Fall of Reach
|Fall of Reach|
Major Tactical Covenant victory
Minor strategic UNSC victory
- "We knew this day would come. They have found our fortress among the stars. The Covenant are on Reach. They will burn this planet, kill millions, and when Reach falls—and fall it will—there will be nothing left to stand between them - and Earth."
- — Dr. Catherine Halsey
The Fall of Reach, also known as the Battle of Reach, was one of the largest and bloodiest engagements in the Human-Covenant War. It was fought on and around the human colony world of Reach in the Epsilon Eridani system, between the United Nations Space Command and the Covenant from July 25 to August 30, 2552.
Initial skirmishes began on July 23, 2552, when a small Covenant task force led by the supercarrier Long Night of Solace covertly established a foothold on Reach. The Covenant began to solidify their hold and began searching for Forerunner relics as the UNSC counter-attacked, attempting to drive the Covenant off the surface before reinforcements arrived. Ultimately, the UNSC was unsuccessful, and substantial Covenant reinforcements under Thel 'Vadamee arrived in the system. After hard fighting, the Covenant breached the orbital defense grid and overran the UNSC's planetside forces. After overwhelming the defenders, the Covenant glassed the planet. Isolated skirmishes between UNSC remnants and the Covenant forces continued until their recovery by a small rescue party led by John-117.
Though the battle was a clear defeat for the UNSC, Noble Team preventing the Cortana fragment from falling into enemy hands subsequently led the Pillar of Autumn to Halo Installation 04, where they engaged the Covenant in a decisive battle. The experience gleaned on Installation 04, and the subsequent political schism within the Covenant, would be invaluable to the ultimate Covenant defeat.
- 1 Prelude
- 2 The battle
- 3 Aftermath
- 4 Timeline
- 5 Participants
- 6 Trivia
- 7 Gallery
- 8 List of appearances
- 9 Notes
- 10 Sources
At some point before July 19, 2552, the Office of Naval Intelligence ran a series of calculations that predicted the future movement of the Covenant force sweeping throughout the galaxy. Based on these calculations, ONI determined that there was an 87% probability that the Epsilon Eridani system would be discovered by the Covenant within five months. Admiral Margaret Parangosky, the head of ONI, debated with Vice Admiral Michael Stanforth about using Reach as the stage for the planned Operation: RED FLAG; the pair considered that the presence of large-scale Forerunner artifacts on the planet would be a source of Covenant interest in the planet. The rest of the UNSC, however, was given no warning of the predicted attack.
ONI's prediction came true less than a month after Admiral Parangosky sent her message. Despite suffering a severe defeat at the Battle of Sigma Octanus IV, the Covenant managed to place a tracking device on the UNSC Iroquois with the intent of using it to find human colony worlds. When the Iroquois returned to Reach, the human presence - and its extent - was revealed to the Covenant. However, the location of Reach itself was already known to the Covenant; a Forerunner artifact that the Covenant had recovered from Sigma Octanus IV indicated that Reach held another artifact, proving Parangosky's and Stanforth's suspicions correct.
Before dispatching a full-scale force, the Covenant sent the Fleet of Valiant Prudence, consisting of several SDV-class heavy corvettes and a CSO-class supercarrier, Long Night of Solace, to Reach to serve as a pre-invasion force; after arriving at Reach, the fleet clandestinely deployed a large ground force to the Viery Territory. This invasion force was cloaked from UNSC sensors by sophisticated stealth pylons deployed around it. The Covenant also sent a small Sangheili Zealot strike team led by a Field Marshal to recover a Forerunner artifact from an excavation site near the Visegrád communications outpost.
- "ONI thinks it might be the local Insurrection. Five months ago, they pulled a similar job on Harmony. Hit a relay to take out our eyes and ears, then stole two freighters from dry dock. That cannot happen here. Reach is too damn important. I want that relay back online, NOBLE One."
- — Colonel Urban Holland
On the night of July 23, 2552, two days before the invasion began, the Covenant dispatched a small strike force, forces from the Fleet of Valiant Prudence disable the communications array at Visegrád, leaving Reach isolated from the rest of the UNSC. This operation, however, went unnoticed by the UNSC and it was surmised by the Office of Naval Intelligence that the local insurrectionist organization, an ultra-radical cell of the People's Occupation, was responsible for the loss of contact with the facility. In response, several Army fireteams were sent to investigate the matter. Contact with these fireteams was lost shortly thereafter.
The day after the Visegrád Relay was disabled, Spartan NOBLE Team was sent to investigate the disturbance in lieu of the missing Army fireteams. Upon landing in Visegrád and scouting the surrounding countryside, NOBLE Team quickly discovered that insurrectionists were not responsible for the attack; a small Covenant advance force had found Reach and landed at Visegrád, with the intent of disabling Reach's communications with other UNSC colonies. After wiping out the advance force, NOBLE Team proceeded to the relay station, where they were ambushed by a group of Sangheili Zealots, a team sent to hunt down vital data on a Forerunner artifact. WINTER CONTINGENCY was then declared on Reach.
