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Thrawn campaign

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This article is about Grand Admiral Thrawn's military campaign against the New Republic. You may be looking for the Thrawn Trilogy.
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Thrawn campaign
Thrawn's campaign
Conflict

Galactic Civil War

Beginning

9 ABY (44:4:15), Raid on Obroa-skai

End

9 ABY (44:8:27), Battle of Bilbringi

Place

Galaxy-wide

Outcome
Major battles
Combatants


Commanders


"History is on the move, Captain. Those who cannot keep up will be left behind, to watch from a distance. And those who stand in our way will not watch at all."
Grand Admiral Thrawn to Captain Gilad Pellaeon[src]

The Thrawn campaign, also known as the Thrawn crisis, was a series of innovative military and political maneuvers executed by Grand Admiral Thrawn in 9 ABY as the de facto Supreme Commander of the Galactic Empire. Thrawn's attacks, feints and policies constituted the first major internal and external conflict for the New Republic, and nearly succeeded in toppling the fledgling government.

Preliminary StagesEdit

Thrawn yasalamir
Grand Admiral Thrawn and a Ysalamir.
"I am Grand Admiral Thrawn. I have been away, but now I have returned. I know some of what has occurred. You will fill in the details of the rest when I come aboard. Rejoice, Captain, for the Empire will rise again."
―Thrawn greets Gilad Pellaeon[src]

In 8 ABY, Thrawn emerged from the Unknown Regions, consolidated remnant forces of the Galactic Empire, and planned his reconquest of the galaxy. Thrawn viewed his strategy as a series of interlocking pieces that added up to "the only puzzle worth solving... the complete, total, and utter destruction of the Rebellion". His initial force consisted of only several Imperial-class Star Destroyers and their support lines. During this period, Thrawn used individual Star Destroyers to gently probe the defenses of the New Republic border worlds like the Draukyze system.

The initial phase of Thrawn's plan aimed to alleviate the problem of his limited military forces. He hoped to acquire any capital ships he could which included stealing New Republic warships using mole miners, and locating and seize the lost Katana fleet and build an army of clones to crew his new fleet. To build the clones, Thrawn sought Palpatine's hidden supply of Spaarti cloning cylinders, which he planned to use at an accelerated pace to fill his ranks with loyal crewmen, soldiers and pilots. But to keep the accelerated process from creating mad, unstable clones, Thrawn planned to use the ysalamir, a creature able to create a Force-blocking bubble. Thrawn learned of the creatures years earlier when he noted during his time in the Unknown Regions that Myrkr had been avoided by the Jedi Knights for the last 300 years of the Galactic Republic. The ysalamiri were also crucial to Thrawn's plan to rein in Joruus C'baoth, the mad Dark Jedi clone. While the Spaarti chambers would provide Thrawn with acceptable soldiers, he lacked sufficient officers to command his new fleet and determined that C'baoth could provide coordination between the Imperial forces as Nial Declann did at Endor. (Although Thrawn believed it was the Emperor himself who used battle meditation.)

To uncover the location of his prizes, Thrawn launched a raid against the comprehensive archive computers of Obroa-skai. The raid also provided Thrawn with a wealth of up-to-date information—Thrawn's most lethal weapon—on the New Republic, its allies and the state of the galaxy at large. After the final raid, which provided Thrawn with the information he required, a skirmish with a New Republic pursuit force afforded Thrawn his first opportunity to display his tactical brilliance by detecting the species of the pursuit force's commander, initiating an attack that the commander's species would be unable to counter, and defeating the task force with a numerically inferior force.

From the partial data dump, Thrawn was able to gain the location of Wayland, the site of Mount Tantiss, Palpatine's secret storehouse. Chimaera ventured first to Myrkr, where Thrawn encountered Talon Karrde, who was convinced to aid the Imperial commander despite his preference to remain neutral. After collecting a suitable number of ysalamiri, Pellaeon and Thrawn traveled to Wayland. Protected by nutrient rack-mounted ysalamiri, Thrawn convinced C'baoth to aid his campaign in exchange for Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa Solo and her unborn twins. C'baoth, enticed by the offer of young Jedi minds to shape, pledged his assistance and allowed Thrawn access to the wonders of Mount Tantiss, including the Spaarti chambers and the schematics for a working cloaking shield.

Early StrikesEdit

SluisVanBattle-HttE
Imperial fighters during the Battle of Sluis Van.

