The Battle of Endor was one of the largest and most important engagements of the Galactic Civil War fought by the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire. It would signify the decline of the Empire upon the death of Emperor Palpatine, and the destruction of Death Star II, as well as many major Imperial leaders.
Shortly after the rise of the Galactic Empire, Jedi Master Roan Shryne experienced visions of the Battle of Endor after learning of the true identity of Darth Vader, and being subsequently defeated by Vader. Just before his death at Vader's hands he related the details of his vision to the Sith Lord.
Many years later the Rebel Alliance learned that the Empire was constructing a second version of the Death Star space station (under supervision by Moff Tiaan Jerjerrod). The Alliance leadership soon discovered that this version had 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, because if complete it would be impossible for them to stop.
In operations that cost the lives of many Bothans, the space station was found to be orbiting the forest moon of Endor. In addition, the rebels 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 from the Emperor's datapad itself, stolen in the Battle of Korriban, that the Emperor was personally overseeing the final construction of the station. Destroying the station while he was still aboard would deliver a crushing blow to the Galactic Empire, perhaps the blow that would free the galaxy.
With a golden opportunity too good to miss, the Alliance planned a two pronged attack. A commando squad, led by appointed General Han Solo and coordinated by General Brenn Tantor, a former Imperial general who had set up the shield generator, 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.
Meanwhile, Rebel ships launched an attack on Imperial forces near the planet of Sullust in an attempt to lure Imperial ships away from Endor. It was a miscalculation made by the rebels, as Palpatine had devised a strategy to maintain the fleet close to Endor. The fleet would provide security and support for the second Death Star, instead of engaging the Rebel Fleet, a strategy not revealed until the battle above Endor's forest moon.
The Rebels were unwittingly falling into a grand trap devised by the Emperor himself. In an attempt to effectively eliminate the Rebellion, Palpatine planned on drawing the Alliance to Endor using simple disinformation: he hid the fact that the station's primary defense 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 troops standing by on the moon's surface near the shield generator, he was ready to crush the Rebels once and for all. The Emperor also predicted that the young Rebel Luke Skywalker would surrender to Imperial troops in an attempt to bring his father Anakin Skywalker back from the dark side. Knowing this, Palpatine planned to turn the young Jedi to the dark side, installing the youth as his new apprentice, in much the same manner as Anakin had supplanted Count Dooku at his side 23 years before.
The Rebels took the Emperor's bait and a squad headed to Endor on board the captured shuttle Tydirium. At the same time, Renegade Squadron also slipped past the planetary shield. Solo's team landed, with Renegade Squadron landing some way from Solo, and after a series of adventures in which Han Solo, Leia Organa, Chewbacca, Luke Skywalker, C-3PO and R2-D2 were captured by the native Ewoks, they headed to the generator (minus Luke Skywalker, who had surrendered to Darth Vader the night before after revealing to Leia that Vader was his father, and that the two were siblings) with the Ewoks, now their allies, behind them. The Rebels charged into the base, capturing the Imperial officers in charge, only to be ambushed minutes later and led out into a clearing. There stood hundreds of stormtroopers, as well as AT-STs. The Alliance appeared doomed. Suddenly, hundreds of Ewoks leapt out of the trees, stunning the Imperials, who had already dismissed them as primitive natives.
Renegade Squadron heard over their comlinks that Solo was surrounded, and they rushed to his rescue. First, they liberated an Ewok village captured by stormtroopers. At the same time, some Imperials were trying to repair an AT-AT that had been crippled by Solo's strike team earlier. Renegade Squadron prevented the repairs from being finished.
Although initially surprised by the ambush, Tempest Force regained the upper hand and squads of stormtroopers pursued the Ewoks into the forest. Despite being outnumbered by the natives, the stormtroopers were forcing the Ewoks back, and Imperial AT-ST scout walkers were decimating Ewok holdouts. The Ewoks tried a number of unsuccessful tactics, such as using gliders to drop stones on top of the walkers, and trying to trip them with ropes (a tactic which might have worked, if the ropes had been tied down instead of being hand-held).
Hoping to take the upper hand, a pair of Ewoks, led by the Wookiee Chewbacca, was able to capture Tempest Scout 2, one of the AT-ST walkers, throwing Lieutenant Watts out of the scout walker in the process. At least one member of Renegade Squadron also entered the walker. The tide of the battle began to turn as Chewbacca used this AT-ST to take out isolated Imperial units as well as another Imperial walker. The sight of this rallied the remaining Ewoks, who had been retreating into the woods, and they doubled their efforts behind the stolen AT-ST.