- "WINTER CONTINGENCY has been declared, all units mobilized and ready."
- — UNSC officer
Operating using cloaking technology and stealth tactics, the Covenant had created a fortified landing zone on Reach, with anti-air guns around the perimeter of their staging area in the Viery Territory where they had covertly inserted a large amount of forces, including several corvettes.
- Main article: First Battle of Sword Base
Two days after the skirmish at Visegrád, the Covenant attacked SWORD Base in an attempt to overrun the ONI facility and access the Forerunner structures there. However, these forces were repulsed after NOBLE Team reinforced the base and brought its M71 Anti-Aircraft Guns and communications back online. The Covenant corvette attacking it was forced to retreat and was destroyed by an orbital defense platform's Magnetic Accelerator Cannon.
- Main article: Battle at Szurdok Ridge
- "We are now under attack across the Viery territory, including orbital defenses. As per the WINTER CONTINGENCY, we are countering on every front."
- — Auntie Dot
Over two weeks after the defense of SWORD Base, the UNSC sent reconnaissance teams into Covenant-controlled territory in preparation for a counterattack and to investigate the enemy positions and forces they would be facing. With a Covenant staging ground on Reach, the UNSC Army, Marine Corps, and Navy launched a joint offensive in an attempt to defeat the Covenant forces before reinforcements could arrive. The assault was spearheaded by the Army and NOBLE Team, who attacked Covenant anti-air weapons to make way for GA-TL1 Longswords and Paris-class heavy frigates to make bombing runs. The attack, though initially successful, was thwarted when a cloaked CSO-class supercarrier, Long Night of Solace, appeared over the area, attacking the UNSC frigates and reinforcing the Covenant troops. Meanwhile, Covenant forces made another strike on SWORD Base, this time with much greater success. Around this time, sixty percent of the Fleet was recalled to Reach from existing deployments; these reinforcements were scheduled to arrive by August 15.
The battle begins
- Main article: Operation: UPPER CUT
- Air Control (COM): "They're everywhere!"
- AI Auntie Dot (COM): "Slipspace rupture detected."
- ATC 2 (COM): "Oh no, this can't be happening!"
- Colonel Holland (COM): "Must be the whole damn Covenant fleet!"
- AI Auntie Dot (COM): "Slipspace rupture detected."
- — The UNSC panics in horror followed by screams on the communications channel as a massive combined Covenant fleet arrives
The arrival of the supercarrier led to Operation: UPPER CUT, in which NOBLE Team used YSS-1000 Sabres and the corvette Ardent Prayer to deliver an improvised slipspace drive "bomb" to the supercarrier and destroy it. SPARTAN-B312, Jorge-052, and a team of Air Force pilots, with the aid of the frigate Savannah, boarded the Ardent Prayer and took control of it. Noble Five then sacrificed himself to destroy Long Night of Solace. However, just as the supercarrier was destroyed, a fleet of Covenant warships exited slipspace in orbit over the planet. Despite the mission's success, the destruction of the supercarrier was an inadvertent setback for Operation: RED FLAG.
- Main article: Siege of New Alexandria
- "Your report will have to wait, Lieutenant. The Covenant are jamming all comms to Command. Kat needs your help running a counter-op."
- — Commander Carter-A259
Over the next week, Covenant ground forces landed on the planet and Covenant ships began glassing targeted areas. However, most of the planet's population, both civilian and military, (particularly those assigned to Operation: RED FLAG), were kept unaware of the invasion. HIGHCOM withheld major counteroffensives on the far side of the planet in the hope that a Class-5 Covenant vessel, which was needed for the operation, would be drawn in and make itself vulnerable for capture. Millions perished as a result of this relative inaction.
A battle broke out in the city of New Alexandria, with large numbers of civilian evacuation transports being shot down by Covenant air and ground forces. Members of NOBLE Team assisted UNSC forces in clearing evacuation zones, succeeding in damaging a Covenant corvette in the process. Though the UNSCDF succeeded in clearing the city of Covenant troops, Covenant naval assets began to glass the city, and while retreating Kat-B320 of NOBLE Team was killed by sniper fire.
Redeployed, NOBLE Team and a small force of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers were ordered to destroy the Covenant-occupied SWORD Base in a "torch-and-burn" operation. Proceeding into the base, the team encountered Dr. Catherine Halsey, who enlisted their help in defending her laboratory amid the ruins of a Forerunner complex from advancing Covenant forces. Halsey ordered Noble Six, Carter, and Emile to transport a fragment of the AI Cortana to the UNSC Pillar of Autumn, while Jun-A266 escorted her to CASTLE Base elsewhere on Reach.
