The origins of the Eridani Light Horse can be traced to 2702 when the 3rd Regimental Combat Team (called an RCT) was formed.
The unit consisted of four regiments - two Striker regiments and two Light Horse regiments. In 2749, the Commander of the 3rd RCT was assassinated by the Prince of Rasalhague. The unit immediately mobilized and occupied the major cities on all ten of the worlds in their district. When the Prince sent troops to the city of Eridani on Trondheim, the 3rd RCT repelled them easily. The unit received the nickname when a journalist, sympathetic to the 3rd RCT, reported that the RCT forces had scattered the Prince's forces "like spirited Eridani stallions chasing after fat, clumsy Luthien cows". After the humiliation, the Prince had no choice but to try and execute the assassins.
Following the death of the First Lord the unit saw extensive action in the Periphery. However, once the unit learned of Stefan Amaris's treachery, the unit decided to act against the usurper. Colonel Bradley, the unit commander realized that direct assault against Amaris would not be possible, so he adopted a policy of raiding some of the weaker worlds near Terra to disrupt the usurper's defenses. The plans worked until the 19th Striker Regiment assaulted Amity. Unbeknownst the the Light Horse, a traitor had relayed information to Amaris and the regiment met three heavy regiments. The Light Horse regiment was completely destroyed in the ensuring battle. The Light Horse was able to avenge the loss of the 19th Striker with a series of vicious battles that eventually resulted in the liberation of Terra herself.
In the chaos that followed the elimination of Amaris, the Light Horse returned the Rasalhague district awaiting orders from General Kerensky. The unit received the orders to join the other Star League Defense Forces in leaving the Inner Sphere. The unit felt an attachment to the area stronger than its loyalty to Kerensky and decided to remain - only a few lances of the RCT left with the other SLDF units. In fact, the 80th Heavy Cavalry Battalion, once commanded by Kerensky himself, took only thirty minutes before deciding to stay.
On the day that Kerensky and the others departed, the members of the unit gathered and observed a moment of silence. They took down the flag of the Star League and lowered the Third Regimental Combat Team's standard to half-mast. Even through the Fourth Succession War, the unit maintained that tradition, requiring that one flag pole at the headquarters remain bare for the future Star League flag and the unit's flag stay at half-mast.
First and Second Succession Wars
Following the Exodus, the Inner Sphere degraded as each of the five houses vied to be selected as First Lord. The unit tried to remain as independent as possible, but Minoru Kurita threatened to cut off all trade with the unit, forcing it into a mutual defense and nonaggression pact. When Minoru Kurita was slain in a failing campaign against the Federated Suns, Colonel Bradley realized they would have to deal with his psychotic son, Jinjiro Kurita. Jinjiro had avenged his father's death by massacring fifty million civilians on Kentares IV in what has been called the Kentares Massacre.
Upon learning of the massacre, the unit began to plan a move to more hospitable location. By June of 2798, most of the unit had started to move off-world. The 8th Recon and 50th Heavy Cavalry Battalions were awaiting the departure of their dependents from Sendai, when they learned that the administrator of the planet had taken the families hostage unless the 8th Recon and 50th Heavy Cavalry surrender and turn themselves over to him. The units refused and, when the deadline passed, the administrator had all of the hostages executed. Once the 8th Recon and 50th Heavy Cavalry found out, they immediately returned to Sendai. There, in a week-long campaign, the battalions hunted down and slaughtered every political officer and Draconis Combine 'Mech they could find. Support forces from the Combine appeared but, once they learned of the administrator's actions, they quickly withdrew. When the battalions reunited with the main Eridani Light Horse forces, the unit commanders tendered their resignations for acting without orders, but they were refused. Instead, Colonel Bradley made the two battalions responsible for the unit's dependents.
The unit relocated to the Free Worlds League where they were granted a place to stay while the details of a contract were negotiated. Colonel Bradley accepted the terms offered by the Free Worlds League and the unit stayed within the League throughout the First and Second Succession Wars, providing strong offensive capabilities to the League.
