- "As my first act with this new authority, I will create a Grand Army of the Republic to counter the increasing threats of the Separatists."
- ―Sheev Palpatine
The Grand Army of the Republic, also referred to as the Republic army, was the military force of the Galactic Republic during the Clone Wars. In addition to warships and advanced weaponry, the army consisted of legions of clone troopers—genetically identical soldiers bred to serve the Republic. Although the clone army was originally envisioned by Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas, who secretly commissioned the Kaminoan cloners to create an army for the Republic, the clones ultimately became the secret weapon of the Sith, the ancient enemies of the Jedi Order.
Ten years after the Battle of Naboo, the galaxy stood on the brink of civil war. As the Separatist Crisis threatened to split the galaxy between the Galactic Republic and the breakaway state, known as the Confederacy of Independent Systems, the Galactic Senate voted to grant emergency powers to Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine. Using his new authority, the Chancellor formally organized the Kamino clone troopers into the Grand Army of the Republic. The Republic's new forces, led by Grand Master Yoda, launched a full-scale attack against the Separatist Droid Army and secured the first victory in the conflict that became known as the Clone Wars.
For three years, the Grand Army fought throughout much of the war-torn galaxy. Clone troopers served with distinction under the command of the Jedi, who had been commissioned as commanders and generals of the Grand Army. The army's true purpose, however, was ultimately to destroy both the Republic and the Jedi Order. Darth Sidious, Dark Lord of the Sith and the true identity of Chancellor Palpatine, had orchestrated the entire Clone War as a means to secure absolute power for himself. Upon discovering this Sith conspiracy, several members of the Jedi High Council tried and failed to arrest the Sith Lord. Sidious then issued Order 66 to the Grand Army, activating the clones' secret programming which caused them to betray and murder their Jedi officers without question.
Following the near extermination of the Jedi Order, Sidious proclaimed the end of the Republic and the rise of the Galactic Empire, ruled by himself as Galactic Emperor. The Grand Army of the Republic was accordingly reorganized into the Imperial Military, with the remaining clone troopers serving as the first stormtroopers of the new regime.
- "Yes, a clone army; and I must say, one of the finest we've ever created."
- ―Lama Su
The Grand Army of the Republic, also known as the Republic army, was originally conceived by Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas, who ultimately foresaw the galaxy becoming consumed in war. Despite his removal from the ranks of the Jedi High Council, whose other members rejected his claims, Sifo-Dyas contacted the planet Kamino. The Kaminoans, a species that specialized in the science of cloning, were under the impression that Sifo-Dyas represented the interests of the council. In truth, their communication was kept secret. Unaware of this deception, the Kaminoan cloners accepted the Jedi's commission to create a clone army for the Republic.
Sifo-Dyas did not live to witness the completion of his army. An unwitting pawn of the Sith, Sifo-Dyas was murdered by the Pyke Syndicate at the behest of Darth Tyranus—once known as Jedi Master Dooku, the fallen Jedi turned to the dark side of the Force and became apprenticed to the Sith Lord Darth Sidious. After the death of Sifo-Dyas, the Sith secretly took over the project and selected the human bounty hunter Jango Fett to serve as the genetic template of the clone army.
In addition to growth acceleration and behavioral modification, an inorganic bio-chip was installed into the brain of every clone trooper at the early stage of their development. The official reason behind the implant was to ensure that the clones would be more docile than their aggressive genetic donor. The true reason—as Prime Minister Lama Su and Nala Se understood it—was to ensure that the clones would terminate renegade Jedi in accordance with Protocol 66. Unknown even to the Kaminoans, the bio-chips were manufactured for the sole purpose of forcing the clones to annihilate the entire Jedi Order so that the Sith could ultimately reclaim control over the galaxy.
- "This army is for the Republic."
- ―Lama Su
As a result of the clone troopers' accelerated growth process, the first two hundred thousand soldiers were completed within a decade—approximately ten years after the Battle of Naboo and twenty-two years before the Battle of Yavin. By then the galaxy stood on the brink of war, as predicted by Sifo-Dyas, due to a group of secessionist star systems and powerful corporations. Seeking independence from the Galactic Republic, they combined their resources to form the Confederacy of Independent Systems, an act which the Republic refused to recognize.