Final space battle
- Fermion Remote Sensing Outpost: "Gamma Station, this is Fermion RSO. Unconfirmed reports of an in-system slipspace rupture."
- Reach Station Gamma: "Impossible. Check your source."
- Fermion RSO: "There's no mistake. It's them."
- — Conversation between Fermion and Gamma on the arrival of the Covenant armada
As August 30 dawned, a massive Covenant combined fleet — headed by Supreme Commander Thel 'Vadamee and his Fleet of Particular Justice — was detected exiting slipspace on the edge of the system. The fleet was first detected in slipspace by remote scanning outpost Fermion. The station's commander, Chief Petty Officer McRobb, sent an emergency message to FLEETCOM and ordered self-destruct to prevent the station's data from falling into enemy hands. A few minutes later, 315 Covenant ships exited slipspace at the edge of the Epsilon Eridani system. Admiral Roland Freemont issued UNSC Alpha Priority Transmission 04592Z-83, ordering all ships in the Epsilon Eridani system to rendezvous at Reach in preparation for the coming assault. The Covenant moved in on the orbital defenses before the UNSC fleet fully consolidated. Fifty-three belated UNSC ships, including the UNSC Pillar of Autumn, ran a gauntlet of screening Covenant warships as they attempted to link up with the main fleet. At this time, only about a hundred UNSC ships were readily available to defend Reach.
The main Covenant force moved in on the orbital defenses. The initial salvo of plasma torpedoes was mostly absorbed by the sacrifice of three refit and repair stations, allowing the defenders to return fire. The orbital defense platforms and four nuclear mines combined to take down a full third of the Covenant fleet. The vaporized Titanium-A armor of the refit stations also served to block incoming plasma torpedoes. However, the next Covenant salvo significantly damaged the UNSC fleet, as the Covenant maneuvered for clear shots around the titanium dust cloud and moved in for the kill. They destroyed five of the Super MAC platforms, further crippling the UNSC orbital perimeter, before retreating out of range. A previously unknown warship type, armed with a powerful energy projector, revealed itself and destroyed the UNSC Minotaur and four other ships before withdrawing temporarily. The rest of the Covenant fleet withdrew to regroup after deploying hundreds of dropships to the surface. The remaining UNSC fleet of 20 ships pursued the Covenant dropships, destroying some, but many still made it through and landed on Reach's northern and southern poles.
As the surviving dropships disgorged thousands of troops, the Covenant fleet began another attack. Some ships made pinpoint slipspace jumps, putting them within the UNSC formation. This left them vulnerable for a short time but allowed them to strike the ODPs directly. Meanwhile, the Covenant vessel returned and destroyed the UNSC Herodotus and UNSC Musashi from beyond ODP range. The UNSC Pillar of Autumn engaged the warship, launching a Shiva nuclear device timed to explode within its shields. The detonation reverberated off the shields and disintegrated the vessel.
Attack on the orbital defense generators
- "There are thousands of them. Grunts, Jackals and their warrior Elites. They have tanks and fliers. Christ, they've breached the perimeter. Fall back! Fall back! If anyone can hear this: the Covenant is ground-side. Massing near the armory!"
- — UNSC Marine
Thousands of Covenant landed on Reach in an attempt to destroy the orbital defense generators, and were intercepted by Marine forces who were able to defend against the first few waves of Covenant forces while sustaining heavy casualties. The remaining Spartan-IIs who were not assigned to Reach Station Gamma were sent to Orbital Defense Generator Facility A-331 to assist in the defense of the station. Unfortunately, their Pelican transport, Bravo 001, was shot down, resulting in the deaths of four Spartans (including Malcolm-059), and some others were wounded as well. Near their crash site, the surviving Spartans discovered the shell-shocked remnants of Charlie Company.
Charlie Company had been assigned by Vice Admiral Danforth Whitcomb to find the prototype NOVA bombs. They were forced to help defend the orbital defense facilities on their way to their objective. Unfortunately, as the Covenant neared the orbital defense generators, someone at HIGHCOM panicked and ordered Longswords to bomb everything within 500 meters, resulting in the destruction of the Covenant ground forces in that location, but also catastrophic friendly fire: Charlie Company was reduced to four men, and its leaders: Lieutenants Jake Chapman and Buckman were cut off from their subordinates.
