- "Prescott decided we needed to do some crazy last-ditch assault on the Hollow...finish the grubs off for good. Everyone got called in, didn't matter if you were sick or not."
- —Sgt. Jonathan Harper
The Assault on Landown was a major battle during the Locust War and the beginning of Operation: Hollow Storm. After enduring a persistent Locust Horde siege of their territories on the Jacinto Plateau, the Coalition of Ordered Governments Army launched an attack to recapture Landown as a launching pad for an assault on the Inner Hollow themselves, as it was the closest area nearby Jacinto where both the COG and Locust could dig through.
The plan for Operation: Hollow Storm was to send Gears into the Inner Hollow via Grindlifts launched by Assault Derricks. With Jacinto City sitting on a nearly-impenetrable bedrock of granite - the Coalition was forced to find the closest place nearby on the Jacinto Plateau that could allow the Gears to drill down into the Inner Hollow. It was determined the closest place near Jacinto City to drill down in was the city of Landown - which was occupied by the Locust Horde in 5 A.E. during the Winter of Sorrow. Taking back Landown would also be a historical victory in the context of taking back a city so close to Jacinto after nearly ten years of Locust occupation. Operation: Hollow Storm began on the morning of 1st Frost, 14 A.E., as the Assault Derricks were escorted by King Ravens, Centaurs, and APCs through Stromson Forest. The COG was met with heavy Locust forces. Despite many causalities, the majority of the convoy survived and arrived to Landown for deployment.
Order of Battle
Eliminating the Roadblocks
With the main lines of Locust defenses in Stromson Forest now broken, the Gears began the unenviable task of clearing the Tickers and Nemacysts stationed in the area in order to allow the King Ravens, Centaurs, APCs, and Assault Derricks to enter safely. It was too late, however, for Rig D77, as it was destroyed by Tickers upon entering Landown. Only one Gear survived, Cpl. Tai Kaliso, who then joined Delta-One aboard Rig 314. Lt. Stroud then ordered Delta-One to head towards the monument in the center of Landown, as it was the best place to drill. When Cpl. Kaliso revealed that Tickers destroyed his Rig and believed the whole area was infested, Sgt. Fenix ordered Pvt. Wallin to stay in Rig 314 while he, Cpl. Santiago, Cpl. Kaliso, and Pvt. Carmine clear the area of Tickers and escort Pvt. Wallin to the center of town.
Upon entering a lodge, Pvt. Carmine spotted a Ticker for the first time as Cpl. Kaliso warned him of being living landmines. Returning to the streets, a pack of Tickers began to attack Delta-One. Despite heavy explosions in the streets, Delta-One was able to repel the Ticker infestation. Pvt. Wallin managed to drive down the road as several other Rigs managed to drive into Landown on an adjacent road towards the deployment zone. Lt. Stroud then informed Delta that KR Five-One spotted Nemacysts occupying the local airspace. Up the road, a Locust squad was stationed at a fuel station as Nemacyst were occupying the airspace above it. Delta then began to eliminate the Nemacyst and Locust Drones but were under heavy fire from an enforced Troika nest on their left. Centaur Four-Nine arrived from behind the Troika nest and then shot and pushed it down a sinkhole. Rig D28 was then able to turn the street and drive towards the center of town.
KR Five-One arrived to the scene but the threat had been eliminated. Lt. Stroud then informed them that Rigs near Barrington Square needed combat air patrol (CAP) assistance. Five-One complied and radioed KR Three-Six to join them in assisting the Rigs. Sgt. Fenix requested for navigation in Landown. Lt. Stroud informed Delta-One that the road tunnel would take them to the center of town. Entering the dark tunnel, Pvt. Wallin had to activate Rig 314's headlights, but exposed an infestation of Tickers. Delta-One was able to clear the Tickers through the tunnel. At the end of the tunnel was a Reaver but was quickly eliminated by Sgt. Fenix and Delta.
During the assault on Landown, Locust mortar squads near the center of town began to bombard the streets. Rig 314 had to remain in the nearby tunnel while Delta-One took out the mortar squads. Splitting up between inside a hotel and on the rooftops of the other side of the street - Sgt. Fenix, Cpl. Santiago, Cpl. Kaliso, and Pvt. Carmine took out the mortar squads within the hotel and on the rooftops. Once the street was clear, Pvt. Wallin drove Rig 314 down the road. However, coming from the adjacent tunnel was a Brumak. Nearly destroying Rig 314 - Delta-One was able to successfully kill the Brumak with mortar fire from the dead Locust. Pvt. Wallin then picked up Delta-One and continued to the center of town near the Pendulum Wars monument and graveyard.
