- "Roger, roger."
- ―Typical response of a B1 battle droid
B1 battle droids, also referred to as standard battle droids, or as B1s, were the most widely-used battle droids manufactured by Baktoid Combat Automata and Baktoid Armor Workshop, and were the successor to the OOM-series battle droids. Even though they were the most widely produced and deployed, the B1 battle droid was flimsily designed and easy to destroy, and was only truly successful in large numbers. Early versions of the model also required the use of a Central Control Computer, but despite these weaknesses they saw extensive service as the mainlines soldier of the Trade Federation's mechanized droid army. The droid army was deployed during the Invasion of Naboo, and after landing B1 battle droids marched into the Naboo capital of Theed, and using the massive army the Trade Federation captured the city. The droids continued to keep the Trade Federations's grip on the planet throughout the occupation, and the majority of droid soldiers were deployed to combat the Gungan Grand Army at the Great Grass Plains. In the ensuing battle many Militiagungs were killed, but the entire droid army was defeated because of it’s shut down when the control computer was destroyed with the Federation’s Droid Control Ship by the young Force-sensitive pilot, Anakin Skywalker.
Following the Federation's disastrous defeat at Naboo, the B1 battle droid was reworked. The reliance on a Central Control Computer was removed, and the droid's were given droid brains instead. During the Separatist Crisis, the Trade Federation leadership meet with other commence guilds on the planet Geonosis, and there the Federation gave it's droid army, including the B1 battle droid, to the growing Confederacy of Independent Systems. The droids became the main solider of the new Separatist Droid Army, and on Geonosis the droid army clashed with the Galactic Republic's new army of clone troopers for the first time. This battle launched the galactic conflict known as the Clone Wars. The B1 battle droids and the other models of combat droids used by the Confederacy fought the forces of the Republic on countless worlds for the duration of three year long conflict.
Throughout the droid's history, it became evident that programming glitches in the B1 were having an effect on the droids, as these glitches resulted in B1s developing personalities, which often resulted in droids being dim-witted and making commentary on what occurred around them. During the war B1 battle droids, and the other droids of the army, quickly earned the nickname of clankers from the Republic's clones. B1 battle droids were outmatched by the clone troopers of the Republic, but when massive numbers of B1s were deployed it allowed them to gain victory over the more experienced clone troopers, and even members of the Jedi Order. The droids were manufactured in countless numbers for the Separatists, but military leaders, like the Supreme Commander of the Droid Army General Grievous, forced anger at the failings of the B1. Following the defeat of the Confederacy, B1 battle droids were deactivated by the Galactic Empire along with the rest of the droid army. Despite this, and battle droids becoming outlawed under the Empire, B1 battle droids continued to see use through Separatist holdouts and the black market during the Imperial Era.
- Ezra Bridger: "Hey, was this a Separatist battle droid?"
- Captain Rex: "Oh, yeah. Well, a piece of one anyway. This place used to be crawling with them. We called them "clankers.""
- Garazeb Orrelios: "Clankers. I like that. How many of these things do you think you blasted?"
- Captain Rex: "I don't know. Thousands. Probably tens of thousands. Never kept count like some of the boys."
- Ezra Bridger: "They don't look very dangerous."
- Captain Rex: "Listen, those droids wiped out a lot of Republic troopers. Many of them... were my friends."
- ―Ezra Bridger, Captain Rex, and Garazeb Orrelios during the era of the Empire[src]
- "Look, it's RB-551."
"No wonder he got blasted. He's one of those older models programmed by a central computer."
"Not us, we're independent thinkers."
- ―Several B1s discussing how they were upgraded models from the older RB-551
B1 battle droids were humanoid fourth class battle droids measuring 1.93 meters tall, and were a successor to the OOM-series battle droid. Unlike early B1 models, latter B1 models were able to operate without requiring a Droid Control Ship or Central Control Computer. Central Control Computers were used in early models because the budget-minded Trade Federation saved the production costs of thousands of individual droid brains, this move was avoided by the Confederacy of Independent Systems, as B1 battle droids had been reworked to not require a central command signal to operate. Despite the new model of B1 within the Separatist Droid Army there were still a small amount of older B1 models used, such as RB-551, a B1 battle droid who served as part as a droid patrol during the Battle of Ryloth. This unit was destroyed with the rest of its patrol by the Twi'lek Resistance. Central Control Computers were still placed in CIS craft due to the battle droids on them that needed them.
