(Be sure to read through the debriefing to get an idea of the storyline if you are unfamiliar.)
Marines inserted onto the island at a location of their choosing without advanced knowledge of what their first mission would be. The Red Vanguard Brigade (RVB) team was permitted to have one squad patrol the island while the other two remained in the research facility to watch over their VIP, General Young-kun. They were authorized to leave the facility once hard contact was made.
The Marines first objective was to destroy either the satellite relay dish in the east or the communications bunker on the northern most part of the island using one of their c4 charges. Disabling either of these objectives would temporarily inhibit the RVB’s communications with the mainland, but the objective needed to be completed in under 20 minutes before the RVB team had time to react. The marines worked their way north through the woods, eventually taking up an overwatch position on the research facility, exchanging the first few shots of the event with the occupants. A grenade was thrown from the hilltop and just missed several players firing from the loading docks, exploding in a room behind them and showering the area with shrapnel. While the squad on the hilltop kept the RVB in the facility busy, a second squad flanked further east and knocked out the relay satellite with c4. Smoke rose into the air, announcing the completion of the objective. The RVB were now aware that this was not going to be just a limited engagement.
Realizing the island was now under a full-scale attack, the RVB were ordered to exfiltrate their VIP to a mini-sub inbound to the island. ETA on the sub was 20 minutes and the rendezvous point would be at the mouth of the river in the west. Marines became aware of a sub moving to this location after their Command Central radioed information that a destroyer offshore had picked up the signature of a mini-sub inbound to the island. Knowing that a VIP was on the island, it was suspected that the sub would be used to exfiltrate him and the Marines were ordered to hold the mouth of the river as the destroyer changed its course to intercept.
RVB squads began to cut a path through the thick woods instead of taking the main road in order to avoid detection, but they soon became bogged down in firefights as the Marines had beat them to the rendezvous point. While two squads held their position in the woods and kept the Marines busy, a third squad flanked right with the general, crossing the main road in the open before quickly disappearing into the tall weeds and scrub brush on the other side. They carefully made their way along the road using the thick concealment until they were roughly 20 meters from the objective. The RVB squad caught the Marines totally unaware as they were engaged with additional RVB members in the opposite direction. Suppressing fire was laid down eliminating a Marine, while the RVB general made a dash for the mouth of the river, escaping unharmed. Marines were radioed that the sub had slipped the noose and that the general had most likely escaped.
Marines were ordered to do a recon of the entire island and gather as much intel as possible prior to the main operational phase of their mission. A total of 20 sectors were marked on their maps. Each sector had an intel sheet posted and the Marine leader was advised to dispatch individual squads to the sectors and report back on the intel. The RVB team was simultaneously informed that they were to conduct a search and destroy mission against any and all enemy units in the area. The RVB team would receive two points per elimination, while the Marines would receive five points per area successfully recon’d. Firefights began breaking out all over the island as the Marines moved to different sectors while the RVB made every attempt to intercept them. An RVB squad moving south along one of the main roads made hard contact with a Marine squad moving west along an intersecting road. An intense firefight broke out with grenades being lobbed back and forth, mostly failing to cause casualties but dazzling each side as the concussions reverberated through the woods. The RVB began to gain the upper hand as one squad member with a handheld rocket launcher made a dash across the intersection and fired two well-placed rockets into the midst of the Marines. Sustaining heavy casualties, the Marine squad realized they couldn’t compete with that amount of firepower and withdrew into the woods. The RVB squad continued to pursue, but eventually lost them in the thick brush. Shortly thereafter, they made their way up the backside of Hill 226 and once again caught an additional Marine squad completely unaware. The Marines were firing down at opposing forces at the base of the hill, while the RVB squad quietly advanced up the path behind them in a skirmish line. Each RVB member picked out a target as a quiet “3,2,1″ count was given. All Marines were quickly dispatched and possession of the hilltop changed hands.
Phase 1 ended with the RVB scoring 51 confirmed kills, rounded up to 60 to account for players who had gone to the parking lot for lunch as opposed to returning to their respawn. The Marines on the other hand had successfully recon’d 15 out of 20 assigned sectors. The score at the end of the first phase was RVB 170, Marines 95 and there were still plenty of points to be had in the event.
While Phase 1 had been designed to familiarize players with the area of operation, Phase 2 was the true operational portion of the event. Mission orders and intel updates regularly came across the command channel for both platoon leaders, reflecting the ever-changing nature of the battlefield.
The first objective of the Marines during Phase 2 was to gain complete control of the research facility and search for any intelligence on the whereabouts of biologist Craig Venter. A computer was located in one of the buildings to the north that contained information on this objective. The RVB team quickly took control of the western portion of the research facility, while the Marines took control of the east. Firefights ensued with grenades being lobbed back and forth, but neither team could dislodge their opponent from their defenses. This favored the RVB team as the computer was located closer to the center of town. The firefights taking place on both sides prevented the Marines from getting to this location. Within 20 minutes, RVB’s Command Central decided leaving Venter in his holding cell just north of the research facility was too risky, and they were advised to relocate their prisoner to the southern end of the island where a boat would pick him up. Not three minutes after being released from his cell, Venter opted to try to make a break for it, but an RVB member shot him in the leg while trying to escape, thus hobbling him. This made it harder for Venter to try any further escapes, but also slowed the RVB team down considerably as they tried to get him to the exfiltration zone.
