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The First Battle of Hancock, occurring more or less simultaneously with the Third Battle of Yeltsin's Star, was fought between Task Group Hancock 001 of the Royal Manticoran Navy under Rear Admiral Mark Sarnow and Rear Admiral Genevieve Chin's task group of the People's Navy Task Force commanded by Admiral Yuri Rollins.
Thanks to the intelligence gathered by the covert Argus surveillance systems scattered throughout the region, Admiral Rollins knew that Admiral Parks had dispersed his fleet guarding Hancock Station to various nearby systems, including Yorik, Zanzibar, and Alizon. Parks, unaware of the presence of Argus, assumed any PN assault force would need to scout the system in order to confirm the absence of the majority of Parks' forces, or come from Havenite forces stationed at Seaford Nine, which was being watched by a trio of destroyers. With enough warning, reinforcements could be dispatched from a nearby system to support Battlecruiser Squadron Five, which Parks had left behind to guard the station. Parks was also expecting the arrival of Admiral Danislav's dreadnought squadron shortly, so he believed the system would not be under-strength for long. Admiral Rollins managed to bring all his forces from Seaford Nine after he ambushed and destroyed the destroyers watching him, so Hancock Station had no warning that his forces were en-route.
While carrying out a training exercise in the Yorik System, Parks' forces stumbled across the Conqueror-class light cruiser PNS Alexander downloading a report from an Argus satellite, and Parks realized his area of command had been under constant surveillance, and the Havenites knew about his recent redeployment that left Hancock practically undefended. Parks ordered an immediate redeployment back to Hancock, but his forces would not arrive before the arrival of Rollins' Task Force. (HH3)
Order of battle Edit
As Task Group Hancock 001 comprised only a single battlecruiser squadron and screening elements, Admiral Rollins committed a small portion of his forces: a single dreadnought squadron under the command of Rear Admiral Genevieve Chin screened by all six of his available battlecruisers and several lighter vessels. Rollins himself and his three superdreadnought squadrons remained near the hyper limit and played no significant role in the battle. (HH3)
- Battlecruiser Squadron 5, CO Rear Admiral Mark Sarnow, acting CO Captain (SG) Honor Harrington
- Cruiser Squadron 17, CO Commodore Stephen Van Slyke †, acting CO Captain (SG) Pavel Young
- a light cruiser squadron
- Battle Squadron 18, CO Rear Admiral Danislav – arrived during the battle
- screening element of the Battle Squadron 18 – arrived during the battle
Indirect participants of battle were:
- perimeter coverage, probably comprised of destroyers and light cruisers, that tracked Havenite forces
- group of five minelayers responsible for preparation of mine trap
Task Group, CO Rear Admiral Genevieve Chin:
- Rear Admiral Chin's Battle Squadron
- Rear Admiral West's Battlecruiser Squadron
- screen, including:
Course of battle Edit
Admiral Sarnow made full use of the RMN's technical advantages, hitting Admiral Chin's forces with a massive salvo of missiles from missile pods, surprising her with decoy drones pretending to be two full battle squadrons of superdreadnoughts, leading her through a minefield, and planning to scatter after a final course change. All of those defensive means were codenamed Operation Sucker Punch. Sarnow was incapacitated by a volley of missiles that hit HMS Nike just as he was being informed of the arrival of a reinforcement squadron of dreadnoughts. His flag captain Honor Harrington decided not to scatter as planned, holding the squadron together until Chin's forces were too far inside the hyper limit to escape the dreadnoughts.
In a panic following the lack of an order to scatter, Captain Pavel Young ordered his heavy cruiser squadron to scatter, until Harrington ordered them all individually to return to formation.
Trapped by the dreadnoughts, Admiral Chin surrendered her forces, and Admiral Rollins, assuming the arrival of the dreadnoughts was part of a larger trap, retreated his superdreadnoughts from the system.
Detailed course Edit
Admiral Sarnow attacked first from stealth with missile pods, which gave his TG the impression of being able to fire as large a broadside of a squadron of superdreadnoughts instead of battlecruisers. The initial salvo destroyed three Havenite battlecruisers (PNS Malik, PNS Sulieman and PNS Walid) and a dreadnought (PNS Nouveau Paris) as well as severely damaging another battlecruiser (PNS Alp Arslan) and dreadnought (PNS Waldensville). Sarnow called this a "sucker punch".
As Admiral Chin gave chase to engage with energy weapons, Hancock Station activated its decoy drones, spooking Chin into thinking two full battle squadrons of superdreadnoughts was accelerating toward her to finish her off, which gave Sarnow's squadron time to open the range. At this point missile fire destroyed the heavy cruiser HMS Crusader, killing Commodore Van Slyke and putting Captain Young in charge of the heavy cruiser squadron.
Chin suspected the superdreadnoughts were decoys, although by that point Sarnow's forces were out of energy range. Chin resumed the chase, focusing her salvos on two battlecruisers (HMS Achilles and HMS Defiant), damaging them heavily.
Sarnow's course led the dreadnoughts into a minefield, which further reduced Chin's forces to half of her initial deployment. The mines destroyed the battlecruiser PNS Alp Arslan, the heavy cruisers PNS Scimitar, PNS Drusus and PNS Khopesh, and six destroyers, and the dreadnought PNS Waldensville was put out of action. Return fire overwhelmed and destroyed the HMS Defiant and HMS Achilles, although Defiant was able to get a sixth of her crew into escape pods.