The humanoid physiques of the B1 model were specifically commissioned by the Trade Federation for practical reasons. The humanoid form allowed B1's to operate existing machinery, vehicles, and weapons originally designed for organic operators and pilots, saving the Federation unnecessary production costs and retrofitting. B1's could pilot Single Trooper Aerial Platforms, Armored Assault Tanks, Multi-Troop Transports, and Federation battleships, among other vessels. B1 battle droid's limited programming meant they were not always effective at these types of jobs, however. During the Mission to Rugosa, a B1 battle droid at the controls of the laser cannons on a Munificent-class star frigate missed every shot it fired at Republic escape pods. When the B1 battle droid was confronted about this by the OOM command battle droid in command of the frigate, the droid told the commanding officer that it had missed due to flawed programming it suffered. The limited programming of the B1 battle droids also made them unfit to serve many of the jobs they were tasked with on the advanced Subjugator-class heavy cruiser, Malevolence, during the Malevolence campaign.
The body of the B1 battle droid was also designed so the unit could be able to fold into a compact stowed configuration. One of the uses of this configuration was storage for transport, as in this configuration one hundred and twelve B1 battle droids could be stored into a Multi-Troop Transport. B1 battle droids could also fold into this configuration when they were low on power and needed to close down to recharge. B1 battle droids were also designed to resemble their Geonosian creators, and were able to be produced cheaply. The cheap price tag of the B1s often made it so multiple battalions of B1 battle droids could be sacrificed for a victory without concern from military leaders.
B1 battle droids were designed to have a comlink built into the side of their head, and their photoreceptors could switch to an infrared mode. B1 battle droids had the ability to pick up electromagnetic fields, such as the small fields generated from holoprojectors. B1 battle droids possessed simple vocabulators, which gave the majority of B1s high pitched voices, but there other B1s that spoke in lower more monotone voices. B1 battle droids were also able to display tones in their voice, such as fear, confusion, and even excitement. These also were examples of the B1 battle droid's "personality quirks," which were the result of programming glitches in the B1 battle droids.
For protection, inexpensive yet durable metal protected the droid's signal receiver assembly. This metal did not protect B1 battle droids against blaster fire or lightsabers well though, and these weapons could easily destroy the units. Another weak point in the droids, which was often aimed for by clone sharpshooters, were the droid's capacitors, and hitting between the B1's capacitors could take out the unit. Despite these tactics often utilized by the Republic, Clone Captain Rex would later state that the only true way to take out a B1 battle droid was to take out their head. Rex stated this was because the droids didn't even require their bodies to report intel back to command. Later into the Clone Wars, Separatist Duke Solha, as well as his brother and sister, operated a droid factory on Mokivj that created B1 battle droids, as well as B2 super battle droids, made from cortosis. The cortosis was from a nearby mine, and this metal made the droids more resistant to blaster bolts and lightsabers. This factory was ultimately destroyed in the Mokivj catastrophe.
- General Grievous: "How are you finding the assistance of the droid battalion? Have they quelled your superiority complex programming?"
- AD-W4: "You jest, Grievous. Their battle prowess is laughable while their "banter" is—"
- B1 battle droid: "He is so mean to us! Meaner even than you General. All we want to do is give him a callsign and--"
- AD-W4: "[AD-W4 kills the B1 out of annoyance]"
- AD-W4: "They do, however, make excellent blaster fodder."
