|This article, UNSC South Pacific Campaign, was written by Specops306 and Matt-256. Please do not edit this fiction without the writers' permission.|
Although Africa was the dominant focus of the Covenants genocidal invasion, it wasn't the only theatre of combat on Earth. In their crusade to exterminate humanity, the Covenant invaded and occupied a number of other regions - North America saw the destruction of Cleveland, while South America saw the devastation of Cuba, Central America, and the extensive searches along the Yucatan Peninsula. And further south, the South Pacific saw the devastation of New Zealand, the invasion of Australia, and the desperate defence of the UNSCs last major military base in the area in Papua New Guinea. Though they arrived late, Sangheili forces were able to provide aid to the UNSC as they retook the continent and captured the Aperture Relic, entering the Labyrinth Array.
Invasion of Antarctica and New Zealand
Exactly what drew them to Ross Island will likely remain unknown, but their excavation of Mount Erebus did not go unnoticed. UNSC Air Force craft deployed from New Zealand made regular passes,both for reconnaissance and for conducting air strikes against ground formations and the Cruiser that hovered above the dig site. As the nearest land mass, the Covenant launched a major campaign against the UNSC, devastating much of the South island, and invading and occupying the North. A guerilla defence was made from the Kaimai Mountain Range by holdout soldiers and militiamen, but for the most part the Covenant held total control of the nation.
The few remaining UNSC defenders organised various militia units to mount an entrenched guerilla warfare operation, harrassing enemy dropships and patrols. Repeated attempts by the Covenant to overwhelm the defenders with numbers ended as failures, and their reluctance to glass the area lest they damage any Forerunner relics present meant that their ships, normally certain death for ground forces, were mostly useless except as airborne aircraft carriers and surveyers. From Australia, Shortsword and Longsword bomber strikes managed to bring down a CCS-Class battlecruiser over the remains of Wellington and a pair of frigates into the Waikato river. As frustrations among the Covenant mounted, they eventually decided to abandon their attempts at pacifying the Land of the Long White Cloud, and switched the object of their attention - the Australian mainland.
Otherwise occupied with the invasion of New Zealand, the Covenant allowed their defences to lapse, confident that any ability to fight back had been crushed. Making a covert HALO insertion, Spartan-II Blue Team planted and detonated a HAVOK Nuclear Warhead, destroying the island and whatever relics it might have contained, along with two enemy frigates and thousands of Covenant personnel.
Battle of Australia
The open land of the Australian outback provided an ideal military base for the UNSC - far from populated areas, easily adapted for military manoeuvres, especially for harsh environmental training, and able to accomodate most military facilities almost totally independantly of civilian infrastructure. When the Covenant invaded the continent, local UNSC troops were quick to mobilise - dropships and APC's carried the few civilians who hadn't evacuated to bombardment-proof shelters out of their homes, and Marines and soldiers engaged the Covenant in urban warfare. The devastation that befell New Zealand had prepared them for what to expect - anti-air artillery and fighters kept the Covenant warships out of UNSC airspace, denying the Covenant air support. The fight for Victoria and New South Wales was pitched, and the UNSC managed to hold out until early November.
As more Covenant ships arrived, bringing reinforcements for the initial waves, the battle turned in the Covenant's favour. The fall of the southern states forced the UNSC to retreat north into Queensland, where loss after loss pushed the UNSC further and further north. Efforts launched against western Australia resulted in the capture of most of the continent, and the UNSC leadership was forced to abandon the continent after the loss of Cairns. The Battle of Darwin was the most devastating of the theatre, where dropships and boats carried troops across Torres Straite to New Guinea, the last UNSC stronghold. Covenant fighters harrassed the fleeing troops, only barely fended off by gunship escorts and the Anti-Air artillery of the New Guinea bases. A small number remained behind, keeping the enemy distracted and buying time for the rest of the evacuees - Operation: GREEN LANCE was the evacuation of these final units, battle-weary and suffering heavy losses.
Defence of New Guinea
The fall of Australia was devastating for the regional defences. The massive military infrastructure had allowed the UNSC to support the New Zealand defenders, as well as respond to incidents in Micronesia and Polynesia. Without it, the abilities of the New Zealanders dropped drastically. Uninterested in the small island chains, the Covenant simply bombarded them using fighter and bomber flights.
