- "Roger, roger."
- ―Typical response of a B1 battle droid
B1 battle droids, also referred to as standard battle droids or clankers, were the most widely used battle droids manufactured by Baktoid Combat Automata and Baktoid Armor Workshop, and were the successor to the OOM-series battle droids. Even though they were widely produced and deployed, the B1 battle droid was flimsily designed and easy to destroy, and was only truly successful in large numbers. Early versions of the model also required the use of a Central Control Computer, but despite these weaknesses they saw extensive service as the mainlines soldier of the Trade Federation's mechanized droid army. The droid army was deployed during the Invasion of Naboo, and after landing B1 battle droids marched into the Naboo capital of Theed, and using the massive army the Trade Federation captured the city. The droids continued to keep the Trade Federation's grip on the planet throughout the occupation, and the majority of Federation droid troops were deployed to combat the Gungan Grand Army at the Great Grass Plains. In the ensuing battle many militiagungs were killed, but the entire droid army was defeated because it shut down when the control computer was destroyed with the Federation's Droid Control Ship by the young Force-sensitive pilot, Anakin Skywalker during the portion of the battle that was in space.
During the Separatist Crisis, the Trade Federation leadership met with other commerce guilds on the planet Geonosis, and the Federation had given its droid army, including the B1 battle droid, to the growing Confederacy of Independent Systems. The droids became the main soldier of the new Separatist Droid Army. The forces of the army used newer reworked B1s. These B1 models did not have a reliance on a central command signal was removed, and these newer models did not require a control ship. They were capable of independent thought; however, it was limited. On Geonosis the droid army clashed with the Galactic Republic's new army of clone troopers for the first time. This battle launched the galactic conflict known as the Clone Wars. The B1 battle droids and the other models of combat droids used by the Confederacy fought the forces of the Republic on many worlds for the duration of the long conflict.
Throughout the droids' history, it was evident that the B1 was dim-witted. Programming glitches manifested as the B1 battle droids developing personality quirks, and they were known to make commentary on what occurred around them. The B1s were outmatched by the clone troopers of the Republic, but massive numbers of B1s could gain victory over the more experienced clone troopers, and even members of the Jedi Order. The B1 battle droids, nicknamed "clankers" along with other Separatist droids by the Republic, were manufactured in massive numbers for the Separatists, but military officers, like the Supreme Commander of the Droid Army General Grievous, grew angry at the failings of the B1. Following the defeat of the Confederacy, B1 battle droids were deactivated by the Galactic Empire along with the rest of the droid army. Despite this, and battle droids becoming outlawed under the Empire, B1 battle droids continued to see use through Separatist holdouts and the black market during the Imperial Era.
- "Look, it's RB-551."
"No wonder he got blasted. He's one of those older models programmed by a central computer."
"Not us, we're independent thinkers."
- ―Several B1s discussing how they were upgraded models from the older RB-551
B1 battle droids were humanoid fourth class battle droids measuring 1.93 meters tall, and were the successors to the OOM-series battle droid. Unlike early B1 battle droids, later B1s were able to operate without a central command signal. Central Control Computer were located in an orbiting Droid Control Ship, and Central Control Computers were used because the budget-minded Trade Federation saved the production costs of thousands of individual droids. By the time B1s were being used by the Confederacy of Independent Systems, the B1 battle droid had been reworked to not require a central command signal to operate, and these later B1s that did not require a control ship were capable of limited independent thought, and B1s not programmed by central computers saw themselves as "independent thinkers." Despite the new model within the Separatist Droid Army there were still older B1 models programmed by central computers used, such as RB-551, a B1 battle droid who served as part as a droid patrol during the Battle of Ryloth. Central Control Computers still did see use due to battle droids that required them, as was on the Subjugator-class heavy cruiser, Malevolence, but the battle droids of the Separatists had been upgraded by the Geonosians to possess autonomous thinking.
