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Previous:

Battle of Jericho VII

Concurrent:

Battle of Theia

Next:

Siege of Chi Rho, Battle of Gaia

Battle of Hollow Point

Conflict:

Human-Covenant War

Date:

2535

Location:

Hollow Point, Outer Colonies

Outcome:

Covenant Pyrrhic Victory

Belligerents

United Nations Space Command

Covenant Empire

Commanders
Strength

84 warships

Fourth Fleet

  • Battle Group Zulu
    • Battlegroup Phalanx
    • Battlegroup Archer
    • 2 Cradle-class refit stations

Third Fleet

  • Battlegroup Whiskey-3

Ninth Fleet

  • 114th Rapid Strike Group

Seventh Fleet

  • Battlegroup Kilimanjaro (late battle)

200 warships

  • Fleet of Immaculate Resolve
    • Advance of Destiny
  • Fleet of Unyielding Virtrue
Casualties

79 ships lost


 

Sometimes romanticized as the Final Stand of the Outer Colonies, the Battle of Hollow Point was one of the last major battles in the Outer Colonies fought during the Human-Covenant War.

History

Prelude

Hollow Point was the last stop in the Outer Colonies before the Inner Colonies. It was once a booming mining world known as Arthur’s Point, whose rich deposits of Tantalum and Titanium fuelled mining operations throughout the system and its asteroid belts. Unfortunately, centuries of exploitative over-mining had sapped the planet of it's wealth and the colony dried up, resulting in its name being changed to Hollow Point.

By 2535, it had the dubious honor of being referred to as the “Last Outer Colony”, as the majority of the Outer Colonies had either been glassed or had gone dark by that point in time. Although somewhat hyperbolic, it was true that Hollow Point was one of the very last major human worlds before the Covenant reached the Inner Colonies. As such a 'gateway world', the planet was flooded by refugees that fled from the Covenant's onslaught. As the war drew closer, the planet had also become a staging point for various UNSC fleets returning to and from the frontlines.

With the invasion of the Inner Colonies now inevitable, HIGHCOM decreed that the Covenant be delayed at Hollow Point at all costs while they redeploy their defenses. Vice Admiral Tera McBay was originally selected to lead the defense, however she was killed during an ambush at the Scorpion Nebula. As a result, HIGHCOM reluctantly chose Rear Admiral George Elliot as her replacement.

Elliot was regarded as a hero in the Outer Colonies, a charismatic and experienced officer who had decades of combat experience against the Covenant and thus had insight into their tactics. However, among the brass and politicians, Elliot was regarded as a maverick; because he was a former officer within the now-defunct Colonial Military Administration, Elliot's combat history validated that he held closer loyalties to the colonies rather then to Earth. He repeatedly disobeyed orders and chose to defend various Outer Colony worlds against unwinnable odds whereas the UNSC would have liked to abandon rather than spend resources on. Fortunately, his ability to rally the troops and the colonists saw HIGHCOM grant him the rank of Vice Admiral and the overall command of the defense.

Preparations

Admiral Elliot’s first issue was the state of his troops; the forces under his command were in a terrible shape. Elliot had assembled a hodgepodge fleet cobbled together from various depleted fleets and broken battlegroups from surrounding systems. Many of those ships were from units returning from battles fought and lost with the Covenant. They were exhausted, depleted, and in desperate need of repair and rearmament. He had requested fresh forces to bolster his forces from various bases in the Inner Colonies, but he received little aid from HIGHCOM. His requests were denied because most of the UNSC’s resources were being used to reinforce the Inner Colonies for the inevitable invasion. Even Vice Admiral Preston Cole, despite being sympathetic to Elliot's plight, was unable to help him due to his fleet being scattered across multiple battlegrounds. The only other Admiral he could count on for support was Vice Admiral Jean Mawikizi, who would lead his battle group in the nearby Theia system to split up the Covenant’s forces.

Two Cradle-class refit stations in his support fleet were present for rearming and repair operations. These were supported by the UNSC Hephaestus, a Phoenix-class colony ship converted into a mobile repair yard that was assigned to Mawikizi's fleet. Each individual Cradle station could refit up to six destroyers at any one time, while the Hephaestus could refit six frigates or destroyers and a cruiser at a time. Despite all this, it quickly became apparent this was not enough to completely refit Elliot's fleet.

Morale among the soldiers and civilians was also dangerously low. The refugee population on Hollow Point was at critical mass, and their desperation and fear were demoralizing their forces. The over-flowing population was also draining their already-scant resources. To help combat both problems, Elliot levied the refugees for volunteers, offering lost and hopeless refugees a chance to contribute to the war effort and a chance for revenge. Thanks to his reputation and charisma, tens of thousands of homeless refugees volunteered to fight and Elliot was able to raise a large militia from them to bolster their forces. Many others who did not wish to fight still volunteered to help in the dockyards to repair their ships. With the near-limitless supply of fresh workers working around the clock, the repair crews were able to bring their fleet back to full combat readiness within days. Even ships which could not be completely repaired on time were stripped of any useful parts and converted them into makeshift defence platforms. This massive combined effort had helped to raise morale and restored hope to the defenders.

With their fleet beginning to resemble fighting-shape again, Elliot ordered the evacuation of the remaining refugee population on Hollow Point to Chi Rho. There they would be put out of harm’s way when the Covenant arrived and they could now focus solely on the enemy. In addition, he hired dozens of independent merchant captains to assist in the evacuation. Rear Admiral Corrigan of the UNSC Odysseus and Battlegroup Whiskey-3 were tasked with escorting the refugees and colonists to the Ectanus 45 system.

Meanwhile, the Signal Corps would keep communications traffic in nearby systems busy as a red herring to keep the Covenant preoccupied a while longer. Analysts estimate that this action bought the defenders a period of weeks to prepare.

The Battle

On March 7th, in the nearby Eos system, the Razor-class strike prowler UNSC Nightingale detected a massive Covenant force mustering in the system. Analysis of their vector put their trajectory squarely on a direct course for Hollow Point. The captain of the prowler sounded the alarm for the UNSC. In the Theia system, Mawikizi used the Signal Corps' false transmissions to exaggerate the true size of his forces and forced the Covenant to split their forces or risk leaving their backs exposed to a flanking attack. Thanks to this, Mawikizi managed to successfully trick over fifty Covenant ships into splitting from the main Covenant force and giving chase. He did not engage them directly, instead leading the Covenant on a wild goose chase around the system and otherwise distracting them. Mawikizi would do so for most of the battle, preventing further Covenant reinforcements from arriving at Hollow Point. Before the battle, he relayed a message to Admiral Elliot in a private communiqué:

"They're here, Elliot. Get ready. They're coming for you now."
―Communiqué from Vice Admiral Mawikizi to Vice Admiral Elliot.

Two days later, two hundred Covenant warships arrived in the system. Unconventionally, command of the Covenant fleet fell to two individuals, the Sangheili Fleet Master Onto 'Kunamee and the Jiralhanae Fleet Master Astraeus. By this point, the Jiralhanae were rapidly rising in favor with the Prophets and Astraeus was the first of his race to ever hold the title of Fleet Master. This sudden shift in power caused great tension between the two fleets and their commanding officers; Onto insisted he could complete this campaign with his forces alone, but the Prophets insisted that Astraeus be allowed to assist him.

Ground Siege

Cavalry Arrives

Aftermath

Participants

UNSC

Covenant

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