The Siege of Efate
The Siege of Efate was one of the major campaigns of the Fifth Frontier War, and was crucial to the Zhodani war plan. The strategic position of Efate (Spinward Marches 1705), it was thought, would give the Zhodani a salient into the Regina subsector, even as the Imperials have a salient into the Jewell subsector.
In the years before the war, Zhodani-funded guerrillas had mounted an ever-escalating insurrection on Efate. This operation was intended to soften up the world in preparation for war, and to provide a foothold on the world surface when the invasion began.
The defense of Efate was the responsibility of the Imperial 193rd Fleet operating in essentially static positions controlling close orbit around the world. Independent squadrons answering to the 193rd Fleet command were stationed in nearby systems such as Louzy (Spinward Marches 1604), Menorb (Spinward Marches 1803), and Yres (Spinward Marches 1802).
The Zhodani assigned the task of besieging Efate to the 1st Assault Fleet.
The initial assault jumped from Farreach (Spinward Marches 1402) to Louzy, where the fleet immediately engaged the system's defenses. In the face of the enemy, Louzy's system defense boats scattered, and in doing so made the wisest decision of the campaign. By scattering, they made possible a continuing war against the 1st Fleet's supply line, forcing it to garrison Louzy in order to keep its access to Farreach open.
The result crippled the Zhodani siege. With an lmperial outpost in the Zhodani rear, the movement of ships could be observed and reported. Reinforcements to Efate could be brought forward marginally sooner. Major offensives at Efate were continually repulsed.
By early 1109, the siege of Efate was being prosecuted only half-heartedly. Squadrons faced off, but rarely engaged. Fast ships ran the gauntlet to Efate's surface, but even small percentage losses mounted up and brought that to a halt.
By mid-1109, the Zhodani High Command had begun rotating out the better classes of ships for engagement at other parts of the front. That enabled the lmperium to do the same and shifted the focus of the war to other fronts.
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