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"Bro, America was founded by terrorists, for terrorists. What do you think the fucking Revolutionary War was? History is determined by the motherfucking victor."

David Montes

Operation Swordbreaker is the second mission in the singleplayer campaign of Battlefield 3. In the mission, United States Marines undertake "pacification" operations in the Iran-Iraq region and attempt to restore stability to the region.


Battlefield 3 Icon
"We can avert war between our nations. Just two of us.
No politicians, no money changing hands.
Just two soldiers speaking the truth."
This section contains spoilers for Battlefield 3.

Arrival of the 1st Reconnaissance BattalionEdit

Henry Blackburn, David Montes, and the rest of Misfit 1-3 are traveling in an LAV-25, and, over the radio, are ordered to dismount and locate a squad known to be searching for IEDs. Montes remarks on the state of the region, how "this part of the world get's fucked up all the time", to which a squad-mate replies that he just works here. Blackburn and the squad follow Matkovic into a road-side bazaar, meeting up with Cole, their Commanding Officer (CO), who is standing beside a map of the area. He gives the squad orders to locate a missing unit that had been investigating a possible IED near Spinza Meat Market, telling them to find the squad before the PLR.

Finding the Missing SquadEdit

After their briefing, Blackburn's squad exits the bazaar, entering a garage. Matkovic kicks open a back door and the squad sprints down an alleyway, regrouping at a door at the end of the alleyway. Another Marine then kicks open that door, before the squad enters the building, with one Marine asking "What is this? A school?", to which Montes replies "Oh, I keep forgetting they don't have schools where you come from".

The Marines then climb up a flight of stairs towards the exit, but a low rumble cuts them off, and the windows start to break. One Marine assumes that other Marines in the area were blowing up high-explosive ammo dumps, while another Marine says its an earthquake, saying that the city is ninety kilometers away from a fault line that causes tremors.

Misfit 1-3 then rallies in an alleyway, closed off by a gateway. The squad takes cover as a PLR technical surges by, ignoring the squad. The unit then crosses a large street, with Blackburn and Matkovic taking a doorway through into a garage. Proceeding towards a parking lot for a large hotel, the squad are unnerved by the lack of civilians in the area.

Ambush in the Car ParkEdit

As Blackburn walks into the parking lot, a hidden enemy sniper shoots Chaffin, one of the Marines in Blackburn's squad. Blackburn then drags Chaffin to safety, and returns to the firefight, helping his fellow Marines by shooting the hostiles hiding behind the cars. After the PLR insurgents retreat, the squad regroups in the car park, but an RPG strikes a white car, with the explosion throwing Blackburn off of his feet.

Misfit 1-3 then advances forward, taking out two RPG gunners in a building overlooking the parking lot, as well as PLR insurgents in the area. Once the PLR retreat, the squad then move back into the garage, where a medic, Doc Holiday, provides medical care for Chaffin. The squad, seeing that everything was fine, move into the building adjacent to the garage, but as they reach the top floor, they are attacked by the sniper, and are forced to sprint past several windows. Montes then sees three PLR insurgents enter the room from a stairwell, and Blackburn helps him gun down the insurgents. Montes then makes note that the insurgents are not native to Iraq, remarking "they weren't speaking Arabic".

Taking out the SniperEdit

After the Marines fight off an ambush inside the building, Blackburn follows the squad onto a rooftop cluttered with generators and air-conditioning units. Recognizing the signature report of a 50-cal (which the sniper uses), and exercising extreme caution, the squad moves behind the machinery towards an open area of the rooftop, with Blackburn staying behind the machines, otherwise the sniper would fatally shoot him. The squad arrives at the final generator, and go prone, hiding behind a wall and moving into firing positions. Matkovic notes that he could use his AT4 rocket launcher, as the sniper was dug into a spider hole in the front of a hotel.

