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Battle of Oak Creek Canyon
Part of the NCR Arizona Offensive
Barney Pasture Fire - 1946 (5376139438)
A small forest fire created by one of the NCR Vertibirds downed in the Battle of Wilson Mountain.
Date September 19th-November 4th, 2282,
Location Oak Creek Canyon, near Sedona, Arizona
Result NCR Victory
Combatants
Flag of New California New California Republic LegionEmblem Caesar's Legion
Commanders
Flag of New California President Aaron Kimball
Flag of New California General Lee Oliver
LegionEmblem Marius of Phoenix

LegionEmblem Unknown Legion Centurion

Strength
Flag of New California NCR Defense Force LegionEmblem Legion Military
Casualties
*174 infantry units
  • three tanks destroyed
344 soldiers killed

The Battle of Oak Creek Canyon was a major battle in the NCR Arizona Offensive, considered to be part of the larger Siege of Sedona, which took place from September 19th to November 4th, 2282, in Oak Creek Canyon and the surrounding canyons north of Sedona, Arizona. The Battle of Oak Creek Canyon was the site of some of the most brutal fighting in the war, in large part thanks to the dense forests and narrow canyons which rendered NCR vehicles useless and hid Legion forces from aerial recon, meaning that the the surrounding canyons had be be secured by infantry before vehicles could safely travel the only road through the canyon. It is also distinctive for being the site of some the earliest, well as the last combat in the Siege of Sedona.

BackgroundEdit

After the NCR victory at Nova Roma and the Grand Canyon area in May 2282 the NCR effectively controlled the Colorado Plateau of northern Arizona. Legion forces however, remained in area south of the Mogollon Rim, an escarpment separating the plateau with the lower-elevation Sonoran Desert. NCR operations were limited by the intense heat of the summer, which could reach 120 Fahrenheit (48.8 Celsius) in the deserts around Phoenix and Two Sun. The heat of the summer stopped the NCR advance until late September, when NCR launched the assault Legion positions on the Mogollon Rim and in the forests below. The NCR armored forces quickly punched through the few remaining Legion outposts on Interstate 17, allowing the NCR to advance down the Interstate and US Highway 89A, allowing them to gain a high elevation position to fire artillery down on the Legion-held city, as well as controlling the eastern flank of Sedona, however, Legion positions remained in Oak Creek Canyon and the other canyon along the route of US 89 to the Northeast of the city.

Main Canyon EngagementsEdit

Battle of the RockfallEdit

After taking the upper Mogollon Rim, On September 19th, NCR forces launched a two-pronged assault down the rim. One assault was from the east flank was successful, taking Legion positions on mesatops south of Sedona and paving the way for advances into Oak Creek Village, a pre-war community to the south of Sedona, which became a southern Legion outpost after they took over. The assault along Highway 81A into Oak Creek Canyon, however, was unsuccessful. The NCR deployed four tanks, two M56 and two M75 MBTs to spearhead the assault and eliminate the Legion positions along the road, with infantry supporting the armor to engage any of Legion troops in the forest.

When the NCR column reached the middle of the switchbacks down into the canyon, Legion forces concealed in forests along the canyon walls detonated explosives, causing a rock fall which destroyed three of the four NCR tanks, and killing 28 NCR troops. After the rockslide, Legion forces fired down on the NCR infantry and light vehicles. NCR infantry and the remaining tanks returned fire, attempting to cover their retreat back into to the Upper Rim. In the fire fight, another 14 NCR soldiers were killed, along with 46 Legion troops, at least 15 of them being killed by a canister shell from the one surviving M75 MBT.

The engagement, which became known as the "Battle of the Rockfall", was a tactical victory for the Legion, however, they were unable to follow up the victory for the attack on the NCR and Allies positions on the rim, which were heavily entrenched and supported by armor, artillery, and aircraft.

Battle of the West ForkEdit

After the failed attack at the Battle of the Rockfall, it was clear that Legion forces hiding in the tributary canyons had to be cleared before the NCR Army Engineers could clear the rockfall and allow further advances down the road. After NCR First Recon forces discovered Legion troops hiding in the West Fork, a tributary of Oak Creek Canyon. NCR infantry, including First Recon and Rangers were deployed at 0900 on September 22nd, 2282. The The First Recon and Ranger forces were deployed along the north rim of West Fork Canyon, quickly eliminating the few Legion troops in the forest, before setting up on the Rim and engaging targets in the canyon and on the opposites rim with sniper fire. Under cover of the snipers, NCR infantry advanced to the Legion camp, which was located near a pair of meanders in the camp, and after a short firefight, the Legion forces were defeated and the survivors scattered into canyons and woods. The NCR stationed infantry in the old Legion camp and other strategic locations in the canyon to defend NCR Engineers while they removed the debris from the Rockfall three days earlier. To this end, a pre-war front end loader was brought up to clear the path, assisted by NCR Army Engineers with hand tools where necessary. The rockfall was cleared within about 12 hours, after which, the path was clear for NCR armor and vehicles to advance down the canyon and set up an outpost on the canyon floor.

