Twelfth Vegan Rangers accepted the contract - offered at triple their normal fee - along with the guarantees of the best AFFS mobile medical facilities to care for casualties.[1]

Wei's defending forces were headed up by Sung's Cuirassiers, a heavy 'Mech regiment. The Vegan Rangers deployed Gamma Regiment and Delta Regiments for the invasion, under the overall command of Colonel Mitch Nelson, Delta's Commanding Officer. In addition to the promised medical personnel three armored regiments and four infantry regiments were assigned to support the Rangers. The Rangers deployed in scattered drop zones across the southern continent, surprising the defenders, who had anticipated an attack in Vandannis Valley. The defenders began using chemical weapons on the 3rd of July, initially inflicting heavy casualties on one of the mercenary regiments, the First Stygian Heavy Infantry Regiment, but giving the AFFS forces an opportunity to gather important information on the poison used and its treatment. The Rangers spent two weeks encircling Vandannis Valley and the capital city in the face of further chemical weapon attacks before meeting the heavy defenses near Boganville.[1]

After taking casualties Colonel Nelson gathered his forces and launched an attack using all of the Ranger battalions, three regiments of infantry and two armored regiments. The defenders responded with artillery fire - including shells loaded with the chemical poison, which was later revealed to be the nerve agent UrbStyc-A - followed by a charge from Sung's Cuirassiers that gained momentum against the infantry and armor forces, only to be broken by a frenzied counter-charge from the Rangers, who knew that they had a limited window of time to defeat their opponents and have their equipment scrubbed down and air filters changed before the poison would claim more victims. After a ferocious half-hour battle Sung's Cuirassiers retreated, leaving Wei on the 19th of July. The planetary government surrendered shortly after the Cuirassiers left, leaving Wei in Federated Suns hands. In addition to the casualties among the conventional forces the Rangers had lost two battalions of troops.[1]

Despite ComStar placing the Federated Suns under a communications interdiction after the invasion of Sarna in mid-3029, the Capellan Operations Command of the AFFS received enough positive reports from the fifth wave of Operation RAT to launch the sixth wave in the second week of August 3029. The decision to launch Wave Six was in part driven by contact from planetary governments in the unconquered region of the Sarna Commonality, indicating that the perceived threat of being annexed by the Free Worlds League was prompting a groundswell of opinion among those governments that being absorbed by the Federated Suns was a preferable alternative to being conquered by House Marik. The countless raids and invasions by the Free Worlds League Military over the centuries had embedded an intense hatred of House Marik among the planetary populations within the region, and confidence in the Capellan Confederation's ability to defend them was falling.[4]

Palos was one of the targets of the sixth wave of attacks; defended by the Second Confederation Reserve Cavalry and twenty assorted veteran infantry and tank regiments, Palos had a large population but meager resources. The AFFS assigned Gamma and Delta Regiments of the 12th Vegan Rangers for the attack, supported by a dozen conventional regiments. The landing zones chosen by the Rangers were in the Docarshon Valley, a barren region some two hundred kilometers south the of planetary capital city, Xer, and were contested by the Capellan forces. Capellan aerospace fighters managed to breach the Rangers' fighter screen and severely damaged two Ranger DropShips, the Union-class Vegan Thunder and the Leopard-class Ranger's Creed. Although both DropShips were able to unload their 'Mechs, the Ranger's Creed was destroyed when it tumbled in the atmosphere and crashed on the surface of the planet.[5]

Having been chastised by the Capellan Operations Command for abusive behavior towards the population of Wei, the Rangers attempted to be conciliatory towards the population of Palos. The population complained volubly about damage to crops, prompting the Rangers to attempt to restrict their movement to roads and to limit damage to croplands, up until the 9th of September - when an ambush by the Second CRC inflicted damage on the Rangers by taking advantage of their constrained movement. Incensed by the ambush, Colonel Nelson ordered the Rangers to return to standard tactics, drew a battalion from the Second CRC out of hidden positions in the Xertian Hills and promptly destroyed it, after a publicly recorded refusal on the part of Major Aaron Derfick of the Cavalry to surrender. The recordings of the battle, which also saw damage inflicted on a regiment of infantry and a regiment of armor that had accompanied the Cavalry, were subsequently broadcast to Xer, and prompted the remainder of the Second CRC to withdraw from Palos, leaving the militia to surrender.[5]

During the War of 3039, Delta Regiment was assigned to capture Nashira. Nashira was anticipated to be a hard-fought campaign, given the association between Nashira and the regiments of the Genyosha, and the militia forces on the planet had a ferocious reputation. As a consequence of the challenge Nashira presented, the First FedCom RCT was assigned to support Delta Regiment. Though the First, commanded by Marshal Mira Tran, was notionally the superior unit, it was expected that Colonel Nelson would be in overall command of the campaign strategy. Unfortunately for both commands, Tran didn't share that view.[6]

Nelson's plan for Nashira called for a risky orbital drop against Logan City, a tactic supported by Tran's Executive Officer, Leftenant General Vonda de Greer. While Tran disagreed, she was willing to see the Rangers take risks ahead of his own troops. Delta landed roughly twenty kilometers west of Logan City, with the First Battalion landing first via an orbit-to-surface drop on the 1st of May. The First Battalion was attacked immediately by militia forces - a regiment of infantry and a battalion of armor - but the militia didn't represent a significant threat to the grounded 'Mechs, although they would have inflicted significantly heavier damage if they'd been able to catch the troops deploying from their DropShips on the ground.[6]