The Spartans, after being briefed on the situation by Charlie Company, responded to a distress call from Whitcomb, who requested immediate evacuation. Frederic-104, commander of the Spartans, split the remains of Red Team into four groups: Team Alpha (Frederic-104, Kelly-087, and Joshua-029), which was tasked with eliminating an encampment of 10,000 Covenant and their hovering cruiser (without doing anything that could damage the orbital defense generators as the EMP from a nuclear weapon would render them inoperative and accomplish the Covenant's objective for them), Team Beta, tasked with defense of the orbital defense generators, Team Gamma (Li-008, Anton-044, and Grace-093), ordered to retrieve Whitcomb, and Team Delta (the Charlie Company Marines and six wounded Spartans which included William-043, Isaac-039, and Vinh-030), ordered to secure the Spartans' fallback point at CASTLE Base.
Team Alpha hijacked three Banshees and approached the Covenant encampment (they were ignored by the Grunt Zawaz, who assumed they were Elites on a secret mission) and used Fury Tactical Nuclear Weapons within the shields of the Covenant ship, destroying the encampment and negating the EMP effect that would have disabled the orbital defense generators. Joshua was killed in the process by mass light weapons salvos from the 10,000 Covenant ground forces encamped around the Cruiser. The remaining Spartans of Team Alpha then fell back to CASTLE Base, blasting their way through the remaining Covenant in the area with two commandeered Wraiths. Team Gamma accomplished its mission and fell back to Camp Independence with Whitcomb, where they survived the partial glassing of the planet. Team Delta fell back to CASTLE Base, but in the process lost the remaining Charlie Company marines and every Spartan save for Vinh, Isaac, and William. When the remnants of Team Alpha and Team Delta arrived at CASTLE Base, they found Catherine Halsey there.
Team Beta was unable to stop the Covenant, who attacked in swarms of thousands. The orbital defense generators were compromised, and the Covenant, after eliminating the powerless, immobile ODPs in geosynchronous orbit around the planet, began the glassing of Reach. The planet, having been steadily weakened during the invasion throughout the prior weeks, had fallen with relative ease to the might of the Covenant invaders.
Mission to Gamma Station
During the space battle, the AI Doppler, controller of Reach Station Gamma, was unable to destroy the vital information onboard the UNSC Circumference, an ONI Prowler involved in Operation: HYPODERMIC. As the Covenant deployed troops to the station, Doppler reported this violation of the Cole Protocol to the Pillar of Autumn before self-destructing himself to keep from further violation. In response, Captain Jacob Keyes sent John-117, James-005, and Linda-058 to the station. They accomplished their task and destroyed the NAV database onboard Reach Station Gamma, but at the cost of James and Linda. While onboard, they rescued some Marines onboard the station: Staff Sergeant Avery Junior Johnson and Privates Wallace Jenkins, Bisenti, and O'Brien. They were then evacuated by Pelican back to the Pillar of Autumn. Linda-058 was clinically dead, but there was still a chance of saving her, so she was placed in a cryo chamber. John-117 asked Lieutenant Hall to scan for James (who had been blown into space) but they were unable to find him.
Battle at Asźod
- Main article: Battle of Asźod
With the battle for Reach now nearing its conclusion, the Pillar of Autumn set down at the Asźod ship breaking yards for repairs as well as to receive the fragment of Cortana that Halsey had tasked NOBLE Team with delivering to Keyes. Covenant forces soon descended on the shipyards and began landing troops. Although the docked Autumn managed to hold off the Covenant attackers, most of the facility and the surrounding area was occupied.
The remnants of NOBLE Team, consisting of Carter-A259, Emile-A239, and SPARTAN-B312, arrived on the outskirts of the facility. Carter sent Noble Six and Emile to deliver the package to Keyes. He then sacrificed himself to destroy a Scarab. Six and Emile fought their way to the shipyards, where they linked up with some surviving UNSC ground troops. Keyes then contacted the Spartans and ordered them to clear Landing Platform Delta so that he could pick up the package. Upon arriving at the platform, Emile took charge of a mass driver and used it to provide cover fire for the Autumn. Six, meanwhile, cleared the platform of Covenant troops.
With the platform cleared, Captain Keyes arrived in a Pelican and personally took possession of the package from Noble Six. Just then a CCS-class battlecruiser appeared and started heading toward the Autumn. Keyes ordered Emile to take out the cruiser before it destroyed the Autumn. Emile, however, was attacked by a pair of Sangheili Zealots. The Spartan killed the Zealots but was also killed, leaving the mass driver cannon unmanned. With the cruiser closing in on the Autumn, Noble Six volunteered to stay behind to take charge of the gun.
Keyes returned to the Autumn with the package and prepared the ship for take off. Meanwhile, Noble Six took control of the mass driver and destroyed several Phantoms and Banshees before the Covenant cruiser came within range. As the cruiser prepared to destroy the Autumn with its energy projector, Six fired directly into the ship's exposed glassing port. The resulting explosion crippled the cruiser.