Mount Tantiss was seeded with ysalamiri and, using exceptional warriors like Maximilian Veers and Soontir Fel as templates, the Spaarti cylinders began churning out thousands of clones, Thrawn began his military campaign in earnest. With the Inner Rim recently liberated from Imperial hands, Thrawn carefully aimed his attacks against a number of Inner and Mid Rim worlds. Feint attacks at Bpfassh and Nkllon allowed Thrawn easy access to the shipyards at Sluis Van. A cloaked freighter delivered fifty-one mole miners stolen from Nomad City and their TIE fighter escort into the system, which were used to place boarding parties aboard the docked New Republic starships. Thrawn intended to steal the starships, but was foiled when Lando Calrissian activated the mole miners' plasma cutters, disabling the starships Thrawn intended to capture. A minor set back for Thrawn, and a loss for the dwindling New Republic fleet. Fortunately for Thrawn, his loss at Sluis Van coincided with the arrest of Admiral Gial Ackbar, potentially the New Republic commander most likely to provide a challenge, at the behest of Borsk Fey'lya.

Despite this setback Thrawn's campaign was not stalled, merely delayed. In the meantime, Thrawn carried on his guerrilla strikes on Republic worlds while he built up strength, inflicting damage to Taanab and a convoy near Sarka. His efforts focused not on destroying Republic convoys but stripping them of defenses, forcing the New Republic to deploy more vessels to such convoys or abandon whole regions entirely—weakening them either way. A race starting with a strike at Pantolomin in the Core ended with Thrawn's capture of 178 Dreadnaughts, enabling him to launch his attack earlier than even he expected. With his burgeoning clone army and his new cloaking device, coupled with the 'Dark Force', Thrawn was poised to sweep away all resistance—he had tipped the scales far into the Empire's hands.

Major OffensivesEdit

"Economics and psychology, Captain."
Grand Admiral Thrawn[src]

The new Imperial fleets renewed the offensive by striking up the Corellian Run at several sectors, including the major agricultural world of Ukio and the Republic base at Ord Pardron. Feints stripped numerous worlds of defenses, and he committed to capturing Wistril and destabilizing more than a dozen sectors.

As the Republic reeled from that offensive, Thrawn committed more forces to other fronts, besieging Qat Chrystac and Ketaris, tying up New Republic resources. He secured Imperial territory further by capturing border worlds such as Ord Mantell and Generis, using superior tactics or firepower to overwhelm the New Republic, a second raid on Nkllon giving him the resources to continue his offensive.

The New Republic fleets were crushed in individual sectors, as Thrawn's massive Dreadnaught fleet gave him a numerical advantage in each separate theatre, be it a sector-scale or planetary-scale battle. A feint at Mrisst enabled him to launch a daunting attack on Coruscant itself. Garm Bel Iblis took command of the Coruscant defense, putting Thrawn, seemingly, in the position of committing himself and taking immense casualties or retreating. Demonstrating his tactical genius, Thrawn instead deployed two dozen cloaked asteroids. These asteroids blockaded the planet, and by faking signals for more than three hundred asteroids, Thrawn effectively knocked Coruscant out of the war without dedicating hardly any material to the effort.

The New Republic let Thrawn rampage as they hastily patched together a counter-offensive at Bilbringi. Pinning their hopes on retrieving a CGT array from the shipyards, capturing the yards and destroying the belief that Thrawn was infallible in one attack, the New Republic assembled a fleet from all-over the galaxy, withdrawing individual vessels and reshaping battle groups to provide the vessels.

Making efforts to trick Thrawn into believing Tangrene was to be struck, the New Republic struck at Bilbringi with the belief they would have their second Endor and defeat the Empire. Instead, Thrawn laid a trap, and engaged the beleaguered New Republic Fleet. All appeared lost.

BattleOfUkio
Thrawn fools the planet Ukio.

Imperial IntriguesEdit

While Thrawn proved to gain strategic and tactical superiority with a smaller force, his armada did not represent the full strength of the Imperial remnants. The cloned Emperor Palpatine, already consolidating power on Byss, arranged for a significant portion of the Imperial forces to ignore Thrawn and return to the Deep Core. It is unclear if Palpatine intended for Thrawn to be a distraction while he continued to rebuild his strength, or if his extended out-of-body period affected his mind to the point of considering Thrawn as a threat rather than a loyal officer.

The Battle of Bilbringi, and DefeatEdit

On the eve of complete victory, with practically all the New Republic could spare caught before him, Thrawn was defeated by a culmination of numerous factors, too numerous for even his genius to deal with at once.