Battle of Wilson MountainEdit

After taking the northern canyon floor on September 22nd, the next major Legion position was located on top of Wilson Mountain, a prominent mesa over 2000 feet above the floor of the canyon. While the Legion did not have heavy artillery on the ridge, they did have a number of improvised and pre-war infantry mortars, as well as numerous snipers, which covered the Legion forces holding the small community of Slide Rock immediately below the mountain. While the mountain had been a target for bombing and artillery since the NCR and allied forces arrived, the mortars had not been neutralized as they could be easily moved around the broad, flat mountaintop. The NCR and their allies, including the Mojave chapter of the Brotherhood of Steel and the Enclave Remnants, employed their usual tactic of employing Vertibird and helicopter gunships supporting transport aircraft in the assault on September 24th, 2282. By this point, however, the Legion had caught wind of the tactic, it having been used several times previously. For this reason, the Legion placed many of the relatively few heavy weapons on the summit. As the NCR and allied Vertibird and helicopters advanced several Legion shoulder-mounted missiles, and numerous miniguns and even small arms opened up. Two vertibirds, and four slower UH-1 helicopters were shot down in the initial attack. The surviving helicopters retreated to around 1500 meters from the mountainside. The gunships associated with the formation 24 remaining aircraft fired at the mountainside with rockets, which had sufficient range to hit the Legion gun positions from beyond their effective range. One courageous Vertibird gunship pilot occasionally moved in closer to the Legion positions in order to draw their fire, allowing the gunships to assess the remaining threat of the Legion guns and locate targets from the tracer fire. Within five minutes, the gunships had suppressed the Legion defenses in the area, allowing the transports to land on the north side of the mountain. The NCR and allied assault, spearhead by Brotherhood, ex-Enclave, and NCR power armor forces advanced across the north side of the mountain, engaging the Legion forces, which were already shaken by the rocket attacks.

As they advanced across the mountain to less heavily attacked areas on the south side, the NCR-allied forces met firmer resistance, sustaining a 23 casualties, including four power armor units were penetrated by an anti-materiel rifle carried by a Legion centurion, as well as three other skilled Legion snipers. The snipers' position was finally sighted and fired on with massed small arms fire, as well as shoulder-fired rockets and energy weapons, finally eliminated them. Overall, most of the NCR and allied casualties were the result of a few skilled marksmen, as many of the lower-ranking, less experience Legionaries proved to be under-armed and easy targets. Overall, the Legion lost about 150 men in the battle, with the remaining 50-70 fleeing into the canyons to the west, where they, along with other groups of holdouts, would remain hidden for the next month, occasionally launching hit-and-run attacks on NCR forces, but never being enough of a threat to retake the route through Oak Creek Canyon. Throughout the NCR operations around Sedona, the Legion holdout's numbers would dwindle as they were eliminated in attacks or by NCR patrols, though the last group of holdouts would remain in the area, slowly retreating to the northwest until they were finally cornered and either killed or surrendered after a firefight in Sycamore Canyon in early November, 2282.

After the taking of Wilson Mountain, the way was clear for NCR armor and mechanized forces to push through Slide Rock and eliminate the Legion forces blocking the road there, allowing the NCR to take most of the main canyon.

Battle of Schnebly HillEdit

On September 29th, after gaining control of the Legion positions on Wilson Mountain and on the Plateau above Sedona and, at the same time, having taken Oak Creek village and surrounding summits the the south, the NCR and allied forces launched a multi-pronged assault on northern Sedona through Oak Creek Canyon and Schnebly Hill, a point on top of the Colorado plateau with a pre-war dirt road running down the escarpment. Learning from the Battle of the Rockfall, the NCR advanced their tanks supported by infantry and cavalry to defend them from flanking attacks, before advancing to the rim. A relatively force of Legion troops had stubbornly managed to hold out in the rock formation and canyons around Mitten Ridge, a red rock formation and tourist attraction in the pre-war period. The NCR armor on the rim engaged the Legion troops, firing down on them from the rim. After NCR armor destroyed the primary Legion positions from the rim, NCR troops were send down the dirt road across and into the valley, where, after about an hour and a half of sporadic firefights, the Mitten Ridge area had been cleared of Legion forces, allowing NCR armor to advance down the Schnebly Hill Road and into the Verde Valley, where they joined with their comrades moving in from Oak Creek Canyon to assault northern Sedona.

