Those who are not familiar with Battletech and MechWarrior may be a bit lost in the jargon of what follows, but I will try to help. Battlemechs are large anthropomorphic vehicles some 10-14 meters high, loaded with armor and weapons. They are the "ultimate weapon system" of the 25-31st centuries, much as the tank has been considered since WWII or the armored night was in the Middle Ages.
The pilots of these 'Mechs are the new breed of the swaggering, elitist single-combat warrior, very much like the modern jet fighter pilot. Mechwarriors have a combat name that identifies thier Mech during combat (you've seen Top Gun, oui?).
Most mech units are usually organized as follows:
Dysart Nathaniel Quinn is the product of years in a series of military academies. He was the youngest child in a large family of Mechwarriors. He has five siblings performing various military functions within the Inner Sphere. His family had fallen on hard times during the Marek Civil War.
Having no 'mech to inherit when he turned 16 (6th and youngest in the class of '22, Allison Mechwarrior Academy) he remained in academies, soaking up a large body of military lore and discipline. He has a masters degree in military administration from the Slangmore Academy in Steiner Space.
Quinn had military discipline in his blood and as his messmates would say, a swagger-stick up his butt. He had a deep interest in military history and went for doing everything by the book.
When these chronicles started, Quinn had been just hired by Haldane's Harriers and assigned to a Star League experimental assault 'mech the Harriers had recovered during a recent adventure.
Quinn served with the Harriers through their raid on Proserpina, their subsequent assignment to garrison duty on Somerset (where he became a lance leader and a commissioned officer), and their initial service during House Steiner's offensive to open the Davion Corridor.
When Grex Steele, son of Harriers founder Tempus Steele, calved off a new company sized mercenary unit, Steele's Spartans, Quinn came along as the unit's Executive Officer.
Quinn, by training, always wrote an After Action Report immediately following the action. Immediately, as in about when the 'mechs stop moving. Quinn carried a small manual typewriter in the cockpit of his mech for that purpose. These AARs are his chronicles.
These After Action Reports are an example of how deep runs his training. Most mercenary units (hell, most regular line units) do not bother with formal written reports. The lance (platoon) leader usually gives a verbal review to the Company commander, who might dictate his report to a transcriber. Quinn's training required that after the excitement of battle, you HAND-TYPE a report in the proper format. It was a mental discipline exercise, you see....
Quinn's first lance leader, Sgt. Steele, looked puzzled when Quinn handed him the first report. "Uh, that's good, son. That's, uh, real good." Steele's training had mentioned that you can do things like this if you're into record keeping, but no one in his unit ever made him fill one out. And this kid did one voluntarily?
Haldane's Harriers, a four lance mercenary company, was employed by House Steiner to execute a raid on the Kurita planet Proserpina in conjunction with Winfield's Brigade and Lyran Commonwealth Aerospace fighter elements in November, 3025.
At the time, Proserpina was occupied by the Legion of Vega, a three regiment unit commanded by General Lord Theodore Kurita, Heir of Kurita space. These are the After Action Reports of Dysart Quinn, then a green Mechwarrior on his first mission.
Why did they go? The goal of the raid was to disrupt the Legion of Vega. The Legion is the military dumping ground of Kurita space (House Kurita rules the Draconis Combine). The remnants of beaten up regiments and battalions, mercenaries who owe too much money and whose 'mechs aren't worth repossessing, the troublemakers, goldbrickers, etc. are transferred to the Legion of Vega. The Legion's unit patch features a rat smoking a cigar. Lord General Theodore Kurita was assigned to the unit by his father to keep him occupied building the unit.
The planet was supposed to be a relatively quiet one. The elite Proserpina Hussars, the usual garrison, was needed in a more active sector, so the Legion of Vega was sent to cover while the Proserpina Hussars were away. Proserpina is an icy world that spends more than eight months a year as a frozen tundra. Much of the ground is very flat. The inhabited portion of the planet is occasionally broken up by steep east-west ridges some 3000 meters high and hundreds of kilometers long. These are geologically recent formations, caused by tectonic north-south pressing. It is easy to locate the few targets of military or economic importance. No one wants to move too far from "civilization." Similarly, a defender can quickly ascertain what is important to guard heavily.
The idea of the raid was to tactically defeat the enemy 'mechs in a series of small actions to undermine their confidence in their leadership, as well as destroy or capture a number of 'mechs.
The tactics were to be hit and run, dropping on targets with impunity. The enemy was believed not to have any Dropships, which can transport mechs quickly about a planet. To go anywhere, they would have to walk. Steiner intelligence rated the enemy aerospace strength as weak and supplied an air unit to suppress them. This would provide the raiders with a large movement advantage by dropping places where the Legion of Vega was weak, striking, and departing before reinforcements could be brought to bear.
The Harriers were involved in three separate actions on Proserpina, for which Quinn wrote the following AARs:
Following the Proserpina Raid, the Harriers were rewarded with money, equipment, new recruits (the, uh, volunteers from the Legion of Vega and new hirees), and a honey of a contract to garrison the remote world Somerset out toward the edge of Steiner Space. They were hired by the LCAF to serve under the planetary duke. Intel reported no problems on the planet other than "some school boys with shotguns" hollering about oppression and causing some mayhem. A good place for the unit, now expanded to a four-company battalion to learn to work together.
At the end of their Somerset contract in April 3027, Major Haldane refused to extend the Harriers garrison contract. The Planetary Duke disgusted him, Somerset disgusted him, garrison duty disgusted him, and having bought so many 'mechs, the Harriers were pretty near broke. They needed a source of salvage and that required combat.
At that point, the LCAF was getting ready to open the Davion Corridor from their end, and were shifting units toward Terra and hiring mercenaries as adjunct units. The Harriers were assigned as a fourth battalion to an LCAF regular unit and shipped to Blue Diamond for staging.
Our campaign diverged from the "official" FASA Battletech timeline. We had trouble seeing House Kurita, Liao, and Marek being completely stupid. When Davion and Steiner proposed an alliance between the two of them, it did not take a genius to see that Davion military and territorial strength mated to Steiner's industrial ability spelt danger.
Rather than do nothing, as FASA had them do, until Hanse Davion sprung a "surprise offensive" during his engagement announcement, we had the other three powers recognize that their existence was put in extreme jeopardy by a Davion-Steiner alliance. So they did something about it:
This co-ordinated attack closed the Davion corridor, effectively separating Davion and Steiner. The six worlds taken cut off an additional twelve Davion worlds, which held out for a while before falling. Steiner forces were caught napping and too busy dealing with raids (or preparing for them) to effectively fight back. Without being able to exchange goods and personnel, the other Houses were not afraid of a Davion/Steiner alliance.
This war began in mid-3026. The initial phases went well for the Kurita-Liao-Marek faction.
It took House Davion a while to recover and regroup (as well as to gather enough intersellar transport to effectively fight back). It took House Steiner a longer time to be willing to (and to manage to) gather enough forces to consider attacking back through the Davion, while Davion attacked from the other end.
House Steiner launched its offensive in September of 3027, attacking zz. Fomalhaut was invaded in December, 3027.