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The Encounter at Lea took place in May of 2252. While on a routine patrol of the Lea system, the Federation cruiser USS Constitution, as well as the destroyers USS Demetrius and USS Buena Vista, came under a surprise attack from the 127th Cruiser Squadron of the Klingon Empire. The Klingons, emerging from their hiding space in the tail of a large comet, destroyed the Demetrius and heavily damaged the Constitution before leaving the sector in a search for more targets (Star Trek: The Four Years War).
The fact that the Constitution could be damaged so severely in this attack was used as a supporting argument by Starfleet Intelligence to remove the Constitution-class starships from front line combat during the Four Years War.