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End of conflict[4]

Battle of the Great Grass Plains[5]
Battlegrassyplains
Conflict

Invasion of Naboo[6]

Date

32 BBY[6]

Place

Great Grass Plains, Naboo[1]

Outcome
Combatants

Gungan Grand Army[4]

Trade Federation Droid Army[4]

Commanders
Strength
Casualties
  • Generals Ceel, Binks, Captain Tarpals, and numerous other Gungans captured before droid army deactivation.[4]
  • 543 Gungans killed[10]
  • Many droids and tanks destroyed before deactivation[4]
  • OOM-9, 1138 and all other battle droids (during deactivation)[4]
"Wipe them out. All of them."
Darth Sidious[src]

The Battle of the Great Grass Plains was the climactic battle of the Invasion of Naboo in 32 BBY. Fought between the Gungan Grand Army and the Trade Federation, it was often called the Battle of Naboo.

The battle served as a diversion for the Naboo Queen Amidala, who planned to strike at the capital city, Federation-controlled Theed, and needed the main Federation force drawn away from the city. Amidala, along with two Jedi Knights and the exiled individual Jar Jar Binks, enlisted the help of the army belonging to Naboo's other sentient race, the Gungans. Boss Rugor Nass agreed to join the battle, and rebuilt his shattered army. In the face of this threat, Viceroy Nute Gunray ordered the main part of Trade Federation Droid Army, consisting of Single Trooper Aerial Platforms, Armored Assault Tanks escorting Multi-Troop Transports, and Platoon Attack Craft, away from Theed to deal with the threat, leaving a security force that was minuscule by comparison to defend Theed under the command of PDA-2. The Droid Army was sent in three separate divisions. One was destroyed by Naboo-allied pirates, one was destroyed by the Royal Naboo Security Forces, and the third one, led by the OOM command battle droid OOM-9, moved to engage the Gungan Grand Army head-on.

The two armies met in formation at either side of the Great Grass Plains, with the Droid Army seizing the higher ground on Shaak Ridge. OOM-9 ordered his forces to open fire on the Grand Army, but the Gungan militiagungs and kaadu cavalry units were protected by mobile energy shields. OOM-9 eventually ceased the bombardment and sent in B1 battle droid and P-series destroyer droids, who breached the shields. The Gungans fought for almost an hour; however once their energy shields were breached, they were swiftly routed by OOM-9's forces in a tactical defeat, forcing General Ceels to order a full retreat. General Binks was captured along with many other Gungans, although over half of the Grand Army escaped. The destruction of the Droid Control Ship by Anakin Skywalker, however, caused the Federation army to deactivate, which resulted in a final victory for the Gungan army.

PreludeEdit

GunganPersonalShield
Gungans employ personal deflector shields against the Trade Federation Droid Army.
"Wesa ready to do our-sa part."
―Boss Nass confirms the Gungan participation in the upcoming battle[src]

In 32 BBY,[6] the planet Naboo was invaded by the Trade Federation in response to a trade dispute. The planet's Queen, Amidala escaped the occupation with the help of two Jedi negotiators; Amidala implored the Galactic Senate to assist her against the Trade Federation's illegal occupation of her home planet of Naboo, but could not bear the suffering of her people while the Senate deliberated.[4]

Deciding to take action herself, she returned to Naboo and, with the aid of the exiled Gungan Jar Jar Binks, the Queen went to the Gungan sacred place to convince Boss Rugor Nass, leader of the Gungans, to align with the Human population of Naboo. The Trade Federation had driven the Gungans to their sacred place after invading their homes and destroying Otoh Gunga. Amidala humbled herself before the Gungans, and Nass pledged his support to her, forging a historic pact and ending years of enmity between the Naboo and the Gungans. Once the remainder of the Royal Naboo Security Forces had been summoned to their hiding place, the Queen, Captain Panaka, and Nass devised a plan to retake Naboo.[4] This plan replaced the ones the Gungans were making in retribution for the loss of their home.[10]

