Operation: LEFT JAB
Operation: LEFT JAB was an operation of the United Nations Space Command during the Fall of Reach in the Epsilon Eridani system on August 14, 2552. Desperate to destroy the Covenant CSO-class supercarrier Long Night of Solace—flagship of the Fleet of Valiant Prudence—in orbit over Reach, Operation: LEFT JAB distracted the Covenant fleet while the concurrent Operation: UPPER CUT destroyed the supercarrier.
During the Fall of Reach in the summer of 2552, Covenant CSO-class supercarrier Long Night of Solace—flagship of the Fleet of Valiant Prudence—was discovered in orbit over the planet during the Battle at Szurdok Ridge. In response, the United Nations Space Command concocted two operations to destroy the supercarrier, allowing the UNSC to gain the upper hand in the ongoing battle for the planet. Operation: UPPER CUT would see the destruction of Long Night of Solace, while Operation: LEFT JAB served as a supporting mission to distract the Fleet of Valiant Prudence over Reach.
Operation: UPPER CUT began on Reach, with two members of NOBLE Team and UNSC Army personnel operating YSS-1000 Sabres and rendezvousing with Paris-class heavy frigate UNSC Savannah at refit station Anchor 9. Operation: LEFT JAB was coordinated with Savannah serving as the initial distraction in the operation. Meanwhile, Supreme Commander Rho 'Barutamee of the Fleet of Valiant Prudence was becoming increasing stressed upon learning that a massive fleet from the Covenant's Ministry of Resolution was en route to Reach and his lack of success in the battle would likely result in his interrogation by the Hierarchs. In addition, UNSC forces were probing his defenses, attempting to exploit the fleet's weaknesses. As Operation: LEFT JAB began, UNSC Savannah's Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engine was removed and attached to a D77-TC Pelican dropship for transport—the UNSC intended to destroy Long Night of Solace by using the slipspace engine as a makeshift bomb.
SDV-class heavy corvette Ardent Prayer was then engaged by the Sabres and Savannah. While the frigate distracted the corvette and jammed its communications, the Sabres destroyed Ardent Prayer's fighter escort. With the corvette's engines disabled by Savannah, the Sabres boarded Ardent Prayer. Meanwhile, Vice Admiral Michael Stanforth ordered for the second half of the operation to begin: the Epsilon Eridani Fleet was ordered to directly engage the Fleet of Valiant Prudence. Operation: LEFT JAB stretched the Covenant fleet's forces thin and left Long Night of Solace and Ardent Prayer isolated from the rest of the fleet. As the UNSC moved in on the two ships to support Operation: UPPER CUT's task force, Rho 'Barutamee realized that his own forces were out of position and could not support him. Although Ardent Prayer was able to destroy Savannah, the UNSC forces aboard the corvette was able to rig the slipspace drive to detonate and create a slipspace rupture that destroyed the corvette and Long Night of Solace.
With Long Night of Solace destroyed and Supreme Commander Rho 'Barutamee presumably dead, the Epsilon Eridani Fleet engaged the remnants of the Fleet of Valiant Prudence. 'Barutamee's second-in-command, Shipmaster Kantar 'Utaralee assumed command of the splintered Covenant ships and attempted to lead the fleet against UNSC forces over Reach. Shortly after, the massive fleet from the Ministry of Resolution exited slipspace over the planet, continuing the battle for Reach.
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