The Battle of the Capitol, also metaphorically known as the 76th Hunger Games by Squad 451, was the final major large-scale engagment of the Second Rebellion. The final battle pitted the Peacekeeper forces loyal to Panem's totalitarian government against the invading rebel force being led by District 13 for control of the Capitol and thus the Nation of Panem.
During the battle, rebel forces pushed into the city block by block, facing intense opposition from defending Peacekeeper forces as well as slowed down by the various pods placed throughout the city. The vicious combat saw a multitude of Capitol civilians caught in the crossfire. The climax of the battle saw rebel troops push into City Circle, where an enclosure of children being held as human shields in front of the President's mansion was unexpectedly bombed by a Panem hovercraft on live TV. An unspoken and imprompt ceasefire immediately followed with Rebel medics, including Primrose Everdeen, and surviving Peacekeepers attempting to aid the victims only to be killed by a second round of bombing. Following this controversial event, all remaining support for President Snow and his regime collapsed and he was subsequently captured, ending the battle and thus the war.
Pods are weapons engineered by the Gamemakers used in the Battle of the Capitol. They can trigger anything from such as bombs and mutts. The pods are extremely dangerous and President Snow orders the Gamemakers to scatter thousands of pods throughout the Capitol in order to prevent the rebel forces from advancing. Holo's are designed to detect pods so that the rebels can avoid activating them but the Capitol add new pods which the Holo is unable to detect.
Prior to this engagement, the Capitol had lost its last remaining military strongholds in District 2 to the rebels. The citizens of District 2, unwilling to fight for the Capitol any longer, turned on the Peacekeeper forces they had initially fought alongside. This marked the end of most of the war in Panem, as the Capitol had lost all military and civilian control over every district, no districts remained loyal to the Capitol at this point. The loss of the mountain fortress known as the "Nut" was a severe blow to the Capitol's war effort, crippling the Capitol's air force and ruining its logistical capabilities. After the rebels took District 2, they stood posed to launch an offensive into the Capitol itself.
Prior to the invasion of the Capitol rebel leadership was hesitant to launch the attack, believing Capitol forces having the advantage in defensive positions and possibly manpower in the city. The rebels quickly learned through hit-and-run attacks that the Capitols forces in the city could only offer token resistance. Only fearing high levels of PODs being deployed in the streets. Rebel intelligence came to the conclusion that large-scale defeats throughout Panem and the recent defeats in District 2 had decimated the Capitol's Forces enough to commit large rebel resources and troops to the eventual offensive.
Initial Rebel Invasion
The rebel invasion of the Capitol began when rebel forces captured several tunnels that led through the Rocky Mountains, allowing for rebel forces to circumvent scaling the mountains, which had led to their defeat in the first war. In addition, the fall of the Nut in District 2 resulted in the lost of the majority of the Capitol's hovercraft fleet. This enable the Rebel's to achieve air superiority and establish a beachhead at the perimeter of the city. This allowed for constant reinforcement and supplies, while simultaneously blocking any possibility of retreat by Capitol forces.
During the first few days of the invasion, the rebels went largely unnoticed by the Capitol's military, as they faced little resistance. Capitol military commanders urged their forces to begin fanatic fighting believing sufficient brutality could turn the tide of the invasion. But there was no illusions to Capitol leaders that the city would fall.
Arrival of Squad 451
Squad 451 is a specially designed rebel squad used for propaganda, the team consists of fourteen members; Katniss Everdeen, Gale Hawthorne, Jackson, Boggs, Finnick Odair, Cressida, Messalla, Castor (Corporal), Pollux, Homes, Mitchell (best sharpshooter in Panem), Leeg 1, Leeg 2 (first combat division) and later joined by Peeta Mellark. During the early days of the battle the Squad enters an abandoned Capitol neighbourhood, (staying behind the front lines in order to film propos for the rebels) they accidentally trigger a pod which sends a metal dart into the side of Leeg 2's head instantly killing her. Leeg 2 is mortified by her sisters death, later on in the day Peeta Mellark is sent as a replacement which alarms the squad as he has not fully recovered from his hijacking, making him fairly dangerous to Katniss. Boggs informs Katniss that President Coin has never liked her and wanted Peeta rescued from the arena instead, proving that Coin sees Katniss as a threat over the new Presidential position as there will be a free election after the war is over. Boggs believes Coin sent Peeta to kill Katniss as hshewill not be able to control himself.
In the film adaptation Peeta arrives to the Squad much earlier and Leeg 2 is still alive.
The Squad progresses further into the Capitol using Boggs's Holo to avoid and detect pods.
Rebel Forces Gain Momentum
Most of the rebel losses during the battle came not from the Capitol's military forces, but rather from strategically placed traps commonly referred to as "pods". These "pods" resulted in the deaths of numerous rebels. Nevertheles, the rebel advance continued, causing massive damage to Capitol infrastructure and mounting civilian deaths. As the battle dragged on, it became clear to the rebels that the Capitol's remaining forces were being deployed in strategically important locations, not the whole city. Capitol commanders also began deploying their troops in positions to delay or outright block the rebel advance on the city centre. This tactic became increasingly ineffective because of the Rebels' constant reinforcements. Wheres, the Capitol troops were under-supplied and had no replacement for solider's they were losing. Where the Capitol troops had withdrawn 'pods' were expected to hold the rebel troops. This did not work but did cause huge rebel losses. The nature of the pods was widely varied, ranging from conventional weapons such as gunfire and explosives to muttations and an unknown chemical that resembled a large black wave. Nevertheless, the rebels continued their advance. The city became the site of numerous propaganda clips shot by Squad 451 in the opening days of the battle, but as the fighting dragged on, the propaganda stopped being produced.
