The Let's Play Archive

Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War

by nine-gear crow

Part 12: Mission 11 - Operation Cannibal, June 1st, 1995

“The Inferno”

Mission 11: Operation Cannibal – June 1st, 1995

Overview: With South Belka officially demilitarized, the Allied Forces press into the north for the first time, targeting the industrial city of Hoffnung with a strategic bombing designed to cripple the Belkans’ war major war production facilities and minimize potential casualties as the Allies prepare to press into Dinsmark itself and remove Chancellor Rald’s government from power.

Guest Commentator: I’m joined for this video by Cirvante, or Cirv, also known on the forums as Mersenne. Cirv is yet another (actual) Ace Combat enthusiast. He hasn’t done any LPs himself, but he has appeared as a guest commentator in CJacobsSpec Ops: The Line FUBAR Mode bonus stream, and near the tail end of Blind Sally’s Emily Is Away stream LP for the Casual Games thread, among other various things.


Get used to these “Project Aces used SLEDGEHAMMER! It’s Super Effective!” moments, you’ll be seeing a lot of them in the future. Yes, Hoffnung is German for “hope,” and what a better way to wield that sledgehammer than by having you play a part in the ruthless extermination of the Belkans’ hope; hope for winning this war, and for putting their proud empire back together again. Basically, this is it for Belka. Show’s over, it’s time to wrap it up, folks.

Which also means we can now experience the firepower of a fully armed and operational “Osea Is Not The Good Guys™”. I should be clear on this however, just because Osea has started acting like a bunch of jackasses now that they have Belka on the run does not instantly make Belka the good guys in this fight. Belka is still going to be the spearhead of the majority of the terrible stuff we’ve yet to make it through in this game. I’m saying this so that this thread doesn’t get (but probably will anyway) the flood of Belka apologists similar to how the Killzone threads would be periodically flooded with Helghast apologists. That’s also not to say you’re not allowed to feel sympathy for the Belkan people. They’re getting fucked from all sides in this conflict, but if you feel the need to justify the actions of the Belkan government (now or in the future) then please,

In this mission, the Osean military has officially let victory go it its head and is succumbing to the temptation of revenge. Hell, I can’t even call it “revenge” because by and large, Osea doesn’t actually have any dogs of its own in this fight, metaphorically speaking. Really, I should be discussing Osea’s role in this conflict up until now.

So I will.


Osea jumped whole hog into what was functionally a territorial dispute happening on its doorstep. Why? Well, there’s a number of reasons for that. The more obvious reason was that was that Belka fucked up and pushed into Osean territory in its blitz to retake its lands. True it was a small fraction of Osean territory, and it originally belonged to Belka before the Federal Law Review, but it was enough to wake the sleeping giant in Belka’s backyard. Belka also overstepped in the south too by pressing into Sapin. Sapin was a close local ally and economic partner of Osea, so Osea was kind of duty-bound to help liberate it. If Belka had just stuck to reclaiming Ustio and its eastern ceded territories, I think Osea would have been content to actually just let them have their empire back.

But Belka fucked up.

Even at the height of its power, Belka was no match for Osea. They fought a war in the 40s and Osea won, decisively. If Belka was ever considered a "superpower", it was a 2nd tier superpower like Erusea or Emmeria, a member of the "world's shortest giant" club compared to Osea and Yuktobania. Even during its initial push at the start of the Belkan War, Belka was really no match for Osea, it focused all its efforts on the weaker eastern and southern nations on the sub-continent. Even if Belka got its empire back, it would still never be a match for Osea. Osea understood this, Belka didn’t. That’s why if Belka just retook Ustio, Recta, Gebet, and Ratio, Osea probably would have let them have them, because the Oseans knew that whatever war Belka would inevitably launch against them in the future would be as doomed to failure as a war between the United States and say Brazil.

But Belka fucked up.

The leaders of Osea were geopolitically savvy enough to capitalize on Belka poking the bear, as it were, and went into this war ostensibly to liberate Ustio and Sapin from Belkan occupation, but functionally to annex as much of Belka as it could. And to do that, it needed to break Belka, completely. Which is where we get to this mission, aptly titled “The Inferno”. This is where the war turns into hell. That’s the dog Osea has in this fight. They want to redraw the map yet again. That’s the real objective here.

Welcome to “Ace Combat Does History”. Today’s piece of history is the Firebombing of Dresden. The parallels are too obvious to ignore here. We’ve got an allied force consisting of America, sort of England, and Miscellaneous conducting what amounts to an indiscriminate carpet bombing of a city in a Germanic country at the end of a war that just happened to start with them picking a fight with an entire continent by invading as much of it as they could as quickly as they could.

In the real world, Dresden was also a city vital to the German war machine and logistics line (allegedly. It’s actual importance has been argued about by historians for decades). The Allied offensive bombing runs on the city was effectively the straw the broke the camel’s back for European front of World War II, and contributed to the German surrender three months later. In all, 25,000 people were killed in the 3 day assault, and critics argue to this day that Dresden was not actually the military or industrial target the Allies claimed it to be, that its bombing produced no actual strategic advantage over the Germans, and only served to devastate a culturally significant locale in order to break the Germans’ spirit and allow for the British and American forces to exact a measure of revenge against the Nazi Wehrmacht for its multitude of sins over the course of the war.

