The Full Wiki

Orbital bombardment: Misc



Up to date as of February 08, 2010
(Redirected to Glassing article)

From Halopedia, the Halo Wiki

(35 votes)
"You are...all of you...vermin. Cowering in the dirt thinking... what, I wonder? That you might escape the coming fire? No. Your world will burn until its surface is but glass!"
Prophet of Truth
Reach, in process of being glassed by the Covenant.

The term Glassing, also known as Plasma Bombardment or Orbital Bombardment, is used to refer to the act by which a Covenant ship or ships bombard a planet from orbit using their Plasma Weaponry.



The Covenant will begin glassing a planet by bringing in a fleet of ships and typically move their large warships closer and blanket the world with a series of crisscrossing orbits to ensure that every square millimeter of the surface is destroyed. The large warships will aim their weaponry towards the surface and begin to build up energy. The superheated plasma "bolts" are then released and guided towards the surface, striking the area and converting the top soil and other surface geology into a mineral called lechatelierite that is similar to glass, hence its name. The process also vaporizes any bodies of water the planet may possess, or at least reduces the remaining water to pools choked with ash[1]. The ecosystem of a planet is also disposed of through this process. The Covenant have been known to utilize two methods of glassing. The first and the most common method used is when a ship or ships build up plasma along their lateral lines and discharge lances of plasma from orbit, which are guided until they impact the surface. This is repeated until every square centimeter of the planet is destroyed; in most cases it only takes the Covenant twelve hours to glass a planet. The second method is used when a ship must effectively destroy a ground target from low range. This method involves building up plasma from the underside of the ship and then discharging it in a narrow, concentrated beam; this method of low-range glassing has only been witnessed a few times, most notably during the Battle of Pegasi Delta[2], the glassing of New Mombasa and Voi during the Battle of Earth. As a result of the destruction, the atmosphere of most planets have been known to boil away from the process[3], though not all planets suffered this, the most notable example being Reach.

The impact of the plasma bolt is similar to that of a nuclear detonation on a much different scale. When the plasma bolt impacts the surface, the magnetic field sustaining and guiding the plasma collapses, and, depending on how powerful the release of energy is, the initial zone of impact is obliterated instantly. The areas outside of the initial impact zone are affected by the heat wave generated by the blast; depending on the range, those closest outside of the blast zone are instantly killed by the intense heat. As thermal expansion takes over, the resulting flames fan out and create a pyroclastic surge,[4] which will continue to burn the areas it comes into contact with until it has cooled enough that it cannot harm the surface. Subsequently, the atmosphere is covered with soot and ash thrown up from the initial impact, subjecting the planet to a nuclear winter. As the initial impact area cools, the surface is covered by extensive areas of molten soil, and is comparable to active volcanic sites in some parts of the world, on a larger scale depending on the extent. The destructive process leaves the planet unable to recover to its former state.


Throughout the Human-Covenant War, the Covenant aggressors glassed a significant majority of the UNSC's colony worlds from orbit. And although ground forces were invariably deployed first, as UNSC forces were routed in space, the bombardment would commence.[5] The first planet to suffer this fate was Harvest, glassed from the Jiralhanae-operated cruiser Rapid Conversion.[6] It has been noted that areas of interest to the Covenant are left intact for reasons of study or retrieval; however, this is not common, as only three planets have been partially glassed and only when a Forerunner Artifact was discovered.[7] After the Covenant glasses a planet, a shard of glass is removed and placed in the Step of Silence within High Charity, where it hangs with hundreds of other shards from worlds glassed by the Covenant.[8]

The Battle of Earth culminated in the glassing of the city of Voi in Africa by Covenant Separatists, in an effort to contain a Flood infestation which had come to Earth only hours earlier. [9] Lord Hood accuses the Sangheili lead fleet of glassing half of the continent, but given his distaste for his former enemies, he might have exaggerated about the actual extent of the glassing. This is supported by the fact that the area around Kilimanjaro seems relatively intact during the ceremony at the end of the game. It is currently unknown exactly what other areas of Earth was glassed by the Covenant prior to, and during the events of Halo 3.

Halo Wars

In Halo Wars, the Prophet of Regret faction of the Covenant are able to use the Prophet to call down a Cleansing Beam from an orbiting Covenant ship. Rather than a leader power, this is treated as the unit's secondary ability, using the Y button to guide the beam at the cost of resources every second. It lacks the power of typical glassing maneuvers seen in past canon to balance gameplay. However, the power may be lowered to avoid Covenant casualties.


