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Battle of Roleath

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Previous:

Battle of Loren

Concurrent:

Harvest Campaign

Next:

Battle of New Prussia

Battle of Roleath
Origins Destroyer
Conflict:

Human-Covenant War

Date:

June 28, 2529—August 27, 2529

Place:

Roleath

Outcome:
  • Pyrrhic UNSC victory
  • Roleath partially glassed
Combatants

United Nations Space Command

Covenant Empire

Insurrectionists

Commanders
  • Admiral Allen Hestly
  • Prime Minister Jonathan Matthew
  • Lieutenant General William Hughes
Unknown
Strength
  • Fleet of Divine Fate
  • Army of Pious Serenity
  • Additional troops from the Army of Ceremonious Sanctity
  • Various assorted rebel troops
  • Civilian rioters
Casualties
Heavy casualties
Moderate casualties
Unknown, most likely heavy
  [Source]


The Battle of Roleath was a large-scale engagement during the early stages of the Human-Covenant War. During the course of the battle, Covenant forces made use of a number of experimental EMP weapons, deployed via the CSO-Class Supercarrier Illustrious Pupil.

Attack on the Turbulent Testimony

Amidst the Battle of Loren, SPARTAN Red Team boarded the Covenant SDV-Class Heavy Corvette Turbulent Testimony. During the operation, intelligence was uncovered revealing a plan to test experimental weaponry on the colony of Roleath, which the Covenant had recently discovered. WINTER CONTINGENCY was declared on February 27, 2529.

Order of Battle

Reinforcement & Planning

Despite the Covenant's faster slipspace travel and better coordination, the UNSC was allowed a rare opportunity to prepare for the invasion ahead of time, thanks to prior knowledge of the Covenant's intentions and the fact that the specialized weaponry the Covenant intended to use had to be readied and loaded onto their ships.

The UNSC made good use of this rare advantage, and the 4th, 17th, and 24th Naval Fleets arrived on Roleath six weeks before the projected arrival time of the Covenant fleet. Marine contingents were sent to strategic locations, and Sapphire Team was sent to one of the most critical: the Moorstead Academy, at the base of the Kimberly A. Moorstead Memorial Space Tether in Lotora. Evacuation plans were drawn up, and the local UNSC Army troops were put on standby. However, due to the cover-up of the Covenant and their attacks, the UNSC was prohibited from acting until given permission by Roleath's Prime Minister, Jonathan Matthew.

Initial Attack

Covenant Arrival

On June 28, the Fleet of Divine Fate exited slipspace over Roleath, nine days before their projected arrival, and before evacuation had begun. The Illustrious Pupil disabled the UNSC sensor net with a low-power EMP blast. This alerted UNSC forces, but the Prime Minister ordered that the UNSC could not take action until they had at least received visual confirmation of a Covenant presence. The New Wales Orbital Defense Platform first sighted the fleet deploying ground forces from high orbit. The stationed fired two MAC rounds, destroying a CCS-Class Battlecruiser and a CPV-Class Heavy Destroyer before the Illustrious Pupil fired another EMP blast, causing the magnetic airlocks and life-support on the platform to fail, killing all 1500 crewmembers by a combination of explosive decompression and asphyxiation.

Prime Minister Matthew was informed of this, but he ordered that the evacuation be held off until the very last minute. Admiral Hestly argued that waiting any longer would result in hundreds of thousands of unnecessary civilian casualties. He eventually convinced Matthew, who granted Hestly full authority over the colony before shooting himself in the right temple.

The UNSC was forced to put unfinished evacuation plans into action. Over the course of one and a half weeks, civilians would be loaded onto shuttles and carried onto UNSC cruisers near Roleath's moon Tirithia. Unfortunately, the slow process made the evacuees impatient. Riots broke out as anxiety began to boil over, and Insurrectionist aid to these riots made the situation even more difficult to get under control. In New London, several shuttles were overrun and captured by these rebel-assisted rioters, only for the shuttles to be quickly destroyed by Covenant warships as they attempted to exit the atmosphere.

The First Battle of Lotora

Covenant troops were immediately deployed into Lotora in the dead of night, prompting the Navy to put out a general alert to all UNSC forces in the city.

Covenant shock teams led by Brutes infiltrated the homes of unwary civilians and butchered them, taking complete advantage of the unusual amount of freedom they had been begrudgingly granted by their Sangheili superiors to be horrifyingly brutal. Fortunately, UNSC Army troopers managed to eliminate a number of these teams before they could kill a considerable amount of innocent people. Nevertheless, panic and confusion ran rampant through the city until morning.

