The Second Battle of Deep Space 9 was a battle which took place between Federation forces and the combined Cardassian/Dominion forces in 2373, and was the opening battle of the Dominion War. Gul Skrain Dukat led the combined Cardassian/Dominion force in the attack against Deep Space 9 and successfully captured the station from Federation control. Although it was a technical Dominion victory, the Federation ultimately succeeded because Captain Benjamin Sisko and his crew were able to mine the entrance to the Bajoran wormhole, and prevented Dominion reinforcements from entering the Alpha Quadrant. (DS9 episode: "Call to Arms")
Prelude to battleEdit
The galactic stageEdit
In mid-2373, Gul Dukbents had degraded the Union into a third-rate power such as the Klingon-Cardassian War and the continued Maquis threat. Once the treaty was signed, convoys of Dominion ships flooded from the Gamma Quadrant and entered Cardassian territory.
Almost overnight Cardassia was transformed thanks to their new allies. The Klingons were forced out from Cardassian territory and the Maquis were all-but wiped out by the Jem'Hadar with only a few pockets of resistance left in the Badlands. (DS9 episodes: "By Inferno's Light", "Blaze of Glory")
As the weeks passed, more Dominion ships flooded into the Alpha Quadrant and headed for Cardassia, yet there were no overtly hostile actions towards the Federation or her allies. Instead, a more covert war was being waged, when several starship including the IKS B'Moth and the USS Tian An Men, would be attacked near the Cardassian border. As well as small tactical assaults, the Dominion threat drew many Alpha Quadrant powers such as the Romulans, Tholians, and Miradorn to sign non-aggression pacts. As time went on and war seemed imminent, Captain Sisko urged Shakaar Edon to have Bajor enter a non-aggression pact with the Dominion. (DS9 episodes: "In the Cards", "Call to Arms")
Mining the wormholeEdit
By the end of the year, the Federation realized that with war imminent, the sheer number of Dominion ships in the Alpha Quadrant would seriously threaten their strategic position, and began to seek out ways to prevent more Dominion ships traveling through the wormhole. It was decided that the best way to do this was to mine the entrance to the wormhole.
The main problem would be that the mines could simply be destroyed by the Dominion, but DS9 maintenance engineer, Rom, suggested using self-replicating mines equipped with cloaking devices for the blockade; not only would such a minefield be undetectable to approaching ships, but it would also be virtually indestructible as each mine destroyed would be replaced by another mine in the vicinity. Miles O'Brien and Jadzia Dax quickly developed a working model, and the USS Defiant immediately began laying down the minefield.
This action could be seen as nothing less than a provocation for war, however, and the Dominion's primary overseer, Weyoun, promptly demanded that the mining of the wormhole be halted immediately, a demand that Captain Sisko flatly refused to obey.
An intricate dance of lies and intimations began: Weyoun claimed that the Cardassians, having suffered terrible damage during the war with the Klingons, and required massive assistance in rebuilding their infrastructure and defenses following the invasion. Sisko played along, claiming to have had no idea of the Cardassians' dire humanitarian situation. The two representatives arranged a deal, in which the Federation would remove the minefield, and the Dominion would restrict further convoys to nonmilitary personnel and materials. However, both sides recognized this repartee as nothing more than a ruse to buy time — Weyoun to prepare the Dominion fleet for the attack, and Sisko to complete the minefield. (DS9 episode: "Call to Arms")
Soon after, the Dominion/Cardassian alliance launched a massive assault fleet towards Deep Space 9, with Skrain Dukat himself in command. The Federation did not reinforce Deep Space 9, using it as a distraction for a Federation/Klingon fleet to attack the undefended Torros III shipyards. This left only the IKS Rotarran to supplement the station's defenses while the Defiant was busy laying down the minefield. Anticipating the enemy attack, Sisko ordered the Rotarran to patrol the Cardassian border and provide advanced warning when the Dominion fleet approached.
The Dominion assault force comprised nearly 300 Jem'Hadar and Cardassian warships. Captain Sisko confidently rejected Dukat's offer to surrender, and both sides prepared for the onslaught. Dukat lost sight of the objective at the onset of the battle when he ordered only five Jem'Hadar attack wings to intercept the Defiant, while his remaining ships targeted the station. Sisko ordered some of the station's weapons to target the Jem'Hadar ships sent to destroy the "Defiant".
As the Dominion fleet opened fire, Weyoun and Dukat were unpleasantly surprised to find Deep Space 9's shields holding up under the barrage — Federation deflector shields had previously been impotent in defending against the Jem'Hadar's phased polaron beam weaponry. Dukat ordered more ships to open fire on the station.
Meanwhile, the Defiant herself was coming under fire as she was laying the minefield. The Rotarran provided interference and covering fire, giving the Defiant enough time to complete and activate the minefield, sealing off the wormhole. Dominion reinforcements would be stuck in the Gamma Quadrant for the better part of a year.
Using his knowledge as the station's former commanding officer, Dukat was able to cut main power to Deep Space 9's shields by directing all Dominion firepower into section 17 of the outer docking ring. With the wormhole now blocked, and the station becoming an impossible position to hold, Captain Sisko ordered all Starfleet personnel to evacuate Deep Space 9. As Dukat ordered his reserve units to enter the battle, the station's Starfleet crew boarded the Defiant and the Rotarran, taking all sensitive equipment with them and leaving the station in the hands of the Bajoran Militia.
Once the Defiant and the Rotarran had safely departed the station, Major Kira Nerys, now the Bajorans' representative to the Dominion, activated Program Sisko 197. The program completely sabotaged the station's computer and power systems, leaving the station a nearly lifeless hulk. The Dominion and Cardassian troops boarded the station without resistance, officially reclaiming Terok Nor, the station they had abandoned in orbit of Bajor five years before. (DS9 episode: "Call to Arms")
The battle ended as a minor tactical victory for the Dominion, and a major strategic victory for the Federation. This battle, along with the destruction of the Torros III shipyards, gave the Federation/Klingon forces a fighting chance in the first stage of the war. Needless to say, this victory could be traced back to the tactical and strategic error of Gul Dukat.
|Battles of the Dominion War|
|2373 : Second Battle of Deep Space 9 • Battle of Torros III|
|2374 : Battle of Tyra • Operation Return • Battle of Sybaron • Battle of Betazed • Liberation of Benzar • Second Battle of Vulcanis • First Battle of Chin'toka|
|2375 : Battle of Rigel • Battle of Monac IV • Battle of Ricktor Prime • Battle of Goloroth • Invasion of Septimus III] • Siege of AR-558 • Raid on San Francisco • Second Battle of Chin'toka • Kalandra Campaign • Battle of Rashanar • Battle of Rondac III • Battle of Avenal • Battle of Cardassia • Battle of Laktar (Unknown)|