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Operation Return was an engagement during the Dominion War, where forces of the Federation Alliance launched an assault against Dominion and Cardassian forces in the Bajor sector in 2374. The main objective of the assault was to recapture Deep Space 9 and stop Dominion forces from taking down the minefield that blocked the entrance to the Bajoran wormhole. Whilst the Defiant arrived too late to prevent the destruction of the minefield, Deep Space 9 was eventually recaptured by the Alliance, and the battle became one of the major turning points of the war. (DS9 reference: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Technical Manual, DS9 episodes: "Favor the Bold", "Sacrifice of Angels")

For his role in retaking Deep Space 9 and stopping the Dominion, Benjamin Sisko was awarded the Christopher Pike Medal of Valor. (DS9 episode: "Tears of the Prophets")

Participating Allied starships


Battles of the Dominion War
Second Battle of Deep Space 9 (2373) • Battle of Torros III (2373) • Battle of Tyra (2374) • First Battle of Vulcanis (2374) • Operation Return (2374) • Sabotage of Vuldok Nor (2374) • Second Battle of Vulcanis (2374) • Battle of Sybaron (2374) • Third Battle of Vulcanis (2374) • First Battle of Chin'toka (2374) • Battle of Rigel (2375) • Battle of Ricktor Prime (2375) • Battle of Chudala (2375) • Raid on San Francisco (2375) • Battle of Goloroth (2375) • Invasion of Septimus III (2375) • Second Battle of Chin'toka (2375) • Kalandra Campaign (2375) • Battle of the Three Suns (2375) • Battle of Rashanar (2375) • Battle of Cardassia (2375) • Battle of Laktar (Unknown)

This article uses material from the "Operation Return" article on the Memory-beta wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

ST Expanded

Up to date as of February 07, 2010

The Star Trek Expanded Universe Database is for fanon and related content. See for the canon Star Trek wiki.

Operation Return
Sisko's plan to retake DS9.
Conflict: Dominion War
Date: 2374
Location: Bajor sector
Result: Federation victory
United Federation of Planets, Klingon Empire Dominion
Captain Benjamin Sisko, Rear Admiral Jennifer Douglas, General Martok Gul Dukat
600+ Starfleet vessels and a unknown number of Klingon Defense Force warships 1,254 ships, Deep Space 9 and 2,800 ships from the Gamma Quadrant
Unknown 2,800+
Unknown Unknown
previous next
Raid on Sector 432 Operation Return Raid on Coridan
For the Pendragon universe version of this engagement, see Operation Return (PDN).

Operation Return was the codename for the joint attack on Deep Space 9 by the Federation and Klingon Empires in 2374. The objective of the mission was to recapture the station and regain control of the Alpha Quadrant side of the Bajoran wormhole so to prevent Dominion reinforcements from the Gamma Quadrant.


Planning stage

After several months in control of Deep Space 9 the Dominion had yet to bring down the minefield blocking the entrance to the wormhole. However the longer then remained in control of the station the higher the risk that they would figure a way to bring the field down so Captain Benjamin Sisko came up with a plan to regain control of the starbase.

The plan would involve a joint Starfleet and Klingon Defense Force task force made up of elements from the Second, Fifth, Ninth Fleet and a large contingent of Klingon warships. After getting approval from Starfleet Command the fleets started to rally at Starbase 375.

The fleet departs Starbase 375.

At the same time the Cardassians had finally found a way to bring down the minefield. The resistance force on Deep Space 9 managed to smuggle a message out to Sisko warning about the imminent destruction of the minefield. Unfortunately Sisko was still waiting for Klingon Chancellor Gowron to commit his forces to the operation and the Ninth Fleet would not arrive at the starbase before the field was due to be deactivated. This news forced Admiral William Ross to order Sisko to take the ships they had and fight their way to Deep Space 9 before it was too late. (DS9: "Favors the Bold")

The Ninth Fleet was redirected from Starbase 375 to Deep Space 9, though it would not be able to catch up to the fleet before the battle had already been decided. It was also rumoured that the Tenth Fleet had been dispatched to make its way to Deep Space 9. (Star Trek: Swiftfire: "Rode the 600")

The Dominion was soon aware of the sortie of the large fleet towards Deep Space 9 and Gul Dukat organised a large Dominion force to hold off the attack. Both fleets met each other roughly three hours high warp from the Bajor system. The Dominion fleet formed a defensive bulwark that blocked the Federation fleet. The Dominion only had to delay the Federation fleet and took a defensive stance.

The battle

Fighters attack the Dominion and Cardassian fleet.

Sisko tried to open a hole in the Dominion formation and spent three hours hammering the Cardassian starships with wave after wave of attack fighters. Dukat decided to allow a hole to appear and draw the Federation fleet and destroy it. Sisko recognised the tactic but with time running out had no choice but to take the bait.

The Federation fleet advances.

Once inside the Dominion formation the Federation fleet's formation fell apart due to communications jamming by the Dominion. For two hours the Federation fleet battled on before the surprise arrival of Klingons reinforcements. The Klingons blasted a hole into the Dominion formation allowing the USS Defiant to break through. With time running out and no other ships also through the Dominion lines the Defiant made its way toward Bajor, alone. (DS9: "Sacrifice of Angels")

The Majestic and Sitak are hit.

