- "Just wondering what our objective is, Lieutenant."
"Bring peace and prosperity to the galaxy, install a regime loyal to the Emperor and eradicate the hostiles."
"It's their planet; we're the hostiles."
- ―Corporal Han Solo and Lieutenant Bolandin during the Mimban Campaign
The Imperial Army, also known as the Imperial Forces or Imperial ground forces, was the land-based branch of the Galactic Empire's military. As the ultimate evolution of the Grand Army of the Republic, the Imperial Army swiftly asserted dominance throughout the galaxy, making use of highly trained soldiers, mechanized walkers, and overwhelming numbers. The Imperial Army operated in tandem with the forces of the Imperial Navy, relying on the numerous fleets to transport legions of troopers across the far reaches of the galaxy. The most common soldiers of the Empire's ground forces were known as Imperial Army troopers, the core infantry of the army tasked with establishing Imperial regimes and pacifying troublesome worlds. As the Imperials reinforced their grip on the galaxy, these units were gradually phased out in those areas and were replaced by stormtrooper garrisons, elite shock troops fanatically loyal to the Emperor himself.
- 1 Description
- 2 History
- 3 Groups
- 4 Organization
- 5 Vehicles and machinery
- 6 Weapons and equipment
- 7 Tactics
- 8 Appearances
- 9 Sources
- 10 Notes and references
As the branch of the Imperial Military that dealt with surface operations, the army of the Galactic Empire was composed of many sub-units and organizations, and utilized a vast array of vehicles to achieve its objectives. The purpose of the army was to enforce the oppressive Imperial government headed by Galactic Emperor Sheev Palpatine, who created the armed force to be one that held unwavering and appalling strength. Imperial High Command ensured the army included a wide range of specialized subunits, ensuring there were soldiers who could demonstrate unparalleled efficiency in any hostile environment the Empire needed to enter.
Leading overall Imperial Military strategy was the Supreme Commander, who was the head of Imperial High Command. The Supreme Commander was briefed daily by the Joint Chiefs, who were subservient to the Galactic Emperor. The General Staff was responsible for making decisions for army operations and was a part of Imperial High Command. As stormtroopers were part of the Stormtrooper Corps, which was placed under the Army, they received their orders from the Stormtrooper Command subdivision of High Command.
The Army Engineering Corps served to construct Imperial installations and demolish enemy fortifications. The Imperial Army also maintained its own law enforcement agency, the Imperial Army Military Police, although they were overshadowed by the Stormtrooper Corps. Other divisions included the Maritime Division, Special Forces Command, and Imperial Army Intelligence. No less important were the abundance of smaller organizations, including general maintenance and administration.
The Imperial Army often favored the use of a tactic known as combined arms, in which both infantry and armored cavalry were used together against a target so the enemy would have to defend against both. The Empire's armored cavalry consisted of many different types of walkers, such as the All Terrain Armored Transport, and tanks, such as the 2-M hover tank, Imperial-class 1-H repulsortank, and the TX-225 GAVw "Occupier" combat assault tank. These were organized under the Imperial Armor Corps and Imperial Artillery Corps, a sub-unit of the Armor Corps.
The Imperial Army also maintained numerous TIE fighters for combat use in planetary atmospheres as part of the Army Air Corps. As a result, TIE fighter pilots in the Imperial Army were nicknamed ground-hogs unlike their Imperial Navy counterpart, the vac-heads. Since vac-heads maintained better public recognition through the HoloNet News, a bitter rivalry existed between the two branches, with each having their own anthem and bars at Imperial flight bases in order to avoid conflict. However the Bright Jewel Oversector Flight Base did not separate its bar between the branches, in one instance resulting in members of Nashtah Squadron to provoke other members of the Imperial Navy by singing the Ground-hog anthem.
- "Conscripted recruits will never reach the same level of military proficiency. Our clones have been trained since their creation."
