Fort Bannister is a pre-war military installation north of Evergreen Mills. When the Great War came in 2077, it was one of the highest profile targets in the area, suffering a number of direct nuclear hits, which obliterated much of its surface facilities, leaving a gaping crater and concrete ruins behind. The nuclear detonation did not destroy the bunker's underground installations, however, which was likely the main reason it was secured by Talon Company mercenaries and used as their primary base.
An interesting thing to note is that missile silo doors reside within a ruined building. As the building has a roughly circular pattern of destruction centered on the silo doors, one can gather that the building itself collapsed when a missile plowed through at the beginning of the Great War.
The bunker itself is extensive and is accessible from the ammunition storage, a manhole inside a lone Commander's Tent, a bunker entrance just above the Commander's Tent, and a metal door down some steps just to the right when entering Fort Bannister through the South gates.
The underground levels of the fort are crawling with Talon Company Mercs who are all very heavily armed. If your combat skills are high enough to clear the place out, the area contains a staggering amount of valuable hardware to scavenge. The mercenaries here have a wide range of armaments, including assault rifles, Chinese Assault Rifles, Combat Shotguns, Laser Rifles, flamers, Missile Launchers and 10mm SMGs.
In the Commanding Officer's Quarters are Commander Jabsco (leader of the Talon Company), a Mister Gutsy (though the Mister Gutsy model may be found in a dormant state, and likely activated once you attack Jabsco), and two Automated Turrets. However the first of these turrets can be either deactivated or frenzied via a locked terminal just outside the Commander's personal quarters.
The Commander himself starts off with a Missile Launcher, but once he runs out of ammo for that, he will either attack with his Occam's Razor, pull out his Chinese Pistol, or rush downstairs and grab any weapon in the nearby safe. Be warned that the commander also has a very high amount of Hit points. In fact he is the fourth most powerful enemy in Fallout 3, coming in after Giant Ant Queens, General Jingwei, and Super Mutant Behemoths. This can make dealing with the commander problematic.
There is also a chance that once you attack the commander, more mercenaries will spawn behind you.
In V.A.T.S., 4 shots in a row (may require Agility of 8-9 to get 4 shots) from the Alien Blaster (with Energy Weapons skill at 85, Luck at 9) is enough to kill Jabsco and no mercs have time to spawn behind you.
Alternatively, if you can sneak up on him, you can score a sneak critical headshot to soften him up, and proceed to take him down with minimal effort. Just peek slowly around the corner and immediately enter VATS as soon as you have a clear line of fire. Be aware that Jabsco is outfitted with Metal Armor, so it's advisable to have solid proficiency in a weapon skill, and to prepare accordingly with Psycho and Med-X if necessary. You can also send the turrets into a frenzy, if you have enough skill to score several direct hits to their sensors.
Alternatively, reverse pickpocketing an explosive into the Commander's inventory works very well, often killing him without you ever taking damage.
Alternately alternatively, you can sneak up to the terminal just outside his pad, frenzy the turret inside, and just sit around while it kills him for you. There's no guarantee he won't kill the turret first, but it worked for one player (me). Mr. Gutsy doesn't become active, and the backstabbing insta-spawning mercs don't seem to pop up if you just stay put by the terminal, too. He is indeed a very tough bastard otherwise.
Note: If possible, avoid fast traveling to this location as you may arrive surrounded by a handful of mercs and either a Protectron, Robobrain or Mister Gutsy, as well as a guard dog. Giant soldier ants have been known to spawn outside Fort Bannister in the nearby concrete ruins. It's advisable that the player, regardless of level should approach Fort Banister with extreme caution.
After The Waters of Life quest, an Enclave research outpost (Crater Camp:Sector 762) can be found near the massive crater, with a Field Research Terminal containing their objective in the area (gathering samples). The camp is occupied by 3 Enclave Soldiers, 1 Enclave Officer, and 1 Enclave Scientist. There is also an Enclave turret. There are 3 Enclave crates of which one you can store gear (Eye level crate behind computer terminal). In the crater there are 8 Alien Power Cell cartridges underneath the over turned truck. There is a constant low level of radiation (+1-2) in the crater so be careful not to get caught out if you are scouting for extended periods of time.
With the Broken Steel add-on installed, you should find several Aqua Pura pack brahmin near the tents. When searching the tents, you should also find Brotherhood Paladin Jensen tied up. He tells you that the Brotherhood is tired of having their Aqua Pura stolen by Talon Company, and intends to get some payback - Jensen is the scout for the operation.
If you free him, he'll charge down into the fort, quickly getting himself killed by the awaiting turret and the missile-launching Talon Company merc. Soon there after, two to four more Brotherhood of Steel Knights and Paladins will run in after him. Unfortunately, the hordes of Talon Company mercs throughout the base usually prove too much for them and they are quickly killed. Alternatively, it is also possible that the Knights will defeat the mercs and occupy Fort Bannister. It will become another BoS outpost soon after. One way to ensure a Brotherhood victory is to simply wipe out the Talon Mercs before freeing Jensen. Even if this happens they will probably be killed eventually as the Talon Company mercs will still spawn outside the fort.
If you killed Commander Jabsco prior to activating the Purifier, then neither Paladin Jensen, the assaulting Paladins, nor any Aqua Pura barrels will appear at Fort Bannister.
