Kamian Succession Wars
- 1 History
- 2 The Succession Wars
- 3 Duration
- 4 Military Equipment and Vehicles
- 5 Occupations
- 6 Prisoners of War
- 7 Contributions
The first rumblings of things to come began as early as the first decade of the Sixth Age. The common conception of the Kamians being 'in darkness' owes to their strict isolationism. When the Kamians severed all contact with the outside world in A.Y. 4508, journalists speculated that the Kamians were beginning a self-imposed dark age. Later, historians simply extrapolated from this to assume all Kamians were now living simple lives, having abandoned all science and reason.
Because of the strict isolationism, no one had any reason to doubt this for over 1500 years.
With the dawn of the Sixth Age, however, the Alliance began making diplomatic overtures. Mining expeditions during the Fourth Age into Kamian space had reported very significant reserves of natural resources, now considered desirable.
However, the diplomatic probes reported a Kamian world very different from the accepted perception.
Another attempt to contact the Kami would not be made for fifty years, at which point it was clear that the Kamians were not interested in trade. Though reports persisted that they seemed to be preparing for 'something', the Alliance felt it best to leave well enough alone.
Then, in A.Y. 697, at the Battle of Lerma, the Kamian Succession Wars began.
Cease-Fire And End of Hostilities
While combat ceased in A.Y. 6813, the Succession Wars did not formally end until 743 during the Age of the Dragon. While beaten, the Kamians refused to acknowledge the very concept of "surrender", let alone sign the standard Instruments of Surrender put forth by the Crimson Blade. This turned into a rather serious if primarily political debacle in which the Kamians remained in a state of cease-fire under Alliance martial-law for the next 140 years. Despite having only formally given themselves over to Alliance control, the Crimson Blade was given responsibility for policing and controlling Kamian territory (under contract from the Alliance). All parties involved were not happy with the situation.
Because no formal surrender was ever made, the Kamians were very lax in agreeing to any terms. For example, they initially agreed to surrender all Kamian warships; but in the short-term after the conflict ended, these ships were required to transport Kamian soldiers and P.o.W.s back to Kamian space. In the end, only about one in ten surviving capitol-class ships was actually turned over to the coalition.
While a large portion of the fleet was destroyed, it is estimated that the Kamians retained anywhere from sixty to seventy percent of their capitol fleet and at leaft half of their support fleet. Ostensibly, these ships were to be used for civilian concerns as the economy recovered, unofficially it is known that they retained a very sizable military force.
Occupation Forces Return
Kamian Occupation forces were a much larger problem. Before the start of the war, the Kamians controlled only eighteen densely-populated star systems, with a total of forty-five habitable planets. Orbital habitats, and settlements on non-habitable worlds, were uncommon. During the war, the Kamians took and held twenty-eight hundred star systems. Some of these systems had been occupied since the beginning of the war, leaving seven hundred years of art, history, and culture.
Along with the occupiers were returned P.o.W.s, some of whom, again, were merely descendants of many generations. The Primitive Plus program had been effective at housing long-term detainees in some semblance of civilization, but it still left many billions of Kamians to be shuttled back to just forty-five planets, that lacked the infrastructure to support them.
The Kamians were pushing to have the entire re-settlement delayed by as much as a generation, and the Alliance forces were pushing to allow some Kamians to re-settle on formerly unoccupied planets, or even grant them temporary stay on worlds where they held a majority. The Foundation refused to slow the repatriation of Kamians unless a surrender were formalized. Under the Foundation's plan, all Kamians would be returned to Kamian soil inside of a year.
To ease crowding concerns, the Foundation removed all slaves held on Kamian homeworlds. This worked out to as much as sixty percent of the population, as well as another eighteen billion Kamian "sub" races who were kept as slaves. That accounted for another ten percent, but the verse was still left with some five hundred billion Kamians who needed to be re-located to a group of star systems which previously only held about one hundred fifty seven billion.
To cope with the strain, the Foundation and Alliance brought in scores of ARAC movable space stations and surface installations left over from Operation Pop-Top. Several previously military stations and shipyards were also converted into space habitats. Further, the Foundation brought very considerable food-aid, but was not able to meet the needs due to the lack of a GATE hub in the region, and considerable numbers of Kamians starved.
