- "Yes, Lord Vader. I've reached the main power generators. The shield will be down in moments. You may start your landing."
- ―General Maximilian Veers to Darth Vader, regarding the Echo Base shield generator.
Blizzard Force was an Imperial cold assault stormtrooper unit, an elite formation within the Stormtrooper Corps specializing in cold-weather operations. It is most famous for serving as the core of the ground assault force that attacked Echo Base during the Battle of Hoth, under the command of General Maximilian Veers. Because of their frequent use of All Terrain Armored Transport walkers, their logo was adorned with an AT-AT.
Blizzard Force were not part of Death Squadron's integrated surface-warfare forces, but were called on at General Veers' suggestion when the Rebel Alliance's headquarters was located on the frigid world of Hoth. Not only were they the ideal troops to attack a snow-bound target, but they were well-positioned to assist, so that the fleet needed only to make a brief rendezvous to take aboard the extra troops before proceeding on to the target.
For the assault on Echo Base, the snowtroopers were combined with armored units already under Veers' command, foremost among them being the elite Thundering Herd AT-AT squadron. The final assault force consisted of least nine AT-ATs (led by Blizzard 1), plus a number of HAVw A5 Juggernauts, AT-STs (led by Blizzard Scout 1), AT-ARs, and AT-PTs, a 74-Z speeder bike snow scout patrol, plus the infantry of Blizzard Force itself. Some stormtroopers from the 501st Legion also apparently participated in the battle, wearing snowtrooper armor: these may have been the troops who accompanied Lord Darth Vader on his arrival at the base.
Blizzard Force, under General Veers' direction from the lead walker, Blizzard 1, succeeded in capturing Echo Base, despite the loss of a number of walkers to the terrain and to enemy action. Although the heavy armor of the AT-ATs made them virtually immune to laser fire, three vehicles of Colonel Starck's group were lost to ice crevasses in the Kerane Valley, while Rogue Squadron, led by Luke Skywalker, attacked in snowspeeders, using their magnetic harpoons and tow cables to entangle the walkers' feet and thus topple them. Four Imperial walkers, including Blizzard 2 were destroyed by Antilles' strafing attack while thus immobilized, and the undamaged Blizzard 4 and another AT-AT were destroyed by Skywalker's concussion grenades from the ground. Derek Klivian eventually succeeded in breaching the cockpit armor of Blizzard 1, severely injuring Veers himself.
By this point, however, the Rebels' shield generator had been destroyed, and their defensive perimeter had been broken. Additional troops led by Lord Vader in person deployed from the orbiting Star Destroyers, and the snowtroopers entered the ice-hewn tunnels of Echo Base.
The Battle of Hoth marked a decisive victory for the Empire, driving the Rebel Alliance in headlong retreat from their command base and going some way to avenge the defeat at Yavin. The contribution of the 501st Legion to the battle was called their finest hour. However, while all Imperial objectives were achieved, and in numerical terms, the loss of a relative handful of troops in the battle was entirely acceptable, one of the Empire's elite assault units had sustained heavy casualties against inferior and improvised defenses. General Veers was left badly injured and the ice-plains of Hoth were strewn with the wreckage of downed AT-ATs.
Callsigns of Blizzard ForceEdit
- Blizzard 1 (General Maximilian Veers)
- Blizzard 2 (Brigadier General Nevar)
- Blizzard 3
- Blizzard 4 (Colonel Starck)
- Blizzard 5
- Blizzard 6
- Blizzard 7
- Blizzard 8
- Blizzard 9
- Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds
- The Rise and Fall of Darth Vader
- Star Wars: Battlefront
- Star Wars: Battlefront II
- Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron
- Star Wars: Force Commander
- Star Wars: Empire at War (at least Veers and Blizzard 1)
- Scoundrel's Luck
- Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
- Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader
- Star Wars: Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike
- Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron
- Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back junior novel
- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back novel (First appearance)
- The Empire Strikes Back: A Storybook
- Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided
- Shadows of the Empire video game