The Battle of the Capitol, also metaphorically known as the 76th Hunger Games by Squad 451, was the final conflict of the second rebellion and was fought in Mockingjay by invading rebel forces and Peacekeepers loyal to Panem's totalitarian government, for control of the Capitol and thus the Nation of Panem, as well as the arrest of President Snow. It is also described as the "76th Hunger Games" by Katniss Everdeen due to the similarity between the urban battlefield (with its elaborate traps) and an arena. Squad 451, a notable sharpshooter unit which included three victors, was unexpectedly caught up in the battle after Boggs, its commander, was killed. During the battle, rebel forces pushed into the city block by block, overcoming enemy opposition and pods, but also killing dozens of civilians 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. Rebel medics, including Primrose Everdeen, who attempted to aid the victims were then subsequently killed. Following this, all remaining support for Snow and his regime collapsed and he was subsequently captured.
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 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.
Initial Rebel Invasion
The rebel invasion of the Capitol began when rebel forces captured several tunnels that led through the Rocky Mountains, making it so that the rebel forces did not have to attempt to scale the mountains, which had led to their defeat in the first war. During the first few days of the invasion, the rebels went largely unnoticed by the Capitol's military, and the rebels did not initially face much resistance.
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 her will 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 enhance 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. The nature of the pods were 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 center of the Capitol. Also at this time, Capitol civilians began evacuating towards the center 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 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. President Coriolanus Snow, as a last desperate defensive measure, organized a ring of children to be organized around the City Center, 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 roundel 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. A 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, and Snow's regime collapsed. Snow himself was taken prisoner and 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. This prompted Katniss Everdeen, whose sister was 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 head by dart.
- Homes - Decapitated by lizard mutts.
- Boggs - Stepped on mislabeled pod and both legs 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 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