"Skills can be taught. The loyalty of those who willingly enlist is what I see tremendous value in."
- ―Lama Su and Vice Admiral Rampart
The Imperial Army originated from the Grand Army of the Republic, and served as the Galactic Empire's ground forces for maintaining control of the countless worlds under the New Order. The Emperor's policy of military expansion saw the continued growth of the Imperial Army under the guise of combating remaining Separatist holdouts.
At the end of the Clone Wars, Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine declared himself Emperor of the galaxy, forming the First Galactic Empire. As a result, the clone troopers who fought for the Galactic Republic became the first generation of Imperial stormtroopers. Although clone soldiers were considered the "future of galactic warfare," Admiral Wilhuff Tarkin questioned their usefulness in the wake of the Clone Wars. Despite the Kaminoan Prime Minister Lama Su's belief that the Empire needed more clone troopers to maintain order in the galaxy, Tarkin felt that the cloning operation on Kamino was a "cost prohibitive relic of a bygone era." Nevertheless, he reserved his final decision while assessing the clone units in order to determine if they were still needed by the Imperial Army.
The results of Project War-Mantle—a program created to replace clone troopers with enlisted soldiers—impressed Admiral Tarkin. The admiral continued to regard the clone trooper program as an unnecessary financial burden, whereas he viewed a service conscription force as a cost-effective solution to the Empire's need for more soldiers. However, Tarkin decided that the clones would continue to serve their purpose until the Empire was prepared to decommission them. Vice Admiral Rampart, the head of the Empire's conscription program, envisioned the Imperial Army's future as a force comprising willing recruits instead of programmed clones. The goals of Tarkin and Rampart concerned Lama Su, who feared that natural-born soldiers would make his clones obsolete. Therefore, he urged his Chief Medical Scientist, Doctor Nala Se, to create a superior clone in hopes of securing Kamino's relationship with the Empire.
In time the clones were replaced by recruits, who were trained for obedience and absolute loyalty to the Emperor. These recruited stormtroopers were already active a year into the Empire's reign, although Clone Wars-era vehicles still saw use in the Imperial Army; while facing tanks during the Raada Uprising, former Padawan Ahsoka Tano suspected the older vehicles had been deployed to the moon because of how insignificant Raada was in the grand scheme of the Empire's plans. Many soldiers in the Imperial Army were members of local planetary defense forces who took up arms during the Clone Wars and were subsequently conscripted into Imperial service. Classified as infantry, Imperial Army troopers were gradually upgraded and replaced with Stormtrooper forces, but would continue to serve side-by-side with stormtroopers to bolster their effectiveness for several years after the formation of the Empire.
In 14 BBY, Imperial Army forces were garrisoned on the Imperial protectorate of Ryloth, which was in reality under Imperial occupation. Colonel Belkor Dray served as Governor Moff Delian Mors' second-in-command and commanded the Imperial Army forces on Ryloth. The stormtroopers on Ryloth operated outside the Imperial Army command structure and answered directly to the Empire. He used his senior position within the Imperial government and military on Ryloth to spy for Cham Syndulla, the leader of the Free Ryloth Movement. Other elements of the Imperial Army were stationed at the Equatorial Communications Hub, which was commanded by Major Steen Borkas. Though their base was attacked, Borkas' forces including stormtroopers assisted Moff Mors in rescuing Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader and foiling Dray and Syndulla's plot to assassinate the Empire's leadership. Following the failed assassination attempt, the Imperial authorities embarked on a crackdown on Ryloth and strengthened the stormtrooper presence on the planet.
