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The Battle of Tiberian took place in the Tiberian System in 1918 PD. In the action, the Manticoran heavy cruiser HMS Gauntlet under the command of Captain Michael Oversteegen defeated four Manpower owned, Solarian-built Gladiator-class pirate cruisers.
HMS Gauntlet was sent to the Tiberian System to investigate the loss of the Erewhonese destroyer ENS Star Warrior. After the transit to Tiberian, the ship set a course for Refuge, the system's sole inhabitable planet. Captain Oversteegen put Midshipwoman Abigail Hearns in command of a shore party that was to go down to the planet and make contact with the Fellowship of the Elect.
After the shore party's landing, Gauntlet's sensors detected two hyper footprints on the ships's starboard bow at just over sixteen light-minutes distance. Oversteegen ordered Hearns and her party to remain on the planet while he took the ship to intercept the unidentified ships. Two more ships were hiding in stealth. At the time the Royal Manticoran Navy had no certain knowledge of who the enemy was. The ships were later identified as Gladiator-class heavy cruisers belonging to Manpower and crewed by Silesian pirates. (HHA4.6: TSotS)
Order of battle Edit
- HMS Gauntlet, Captain Michael Oversteegen commanding
- two Marine squads on the ground, Midshipwoman Abigail Hearns commanding
Manpower Incorporated forces Edit
Manpower Incorporated representative in charge was Haicheng Ringstorff, who was entitled to order the engagement, but didn't directly take part in the battle.
- Cutthroat, Juliette Morakis commanding
- Fortune Hunter, Jerome Tyler commanding
- Mörder, Dongcai Maurersberger commanding
- Predator, Samson Lamar commanding
Course of battle Edit
In the following hours, the battle ensued, as Gauntlet opened fire on Fortune Hunter. Fire was returned and two missiles broke through the Manticoran defenses, destroying a number of grasers and lasers as well as causing severe casualties in the aft energy mount.
Gauntlet had just done heavy damage to Fortune Hunter when a fourth pirate cruiser, Predator, opened fire on the Manticoran ship. While Fortune Hunter was destroyed by another missile salvo, Gauntlet took heavy damage from Predator's salvo, including the after impeller ring.
At that point, Captain Oversteegen sent a message to Midshipwoman Hearns, informing her of the new situation. She and her party then sent their pinnace into orbit on auto-pilot, where it was destroyed by the arriving Predator, which also released a number of assault shuttles, one of which was destroyed by the Manticoran Marines. In the following ground battle, ten of the fourteen Marines accompanying Hearns were killed in action.
Meanwhile, Gauntlet fought a fierce battle with Cutthroat and Mörder, destroying both vessels. However, she was also heavily damaged: Auxiliary Control was taken out, as were Environmental Two and Four, Damage Control Central, Boat Bay Two, Communications One, half her gravitics and all her faster-than-light com systems. Over thirty compartments were open to space, the surviving magazines were down to less than fifteen percent, and one fusion generator was in emergency shutdown.
After Tiberian had been secured, Gauntlet returned to HMSS Hephaestus to be repaired. Captain Oversteegen was awarded the Manticore Cross and promoted to Captain (senior grade) for his conduct, while Midshipwoman Hearns received the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal. (HHA4.6: TSotS, CS1)
Manticoran casualties Edit
Gauntlet's Assistent Tactical Officer, Lieutenant Commander Abbott, as well as Commander Tyson, the Chief Engineer, and over twenty percent of the crew were killed in action, as were ten of the twenty-seven Marines in Midshipwoman Hearns' shore party. (HHA4.6: TSotS)
Pirate casualties Edit
All four pirate cruisers were destroyed with all hands aboard, including the commanders, Juliette Morakis, Jerome Tyler, Dongcai Maurersberger and Samson Lamar. Most of the Predator's marine complement were killed in a running battle with Midshipwoman Hearns' party, while the rest were captured after a threat of orbital bombardment. (HHA4.6: TSotS)
Followup Investigation Edit
Unfortunately, none of the captured pirates were of sufficient rank to have known how the pirates acquired the top-of-the-line Solarian heavy cruisers, leading to speculation that a high ranking official in the Office of Frontier Security had cut the pirates a deal and arranged to make the paper trail disappear. Another question bothering investigators was why Silesian pirates would be operating so far outside their home Confederacy. (CS1)
Behind the Scenes Edit
What investigators failed to discover was that the cruisers were purchased by Manpower Incorporated from the Solarian League company Technodyne Industries (an ally of Manpower) and staffed with Silesian pirates in order to "encourage" Erewhon to leave the Manticoran Alliance so that Technodyne could get a good look at advanced Manticoran naval technology in use by the Erewhon Navy.
The Cromarty government of Manticore had promised the government of Erewhon assistance in ejecting Manpower from Verdant Vista, but the High Ridge government was not interested in the slightest in supporting such an operation. The plan was to have extremely well-armed pirates ambush Erewhonese anti-piracy naval forces which were patrolling the systems around Verdant Vista. This would infuriate the Erewhonese sense of honor due to Manticore's refusal to provide assistance as agreed upon, which would in turn lead to Erewhon withdrawing from the Alliance and allow examination of Manticoran technology by League members.
The plan was foiled when Gauntlet destroyed the cruisers, Verdant Vista rebelled against Manpower and became the Kingdom of Torch, and Erewhon signed a mutual-defense treaty with the Republic of Haven, showing the Manticoran technological advancements to the Republic of Haven Navy instead of to Technodyne. (HH11)