- Though it may be rare, it is possible that Paladin Jensen may never be encountered. While going towards Fort Bannister, I encountered the assaulting Paladins, convinced them to go ahead and not wait for Paladin Jensen's return and was then attacked by an Albino RadScorpion which killed two of them. The third ran in and then dissapeared, and Paladin Jensen was nowhere to be found.
- In my case I found that even though I had already killed Commander Jabsco (before activating the purifier) earlier in my game Paladin Jensen still appeared with the Aqua Pura barrels present. Since I had already cleared out the base beforehand there wasn't much resistance when the BoS started their attack.
- If you manage to overrun the Fort without losing Paladin Jensen or his team they will be joined by two additional Paladins and a Knight creating a formidable garrison of 7 Brotherhood members.
- In another case, only Paladin Jensen was tied up and the other brotherhood members were scattered dead in the underground area.
- The unique Combat Knife called Occam's Razor and unique Combat Helmet called Talon Combat Helmet are carried by the Talon Company leader, Commander Jabsco.
- There are 96 Alien Power Cells in a large radioactive crater to the east of the Fort itself and due south of VAPL-58 Power Station (screenshot). There is an overturned military truck in the crater, as well as several barrels of waste. The Alien Power Cells are beneath the truck, as if they spilled out of the bed. Also in the crater, less than 10 meters to the south east of the truck, are a locked safe ( weapon + ammo ) and a locked personal footlocker ( low armor ), both of easy difficulty.
- A copy of Nikola Tesla and You can be found on a ledge between the stairs in the missile launch room, near an Ammunition Box visible from the stairs.(It's one of the non-evident ones : Enter the commanding Officer's quarters from the wastelands, when you enter the missile silo, walk till you bump in an ammo box on the ground to your left, at the sand bag defence of the mercs you encounter after entering the stairwell. From here face west, then slightly left and down : you'll see another ammo box on the stairs' roof and a ham radio, one floor below. The book is between those). **Save before entering the missle launch room. The book may have flown due to the missle launchers**. You can reach it with an easy well timed jump, just go back up the stairwell and jump down.
- A copy of Guns and Bullets is found on top of a gun cabinet (.32 or chinese pistol and some .32 or 10mm ammo inside the cabinet) inside the easternmost room of the Bunker Area of Fort Bannister.
- In an Average locked room at the bottom of the concrete stairs in Fort Bannister Main (which can be entered from the outside area through either of two (very easy) locked doors - one is directly west of the entrance to Fort Bannister Bunker), there is a copy of Big Book of Science, a Fat Man, and one Mini Nuke. Just follow the metal steps up to the top, and continue through the doorway to the concrete stairs behind a door (average lock).
- A Nuka-Cola Quantum behind a footlocker under the stairs in the southern most room of the Commanding Officer's Quarters. (where you fight Commander Jabsco)
- The ammunition boxes and merc corpses are also a great sources of Laser Pistol and Laser Rifle ammo. Energy Cells and Microfusion Cells can be found virtually everywhere. Its also quite common to find Missiles on the company soldiers, so keep an eye out.
- A gigantic-sized wrench can be found sitting on a counter next to a normal sized wrench.
Fort Bannister only appears in Fallout 3.
- As the missile silo is empty it's presumable that Fort Bannister expended its missiles during the Great War.
- The fort is easier to attack from the northern torn down fence near the command tent. There is suitable cover from the various Talon Company soldiers here, which will help sneaky characters pick off their opponents one by one. If the player opts for a stealthy approach, it is advised to wait outside the fort until darkness falls around 8 PM before beginning their night skirmish. This allows ample time for the attack before daylight breaks. If the player is detected by the sentries armed with Missile Launchers, the circle of tents in the center of the fort provide cover from the missiles, which is a major benefit to attacking from this direction.
- Assaulting the fort from the southern gates can get very messy, because the open terrain turns the short run into a sprint across no-man's-land. If detected, almost all forces in the fort will give the player their undivided attention in the form of missiles, grenades, and heavy small arms fire. It is, however, possible to win this fight with Stimpaks hotkeyed.
- Assault from any direction is possible if you've completed the Broken Steel add-on and have the Tesla Cannon. You can pick off Talon Company members from long distances with one shot apiece, without getting noticed. To that end, having a high sneak skill helps, but is not necessary.
- Going in from the East over the broken down fence allows you to take cover behind a long wall and pick off hostiles on both ends without their ever seeing you, then follow the wall to the right and keep going until you come to a lone tent which has a manhole in it for entering the bunker.
- If Shrapnel is wandering the Wastes in search of his associate Flak he may find Fort Bannister. As Shrapnel is invincible, this means that Shrapnel will wipe out the entire surface force of Fort Bannister for you.
- Sometimes when in the Fort if you target an object and slowly move your targeting reticle away from the object you'll see Drink restore health and 16 rads / sec. It's just like drinking from a toilet if you can manage to hit the button fast enough. The dead body of the Wastelander laying face first on the table, and the First Aid Box and toolbox on the shelf right before the room. Of course you might have to look at the toilets first before it actually works.
- Sometimes the Mercs that spawn behind you during the fight with the Commander will appear to be much shorter than normal adults.