|Battle of the Grand Canyon|
|Part of the NCR Arizona Offensive|
A Legion position at the old Desert View Visitor Center shortly before the Battle of the Grand Canyon
| New California Republic
|General Lee Oliver||Valerius|
|NCR Defense Force||Legion Military|
|1,500 civilians in Legion territory had surrendered to the NCR were later integrated as citizens sometime after the Arizona Offensive had ended|
Starting on April 11th, 2282, the NCR Air Force launched bombing attacks targets in the town of Tusayan, Grand Canyon Village, and Desert View, targeting Legion fortifications. NCR air raids were directed by ex-Legate Joshua Graham, who, having been present at the rise of the Legion in the Grand Canyon, knew the locations of some Legion fortifications. While the bombing caused significant casualties and damaged the Legion bases in the area, the dense surviving forests made it difficult to spot smaller targets, particularly those constructed from native timbers, from the air. For this reason, at least 1000 Legionaries survived the aerial and subsequent artillery bombardment, along with a significant number of their fortifications.
The Legate of Chasma Magna, Valerius, realized he could not defeat the NCR in direct combat, and as such, utilized a defensive strategy based on maximizing NCR casualties, hoping the drive them to abandon attempts to attack the region. To this end, the Legion placed mines and booby traps throughout the area surrounding the Grand Canyon. These mines and improvised explosive devices led to the deaths of a few dozen NCR and allied personnel, and wounded dozens more, and, along with guerilla attacks by small bans of Legion forces, slowed the NCR advance north through the Kaibab Plateau towards the Grand Canyon.
Battle of Red ButteEdit
The first Legion strong point reached by the NCR was Red Butte, one of the few prominent summits rising above the flat plateau in the Tusayan area. While it was a target of bombing, which destroyed a pre-war lookout tower and other defenses, Valerius had ordered the Legion forces to hide many of bases' remaining heavy weapons, including two mounted machine guns and a 40mm anti-aircraft gun in the wooded slopes of the butte, camouflaged with logs and tree boughs, fully anticipating the use of NCR airborne forces against the fort as has been done with past legion hill forts.
In the morning on April 15th, 2282, NCR and Brotherhood Vertibirds as well as NCR ground forces approached the butte. At this point, the hidden 40mm AA gun and two .50 caliber heavy machine guns opened up on the NCR air forces. Two Vertibirds and two helicopters were hit and shot down by the AA fire, and several more sustained damage. The surviving aerial forces were forced to retreat from the area.
NCR Vertibird gunships fired a salvo of rockets at the AA positions, and the guns were also shelled by NCR tanks, IFVs, and artillery. The guns were hit by dozens of shells and rockets, and finally put out of action. After the destruction of the Legion AA defenses, NCR Vertibird and helicopter gunships moved in closer, firing on Legion positions and supporting the NCR armored and infantry forces towards the butte.
The butte was seized after about 20 minutes of heavy fighting, resulting in about 50 NCR fatalities and over 200 Legion dead. Unlike in past battles, the remaining Legion forces retreated towards to Tusayan to reinforce the defenses there. This tactic was used by Valerius to draw the NCR forces towards increasing stronger defenses.
Battle of TusayanEdit
After taking Red Butte, the NCR forces assaulted the Grand Canyon-Tusayan Airport. While all of the aircraft at the airport were long-since destroyed, the airstrip was a major Legion strong point, having moving the ruined aircraft into the road to act as a road block. NCR armored forces made a two pronged assault, with a larger armored spearhead traveling up the main road, and a smaller force flanking via an old pre-war fire road. The main force directly assault a fortification constructed from destroyed aircraft fuselages, as well as locally cut timber. Legion troops in the roadblock fired on the column, causing a few infantry casualties, but the the infantry-held missile launchers failed to penetrate the frontal armor of the lead NCR M56 Main Battle Tank. The NCR armored vehicles returned fire with high explosive rounds, knocking out the missile launcher and machine guns positions in the defenses, allowing infantry to clear the fortification. The left flank attack crossed the open area of the former runway, and destroyed the fortified legion outposts in the control tower and terminal using fire from tanks, APCs, and infantry-held mortars and rockets.
By 1100 hours on April 15th, the NCR forces had secured the airport, the roadblock, as well as the surrounding forests, allowing the NCR to advance towards the remains of the actual town of Tusayan, which had already been heavily damaged by NCR aerial and artillery bombardment. In spite of this, at least 150 Legion troops remained in the ruins of the towns. At 1130 hours, NCR armored force advanced to the edge of the town, at which point they started taking fire from Legion troops in the remains of the hotels and restaurants in the ruined town. At this point, an NCR APC was struck by a Legion anti-tank missile, destroying the vehicle. Thankfully, the infantry had already dismounted, minimizing casualties. NCR armor and Vertibird gunships returned fire, destroying heavy weapons positions in the ruined buildings.