- ―General Grievous, droid mercenary AD-W4, and a B1 battle droid[src]
The B1 was designed to be easily controlled, inexpensive to mass-produce, and designed to be unquestioningly obedient, however despite this being their design there were instances where B1s would questions their orders, and/or would comment on them. Another example was during the Battle of Quell, in which T-series tactical droid TF-1726 gave the order to destroy Aayla Secura's Venator-class Star Destroyer. A B1 battle droid disagreed with this, and questioned it's order. The B1 brought up that there still hundreds of battle droids on board the cruiser. These droids had sent to attack the Republic Star Destroyer earlier in the battle, but TF-1726 only responded that he didn't care, and ignored the B1s protest. Due to this the B1 followed it's orders to fire on the enemy ship. Another example of this was when a B1 questioned the hired bounty hunter Cad Bane's decision not to launch reinforcements to the vulture droids engaging Republic forces during the Battle of Devaron. Later during the battle two B1s panicked over their orders to defend the starship's bridge, knowing how only the few droids stationed on the bridge would be defending against incoming Jedi. During a storm in the final acts of the Second Battle of Geonosis, O.M.5 and another B1 battle droid questioned where Separatist Council member Poggle the Lesser was leading them, but the pair continued to follow him for as long as they could.
These examples of B1s questions and commenting on their orders all additionally served as examples of the "banter" and other comments that the B1 battle droids would often say. Other examples were when two B1 battle droids discussed getting maintenance due to the high amounts of moisture on the Battlesphere they were stationed on, Skytop Station, and when a group of B1 battle droids talked about how they believed they were superior models to the older RB-551. B1 battle droids also said other types of comments during duty, such as how one B1 battle droid commented on the beauty of the planet Hissrich, and how one B1 insulted Republic clone troopers during the Battle of Teth, calling the clones of Torrent Company "Republic dogs." One B1 battle droid seemly saw itself as being above the astromech droids of D-Squad, as it called them "stupid astromechs." These personalities and "personality quirks" displayed by B1 battle droids were the result of programming glitches the droids suffered. The B1’s personalities were often dim-witted, but no attempt was made to fix this issue during the Clone Wars. This was because the droids were still able to use their swarm tactics, and advanced programming was not required for this.
Individual B1 battle droids were not effective soldiers against enemies like clone troopers in combat, and so the B1 primarily relied on mass-assault tactics to achieve victory. The B1 battle droid's cheap price point made this a viable tactic for military use. Although later models were capable of independent thought, they had a limited intelligence compared to other soldiers and required a superior commander to lead them effectively in battle. Motion-capture data from highly trained organic soldiers allowed the B1 to demonstrate an array of combat stances, positions, and maneuvers. Despite their advantages, B1's were just as vulnerable to EMP weapons as other droids. The Gungan Grand Army used this tactic during the Battle of Naboo when they used boomas against the Trade Federation Droid Army. During the Clone Wars the Republic also used this advantage. Clone troopers used Electro Magnetic Pulse grenades, which were nicknamed "droid poppers" by the clones, against B1s and other battle droids, and in 21 BBY the Republic developed the electro-proton bomb, which could short-circuit an entire droid army.
In the field, B1 droids often utilized E-5 blaster rifles and wore Comlink booster packs. The droids were also known to use electrobinoculars and thermal detonators in the field. B1 battle droids were programmed to never surrender, however despite this there were instances where they attempted to escape or surrender. As they were they were soldiers in the Separatist droid army, B1 battle droids outranked the various models of astromech droids used by the Confederacy. While most B1 battle droid were simply troopers in the droid army, B1 battle droids were able to hold higher military ranks. B1 battle droids could hold ranks like the rank of sergeant, and the rank of lieutenant in the droid army. B1 battle droids could also serve as scouts for military operations, and as gunners to operate heavy artillery, such as the laser cannons on Armored Assault Tanks. B1 battle droids were also able to operate in space, as being droids they did not require oxygen.
- "Some of you gathered here today are old enough to remember when Baktoid Armor Workshop came to Geonosis and struck a deal with us to build foundries and produce battle droids and other automata for which we were handsomely rewarded."
- ―Poggle the Lesser to the Geonosians
B1 battle droids were manufactured by Baktoid Combat Automata and Baktoid Armor Workshop under contract from the Trade Federation. Baktoid Armor Workshop approached the Geonosians to build battle droids and other weapons so B1 battle droids were constructed in droid foundries on Geonosis, allowing countless droids to be produced at one time. Archduke Poggle the Lesser also received backing from the Trade Federation's mysterious benefactor Darth Sidious, and millions of B1 battle droids were produced on Geonosis for the Trade Federation.
