"I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him."
In just fifteen years, the Outer Colonies have been left largely in ruins, the UNSC Navy has depleted more than half of its capacity, and the never-ending advance of the Covenant had finally reached their last obstacles in laying waste to Earth—the Core Worlds. For humanity, their time was quickly running out, and their brief existence was now on the verge of being snuffed out for good.
In 2541, recently promoted Rear Admiral Allison Spurgeon proposed Operation: AVANTGARDE—popularly known as the Hades Raids—as a temporary solution to the eventual Covenant invasion of the Inner Colonies. Designed to distract and wreak havoc to Covenant military infrastructure and supply lines, the proposal offered to provide the UNSC the time necessary to evacuate the most at-risk colonies and complete the production of much-needed warships to reinforce the Fleet. Hades Raids would be the first real major offensive against the Covenant, after nearly two decades of being on the receiving end. This campaign presented a number of risks for the UNSC, as previous offensives against the Covenant proved disastrous and costly.
Despite initial reluctance to the campaign, the desperation felt by the UNSC's leaders eventually caved in to Spurgeon's proposal. The first raids of the campaign were initiated later in the year, with the Navy providing Spurgeon a small battlegroup to conduct the operation to be spearheaded by the UNSC Hades Anthem. The limited success of the battlegroup yielded results to the UNSC that saw greater potential in escalating the raids. Before the end of the year, Rear Admiral Spurgeon was given command of the Sixth Fleet, where she used the fleet's large concentration of Orion-class assault carriers to form the bulk of the raids.
Order of Battle
Order of Battle
UNSC Sixth Fleet
Rear Admiral Allison Spurgeon from UNSC Hades Anthem
Strike Group 7A.1
Hades Anthem (Epoch)
Cruiser Division 142
Strike Group 7A.2
Strike Group 7A.3
Destroyer Squadron 77
Strike Group 7B.1
Strike Group 7B.2
Strike Group 7B.3
Strike Group 7C.1
Strike Group 7C.2
Strike Group 7C.3
Strike Group 7D.1
Strike Group 7D.2
Strike Group 7D.3
Strike Group A
Fire Support Force
Battlegroup Woden's Spear
Strike Group A
Fire Support Force
Fleet of Ardent Valiance
Fleetmaster Sesai 'Arachee
"It was my hope to grow old. But it is by the grace of God that I must continue my fight. As long as I stand, Graham's Landing will never fall. The sun will shine again, as it always does. Come and take it."
―Final transmission of Admiral Desmond Otieno, 2533.
With the continued failures of defensive military actions in the Outer Colonies, flag officers of the Navy began formulating plans to outright abandon that region of human space in favor of fortifying more important worlds near the core. Though some Navy hardliners such as Admirals Cole and Otieno protested against this, the growing attrition rate of the Navy's fleets and the rapid depletion of the UNSC's nuclear arsenal in the first decade of the war negated their stances.
Admiral Otieno was an aging officer who was nearing retirement before the Covenant invasion. A native of an Outer Colony world, he was a staunch defender of these worlds even in his final moments.
Beginning in the 2530s, the Navy began its gradual withdrawal from the Outer Colonies, while flag officers such as Admiral Otieno remained intent on defending as many worlds as he could. While heroic, these actions would unfortunately lead to his death in 2533 at the Battle of Graham's Landing.
The foundation of the Raids owes inspiration to what would later come to be known as "unrestricted prowler warfare" and Admiral Otieno early defense campaigns along the fringe of human space. ONI's unrestricted prowler warfare had been in place since the early months of the war, using its various range of stealth vessels to gather intelligence and disrupt logistics inside Covenant space. The early successes of unrestricted prowler warfare prompted the UNSC Security Council proposed plans to use a battlegroup to invade Covenant space and destroy a number of alien settlements in response to the Covenant's indiscriminate plasma bombardments. However, the technological inferiority of the Navy and the shocking loss of Admiral Otieno shelved these plans indefinitely.
Crossing the Ein Sof Line
Afternath and Legacy
"We threw everything we had at the Covenant, and they still wouldn't stop coming..."
―Spurgeon's personal journal, 2548.
Immediately after Spurgeon's victory against Ardent Valiance, UNSC High Command recalled her and the Sixth Fleet from the field. This was in response to reports provided by the Navy's Prowler Corps indicating a major buildup of Covenant fleet movements following the destruction of the Fleet of Ardent Valiance. With the loss of Admiral Cole a year earlier still plaguing the UNSC's war effort, fears of losing yet another gifted flag officer ultimately forced their decision.
On December 17, 2544, plans to expand the raids were canceled indefinitely, which would have included the deployment of the Ninth and Thirty Second Fleets alongside the Sixth Fleet for a three-pronged advance deep into Covenant space. As a result, the remnants of the Sixth Fleet were absorbed into the newly formed combined UNSC Home Fleet, which guarded the Earth and the rest of the Sol system, or were consolidated into other naval formations along the frontline.
Despite the combined efforts of the Sixth Fleet, the victories earned during the Raids would be shortlived. By 2545, only one year after the raids, the Covenant resumed their advance into the Inner Colonies. This renewed offensive culminated in the massacres committed on Draco III, and breaking the two-month long siege of Actium. In response to this offensive, Operation: TORPEDO would commence. The operation would target a refinery on the uninhabited world of Pegasi Delta. The planet was originally designated as a target for the Sixth Fleet, one of many targets in the fleet's list for an intensified raiding campaign that had been scrapped after the Battle of 19 Caelum.
↑Historical analysis of the Hades Raids is still ongoing as of 2555 regarding the effectiveness of the campaign in delaying the Covenant's offensive into the Inner Colonies.