In spite of the use of heavy weapons to suppress the Legion forces, the NCR troops were forced to clear the buildings in brutal close combat using grenade, flamethrowers, and submachine guns. Among those who volunteered be among the first to enter the town were the survivors of anti-Legion slave rebellions, as well as Joshua Graham and the Dead Horse Infantry Company, with Graham using a flamethrower, a weapon he chose for the irony of himself being burned alive. While the town of Tusayan was cleared within 20 minutes, it took another two hours to clear the surrounding forests for small pockets of resistance. In the engagement, 20 NCR troops and over 100 Legionaries were killed.
Battle of Grand Canyon VillageEdit
By 1400 hours, the NCR forces had cleared the town of the Tusayan and were free to push into Grand Canyon Village, formerly a major tourist town in the National Park itself. Grand Canyon village was larger and more spread out than the small, dense Tusayan, with many of the facilities and residences divided by small areas of forest. The initial attacks punched through Legion defenses on the south entrance road, as well as took the heliport, effectively seizing the right flank of the town by 1300 hours. NCR forces attacked from all along this flank, with armor advancing down the road and infantry forces moving through the forests, concentrating on protecting the armor as they advanced through the winding roads through the dense forest which separated the homes in the staff residential area. The residences were the site of the some of the most brutal close-in fighting, with wide use of SMGs, shotguns, and hand grenades, though troops were unable to deploy flamethrowers for fear of starting an uncontrollable forest fire and endangering any troops in the forests. Legion troops had concealed spider holes and snipers nests throughout the forest, as well as the houses and the shacks which had been constructed in what was formerly the campground. With the roads secured, the NCR armor was able to advance along the main roads, attacking the old visitor center in the east and the Grand Canyon Clinic to the west. Both structures had been converted into Legion strongpoints, where the firepower of the NCR tanks proved valuable in dislodging Legion forces from most of the structures. By 1500 hours, NCR forces were assaulting the hotels near the canyon rim, which, like with clinic and visitor center, were attacked using the heavy guns of tanks and APCs, but ultimately had to be cleared of Legion resistance in close combat. At the end of the Day, NCR forces had cleared the village and surrounding forests for Legion forces.
Boxing in the LegionEdit
On the night of April 15th and early morning of April 16th, the NCR held position in their newly captured territory in the Grand Canyon village. During the night, NCR artillery pieces were brought up to shell the Legion outpost at the old Desert View visitor center to the east, the last remaining Legion position on the south rim of the Canyon. At the same time, however, Legion forces launched hit-and-run raids on NCR positions in the night. The most destructive of these resulted in the death of twelve NCR soldiers, the injury of another 15, and the destruction of three NCR transport trucks loaded down with munitions when a lone Legion soldier armed with an anti-materiel rifle shot the trucks, which were parked near Tusayan, from the forest. While causing some damage, the raids were quickly repelled by the better armed and, by this stage in the conflict, more numerous NCR forces.
At 0600 hours on April 16th, the NCR and allied forces continued the offensive. NCR armored and infantry forces were deployed along the road to Desert View, which was taken after a short skirmish with the Legion defenders, many of whom retreated which a handful attempted to hold the line. At the same time, NCR and Brotherhood of Steel Vertibird gunships and and ACV-80 attack helicopter launched attack runs on the North Rim visitor center on the other side of the canyon, which had already been heavily bombed and shelled. After destroying remaining legion defenses, the second wave, consisting of transport Vertibirds and helicopters was launched, with Brotherhood and NCR power units leading the way and clearing the town surviving buildings and positions on the North Rim by 0800 hours. At 1025 hours, the NCR approved wave three, a larger force of 30 transport Vertibirds and helicopters (including some reloaded and refueled after returning from delivering the second wave brought additional infantry forces, as well as seven pack howitzers, three 105mm howitzers, and a pair of air-mobile M50A5 Ontos light tank destroyers to hold down the NCR outpost on the north rim against Legion attacks, as well as to fire down into the canyon on positions that could not be targeted from the South Rim.
