I've never seen such a one-sided victory. Not even the Mandalorians were able to overpower an enemy with such seeming ease.
—Captain Stennis Fullar of the Endar Spire
The Second Battle of Iridonia was one of the first major victories for the Galactic Republic in the first half of the Jedi Civil War. Planned initially as a raid on a supply base and intended to demonstrate that the invading Sith Empire was not invincible, it involved distracting the Sith military with a small-scale attack on a shipyard in the Roche asteroids prior to the main thrust on the Zabrak homeworld of Iridonia. The ground assault, conducted by the 3rd Marine Battalion under Captain Laera Reyolé, initially met with little resistance, quickly securing the facility and driving most of its staff and guards into the countryside.
As the command center fell, however, a small fleet of Sith warships dropped out of hyperspace directly overhead. The four Interdictor-class cruisers were initially unaware of the Republic presence, as they had originally intended to replenish their stores. Fortunately for the Republic forces on the ground, the task force of Rear Admiral Kedlis Hetton had been stationed behind one of the planet's two moons as a contingency plan. With his warships and starfighters in ambush position, Hetton ordered his task force to attack the rear flank of the Sith formation while the two Aurek squadrons that had been assigned to combat aerospace patrol assaulted the vanguard. It was at this point that Bastila Shan demonstrated her mastery of battle meditation, guiding the Republic forces in space and on the ground to a decisive one-sided victory.
Throughout the galaxy, things are looking grim; one doesn't need the Force to see that. However, it is my sincere hope that we can do something to affect the current situation in a positive way.
—Laera Reyolé addresses the officers of the Third Battalion
As the Jedi Civil War erupted with Darths Revan and Malak's declaration of war and subsequent invasion of the Galactic Republic, the Sith Empire put together a number of victories that carved out a wedge of the galaxy that reached to the Inner Rim. Captain Laera Reyolé, the new commander of the 3rd Marine Battalion, who had been killed during the Mandalorian Wars only to be brought back to life at Revan's orders, sought to find a way to take the initiative for the Republic. Reyolé, who had also trained as a Jedi during the time between the two conflicts, put together a plan involving a series of limited actions aimed at the flanks of the newly-occupied Sith worlds. Using her acute Force-sense, which allowed her to discern the auras of sentient beings at incredible distances, she systematically scoured the Zabrak homeworld of Iridonia for signs of its Sith presence, while her small scout ship hid in the shadow of the planet's smaller moon. The four-day mission exhausted her powers, but she was able to obtain, with help from the vessel's sensors and on-board computers, the approximate makeup and layout of the Sith supply base that had been established there.
During this time, the first part of her plan was put into effect. The Aurek fighters of the 23rd Marine and 52nd Naval starfighter squadrons, acting in concert, carried out a raid on the formerly Republic-operated shipyard and repair facilities at Cobalt J-27. With surprise and superior tactics on their side, the two units rendered the asteroid facilities unusable, in addition to destroying a half-squadron of Sith interceptors, a battle-damaged Interdictor-class cruiser, a transport, and a fully-laden bulk freighter. Retreating from the area without having suffered any losses, the two units returned to their home vessel, the Centurion-class battlecruiser Stalwart Defender. Buoyed by the unexpected success of the diversionary raid, the troops, pilots and crewers of Rear Admiral Kedlis Hetton's task force eagerly awaited the main attack.
Green light, green light, go go go!
—Chek Nessai to her troops
The assault was launched at local dawn in order to maximize the chances of surprising the Sith garrison guarding the depot. The Marine assault force, following a hyperspace course that had been designed to intersect Iridonia's gravity well and pull their T-32z Jarhead-class assault landers into realspace on a direct vector to their target, arrived in-system and began a steep descent into the atmosphere. Guarded by the 23rd Marine Squadron while the 52nd's Aureks began patrolling the skies, Third Battalion's four companies made it to their assigned landing zones without drawing any enemy fire. The point unit, Dorn Company, led by Lieutenant Commander Chek Nessai, quickly overwhelmed the squad of Sith troopers that guarded one of four antiaircraft outposts, opening up a cordon for the other companies to drop off their troops.
With Nessai's Marines securing the rest of the outposts, Besh Company, led by Lieutenant Commander Thedus Bimm, along with Aurek Company rushed the outer walls of the depot, successfully breaching the barrier at multiple points as their landers provided suppressing fire with their blaster cannons. Captain Reyolé, who had ridden with Besh Company's Second Platoon, led the assault on the complex itself, though she was forced to call in fire support from the 23rd's starfighters in order to eliminate a full platoon of Sith troops who were bearing down on their position. As the two assault companies began clearing the complex, Cresh Company, which had been tasked with looting the supplies stored at the depot, secured their landers in preparation for the order to move in.
The arrival of reinforcementsEdit
Admiral, we have enemy ships decanting from hyperspace over the target area!
—Stalwart Defender's sensor officer
As Captain Reyolé took control of the base's command center after having routed the last of the Sith troopers that had been guarding it, a flotilla of four Interdictor-class cruisers arrived in-system, launching a squadron each of Sith interceptors to act as vanguards. Sent by Darth Revan after he and Reyolé had experienced the same Force vision, they had originally been sent simply to reinforce Sith holdings on that world. Admiral Hetton's task force, however, had taken up station behind Iridonia's larger moon, and were thus in a good position to ambush the new arrivals, though they outgunned the Republic fleet. The Sith in orbit, however, were unaware of the situation planetside; upon hearing that reinforcements had arrived, Captain Reyolé neutralized the base's communications before the Sith could get off a message.