The humanoid physiques of the B1 model were specifically commissioned by the Trade Federation for practical reasons. The humanoid form allowed B1s to operate existing machinery, vehicles, and weapons originally designed for organic operators and pilots, saving the Federation unnecessary production costs and retrofitting. B1s could pilot Single Trooper Aerial Platforms, Armored Assault Tanks, Multi-Troop Transports, and Federation battleships, among other vessels. B1 battle droids' limited programming meant they were not always effective at these types of jobs, however. During the Mission to Rugosa, a B1 battle droid at the controls of the laser cannons on a Munificent-class star frigate missed every shot it fired at Republic escape pods. When the B1 battle droid was confronted about this by the OOM command battle droid in command of the frigate, the droid told the commanding officer that it had missed due to flawed programming it suffered. The limited programming of the B1 battle droids also made them unfit to serve many of the jobs they were tasked with on the advanced Subjugator-class heavy cruiser Malevolence, during the Malevolence campaign.
The body of the B1 battle droid was also designed so the unit could be able to fold into a compact stowed configuration. One of the uses of this configuration was storage for transport, as in this configuration one hundred and twelve B1 battle droids could be stored into a Multi-Troop Transport. B1 battle droids could also fold into this configuration when they were low on power and needed to close down to recharge. When the B1s were activated, the limbs of the B1s unfolded first, and their long neck unfolded last. B1 battle droids were also designed to resemble their Geonosian creators, and were able to be produced cheaply. The cheap price tag of the B1s often allowed multiple battalions of B1 battle droids to be sacrificed for a victory without concern.
B1 battle droids had a comlink just below their head, and their photoreceptors could switch to an infrared mode. B1 battle droids had the ability to pick up electromagnetic fields, such as the small fields generated from holoprojectors. B1 battle droids possessed simple vocabulators, which gave the majority of B1s high-pitched voices, but other B1s spoke in lower, more monotone voices. B1 battle droids could exhibit various tones of voice, such as fear, confusion, and excitement. These also were examples of the B1 battle droid's "personality quirks," which were the result of programming glitches in the B1 battle droids.
Inexpensive yet durable metal protected the droid's signal-receiver assembly. However, this metal did not protect B1 battle droids against blaster fire or lightsabers well, and these weapons could easily defeat a B1. Another weak point in the droids, which could be aimed for by snipers, were the droid's capacitors, and hitting between the B1's capacitors could take out the unit. Despite these tactics often utilized by the Republic, Clone Captain "Rex" informed the Onderon rebels that the only true way to take out a battle droid was to take out their head, and Rex stated this was because the droids didn't even require their bodies to report intel back to command. Later in the Clone Wars, Separatist Duke Solha, as well as his brother and sister, operated a droid factory on Mokivj that created B1 battle droids, as well as B2 super battle droids, made from cortosis. The cortosis was from a nearby mine, and this metal made the droids more resistant to blaster bolts and lightsabers. This factory was ultimately destroyed in the Mokivj catastrophe.
- General Grievous: "How are you finding the assistance of the droid battalion? Have they quelled your superiority complex programming?"
- AD-W4: "You jest, Grievous. Their battle prowess is laughable while their 'banter' is—"
- B1 battle droid: "He is so mean to us! Meaner even than you General. All we want to do is give him a callsign and—"
- AD-W4: [kills the B1 out of annoyance] "They do, however, make excellent blaster fodder."
- ―General Grievous, droid mercenary AD-W4, and a B1 battle droid[src]
The B1 was designed to be easily controlled, inexpensive to mass-produce, and unquestioningly obedient, but despite this being their design there were instances where B1s would questions their orders, and/or would comment on them. An example was during the Battle of Quell, in which T-series tactical droid TF-1726 gave the order to destroy Republic Jedi General Aayla Secura's Venator-class Star Destroyer. A B1 battle droid disagreed with this, and questioned the order as it brought up that there still hundreds of droids on board the cruiser. These droids had been sent to attack the Republic Star Destroyer earlier in the battle, but TF-1726 responded that he didn't care, and ignored the B1's protest, so the B1 followed its orders to fire on the enemy ship. Another example of this was when a B1 questioned the hired bounty hunter Cad Bane's decision not to launch reinforcements to the vulture droids engaging Republic forces during the Battle of Devaron. Later during the battle, two B1s were concerned over their orders to defend the ship's bridge. The droids knew only the few droids stationed on the bridge would be defending against two incoming Jedi. During a sandstorm in the final acts of the Second Battle of Geonosis, O.M.5 and another B1 battle droid questioned where Separatist Council member Poggle the Lesser was leading them, but the pair continued to follow him for as long as they could.