The UNSC used what was left of their arsenal to fortify their positions, occupying reinforced bunkers. Though thoroughly satisfied with control of the continent, the Covenant still attempted to crush the UNSC New Guinea defenders, launching a massive invasion of the island. Better prepared, artillery devastated the airlift forces, while Longsword fighters intercepted the enemy bombers, fighters, crippling two Covenant frigates, and otherwise dealing disproportionate damage - nevertheless, the Covenant managed to land, establishing a beachead, pushing the UNSC defenders into the Bismarck and Kratke mountain ranges, where they used the thick jungle and rough terrain to their advantage, picking off Covenant patrols.
When the Sangheili fleet arrived on November 9th, they immediately set to work clearing the planet of Brute forces. For the most part, these had retreated to East Africa to board the ships that hovered over the region, in preparation for journeying to the Ark, but the invaders of Australia still held their defences, protecting a relic of their own. A number of ships were assigned to the human defenders, and with the firepower provided by the Righteous Crusader and its escorts, the Brute fleet of more than twenty was defeated by a mere seven ships. Finally retaking the whole island, the UNSC and Sangheili began preparations to retake the Australian continent.
The joint UNSC-Sangheili invasion of Australia was codenamed Operation: DREAMTIME, and was initiated on November 11th, two days after the rest of the two fleets had entered the Ark portal. In conjunction with the Frigate Great Beyond and the Stealth Frigate , the Righteous Crusader and its own battlegroup launched an attack on Darwin, the shielded Sangheili ships wiping out the Brute anti artillery emplacements, allowing Phantom and Pelican dropships to ferry over the bulk of the ground forces. Fighter support from the Sangheili frigates and the Crusader itself supported New Guinea-launched Longswords in bombing operations, swiftly taking out several key Brute-held locations. As the UNSC set about consolidating their position and establishing Darwin as a foothold for transporting more troops, the Sangheili fleet engaged the rest of the Covenant ships over Cairns, winning a decisive battle, and the first Naval battle fought over Australian airspace.
By the time the UNSC had reached Sydney, the Covenant had drawn back to defend their relic using all their available resources. Heavy artillery had been set up to keep the skies clear and even give the warships trouble, and Wraith tanks supported infantry groups as they occupied the ruins of the city, setting up defensive choke points. If the joint UNSC-Sangheili force had attempted a conventional invasion, it would have failed - fortunately, nothing about the final battle was conventional.
From orbit, well out of the range of the artillery, the Midnight Azure and Great Beyond worked in conjunction to greatly weaken the ground defences. While the Great Beyond used its THOR launchers to devastate the artillery, the Midnight Azure launched SOEIV pods carrying Special Warfare operators - Alpha Company of 1st Battalion, 2nd Regiment of the 105th ODST Division, and a team of Spartan II Supersoldiers, Indigo (plus Leonidan and temporary member Laszlo-108), to capture crucial areas of the city to make way for the invasion. Free from aerial impediments, the Sangheili ships and the joint fighters and bombers wreaked bloody havoc, and the ground invasion made swift headway, wiping out the Covenant and recliaming the city. Within days the continent was once again in human hands, with only a few holdout stragglers left.
Entering the Labyrinth
Unfortunately, even after the stout defence of the Covenant-held relic site, the majority of the Brute forces and ships had already passed into the relic - while different in many ways to the New Mombasa relic, it also generated a slipspace portal crossing hundreds of lightyears. After a short debate, it was agreed that the joint force would pursue - Covenant forces had been either destroyed or were being mopped up, and little news had emerged from the force that entered the Africa Portal. On November 19th, the UNSC Midnight Azure and UNSC Great Beyond joined the CCS Righteous Crusader and its frigate and destroyer escorts in pursuit of the Brute ships through the portal, emerging over Magus.
Given the level of devastation wreaked upon the planet as the Covenant renewed their assault on Earth, its not surprising that the majority of their remaining forces were concentrated in Africa, where they were most needed, leaving little to defend other areas. In the South Pacific Theatre, only Marine Corps 88th and 39th Regiments and the 224th Army Brigade were left after the invasion of Australia, though elements of the Army's 99th Division continued to wage a guerilla war in the New Zealand mountains, supported by ODST special operations teams. Before the fall of New Zealand, the defending forces totalled three Divisions-worth of mixed Army and Marine personnel, with a mixture of Colonial Militia called up to serve as well. The brutal fighting reduced those numbers, with most perishing during the invasion of New South Wales. More were killed as the UNSC crossed the Torres Straits, picked off by Covenant dropships during the crossing or trapped on the mainland when all the ships had been filled to capacity and launched.
