|It will be the first time humankind has achieved victory over the Titans! Indeed, it may seem extremely small when compared to what humankind has given up so far! However! For humankind, that single, small step will be a great leap forward!|
|— Dot Pyxis declares the importance of humanity's victory.|
The Struggle for Trost (トロスト区攻防戦 Torosuto-ku kōbōsen?) was a conflict between humanity and the Titans in Wall Rose's southern district, in which humanity prevented the loss of Wall Rose and claimed its first victory against the Titans.
Following the Fall of Wall Maria two years prior, the three remaining Marleyan Warriors Reiner Braun, Bertholdt Hoover and Annie Leonhart were sent to Paradis Island in an attempt to lure the Founding Titan from the royal family. All three of them joined the 104th Cadet Corps and one of the top ten graduates of the 104th Training Corps would be given the privilege of joining the Military Police Regiment. The morning after the disbanding of the 104 Cadet Corps, in which all three Warriors made it into the top ten, the Scout Regiment led by Commander Erwin Smith departed on an expedition beyond Wall Rose. In their absence, Trost District was much more susceptible to attack from the Titans.
Shortly after the departure of the Scout Regiment, the Colossal Titan appeared without warning, breaching the southern gate of Trost District as the 104th cadets cleaned the artillery atop Wall Rose, leaving an eight-meter hole. Eren Jaeger, who had seen the Colossal Titan for himself during the fall of Wall Maria, confronted the Titan in an attempt to kill it before disappearing as it did five years ago. However, it succeeded in escaping before Eren could land a killing blow, vanishing in a puff of steam. Immediately after the Colossal Titan's disappearance, the Trost Garrison initiated their strategy for dealing with a Colossal Titan appearance. As the cadets gathered for briefing, the citizens of Trost were immediately evacuated from the district before the Titans entered the district.
Under the command of the Garrison, the cadets were divided into squads assigned to various streets throughout the district. The main force of the Garrison took up the vanguard where the Titans would enter the breach, while the cadets were assigned to the middle guard for support and communication. The Garrison's elite soldiers took up the rear guard near the northern gate to ensure the best evacuation of civilians, and cadet Mikasa Ackermann was also selected for this position due to her exceptional performance in the Cadet Corps. It was made clear that desertion from the battle would be considered a capital offense and punishable with execution.
While Mikasa joined the rear guard, Eren was assigned to Squad 34 along with Armin Arlelt, Thomas Wagner, Nack Tierce, Milieus Zeremski, and Mina Carolina. Soon into the battle, the Garrison vanguard was overwhelmed by the Titans and the middle guard was called into action. Squad 34 was quickly slaughtered by the Titans upon first contact, and Eren risked his life to save Armin. In the process, he was eaten by a Titan, with his left hand and leg lost in the skirmish. In the belly of the Titan, Eren's Titan power given to him by his father was able to prevent his death. Out of the Titan, Eren's 15 meter Titan form emerged in a state of bloodlust. Eren's Titan would begin to roam Trost District, slaughtering any Titans it encountered. Armin, the last known surviving member of Squad 34, had not consciously seen Eren's Titan emerge due to falling into a state of shock after witnessing the deaths of his squad mates. He was later found by his friends from another squad.
To the north, the citizen evacuation came to a halt when a merchant attempted to haul an oversized load of goods through the north gate, preventing other citizens from evacuating. As an Abnormal approached the crowd, Mikasa killed the Titan and confronted the man, ordering him to allow the other civilians to evacuate. He reluctantly complied, and the evacuation was completed shortly afterward. All soldiers and cadets were then given the order to scale the Wall out of the district. However, many cadets could not evacuate due to low amounts of gas in their ODM gear, which could not be replenished due to the supply depot having been overrun by Titans. As the cadets grew worried for their situation, Reiner, Annie, and Bertholdt discussed their situation.