During 10 BBY, the mighty Imperial Army focused its sights on the swampy world of Mimban, a planet known for its abundance of natural resources. At the behest of Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin, all regional governors were required to immediately increase production of materials benefiting the Imperial cause. Bin Essada, governor of the Circarpous sector within the Expansion Region, ordered all necessary resources to be stripped from Mimban at once, disregarding the indigenous population. The combined forces of the Imperial Army and Imperial Navy thus invaded the planet, launching the Mimban campaign and initiating a bloody conflict between the entrenched Mimbanese and Imperials. The Imperial Army utilized its army troopers in tandem with the more elite Stormtroopers, along with All Terrain Defense Turrets, AT-haulers and air support provided by naval TIE fighters to pacify the stubborn Mimbanese guerillas. Among the battered army soldiers was a young Han Solo, serving as a corporal within the 224th Imperial Armored Division. Solo initially attended the Carida Academy in the hopes of one day becoming an Imperial pilot and returning to his homeworld of Corellia. However the maverick prospect was eventually transferred to infantry duty on Mimban following multiple instances of insubordination and recklessness. Though the seizure of resources was the military's primary goal during the campaign, they also sought to establish a regime that fell under the direct jurisdiction of the Galactic Empire.
By 5 BBY, Lothal's Academy for Young Imperials was training Imperial cadets for both the Imperial Army and its Stormtrooper Corps. Cadets selected for the stormtrooper program received a more rigorous program than those training for the Army track. Cadets training as Imperial Army officers including Zare Leonis underwent a series of grueling training exercises including multiple sessions in a simulated combat chamber called the Well. Promising Army officer cadets also underwent training at the Arkanis Academy, which was run by the charismatic Commandant Brendol Hux, the architect of the First Order's stormtrooper program.
Battling the Rebellion
During both the early rebellion and the Galactic Civil War, the Imperial Army saw action against various rebel forces including the Spectres, the Phoenix Cell, Saw Gerrera's Partisans, and the Alliance to Restore the Republic. The Imperial Army was deployed on many worlds across the galaxy, including Tatooine, and saw action on multiple fronts, including Hoth, Ab Dalis, and Endor; during the Battle of Hoth, General Maximilian Veers commanded the Imperial ground assault on Echo Base, while the Imperial Army besieged the Alliance's Eleventh Division during the battle on Ab Dalis, which was also a part of the Operation Starlight campaign. At the Battle of Endor, Imperial Army forces, including stormtroopers, defended the second Death Star's shield generator. Despite dogged resistance, the Imperial forces on Endor were defeated by the rebels and their local Ewok allies.
Following the death of the Emperor and Darth Vader at Endor, the Imperial Army and other branches of the Imperial Military fought against the New Republic on multiple worlds and fronts including the Wretch of Tayron, Naalol, Akiva, and Sevarcos. By 5 ABY, elements of the Imperial Army on Kashyyyk came under the command of Grand Moff Lozen Tolruck. Several Imperial Army personnel were stationed at Lozen Tolruck's island fortress including Forest troopers. Many Imperial personnel were killed when Han Solo, Chewbacca and their associates staged a successful Wookiee slave uprising against the Empire.
After Fleet Admiral Gallius Rax took control of most of the Imperial remnants, his forces on Jakku included elements of the Imperial Army and Stormtrooper Corps. The Clone Wars veteran General Hodnar Borrum commanded the Imperial ground forces during the cataclysmic Battle of Jakku, which saw the defeat of the Empire and the triumph of the New Republic. The Galactic Concordance stipulated the dissolution of the Empire including its vast military. While civilian functionaries were given conditional pardons, all Imperial officers were designated as war criminals.
The remnants of the Empire subsequently relocated to the Unknown Regions where they reestablished themselves as the First Order, a military junta dedicated to restoring the "Old Empire." The First Order's army was established from the remnants of the former Imperial Army. Brendol Hux's son Armitage Hux became a high-ranking general in the First Order's army. Nearly a generation later, the surface of Jakku was still littered with wreckage including Imperial Army AT-AT walkers, one of which became the home of the Force-sensitive scavenger Rey.