A small number of airbases were still functional after the retreat of the Covenant to the Ark Portal, and were put to use providing air support to the New Guinea defenders. Longswords and Shortswords regularly flew bombing sortie missions against Covenant landing forces, preventing them from gaining a foothold on the island. Most of these were remnants of the Air Force's 33rd Bomber Wing, escorted by elements of the 75th Fighter Wing and assorted gunships and dropships from other units.
Arriving too late to help in the defence of the region, the Sangheili nevertheless assigned a small number of ships to assist in the battle against the Brute forces left on the planet unable to reach the Ark portal. For this task, the cruiser Righteous Crusader was appointed the flagship by Rtas 'Vadum and given an escort of three frigates and three destroyers to assist the human forces. Aboard these ships was the Vol'takarn Legion, which would assist the UNSC forces in the ground battle. Though equipped with a number of Seraph and Banshee fighters and Wraith mortar tanks, the legion's specialty was infantry warfare, using the mobility provided by Phantom and Spirit dropships to best effect.
As the Australian campaign began, the Covenant was able to deploy eight legions of Brute warriors, with six legions of Grunt and Jackal infantry in support roles. For the most part, however, it was the Brutes that made the initial gains against the human occupiers, and it was one of the first engagements in the war where the Brutes were allowed total control of the battlefield, free of Sangheili influence, before the Great Schism. Afterward, the Brutes would learn much from the mistakes made on Earth, reforming their command structure and reassessing their strategies and equipment. But in Australia, the Brutes raged across the countryside sweeping away the UNSC forces before them.
Supporting the Infantry legions were four armour legions, utilising Wraith Mortar Tanks and Anti-Air Artillery, which were put to effective use as the UNSC and Sangheili retook the continent, set up at vital areas to prevent progress. During the Battle of Sydney, AA Wraiths kept the UNSC and Sangheili ships away as the Covenant deployed more infantry from what was left of their fleet. Most of the ships the Covenant brought to Earth were recalled to the Ark Portal when it was activated by the Prophet of Truth, though a small taskforce was left to hover over Australia. A rather mixed force, comprising of smaller and larger warships, two were destroyed during the Battle of New Zealand, while another three were brought down as the Covenant took control of the continent. Of the remaining twenty ships, another two were destroyed while supporting the Covenant defending forces over Sydney. The rest carried the remaining Covenant forces, numbering abour seven legions in total, through the Aperture Relic.
In the aftermath of the Covenant invasion, much of Earth was left devastated. Most of the inhabited areas of Australia and New Zealand were rendered lifeless, the cities reduced to rubble. Much of the interior was left alone after the UNSC military bases there were destroyed - nothing there was worth occupying such a harsh environment. Western Australia fared better than other regions, being further from the main battles than other territories, and the evacuation was relatively unhindered.
The decision to leave Earth was not taken lightly. Both human and Sangheili commanders argued that whatever the Covenant was after was worth abandoning a planet full of "infidels," something Brutes would normally leap at the chance to scour clean. The fact that the second portal was also markedly different from the African one also piqued ONI's interest. Two frigates were sent to assist the Sangheili fleet, carrying members of the 88th Marine Regiment and Spartan II Indigo Team.
Afterwards, as the UNSC entered a period of extensive reconstruction, the area was reinhabited by former and new occupants. Sydney was left cordoned off by military forces, kept a strictly classified area, but UNSC forces helped to resettle civilians into some of the less devastated areas of Australia and New Zealand.
- "New Mombasa was not the only city humanity built right on top of an ancient relic. I suppose you could say "How the hell did we not notice?" But to be honest, a better question is "If we did notice, why did ONI not evacuate the city sooner."
- "You could look out across the Papuan jungle at night, and see the fires across the Torres Straite. The cities burned, and all we could do was watch."
- "New Zealand? They destroyed NEW ZEALAND?! What the hell?!"
- "When you compare it with the African or American theatres, its a minor skirmish. Two nations wiped out and a third devastated, millions dead, and that's minor."