|TCS Tiger's Claw|
|Class||Bengal-class strike carrier|
|Weapons||Dual Mount Laser Turrets (8)|
Dual Mount Laser Batteries
|First appearance||Wing Commander I|
|Last appearance||Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi|
Originally laid down as the TCS Tiger Claw, and commissioned as Tiger's Claw. She commonly called the former by her pilot's and crew.
It was launched in 2644 and on its shakedown cruise, it found itself in the path of a surprise Kilrathi invasion force. As a fresh ship, it carried a minimal spacecrew and an under-experienced command, but its unexpected presence surprised the Kilrathi. Along with clever tactics on the part of the command crew, and performance above and beyond the call of duty by the spacecrews, they routed the superior Kilrathi force. Shortly thereafter, the Claw was given permanent assignment in Vega Sector.
In 2649, the Confederation sent 60% of the Vega Sector Fleet to invade Kilrah. Having being surprised by unexpected Kilrathi warships, the Claw was sent from its station to the retreating Terran fleet's path and fought to delay the Kilrathi forces (Custer's Carnival) and allow the lightly armored Terran transports time to reach Terran space. During the conflict the Claw lost 3/4 of its engines and half of its crew, but managed to limp back to Terran space.
To replace these heavy losses, the 201st Plebe class of the Hilthros Space Naval Academy arrived aboard the refurbished Claw in order to replace the regular flight crew under Commodore Geoffrey Tolwyn. The cadets, as 2nd Lieutenants of the Cadet Wing were to complete their course of instruction while performing routine patrols and flight training.
While exploring a binary star system, Grikaths piloted by delusional Kilrathi attacked the Claw, and it was saved thanks to the cadets. However they were also infected by the solar flare which caused delusions. They mutineered and conspired to destroy the Claw. Gwen Bowman had to destroy Allen Goetz's Broadsword to save the Claw.
The Claw sent cadets to Dioscuri II to investigate whether the Kilrathi had contaminated the native primitive Dioscurans. When the cadets were captured, Admiral Tolwyn dispatched Scimitars to their rescue. Again, when two cadets went missing, Sabres and a Longbow were sent to rescue them.
On the discovery of a Kilrathi jump buoy near a pulsar, Tolwyn ordered its destruction and sent a recon team to scout the other side. Tolwyn ordered communication silence expecting the emergence of Kilrathi forces.
Stationed near that pulsar's hypernode, and worried by the Kilrathi activity in this sector, Tolwyn asked the Fleet Command for reinforcements. After ambushing another Kilrathi recon force, reinforcements arrived, TCS Manasses and TCS Trafalgar. Admiral Rhea Bergstrom ordered Tolwyn to guard the node as a bait for an ambush at Seti Beta I of their combined forces of 140 fighters and then retreat to an unsecured sector. He objected to the foolishness of the plan, and Bergstrom, not trusting that Tolwyn would carry out her orders, ordered cadet Blair to spy him for her. Tolwyn thus changed his plans to carry out the ambush. The sudden retreat, while having the advantage, made Kilrathi commander Garahl nar Hhallas suspicious. Tolwyn soon found out that the Kilrathi had already prepared a trap on their own, and Bergstrom's task force was under attack. The Claw complied to her request and assisted the Trafalgar right before its destruction. Survivors joined the crew of the Claw.
Seeing all the Kilrathi forces coming towards the Claw, Tolwyn ordered all head forward to the jump node under all the gunfire with all power diverted to forward shields. Maintaining collision course with Agon Ra Sivar, he played "chicken" with Thrakhath nar Kiranka, until the Prince acknowledged his bravery and moved his Dreadnought to evade the Claw. The carrier was scratched and made it to the node.
The Claw was escorting an Achilles-class and a Byrd-class en route to Oasis, when pilots salvaged a mysterious Sleep Ship from a Kilrathi Salvage Tug. The Ship was occupied by an alien in cryo-sleep, who intended to recover a powerful orb from the planet.
Tolwyn set the plan for an ambush to surprise a Kilrathi Carrier that his pilots discovered. The Carrier was successfully destroyed, with the informatin that Prince Thrakhath will move to Dolos for the Sivar-Eshrad.
After arriving to the Dolos System, the Claw destroyed the Kilrathi jump buoy and its guards so there was no warning on their arrival. Talking with Summer, Tolwyn was denied any reinforcements or assistance and was ordered to consider the Claw expendable on his objective to attack Thrakhath. He briefed the cadets about their fake objective to prepare fot a Confederation Marines invasion to liberate the Dolosians.
During the process of the mission, Tolwyn informed the pilots that the Marines won't arrive and the Claw would engage the Kilrathi fleet alone, helped by the Dolosian uprising. Indeed his plan worked and having captured the cadets, Thrakhath expected a military invasion, unprepared for an assault against Agon Ra Sivar from space. The Kilrathi fleet left Dolos dishonoured.
After the destruction of the Pegasus Station, the Kilrathi gained a direct route to Earth. Tolwyn, who was now an Admiral on the flagship TCS Concordia, sent orders to Captain Jason Sansky as the Claw was the only ship in the Vega Sector. Christopher Blair (who had already served on the destroyer TCS Formidable and the heavy cruiser delivered the orders to Sansky, that the Claw, with help from James Taggart, should go to the Charybdis and gather information about the Kilrathi strike force. Taggart, using his Pilgrim talents, approached a class-2 pulsar and engaged a level-five jump-point interphase to the Ulysses corridor.
