The Fourth Succession War was a military conflict fought from 3028 to 3030 and involved all five of the Successor States of the Inner Sphere, along with numerous mercenary companies. The war was the largest and highest-intensity conflict fought since the Second Succession War (2830-64; the Third was a much longer but far lower-intensity conflict), but is notable for its comparative brevity.

The name is sometimes criticised; whilst the first three wars were obstinately fought to ensure the primacy of one house above all others and allow it to restore the Star League, the fourth was fought from less lofty idealistic goals and more for realpolitik, with measured and realistic objectives which were, for the most part, met (and in fact, exceeded)

The Inner Sphere before the Fourth Succession War. Click for a larger version.


The principal cause of the war was the unprecedented division of the Inner Sphere into two political blocs. This had been caused by the signing of the Federated Commonwealth Alliance document between First Prince Hanse Davion of the Federated Suns and Archon Katrina Steiner of the Lyran Commonwealth respectively in 3022. The alliance between the two powers saw them sharing military intelligence, technology and training techniques, with the Federated Suns benefitting from the Lyran Commonwealth’s immense industrial-technological base and economic power, whilst the Lyran Commonwealth’s military benefited from the Federated Suns’ far superior training regimens and intelligence on activity in enemy space.

In opposition, the Draconis Combine, Capellan Confederation and Free Worlds League signed a similar treaty of alliance and friendship, the Kapteyn Accords, brokered by ComStar, each of the three powers offering to come to the aid of the other two. However, this alliance was considered unreliable at best; the Capellan Confederation and Free Worlds League had repeatedly clashed for worlds along their common border (particularly in the Duchy of Andurien) and both the Draconis Combine and Free Worlds League coveted the same worlds in the Federated Suns’ “Terran Corridor” which linked Terra to the bulk of Federation space. In addition, the Combine was cut off from its two allies, forcing their militaries to operate independently, and there was little to no appetite for the three powers to collaborate on technology sharing or military training. Even intelligence was shared reluctantly. Still, the Federated Commonwealth Alliance could field 185 BattleMech regiments to the Kapteyn Alliance’s 185, giving the two sides perfect parity (at approximately 33,000 ‘Mechs apiece) and assuring their mutual defeat or destruction in any conflict, at least theoretically.

It appears that in 3022-25, the principal goal of the Federated Commonwealth Alliance was as a safeguard against hostility from the other three powers. However, in 3025 House Liao instigated Operation Doppelganger, an ambitious plan to replace Prince Hanse Davion with a genetically-engineered replacement who would be subservient to the Capellan Confederation’s needs and would deliberately weaken the borders to allow the Confederation to gobble up more worlds. The hope was that the double’s activities would force an internal conflict within the Federation, maybe even triggering a civil war and severing the alliance with Tharkad.

However, the plan was discovered and halted in its tracks by the Federation’s internal security. As a show of his displeasure, although the plan was not publicly exposed, Prince Hanse Davion began Operation Galahad, a massive demonstration of Federation armed might on the Capellan border. These manoeuvres triggered panic in the Confederation, forcing Chancellor Maximilian Liao to rush regiments into defensive postures along the border at great expense (and the risk of weakening the border with the Free Worlds League, something he was loathe to do despite their ostensible alliance). Davion repeated the Galahad exercises in 3027.

As well as the Galahad exercises, Prince Davion infiltrated two deep-cover agents into the Maskirovka, the Capellan Confederation’s intelligence division, and through careful data analysis and observation confirmed that his brother-in-law Duke Michael Hasek-Davion of New Syrtis, the ruler of the entire Capellan March, had been leaking intelligence to the Confederation in the hope of triggering a war which he would sit out, then attack his brother-in-law at an opportune moment and seize control of the Federation. Prince Davion began leaking false reports to Michael as well.

