Historical Event: Sagittaron Insurgency


Since joining the Colonies during the Cylon War, Sagittaron has been a hotbed of dissension in the otherwise widely approved Colonial administration. While most of the Twelve Colonies have at least some sort of dissenting voice on them, Sagittaron is the by far the most vocal. Terrorist attacks, such as those carried out by Tom Zarek, were supported by a portion of the population. While much of the population was initially against the Colonial administration, extremist actions clashed with their generally traditional and pacifistic nature and eventually drove many of them to support the Colonials. However, especially in the volatile southern continent of Sagittaron and especially in Jharkhand Province, significant portions of the population remained aloof. Both terrorist attacks (on civilians and government institutions) and guerilla strikes (on military personnel) were carried out for many years.

In 2028, the government of Sagittaron requested Colonial assistance when their Guard units proved incapable of suppressing the insurgency sweeping through the southern continent. The CMC imposed their will upon the rebel armies in a successful campaign culminating in the ceasefire of 2029. Several insurgent groups refused to recognize the legitimacy of the ceasefire and went underground, beginning the guerilla war that has continued ever since.

In response, successive Colonial administrations sent Colonial Marine Corps troops to these “hot” areas of the planet. For many years, each successive task force would conduct a pre-deployment training off planet and then move to Sagittaron to help local forces provide security, do foot patrols in cities and conduct the occasional surgical strikes to destroy guerilla or terrorist cells. While fighting was sporadic, it was still present.

Operation Market Cage

One of the most prominent guerilla groups was the Southern Sagittaron Liberation Front (SSLF), commanded by a former Colonial officer calling himself Krotos. Day-to-day operations were carried out by nine splinter groups loosely affiliated with SSLF central command, each named after their leaders — who in turn were named after the nine Muses. Several of these groups developed reputations for brutality and extreme disregard for civilian life, particularly Erato and Kalliope.

On 3 March 2036, CMC forces received solid intelligence regarding the locations of those leaders. Planning for raids began immediately, and the raids themselves were executed on 15 March 2036. Erato and Kalliope were captured and their bases of operation destroyed; Krotos himself escaped.

Erato and Kalliope were tried for treason and, after their appeals for clemency were denied, were executed one year later.

Several months after the trial ended, the insurgent leaders Kleio and Thaleia went public with an offer to begin formal power-sharing negotiations with the Colonial government. The location of these talks was compromised by a mole inside CIS and the compound was destroyed in a daring suicide attack for which the SSLF claimed responsibility.

Analysts generally agree that Operation Market Cage was a short-term success insofar as it threw the SSLF into turmoil for more than a year. However, it certainly cannot be characterized as a decisive victory and indeed further radicalized the SSLF — to the detriment of all, as would be seen two years later, in 2038.

The Storm

The setbacks of 2036 were obvious and far reaching for the anti-government forces, but they would bounce back to conduct a far more widespread and damaging campaign.

Reorganization after Operation Market Cage was quick, and within a year the SSLF's ranks were greatly bolstered and its stores replenished. Insurgents extensively planned their 'revenge' campaign for nearly a year before it actually occurred. They continued to stockpile extensive stores of military grade supplies, much of it through corrupt contacts in the Sagittaron Colonial Guard which was officially allied with the Colonials. Many of the new members were ex-Sagittaron Colonial Guard troops who began to despise the seemingly unending presence of Colonial forces on planet. Others were law enforcement officers with similar views, or independent security consultants who'd joined up out of ideology. Most, however, were disaffected and ideological civilians with minimal training. However, in the year between the reorganization of the SSLF and their opening offensive, they trained up their troops to a significant level of proficiency.

In May of 2038, the SSLF struck. By keeping the Colonials occupied with feints in cities far enough away from where the SSLF was planning to strike, they were able to generate an extreme element of surprise. Far from the Xenos Province, which the SSDF had been attacking for the last year, their actual assault ended up capturing three large cities in the Jharkhand Basin as well as the valuable, resource rich countryside surrounding. Their presence ultimately reached beyond these three cities. They timed this campaign for the change in rotation – directly after the former task force conducted a handover to the new one, they captured these territories.

