The Palmyra Disaster was a catastrophic defeat of the Federated Suns forces under a surprise attack of the Draconis Combine in the Dark Age.
Since Caleb Davion's arrival to power as First Prince of the Federated Suns, began centralizing the AFFS forces and amassing power, and planning a massive invasion of the Capellan Confederation. Named Operation SUNSHOWER, it was, without doubt, inspired in his great grandfather, Hanse Davion invasion in the Fourth Succession War and was meant to neutralize the Confederation once for all. Fort his, he reserved the blunt of the AFFS for that purpose, neglecting any other front. Caleb ignored specially the Draconis Combine frontier, allowing the Wolf's Dragoons and Ryuken to easily conquer the Draconis Reach, a disputed border area, without any opposition, even when the Dragoons made a deep incursion in Federated space. At 3143, when the Draconis March Duke Sandoval launched an attack on the Combine and was rejected, and the Combine invaded the Federated Suns by the Periphery Corridor, Caleb was forced to act.
Furious for the audacity of the Combine's attack, Caleb initially was reluctant to give up his original plan, but at the end, common sense, or his advisor's words, won, and Caleb moved the massed troops to met the Dragon's advance. Caleb devised a new plan, called Operation MANDRAGORA. His objective was to attack the Combine capital district of New Samarkand, expecting to drew the kuritan invaders back. He chose the planet Palmyra, in the Combine advance line, as gathering point to his army. As his warfleet was much smaller than the Combine's, he extended an invitation to Raven Alliance Khan McKenna, which he had a relationship. She promised to send several WarShips, and Caleb awaited his arrival. However, his plan never realized.
On 19 June 3144, Caleb's plans came to an end. The Invasion was behind schedule, as the Raven waited WarShips failed to arrive... and they never did it. In his place, the Kuritan forces came on force: a brilliantly executed sneak attack bottled the AFFS forces. The WarShip FSS Lucien Davion fell to a concentrated attack of McFadden's Sky Storm. The destruction of the WarShip bottled the Federated forces on planet on the ground, rendering them easy preys. The Combine Pocket WarShips turn their weapons against them, destroying them with near-impunity. After a full day of raining devastating fire upon the Federated troops, DCMS ground forces landed to finish the cleanup. Over the next week, from thirteenth AFFs commands, barely one remains. Most of the survivors were captured. Caleb, however, survived miraculously. He was surveying a camp of the First Royal Cavaliers during the initial attacks, and managed to lead a detachment of them into the Tower Mountains before the camp was destroyed by orbital bombardment. The Prince and his men survived in the mountains for six days, avoiding Combine Patrols making their way to a secondary DropPort. However, on 25 June, they were found by a routine patrol of the Fifth Sword of Light. Following orders of the Kanrei to avoid killing Caleb, the DCMS troops surrounded Caleb's Marksman but don't attack him. However, when Caleb shoot at a Sworder Shiro, his pilot kicked the tank, crushing his turret and killing Caleb.
The loss of thirteenth regiments was a devastating blow to the Federated Suns: the suddenly loss of over a thousand BattleMechs, thirty regiments of armor, infantry and aerospace fighters took a heavy toll in the AFFS. Still worse was the destruction of the AFFS High Command and their support staff: Prince's Champion, Erik Sandoval-Groell become the only acting leader of the Suns, desperately trying to rebuild the command. The Combine pressed the attack, taking in August the Draconis March capital, Robinson, and killing Duke Sandoval. With the fall of New Syrtis to the Capellan Confederation and, in the next year, of New Avalon to the DCMS, the Federated Suns faced the worse crysis in all his history, leaving Caleb's successor, Julian Davion, who was in the other side of the Inner Sphere, facing an nightmare. Ironically, Caleb's death had little effect on the war. Much of the disaster can be laid over Caleb's shoulders: gathering so many troops in one location broke all AFFS practices. His orders to mantain the Lucien Davion in geosynchronous orbit low-earth orbit directly over his command placed the ship on a poor position to respond to attacks an very vulnerable to ballistic bombardment. It had been pointed than the Ravens (who took three Federated Suns worlds right after the Debacle) may have betrayed Caleb in exchange to leaving them conquer Davion rimward worlds. However, maybe the combine's victory wasn't complete: it had been pointed than some elements of Davion Heavy Guards may have survived on Palmyra,surviving on the wilds of the world and fighting a guerrilla war.
Federated Suns Units Lost in the DisasterEdit
- Field Manual 3145 p. 20
- Field Manual 3145 p. 21
- Field Manual 3145 p. 71
- Field Manual 3145 p. 77