Occupation of Kamian Home Worlds
The Kami never formally surrendered sovereignty, and there was no large-scale occupation. In the post-war period, Coalition forces focused mainly on returning all expatriated Kamians to their original territory. While Foundation forces did gather heavily in the Kamians' region of space, presence on the ground was extremely limited, focused mainly on organizing the massive slave exodus.
The Kamians were in general very uncoöperative, and employed passive resistance wherever possible. The government never formally refused to sign the articles of surrender, but simply refused to comment on the matter. Most formal dealings with the Kamians in the post-war period went this way: requests either ignored, or demands resisted. The Crimson Blade was ready to respond with further violence, but the Alliance took on the role of a protecting power
This further aggravated an already tense situation, with the Alliance lacking the resources to deal with the Kamians the way they felt was neccessary, the Foundation refusing to "do things the Alliance way", and the Kamians perfectly happy to starve to death rather than concede any point. In the end, an estimated three and a half billion Kamians died from malnuitrition as a result.
All Foundation operations within Kamian space ceased within three years. No formal agreements were ever reached, but the Crimson Blade built nine heavily fortified forward bases in the regions immediately surrounding the Kamian territory and placed fourteen fleets on permanent station.
Remnants of ordnance and occasional scattered fights and feuds persisted for decades after the end of the Succession Wars: most notably, the Bomand Incident, and others of the same kind.
The Succession Wars
For 715 years a near constant state of fighting continued. There were lulls and cease-fires on some fronts, but for the most part there was never a time when the guns were silent.
Using tactics honed and developed over the last 5 Ages, Gudersnipe lost territory, but managed to evacuate most civilians before they could be enslaved or killed. A strict policy of scorched earth forced the Kamians to carefully consider their approach to dealing with the Foundation. The wars are named as they are, because this happened 'in succession'.
The Alliance was not so lucky. Inferior technology and tactics caused them to suffer heavy loses, with entire nations falling to Kamian guns. Life of the more-fortunate, who survived under Kamian rule, was described by Erik Steiner.
For the first century, things appeared especially bleak. The Foundation could delay the invader long enough to evacuate civilians, but could do nothing to stop the advance. At the Battle of Lerner Fields, they threw everything they had at the Kamians, and won handily. It was a major victory, but the Kamians took the loss in stride and continued to advance.
By the 6300s, the Alliance space forces had been all but exhausted, while many worlds not directly involved in fighting suffered economic collapse as they tried to produce ships and troops for the war.
The bulk of the fighting then fell to the Gudersnipe Foundation, who shouldered the load well. It wasn't until the Battle of Danielle in A.Y. 6722 that the true cost of the war took its toll. It would be said in years to come that while the Kamians won the battle at Danielle, that day they lost the war.
Despite renewed vigor, it would take another half-century of fighting to reach a real turning point. Two major events, Operation Rook Takes Pawn, and Operation King Drift, changed everything. The later signaled involvement in the war effort by the M'KHArens, while the former revealed a hugely vital weakness in Kamian technology.
New allies and changing tactics brought the war to a head with the Battle of the Don't Pass Line. More and more, the Kamians were forced to rely on their God-type mobile suits; and when they did, the Foundation had the advantage.
In A.Y. 6812, the Gunjin Goddess project became the true turning point of the war, and within a year all hostilities would cease. For the Alliance, a long period of reconstruction began; for the Foundation, it was just another day on the job.
The war was fought in many regions, so this section will focus on the various theaters of operation in broad terms, including space, land-based, atmospheric, and the various levels of combat.
In space, any battlefield quickly became a graveyard of wrecked ships. With no crew alive, nowhere to go, and no gravity to hold them in place, the wrecks drifted in decaying orbits around nothing in particular (except on the rare occasions that one larger wreck became the center of several smaller), and presented a serious hazard to anything else in the vicinity. At the speeds attained by even the slowest spaceship, a single minute scrap of material could tear the strongest hulls apart; and if it affected the engines, or any of the more modern weapons, the results could better be imagined than described. In battle, a single shot, of any calibre, could render any ship helpless; and therefore, any battlefield soon became cluttered with wrecks, and impassable. Only the most skilful pilots and navigators could steer a course through a battlefield, either in the battle or afterward; and few pilots or navigators outlived their third mission.