  • By the end of Halo: First Strike and Halo 2, it is believed that the Covenant had glassed 76 planets which were represented by 19 shards in 4 rows in the Step of Silence.[10][11]
  • It has been noted that the UNSC had over 800 planets colonized or under its control at the beginning of the Human-Covenant War, a large portion of which presumably fell to the Covenant during the war. However, the Step of Silence, an area where a piece of glass from every glassed planet is placed, only has 76 shards of glass. This is explained however, in Halo: Evolutions. It states that the majority of the time, the Covenant only glass major population centers and military bases on conquered planets, so it is likely that shards of glass are only taken from fully glassed planets.



  2. Halo:Ghosts of Onyx Prologue, page 25
  3. Halo: The Fall of Reach, page 8
  4. Wikipedia's article on Pyroclastic Surge
  5. Halo: The Fall of Reach
  6. Halo: Contact Harvest
  7. Halo: First Strike
  8. Halo: First Strike Epilogue, page 338
  9. Halo 3, Floodgate (Level)
  10. Halo: First Strike, page 338
  11. Halo 2: High Charity

This article uses material from the "Glassing" article on the Halo wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

ST Expanded

Up to date as of February 07, 2010

The Star Trek Expanded Universe Database is for fanon and related content. See for the canon Star Trek wiki.

Romulan and Cardassian warships launch a bombardment of the Founders' homeworld.
The effects of the bombardment on the Founders' homeworld.

Attacking the surface of a planet from orbit is referred to as an orbital bombardment. The scale varied from an general bombardment for maximum damage to surgical strikes. Frequently performed through traditional weaponry carried aboard starships, devices such as mass drivers are also used in orbital bombardment.

In an alternate mirror universe, Captain James T. Kirk and the ISS Enterprise conducted an orbital bombardment of the planet Halka in 2267, following the Halkans refusal to let the Terran Empire mine the planet's abundant dilithium. The bombardment ended when all sentient life on the planet was destroyed. (Star Trek: Daedalus - A Burning House: "A Doomsday Like Any Other")

The joint Obsidian Order/Tal Shiar fleet conducted an orbital bombardment of the Founder's homeworld in 2372. However, it proved fruitless as the Founder's had known of the attack and already moved on from the planet and instead setting up a trap for the fleet, which resulted in its complete destruction. (DS9: "The Die is Cast")

In 2373, Captain Alexander Whiting destroyed the Klingon colony on in the Cursa system from orbit after going rogue with the USS Fury. He also planned to bombard Nug'ka from orbit to kill General G'tor and his family but was stopped due to the intervention of the USS Swiftfire-A. (Star Trek: Swiftfire: "Vengeance")

Early in the Dominion War, the Dominion bombarded the surface of Larkin III to destroy the Federation colony of Nathan's Gap. Unbeknownst to the Dominion they had attacked a decoy colony while the real colony remained safe hidden under a holographic generator and safe thanks to protective shields. (Star Trek: Swiftfire: "Moral Actions")

During the Battle of Guyra the Hutet bombarded the surface of Guyra III, destroying a Federation colony and killing over 5,000 civilians awaiting evacuation from the planet. (Star Trek: Swiftfire: "Over the Horizon")

On stardate 51474.3 the Dominion launched an attack on Coridan where they successfully managed to bombard the planet's dilithium mines from orbit, collapsing them and killing thousands of workers. (The Dominion War Sourcebook: The Fires of Armageddon)

During an engagement between the USS Swiftfire-A and several Vendoth warships in the Badlands the lead Vendoth vessel, the Pri'tak, launched an orbital bombardment against a planet in the Badlands. Due to damage to the Pri'tak's targeting sensors the vessel could not specifically target the enemy positions and it launched a general bombardment resulting in the death of many of the troops the vessel had also landed on the surface. (Star Trek: Swiftfire: "The True")

During the First Battle of Chin'toka, the Federation Alliance fleet preceded their invasions of the planets with an orbital bombardment to weaken the garrisons on the planets. The deployment of ground forces and the heavy sensor jamming produced by both sides on the surface limited the use of orbital strikes by the allied fleet. (Star Trek: Swiftfire: "Semper Fidelis")

In the Pendragon timeline, the Klingon Defense Force used mass drivers to bombard Cardassia Prime, killing billions and rendering the planet nearly uninhabitable. In at least one mirror universe, orbital bombardment by the Alliance caused similar devastation on Earth in the early 24th century. (Star Trek: Pendragon: "Exile", "The Distant Fire", et. al; Star Trek novel: Spectre)

External link

This article uses material from the "Orbital bombardment" article on the ST Expanded wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


Up to date as of February 04, 2010

From Wookieepedia, the Star Wars wiki.