As a result of these intelligence victories, Hanse Davion had effectively gained complete control of all military intelligence flowing from the Federated Suns into the Capellan Confederation. The Lyran Commonwealth’s intelligence division had also made huge inroads into the Rasalhague Military District of the Draconis Combine, successfully stirring up secessionist sympathies in the district’s many worlds which chafed at the rule of House Kurita.

Hanse Davion proposed a joint military endeavour to Katrina Steiner: the Federated Suns would launch a massive invasion of the Capellan Confederation whilst the Lyran Commonwealth simultaneously attacked the Draconis Combine along their border. The Combine would have to divert troops to meet the Lyran thrust, and thus would not be able to come to the Confederation’s aid by attacking the Federation’s long, exposed border between their two nations. The careful military balance was, in Hanse’s eyes, overcome by secessionist tendences in both the Confederation and the Combine, which he believed they could exploit to get many worlds to swap sides without the need for invasion. Despite considerable misgivings about the wisdom of the well-equipped but sometimes poorly-led Commonwealth attacking the militarily superior Combine, Steiner agreed.

The War Wedding

For the third year in a row, the Federated Suns began its Galahad exercises along the Confederation border in the summer of 3028. However, false intelligence leaked via Michael Hasek-Davion “confirmed” that this would be another exercise designed primarily to intimidate the Confederation and force it to waste time and money by fortifying the border. Maximilian Liao took the bait and did not move troops into forward positions, as he had the previous two years. In addition, the Inner Sphere was distracted by the social event of the century: the marriage of Prince Hanse Davion to Archon-Designate Melissa Steiner, Katrina’s daughter, on Terra. The rulers of the entire Inner Sphere and many Periphery states were invited, along with significant entourages.

The wedding took place on 20 August 3028. In one of the most infamous moments in Inner Sphere history, Prince Hanse Davion unveiled his wedding gift to his bride at the conclusion of the ceremony: “My dear, I give you the Capellan Confederation.” The plates the wedding cake were served on were each emblazoned with a symbol, that of a Capellan world under Federation attack in the first wave. Capellan Chancellor Maximilian Liao, in personal attendance, reportedly had to be forcibly removed from the room. The Draconis Combine and Free Worlds League delegations left immediately, correctly guessing they would also be facing attacks to stop them reinforcing the Confederation.

Thrusts and counter-thrusts during the Fourth Succession War. The Federated Suns launched a major offensive against the Capella Confederation, whilst their allies in the Lyran Commonwealth launched a distracting offensive against the Draconis Combine to stop them flanking the Federation. Minor border clashes also took place between the Commonwealth and the Free Worlds League. Click for a larger version.

The Capellan Front

Under the cover of its Galahad exercises, the Federated Suns launched a massive invasion of the Capellan Confederation along their mutual border, beginning on 19 August 3028. The principal offensive was designated Operation Rat and was designed to run in multiple waves. The Federation’s plan was to bisect the Confederation from galactic east to west across its narrowest extent, cutting the Confederation in two and isolating the Tikonov Commonality in the north, whilst overrunning and conquering the Sarna Commonality to the south.

Wave 1: Aldebaran, Liao, Algol, New Hessen, Pleione, Poznan, St. Andre, Shensi, Styk

Wave 2: Tikonov, Tsitsang, Genoa, Gan Singh, Buchlau, Hunan, Zurich, Ningpo, Alrescha

After the capture of Tikonov, its ruler, Colonel Pavel Ridzik was almost assassinated on the orders of Chancellor Maximilian Liao. Federation agents prevented the assassination and Ridzik declared the secession of the entire Tikonov Commonality from the Capellan Confederation as the Tikonov Free Republic, taking a sizeable chunk of the Confederation’s military forces with it. Ridzik was later assassinated in a second, successful operation.