It was perfectly feasible, and in some places even normal, to go afterward into the battlefield and collect the wrecks for recycling. In many sectors, it was even profitable, and many astronauts made their living, collecting wrecks and selling them to foundries. But this took time, and it was often many years, or even centuries, before a field was completely clear of debris; and even then, one could never be sure of having collected every last one. This accounts, in part, for the Terse Period or 'Golden Age of Space Piracy', which succeeded the war.
At the highest level, every battle was ultimately decided by how many capitol-class ships each side could bring to bear. The well-worn adage was "nothing can kill a capitol besides another capitol", and it was mostly true. Kamian capitol ships, particularly dreadnoughts, battleships, and cruisers, were so well armored and shielded that nothing short of a full volley from a battery ship could even make a dent. Their weapons were also capable of destroying most Foundation warships with a single direct hit. While the Foundation began fielding heavier warships late in the war, early on the only viable strategy was to try and keep the large ships occupied long enough to manuever 3-5 battery ships into position and let loose. The only real advantage was range, the Gudersnipe ships could shoot from much further. While Kamian weapons were more damaging, their range was limited and their targeting vectors were predictable.
Fighters And Escorts
Guided Missile Frigates gave a substantial edge in the late war. While economically taxing to launch, the frigates could deliver a devastating amount of ordnance. Other escort ships, such as destroyers and cutters, were mostly effective at dealing with the smaller Kamian ships, but could, at great cost, take down enemy capitol ships. A very crucial role was in the form of logisitical support; by relaying sensor information back to the battery ships, they could further improve the range and accuracy of the large ships guns. Further, escort ships could engage the capitol ships at first radius, offering much more of a "threat" than the distant battery ships. Since these smaller vessels were cheaper to build and easier to replace, their losses did not impact the war effort as heavily.
Starfighters played a very heavy role in bomber interdiction on both sides. While the kill rate of bombers against capitol ships was relatively small, their use against fixed fortifications was huge. The Foundation began the war relying on the Hawk, which had very serious flaws when facing the Kamian drone fighters. One pilot recounts:
"The drones were much faster and, since they didn't have a squishy mortal inside, could take maneuvers harder. We could keep up with them in the 50-60 PSL range, but the carrier-launch speed was usually only about 30 PSL. During that window, if they caught you, you were just dead. Worse still, if ever the AI pilots were feeling mean, they could jump up to 70 PSL and after that you just couldn't take 'em. The Hawk could do 70 on a straightaway, but you can't [stunt] at that speed, so if you were dumb enough to follow, it was a death sentence."
Kamians used a kind of AI-piloted drone vehicle as a fighter. They took substantial losses early on, when the coalition forces simply jammed the transmissions, but the Kamians soon learned to set the machines on fully-autonomous mode. Kamian drones were highly maneuverable, 70-PSL-plus monsters that had no fear and were unaffected by G-forces. They were, however, at their core non-sentient robots, and human pilots would exploit weaknesses in their programming to great effect.
"The Harpy really leveled the playing-field," recounts one pilot. "Seventy-PSL-plus and stunt - very dramatically - at high-speed. Yeah you had to watch it on the turns, but if you knew what you were doing, you had a real edge. I said it leveled the playing field, but it was better than that, it was like starting a chess game where your opponent has no pawns. Harpy was a two-seater, and two heads beats one AI every day of the week and twice on Sundays. We just had to know what maneuvers worked and what didn't, when we could [fake] them out, and when a miss-timed turn would leave us dead."
Of course, far and away the most interesting mis-match was between the Kamian drones and Alliance star fighters. Alliance fighters, early in the war, were limited to 30 PSL and armed with chemically powered rockets and machine guns; yet, against every possible odd, won several very decisive victories. One pilot recounts:
"I think it all came down to speed, or rather our complete lack of it. The Kamian drones literally couldn't slow down enough to engage us. Our fighters were also tiny by comparison, with stealth capabilities. The Kamians basically went into the war with nothing that could tell them our fighters were even a threat."
The issues went both ways, though: while the Kamians couldn't slow down enough to engage the Alliance fighters, the Alliance fighters couldn't easily get close enough to take them down. Visual acuity was their main advantage: the Alliance were the only ones fielding fighters in which the pilot had a transparent cockpit to see through. Alliance ace pilots explained, it basically came down to "Luck, planning, absurd reflexes, and the Kamians not thinking they had anything to worry about from us".
