- "Both sides want to use Brentaal to show that Endor was a fluke, and that they've recovered."
"And Brentaal IV is the key to the Bormea sector, which we want because Mon Mothma's homeworld Chandrila is here."
- ―Wedge Antilles and Avan Beruss
The Battle of Brentaal IV, also known as the Battle of Brentaal, the siege of Brentaal, and the Battle for Brentaal, was one of the first major engagements between the New Republic and the Galactic Empire, approximately nine months after the Battle of Endor. With the Core Worlds Recopia and Ralltiir supporting the New Republic, the Provisional Council began to look toward liberating more of the Core, with an eye toward eventually taking Coruscant itself. Following a reconnaissance by Rogue Squadron, the planet Brentaal IV was chosen as a target of the Republic's offensive. The Empire, headed by Imperial Grand Vizier Sate Pestage, struggled to hold itself together, threatened both by internal discontent and the fragmenting of their military force into individual warlord holdings. To appease the Cabal, a wealthy and politically connected faction whose members all had investments on the world, Pestage vowed to hold Brentaal IV at all costs.
The New Republic hit the world in force, with Admiral Gial Ackbar in command of the task force, supported by Rogue Squadron and Aggressor Wing. Due to tactical ineptness on the part of Imperial Admiral Lon Isoto, the Republic forces were able to successfully take the Brentaal IV moonbase. Further operations allowed the Republic forces to establish a presence on the planet itself, in the city of Oradin, although at a cost—the 181st Imperial Fighter Group, led by Colonel Baron Soontir Fel, had reinforced Brentaal IV. Despite their presence, however, it became clear that Brentaal IV was lost to the New Republic. Director of Imperial Intelligence Ysanne Isard ordered an evacuation of Brentaal IV, sending ships from Coruscant to rescue the wealthy and influential citizens. Fearing that the evacuation would strip Brentaal of its wealth, New Republic forces mobilized to stop the escape. During the battle, Baron Fel was captured by New Republic forces, and Brentaal IV came under firm New Republic control with the withdrawal of Imperial forces.
The fallout from the loss of Brentaal IV further split the political leaders of the Empire, mainly due to the plotting of Director Isard. During the course of the Brentaal campaign, she had successfully isolated Pestage and the Cabal from one another, and convinced each party that the other was ultimately to blame for the loss of the planet. Pestage, aware that Isard coveted the throne for herself, began to seek ways to save himself—including dealing with the New Republic—while the Cabal began to plot Pestage's overthrow. For the New Republic, the liberation of the planet was a significant tactical victory that strengthened their foothold in the Core, and even enlisted the services of Baron Fel, who defected to the New Republic in exchange for assistance in locating his wife.
- 1 Prelude
- 2 The battle
- 3 Aftermath
- 4 Notable participants
- 5 Behind the scenes
- 6 Appearances
- 7 Sources
- 8 Notes and references
New Republic reconnaissance
- "This is not good. They have scouted many systems. They're up to something."
"In the six months since they murdered our Emperor, they have been consolidating their forces. They were bound to act sometime."
- ―Sate Pestage and Ysanne Isard, referring to Rogue Squadron's reconnaissance of Brentaal IV
Approximately nine months after the Battle of Endor, the newly formed New Republic began to perform reconnaissance operations throughout the Core Worlds with an eye toward staging a campaign to liberate the Core, and the capital of Coruscant. Following the decision of the inhabitants of Recopia to ally themselves with the New Republic, Rogue Squadron—the New Republic's elite starfighter unit—was assigned to recon the planet Brentaal IV, in the Bormea sector of the Core. A five-fighter element, consisting of four Incom T-65 X-wing starfighters and a T-65BR X-wing reconnaissance starfighter, entered the Brentaal system and began to collect reconnaissance data. Imperial forces stationed at the Brentaal IV moonbase responded to the New Republic intrusion, deploying TIE fighters to engage the Rogues. A brief dogfight ensued, with the Rogues covering the reconnaissance fighter, piloted by Nrin Vakil. All but one of the TIE fighters deployed was destroyed; however, as the fighter raced for the safety of the moonbase, Rogue pilot Wes Janson fired two proton torpedoes into the launch bay, causing massive internal damage. Unhindered, the Rogues leaped to hyperspace, returning to Base Delta-Nine.