Imperial Star Destroyers and frigates bombard a planet
"Wipe this pathetic planet from the face of the galaxy!"
Darth Malak

Orbital bombardment was a military strategy used many times throughout the history of the galaxy, in which a starship or space-based machine bombarded a planet heavily. Unlike a Base Delta Zero, which completely devastated a planet, orbital bombardment could be made more precise or specific.



The most effective means of doing this was using several capital ships to target a specific area on a planet. Although such an act was apt to be imprecise and expected to cause collateral damage, some gunnery crews were reputed to be skilled to the degree of pin-point accuracy. Regardless, there were many factions which used orbital bombardment. The Mandalorians were very adept at using this in the Mandalorian Wars. The planet Telos IV was also attacked by orbital bombardment. Darth Malak used this to attack the planet of Taris, while looking for Bastila Shan and also bombarded the Enclave on Dantooine, although most of the Jedi survived.

A Venator-class Star Destroyer bombarding the planet Saleucami.

The Confederacy of Independent Systems bombarded the ecumenopolis of Humbarine in a Base Delta Zero operation during the Clone Wars, melting the crust of the planet.

Orbital bombardment was also frequently used in the Galactic Civil War, and was a factor during the Battle of Kashyyyk. The planet of Ralltiir was subjected to orbital bombardment for harboring Rebel scientists. Darth Vader planned to use this strategy against the Rebel Base at Hoth. However, the planetary shield and planetary ion cannon technology of that era enabled planetary defenses to hold off the bombardment. Often, strike teams and special forces would be dispatched to the planet in order to sabotage such defenses prior to the initiation of the bombardment.

While common for the Imperial Navy—in fact, some sources imply that Star Destroyers were optimized for such attacks—the New Republic Defense Force was reluctant to engage in orbital bombardment, for fear of civilian casualties. During the Yuuzhan Vong War, however, General Wedge Antilles ordered the Lusankya to bombard Borleias in an attempt to save the New Republic's ground base during the Battles of Borleias, and Admiral Traest Kre'fey also made orbital bombardment one of his standing orders in the prelude to the Battle of Ebaq 9.

In 40 ABY, during the Second Galactic Civil War, Colonel Jacen Solo order his flagship's turbolasers to open fire on Kashyyyk. He did this because he thought the Wookiees were hiding Jedi fugitives and allied with the Confederation. The outcome was that it started to burn the giant wroshyr trees causing massive fires that devastated some parts of the planet.

Behind the scenes

Orbital bombardment appears in Star Wars: Rebellion as a strategic combat action allowing the player to use a fleet unit in orbit around a planet to eliminate the opponents' ground units located on that planet. This option is called planetary bombardment in the game. In Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption, orbital bombardments are available to both the Rebellion (ion bombardment) and the Empire (turbolaser) as well as the Zann Consortium (ion then plasma bombardment).

Orbital bombardment appeared in all of the Battlefront series. In the first game, recon droids could signal for them, in the second, a frigate on Hoth during the final campaign mission was bombarded, and in Renegade Squadron, a special gun would tag a location for bombardment.

See also


  • Crosscurrent (Mentioned only)
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (Mentioned only)
  • Star Wars: Battlefront
  • Star Wars: Battlefront II
  • Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron
  • Shatterpoint (Mentioned only)
  • Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader
  • Star Wars: Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike
  • Boba Fett: Enemy of the Empire
  • Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption
  • Star Wars Empire: In the Shadows of Their Fathers
  • Star Wars: Rebellion (First appearance)
  • Allegiance (novel)
  • Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (First mentioned)
  • X-wing: The Bacta War (as Planetary bombardment) (Mentioned only)
  • X-wing: Wraith Squadron
  • X-wing: Iron Fist (Mentioned only)
  • X-wing: Solo Command (Mentioned only)
  • Heir to the Empire (Mentioned only)
  • Dark Force Rising
  • X-wing: Isard's Revenge
  • Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream
  • Destiny's Way
  • Inferno
  • Revelation


This article uses material from the "Orbital bombardment" article on the Starwars wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address