The Invasion of Fasthled is the opening battle of the six-and-a-half-year Gamos Conflict. It was fought between the local forces stationed on the N-class planet Fasthled and its moon Fasthned I in the Facado system (RS 8409-1812-8-12631217-20 in 0.9.7.4p8).
The conflict had been brewing for decades since the withdrawal of 28 systems from the Confederacy senate due to the controversial Argazt Incident. Both parties in the Gamos Nebula had been mobilizing their forces for several years, particularly after a GaIFa-supported (failed) revolts in Surinaut.
In mid-June, the GaIFa military commander Cathal Mannog-David decided that the best chance to exercise full control of the sector is to take as many planets as possible before the loyalists could summon Confederate reinforcements.
The first obvious target was the Facado system, which holds sulfur mining and chemical production facilities vital to the war effort of both parties. In addition, Facado is located in the route normally taken to reach the main loyalist base at Hrittos.
Fasthled is an ice giant inside the Facado system. It and its moon are the only populated colonies in Facado, with a total population of about 6 million people. Of these, about 300,000 live in mining colonies on the moon and the rest in nearly a hundred small-to-large sized floating cities in the atmosphere.
On July 8, GaIFa forces departed from their base on Nova Utrecht and entered hyperspace. They arrived in Facado on July 11 and switched into a orbital injection trajectory, not wanting to alert the local defenses by activating hyperdrive within the system.
The fleet entered orbit after successfully avoiding detection and dispatched a division (15,000 troops) with several skylones to take the relatively fortified moon Fasthled I as the main force entered the atmosphere. Taken by surprise, the garrison guarding the moon base were quickly defeated and surrendered to the attackers.
The fighting on the ice giant was harsher. While Fasthledonia, the largest floating city with a population of 650,000 people, was only equipped with a single anti-orbital cannon, it used it well and destroyed multiple skylones attempting to bombard the city. However, once the invaders established a landhead on the platform, the mayor surrendered, not wanting to cause civilian casualties.
Local defense garrisons scattered across the planet had various levels of luck. Due to the size of the planet, some cities remain untouched until well over two months into the battle. The third-largest city, Jaunsremte, held back the invaders for over five weeks (from July 8-August 17) utilizing urban combat and creative usage of a single anti-orbital cannon against land vehicles (considering such cannons had enough energy to blast down a skylone in orbit, the damage dealt against nearby land vehicles was massive). Nearly half civilian casualties occurred there and the GaIFa was forced to delay their assaults to other cities in order to focus on Jaunsremte. This is commonly considered the reason of the successful evacuation of the civilians in other cities and hence the relatively low civilian death toll.
Once Jaunsremte was finally captured the fighting continued and by 28 September 80% of the planet was under GaIFa control. The remaining loyalist forces decided that Fasthled was a lost cause and began to evacuate using the same ships as the civilians. This freed up the path for GaIFa and they soon captured all but two cities on the planet. One of those, Ki-Adriaqa, was the main base of personnel evacuation and the second-largest city on the planet, making it the next target. The loyalist forces had entrenched themselves in preparation for the attack and inflicted heavy casualties on the attackers. Nevertheless, sheer numbers combined with orbital bombardment eventually wore down the defense and the attackers broke into the city. On October 14, the last cargo ship to successfully evacuate left the planet, the next one shot down by the GaIFa forces. Ki-Adriaqa surrendered on October 16.
The last loyalist city of XACE-12 was a minor mining colony with a garrison of 300 soldiers. The GaIFa general Rod Sneel decided against a direct attack realizing its useless nature and simply ordered skylone to pass by the city launching a missile or two as the GaIFa troops began occupying the planet or returning to their bases. Soon enough, the demoralized troops surrendered on October 23 and GaIFa secured full control of the planet.
While they lost their colony at Fasthled, the evacuated forces meant that the battle was not a total loss for the loyalists. In fact, these now-experienced troops proved valuable on the next encounter, where they reinforced the Ka Invidis system and successfully repelled another GaIFa invasion.
For the GaIFa the victory was a morale-raiser. In addition, securing the sulfur, deuterium, and chemical plants meant that they could sustain fighting a war for longer than before.
Fasthled would eventually be returned to the loyalist government through the war-ending Treaty of Recidus.