Kamian Succession Wars
From The Course Books
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.
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 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 not the turning point the coalition had hoped for. 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 knew they had them.
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.
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, battleshps, 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 played a pivotal role in the mid-ware and gave a substantial edge in the late war. While economically taxing to field, 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 move in closer and 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 roll 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 manuvers 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 as the coalition forces simply jammed the transmissions, but the Kamians soon learned to set the machines on fully-autonomous mode. Kamian drones were dangerous, they 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 on 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 miss-match was between the Kamian drones and Alliance star fighters. Alliance fighters, early in the war, were limited to just 30 PSL and armed with chemically powered weapons(E.G. rockets and machine guns). They had absolutely no buisness going into battle against Kamian drones, yet, against every possible odd, won several very decisive victories.
"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 an actual transparent cockpit to see through. Alliance ace pilots explained that is 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 domination of space.
Ground conflict on either side was generally regarded as the worst part of the war. For soldiers fighting there, they knew that a change in power in space could be the end of them, nowhere was safe.
The use of combat mecha is in a realm all it's own, due to both it's impact on the war and it's varied uses.
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. That is, if they conqured the world at all; in many cases, 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 there 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, what survives is an account he recorded that was 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 uneccesary drain on resources. Since they did not view humans as equals, they did not see the importance of removing individual huamns 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 organze 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 "primative" medicine. Not helping matters were widely circulated 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 it's 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 Plus's 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 drafties from all over the known worlds to fight in massive, sometimes planet-wide conflicts. The Kamians had a ten