Operation Firestorm was a bold move into Arachnid territory, devised by the Sky Marshall and High Command.
The planet of Tango Urilla is a planet on the outskirts of the Arachnid Quarantine Zone (AQZ). Military Intelligence had confirmed the presence of bugs on the planet, but had reported the number of bugs to be minimal. The conclusion given was that the planet was simply an Arachnid Outpost. The Sky Marshall, along with High Command, began planning an assault on the planet, aiming to secure the Federation a foothold in the AQZ.
In preparation for the upcoming mission, twenty Divisions underwent mission specific training. The new Prototype Battle Rifle 2 (BR2) was issued to all troopers who were taking part in the operation, which marked the first major use of the new rifle. After two months of intensive training, the Divisions began the long journey from Earth to the AQZ.
Five additional Divisions were also called from active duty to take part in the operation, including the well known 48th Division, who were to lead the spearhead assault.
Once all of the Federation ships were in orbit of Tango Urilla, High Command gave the order to begin the drop. The first to hit the ground were The 48th Division, followed by the 83rd and 109th Divisions. Once the initial landing areas were cleared, further divisions were dropped onto the planet.
After only a few hours, the Arachnid forces had overwhelmed the assaulting divisions, and a general retreat was sounded. One Division, the 83rd, had already been wiped out, and two Federation Ships had been shot from orbit by bug plasma: The ISS Wolfsbane and the ISS Prefect. Out of the 16 Divisions that succesfully dropped to the surface, only 12 returned; with the four divisions that did not return, the 48th Division, 37th Division, 83rd Division and 109th Division, marked as KIA.
The Sky Marshall has taken personal responsibility for the Operation Firestorm Disaster, and there have been rumours that he plans to step down. High Command has blamed faulty intelligence for the incident, and an internal investigation has been launched to determine the efficiency and reliability of Federation Military Intelligence.
The Federation is in mourning for the lost divisions, and a memorial has been established on Earth, to remind everyone of the sacrifice the brave men and women of those divisions gave. Some people see this as another poor tactical choice like Klendathu (see Battle of Klendathu), others see it as a clever deception by the Arachnids. The incident has sparked flames of anger within friends and relatives of those who lost their lives, and has increased the number of people signing up for service, in contradiction to the opposite reaction predicted by Federation Officals. Due to the sudden influx of recruits, three new training divisions were formed: The 557th Division, 462nd Division, and the reformed 83rd Division.
The Federal-Network reported the operation in Article #014 - FIRESTORM DISASTER!.