- First Legion
- 68th Legion
- Imperial Ninety-Seventh Stormtrooper Legion
- One-Oh-Seventh Stormtrooper Legion
- 291st Legion
- 481st Legion
- 501st Legion
- 975th stormtrooper garrison
- Cloud City Imperial Garrison
- Dathomir Imperial Garrison
- Eadu Deployment
- Fortress Vader Imperial garrison
- Garel Garrison
- Gigor Imperial garrison
- Ilum Imperial Garrison
- Lothal Garrison
- Mantooine Garrison
- Mataou Garrison
- Mrinzebon garrison
- Naalol Imperial Garrison
- Naboo Imperial garrison
- Obumubo Imperial garrison
- Plateau City Garrison
- Scarif Deployment
- Scrim Island Imperial garrison
- Sullust Garrison
- Tatooine Garrison
- Winter's Edge stormtrooper garrison
- Foot Patrol 7
- Howzer's squad
- JN-093's squad
- Squad two
- Squad two (Crawler 413-24)
- Squad Three
- Squad four
- Squad five
- Squad Five (Lothal)
- Squad six
- Squad Seven
- Squad eight
- Task Force 99
- Team Nine
- Team Twelve
Drivers and pilots
As the Imperial Army used a large variety of vehicles, they deployed different variants of the Imperial combat driver. Several variants included AT-ACT drivers, AT-AT pilots, AT-ST drivers, Imperial combat assault tank commanders, and Imperial combat assault tank pilots. As part of the Imperial Army, the Army Air Corps utilized TIE fighter pilots.
In addition to its own infantry forces, the Imperial Military also employed mercenaries to do their bidding. Dowutin Hunters, Fathier Riders, Tognath Marksmen, Twi'lek Incinerators, Luggabeast Munitioneers, as well as Gamorrean Warriors usually saw service with the Empire.
In the early rule of the Empire, the Imperial Army continued to utilize clones, as well as Imperial shock troopers. Purge Troopers, elite clones that served under the Inquisitorius in 18 BBY, were from the very last Kamino production line. As the Empire grew older, its military forces transitioned from clones to birth-born human recruits and conscriptions and were re-designated as stormtroopers. Stormtrooper Commanders were stormtrooper officers that commanded groups of other stormtroopers. Their rank was denoted by the colored pauldron they were equipped with. Imperial officers who led contingents of stormtroopers aboard a capital ship were also referred to as stormtrooper commanders.
The Imperial Army used special and elite stormtroopers for a number of operations. Special Commando Advanced Recon Trooper were used for special missions, Storm Commandos were special forces that were efficient in close-combat tactics, Purge Troopers were special units deployed in the Anoat sector, shadow troopers were elite units with experimental armor, and Imperial shock troopers were used as heavy frontline troops as well as bodyguards for Emperor Palpatine himself and as heavy weapons specialists. At times, the experimental Phase II Dark Troopers were also used by the Imperial Army.
The various environments in the galaxy called for a variety of stormtroopers that specialized in different surroundings. Swamptroopers were specialized for operations on swamped worlds, seatroopers were equipped for underwater combat, magma troopers and Crimson Stormtroopers specialized in activities on volcanic environments, cold weather assault stormtroopers for sub-zero combat, sandtroopers and their sub-variant, the dewback trooper, were utilized for desert operations, spacetroopers for operations in vacuum environments such as space, coastal defender stormtroopers for tropical environments, forest troopers for densely forested conditions, and the wet-weather gear stormtroopers, which were used on the swamp planet Mimban.
The Imperial Army had a wide array of stormtroopers that specialized in a type of combat or weapon. There were several variants of the Heavy Weapons Stormtrooper, which included the Heavy Sandtrooper, the Heavy Snowtrooper, and the Heavy Shoretrooper, and also used was the Imperial Heavy Trooper. The Army also made use of Jumptroopers, which had several variations as well. They included Arctic Jumptroopers, Desert Jumptroopers, and Forest Jumptroopers. Stormtrooper snipers, sniper troopers and scout troopers were used as recon and sniper units. Demolition Troopers, rocket stormtroopers, and stormtrooper grenadiers used heavy ordnance, while flametroopers utilized flamethrowers. Other specialized stormtroopers used by the Imperial Army included the riot control stormtroopers, the patrol troopers, and the Range trooper.
