- "Rieekan had beaten the enemy commander's spirit. By Rieekan's brilliant tactics and his troopers' flawless execution of those tactics, he had made his enemy doubt himself and his troops. The Imperial general did not attack—at three to one odds—because he was whipped."
- ―General Crix Madine on the Battle of Tiems during a lecture on strategy and tactics
The Battle of Tiems was an engagement fought between the Alliance to Restore the Republic and Galactic Empire sometime during the Galactic Civil War, in the area surrounding the city of Tiems on the planet of the same name in the Outer Rim Territories. General Carlist Rieekan led a detachment of three Alliance Army infantry regiments to liberate thousands of Alliance prisoners from Imperial facilities located in Tiems. After successfully completing the assignment, their extraction was delayed as the transports were held up by enemy starfighter forces.
Forced to defend a fixed position—the landing zone for their extraction—against a numerically superior enemy, Rieekan employed a mobile defense. By knowing that his Imperial counterpart would concentrate his full assault on the weakest part of the Alliance defensive line, Rieekan drew the Imperial forces into an effective trap, destroying half their number. The remaining Imperial soldiers withdrew to Tiems to regroup and reinforce, although by the time the Imperial commander mustered his forces, the Alliance soldiers had been extracted from the planet. Following the battle, the engagement was used by Alliance Special Forces General Crix Madine as the perfect example of the mobile defense tactic during orientation briefings to new Rebel ground forces commanders.
Having learned that several thousand Alliance to Restore the Republic personnel were being held by the Galactic Empire in prisons on the planet Tiems in the system of the same name in the Outer Rim Territories' Belderone sector, the Alliance organized a a mission to liberate them. Commanded by General Carlist Rieekan, a detachment of three infantry regiments were assigned to the operation, backed up by several transports to ferry the troops to the planet and then retrieve them once they had freed the prisoners. The Imperial forces on the planet included four regiments of Imperial soldiers, four regiments of indigenous troops, and had starfighter support available to them.
Rieekan's Alliance Army regiments landed on the planet and attacked the city of Tiems where the prisons were located, successfully destroying a power plant and freeing all the incarcerated Rebel personnel. Following the mission, Rieekan and his troops were to head down the Tiems Road to a landing zone on the other side of a small town for extraction. However, the transports assigned to extract Rieekan, his troops, and the prisoners off-planet were delayed by enemy starfighter action. Forced to defend the designated landing zone against an Imperial counter-attack—which would be numerically superior—until the rescue could be effected, Rieekan chose to employ a mobile defense and draw the Imperials into a trap.
Between the city of Tiems and the landing zone was the Tiems Road, flanked on the right by the Blue River and on the left by the Gopps Forest. A small town sat on a crossroads of the Tiems Road, between Tiems itself and the Alliance landing zone. Rieekan deployed his troops in a defensive line, strung out in the open terrain surrounding the Tiems Road, and using the cover of the forest and river on the flanks. His intent was to make it appear that the line was held by all three regiments of soldiers under his command, when in reality it was only held by the equivalent of one regiment. Rieekan, aware that Imperial doctrine called for maximum force to be applied to the weakest part of the enemy's line, knew that his Imperial counterpart would concentrate his assault on the center of the Alliance line, which was without forest or river cover. The other two regiments worth of troops had been positioned to the rear of the line, hidden in cover by the forest and the river on either side of the road near the town on the crossroads.
At 1330 hours, local time, the Imperial General ordered his troops to assault the Alliance line. Under his command were four regiments of infantry. The 1st and 3rd Regiments assaulted the flanks of the Alliance line, holding the battalions manning the line in place. The 2nd Regiment attacked the center of the line—which, without cover from the forest or river, was the weakest point of the Alliance line—as doctrine required. The 4th Regiment remained in reserve, ready to exploit any breakthroughs. The fighting was fierce all along the line, with the Alliance battalions assigned to the defense holding their positions against a superior force for over two hours to allow the trap to develop. The troops on the flanks had orders to hold firm, while the troops in the center had orders to retreat at the proper time and fall back to the town on the crossroads.
