The Destruction of Kuat Shipyards was the first major battle between the New Republic and the Dark Order of Korr. It took place in the year 14 ABY about seven weeks after the Recapture of Kuat. Although the battle was a victory for the New Republic and Imperial forces were driven out of the area, the loss of the Orbital Shipyard Array inflicted severe economic fluctuations throughout the galaxy. The battle was afterward referred to as the Kuat Disaster.
Events leading to the battle
After former Jedi Knight Jaden Korr took control of the Disciples of Ragnos and the Imperial Remnant forces supporting it, he soon realized that his fleet would need to undergo repairs, replace starfighters, and be reinforced by more vessels to continue the war. To accomplish this, Jaden took a fleet to Kuat and wiped out the New Republic blockade over the planet. He then ordered the shipyards into production again. Crews were sent to the many Imperial ships which had been under construction.
However, more resources and components were needed to fuel the shipyard's work. Therefore, three supply convoys were ordered to the shipyards to assist. However, each of them were attacked by Republic forces. Although the majority of the supplies managed to get to the shipyards, Korr knew that it meant the Republic would not simply ignore his presence at Kuat. After reports of the previous battles at Kuat and Yavin IV, the Republic had decided that the Dark Order was a legitimate military threat. After the supply convoys reached Kuat, Jaden concluded that because the Kuat system was strategically surrounded by the Republic and hostile Imperial forces, it would not be long before the system was lost. Taking the advice of General Persia, Jaden ordered his troops to secretly place explosives across the Orbital Shipyard array. Persia also supplied Jaden with a battle plan.
In preparation for a full Republic retaliation, Korr ordered the majority of the fleet at Kuat, much of which had just been completed at the shipyards, to leave the system for Imperial-controlled planets, many of which had inadequate defenses. All ground forces on Kuat were evacuated as well. The remaining vessels massed a fleet over the Kuat Orbital Shipyard Array and prepared for the imminent battle, intending to inflict sufficient damage to the Republic fleet before retreating.
The Battle Begins
The New Republic fleet came out of hyperspace a short distance away from the shipyards in a box formation with the Liberty-class Star Cruisers on the outer perimeter of the armada, protecting the Defender-class Star Destroyers. CR90 and Assassin-class corvettes were also positioned in defensive formations around the capital ships as fighters and bombers were launched. Jaden Korr ordered several advance squadrons of TIE Fighters and TIE Bombers to approach the New Republic fleet. Halfway there, they engaged several advance groups of A-wing interceptors as the Republic capital ships advanced.
The Republic starships remained in a tight cluster as they reached weapons range of the Imperial armada. Both sides simultaneously launched more fighters and bombers. The capital ships exchanged turbolaser fire, but they seemed to be on equal footing. Jaden Korr, commanding the Dark Order's forces from the Dark Hand, ordered three Enforcer-class picket cruisers to flank the approaching Calamari Cruisers under support from TIE Interceptors and Assault Gunboatss. In response, three CR90 Corvettes counter-flanked, destroying some of the unshielded TIE Interceptors and forcing the rest to take evasive action. However, the corvettes were promptly disabled by ion canon fire from the gunboats and Enforcer-class cruisers.
To slow the advance of the Republic capital ships, a group of TIE Oppressor bombers initiated bombing runs on several Liberty-class Cruisers, severely damaging their shields. The Oppressors then withdrew, taking low casualties thanks to protection from their shield generators. The Liberty cruisers spread out, concentrating on the weaker Enforcer-class cruisers. Meanwhile, the Defender-class Star Destroyers and several squadrons of K-wing bombers managed to overpower three of the Imperial I-class Star Destroyers, creating a hole in the fleet defense around the yards. B-wing starfighters under support from A-wing interceptors flew through the hole and proceeded to bombard the shipyards with heavy rockets and torpedoes. After their first strafing run, they scattered to shake TIE Interceptors that were pursuing them.
The Liberty-class cruisers, lead by Imperial II-class Star Destroyer Moonshadow and supported by Nebulon-B and B2 frigates, moved to surround the Enforcer cruisers, destroying several with superior firepower and fire-drawing maneuvers from X-wing and E-wing fighters. Before long, the Orbital Shipyard Array's shielding had been worn down by ion canon and rocket fire.
Having pushed the Imperial forces back enough for the fleet to reach the Array, the Republic frigates entered a protective formation around the Providence-class carrier Fiery Dawn, which launched a boarding party of shuttles and landing craft. Although outnumbered by incoming TIE Bombers and Oppressors, Rogue Squadron managed to valiantly fend off the attackers with low casualties on the boarding craft. The transports reached the shipyard's docking bays just as its deflector shields failed, and the Republic capital ships moved to cover the Array from any Imperial bombing runs.
The Fiery Dawn had drawn much attention when it launched the boarding party. The Star Destroyer Dark Hand, assisted by two Victory II-class Star Destroyers, damaged the covering frigates and forced them to withdraw. The two vessels then took a full broadside from each other. The Dark Hand's shields failed and the Fiery Dawn took serious damage. The Star Destroyer then retreated back to the safety of the rest of the fleet. The Tartan cruisers were separated as they tried to destroy the Rebel bombers that had been harassing their capital ships, and were easily picked off by the Calamari cruisers and Defender-class Star Destroyers. Meanwhile, the Rebel Marines were tirelessly fighting their way through the shipyards, taking control of it facility by facility and managing to outfight the stormtrooper defenders on most of the decks.
TIE Oppressor squadrons, supported by Assault Gunboats, performed sustained bombing runs on the weakened Mon Calamari cruisers, destroying a Liberty-class cruiser and heavily damaging two MC80B Cruisers. However, a swift counter attack from Rogue Squadron and CR90 Corvettes heavily depleted the TIE Oppressor numbers and routed the remaining gunboats. As the battle's tide began to turn even further in the Republic's favor, Jaden Korr ordered the explosives on the Orbital Array to be detonated. The resulting explosions crippled the enormous station and tore large sections off of it, which collided with and heavily damaged nearby Republic capital ships. To ensure that as little as possible of the shipyard could be salvaged, the entire Imperial fleet ignored the Republic forces and collectively opened fire on the Array, shredding through the gutted hulk of the vessel and causing it to lose orbit and fall into Kuat's planetary shield, where it met its end.
Following the routing of another Imperial II-class Star Destroyer and several other capital ships, Jaden decided that he could do no more damage to the Republic. After recalling all fighters and bombers, the Imperial armada hyperspaced out of the system. The Dark Hand, having taken considerable damage to its hull, was the last to escape.
The destruction of the Orbital Shipyard Array, known afterward as the Kuat Disaster, put a severe dent in the economy for many years to come. Although the New Republic had driven all Imperial presence from the system, many believed that the economic damage outweighed their gains. Following the battle, the New Republic reestablished its presence at the planet, although its strategic value had been severely decreased. Afterward, the surrounding sectors with Imperial Remnant presence would be pacified and later reinforced. Kuat Drive Yards itself, however, was driven to the edge of bankruptcy by the battle, and collapsed several years later.