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In 2277, NCR forces defeated Caesar's Legion during the Battle of Hoover Dam. The NCR has held Hoover Dam since then but the Legion has not made it easy for them.Fallout: New Vegas loading screen

The First Battle of Hoover Dam is the name applied to the first offensive mounted by Caesar's Legion against New California Republic forces entrenched at Hoover Dam in 2277. It was one of the turning points of the NCR-Legion War.


With the discovery of the Hoover Dam by Ulysses, Caesar focused the Legion on taking it, as a symbolic Rubicon to be crossed on the way to conquering the republic, while conquering the city of New Vegas for his "Rome." His army of 66[4] reformed tribes undertook preparations for the battle, which included deep raids on NCR territory by small groups of skirmishers and sabotage campaigns by the frumentarii.[5]

After three years of occupying the Mojave, the NCR still had a tenuous grasp on the region, in no small part due to skirmishes with local tribes and the dramatic Operation: Sunburst, which broke the Brotherhood of Steel strength in the Mojave. These problems were further amplified by weak supply lines: the delivery of a package from Navarro to the Divide activated the nuclear missile silos in Hopeville and Ashton, triggering their launch. The resulting cataclysmic event literally tore the earth apart, turning the entire region into a killing zone. Reinforcements and traders could no longer take State Route 127 to reach Vegas and NCR positions. Along with the Big MT, a wall to living creatures, only the I-15 was left as a supply line. This resulted in a major slowing down of reinforcements and resupply for the NCR forces in the Mojave.[6][7][8]

As such, the Legion has faced a severely weakened NCR force at Hoover Dam. To further exploit this weakness, Caesar launched flanking attacks against Camp Golf[9] and other NCR outposts along the Colorado River, although the bulk of the Legion's forces was focused on the dam itself.

The Battle

The Legion, under the Malpais Legate, opted for a direct attack. After first contact was made and casualties manifested on both sides, General Lee Oliver ordered his troops back to the middle of the dam. Graham responded by pushing all his forces onto the dam, raw recruits up front, veterans at the back, in accordance with the Legion military doctrine.[10]

This proved to be a mistake, as Oliver's entrenched troops put up a fierce resistance, refusing to give a single foot to the enemy. With the Legionaries halted, the sharpshooters of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion and the New California Republic Rangers were given the order by Hanlon to pick off Legion veteran officers. After a minute of such an attack, with officer casualties mounting and chaos sown among the front ranks, Graham ordered the rear guard veterans to push through to the front and rush the ridge, where the sharpshooters were located.[10][11]

This move caused further chaos among the younger legionaries and a total breakdown in the chain of command. Oliver's troops fell back to the side walkways, letting the veterans pass through to the ridge. By the time the legionaries reached the ridge, the sharpshooters were already in Boulder City. The veterans gave pursuit, but when they reached Boulder City, 1st Recon and Rangers already pulled out.[10] The entire city was a trap, filled with explosives. The blast killed most of the legionaries within, while those that did not die, were in no shape to defend themselves. Without officers, the legionaries at the dam were disorganized and disoriented, which allowed NCR forces to rout them. The legate withdrew the remaining legionaries and retreated back to the Grand Canyon, to Caesar.[10][12][11]


The Legion

When Graham returned to Caesar, the latter had no choice but to punish him, to show that failure will not be tolerated, even at the highest levels. The praetorian guards were ordered to cover Graham in pitch, set him ablaze and throw the ex-legate into the Grand Canyon. The sentence was carried out.[13] Graham was replaced by the brutal Legate Lanius,[14][15] who temporarily changed the focus of the Legion, expanding eastwards to claim further tribes for Caesar, before another attempt at taking Hoover Dam would be made.[16]

New California Republic

List of honored NCR servicemembers

The NCR, in turn, after securing the dam and burying their dead, firmly established their hold on the region, moving in more forces and fortifying key positions throughout the Mojave. Pursuing the retreating Legion has been ruled out, due to the difficult situation with supply lines. The Divide and the Big MT greatly limited the ability to reinforce troops at the Mojave front, denying the NCR the use of State Route 127 and forcing it to rely on the Long 15.[7] If it wasn't for that, the republic would've pursued Caesar's army and the aftermath could have been even worse for Caesar.[6] Despite heavy losses having been inflicted upon the NCR's Hoover Dam garrison (107 soldiers and Rangers), the victory was celebrated throughout the republic. To honor those lost in the battle, a memorial was erected outside of Boulder City.[17]

The Rangers have been credited with victory by the public, as it allowed the NCR to defeat a foe that stood a real chance of defeating the army in a head-on clash.[18]

