The Continental War (大陸戦争 Tairikusensō), also known as the Usean Continental War (ユージア大陸戦争) or First Usean Continental War,[a] was a major Strangereal conflict on the Usean continent that lasted from 2003 to 2005. The Federal Republic of Erusea waged war against all other Usean countries who had joined in a military alliance named the Independent State Allied Forces (ISAF). Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies depicted the events of the second half of the Continental War in its story campaign.
The war officially began in the summer of 2003 following Erusea's capture of San Salvacion and Stonehenge. This sudden invasion followed years of a refugee crisis that resulted in friction between Erusea and its neighboring countries. Erusea repurposed Stonehenge—developed to combat the Ulysses 1994XF04 asteroid—as an anti-aircraft weapon. The other Usean countries formed ISAF and began a counteroffensive in September 2003, but Stonehenge's effectiveness pushed ISAF back to the continent's east coast.
Starting in September 2004, Mobius 1 joined other ISAF pilots in carrying out small air strikes against Erusean forces. ISAF performed a landing operation on the southern coast of Usea in January 2005 and began to retake territory. Mobius 1 single-handedly destroyed Stonehenge and led ISAF to capture Erusea's capital in September 2005, ending the Continental War. Rebellious Erusean officers attempted to use Megalith, a newly-constructed weapon of mass destruction, to perform retribution attacks against ISAF. Mobius 1 led the new Mobius Squadron to destroy Megalith.
The Continental War was quickly followed by an uprising of Erusean terrorists attempting to take control of the Usean continent. ISAF sent Mobius 1 to quell the rebellion as part of Operation Katina, depicted in the Arcade Mode of Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War. The Ulysses Impact Event and the Continental War resulted in nearly 20 million combined deaths and injuries and crippled Usea's infrastructure. The continent didn't begin to recover until the 2010s with the International Space Elevator's construction, but controversy over the space elevator led to yet another conflict, the Lighthouse War.
The official start date of the Continental War is disputed. The date Erusea invaded San Salvacion and Stonehenge is only referred to as "summer 2003". Federation of Central Usea (FCU) President Robert Sinclair officially formed ISAF on August 22, 2003, and ordered Erusea to withdraw by September 14. It is unclear if any military operation took place on September 14. Therefore, August 22 is the best-available date to mark the start of the war.
The official end date of the Continental War is listed as September 19, 2005, the date Erusea officially surrendered to ISAF. However, it is important to note that ISAF performed a military operation against rebellious Erusean forces one week later on September 25. This operation is commonly associated with the war despite occurring after the war's official end.
Usean astronomers discovered the Ulysses asteroid in 1994 and predicted it would collide with Earth in 1999. In response, the countries of Usea banded together to create Stonehenge, an advanced railgun network designed to destroy Ulysses and its fragments. Beginning on July 3, 1999, Ulysses split into multiple fragments on its approach and rained down on the planet. Stonehenge performed as best it could, but a large number of fragments still impacted the surface. Over half a million Usean civilians died within the first two weeks.
In the aftermath of the disaster, the Usean countries agreed to each admit a certain quota of civilian refugees. However, in April 2003, Erusea refused to accept any more refugees, citing its inability to handle the large influx of people along with its own rebuilding efforts. Other Usean countries boycotted Erusean exports in protest as displaced refugees began to succumb to disease and starvation along the Erusean borders.
Suddenly, in the summer of 2003, Erusea invaded neighboring San Salvacion and seized control of Stonehenge. The FCU warned Erusea to withdraw its forces by September 14 or face military retaliation. Soon after, rumors began to circulate that Erusea was modifying Stonehenge in some way. In preparation, Usean countries created the Independent State Allied Forces, a military alliance in opposition to Erusea's military advances.
When it became obvious that Erusea would not back down, the ISAF attempted a daring airborne operation to destroy Stonehenge, but was thwarted by the Federal Erusea Air Force's infamous Yellow Squadron. Los Canas, where ISAF's GHQ was located, surrendered to Erusea a few days later. The ISAF made a full retreat from the Usean mainland and regrouped at its new GHQ at North Point.
On September 19, 2004, after a long period of sporadic fighting, Erusean operatives disabled part of the ISAF's early warning radar network, allowing a large bomber force to deploy from Rigley Air Base with the intention of destroying the ISAF's North Point GHQ. ISAF scrambled its remaining fighters, including several new pilots, to intercept the bombers before they could hit Allenfort Air Base and move on to targets at North Point. The operation was a success, giving ISAF a temporary reprieve.
