|Operation Cherry Blossom|
|Timeframe||December 31, 2001 – January 1, 2002.|
Objective 01, the Kashgar Hive.
UN 11th Force
|Every World Leader||The Superior|
|Massive, due to global scale of attack.||Massive, due to global scale of attack.|
Operation Ouka (aka Operation Cherry Blossom) was a United Nations military operation consisting of a multi-phase attack on various Hives around the world, starting on December 31st, 2001. The end goal of the operation was to achieve a successful raid on Objective 1, the Kashgar Hive.
Secondary objectives of the operation included numerous diversion assaults on other Hives world-wide, further information gathering on the BETA (both within the scope of Alternative IV and data gathering by diversionary units in the vein of how the Volk Data was gathered), and securing potential caches of G-Elements, as well as their production facilities, identified by the Alternative IV data code-named "Atelier".
The operation would be the largest counter-BETA military operation in the history of mankind, involving the militaries of numerous nations around the Defence Lines, significant contributions from the US Space Corps, and numerous personnel and material from the UN Aerospace Force.
The operation itself was rushed ahead of schedule, with the remainder of Special Task Force A-01, and their remaining XG-70d Susanoo IV being the core of the strategy. Despite the heavy losses suffered by UN forces and STF A-01 during Operation 21st on December 25th, and the following Defence of Yokohama Base on December 29th, UN command decided to execute Operation Ouka in order to take advantage of new data retrieved by the 00 Unit, before the BETA could adapt to the 00 Unit's two-way mental link with the BETA hivemind and extract more information about humanity's defence.
The primary assault group consisted of the XG-70d Susanoo IV, escorted by the remaining active members of STF A-01 outfitted with three Type-00As and one Type-00F of the Type-00 Takemikazuchi-series, lent to them by the Imperial Japanese Royal Guard's 19th Independent Guard Flight, with the addition of one Type-00R Takemikazuchi given by the Shogun to 2nd Lieutenant Mitsurugi Meiya. This was because the 19th IRG IGF were prevented from participating directly, as it was strictly a UN operation, despite the fact they were in possession of some of the few remaining functional TSFs at Yokohama Base. This was a huge improvement over the original plan, which called for A-01 to be assigned with leftover F-4J Gekishin and F-15J Kagerou units in Yokohama Base.
Secondary assault forces, which were intended to draw out the BETA's forces and attention away from the Kashgar Hive, included members of the Soviet Union, European Union, Middle Eastern Coalition, African Union, COSEAN, Unified Front of China, and other non-aligned national militaries, against the Hives directly closest to the Defence Lines encompassing the Eurasian/Asian continents.
Since the secondary objective involving capturing the G-Elements in the Kashgar Hive was considered suicidal, the 00 Unit tampered with the other forces' data in order to redirect them back out of the Kashgar Hive and away from danger. It is unclear if they survived the landing however, since the game implies that, save for the A-01, the entire attacking force was all but wiped out by the lasers.
All assaults were carried out with orbital bombing followed by a land-based attack, with Hives closer to the sea coming under naval gunfire salvos as well.A new BETA form was also sighted at the Evensk Hive, on the Kamchatka Peninsula, that boasted superior range and attack capability over all land-based and Laser/Heavy Laser-class BETA strains. This new BETA strain was engaged by elements of the Soviet Army, including the 211 Batalon Zhar. Its attempts to take down the XG-70d Susanoo IV, while it launched from Yokohama Base, was unsuccessful.
The primary assault force was escorted by the 3rd Fleet of the UN Aerospace Corps and their attached Orbital Diver Corps, along with forces from the US Space Corps, who were to assist in securing a landing zone and then break off to retrieve G-Elements for the USA. Preceeding them were US Space Corps forces and UN Aerospace Force units, which were tasked to secure the drop zone; however, heavy casualties forced the primary force to accelerate their operations.During the orbital bombing and follow-up drop operation, the BETA's adaptation to the anti-laser tactic of heavy metal bombardment by no longer vaporizing HM shells on detection caused the 3rd Fleet to come under heavy fire by Heavy Laser-class BETA at medium-orbital ranges, resulting in the destruction of most if not all of the HSSTs and TSFs of that fleet, excluding the forces of STF A-01. Most of the HSSTs were destroyed when their captains and crew attempted to shield the XG-70d Susanoo IV from the barrage of Heavy Laser fire, allowing the XG-70d to land in Kashgar without taking lasting damage.
Despite the heavy losses, STF A-01 and the XG-70d Susanoo IV managed to penetrate the Hive, suffering further losses in their fight while traversing one of the Main Halls of the Hive leading towards the core chamber. 2nd Lieutenants Ayamine Kei and Sakaki Chizuru self-destructed their units to collapse a passageway to further impede the BETA; 2nd Lieutenant Tamase Miki was killed during combat against the BETA, and 2nd Lieutenant Yoroi Mikoto was electrocuted to death after destroying the brain of a Barrier-class BETA in order to close off the passageway behind the Susanoo IV.
