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Battle of Despayre: Misc

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Up to date as of February 04, 2010

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Destruction of Despayre

Battle of Despayre
Conflict

Galactic Civil War (Operation Skyhook)

Date

0 BBY

Place

Death Star I (near Despayre)

Outcome

Decisive Imperial victory

Combatants

Galactic Empire

Alliance to Restore the Republic

Commanders

Unknown

Strength
Casualties
  • Less than 100 TIE fighters
  • Fortressa
  • 500 X-wing starfighters
"Well, it appears the superlaser works."
―Admiral Motti, upon the destruction of the Fortressa

The Battle of Despayre was an ill-fated attempt by the Rebel Alliance to preemptively destroy or significantly damage the first Death Star while it was nearing completion in orbit above the planet Despayre.

It was an unconditional disaster for the Rebels who lost at least 500 of their premier starfighter assets as well as a large carrier capital starship. For the Imperials it represented the first operational testing of the Death Star's superlaser and gave the crew confidence in the capability of the battle station.

Contents

Background

The battle was preceded by a series of acts of sabotage during the construction of the Death Star that culminated in the destruction of the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Undauntable. This caused Grand Moff Tarkin to suspect the presence of a cell of Rebel agents or sympathizers working within the project, and privately he had anticipated some form of military incursion.

The battle

The modified Rebel Lucrehulk-class starfighter carrier Fortressa unexpectedly slipped out of hyperspace within close proximity to the Death Star in a surprise attack. Reverting to realspace 2,200 kilometers out from the battle station in Sector Seven of its defense grid, the Rebel ship managed to bypass the Sector fleet, commanded by Admiral Motti, stationed in-system and charged with the Death Star's protection.

The Fortressa immediately commenced the launch of two waves of T-65 X-wings of 250 starfighters each. On training maneuvers close to the surface of the Death Star, 1,120 TIE fighters from several squadrons, including Alpha Squadron, moved quickly to respond. They were led by Flight Commander Drolan and included notable pilots such as Lieutenant Commander Villian Dance.

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The Death Star is fired

"All right boys, let's pull the hammer back and cock this sodder!"
Sergeant Tenn Graneet

The Imperial fighters held to a perimeter 1,000 km from the station while the Rebel fighters closed to range. From within the command center, Moff Tarkin ordered the Death Star's superlaser station to target the Fortressa. From within 28 seconds of receiving the warning to confirmatory order, the Rebel starship was completely atomized at a range of 2,209 km using only four percent of the station's destructive power.

The Imperial starfighters then engaged the first wave of disoriented rebel fighters, who were continuing on mission towards the Death Star. The Rebel fighters where flying non-evasively towards the main objective and were largely annihilated with relativity minor losses incurred by Imperial forces. The second wave of 250 rebel fighters were destroyed by TIE squadrons launched from the Star Destroyers, with none making it to the Death Star's fighter screen.

During the course of the engagement, Admiral Daala, who had been inbound to the Death Star when the Fortressa arrived, was critically injured when her ship was attacked by a squadron of X-wings causing damage to the bridge.

Behind the scenes

The Battle of Despayre may have been a retcon to explain why there were so few Rebel starfighters present at the Battle of Yavin. It would also appear to have been a significant Rebel loss (or Imperial victory) in the same order of magnitude as the Battle of Hoth, only drastically less lauded.

Presumably the Rebel objective was meant to be a lightning-fast raid with the intent to damage the station and withdraw before the nearby Imperial Sector Fleet could respond to the incursion. However, it was implied that the Fortressa contained as many as 1,000 X-wing fighters (in the course of the battle it was destroyed before it could launch further waves) making it difficult to envision how the mother ship could recover that number of fighters quickly.

Also, Grand Moff Tarkin ordered the nearby Star Destroyers to break off their interception and, while no indication is given as to how close they were, it seems likely that they were fairly close if the concern was for their proximity to the impending blast danger area.

Finally, it appears as though the X-wing starfighters deployed by the Rebels were models lacking intrinsic hyper-drive capability. All of these factors seem to detract from the position that the engagement was a deliberate, well-planned operation by the Rebels to conduct a lightning-fast raid on a vulnerable enemy; leaving open the possibility that the incursion was the result either of a spontaneous decision by the captain of the Fortressa to attack, an ill-fated reconnaissance, or a deliberate suicide mission.

In any scenario, there were a series of poor command decisions within the Rebel hierarchy and an unlikely willingness by the combatants to follow them, even leading to their own deaths.

Appearances

Operation: Skyhook / Death Star I campaign
Orron III · AX-235 · Death Star · Polis Massa
Kalla VII · Despayre I · Despayre II · Danuta
Toprawa · Tatooine · Alderaan · Yavin IV · Yavin

This article uses material from the "Battle of Despayre" article on the Starwars wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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