- "Brentaal IV? You want me to invite an attack there? Half the Cabal have property there, and all of them share its wealth."
"That is exactly why they will want you to defend it. And the denizens of that world have the money to pay for the upgrading of the defenses."
- ―Sate Pestage and Ysanne Isard
Following the death of Emperor Palpatine during the Battle of Endor, Grand Vizier Sate Pestage assumed control of the Empire. However, the Director of Imperial Intelligence, Ysanne Isard, also wished to rule. She offered advice and assistance to Pestage in the months following the defeat at Endor, and acted as a neutral party in his dealings with the Cabal, a wealthy and politically connected group of Imperial citizens. However, Isard was playing Pestage and the Cabal against each other, causing friction between the two in the hopes of weakening both Pestage's rule and the Cabal's power base. When report of New Republic reconnaissance missions probing the Core Worlds came to Pestage's attention, Isard advised him to invite an attack against Brentaal IV. Setting into motion a plan she called Project Ambition, Isard believed that if she could orchestrate a New Republic victory at Brentaal, it would lead to Pestage's downfall and weaken the Ruling Council enough for her to ascend to the throne. In addition, by allowing the New Republic to gain a foothold in the Core, Isard hoped that she could draw elements of the New Republic's leadership and military into an exposed and vulnerable position.
When Pestage questioned the wisdom of this approach, stating that the members of the Cabal either owned property on the world or shared in its wealth, Isard answered that they would want Pestage to defend the world for those exact reasons. Additionally, they were wealthy enough to pay for upgrading the planetary defenses. Pestage mused that he would have to find a replacement for Admiral Lon Isoto, commander of the planet's military forces, since he was incompetent and allegedly addicted to the drug glitterstim. Isard counseled Pestage to take the opposite action and allow Isoto to retain his command—although considered to be an idiot, he was favored by the Cabal. Since he was their man, he was therefore their mistake. Isard also informed Pestage that elements of the elite 181st Imperial Fighter Group were already on their way to Brentaal IV, with the rest of the unit—including their commander, Colonel Baron Soontir Fel—due to follow them shortly. Agreeing, Pestage issued a public statement saying that the Empire would defend any invasion of Brentaal IV. Secretly, Isard saw the upcoming battle as an opportunity to rid herself of Soontir Fel: a popular, respected officer, Isard suspected that the Imperial Military was conspiring to offer Fel the Imperial throne and replace her and Pestage.
Assault on the Brentaal IV moonbase
- "Isoto's big ships are too far away to interfere. You are clear to engage enemy, Rogue Leader."
- ―Admiral Ackbar during the opening stages of the assault on the Brentaal IV moonbase
After analyzing the reconnaissance data provided by Rogue Squadron, Admiral Gial Ackbar, Supreme Commander of the New Republic's military forces, decided that Brentaal IV was an ideal target to strike. Brentaal sat at the greatest hyperlane junction in the Core Worlds, and taking it would position New Republic forces within striking distance of Coruscant, while simultaneously limiting Imperial access to the galaxy's eastern and southern quadrants. The planet had been a target for several months, but had been a low priority. With Pestage vowing to hold the planet at all costs, Ackbar decided that they needed to strike Brentaal IV swiftly before the world could be extensively reinforced. A task force was assembled, commanded by Ackbar himself aboard the Mon Calamari Star Cruiser Independence, and including Colonel Horton Salm's Aggressor Wing and Rogue Squadron—which was brought back up to full strength for the operation. The task force was allotted two weeks training time for the assault. At the same time, Kapp Dendo of the New Republic Intelligence Service was inserted onto the planet with Commando Team One to relay information back to the New Republic.