Having been reduced to the Susanoo IV and 2nd Lieutenant Mitsurugi Meiya's Type-00R, they eventually made contact with the Kashgar Hive's Reactor and the BETA's overall controlling intelligence, the Superior, and eventually destroyed both after achieving a brief verbal exchange with the Superior itself, although not without losing 2nd Lieutenant Mitsurugi to friendly fire, partially caused by the Superior. This act proved that Alternative IV was a success, as communication with the BETA was achieved. The knowledge gleaned from that exchange revealed much about the BETA's point of view.
Following the destruction of the Kashgar Reactor and the Superior, 2nd Lieutenants Shirogane Takeru and Yashiro Kasumi, who survived the combat, escaped the Kashgar Hive using a shuttle, leaving the Susanoo IV in the Hive; the 00 Unit escaped along with them, but expired shortly after the completion of the mission.
Operation Ouka was the single most successful Hive raiding operation in mankind's current history of war against the BETA. The destruction of the Superior allowed humanity to gain a significant strategic edge against the BETA, removing the enemy's capability for higher-end strategy, and the data gained from the global Hive assaults allowed them to further improve Hive combat tactics, which would later be proved in Operation Sledgehammer. Professor Kouzuki Yuuko estimated that Operation Ouka's success allowed humanity to gain another 30 years in the war, allowing them to finally focus on turning the tables against their enemies.
The success of Operation Ouka also resulted in a renewed arms race, as each frontline nation sought to bring as many Hives as it could under their own control. The UN, in an effort to combat what might lead up to a potential Second Cold War, took measures, such as working together with other nations in frontline combat, as well as considering the purchase of TSFs, like the Type-00 Takemikazuchi, which had been proven to be effective in Hive combat.
==Prelude== Soviet High Command, along with the rest of the active militaries in the world, coordinated with one another through the United Nations Alternative IV Headquarters in order to create a concerted diversionary attack on all of the existing perimeter hives in order to stretch the BETA numbers and take the primary objective at Kashgar by surprise with an orbital dive.
The Soviet Union had multiple hives under their responsibility to attack, mostly along the northern arctic coast, as well as the Evensk hive near the Kamchatka Far East Defense Line.
Phase 1EditFollowing an orbital bombardment and a subsequent naval and land bombardment to saturate the surrounding area, the Soviets planned to deploy two primary mixed-unit forces to hit the Evensk hive from two opposite sides in an effort to split the BETA response into two manageable formations, from which standard herd thinning operations could occur for the duration of the diversion.
The initial strike force approached from the East of the hive, through Gizhiga once the heavy metal cloud had reached 70% concentration to shield the force from Laser-class beams. Naval bombardment would continue until the start of Phase 2, as the primary point of Phase 1 was to weaken the BETA with the initial bombardment and ensure future pilot operations would have a high chance of success via deployed laser countermeasures.
Phase 2 began with the deployment of the second strike force from the Soviet carriers deployed in the Gyzhigin Bay. From the coast the TSFs moved inland until they found their position in Khan'kan. At this point, the BETA that had so far been beneath the surface began to file out of the hive from nearby stabs and exterior gates.
Upon the detection of significant BETA movement, the strike force east of the hive moved south toward Avekova in order to use the bay as a natural defense and delaying move against the BETA. As the BETA split into three units, two pursuing either strike force and a main group remaining near the Monument, the eastward strike force fell back to Chaybukha to put more distance between them and the BETA and buy more time for ground forces and the navy to continue their bombardment.
Phase 3 began with the arrival of unexpected reinforcements in the form of the 211 Battalion Zhar, as well as additional Russian units from inland.
With the arrival of more reinforcements, the deployed forces began to engage the BETA in mid-to-close range combat as the diversionary attack began in earnest. With the increased firepower, the BETA advance stalled and allowed the Soviets to gain ground closer to the hive Monument.
Although the goal of Operation Ouka was to conserve forces and maintain only a sustainable diversionary attack long enough for the orbital dive to finish, many in the Soviet command pushed the ground forces to advance on the hive for a potential infiltration of the hive and securing of valuable G-elements. This was a controversial position as it unnecessarily endangered the lives of valuable Soviet pilots and their equipment for little guarantee of success.
Just as the battle began to swing toward the Russians' favor with the surface laser-class almost completely wiped out and the BETA forces stalled, an unparalleled level of seismic activity was detected by the Soviet flagship, shocking those present. A visual feed showed the ground begin to glow and then in an instant disintegrate as an untold amount of laser beams fired from underground.