Legion HoldoutsEdit

While not technically in the drainage basin of Oak Creek Canyon, the engagements against Legion holdouts in the rugged terrain to the northwest of Oak Creek Canyon are sometimes considered an extension of the Battle of Oak Creek Canyon given the proximity and similar terrain.

Battle of Secret CanyonEdit

After clearing the last Legion forces in the city of Sedona, in a pre-war resort to the northeast of the main part of the city, on October 2nd, the last Legion presence in the area were small bands of soldiers hiding in the canyons to the northwest of the city. Because of the rugged terrain, it over a week even with aerial reconnaissance to locate these holdouts, who finally discovered on October 12th in Secret Canyon. To this end, the NCR used tactics similar to those used in clearing the West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon, specifically the deployment of forces from both the rim and into the floor of the canyon. On the night of October 14th, 2282, about 30 NCR First Recon and Rangers made the over 13-mile long hike from Highway 89A above the Mogollon Rim, bypassing around the West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon under cover of darkness, before finally a point on the rim of Secret Canyon known as Little Round Mountain on pre-war maps by 0700 hours that morning. At that point, NCR special forces staked out the area for three hours until they located a group of about 20 Legion soldiers hiding out in large overhang in the sandstone on the south side of the canyon. At the same time, the NCR had deployed 150 infantry north from Sedona, which took positions near the mount of the canyon. The trap was set. Upon reaching reaching position, the NCR infantry contacted the special forces by radio, and the snipers opened fire. The first shot was fired by Sergeant Craig Boone, which picked off a Legion Decanus, the presumed leader of the small group of holdouts. The Legion forces, who had not expected NCR forces to make the long trek to reach the upper rim, were caught completely by surprise. As several of their ranks were picked off, the Legion forces in the sandstone overhang fled into the forest, as did other groups of holdouts, which numbered about 50 in total, which at least partially hid them from the sniper fire. About 25 Legionaries fled down the canyon, where they encountered the waiting NCR infantry. In a short firefight that killed 22 Legionaries, but only two NCR infantry, the Legion troops were routed. The remaining Legion holdouts were captured or killed by NCR troops by 1100 hours that day.

Battle of Sycamore CanyonEdit

After the Battle of Secret Canyon, most of the Legion holdouts in the Sedona area either retreated west to the Black Hills, where they remained a nuisance to NCR forces until they were finally destroyed at they were flanked by both sides after the Siege of Prescott and were either killed or surrendered after the Battle of Mingus Mountain, or fled further northwest, through rugged terrain of the Mogollon Rim.

Because of the difficult terrain, which included dense surviving forests and sandstone caves and overhangs to hide from NCR and allied aerial reconnaissance, NCR forces, including Rangers and First Recon operating in small squads were force to search the canyons and forests for Legion holdouts on foot. On November 2nd 2282, about 30 holdouts were discovered hiding in Sycamore Canyon. After the location was discovered, on November 4th, a small unit of about 20 NCR Rangers and First Recon were deployed at the mouth of the Canyon, along the rim, while 200 NCR infantry deployed by APC from NCR territory, traveling south from Williams to the rim of Sycamore Canyon. The NCR forces descended into the canyon via a pre-war hiking trail and engaged the Legion survivors in the a short firefight, in which one NCR infantryman was wounded, and five Legionaries were killed and four more wounded. After fighting for less than five minutes, Legion forces retreated. The NCR infantry searched the canyon for about 45 minutes, until they encountered a Legionary carrying a makeshift white flag- a piece of white cloth tied to a tree branch. The NCR forces remained vigilant, wary of Legion traps, but that proved unnecessary- the Legion forces surrendered. According to the POWs, the only thing keeping them together was their commanding officer, who had executed any Legion soldier who attempted to desert and surrender. When the officer was killed in the firefight, the Legion holdouts agreed to surrender to the NCR, realizing they were low on food and ammunition, and would likely not survive much longer with the coming winter.

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