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Battle of Miridem

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40px-Terminal.png This article, Battle of Miridem, was written by StoneGhost. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.

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Battle of Miridem
Miridem montage

Clockwise from top left: a Covenant landing area is hit by air strike; a Covenant corvette launches Seraphs; two SPARTAN-IIs in MJOLNIR Mark IV [G] armour; Marine ground and air forces attack a Covenant landing zone

Conflict:

Human-Covenant War

Date:

18th February 2544

Location:

Miridem

Outcome:

Both sides claim victory

  • UNSC's delaying action successful
  • Miridem glassed by the Covenant
Belligerents

United Nations Space Command

Covenant Empire

Commanders
  • Rear Admiral Robert Matthews
  • Commodore Henry Ward

Unknown

Strength

UNSC Navy: 14 combat vessels and 4 combat stations

Colonial Militia: Approximately 20,000 men UNSC Marines: Approximately 8,900 men

UNSC Army:

  • 15th Mechanised Division (30,000 men)

Covenant Navy: 15 combat vessels

Covenant Army:

  • Large numbers of landing craft and dropships
  • Approximately 10,000 ground combat personnel
  • Approximately 600 vehicles
Casualties
  • 4 Orbital Defence Platforms
  • Both Halcyon-class cruisers
  • 6 Remembrance-class frigates
    • UNSC Journeyman
    • UNSC Remembrance
  • 4 Hope-class destroyers
  • SPARTAN-065
  • Many Longswords
  • ~4,000 Marines and ODSTs
  • ~11,000 Army personnel
  • 1 CAS-class assault carrier
  • 4 CCS-class battlecruisers
  • 2 Covenant frigates
  • 4 SDV-class heavy corvettes
  • Vast majority of Seraphs
  • Vast majority of Banshees
  • Virtually all ground forces
 
"Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, know this; come what may, until every last civilian makes it out of this system, we will stand firm."
―Commodore Henry T. Ward, 11:39, February 18, 2544

The Battle of Miridem was a major engagement during the Human-Covenant War, occurring on the planet Miridem in February 2544.

The fighting on and around Miridem took place between February 18 and March 7, and was the largest battle in the UNSCDF's history at the time. A combined force of warships, aircraft and ground forces of the UNSC Navy, UNSC Army and UNSC Marine Corps mounted a spirited attempt to repel the Covenant invasion, and succeeded in beating alien forces back several times, though ultimately Miridem was defeated with heavy loss of life. An initial Covenant naval assault of 15 vessels on February 18 was turned back with heavy casualties as the Mark 6 'super' MAC fired in anger for the first time, completely obliterating Covenant capital ships at a range they had previously believed to be beyond effective MAC fire. For once taken by surprise, the Covenant Navy held position on the edge of the system for three days until they were reinforced by three assault carriers and their escorts, at which time they launched a massive amphibious invasion comprised of landing ships, attack aircraft and corvettes. This significant force was able to overwhelm and bypass the naval screen and attack UNSC ground positions and UEG civilian centres, though was immediately counterattacked by UNSC ground and air forces. Possessing complete spatial superiority (one of the few occasions this occurred), the UNSC Navy was able to continually bombard Covenant positions in addition to assaults by Marine and Army forces. This window during which the UNSC maintained the upper hand was crucial in evacuating a significant portion of Miridem's civilian population and military garrison. On March 4, with the Covenant Army pushed back into just a few pockets and under constant ground, air and orbital attack, the Covenant fleet felt it had no choice but to risk the SMACs and engage the UNSC fleet, accelerating towards Miridem at extreme sublight acceleration. The resulting orbital melee was unusually even-matched and dragged on with near-total losses for both navies, only ending when, at 0530 local time on March 6, the nuclear magazine of the light cruiser UNSC Sally Ride exploded, the resulting shockwave dispersing both the debris field and the surviving ships. Further Covenant reinforcements in the form of 27 warships arrived at 1705 the following day, but not before the remaining UNSC forces had fled the system.

Miridem was the first of the so-called 'core thirty'- UEG worlds with a population of over one hundred million- to come under Covenant attack. These worlds presented a vastly greater set of challenges for the UNSC Defence Force, a fact that had been recognised by senior UNSC Navy planners as early as 2527. As the first of these worlds in line to fall, Miridem was the trial by fire of for a number of technologies, including the 'super' Magnetic Accelerator Cannon and Ark-class evacuation ship (and, though unplanned, the Vengeance-class destroyer) developed and implemented specifically to serve the defence of the intensively populated, highly urbanised colonies where the bulk of UEG civilians resided.

Background

Miridem was a greatly significant colony to the UNSC because it was one of just a few dozen UEG worlds with a population exceeding 100 million. Known as the 'core thirty' (though in reality there were approximately forty colonies with over 100 million inhabitants), these worlds made huge contributions to the ongoing war effort in terms of recruiting to replace lost armies, as well as war materiel in all its forms. By 2542, with most outer UEG worlds glassed, these worlds comprised over half the population and economic output of the remaining colony worlds; they therefore represented not only the war engine of continued Human resistance against the Covenant, but also the majority of the Human species itself.

For several years Miridem was known to be at risk by UNSC intelligence agencies due to the pattern of and direction from which the Covenant were destroying colonies. By 2542, there were no human colonies to the galactic east of Miridem's system, as these had all been attacked and annihilated. The UNSC knew Miridem's inevitable invasion would mark a new phase in the war; previously, civilian populations had been relatively small and limited in geographical distribution, and therefore in theory comparatively simple to evacuate with improvised civilian vessels temporarily placed under military command. Miridem was the first of the colonies with a population of over 100 million which would be invaded and inevitably defeated, but it would not be the last; Victoria, Orthiad, Paris IV, New Carthage, Adrastos, and finally Reach, among many others, would all suffer the same fate in the years after Miridem's fall. A great deal of planning went into Miridem's defence contingencies, which would later inform the defence of other inner colonies.

On the Covenant side, intelligence of the locations of UEG star systems was scant. This was due in part due to rigorously enforced physical and signal security measures by the UEG to prevent the discovery of worlds, and also due to poor understanding by the Covenant of UEG colonisation patterns. Due to the limitations of Human terraforming and synthetic environment technology, only one or two star systems at most out of forty would have a permanent presence, incorporating a natural level of defence and elusiveness into UEG colonies. Barring a stroke of luck on the part of the Covenant or a major oversight by the UNSC, the only way for a Human world to be positively identified by the Covenant was for one of their scouting parties to visit a system and directly observe each world in turn.

Prelims

Spatial battle

Ground battle

Aftermath

Notes

  1. Sheffield had not yet been commissioned, and so at the time of the battle lacked the 'UNSC' prefix.

Battles of the Human-Covenant War

Durisdeer (2531) · Summa (2536) · Orchid IV (2539) · Iophon (2540) · Bellerophon (2541) · Petrovina (2542) · Miridem (2544) · Orthiad (2546) · Victoria (2546-7) · Adrastos (2548) · New Carthage (2549) · Tribute (2552) · Meridian (2552) · Earth (2552)

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