In UC 0079, the One Year War between the Earth Federation Forces and the space-based Principality of Zeon drags on. In Canada, several Zaku II pilots discover the footprint of the new EFF mobile suit and call for reinforcement. Ten days earlier, EFF Lt. Matt Healy meets with Gen. John Kowen and his assistant, Lt. Rachel Milsteen. Kowen assigns Matt’s Experimental Unit to act as decoys to distract the Zeon while the EFF prepares for Operation Odessa in Europe. Matt’s team receives a Guntank unit, and a young woman named Noel Anderson is assigned as their combat operator. At the 3rd M.S. Team’s campsite, Matt asks Noel how they should attack the Zeon forces located at a nearby lake. Noel says the Zeon have three water-modified Zakus, so she suggests drawing them out repeatedly to wear down their combat strength. Matt, however, thinks her strategy is too indirect. Nearby, pilots Anish Lofman and Larry Radley argue over a card game. Matt dismounts from his GM Ground Type, and mechanic Annie Brevig asks him if he thinks the Zeon will notice the footprint he left for them. Matt thinks the Zeon will be all over it and asks Annie for her opinion about the Guntank. She tells him that the Guntank’s weapons are powerful, but its mobility isn’t so great. Noel asks Matt if he thinks she’s doing a bad job, but he tells her she’s doing fine. He says he thought of a new plan and intends to attack the Zeon after their reinforcements arrive. At a night briefing, Noel tells the team that the Zeon forces have received several Goufs and Magella Attack tanks as back up. The next morning, Matt and Anish’s GMs come under fire from Zakus at the lake. The Zeon commander orders his soldiers to disable the GMs so they can be captured and studied. Matt and Anish fall back into the lake, and Noel warns them that it’s too dangerous to fight in the water. Magella Tops separate from their tank bases, and three Zakus enter the lake in pursuit. From the opposite shore, Larry destroys two of the Zakus with the Guntank. Matt destroys a Magella Top, but a Gouf attacks him with a heat saber and slices into his left arm. Noel recalls a discussion she had with Matt where she asked him if he wasn’t confident about his piloting skills. Matt answered that he didn’t lack confidence, but he prefers not to kill people. Matt then rams into the Gouf and knocks away its heat saber. He punches its torso and then beheads it with his shield. With the battle over, Matt orders everyone to head for the rendezvous point for pick up by a Medea. Noel asks Matt why he didn’t completely destroy the Gouf, and he answers that the Zeon will lose fighting capacity by having to waste time repairing the Gouf. Noel thinks it would’ve been better to destroy it, but Matt says he wants to reduce casualties on both sides. Larry and Anish tell Noel that the war will be over soon and Matt doesn’t want to spill unnecessary blood. From across the lake, Zeon Foreign Legion pilot Ken Bederstadt watches Matt’s teams. Although his forces arrived too late to assist in the battle, he orders them to fall back. He tells his men they should worry about staying alive, but he adds that he wouldn’t mind fighting Matt one-on-one in battle.