This allowed the Ewoks to spring a number of traps that had been set up with hopes of toppling any Imperial walkers. The tactic worked and together the traps and the commandeered walker defeated the remaining scout walkers. With the Imperials in disarray, General Han Solo posed as an AT-ST pilot, informing the Imperials within the bunker that the battle was over and reinforcements were needed to continue the pursuit.
Three squads of reinforcements were sent to help search for the Rebels. The Rebels, however, were waiting and the Imperial reinforcements, sorely outnumbered and under the guns of an AT-ST, surrendered to the Rebel/Ewok force. The Rebels proceeded to infiltrate the Imperial facility and destroyed the bunker with several proton charges, killing several notable officers. Renegade Squadron prevented any stormtroopers from entering the bunker while they did this. Storm commando captain Sarkli attempted to intercept Solo and stop him from escaping the burning bunker, but failed and was shot dead. The destruction of the facility brought down the deflector shield surrounding the forest moon and the Death Star, leaving the space station vulnerable to attack.
Renegade Squadron hunted down the remaining Imperials and totally eradicated them, freeing the planet from the grips of the Empire.
At the same time the commandos were captured by the Imperials, the fleet jumped out of hyperspace and moved to attack the apparently unshielded Death Star. General Calrissian noticed that sensors were not detecting the residue of a deactivated shield, which meant that the Empire was jamming the Alliance and the shield was likely still up. As they pulled up to avoid crashing into the shield, the Alliance fleet spotted a group of Star Destroyers moving toward them. The Empire, being informed of an attack earlier, staged a trap to capture and crush the rebellion, trapping the Alliance Fleet between the Imperial Sector Fleet and the Death Star II.
TIEs were deployed from the Imperial Fleet to engage the Rebel fighters and capital ships, some of the smaller warships were destroyed by the TIEs, as well as a limited long-range engagement between the Rebel Fleet and the Imperial Fleet. Soon, the Death Star II fired its main superlaser on Liberty, destroying it. Due to the shock and surprise of this act (the Rebellion believed the systems were not operational yet) General Lando Calrissian suggested to Admiral Ackbar that the Rebel fleet battle the Imperial Navy at point-blank range, in hope the Death Star would hold fire to prevent destroying Imperial ships. Soon the two sides were engaging each other at ranges little more than a few hundred meters, and the Death Star did limit its fire, except for targets of opportunity (Bulk Cruiser Urjani and MC80 Maria were still destroyed). Even with the Death Star's decreased rate-of-fire, the Imperial fleet still outnumbered and outgunned the Alliance. Retreat was not an option due to the Imperial Fleet blocking the exit physically, interdictor fields generated by Immobilizer-418s in the outer system preventing an escape, as well as the rest of the Sector Fleet providing another layer of containment. As an add-on, there would not be another chance for the Rebels to destroy the Death Star II, as once the Death Star was fully completed and mobile it would be sent to destroy every Rebel world in the galaxy unless they were to surrender.
As the enemy TIE fighters were launched, they began to swarm against Admiral Ackbar's flagship Home One. This necessitated in the Rebel Alliance in bringing Grey Squadron in who were commanded by X2 in defending the cruiser. After destroying the enemy fighters, X2 was called to Home One as it had been boarded by Imperials and required them to be eliminated. Once the cruiser was secured, X2 later aided Renegade Squadron commanded by Col Serra who were on Endor's surface.
Eventually, the Rebel commando team on the ground managed to destroy the Death Star's shield generator. In response, Admiral Ackbar ordered the fighters to commence the attack run on the main reactor. Taking advantage of the new tactical situation, General Calrissian led all of the remaining fighters of Red and Gold Groups into the Death Star's superstructure. Several TIE Fighters and TIE Interceptors went after the Rebels. This threat drove some of the Rebel Fighters to pull back to the surface of the station luring some of the Imperial fighters away from the primary mission; protecting the main reactor.
