Post Meridian

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The following information has not been confirmed by Volition
and is therefore not canon for the FreeSpace universe.


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MISSION 03
ACT 1, MISSION 03

Fighter squadron: 170th Fighting Navajas

Description: The GTD Meridian has been located, and a Task Force is dispatched to deal with her.


Background

Just as the Federation's Third Fleet completes its retreat from Jupiter to Mars, and subsequently allowing the Alliance to secure Jupiter, both Mars and Earth's satellite, Luna, are subjected to heavy fighter bombardment. Unlike previous attacks, where unarmed, unprotected civilian targets fell under a protection clause of the Alliance's BETAC and were spared from harm, this new attack does not distinguish civilian and military assets. It is believed that the Galactic Terran Assembly has activated the Total War contingency of BETAC, meaning that all hostile targets are valid targets, civilian or otherwise.

The Federation has tracked the source of the fighters to the GTD Meridian, flagship of Admiral Cyrus Severanti, the Theatre Commander of all Allied forces in Sol. Because the Meridian has deployed most of her fighter wings for the attack, leaving only a handful of fighters behind for escort, she is vulnerable to attack. The Navajas have been selected to play a crucial role in an attack on her.

While the ideal Federation attacking force would consist of a destroyer, all three Solaris destroyers are tied down and cannot assist in this battle—deploying either the Eris or Solaris would leave both Mars and Earth unprotected, and the Toutatis is in dry dock, undergoing repairs. Admiral Byrne is also unwilling to commit significant assets for this operation despite its importance, so Second Fleet, under Admiral Netreba, has bartered for tactical command of this mission in exchange for deploying the Karuna-class frigate Indus to assist in this operation.

Flying space superiority, Alpha and Beta wings of the Navajas must escort Delta wing from the 271st Gunship Squadron while they disable the Meridian's primary beam cannons.

Walkthrough

You can only use the UEF Uhlan in this mission. Bring along at least one bank of Javelins.

Your first task in this mission is to escort Delta wing, consisting of four Uriel-class gunships. Delta's survival is most important, as they are the only fighters in this mission carrying the Paveway anti-subsystem missiles needed to disarm the Meridian's main guns. If they are destroyed before they release their payload, the Meridian's main guns, coupled with the additional firepower from its escorting cruisers and corvettes, will sweep the Churchill and Indus quite quickly. Keep a short distance ahead of Delta and do a quick scan through all hostile targets. Your only concern for now should be the three Ares-class strategic assault fighters that form Aquarius wing. Each of them are equipped with two full banks of Trebuchet long-range heavy missiles and will make short work of Delta if left unchallenged, so destroy them as soon as you can. Aquarius wing is bound to the F10 key; use it if you are disoriented.

Secondary threats in this mission are all fighters from the 545th Kukris, armed with TAG-B fire designator missiles and the GTCv Juarez, providing TAG fire support for the Kukris.

The Vilnius, a Sanctus-class cruiser, will accidentally mis-jump into the middle of the Allied battlegroup. Its deployment was originally in response to the TAG threat posed by the Kukris and Juarez. There is nothing you can do to save it, so ignore it and continue escorting Delta.

When the Meridian's main guns are destroyed, you receive the order to pull back to the UEF frigates. Hit your burners and get back to the Indus and Churchill because the Alliance will begin to sortie fighters and bombers to attack both frigates just as all of the Meridian's escorting warships finish off the Vilnius and enter the firing range of the two Federation frigates. It is at this point in time when the Indus decides to deploy its Alpha wing, consisting of four Kentauroi-class interceptors, headed by Lorna Simms.

The Alliance will sortie a wing of six Hercules Mark II heavy assault fighters, three designated Aquila wing and the other three designated Cepheus wing. All six are armed with the Maxim anti-hull cannon to deal with the Indus and Churchill. To counter this threat, Epsilon wing will be sortied. Epsilon, comprising two Uriel gunships, will be placed under your command. Use them to take out Aquila and Cepheus wings and fend off or destroy the Juarez. This will leave the frigates clear to pummel the Meridian and its remaining escorts.

If Beta wing is destroyed, Gamma wing will jump in to assist you. Like Epsilon, Gamma, consisting of three Uhlan space superiority fighters, is under your command and can be ordered around. Use them to guard the frigates if needed. Solaris Strike Alpha, comprising two Durga bombers, will be sent in if the hull integrity of either the Churchill or Indus falls below 40 percent.

The Indus and Churchill must survive in order for this mission to be a success. If either frigate falls, the UEFg Yangtze, another Karuna-class frigate, will enter the fray to assist, but you will automatically be returned to base shortly after its arrival.