So you can see where this might be leading us in the future of Ace Combat Zero.

This mission is somewhat presciently named “Operation Cannibal” because it also involves the beginnings of the Belkan’s scorched earth policy towards the advancing allies. In the second half of the mission, the Belkans begin to destroy Hoffnung themselves rather than leave anything behind for Osea to capture and use against them in their advance.

This is also reflective of another big event in World War II, Stalin’s scorched earth retreat in the face of Hitler’s advance into Russia. Faced with the prospect of the Wehrmacht rolling into the Russian heartland, the Russian army was ordered into a precipitous retreat eastward. As they pulled back their lines, they burned and destroyed every piece of farmland, every factory, useable shelter, or piece of heavy equipment they could not take with them to ensure the Germans could not repurpose anything to aid in their advance on the Motherland. Like just about everything Stalin’s Russia did, their scorched earth campaign was brutally effective, and was likely a contributing factor to the failure of the German invasion of Russia. Well, that and Hitler forgetting that Russia had this thing called “Winter” that also did Napoleon in too.

There’s also a shout out to Dante’s Inferno hidden behind the translation gag. A Belkan soldier can be heard over the radio saying “Abandon Hoffnung,” effectively “Abandon Hope.” This is a contraction of the oft repeated refrain “abandon all hope, you who enter here” from Dante’s Inferno, which is purported to be the inscription written upon the gates of Hell itself. The complete inscription reads:

Dante’s Inferno, Canto III, ll.1-9 posted:

Through me you pass into the city of woe:
Through me you pass into eternal pain:
Through me among the people lost for aye.
Justice the founder of my fabric moved:
To rear me was the task of Power divine,
Supremest Wisdom, and primeval Love.
Before me things create were none, save things
Eternal, and eternal I endure.
All hope abandon, ye who enter here.

It’s also a nice little follow up touch from Mission 7 where we have gone from being “Hell Bound” right into “The Inferno”. After all, where else would a Demon Lord reside, but in Hell?

Aircraft featured in Mission 11: Operation Cannibal.

…We’ve been building up to it this whole LP, and now, it’s time to shine—I mean shit the bed has finally arrived

F-35C Lightning II
Manufacturer: Lockheed Martin
Role: Stealth multi-role fighter
Manufactured: 2006-Present
Status: In Testing
Primary Operators:United States, United Kingdom, Norway, Netherlands, Israel, Italy, Australia, South Korea, Canada* The newly elected Trudeau government has vowed to cancel the ousted Harper government’s CF-35 deal and shop around for cheaper and less shitty alternatives.
Quick Facts:

This versatile and lightweight carrier-based stealth fighter features both air-to-air and air-to-ground attack capabilities while maintaining a low production cost.

FUCKING REALLY, Project Aces? Really?!

Missiles: 78
LASM: 14
SOD: 16
QAAM: 10

B-2A Spirit
Manufacturer: Northrop Grumman
Role: Stealth bomber
Manufactured: 1987-2000
Status: In Service
Primary Operators: United States
Quick Facts:

Winston Pettigrew
28, Male, Belka
06.01.95 Operation Cannibal - Killed In Action
Su-32 Strike Flanker
Difficulty: Any
Ace Style: Mercenary

Part of a group that targeted and eliminated enemy transport and commerce lines. He died on an ambush mission in Hoffnung, when he was shot down by an Ustio mercenary.

Leon Haas
28, Male, Belka
06.01.95 Operation Cannibal - Shot Down
F-117A Nighthawk
Difficulty: Any
Ace Style: Soldier

Upon disassembly of the troops, he took the opportunity to retire from service. Thereafter, he became a police officer in the city of Dinsmark. He assists in apprehending escaped war criminals as well as political officers. Thus far, he has apprehended 12.

Ludwig Richter
27, Male, Belka
06.01.95 Operation Cannibal - Shot Down
A-10A Thunderbolt II
Difficulty: Any
Ace Style: Knight

Due to serious injuries from his plane being shot down, he was in the hospital during the cease-fire. Upon release, he became the leader of a NGO that aids retired servicemen assimilating to civilian life. The organization has expanded with branches located worldwide.

Kristof Horn
27, Male, Belka
06.01.95 Operation Cannibal - Missing In Action
EA-18G Growler* Special Plane Colour Unlocked
Difficulty: Any
Ace Style: Any

Incommunicado after being shot down in the Hoffnung battle. Although reports indicated that he was picked up by a Belkan freighter, the commander disavows this information.

Postscript: His fiancee was filed as missing in 1996.

Jascha Krasnow
29, Male, Yuktobania
06.01.95 Operation Cannibal - Killed In Action
F-5E Tiger II
Difficulty: Ace
Ace Style: Any

A Yuktobanian immigrant who joined the Belkan Air Force. He served in many intense air battles and was eventually promoted to Captain. His rank is rather low judging by his military record, but this is probably due to the ultra-nationalistic influence of the Rald Party.

Tracks featured in Mission 11: Operation Cannibal: