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Colonial War Overview


During the 21st and 22nd centuries, Humans established settlements across the Solar system, primarily on Luna, Mars, and the settlements on Near Earth and Mine Belt asteroids and habitats.  By 2180CE, over eighteen million Humans lived beyond Earth.

By 2100CE, the Commonwealth government had turned inward to deal with continuing ecological disasters on Earth, eventually starving terraformation and scientific programs of funding. The Colonial powers received some self rule in 2114 with the passage of the Home Rule Amendment, but the off-world colonies remained subject to Commonwealth law and the authority of the Terran Commonwealth Security Forces.  Eventually all terraformation and exploratory efforts came under colonial funding and control, but the Commonwealth banned interstellar expeditions and discouraged exploration of the Oort.

By the 2170s, the Colonies were engaged in running media battles with the controlled press of Terra, and the Commonwealth eventual deemed more provocative programs as slanderous and in direct violation of the subversion clause of the Home Rule Amendment.

In November 2180, the Near Earth Colonies of Amun and Glittertown broadcast documentaries against the ruling Horizon Party that finally caused the Commonwealth Executive Council to overturn the Home Rule Amendment and establish direct rule over the Colonies.  Originally, the Executive set December 1 as a deadline for compliance with the direct rule, but negotiations stretched this deadline to December 31.  By the end of the year, negotiations remained at a standstill, and colonies began to formally secede from the Commonwealth rather that comply with direct rule from Security Force commanders.

War Stages

The Colonial War was fought in a series of distinct stages or phases.  Most chroniclers describe these as:

The Fleet Defections

This period comprised the first week of the war and the mutiny of half the Space Force Fleet.  The duel between the Harrier and Devastator, the internal fighting on the Minerva and the destruction of the Nairobi High Port are the major engagements of this stage.

Initial Skirmishes

This period continued through most of January 2181 and marked the initial Terran response to the rebellion.  The assault on Oasis, the Battle of Mars and the Ceres Incident are the major engagements of this stage.  Another major skirmish occurred entirely within TerraNet, with Terran technicians gradually regaining control of the system from rebel AIs and viruses.

Defensive Alignment

After the failure of Terra to quickly suppress the rebellion, both sides retreated to their strongholds, with the rebel fleet consolidating in the Belt and at Mars and the Terran Fleet returning to Earth Orbit or surface. During this period, which lasted well into March, it became clear that the Colonies would not back down and that the Space Forces and Commonwealth political leadership was unwilling to directly target habitats or rebel civilian installations.

Terran Raids

Starting in June 2181, the TCSF launched major raids into the Asteroid Belt, targeting sparsely populated and automated mining installations and commercial spacecraft.  During this period, the Barracuda gunships first entered service and they soon began organizing into four ship wolfpacks to scour the Belt.  The TCSF raids against Trojan refueling stations, Flora and the interdiction of Jupiter occurred during this phase, as did the aborted raid on Venus.  This phase of the conflict lasted until the early months of 2182.

Belter Sweeps

By the end of 2181, the Belter Fleets and their auxiliaries had adapted to the raider threat.  By using convoys, better detection systems, long range drone missiles and the first Attila class destroyers, the Belter and Martian forces were able to counter the wolfpack threat, destroying, capturing or disabling 8 older Doolittle class gunships and 21 Barracudas.  The loss of two patrol cruisers at the Battle of Astraea in March 2182 forced the Space Force to suspend most offensive operations in the Belt.

Final Skirmishes

During the final months of the war in the spring and summer of 2182, most of the action was political, not military, as negotiations for a settlement progressed.  Factions within the Commonwealth civilian and military opposed to a settlement lead the effort to prolong the conflict or force at least some colonial habitats and settlements to surrender.  The final conflicts included the Geosynchronous Battle, the L4 Raid, the Liberation of Jupiter and the Battle of Amun.

Force Composition

At the start of hostilities, the Space Force suffered a massive mutiny as 48 of 104 combat vessels defected to the Colonial Provisional authorities.  Force composition on the (First) and (Last) days of January, 2181 were as follows.

Ship Type*  



Vanquisher class corvette  

 8 (6)  


Caesar class patrol cruiser  



Sharawi class troop carrier  



Atlanta class gunship tender  



Doolittle class gunship  



Patton class sssault carrier  



*The Deep Cruiser Minerva suffered an internal mutiny and is not included in the numbers for either side.

Fleet Additions

During the war, both sides procured or converted additional vessels to supplement the initial fighting force.

Colonial Irregulars

In response to the secession, the Colonial forces retrofitted CSEA survey ships and commercial vessels with armaments, adding 30 combatants to their fleet: 6 Heavy 8 Medium and 16 Light.  Heavy vessels carried 1-4 5m and 0-6 2.5m weapons pods, Mediums carried 3-6 2.5 m pods and Lights 1-2 2.5 pods.  These vessels generally tended to have limited acceleration and armor and acted as fleet auxiliaries and convoy escorts.

As TCSF commerce raiding increased, an additional 50-60 merchant vessels received 1-3 2.5m pods, generally equipped with defensive lasers and light missiles, for defensive purposes.

TCSF Procurement

Earth-born shipyards initially lacked the facility to build large spacecraft, but during the course of the conflict, the Barracuda gunship reached production status, and various yards produced 42 vessels before cessation of hostilities and 18 units additional before production was discontinued in 2183.

Attila class destroyers

Vesta Shipyards developed the first true warships, the Attila class destroyers, to combat commerce raiding and provide a formidable adversary to any loyalist ship.  By the end of the war, three destroyers saw service and a fourth was undergoing trials.


The Colonial War ended with the Treaty of Tycho in September 2182CE.  The Treaty provided complete freedom for all settlements above Terra’s geosynchronous plane and recognized all vessels and personal serving in the Colonial Space Force, formally transferring the assets to the Colonies and dismissing all charges against mutinous personnel.  Exchanges of Terrans trapped in the Colonies and Colonials stranded or arrested on Terra quickly followed and relations between the Commonwealth and the Colonies rapidly normalized.

In early 2183, a constitutional convention met at High Aphrodite in Venus orbit to establish the Colonial Confederation with a permanent capital in the Lunar city of Copernicus.  The convention recognized four sovereign component states: the Near Earth Orbital and Asteroid Colonies (NEAR Colonies), Luna, Mars and the Asteroid Belt Colonies.  It held half-terraformed Venus in trust as a future fifth member.  The NEAR and the Belt themselves became confederacies of near-independent settlements and habitats. The constitution gave the Belt control of the Outer Worlds and gave Mars control of Mercury.  The Kuiper and Oort systems, including Pluto and Charon, were held in a common trust under the Colonial Space Exploration Agency (CSEA) and an industrial commission.  Yatindra Gupta, Count of Tharsis, became the interim president of the Confederation, later serving a the first full Presidential term from 2185-90.

During its brief tenure, the Confederation proved to be a successful government, establishing a stable economy and promoting freedom. Immigration from Terra resumed by the mid 2180s and by 2200CE, the Colonial population topped 23 million.  By the mid 2190s, the CSEA had begun constructing ramscoop vessels with the intent of restarting interstellar colonization efforts, banned by the Commonwealth for decades.  But these attempts and the Confederacy’s tenure became moot with the arrival of the macrojump vessel Columbus from Atlantis in 2199. The Colonial Confederation dissolved itself in 2206CE with the establishment of the interstellar Terran Confederation.


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