The praise received by the Rangers had an unintended effect, a severe case on inter-service rivalry. General Lee Oliver believes that he and his men were denied proper credit, despite losing 25 times more men than the Rangers (103 soldiers dead as opposed to 4 Rangers), with many more wounded. Determined to reclaim their honor, General Oliver is fixated on implementing his own defensive strategy and tends to do the precise opposite of everything Hanlon recommends, so that he can take full credit for the defense.[19]

Mojave Campaign

Despite the defeat, the Legion continued to harass NCR forces on both sides of the Colorado, eventually securing its eastern bank for themselves, after the Battle of Willow Beach and Arizona Spillway. However, it was not until 2281, four years later, that the strengthened Legion, bolstered with 14 additional conquered tribes, attempted to conquer the dam, Vegas, and Mojave again during the Second Battle of Hoover Dam.


The First Battle of Hoover Dam is mentioned in Fallout: New Vegas and its add-on Honest Hearts.



  1. The Courier: "What was your rank?"
    Arms merchant: "Staff sergeant, Third Platoon, Bravo Company. I was at the Dam when the Legion hit us, three years back. That was a shitstorm, and don't let anybody tell you different. The brass try to play it down, but most of them were back at McCarran."
    (Arms merchant's dialogue)
  2. Boulder City Memorial
  3. The Courier: "Tell me about the Burned Man."
    Vulpes Inculta: "Ah, yes - we are forbidden from speaking his true name. He was a shaman of some kind before he met Caesar, a holy man from out of the Utah. The Burned Man proved dangerous, unpredictable, and impossible to kill. He helped Caesar form the Legion but almost led it to destruction."
    (Vulpes Inculta's dialogue)
  4. The Courier: "He must have a weakness."
    Ulysses: "His strength lies in his title - and it is his weakness. He will not fight a losing battle and destroy what he represents. Put the idea of loss in him. Convince him the Bear will not be the twentieth tribe beneath his heel, it will make him pause like nothing on earth. You do not need to convince him alone. Draw upon history. The past of other Legates are not filled with victories. Remind Lanius of this."
    (Ulysses' dialogue)
  5. The Courier: "On the High Road, you mentioned NCR and Legion fought here... before and after the Divide?"
    Ulysses: "The two-headed Bear made its claim, dug its claws into the trail you made. For once, it seemed like it might succeed - cut a route to the Mojave. Couldn't let NCR stay in the Divide. Trade route, road the military could use... can't have two roads into the Mojave. Not after the work we'd done to cut off New Canaan, other routes, killing caravans... all we'd done to make the West bleed."
    (Ulysses' dialogue)
  6. 6.0 6.1 The Courier: "I'm guessing you don't like Caesar very much."
    Joshua Graham: "Love the sinner, hate the sin. With Caesar, it's often very difficult to see through all of that sin to the person inside. I can say that we were both lucky that NCR's supply lines and land routes north of Mojave Outpost were destroyed before the Battle of Hoover Dam. Something bad happened near Death Valley, at a place called the Divide. NCR couldn't cut across anymore and it slowed down their reinforcements. Terrible storms ripped entire companies apart before they even got to Nevada soil. The aftermath of Hoover Dam could have been even worse for Caesar."
    (Joshua Graham's dialogue)
  7. 7.0 7.1 The Courier: "The Divide blocked all of their northern land routes?"
    Joshua Graham: "Not all of them. But they couldn't take 127 north to get around the mountains. As if Death Valley weren't enough, they had the Divide and Big Empty to deal with. From what the Legion's explorers reported, the Big Empty may as well have been a wall to any living thing approaching it."
    (Joshua Graham's dialogue)
  8. The Courier: "What's at the Divide?"
    Joshua Graham: "I don't know for certain, and I don't think NCR knows, either. Whatever happened at the Divide was too much for them to handle. Our frumentarii told us what they saw. Only fools and madmen would march into a place like that. All roads wind down to the same spot, the grave. They said all that's left there is a gaping wound cut into the Earth, cursed and damned. No place for God-fearing folk."
    (Joshua Graham's dialogue)
  9. The Courier: "What was Camp Golf like?"
    Craig Boone: "It was on the front line for a while. Only resort in New Vegas no one wanted to get sent to. Doesn't have that kind of importance anymore, though. They pulled most of the troops out of there after we took the Hoover Dam."
    (Craig Boone's dialogue)
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 The Courier: "So what happened at Hoover Dam and Boulder City?"
    Hanlon: "In big battles, Caesar deploys his legionaries in waves. Recruits up front, prime soldiers behind the recruits, old guard bringing up the rear. Opponents wear themselves out dealing with the first two waves, if they survive that long. When the veterans step up, there's not much fight left. Caesar can adapt, though, and when required, he can run any mix of legionaries as skirmishers and still retain order in the ranks."
