“Danzha” is the Ffawe term for a lunging sword thrust past an opponent ending in a slashing movement that cuts the target from behind as the swordsman angles down and pulls the blade inward. The codename of the operation told Bonate’s subordinates precisely what he planned to do to the Terrans.
Not realizing that the Naplian drive on Outland Colonies was a feint, Admiral Reese halted his forward progress toward the Outland Colonies as ordered but, vacillating between obeying Tanaka’s directive and plunging forward to save the Outlanders, he did not turn back for a full week. As the 31st Fleet Group paused at Donovan's Rest, Bonate’s main force got underway, angling back to the southwest. The movement brought the Naplians into contact with the eastern pickets of Admiral Ergen’s task force, driving in his right flank. Reminding Ergen in a very tangible way of his mentor, Admiral Golen’s favorite saying, “Accept that Bonate is always one step ahead of you.” Bonate’s “Danzha” maneuver split the 31st Fleet Group in two. Leaving the majority of Reese’s force on the Outland Colonies side of the split.
Although intended as a demonstration rather than a full-blown attack, the Naplians were numerically and qualitatively superior to the Outland Colonies defense forces along the frontier. The Naplian force had 247 medium bombard starships, 14,700 starfighter squadrons, 4,240 orbital jump transports, and 120 metatanks involved in landing operations along the Outland Colonies frontier. The Outland Air Force, (Militia Lutafdeling, ML), had a strength of 14,400 combat squadrons, half of which were destroyed in the first month of the fighting. The remainder of the ML was dispersed and accounted for only a handful of combat operations. Outland Colonial Army groups were little more than planet defense formations. They put up a terrific defense to be sure, but they were no match for the Naplian orbital jump and transport borne landing units. Admiral Lombran, the commander of the Naplian strike force demonstrating in Outland Colonies, sensed an opportunity.
Next...Feint No More
Artwork by Dmitri Borodin
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