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Battle of Endor
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Battle of Endor

Battle before: Battle of Hoth
Battle after:
Battle of Endor
Conflict Galactic Civil War
Date 4 ABY
Place Endor's forest moon
Result Alliance victory
Combatants
Galactic Empire Rebel Alliance
Commanders
Empereror Palpatine, Admiral Piett Admiral Ackbar, Lando Calrissian, Han Solo
Strength
  • Star Destroyers
  • TIE Fighters
  • Death Star superlaser
  • Stormtroopers
  • AT-ST walkers
  • Speeder bikes
Casualties
Emperor Palpatine, Admiral Piett and many others Anakin Skywalker and many others

The Battle of Endor was the final major engagement of the Galactic Civil War fought by the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire in the fictional Star Wars universe depicted in the film, Return of the Jedi.

Warning: Plot details follow.

The situation of this battle was when the Alliance learned that Empire was constructing a second version of the Death Star space station. The Alliance leadership realized that this version would likely have corrected the design flaws in the original Death Star that the Alliance exploited in the Battle of Yavin. It was decided that the station would have to be destroyed before it became operational.

With the sacrifice of the lives of many Bothan spies, the space station was found to be orbiting the forest moon of Endor. In addition, they learned that, although the station was protected by a powerful deflector shield projected from a base on the moon, the station's weapons were not yet ready for service. Furthermore, they also learned that the Emperor himself would personally oversee the final completion of the station.

With a golden opportunity too good to miss, the Alliance planned a two pronged attack. A commando squad led by Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca and Luke Skywalker would land on the moon and disable the Imperial base's deflector shield projector which would allow a Rebel fleet to attack the station and destroy it.

Unbeknonwst to them, the Rebels were falling into a grand trap devised by the Emperor. Using simple disinformation, he hid the fact that the station's primary systems were already operational. With a large naval force hidden near the station and an elite legion of Imperial Stormtroopers standing by on the moon, he was ready to crush the Rebels once and for all.

The Rebels took the bait and the trap was sprung with the commandos captured at the moon's base and the Rebel fleet trapped by the Imperial naval force. To make things worse, the Death Star's superlaser proved to be an irresistible anti-ship weapon, destroying Rebel ships at will. General Lando Calrissian and Admiral Ackbar closed with the enemy fleet to buy time, but the situation was hopeless. The Imperial Fleet defending the Second Death Star soon began targeting and firing to the approaching Rebel ships. The Rebellion never knew that the station had the capacity to fire its main weapon system far more often and accurately than ever before.

What turned the tide was that, unknown to the Emperor, the Rebel commandos had made an alliance with the indigenous Ewok tribe on the moon. The warriors ambushed the Imperial Stormtroopers soon after the Imperials captured the Rebel commandos. Although initially surprised by the cunning and ferocity of the Ewoks, the Imperials attempted to regain the upper hand when they brought their armoured AT-STs to bear. However, a squad of Ewoks led by Chewbacca managed to capture an AT-ST, which then quickly destroyed much of the remaining Imperial armour. In addition, the Ewoks were partially prepared for the fighting machines with a number of traps that successfully downed a number of them. With the Imperials in disarray the Rebel commandos managed to gain access to the base and destroy it, which brought down the Death Star's deflector shield.

Taking advantage of the new tactical situation, a small squadron of fighters and the Millennium Falcon dove into the uncompleted Death Star's superstructure, leading them to the main reactor. Because the Empire had a strong will to destroy the Rebellion, some Tie Fighters went inside to stop this rebel strike. This last stand drove some of the Rebel Fighters to pull back to the surface of the station and take some Imperial fighters with them, while others remain and pursued the other rebels. When the strike force arrived at the main reactor they attacked it and caused it to start a massive explosion which destroyed the space station. In the meantime, Ackbar ordered a concentrated assault on the Imperial flagship, the Executor and destroyed the bridge, killing the command staff, including Admiral Piett. The crippled ship went out of control and collided into the Death Star causing massive damage as well as eliminating the senior fleet command.

Meanwhile, the Emperor, who was attempting to corrupt Luke Skywalker with the dark side of the Force, was killed by Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker when he rebelled against the Emperor, turning back from the dark side himself. Unfortunately, that final act was one of self-sacrifice as Anakin, free from the evil curse that had consumed him throughout the Galactic Civil War, died in the arms of his son Luke before he could board his shuttle.

Imperial forces at Endor consisted of an augmented Sector Group containing 22 Imperial Star Destroyers, 1 Super Star Destroyer and one unfilmed communications cruiser. There was extensive fighter support from the Imperial fleet and possibly from the Death Star II itself. This fighter support consisted of several Imperial Tie Fighter Wings, a mayority consisting of Tie Interceptors, scattered in small squads, and The Imperial Fleet who was providing backup support for the Ties and for the Second Death Star itself.

The main Alliance capital ships were the Mon Calamari designed cruisers. The large Home One was the flagship of the fleet. Other cruisers included the Liberty and the Independence. Numerous frigates, corvettes and fireships were also in the Rebel fleet. Rebel fighter forces were split into four ad-hoc fighter wings, one of which was assigned the penetration mission to destroy the Death Star II.

More details of the battle were revealed in Expanded Universe literature. It was revelead that Grand Admiral Teshik had escaped the destruction of the Death Star. After the destruction of HIMS Executor, command should have properly passed from Admiral Piett to him. Gilad Pellaeon, senior surviving officer of HIMS Chimaera inexplicably ordered an illegal retreat from Endor. This action is most curious: despite the loss of HIMS Executor, the communications cruiser and several Star Destroyers the Imperial fleet should have had tactical superiority over their Rebel foes. It is even more curious that the retreat order was widely followed. The battle was thus sealed for the Rebellion. It has been theorized that with the death of Emperor Palpatine, the subtle influence he exercised on his troops through the Force was removed and the Imperial Navy's fighting ability was dramatically reduced, allowing the Rebel fleet to scatter them.

Teshik did not retreat with the rest of the Imperial squadron and fought on for several more hours until his flagship, HIMS Eleemosynary, was captured. He was later executed for war crimes by Rebel authorities.

As for Rebel losses, they were quite severe. Fewer than 24 fighters survived in a semblance of good condition (many others severely damaged with the majority apparently destroyed). Numerous cruisers were also destroyed, whether by the Death Star's superlaser or in the brutal point-blank engagement with the Imperial capital ships. At some point Admiral Ackbar was apparently forced to transfer his flag from RAS Home One to RAS Independence, probably due to severe battle damage in combat with HIMS Executor.

The disintergration and collapse of the Galactic Empire began shortly after the Battle of Endor as news of the Emperor's death became widespread. As HIM Palpatine deliberately did not plan for succession of rule, numerous Imperial leaders began carving out personal fiefdoms. This decay and collapse accelerated approximately six years after Endor during the events surrounding the clone Palpatine and his eventual defeat. Years later, the small (and mostly ignored) Imperial Remnant signed a peace treaty.

As for the Alliance to Restore the Republic, they would go on to form the New Republic. However, it was an extremely weak government and its rule was quite ineffective. It would collapse during the events of the Yuzhan Vong invasion.