- "No true Mandalorian can live alongside the Death Watch."
- ―Walon Vau
The True Mandalorians were a Mandalorian group of supercommandos who remained loyal to Jaster Mereel, their leader and the reigning Mand'alor, when Mereel's reformist ideals for the Mandalorians were met with opposition from Tor Vizsla's radical splinter group known as the Death Watch. Comprised of elements of Mandalore's standing army and a number of prominent Mandalorian clans, the True Mandalorians battled the Death Watch in a series of conflicts across the galaxy that would collectively become known as the Mandalorian Civil War, and that led to their near eradication at the Battle of Galidraan. The sole True Mandalorian to survive the events of Galidraan was Jango Fett, Mereel's adopted son and his successor as Mand'alor following his death on Korda Six, a man who went on to become a famous bounty hunter and spawned a clone army in his image for the Galactic Republic. Though the True Mandalorians were destroyed at Galidraan, their code served to inspire the core ideology of the later Mandalorian Protectors.
In the wake of the war with the Ithullans that led to the species' genocide around 200 BBY, many Mandalorian warriors expressed a desire to do away with the wide-spread savagery and brigandage that had become prevalent. A century and a half later, the charismatic former Journeyman Protector by the name of Jaster Mereel became the new Mand'alor, and instituted a new standard of Mandalorian behavior known as the Supercommando Codex. He asserted that the Mandalorians who wished to fight were simply highly-paid soldiers, and should conduct themselves as honorable mercenaries.
However, not all would agree with the Codex or Mereel's reforms. The New Mandalorians, a reformist political faction in existence since the aftermath of a devastating conflict with the Galactic Republic approximately 670 years earlier, believed in pacifism and non-violence above all. More dangerously, though, were the followers of the barbaric Mandalorian soldier Tor Vizsla, who dreamed of the opposite goal for the future of the Mandalorians: a return to the ways of the ancient Mandalorians as raiders and conquerors, aiming to eventually wage a second war of conquest across the galaxy. Under Vizsla's leadership, these rebels called themselves the Death Watch and were opposed by Jaster Mereel's loyal supercommandos—who recast themselves as the "True Mandalorians"—in a series of battles that came to be known as the Mandalorian Civil War.
Soldiers of Jaster MereelEdit
- "Jaster will do what's right for the Mandalorians—he always has."
- ―Jango Fett
In the year 58 BBY, the True Mandalorians engaged the Death Watch on the agricultural world of Concord Dawn. Following a lost firefight, Jaster Mereel and several of his soldiers retreated into the fields of crops owned by a farmer and Journeyman Protector by the name of Fett. He offered the True Mandalorians refuge on his farm, but when the Death Watch captured Fett's young son Jango, who let slip the presence of soldiers on the farm, the elder Fett was brutally beaten and interrogated by Tor Vizsla for the whereabouts of the True Mandalorian forces. Fett did not give in and a chaotic firefight erupted when Fett's wife attempted to save her husband and son. Sadly, both Fett and his wife were killed, although Mereel and his men were able to step in, giving up their cover in order to save young Jango's life. Vizsla ordered the fields be burned in an attempt to kill the True Mandalorians as they fled, but Jango showed the Mandalorians to an irrigation tube that allowed them to escape the blaze. The True Mandalorians regrouped in a nearby town, where they laid in wait until the Death Watch arrived, at which time they sprung an ambush. Unloading blasterfire on their foes from second-story windows and protected alleyways, the True Mandalorians were able to kill nearly every Death Watch soldier there in an attack that culminated in the destruction of Vizsla's armored speeder, although Vizsla himself would manage to escape. Jango avenged his parent's murder by killing the Death Watch soldier responsible, but with his family gone, Jango was taken in by Jaster Mereel, becoming a Mandalorian and joining the ranks of the True Mandalorians.
Believing the Death Watch to be no more in the wake of the battle on Concord Dawn, the True Mandalorian supercommandos turned their focus to acting as a mercenary army. In the year 52 BBY, they were contracted by the Korda Defense Force to extract a team of rookie security personnel pinned down under fire on the planet Korda Six by a group of local hostiles, supposedly poorly armed and with no formal army. The mission was somewhat routine for them, and Jaster Mereel considered the job "easy credits". During the mission briefing aboard their carrier, Mereel's second-in-command, Montross, divided their forces into three groups: Vertigo Company, a jetpack-equipped aerial support unit under his command, Headhunter Company, a ground unit under Mereel responsible for recovering the security team, and "Jango's Grunts" who, under Jango Fett's command, would provide cover fire and ensure that the extraction point remained clear of danger. Deploying from their carrier in Meteor-class drop ships, the True Mandalorians descended toward the planet's surface and into heavy ion cannon fire. Taking heavy damage, they were forced to make the best of rough crash-landings.