The First FedCom landed outside Ogawa, a spaceport city some fifty kilometers south of Delta's landing zone, and landed on the 5th of May without securing their landing zone first. Assured of the superiority of his own troops, Tran was caught completely off-guard along with the rest of the First FedCom when the militia immediately attacked using both conventional and unconventional attacks. Even as the First was attempting to unload it was being targeted by kamikaze attacks using vehicles laden with explosives, while buildings were booby-trapped and FedCom troopers were being gunned down. It took five days for the First to secure Ogawa Port, and the First lost eight 'Mechs and more than two companies of armor and two hundred infantry. Tran was promptly recalled back to Errai, and the First continued to operate under the command of de Greer, who received a field promotion to command the entire RCT.[6]

Delta and the First were plagued with guerrilla attacks during May and June, culminating when the task force occupied Logan City on the 21st of May. While none of the attacks was individually significant, the constant low-level attrition had a toxic effect on morale, and by July morale was a significant problem among both commands.[6] engaged in the worst kind of police action on a world where the government was refusing to cooperate fully and with the designated occupation troops already late, Colonel Nelson and General de Greer were stuck trying to control a hostile population in an urban environment. Life soon got worse; on the 19th of July the First Genyosha arrived in-system, followed by the Second Genyosha on the 21st. Technically outnumbered, the Genyosha - operating under the command of Tai-sa Narimasa Asano - had both skill and determination in their favor, and were determined to free Nashira.[2]

With the benefit of upgraded technology and a combination of skill and experience in their favor, the First Genyosha landed at Copenwald on the 22nd of JUly and quickly secured the area. The Second Genyosha monitored the battle reports from their sister regiment and opted not to land on Katiasha, but instead to go straight for the invaders' throat. The First FedCom were scattered in small redoubts across Nashira; individually, the redoubts were well-prepared positions ideal for attempting to police the world, but the high level of dispersion worked against the First FedCom. Individual redoubts were swept away by the skilled Genyosha warriors, while the Second Genyosha dropped directly into the Logan City spaceport in a daring avalanche drop that placed them directly in the First FedCom's rear area. After a chaotic twelve-hour battle the Second Genyosha firmly held the upper hand, and the surviving FedCom forces in the area retreated to Logan City, and Tai-sa Jürgen Miyabe confirmed via probing attacks that the FedCom positions in the city were well-prepared and fortified.[2]

Asano's assessment that Miyabe's cautious approach to the city assessment was correct led him to deploy the Third Battalion of the First Genyosha to support the Second, while the remaining battalions of the First Genyosha secured New Anaheim, and industrial city. By the 8th of August Asano was happy that New Anaheim was secure, and he dispatched a second battalion to join the forces at Logan City. An attack launched by the combined forces on the 9th of August began reasonably well, but the First FedCom and Delta regiment put up a strong defense, slowing the Geyosha's progress. As Asano continued to push forward, he received news that the Seventh Donegal Guards had arrived in orbit, dispatched by Field Marshal Vanessa Bisla to reinforce the forces on Nashira.[2]

Asano withdrew his troops from Logan City on the 10th of August, and a six-week campaign of raids and counter-raids ensued as Asano and Daniel Voss-Steiner matched wits and strategies against each other. Both commanders were skilled, and while Voss-Steiner retained the advantage in terms of numbers, Asano kept the initiative; the FedCom forces consistently found themselves recapturing one important facility only to find that the Genyosha had captured another at the same time. The militia forces on Nashira continued their campaign of guerrilla attacks, with the tempo of attacks steadily increasing; the damage from an individual attack was relatively minimal, but the attacks continued to inflict damage and sap resources from the occupying forces. The tempo of attacks and acts of civil disobedience increased sharply in September, reaching a fever pitch in the second week of October. The climax came with a chemical weapons attack at Raven Ridge that caused a massive loss of life amongst the FedCom forces, and which prompted Asano to launch the Genyosha in attacks against the militia.[2]

The Raven Ridge attack disenchanted both the Genyosha and the FedCom forces, causing the campaign to drop markedly in intensity, with just a handful of clashes being fought in October. The FedCom forces were officially recalled by the Lyran Commonwealth Armed Forces later in October, a decision that many saw as a betrayal of those who'd lost their lives at Raven Ridge. Voss-Steiner actively argued against that perception of events, making it clear in public that he regarded the Genyosha as being in no way responsible for the attack; Voss-Steiner even went so far as to praise Asano's troops for the way in which they had quickly moved to crush the terrorist cells and provide aid to the victims of the attack. Despite Voss-Steiner's efforts, the Raven Ridge attack remained a cause of great resentment among the LCAF personnel, particularly after rumors of ISF involvement in the attack circulated.[2]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 NAIS The Fourth Succession War Military Atlas Volume 2, p. 42-43, "Wei"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Historical: War of 3039, p. 83, "Nashira (July-November)"
  3. NAIS The Fourth Succession War Military Atlas Volume 2, p. 38, "Capellan Front"
  4. NAIS The Fourth Succession War Military Atlas Volume 2, p. 51, "Sixth Wave"
  5. 5.0 5.1 NAIS The Fourth Succession War Military Atlas Volume 2, p. 53-54, "Palos"
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Historical: War of 3039, p. 37, "Nashira (May-June)"

BibilographyEdit