Following the successful liberation of Ralltiir several days earlier, the task force staged from the planet Recopia, striking first at the Brentaal IV moonbase. The facility was defended by fixed turbolaser emplacements and TIE interceptors from the 181st's third squadron. However, Admiral Isoto chose not to engage the New Republic capital ships with his own vessels, keeping them in close orbit around Brentaal IV itself. Unhindered, Colonel Salm's Y-wings began their attack runs on the installation's defenses while Rogue Squadron provided cover. During the dogfight, Rogue pilot Derek Klivian was shot down, although he managed to eject from his stricken fighter.
With the need to land ground troops in the moonbase's hangar, Rogue pilot Plourr Ilo raced ahead of the assault transports. Launching two proton torpedoes into the hangar, she proceeded to follow them into the facility. Once inside, Ilo cut in her repulsors and, hovering above the deck, used her fighter's weapons to cut down the base's defenders that had assembled in the hangar. Bantha-class assault shuttles followed her into the installation, disgorging ground troops to secure the hangar. New Republic forces captured the moonbase, intending to use it as a staging ground for the assault on Brentaal IV itself. Shortly after its capture, Rogue Squadron was transferred to the installation from Base Delta-Nine, and began combat air patrols with Y-wings from Aggressor Wing to protect the facility.
Establishing a beachhead
- "Strategically, Vuultin is worthless."
"But I am here."
"Valid point, but Oradin to the west has the spaceport facilities they need to bring troops down. While we might hope they would strike here, I suspect that will be their target."
- ―Baron Soontir Fel and Admiral Lon Isoto discussing strategy
Shortly after the capture of the moonbase, Baron Fel—along with the rest of the 181st—arrived on Brentaal IV. Their arrival was noted by Dendo's intelligence team, who passed the information back to New Republic command. Establishing his headquarters in Vuultin, Fel was initially impressed by Admiral Isoto's efforts to comply with his request for better city defenses by constructing hardened missile sites and a launch bunker for his group's fighters. However, Isoto's lack of talent when it came to military tactics and strategy became apparent when he insisted that the New Republic's next target would be Vuultin itself since it was where he had made his headquarters. Fel argued that the city of Oradin, to the west of Vuultin, was the logical target since it had extensive spaceport facilities that the Republic would need if they wanted to land troops in large numbers. Isoto relented, allowing Fel to deploy his unit as he saw fit, but ordered him to leave a flight or two at the capital in case he was wrong.
On the Brentaal IV moonbase, Admiral Ackbar briefed his forces on their attack plan for the planet itself. The strategy called for the capture of the city of Oradin and its spaceports, exactly as Fel had predicted. Aggressor Wing would be used to safeguard the strike force, while Rogue Squadron would feint at the capital of Vuultin. With intelligence placing Fel at the capital, it was hoped that Rogue Squadron would engage the 181st, stopping them from hitting the assault force headed for Oradin.
Rogue Squadron assaulted Vuultin at sundown, engaging two flights from the 181st Third Squadron and ground defenses. Captain Wedge Antilles reported that the opposition was light—Case Yellow—to the fleet, resulting in reserves being allocated to the Oradin theater. Even with enemy forces attacking his capital, Isoto ordered his capital ships to move to the night side of the planet, away from the New Republic forces. Despite the light opposition, two Rogue Squadron pilots—Wes Janson and the Mon Calamari Ibtisam—were shot down. Both survived the loss of their craft, going to ground outside of Vuultin.
While Rogue Squadron hit Vuultin, Colonel Salm led his Y-wings against Oradin's defenses. With jamming coming from the city itself, it was believed that any attack would come from that direction. However, Fel led his interceptors in strafing runs against the Y-wings from behind, inflicting heavy casualties. Tasking his second in command, Major Turr Phennir, to lead his squadron in an attack on the assault carriers on approach to the city, Fel intended to eliminate the Republic fighters with his own squadron. Receiving a communication from Isoto, Fel was ordered to break off the attack and return to Vuultin to protect the admiral from Rogue Squadron's attack. Fel argued that they could not, as the main assault was at Oradin, but Isoto insisted. Despite Phennir's suggestion to ignore the command, Fel obeyed his orders and withdrew. Phennir's squadron performed rearguard duty, inflicting massive damage to the city as they pulled out.
