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This article is about an in-universe event. For the in-game mission, see Stonehenge Offensive.
"Is the distance to the target correct? Holy...that thing is huge!"
ISAF pilot[1]

Operation Stone Crusher was the ISAF's second, and this time successful, attempt to destroy Stonehenge. Eliminating Stonehenge's attack capabilities marked a turning point in the Continental War and allowed the ISAF forces to expand operations on all mainland fronts.[1]

Background

The ISAF had already made one attempt to destroy Stonehenge with 24 aircraft, all of which Yellow Squadron shot down before they even approached the facility.[2] This time, ISAF had two major advantages over the Eruseans despite having less aircraft to work with.

First, ISAF's Mobius 1 successfully escorted Air Ixiom Flights 701 and 702 two weeks prior. The two flights carried Stonehenge's original engineers who were attempting to defect to ISAF. The engineers provided crucial tactical data on Stonehenge's anti-aircraft defense network and its radar jamming system.[3]

Second, the San Salvacion resistance detonated a bomb on Yellow Squadron's runway in the city. No one was killed, but Yellow 4 suffered light shrapnel wounds and a large amount of reserve supplies were destroyed. Yellow 4's aircraft, while still functional, also received minor damage to the engine. The attack stalled Yellow Squadron's response to ISAF's attack on Stonehenge, allowing ISAF a window of opportunity to destroy the facility before Yellow Squadron arrived.[4]

On the day of the attack, only seven Stonehenge railguns were functional. Power to the eighth railgun was disabled during the Ulysses 1994XF04 impacts, so ISAF chose to ignore it since it could not fire.[5]

Summary

"Look at him go! He's grabbing all the glory."
― ISAF pilot commenting on Mobius 1's performance[1]

At 1000hrs on April 2, 2005, a small squadron of ISAF fighters approached Stonehenge's airspace, with Mobius 1 among them. As they approached the facility, Stonehenge opened fire and blanketed the sky with its wide-area ammunition. All of the ISAF pilots dropped to a lower altitude and continued flying towards Stonehenge. Erusean fighters also took off from Stonehenge's nearby air base to engage the ISAF fighters. Once within range, Mobius 1 flew into the center of the facility and destroyed the jamming device with his aircraft's machine gun. With the jammer system eliminated, the ISAF planes' missile-guidance systems were restored.[1]

Mobius 1 proceeded to single-handedly engage Stonehenge's seven functioning railguns. After he destroyed two railguns, a friendly pilot encouraged him to continue attacking. After he destroyed two more railguns, the Eruseans recognized that the pilot with a "ribbon insignia" was to blame and attempted to aim directly for Mobius 1. Eventually, Mobius 1 successfully destroyed the remaining three railguns, neutralizing the facility.[1]

Just as the last railgun went down, AWACS SkyEye confirmed Stonehenge's destruction but warned that Yellow Squadron had finally arrived at Mach 2. Encouraged by their success, SkyEye gave the ISAF pilots permission to engage, but most of them chose to leave the fight to Mobius 1 himself. In the ensuing dogfight, Mobius 1 shot down and killed Yellow 4. After confirming her death, Yellow Squadron withdrew from the airspace. SkyEye subsequently declared a total victory.[1]

Aftermath

Stonehenge AC7

Stonehenge in 2019; note the disabled (but untouched) railgun on the right, with the other railguns all destroyed by Mobius 1

With all of Stonehenge's railguns inoperable, Erusea received a devastating blow in the war; it no longer had air superiority over the entire Usean continent and ISAF could now freely deploy its aircraft without the threat of Stonehenge's blanket fire. Additionally, the confirmed kill on a Yellow fighter boosted ISAF's morale and brought personal fame to Mobius 1, hailed as the pilot who single-handedly destroyed Stonehenge.[6]

Until 2019, Stonehenge remained entirely inactive. The seven railguns Mobius 1 destroyed remained in ruins, but the eighth railgun, having never been damaged, was left in pristine condition. Its power grid remained destroyed due to the meteorite impact, but at some point in 2019, a network of trucks carrying power banks arrived at Stonehenge and manually powered the eighth railgun, activating it for the first time since Ulysses.[7]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Stonehenge Offensive, Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies.
  2. AC04Web.
  3. Escort, Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies.
  4. Interlude 07, Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies.
  5. "Erusea's Aggression", War?.
  6. Interlude 08, Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies.
  7. File:Ace Combat 7 Skies Unknown - Gamescom 2018 Trailer.