The First Battle of Bajor
Seen in "Way of the Warrior"
Last revised: 2000.07.27
Klingon Objective: Capture DS9 intact. Gowron seemed to be intent on destroying DS9 outright, but the use of boarding parties indicated that his true intent was to seize control of the station.
One Federation space station.
The USS Defiant.
A Federation fleet which was called up by Sisko to reinforce the station. This fleet was never seen, but was presumably capable of taking on Gowron's attack force.
At least one Negh'var heavy cruiser, which served as a command vessel for Gowron himself.
Numerous Klingon battlecruisers and Birds of Prey, numbering in the dozens but probably less than fifty (since the DS9 TM indicates the station can hold off a fleet of up to fifty ships, and the number of ships seen onscreen doesn't contradict that figure).
The Cardassian High Command was overthrown and replaced by a civilian government.
The Klingon Empire attacked the Cardassian Union in a large "Pearl Harbour-style" sneak attack (meaning that they didn't deliver a formal declaration of war beforehand) consisting of many hundreds of starships. However, Sisko warned Garak, who immediately warned the Cardassian government. Gowron's motives in this attack are murky; he claimed that the new Cardassian government was composed of changelings, but he had no evidence whatsoever. Worf spoke of political pressure inside the Klingon empire to expand into neighbouring territories, and suggested that this may have been the real motive. The inner turmoil immediately after a coup would provide an excellent opportunity for such an attack.
In any case, Dukat and the Cardassian government leaders tried to escape, and were rescued by the Defiant. The Defiant attacked and/or destroyed numerous Klingon warships during this operation.
Gowron was enraged, and sent part of his fleet to attack DS9. The Defiant arrived ahead of the Klingons and they began preparing the attack (and asking Federation HQ for reinforcements).
Gowron's attack began. After a concerted bombardment, his fleet was able to knock out the station's shields.
The Klingons boarded DS9 and attempted to seize control of the station. They caused many casualties but were hampered by their incredibly bizarre tactic of discarding their guns in favour of knives and swords. The boarding action failed.
Sisko managed to work out a negotiated ceasefire. He told Gowron that his first attack had failed and that Federation reinforcements were on the way. He knew Gowron could simply call up reinforcements of his own, but such escalation would lead to a full-blown Federation/Klingon war, and he reminded Gowron that a two-front war would not be in the best interests of the Klingon empire. Gowron agreed to the ceasefire, but not before scaring everyone with his bulging eyes.
One common question is "why didn't the Klingons beam the defenders out, instead of beaming themselves in?" One might assume that it's chivalry, but that seems silly; one would hope Sisko wouldn't be stupid enough to base his station defense plans on assumptions of enemy chivalry. Besides, Klingon chivalry isn't what the Federation/Klingon allied propaganda machine makes it out to be. While soldiers may have their heads full of glory and honour, officers are more highly educated. Klingon soldiers drop their guns and run screaming at their enemies with knives in hand, but Klingon officers hide their ships behind cloaking devices and attack the enemy when he's least expecting it. Their fleet launched a surprise attack on the unsuspecting Cardassians. Hardly "honourable" things to do, but they were effective.
In light of those factors, it seems more likely that the difficulty of transportation is asymmetrical, ie- it's easier to send than it is to receive. A low-level jamming field might have kept the Klingons from transporting Federation defenders into their ships' holding cells, without keeping them from beaming their own men into the station. Perhaps a stronger jamming field might have prevented transport altogether, but DS9 was apparently pumping every available joule into its shield and weapons systems.
How could the Empire have succeeded where the Klingons failed? We might imagine the following tactics:
First, we must define their assets. They would presumably have dozens of capital warships and a single large command vessel such as an Executor or Eclipse-class Star Destroyer.
It would be a waste of resources to send all of those ships to accomplish a simple job like this. It would also be a waste of manpower and time to board the station and take it room by room.
Remember that the objective is to capture DS9. The method is irrelevant. Therefore, send most of the ships to do more productive work elsewhere. Keep just two Star Destroyers. Drop one into realspace at point blank range of DS9, but do not attack. Drop the other Star Destroyer into realspace on the opposite side of Bajor.
Hail Sisko and inform him that the second Star Destroyer will begin bombarding cities on Bajor's surface unless Sisko lowers his shields and voluntarily surrenders the station. To forestall the usual interminable round-table discussions among DS9's command staff, inform him that one city will be bombarded every 60 seconds until he surrenders or we run out of major cities. Once the major cities are gone, systematic carpet bombardment of rural areas will begin, followed by the release of biological weapons. Begin an audible 60 second countdown.
It is difficult to imagine how this strategy could possibly fail. In the unlikely event that Sisko doesn't take the threat seriously, he will be severely chagrined in 60 seconds when the second Star Destroyer carries out the threat. It is utterly inconceivable that he would still refuse to surrender afterwards, especially when the 60 second countdown begins anew.
Flip side: how would an Imperial battle station have fared in place of DS9?
First, we must define their assets. It would be unreasonable (albeit somewhat amusing) to replace DS9 with the Death Star. To be fair, we would presumably replace it with a small Golan Arms station instead. The Defiant would be replaced by a small warship such as a Carrack light cruiser or a Blockade Runner, and the Federation reinforcement fleet would be replaced by Imperial reinforcements.
Given those conditions, the battle would probably never take place at all. Given the relative speeds of hyperdrive and warp drive, Gowron would show up only to find that the Imperial reinforcements had already arrived. A negotiated settlement would probably follow.
Conclusion: On either side of this battle, the Empire would be able to achieve victory without a battle. Sun Tzu would be pleased, and I would give them 2 for 2.