With the 181st headed for Vuultin, Rogue Squadron was ordered to withdraw from their assault on the capital and regroup with the fleet in case Fel and his unit were being sent to attack them. Antilles protested that they had people on the ground, and fleet command informed him that rescue assets had been notified of the situation. Rogue Squadron disengaged and headed for orbit. Meanwhile, Republic forces captured Oradin, and immediately set up a garrison and a makeshift hospital. During the fighting, Major Phennir had single-handedly shot down an assault transport, and the craft had gone down into a school. Casualties from Aggressor Wing, the transport, and the school were being treated at the hospital, which was helped by the fact that kiloliter drums of bacta had been discovered.
Outside of Vuultin, Janson and Ibtisam were picked up by members of Dendo's intelligence team—however, they were dressed in stormtrooper armor so the pair thought they had been captured by Imperial forces. Following the attack on Vuultin, Dendo was performing a damage assessment mission, and since he was not at their headquarters when the two Rogues were brought in, the pilots were kept isolated so they could not compromise the intelligence team's safety. Once Dendo returned, he informed Janson and Ibtisam of the situation, and sent a message to the Republic forces informing them of their survival. When the two Rogues inquired about rejoining their unit, Dendo replied that he could not spare the men to ferry them back, as they had a big operation planned for the next day. First, they would be hitting a massive construction droid that was being used to construct defenses for Vuultin, and then they would be attempting to get Isoto—alive, if possible. Dendo told the two pilots that they could do more good for the campaign assisting him, and they agreed.
- "You issued clearance orders over my signature to send an evacuation fleet to Brentaal IV twelve hours ago! When were you going to tell me about it?"
"When you had a need to know."
"I am in command here, not you! If you are evacuating, you are admitting you have lost Brentaal IV."
- ―Sate Pestage and Ysanne Isard
On Coruscant, news of Oradin's fall reached Pestage and the Cabal. Having isolated them from each other, Isard took full advantage of the situation, driving a deeper wedge between the two parties. Pestage wanted to relieve Isoto of command, but Isard told him that the Cabal still supported the admiral, and that when he failed, the Cabal would fail by extension. To the members of the Cabal—who did not support Isoto and wished for his removal—she presented a situation where she had counseled Pestage to relieve Isoto of command, and he had staunchly refused. Pestage wanted Isard to convince the Cabal to renounce their support of the admiral, while the Cabal began to contemplate treason—although Isard informed them that it was not treasonous to do one's duty. Isard ordered an armada of two hundred five vessels to launch from Coruscant and head to Brentaal IV with the express intention of evacuating the wealthier civilian population. She did this without the knowledge or approval of Pestage; when confronted over it, Isard admitted that her true plan all along had been to lose Brentaal IV to deny the Cabal a power base, and that the evacuation fleet would be seen as Pestage's way of attempting to salvage a cause made hopeless by the Cabal's supposed insistence on keeping Isoto in command of the defense. Isard stated that she had kept the truth from Pestage because—had he known about her intent—he would never have allowed her to act.
The New Republic task force had set up its headquarters in Oradin and monitored the arrival of the fleet. Fearful that the evacuation would also mean the removal of the planet's wealth and cultural artifacts—as Moff Leonia Tavira had done on the planet Eiattu 6—the New Republic Provisional Council decided to forcibly stop the evacuation. It was hoped that the wealthy elite would then buy their freedom with allegiance to the New Republic. Rogue Squadron was ordered to provide cover for Aggressor Wing—which was tasked with disabled fleeing vessels using their ion cannons—and covering assault transports that would be taking advantage of the confusion to capture the city of Vuultin.
Rogue Squadron swept into Vuultin, engaging the city's static defenses and TIE fighters. During the opening engagement, Rogue pilot Standro Jcir's fighter was clipped by anti-air fire. Out of control, Jcir's fighter hit the defense tower that had winged him, destroying it and killing the Rodian in the process. Colonel Salm and his Y-wings then began their attack runs on the city's spaceport, with the intention of chasing after fleeing ships.