During the planning session, Nass made Binks a Bombad General for the oncoming battle. The Gungan Grand Army were to lure out the main bulk of the Federation's Droid Army onto the Great Grass Plains for the head-to-head assault, allowing Amidala and her strike force, along with the two Jedi, Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi, to attack Theed and liberate the Theed Hangar. Naboo pilots would then attack the Droid Control Ship, deactivating the Federation Army, and allowing Amidala to capture Viceroy Nute Gunray, thus re-gaining control of the planet.[4]

Nass, however, was actually without an organized army. He took what troops he had and destroyed a Federation monument that had been erected in the city of Spinnaker. In its place, he had a temporary Gungan monument built, which he would use to rally and summon all of the militiagungs that had been in hiding around the town;[1] additionally, militagungs from every Naboo city joined the growing army, leaving only a few to guard the towns.[10] With his army in place, all he needed was the weapons with which to equip his army. During the Naboo Swamp Battle, OOM-9 had captured the Gungans' fambaas, which were their beasts of war. Nass attacked the city of Harte Secur, where the fambaas were being held, and rescued them from captivity. With all of the pieces in place, he moved the Grand Army out of the swamps and onto the Great Grass Plains.[1] The Federation, meanwhile, had sent three divisions to engage the Gungans.[11] Army A was the main force and moved to engage the Grand Army head-on while droid commander PDA-2 led the remaining droid army contingent in Theed. Army B's approach was halted thanks to the efforts of the pirate Nym in his Havoc,[3] and likewise, Army C's efforts were halted by Lieutenant Gavyn Sykes of the Royal Security Forces.[2]

The battleEdit

"Ouch time."
―Captain Tarpals[src]

The Gungan Grand Army proceeded to move out of its hiding place in the Swamps; they had licked the wounds of the Naboo Swamp Battle and were ready to take back what was theirs. The Federation's actions during the previous battle reflected little more than a massacre. Many civilians were killed during the evacuation of Otoh Gunga, leaving many militiagungs without a family, and without a home.[1] General Ceel planned on taking position along Shaak Ridge, where the Gungan energy catapults could hold off the Droid Army.[10]

The Grand Army had moved into their position by midday, taking up much of the level part of the Great Grass Plains 40 kilometers south of Theed, where Captain Roos Tarpals ordered the activation of their shield generators, set upon the backs of the fambaas. The army was encased in an enormous dome approximately one kilometer wide, impervious to any bombardment. They were still close enough to the swamps to allow a retreat if it came to that. The Grand Army had formed command units, each led by a General.[12] OOM-9's forces, freshly away from Theed, had arrived before Ceel along Shaak Ridge, forcing the Gungans to forgo the tactically superior high ground. Remaining in the valley reduced the effectiveness of the Gungan's catapults.[10] The Droid Army descended from the hills into the valley, in a mile-long formation of Armored Assault Tanks escorting Multi-Troop Transports, with Platoon Attack Craft held in reserve. The Droid division settled into position, facing the massive Grand Army. OOM-9 commenced a preliminary bombardment, firing on the Gungans' shields with his AATs, to little effect.[4]

BattleOfGrassyPlains-EGTW
B1 battle droids engage the Gungan Grand Army

After a while, OOM-9, atop his enhanced personal tank, ordered the other AATs to hold fire; the order took 0.396 seconds to circulate to the regiment;[13] the Gungans believed the battle to be won. The tanks fell back, and with an order from the Droid Control Ship[4] transmitted via a top-secret frequency,[13] the Federation's MTTs unloaded thousands of battle droids, much to the horror of the Gungans. The B1 battle droids slowly marched in units of 56 droids through the Gungan shield and commenced fire on the unprotected militiagungs. The Gungans, led by General Tobler Ceel and Bombad General Binks, fought with personal shields, catapults, boomas, and cestas; the Grand Army clobbered dozens of battle droids. The Gungan energy catapults launched large plasma boomas at the droid ranks, but they could not halt the persistent droid march. A squad of P-series destroyer droids rolled onto the bloodied battleground, further increasing Gungan casualties as the MTTs moved in to trap the Grand Army.[4] At some point, a battle droid, having been severed from the waist, flew onto General Binks, eventually getting him off and he started stomping and kicking it, eventually accidentially getting his foot entangled with the severed wiring. This setback eventually came with an advantage where he took down some droids, including one destroyer droid, due to the wiring causing the droid to fire his blaster when he makes movement with the entangled foot.[4]

