From the mid-cycle of 1792 F.D.S to late 1793, a series of crushing defeats in the Tempest Campaign of the Radacri Wars, would see the once mighty UTN Federal Navy all but decimated, and mark the turning point of the war; when UTN Military commanders started to realise the war could not be won.
This is Part 1 of a series on the Battle of Montes Lumen. (The data is too large to be easily contained within a single post - Also ADHD).
The Battle of Montes Lumen
Mid-cycle 1793 F.D.S, a Radacri Hive fleet larger than ever before encountered by Federation forces, loomed over the strategically important Montes Lumen system. Its location, at the mouth of the Tempest Nebula, flanked on both sides by vast ice-crystals which prevented short-range Subspace jumps due to exit noise, made holding this system one of the most important objectives of the Tempest Campaign for the Federal Navy.
After elements of the UTN 2nd Expeditionary fleet were forced to retreat from Tempest Remotus by Radacri hive fleets, UTN Naval command realised that if it were to lose the nearby solar system of Montes Lumen, the approaching Hive fleets would be allowed to spread out simultaenously attack the Sigma, Delta and Ignis systems. The Federal Navy outpost in the Pallas system would be almost entirely crushed under such an offensive, essentially forcing UTN forces out of the Mouth of the Tempest Ridge entirely.
UTN Admirals knew that holding the Ridge was the last line of defence before the war was to be fought on UTN 'soil', and losing it would damage moral of both the UTN Naval Forces, and inevitably, the public. As such, One of the largest fleets ever assembled by the UTN was deployed to Montes Lumen, lead by the 2nd Expeditionary Fleet, commanded by Phoenix veteran, Admiral Elra R. Urich.
The system's hot, main sequence star is orbited by three planets, two of which are small rocky worlds smaller than 10,000 kl in circumference, and one 'brown dwarf' gas-giant. The latter planet's enormous gravity well created a strategically important Subspace-denial zone that any attacking forces would have to traverse in sublight speed, and an orbiting Federal Navy Outpost that was considered critical to the defensive operation.
It was deemed unlikely that the Hive fleets would break off and traverse the outer reaches of Montes Lumen; as estimated sublight speeds of the attacking forces would not be sufficient to allow passage in a reasonable time-frame. In addition, particulate material from the Tempest Nebula drifts into the star's orbit as its gravitational field scraped the edge of the nebula, solar winds melting the ice fields and pulling debris into the edges of the system. This natural barrier was the cornerstone of the UTN Naval Command's plan to defend the system.
Combined Fleets Assemble
Elements from nearly a dozen combined fleets of the Federal Navy, placed under the command of Admiral Urich of the 2nd Expeditionary Fleet massed near a Navy Remote Outpost, orbiting a Brown Dwarf in Montes Lumen.
The force consisted of three Heavy Cruiser divisions from the 17th and 18th Outer Sector Fleets, and the single Vengeance-class warship that had survived the Battle of Stone Water's Crescent just 9 cycles prior. Each division consisted of approximately twenty Vengeance-class cruisers, mostly earlier Series 1 or 2 models, an escort of about a dozen Farlease-class light cruisers and a single command ship; an Endeavour-class Battlecruiser. In addition, 5th Rapid Response fleet committed a single Carrier division consisting of half a dozen Evolution-class battlecarriers and a fourteen-strong destroyer screen.
In total, the UTN's 2nd Expeditionary Fleet had approximately sixty heavy cruisers, thirty-six fast cruisers, three battlecruisers, six battlecarriers and fourteen destroyers at its disposal at the start of the Battle for Montes Lumen.
Continued in Part 2.