Just before midday the following morning, the Army began gathering civilians on the campus of the Moorstead Girls Academy to be evacuated through the Moorstead orbital elevator. However, a Covenant advance had cut off the entrance to the school. UNSC Army demolition teams created a new entrance in the emergency lockdown gates surrounding the Academy's recreation area using anti-material explosives. Covenant strike forces soon began landing near the high school dorms as students were being evacuated from them. Sapphire Team fought them back while the students were led to safety.

On July 2, Locusts penetrated the walls protecting Moorstead Academy, and the area just inside of the breach was overrun. The UNSC Ia Drang deployed Marine shock troops to counter these troops until the Army arrived, and the 119th Infantry Battalion sent several detachments under the command of Major Brian Rothell to respond, supported by Sapphire Team. However, upon approaching the security breach, Banshees ambushed the response force, utilizing Pulse Bombs. The responders were scattered, and fell back to the middle school class buildings to regroup.

A large portion of the original response unit was forced to retreat in order to attend to their wounded. The Ia Drang deployed additional ODSTs, and the UNSC Saigon, Enola Gay, and Asch sent Marine reinforcements via Pelican. The Marines would approach the enemy from the northeast and set up a perimeter of M247 GPMGs, cutting off their eastward advance, while the remaining Army troops would attack from the northwest, aided by the Spartans. The Army unit arrived at the target as planned. However, the Marines were attacked by Covenant air support, and were put eleven and a half minutes behind schedule, and were slaughtered by the advancing enemy troops before they could set up their machine guns. The Covenant now closed in on the evacuating civilians relatively unchallenged.

EMPfire

The Illustrious Pupil fring its EMP emitter.

On the morning of July 3, Covenant troops broke through to the evacuating civilians, blocking them from the space tether with a barricade of Plasma Cannons. A bloodbath ensued before UNSC forces managed to pull the evacuees back away from the barricade. As the UNSC retreated, the Illustrious Pupil fired a high-power EMP blast, disabling the Lotora Transit Station, the elevator's support systems, the UNSC Ia Drang, the UNSC Saigon, the UNSC Semper Fi, and the UNSC Sasquatch. The Ia Drang collided with the transit station, and destabilized the already weakened elevator, destroying all three. The UNSC Semper Fi and UNSC Saigon, which had been descending into Roleath's atmosphere to provide air support, plummeted to the planet's surface, killing hundreds upon impact. Still, the Saigon managed to call Bandersnatch before its communications went offline. The Illustrious Pupil then retreated to safety to recharge its EMP emitter and shields.

Though the space tether had been destroyed, the Moorstead Academy remained an important location, and with the UNSC having retreated from the schoolgrounds, the Covenant dug in at the academy's entrance. The UNSC Asch, which had been out of range of the EMP blast, launched Shortsword bombers to carry out a napalm strike on the Covenant's defensive perimeter of T42 DESWs. However, a pair of Tyrant guns near the Covenant's breach in the academy wall shot down the bombers before they could reach their target. The remainder of the 119th's response force and Sapphire Team, still within the academy, made their way to the guns, which they destroyed at just past 0100 hours on July 4 with the assistance of a detachment of the 272nd Armored Cavalry Battalion, who reached the guns from outside the campus via the wall breach. The UNSC Asch sent a second squadron of Shortswords to the enemy position, obliterating the Covenant perimeter with high-explosive fragmentation bombs. The UNSC ground force then advanced, supported by Longsword fighters from the Asch. Sapphire Team, the Army's response force, and the 272nd Armored Cavalry Battalion moved in from the southwest, while the main force split up, with one group moving in through the main entrance, and the other moving in through the makeshift entrance in the recreational section.

Battle of New Mombasa

ODSTs battle a Wraith in the streets of the Moorstead Academy campus.

The eastern force was the first to reach the Covenant position. Covenant snipers had positioned themselves in the craters left by the UNSC air strikes. ODST Bullfrogs utilizing flamethrowers were able to eliminate this threat. Marine infantry and armor then stormed the enemy position, but were soon pinned down by fuel rod Shades. When the southwestern force arrived, Sapphire team marked these Shades with colored smoke, allowing the Longsword air support to neutralize them. Once the northern force reached the battlefield, UNSC forces were able to eradicate the Covenant presence on the campus within 36 hours.