Wave 3: Menkar, Achernar, Kansu, Yangtze, Ronel, Tybalt, Slocum, New Canton, Arboris, Saiph, Tigress, Jonathan

Wave 4: Menkalinan, Tall Trees, Shipka, Foochow, Foot Fall, Woodstock, Bharat, Hamal, Highspire, Azha, Second Try

After the fourth wave, the Confederation finally rallied for Operation Riposte, a counter-assault into the Federation targeting several worlds that were being used as supply bases: Axton, Algot, New Aragon, Halloran, Basalt, Nopah and Kawich. The counter-attacks were easily fended off, as the Federation used their intelligence agents to encourage attacks on worlds that were heavily defended.

Wave 5: Corey, Zaurak, Menkib, New Macao, Mandate, Wei, Remshield, Tsingtao, Sarna

Wave 6: Truth, Kaifeng, Matsu, Heligoland, Palos, Sakhalin, Kathil-Sian offensive

Whilst the sixth wave was underway, House Liao launched an ambitious offensive deep behind the Federation’s lines. The second battalion of the 4th Tau Ceti Rangers and the Death Commandos was dispatched to attack and destroy the supply base on Kathil, with the goal of cutting off the Kathil shipyards from the invasion front. Maximilian’s thought was that if the shipyards were incapacitated, the Federation would have to abandon the offensive for lack of resupply for their WarShips and JumpShips. However, news of the operation was leaked by the moles in the intelligence agency and the Federation sortied the 1st Kathil Uhlans (a scratch company assembled from the remnants of the Davion Light Guards, 5th Syrtis Fusiliers and the Third Battalion of the Kathil Capellan March Militia) to first defend the shipyards and then use the IDs of the attackers to mount a lightning raid on Sian itself. There they would extract intelligence operatives Justin Xiang Allard and Alexi Mallory. As a bonus they also extracted the Chancellor’s daughter, Candace Liao, who had fallen out with her father and sister (his heir). Candace seceded her St. Ives Commonality from the Confederation as well.

Wave 7: Bora, Campertown, Chamdo, Elnath, Lesalles, Old Kentucky, Phact, Quemoy, Raballa, Sarmaxa, Ulan Bator, Wazan, Yunnah, Sarna (continued), Tsinghai.

During the offensive, ComStar twice intervened in the conflict on the Kaptyen side. The supposedly neutral power faked a Federation attack on the ComStar Hyperpulse Generator (HPG) on Sarna and used this as an excuse to impose an interdiction on the Federated Suns, shutting down all FTL communications. However, unbeknown to ComStar, the Federation had developed “black box” technology allowing them to engage in FTL communications without ComStar’s aid. This technology was slower, but allowed communications to continue. Prince Davion had also suspected such as possible reaction and had given his generals in the field considerable leeway to act on their own authority, allowing them to exploit and follow up on local successes if possible.

ComStar also mounted an attack on the New Avalon Institute of Science on the Federation capital world itself, hoping to destroy the Federation’s copy of the Helm Memory Core, a Star League-era computer system which had been recovered some years earlier and threatened to upset the technological and scientific balance of power in the Inner Sphere. The attack, carried out by ComStar forces disguised as Capellan Death Commandos failed, partially due to Prince Davion’s personal intervention in his BattleMaster ‘Mech. Davion knew that he had changed the units attacking Sarna at the last minute, so ComStar had faked the wrong units, and also that the Death Commandos were attacking Kathil at the exact same time they were supposedly attacking New Avalon, confirming to him that ComStar had gotten involved.

With the failure of the attack on Kathil, his daughter’s betrayal and the resulting counter-strike reaching Sian itself, Maximilian Liao took ill and had to abdicate his power in favour of his other daughter, Romano. She negotiated an end to the conflict.

The Combine Front

In order to prosecute his invasion of the Confederation, Prince Hanse Davion decided to redeploy many of his most battle-hardened units from the Draconis March, where they had earned their spurs during the Third Succession War fighting across the border with the Draconis Combine. This left the border dangerously exposed whilst the assault on the Confederation was taking place. Davion knew that the Lyran Commonwealth’s attack would draw off the Combine’s best units, but he was still in danger of losing worlds along that front.