The SSLF's main goal was far more concrete and ambitious this time around. They wanted recognition of their territory as sovereign from the Colonial government, referendums on Sagittaron for independence and finally the expulsion of non-native corporations and troops from their soil. The reaction was swift. Instead of opening up negotiations with the SSLF or conducting a more minimalist raid this time, the Colonial government shifted the deployed Marines into the new area of operations, as well as deploying an additional battalion from the Assaultstar Victory. Indigenous Sagittaron Colonial Guard was also brought in to act in a supporting role and fight along side CMC personnel. For about a month, the Colonial government warned the SSLF to surrender and that if they did not, they would be subject to concerted and overwhelming military action. Leaflets were continuously dropped on the captured areas, warning civilians and those not in line with the SSLF to leave the area before Colonial troops moved in. The SSLF leadership did not answer these calls, but civilians fled en masse from the cities as the insurgents prepared them for prolonged conflict. Several Colonial Vipers and Raptors were shot down in this time by SSLF anti-aircraft weapons, with the surviving pilots and crew frequently being executed in public. In an attempt to consolidate their position, the SSLF also rounded up perceived opposition among those people remaining and imprisoned or executed them.

Operation April Lightning

The main Colonial unit slotted for the invasion of SSLF territory, called Operation April Lightning, was the 4th Colonial Marine Division. This consisted of -

  • 1st, 2nd and 3rd battalions of the 4th Colonial Marine Regiment (1/4, 2/4 & 3/4) as well as 2nd and 3rd battalions of the 12th Colonial Marine Regiment (2/12, 3/12) as the main battle group.
  • A number of supporting Marine units - artillery, reconnaissance and armoured as part of the 4th Division.
  • Large numbers of Sagittaron Colonial Guard soldiers fought alongside the Colonials against the SSLF.
  • SSLF's 1st and 2nd Armies were deployed throughout the cities to fight. They were organized along the lines of a regular military formation, given a standardized training and were equipped with a mix of weapons and ordinance captured mainly from Sagittaron Colonial Guard armouries in the area. Most, but not all, were uniformed fighters.

In total before Operation April Lightning,

  • Colonial Marine Corps & Sagittaron Colonial Guard forces numbered about 15,000
  • It was estimated that the Southern Sagittaron Liberation Front's troops were over double that, at 33,000 troops.
  • A great number of civilians, around 75% of those living in the affected parts of the Jharkhand Basin, fled to surrounding areas. They would inhabit large, hastily set up refugee camps. These camps were often somewhat shanty, due to the nature of the massive and sudden exodus.

Battle for the Jharkhand Basin

As soon as the Marines stepped off, they were engaged in a hot war, a standup fight for urban areas. Using artillery, air support from the navy, tanks and most importantly the Marine infantryman, the better trained and well armed Marines slogged their way through densely packed urban environments, fighting house to house in some of the most brutal combat any in the Twelve Colonies had seen since the end of the Cylon War. Much of the combat that the infantry saw was within 100 metres, and frequently was room to room in houses. The smallest Marine units, platoon, squad and fireteam, became the basis of the every day fight here. In between the cities, however, was a more rugged combination of hilly land and heavy woods, which the SSLF used to stockpile supplies. The discovery that the SSLF was digging tunnels to resupply its troops in the cities led the Colonials to conduct search and destroy operations in these areas.

The SSLF was well dug in both in the urban areas and the countryside, as well as fighting on their home turf. They were also quite well trained for a force that several years before had mainly been simple guerillas. This gave them a significant advantage over the SSLF of the Operation Market Cage era, which enabled them to inflict many more casualties upon Colonial forces than they would have been otherwise able to.

The events were very closely followed by the Colonies, frequently through embedded journalists with the Colonial Marine Corps. Some other journalists were able to embed with the Southern Sagittaron Liberation Front, and the war was covered from both sides. Still, public opinion did not stray far from the Colonials, by and large, both on Sagittaron and almost unanimously off of it.

