The Second Battle of Chin'toka marked the entry of the Breen Confederacy into the Dominion War in late-2375, in an attack against the Chin'toka system, a territory of the Cardassian Union held by the forces of the Federation Alliance. In terms of ships destroyed to ships engaged, it was the worst tactical defeat for the Allies throughout the entire war; 99.6% of the fleet was destroyed in the battle. It was the last major Dominion victory of the war.
Although the Federation had previous contact with the Breen, for at least the previous decade, very little solid information was known about them. Isolated behind their full-body refrigeration suits, they remained shrouded in mystery, a mystery that was only enhanced by their isolationist policies. As a result, the Federation and its allies considered the Breen to be little more than a minor regional power.
In the second half of 2375, the Dominion was faced with the prospect of the war in the Alpha Quadrant dragging on for several more years – their original plans projected their invasion of the Federation and the Klingon Empire to take six months at most. The Female Changeling, suffering the degenerative effects of the morphogenic virus, sought additional allies to swell the Dominion's numbers and bring a quicker end to the conflict. After the initial contact, the Breen very eagerly agreed to join the war on the side of the Dominion. (DS9: "Strange Bedfellows")
Within days, the Breen launched a massive offensive against the Federation territories. Most damaging in terms of destruction and morale was a bold attack against Starfleet Headquarters on Earth – the first time open combat had taken place on Earth in over 200 years. (DS9: "The Changing Face of Evil")
The Chin'toka system was the only chief allied foothold in Dominion territory, taken after a previous battle against Cardassian and Jem'Hadar forces. The Alliance's weakened supply line and its fragile war machine meant its hold on the system was very problematic. Jem'Hadar forces on the Dominion side of the system were constantly attacking the Alliance's positions, and with the Alliance's inferior numbers, its hold on the system was growing weaker by the day. (DS9: "Image in the Sand", "The Siege of AR-558")
The Dominion resolved to re-take the system with a combined assault from Jem'Hadar, Breen, and Cardassian forces. With the bulk of Dominion forces engaged on the Romulan front, the Dominion had to rely on the new technology of their new mysterious allies; the Breen, to re-take the system.
With the addition of Romulan forces, the counter-offensive was initially blunted as the Dominion forces launched their attack. However, the Dominion forces managed to break through the Allied lines in two places, outflanking allied defenses. The Dominion fleet re-took the planets in the system, as the allied fleet withdrew. As the Jem'Hadar, Cardassian, and Breen ships consolidated their position, Starfleet and its allies rallied their starships for a counterattack to drive the enemy fleet from the system, under the command of General Martok of the Klingon Defense Forces.
The allied ships were pushed back to the edge of the system, as 312 allied warships were rallied to take on the enemy fleet, with all available reinforcements coming in from outside the system, even as far as Bajor. The Allied fleet had no discernible battle plan; leaving a reserve force on the edge of the system, they resolved to destroy the enemy fleet with brute force. The Jem'Hadar and Cardassian warships held back, giving their new Breen allies a chance to prove themselves as worthy combatants.
The Allied fleet opened fire, destroying several Breen warships. The Breen attack wing retaliated by firing a volley of a new kind of energy weapon, which, to the Allies' shock, completely disabled all of their ships' primary systems. The Allied warships were now adrift and free targets for the Breen ships, their deflector shields inactive, primary computer systems offline, and their weapons disabled.
The Breen ships switched to conventional weapons, and targeted the adrift targets with their torpedoes. The entire allied fleet was totally vulnerable, unable to take evasive action or to fire back. Ship after ship exploded or was rendered uninhabitable after volleys of destructive torpedo fire. Unable to retaliate, the survivors on board the heavily damaged allied ships launched their escape pods in a desperate bid to escape the carnage. The Dominion leadership allowed the pods to escape, under the justification that the survivors would spread fear through the Alliance about tales of the destruction of the battle. The Breen warships proceeded to destroy the crippled allied ships and re-took the system.
The allied escape pods were picked up by emergency rescue ships dispatched from the small reserve force that had held back at the edge of the system, and the survivors quickly retreated to Federation-held space.(DS9: "The Changing Face of Evil")
The Second Battle of Chin'toka was arguably the worst defeat suffered by the Allies throughout the war. In terms of starships lost to ships engaged, it was the worst defeat since the Federation's reversal in the Tyra system, where 98 ships were destroyed out of 112. The battle ended all allied offensives against the Dominion for the next month, while allied engineers scrambled to develop a countermeasure. The IKS Ki'tang, a Klingon Bird-of-Prey, was the only allied ship impervious to the Breen's energy dampening weapons, thanks to a chance modification made by its chief engineer.
The entire Klingon fleet made the same enhancements, making them the only allied ships invulnerable to the Breen's weapons. However, the Federation and Romulan fleets were left vulnerable, leading to them being temporarily withdrawn from the frontlines. General Martok brought 1,500 Klingon ships to the front line to fight the war while the Allies found a countermeasure; however they were pitted against no less than 30,000 Jem'Hadar, Cardassian and Breen warships, outnumbered twenty to one.(DS9: "When It Rains...")
However, the allied fleets were bought precious time to develop a countermeasure when Legate Damar, led the Cardassian Rebellion in its first assault on the Dominion's Vorta cloning center on Rondac III. The Dominion re-focused its offensive energies to defeating the rebellion, costing them the opportunity of launching a massive unstoppable offensive into Allied territory. This bought the allies enough time to develop a countermeasure with help from Damar's resistance, however the primary cells of the rebellion were annihilated when the Dominion destroyed 18 Cardassian Rebellion bases. The Allied fleets, now negating the only advantage the Dominion had, organized their forces for a single, destructive blow to the Dominion at the Battle of Cardassia, two months later.(DS9: "Tacking Into the Wind", "What You Leave Behind")
|Major battles of the Dominion War|
|2373: Second Battle of Deep Space 9 • Battle of Torros III|
|2374: Battle of the Tyra system • Operation Return • Battle of Betazed • Liberation of Benzar • First Battle of Chin'toka|
|2375: Battle of Monac IV • Raid on Trelka V • Siege of AR-558 • Battle of Ricktor Prime • Invasion of Septimus III • Breen attack on Earth • Second Battle of Chin'toka • Battle of Rondac III • Battle of Avenal • Battle of Cardassia|
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