Rebels Begin Pressing in on the City Center
In the next weeks of the battle, the Capitol's defense lines began collapsing as the rebels pushed in. During this period, the rebels marked out four distinct paths, simply referred to as the A, B, C, and D Lines, to the centre of the Capitol. Also at this time, Capitol civilians began evacuating towards the centre of the city. This resulted in numerous civilian deaths as the rebels attempted to engage Peacekeepers escorting the evacuees. The poor aim of the rebels and the close proximity of the civilians resulted in several bloodbaths throughout the city. Yet more civilians died upon hitting pods meant for the rebels. The rebels at one point attempted to disable pods by sending unmanned cars down roads marked with them in a rudimentary attempt at minesweeping. The Capitol soon caught on and began manually activating pods, killing large numbers of rebel forces.
End of the Battle and the Fall of the Capitol
After several weeks of combat, the rebels had encircled the City Center and begun their last offensive. Capitol Forces after weeks of hopeless fighting were now decimated, extremely ill-equipped and severely demoralized retreated to the mansion. The Capitols remaining troops were ordered to oversee the evacuation of Capitol civilians to the mansion and provide security around the mansion. By this time Capitol Cabinet members and military commanders began fleeing the mansion knowing of its impending capture and fearing reprisal because of their seniority within Snow's Government and positions in the military. President Coriolanus Snow, as a last desperate defensive measure, organized a ring of children to be placed around the mansion, working under the idea that the rebels would not be so heartless as to kill children to get to him. A hovercraft marked with a Capitol Air Force insignia appeared and began dropping parcels that were marked with silver parachutes, a universally-recognized symbol of aid. However, these packages were actually explosives marked as aid parcels that detonated inside the ring and caused massive fatalities and injuries. The second wave of explosives killed whoever had survived and a contingent of rebel medics that had tried to push in and aid the wounded children. The bombs gravely wounded Katniss Everdeen, who had become the symbol of the rebellion, leaving her with serious burn wounds. This bombing fractured the last remaining civilian allegiance to the Capitol Government, Capitol Troops and Guards inside the mansion also believed snow had authorized the bombings. The belief that Snow could directly kill Capitol children meant that they would not fight for Snow anymore. The guards and troops did not hand him over to the rebels, but instead laid down their weapons and left the mansion most likely to surrender. This meant that no resistance was left in the mansion, Snow now waited in the mansion alone and waited for the rebels to come for him, The rebels eventually captured the mansion Snow was arrested and was moved to his greenhouse in the mansions gardens. With both the capture of Snow and the mansion the Capitols control over Panem was over. The Capitols Government, Armed Forces, and all institutions were dissolved. Coin Declared herself President of Panem causing controversy over her true intentions. Coin immediately without trial or thought ordered that snow should be executed so Snow was sentenced to death. It was later proven that the hovercraft actually belonged to the rebels, evidenced by the lack of Capitol aircraft at the time and the bombs they dropped, which were developed by rebels Gale Hawthorne and Beetee Latier. Katniss later confronted snow in the greenhouse, where the two had a conversation about the past and the war, Snow points out that the Aircraft that killed the Capitol children was, in fact, a rebel aircraft and authorized by Coin as a tactic to end the war immediately. Snow points out that coin intends on taking his place as a dictator, and the only difference between the two is that coin also intends on suppressing the Capitol as well as the districts. He points out that coin orchestrated the war between the Capitol and the districts so both would cripple each other and would be far to weak at the end of the war to oppose her forceful takeover of Panem with District 13s power This prompted Katniss Everdeen, whose sister was also among the rebel medics killed in the bombing, to shoot President Alma Coin with an arrow that had originally been meant to be used to carry out Snow's death sentence. This was symbolically seen as the last shot of the war.
Notable Persons Involved
- Primrose Everdeen - Blown up by President Coin's parachute bombs.
- Messalla - Melted in an unknown pod that trapped him before burning the flesh off him.
- Castor - Decapitated by lizard mutts.
- Finnick Odair - Decapitated by lizard mutts.
- Leeg 1 - Mauled in the meat grinder pod.
- Leeg 2 - Stepped on mislabeled pod and hit in the head by a dart.
- Homes - Decapitated by lizard mutts.
- Boggs - Stepped on a mislabeled pod and both legs were blown off and bled to death.
- Mitchell - Accidentally thrown in barbed wire by Peeta. Body destroyed in the black wave after Boggs lost his legs.
- Jackson - Mutilated by the meat grinder pod.
- Avoxes - Resisted muttations and died.
- President Alma Coin - Shot by Katniss
- Dozens of Rebels killed in the initial battle
- Katniss Everdeen
- Peeta Mellark
- Gale Hawthorne
- Mrs. Everdeen
- Effie Trinket
- Commander Paylor
- Lizard Muttations - Blew up when Katniss threw an active Holo into the hole they were in.
- Peacekeeper Squad - Killed by Squad 451
- Capitol Woman - Shot by Katniss in the heart
- Dozens of Capitol civilians - Killed in the crossfire between Rebels and Peacekeepers
- President Coriolanus Snow - Choked on his own blood or was crushed to death
- Capitol Children - Blown up by President Coin's parachute bombs
- The Peacekeepers who arrested Gale
- Caesar Flickerman