The Battle of Rhen Var was a Galactic Republic/Separatist engagement in Year 1 of the Clone Wars.
The Battle of Rhen Var, known to the Galactic Republic as OPERATION: Maelstrom Cliff, was an aggressive and isolated Republic assault on Rhen Var. Rhen Var was situated on the Coreward front of the Tion Cluster, an isolated group of variegated planets on the Outer Rim, and near the end of the Perlemian Trade Route. The taking of Rhen Var would allow the Republic to expand further into the isolated Tion Cluster.
Rhen Var was a mostly abandoned glacial world, with torrential gale-force winds sweeping over empty plains of snow, formerly beaches before an atmospheric climate disaster. Galactic Republic Intelligence established two key points to capture on Rhen Var: Aleph, a fortress harbor, and Bravo, a mountaintop monastery-turned-hypercomm communications station. Invading Republic forces would have to insert into Aleph Harbor and seize the battery of silent Separatist bomblet artillery howitzers in order to give clone troopers cover while they advanced up the precipitous mountain to claim Bravo Peak.
The taking of Aleph Harbor fell squarely to the battalion-strength 2644th Infantry Battalion, one thousand clone troopers, an assortment of new soldiers and several transfers from other units, meaning that the majority of the clone infantryman had seen at most one or two combat operations previous to OPERATION: Maelstrom Cliff. Republic strategists, however, did not place much emphasis on the greenness of the 2644th, as Kamino's training facilities were reputable for their exemplary war training.
Led by clone commander CT-15/23-3469, a "veteran" of Geonosis, the 2644th would be supported by two dozen reconnaissance speeder bikes, six IFT-X medium battle tanks, and two AT-TE heavy walkers. There were two avenues to attack the clustered fortress: an open plain suitable for a vehicular push, and a warren of ice caves where companies of clone troopers could scuttle and assault the relatively undefended flank of the droid-held fortresses.
However, Tralus Platoon, a platoon of forty clone troopers of the 2644th Infantry Battalion: an assortment of Advanced Reconnaissance Commandos and expert regulars, would be sent in first for a perniciously hazardous sting mission. They would airdrop from a pair of specially-equipped infiltration LAAT/i gunships from behind the fortress, and the platoon of soldiers would storm the Confederate howitzers and insure that they would stay out of action until the main Republic contingent reached them and repaired them, essentially, the KIA medallions of the forty clone troopers were already stamped and sealed before the operation.
Shots Heard Around the WorldEdit
Tactical situation untenable. Severe casualties. Unable to hold artillery zone against hostile assault. Request aerial support, indiscriminate coordinates.
The pair of LAAT/i gunships, callsigns "Black One" and "Black Two", were able to smuggle their way into the rear of the fortress and successfully deploy their paratroopers...when the point men found that their targets were being serviced: a full complement of engineer and astromech droids were upgrading the artillery cannons, and when showers of white-clad killing machines burst above them, the droids signaled for reinforcements. There was a frantic melee as the paratroopers landed literally in the midst of armed droids, and the commandos lost the advantage of superior ranged weapons as engineers disemboweled them with active fusion cutters and rifles and pistols were alike were discharged at handspan lengths, tossing down dead troopers and droids alike.
Immediately, a team of Hunter-Killers were dispatched: the CIS had two teams of six missile droids alike armed with fusion-nosed RPGs to terminate air targets. The forward platoon commander, lost in the brawl of the fighting, managed to slip a transmission to the LAAT/i gunships overhead to hold position and open fire with their cannons and ball turrets, and at once, both dropships were transformed into aerial fortresses buttressed with weaponry and bristling with monochromatic light, but by then, the platoon had lost all coordination. Both the commander and the executive officer had been killed in the first minute of the fray, and most of the squad commanders had also died in mislead charges of valor. The matrix of dueling droids and clones hand-to-hand and barrel-to-barrel made friendly fire from the gunships inevitable. At least ten clone troopers died from imperfect gunnery, but Blacks One and Two managed to preserve the lives of eighteen of forty original men, when Hunter-Killers One and Two converged and torpedoed them from the skies from range, avoiding the blasters of the remaining reconnaissance men.
Both LAAT/i gunships had broadband communications jammers activated when they fell into the midst of stacked bodies and stained snow, and while Black Two's shorted out, Black One's was still active even after the crash. Even as the eighteen reconnaissance trooper remnants hunkered down amongst the crashed hulks and returned fire to hundreds of amassed droids on the precipices of nearby buildings, one by one they succumbed to fiery dismembering deaths until one ARC was able to take a fallen droid's fusion cutter and dismantle a section of Black Two's rear compartment, extracting half a dozen recon bikes, enough for the Rhen Var Five, as they would come to be known, the five remaining Republic troopers of Tralus Platoon to flee in.
However, with the jamming field on, they were unable to call for reinforcements or report the details of their unsuccessful "sting" raid. After the clone infantrymen cleared the howitzers, racing for open white, droid engineers set charges to help clear the wreckage of Blacks One and Two while other engineers armed howitzers for an inevitable Republic assault, one that would meet with plasma in the teeth and T-visored helmets.