Deploying the Grindlifts
The surviving Assault Derricks arrived at the center of down and began to align for launch while Centaurs established their defenses while deploying. During this, multiple Emergence Holes opened within the graveyard and unleashed Locust Drones and Boomers to attack the Derricks. KR One-Eight arrived on scene to assist the defense while they prepared to deploy against the Locust attack. Delta-One was able to repel some of the Locust forces with a Mortar and the Assault Derrick's roof chain gun. However, Locust forces began to destroy some of the Derricks. Rig D28 was partially destroyed, with Pvt. Henny getting killed in action. This forced Pvt. Augustus Cole to advise Cpl. Damon Baird and the rest of their squad to deploy.
Delta-One remained to defend the other Derricks. Grapplers attempted to hijack the Derrick but were eliminated. A Locust mortar crew and squad of Boomers arrived on the scene. Rig 314 was heavily damaged during the attack, but survived after the mortars and Boomers were eliminated. A squadron of Reavers then began to attack Delta and the other Rigs. Lt. Stroud then ordered Delta to deploy immediately as the area was overrun and taking too many causalities. Sgt. Fenix then ordered Pvt. Wallin to prepare the Grindlifts. After eliminating the last Reaver, Pvt. Wallin managed to activate the Grindlifts. Sgt. Fenix and Cpl. Santiago entered one Grindlift while Cpl. Kaliso and Pvt. Carmine entered another. During this, many other Gears successfully deployed into the Inner Hollow, but at the cost of the drill zone.
Before Delta could deploy, Ketor Skorge emerged on the battlefield. With his Dual Chainsaw Staff, Skorge managed to cut a Centaur tank in half. As Delta began to deploy, Ketor Skorge boarded Rig 314 in order to stop Delta. Pvt. Wallin then engaged Ketor Skorge to allow Delta to drill down in the Grindlift. Sgt. Fenix and Cpl. Santiago attempted to get out of the Grindlift restraints, but to no avail. However, Cpl. Kaliso was able to jump off the Grindlift and assist Pvt. Wallin. Cpl. Kaliso and Ketor Skorge then engaged in a Chainsaw Duel as Sgt. Fenix, Cpl. Santiago, and Pvt. Carmine deployed into the Inner Hollow. Cpl. Kaliso managed to kick and melee Ketor Skorge, but Ketor Skorge was then able to catch Cpl. Kaliso on his arm with his Dual Chainsaw Staff, lift him in the air, and flipped him over. Ketor Skorge then pressed his Dual Chainsaw Staff down on Cpl. Kaliso. As he held Ketor Skorge off, Cpl. Kaliso told Pvt. Wallin to go. Pvt. Wallin then reluctantly boards a Grindlift and drills into the Inner Hollow. Ketor Skorge then took Cpl. Kaliso as prisoner.
- "The Landown assault, in which we engaged the enemy within their own tunnels, resulted in major losses and failed to stop the Locust advance."
- —Excerpt from Col. Victor Hoffman's report on reasoning for the sinking of Jacinto.
The Assault on Landown was a considerable strategic advantaged for the Coalition of Ordered Governments as the success of the engagement allowed the Gears to take the offensive against the Locust for the first time in many years, but despite sustaining heavy losses, the COG was not able to stop the Locust forces from advancing on Jacinto City forcing the COG to sink their last stronghold and flood the Hollow. The COG was able to evacuate large portions of their army from the tunnels.
Shortly after the battle, Ketor Skorge and the Drones in the area managed to capture lone or wounded Gears from Landown, among them being Cpl. Tai Kaliso. These prisoners were led into the Inner Hollow and placed in Locust prison pods. Others were placed on Torture Barges, where they were tortured - known as processing - and brought to Nexus in order to be slaves or to be transformed into Locust Drones. Cpl. Tai Kaliso was brought onto a Torture Barge, stripped, hung on metal hooks by the skin of his back, and struck with barbed-whips. The torture took a psychological toll on Cpl. Kaliso and led to his suicide mere hours later.