While scouting the Pegasus debris, pilots reveal their presence to a Kilrathi ConCom. A strike force was then formed to destroy the ConCom. Meanwhile 2 Ralari-class Destroyers and 1 Sivar-class Battleship launched 3 dozens of starfighters and torpedoes against the Claw which retaliated by destroying the destroyer. The battleship returned more torpedoes which severely damaged the Claw, but was soon destroyed by the pilots of the Baker Wing.
The Claw hid inside an asteroid crater and launched a decoy to misguide the Kilrathi battle group. However a Destroyer methodologically nuked every crater causing further damage. However Confederation Marines manage to board the approaching Kilrathi ConCom and steal fuel cells. Furthermore, they discovered the Pegasus Navcom AI with the Kilrathi coordinates through the Charybdis. That information helped the Concordia battle group to target the exact location the Kilrathi force entered the Sol Sector. During delivering that information, Jeannette Devereaux almost killed herself while protecting the Claw from a skipper missile. With Taggart's guidance, the Claw obliterated one more Cruiser and a Destroyer, before jumping to Sol Sector and join the Concordia.
During his two years on Tiger's Claw, Blair advanced rapidly through the ranks from a fresh cadet to squadron commander; he was preparing to take over as Wing Commander when his career was sidetracked: While on approach to the Kilrathi starbase at K'tithrak Mang, the Claw was destroyed by a Kilrathi sneak attack by their newly developed cloak Strakha starfighters.
The Claw's leadership at the end of the her life was as follows:
- Commanding Officer: Captain Thorn, TCSN
- Executive Officer: Commander Nelson, TCSN
- Lefty :Maintenance
- Commander, Air Group (88th Carrier Air Wing): Colonel Peter Halcyon, TCSF
- Commander, Rapier II Group (Black Lions Squadron): Lt Col. Christopher Blair, TCSF[Source?]
Note-worthy pilots included:
- Carl "Prankster" LaFong
- Jason "Maverick" Armstrong
- Jeannette "Angel" Devereaux
- Mariko "Spirit" Tanaka
- Etienne "Doomsday" Montclair
- Ralgha "Hobbes" nar Hhallas
- Zack "Jazz" Colson
- James "Paladin" Taggart
- Todd "Maniac" Marshall
- Ian "Hunter" St. John
- Joseph "Knight" Khumalo
- Kien "Bossman" Chen
- Michael "Iceman" Casey
- Gwen "Archer" Bowman
- S.E. Sarasin
- Fatima Haroud
- Rosie Forbes
- Larry Dibbles
- C.A. Skinner
- Killer Bees (Hornets)
- Yellow Jacket (Hornets)
- Blue Angels (Scimitars)
- Blue Devils
- Star Slayer (Raptors)
- Black Lion (Rapiers)
- Alpha Wing
- Delta Wing
- Gamma Wing
- Baker Wing
- 88th Fighter Wing, First Squadron
- Second Squadron
- Third Squadron
- Fourth Squadron
- Fifth Squadron
- Sixth Squadron
- Seventh Squadron
- Eight Squadron, 128 Fighter Wing
- Alert One
- Cadet Squadron
- Tiger's Claw
- Geoffrey Tolwyn (2653, )
- Jason Sansky (2653?-2654.076 (March 17))
- Paul Gerald(2654.076-.163)
- Thorn (2655.?-2656.?)
- Peter Halcyon (2655.?)
In the Wing Commander film, the Tiger's Claw is designated CSS Tiger Claw (on uniform patches in the movie) and referred to as the TCS Tiger Claw (in subtitles and when discussed). The term CSS has a more historical background because it was used by the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. It is referred to as the CS Tiger Claw in the Pilgrim Stars. Not much technical information is known of the Tiger Claw (beyond what is described in the novel). The film's ship design is much different from the game's ship design of the Tiger's Claw (although they are intended to be the same).
In the novel the chapter computer readout headings list it as the United Confederation Carrier, Tiger Claw.
The TCS Tiger's Claw was also seen in the animated television series Wing Commander Academy. Although the ship looks similar to the game's version of the Tiger's Claw, there are minor differences, mainly the flight deck locations. This Tiger's Claw was equipped with thirty five dual-laser turrets, six triple-laser turrets and a single-laser turret cannon. The front of the ship looks more like a tapering blade rather than the rectangular as in the game.
Commodore Geoffrey Tolwyn was in command of the Tiger's Claw in the television series. Jason Sansky was in charge of the ship for the first quarter of the year, Paul Gerald was in charge for roughly the second quarter of the year.
Thorn was captain during the Goddard and Firrekan Campaigns according to Freedom Flight and Heart of the Tiger although likely intended to be the captain of the ship during the entire Vega Campaign as well (though he is not mentioned in the game). Due to a retcon with most of the Academy TV series being moved to 2654, and the placement of the film series, there are overlaps between when Sansky, Paul Gerald, Tolwyn and Thorn commanded the ship, as well as overlap between the Vega Campaign and the Pilgrim Uprising.
It would seem Tolwyn must have come on board the Tiger's Claw for specific missions as 'acting captain'.
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