Vowing to preserve the unity of the thousand-year Republic, Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine attempted to negotiate the Separatists' return to the Republic with the aid of the Loyalist Committee and the Jedi Council. Around the same time, the Galactic Senate was divided in their response to the Separatist Crisis. Some senators advocated for the passage of the Military Creation Act, which would enable the Republic to organize a military force to defend the Republic. Other senators such as Padmé Amidala opposed the bill under the belief that it would provoke a full-scale war between the Republic and the Separatists.
The matter was ultimately settled when the Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi discovered both the Kamino-produced clone army and a secret army of battle droids that the Separatists constructed on the planet Geonosis. Convinced that the senators would never authorize the creation of a military on their own before the Separatists attacked the Republic, Junior Representative Jar Jar Binks called on the Senate to empower the Supreme Chancellor with the authority to end the crisis of the Separatist movement. The Senate enthusiastically supported Binks' proposal; accordingly Palpatine accepted the mandate and announced the formation of the Grand Army of the Republic.
- "Do you like your army?"
"I look forward to seeing them in action."
- ―Jango Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi
After a decade of development and training, the first generation of clone troopers was called into action. Placed under the leadership of Grand Master Yoda, the Grand Army of the Republic made its debut in the Battle of Geonosis, storming the Separatist stronghold and engaging the droid army with the element of surprise on their side. Clone troopers and Jedi Knights fought side by side as they repelled the enemy from the battlefield, ultimately forcing the Confederate forces into full retreat from the planet. With Geonosis secured, the Grand Army claimed victory in the first battle of the Clone Wars—so-named for the clones who composed the Republic's armed forces.
Throughout the conflict, the Grand Army of the Republic was deployed across the galaxy in order to put an end to the rebellion of the Separatists. The Jedi Knights assumed direct command over the clone troopers, becoming Jedi Generals of the Grand Army. As the Clone Wars progressed, more clone troopers sacrificed their lives out of loyalty to the Jedi and the Supreme Chancellor. While the clones had been engineered to serve as soldiers in the Grand Army, they were also encouraged by the Jedi to develop their own distinct identities, consequently resulting in a wave of greater individuality and creative-thinking that spread through the clone ranks. As such, special unit markings and color patterns became increasingly common within the Grand Army.
The Grand Army of the Republic fought on all fronts for three years. As the end of the war drew near, clone troopers continued to see action from Coruscant to Kashyyyk and Utapau. Following the deaths of Darth Tyranus in the Battle of Coruscant, and General Grievous in the Battle of Utapau, the Separatists were all but defeated. However, by then the Jedi Council discovered the Supreme Chancellor's true identity—Sheev Palpatine and Darth Sidious were one and the same; the leader of the Galactic Senate was the enigmatic Sith Lord who secretly controlled both sides in the war. Several masters on the council moved swiftly to arrest the Chancellor before he could destroy the Jedi Order and the Republic, but their efforts ultimately ended in failure. Using this incident to frame the Jedi Order for treason, Sidious declared that all Jedi were now enemies of the state.
It was then that the Sith unleashed their secret weapon—the Grand Army of the Republic. Sidious broadcasted Order 66 to the clone troopers who were spread throughout the galaxy. Due to their hidden programming, the clones complied without question, turning their weapons on the Jedi and executing them across numerous worlds, as well as inside the Jedi Temple where Darth Vader personally oversaw the Jedi's eradication. With the military under the Chancellor's control, and the Jedi all but destroyed, Sidious proclaimed himself Emperor of the first Galactic Empire. Ultimately, the Grand Army of the Republic was an asset that enabled Sidious to establish a Sith dictatorship over the galaxy.
As the formation of the Empire marked the end of the Old Republic, the Grand Army of the Republic became the basis of the Imperial Military—the armed forces of the Emperor's new government. Accordingly, the Republic clone troopers transitioned into Imperial stormtroopers. With vast portions of the galaxy unconquered, the Empire embarked on a massive militarization program to eliminate the remaining Separatist holdouts, enforce the Emperor's authority, and expand the Empire's growing dominion.
