Second Gallic War
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|Second Gallic War|
|Date||710 A.G.S. (794 A.S.) to present|
|Location||Languedoc, Dauphine, Burgundy, Champagne|
Gallic Border Worlds
The Second Gallic War is the war between the Kingdom of Gallia and The Council, originating as a rebellion on Planet Marne. In the twenty-three years since it began, the Second Gallic War has re-defined the Gallic Border Worlds and to some extent Gallia as a whole, and is responsible for breaching Gallic isolation at Reunion.
The Marne Uprising
Some historians name the year 798 as the beginning of the Second Gallic War, for that was the year when the Council acted openly against the Gallic Army for the first time. Yet it is commonly considered that the war started in 794 A.S. on Planet Marne located in the Champagne system, when a massive rebellion broke out in three out of five of Marne's prime industrial centers. The rebellion was apparently well-prepared and organized. Gallic media reported that many rebel commanders were former military officers or even professional criminals hired to fulfill this task. Those reports were denounced by the Council, but it is apparent that there were a number of experienced soldiers and military commanders among the rebels. Initial tactics involved taking control over the main Marne cities and industrial facilities with minimal destruction and civilian casualties.
At fist, the rebellion was an overall success: police forces in the cities were defeated, as well as army detachments recently deployed within the cities to preserve order. However, most Gallic ground troops resided on well-defended bases in desolate areas of the planet. Their resistance was much heavier than the rebels first expected. Despite numerical superiority, rebels were heavily outgunned and could not establish control over the planet's terrain. At first, the government hesitated to use heavy weaponry against the cities. Rebels used this time to reinforce their defenses and capture space ports which were used to deliver weaponry and reinforcements. Light military vehicles and artillery were mainly supplied by the Council, while Gallic Brigands supplied firearms and ammunition. During this time many volunteers from the Council, various pirate groups, and even citizens from other planets joined the rebellion. The space around the planet was controlled by the Gallic Royal Navy at that time, but the Navy apparently underestimated the amount of help the rebels were receiving from off-planet. Patrols assigned by the Navy were not enough to isolate the planet.
Attempts of the army to capture any of the rebel-controlled cities and settlements failed, much like the rebels themselves failed to take control over military objects. In the middle of 798 A.S., a large army of over 110,000 troops was assembled in the Core Worlds and prepared for transport to Planet Marne. Only about 45,000 made it through, for the Council finally interfered and attacked incoming Navy forces near Reims Station and Planet Sezanne. These were the first of many space fights that occurred during the war. The Gallic Royal Navy was caught completely unprepared, and had to retreat. The Council failed to destroy any of the transports carrying the troops, but prevented them from proceeding to Marne.
The ambush near Reims Station happened before the Council forces landed on the planet, although some sources state otherwise. The Gallic Army, reinforced by fresh manpower, launched a massive attack against the rebels, striking on every front. After that, the rebels were probably aware that the Council would arrive in a matter of days, and threw all their forces to defend space ports where Council transports could land. The Council, however, could not break through the planetary blockade soon enough: they had to capture Reims Station in order prevent the Gallic Royal Navy from striking from behind. Once Reims was captured and reinforced with heavy anti-capital-ship weaponry, the Council fleet proceeded to Planet Marne. Attacking forces of the Gallic Royals were scattered by the newly arrived Council units, but resistance did not end until 801 A.S. when it was perfectly clear that the Gallic Navy would not be able to break through Council defenses, at least for the next several years.
The War takes to Space
After the fight on Planet Marne was over, the war was mostly fought in space and on space stations, with the notable exception of a large-scale ground operation on Planet Quillan. After overtaking Marne, the primary goals of the Council were securing the whole Champagne system and eliminating any Gallic lawful presence there, and preparing the attack against Lorraine and Languedoc. By the year 803 A.S., the entire Champagne system was under control of the Council. The next obvious target was Lorraine. The Lorraine Jump Gate was located only one trade lane away from Marne, and in 803 A.S. the Council assembled a large fleet to attack the system.
It was unknown to the Council that the Gallic Royal Navy was preparing for this attack, aware of the final goals of the Council to gain access to the mine fields. The Navy used an alternative route from the Core Systems to reinforce Lorraine's defenses. Council High Command realized its mistakes only after the Navy had launched an offensive against the fleet in Champagne in the beginning of 804 A.S., scattering the forces preparing to attack Lorraine just days before the attack was scheduled to start. Casualties from both sides were very high, with over 12 battleships and hundreds of smaller vessels completely destroyed. Nevertheless, daring Gallic Royal Navy admirals ordered an advance on Planet Marne, thinking that they had destroyed all Council capital ships in the system. Near Marne, they were engaged by a large defensive fleet quickly assembled of what was remaining of Council forces, heavily reinforced by Maquis and reportedly even Gallic Brigands. With the trade lane behind them consistently disrupted by smaller support crafts, the Navy was completely surrounded. Fierce battle continued for several hours before the Council gained the upper hand. Only a handful of the Royal Navy ships escaped. The rest were destroyed or captured.