Third Succession War
When the Third Succession War flared in 2866, the Free Worlds League, pleased by the unit's performance to date, offered to improve the contract by offering access to League supply centers and titles to the officers. Many in the unit thought this a betrayal of the Star League ideals the unit held dear. The leader of the dissenters, Major Johnson, was unable to come to an agreement with Bronson and led all but a few officers and lances out to the Periphery. Colonel Bronson, meanwhile, moved his force just outside the borders of the League and began to recruit less desirable elements into his forces.
The core of the Eridani Light Horse moved to the Periphery and eventually had to resort to farming to meet their needs. A raid demonstrated in 2871 to the unit leaders how desperate they were and they decided to seek employment with a house, provided that the house would uphold the honor and integrity of the Star League. Now-Colonel Johnson was tasked with traveling to the Lyran Commonwealth to seek employment. The Archon agreed to all of the unit's terms, including a clause providing for control of a planet to house the unit's dependents. Sadly, the Colonel died while the unit moved from the Periphery to its new home of New Karlsruh. Jennifer Dirkson, his successor, adopted the rank of Brevet General to show command of all three of the unit's regiments while also demonstrating a willingness to resign should the unit members feel she was acting in too mercenary of a manner.
The unit served admirably from 2872 to 2945, providing strong support against encroachment by the Draconis Combine. In 2900, the 151st Light Horse Regiment landed on Radalah and quickly captured several cities on the planet. The 151st had been expecting only a small garrison, but soon was faced with a larger force - the elite 3rd Proserpina Hussars. The Hussars managed to cut off the unit's two recon battalions from the 50th Heavy Cavalry encamped at New Freisburg. The recon lances conducted a series of hit-and-run attacks, aimed at weakening the Hussars and allowing the 50th Heavy Cavalry to escape. Eventually the tactics paid off and the 50th Heavy Cavalry were able to break the siege of New Freisburg and depart the planet. The recon battalions' clever tactics against the much heavier Hussars earned it the nickname The Dark Horse Regiment.
Brevet General Jennifer Dirkson retired in 2926 and command passed to Montgomery Wilson, who also took the rank of Brevet General. Wilson split up the unit into battalions and launched numerous raids against Draconis Combine worlds. Interestingly, the 82nd Heavy Cavalry Battalion held St. John, one of the Eridani Light Horse's charges from the Star League era.
In 2946 the Commonwealth granted an extended leave to the unit, allowing it to recover from operations and rebuild the unit. Unfortunately for the unit, Commander Russel Bronson, son of the Light Horse's former commander, heard about the unit and, reneging on his contract to the Federated Suns, launched an offensive with his unit - Bronson's Horde - against the Light Horse's command on New Karlsruh. The attack caught the Light Horse completely by surprise. With only twelve hours to prepare, the unit split up, with the 8th Recon and 50th Heavy Cavalry taking the dependents to the safety of the nearby mountains while the other five battalions spread out to prepare for the onslaught. Bronson's Horde gained a quick air superiority, but the Light Horse aerospace fighters rallied and re-established air superiority. The assault began to falter, but Bronson refused to be beaten. Gathering his forces, he sought out the Light Horse high command. Although Bronson's forces prevailed against the lighter Light Horse forces, the recon battalions soon outmaneuvered him and Bronson's 'Mech was shot out from under him by a barrage of missiles from Chippewa aerospace fighters. Bronson, unscathed despite losing his 'Mech, rallied his forces and fled off-world, vowing revenge. The entire raid was a boon to the Light Horse as they plundered a huge amount of material from the Horde.
In 2998, the unit was involved in a planetary assault against Kalidasa, a world in the Free Worlds League. The core of the assault force was three regiments from Hesperus II, the site of a major Lyran Commonwealth BattleMech production facility. The 21st Striker Regiment and the 50th and 82nd Heavy Cavalry Battalions replaced the Lyran forces in the garrison. Marik launched an offensive against Hesperus II and realized that much of the world's defenders were missing. The League forces deployed nine recon companies on the planet to ascertain the strength of the defending forces. The garrison commander ordered the 21st Regiment out to destroy the enemy scouts, but the lighter and more agile Marik forces inflicted heavy damage on the Striker Regiment before the Light Horse unit could effectively engage them.
