Imperial Army Special Missions troopers were the elite special forces of the Imperial Army. While comparatively rare and available only when deemed necessary by Imperial High Command, they were almost as numerous as the Alliance Special Forces.
The most common type of Special Missions trooper was the sharpshooter followed by engineers. Sharpshooters had greater accuracy with a blaster than normal troopers and were trained to "reach out and touch" the enemy at long distances. Each sharpshooter was also given the basics of demolition and expected to master a variety of skills necessary for accomplishing their unorthodox mission, including first aid and vehicle repair.
Sharpshooter squads consisted of nine troopers and one sergeant, with a "brevet corporal" chosen based on the needs of the mission, however each trooper was expected improvise and proceed with the mission should both NCOs be eliminated. In addition to their blaster rifles practically every sharpshooter squad included a light repeating blaster, despite the fact such equipment was not on their official order of battle.
Engineers were trained to creatively apply explosives to nearly any situation, allowing them to get into, go around or go over just about anything. As the only Imperial technicians directly involved in combat, engineers were also expected operate, repair or dismantle any piece of equipment they came across, from blasters to repulsorlifts.
Engineer squads consisted of nine troopers and one sergeant, with one of the troopers being a demolition expert with previous experience as a sharpshooter, making him the most dangerous individual in the squad. In terms of equipment there was no standard load-out for engineer squads and used they could get their hands on, from portable sensor arrays to thermal detonators and medpacs, whether they went through official channels or not to procure it.
Special Missions troopers were commonly deployed in platoon or company strength; while battalion-size units existed, there existed few missions for which such a large formation was need which couldn't be accomplished by regular Army personnel.
The platoon was the basic special missions unit, able to perform limited independent operations with minimal assistance, and was flexible enough to cross-attach its component squads to appropriate-sized tactical units. Led by a Lieutenant and assisted by a Sergeant Major, a platoon would commonly consist of two sharpshooter squads, an engineer squad and a veteran heavy weapons squad. The heavy weapons squad was not a special missions unit per se, but by dint of experience and sheer firepower was capable of keeping up with the other squads.
These platoons were commonly used for one of three different operations. Political gain operations were "false flag" missions in which the unit infiltrated a planet with Rebel sympathies and perpetrated terrorist activities in the name of the Alliance. When the local government requested Imperial assistance regular forces would move in and arrest known and suspected Rebel sympathizers, "ending" their terrorist activities. The second was known as Rebel Activity Clearance, or RAC, in which the unit hunted down particularly troublesome Rebel guerrilla units. These operations were fairly successful, especially in built-up terrain such as forests or urban centers; however they were not particularly popular with higher-ups who preferred to use regular troops, even if they were less effective in the role. The third were assassination missions of military personnel. While all Rebel sympathizers were technically considered military personnel, these missions were most often targeted against Rebel officers, whose sudden death would have a negative impact on their troops.
Special missions companies consisted of four combat platoons and the company's headquarters unit. Three of the platoons were standard special missions platoons, while the fourth was a special veteran scout troop mounted on speeder bikes. It consisted of a lieutenant and sergeant major along with 20 Army scouts organized into four lances. The scout troop's mission was primarily reconnoitering target sites and battlefields.
These companies operated on planets considered hostile to the Empire, even those nominally a part of it, and were expected to operate without much support. In rare instances when it was needed, naval support missions of line-size or greater would appear suddenly from hyperspace and launch scores of containers of various sizes onto the planet's surface. Normally only five contained actual supplies, the rest being decoys, and once received the naval support either left or stayed to provide additional orbital support.
- Wanted by Cracken (As "Special Missions")
- Rules of Engagement: The Rebel SpecForce Handbook
- Imperial Sourcebook, Second Edition
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: Imperial Handbook: A Commander's Guide (as "Special Missions")