With the skies cleared of hostiles, the Autumn took off and escaped Reach. Once in space, it made a slipspace jump to Installation 04 (secretly arranged by Cortana). A dozen Covenant ships pursued, while the remaining vessels stayed behind to finish glassing Reach. Back at the shipyards, the stranded Noble Six continued fighting against the Covenant invaders. Eventually, the lone Spartan was overwhelmed and killed by a swarm of Sangheili warriors.
- "We are not wasting a single UNSC ship to confirm what we have already seen a dozen times before: Reach is gone. Everything on it is blasted to bits, burned, glassed over, and vaporized. Everyone on Reach is dead. Dead. Dead. Dead."
- — Colonel James Ackerson
The UNSC lost their second largest military-industrial complex, after the Sol System, and sustained crippling military losses at Reach, losing over a hundred ships, including irreplaceable cruisers and supercarriers such as the UNSC Basra, UNSC Trafalgar, and the UNSC Musashi, not to mention the large numbers of civilian and military personnel killed by the invading Covenant forces. With the Epsilon Eridani system in Covenant hands, there were no further major stop points before Sol. Some estimates put total defeat as a matter of weeks. The Office of Naval Intelligence believed that the location of Sol was compromised and began relocating heavy industry facilities and command centers out of the system.
At the same time, despite such a devastating defeat, the UNSC still fared better than in previous battles. Even against the militarily and technologically superior enemy, outnumbered 2:1, they still managed to inflict disproportionate losses to the Covenant, due largely to the twenty orbital defense platforms orbiting Reach. The ferocious defense was so effective that at least one Covenant ship outright fled the battle. The AI Cortana commandeered the fleeing UNSC Pillar of Autumn to the previously undiscovered fourth Forerunner Halo. While the Battle of Installation 04 was tangential to the main front, the containment of the initial Flood outbreak - and the experience gained - was just as critical to the survival of the UNSC.
While Reach was the Covenant armada's main target, the other colonies in Epsilon Eridani would also come under attack. Tribute was besieged by Covenant forces for several months, ending only when the Great Schism caused the Jiralhanae and Sangheili to turn on each other, ignoring the human defenders. The small colony on Beta Gabriel was destroyed when Valorous Salvation deserted the Covenant fleet and fled there; ODSTs arrived shortly thereafter and killed all the Covenant deserters without incurring losses.
- Main article: Raid on Reach
As the Covenant began glassing Reach, the surviving Spartans continued their fight. Team Gamma; a Red team splinter composed of Anton-044; Grace-093 and Li-008, had managed to survive and complete their mission to rescue Vice Admiral Danforth Whitcomb from HIGHCOM. Too late to reach CASTLE base, they hid in the mountains attacking Covenant units with the use of guerrilla tactics as opposed to a conventional assault. They programmed their MJOLNIR suits to transmit the "Oly Oly Oxen Free" secret code on E-Band radio, hoping that any surviving Spartans would discover it and help them.
Meanwhile underneath the ruins of CASTLE base, Dr. Halsey and five Spartans (Fred, Kelly, Will, Vinh, and Isaac) had spent five days combing the remains of a Forerunner structure and an additional five days trapped in a hallway inside the ruins by Covenant forces. They managed to retrieve a Forerunner crystal that the Covenant were seeking, but it emitted a burst of radiation which alerted the Covenant to their presence. Vinh and Isaac fell at the hands of overwhelming Covenant forces, and the others escaped by blowing the hallway down behind them.
After the survivors were recovered by Ascendant Justice, a Covenant Flagship captured by John-117 after the Battle of Installation 04, the ship drew a group of Covenant vessels out of the system in pursuit to Eridanus Secundus, leading to the destruction of the asteroid colony, and the destruction of the artifact and the recovery of only a small number of pieces by the Covenant. The Ascendant Justice also destroyed around sixteen Covenant warships during the escape in slipspace and at the rebel base.
July 23, 2552
- The Fleet of Valiant Prudence is sent to the Epsilon Eridani system to begin the attack on Reach and to prepare the planet for the Covenant's main offensive.
- Fireteam 3 Charlie, along with other special warfare fireteams under command of Colonel Holland, are sent to invetigate Visegrad after contact with the comms relay is lost.
July 24, 2552
- 0728 Hours: Noble Team is ordered to investigate a possible Insurrectionist activity at the disabled Visegrád Relay. Shortly after, the team learns that the Covenant are responsible for the attack on the relay. After retaking the relay, Noble Team discovers a data module on one of the dead staff. WINTER CONTINGENCY is declared.
July 26, 2552
- 1128 hours: A Covenant corvette attacks ONI Sword Base. Noble Team is deployed to secure the base and surrounding outposts. After the corvette is destroyed by orbital bombardment, Noble Team meets up with Dr. Catherine Halsey and hands over the data module retrieved from Visegrád Relay.