The forces of the Gallic Royal Navy in Burgundy could not aid their Lorraine colleagues, for they were attempting to fight back the Council raiding parties that appeared in every part of the system with even more regularity than pirates. By that time, Council High Command had already moved from Macon Base in Burgundy to Planet Marne. Macon has become a primary place for Council military preparations, overcrowded with new recruits coming from Marne, as well as weapons, equipment and ships produced in Champagne and in other systems. Due to fights taking place in Burgundy and Lorraine, Navy numbers in Dauphine and Languedoc became much smaller than before the war had started. Additionally, both Dauphine and Languedoc did not contain any defensive installations that the Navy could use to delay the offensive, with the exception of Montpellier Guard Station defending the Languedoc Mine Field.
By the end of 806 A.S., Council was fully aware of this weakness and had prepared a multiple-step operation that involved attacking Dauphine, capturing or destroying any Navy ships that would oppose them, and quickly proceeding to Languedoc to complete their initial goal of creating a path through one of the mine fields. A surprise attack against Dauphine would disrupt Gallic communications and allow large fleets of the Council to pass from Burgundy to Languedoc. At the same time, a plan of a covert operation in the Lorraine Mine Field was being prepared.
The Battle for Dauphine
The plan of the Dauphine offensive developed by the Council did not work as well as initially expected. In 809 A.S., Council sent a large fleet into Dauphine to secure the area of Bourgon-Jallieu Station. Bourgon-Jallieu proved to be a tough target, equipped by multiple defensive systems and providing cover for numerous Gallic Royal Police patrols that deteriorated the progress of Council fleets. In the end, Council decided that the station had to be destroyed. A diversion was prepared to distract Police ships to the Burgundy Jump Gate. During the diversion, the Council launched its bombers and very heavy fighters against Bourgon-Jallieu that now had only a few ships to defend it. After the defensive systems of the station were eliminated, a Council heavy transport on autopilot was directed into the station hull, destroying the station and killing over 120 Police and Navy officers. The number reportedly includes a few civilians as well.
In the same year, one of the most controversial events of the whole Second Gallic War followed. Gap Station, which occupied a crucial location on the route from Burgundy into Languedoc, was attacked by the Council. Because destroying the massive and heavily guarded station that had many civilian inhabitants was not an option for the attackers, their goal was to drop marines within the station and capture it with minimal casualties. Once again, the plans of the Council became known to the Gallic Royal Navy command, and Gallic Army detachments were brought to defend the station. Eventually, a large Council fleet arrived to the Gap area, neutralized station defenses and launched dropships. Fighting within the station lasted for more than 4 days and ended only when all Council landing troops were defeated. The victory cost both sides greatly, with over 400 killed and many more wounded. While the Gallic soldiers were stationed near the airlocks to prevent a new assault, a large Gallic Royal Navy fleet finally arrived to breach the blockade. Before retreating, desperate Council ships launched a final missile attack against all Gap's airlocks, which could have potentially resulted in the station de-pressurizing. Gap Station's engineers had to seal the inner airlocks before the Gallic soldiers could escape; trapped outside, they were blown into space and perished. Very few of the military and police personnel survived the attack, and civilian casualties were low only by a miracle.
With no chance to capture Briancon or Gap stations located in the central part of Dauphine, the Council chose the tactic of sporadic raids to distract Navy and Police patrols from outer regions of the system that were used to relocate Council fleets into Languedoc. By the end of 812 A.S., Council had built multiple storage banks and small repair facilities near the Jump Gate path between Languedoc and Dauphine. Most of those facilities were equipped with simple but deadly self-destruct mechanisms that activated when Navy or Police ships were approaching. The next year, an offensive against Languedoc was set to begin.
Meanwhile, the situation in Burgundy and Lorraine was under dense control of the Gallic Royal Navy. Security of the two systems was declared the highest priority for the GRN, and most available forces in the Gallic Border Worlds were ordered to defend them. Attempts to breach defenses in Lorraine failed repeatedly, and Council presence in the system remained minimal. The Maquis secured a small base in one of the Lorraine asteroid fields, but they could do nothing with the Navy fleets and mostly concentrated on smuggling and piracy against small corporate shipments.
The Languedoc Offensive
The Languedoc offensive caught the Gallic Royal Navy completely unprepared. Apparently, their previous means of gathering intelligence on the Council failed them. A massive armada of Council capital ships came into Languedoc directly through the Jump Gate, which was not guarded by any Navy ships at that time. At the same time, hundreds of Council fighters began advancing from the Lozere asteroid field in Languedoc. Local Navy detachments delayed capital ships advancing to Remoulins, which gave the station's inhabitants time to evacuate. It was rumored that the Council allowed this intentionally to avoid civilian casualties, for most of Remoulins' inhabitants were miners employed by Gallic Metal Service.