To this end, he opened negotiations with Jaime Wolf, the infamously honourable commander of Wolf’s Dragoons, one of the most respected and feared mercenary companies in the Inner Sphere. The Dragoons had been under contract to the Combine for some years, but Jaime had fallen out of favour with Coordinator Takashi Kurita and a deep feud was developing between them. Davion offered safe harbour within the Federation if the Dragoons helped defend the Draconis March from attack. Jaime agreed and redeployed his forces to this end.

The Draconis Combine could only spare a small number of units from the Lyran front to attack the Federation, but chose several key targets in the Robinson Operational Area (the Coreward Theatre of the Draconis March). Several worlds fell in rapid succession, namely David, Klathandu, Royal, Marduk, McComb, Lima, Galtor, Deshler, New Aberdeen and Bergman’s Planet. An attack on Breed was thwarted and turned back by Federation defenders, who performed better than anticipated.

More significant was the Battle for Northwind. The Combine hoped to take the strategically vital world of Northwind as a way of funnelling supplies and support to the Capellan Confederation to the galactic south, and cut off the inner part of the Terran Corridor from the rest of the Federation. However, Prince Davion played an unexpected canny move by offering the famed, exiled Northwind Highlanders mercenary force their ancestral homeworld if they deserted the Confederation and joined the Federation. They agreed, depriving the Confederation of a key mercenary force and reinforcing the planet against the Combine. The Combine’s attack was turned back in some of the heaviest fighting of the war.

The Combine now launched their assault on Wolf’s Dragoons, committing surprisingly large forces to assault the Dragoon positions on Wapakontea, Harrow’s Sun and Glenmora, to the consternation of commanders who would have preferred taking less well-defended worlds elsewhere. In each case the Dragoons stood and fought, inflicting horrendous losses on the Combine forces before withdrawing in relatively good order. They eventually fell back on Crossing, drawing the bulk of the Combine’s forces in the sector after them, and all but obliterated them in a pitched battle. The Dragoons survived, but with the loss of almost 80% of their troops and equipment. In gratitude, the Federation granted the world of Outreach to them as their own homeworld in perpetuity and the Dragoons set about rebuilding immediately.

The Lyran Front

The Lyran Commonwealth entered the conflict with some hesitation, believing they were facing a far more dangerous opponent than the Federation was, and that if the situation went badly, they stood to lose a staggering number of worlds and lives. However, Archon Katrina Steiner believed they could achieve significant success since their goal was not conquest, but rather triggering the nascent secessionist movement in the Rasalhague Military District and engaging and destroying as many Kurita forces as possible to stop them redeploying to the Federation front. Operation GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG began simultaneously alongside the Federation’s Operation Rat.

Wave 1: Harvest, Bailiano, Wheel, Marfik, Moritz, Weingarten, Kandis, Karbala, New Caledonia, Al Hillah, Heiligendreuz, Camlann, Diosd, Hyperion, Jabuka, Ko, Orestes, Ramsau, Sabik, Shaula, Shionoha, Volders, Buckminster, Vega

The first wave of the attack was far more successful than anticipated: the Commonwealth overran and defeated every target bar only the prefecture capital at Buckminster, where the fighting devolved into a slug fest, and fellow prefecture capital Vega, where the Coordinator’s son Theodore Kurita successfully led an innovative defensive campaign which turned back the Lyran onslaught.

The reasons for the success were credited to excellent intelligence-gathering and superior Lyran equipment tied with Federation training techniques, as well as many of the attacks being led by veteran generals from the Combine frontier rather than “social generals” from the rear echelons (despite grouching about this within political circles). The Coordinator was also blamed for committing more troops to the Federation border than had been anticipated due to his keenness to destroy Wolf’s Dragoons, leaving several worlds on the Lyran front under-defended.