Notes

  • The Yangtze was originally scripted to jump in once the hull integrity of either the Churchill or Indus falls below 40 percent.
  • Federation Intel speculates that the reason why the normally cautious Admiral Severanti chose to switch to an all-out offensive is because he fears that Admiral Steele's recent gains—primarily most of Jupiter—would threaten his position as Theatre Commander.
  • The Ajax, Essex and Juarez are outfitted with heavier flak cannons and slightly different AAAs. In addition, the Juarez is also equipped with the all-powerful ULTRA Anti-Fighter Beam. The latter is to facilitate its role as TAG fire support in this mission.
  • Both Indus Alpha 1—Simms—and Indus Alpha 2—Levi—become invulnerable once their hull integrity falls between 41 to 16 percent. This prevents them from being killed off during this mission as they are plot-critical characters.
  • Although the mission debriefings include a stage to accommodate the destruction of the Meridian, and the destroyer herself can be destroyed if she is disabled, thus being unable to flee once her hull approaches critical, her loss is very unlikely and can be considered non-BP canon.
  • Curiously, Severanti violated long-standing GTVA doctrine regarding Hecate-class destroyers by offensively deploying the Meridian with only a minimal escort. Given his history and psych profile, his gamble seemed to be desperate in a political sense but calculated in a tactical sense--the Meridian escapes, along with (usually) most or all of his escort ships. Thus, even if it didn't work politically, it wouldn't be a disaster militarily if the gamble failed.


Tips

  • Do NOT attempt to single-handedly attack any Allied warship without assistance. You WILL be killed.
  • Follow your orders to the letter.
  • For pros to the game, the Vilnius can be saved and the Meridian's support ships can all be disabled.
  • Generally speaking, providing a good escort to the pair of friendly gunships will allow them to take out the Meridian's forward beams. Avoid doing it yourself, as getting back to the frigates through the Meridian's point defenses and reinforcement fighters can bog you down for the rest of the mission, or kill you.

Total number of forces

Forces involved
Belligerents
Ships
Strikecraft
  • 9 UEF Uhlan
    • Alpha 1
      • Brie
    • Alpha 2
      • Kassim
    • Alpha 3
      • Laporte
    • Beta 1
      • Consoleto
    • Beta 2
      • Gapar
    • Beta 3
      • Crash
    • Gamma (3)
  • 4 UEF Kentauroi
    • Indus Alpha 1
      • Simms
    • Indus Alpha 2
      • Levi
    • Indus Alpha (2)


  • 4-8 GTF Kulas
    • Libra (4) *2 waves
      • 545th Kukris
  • 8 GTF Perseus
    • Auriga (2)
      • 508th Prowling Bears
    • Cancer (4)
      • 545th Kukris
    • Cepheus (2)
      • 508th Prowling Bears
  • 3 GTF Ares
    • Aquarius (3)
      • 500th Gladiators


  • 16 GTB Artemis D.H.
    • Meridian Beta (4)
      • 556th Stallions
    • Meridian Kappa (6)
      • 555th Swordfish
    • Meridian Psi (6)
      • 555th Swordfish
Casualties


  • 0-6 UEF Uhlan
    • Beta 1
      • Consoleto
    • Beta 2
      • Gapar
    • Beta 3
      • Crash
    • Gamma (3)



  • 0-8 GTF Kulas
    • Libra (4) *2 waves
      • 545th Kukris
  • 0-8 GTF Perseus
    • Auriga (2)
      • 508th Prowling Bears
    • Cancer (4)
      • 545th Kukris
    • Cepheus (2)
      • 508th Prowling Bears
  • 0-3 GTF Ares
    • Aquarius (3)
      • 500th Gladiators


  • 0-16 GTB Artemis D.H.
    • Meridian Beta (4)
      • 556th Stallions
    • Meridian Kappa (6)
      • 555th Swordfish
    • Meridian Psi (6)
      • 555th Swordfish

(*) Deployed only when the Churchill or Indus is destroyed
(#) Deployed only when the hull integrity of either the Churchill or Indus is below 40 percent

Read the Veteran Comments policy before editing this section.


"In my experience, this is the mission that will force you to unlearn all of your usual habits picked up from playing years of Freespace 2. It took me over a dozen attempts in BP's 2014 release to beat this mission on the 3/5 Difficulty (called 'Medium' in vanilla) and it took me more or less the same amount of attempts when I replayed it in the 2015 release recently. The reason for this is simple, I suffer from a severe case of Alpha 1 syndrome and that mission makes this fact abundantly clear. In short, to win this mission you have to stop being the hero. This mission simply destroys you if you try to pull basically defeat everything youself as you are used to, hell it basically kills you immediately if you only wander to close to any of the cruisers. To successfully finish the challenge present here, you only have to understand one thing: Following the ****ing battle plan and make sure survival is your top priority, not racking up the most kills. And it honestly surpised my how long this understanding process could take. You will definitely dive head-first into a brick wall with this mission. But if you get over it, you have understood how combat works in the War in Heaven universe and what is expected of you, making this basically a prerequisite for the rest of the campaign. Which was probably the intention."