The Second Battle of Altair
The Second Battle of Altair was fought in the closing months of 2109 between the United Nations Navy and the nascent Independent Planet Protection Pact. Following the activation of the IP3 wormhole network, the United Nations of Mankind sent a flotilla of sixty Orca and Minke class warships to Altair expecting to crush the rebel forces much as they had thirteen years previously. This time, things were different. Whilst the IP3 defence fleet was still primarily comprised of fifty to sixty up-rated civilian ships, all of them had been equipped with an early predecessor to the modern anti-shipping railgun. Compared with the coilguns mounted on the UNM ships, they could fire larger projectiles at much greater speeds and with an increased rate of fire. And this wasn’t the only technological improvement that the IP3 had up their sleeve. Supporting the civilian fleet were forty Negotiator class warships, the first independently designed warships in human history. In addition to their complement of railgun turrets they were equipped with Orion nuclear pulse drives and Casaba Howitzer nuclear cannons. Despite the outnumbering the UNM invaders nearly 2-1, the significant home field advantage and the undeniable benefit of having had time to prepare defensive structures which allowed the IP3 to largely set the terms of the engagement, the battle was not a done affair. The crews of the negotiator class were as green as could be, many of the ships had only rolled out of drydock days before the battle and the civilian crews were eager but most had only ever fought pirates. The UNM crews on the other hand were professionals who had trained for years for just this. The battle itself was divided into three major theatres: the IP3 shipyards over Altair IV, the station Freedom’s Torch and the wormhole nexus, both in orbit of Altair II. The IP3 had split their defenders roughly equally between the three, but the UNM focused their assault on the shipyards. Facing overwhelming odds, the attackers against the nexus and Freedom’s Torch were dispatched fairly quickly. The UNM captains severely underestimated the IP3 civilian crews, but also discovered the damage a casaba howitzer could do at short range. The UNN Absolution of Suzhou was cut in half by a single barrage from a ship it had considered disabled, whilst numerous other UNM ships suffered similar fates. In the battle for the shipyards, the tide was turnings. With the numbers much closer to one on one the UNM’s superior training and skill meant a lot more. This isn’t to say that the IP3 did not sell their lives dearly. The UNM suffered heavy losses, losing at least half of their ships in the opening engagement. Desperate IP3 engineers tried to get half built ships out of drydock, either to move them away from the fighting or in desperate measures bring them into the fight, but despite incredible effort the shipyards were all but destroyed. This was a pyrrhic victory however. Only thirteen UNM warships left Altair under their own power. Of the roughly 4500 voidsailors who embarked, only eight hundred returned. Some thousand were captured and would remain prisoners of war until the Treaty of Chiron in 2124. The rest died. The IP3 still lost approximately fifty ships, with twenty two Negotiator vessels confirmed destroyed and approximately 1500 dead and roughly the same injured. More important than the actual military victories achieved, it was major morale and PR victory for the newfound Independent Planet Protection Pact. It showed that the United Nations were beatable and their Alcubierre Drives did not make them untouchable. Rear Admiral Gregory Lazard, the commanding officer of the invasion force, was initially tried and convicted of gross misconduct in a court martial in absentia until it was confirmed in 2111 that he had not been captured and instead had died during the battle. From this battle until the Battle of Epsilon Eridani in 2118 when the UNM deployed the first UN made railguns on the Lantern and Requiem class foldships, the UNM were on the back foot and it contributed significantly to the ultimate political settlement of the war in which the UNM functionally surrendered and ceded all successionist star systems to the IP3. Even a hundred and fifty years later many within the IP3 still remember the Second Battle of Altair as a significant moment. It must be said however that in the Altair system it is seen with significantly greater sadness and the graveyard aboard Freedoms Torch where the remains on the two and a half thousand UNM voidsailors who died during the battle are interred is a site of significant local reverence. By local custom, these men and women were in the wrong place at the wrong time and in another life maybe the whole thing could have been resolved with words.
Severe demoralisation of the United Nations Navy and loss of several influential military leaders.
Ultimate loss for the United Nations in the wider War of Sundering and permanent establishment of the Independent Planet Protection Pact
Independent Planet Protection Pact
United Nations of Mankind
40 Negotiator class torchships, 50-60 civilian "technical" spaceships
20 Orca class Destroyers, 40 Minke class Corvettes
22 Negotiator ships destroyed, 12 damaged. At least 28 civilian ships destroyed, unknown number damaged. ~1500 voidsailors dead, ~1500 injured.
19 Orca class Destroyers destroyed, 28 Minke class Corvettes destroyed. ~2700 voidsailors dead, ~1000 captured, ~300 injured
Repel the UNM invasion
Crush the IP3 rebellion
Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild