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"At first it was going well. Then setback after setback, and loss after loss, made what was going to be a quick and decisive win - into five years of hell."
Captain James Gregory Cutter

The Harvest Campaign,[1] also known as the Liberation of Harvest,[2] was a five year long campaign to retake the devastated UNSC colony world of Harvest from the Covenant, beginning in 2526 and ending on February 5th, 2531. Similar in the manner of Operation: TREBUCHET, the Harvest Campaign was a long, drawn out operation, rather than a single battle.[3][4]




Contact With the Covenant

Main article: First Battle of Harvest

The UNSC colony world of Harvest was founded in 2468 by the UNSC Skidbladnir, being one of the furthest colonies from Earth. By 2525, Harvest had become the major agricultural center of the UNSC. However, during the same year, there were reports of an unidentified vessel near the planet, and all contact with Harvest ceased soon afterwards. Only several thousand civilians had made it back to the UNSC, telling of a near unstoppable alien ship.[5]

A UNSC Battle group of two frigates and a destroyer were sent to investigate, and found most of the surface of Harvest reduced to molten glass. A large alien battleship was found in orbit over Harvest, and transmitted a message of perfect English, calling themselves "The Covenant" and vowing the destruction of Humanity. The ship opened fire with advanced plasma weaponry and destroyed the two frigates, leaving the destroyer escape damaged.[6][7]

UNSC Counter-Attack

Main article: Second Battle of Harvest

In response to this, the UNSC went to full red alert, and began mobilizing the largest fleet in UNSC history. However, they needed an experienced commander to lead it. They turned to Vice Admiral Preston Jeremiah Cole, a now retired veteran of the Insurrection, and brilliant military tactician. Cole reluctantly agreed, and was promoted to full Admiral.[6][7]

When Cole's fleet of forty ships arrived at Harvest, they found the same, colossal ship in orbit. The Covenant ship immediately opened fire, and began picking off Cole's ships one by one. Both Magnetic Accelerator Cannons and Shiva-class Nuclear Missiles had no effect on the alien energy shields and the fleet was taking a tremendous beating. It was only a last minute tactical inspiration - firing everything they had all at once - that won the battle, and even then, Cole had lost thirteen ships.[6][7]

Retaking Harvest

Early Victories

Pelicans reinforcing troops on Harvest.

Despite Cole's "victory", the Covenant began swarming the Outer Colonies, and were determined to retake control of Harvest. They sent even more ships there, and engaged UNSC forces on the surface as well as in space. The Covenant were clearly looking for something on the planet, and would stop at nothing to find it. The UNSC however, continued to retaliate, with most engagements occurring in the ruined cities of Harvest.[8][9][4]

Surprisingly, the UNSC was actually beginning to get the upper hand on the ground, and slowly began to push the Covenant back. It was soon assumed that victory was over the horizon, with UNSC forces taking back most of what was left of the planet. These victories, along with Cole's original victory, were being broadcast across the colonies, as a sign of hope to boost morale.[6][7]

However, the Covenant still had a superior advantage in space, and had won numerous engagements against the little ships the UNSC could spare, as Cole had the majority of the fleet spread out across the Outer Colonies.[8]

The Covenant Strike Back

Covenant Destroyers glass Harvest.

Due to the Covenant victories in space, their ships began to glass even more of Harvest, killing helpless UNSC forces on the surface. More ships began to arrive at Harvest, and deployed many more troops on the ground, eradicating almost all human presence on the planet. UNSC forces were battered, and forced to retreat across the planet, leaving the Covenant free to scour the planet for the Forerunner artifact they sought.[8][4] One such instance of the new Covenant retaliation killed two SPARTAN-II Supersoldiers, Daisy-023 and Ralph-303, who were fighting on Harvest at the time.[9]

After the Covenant forces on Harvest led by Field Master Re'gish Wamik discovered a Forerunner structure under the ice, the Prophet of Regret sent Arbiter Ripa 'Moramee to lead the excavation operation and retrieve any significant artifacts.

In a last ditch attempt to remove the Covenant, the Marathon-class Cruiser, UNSC Prophecy was sent to Harvest. The Prophecy managed to destroy several enemy ships, and set up a small military presence on the ground. However, the ship was critically damaged, and was stranded with it's reactor leaking lethal radiation. An ONI Prowler was present in-system to witness the battle, but (in order to maintain stealth) made no attempt to evacuate any survivors from the Prophecy and jumped out of the system to inform Fleet command instead.[6]

Final Liberation of Harvest

On January 6th, 2531, while in a UNSC staging area in interstellar space, Admiral Preston Cole received a message from Commander Orez of the ONI. Orez informed Cole that the Prophecy had repelled newly arrived Covenant warships in the Epsilon Indi System, and that there were survivors to be rescued. The UNSC Spirit of Fire was chosen by Cole due to it's role as a "support ship" rather than a warship. The Spirit of Fire, along with a UNSC Frigate arrived at the system on 4th February 2531 three days after the Prophecy sent their message.[6]

Space Battle

Upon their arrival, Serina, the Spirit of Fire's Artificial Intelligence, analyzed the Prophecy and reported that the ships nuclear reactor was damaged and was releasing harmful doses of radiation throughout the ship. The Spirit of Fire attempted to draw the Covenant away from the Prophecy by using its MAC gun and HAVOK Nuclear Warheads upon enemy craft. While it destroyed a number of dropships, they destroyed only one Covenant warship, as the rest gathered behind the Prophecy to avoid being fired upon.