August 11, 2552
- 2630 hours Two members of Noble Team, Noble Six and Noble Three, investigate a Covenant-held "dark zone" in the Viery Territory, which UNSC instruments are unable to penetrate. The pair pushes into the zone, encountering moderate Covenant resistance, and locates a Covenant stealth pylon. After rigging the pylon with explosives, Six and Three push further into the zone and discover that the Covenant have covertly established a large landing zone, with at least two Corvettes and many ground assets.
August 12, 2552
- 0800 hours: The UNSC Army begins a full scale assault on the Viery Territory. Noble Team is sent to gather intelligence of Covenant-occupied sites and to destroy an EMP-emitting Covenant tower. The UNSC learn too late that the tower served as a teleporter linked to a cloaked Covenant supercarrier. The UNSC Grafton is destroyed by the supercarrier's energy projector.
August 13, 2552
- 2007 hours: Covenant invasion of Reach is fully underway. Noble Team begins developing a plan to destroy the enemy supercarrier with a Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engine used as a makeshift bomb. Auntie Dot informs Noble Team that 60% of the UNSC fleet is en route to Reach, the first battlegroup set to enter the system in 48 hours.
August 14, 2552
- 1248 hours: Covenant forces once again attack Sword Base and occupy the site. Dr. Halsey escapes capture by hiding under the facility.
- 1248 hours: Noble Team assaults and retakes the Sabre launch facility and use it as a staging point for a battle above Reach. Using the Slipspace drive from the UNSC Savannah, Noble Team disables and boards one of the Covenant corvettes and use it as the detonation point for the bomb. Due to a malfunction with the triggering mechanism, a member of Noble Team is forced to detonate the bomb manually. The supercarrier is destroyed just as a larger Covenant fleet arrives above Reach.
August 18, 2552
- Siege of New Alexandria: Covenant invasion force under the command of Jiralhanae begin an assault on New Alexandria.
August 23, 2552
- 1534 hours: The Covenant fleet begins glassing targeted areas of Reach, and a battle breaks out in New Alexandria. Noble Six and remaining Army troopers assist in the evacuation of civilians from the city.
- 1857 hours: Noble Six links up with the rest of Noble Team. The team destroys three jammers installed by the Covenant, allowing the UNSC to safely evacuate all personnel from the ONI HQ. When the team reunites, they are ordered by Colonel Holland to proceed to Sword Base. New Alexandria is glassed, and another member of NOBLE Team is killed by a Sangheili Field Marshal shortly after its commencement.
August 26, 2552
August 27, 2552
- 0800 hours: 25 of the 28 surviving Spartan-IIs assigned to Naval Special Weapons, (the remaining three being Gray Team), are recalled to the FLEETCOM Military Complex and are debriefed by Dr. Halsey and Captain Keyes on Operation: RED FLAG.
August 29, 2552
- SPARTAN-B312 and a team of ODSTs secure a landing zone for NOBLE Team's Falcon. Later NOBLE Team proceeds inside Sword Base only to learn their true mission: escort a part of Cortana to the Pillar of Autumn.
August 30, 2552
- 0447 Hours: The remote scanning outpost Fermion detects more incoming Covenant vessels. An emergency message is relayed to FLEETCOM. The outpost then self-destructs per the Cole Protocol due to an unsecured science library and nearby Covenant forces.
- 0500 Hours: A Covenant armada comprised of 315 vessels exits slipspace on the edge of the system. With the planet's defenses weakened by the invasion fleets that had arrived previously, the fleet begins to press forward.
- 0517 Hours: Admiral Roland Freemont (FLEETCOM Sector One Commander) issues a general order to all vessels in the Reach system. All vessels and stations initiate the Cole Protocol and rush to Rally Point ZULU.
- 0534 Hours: Covenant vessels make pinpoint slipspace jumps attempting to destroy any incoming or outgoing human vessels before they can regroup. A DDS-class carrier targets the UNSC Pillar of Autumn but is destroyed.
- 0545 Hours: The Covenant vessels begin a frontal assault. As the Covenant and human fleets engage above Reach, it seems to be a stalemate, as Covenant ships take out UNSC ships, while the UNSC ships and MAC cannons take out an equal number. The first salvo by the UNSC vessels destroys a third of the remaining Covenant fleet. An unidentified Covenant warship arrives and destroys several UNSC ships while outside human weapons range.
- 0558 Hours: Station Gamma Dockmaster AI Doppler is unable to implement the Cole Protocol on the UNSC Circumference, an ONI prowler docked at Reach Station Gamma, due to measures taken to maintain the secrecy of Operation: HYPODERMIC. Doppler sends priority message to FLEETCOM concerning this violation. Covenant intrusion software detects this oversight, and the Covenant deploys troops to seize the NAV database aboard the Circumference.