Ultimately, the shield generator was destroyed by concentrated droid fire, deactivating the protective dome.[14] OOM-9 immediately called upon all AATs, battle droids, Single Trooper Aerial Platforms, to advance. Tank shells now ripped unobstructed into the Gungan lines, tearing up the previously untouched Great Grass Plains. While the Gungan catapults had a large area of effect, they had a slow firing rate, and they were nearly useless when in motion,[4] and Gungan ranks fell to the mechanized Trade Federation Army; the two armies engaged each other at close range among several ruins and mounted laser cannons.[14] Approximately 50 minutes into the battle, Gungan command units broke up under the assault while individual Gungans carried out desperate counterattacks against the droids and tanks.[12] General Ceel shortly ordered a retreat, and the Gungan Grand Army turned back toward the swamps. In the confusion, Binks, running on foot since his kaadu had been lost, jumped onto a cache of boomas carried by falumpaset. The weight of the Gungan opened the door and released the large boomas; one impacted with an AAT, destroying it while others disabled destroyer droids. An explosion then sent the harried Binks flying onto a tank. Tarpals drew up alongside on his kaadu and threw a booma at him to aid Binks, as Binks lacked a booma to take down the tank. However, Binks clumsily deflected it onto the tank's pilot, causing the vehicle to crash. In the end, both Gungan officers were captured by a battle droid squad[4] which included 3B3-888,[13] their army defeated, Binks surrendering easily to Tarpals dismay. General Ceel was also captured.[4] Kaadu units rescued the Gungan wounded while other Gungans stood against the droids to cover the retreat, managing to destroy several more AATs in the process. With the battle turning in their favor, the battle droids set about gathering the captured Gungans into groups while Federation PK droids picked up scattered weapons.[12] OOM-9 had planned on flanking the retreating the Grand Army to prevent escape, but this plan was thwarted by the destruction of the other two Droid Army divisions. By the end of the battle, 543 Gungans lay dead, although over half of the Grand Army escaped back into the swamps.[10]

AftermathEdit

BattleOfGrassyPlains-NEC
The Gungans fighting in the battle under the leadership of General Ceel
"Was'n they doing?"
"The control ship has been destroyed. Look!"
"They all broke-ed."
―Jar Jar and Tarpals, after witnessing the droids deactivate[src]

Despite a crushing defeat for the Gungans, events altered dramatically when the Droid Control Ship over the planet was destroyed late in the Naboo Space Battle by Anakin Skywalker, deactivating the droid army, and leaving the Gungan survivors instantly liberated from their recent capture. They watched awestruck as their droid captors, including the battle droid 1138, and enemy vehicles all around them suddenly shut down, realizing that while their own battle had been lost, the battle above them must have been won. They promptly celebrated by tipping over the deactivated droids.[4]

Some Gungans saw Bink's actions, which included personally disabling an Armored Assault Tank as courageous, while others knew otherwise.[13] Either way, Boss Nass was none the wiser to the antics of his newly appointed Bombad General.[15] Thanks to the valiant actions of the Gungans, Amidala succeeded in her quest to capture the Viceroy, and control of Naboo was returned to its rightful owners.[4] Following the Gungan-Naboo armistice, Boss Rugor Nass had a Gungan colony created on Ohma-D'un, and he kept relationships with the Naboo friendly.[16]

