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The Coast Raids was a campaign of several raids conducted by Combine Regulars and Airwatch forces of the Sector 17 Overwatch against Resistance bases along the coastal regions outside City 17, situated predominately on Highway 17.

Though Combine attacks along the coast were not unheard of, these raids were born out of a wider Combine strategic effort to kill or capture Gordon Freeman, who had agitated rebellious sentiments within City 17, and formed part of a wider prelude to an armed revolution against Combine rule.

Background

While the Combine had a powerful garrison to enforce order within occupied City 17, control of the city's outer limits, particularly the countryside, largely eluded them. Control of the countryside was strategically unattractive to the Combine due to its heavy infestation with invasive species of Xenian wildlife, particularly Headcrabs and Antlions. Combine patrols in these regions were comparatively few and far between as a result, permitting Resistance activity to flourish. For many years, the Resistance smuggled refugees out of City 17 into the countryside; despite the severe danger posed by Xenian fauna, many found dangerous freedom preferable to the Combine's comparable safe tyranny.

The coastal regions beyond the city limits were chiefly comprised of disused ports, fishing communities, and small hamlets. The coast roads had fallen into considerable disrepair as a result of combat and Combine neglect, and the Resistance lacked the resources and industrial capacity to restore them. The only exception to this was the railway network, which Combine Razor Trains made use of to supply Nova Prospekt.

The Resistance held five major bases along the coast: Shorepoint Base just outside the Ravenholm mines, New Little Odessa, Bridge Point, Lighthouse Point, and the Vortigaunt Camp, located near Nova Prospekt's beach perimeter. Refugees traversing this route faced many perils; for example, they were required to use motorized transportation during the Antlion spawning season.

Prelude

Following the unexpected return of Gordon Freeman to City 17, Combine forces of the Sector 17 Overwatch were put on full combat alert with orders to kill or capture Freeman, who had been accorded a quasi-Messianic status by the citizenry, agitating rebellious sentiment. The Combine attempted to prevent his escape into the countryside by neutralising the so-called Underground Railroad, however, these efforts failed, and Freeman escaped to the Resistance base of Black Mesa East. Mere hours after his arrival, Combine forces launched a surprised raid on the compound, capturing rebel leader Eli Vance and his research on local translocation technology, including a prototype device, and was held in custody at Nova Prospekt.

While the Combine raid had been an overall strategic success, Eli's daughter, Alyx Vance, escaped the raid and smuggled herself onto the Razor Train network, intending to infiltrate Nova Prospekt and free her father. Gordon Freeman, another of the priority targets of the raid, was forced to divert through the parasite-infested town of Ravenholm to reach the coast and make his own way to Nova Prospekt. While in Ravenholm, where neither Combine nor Resistance forces dared to venture, both sides lost contact with him.

The Campaign

Shorepoint Base to New Little Odessa

With the aid of the only known survivor of the parasite bombardment of the town, Freeman successfully navigated through Ravenholm. Using the abandoned mines beneath the town, Freeman emerged along the disused railway that ran parallel to Shorepoint Base. Combine snipers had established nests along the railway to cover an assault against the base, which was successfully repulsed by the timely arrival of Freeman in the early hours of the following morning. Having been cut-off from all contact while in Ravenholm, Freeman was briefed on Eli's capture and internment at Nova Prospekt, and coordinated with Alyx Vance to rendezvous at the old prison to rescue Eli. The Resistance leader of Shorepoint, Leon, loaned Freeman the use of the Scout Car, rigged with a Tau Cannon, to evade the spawning Antlions along Highway 17. Freeman successfully silenced two small Combine posts along the beach, one of which was used as a forward reconnaissance lookout to assess the rebel strength at New Little Odessa[8].

New Little Odessa to Bridge Point

Upon his arrival at New Little Odessa, the small Resistance garrison had been forewarned of an impending Combine aerial attack. The base's commander, a self-styled Colonel named Odessa Cubbage, provided Freeman with a steerable rocket launcher. Moments later, a single Gunship strafed the base. The gunship was able to inflict only minor damage and minimal casualties before it was shot down. Cubbage relayed to Freeman that the strategically-important rebel outpost at Bridge Point had gone silent, suspected of having succumbed to a Combine assault.