- 0616 Hours: The Spartan-IIs are dispatched from the Pillar of Autumn. John-117, Linda-058, and James-005 form Blue Team and go aboard the Dock to destroy the Circumference, while the remainder form Red Team and head to the surface of Reach to defend the power generators for the MAC guns. James goes MIA when a Needler hits his thruster pack and propels him into space during combat. Blue Team continue through the station, rescuing Staff Sergeant Johnson; Private O'Brien, Private Bisenti, and Pvt. Wallace A. Jenkins from Kig-yar and Sangheili.
- 0620 Hours: Most of the Covenant fleet retreats from the system after deploying more dropships toward the surface. The UNSC fleet fires on the ships, destroying many although hundreds still land on Reach.
- 0621 Hours: The boarding craft are landed and the armory is overrun; the Covenant fleet re-enters the system. The Covenant split their 150+ remaining ships. One fleet attacks the UNSC ships, while another takes out the MAC cannons and send in troops to land on Reach. The UNSC try to split their 50+ remaining forces to engage the Covenant, but there are too many platforms to cover and too many casualties. The supercruiser continues to destroy UNSC ships, allowing the other ships to attack the MACs. Eventually, the supercruiser is destroyed by the Pillar of Autumn, but the UNSC fleet is practically decimated so it is too late to do any good.
- 0631 Hours: Red Team's Pelican is shot down. They have no choice but to jump from the crashing Pelican and make a "hard landing" on the ground. Results in four dead and six seriously injured.
- 0637 Hours: John-117, the clinically dead Linda-058, and the Marines board the Pillar of Autumn.
- 0647 Hours: Captain Keyes of the Pillar of Autumn orders the vessel to retreat from the system. However, Dr. Catherine Halsey contacts the Autumn, urgently requesting that Keyes drydock at the Asźod ship breaking yards on Reach to collect Cortana's fragment and the vital information she held. Keyes used the brief time on the surface to make minor repairs to the Autumn.[note 3]
- 0649 Hours: Red Team sets up defenses around ODG Facility A-331.
- 0711 Hours: Fred-104, Joshua-029, and Kelly-087 plant a nuclear warhead through the gravity lift in a landing Covenant cruiser, leaving Joshua-029 MIA, (presumed KIA) in the process.
- 0720 Hours: The Covenant destroys ODG Facility A-331 by aerial bombardment, though some Spartans escape. The surviving MAC guns are now offline and are quickly destroyed by plasma torpedoes. Remaining UNSC vessels have no choice but to retreat. The Covenant warships are split into two groups: five-ship teams that hunt down the surviving UNSC vessels and a group of ships that align themselves in formation and begin to glass Reach.
- 1652 hours: The remainder of Noble Team consisting of Carter-A259, Emile-A239, and SPARTAN-B312 head to the Asźod ship breaking yards to deliver a fragment of Cortana, which holds important navigation data, to the Pillar of Autumn. Carter rams his Pelican into a Scarab, allowing the remaining parts of Noble Team to pass. Emile and SPARTAN-B312 head to platform D in the ship breaking yards to meet with Captain Keyes and to deliver Cortana over. Emile dies when he is stabbed by a Covenant Zealot wielding an Energy Sword. SPARTAN-B312 successfully delivers the package to the Autumn and allows the vessel to escape by destroying an incoming Covenant battlecruiser using a mass driver. The Pillar of Autumn, pursued by a dozen Covenant vessels, retreats from the system, heading for Installation 04.
- 2000 Hours: SPARTAN-B312 is one of the few standing survivors at the ship-breaking yards of Asźod and the planet Reach. The Spartan makes a final stand, fighting off waves of Covenant ground forces, eventually being overwhelmed and killed by a swarm of Sangheili warriors.
- September 5
- September 7
- 0002 Hours: The Spartan Red team survivors and Dr. Halsey, after days of walking through the abandoned Titanium mines below CASTLE base, reach a corridor covered in Forerunner symbols.
- September 11–12
- Unknown time: The survivors of the Battle of Installation 04 arrive at Reach, having experienced a temporal anomaly caused by a Forerunner crystal, sending them nearly two weeks into the past.
- Chief Petty Officer McRobb compared the Fall of Reach to the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. He noted that, like Reach, Pearl Harbor was once thought too strong to attack.
- At the time of the invasion, at least one hurricane was raging on the surface of Reach.
Noble Team on their way to investigate the communications disruption at Visegrád.
A space battle over Reach during Operation: UPPER CUT.
Noble Six looks on as the Long Night of Solace burns.
Noble Six arrives at New Alexandria as it is invaded by Covenant forces.
