Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Battle of Endor
|Battle of Endor|
|Conflict||Galactic Civil War|
|Place||Endor's forest moon|
The Battle of Endor was the final major engagement of the Galactic Civil War fought by the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire in the fictional Star Wars universe depicted in the film, Return of the Jedi.
The prelude to this battle came when the Alliance learned that Empire was constructing a second version of the Death Star space station (under supervision by Moff Jerjerrod). The Alliance leadership realized that this version would likely have corrected the design flaws in the original Death Star, that the Alliance had exploited in the Battle of Yavin. It was decided that the station would have to be destroyed before it became operational.
With the sacrifice of the lives of many Bothan spies, the space station was found to be orbiting the forest moon of Endor. In addition, they learned that, although the station was protected by a powerful deflector shield projected from a base on the moon, the station's weapons were not yet ready for service. Furthermore, they also learned that the Emperor himself would personally oversee the final completion of the station. Destroying the station while he was still aboard would deliver a massive crushing blow to the Empire.
With a golden opportunity too good to miss, the Alliance planned a two pronged attack. A commando squad led by Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca and Luke Skywalker would land on the moon in a stolen Imperial Shuttle and disable the Imperial base's deflector shield projector. This would allow a Rebel fleet to attack the station and destroy it.
Unbeknownst to them, the Rebels were falling into a grand trap devised by the Emperor himself. In an attempt to effectively the eliminate the Rebel Fleet (the Imperial Navy had thus far failed to do so), Palpatine planned on drawing it and its command personnel to Endor using simple disinformation: he hid the fact that the station's primary systems were already operational (and had dispatched Darth Vader earlier on to ensure that the systems were ready on time). With a large naval force hidden on the far side of the moon and an elite legion of Imperial Stormtroopers standing by on the moonīs surface, he was ready to crush the Rebels once and for all.
The Rebels took the bait and the trap was sprung with the commandos captured at the moon's base and the Rebel fleet trapped by the Imperial naval force, which was ordered to hold position and prevent the Rebels from escaping. To make things worse, the Death Star's superlaser was already fully operational and was re-designed to be an irresistable anti-ship weapon, destroying Rebel ships at will. General Lando Calrissian and Admiral Ackbar closed with the enemy fleet to buy time, but the situation was hopeless. The Rebellion never knew that the station had the capacity to fire its main weapon system far more often and more accurately than ever before.
What turned the tide was that, unknown to the Emperor, the Rebel commandos had made an alliance with the indigenous Ewok tribe on the moon. Their warriors ambushed the Imperial Stormtroopers soon after the Imperials had captured the Rebel commandos. Although initially surprised by the cunning and ferocity of the Ewoks, the Imperials attempted to regain the upper hand when they brought their armoured AT-STs to bear. However, a squad of Ewoks led by Chewbacca managed to capture one of these walkers, and proceded to destroy much of the remaining Imperial armour. In addition, the Ewoks were partially prepared for the fighting machines with a number of traps that successfully downed a number of walkers. With the Imperials in disarray, Han Solo posed as an AT-ST pilot, informing the commander of the bunker, Major Hewex, that the battle was over. Hewex then ordered three squads to help search for the rebels. The Rebels caught the forces by surprise and destroyed the bunker, which brought down the Death Star's deflector shield.
Taking advantage of the new tactical situation, a small squadron of fighters and the Millennium Falcon dove into the uncompleted Death Star's superstructure, leading them to the main reactor. Because the Empire had a strong will to destroy the Rebellion, some TIE Fighters and Interceptors went inside to stop this rebel strike. This last stand drove some of the Rebel Fighters to pull back to the surface of the station and take some Imperial fighters with them, while others remained in space to continue the fight with other Imperial fighters. In the meantime, Ackbar ordered a concentrated assault on the Imperial flagship, the Executor and with a combined effort of several Mon Cal cruisers itīs shields were brought down. This allowed several fighter squadrons to target the Executors sensors and its bridge deflector-shields. After A-Wing-squadrons destroyed one of the giant sensor-spheres, Green Leader, after taking critical damage, guided his fighter into the bridge and killed the command staff, including Admiral Piett. The crippled ship went out of control and collided into the Death Star, causing massive damage as well as eliminating the senior fleet command. After the collision, several Imperial personnel realised that the battle was lost and many were able to evacuate the doomed battle station.