Giving Blackburn the AT4, the squad, on the count of three-two-one, gives Blackburn suppressive fire, pinning down the sniper while Black takes the shot, which rips apart the facade of the hotel. The explosion causes one Marine to remark "Good effect on target" in response. The squad then moves towards the other side of the rooftop, where Blackburn, as the squad's designated marksman, and armed with a Mk11 Mod 0, is told to cover a party extracting Chaffin back towards the staging area. Multiple PLR insurgents attempt to attack the party, from both street-level and from rooftops, but Blackburn's squad holds them off until the extraction team reaches the school alleyway.

Reaching the missing squadEdit

After eliminating the sniper, the squad is unable to make its way down through the building they were on, as the PLR were pushing in on them. Using a wooden plank, Matkovic and Campo cross to another rooftop, with Blackburn following. Montes crosses last, and dislodges the plank, deterring pursuit. The squad then makes its way down via the rooftops, and arrives at a large market building beside the hotel.

Entering the building, the squad engages a group of PLR insurgents in the hallway, and find two members of the missing patrol. Confirming both as dead, the squad move out onto an open road, where they see a heavily-damaged HMMWV and the rest of the Viper unit, also dead except for one, who is in critical condition. Heavily exposed, the Marines once again get agitated by their position and the attention of the surrounding crowd.

Defusing the IEDEdit

As the squad continues to check on the members of the patrol, Matkovic notices a red wire leading from under a van into a building by the side of the street. Tasked with tracing the wire, Blackburn crawls through a ventilation shaft and arrives in a basement, where he finds a detonator. Pulling the wire out of the detonator box, Blackburn is ambushed by an insurgent. Fighting in hand-to-hand combat, Blackburn knocks the insurgent out cold, and removes the final wire just before the IED explodes, canceling the detonation.

Support for the MarinesEdit

After defusing the IED, and hearing gunfire outside, Blackburn is tasked to regroup with the Marines outside. As he moves outside into the street, Blackburn and his squad are tasked to clear out a bridge of PLR combatants, while other Marines secure the street-level. Manning an M249, Blackburn is tasked with engaging the PLR as they advance down the street. As he pushes the insurgents back with gunfire, two AH-6 Little Birds arrive and open fire on two PLR technicals. The Marines then pull back as a unit, and Misfit 1-3 holds the flank as the Marines await extraction. Blackburn mans an abandoned technical, using the KORD machine gun to hold off the PLR flankers.

However, as the Marines gain the upper hand, a huge earthquake begins to rip apart the area, tearing up the road and causing a tall building to collapse onto Blackburn and his squad, crashing into an AH-6 during its fall. The screen blacks out, ending the level.


Related Achievements and TrophiesEdit

The following achievements/trophies can be completed on this mission.

Image Name Criteria Gamerscore Trophy type
2Sc03821 Not on my watch Protected Chaffin from the soldiers in the street in Operation Swordbreaker 25 G Bronze



  • When the player first exits out of the LAV-25, the Marines near the player are still using the pre-alpha M16 models, without the standard carrying handle, gasblock, and front iron sights. The Marines encountered afterwards are using the correct M16 models.
  • The LAV-25 the player first exits has a unique desert camouflage, compared to the woodland of other LAVs.
  • In the period between the interrogation cutscene ending and the beginning of the mission, the song "God's Gonna Cut You Down" by Johnny Cash can be heard playing, at first as the only sound clip, before being transitioned into a radio track in the LAV-25.
  • In the Fault Line trailers, the M4A1 has an ACOG with a Tactical Light attached to it, and the M240 has an EOTech Holographic Sight and an Extended Magazine on it. This is not the case in the final game; the M240 is switched to an M249 with an ACOG sight, Bipod, and Extended Magazine, and the M4A1 has a Holo sight with no Tactical Flashlight.
  • After the player has defused the bomb and returned to street, it's possible to hear the AH-6 Little Bird pilot saying " I got your position, I got your target, We're inbound hot", It's a possible reference to the movie Black Hawk Down, when Army Ranger Staff Sergeant Eversmann throws a flare in the building at night, and the AH-6 Little Bird operator says "I got your position, I got your target, We're inbound hot."
  • The PLR sniper fought in the distant hotel (where Blackburn needs to use the AT4 against him) is very powerful; he is very accurate, hits a longer distance, and can kill the player with just one shot when compared to the other enemy snipers encountered on Single Player mode. This is probably a developer onsight in order to provide a challenging tutorial of going prone in order to avoid damage.
  • The enemy sniper can be heard using a .50 BMG sniper rifle, as Montes calls out "It's a fucking .50!"
  • The wounded U.S. Marine found in the Humvee can actually be killed by the player without resulting in a Mission Failure, even if it is a Friendly Fire incident. It is probably because the NPC is scripted to disappear after Blackburn defuses the bomb.
  • Peds on the street

    The civilians on the street who will vacate the street after IED has been secured.

