The Raid on Trelka V was the first in an intended series of small-scale hit-and-run strikes planned and commanded by General Martok of the Klingon Empire against Dominion and Cardassian Union targets in Cardassian space in 2375 in an attempt to keep Dominion forces off-balance.
As the planetary starbase on Trelka V was heavily defended and assigned a garrison of ten thousand troops, Martok had no expectations of destroying or capturing the base, which would have required the firepower of half of the Ninth Fleet. However, Martok was confident of being able to keep the Dominion off balance by quickly striking one target, then moving on to the next. He planned further attacks on targets increasingly deeper in Cardassian territory, including the Manora shipyards, the Jem'Hadar breeding facility on Sheva II, and the supply depot in the Borias Cluster. Martok would take a squadron of five Klingon Birds-of-Prey, entering Cardassian space under cloak, as he considered K't'inga-class and Vor'cha-class cruisers to be too slow and unwieldy for such a mission.
Starfleet Captain Benjamin Sisko, who likened Martok's plan to cavalry raids performed by troops on Earth centuries earlier, offered to join Martok in the USS Defiant (which was also equipped with a cloaking device), but instead Martok suggested that Defiant and a dozen other Starfleet ships wait for when the Klingon squadron returned, in case Dominion forces were pursuing them.
Upon arrival at Trelka V, Martok, commanding from the IKS Ch'Tang, sent the Birds-of-Prey IKS Malpara and IKS Ning'tao in ahead of the rest of the squadron. The ships performed a single strafing run on the planetary base, disabling two defense batteries, before heading out of the system. They were pursued by two Galor-class, which managed to destroy the Malpara with all hands aboard. The Ning'tao then led the cruisers out of the system, leaving the base unprotected. With the base's damage control teams beginning repairs and having dropped their primary shield grid, Martok had the other ships hover three hundred meters above the base, before decloaking and opening fire.
After a successful strafing run, the ships were to withdraw from the system. Before Martok could give that order, however, the Ch'Tang was hit by returning fire, injuring Martok, rendering First Officer Worf unconscious, and leaving the ship's third officer, the elderly Dahar master Kor, in command. Kor, in the confusion of battle, believed himself back at the Battle of Caleb IV, a campaign he waged against the United Federation of Planets over a century earlier. Kor ordered the ships to come about for another pass. Under fire from the base's superior defense systems, the IKS Slivin and IKS Orantho suffered heavy damage, particularly the Orantho, which suffered a hull breach in its port quarter and the death of its captain and first officer.
The injured Martok attempted to countermand Kor's orders and instruct the crew to withdraw, but between his own injuries and the heat of battle, he was not able to get their attention. Kor, meanwhile, growing increasingly confused, ordered a signal sent to his long-dead colleague Kang, announcing his intention to capture the base, to the bewilderment of the crew.
Finally, Worf regained consciousness. Re-assuming command, he ordered the ships to withdraw, while an infuriated Martok ordered Kor (now coming to his senses) off the bridge. Worf removed him from active duty soon after.
Shortly afterwards, a squadron of ten Jem'Hadar attack ships were dispatched in pursuit of the four surviving Klingon ships. Although the Klingon ship remained cloaked, the lead ship used a long-range tachyon scaner to penetrate the cloak. The Jem'Hadar ships were expected to overtake the Klingons well before they reached the Defiant and other Federation reinforcements in the Kalandra sector.
Worf devised a solution. One Bird-of-Prey could be sacrificed to force the Dominion ships to drop to impulse, using an inverse graviton pulse generated from the ship's navigational deflector. Engaging them for ten minutes would delay them long enough for the Klingon ship to reach the Federation. Most of the ship's crew would be evacuated beforehand, leaving only a captain and a skeleton crew of six volunteers. As the Slivin's deflector was damaged in battle, the Ning'tao was the logical ship to use. Further, as the Orantho's captain and first officer were dead and Ning'tao's commander Captain Lurkan was considered too inexperienced, Worf himself was the only senior officer still on active duty to command the Ning'tao.
After learning of the plan from Darok, Martok's aging aide, Kor intercepted Worf in the transporter room, rendered him unconscious with a hypospray, and then beamed over to the Ning'tao and assumed command.
While the Ning'tao engaged the Jem'Hadar, the other three ships continued on course, until the battle was beyond their sensor range, leaving the details of Kor's final battle mystery. Nevertheless, Kor successfully delayed the Jem'Hadar long enough for the Klingons to reach the reinforcements in time, saving the lives of the crew.
|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|