Support and Long-Range Vessels
Small, fast ships like the Reliant Robin became a crucial part of the intelligence network. Scout ships and other point vessels were also vital, with much of the most important intelligence gathered by long-range Gudersnipe School ships operating deep behind enemy lines, usually at very great risk.
Jackroot freighters helped keep the supply lines active.
Land, sea, and air saw considerable fighting, despite the dominance of space.
Ground conflict on either side was generally regarded as the worst part of the war. Soldiers knew a change in power in space could be the end of them, and nowhere was safe. Although the atmospheres of most habitable planets were too dense to allow missiles, or even energy-weapons, to be simply fired on the surface and cause real damage, there were still any number of ways to attack from beyond: by the introduction of atmospheric pollutants, or the release of atomic waste, or even by invasions of armed shuttles, orbital weapons platforms, or landing-parties.
In case of an invasion, some worlds were equipped by the Foundation, Alliance, or local militaries with air forces. Foundation equipment proved the most effective, Alliance the second-most, and local the least. Pilots and aircrew alike soon had their fill of both the heroism, and the ugly realities of war.
If a planet had enough water to see from space, there was war afloat; and most inhabited planets have plenty of that. No Kami ever fought fair in his life; so any cargo-ship, passenger-liner, or pleasure-craft was in danger, and all marine science as well. This includes submarine warfare.
The use of combat mecha is in a realm all its own, for both its impact on the war and its varied uses. The mechs were large, but the legends of them were larger.
Typical mech fights featured a small group of mechs (up to twelve) of various sizes and shapes, arrayed against another similar group, or else against a single titanic mech equipped with superior firepower. The victor was usually, though not always the largest mech with the best weapons; sometimes a faster mech, or a more flexible, had the advantage. Because these fights were very destructive to the landscape, and took a long time (some larger mecha required half-an-hour to swing their arms), they were set on vacant land, or sometimes in space. A city unfortunate enough to play host to a mech fight, was occupied and rebuilt by the victors.
Because mechs could be built in virtually any shape, the combat often resembled a fist-fight between giants or monsters: the factions even encouraged this resemblance, when the Kami gave the nickname of 'God-type' to their most powerful mecha, and the Foundation retaliated with a series called the 'Goddess'.
Fighting took place on Nos Vorm, a Flat Dimension on the Outer Rim, and several other flat worlds due to the Kamian mastery of Domains. A good deal of cartographic work was performed by the Kami in preparation for these campaigns, and was ultimately seized by the Foundation after the war, to the immense benefit of interdimensional transportation.
Many factors contributed to the lengthy duration of the war. Most notably, a difficulty in coöperations between the Alliance, the Foundation, the MK'Harens, and various other groups who opposed the Kami.
The bulk of the fighting was carried out by the Foundation, who openly recruited soldiers from all over the verse, while buying equipment and technology from anyone willing to sell. The Alliance, meanwhile, wanted a more direct role, vocally opposing the Foundation's policy of open recruitment and claiming that they could not commit troops if every able-body simply "ran off to the Foundation instead".
The Foundation wanted greater control, with coalition ships and men simply attached to Foundation units under the command of Foundation officers. Largely, the Foundation felt that "the actual fighting should be left up to the actual soldiers", implying they did not hold other military units in the same regard, and typically applied coalition forces into support-rôles rather than combat. Most Alliance member-worlds wanted more direct involvement: their own units, missions, etc.
Military Equipment and Vehicles
The Kamians were, from the get-go, fighting to expand their territory. Kamian culture, in fact the entire Kamian civilization, had always relied on slavery, so the populations of any world they conquered were made into slaves. If a planet held no strategic or economic value, they exterminated the population and rendered the world uninhabitable.
While awful, the Kamians were not, in fact, overly cruel towards their captives. Individual cruelties, deliberate malice, held no purpose to them; once a foe was conquered, they were put to use or cast aside. Some worlds even saw very little occupation, beyond a garrison to ensure they were no longer involved in the war. Other worlds saw very heavy occupations, with extensive mining and agricultural activity, but still very little direct cruelty towards their captives.
First Hand Accounts
Raymond Lech was a teenager when his world fell to the Kamians in A.Y. 6250. He lived for forty years under the occupation, and finally escaped with his family and thousands of other refugees. He describes the occupation thusly:
"The Kamians were not, in their own way, particularly cruel. Do not misunderstand; life under Kamian rule was very unpleasant, but very little of that displeasure came at the direct action of the Kamian hand."