Although the core of the Imperial Army was composed of stormtroopers and combat drivers, the Imperial Army also used Kubaz Invaders, Ongidae Oppressors, and Rodian Recon Snipers as part of their forces, different from mercenaries, as well as Imperial Army soldiers such as swamp troopers, which were also used on the world Mimban. For black-ops missions, the Army deployed the deadly Imperial Army Special Missions troopers that were able to effectively act as saboteurs, infiltrators, assassins, commandos, and slicers. Engineers were also frequently used by the Army, and were part of the Army Engineering Corps.
Vehicles and machinery
As the ground forces of the Galactic Empire, the Imperial Army possessed a vast arsenal of ground and surface vehicles. Part of the Imperial Army, the Imperial Armor Corps made use of combat speeders and infantry fighting vehicles.
The Imperial Artillery Corps, a sub-unit of the Armor Corps, utilized several artillery pieces, including the fixed 1.4 FD P-Tower, and the mobile SP.9 and Self-Propelled Heavy Artillery Turbolaser. The Imperial Army also utilized the All Terrain Attack Pod in an artillery capacity.
The Maritime Division of the Imperial Army used several surface ships, including aircraft carriers, submarines, and waveskimmers. The Imperial Army also utilized OMS Devilfish subs and another type of submarine.
Repulsorcraft and wheeled
While the Imperial Army commonly used walkers, they also made use of wheeled and repulsorcraft vehicles. Wheeled vehicles included the HAVw A6 Juggernaut, the treaded MTV-7 light vehicle, the HCVw A9 turbo tank, and the TX-225 Occupier combat assault tank line. The larger models of repulsorcraft deployed by the Imperial ground forces consisted of the 2-M Hover Tank, the INT-4 Interceptor, the HAVr A9 Floating Fortress, the assault tank, the Imperial-class 1-H repulsortank, the RX-200 Falchion-class assault tank, the Imperial combat speeder, the Imperial Troop Transport, and the TX-225 GAVr "Occupier" combat assault tank.
The Empire maintained several models of speeder bikes. These included the 74-Z speeder bike, the 614-AvA speeder bike, C-PH patrol speeder bike, and the BARC speeder in the early rule of the Empire.
The Imperial Army's Starfighter Corps, the Army Air Corps, used airspeeders and TIE line starfighters to conduct army operations. The Imperial Army also made use of aerial landing platforms that served as mobile staging grounds for occupation forces.
The Imperial Army used walkers to achieve various objectives on the battlefield. Early in the Imperial Army's operations, it utilized the Clone Wars-era walkers that were later retired such as the All Terrain Recon Transport, the All Terrain Tactical Enforcer, and the All Terrain Open Transport. Later walkers used were the All Terrain Armored Transport, which consisted of two variants, one model of All Terrain Armored Transport was notably used during the early rebellion against the Galactic Empire, and another All Terrain Armored Transport used throughout the Army's operational history. The Elite AT-AT was a more upgraded version of the standard AT-AT, while the All Terrain Armored Cargo Transport was used for the transportation of equipment and supplies.
Other walkers used by the Imperial Army was the All Terrain Defense Pod, the All Terrain Scout Transport, the AT-ST Mark III, the All Terrain Missile Platform, the AT-MP Mark III, the Enhanced AT-MP Walker, the Enhanced AT-ST Walker, the Mobile Heavy Cannon, the Cold-weather Mobile Heavy Cannon, the All Terrain Personal Transport, the All Terrain Defense Turret, and the All Terrain Anti Aircraft.
