- "ARC troopers, you were selected for this task because you are the best; the elite. You all know what to do."
- ―Obi-Wan Kenobi
Advanced Recon Commandos—also known as Advanced Recon Clone troopers or simply ARC troopers—were an elite variant of clone trooper in the Grand Army of the Republic during the Clone Wars. Although much rarer than other clones on the galactic scale, they were also among the most skilled soldiers in the galaxy.
During the early stages of the clone army's planning and development, Jango Fett and his Mandalorian military advisors advocated the creation of clones capable of handling covert missions too delicate for the standard units. To achieve the desired results, the Kaminoans did not apply the standard behavior correction and enhanced the prime clone's genetic sample to increase physical prowess.
The first attempt at genetic alterations resulted in the creation of the Null Class ARC Troopers. This first generation of ARCs would have greatly enhanced muscular structure, intelligence and independence compared to the Jango template. Of these 12 prototypes, only six survived the incubation process. Those that remained were quickly considered too independant and unpredictable and were deemed "defective units" and were scheduled for reconditioning, a Kaminoan term for execution. After the arrival of Kal Skirata on Kamino; the Mandalorian trainer was horrified to learn that the six young Nulls were to be executed and so took them under his care. Skirata gave them names and saw to their martial and cultural training.
The second generation of ARCs were termed the Alpha class. After the "failure" of the Nulls, the Alpha ARCS were trained to be more obedient than their prototype brothers. One hundred clones in all made up the Alpha-class and were personally trained by Fett to be tough, inventive and very dangerous fighters. While they were trained to be independent thinkers, they were also taught to be above all else loyal to the Republic, and to support their future Jedi commanders.
After completing standard flash training and accelerated growth, these clones were placed under the direct tutelage of Jango Fett. Under Fett's strict discipline they learned to use their fierce independence, innate creativity, and physical superiority in combination with their training in advanced weapons and vehicles to become virtual one-man armies. After completing their training, the Alpha-class ARC troopers were locked in stasis on Kamino until they were required.
The early war
Two months after the Battle of Geonosis, a Confederacy assault on Kamino prompted their early activation. As droid detachments closed in on Tipoca City, Prime Minister Lama Su activated the Advanced Recon Commandos and authorized their deployment to hot-spots across Kamino in a last-ditch effort to save the planet's precious cloning facilities. The ARCs worked with a force of Jedi to repel the droid forces.
Following the First Battle of Kamino, the ARCs were integrated into parts of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). As the ARCs took their place in the larger world, they developed distinct personalities due to their unaltered nature; some gave themselves names, others formed relationships outside the GAR. Once integrated, Advanced Recon Commandos worked as solo operatives or in small squads led by ARC captains, either performing self-contained missions or supplementing larger Grand Army of the Republic operations. One notable exception was the aftermath of the Battle of Hypori, where a twenty-man ARC trooper team under the leadership of Captain Fordo engaged General Grievous in combat.
As the Clone Wars progressed, some battles were won by the Republic largely thanks to the ARC troopers, most notably the Battle of Muunilinst, where the Muunilinst 10 disabled Separatist defenses that were causing damage to Republic forces. Soon, as their reputation spread among the GAR and throughout the galaxy, the Advanced Recon Commandos proved time and time again why they were they regarded as the best of the best in the Grand Army. As perfect soldiers, the ARCs and Jango were almost exactly alike; in fact, the leader of the Muunilinst 10, Fordo, had adapted the same blaster-spinning routine as Jango Fett.
Clone Commander Training Program
Though only 100 Advanced Recon Commandos of the Alpha class were originally produced, they were able to pass on the ARC tradition to new officers after the death of Jango Fett in 22 BBY. Following his escape from Rattatak in early 20 BBY, Alpha-17, known as "Alpha," one of the earliest ARCs, returned to Kamino to flash-train the second generation of clone trooper commanders.
This Alpha training program was designed to equip clone trooper commanders with similar training to that of the Alpha-class. During this training, the ARC trained clone commanders were taught to think more creatively and to bring out their independence and tactical decisiveness. They soon became some of the most outspoken and independent clones.
Soldiers such as Davijaan, Bacara, Cody, and Rex, though not genetically modified in the same manner as the Alpha class, participated in this program and were able to adopt some of the individualized practices of the ARCs. This brought a new sense of creativity to the strategy of Grand Army of the Republic.
Clone commanders of ARC designation trained by Alpha-17 and others should not be confused with those Alpha-class ARC troopers that achieved the rank of "Commander" during the war.
Further ARC expansion
During the war, the shortening supply of ARCs and their high demand for tactical missions forced the GAR to look for clone troopers to fill their role. As early as 21 BBY, clone troopers who demonstrated exceptional ability could be promoted to ARC trooper, though they were not genetically engineered in the same ways as the Alpha and Null classes and lacked ARC training. In this manner, clone troopers Fives and Echo of the 501st Legion were given the designation of ARC Trooper following their successful defense of Kamino. Such recruited ARCs likes CT-5555 "Fives" or "Colt" fought at the front, as part of regular units.
Aftermath of the Clone Wars
After the Clone Wars, all remaining Alpha-class ARCs in the Grand Army were offered either retirement or the option to train their successors, the stormtroopers, passing on their combat experience. Due largely to their individualism and also to Imperial hostility to the free-spirited nature of the ARCs, most deserted during the final days of the Clone Wars, though those who remained were able to help in the training of stormtroopers. Many went rogue, following in Jango Fett's footsteps by becoming bounty hunters and assassins. These include Alpha-26 "Maze", Alpha-66 "Muzzle", and Alpha-02 "Spar" (who deserted during the war for political reasons). Some ARCs later joined the Alliance to Restore the Republic, and some adopted the Mandalorian culture of Fett. For those that remained in Imperial service, a number of ARC troopers were assigned to become part of the Imperial Commando Special Unit.