Baron Fel—aware of Director Isard's ambitions toward the Imperial throne, and angry at her manipulations that had endangered his pilots—led his unit against Rogue Squadron despite knowing that the chances of any Imperial victory were slim. Despite this, Fel valued honor and duty above all else, and followed his orders, engaging Republic forces.
As the New Republic's starfighters and assault transports hit Vuultin, Dendo's team, including Janson and Ibtisam, attacked their targeted construction droid. Using explosive charges with timers taken from binary load lifters, the team destroyed the massive automaton, escaping the blast zone aboard personnel skiffs.
As the Republic assault on the city continued, Isard contacted Admiral Isoto, commanding him to order an immediate evacuation of Brentaal IV. She informed him that the events on Brentaal IV had unfolded according to her design, as part of an elaborate trap to destroy the Republic forces. Isold told Isoto that he had played his part in her scheme, and that an evacuation order from him would spring the trap. Isoto complied with her order, ordering all Imperial military personnel and civilians to leave the planet. As he was inquiring whether or not he should return to Coruscant, he was assassinated by his concubine, Grania, who was a deep cover agent for Isard. The Director instructed her agent to make Isoto's death appear to be a suicide, and to allow herself to be captured. Isard wanted Grania to be taken in by the New Republic, as she was the key to Project Ambition, a plan devised by the Director to neutralize Pestage and the Cabal and allow her to take control of the Empire.
With Isoto's evacuation order given, every ship on the planet was given immediate clearance for vertical take-off, taking the engagement into orbit of Brentaal IV. As Aggressor Wing continued its attack runs, Rogue Squadron provided cover against the 181st's interceptors. Rogue pilot Dar Keyis was killed early in the orbital fight, and the squadron's executive officer, Tycho Celchu, dueled with his opposite number, Major Phennir. Fel realized that, despite his squadron's constant attacks, the Y-wings were remaining on the assigned mission. He reasoned that it was due to their leadership, and targeted Colonel Salm's fighter with the hope that the Y-wing formations would fall apart without their commander. Lining up, Fel engaged Salm; as he fired at the Colonel's Y-wing, his interceptor was clipped by fire from Captain Antilles' X-wing, throwing the shot off. Salm's Y-wing lost its port engine and was crippled, but Salm remained alive.
Fel engaged Antilles, but realized that the mission—protecting Imperial citizens—came first, and ordered Phennir to disengage from the battle and lead the 181st to the Eviscerator to withdraw from the system. Fel and Antilles dueled briefly, but the engagement ended when Antilles drew Fel toward Salm's damaged Y-wing. Hiding the other fighter from view with his own X-wing, Antilles broke hard during the engagement, revealing Fel's interceptor to Salm. Using his ion cannons, Salm disabled the Imperial's interceptor. Imperial forces withdrew from the system, leaving the New Republic in control.
- "Plot your little power plans. Do what you want, I do not care. When I act, your plans will all be for naught, and the Empire will be mine."
- ―Ysanne Isard plots her takeover of the Empire
With Brentaal IV lost to the New Republic, the Cabal lost what little confidence they had in Pestage, and were convinced that he would lose the Empire to the New Republic. Publicly, Pestage blamed the defeat on traitorous elements within the Imperial military. Fel was labeled as a traitor and was used as a scapegoat for the defeat, while Isoto was hailed a hero for his "valiant" attempts to stop the New Republic. The Empire created a propaganda campaign surrounding the battle, with Imperial officials—even pilots claiming to have served with the 181st during the battle such as Lorrir—believing that the Rogues had lost eight or nine pilots during the engagements, rather than the confirmed two casualties. However, Pestage finally began to realize that Isard was scheming against him, and resolved to save himself from her plans. He secretly contacted the New Republic, and—in meetings held on the planet Axxila with Princess Leia Organa—offered to leave Coruscant undefended in return for amnesty and several planetary holdings for himself and selected advisors. Isard discovered his plan and revealed his treachery to the Cabal, who appointed a Triumvirate to rule the Empire and issued a warrant for Pestage's arrest. Pestage fled to the planet Ciutric IV, and was imprisoned by the local governor—a New Republic mission was launched to rescue him. However, the mission failed to secure Pestage, and he was murdered by Admiral Delak Krennel, the Imperial officer who had been sent to retrieve him. Meanwhile, Isard quietly assassinated all three members of the Triumvirate, and installed herself as head of the Empire.