    Strangely enough, when the player is in the street near the wrecked Humvee, several civilians are seen standing on the middle area. They cannot be killed by the player and they disappear after the bomb had been defused.
  • There is a quick-time event involving dragging Chaffin to safety. If you press the wrong button each time a prompt appears, you mysteriously take damage for no reason.
  • After covering Doc Holiday and reaching the market, the player can return to the parking lot where he/she was ambushed by going through the still open gates. If they go back where Blackburn sets down Chaffin, the player will find Chaffin up and active. Shooting him will cause a friendly fire message.
  • This is the only level in BF3 where PLR looks like insurgents, rather than soldiers.
  • The dog near the beginning of the level can't be shot at since the fence in front of it blocks all bullets from coming through.
  • Members of your squad can be killed if you fail to kill the sniper in the Hotel, allowing you to pick up their weapons from the bodies. The player can't use them though, as the deaths of the other soldiers trigger a mission failure.
  • During the bridge attack sequence after returning to the surface after defusing the bomb, if the player hangs back far enough away from the bridge, they can eventually see the Technical which the player is supposed to eventually mount (just as the earthquake hits) spawn out of thin air.
  • When finding the bodies of the two Marines, there is a rare chance where one of the bodies will use a character model like Campo for example although this could be a glitch.
  • When the earthquake occurs, there is an occasional glitch when the Little Bird does not actually get destroyed by the building. Instead, the skyscraper goes through it, and an explosion appears very near to the little bird, but not on it.
  • There is also a glitch which sometimes occurs when the player destroys a nearby car when the earthquake occurs - the roadcrack develops, but three things develop strangely; a) The friendly fire message shows up; b) Blackburn stays steady and does not stumble; c) The "Mission Failed - You Died" message shows up, even though no blood-screen appears.
  • Although the Mission is based in Sulaymaniyah, Iraqi Kurdistan, the map lying beside Lt. Cole at the beginning of the mission shows Basra City, South Iraq, which is also near the Iraq/Iran border, but in an entirely different region. This may have been the original location of the mission, supported by the fact that a waterway (Shatt al-Arab) runs through the city in the Fault Line trailers' intro, but no waterway exists near/runs through Sulaymaniyah.
  • One of the detainees at the beginning of the mission has exactly the same appearance as Abdul Rahman.
  • The earthquake that took place in this level occurred nearly 350 miles away in Iran, 170 miles southeast of Iran's capital, Tehran.
  • In Battlefield 3 BETA Trailer the PLR were soldiers instead of insurgents.
  • When crossing on a wooden plank after providing fire support for Doc Holiday, it is possible to fall off the building. Instead of dying, though, the game gives you ten seconds to get back in bounds before you fail the mission.
  • It is possible to obtain and pilot the AH-6 Little Bird used during the defense of the bridge by means of a glitch. In third person, your character model is glitched and is shown clipping through the top of the helicopter without a head. The AH-6 has a slower turning speed than the multiplayer variant. However, this AH-6 cannot be destroyed, as it was never scripted to be driven by the player or to be destroyed. It comes with a main gun that never overheats and a guided missile that can lock on to vehicles.
  • One of the two dead Viper unit Marines may have helmets identical to Montes's.
  • In the beginning of the parking lot shoot out, when the first RPG is fired, there is a special First Person Animation. If you stand the right distance away from the white van directly in front of the garage, the RPG hits it, sending Blackburn flying a few feet back. In the animation, Blackburn lies there a moment, shakes his head as if to clear it, and stands up.
  • In the game files this level is named SP_Earthquake.
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