Aptic Campaign can be referred to two battles, i.e. Second Battle of Aptic and Aptic Gateway Battle, which took place at Aptic system and planar space around Sord Aptic respectively in the ICY 955, between the Humankind Empire of Abh and the United Mankind, a member state of Three Nations Alliance. The former was also known as Defense of Aptic or more exactly Defense of Sord Aptic, which occurred at normal space around the sord Aptic, while the later was known as Battle of Sord Aptic, which occurred at planar space.
The campaign was, according to Operation Phantom Flame Plan No.18, divided into two stages and mainly proceeded in Aptic region. The first stage was to used to Aptic Defense Fleet as a decoy to lure the UM Peacekeeping Army into Aptic system and to hold them for the next stage for 50 hours. The second stage was to surround the UM ships with Phantom Flame 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th fleet from three directions.
The plan was successful. As Aptic Defense Fleet withstood the attack and consumed all the mines of the UM patrol ships, the main fleet surrounded enemy fleet and striked them with upper hand. Most of the UM attacking fleet was annihilated at Aptic region, and the escaped fleet in Wimpel was surrounded later by the 5th fleet. Admiral Bebaus Neres and Bebaus Nefee both achieved great fame across the empire for their honorable and victorious conduct. It somewhat began to overturn the "Spectacular Insanity" reputation behind their family. Additionaly in the coming Abh Operation Hunter, they would be given a new command matched with their combined leadership abilities. The advances made by the brothers during that operation could be compared to Admiral Spoor's advances in the Battle of Sufagnoff Gateway three years ago, and her advances in Operation Phantom Flame.
The entire campaign sequence symbolized the achievement of Operation Phantom Flame. In terms of territory, the Empire built a connecting bridge between Siullzede Kingdom and Larych Kingdom through the United Mankind, which cut United Mankind in half. After the campaign, the United Mankind, as well as the Three Nations Alliance, lose their edge. The United Mankind began to show fatigue and continue to be defeated in the coming years.
Second Battle of Aptic
Background and Preparation
Admirals Bebaus Neres and Nefee were charged by the Prince to defend the Aptic system Region, more exactly, the gate at Aptic III. Once having recieved their new orders the Twin Admirals Bebaus set out to arrange the defenses at Atpic. Their fleet size of only 12 armadas was as Nefee stated "perfect". If Admiral Beabaus had more ships, he would have used up most, if not all of his supplies before the battle began. Additionally, Admiral Bebaus knew that his objective to hole up the sord could not sustain many more fleets; the system could not fit a fleet of such size.
Several problems with coolant and additional supplies were faced by the defense fleet on the outset, and several, be it not insane, solutions were prompted, all which were no good. A Defense-in-Depth strategy was set in motion by Admiral Neres Bebaus to surround the gate with mines as initial layer, additionally with assault craft, a second line of guard and ships of the line, and finally all capital and patrol class ships to the third line.
The United Mankind and allied forces began their attack at 14:12 with the Third and First Fleet still 50+ hours away from arriving at the scene of the most intense fighting. New weapons first witnessed at skirmishes within the gate prior to the battle were used en mass. Separation mines unleashed devastating damage upon the first line of assault ships, wiping out upwards of 5 assault squadrons, reducing the forces defending significantly. With improved computing and sensor systems on board United Mankind battleships as well as the mines themselves, the United Mankind could use these weapons to harass the enemy with multiple explosives in one warhead as well as hide other mines among the debris created by the ensuing carnage.
One patrol ship was lost to these weapons in spite of the efforts of Kidroil and Basiroil. Mines attacked any mobile Abh targets in the area, including the lost ship's escape pods.
Eventually due to tremendous losses and the improved result of Guard ships versus mines, Admiral Neres Bebaus and Kilo-Commander Nefee issued orders for Guard ships to take the front line and assault craft to retreat to tertiary defenses.
During the entire attack, all initial mines were used, but the additional mines within the Patrol craft were not dispatched until heavy casualties were sustained as well as the loss of the entire crew of Kidroil including veteran Deca-Commander Beikal.
Following the retreat of the assault units and second mine barrage from Abh patrol ships, a second mine wave assault by the United Mankind was unleashed. The Admirals Bebaus severely underestimated the number mines including the thought that the number of ships available to the enemy was directly related to the number of mines fired upon them.
Admiral Neres Bebaus gave permission to his patrol craft to fire EM cannons three hours before the arrival of the first reinforcements. Despite this order, almost all EM ammunition is spent and mines continued to plague the Aptic Defense Fleet. Unfortunately the entire fleet was forced to limit already limited resources and ammunition available. Neres gave another difficult order for all Patrol ships to cease firing their EM cannons, letting the guard ships endure the brunt of the attack.
The arrival of the enemy fleet into regular space negated the order to conserve ammunition. Neres and Kilo-Commander Nefee both knew that the enemy had weapons still that could greatly damage their fleet. The guard ships were ordered to retreat. Guard ships began to take considerable damage from enemy craft, when the assault ships resumed battle.
A "jousting" like tactic was taken up by the 1st Assault Group versus a similar group of the United Mankind. It can be assumed the same tactics applied elsewhere during the battle. One hour before the arrival of reinforcements, 1st Assault Group that has already begun to run severely low on ammunition and fuel. The 1st Assault Group would soon lose the Basroil to critical damage. The crew of Basroil was forced to abandon ship with very little time to spare. At 10:26 of Day 12 or 13, the ship was completely destroyed.
The Abh lines are folded at the onslaught of the continuous Three Nations Alliance attack against them. Admiral Neres Bebaus and Kilo-Commander Nefee Bebaus both rally what forces that can remain to brace for final engagements.
