The Killing Fields of the Kopitak
The East and West
The Kopitak were humans. Their planet of origin was Kop (Kop-3) a desert world of sand and rocky mountain ranges. They were a civilization of martial clans that had expanded outward as the Radnian empire descended into chaos. Kopitak space was considered a wild an dangerous patch of stars and nebulas that was best crossed quickly. The realms surrounding the region banded together in two alliances meant to keep the Kopitak penned in. One in the west and one in the east, each made of four empires. In the west, Qusec, the H'fatta Tribes, the Samites, and the Messatik empires joined against the Kopitak in the Davra Alliance. In the east, the Esari Tribes, the Valyik, the Weatani, and the Sanji held sway as the Frontier Treaty Union. These two coalitions kept the Kopitak from spilling over their borders for two thousand years. But the might of all of these empires was not enough to contain Tupara Chass, the greatest of the Kopitak warriors.
Tupara Chass and the Qusec
Tupara Chass’s first campaign outside of Kopitak territory took place against the Qusec kingdom. After a series of raids, the Kopitak launched a major invasion in 3415 that brought them to the doorstep of Nichyun-6, the Qusec capital. Unlike other empires, the Kopitak carried no supply train other than a vast reserve of troop transports and orbital jump ships. The army consisted almost entirely of orbital jump units, with heavy infantry detachments.
|Old Naplian Starfighter Refitted by Kopitak|
Battle of Choap Province
Choap Lin was the northernmost provincial capital on the Qusec/Kopitak border. At the end of 3415, the Kopitak 71st and 3rd war fleets, and General Obra’s Independent Orbital Jump infantry army, including an armored corps, anti-aircraft, and heavy artillery support units moved out of the Kopitak, Canina Starcluster and crossed over the Qusec frontier at Choap Province. The province was defended by five Regional Battlegroups, forty-eight Popular Force corps, and four Territorial Artillery corps. From his headquarters at Hani Whei 5, Lieutenant General Qued Tho, the Regional Commander, augmented this force by sending in the 2nd Armored Corps, 7th Infantry Corps of the 5th Infantry Army, twenty orbital artillery sections, and thirty-three reconnaissance wings. The battle for the province began on the eve of 3416 when Kopitak forces began to isolate Choap Lin Province’s frontier communication arrays and eliminate static outposts. They then bombarded Guon Coph starsystem accurately with heavy shipboard artillery and then launched a concerted armor/orbital jump infantry ground attack.
Battle of Choap Lin
Any counterattack or relief effort contemplated by the Qusec was hampered by the thousands of starships fleeing with billions of refugees that clogged starports and planet orbits trying to escape the fighting. Desertion among Qusec units became commonplace, as soldiers began to disappear from the ranks in search of family members. This pattern became familiar as the offensive continued, not just among the territorial forces, but among the regular troops as well.
In early 3416, an emergency meeting was held at Qusec Liberty Palace in Gassong, Nichyun-6, Macin Province between President Liseut, the Joint General Staff, and General Qued Tho. At the meeting, Qued Tho presented a plan for the relief of Choap Lin that would have utilized either an infantry army and the only Orbital Jump Corps the Qusec had. The plan was rejected. There were no reserve forces of sufficient size available anywhere in the empire for the task. With all the approach routes in enemy hands, all movements and logistics would be by blockade runners, a capability that no longer existed. Finally, despite the good defensive positions of the Qusec, the forces at Choap Lin could not hold off the Kopitak long enough for relief to arrive. President Liseut decreed that Choap Lin and Choap province would be surrendered to Kopitak forces as a matter of expediency.
|Captured Qusec Destroyer pressed into Kopitak service|
The fighting around Choap Lin starsystem continued until March 3416, after which the starsystem became the first provincial capital permanently seized by the Kopitak. Of the more than 15 million Qusec troops originally committed to the battle, only 850,000 returned to Qusec lines. Kopitak forces captured 10,000 rounds of heavy orbital artillery ammunition. More important for the Kopitak was the apparent total indifference with which the Qusec regarded this loss. The psychological blow for the government and people of Qusec was severe. According to the chief of the Qusec General Staff, General Nieo Aco, "Gone was the hope that the Qusec would be able to forcibly punish the Kopitak for their brazen violations of Qusec sovereignty...What more encouragement could the Kopitak have asked for?"
Word of the fall of Choap Lin reached Tupara Chass and the Kopitak leadership in the midst of its 567th Congress, and the body immediately ordered the General Staff to develop a follow-up plan. The leadership's assessment that the Qusec would not effectively respond to a major offensive had been proven correct. The next target chosen was Pul Cad, a border outpost in the Qusec 11th Army Group’s command zone in Dracal Province. Kopitak Clan Admiral, Nat Nav Reinta proposed a bolder plan: why not attack Maun Thok starsystem, the provincial capital, instead? Chief Clan General Naudlei Ghan was reluctant to agree, that is until Premier Fiusta threw his weight behind the more radical strategy. Clan Admiral Tuggla was ordered south to take direct command of the new offensive, which had been codenamed “East Wind” by Tupara Chass.
Next...Chaos with the Western Alliance
Artwork by Dmitri Borodin and Camilo Aldana
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