The last part of Sarnow's defense plan involved a course change that would tempt Admiral Chin into chasing the defending forces for a little longer, away from the fleet base, before a planned scatter. At this point Chin confirmed that the SDs approaching her were decoys, since the defending forces would have altered course toward SDs, not away. She resumed hammering Sarnow's forces, destroying the battlecruiser HMS Agamemnon and the heavy cruiser HMS Circe, which had moved to intercept the missiles targeting the HMS Cassandra.
At this point, Admiral Rollins' superdreadnought squadrons began to slowly move in-system toward Hancock Station. Due to massive losses, and the realization he was only delaying the inevitable, Admiral Sarnow was about to order the scatter, when he was suddenly notified of the arrival of reinforcements for Hancock Station in the form of an RMN dreadnought squadron under Admiral Danislav.
Unfortunately at the same instant, Admiral Chin's flagship had a clear shot at HMS Nike, and fired a volley of twenty-four missiles at the battlecruiser. Two veered off to hit the heavy cruiser HMS Warrior, but two made it through defenses to detonate beside Nike, damaging her heavily and severely wounding Sarnow.
Sarnow's flag captain Honor Harrington decided not to scatter the Task Group as planned and to continue to lure Chin's ships into the system so they would be unable to escape action with this new force. Captain Pavel Young, acting commander of the Task Group's heavy cruisers, panicked and scattered his squadron, leading to heavy damage to HMS Cassandra when defense nets were disrupted. Captain Harrington ordered first Young and then his individual ships to return to their positions alongside HMS Merlin, which had ignored Young's order.
With the exception of Young's own command, HMS Warlock, all ships did so and the Task Group eventually scattered at the point where Chin could no longer evade Danislav. Rollins, alerted to the new arrivals by the Argus Net, withdrew rather than engaging, believing he was about to be trapped. Approximately thirty minutes too late to intercept Rollins' ships, Vice Admiral Yancey Parks returned to Hancock Station with the sixteen superdreadnoughts and sixteen dreadnoughts of his Task Force, having realized the threat to his base on discovery of an Argus platform in the Yorik System. (HH3)
Details of the second phase of the battle, when Battlecruiser Squadron Five was dispersed and Battle Squadron Eighteen appeared, are not certain. However only four flag captains survived at the time Rear Admiral Chin surrendered and two of her five surviving dreadnoughts were too badly damaged for repair. (HH4)
Star Kingdom of Manticore Edit
- three battlecruisers destroyed: HMS Agamemnon, HMS Achilles and HMS Defiant
- three battlecruisers heavily damaged: HMS Cassandra, HMS Nike, HMS Onslaught
- two heavy cruisers destroyed: HMS Crusader, HMS Circe
- HMS Arethusa, a light cruiser, destroyed
People's Republic Edit
- two dreadnoughts: PNS Nouveau Paris, PNS Waldensville,
- four battlecruisers: PNS Alp Arslan, PNS Malik, PNS Sulieman, PNS Walid,
- three heavy cruisers: PNS Drusus, PNS Khopesh, PNS Scimitar,
- six destroyers.
Forty-three of Rear Admiral Chin's units surrendered, including:
- five other damaged dreadnoughts, three of them taken over by the RMN,
- two other battlecruisers.
None of Admiral Rollins' forces engaged enemy units until the First Battle of Seaford Nine.
Immediately following the battle, Parks attacked and captured the PN fleet base at Seaford Nine with his combined forces, killing Rollins and destroying all but three of his ships of the wall. Expecting Rollins to have taken Hancock, Havenite Admiral Coatsworth arrived there with another two battle squadrons shortly after Parks' return from Seaford with four of his own battle squadrons. Outnumbered two to one, Coatsworth retreated with minor losses and withdrew to the Barnett System. (HH3)
Captain Lord Pavel Young was court-martialed and dishonorably discharged from the Royal Manticoran Navy for desertion and cowardice before the enemy. It would be sixteen years before HMS Warlock could cleanse the shame from its record at the Battle of Monica. (HH4, SI1)
- ↑ 6/23/282 AL according to HH4, which inproperly equals to Oct 1903 PD
- ↑ not inclding Admiral Danislav's force
- ↑ 10 units, exempted from picket deployments, including: HMS Anubis, an Apollo-class unit, sent by Admiral Danislav, and HMS Arethusa †, another Apollo-class unit; according to Jayne's a light cruiser squadron had 12-16 units; organization concerning squadron well as commanding officer of such squadron weren't mentioned
- ↑ according to Vice Admiral Parks' orders (Rear) Admiral Danislav's forces were planned to strenghten the Task Group Hancock 001; being senior to Rear Admiral Sarnow, (Rear) Admiral Danislav would have assumed the command then. (HH3)
- ↑ over forty light units, Battle Squadron Eighteen with its screen constitued de facto a task group
- ↑ 43 light warships
- ↑ including Scimitar-class vessels: PNS Scimitar, PNS Drusus and PNS Khopesh - all three destroyed during battle
- ↑ even 40 vessels, 6 of them destroyed
- ↑ including Honor Harrington (HH4), remained three could be Danislav's officers, presence of flag captains at light cruiser elements subordinated to Rear Admiral Sarnow in not certain
|Operations of the |
First Havenite-Manticoran War
|Battles of the |
First Havenite-Manticoran War