The Mysterious Titan
Rather than scaling the Wall, Mikasa joined the middle guard in search of Eren, only to receive the news that he had been killed in action with the majority of Squad 34. To cope with the news, Mikasa left to kill more Titans as her comrades joined her, though Mikasa ran out of gas soon afterward and was left alone. As a Titan approached to eat her, Eren's Titan by chance came across her at the same time and prevented her death. Armin pulled Mikasa away from the scene, and together with cadet Conny Springer he proposed an idea to make use of the mysterious Titan to lead an attack on the supply depot for the evacuation of the cadets.
As the conflict in Trost played out, news reached the Scout Regiment of the Titans' sudden movement northwards. Fearing another breach in the Wall, Commander Erwin ordered a retreat to provide support for the Trost District Garrison.
Upon discovering Eren's Titan, thought to be an Abnormal by the cadets, Armin and the others navigated their way through Trost to the supply depot with Eren's Titan following on instinct. At this same time, Jean Kirschtein led the surviving cadets to the supply depot in a do-or-die attempt to retrieve the much-needed gas. Once all cadets had arrived at the depot, they made their way to the supply room only to find out the Engineering Corp in the depot had been wiped out by seven 4 meter Titans. To reclaim the depot, Armin made a strategic plan to terminate the seven Titans in the depot as Eren brawled with taller Pure Titans outside. As the surviving cadets evacuated over the Wall, some stayed behind after noticing that Eren's Titan had become overwhelmed by Titans, who had begun to feed on his body. The Titan regained some strength after spotting the Abnormal Titan that killed Thomas Wagner, killing it in a rage before collapsing to the ground. The cadets who witnessed Eren's emergence from his Titan brought him to Captain Kitz Woermann. Mikasa and Armin remained by his side, and the others who left to regroup with the other cadets were forced to comply to an oath of secrecy until further notice.
The damage of the Titan infiltration was temporarily alleviated due to a harpoon net created by the Garrison technical crew, clustering them by the north gate rather than letting them roam free throughout the district. To the north of the district, Captain Woermann interrogated Eren concerning his Titan nature. Despite Eren's insisting that he is human, Captain Woermannn caved in to his fears and ordered for the artillery crew to open fire on Eren. With his Titan power, Eren instinctively created a Titan that blocked the cannonball. After leaving his Titan, Armin Arlelt pleaded to Captain Woermann in favor of Eren's humanity, but Woermann would not listen to reason until the arrival of Commander Dot Pyxis, leader of the southern Garrison forces. After the Commander was briefed on the situation, Armin Arlelt proposed a plan to use Eren's Titan power to seal the breach in the southern gate with a boulder within the district. Pyxis agreed with Armin's plan, placing his faith in Eren's Titan power.
Sealing the breach
After concluding preparations with the three cadets, Commander Pyxis addressed the remaining soldiers of the Garrison and Cadet Corps awaiting outside of the district. He introduced Eren to the soldiers, claiming he was the first successful experiment in Titan transformation and stating their goal to have Eren's Titan move the boulder in Trost to the breached southern gate to seal it shut. Many soldiers were rightly skeptical and were prepared to abandon the operation. Commander Pyxis guaranteed pardon for all deserting soldiers while reminding them of the threat of the Titans that awaited them should they abandon their duty. Many stayed at his words, and Pyxis used the opportunity to state the true nature of the operation to reclaim Wall Maria and the disastrous effects of losing another Wall. Once the briefing was complete, Pyxis assigned Garrison elite soldiers Ian Dietrich, Rico Brzenska, and Mitabi Jarnach to the Elite Squad which would accompany Eren en route to the boulder. Meanwhile, Garrison and Cadet Corps soldiers acted as a lure on the opposite end of the district, gathering the Titans to ensure the safest possible path for the elite soldiers.
Upon reaching the boulder, Eren transformed into Titan form with Mikasa and the Garrison Elite Squad standing by. However, Eren's Titan form took on a feral state and instead attacked Mikasa before incapacitating itself. Believing the operation to be unsalvageable, Rico fired a red signal flare to announce the mission failure. Rather than signalling a retreat, Commander Pyxis allowed for the operation to continue, having faith in the elite soldiers. Armin Arlelt, watching the operation from atop Wall Rose, made his way to the site as fast as possible. Meanwhile, the elite soldiers argue among themselves over what would be done concerning Eren's situation. Believing in Eren's potential, Captain Ian Dietrich urged his comrades to defend Eren's Titan at all costs, and the others reluctantly agreed.