Over time the clones' skills deteriorated with the accelerated speed of their aging process, leading the Empire to prefer human recruits and conscripts over cloned soldiers. By and large, clones were removed from combat duty and instead given the task of managing various Imperial projects. By this time many clones felt bitter and horrified at their actions during Order 66, even though it was out of their control. Few clones continued to serve in the stormtrooper ranks after the Battle of Yavin; ISB Commander Alecia Beck believed Sergeant TX-828 to be one of the last Kamino-produced clones who were still in service to the Imperial Military.
- "For the Republic!"
- ―Thorn, shouting the clone trooper battle cry just before his death
Clone troopers served as infantry units in the Grand Army of the Republic. In addition to the rank-and-file soldier, the Grand Army consisted of numerous specialists, including environment-based units like clone cold assault troops and clone SCUBA troopers. Other variants units like clone ordnance specialists and clone trooper pilots were specially trained for specific functions, such as bomb defusion and flight, respectively. ARC troopers and clone commandos were considered elite units in the Grand Army due to their exceptional skills and specialized training.
The Grand Army of the Republic possessed various military vehicles to support its ground forces. The principle battle tank of the Grand Army was the All Terrain Tactical Enforcer; also known as the "AT-TE" Walker, its legs provided the walker with increased stability, but reduced the vehicle's overall speed. As mobility was a key factor in the Grand Army's effectiveness, the military was outfitted with BARC speeders in order to provide clone troopers with increased operational range, speed, mobility, and firepower that were otherwise unavailable to foot soldiers.
The Republic Navy was the naval branch of the Grand Army of the Republic. During the early phase of the Clone Wars, the Acclamator-class transgalactic military assault ship served as a troop carrier. Likewise, the Venator-class Star Destroyer served as a transport for clone troopers, but was also designed for ship-to-ship combat. Additionally, the Venator-class contained a large flight deck capable of holding numerous Republic starfighters.
The Grand Army's naval branch supported its ground forces with gunships and starfighters. The Low Altitude Assault Transport/infantry gunship was utilized as a transport vessel for infantry units. The Low Altitude Assault Transport/carrier, a variant model of the LAAT/i, could be used to transport a single AT-TE walker. Both versions of the gunship were also capable of providing air support for ground units.
- Battle army—4 corps (147,456 troopers) led by only the most high-ranking individuals, such as the members of the Jedi High Council.
- Corps—16 regiments (36,864 troopers) led by a Jedi General.
- Regiment—16 companies (2,304 troopers) led by a Clone Commander.
- Company—4 platoons (144 troopers) led by a Clone Captain.
- Platoon—4 squads (36 troopers) led by a Clone Lieutenant.
- Squad—9 troopers led by a Clone Sergeant.
- 104th Battalion
- 212th Attack Battalion
- 501st Legion
- Rancor Battalion
- Third Legion
- Clone commandos
- Clone Intelligence
- Coruscant Guard
- Galactic Marines
- Jedi General—Jedi Knights and Masters
- Jedi Commander—Jedi Padawans, superior to clone officers and subordinate to Jedi Generals
At first, color was used to denote the rank of Grand Army clone officers. This system was intended as a benefit for non-clones on the battlefield, as well as clones whose helmet displays malfunctioned. It fell out of use, however, as the Jedi encouraged the clones to express their individuality. As a result, the clone army gradually adopted a new system in which they customized their armor with unique color schemes and markings.
- AV-7 Anti-vehicle Artillery Cannon
- Self-Propelled Heavy Artillery Turbolaser
- Unstable Terrian Artillery Transport
- All Terrain Tactical Enforcer
- All Terrain Open Transport
- All Terrain Recon Transport
- All Terrain Attack Pod
- HAVw A6 Juggernaut
- Stun cannon tank
- DC-17 hand blaster
- DC-15A blaster
- DC-15 blaster rifle
- Z-6 rotary blaster cannon
- SCUBA trooper rifle
- Ascension gun
- Missile launcher
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