The New Republic had now established a strong foothold in the Core Worlds, and, following its capture by New Republic forces, Chief of State Mon Mothma paid a visit to Brentaal IV to soothe the fears of the local population. Baron Fel, captured during the final battle of the Brentaal campaign, was fully debriefed by New Republic officials. In exchange for helping to locate his wife, holostar Wynssa Starflare—who was also the sister of New Republic pilot Wedge Antilles—Fel offered his services to the New Republic. Fel had long suspected that Isard's scheming would force him and his family to flee the Empire if the truth over his wife's family connections ever came to light, or that Isard would use her as a pawn to force Fel's obedience to her instructions. To this end, Fel instructed his wife to set up a safehouse somewhere in the galaxy that was known only to her. He promised her that he would find her no matter where she went, but did not want to know the location so that he could never unconsciously betray her. In the wake of his capture, Fel knew that his wife would have left their home on Coruscant, and made for the safe house. The New Republic agreed, and Fel was assigned to Rogue Squadron, flying several missions with them.
The destruction of Brentaal IV's extensive orbital shipping stations during the battle plunged the Brentaalan economy into depression, which it was still suffering from during the New Republic regime.
Admiral Gial Ackbar
The former slave of Imperial Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin, Admiral Ackbar was a member of the New Republic Provisional Council, and Supreme Commander of its armed forces. Having attained victory over Imperial forces at the Battle of Endor nine months previously, Ackbar personally led the New Republic forces in the Battle of Brentaal IV. Ackbar oversaw all aspects of the operation, leading the assault on the Brentaal IV moonbase and briefing pilots for the strikes on the cities of Oradin and Vuultin. Temporarily transferring to a command base located in Oradin to oversee the final stages of the operation, Ackbar returned to the flagship Home One once the planet had been secured.
Colonel Horton Salm
Colonel Horton Salm, a veteran Y-wing pilot who had led Gray Squadron during the Battle of Endor, commanded Aggressor Wing during the Battle of Brentaal IV. Salm led his unit against the Brentaal IV moonbase, and his fighters were the main assault unit for the strike on the city of Oradin. Salm and his Aggressors played a critical role in stopping Imperial citizens evacuating Brentaal IV with much of the planet's wealth, using their ion cannons to disable escaping craft. He was also credited with the capture of Baron Soontir Fel, disabling his TIE interceptor with his Y-wing's ion cannon. Salm was promoted to general for his role in the operation.
Captain Wedge Antilles
Captain Wedge Antilles commanded Rogue Squadron, the New Republic's elite starfighter unit. A veteran of the battles of Yavin, Hoth, Endor, and Bakura, he had refused all attempts to promote him away from the squadron and even engineered a demotion for himself to allow him to remain in command. Antilles continued to lead the Rogues through several minor operations prior to the Battle of Brentaal. He led the Rogues against the Brentaal IV moonbase, and during the diversionary strike on the city of Vuultin. During the evacuation of the planet, he flew against Imperial ace Baron Soontir Fel of the 181st Imperial Fighter Group, which ended with the Baron's capture after his fighter was disabled by ion cannon fire.
Kapp Dendo was an agent with New Republic Intelligence, and was often partnered with fellow agent Winter on assignments. Inserted onto Brentaal IV two weeks prior to the New Republic assault, Dendo and his team provided information back to the New Republic, including the fact that Baron Soontir Fel had arrived on the planet and was located at Vuultin. During Rogue Squadron's assault on the capital of Vuultin, two of their pilots—Wes Janson and Ibtisam—were forced to eject. Dendo's team recovered them, and enlisted their help in an operation to destroy a construction droid, and to either capture or kill Admiral Isoto. The first mission was a success, but the second failed since the admiral had apparently already killed himself—when, in fact, he had been assassinated by an agent of Ysanne Isard's.