The Military Wilderness Training Preserve is glassed.
A planetary MAC cannon fires upon Covenant cruisers descending upon Asźod as surviving UNSC forces mount their escape.
A Covenant armoured column in Halo: Ground Command.
List of appearances
- Halo: The Fall of Reach (First appearance)
- Halo: Combat Evolved (Mentioned only)
- Halo: The Flood (Mentioned only)
- Halo: First Strike
- Halo 2 (Flashback)
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx (Mentioned only)
- Halo 3: ODST (Mentioned only)
- Halo Legends
- Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe
- Halo: Reach
- Halo: Fall of Reach
- Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary (Mentioned only)
- Halo 4
- Infinity Briefing Packet (Mentioned only)
- Halo: Broken Circle (Indirect mention)
- Halo 2: Anniversary (Flashback)
- Halo: New Blood (Mentioned only)
- Halo: Fleet Battles
- Halo: The Fall of Reach - The Animated Series
- Halo 5: Guardians
- Limited Edition (Mentioned only)
- Halo: Ground Command
- Halo Mythos
- Halo: Fractures
- Breaking Strain (Mentioned only)
- Halo: Envoy (Mentioned only)
- Halo: Retribution (Mentioned only)
- Halo: Official Spartan Field Manual
- Halo: Lone Wolf (Mentioned only)
- While the time stamps in Halo Reach use Reach's local time, the dates given are based on the UNSC military calendar. This is supported by the entries in Dr. Halsey's personal journal.
- During the opening cutscene of the Halo 2 level "Cairo Station", Fleet Admiral Terrence Hood states that the fleet that destroyed Reach was "fifty times" larger than the fifteen-ship fleet attacking Earth; taken at face value, it would seem that Hood is speaking in hyperbole. The 2010 reissue of Halo: The Fall of Reach took this statement literally and changed the number of ships at Reach from around 300 to "over 750"; however, this change was made in only one instance, with all other statements regarding the fleet's size remaining consistent with prior versions of the novel. While the 2011 Definitive Edition removed this change, it is repeated in the comic book adaption, Halo: Fall of Reach - Invasion.
- This entry, while possibly not entirely accurate, is an attempt to reconcile an inconsistency between Halo: The Fall of Reach and Halo: Reach. In The Fall of Reach, the Pillar of Autumn is said to jump away from the system at this time. However, as revealed in Halo: Reach, the vessel had initiated an emergency drydock at 16:52. This implies that the Autumn either remained in the system after its supposed jump, or that the part of the book with the ship escaping has been overridden altogether.
- Halo 3: ODST, Reference of Reach event
- Bungie.net: CAA Factbook on Reach's military power
- Halo: The Fall of Reach, page 343 (Definitive Edition). "I am presently tracking three hundred fourteen Covenant ships." Taking into account the carrier that the Pillar of Autumn had destroyed only moments before results in a count of 315 ships.
- Data Drop
- Halo Wars timeline
- Halo: First Strike (2010) Adjunct)
- Halo Waypoint - Defiant to the End
- Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Library - Pelican
- Halo: Reach, campaign level Long Night of Solace
- Halo: Reach, campaign level Exodus
- Halo: The Fall of Reach (2001), page 296
- Halo 2: Anniversary, Terminals
- Halo: First Strike, page 32
- Halo: First Strike, Chapter 18, page 167 -- "Two exceptions to this patrol pattern were a pair of light cruisers hovering over Menachite Mountain"
- Halo Encyclopedia, page 274
- Halo: The Fall of Reach, page 358
- Halo: Reach: "A Spartan Will Rise" ViDoc
- Halo Encyclopedia, page 198
- Waypoint: Halo Official Timeline
- Bungie.net: Defiant Map Pack
- Halo: Reach, campaign level Noble Actual
- Remember Reach, Patrol
- Data Drop/DDR2
- Halo: Reach, campaign level Winter Contingency
- EDGE Magazine, February 2010
- GameInformer, February 2010
- Halo: Reach, campaign level ONI: Sword Base
- Halo: Reach, campaign level Tip of the Spear
- Halo: Reach-Long Night of Solace
- Halo: Reach, campaign level New Alexandria
- Halo: The Fall of Reach, Adjunct
- Halo: Reach, campaign level The Package
- Halo Waypoint: The Halo Conflict, Part 1
- Halo: The Fall of Reach Definitive Edition, page 354
- Halo: The Fall of Reach, page 300
- Halo: First Strike, pages 104-105
- Bungie.net, Jason Jones Interviewed By You
- Halo: First Strike, page 339
- Halo: The Fall of Reach, page 289
- Halo: Reach, campaign level The Pillar of Autumn
- Halo Legendary Crate, Data Drop #2
- Halo: The Fall of Reach, page 283