The decisive battle for Languedoc took place in the middle of 813 A.S. near Remoulins. The station was empty at that time, and during the fight one of its outer storage tanks filled with explosive fuel was damaged by battleship fire. The tank detonated shortly afterwords, destroying the whole station. It remains unknown which ship damaged the tank, since Council and GRN used similar types of weaponry in this battle. It is also unknown if it was done intentionally or not. However, it is certain that the explosion helped the Council to achieve a victory, for Gallic Royal Navy cruisers that used the station as cover from Council battleship fire were crippled in the explosion and became easy prey for Council bombers.
Nimes Station was the next target, and in 814 A.S. the Council attempted to use the same tactic that failed with Gap Station. This time, however, previous mistakes were taken into account. The Council made use of inside support from civilians loyal to its cause. While Council fleets were stationed next to Remoulins' wreck and Nimes was preparing for an assault from space, a group of Council special operatives breached the station through a maintenance airlock that was left unguarded. Before local Police and Army guards could organize any resistance, the Council took over control of the station's life support, computer mainframes, internal and external defensive systems. Later, a Council fleet arrived, and station defenders had no other choice but to surrender. With minimal casualties from both sides (4 men killed), this operation is known as the most bloodless in the whole Second Gallic War.
The Council offensive on Planet Quillan was the second planetary operation of the war. Capturing the planet was vital for the final success in breaching the mine field defenses. Breaching planetary defenses was a relatively easy task. However, after Council ground forces landed on the planet in the end of 815 A.S., they discovered that a Gallic army of 90,000 was stationed on the planet and prepared to defend its settlements and factories. Outnumbered, the Council forces had to fortify their positions and prepare for a lengthy fight for the planet's surface.
This moment was crucial for the whole war. The Gallic Royal Navy was planning to launch a counter-assault against Council in Languedoc. If the Navy's assault was successful, the Council would lose ground in Languedoc and fail to breach the mine field. The Council suffered heavy casualties, and launching a new offensive was not an option until losses were recovered. During that time, the Navy could concentrate all forces near Champagne and take back the system, undoing all progress that the rebels had made since the start of the war.
Through the Mine Fields
In 816 A.S., the Council had no option other than to request support from the Maquis, who, in turn, rallied their allies in the Core Worlds to attack the Gallic Royal Navy from behind. While it was impossible to stop the whole fleet that was moving to Dauphine, Maquis succeeded in using terrorist tactics to bomb several battleships of the GRN offensive fleet. An array of brutal and merciless attacks from Maquis and Gallic Brigands against civilian convoys followed shortly afterwords, forcing the Navy to relocate resources from the Languedoc offensive to local security tasks.
Now, with the Navy's progress slowing down, the Council gained more freedom to act in Languedoc. Moving the last reinforcements from Burgundy, the Council established lines of defense near the Dauphine Jump Gate, wreck of Remoulins, Nimes Station, and Planet Quillan itself. More Council troops landed on Quillan, increasing the numbers of Council corps on the planet to 95,000. The Council soldiers were mostly unemployed Marne workers, badly armed and trained. They would be no match for Gallic Army in open combat. However, the Council used a waiting tactic and successfully rallied local miners to aid its cause. Army detachments were stationed in the miner settlements, causing numerous conflicts between miners and soldiers. In several settlements, the unrest turned into rebellions aided by the Council. Overtaking settlements one by one, the Council slowly advanced, and in the beginning of 817 A.S. the remaining Gallic Army soldiers were scattered and forced to surrender.
In the end of 816 A.S., the Council finally gathered a large fleet to attack Montpellier Guard Station. Being the largest fleet ever brought to battle in this war, and possibly the largest fleet ever assembled in the whole Sirius sector since its colonization, it was opposed by a matching number of Gallic Royal Navy capital ships, fighters, support crafts, and stationary defenses. For several weeks, fighting next to Montpellier continued; at the same time, the Navy advanced from Dauphine and breached the Council's defenses near the Jump Gate.
It was too late to retreat at this point, and despite very heavy casualties, the Council advanced to the mine field, destroying numerous weapon platforms, smaller supplementary mine fields, and hundreds of enemy ships. A large part of Montpellier Guard Station itself was destroyed in a suicide attack by a Council battleship packed with thermonuclear explosives, with most station defenders killed in the explosion or shortly afterwards. The path to the mines was now clear, and Council moved forward to destroy the mines and create a large corridor that would allow all ships, even the largest ones, to pass through without being at risk of mine explosions. After the path was ready, the Council started to build a new space station on the other side, bearing a symbolic name of Reunion.
At the same time, using the aid of local Maquis and several Junker turncoats, the Council started to set up a covert path within the Lorraine mine field. With the Royal Navy relocating all available forces to advance into Languedoc, the part of Lorraine that was far from the Champagne Jump Gate was left loosely defended. Finally, by the end of 817 A.S. the path to the Outcast system of Omicron-80 was revealed. Unlike the route in Languedoc mines, Lorraine's path was narrow and dangerous, having no navigation buoys nor other ways that could help to make this route safer. It is still likely that it will be discovered by Gallic Royal Navy patrols in a matter of months, and will possibly be remined.