The blast was so powerful that it kicked up so much debris and charged particles that the Soviet sensors were unable to detect what was inside the growing electrical cloud, and more importantly, what was coming up from underneath the Earth's surface. The ground forces, having advanced so far into the original BETA position that they were now enveloped by the cloud were unable to communicate apart from short-range bursts of speech, and were unable to discover what the fleet or the other observers had seen. They were then taken by surprise when the BETA renewed a charge against the human front line, and with heavy lasers firing indiscriminately through the BETA horde and into formations of TSFs.
The pilots were shocked and horrified that the BETA had managed to evolve in such a way that ignored their usual instincts of avoiding friendly fire, and only after the laser beams fired did the electrical cloud start to dissipate and reveal the source of this firepower; the unidentified class unofficially named the Laser-Fort class by the stunned observers in the fleet, it towered above the battlefield and its cadre of Fort-class bodyguards.As if the situation wasn't bad enough, the Soviets realized the Laser Fort-class hadn't been aiming at them at all but was actually firing at the UN Aerospace fleet accompanying the strike force carrying out the attack on the Kashgar hive. If the Russians didn't act fast, all the work the world had put into the operation would go to waste if the Laser Fort-class was allowed to continue its rampage.
An emergency Laserjagd was put into effect, and leading the charge was the 211 Zhar Battalion. In a panic, the attached Esper unit to the Soviet fleet was ordered to launch, despite their original intended purpose to being used as part of the later hive infiltration. The artificial Prafka levels were intensified past normal levels, and the human pilots were literally ripped to shreds by the psychic strength of the linked espers and their drone TSF Berkuts. The unit began to fly erratically and refused to listen to orders, leading to a mental breakdown of the lead Esper researcher in charge of the unit.
With the Laser Fort-class coordinating its attacks on the space fleet with nearby Heavy Lasers, the primary threat to the TSFs on the ground were the normal Laser class as well as the horde of other strains surrounding the Monument. The Russians were engaged in a vicious close combat charge against the BETA, supported by Yuuya Bridges and Inia Sestina, however the female esper was soon knocked unconscious by the powerful psychic force of the nearby Esper unit as their abilities began to far surpass normal human pilot capabilities.
In a desperate measure, the elite Russian pilots began to charge deep into the BETA line and detonate their S-11 tactical nuclear devices in order to clear a literal path to the Laser Fort-class for Yuuya and the remnants of the 211. They proudly sacrificed their lives for the person they perceived as the hero who saved their families and friends during the Yukon Base Incident, where Yuuya and his compatriots successfully stopped the Red Shift from occurring and destroying the Soviet side of Alaska.
With a path clear to the Laser Fort-class, the 211 formed up around Yuuya and acted as his shield on the approach to the target. Many of them were sacrificed as over a dozen Fort-class launched their nimble stingers and punctured the TSF hulls, but regardless the unit pushed forward, intent on seeing their final objective through to the end.
On the final approach, Nastassja sacrificed herself to prevent Lieutenant Colonel Fikatsia from being hit by a Fort-class. Fikatsia then prepared to sacrifice herself along with the rest of her unit to ensure Yuuya made it through to the end, and so she saluted him one final time and told him that as far as she was concerned, he was like a son to her and that she hoped that the two of them could meet one day because she wanted her son to be a hero, just like him.
As casualties began to mount, Yuuya began to feel a presence he never thought he would again. Inia woke from unconsciousness and whispered a name, "Cryska..." under her breath just loud enough for Yuuya to hear. The remaining Soviet forces were in awe as the Esper unit somehow regained control and began to glow from red to blue and then finally to white, forming a protective aura around Yuuya's TSF. At this point, Inia said that Cryska was with them, and Yuuya could have sworn he could even see Cryska there with him in the cockpit, guiding him to victory.
Protected from the laser beams by the strange psychic phenomenon that had created a literal lunar eclipse in the sky, Yuuya charged forward with the Berkuts surrounding him, ready to deal the final blow. Both Fikatsia as well Jerzy Sandek and the rest of the Soviet Command watched on in silent amazement as the American brought down the Fort Laser-class and then the subsequent slaughter of the remaining BETA that followed.
At the conclusion of the battle, both sides had taken extreme casualties. The battlefield itself was layered with BETA corpses and the remains of dozens of TSFs. The Laser-Fort Class was dead, and Yuuya Bridges' heavily damaged Shiranui Second Phase 3 unit was inert in front of the BETA's shattered body.
The diversionary attack was a success, but at a heavy cost. The 211th Zhar Battalion was completely wiped out, along with most the rest of the Russian ground forces deployed.The status of the Esper flight, as well as Inia Sestina and Yuuya Bridges' whereabouts after the battle are unknown, however, it is known that some time after Operation Ouka Inia reunited with her sister Trista.