    The Courier: [Continue]
    Hanlon: "Joshua Graham, Caesar's old legate, he's wasn't so flexible. When the Legion attacked Hoover Dam, General Oliver ordered his troopers back to the middle ground just after first contact. Graham pushed all of the legionaries onto the dam, filling the east side with recruits up front and veterans in the back, by the book."
    The Courier: [Continue]
    Hanlon: "But once they were in, they were stuck there. Oliver's troopers were entrenched and wouldn't give a foot. That's when we ordered the rangers and 1st recon sharpshooters to start picking off veteran legion officers from a high ridge west of the dam. That only lasted about a minute before Graham ordered the back ranks to push through to the front and rush the ridge."
    The Courier: [Continue]
    Hanlon: "Caused total chaos among the younger legionaries, and Oliver's troopers fell back to the side walkways and stayed out of the veterans' way. By the time the veterans got to the ridge, we were already in Boulder City. They followed us down there, but we were out before they realized what was happening."
    The Courier: [Continue]
    Hanlon: "We had packed the old city with C4 and dynamite. Crude, but it did the job. Those who didn't die in the blast were in no position to mount a defense. The ones left on the dam didn't know what to do. The troopers routed them. Graham pulled the remaining legionaries back, but the battle was over. He went south, back to the Grand Canyon, back to Caesar. And that was the last we saw or heard from Joshua Graham."
    (Hanlon's dialogue)
  11. 11.0 11.1 The Courier "Tell me about the first battle."
    Alex Richards: "The Legion attacked in full force. Chief Hanlon had the troopers fall back pulling the enemy in, before entrenching into secure positions. The Legion got bogged down and Rangers and 1st Recon sharpshooters started taking out the Legion officers. They sent their best men to stop the Rangers and 1st Recon, but the Rangers pulled them into a trap at Boulder City and blew them all to hell. After that the Legion's forces were in disarray and tried to retreat. However, our forces advanced rapidly and routed them. And that was that."
    (Alex Richards' dialogue)
  12. Fallout: New Vegas loading screens: "At the Battle of Hoover Dam, the tide turned for the NCR when Rangers and 1st Recon sharpshooters lured Caesar's soldier into the booby-trapped ruins of Boulder City."
  13. The Courier: "What happened to Graham after Hoover Dam?"
    Hanlon: "Losing the dam was the worst defeat the Legion ever suffered. Graham had been with Caesar since the beginning, but he had to set an example. The praetorians covered Graham in pitch, lit him on fire, and down into the Grand Canyon he went."
    (Hanlon's dialogue)
  14. The Courier: "Are you the Legion's second-in-command?"
    Lucius: "No, Legate Lanius is Caesar's second. The Legate replaced the Burned Man after the Legion's defeat at the Dam several years ago."
    (Lucius' dialogue)
  15. The Courier: "Are you the Legion's second-in-command?"
    Lucius: "Legate Lanius has not chosen anyone to be his second yet. It would be an honor to be selected, though."
    (Lucius' dialogue)
  16. The Courier: "Move forward? The Legion spent years trying to take Hoover Dam."
    Lanius: "[SUCCEEDED] Hoover Dam has never seen the massed strength of the East. Only Legates such as Graham... who deserved the fire Caesar blessed him with. Now I am here, and make markers of your people as the Legion carves its way West."
    (Lanius' dialogue)
  17. Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide p.458: "Important Dates"
    "2277 Legion forces under the command of the Malpais Legate fail to wrest control of Hoover Dam from the NCR. Despite heavy casualties, the NCR's victory is celebrated back home."
    (Behind the Bright Lights & Big City)
  18. The Courier: "But you're inventing your own intelligence reports. I've seen the logs and talked to the rangers."
    Hanlon: "You have, have you? Misdirection. When you're pinned down, outnumbered, and two days from any help, it's just about the best friend you can have. Misdirection's what's saved me all these years. It's what saved us at Hoover Dam. But it's been five years now and Caesar's right across that lake. He's closer now than he ever was before. I was a young man once. I know what it's like to want to fight for your home, but this isn't it."
    (Hanlon's dialogue)
  19. The Courier: "What will you do if I don't turn you in?"
    Hanlon: "Oliver can't stand that rangers got credit for victory at Hoover. Whatever I recommend, he does the opposite. I said I wanted them on the ridge. He put them right on the western part of the dam itself. We don't have enough firepower to hold that spot. If the troopers fall back, and they will, the rangers will advance to cover Oliver's retreat. We lose the dam, Oliver and the senate are ruined."
    (Hanlon's dialogue)