Freeman moved on, dislodging a substantial Combine presence at Dock 137, which was also under heavy attack by Antlions, its thumper having been deactivated. Just beyond the dock, Freeman shot down a second gunship which crashed along the highway. Further up, a Combine platoon of 12 troops occupying a house detonated explosives along the cliff face, blocking Freeman's path, however, these troops were all killed and Freeman was able to navigate around the debris. A Combine checkpoint at the Petroleum Station was also destroyed, including the loss of an APC powering a forcefield to block the road.

Bridge Point to Lighthouse Point

Prior to Freeman's arrival at Bridge Point, Combine forces had neutralised the base, with both of its rebel occupiers killed by venomous parasites. This post had been one of the most strategically important along the coast; nestled directly beside the railway bridge that supplied Nova Prospekt, it provided the Resistance the opportunity to severely disrupt Combine supply lines. With the road blocked by another forcefield, the Combine platoon occupying the outpost forced an engagement with Freeman. Successfully neutralising the Combine unit, Freeman made his way along the ramshackle maintenance walkways beneath the bridge to reach the far side, where he disabled the forcefield, and shot down a third gunship.

Moving on, Freeman passed through a subterranean tunnel blocked with the wreckage of a destroyed rebel convoy, with all eighteen occupants either killed or mutated. Just beyond the tunnel, Freeman encountered a large house which had been captured by a pair of Combine troops, who were observed to be burning the corpses of the previous rebel occupiers[9]. Two additional Combine checkpoints were cleared[10] by Freeman before reaching Lighthouse Point, the end of the coast road.

Lighthouse Point to the Vortigaunt Camp

Shortly after his arrival at Lighthouse Point and with no more road to use to evade their patrols, the Combine launched a fierce assault to capture the settlement, consisting of five dropships supported by a gunship. Though the gunship was shot down and the first four squads were repulsed, a fifth squad succeeded in capturing the base as well as Freeman's Scout Car. Freeman successfully escaped the attack and navigated the Antlion-infested beaches to reach the Vortigaunt Camp, the last major rebel outpost before Nova Prospekt.

Aftermath

The results of the raids were mixed. Combine forces had periodically attacked rebel outposts along the coast before Freeman's arrival, and appeared to be gaining the upper hand, having captured Bridge Point and numerous smaller settlements, thereby cutting the rebel settlements off from one another, and preventing a smooth escape for refugees leaving City 17. Freeman's capture became an emergent factor of the Combine's raids, as Freeman's whereabouts were unclear prior to his successful escape from Ravenholm.

The Resistance lost two major outposts: Bridge Point and Lighthouse Point, although the former was cleared of Combine control. The Combine assaults on Shorepoint Base and New Little Odessa were repulsed. Freeman successfully traversed the coast evading capture and also cleared a significant stretch of Highway 17 of Combine troops, thereby providing the Resistance with the opportunity to re-occupy them; by the end of the raids, only Lighthouse Point remained firmly under Combine control. Coupled with the failure to neutralise Freeman, the Resistance had been handed the strategic initiative, enabling him to conduct a raid against Nova Prospekt, which became a decisive factor in inspiring a general revolt against Combine rule.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Ia icon.png Episode One: The story so far on Half-Life 2's official website (Archived)
  2. Counting all humans and vortigaunts along the coast from Shorepoint Base to the Vortigaunt Camp, including all those which are corpses or zombies
  3. Assuming all dropships seen are unique entities
  4. Counting all dead in combat, corpses encountered, and zombies. Also includes the 1 survivor of Lighthouse Point, presumed dead, hence 36-37
  5. Wounded at Shorepoint Base
  6. Assuming the player kills all Combine soldiers they encounter
  7. Assuming the player destroys the APC powering the shield by pushing it over the cliff at the Petroleum Station, also 1 APC was destroyed at the Dock
  8. One includes the APC under attack by Antlions by the fishing boat dockhouse, the other is the post with the binoculars
  9. This is the house mined with Rollermines
  10. One being the base with the road traps designed to flip the Scout Car, the second is the battery puzzle where a Dropship lands a squad of troops
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