Meanwhile, the Emperor, who was attempting to corrupt Luke Skywalker with the Dark Side of the Force, was killed by Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker when he, turning back from the Dark Side, rebelled against the Emperor. Unfortunately, that final act was one of self-sacrifice, as Anakin, free from the evil curse that had consumed him throughout the Galactic Civil War, died in the arms of his son before he could board his shuttle. As this was occurring, Lando Calrissian and Wedge Antilles approached the main reactor. Using concussion missiles and proton torpedoes, they caused a massive explosion which caused a chain-reaction that destroyed the space station. Luke was able to escape in Vader's shuttle just before the docking bay exploded, with Gold Leader narrowly making it out as well.
Imperial forces at Endor consisted of an augmented Sector Group containing at least 22 Imperial Star Destroyers (including hangar-less destroyers ideal for ship-to-ship combat), 1 Executor-class Star Dreadnought and 1 Communications cruiser. There was extensive fighter support from the Imperial fleet and possibly from the Death Star II itself. This fighter support consisted of several Imperial TIE Fighter Wings, a majority consisting of TIE Interceptors, scattered in small squads, and The Imperial Fleet who was providing backup support for the TIEs and for the Second Death Star itself.
The main Alliance capital ships were the Mon Calamari designed cruisers. The large Home One was Admiral Ackbarīs personal flagship. Other star cruisers included the Liberty and the Independence. Numerous frigates, corvettes, armed merchant cruisers and fireships were also in the Rebel fleet. Rebel fighter forces were split into four ad-hoc fighter wings (Red Squadron, Blue Squadron, Grey Squadron and Gold Squadron), with Gold Leader assigned to lead the penetration mission to destroy the Death Star II.
More details of the battle were revealed in Expanded Universe literature. It was revealed that Grand Admiral Teshik had escaped the destruction of the Death Star. After the destruction of HIMS Executor, command should have properly passed from Admiral Piett to him. Gilad Pellaeon, senior surviving officer of HIMS Chimaera inexplicably ordered an illegal retreat from Endor. This action is most curious: despite the loss of HIMS Executor, the numerical and qualitative advantages of the Star Destroyers should have permitted the Imperial fleet to maintain tactical superiority over their Rebel foes. It is even more curious that the retreat order was widely followed. The battle was thus sealed for the Rebellion. It has been theorized that with the death of Emperor Palpatine, the subtle influence he exercised on his troops through the Force was removed and the Imperial Navy's fighting ability was dramatically reduced, allowing the Rebel fleet to scatter them.
According to the novelization of Return of the Jedi, Moff Jerjerrod was preparing to destroy Endor when the fighters reached the reactor. This is possibly as, in the movie, the superlaser flashes before the station explodes (indicating a malfunction) and the Death Star appeared to have been re-positioned toward the planet.
Teshik did not retreat with the rest of the Imperial squadron and fought on for several more hours until his flagship, HIMS Eleemosynary, was captured. He was later executed for war crimes by Rebel authorities.
Had the Rebels failed at destroying the station, the results would have been far worse than they thought. In the years beforehand, the assassin droid IG-88 was preparing to launch a droid revolution. The last surviving model, IG-88A, built a duplicate of the Death Star's computer core and switched his fake one for the real system, downloading his consciousness as well. When the Imperials installed the core, IG-88A literally became the Death Star, with complete access and control to all systems. None of the Imperial personnel knew, although Palpatine suspected his presence when a series of doors in his throne room opened and closed wildly. When the Rebels arrived, IG-88A fired the superlaser at the Rebel fleet, letting the Imperials believe they were in control, while he prepared to transmit his master control signal that would cause all droids to turn on their master. When the Death Star core collapsed, all power was lost and the destruction of the station wiped out IG-88A for all time.
As for Rebel losses, they were quite severe. Fewer than 24 fighters survived in a semblance of good condition (many others severely damaged with the majority apparently destroyed). Numerous cruisers were also destroyed, whether by the Death Star's superlaser or in the brutal point-blank engagement with the Imperial capital ships. At some point Admiral Ackbar was apparently forced to transfer his flag from RAS Home One to RAS Independence, probably due to severe battle damage in combat with HIMS Executor.
The disintergration and collapse of the Galactic Empire began shortly after the Battle of Endor as news of the Emperor's death became widespread. As HIM Palpatine deliberately did not plan for succession of rule, numerous Imperial leaders began carving out personal fiefdoms. This decay and collapse accelerated approximately six years after Endor during the events surrounding the clone Palpatine and his eventual defeat. Years later, the small (and mostly ignored) Imperial Remnant signed a peace treaty.
As for the Alliance to Restore the Republic, they would go on to form the New Republic. However, it was an extremely weak government and its rule was quite ineffective. It would collapse during the events of the Yuuzhan Vong invasion.
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