Military historians gave the conflict renown for the opportunity to study a traditional ground battle, which was rarely seen in that peaceful time.[5] The battle was eventually ported into a holopad historical mission by the Trade Federation, to show how the battle would have evolved if the control ship had not been destroyed, which included Darth Maul arriving later in the battle to assist the droid army.[1]

Behind the scenesEdit

Release informationEdit

Grassy Plains History
The simulated army
Battleofnaboo negvv
Battle plan
"The rabble of Naboo have dared to raise an army against us. Take a legion to the fields and wipe them out. All of them."
―Darth Sidious briefs the player before the battle during the loading screen[src]

The Battle of Great Grass Plains first appeared in George Lucas's Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, released in May of 1999. Like the Battle of Endor that featured in Richard Marquand's Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, Great Grass Plains is inspired by the Vietnam War, in particular, the concept of a technologically inferior race besting a more advanced culture in battle.[17] However, unlike Endor, Great Grass Plains is not won by the protagonists, and they are only saved due to luck, and outside intervention. According to Lucas during the audio commentary, Binks' antics were inspired by Buster Keaton. The battle also had Japanese themes to it.

An alternate non-canon version of the battle appears in the 2001 video game Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds as a "what-if" bonus scenario. In it, the player, controlling OOM-9's army (10 Heavy MTTs, 15 AATs, 40 heavy destroyer droids, 16 STAPs, 60 Heavy battle droids, and OOM-9 in a Heavy Armored Assault Tank) is able to destroy Ceel's forces with the optional aid of Darth Maul; Maul had won the duel in Theed and arrived to join the Federation army. The mission starts with four Advanced Droid Starfighters flying overhead, which are all shot down. The player must then push the Grand Army back to a Gungan Temple, which in turn, must be destroyed. The mission ends when the Temple is destroyed regardless of whether or not any Gungan units survive. The game's strategy guide recommends the player focus on the temple instead of eliminating each opposing unit. This can be accomplished by grouping units together and concentrating on one Gungan unit at a time, with emphasis on the Fambaas carrying shield generators. The guide also recommends sending in a second wave at the Temple as long as it doesn't get caught in the ford crossing.

Grassy Plains History 3
The Trade Federation attacking the Gungan Temple

2004 brought an appearance of this battle in the video game Star Wars: Battlefront during the Historical Campaign's first mission.[18] The player fights for the Trade Federation and engages the Gungan Grand Army on the plains near several ruins. The player is ordered to wipe out the entire Grand Army as it tries to retake Theed; first the Fambaas must be eliminated to knock out the mobile shield generators. The player wins by capturing and holding up to five command posts or eliminating enough Gungans to reduce the Grand Army's reinforcement count.[19] According to Leland Chee, the game's story is considered S-canon[20]

In the 2007 compilation of the LEGO Star Wars video game, this battle appears in LEGO form during a cutscene.

The Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace novelization faithfully recreates the movie scene, but with a few alternate details. In the novel, Binks releaes the boomas from the battle wagon before the shield drops instead of after. Also, the size of the droid army is said to outnumber the Grand Army, although on-screen the two sides have parity.

Production informationEdit

Doug Chiang The Phantom Menace
Doug Chiang production painting

According to the 1999 reference book The Art of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the battle was originally perceived as taking place between Naboo/Gungan piloted airwhales and Federation "air bikes".

Star Wars: The Making of Episode I: The Phantom Menace described the production process of the special effects for the battle. First, the scene was mapped out by animatics. Then, FX artist Dennis Muren assembled pictures of Earth locations, and these images were distorted by Industrial Light & Magic to appear alien. CGI images of the Trade Federation vehicles and Gungan armies were subsequently inserted into the shot. Animators received horse-riding instructions to illustrate the kaadu realistically. In addition, hundreds of effects such as laser blasts were rendered. Explosions were made on stage in real life, then scanned into the digital compositing system for alterations. The droids, at the suggestion of George Lucas, were made to be pigeon-like, with different actions randomly assigned to individual droids.

AppearancesEdit

Non-canon appearancesEdit

SourcesEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

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