The Free Worlds League sent four regiments to reinforce its position on the planet and again, the garrison commander ordered the Light Horse units to engage the enemy forces. This time, however, the Light Horse refused. Instead, he deployed artillery along the route he expected the Marik forces to take. The Light Horse allowed two recon companies to advance through a pass but then the artillery shelled the area behind the recon companies, split the force in two, and sealed the pass. The recon companies were no match for the Light Horse and Commonwealth 'Mechs which had assisted and the forces in the pass were sitting ducks for the artillery and Light Horse forces. The Marik forces broke back to their planethead and left world.
The unit commanders began to sour for working under Steiner command, many of whom showed incredible incompetence. When contract negotiations between the Light Horse and Steiner broke down in 2999, Brevet General Kerston went to House Davion for a contract. A deal was inked in 3000 and the Light Horse left New Karlsruh for the Crucis March. Duke Davion revisited a prior Light Horse tactic and split up the unit into battalions which carried out what were primarily diversionary raids in Draconis Combine and Capellan Confederation space. In fact, some of these raids became full-scale invasions once the Light Horse units realized they could conquer the worlds themselves. As some of these raids were quite hazardous, the Federated Suns rewarded the unit with handsome bonuses.
Brevet General Kerston retired in 3023 and Nathan Armstrong succeeded him. Almost immediately the Light Horse found itself defending the planet Hoff from attack by Wolf's Dragoons. The Dragoons savaged the Light Horse forces, but they were able to turn the assault into a game of cat-and-mouse, preventing the Dragoons from seizing control of the planet. The Light Horse was able to hold off the Dragoons until Davion reinforcements arrived and drove the Dragoons from the planet. Hanse Davion was very pleased with the Light Horse's performance and allowed the unit time to rebuild itself. In the interim, the unit taught courses in Star League and Successor State history at the New Avalon Institute of Science.
In 3025, the unit consisted of three regiments - the 71st Light Horse (The White Horse), the 21st Striker (Winston's Moonrakers), and the 151st Light Horse (The Black Horse). All three regiments were stationed on Colchester in the Kestrel Combat Region, Crucis March.
Unit NotesUnit traditions:
Unlike other mercenary units, which traditionally have two flag poles at their headquarters flying both the unit flag and the flag of their employer, the Eridani Light Horse have a standing contractual clause that allows them to keep one of the poles bare in memory of the dissolution of the Star League and the other to fly their own unit and regimental colors at half-mast.
• The commander of the Eridani Light Horse takes the rank of Brevet General, indicating command of the three regiments as well as embracing the commitment to the Star League values the unit holds dear.
• In memorial of the loss of the 19th Striker Regiment, whenever the three regimental commanders meet, a fourth place is set for the absent 19th Striker commander. Additionally, retiring soldiers that have served the unit with distinction become official members of the 19th Striker Regiment and receive a pin with the 19th's symbol, a rearing bronco.
• On the anniversary of the Exodus, a solemn ceremony takes place at the unit's headquarters. There, the Star League flag is run up the usually-bare flagpole. The unit commander then reads Colonel Bradley's communication to General Kerensky informing him of the 3rd Regimental Combat Team's decision to remain. The military band then plays the Star League anthem slowly and softly while the honor guard lowers the flag.
Each 'Mech in the unit displays the Eridani Light Horse prancing brown horse on the front of its chest and their regimental patch on the right shoulder. Below the regimental patch is the battalion symbol with the company number or patch located below that.
Yeah, I Actually understand this because I have read all the Battle Tech Books. Though I haven’t read any of the Mechwarrior Books that followed some time after.
BattleTech is not hide and seek, it's seek and destroy.
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