Battle of the Great Bear

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Harvest campaign[1]

Battle of the Great Bear
HWG BattleOfGreatBear.png


Human-Covenant War[1]


December 24, 2530[1]


Groombridge 1830 system[1]


Decisive UNSC victory[2]


United Nations Space Command[1]



Preston Cole[1]



Three warships[1]


Eleven destroyers[1]

All warships[1]


"Seventeen of our ships against three of theirs. Eleven destroyers lost. Two enemy vessels killed. One crash landed."
— Admiral Preston Cole[1]

The Battle of the Great Bear,[1] designated as GB-5546,[3] was an engagement between the United Nations Space Command and the Covenant during the Human-Covenant War, taking place on December 24, 2530. The battle ended in a decisive victory for the UNSC fleet,[2] which was commanded by Admiral Preston Cole. The battle also resulted in the capture and interrogation of a Sangheili prisoner, expanding the UNSC's knowledge on the Covenant.[1]

The battle[edit]

Admiral Preston Cole: "I seem to remember us destroying your ships yesterday. Did you think we were going to let you just waltz right in?"
Subject 386: "Yesterday? Three ships, human? You boast about [unintelligible] three of our vessels when you had five times that many, and lost almost all?"
— Admiral Preston Cole and Subject 386[3]

On December 24, 2530, a total of three Covenant warships,[1] including a CAS-class assault carrier,[3] engaged forces of the United Nations Space Command led by Admiral Preston Cole in the Groombridge 1830 system. Cole's fleet, consisting of seventeen ships, battled the invading Covenant warships, destroying the enemy force but losing eleven destroyers in the process. Two of the Covenant ships were destroyed directly in combat,[1] while the assault carrier attempted to flee to the surface of the nearby Groombridge-1830, a human colony. However, the assault carrier was disabled by pursuing UNSC forces, and the ship crash-landed on the planet's surface.[3]

During the battle, the Covenant deployed two waves of forces to assault Groombridge. However, both forces were defeated and repelled from the system by Cole's fleet, earning the UNSC a rare decisive victory at a high cost.[2] Personnel of the UNSC Marine Corps also participated in the engagement, including Edward Buck, who demonstrated exemplary service during the battle.[4]


"You have been judged unclean! A scourge that must be burned away! Every one of your worlds will be reduced to ash."
— Subject 386 to Admiral Preston Cole[3]

Following the assault carrier's crash landing on Groombridge, two heavily armed tactical strike teams recovered a Sangheili survivor within an enclosed compartment which survived landfall at Waterford, Lemuria that day at approximately 1805 hours MST. The following day, the Sangheili was interrogated by Cole and First Lieutenant Richard Barclay.[3] Through this interrogation, the UNSC learned that the Covenant were wiping out humanity because they had been deemed "unclean." More importantly, Cole discovered that the Covenant were largely unaware of the size and whereabouts of human space, leading to the formulation of the Cole Protocol.[1][5]

The Battle of the Great Bear was not only one of the few battles in which the UNSC won a decisive victory against the Covenant, but one of the few engagements of the Human-Covenant War in which the UNSC successfully repelled two Covenant onslaughts on the same world. The UNSC would not earn such a victory again until the Battle of Sigma Octanus IV in July 2552.[2]


List of appearances[edit]