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Battle of Sigma Octanus IV


Battle of Tribute

Fall of Reach
Reach - Lower


Human-Covenant War


July 25th, 2552 - August 30th, 2552




Pyrrhic Covenant victory
Glassing of Reach

Covenant Empire

United Nations Space Command

  • Supreme Commander Thel 'Vadamee
  • Admiral Roland Freemont †
  • Vice Admiral Danforth Whitcomb
  • Admiral Michael Stanforth †
Third Fleet of Glorious Consequence
  • 11 ships
Fleet of Particular Justice
  • 314 ships
Other fleets
  • ~400 ships
Epsilon Eridani Defense Fleet
  • ~200 ships
  • Orbital Defense Platforms (20)
  • Refit and repair stations (21)
  • Orbital defense station (28)
385,421,100 available military manpower
  • 58,485 land assets
  • 11,050 air assets
Total dead


Total wounded


Total dead


Total wounded



Total civilian dead: ~300,000,000 – 400,000,000*
*= approximations


The Fall of Reach, also referred as the Battle of Reach, was one of the largest engagement in the Human-Covenant War. Fought between the UNSCDF and the Covenant from July 25th to August 30th, 2552, the battle was regarded as one the largest and most decisive military defeat in space incurred by the human civilisation, even surpassing the military casualties from the Battle of Earth.


Though hailed victorious after the victorious naval battle over Sigma Octanus IV, the UNSC Navy severely underestimated their extraterrestrial aggressors, whom managed to attach a tracking probe onto the UNSC Iroquois. When the Iroquois returned to Reach, the planet's presence — and its extent — was disclosed to the Covenant Empire. Unbeknownst to the UNSC officers, the Covenant siege of Sigma Octanus IV had already compromised the location of Reach; the artefacts recovered by Covenant's archaeology recovery units revealed all known nearby locations of similar artefacts around the system.

Prior to the Fall, the Covenant Empire despatched a pre-invasion force, the Third Fleet of Glorious Consequence, to Reach to assess the human's military strength and infrastructures along with available ancient artefacts that could be of use for the Great Journey. The force, with its preliminary objectives completed, deployed its ground forces and initiated the invasion by establishing several bases of operations. Though the UNSC managed to rid the preliminary invading forces from the planet, their effort was for naught as the rest of the Covenant invasion fleets had arrived.

Prelude to battle

Pre-invasion force

The Covenant made considerable preparations before initiating the primary invasion. When the probe transmitted its reports, the Covenant's Council of Masters inspected the details and referred to the Council of Generals with a proposal of a joint-operation which involves crippling the human's defences and infrastructures.[note 1] This proposal laid out complex methodologies that had not worked effectively in past theatres, but necessary to avoid another disgraceful loss as such in Sigma Octanus IV.

The Third Fleet of Glorious Consequence was given this task by the Masters, having its battlecruisers and destroyers reassigned to other fleets and, for the purposes of keeping a low-profile, now composed primarily composed of picket ships and frigates.

On July 23rd, the picket ships of the Glorious Consequence arrived in Epsilon Eridani via slipspace, beyond the UNSC's monitored territories. Subsequently after their arrival, the ships diverted all known sensors used by the UNSC and established a secure entry point at the edge of the system, potentially masking any future slipspace arrival.[note 2]

Winter Contingency


Opening skirmishes

Occupation of Viery

Arrival of the Covenant armada

Battle over Reach

Fall of Reach



The following list out the events as recorded by MNRV/SS2/5H-0D-4N:

July 22th, 2552 - August 30th, 2552 (MNRV/SI/RCH/report)/[MILITARY CALENDER]



  1. Separatist leader, Thel 'Vadam, provided the UNSC some details of past operations conducted by him while serving under the Covenant Empire. One of it was the Covenant invasion of Reach.
  2. The arrival of the picket ships was not unnoticed by the RSOs; the probes recorded the arrival but was not able to identify the object. The report was filed but never explored until at the end of the Human-Covenant War