Invasion of NabooEdit
- "Finally the mackineeks gottin us surround, but mesa and the rest, we just looked at each other smiling. We was going to rush them. We didn't care about their flashers. We just had a feeling that we'd like seeing what we could be doing. And that's when the mackineeks switched off."
- ―Oma Prumba's account on the end of the Battle of Naboo
In 32 BBY, after Prop 31-814D made the Trade Federation eligible for taxation by the Galactic Senate, the Federation initiated a blockade of the planet Naboo. The Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn were sent to negotiate with the Federation, but the negotiations were thwarted when Darth Sidious contacted Neimoidian Viceroy Nute Gunray and ordered him to kill the Jedi. Although the two Jedi were able to escape, the Trade Federation sent an invasion force to Naboo in hopes of forcing Queen Padmé Amidala to sign a treaty which would legitimize the occupation. However, the droids were shut down when the Trade Federation's orbiting Droid Control Ship was destroyed.
- "You expect victory over Jedi, but all you give me to fight them is battle droids!"
- ―General Grievous to Count Dooku
In 22 BBY, ten years after the Battle of Naboo, the Federation provided B1 battle droid forces to the Confederacy of Independent Systems, a secessionist movement composed of wealthy industrialists and disgruntled citizens of the Outer Systems, and the Confederacy's Droid Army. The Separatist Crisis soon broke into full war at the Battle of Geonosis, and the Separatists officially waged war against the Galactic Republic and its newly released clone army in a conflict known as the Clone Wars. During the Clone Wars, B1 battle droids were the most common form of battle droid, to the point where there were often one hundred B1 battle droids on a battle field for every one B2 super battle droid. However despite their numbers they were not as effective as the experienced clone troopers of the Republic. During the war, many Separatist leaders grew angry at the failures of the B1, particularly the Supreme Commander of the Droid Army, General Grievous. B1 battle droids were used throughout the entire conflict, and when not used on the front lines this model of droid could be seen patrolling on Separatist worlds and military locations, such as ships and bases. In addition to their use against the Republic in the multiple battles and campaigns of the Clone Wars, the droids also saw action against other enemies of the Confederacy, such as the Nightsisters at the Battle of Dathomir and Darth Maul's Shadow Collective during the Confederacy’s campaign against them.
Age of the EmpireEdit
- "Send a message to the ships of the Trade Federation. All droid units must shut down immediately."
- ―Darth Sidious to Darth Vader
Battle droids were outlawed by the Galactic Empire, the totalitarian state that replaced the Republic, in the wake of the destructive conflict in 19 BBY. Orders were given to stormtroopers to shoot and destroy "clankers" on sight. By 2 BBY, the super tactical droid Kalani continued to command several battle droids and droidekas at a wrecked Separatist supply ship on Agamar. These droids had not been given the shut-down code issued years prior, as Kalani had believed it was a Republic trick. After the rebel group known as the Spectres made contact with the Separatist remnant, the two forces joined to fight off an Imperial attack. With the aid of two Jedi, Kalani and several of his B1 battle droids were able to escape the planet in a Sheathipede-class transport shuttle. Due to this mission, Kalani and Clone Captain Rex came to an unofficial end to the Clone Wars, which they both accepted as the war's end.
During the Galactic Civil War, several B1 battle droids were among the rebuilt battle droids in the workshop owned by Ruen on the Wreck Belt. Ruen notably did not treat his droids well, but kept them controlled through control loops and ethical programming he installed into them. Ruen activated many of his battle droids, including his B1 battle droids and his B2 super battle droids, to apprehend the assassin droids 0-0-0 and BT-1 while the two were there for business. BT-1 quickly destroyed all of the droids Ruen had activated, and Ruen was forced to help the two assassin droids. After this was done however, BT-1 was able to hack into the remaining droids and remove the restraints Ruen had placed, which 0-0-0 viewed as an act of emancipation. Ruen tried to contact Quarantine World III to report about 0-0-0, but the remaining now freed B1s, and other battle droids, turned on him. The droids killed Ruen and destroyed the workshop as BT-1 and 0-0-0 watched from a distance. As the two left the Wreck Belt they discussed how they believed that if organics treated droids better then violence between droids and organics wouldn't be necessary.