In order to dissuade more Imperials from swarming the Rebel fighters within the Death Star's superstructure, Ackbar ordered a concentrated assault on the Imperial flagship, the Executor to buy Calrissian more time. Green Squadron A-wings provided support for the Home One by disabling the ion cannons on three Star Destroyers. One frigate was severely damaged by a kamikaze CR90 corvette. With a combined effort of an entire Rebel flotilla of capital ships the bridge shields were temporarily brought down.
Several fighter squadrons began to target the Executor's main sensors. After A-wing squadrons destroyed one of the giant sensor spheres, Green Leader—after taking critical damage—steered his fighter into the bridge, which resulted in the cataclysmic destruction of much of the command bridge, killing all of the bridge command staff. Before the secondary command center could regain control of the ship, the Executor was caught by the second Death Star's gravity well, and was consequently pulled toward the battle station. It then crashed into the surface of the Death Star, exploding into a ball of fire and killing every remaining officer and crewman on board.
Meanwhile, Moff Jerjerrod, remembering his orders from the Emperor to destroy the moon if the shield was brought down, began to rotate the Death Star toward Endor. The Rebel fighters, led by the Millennium Falcon, sped to the space station's reactor at its center. Jerjerrod responded by flooding the area with interference to hinder the Rebel's progress, and (presumably) issued an evacuation order to non-essential crew. After this, Ackbar ordered that all ships be moved away from the Death Star, sensing that soon it would be destroyed. The Rebels were overjoyed, hit with a major boost in morale, while the Imperials were drained, and confused. The reason for this was the death of Palpatine.
In his tower, the Emperor was attempting to turn Luke to the dark side of the Force. Taunting him, he instigated a lightsaber duel between father and son; Luke and Vader. Luke won by resorting to anger, coincidentally the same way Anakin won his duel against Count Dooku, another duel set up by Palpatine. Yet when Palpatine ordered him to kill Vader, thus cementing his place as a Sith, he refused. Furious that he had failed to turn Luke, Palpatine unleashed deadly Force lightning on him, nearly killing him. Unable to witness this, Darth Vader was no more, and Anakin Skywalker rebelled against his former Sith master in order to save his son from Palpatine's Force-lightning barrage, hurling the Emperor into the Death Star's reactor core. Ultimately, that final act was one of self-sacrifice, as Anakin's life-support system was short-circuited. He was finally now free from the evil that had consumed him throughout the Galactic Civil War, and died in the arms of his son before he could board his shuttle.
All the while Wedge Antilles and Lando Calrissian were approaching the main reactor. Using concussion missiles and proton torpedoes, they detonated the Death Star's power regulator, and the main reactor itself, causing a massive explosion which led to a chain reaction that destroyed the station. Luke was able to escape in Vader's shuttle just before the explosion reached the equatorial docking bays. Wedge and Lando narrowly made it out of the superstructure as the fireball ripped through the doomed space station.
Demoralized by the loss of the Emperor and the Death Star, the remaining Imperials retreated deeper into Imperial space, believing that the Rebels would not press the attack.
With the Death Star's destruction and the cessation of fleet combat, the Rebels landed a force of tanks and other armor. These were placed under Tantor's command, who successfully mopped up the last of the Imperial presence on the planet with a direct assault on their base.
After the battle's conclusion, the Rebels command staff celebrated on the forest moon of Endor in Bright Tree Village, while the remains of the Rebel Fleet screened the space directly above Bright Tree Village to avoid any debris from the Death Star blast from harming that area. In this glorious celebration, Leia revealed to Han that Luke was her brother.
Grand Admiral Osvald Teshik escaped the destruction of the Death Star and instead of fleeing as his colleagues Takel and Makati did, unsuccessfully tried to rally the fleet and fought on alone for three more hours until his flagship, Eleemosynary succumbed to barrages of ion cannon fire and was captured. He was later executed for war crimes by Rebel authorities.
Having seen the destruction of the Empire's two most powerful weapons, the Imperial Fleet lost the stomach to fight and fled. This action is most curious: despite the loss of Executor, the numerical and qualitative advantages of the Star Destroyers should have permitted the Imperial fleet to maintain tactical superiority over their Rebel foes. After the destruction of the Executor, command should have properly passed from Fleet Admiral Piett to Admiral Harrsk or the commander of the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Chimaera which was serving as the secondary command ship. It was Gilad Pellaeon, acting captain of the Chimaera that ordered a retreat from Endor, without the consent of Admiral Harrsk (which would later lead to the Admiral's defection) and abandoned Teshik to capture and eventual execution.
