NOTE: This page was originally titled "Operation Foliage Gear". Operation Foliage Gear was actually the much later second Earth Fleet attack on Resistance-held Earth, which resulted in the destruction of Earth's Moon by Erich Von Shrakenberg aboard the EFS Draco. No actual operation name was listed in the Season 4.3 text for the operation described below. Consequently, this page has recently been renamed. A new page for the ACTUAL Operation Foliage Gear will be forthcoming shortly.
Task Force 23 was a large fleet of 64 warships and transports of Earth Fleet that were sent to liberate the New Madrid system from the Tech Infantry Rebels faction in early 2243 as part of the Third Civil War. Centered on the Star Control Ship EFS Vishnu, it was split into several Task Groups. Task Group 23.1 was the main force of warships, including the Vishnu and its escorts. Task Group 23.2 was the main landing force, consisting of several pure transports and four Electra-class Assault Dreadnoughts. Task Group 23.3 was a support squadron of fuel tankers and freighters stuffed with equipment and ammunition for supporitng the landing force once it was on the planet surface. Task Group 23.4 was the advanced scouting detatchment, consisting of the battlecruiser EFS Vanguard and the four Archer-class destroyers of Destroyer Squadron 15, under the command of Commodore J.J. Adams. This last group was sent in ahead of the rest, to conduct a cee-fractional strike on the system's defenses, particularly the battlestations in planetary oribt and the Star Control Ship EFS Jutland, captured by the rebels and under repair in orbit.
Despite achieving strategic surprise, they were spotted just short of the planet by an alert sensor operator and the defensive Battlestations opened fire. Three of the four destroyers (EFS Richardson, EFS Doyle, and EFS Hatcher) were destroyed outright, and the fourth, Commodore Adams' flagship, the EFS Benedict under the command of Flag Captain Erich Von Shrakenberg, was critically damaged. However, the torpedoes and cannon shells they had already fired mostly hit their targets, obliterating the EFS Jutland and badly damaging the battlestations.
Even if it had not been so badly damaged, the EFS Benedict had used up nearly all of its fuel accellerating to such a high speed for the attack, and did not have enough fuel left to fully slow down or return to base afterwards. This was according to plan, and the EFS Benedict instead coasted towards a scheduled rendezvous with the Battlecruiser EFS Vanguard, which would use its Gravity Drive to finish slowing the destroyer to a stop and then open a hyperspace portal so they could return to Avalon.
But upon reaching the rendezvous, they were met instead by a Ro'Kor-class Jurvain Battlecruiser. The Jurvain captain demanded that Captain Von Shrakenberg be turned over to them for trial for war crimes stemming from his earlier destruction of the Ashdown Gate in Rios, destroying an entire Jurvain invasion fleet with a quarter million soldiers on board. In exchange for the sparing of his crippled ship and its crew, Von Shrakenberg agreed to travel over to the Jurvain ship in a space suit and submit to imprisonment. However, he instead threw a nuclear warhead from a Fusion Cannon shell into the airlock and detonated it inside the ship's armor and defensive shields, crippling the battlecruiser. Von Shrakenberg was critically injured by shrapnel and radiation poisoning in the explosion, but was successfully rescued by Xinjao O'Reilly.
During the rescue, the Jurvain crew of the Battlecruiser effected enough repairs to get moving again, although not enough to fire the ship's Hellbore or other offensive weapons systems. They attempted to ram the helpless and drifting EFS Benedict. The Benedict fired the last of its onboard Fusion Cannon ammunition at the Battlecruiser, its other weapons having been destroyed or depleted during the flyby attack, but the Jurvain warship's surviving defensive systems easily handled this puny threat. Before the ramming maneuver could be completed, however, the EFS Vanguard showed up at last, and destroyed the Jurvain ship.
Meanwhile, the rest of Task Force 23 had launched their follow-up invasion of the New Madrid system 24 hours after the flyby attack. Despite some early setbacks, they were successful, and the system fell to the Loyalist forces over the next couple of months.