Wave 2: Csesztreg, Lothan, Tukayyid, Buckminster, Hohenems, The Edge, Aubisson, Hainfeld, Grumium, Kirchbach, Verthandi, Memmingen, Kimball, Atria, Imbros, Kufstein, Karbala, Cebalrai

The second wave built on the successes of the first. The goal was to pursue and destroy retreating Combine forces whilst also seeking out and engaging Combine reinforcements before they could concentrate for counter-offensives. The Combine’s military doctrine had always favoured attack rather than defence and had presupposed a hesitant Lyran offensive led by inexperienced officers; faced with a much more aggressive and capable enemy, Combine forces often faltered, leading to avoidable losses.

The second wave was completely successful, completing the capture of Buckminster despite a ferocious defence and some heavy urban fighting.

Wave 3: The Edge, Stanzach, Utrecht, Komephoros, Kimball, Sabik, La Blon

The third wave was divided between further offensives into Combine space and defensive actions against limited Combine counter-attacks. Lyran successes were offset by the Combine successfully recapturing Kimball and Sabik and mounting a thrust across the line to capture the Commonwealth world of La Blon.

Wave 4: The Edge, Liezen, Engadin, Stanzach, Radstadt, Tamar, Gunzburg, Utrecht, Shirotori, Buckminster, Csesztreg, Feltre, Galuzzo, Nox, Quarell, Satalice, Altenmarkt, Kimball, Komephoros

The fourth wave a mixture of seizing more vulnerable worlds whilst continuing to defend against surprisingly weak Combine counter-thrusts. A key moment came during an ambitious Kuritan assault on Tamar, the capital of the entire Tamar Pact, which was turned back by mercenary forces despite inept leadership and interference from the planet’s ruler.

Wave 5: Dromini, Yorii, Lambrecht, Asta, Altair, Dyev, La Blon, Sabik

This wave, known as Operation Holdur, was enacted with the Lyran reserves. The Archon believed that the Combine’s lacklustre defence opened the possibility of further successes, with a strong focus on the worlds to the galactic north-east of Terra. The idea here was to blast open a hole through the Combine front to link up with Federation space north and north-east of Terra whilst the secession of the Tikonov Free Republic and successes on the Free Worlds League front had opened lines of communication and supply to the south and south-west. The operation was successful, and even widened to include the successful retaking of La Blon. However, the Draconis Combine retained Altair in the post-conflict peace deal, meaning the goal of opening the contiguous border north of Terra was not achieved, though ultimately a moot point.

Wave 6: Dromini, Skondia, Nusakan, Alpchecca

This wave was a defensive action against the Draconis Combine’s Operation Contagion, an attempt by Theodore Kurita to halt the invasion by taking Commonwealth worlds along the Skye front. Kurita’s superior leadership, despite the under-strength forces allotted to the task, resulted in the successful capture of Skondia and Alpchecca, putting Combine military forces within striking distance of the capital on Skye. However, an attack on Dromini was defeated and the Combine suffered a huge loss of prestige and morale when the Genyosha suspended their war contribution to resolve a duel of honour with the Kell Hounds on Nusakan. Yorinaga Kurita, arguably the Combine’s finest MechWarrior, committed suicide after losing the duel and many of the Genyosha, furious with their dishonourable treatment by the Combine, defected to the Hounds.

During this offensive, Duke Aldo Lestrade IV of Skye planned to defect from the Commonwealth to form his own nation, but he was assassinated before he could carry out the threat.

Although the assault was not as successful as Kurita had envisioned, it nevertheless placed Combine forces within striking distance of a major Commonwealth world, forcing the Lyrans to divert forces from a further wave to its defence. With front-line troops exhausted and lines of supply stretched, Archon Katrina Steiner called a halt to the offensive for resupply. The Combine, shocked by its poor performance against what it had always considered to be an inferior foe, likewise chose to rest its forces and these lines remained constant to the end of the war.