On Honoghr, Princess Leia had unveiled the damage Thrawn had been continuing to the Noghri homeworld, rather than healing, and they secretly turned against him, sabotaging his efforts. At the Battle of Bilbringi, Thrawn's bodyguard struck, killing the Grand Admiral. With the Smugglers' Alliance and Rogue Squadron coordinating, the shipyards defenses were breached, and two New Republic Assault frigates were marching on the yards. Thrawn's death, at this exact moment, meant that Captain Gilad Pellaeon had to take command, and he chose to retreat, unable to turn the tide.

On Wayland, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Talon Karrde, Luke Skywalker, Lando Calrissian and Mara Jade confronted the insane Jedi Master Joruus C'baoth, killing him and destroying the clone facilities, ruining the supply to the Empire. On Garos IV, the Committee of Seven for Garosian Unification finally recovered their world, removing the source of Hibridium for the cloaking device technology, ruining that advantage the Empire had gained equally. Regardless, the limits to the cloaking device would prevent the Empire from reusing it again without Thrawn's genius.

With these losses, and the loss of the Kathol sector, Thrawn's new Empire, ruling half of the galaxy, was left entirely rudderless, its offensive impossible to sustain, and its advantages negated in a few hours. Without Thrawn, the Empire collapsed, assisted by the clone Emperor's efforts to consolidate his own forces.

ConclusionEdit

"None of you needs to be reminded that in the past few weeks our war against the remnants of the Empire has changed from what was once called a mopping-up exercise to a battle for our very survival."
―Admiral Ackbar[src]
Bilbringi
The Battle of Bilbringi.

The Battle of Bilbringi marked the conclusion of the Thrawn campaign. As the fallen leader's forces fell into retreat, the New Republic was allowed a brief respite before the reborn Emperor would emerge to launch another near-fatal assault. To quote Admiral Gial Ackbar's analysis of New Republic military losses:

"The New Republic sustained considerable losses in the Thrawn campaign: ten percent of our forces killed, thirty percent wounded—but those are just averages. On the worlds Thrawn actually hit, the devastation was significant."

Notably, this means that the New Republic, which only lost a third of its territory to Thrawn, had lost forty percent of its forces - weakening its control over even more of its territory than it actually lost.

In addition, the campaign further fractured the political unity of the New Republic, giving rise to Borsk Fey'lya's political career, though Fey'lya's actions during the campaign nearly destroyed his political career. The Mid Rim resented that the New Republic had been unable to defend it during Thrawn's efforts, and New Republic forces found themselves engaged in a political quagmire after Coruscant fell to the Empire, forcing them further rimward.

On the positive side, the campaign led to the creation of the Smugglers' Alliance, the return of Garm Bel Iblis, an increase in the organization and size of the New Republic military, the liberation of the beings of Wayland and the Noghri, and a spark of interest in Luke Skywalker to seek out other Force-users that would eventually lead to his creation of the Jedi Praxeum.

From the Imperial perspective, the Thrawn campaign may have been more damaging to the cause of the New Order than not. Following Thrawn's death, the disparate forces he had united fell into the Imperial Civil War after a single collaborative initiative in the retaking of Coruscant. Imperial insiders criticized Thrawn's campaign for focusing on the reclaiming of territory, but not planning on methods of holding those planets and star systems. It is unclear, however, if each of these pieces was a carefully planned segment of Palpatine's plan for reemergence, or if Thrawn did indeed have a plan that he was unable to implement before his death.

BattlesEdit

Thrawn's Armada
The armada participated in the Thrawn campaign

AppearancesEdit

SourcesEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  [Source]
Major Campaigns of the Galactic Civil War

Fresian campaign · Nembus Sector campaign · Kwymar Suppressions · Operation Strike Fear
Operation: Skyhook · Blockade of Yavin · Dark Trooper Project · Seerdon Campaign · Aftermath of Hoth
Spreading the Rebellion · Operation Earplug · Nagai–Tof War · Hevvrol Sector Campaign · Stenax Massacres
Trioculus crisis · Delvardus campaign · Coruscant campaign · Bacta War · Hunt for Zsinj · Post–Zsinj campaigns
Thrawn campaign · Pre-Shadow Hand campaign · Operation Shadow Hand · Empire Reborn campaign · Orinda campaign
Disciples of Ragnos crisis · Black Fleet Crisis · Imperial Skirmishes · Caamas Document Crisis · Hand of Thrawn Crisis

[edit]


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