Rogue Squadron was the New Republic's elite starfighter unit, led by Captain Wedge Antilles. The unit's origins could be traced back to the original Red Squadron that assaulted the first Death Star over Yavin 4. Formed into Rogue Group under the guidance of Commander Arhul Narra of Renegade Flight, the nascent unit collected some of the Rebel Alliance's best pilots. The unit fought at the Battle of Hoth, and at the Battle of Endor, where the squadron was temporarily rechristened "Red Squadron" in honor of the unit that had faced the Death Star at Yavin. The squadron participated in several minor operations following the Battle of Endor, and performed well while understrength. The squadron was bought back up to full strength just prior to the Battle of Brentaal IV.
Aggressor Wing, commanded by Colonel Horton Salm, was one of the New Republic's BTL-S3 Y-wing starfighter units. Drilled hard by their commander, Aggressor Wing was known for its discipline and composure under fire, staying on its assigned mission despite constant assaults from enemy forces. Members of Aggressor Wing fought at the Battle of Endor as part of Gray Squadron, with newer members added to the pilot roster following the battle. A front line combat unit, Aggressor Wing was adept at using their Y-wing's weaponry to their advantage, using proton torpedoes in precision bombing runs, as well as ion cannons to disable enemy craft.
Admiral Lon Isoto
Admiral Lon Isoto—also known as "Isoto the Indecisive" for his lack of tactical expertise and inept leadership skills—was the Imperial officer charged with the defense of the planet Brentaal IV. Despite having a wife on Coruscant, Isoto had "gone native," taking to dressing in local clothing and surrounding himself with concubines. Isoto rose to his position through the support of the Cabal, and his lack of military knowledge allowed the New Republic to take the Brentaal IV moonbase. Holding a grand view of his own importance, Isoto firmly believed that the New Republic would choose to attack him at Vuultin rather than strike at Oradin. A diversionary strike on his capital panicked him in to pulling the 181st out of Oradin, effectively surrendering the city to the New Republic. During the evacuation of the planet ordered by Director Isard, Isoto was assassinated by his concubine, Grania, who was an undercover agent of Isard's.
Colonel Baron Soontir Fel
Colonel Baron Soontir Fel was the most celebrated pilot within the Imperial armed forces, and commander of the elite 181st Imperial Fighter Group. Married to holostar Wynssa Starflare, he and his unit were sent to reinforce Brentaal IV and attempt to deny it to the New Republic. Fel was savvy enough to realize that his unit was being sacrificed by Director Ysanne Isard as pawns in her plot to gain control of the Empire. He first engaged the New Republic in the battle over Oradin, and followed Admiral Isoto's orders to withdraw to protect Vuultin despite knowing that doing so would allow Oradin to fall. Resisting the urgings of his second in command, Turr Phennir, to become a warlord, Fel began to see that the Empire he had loyally served had become a mere shadow of itself, and detested the fact that he and his men had been sent to die for the sake of politics. During the evacuation of Brentaal IV, his fighter was disabled by ion cannon fire and he was captured by the New Republic. He subsequently defected and joined Rogue Squadron.
181st Imperial Fighter Group
The 181st Imperial Fighter Group was an elite unit within the Imperial armed forces. Originally considered to be a "joke" unit who went by the moniker of the One-Eighty-Worst, the unit was whipped into shape by Soontir Fel. Although under the command of Colonel Evir Derricote, Fel was responsible for the unit's training. The 181st saw action during the Second Battle of Ord Biniir, and was downsized from a wing to a group. The unit participated in the Battle of Derra IV, after which Derricote was promoted and command given to Fel. The 181st served at the Battle of Hoth and the Battle of Endor, before being assigned to defend the planet Brentaal IV. Although a great show was made of their presence and that they would stop the world falling to the New Republic, Director Isard was plotting to take control of the Empire, and the 181st was being used as pawns in her plan. She intended to sacrifice them to weaken both Sate Pestage's and the Cabal's power bases. The unit survived the Battle of Brentaal IV, although Soontir Fel was captured by the New Republic.