The League Front

With the outbreak of hostilities, Chancellor Maximilian Liao called on the other signatories of the Kapteyn Accords for aid. Although the Draconis Combine responded, the Free Worlds League was more desultory. Captain-General Janos Marik was not minded to rush to help the Confederation, with whom it had a number of border disputes. However, when Coordinator Takashi Kurita joined the call for aid, he realised he needed to act. Marik ordered the implementation of Operation Dagger, a cautious thrust into the Lyran Commonwealth along the border near Terra.

Wave 1: Wyatt, Milton, Phecda, Pulsbo, Timbiqui, Launam

Operation Dagger was successful, with the Free Worlds League picking off six worlds from the Commonwealth.

Wave 2: Procyon, Van Diemen, Talitha, Wasat, Callison

The second stage of the war on this front was an unexpected offensive from the Tikonov Free Republic, supported and supplied by the Federation. Lord Ridzik’s forces seized Procyon, Talitha, Van Dieman and Wasat in short, order, triggering severe consternation in the Free Worlds League. Simultaneously, the Lyran Commonwealth attacked and seized Callison, making Marik fear a general offensive along the Lyran front was about to begin.

Wave 3: Wyatt, Milton, Phecda, Pulsbo, Timbiqui, Launam, Marcus, Zosma, Denebola, Castor, Devil’s Rock, Oliver, Alula Australis, Graham IV

In one of the most embarrassing episodes in Inner Sphere military history, the Commonwealth undertook a successful disinformation campaign that made the Free Worlds League fear a full-scale offensive was imminent. Janos Marik evacuated all of the worlds captured in the first wave of the offensive and also ceded a number of worlds near Terra, which Marik believed the Commonwealth would seek to conquer to open a contiguous border with the Federated Suns. Lyran militia units indeed moved in to take these worlds after they were left undefended, but the focus of the Lyran offensive remained on the Draconis Combine. As a result, the Free Worlds League lost fourteen worlds for effectively no reason.


As 3030 dawned, Prince Hanse Davion called a general halt to the offensive. Military successes by both the Lyran Commonwealth and Federated Suns had been absolutely huge, the Capellan Confederation had been effectively eliminated as an ongoing threat, the Draconis Combine had been humbled and the Free Worlds League humiliated. A territorial link had been formed between the Federated Suns and Lyran Commonwealth, which from this point on would be called the Federated Commonwealth (although they formally did not become one nation until 3052). Privately, both Hanse Davion and Katrina Steiner believed the offensive had succeeded beyond their highest hopes and they should quit whilst they were ahead.

The exhausted Capellan Confederation was forced to accept the terms imposed on it, whilst the Draconis Combine and Free Worlds League both accepted the terms to allow them to rearm and resupply.

The ComStar Peace Pact of 3030 was signed by the Federated Commonwealth Alliance, the Free Worlds League and the Draconis Combine on 19 February that year, bringing an end to the conflict. The Federated Commonwealth Alliance effectively kept all of its gains and the losers were forced to accept the new status quo, even as they bristled for revenge. The Capellan Commonwealth refused to sign, but given the utter shambles it had been left in, this was not particularly relevant.

The Inner Sphere in the immediate aftermath of the Fourth Succession War. The Federated Suns gained substantial territory from the Capellan Commonwealth, which was considerably reduced in size and military power. The Lyran Commonwealth unexpected gained a large number of worlds from the Draconis Combine. The war solidified the alliance between the Federated Suns and the Commonwealth, with the term “Federated Commonwealth” entering common parlance after the war to refer to the resulting superpower. Two small new polities, the St. Ives Compact and the Tikonov Free Republic, came into existence. Please click for a larger version.