Admiral Neres Bebaus takes position with the rest of the remaining fleet surrounding the gate and he and his brother now are forced to personally partake in the battle. In spite of the need of his presence at the bridge of his own vessel, Neres takes leave effectively placing Kilo-Commander Nefee in command. Even with his high sense of honor and duty to his fellow fighting Abh's he leaves the bridge.
Aptic Gateway Battle
The primary defense fleet sustained upwards of nearly 50% casualties by the time the Third and First Fleets arrived to assist. At that time the United Mankind began to retreat from Aptic directly towards the Prince's fleet.
Prince Dusanyu had gained the upper hand in that his fleets would surround the enemy again and that now he had the option of choosing to engage or not to. Admiral Spoor, after having another tease at her Chief-of-staff, immediately sets out on an elaborate and well thought out attack plan to penetrate the enemy retreating formation. Immediately, the already depleted Mankind attack and Patrol craft guarding the greater fleet were scattered and the First Fleet began its attack against the enemy head-to-head. Admiral Spoor follows the attack with a mine barrage against the enemy and permits her fleet to separate and engage the enemy in individual space time bubbles.
The battle soon ended after the arrival of almost the entire Operation Phantom Flame Fleet to the area. Both Aptic and Miskel remained in Abh hands, presumably the battle of Miskel being much smaller, concurrent, and much shorter.
Admiral Neres Bebaus returning from his bath, neglecting to dry his hair, is informed of the retreat and arrival of reinforcements. He almost ruins the victory by ordering a charge; however, Kilo-Commander Nefee reminds him of the condition of the fleet and Admiral Neres Bebaus respectfully abstains.
Endgame: United Mankind Fleet surrounded and dissoluted
Admiral Spoor presses her advantage continuing to ravage at the remains of the enemy fleet regardless of their situation. Prince Dusanyu comments that it is brutal even for an Abriel. Though it is noted both Abh and United Mankind forces were equally confused in the onslaught but due to superior Abh leadership, Spoor followed through by delivering a decisive end to a grueling battle. Her advance was so rapid, only two of her squadrons managed to keep up, and she was able to afford a time of reprieve for her crew.
Abriel observes again though how tremendous losses sustained by his fleet and Spoor's fleet are and orders for up to 11 squadrons to be withdrawn. Prince Abriel curses physics as it exists because it does not permit the remainder of the Phantom Flame Fleet to arrive sooner.
Second Fleet under the command of Rulef returning from his victory at Miskel immediately took advantage of the chaos ensued by Admiral Spoor and ordered his fleet to engage the dismayed enemy. Following an order to launch all mines, he gave a similar order to separate into single bubbles. Spoor takes note of the attack and orders her fleet to immediately resume a hard pressed offensive.
Following a fierce resumption of assaults, the Fourth Fleet commanded by Admiral Kotoponi engages the United Mankind. At this time all Alliance forces were outnumbered due to sustained losses at Aptic and the pressing assault of Admiral Spoor. Now victory assured, Abriel issues a strategy to secure Miskel, Aptic, and Dalmav while sealing the enemy within the Wimple area with Frontline Ships. Following that action, Abh forces would move to take Neopol and Malstuky. That would leave Firth Fleet under Admiral Rekef to handle cutting off remaining enemy forces.
Following the surrender and the crew of Basiroil resuming their duties, both Abriel Lafiel and Jinto Linn were appointed Representative and Deputy Representative respectively. They both received the official surrender before the high command, including Admiral Neres Bebaus and Kilo-Commander Nefee Bebaus. Neres commented during the ceremony he had heard stories of Jinto and Lafiel conquering an entire world single-handedly with only a pistol. This is based on their struggle on Sufagnoff.
The United Mankind without a doubt had superior numbers and fire power capable of taking Aptic. The fleet had more patrol ships than usual, which were built in the past three years, and with separation mines. Seemingly the enemy commander suffered a crisis of commitment. Had he committed the entire fleet to advance into normal space to engage Admiral Neres, he or she may have been able to crush the remaining forces and remain in a defensible station around the gate once Abh reinforcements arrived.
Though even with or without advance, given the amount of time allotted before the arrival of Abh backup, had the UM commander retreated within two or more hours before the arrival, he could have left with almost the entire fleet intact, leaving the defense force crippled. Additionally, if the United Mankind had given up the battle in Aptic system earlier, the fled "intact" fleet could have been a fleet in being that extended a controlling influence without ever leaving the sords into planar space at all other systems that at the time would have lacked sufficient defenses, that the Empire could not continue to break through the United Mankind territory as well as to carry out Operation Phantom Flame.
The decision to retreat at the arrival of reinforcements headed right into the path of the First Fleet was a critical mistake. To surrender the UM forces may have been a comparable alternative than the substantial losses due to Spoor's initial assault.
Nefee and Neres presented their great ability as leaders under battle pressure. With the best available defensive strategy, Neres and Kilo-Commander Nefee exhausted all available resources knowing that defeat would have perhaps ended the war. In spite of only but few questionable decisions, Neres and Kilo-Commander Nefee carried out their duty along with the rest of their command as well as they could.
Spoor's rush was unexpected by both her own forces and that of the enemy. The age old tactic of Blitzkrieg was best executed in dividing and crushing the remaining fleet that attempted to make an exhausted retreat from Aptic. The enemy having spent all its ammunition on Aptic without advancing effectively helped defeat itself.
Aptic Gate lead to the innovation within the Empire of new Attack class ships within the Star Forces that balanced Patrol craft firepower with greater mobility. It was raised whether or not Assault craft would become obsolete, but at the moment it cannot be told.