The Battle of Bilbringi took place in 9 ABY between the Imperial forces under Grand Admiral Thrawn and the combined forces of New Republic military and the Smugglers' Alliance. It was the second engagement at Bilbringi fought between the two sides during the Galactic Civil War. The battle was fought at the Imperial shipyards for the sole reason that both the New Republic and Smuggler's Alliance desired to capture a crystal gravfield trap (CGT), a device that would allow the New Republic to uncover the location of cloaked asteroids that Thrawn had set in orbit over Coruscant.
A consummate strategist, Grand Admiral Thrawn accurately predicted the New Republic assault fleet would target Bilbringi, while a concurrent New Republic attack on the Imperial Ubiqtorate base on Tangrene would be a feint.
The Grand Admiral's fleet arrived at Bilbringi to prepare to set a trap for the Rebels. Thrawn instructed his Interdictor Cruisers and Interdictor Star Destroyers to activate their gravity well projectors in anticipation of the imminent Rebel attack. As anticipated by Thrawn, the New Republic assault fleet came out of hyperspace outside the Bilbringi perimeter.
Commander Wedge Antilles and Admiral Ackbar realized the New Republic fleet had come out of hyperspace too early, and too far out from the Imperial Shipyards. In the distance, a large Imperial fleet was arrayed before the New Republic forces. Several Interdictors were strategically positioned to prevent any escape. At once, Admiral Ackbar recognized the trap.
Grand Admiral Thrawn ordered the Interdictor Cruisers Constrainer and Sentinel, that were the farthest from the main fleet, to secure from entrapment duty and return to the demarcation line, where they would be protected. Then, the Grand Admiral instructed all Imperial warships to engage the enemy fleet.
The Imperial fleet was arrayed in a bowl-shaped formation with the Interdictors forming the outer ring. As the battle began, the Imperial forces hammered the New Republic warships, which were hastily assembled into battle formation and caught in the confusion. For much of the battle, the fight was going clearly in favor of the Imperial fleet.
Unfortunately for the Empire and unbeknownst to Thrawn, the Smuggler's Alliance was present at Bilbringi and decided to aid the New Republic fleet by directly attacking the Imperial Shipyards with the help of Rogue Squadron and some New Republic ships. The four Imperial Golan II platforms that protected the shipyards were unable to hold back the swift attack and the Imperial defensive line was breached.
This tactical change forced the Imperial fleet to divert some of its warships and starfighters to protect the shipyards. Thrawn's second-in-command, Captain Gilad Pellaeon, was dismayed by the sudden change of fortunes but the Grand Admiral reminded him that the battle was far from over.
Despite Grand Admiral Thrawn's genius, the Imperial fleet was defeated when Thrawn's bodyguard, a Noghri named Rukh, assassinated him aboard the bridge of the Chimaera at the height of the battle. As Captain Pellaeon read aloud an incoming report from Wayland that indicated that Thrawn's cloning facility was under attack, Rukh temporarily incapacitated the Captain by hitting him on the neck. Rukh then stabbed his long assassin's knife into the back of Thrawn's command chair, pinning and killing the Grand Admiral.
Rukh himself was killed by the Chimaera's stormtroopers, led by former Royal Guard Grodin Tierce while trying to escape. Although the fleets were nearly matched, Captain Gilad Pellaeon, realized that without Thrawn's genius, there was no way the Imperial fleet could manage a victory. With the New Republic forces gaining the initiative and many Star Destroyers requesting new orders in light of the tactical change, Pellaeon assumed command and ordered a full retreat towards the Unknown Regions, before later participating in Operation Shadow Hand.
- The Last Command (First appearance)
- X-wing: Isard's Revenge
- Dark Empire (Indirect mention only)
- (Mentioned only)
- Crimson Empire III: Empire Lost 2 (Indirect mention only)
- Specter of the Past (Mentioned only)
- Vision of the Future (Mentioned only)
- Dark Tide I: Onslaught (Mentioned only)
- The Final Prophecy (Mentioned only)
- Riptide (Indirect mention only)
- Dark Empire Sourcebook
- The Last Command Sourcebook
- The Thrawn Trilogy Sourcebook
- The Essential Guide to Planets and Moons
- The Essential Chronology
- "Who's Who in Rogue Squadron"—Star Wars Insider 59
- Coruscant and the Core Worlds
- The New Essential Chronology
- Scavenger's Guide to Droids
- The Essential Atlas
- The Essential Guide to Warfare