The Fourth Succession War redrew the map of the Inner Sphere significantly. The Capellan Confederation was, by far, the worst-affected nation. More than a third of the Confederation’s territory was lost and almost half its star systems (107 in total), with two commonalities seceding and the Sarna Commonality being lost to the Federation’s invasion. The Confederation lost two-thirds of its combat strength, either destroyed in the field, surrendered or lost to the two new nations, the Tikonov Free Republic and the St. Ives Compact. Of its approximate 180 battalions in combat readiness at the start of the war, almost 30 had been knocked out of commission by sabotage (a new polymer “captured” from the Federation that actually made the ‘mechs much more vulnerable to fire damage), 65 had been destroyed, 15 had seceded to the St. Ives Compact, 9 had seceded to the Tikonov Free Republic, 11 had surrendered and 11 had defected to the Federated Suns. As the smoke cleared, the Confederation was left with 41 combat-effective battalions, barely mustering 14 of the 45 regiments they had started the war with.

The Federated Suns was the big winner from the war. In fact, although Prince Hanse Davion had made some comments suggesting that the capture of the entire Capellan Confederation was possible, privately he had believed that slicing the Confederation in two and seizing a few dozen worlds would be a good outcome. Triggering the collapse of more than a third of the Confederation’s territory, sending Chancellor Liao mad, splitting his family apart and triggering near civil war within the Confederation’s remnants was a much greater success than he had anticipated, not to mention his allies’ huge victory against the Kuritans. The Federation only sustained moderate losses during the campaign and captured most of the Confederation’s heavy industry intact. It acquired enough new worlds to form a new subpolity, the Sarna March, and combined with the Lyran Commonwealth’s successes, opened up a wide swathe of territory around Terra to link the Commonwealth and the Federation’s territory directly together, allowing for free trade and military reinforcement across their mutual borders.

The Federation did sustain some losses to the Draconis Combine, with fourteen planets captured (in some cases, recaptured) by the Kuritans. In some cases, these worlds were reclaimed by the Federation a few years later, but in others they were lost permanently.

The Draconis Combine suffered significant losses during the conflict. Fifty-three worlds were lost to the Commonwealth, which far offset the fourteen planets gained from the Federation and two from the Commonwealth in the Skye region. Although the entire Rasalhague district did not secede, secessionist tendencies were dramatically reinforced in the parts of the district which remained in Kuritan hands. The Kuritans could generally be pleased by their individual military units’ performance, which was often impressive despite being outnumbered on a local level, and by the rise of the Coordinator’s son and heir, Theodore Kurita. Previously an unknown entity, Theodore displayed considerable military skill and personal bravery on the battlefield, as well as strategic and political acumen in his judgement that threatening Skye (even if something of a bluff) would halt the Lyran offensive.

The Lyran Commonwealth achieved a tremendous military victory, by seizing fifty-three systems from the Draconis Combine and more still from the Free Worlds League, as well as opening up the space around Terra to link Commonwealth and Federation territory directly. Commonwealth casualties were relatively light, and the military could take pride in a superb campaign which significantly improved its previously poor reputation. Katrina Steiner’s gamble, first in allying with the Federated Suns, then in marrying her daughter to Prince Hanse, and finally in invading the Draconis Combine and defeating a superior opponent, secured her reputation and that of her nation.

The only fly in the ointment for the Commonwealth was the cunning realpolitik played out by Theodore Kurita and ComStar, which resulted in the Draconis Combine granting Rasalhague its independence several years later. With little choice, the Commonwealth had to release most of its conquered worlds to the new nation (as it had previously agreed to do should the situation arise). The result was the loss of most of the Commonwealth’s material gains from the war, which left an ugly taste in the mouths of some Lyrans. Still, in the short term, the war had been a huge success.

The Free Worlds League had lost more than a dozen worlds to no particular end, resulting in a personal humiliation for Janos Marik, especially when it looked like they could have ended the war with their borders intact and a modest number of Lyran border worlds in their hands. However, the Free World League exited the war with its military almost entirely unengaged and unspent, unlike the other four Successor States, and its merchants seized on the uncertainty to win contracts and concessions that would otherwise have gone to the Commonwealth’s corporations.

The human cost of the war was starker: 100 million dead, either through combat or resulting food and medical supply disruptions, with over 80 trillion C-bills of property damage incurred on almost 200 planets. The Inner Sphere would be many years in recovering from the catastrophe.

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