The Raid on Fara's Belt was a textbook example of a total defeat caused by compromised intelligence.
Shortly after Admiral Gial Ackbar's delivery of the B-wing starfighter, General Jan Dodonna planned to use them to attack the Galactic Empire's communication station in Fara's Belt. The Rebel leadership was unaware, however, that the codes they were using for operations in the Rolion sector had been broken, and that Imperial Intelligence was listening to their plans.
At this point, however, the raid may still have ended in a Rebel victory, as the intercepted Rebel transmissions referred to the target only using the code name "Understar." The Imperial forces were thus unsure which of their 752 installations in the sector were targeted. Major Herrit of Imperial Intelligence solved this problem by instructing every Imperial base to report a different type of systems malfunction to sector headquarters.
When Intelligence decoded a Rebel transmission claiming "Understar" was suffering from a "gravitational fluctuation malfunction", Herrit knew that Fara's Belt was the target. The Empire was therefore able to reinforce the base. As soon as the Rebel B-wings dropped out of hyperspace, they were surrounded and attacked by an overwhelming force of TIE fighters. The entire Rebel squadron was destroyed.
Behind the scenesEdit
The Imperial preparations for this battle are similar to the strategy used by the United States before the Battle of Midway in the Second World War. American naval intelligence had broken the Japanese codes, and knew that the Japanese Navy intended to launch a major attack, but did not know for certain if Midway was the intended target. A secure message was sent to the Midway garrison, instructing them to report a water shortage using a code known to have been broken by the Japanese. When a Japanese message reporting that their target had water problems was intercepted and deciphered, the American forces were able to set up an ambush.