In Lithuania, Ken’s Zaku squad attacks several Type 61 Tanks that are defending a Big Tray land battleship. Just as pilot Jake Guns is about to capture the Big Tray, a retreat is issued. At an EFF ground base, an officer explains to Matt that their Big Tray is serving as a decoy to divert fire from General Revil’s Bhatan. Matt says that he and his team are en route to another mission, but they will defend the Big Tray until its escort arrives. As the team moves into position, Anish asks Matt if they can protect such a large battleship by themselves. He then asks Matt about their other mission, which is to gather intelligence on Zeon’s new Dom mobile suit, and Matt says they may be able to kill two birds with one stone. At the Zeon base, Ken asks a young corporal named Yuki why they were ordered to retreat, but she says the orders came from above. A gruff lieutenant tells Ken that he and his Foreign Legion troops don’t see the big picture. Ken complains about the lieutenant’s attitude because they both have the same rank, but the lieutenant says he’s an official citizen of Zeon, not a hired gun. Yuki jumps into the argument and says that Ken is just trying to help Zeon’s cause. The lieutenant says that the Big Tray is a symbol of the EFF’s power, and it will be captured by Zeon’s new symbol of power, the Dom. The lieutenant then argues with May Kauwin, a 14-year-old engineer who is running maintenance on the Dom. Ken tells her he can hear if a mobile suit is running properly, and he thinks she did a good job. After the lieutenant takes off in his Dom, Ken’s men ask him what they’ll do now. He tells them to move out because destroying the Big Tray is their mission. Elsewhere, Matt drops Noel off at the Big Tray so she can survey the damage. Matt says he wants to use whatever plan will result in the least amount of casualties, and Noel asks him what he defines as “acceptable.” She then apologizes and tells Matt she didn’t mean to challenge him. The lieutenant approaches the Big Tray with his Dom, accompanied by two Goufs on Dodai YS sub-flight units. Matt tells Noel to wait for his signal while he and Anish take out the Dom. After Matt takes off, Noel wonders why he fights at all. The lieutenant destroys a tank and then blows the left arm off Anish’s GM with his bazooka. A Gouf destroys another tank, but Matt disables the Gouf with a shot from his 180mm cannon. Another Gouf moves in, and Matt uses his beam saber to destroy the lieutenant’s bazooka. The lieutenant then uses his heat saber to slice off Matt’s left hand. Matt tosses aside his machine gun and pulls out his beam saber for close combat. Ken’s forces enter the perimeters, and one of his men asks why their Dodais are still circling overhead. Another soldier says they’ll probably take propaganda pictures after the Big Tray is destroyed. Matt tells Noel to keep waiting for his signal, and she wonders if he can hold out. As the Gouf charges in, Matt jumps up into air. He was standing in front of one of the Big Tray‘s cannons, which Noel fires at point blank range on the Dom. Matt then attacks the Goufs and disables them. Ken and his forces move in and attack. Ken attacks Matt head on and rams into him. Two more Zakus appear, and Matt sees that Ken was just a decoy. Ken then jumps onto May’s Dodai and takes control. She jumps onto his Zaku’s hand, and he plows the Dodai into the side of the Big Tray. Ken orders his forces to retreat, and May activates the Dom’s self-detonation device just as the lieutenant is getting out. Noel is hauled away on a stretcher with light injuries, and Matt apologizes to her for botching the mission.
Later, the EFF begins Operation Odessa, an attack designed to drive the Zeon forces out of Europe and off Earth. Matilda Ajan’s Medea planes come under attack, but she declares she won’t stop until she delivers her cargo to the White Base. Matt tells her that his team will divert the enemy so that she can escape. He then parachutes out of a Medea in his Gundam Ground Type, followed by Larry and Anish in their GMs and Noel and Annie in the Bloodhound. After landing, Matt attacks several Dopp fighters and disables them, allowing Matilda’s planes to escape. At the EFF’s Odessa camp, Rachel reports to Kowen that Matilda’s planes came under attack. Revil says that they have a spy in their ranks because only a few people knew about Matilda’s mission. Revil says that mobile suits will become the main focus of battle now, which is why he assigned the Gundam Ground Type to Matt’s team. Elsewhere, Noel warns Matt that a huge UFO is approaching. Matt then comes under fire from the massive mobile armor Adzam and its Zaku escorts. Matt orders the team to spread out because they’re easy targets when bunched together. Anish rushes in to attack the Adzam head-on, but the Adzam deploys its plasma leaders and electrocutes his GM. The Zakus move in to capture Anish’s GM, and Larry tells Matt they have to fall back. Noel agrees, but Annie says they’re risking the capture of a mobile suit. Matt objects and says he won’t leave any of his men behind. He orders Larry to take out the Zakus while he attacks the Adzam. Noel questions the point of being a tactical advisor when Matt won’t listen to her. Annie tells her that Matt isn’t fighting to win the war, but to keep everyone alive. She adds that everyone believes in Matt because no one has ever died while serving under him. One of the Zakus rams Larry, but he stabs it in the back with his beam saber. The other Zaku grabs Matt from behind, but he twists and throws it into the path of one of the Adzam’s leaders. He then fires at the Adzam, and it crashes into the ground and explodes. Matt then emerges from the fire in his damaged Gundam, along with Anish’s GM. At the Odessa base, Revil tells Rachel and Kowen that Matilda delivered her cargo to the White Base thanks to Matt’s help. He then says he’ll take care of the spy issue on his end. Nearby, Ken’s forces are trapped in the middle of heavy fighting at Odessa. May tells Ken to look up at the sky when M’Quve’s Zanzibar takes off and heads for space. Ken tells his forces to pull back because he knows they’ve lost Odessa. One of his men asks if they’ll ever get back to space, and Ken answers they will if they don’t die first. With the end of Operation Odessa, the war begins to tip in favor of the EFF.