Weapons and equipment
The Imperial Army had a vast range of infantry weapons to utilize, some of which dated back to the Clone Wars but most were of a newer design.
Shortly after the transformation of the Republic into the Empire, the Imperial Army used clone wars-era weapons like the DC-15A blaster carbine, the DC-17 hand blaster, the DC-15A blaster rifle, RPS-6 rocket launcher and Z-6 rotary blaster cannon. Many were retired with only a limited number seeing any future service.
It later came to use the E-11 blaster rifle, the E-10R blaster rifle, E-10 blaster rifle, the E-22 double barrel blaster rifle,the EE-4 carbine rifle, the EE-3 carbine rifle, SX-21 blaster rifle, and the TL-50 Heavy Repeater, as well as larger weapons like the RT-97C heavy blaster rifle, the DLT-19 heavy blaster rifle and the T-21 light repeating blaster.
For heavier ordnance, the Army deployed the Z-6 rotary blaster cannon, the MWC-35c "Staccato Lightning" repeating cannon, the E-Web heavy repeating blaster cannon, Reciprocating quad blaster cannon and another blaster cannon.
For long range purposes, the Imperial Army made use of the T-21B heavy blaster, the DLT-19D heavy blaster rifle, the E-11s sniper rifle, the DLT-19x targeting blaster, and the DLT-20A blaster rifle.
Pistols and melee weapons
The Imperial Army issued several type of blaster pistol. Imperial personnel equipped with blaster pistol would either carry the blaster in question as a secondary weapon or for personal defense. Among these weapons was the SE-14C blaster pistol, the SE-14r light repeating blaster, and the RK-3 blaster.
Grenades and launchers
The Imperial Army also had an array of special weapons such as flamethrowers: like the CR-24 Flame Rifle and grenades such as the Class-A thermal detonator, the N-20 Baradium-core thermal detonator, the Sonic Imploder, Incendiary Imploder, the thermal imploder, the Ion grenade, the Flash grenade, Shock grenade, Impact grenade, Dioxis grenade, the smoke bomb, and the C-25 fragmentation grenade. Heavy weapons included the T-7 ion disruptor rifle, grenade launchers, the RPS-6 rocket launcher, the Smart Rocket, the Relby-v10 micro grenade launcher, HH-12 rocket launcher and the MPL-57.
Droids and other equipment
Equipment used by the Imperial Army included suits and heated breather masks powered by a battery pack that could last up to two standard weeks, ice boots, and an insulated belt kama. The army also used the DT-series sentry droid and the KX-series security droid for defense as well as combat.
In terms of probe droids, the Imperial Army used the ID10 seeker droid, the Viper probe droid and its two variants: the 11-3K viper probe droid and the Dwarf probe droid and lastly DRK-1 Dark Eye probe droids. Among medical droids was the FX-series medical assistant droid and the 2-1B-series medical droid.
BlasTech Industries was perhaps the single biggest supplier of arms for the Imperial Army, but other companies like Merr-Sonn Munitions, Inc., Morellian Weapons Conglomerate and even Sienar Fleet Systems also provided their fair share of weapons.
The Imperial Senate banned the use of antipersonnel disruptors and battle droids. In response, the Imperial Military, specifically the Army, circumvented these restriction by re-designating the object in question as something lawful; or by simply lying about the nature of the object. Legally speaking the Imperial sentry droid and KX-series security droid were security droids and sentry droids respectfully. In reality, they were fully functional battle droids.
T-7 ion disruptor rifles were banned from use after the brutal Siege of Lasan. But this ban did not stop the army from trying to reacquire such weapons. Eventually the Imperial Army managed to get their hands on designs for the newer T-8 disruptor.
As noted by the Rebel General Pitt Onoran, the Imperial Army favored combined arms operations, which emphasized the deployment of infantry in concert with other military types, thus forcing the enemy to defend against one type of attack while leaving them vulnerable to another.
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