While escorting Venter down the main road to the south, the Marines set up an ambush at the river crossing and laid in wait. As the RVB team approached, the Marines opened fire and sent the RVB into ditches along side of the road. The shooting continued for roughly 15 minutes until the RVB were able to flank the Marines and dispatch them. When the RVB squad turned around, they discovered Venter was missing. It was assumed that he had limped off into the woods trying to escape a second time and a frantic search of the area ensued. It wasn’t until some time later that they discovered that their platoon leader had grabbed him during the firefight and moved him to an alternate route through the woods, attempting to get him to the exfiltration zone within the time limit. During this time, Venter began shouting for help to Marines in the area. Taking the no-nonsense approach, the RVB platoon leader shot him a second time, further hobbling him and sending a clear message that this sort of behavior would not be tolerated. As it became evident that they would not make the exfiltration zone in time, one of the RVB members elected to hoist Venter over his shoulders, carrying him through the creek and over to the exfiltration zone with just three minutes to spare.
As the Marines were attempting to rescue Venter, they were simultaneously trying to knock out an anti-aircraft site located on the east end of the island. Their biggest obstacle ended up not being the RVB team, but trying to find the massive gun. A Marine helicopter had been dispatched to exfiltrate Venter, should the Marines be successful in rescuing him, but had to pull back after receiving radar lock from the island. After considerable efforts, the Marines finally located the objective and put it out of commission. While exfiltration of Venter was no longer an option, the helicopter remained in the area to aid in the movement of the Marines, though it was never put into play.
The Marines were ordered to destroy vats of synthetic compound that they had recon’d earlier in the day. These vats contained the main ingredients for making the bio-weapon. The compound was located in oil drums at various cooking stations throughout the woods south of the research facility. As the RVB team saw the Marines moving into the wooded area, they were ordered to immediately set up defenses around the vats and relocate them to a boat waiting offshore in the north. Because of their weight, the only way to move them was via a wheelbarrow that was near the holding cell. Firefights began to break out in the narrow paths of the woods around the vats, but the RVB had numbers favoring them in most instances and the Marines were forced to withdraw. A large team of RVB members infiltrated the woods with wheelbarrow in tow and began to move them one by one to the boats. The long distance between the vats and the boat docks ended up being a bit of an issue for the RVB team as the majority of their infantry elected to escort each barrel as opposed to setting up further defenses in the woods. They were able to snag the two barrels by the roadside with relative ease, but the two remaining barrels located deeper in the woods fell prey to the Marine platoon leader who destroyed them personally.
When the RVB’s Command Central was notified that only 50% of the compound had been retrieved, the decision was made to remove all aspects of the bio-weapon from the island. Unfortunately, by the time the decision was made to collect the finalized bio-weapon, the Marines had already discovered its location and was carrying it to a remote location on the island where a predator drone missile would dispatch it. Scrambling, the RVB team moved quickly to intercept the Marines carrying the briefcase and ambushed them just short of the target zone. Both sides sustained casualties, but the RVB were able to take possession of the briefcase and got it to the loading docks with the two vats of compound they had salvaged earlier. Losing site of the objective, the predator drone was called off.
The Marine’s platoon leader was made aware that the distress beacon of a downed pilot had been picked up on the south-west part of the island. An F-16 pilot had experienced engine troubles while on a combat air patrol near the island and bailed out. The RVB team was notified of a crash in the same general location and both teams sent members to try to locate the pilot. The RVB was successful in locating the pilot first, who had a broken ankle from the fall. While moving him out to the main road where movement would be easier, the five man squad was ambushed by a lone Marine platoon leader, who lobbed two grenades and emptied his magazine into the group before being killed. The RVB squad was thinned out, including its heavy gunner, but not enough permit the wounded pilot to escape. The long march down the road continued towards the RVB exfiltration point. About halfway there, the RVB realized they were being shadowed by another loan marine, who opened fire, narrowly missing the pilot who dove into a ditch. While several members of the RVB team engaged the Marine, the remaining RVB members hustled the pilot out of the area and to the exfil zone with only minutes to spare prior to the end of Phase 2.
Phase 2 ended with the RVB team widening the point gap with 410 points to the Marines 185.
Phase 3 began with attrition taking place on both teams. The area of operation was extremely large and many players were just too worn out to continue. Those that did fight on, did so bravely. The RVB started this phase with roughly 15-20% fewer players, but felt that they had a strong enough lead to continue the fight without needing to balance the teams.
An all out firefight for the research facility was initiated with several capture zones being marked every 15 minutes. Building to building firefights took place, with some players utilizing the SWAT training that they had received the night before. While it remained fairly close throughout, the Marines regularly obtained a slight edge on the RVB, thus slowly narrowing the point gap over the next two and a half hours. As light began to fade, the explosions from the grenades would briefly light up the rooms they were tossed into as players would come pouring out of the doors and windows just prior to their explosion. The Marines would ultimately score more points than the RVB team during Phase 3 and take control of the research facility at the end of the event.
Unfortunately, with biologist Craig Venter, the vats of synthetic compound and weaponized bio-weapon having been removed from the island by the RVB team, the North Koreans would continue to pose an extremely dangerous threat. Just days after the conflict on the island, the weaponized bio-weapon was launched against four major cities in South Korea, causing widespread death and terror within the country. While the international community widely condemned the North for its use of the bio-weapon, they ultimately were powerless to contend with this new threat and were forced to capitulate to the North as they held the world hostage with their newfound strength. The US was forced to withdraw from North Korea in order to prevent further use of the weapon and the peninsula was eventually reunited under the leadership of Kim Jong-un. It would be years before the information taken from the research facility would finally lead the US to a way to counter the new terror weapon.
The final score of Operation End War: Eleventh Hour was RVB: 660, Marines 635.