As Elite Squad defended Eren, Jean, Conny, and Annie engaged in a diversion to draw the Titans towards the Wall. Annie and Conny escaped successfully, but Jean's ODM gear malfunctioned and he was left behind. Conny and Annie later came to his aid, and the three regroup atop the Wall safely.
At this time, Armin arrived at the scene of Eren's Titan. Using a tactic that would injure Eren's human form within the Titan without killing him, Armin was able to communicate with Eren, who was in a dream-like trance. Mikasa left the area to join with Mitabi's squad in the defense of Eren's Titan. Armin succeeded in awakening Eren after reminding him of his dream to see the outside world, and Eren's Titan lifted the boulder. Elsewhere in the city, Rico Brzenska's squad was wiped out in the defense. Upon seeing Eren's Titan making its way with the boulder to the breach, Ian ordered for the defense of Eren's Titan at all costs. As Mikasa joined Ian's squad in Eren's defense, Mitabi's squad took to the ground in order to lure away the Titans, sacrificing their own lives in the process. Eren continued on his way to the breach, reminding himself of the freedom that the outside world would provide and the necessity to fight for his dream. Ian Dietrich was caught and eaten by a Titan as he saved the life of a comrade while Mikasa and Rico killed the Titans near the breach. With the area clear, Eren succeeded in placing the boulder in the breached gate, saving Trost District from destruction. Rico fired off a yellow signal flare to announce the operation's success before joining Mikasa and Armin to retrieve Eren. At the sight of the mission success, Commander Pyxis ordered for reinforcements to retrieve Elite Squad.
Once Eren, slipping into a comatose state, was successfully retrieved from his Titan, the remaining soldiers were cornered between the sealed breach and the Titans. Fortunately, they were saved in time with the arrival of Captain Levi, heralding the return of the Scout Regiment. Together, the Garrison and the Scout Regiment spent the remainder of the afternoon and the following day cooperating to eliminate the remaining Titans in the district. The Garrison used high-explosive projectiles to wipe out the Titans near the Wall as the Scout Regiment eliminated those that remained. In the end, the two remaining Titans were captured alive for study.
There were no civilian casualties in the evacuation of Trost District early in the battle. Additionally, by the end of the battle, the Garrison and 104th Cadet Corps collectively suffered the loss of 207 soldiers dead or missing with 897 wounded by the conclusion of the battle..
On the day after the Titans had been eliminated from Trost District, remaining soldiers gathered the corpses of the fallen which would be cremated in order to prevent a secondary disaster. At this time, cadet Jean Kirschtein found the corpse of his friend Marco Bodt. Meanwhile, the interior at Wall Sina fell into a state of confusion at the news of a Titan fighting for humanity. Many suspected the news was propaganda from the royal government, while others saw Eren as a hero. Tensions rose between the people of Wall Sina and Wall Rose, and the threat of civil war was being considered by Military Police Regiment Commander Nile Dawk.
In the custody of the Scout Regiment, the two captured Titans were subjected to various methods of research by Squad Leader Hange Zoë. These experiments included attempts at communication, activity without sunlight, and pain tolerance. Hange had also affectionately named these Titans "Sawney" and "Beane" after the name of an ancient cannibal leader.
Eren woke up from his coma three days after the battle in a prison beneath a courtroom where a military tribunal would be held some days later in order to determine Eren's fate. While there, Erwin Smith and Levi informed him of the aftermath of the battle. Afterward, Erwin informed Eren of his new plan to prioritize the discovery of the basement in Shiganshina District, which was believed to hold the secrets of the Titans. With this new plan, Erwin asked Eren of his intentions, and the latter said that he simply wanted to join the Scout Regiment to kill Titans. Seemingly impressed, Captain Levi agreed to take responsibility of Eren, prepared to kill him if his Titan could not be controlled, and Eren was accepted into the Scout Regiment.