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"Order the fleet to close to a more aggressive range."
"We'll be in more danger."
"We are the only danger here."
―Darth Vader and Admiral Ozzel of the fleet during the assault on the Mako-Ta Space Docks[14]

Death Squadron was the personal Imperial armada of the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Vader, the Sith apprentice of Galactic Emperor Sheev Palpatine. Following the Battle of Yavin, the Death Squadron was led by the Executor-class Star Dreadnought Executor, supported by five smaller Imperial-class Star Destroyers. One of those support ships was the Devastator, which had been Vader's flagship before the Executor and had participated in the capture of Princess Leia Organa.


"Deploy the fleet so that nothing gets off the system."
―Darth Vader, to Admiral Piett[1]

Death Squadron was led by the Executor.

The Imperial Navy's Death Squadron consisted of one Executor-class Star Dreadnought as its flagship, the Executor,[7] as well as six[15] Imperial-class Star Destroyers,[16] including the upgraded Imperial I-class Star Destroyers[17] Conquest[8] and Devastator,[3] as well as the Imperial II-class Star Destroyers Avenger, Tyrant,[1] and Ultimatum. The ISD Stalker was attached to Death Squadron prior to the Battle of Hoth.[15]

Darth Vader could requisition any Imperial ship to join his fleet, and could be attached such as the Stalker.[15] The Devastator had been Darth Vader's flagship before the Executor, and had been refitted on multiple occasions to keep it up-to-date.[3] Death Squadron also featured at least three Arquitens-class command cruisers[11] and multiple Imperial Gozanti-class cruisers.[10]

The fleet was under the command of Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Vader[1] and Fleet Admiral[2] Firmus Piett, who replaced Admiral Kendal Ozzel after the latter's execution.[1] Other officers within Death Squadron included Admiral Jhared Montferrat,[1] Commodore Rae Sloane,[4] and Star Destroyer captains Canonhaus, Lennox, and Lorth Needa.[1] Death Squadron's ground forces included the 1st Legion and the 501st Legion. Although the squadron had multiple generals, General Maximilian Veers commanded the 501st's Blizzard Force at Hoth.[18]


Initial attack on the rebellion[]

"At the least, we need more strength—your Death Squadron must be brought to bear immediately. It's ludicrous for us to keep it—"
―Admiral Ozzel, trying to persuade Darth Vader to use Death Squadron[19]

During the Galactic Civil War, Death Squadron was the personal fleet of Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Vader. Following the Battle of Yavin, where the Empire lost its Death Star battle station to the Rebel Alliance, the fleet's commander, Admiral Kendal Ozzel, tried to convince Vader to bring Death Squadron to bear immediately to destroy the rebellion. However, Vader rejected this direct approach, agreeing with another of Death Squadron's officers, General Maximilian Veers, in that the Alliance was not suitable for such an extermination. Instead, Vader used his agent, Queen Trios, to infiltrate the rebels' command structure, allowing her to provide the location of their own fleet as it finished completion.[19]

Death Squadron arrives at Mako-Ta

When Vader's Trios informed him of the Rebels' fleet's location,[20] Death Squadron was sent to attack the Mako-Ta Space Docks. At first, Vader ordered the squadron's cruiser to hold their fire as the rebels attempted to ascertain their situation. The Squadron opened fired on the rebels' cruisers and started with General Vanden Willard's flagship, Yavin's Hope.[12] The Squadron continued to attack and destroy several more of the Rebels' cruisers.[21]

Death Squadron then spotted the arrival of the Millennium Falcon and sent in TIE fighters, along with Vader's advanced TIE to pursue it. The squadron also destroyed several rebel escape pods.[21] However, Leia Organa was able to get some codes from the squadron's flagship, the Executor, that were able to restore the systems aboard General Jan Dodonna's ship, the Republic.[22] The other rebel commanders were able to use the codes to jumpstart their cruisers and escape. The Republic was immobilized, but covered the retreating rebel fleet before it was destroyed with all hands.[23]

Strike back at Hoth[]

"General, there's a fleet of Star Destroyers coming out of hyperspace in Sector Four."
―a Rebel technician, to General Carlist Rieekan[1]

Vader's fleet preparing to assault the rebel force at Hoth

Eventually, a probe droid found the Rebels' base in the Hoth system. Vader ordered the Squadron to Hoth. However, erroneously thinking to surprise the rebels, Ozzel ordered the fleet to emerge from hyperspace too close to to the system. Vader, angered by Ozzel's incompetence, executed him and and promoted his junior, Captain Firmus Piett, to Fleet Admiral as his replacement.[1] As the Millennium Falcon fled Hoth and entered an asteroid field, Captain Lorth Needa deployed the TIE fighters of Theta Squadron to patrol the area. Although the pilots disobeyed orders and entered the field, they did not face retribution for their actions after Needa was executed by Vader for letting their quarry escape.[24]

Failure at Endor[]

Death Squadron later took part in the Battle of Endor. The rebellion, having located the second Death Star, attempted to destroy it. However, it was anticipated that the rebels would attack, and Death Squadron executed an ambush once they arrived at the moon. Towards the end of the engagement, the Executor and Death Star II were destroyed and Emperor Palpatine was killed.[13]

Behind the scenes[]

Death Squadron first appeared in the 1980 original trilogy film, Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back.[1] It was first given its name in the new Star Wars canon on StarWars.com's Encyclopedia entry for the Super Star Destroyer.[7]


Non-canon appearances[]


Notes and references[]