Following contingency planning, the two Aurek fighter squadrons that had been supporting the ground operation quickly made for space, intending to attack the Sith head-on while the rest of the fleet assaulted their flanks. At this point, Jedi Padawan Bastila Shan, who had been training with her master to develop her latent abilities with battle meditation, brought her efforts to bear on the two opposing fleets with surprising effectiveness. The 23rd and 52nd, their pilots filled with confidence, slashed through the Sith fighters, inflicting heavy losses despite being outnumbered two-to-one. The Sith capital ships, meanwhile, began to break formation, launching more interceptors in piecemeal fashion, making them easy prey for the marauding Republic starfighters.
The gap that formed in the Sith battle line was swiftly exploited by the oncoming Republic capital ships and fighters, who tore into their adversaries. The Aureks from the 51st, 53rd, 54th and 55th Squadrons, free from the threat of interception, launched volleys of nova flares into the Interdictor cruisers' shields. Stripped of their deflectors and exposed to turbolaser and ion cannon fire from the three Hammerhead-class cruisers, as well as more torpedoes from Stalwart Defender, the Sith forces were overwhelmed. Within twenty minutes of their arrival, all four vessels were either destroyed or rendered completely inoperable.
Duel with a former allyEdit
Yes, stay away, you worthless mudbugs! Your commander is unfit to lead you as it is! She threw away the chance that Revan offered her, the gift of resurrection that he gave her, so that she might realize her full power, and fulfill her true destiny!
—Acaadi, addressing Laera Reyolé's squad of Marines
As the battle in orbit played itself out, Acaadi, a Zabrak who had once fought alongside Captain Reyolé during the Mandalorian Wars, came out of hiding to confront the recently Force-trained officer. Now a Dark Jedi allied with Darth Revan and Darth Malak's empire, he swiftly killed two of her Marines before she could react to his sudden appearance. Attempting to apply Dun Möch, Acaadi taunted Reyolé, succeeding in goading her into attacking him directly; this ended up backfiring on him, however, as he had not taken into account her many years of experience as a hand-to-hand and melee combatant on top of her lightsaber combat training.
Forcing him back with powerful blows and an effective defense, Reyolé pushed Acaadi into the abandoned corridors and away from her squad, who could do nothing to intervene. Attempting to buy time and space, Acaadi continued his Dun Möch assault, but this only served to enrage Reyolé further; seeing no alternative, he took flight, hoping to tire out his pursuer in the process. As she was about to give chase, the Marine captain was touched by Shan's battle meditation; this helped her to realize what the former Jedi Knight had been attempting to do. Warning the rest of her battalion of the loose Sith marauder, Reyolé eventually cornered Acaadi in a large, darkened supply room. The two engaged in a lightsaber duel atop one of the high shelves, with Reyolé gaining the upper hand as she pushed the Zabrak to the edge of the shelf. Using a combination of the Force and creative environmental engineering, the Marine overcame her opponent, kicking him off the platform; the resulting hard impacts against shelving and floor ruptured his major organs, and Acaadi soon died.
This was where the Sith reinforcements were headed, and they were to be but a part of a larger attack force.
—Rear Admiral Hetton, regarding Rodia
With the destruction of their fleet and Marines swarming over the base, the remaining Sith troopers and workers retreated into the countryside. The Republic task force, in light of the unexpected totality of their victory both on the ground and in orbit, abandoned their earlier plan of simply looting the newly-liberated depot before blowing it and retreating from the system. Instead, contact was made with the planetary government, and, using the facility as their staging area, the rest of Hetton's ground troops were deployed to hold the world alongside the Third Marine Battalion and two of his Aurek squadrons, the 52nd and 23rd Marines. Iridonia was, officially, once again part of the Galactic Republic.
As the battle drew to a close, however, Ensign Silas Dan'kre, following orders from Captain Reyolé, succeeded in penetrating the base's computer network, grabbing a windfall of intelligence about future Sith plans in the process. This included the upcoming assault on the Rodian homeworld, to which the now-destroyed Sith fleet had been assigned. After forwarding this cache to Republic Intelligence, Admiral Hetton received orders to join up with the Republic's Second Fleet at the outer edges of the Tyrius system in order to provide assistance in repelling the onslaught to come. During the briefing for the captains and executive officers of the three Hammerhead cruisers, the Mon Calamari Jedi Master Wellir and his Padawan, Bastila Shan, revealed that the young woman's sudden mastery of battle meditation had provided the key to such a decisive victory.
Behind the scenesEdit
The Second Battle of Iridonia first appears in fanon form in Star Wars: Saber Battalion, written by Sean "Goodwood" Nash. It is the central plot element of the novella, which describes the planning and execution stages of the operation, as well as the diversionary raid on the Roche asteroids.
Though a canonical battle within the Jedi Civil War, it is only given a minor mention in the reference work The Essential Atlas. Saber Battalion was intended, in part, to establish a possible chronicle of the engagement, tying this battle to the Republic's victory at Rodia, as well as the successful counteroffensive that the Atlas describes as having been a result.
In The Great Leap Forward, Nash's followup novel to The Last Full Measure, it is revealed that the Force vision experienced by Reyolé in the hours before the attack was in fact also witnessed by Revan. This admission is made by Revan in the message contained within his holocron that was intended only for Reyolé to see.
- Star Wars: Saber Battalion
- The Last Full Measure (Mentioned only)
- The Great Leap Forward (Mentioned only)