- "A battle droid? You wanted to show us... a battle droid? The most incompetent droid soldier in the history of both the Republic and Empire. A mechanical comedy of errors."
- ―Makarial Gravin, upon seeing Mister Bones
The wide-scale use of the B1 battle droid and its variants in combat led to an increase in anti-droid propaganda and rhetoric following the Clone Wars. When several thugs saw the modified battle droid Mister Bones deployed by Temmin Wexley in the last months of the Galactic Civil War, they laughed at the droid, due to the model's history of failures. However this droid was modified, and proved to be very effective.
- "I PERFORMED VIOLENCE. ROGER-ROGER."
- ―Mister Bones, to Temmin Wexley
Some notable B1 battle droids included the OOM command battle droids OOM-9 and B1-268. During the Galactic Civil War, the modified battle droid Mister Bones served as a companion to Temmin Wexley. Following the Rebellion on Akiva, Mister Bones along with Temmin and his mother Norra Wexley joined the New Republic.
Specialized B1 battle droidsEdit
Fighting in uniformity, the B1 was only distinguished by numerical markings on the back of their comlink booster packs. Command structure and function was designated by distinct, colored markings on their armor. Blue denoted pilot droids, red denoted security droids, and yellow denoted command droids.
- B1-series rocket battle droid—B1s that were deployed to hunt down and destroy escape pods. They donned rocket packs and were distinguished by their orange and black colored bodies.
- B1 grapple droid—A B1 variant that were specialized in hand-to-hand combat and had white and green plating.
- B1 recon droid—A variant of the B1 that was specifically designed and used for reconnaissance.
- B1 repeater blaster droid—A B1 variant that utilized a repeating blaster. The droid had the same markings as the standard B1 battle droid.
- B1 rocket launcher droid—A variant of the B1 that used a missile launcher, and this variant had the same markings as the standard B1 battle droid.
- Droid worker—Modified B1 battle droids that were created by and served Karina the Great.
- Firefighter battle droid—B1s designed to suppress and extinguish fires. Firefighter droids were positioned aboard the Malevolence during the Republic's assault on the vessel. Their bodies were mostly colored black with yellow stripes and a single red spot could be found on their heads.
- Heavy battle droid—B1s designed to support heavy fire in battle. Armed with repeating blasters, these battle droids were capable of wielding heavy weaponry such as Z-6 rotary blaster cannons. They were identifiable by the overall gray body and dark red paintings.
- Security battle droid—B1s designed for security, also known as Specialist Droids. These B1s were identifiable by the distinctive red markings on the back of the head and body. They were used in the Invasion of Naboo by the Trade Federation and were incorporated into the Separatist Droid Army, tasked to patrol bases and prisons like the Citadel, guard the hangar bays and command bridge of the Invisible Hand, and act as snipers and heavy infantry for assaults on Republic worlds.
Behind the scenesEdit
B1 battle droids first appeared in the 1999 film Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace. Back in the mid-1990s, Doug Chiang's earliest designs of the battle droids were a nod to the helmets worn by the stormtroopers of the original trilogy, suggesting the evolution of large-scale combat in the Star Wars galaxy. The finished droid's proportions are reminiscent of African sculpture. Early design had towering droids twice the height of humans, but subsequent iterations brought their height down to human size.
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- (as "standard battle droid")
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- Star Wars Rebels: Head to Head
- Ultimate Star Wars
- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (Set: 75151 Clone Turbo Tank)
- Star Wars: Star Pilot
- Star Wars Character Encyclopedia: Updated and Expanded
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- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
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- Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know, Updated and Expanded
- Star Wars: What is a Droid?
- Star Wars Encyclopedia of Starfighters and Other Vehicles
- Star Wars: Geektionary: The Galaxy From A To Z
- Star Wars: Droidography
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