- "If I remember my military history, wasn't he vaporized at the Battle of Malastare Narrows?"
- ―Anakin Skywalker, on Trench
The Battle of Malastare Narrows was a naval engagement that took place at the planet Malastare in 34 BBY. After reaching disputes with Malastarian Dug companies over fuel allocations, the Corporate Alliance elected to blockade Malastare to force an agreement in their favor. To that end the Alliance Admiral Trench blockaded the Malastare Narrows with a corporate fleet, leading the Dugs to appeal for assistance from Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum of the Galactic Republic. Though publicly demurring to send aid, Valorum feared that the Alliance would triumph if the conflict escalated into a shooting war. Valorum thus equipped Malastare behind-the-scenes with funds for privateer starships, as well as such military "observers" as Captain Wullf Yularen of the Kwymar Sector Forces to overturn the Alliance's blockade of the Malastare Narrows.
During the ensuing battle between the Alliance and Republic fleets, Trench used his ruthlessly efficient tactics to tear the Republic ships apart, nearly succeeding in eradicating Yularen's forces. Eventually, a task force led by Jedi Master Kep-She was sent to intervene and reinforced the remainder of Yularen's task force, overpowering Trench's flotilla and forcing the Corporate Alliance to retreat from Malastare. Although the vaporization of Trench's flagship led to the presumption of his death, he survived the battle and returned to fight Yularen during the Separatist blockade of Christophsis, over a decade later during the Clone Wars.
- "A corporate fleet was blockading Malastare, a fleet led by Trench."
- ―Wullf Yularen
In the year 34 BBY, the Corporate Alliance encountered a disagreement about fuel allocations with Dug-run companies on the Galactic Republic–aligned planet Malastare. Not satisfied with diplomatic solutions, the Corporate Alliance resorted to forceful means to settle the dispute on its terms. The successful and ruthless Admiral Trench was thus appointed by the Alliance to oversee an assault on Malastare. After Sikurdian pirates hired by the Alliance seized Malastare's fuel tankers, Trench moved in with a fleet of Fantail-class destroyers and Sikurdian privateers to blockade the Malastare Narrows, leading his forces from his flagship. When the Alliance spurned all of their attempts at diplomacy, the Dugs appealed to Republic Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum to intervene on their behalf in the escalating situation. Despite publicly declining to dispatch aid to Malastare, Valorum feared that the Alliance might claim victory if the hostilities resulted in a shooting war, for the Republic's Dustig Sector Forces, which protected Malastare as part of the Dustig sector, had been crippled by corruption and neglect to the point of being unable to provide proper support.
With his public refusal to send aid, Valorum turned to private methods to arm the Dugs against Admiral Trench and the Corporate Alliance. Behind the scenes Valorum convinced the neighboring Tyus and Var Hagen sectors to provide aid to Malastare, as well as passing credits to the Dugs to hire privateer starships to match those of Trench. To coordinate the Dugs' naval defenses, Valorum sent military officers whose publicly stated objective was to "observe" the situation. Among the officers was Captain Wullf Yularen of the Kwymar Sector Forces, a capable commander who had previously battled Sikurdian pirates during his career. Yularen and his comrades marshaled the Dugs' forces for the impending confrontation with Trench.
- "He tore our ships apart. We barely escaped with our lives. In the end, a Jedi-led task force moved in to settle the matter. Trench's ship was destroyed and we assumed he went down with it."
"Are you sure it's him?"
"It's possible. Not every captain goes down with his ship."
- ―Wullf Yularen and Anakin Skywalker
Equipped with dozens of starships, including the privateer ships and the forces from the Tyus and Var Hagen sectors, Captain Yularen and his men engaged Trench in battle, opposing Trench's own Fantail-class destroyers and Sikurdian privateers over the Malastare Narrows. However, Trench's ruthless and efficient tactics soon left Yularen outmaneuvered, nearly wiping out the entirety of the Republic fleet. Yularen and his crew lost a number of good men to Trench's forces, though they held out until reinforcements could arrive. In the end a task force commanded by Jedi Master Kep-She—another one of the military "observers" dispatched by Valorum to Malastare—moved in to intervene, saving the remnants of Yularen's fleet that were still engaging Trench. In the resulting fight, the Jedi-led task force vaporized Trench's flagship. Without Trench's leadership the Alliance fleet was forced to retreat from Malastare, resulting in a Republic victory, albeit a costly one. Trench, meanwhile, survived the explosion of his flagship, thanks to an Andoan mineral-fish pressure suit and his natural toughness as a member of the Harch species.
- "The last time I saw that symbol, well, let's just say I lost a lot of good men that day."
- ―Wullf Yularen, on Trench's unmistakable insignia
By the time the battle was over, Yularen had lost dozens of ships and the majority of his forces in the assault. Even with the Republic victorious and Trench declared dead following the engagement, the battle was considered to be Yularen's first defeat. Remembered as a terrible loss for the amount of casualties, the Battle of Malastare Narrows, as it came to be known, sparked political turmoil for Chancellor Valorum, who was already under fire and was left embarrassed by the scandal following the battle. The Corporate Alliance's loss at Malastare remained as a lesson for other galactic cartels such as the Trade Federation, which kept note of the Republic's response to Malastare in 33 BBY, when it planned an invasion of the Republic world Naboo.
Although Trench was presumed dead by the Republic, many years later during the first year of the Clone Wars, he continued his career within the Navy of the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Despite his declared death, Trench was still considered to be undefeated. While blockading the planet Christophsis in 22 BBY, Trench again encountered Yularen, himself now an admiral in the Republic Navy, when he and Jedi Generals Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi attempted to break Trench's blockade. With his firsthand account of Trench's tactics and maneuvers at Malastare, Yularen came to accompany Skywalker on a mission to deliver supplies through Trench's blockade via an experimental stealth ship. The Battle of Christophsis resulted in Trench's defeat and the destruction of his then-flagship, the dreadnaught Invincible, and Trench was once again listed as killed in action. Nevertheless, Yularen doubted that Trench had perished, given the latter's survival at the Malastare Narrows.
Behind the scenes
- "More detail about the Harch, how Wullf Yularen had fought Trench before, and how that fight happened at Malastare if Yularen served far away in the Kwymar Sector Forces. Some retcons are best navigated speedily without dwelling on the details too long."
- ―Author Jason Fry, in his endnotes to The Essential Guide to Warfare, regarding the section on Admiral Trench
The Battle of Malastare Narrows was created for the 2010 Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series' second season episode "Cat and Mouse," and served as a backstory to explain Wullf Yularen's previous history with Admiral Trench. Despite the episode's lack of clarification for the chronology of the battle, the Star Wars: The Clone Wars Comic UK 6.8 magazine's biographical article on Admiral Yularen placed the battle prior to the Clone Wars. Though the line mentioning Jedi Master Kep-She as the commander of the intervening task force was cut from the final version of the episode, it remained in the script, and Kep-She was referenced in the episode's official online guide. It was not until the publication of The Essential Guide to Warfare in April 2012 that the battle's specific date, background, and aftermath were detailed, specifically in relation to the Corporate Alliance and the Republic response to the blockade of Malastare. The Essential Guide to Warfare also identified the Malastare Narrows as the site of the battle, though their canonical significance was not clarified.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars Comic UK 6.8
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars Character Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: New Battlefronts: The Visual Guide
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars Official Episode Guide Series 1 & 2
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Incredible Vehicles
- The Essential Guide to Warfare