It is even more curious that the retreat order from an XO who was out-ranked by most other present Imperial commanders was widely heeded, though the Chimaera's role as second-in-command ship probably had something to do with it.
The battle was thus sealed for the Rebellion. It has been theorized (by Grand Admiral Thrawn) that with the death of Emperor Palpatine, the subtle influence he exercised on his troops through the Force (battle meditation) was removed and the Imperial Navy's fighting ability was dramatically reduced, allowing the Rebel fleet to scatter them; it is known, however, that Grand Admiral Nial Declann perished with Palpatine aboard the Death Star, and that he had been using the rare Force-skill of battle meditation to aid the Imperial Fleet.
Had the Rebels failed to destroy the station, the end result would have been worse than anticipated - surprisingly, it would have been an ill turn of events for the Empire as well. In the years beforehand, the assassin/bounty hunter droid IG-88 had prepared to launch a droid revolution. The last surviving model, IG-88A, built a duplicate of the Death Star's computer core and switched its fake one for the real system, transferring his consciousness into the computer itself. 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 a foreign presence when a series of doors in his throne room opened and closed mysteriously.
When the Rebels arrived, IG-88A fired the superlaser at the Rebel fleet when the Death Star gunners sent the signal to do so, 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 masters. Many times, the aiming points and the firing coordinates of the gunners were slightly off and would have missed their intended targets completely had IG-88 not been in command to guarantee accuracy. When the Death Star core exploded, all power was lost and the destruction of the station wiped out IG-88A for good.
As for Rebel losses, they were quite severe. One-fifth of the Alliance fleet was destroyed, along with at least several Mon Calamari cruisers (one a sister ship of Home One) and many smaller ships.
The Imperial Fleet regrouped and repaired near Annaj following the battle; several days after the defeat, Admiral Prittick notified the rest of the Empire of the crushing defeat. Presumably by that point, Prittick assumed command of the Fleet, however temporarily.
What started as a trap to eliminate the Rebellion once and for all became the start of the Empire's eventual downfall. The disintegration and collapse of the Galactic Empire began shortly after the Battle of Endor as news of the Emperor's death became widespread. As 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.
The Rebels celebrated during the night, an event occurring on thousands of planets across the galaxy. They had accomplished their goals (somewhat). The Emperor was dead, the Empire had been dealt a massive blow. During this, Luke Skywalker saw the ghost of his father, along with the ghosts of Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Yoda.
Upon hearing of the Emperor's death, citizens on Coruscant (then called Imperial Center) staged an uprising, celebrating the death of the Emperor and Lord Vader and the defeat of the Imperial Fleet at Endor. Citizens set off fireworks, attacked Imperial forces in the streets, toppled statues of Palpatine, and desecrated other symbols of the Empire. However the Empire cracked down on the celebrations, killing citizens and covert Rebels before order was restored. The New Republic was finally able to invade Coruscant and liberate its people from Imperial rule a little over two years later.
Worlds like Naboo and Tatooine also staged their own uprisings upon hearing of the Emperor's death. At least the Naboo and the Tatooine uprisings were successful in galvanizing anti-Imperial sentiment. Several days after the battle, Lando Calrissian led a Rebel task force to Bespin, liberating the world from the Imperial occupation force.
As for the Alliance to Restore the Republic, they would go on to form the Alliance of Free Planets and, soon thereafter, the New Republic. During the years immediately following the Battle of Endor, heroes of the Rebellion like Wedge Antilles traveled around the galaxy to drum up support for the burgeoning Republic.
The Rebel Alliance was not the only one to utilize the Battle of Endor for propaganda purposes. Although the battle dealt a devastating blow to the Empire, efforts were made to provide it with a pro-Imperial spin.
A Galactic Museum exhibit presented the Second Death Star as a weapon of the Rebel Alliance, rather than the Empire, and portrayed Palpatine and Darth Vader as heroes who sacrificed themselves to destroy the battle station after attempts at peaceful negotiations failed. Although it presented a far stretch from the truth, even Wedge Antilles, who visited the exhibit while undercover on Coruscant, felt it was as compelling as the true history.
Over 500 starfighters from the Rebel fleet participated in the battle. There were five main attack groups: Gold, Red, Green, Blue and Gray Squadrons. The known pilots assigned to them are:
Other pilots (squadrons unknown):
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Battle of Endor might refer to:
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