Engagements in the CanyonEdit
Since the NCR took control of the Grand Canyon Village late on the April 15th, artillery, tanks, and the two XM58 Self-Propelled Laser Weapons in control of the NCR and Allied forces fired down on Legion positions in the canyon itself. THe NCR believed that most of the the Legion Force has fled to Phantom Ranch, a Legion-controlled position across what was known as the Grand Canyon Trail, actually a series of old pre-war hiking trails running between the North Rim and Grand Canyon Village. While some Legion defenders remained along the trail and in the settlement (former pre-war campground) of Phantom Ranch, about 200 Legion troops retreated along the Colorado in improvised rafts, along with Regional Governor Valerius, hoping to reach the remaining Legion controlled outpost of Vulcanus (formerly Toroweap Overlook, named for the extinct volcano known in the pre-war period as Vulcan's Throne).
At 1200 hours on April 16th, 200 NCR troops, lead by Rangers and First Recon snipers, entered the canyon itself along a pre-war hiking trail. As they reached the lower levels of the canyon walls at a point known as "The Tipoff", the NCR forces started to take fire from Legion snipers armed with long-range anti-materiel rifles perched on the on the positions on the opposite walls of the canyon, Killing four NCR soldiers and wounding another five. The NCR forces scattered into multiple covered positions and and returned fire, leading to a series of sniper duels that lasted about 25 minutes, until two NCR ACV-80 helicopters arrived and suppressed the Legion positions with rocket and gunfire. It was during the sniper engagements at The Tipoff that recently re-enlisted Sergeant Craig Boone achieved the longest-range confirmed kill by an NCR sniper on record using a Chinese-made Type 76 Anti-Power Armor Rifle, killing a Legion sniper positioned on top of Sumner Butte, located on the other side of the Colorado River, from his position on the Tipoff, a distance of over 2000 meters.
NCR advances to the Colorado River and into Phantom Ranch were slowed by constant harassment by Legion snipers and booby traps, which caused an additional five fatalities and a dozen more wounded, requiring an NCR CV-80 helicopter to evacuate the survivors, as well as two ACV-90s and Vertibird gunship, which, along with the First Recon snipers, suppressed Legion attempts to fire on the medivac helicopters with rocket launchers and anti-materiel rifles. Supported by one of the ACV-80s, which remained on station to provide air support, the NCR forces were able to eliminate the few Legion troops between them and Phantom Ranch, taking the settlement, but finding it deserted save for a few snipers placed on the canyon walls above. By 1500 hours, the area around Phantom Ranch was secured, but the location of Valerius was unknown.
Battle of Tapeats CreekEdit
While the NCR took Phantom Ranch, Valerius' forces retreated down the Colorado on improvised rafts in small groups through April 15th and in the 16th, their progress slowed by the fact that they frequently had to portage (exit the river and move on land) their improvised rafts around the numerous rapids to avoid damage. This activity was noticed by the Havasupai tribe, the descendants of the residents of the Havasupai Indian Reservation and village of Supai, the only pre-war settlement located in the Grand Canyon itself. With their knowledge of the area, the Havasupai tribe, know to the Legion as the Supai Insurgency has proven a thorn in the side to the Legion, using their superior knowledge of the canyon area attack the Legion and retreat into hidden settlements. On the night of the 15th to 16th, several Havasupai war parties placed themselves near the Tapeats Creek Rapids and along the Granite Narrows, arming themselves with various weapons including firearms taking from the Legion, bows and arrows, improvised crossbows, improvised grenades, and at least one improvised laser weapon similar to the "laser muskets" commonly used by the Commonwealth Minutemen.
At 0825 hours on April 16th, A party of 25 Havasupai warriors ambushed the first group of rafts to beach and attempt to portage around the rapids, which contained Valerius himself, surrounded by about 35 elite Legionaries. Valerius was easily recognized by his ornate helmet, as well as the fact that he was not helping portage the raft, and was targeted first, a Havasupai tribe sniper shooting him with an anti-materiel rifle in the head, killing him instantly. The rest of the Legion forces were hit with a swarm of bullets, arrows, improvised grenades, and even thrown rocks, catching them completely by surprise. Later groups of Legion forces were similarly ambushed, those who managed to chute the rapids and escape were hit in further ambushes in the Granite Narrows. 184 Legion soldiers were killed in the engagement, while the Havasupai tribesmen suffered only two wounded.
It was not discovered until later that Valerius was not part of the Legion forces that were ambushed, but rather had given a body double his helmet, while he and about 200 Legion forces escaped on foot. They would later be hunted down and eliminated by NCR Rangers aided by Supai insurgents at the Battle of Cliffside.
The over 1500 civilians and 500 or so Legion soldiers who surrendered to the NCR were held under guard in Grand Canyon village until it was determined that they would not pose a threat. Many of them remained in the area and reformed old settlements in and around the canyon.