The intelligence reports of "minimal resistance" were woefully inaccurate, and almost immediately the Mandalorians came under heavy attack from hostile Kordan forces; numerous Mandalorian soldiers quickly fell victim to enemy fire. Outnumbered and outgunned, Mereel ordered the Mandalorians to retreat but Montross refused, insisting that they push on. When he was injured in a grenade attack, it was up to Mereel to provide rescue, killing no less than three enemy Kordan in the process. At the same time, Jango had used Montross' ill-guided attack as a diversion in order to move on the location of their original objective, the Kordan security team. But when he and his squad reached the site, they instead found a Death Watch ambush awaiting them. As Jango's troops fought back the Death Watch, Mereel and Montross came under attack from Vizsla himself. Mereel was wounded in a grenade blast that Montross used his jetpack to avoid, but when the injured Mand'alor called to him for an air lift, Montross turned his back on Mereel and left him to die on the battlefield, stating that he no longer wished to take orders from Mereel. Vizsla rained down laser cannon fire from his four-wheeled tank, and although Jango tried desperately to reach him in time, Mereel was fatally wounded and died shortly after in Jango's arms. At the landing zone, Montross urged the Mandalorians to heed Mereel's final orders and pull out, claiming that Mereel was dead and that Jango had perished trying to save him. However, Fett returned to the landing zone carrying with him Jaster Mereel's body, exposing Montross as a liar and a traitor. When Montross insisted that Mereel would have wanted him to take command, the other Mandalorians denounced Montross at blaster point and declared that they would only follow Jango. Montross was allowed to leave, slipping off into exile, while Jango became the new Mand'alor and leader of the True Mandalorians.
Jango Fett's armyEdit
- "You killed them…you killed them all. We're all dead…"
- ―Jango Fett, in the aftermath of the Battle of Galidraan
Eight years later, in the year 44 BBY, the True Mandalorians were hired to put down an insurrection on the Outer Rim world of Galidraan. The Mandalorians dealt with the rebels and when the fighting was over, Jango Fett journeyed to the Governor of Galidraan's estate to collect their payment in person. He also demanded to know the location of Tor Vizsla, whom the governor had been harboring. Vizsla revealed himself there in the governor's castle and attacked Fett with a small cadre of Death Watch soldiers, forcing him to flee the building through a large window. Unfortunately, Galidraan's governor had already contacted the Jedi Council with a request for aid, claiming that the Mandalorians were murdering "political activists" along with innocent women and children; Vizsla's own forces provided the body count as evidence. Fett rushed to return to base camp, trying unsuccessfully to comm his second-in-command, Myles, and warn him of the inbound Jedi ships he'd spotted, but he arrived at the same time as a Jedi strike team lead by Jedi Master Dooku.
The Jedi took the governor at his word and demanded that the True Mandalorians surrender on charges of suspected murder, with Dooku's Padawan Komari Vosa adding that should they resist, they would be killed. Innocent and indignant, Fett ordered the Mandalorians to open fire, giving specific orders to target Vosa, whom he called a "loudmouth". Their blasters quickly proved ineffective against the Jedi's lightsabers, and Fett ordered the use of projectiles and provision of cover via jetpacks. Myles attempted to provide air support for the group, but even with his jetpack, he was killed in mid-air by one of the Jedi while Jango could only watch. During the skirmish, Fett personally killed six Jedi—including the one responsible for Myles' death—with no weapon beyond his own hands, feet, and armored body. Despite his efforts, Fett couldn't change the outcome of the battle: he was subdued by the Jedi and delivered into the custody of the Governor of Galidraan, only to be stripped of his armor and sold into slavery. The True Mandalorians had been defeated and destroyed, falling victim to the Death Watch's machinations, with only Jango managing to survive the slaughter at Galidraan.
- "I believed my Masters. I didn't think for myself. They didn't question, either; they took the governor at his word. They just believed. And we killed people. We killed them on the say-so of a criminal."
After several years spent aboard a spice transport, Fett managed to escape his enslavement, recover his armor from the governor of Galidraan, and track Vizsla's ship to Corellia where he killed Vizsla after a lengthy fight, avenging and completing the mission of the True Mandalorians. The remaining members of the Death Watch scattered, disappearing from the galaxy at large until the Clone Wars, where without the active opposition from the True Mandalorians, they set their sights on the pacifistic New Mandalorians. Scarred by the loss of his True Mandalorian compatriots and his years as a slave, Jango Fett himself grew distant from the rest of his people and his role as Mand'alor, turning instead toward the solitary life of a bounty hunter until his death at the Battle of Geonosis.
The destruction of the True Mandalorians at Galidraan haunted Dooku for years to come. While at the time he was appalled by the carnage that had occurred, years later he would privately consider it a turning point in his life, the event that caused him to begin questioning the decisions of the Jedi Council. Another True Mandalorian by the name of Silas survived the massacre on Galidraan, having apparently been absent from the battle. He was killed by Dooku—then a Sith Lord going by the name Darth Tyranus—after being tortured into giving up information on Jango Fett's life, his final request begging Dooku not tell Fett he'd succumbed.
The ideals of the Supercommando Codex that defined the True Mandalorians would live on in the group's eventual successors, the Mandalorian Protectors. Spar, a former Advanced Recon Commando in the Republic's Grand Army and the new Mand'alor—going by the sobriquet "Mandalore the Resurrector"—founded the Protectors in the image of the True Mandalorians, and their destruction at the hands of the Jedi was part of his reason for allying with the Confederacy of Independent Systems during the Clone Wars.
- Star Wars: Darth Plagueis (Mentioned only)
- Jango Fett: Open Seasons
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars novel (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Bounty Hunter (Mentioned only)
- Imperial Commando: 501st (Mentioned only)
- "The History of the Mandalorians"—Star Wars Insider 80
- The New Essential Chronology
- The Essential Atlas
- Galaxy at War
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Jango Fett: Open Seasons 1
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "The History of the Mandalorians"—Star Wars Insider 80
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Jango Fett: Open Seasons 2
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Jango Fett: Open Seasons 3
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Jango Fett: Open Seasons
- ↑ The New Essential Chronology
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 The Essential Atlas
- ↑ Star Wars: Darth Plagueis
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Jango Fett: Open Seasons 4
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Mandalore Plot"
- ↑ Order 66: A Republic Commando Novel
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars (novel)
- ↑ Galaxy at War