On October 5, ISAF GHQ deployed fighters to raid Rigley Air Base, thereby eliminating the threat posed by the remaining Erusean bombers stationed there. The bombers were caught on the ground, and the ISAF fighters successfully completed their mission. The ISAF then made preparations to regroup its remaining ground forces at North Point. Five days later, ISAF fighters were able to knock out the radar facilities atop Mount Shezna and blind the Eruseans to ISAF troop movements. With its ground forces rallied, the ISAF began making preparations for a counterattack.
In response to the ISAF's string of victories, Erusea deployed its "invincible" Aegir Fleet to destroy ISAF's GHQ at North Point. The fleet's power was immense—far too much for the ISAF to confront directly. Instead, ISAF command opted to delay and disrupt the fleet's launch by impeding its resupply efforts while it was docked at Comberth Harbor. ISAF fighters first interdicted the Eruseans' aerial supply routes by shooting down transport aircraft bound for Comberth on November 7. 12 days later, the ISAF then targeted a petrochemical complex supplying the Aegir Fleet with fuel, which was deemed a partial failure due to the arrival of Yellow Squadron, who managed to shoot down several ISAF fighters attempting to flee the airspace. Despite this slight setback, both operations proved successful in crippling the Aegir Fleet, giving ISAF the advantage it desperately needed. The entire Aegir Fleet, deprived of fuel and supplies, was destroyed on November 23, 2004 as it sat immobilized in Comberth Harbor.
On December 16, ISAF fighters were able to incapacitate the Eruseans' solar-powered generator plants at Faith Park, which supplied approximately 60% of the power for the Eruseans' military industrial complexes. This continued success gave the ISAF an opportunity to turn the tide of the war in its favor.
ISAF return to the mainland
In preparation for its impending invasion of the Usean mainland, the ISAF planned to launch a military reconnaissance satellite (intended to track Erusea's troop movements and determine the best location to counterattack) from the Comona Islands. Despite a large-scale air battle over the islands, including a force of Erusean B-2A Spirit bombers as well as Yellow Squadron's reappearance, the satellite was successfully launched.
On January 24, 2005, the ISAF commenced Operation Bunker Shot, an amphibious landing operation undertaken by ISAF forces at the Caranda, Halle, and Crowne beaches (the only suitable landing location outside Stonehenge's attack range). ISAF ground, sea, and air units were mobilized for this large-scale operation, and despite numerous casualties, were able to establish a beachhead.
The ISAF's next step in reclaiming the mainland was to retake Istas Fortress, the former ISAF GHQ. Despite the difficulty presented by the area's mountainous terrain and intermittent aerial attacks by Stonehenge, ISAF fighters managed to inflict heavy damage to the occupying Erusean forces VTOL facilities, giving the ISAF ground troops an easier fight to reclaim the fortress. A forward HQ was established to spearhead the push into the mainland, reclaim lost territory, and (eventually) destroy Stonehenge—all with the hopes of bringing about a quick end to the conflict.
Soon after the retaking of Istas Fortress by the end of February, ISAF command was contacted by the engineers responsible for Stonehenge. The scientists, as well as their families, were attempting to defect and requested amnesty in exchange for vital information that would help ISAF destroy Stonehenge. ISAF accepted, and on March 14, the defectors boarded two civilian airliners (Air Ixiom Flights 701 and 702) bound for ISAF territory. However, Erusea caught wind of the defectors' plans and dispatched fighters to shoot down the civilian planes, choosing not to employ Stonehenge. A sole ISAF fighter, Mobius 1 (one of the pilots who had assisted the ISAF's recent victories) was launched to dispatch the Eruseans and escort the defectors to safety.
The two flights safely landed in ISAF territory, and the engineers provided crucial information regarding Stonehenge's defenses, including a sophisticated jamming system that prevented missile lock-on and a vast network of anti-aircraft guns and surface-to-air missiles. With this new information in hand, a second assault on Stonehenge was planned.
On April 2, 2005, ISAF fighters took to the skies and approached Stonehenge's airspace. Air raid sirens sounded in San Salvacion, where Yellow Squadron (assigned to safeguard Stonehenge since the war's opening) was stationed. However, the San Salvacion resistance detonated a bomb on the Yellows' runway earlier that day, injuring Yellow 4 and damaging her aircraft. Disregarding her injuries and a much needed engine replacement, she scrambled with the rest of her squadron.
As the ISAF fighters approached the operation airspace, Stonehenge opened fire. The fighters managed to slip inside the perimeter of Stonehenge and destroy the jamming facility at its center utilizing their Vulcan machine guns. Following this, while the rest of the ISAF fighters were tangled with defending Erusean fighters and evading volleys from Stonehenge, Mobius 1 single-handedly destroyed the railgun cannons one-by-one, eliminating the threat of Stonehenge once and for all. Yellow Squadron, delayed by the morning's resistance attack, arrived too late to prevent the destruction of Stonehenge, but engaged the ISAF fighters nevertheless. During the engagement, Mobius 1 shot down Yellow 4, forcing the rest of the Yellows to retreat. The operation was a resounding success.