With communications back and the Klingon also involved they tried to get other ships through to join the Defiant but the Federation fleet was too fractured to make any reasonable headway. After an hour it was then far too late for any ships to make it to Deep Space 9 and the Federation and Klingon fleets disengaged to reform and the Dominion fleet did likewise.

Command of the fleet still battling the Dominion fell to Rear Admiral Jennifer Douglas of the USS Venture. Despite the arrival of the Klingons and communications coming back online the Federation fleet's formation had seriously fractured and was ineffective at penetrating the Dominion lines. Admiral Douglas ordered for the fleet to regroup and both fleet briefly disengaged as they adjusted their formations. With the fleet reformed and the Klingons anchoring one of the flanks the Admiral threw the fleet back into the Dominion lines and restarted the battle. (Star Trek: Swiftfire: "Rode the 600")

The Klingons enter the fray.

The Klingons made use of cloaking tactics helped by the added interference of the high amount of weapons' fire and radiation from destroyed ship to make their ships even harder to detect. This kept the Dominion flank on the defensive allowing the Klingons to be more aggressive. The Klingons were eventually successful in turning the Dominion's flank which started a general collapse in the Dominion lines. (DS9: "Sacrifice of Angels"; Star Trek: Swiftfire: "Rode the 600")

Despite the battle turning against the Dominion fleet the main objective was successful as the minefield was destroyed just as the Defiant arrived, too late to stop it. Captain Sisko then took the Defiant into the wormhole to meet the Dominion reinforcements unmolested by the station thanks to sabotage to the station's weapons by the resistance on the starbase. While in the wormhole Sisko was able to convince the Prophets to intervene and they simply made the vast 2,800 strong fleet vanish. The Defiant exited the wormhole alone, much to the surprise to those on Deep Space 9, and attacked the helpless station. (DS9: "Sacrifice of Angels")

The IKS Rotarran and the USS Venture then managed to led a mass breakthrough of the Dominion lines of two hundred ships and immediately headed towards Deep Space 9. The USS Cortéz took charge of the reminder of the fleet as it continued to engage the Dominion fleet. (Star Trek: Swiftfire: "Rode the 600")

During the course of the battle, the USS Vulture took a direct hit, causing an explosion in engineering, which resulted in the death of the ship's chief engineer. Captain Victor Mandrake promoted the junior engineer Ensign Carmen Gomez to a field promotion of Lieutenant and made her the ship's new chief engineer. After the battle, Starfleet Command upheld the promotion. (Star Trek: Pioneer (STP): "Mandrake's Stand"; Star Trek: New Horizons)

Starfleet re-occupies Deep Space 9.

With the lack of Gamma Quadrant reinforcements, Deep Space 9's weapons' array offline and a large enemy fleet inbound the Female Changeling opted to evacuate the station and pull her forces back to regroup. The Dominion fleet disengaged from the battle and retreated, handing the Federation and Klingons victory. Starfleet quickly reoccupied Deep Space 9 and regained control of the Bajor system. (DS9: "Sacrifice of Angels")

Following the battle and the retreat of the Dominion fleet Starfleet recovery operations began in the battle zone. Search and rescue teams combed through the wreckage looking for survivors and recovered bodies. Starfleet Intelligence also deployed several teams to investigate the wrecks of Dominion and Cardassians ships in search of classified materials. (Star Trek: Swiftfire: "Unfinished Business")

The victory was a huge morale boost for the allies. Not only did they regain the station but also they defeated a much larger Dominion fleet. It also guaranteed that the Dominion in the Alpha Quadrant would have to fight the war without assistance from the Gamma Quadrant.

Participating starships


Klingon Empire

Major battles of the Dominion War
Second Battle of Deep Space 9 (2373) | Battle of Torros III (2373) | Battle of Sector 432 (2374) | Battle of Guyra (2374) | Battle of Rumarda (2374) | Battle of Tyra (2374) | Raid on Sector 432 (2374) | Operation Blue Room (2374) | First Battle of Vulcanis (2374) | Operation Return (2374) | Kalandra Offensive (2374) | Battle of Betazed (2374) | Second Battle of Vulcanis (2374) | Battle of Benzar (2374) | Battle of Sybaron (2374) | Liberation of Benzar (2374) | Battle of the Tibor Nebula (2374) | Raid on Tohvun (2374) | Third Battle of Vulcanis (2374) | First Battle of Chin'toka (2374) | Battle of Ricktor Prime (2375) | Battle of Chudala (2375) | Kalandra Campaign (2375) | Invasion of Septimus III (2375) | Breen Attack on Earth/Raid on San Francisco (2375) | Second Battle of Chin'toka (2375) | Battle of the Three Suns (2375) | Liberation of Betazed (2375) | Battle of Getha (2375) | Battle of Cardassia (2375)

External links

This article uses material from the "Operation Return" article on the ST Expanded wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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