The Rail-class ARCs took part in the Kamino uprising by leading the secretly grown clone anti-Imperial troopers against the Imperial stormtroopers of the 501st Legion in a fight to liberate Kamino from the Empire. The anti-Imperial clones failed, however.
ARC troopers were known to be fiercely independent, innately creative, and physically superior to any other contemporary soldiers. This, combined with their training in advanced weapons and vehicles, made them veritable one-man armies. They normally developed distinct personalities due to their unaltered nature; most gave themselves names, others formed relationships outside the GAR.
Because of their training as independent soldiers, they were more prone to questioning orders. In one unforgettable incident on Ord Cestus, ARC trooper Alpha 98 (known as Nate and later as Jangotat) disobeyed an order from his Jedi commander and sacrificed his life to destroy a local group of despots.
Many ARCs were strongly influenced by their trainer Jango Fett, especially aspects of his Mandalorian culture, most notably Spar. The Null-class ARCs were similarly influenced by Kal Skirata, and all of them deserted the GAR for Mandalore after the war.
Though ARC troopers most commonly worked alone and rarely had troops directly under their command, they generally held high ranks and authority over standard clone troopers. Alpha and Null class ARCs always maintained the officer color scheme of the Phase I clone trooper armor, shown below.
- ARC commander: Although some ARC trooper captains were promoted to the rank of commander and wore yellow ARC trooper armor, most of the officers that were labeled as "ARC Commander" were not originally Alpha-class ARC troopers. These ARC commanders were regular clone officer commanders that were specially trained by Alpha-17 to instill more independence and aggressiveness, and to think outside the box.
- ARC captain: These ARCs had authority over subordinate ARCs, commandos, and standard clone soldiers. The few times that squads of ARC troopers worked together, an ARC captain was usually in charge, serving under a Jedi General.
- ARC lieutenant: This was the first and most common ARC rank during the Clone Wars. Lieutenant ARC troopers fought in various battles including the Battle of Muunilinst.
- ARC sergeant: The only known ARC sergeant was the highly independent Null ARC Trooper N-12 A'den. Despite his low rank, as an ARC trooper N-12 had a great deal of autonomy as he worked in Clone Intelligence.
Adept within a variety of weaponry, ARC troopers often used DC-17 hand blasters, WESTAR-M5 blaster rifle, DC-15A blaster rifle, DC-15S, heavy repeating blasters, or a DC-15x sniper rifle. Some could carry specialized equipment, such as a miniature flamethrower, Z-6 rotary blaster cannon, PLX-1 portable missile launcher, or a reciprocating quad blaster. For grenades, they often utilized fragmentation grenades, reverse-polarity pulse grenades, electromagnetic pulse grenades, and ion grenades. They could also carry HX2 antipersonnel mines. They could also use ascension cables if need be for climbing. The bandoleers on ARC troopers could carry extra equipment or ammunition. Some could carry commando recon droids, for scouting purposes.
Created early in the war, ARC troopers wore a more advanced and versatile version of the Phase I armor, along with command pauldrons and kamas. They often had a periscope rangefinder attachment on the right side of their helmets, similar to those on Mandalorian helmets.
While each mission profile required a different loadout, ARC troopers were commonly armed with the WESTAR-M5 blaster rifle, DC-15A blaster rifles, DC-17 hand blasters, and frag and reverse-polarity pulse grenades. When heavier firepower was required, ARCs donned specialized armor to bear the weight of reciprocating quad blasters, PLX-1 portable missile launchers, or Z-6 rotary blaster cannons. Many individual ARC Troopers also had bandoliers and pouches for extra equipment, such as EMP grenades and extra ammunition.
ARCs received training that gave them access to vehicles which usually required a specialized clone trooper to operate. To enhance ground range and mobility, ARCs made use of the BARC speeder, named for the Biker Advanced Recon Commandos who used it. For small squad operations, Advanced Recon Commando pilots could pilot LAAT/i gunships to drop units behind enemy lines. Advanced Recon Commando heavy gunners used larger weapons. ARC troopers were also known to use AT-FRCs, highly advanced walkers which were capable of camouflage, that were specifically made to be operated by the commandos.
Arc Trooper Classes
- Null-class ARC troopers - The original class of 6 ARC Troopers.
- Alpha-class ARC troopers - The first successful class of 100 ARC Troopers.
- ARC Training Program - Standard clones flash trained by Alpha-17
- ARC Trooper Inductees - Standard clones inducted into the ARC ranks due to them showing exceptional capabilities.
- First Battle of Kamino
- Battle of Ohma-D'un
- Battle of Jabiim
- Battle of Pengalan IV
- Battle of Muunilinst
- Battle of Hypori
- Mission to Ord Cestus
- Battle of Colla IV
- Battle of Praesitlyn
- Battle of Byblos
- Battle of Lola Sayu
- Battle of Coruscant
Behind the scenes
In Star Wars: Battlefront, the ARC troopers (named in the game) are the heavy weapons specialist. They appear in the campaign's Geonosis mission. As the ARCs were in stasis at that time, they were not canonically present at the battle there.
In Star Wars: Battlefront II, the clone heavy troopers on Geonosis are given the appearance of ARC troopers. As the ARCs were in stasis at that time, they were not canonically present at the battle there.
Notes and references
- Star Wars: Clone Wars – "Chapter 2"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "ARC Troopers"
- "Underworld: A Galaxy of Scum and Villainy" – Star Wars Insider 89
- "Guide to the Grand Army of the Republic" – Star Wars Insider 84
- Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith: The Visual Dictionary
- Imperial Commando: 501st
- Lead by Example