On Rieekan's order, the troops in the center fell back in good order toward the town located between their position and the landing zone and dug in. Both the 2nd and 4th Imperial regiments followed the Alliance forces, straight between the two hidden regiments along the bank of the Blue River and in the Gopps Forest. The hidden Alliance forces attacked the Imperial regiments on the flanks, while the battalions that had fallen back to the town counter-attacked from the front. The Alliance forces surrounded them and almost completely destroyed both Imperial formations.
After the ambush, the Imperial survivors fell back to Tiems in disorder to await reinforcements. An entire division of native soldiers—totaling four regiments—arrived at the city twenty-four hours later. The Imperial commander waited a further twelve hours before launching another offensive to allow the weather to clear enough so that his attack could be supported by air cover from a local base. By that time, General Rieekan's detachment and the prisoners had been successfully extracted from the planet, with their mission accomplished.
General Rieekan's After Action Report made it clear that the victory could not have been achieved without the well trained, high-motivated and well-led Alliance troops, who held out against superior Imperial forces for hours while the trap was readied. In addition, Rieekan's intimate knowledge of Imperial doctrine, and knowing that his Imperial counterpart would adhere to those rules of combat, allowed him to design a trap for which the Imperial commander would no doubt fall.
Rieekan also proved at Tiems that one did not have to annihilate the enemy to defeat them. The Imperial forces started the battle with four regiments to the Alliance's three. The Imperials lost two regiments in the ambush, while the Alliance lost the equivalent of one regiment setting up the trap. When the Imperial commander was reinforced, he had six regiments under his command, compared to the Alliance's two. The Imperials had a three-to-one advantage, but delayed their attack to wait for air cover—which was too late.
Following the battle, General Crix Madine, commander of the Alliance Special Forces, used the battle as a textbook example of the mobile defense in orientations given to new Alliance ground commanders. He dissected the battle plan, and urged the new commanders to study the Battle of Tiems so they could use the lessons it taught in their own combat theaters. Among the lessons he hoped the new commanders would learn was that one did not have to destroy an enemy force to beat it, and that making the enemy commander fear them through the use of superior tactics and strategy would give them the advantage.
Behind the scenesEdit
- "Re Tiems, yes, city of Tiems on planet of same name. Thinking is the Rebel Sourcebook had ample opportunity to name a planet but didn't, and "Battle of Tiems" implies a larger conflict, so Tiems it is."
- ―Jason Fry addresses the listing of a "Tiems system" in The Essential Atlas
The Battle of Tiems was first featured in Chapter 6 of the Rebel Alliance Sourcebook, First Edition, published in 1990. It was subsequently reprinted in the Rebel Alliance Sourcebook, Second Edition in 1994. In the sourcebook, Tiems is only referred to as a city where the battle takes place, with no mention of the planet on which the city is located. In 2009, The Essential Atlas included a reference to a "Tiems system" in the appendix, indicating the existence of the planet named Tiems. The Essential Atlas author Jason Fry confirmed that was the intention when compiling the Atlas, stating that he felt that the original sourcebook had an opportunity to name the planet and never did, while the name "Battle of Tiems" indicated that there was a larger conflict ongoing.
- Rebel Alliance Sourcebook, First Edition (Chapter 6, Ground Combat) (First mentioned)
- Rebel Alliance Sourcebook, Second Edition (Chapter 6, Ground Combat)
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 121 (RIE1, General Rieekan)
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 Rebel Alliance Sourcebook, First Edition
- ↑ The Rebel Alliance Sourcebook includes information on the Rebellion up to the establishment of Echo Base on Hoth, and presents itself as an in-universe report compiled by Arhul Hextrophon. Therefore, the Battle of Tiems must have taken place prior to the Battle of Hoth, although the exact date is unknown.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 The Essential Atlas and Galactic Cartography: Official Discussion on the Jedi Council Forums (Literature board; posted by jasonfry on March 31, 2010; accessed February 2, 2013)
- ↑ 4.0 4.1