Glassing of New London

As the tide turned in Lotora, the Covenant set its sights on other population centers. New London's defenses had been weakened as troops stationed there were sent Lotora, and the Covenant took advantage of this. Newly prepared Scarabs were deployed in New London by the CAS-Class Assault Carrier Diligence & Perseverance. The Scarabs quickly overwhelmed the UNSC forces there, and on July 5, orbital bombardment of New London began. In under 3 hours, the city was leveled completely, and over 300,000 people were killed in the process.

The Arbiter Arrives

On July 15, a small group of Covenant warships exited slipspace near Tirithia. Commanding the lead ship, the CAS-Class Assault Carrier Tempestuous Matrimony, was Arbiter Ripa 'Moramee. 'Moramee's ships rendezvoused with the Illustrious Pupil, loading more weaponry onto the supercarrier before setting their sights on New Wales.

Battle of New Wales

The Illustrious Pupil, Glorious Ascendance, Lucrative Immunity, Passage & Resurrection, Elusive Patriarch, Judgment & Repentance, and Harmonious Illumination arrived over New Wales to find a large UNSC defensive formation, headed by the Marathon-Class Cruiser UNSC Overlord. Both sides deployed fighters and began to open fire.

On July 21, less than 2 hours after the engagement above New Wales began, the Illustrious Pupil fired yet another high-power EMP blast, eliminating all the UNSC ships above the city. However, this EMP blast also meant that the Illustrious Pupil would not be able to rely on its EMP emitter until it had cooled down and recharged after several days, and also that the ship and its escort would be unshielded for several hours as they deployed troops.

The Covenant quickly deployed troops into the city, while their naval forces commenced a low-altitude plasma torpedo bombardment. Their first targets were UNSC military holdouts and residential neighborhoods from which civilians were being evacuated, with the attacks on the latter resulting in large casualties. The ground forces, headed by Zealot Field Master Kril 'Monaree, overran the ill prepared UNSC Army troops protecting the evacuation shuttles before storming them and slaughtering the helpless civilians on board. Scarabs were then deployed to quickly mop up the now retreating UNSC ground forces.

On July 28, as the Covenant prepared to glass New Wales, the UNSC Navy initiated a counterattack on the Illustrious Pupil, whose shields were weak due to power being diverted towards recharging its EMP emitter. The UNSC Dear John led a strike force which surrounded the city. The Covenant ships where positioned with the smaller ships encircling the supercarrier. The Covenant was attacked from all sides simultaneously by the UNSC's MAC guns, crippling their forces severely. The UNSC began a nuclear barrage on the Illustrious Pupil as it retreated back into space, overwhelming its weakened shields and damaging it considerably, but not destroying it.

Second Battle of Lotora

"Find the Demons and bring me their rotting corpses so I may feed them to the Unggoy!"
―Ripa 'Moramee's orders to his armies in Lotora.

On July 24, the Tempestuous Matrimony arrived directly above the city of Lotora with a large force of Covenant warships, quickly pushing back the UNSC Navy forces there. 'Moramee deployed several Scarabs throughout the city, three within the Moorstead Academy alone. The Arbiter positioned his forces directly above the ruins of the orbital elevator, and personally led an invasion army onto the surface of Lotora.

Insurrectionists were the first to face the Arbiter when he landed, opening fire with HMG-38s, MA3s, and various weapons scavenged from the corpses of UNSC soldiers. 'Moramee and his troops slaughtered the unprepared rebels with extremely minimal casualties of their own, then gathered a large group of special forces and struck at the evacuating civilians. This attack quickly became a one-sided slaughter. Just over 1000 innocents were killed before the Arbiter was forced back by UNSC Marines, with the assistance of Sapphire Team.

Bor bug

One of the Scarabs attacking the Academy.

Though the Arbiter and his Spec-Ops units were forced to retreat, his Scarab walkers inside the campus continued to attack, largely safe from the aerial strikes that had destroyed many of the Scarabs throughout the rest of the city due to the large concentration of Covenant warships fighting for control of the airspace over the academy. Two of the Scarabs in the academy moved in to flank the evacuees, while the third covered the Arbiter's retreat. Scorpion tanks engaged the Scarab advancing from the South, while Sapphire team and a group of Marine shock troops confronted the Northern Scarab. The Scorpions destroyed the southern walker despite taking heavy casualties, but the northern Scarab managed to force the UNSC attackers to fall back to the evacuation transports.

As the northern Scarab continued to advance, UNSC forces decided to move the civilians south, while another attempt was made to destroy the walker.

Meanwhile, the Covenant naval forces managed to push most of the UNSC opposition out of the academy airspace. The Tempestuous Matrimony began to withdraw friendly ground forces and prepare for low-altitude plasma bombardment. UNSC ground forces took notice of this, and started to move off the campus. The majority of the troops and civilians managed to make it to safety before the Covenant glassed the academy, but around 12,000 civilians and 1000 UNSC personnel were not so fortunate.