These examples of B1s questioning and commenting on their orders all additionally served as examples of the "banter" and other comments that the B1 battle droids would often make. Other examples were when two B1 battle droids spoke on the battlesphere they were stationed on, Skytop Station, as one needed to get its head adjusted due to high amounts of moisture. Another example came when a group of B1 battle droids talked about how they believed they were superior models to the older RB-551. B1 battle droids also made other types of comments on duty, such as one B1 battle droid commenting on the beauty of the planet Hissrich, and another insulting Republic clone troopers during the Battle of Teth, calling the clones of Torrent Company "Republic dogs." One B1 battle droid seemingly saw itself as being above the astromech droids of D-Squad, as it called them "stupid astromechs." These "personality quirks" displayed by B1 battle droids were the result of programming glitches the droids suffered. B1 battle droids proved to be dim-witted, but no attempt was made to fix these issues, as the droids were still able to use their swarm tactics, and advanced programming was not required for this.
Individual B1 battle droids were not effective soldiers against enemies like clone troopers in combat, and so the B1 primarily relied on mass-assault tactics to achieve victory, but the cheap cost of the B1 battle droid made this a viable tactic for military use. Although later models were capable of limited independent thought, B1 battle droids had a limited intelligence compared to other soldiers and required a superior commander to lead them effectively in battle. Motion-capture data from highly trained organic droids allowed the B1 to demonstrate an array of combat stances, positions, and maneuvers. Despite their advantages, B1s were just as vulnerable to EMP weapons as other droids. The Gungan Grand Army used this tactic during the Battle of Neimoidia when they used boomas against the Trade Federation Droid Army, and, during the Clone Wars, the Republic also used this advantage. Clone troopers used Electro Magnetic Pulse grenades, which were nicknamed "droid poppers" by the clones, against B1s and other battle droids, and the Republic would develop the electro-proton bomb, which could short-circuit an entire droid army.
In the field, B1 droids often utilized E-5 blaster rifles and wore comlink booster packs. The droids were also able to use electrobinoculars and thermal detonators on the field. During the Battle of Ryloth, two B1s in Nabat used electropoles to force Gutkurrs to move to attack Ghost Company. B1 battle droids were programmed to never surrender, but the droids were also able to focus on self-preservation, and they could attempt to escape their possible destruction. B1 battle droids outranked the astromech droids used by the Confederacy, and B1 battle droids were able to hold military ranks such as sergeant and lieutenant. B1 battle droids could also serve as scouts for military operations and as gunners to operate heavy artillery, such as the laser cannons on Armored Assault Tanks. B1 battle droids were able to operate in space.
- "Some of you gathered here today are old enough to remember when Baktoid Armor Workshop came to Geonosis and struck a deal with us to build foundries and produce battle droids and other automata for which we were handsomely rewarded."
- ―Archduke Poggle the Lesser to the Geonosians
B1 battle droids would be manufactured by Baktoid Combat Automata and Baktoid Armor Workshop, and the latter would approach the Geonosians to build battle droids and other weapons. The Geonosians designed the B1 battle droids, and B1s were constructed in their droid foundries on Geonosis. This allowed countless droids to be produced at one time. Archduke Poggle the Lesser also received backing from the Trade Federation's mysterious benefactor Darth Sidious, and millions of B1 battle droids were produced on Geonosis for the Trade Federation.
Invasion of NabooEdit
- "Finally the mackineeks gottin us surround, but mesa and the rest, we just looked at each other smiling. We was going to rush them. We didn't care about their flashers. We just had a feeling that we'd like seeing what we could be doing. And that's when the mackineeks switched off."