Behind the scenes
The Battle of Brentaal IV was depicted in a four-issue arc of Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron entitled In the Empire's Service, first published in 1997 by Dark Horse Comics, and written by Michael A. Stackpole. The engagement has since been referenced in several other works, including The Essential Chronology, The New Essential Chronology, and Coruscant and the Core Worlds. In 2012, the engagement was referenced in The Essential Guide to Warfare; however, it stated that Fel remained behind in Vuultin to defect to the New Republic, rather than defecting after his capture in orbit of Brentaal IV.
The date of the Battle of Brentaal IV has changed from source to source. The first issue of the In the Empire's Service arc, Isard states that it has been six months since the death of the Emperor. Star Wars: The Comics Companion, published in 2006, supports this date, while The New Essential Chronology placed the battle prior to the Battle of Kashyyyk, which was noted to occur eight months after Endor. However, in 2007, the Star Wars Omnibus: X-Wing Rogue Squadron Volume 3 noted that the events occurred approximately nine months after the Battle of Endor. The Essential Guide to Warfare, released in 2012, placed the Battle of Brentaal IV after the Battle of Kashyyyk, which had previously been established to occur at eight months after Endor. This article assumes that the nine month date is correct due to its establishment in more recently released source material.
- Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron: In the Empire's Service (First appearance)
- X-Wing Rogue Squadron 25 (In flashback(s))
- Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron: Masquerade (Mentioned only)
- X-Wing Rogue Squadron 32 (Mentioned only)
- X-Wing Rogue Squadron 33 (Mentioned only)
- X-Wing: Isard's Revenge (Mentioned only)
- X-Wing: Starfighters of Adumar (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars Handbook 1: X-Wing Rogue Squadron (First identified as Battle of Brentaal, Battle for Brentaal, and siege of Brentaal)
- The Essential Chronology
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 7 (PLA2, Planets of the Core Worlds) (Indirect mention only)
- "Who's Who in Rogue Squadron"—Star Wars Insider 59
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 114 (NEW1-2, The New Republic)
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 122 (WYN3, Wynssa Starflare)
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 132 (SUR2, Surgical Technology)
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 137 (VUU1-2, Vuultin)
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 139 (PES3-4, Sate Pestage)
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 140 (FEL2, Baron Soontir Fel)
- Coruscant and the Core Worlds
- The New Essential Chronology
- Star Wars: The Comics Companion
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- The Essential Atlas
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
Notes and references
- The New Essential Chronology
- Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron: Family Ties
- X-Wing Rogue Squadron 21
- The Essential Atlas establishes a 12 month year, replacing the old 10 month year format established by West End Games. The Essential Atlas notes that the events of Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi begin on 39:3:3. Star Wars Omnibus: X-Wing Rogue Squadron Volume 3 establishes that the events of Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron: In the Empire's Service occur nine months after Endor, placing the date of the battle at 39:12 GrS
- X-Wing Rogue Squadron 24
- X-Wing Rogue Squadron 23
- X-Wing Rogue Squadron 22
- Coruscant and the Core Worlds
- Star Wars Omnibus: X-Wing Rogue Squadron Volume 3
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- Heroes & Rogues
- Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron: The Warrior Princess
- X-Wing: Isard's Revenge
- X-Wing Rogue Squadron 31
- Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron: Mandatory Retirement
- X-Wing Rogue Squadron 29
- X-Wing Rogue Squadron 25
- The New Essential Guide to Characters
- The Thrawn Trilogy Sourcebook
- Star Wars Customizable Card Game – Death Star II Limited (Card: Colonel Salm) (backup link)
- Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
- Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
- The Truce at Bakura
- X-Wing Rogue Squadron 10
- Galaxy Guide 3: The Empire Strikes Back
- Galaxy Guide 5: Return of the Jedi