Erik Steiner lived in the same region and tells a different, but not all together disparate story. He did not escape and died under the occupation, and what survives is an account handed down by his family.
"The Kamians came and took us. We didn't know what was to be our fate. They simply said, 'We are taking you into service'. And they did."
Prisoners of War
Coalition POWs of the Kamians
The Kamians were not overly eager to capture POWs, but at the same time were not exceptionally cruel. POWs, they felt, were an unnecessary drain on resources. Since they did not view humans as equals, they did not see the importance of removing individual humans from the fighting. Further, there lack of an intelligence network meant they saw no value in interrogating prisoners.
One high-ranking Kamian officer who was captured and spent over twenty-five years as a prisoner, had this to say:
"We saw the enemy... more as ants. When one aims to eliminate an ant colony, one does not waste time crushing individuals... they... aim for the hill."
Kamians did not go out of there way to destroy stricken ships or escape pods, but by the same measure, never rescued stranded humans. In a few cases they were known to attack escape pods, but only when they were concerned the survivors might report on fleet activity or movements. In ground combat, Kamians would accept surrendering prisoners, but did not go out of their way to do so. When convenient, they would arrange prisoner exchanges. In many cases, the PoWs would be stripped of their weapons and returned to their units. Only very occasionally would they be taken and kept, and even then the Kamians did not organize prisoner of war camps, but rather released their captured prisoners into occupied areas.
In terms of POWs, the Kamians regarded Crimson Blade soldiers as no different than any other fighters.
Kamian POWs of the Coalition
Coalition forces often reported that Kamian soldiers were very resistant to surrender, but often fairly docile once captured. The only exception was injured troops, who often deeply feared being treated by "primitive" medicine, or believed the rumors that the Crimson Blade simply executed injured POWs. This made the Kamians more likely to surrender to other forces, who often did not have the resources to properly deal with them.
Since the coalition ultimately operated under the banner of the Alliance, the UESAF was left holding the proverbial "bag". The Alliance, which had long standing traditions regarding the fair and charitable dispensation of prisoners, always tried to treat them as compassionately as possible. Unfortunately, lack of resources and Kamians tendency to take advantage of generosity, frequently made this difficult.
As often as possible, injured POWs were returned to the Kamian forces, and over time a general agreement was reached.
Kamian POWs of the Crimson Blade
Far and away the largest number of Kamians were captured were by the Crimson Blade and the Gudersnipe Foundation. Most especially late in the war, they were taken in very large numbers and were challenging to pacify. While the Crimson Blade had long dodged rumors of mistreatment, their standards were actually higher than the Alliance with regaurds to the treatment of prisoners.
The Foundation, however, felt that getting Kamians as far away from the war as possible was their best option. Many Kamian POWs were scattered among GS towns and other Foundation-controlled regions, generally kept in as small of groups as possible. A large number were housed on penal planets.
About midway in the conflict, the Foundation began having doubts about its management of intured Kamian prisoners. It was clear by this time that the war may go on for generations longer, and have so many die in prison felt unfair. So the Foundation began the organization of small settlements designed to let Kamian POWs lead meaningful lives, while also ensuring that escape would not be possible and that they could be no threat.
The basic design called for a pair of intersection railroad spurs that served a series of small villages. Each village was about a day's walk apart, so traveling between them by anything other than train was impractical. At the center of the + was a garrison, modern hospital, and supply depot.
The Kamian POWs, men and women, were then settled in small villages along the tracks. There, they were forced to live as subsistance farmers. The conditions were by no means stone-age, though the Kamians did not have electricity or modern powered tools. They had only iron tools and the means to make more. They were not given any draft animals.
But the soil was rich, and the Kamians are a hard-working people. Though at first many did not find life in the Primitive Pluses to their liking, all could agree that it was better than a prison camp. As they grew accustomed to living the way they did, many admitted that they did find their life fulfilling, and that the food the grew was the best they had ever tasted.
Ten generations were born into the Primitive Plus program.
Though large-scale space battles made up the lion's share of the conflict, with the Gudersnipe Foundation baring the brunt of it, land battles were also extremely common and widespread.
The un-sung heroes of these campaigns were the ground units of the Unity Earth Sphere Alliance Force, who took in recruits from all over the known worlds to fight in massive, sometimes planet-wide conflicts. The Kamians had a ten