After about five months, in late December 2038, Operation April Lightning was declared completed successfully. The Marines had taken 457 dead, 1280 wounded while their allies Sagittaron Colonial Guards took 361 dead, 784 wounded. The disparity in numbers was because Marine units were deployed in front line combat roles far more often than SCG units. Numbers of dead and wounded on the Southern Sagittaron Liberation Front were estimated at approximately 26 500, though this was a Colonial Marine Corps estimate. Their methodology for estimating the levels of casualties on the opposing side was never released. In addition to the dead and wounded, 3 857 SSLF members were captured during the course of the operation. Of course, even if these numbers concerning the SSLF were accurate (and in the media it was speculated that these were best case, high end of the spectrum figures), this still left many thousands of insurgents alive and free.


With April Lightning over, civilians began to return to their devastated living areas in small numbers, at first. The new job of the Marines and Sagittaron Colonial Guards was to provide security for reconstruction workers and civilians returning to the area. This stage was called Operation Phoenix Rise. The remaining SSLF retreated to conduct a guerilla war, fading into the civilians populace as they returned. Booby traps, ambushes and sniper attacks continued to occur, though less frequently than before. Both reconstruction workers, perceived Colonial sympathizers as well as troops were targeted by the SSLF. In response, the Marines conducted frequent lightning raids on insurgent caches and 'cells'.

The noose tightened around the SSLF. In August 2039, a small portion of their leadership began to negotiate laying down arms with President Adar. This group, which was not estimated at making up more than 15% of the overall SSLF, surrendered to Colonial forces and were given limited amnesty, depending on their roles. The vast majority of insurgents remain today, though, and there still are terrorist or guerilla attack on workers busily reconstructing Sagittaron's southern cities, as well as the troops that protect them. While the scale of these attacks has certainly greatly decreased since the conclusion of Operations Market Cage, April Lightning and Phoenix Rise, it has been deemed unlikely that the Southern Sagittaron Liberation Front will ever truly or fully be eliminated, and indeed will likely remain a problem on the colony of Sagittaron for generations to come.

Character Ties

  • PFC-SGT Garret J. Lysander: Sagittaron, the colony that Sergeant Lysander deployed to four times in his life before Warday. He fought with the 2/12 Marines (Fighting Dozenth) in and around the Jharkhand Basin area of the Southern Continent against the SSLF during Operations Market Cage (2036), April Lightning (2039) and Phoenix Rise (2039). Warday disrupted the fourth.
  • CPL Lucius Decumius: CPL Decumius's first and second deployments were on Sagittaron, and he fought with 3/4 Marines (Thundering Third) against the insurgents as an infantryman during Operations Market Cage (in 2036), April Lightning (2038) and Phoenix Rise (2039). He won a Silver Cluster for actions during Op April Lightning. His third tour on Sagittaron was underway when Warday came.
  • LTJG Iris Stryer: Stryer, then a civilian employed by the Colonial Intelligence Service, was undercover in the Jharkhand Basin during Operation Market Cage (2036).
  • SSA Charis Apollonaris was posted to the Jharkhand Basin from December 2038 to January 2041, during which time she liaised with Operation Phoenix Rise and played a direct role in negotiating the surrender of the SSLF splinter group. A counter-terrorism specialist, she often butted heads with colleagues - both with commanders wanting to treat the situation in the Basin as a purely military problem, and with civilian contractors focused on profit.
  • ENS-LT Natalie Vandenberg: Her first deployment was to Camp Fox, north of the Jharkhand in 2027 just prior to the major opening of hostilities the following year - 2/73rd Marine Mountain Division. Moved to Corona Forward Operations Base in 2028 as LTJG leading a platoon of "Tunnel Rats". Promoted to LT, 2032. Rotated all over the colony as needed from 2028-2034 with 1/73rd Marine Mountain. Heavy involvement in counter-insurgency, mountain, and subsurface warfare. Transferred to Tauron 2034.
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