Following their defeat by Stygian forces in Operation nesting Asps the Imperials continued to lose ground on the southern front on Quatrel Prime. St Jamal's Shrine had been overrun. Everywhere in the south Stygian Guard units were pressing their Imperial counterparts to the breaking point.
Imperial high command convened a meeting of senior officers and front commanders to determine a course of action. It quickly became clear that unless something could be done to relieve the pressure on the southern front, the front would most likely collapse in the coming month. What was unclear was if committing all reserves to the south would be enough to save the situation.
However another plan was forwarded by Col. Kutsev of the Kharkovian 8th Guards Regiment. Let three of the five uncommitted reserve regiments be sent to the south to shore up the front. However the Kharkovian 8th Guards regiment and the Liskavian 15th regiment should launch a counterattack out of El Drukar at the Guttar salient. They would take the Guttar Hab zone and cut one of the three highways that acted as a supply line for Stygian forces. Then the Kharkovian 8th Guards could be withdrawn leaving the two Anglican regiments in the area and the Liskavian 15th to hold the ground while the Kharkovian 8th Guards went back into a mobile reserve role. The cutting of the supply line should slow the Stygian advance significantly and also force the Stygians to commit their reserves to reopening the route leaving them unable to match Imperial reserves committed south. Furthermore the Kharkovian 8th Guards could then be free to be committed in a new operation against the south after being withdrawn from Guttar Hab zone.
The plan was tentatively agreed to. Intelligence reports were gathered and consulted to see if the plan was feasible. The first reports checked were from the two Anglican regiments stationed along the Guttar Salient. From skirmishing they had identified the enemy force guarding the shoulder of the Guttar Salient as the 102nd Stygian Militia Brigade with a smattering of Alpha Legion support. Air recon confirmed this though it was believed that Alpha Legion forces present were minimal.
Elements of the 102nd Stygian Militia at the Guttar Hab Zone
The plan was then set. The Kharkovian 8th Guards would spearhead the assault and take the Guttar hab Zone as the primary objective. Along the way they were to also capture a forward air base, the Guttar refinery and smash the Stygian FOB (forward operating base) 173. The Liskavian and Anglican regiments would follow in the wake and build defenses to resist Stygian counterattack and secure the Kharkovians gains. In two weeks once the Guttar Hab Zone was taken the Kharkovian 8th would be withdrawn for further operations elsewhere.
Elements of the Kharkovian 8th Guards regiment on the eve of Operation Scimitar
The counterattack plan was then named Operation Scimitar. Col. Kutsev moved his units into assembly areas. A few Skittari were added to his force at the last minute to aid in his advance and to also mark good defensive positions for the follow on forces. In order for Operation Scimitar to gain strategic surprise numerous raids were launched all over the front to keep the Stygian off balance and unable to pinpoint where Operation Scimitar would strike. The day before the Kharkovian 8th was to attack the 33rd Anglican regiment was tasked with raiding and destroying a stygian forward observation post. the elimination of the forward outpost would enable the 8th to make far more rapid progress and achieve tactical surprise. The raid would be carried out by a single platoon from the Anglican 33rd regiment and the hope was that it would appear no different from any of the other raids being conducted along the front and thus not attract undue attention.
Elements of the 33rd Anglican regiment scheduled to assault Stygian OP 277.