In the War of 1996, thirty-six City Destroyers participated in the invasion of Earth and destroyed at least 108 human cities. Human military forces were unable to damage or impede the City Destroyers due to their deflector shield technology, which resulted in massive human military losses during the initial attacks, until they were finally brought down during the July 4th counterattack after the Americans managed to disable their shields and discovering their weakness in their exposed primary weapons.
Although the City Destroyers were brought down, two survived initially: one damaged by the mothership's explosion and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. The ship's surviving aliens attempted to self-detonate their vessel over the Atlantic fault line in order to create artificial tsunamis. However they were stopped by a U.S. Marines team led by Joshua Adams in which their actions caused the City Destroyer to rise to the surface before it exploded. The second Destroyer landed in the African nation of Umbutu. This vessel drilled into the Earth until it was deactivated when the mothership was destroyed during the July 4th counterattack. However, the aliens of the vessel kept fighting Umbutu's military forces for 10 years until they were eradicated. The Destroyer remained dormant and Umbutu's isolationist policies prevented the international world from investigating the vessel.
Immediately after the war, humanity began mining and salvaging the wrecked Destroyers for their resources and technology in which these operations would continue for twenty more years. The Destroyer's cannon was reverse-engineered by the Earth Space Defense to construct massive weapons platforms.
In 2016, the Umbutu Destroyer was suddenly reactivated. This forced Umbutu's leader Dikembe Umbutu to request the aid of ESD Director David Levinson to investigate the vessel. It was then learned that the Destroyer had sent a distress call to its home planet, sending the Harvester Mothership with the Harvester Queen to Earth.
A City Destroyer is, by Earth standards, of staggering size: shaped overall like a concave saucer, the Destroyer's main body was 15 miles (or 25 kilometers) in diameter, and its height from the center up is of just under four kilometers, tapering out to a single kilometer on the brim. The brim is not perpendicular to the bottom of the ship; instead, the edge of the bottom expands outward slightly before uniting with the upper dome. The upper dome is not perfectly smooth: the control tower, a wafer-shaped structure longer and taller than it is wide (though not so tall as to be the ship's tallest point), protrudes from a dish-shaped indentation near the edge roughly three or four kilometers in diameter. The underside of the ship is not uniform either: it is arranged in a symmetrical, bas-relief design not unlike the petals of a flower, with street-like corridors separating warehouse-sized blocks.
The Destroyer's known interior layout contains fighter hangars, laboratories for growing the various organisms the Harvesters had domesticated and engineered for their own use, command and control rooms.
The City Destroyers are used in the eradication of a planet's population. They are deployed more or less simultaneously from the mothership and hover over strategic locations on the target planet. The City Destroyer's main weapon is a energy cannon located at the center of its underside. Once the cannon is charged it launches a ball of energy that disintegrates the target and creating a chain reaction that forms a massive wall of fire that expands within a 25 kilometers radius. The cannon also served as a excavating tool to mine a planet's resources.
Like all Harvester vessels, the City Destroyer possessed deflector shields in which they can withstand any conventional weapons including nuclear weapons. Likely due to their shields, the Destroyers lacked of any other offensive weapons aside from its cannon. Instead, the Destroyer serviced and carried hundreds of Attackers to deter enemy forces.
Without its shields, the City Destroyers are still able to withstand direct attacks due to its massive bulk. However, the City Destroyer's main weakness is their cannon: unshielded, any susceptible damage to the cannon while charging up a volley would result a explosive catastrophic backlash that destroys the ship from the inside.
List of Destroyers
- Area 51 Destroyer: Responsible for destroying Los Angeles and later brought down in the outskirts of Area 51.
- Mecca Destroyer: Destroyed Jerusalem and Amman. Brought down near Mecca. Alien survivors from the crashed ship waged a short term war in the region.
- Wuhan Destroyer: Brought down over Wuhan, China, which crushed the city.
- Atlantic Destroyer: Self-destructed in a failed attempt to create artificial tsunamis in the Atlantic Ocean.
- Denver Destroyer: Crashed over the ruins of Denver.
- Australia Destroyer: Brought downed outside of Sydney.
- Egypt Destroyer: Brought down near the Giza pyramid complex. A joint military effort salvaged a functional hover technology from the wreckage.
- East Africa Destroyer: Brought down on the base of Mount Kilimanjaro.
- Umbutu City Destroyer: Landed intact in the National Republic of Umbutu.
Inside the Umbutu City Destroyer
Behind the Scenes
- The fiery clouds that were produced by the City Destroyers entering Earth's airspace were created by injecting gray painting into a large water tank, with an internal lighting rig a bluescreen backdrop. Multiple takes were then composited into live action location shots. There were difficulties in depicting the effect on the early televised views of the Destroyers entering the airspace of Siberia and elsewhere in which they had to be played back on set many months before any final visual effects shots would be ready.
- The shadows of the Destroyers passing over the cities and monuments were achieved both by digital manipulation of wide location shots and by simply moving large cutouts over miniature monuments shot outdoors in daylight.
- The Destroyers were created in three different scales: a four-foot version for wide space shots, a twelve-foot hero model for the majority of shots, and a massive thirty-five foot section representing one sixth of the ship for closeups.
- The Destroyers' primary weapon with its metallic petals opening up was filmed with a larger-scale mechanized miniature section that was shot upside down to facilitate lighting.
- The primary weapon seems to fire in three distinct stages: Stage one was the buildup of energy streams around the central firing point; stage two was an intense light beam that served to illuminate and designate the target, much similar to the laser sight of a gun and stage three was "the hammer" of the energy that traveled down the sighting beam to annihilate its target and spread outwards.
- The City Destroyers in the 1997 video game are basically the same as the ones in the film. They appear in every level, with the exception of the Mother Ship level. After completing the mission objective, the Destroyer prepares to fire. Its primary weapon must then be destroyed before the time is up. Cannons and shield generators are attached to the underside of the Destroyers.
- The Umbutu Destroyer depicted in Independence Day: Resurgence is seemingly a different design than the other City Destroyers seen, having sets of landing struts and more concave appearance on its underside, giving it a more bowl-like shape.