- ―The Gungan militiagung Oma Prumba's account on the end of the Battle of Neimoidia
In 32 BBY, Prop 31-814D made Free Trade Zones eligible for taxation, and in retaliation the Trade Federation initiated a blockade of the planet Naboo. The Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn were sent to negotiate with the Federation, but the negotiations were thwarted when Darth Sidious contacted Viceroy Nute Gunray and ordered him to kill the Jedi. Although the two Jedi were able to escape, the Trade Federation sent an invasion force to Naboo in hopes of forcing Queen Padmé Amidala to sign a treaty which would legitimize the occupation. At the end of the occupation B1s fought against the Gungan Grand Army at the Great Grass Plains during the Battle of Naboo, and did gain the upper hand. This was truly a distraction to draw the main droid forces away from Naboo's capital city of Theed, which had been occupied since its capture by the Federation. In Theed they fought against the Royal Naboo Security Forces under the command of the Queen of Naboo, Padmé Amidala. The droids were ultimately shut down at the end of the occupation during the Battle of Naboo when the Trade Federation's orbiting Droid Control Ship was destroyed by the young Force-sensitive pilot Anakin Skywalker.
After the Invasion of NabooEdit
- "For some time I've wanted to congratulate you for introducing autonomous thinking to the battle droids. Central control computers were certainly an outgrowth of the hierarchical structure of Neimoidian society. And we all saw what happened at the Battle of Neimoidia The Separatist droid army has come a long way since, and I don't think the Geonosians are given enough credit for that."
- ―Lieutenant Commander Orson Krennic claims to wish to congratulate the Geonosians to Archduke Poggle the Lesser
The Trade Federation lost thousands of B1 battle droids due to the Battle of Naboo, and the defeat showed the faults of the B1. It was clear that the B1 could effectively bully civilians, but the droid was not a match for trained soldiers. The lessons learned from Neimoidia lead the Techno Union to develop the B2 super battle droid. Super battle droids were a heavy infantry model of droid designed solely for combat, but also would also see other uses. The Trade Federation would come to ally itself with the growing Confederacy of Independent Systems. By the Clone Wars, Separatist leaders had come to see networked control centers for B1s as a vulnerability, and the reliance on a central command signal, the tactic that had cost the Federation the Battle of Neimoidia, eventually was removed from the B1 battle droids. The new model of B1 that did not need a control ship to operate were capable of limited independent thought, and the newer B1s regarded themselves as "independent thinkers." Older models controlled by central computers still saw use, despite the newer model of B1, and the computers were used to give commands to droids performing complicated technical duties.
- "You expect victory over Jedi, but all you give me to fight them is battle droids!"
- ―General Grievous to Count Dooku
In 22 BBY, ten years after the Battle of Naboo, the Federation provided B1 battle droid forces to the Confederacy of Independent Systems, a secessionist movement composed of wealthy industrialists and disgruntled citizens of the Outer Systems, and the Confederacy's Droid Army. The Separatist Crisis soon broke into full war at the Battle of Geonosis, and the Separatists officially waged war against the Galactic Republic and its newly released clone army in a conflict known as the Clone Wars. During the Clone Wars, B1 battle droids were the most common form of battle droid, to the point where there were often one hundred B1 battle droids on a battlefield for every one B2 super battle droid. However despite their numbers they were not as effective as the experienced clone troopers of the Republic. During the war, many Separatist leaders grew angry at the failures of the B1, particularly the Supreme Commander of the Droid Army, General Grievous. B1 battle droids were used throughout the entire conflict, and when not used on the front lines this model of droid could be as security on Separatist worlds and military locations like ships and bases. In addition to their use against the Republic in the war, the droids also saw action against other enemies of the Confederacy. Enemies like these were the Nightsisters at the Battle of Dathomir and Darth Maul's Shadow Collective during the Confederacy's campaign against the group.
Age of the EmpireEdit
- "Send a message to the ships of the Trade Federation. All droid units must shut down immediately."
- ―Darth Sidious to Darth Vader
Battle droids were outlawed by the Galactic Empire, the totalitarian state that replaced the Republic, in the wake of the destructive conflict in 19 BBY. Orders were given to stormtroopers to shoot and destroy "clankers" on sight. By the time of the early rebellion against the Galactic Empire, the super tactical droid General Kalani continued to command some remaining battle droids and droidekas at a wrecked Separatist supply ship on Agamar. These droids had not been given the shut-down code issued years prior, as Kalani had believed it was a Republic trick. After the rebel group known as the Spectres—joined by Captain Rex—made contact with the Separatist remnant, the two forces joined to fight off an Imperial attack. With the aid of two Jedi, Kalani and several of his B1 battle droids were able to escape the planet in a Sheathipede-class transport shuttle. Due to this mission, Kalani and Rex came to an unofficial end to the Clone Wars, which they both accepted as the war's end.
