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Battle of New Gettysburg
Halcyon-battle.jpg

Conflict:

Human-Covenant War

Date:

2526

Location:

New Gettysburg, Outer Colonies

Outcome:

UNSC Pyrrhic Victory

Belligerents

United Nations Space Command

Covenant Empire

Commanders

Captain George Elliot

Unknown Shipmaster†

Strength

7 Halcyon-class light cruisers

  • Battlegroup Yankee-7
    • Illinois
    • Ironside
    • Red Wall
    • Belfort
    • Minneapolis
    • Macarthur
    • Gibraltar

3 CPV-class heavy destroyers.

  • Unknown Covenant Fleet
    • CPV-U101†
    • CPV-U102†
    • CPV-U103†
 

The Battle of New Gettysburg was a major engagement during early days of the Human-Covenant War.

Prelude

In 2526 three unknown slipspace ruptures were detected within the system. Analysis of their signatures confirmed that they were three Covenant CPV-class heavy destroyers and they were on a direct course for New Gettysburg. Captain George Elliot was in command of their defensive fleet and he had seven recently refitted Halcyon-class light cruisers with which to defend New Gettysburg.

Though they were all fresh from being retrofitted, Elliot knew that with the forces at his disposal their odds of winning were slim and losses would undoubtedly be very high. But if they retreated the Covenant would glass New Gettysburg unopposed. So, unwilling to abandon the population, he ordered their forces to intercept the Covenant before they could glass the planet and in New Gettysburg’s high orbit seven UNSC cruisers faced down three Covenant destroyers.

The Battle

Once in range both fleets opened fire with their initial salvos. Seven MAC rounds impacted on the Covenant’s shields. The Covenant ship designated CPV-U101 lost its shields while CPV-U102 and CPV-U103 had theirs greatly reduced but all three were undamaged. The UNSC launched an unbridled barrage of archer missiles but to no avail as most were being shot down by the Covenant point defenses or failed to penetrate their shields. The Covenant’s plasma cannons did minor damage to the UNSC ships but their energy projectors struck the Minneapolis, Gibraltar, and Macarthur. The Minneapolis was destroyed when its reactor went critical while the Gibraltar and Macarthur were both severely damaged but were still able to fight. The other UNSC ships and began evasive maneuvers and spread out to force the Covenant to split their fire.

Before the fleet’s MAC cannons could finish recharging the Covenant fired again, targeting the lagging Gibraltar and Macarthur, as well as the flagship Illinois. The Gibraltar was completely destroyed while the Macarthur had its fusion engines melted away and was left tumbling in space. The Illinois was barely able to avoid the energy projector by using its emergency thrusters but still had a trench gouged out of its side which detonated several missile pods.

Meanwhile the Ironside, Red Wall, and Belfort finished recharging their MAC cannons and Elliot ordered them to focus their fire on CPV-U101 and together succeeded in destroying it. The other two destroyers fired another volley and CPV-U102 succeeded in destroying the Belfort. The Ironside and Red Wall were badly damaged but survived and traded fire with the Covenant ships. CPV-U103 charged up its energy projector in preparation to fire but was unexpectedly struck from the side by a MAC round from the Illinois. By great luck the round had struck where the portion of the Covenant shields had been dropped in order in order to fire its projector and destroyed the ship’s weapon, suddenly disarming it. The other two UNSC ships had endured the barrage long enough for their MAC cannons to recharge and fired, destroying CPV-U103.

The last Covenant vessel remaining, CPV-U102 wasted no time in launching a furious retaliation. It fired an unrestrained barrage of plasma rounds that succeeded in crippling and nearly destroying the Ironside and Red Wall. With its two immediate targets neutralized, CPV-U102 now turned about to face the Illinois. The Illinois desperately fired its MAC cannon and all its remaining missiles but could only blunt the destroyer’s shield. Unfazed, CPV-U102 began charging up its energy projector for a final shot. Suddenly a MAC round fired from out of nowhere and struck the destroyer and finally collapsed its shields. The Macarthur was still alive and had managed to use its emergency thrusters to aim its MAC cannon. Unfortunately, in retaliation CPV-U102 fired its energy projector at the Macarthur and completely destroyed the vessel.

Captain Elliot was out of weapons, allies, and now out of time. With no other tactical options left available, Elliot rammed his own ship into the Covenant destroyer in order to destroy it. The Illinois was destroyed but so was the last Covenant destroyer.

Aftermath

The battle averted the complete destruction of a major Outer Colony world and saved millions of lives. The engagement was a costly one, out of the seven ships only two survived, the UNSC Red Wall and UNSC Ironside. Still, with the odds they were up against, five UNSC ships for three Covenant ones was an impressive ratio.

Captain Elliot survived the battle, having evacuated with his crew before the ship crashed. Upon his return he was hailed as a hero to the colonists of New Gettysburg and the battle would ensure his quick promotion to Rear Admiral. However, though he endured the ceremony, in private, Elliot himself knew he had won by sheer luck and the noble sacrifices of others. Therefore, he resolved himself to prepare for the long war ahead and would go on to gain greater fame as the legendary "Hero of the Outer Colonies".

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