Fire Team Lima's Pelican heading towards the Prophecy.

Fire Team Lima, commanded by Sergeant John Forge, was transported to the ship, but their Pelican was fired on and made a crash landing on the Prophecy. The landing resulted in the death of a Marine and forced the survivors to use torches to burn their way into the Prophecy. The team split up with Lima-One (Forge) heading for the NAV room and the rest of Lima searching for survivors. Serina noted to Forge that the ships AI "FitzGibbon" may act "peculiar" due to elevated radiation levels. Forge was originally denied access to the NAV room by FitzGibbon due to misconduct in his service record. After Forge reminded him of the Covenant boarders, FitzGibbon gladly allowed him entrance into the NAV room to purge the data. FitzGibbon then activated a three-minute self-destruct timer and informed Forge his team was in Bay 2. Upon his arrival at Bay 2, the team quickly evacuated with some of the Prophecy's crew. After arriving back on the Spirit, the survivors were taken to the Medical Bay, where Serina informed Forge that the radiation poisoning that the crew sustained was too severe and that they would certainly die.

After the threat in space was destroyed, the ONI kidnapped a civilian scientist, Ellen Anders. ONI wanted her to decipher a Covenant message written in Forerunner symbols. Anders was then sent to the Spirit of Fire via the UNSC Last Gleaming. Upon her investigation, she concluded that the message meant that "treasure" (Relics) were to be found, but hidden (from the Humans). Shortly thereafter, Anders scanned the northern polar region of Harvest, concluding that there was a structure under the ice.[6]

Ground Battle

Alpha Base under attack.

During the battle, Alpha Base on the northern polar region near the Forerunner structure served as a staging point for Forge's reconnaissance patrol. In the early stages of the ground battle, Anders redirected to a squadron of Hornets on their way Rally Point Baker near Alpha Base to investigate activity readings on Quadrant 4, where they discovered a significant concentration of Covenant forces. Sergeant Forge was sent to investigate further, but the Covenant had already moved on. During this time, Alpha Base was destroyed and occupied by the Covenant while the UNSC forces in the area were scattered.

As a response, the Spirit of Fire sent UNSC reinforcements to retake the Alpha Base. Forge managed to collect survivors, and recaptured the area, destroying the Covenant presence with assistance from Shortsword bombers, and reestablishing the base, from which he lead an assault to capture a Forerunner relic uncovered by the Covenant. As the UNSC forces approached the Forerunner relic, the Prophet of Regret ordered the Arbiter to destroy the structure in order to prevent it from falling into enemy hands. However, the UNSC managed to destroy the detonator in time, and push into the interior of the structure.

Upon capturing the structure, Anders opened up a holographic map of nearby star systems. Several Sangheili disengaged their Active Camouflage and attacked Forge's group. When he and his Marines were pinned down, two Grizzlies were dropped in from the Spirit of Fire to help Forge escape. The Grizzlies arrived in time to save Forge and his men, along with the professor. The Grizzly tanks cleared a path and led Forge and Professor Anders to waiting Pelican dropships to return to the Spirit of Fire, while the Alpha Base reinforcements Marines held off the Covenant.[8]


The information gained by the Covenant from the Forerunner structure led them to the UNSC colony Arcadia. Anders was drawn to the same planet after examining the artifact. The Covenant attacked Arcadia on February 9th, 2531, closely followed by the Spirit of Fire.

Overall, however, the entire campaign was one of the greatest and earliest UNSC victories. Despite the heavy casualties, the UNSC had managed to retake Harvest, which although devastated, served important strategic value. The victory also boosted morale immensely across the colonies, proving that at least the Covenant were not invincible, and could be beaten. However, as the Covenant began to destroy the Outer Colonies and move in on the Inner Colonies, Harvest lost its strategic value, as the UNSC began pulling back to protect worlds such as Reach and Earth.[8]


United Nations Space Command

Covenant Empire


  1. Halo 3: ODST, Veronica Dare in-game character profile
  2. Halo 3: ODST, Edward Buck in-game character profile
  3. Halo Wars, Five Long Years Cinematic
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Halo Waypoint - "The Secret Below Harvest" video
  5. Halo: Contact Harvest
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 Halo Wars: Genesis
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe, The Impossible Life and the Possible Death of Preston J. Cole
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Halo Wars levels Alpha Base (Level), Relic Approach (Level) and Relic Interior (Level)
  9. 9.0 9.1 Halo Legends, Homecoming

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


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