During the Galactic Civil War, several B1 battle droids were among the rebuilt battle droids in the workshop owned by Ruen on the Wreck Belt. Ruen notably did not treat his droids well but kept them controlled through control loops and ethical programming he installed into them. Ruen activated many of his battle droids, including B1 battle droids and B2 super battle droids, to apprehend the assassin droids 0-0-0 and BT-1 while the two were there for business. BT-1 quickly destroyed all of the droids Ruen had activated, and Ruen was forced to help the two assassin droids. After this was done, however, BT-1 was able to hack into the remaining droids and remove the restraints Ruen had placed, which 0-0-0 viewed as an act of emancipation. Ruen tried to contact Quarantine World III to report about 0-0-0, but the remaining now-freed B1s and other battle droids turned on him. The droids killed Ruen and destroyed the workshop as BT-1 and 0-0-0 watched from a distance. As the two left the Wreck Belt they discussed how they believed that if organics treated droids better, violence between droids and organics wouldn't be necessary.
- "A battle droid? You wanted to show us… a battle droid? The most incompetent droid soldier in the history of both the Republic and Empire. A mechanical comedy of errors. And you believe that Surat Nuat wants a meager, worthless B1 droid?"
- ―Makarial Gravin, to Temmin Wexley upon seeing the B1 battle droid Mister Bones
The wide-scale use of droids in combat led to an increase in anti-droid propaganda and rhetoric following the Clone Wars. When several thugs saw the modified battle droid Mister Bones deployed by Temmin Wexley on Akiva against them during the time in the last months of the Galactic Civil War they laughed at the droid due to the model's history of failures. However, this droid was modified, and proved to be very effective.
- "I PERFORMED VIOLENCE. ROGER-ROGER."
- ―Mister Bones, to Temmin Wexley
Some notable B1 battle droids included the OOM command battle droid OOM-9. During the Galactic Civil War, the modified battle droid Mister Bones served as a companion to Temmin Wexley. Following the Rebellion on Akiva, Bones along with Temmin joined the New Republic. Another notable B1 battle droid was R0-GR, a veteran of the Clone Wars who later served the Freemaker family.
Specialized B1 battle droidsEdit
Fighting in uniformity, the B1 was only distinguished by numerical markings on the back of their comlink booster packs. Command structure and function was designated by distinct, colored markings on their armor, but these markings were for OOM-series battle droids and not B1s. Blue denoted pilot droids, red denoted security droids, and yellow denoted command droids.
- B1-series rocket battle droid—Standard B1 droids that were specifically modified to hunt down escape pods in space. They donned rocket packs and were distinguished by their orange and black colored bodies.
- B1 grapple droid—A B1 variant that were specialized in hand-to-hand combat and had white and green plating.
- B1 recon droid—A variant of the B1 that was specifically designed and used for reconnaissance.
- B1 repeater blaster droid—A B1 variant that utilized a repeating blaster. The droid had the same markings as the standard B1 battle droid.
- B1 rocket launcher droid—A variant of the B1 that used a missile launcher, and this variant had the same markings as the standard B1 battle droid.
- Droid worker—Modified B1 battle droids created by Karina.
- Firefighter battle droid—B1s tasked to suppress and extinguish fires. Firefighter droids were positioned aboard the Malevolence during the Republic's assault on the vessel. Their bodies were mostly colored black with yellow stripes, and a single red spot could be found on their heads.
- Heavy battle droid—B1s designed to support heavy fire in battle. Armed with repeating blasters, these battle droids were capable of wielding heavy weaponry such as Z-6 rotary blaster cannons. They were identifiable by the overall gray body and dark red paintings.
Behind the scenesEdit
In the mid-1990s, Doug Chiang's earliest designs of the battle droids were a nod to the helmets worn by the stormtroopers of the original trilogy, suggesting the evolution of large-scale combat in the Star Wars galaxy. The finished droid's proportions are reminiscent of African sculpture. Early design had towering droids twice the height of humans, but subsequent iterations brought their height down to human size.