Ending the war
With Stonehenge out of the way, ISAF began to advance on Erusean positions and slowly push them westward. On May 7, ISAF launched a spy plane to gather intelligence on Erusean operations. Mobius 1 assisted in the spy plane's safe return through Gnome Ravine (northwest of Los Canas), which provided ISAF with information on another Erusean superweapon under development, codenamed Megalith. ISAF command was alarmed; they now realized that the war needed to end much faster in order to prevent this superweapon's deployment.
To secure the northern part of the continent, another ISAF invasion force was deployed; Erusea responded by launching cruise missiles at the ISAF's landing areas. Once again, Mobius 1 undertook a solo operation and intercepted all of the cruise missiles, including a single high-yield burst missile. The landing operations were a success, and in short order, the northern part of Usea fell under ISAF control.
In early July 2005, the ISAF made preparations to liberate San Salvacion, which had been under Erusean control for nearly two years. Erusea's occupation forces fought fiercely, refusing to relinquish the city easily. Yellow Squadron was among the Erusean forces stationed in the city, attempting to maintain control for as long as they could. Eventually, with the capture of key areas throughout the city, San Salvacion was liberated and the Eruseans were pushed back once again.
Following their expulsion from San Salvacion, the Erusean forces fell back and set up a defense line in the Whiskey Corridor between the Lambert and Amber Mountains; it would be the last line of defense before their capital city, Farbanti. The ground and aerial forces on both sides were numerous, and the engagement was prolonged. Gradually, ISAF tank brigades inched forward through the desert sands and flanked Erusea's field HQ. After suffering considerable losses, the Eruseans abandoned their position and retreated to Farbanti in preparation for the oncoming invasion.
On September 19, 2005, exactly one year to the day after the ISAF's successful defense of North Point, ISAF laid siege to Farbanti. All of the ISAF's forces engaged the remaining Erusean forces in key areas throughout the city. With fighters providing close air support, the ISAF ground troops fought their way towards the Eruseans' GHQ. Erusea's top military leaders attempted to escape the besieged capital via helicopter before the GHQ could be taken, but were shot down. (ISAF ground units would later find the Erusean Supreme Commander's remains inside one of the helicopters that failed to take off with the others.) As the ISAF forces infiltrated the GHQ, Yellow Squadron appeared once more. Mobius 1 met them alone, shooting down all five Yellows and maintaining ISAF's air superiority over the capital. With the loss of Yellow Squadron and the Supreme Commander, ISAF ground troops ordered all Erusean forces to cease fighting; the war was over.
Despite Erusea's unconditional surrender, a group of young Erusean officers eluded capture and seized control of Megalith, the superweapon whose deployment ISAF was hoping to prevent. As a rocket-launch facility, Megalith was capable of turning near-Earth objects (leftover fragments from Ulysses that still lingered in orbit) into kinetic weapons that could strike the planet's surface and inflict widespread destruction; Megalith would be Erusea's weapon of retaliation. To eliminate this dire threat, the ISAF launched a joint operation to infiltrate and destroy the fortified facility from within.
A week after the war's official end, ISAF special forces units infiltrated Megalith while ISAF fighters—newly reorganized into "Mobius Squadron"—approached the facility. The Eruseans' defense squadron (consisting of 15 rookie pilots) defended Megalith to the best of their abilities, but were eventually shot down by the veteran pilots of Mobius Squadron. Mobius 1 then entered the facility to destroy three power generators that were preventing the infiltration team's advance. Once the ground troops gained control of the sub-control room, they opened the panels to the central silo in which a large missile was being stored. Mobius 1 flew into the silo, destroyed the missile—triggering an explosive chain reaction—and escaped unharmed as the facility was destroyed from within.
After the war's end, steps were taken to form a new, provisional Erusean government and ensure that war would not break out again. However, the provisional government was criticized by militaristic Erusean citizens and officers. In 2006, a large force consisting of Erusean ex-personnel, calling themselves "Free Erusea", seized control of a large munitions factory in the White Valley Bay region and attacked the provisional government and ISAF observers. The ISAF responded by launching Mobius 1 into battle once more, who inflicted considerable damage on the Free Erusea forces and quashed the insurrection.
- Since the Lighthouse War is also known as the Second Usean Continental War, this war can be considered the preceding First Usean Continental War.
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