Matt takes a nap aboard a Medea and whispers the name “Duchamp.” He remembers being an officer cadet on leave in Sydney in November UC 0078. He encountered several men beating up a man that they claimed was a Zeon spy. The man insisted that he was conducting a survey, so Matt took him into custody for safekeeping. At the hotel, the man introduced himself as Duchamp Lawton, a geologist from Side 3. Matt brandished a gun and reminded Duchamp that he hadn’t been cleared of suspicion yet. He spent several days with Duchamp, who explained that he fell in love with geology as a child and wanted to come study fossils on Earth. Matt decided to help Duchamp with his work, and TV news reports indicated that the EFF and Zeon were moving closer to war. Duchamp told Matt that his mineral deposit surveys could have military uses, but he just wanted to help all of mankind. As Matt’s leave was ending, he spotted Duchamp exchanging money with a man in an alley and wondered if he really was a spy. He never saw Duchamp again, but after the One Year War started, he received a shark tooth fossil from Duchamp in the mail with a letter explaining that he refused to work for Zeon. Matt dedicated himself to fight for the future that Duchamp dreamed of. Elsewhere, Ken wakes up from a dream and recalls piloting a Space Pod as a worker for the Colony Corporation. In January UC 0079, he and his coworkers were captured by the Zeon, and an officer threatened to kill Ken’s family if he didn’t cooperate. Ken was tasked with helping move a space colony for the attempted second colony drop that was stopped at the Battle of Loum. Ken and his friends attempted to escape their exploding ship, with them evacuating in a shuttle and him in a Zaku II. An EFF ship destroyed the shuttle, leading Ken to kill in battle for the first time. After that, Ken was scouted by Commander Douglas to fight for survival in a new unit.
Lost War Chronicles follows in the footsteps of other video game side stories like The Blue Destiny and Rise From the Ashes by focusing on average soldiers during the One Year War. Main character Matt Healy seems to have a lot in common with The Blue Destiny‘s Yuu Kajima – both are young commanders of mobile suit teams who end up testing prototype mobile suits. Whereas Yuu gets involved with weird killer mobile suits, Matt tests standard issue GMs and Gundam Ground Types. Throughout the story, Matt says he doesn’t want to kill people and hopes to prevent casualties on both sides. For me at least, this attitude seems a bit out of place during a conflict as bloody and destructive as the One Year War. Matt is similar to The 08th M.S. Team‘s Shiro Amada in that they both want to protect their teams, but even Shiro didn’t shy away from killing people. Regardless, the adventures of the 3rd M.S. Team shed some light on the ground situation before the important Operation Odessa. Attentive readers will spot several anime characters, including Revil and Matilda from the original series, and Kowen from Gundam 0083. An extra chapter, strangely omitted from TOKYOPOP’s North American release, sheds some light on Matt and Ken’s background early in the One Year War. Matt made a friend who left an impact on his life, and Ken was kidnapped and coerced into fighting for the Zeon. This definitely helps to explain what motivates both of them in the present.