After the Galactic Empire was driven out of Kessel, Moruth Doole seized control of the glitterstim mining operation there and placed his highest priority on creating a defensive fleet to protect Kessel from the Empire, space pirates, or any other criminal faction that might want control of the mines. He purchased every starfighter that he could find, no matter what the condition and hired experienced mechanics from the Corellian sector of Nar Shaddaa to fix them. He also hired mercenaries to fly the ships. Luke Skywalker would later speculate that this was one of the reasons why the New Republic had trouble gaining sufficient numbers of fighting ships during the Thrawn campaign.
By 11 ABY, the fleet consisted of hundreds of ships, based on Kessel's Garrison Moon, with the larger capital ships kept in orbit around the moon. Despite their worn and battered appearances, the ships were actually well maintained and refitted to a high quality. During that year, Han Solo and Chewbacca flew to Kessel in the Millennium Falcon on a diplomatic mission for the New Republic, but on their arrival in the system, they were attacked by the fleet and shot down on the surface of Kessel. The Falcon was recovered, repaired and pressed into service with the fleet.
Han, Chewbacca, and Kyp Durron later escaped from Kessel and were attacked by the mercenary fleet, which forced them to fly on a course through the Maw Cluster. Lando Calrissian and Luke Skywalker came to Kessel soon after to discover what had happened to Han and Chewbacca and they seized control of the Falcon and blasted off in it. Doole was determined that they wouldn't make it back to the New Republic, so he ordered the entire Kessel fleet to launch in pursuit of it, despite the tactical problems associated with this. However, as they pursued the Falcon in the direction of the Maw Cluster, the Sun Crusher and three Imperial-class Star Destroyers under the command of Admiral Daala that were chasing it emerged. The Kessel mercenaries ran headlong into them and some peeled sideways to escape, while others panicked and opened fire. Daala speculated that the fleet could be a trap set for her by the New Republic and ordered the Star Destroyers to return fire, beginning a battle. The Kessel fleet managed to inflict minor casualties on the Imperials, damaging the Basilisk and destroying three TIE/LN starfighter squadrons. However, it was hopelessly outmatched and the majority of the mercenary ships were soon destroyed. The few surviving pilots took their ships and fled into hyperspace, going their separate ways.
- B-wing starfighters
- Hornet-class interceptors
- GAT-12 Skipray Blastboats
- T-65 X-wing starfighters
- TIE/LN starfighters
- TIE/IN interceptors
- BTL Y-wing starfighters
- Z-95 Headhunters
- 3 Carrack-class light cruisers
- CR90 corvettes
- 2 Lancer-class frigates
- 1 Strike-class medium cruiser
- Refitted pleasure cruisers
Behind the scenesEdit
There is a minor variance in how much of the fleet was said to have been destroyed during the Fourth Battle of Kessel. In Dark Apprentice, Commander Kratas says that two-thirds was destroyed, but in Champions of the Force, Mara Jade claims that it was ninety percent.
- Jedi Search (First appearance)
- Dark Apprentice (Mentioned only)
- Champions of the Force (Mentioned only)