The damaged Illustrious Pupil soon arrived above Lotora, pursued by several UNSC Cruisers. The supercarrier dropped teleportation spires just outside the molten remains of the Moorstead Academy, preparing to purge the rest of the city of all human resistance.

With the Moorstead Academy, the most vital tactical position in the city, reduced to molten glass, and its perimeter now guarded by Covenant Spires which were teleporting troops down from the Illustrious Pupil, UNSC forces became desperate. The large concentration of civilians, troops, and supplies in Lotora meant that losing Lotora also meant massive loss of life and almost guaranteed loss of the planet as a whole. UNSC troops that had fled the Academy rendezvoused at The Hall of Mirrors, a popular nightclub.

A potential plan was suggested by Jameson-007. The Spartans would infiltrate one of the Spires, reverse the teleporter, and drop the shield long enough for a UNSC Frigate to fire a nuclear device into the Spire, which would be teleported into the Pupil and detonate. Unfortunately, before the plan could be given much thought, the Arbiter and his forces stormed the club, scattering the troops there. With their superiors out of contact, SPARTAN-132 decided to have his team put Jameson's plan into action.

Sapphire Team met up with a group of Army Rangers and made their way to the nearest Spire, just over a mile away. Because the streets surrounding the Spire were saturated with Covenant troops, the Spartans hijacked a pair of Phantom dropships. Addison Solaski and a small group of Moorstead students, whom had followed Sapphire Team out of the Academy and the club, were taken to safety aboard one Phantom, while the other was used to transport the Spartans and Rangers past the Spire's energy shields and defenses to the top of the structure undetected. The Spire's control room was successfully taken, but not without the Covenant troops at the Spire's base being alerted. SPARTAN-007 managed to hack into into the Spire's computer systems, and was to deactivate the lifts leading to the Spire's top floor. After he believed he had located the Spire's shield controls and reversed the teleporter, James used the Spire's comms to allow Bailey-132 to radio the UNSC Enola Gay. The ship fired a Shiva warhead into the Spire's teleporter, with James deactivating the shields to let the nuke in before reactivating them to contain the nuclear explosion that would result if the plan did not work.

The warhead was teleported into the Illustrious Pupil, detonating and destabilizing the ship's reactor, atomizing the majority of the ship and its contents, including its commander, Cela 'Trevelyee, almost instantly.

After the destruction of the Illustrious Pupil, the Covenant forces became disorganized for a short while, unsure about how to respond to their flagship's destruction. UNSC troops quickly mopped up as many confused Covenant soldiers as they could and pushed the Covenant out of their remaining Spires and destroyed them before the Arbiter regained control of the situation. 'Moramee made an ill-fated attempt to regain control of the center of the city before realizing that the few hours of disorder had cost them their victory, and ordered his troops to retreat to the outer edges of Lotora to be extracted from the area.

Last-Ditch Planetary Assault

The Covenant, having lost its footing on the ground and a considerable number of their ships, was suddenly put on the defensive. They attempted to frantically glass as much of the planet as possible, beginning with the continent of Yrkane. Yrkane was largely uninhabited, and the majority of its population had been safely evacuated, so the continent was glassed with little resistance.

The easy victory over Yrkane had boosted the Covenant's confidence, and they attempted a third assault on Delominia, the most heavily populated continent on Roleath. Their confidence was short-lived, however, as they were soon beaten back away from the continent.

Having been beaten back from Delominia three times, the Covenant begrudgingly accepted their defeat, doing as much damage to UNSC Naval forces as they could before jumping.

Aftermath

After the Covenant had fled the system, the UNSC began to commence "clean-up" efforts. Evacuating ships were called back to Roleath, and the 4th, 17th, and 24th fleets remained in the system in case the Covenant returned. Over the course of nine months, the UNSC rebuilt as much of Roleath as they could, recorded casualties, and buried the dead. The glassed remains of the Moorstead Academy was covered with fresh dirt, and the UNSC buried the bodies from the First and Second Battles of Lotora there, much of them unidentified and with graves marked only by the location where the body had been found. In New London, a large marble obelisk was erected in the vitrified soil where the city's center had once been, upon which a solid gold plaque commemorating the people who died there was placed.

In May 2530, the 4th and 17th Naval Fleets returned to Harvest, while the 24th Fleet stayed behind to allow more thorough patrols of the DX Cancri system as a precautionary measure.

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