The Open Circle Fleet, or the Open Circle Armada, was a major space fleet of the Galactic Republic's navy during the days of the Clone Wars. This armada rose to prominence during the Outer Rim Sieges, when it was under the command of Jedi Generals Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker. The elite pilots of the Open Circle Fleet won countless victories for the Republic Navy against the Separatists, including the Battle of Coruscant.
In battle, the Open Circle Fleet was led by Generals Kenobi and Skywalker. These were not the only Jedi pilots in the armada; Jedi Master Saesee Tiin commanded a squad that consisted of both Jedi and clone pilots. While the Jedi may have been the most visible pilots of the armada, it also comprised thousands of clone and non-clone pilots, gunners, and officers. By the end of the Clone Wars, the Open Circle Armada had grown to include at least five Republic fleets, such as the Fifth Fleet.
These smaller sector fleets were more than able to hold their own against the Separatist forces, allowing the armada to function as several smaller independent groups at once. Of the fleet's numerous starfighter squadrons, Clone Flight Squad Seven, led by Clone Commander Odd Ball, was the most experienced and elite squadron of them all. The lighter vanguard ships for the fleet were Venator-class Star Destroyers. Acclamator-class assault ships were also used early in the war. Each of these medium warships could carry over one hundred and fifty starfighters in their hangar bays. The ARC-170 starfighters, V-19 starfighters and, later in the Clone Wars, V-wing starfighters comprised a large part of the fleet's fighter complement.
At the suggestion of Anakin Skywalker, some of the Venator-class Star Destroyers of the Open Circle Fleet were equipped with a heavy SPHA turbolaser cannon that was installed within the ventral hangar bay. These weapons would prove to be a nasty surprise for unsuspecting Separatist warships.
During the Outer Rim Sieges, the Open Circle Armada performed admirably, defeating the CIS warships over such worlds as Maramere, Boz Pity, and Belderone. The fleet was suddenly called back to the Core Worlds when word arrived that General Grievous had launched a surprise attack on Coruscant and was plotting to kidnap the Supreme Chancellor. With Kenobi and Skywalker leading the starfighter squadrons once more into battle, the ships of the Open Circle Fleet engaged the enemy armada. A thousand of the armada's Venators were fast enough to reach Coruscant to catch the invaders under the planet's outer shields. The Open Circle Fleet would play a vital role in the Battle of Coruscant.
While the larger Venator-class Star Destroyers went head-to-head with the Separatist capital ships, it was Obi-Wan and Anakin, with Squad Seven providing cover, who fought through deadly swarms of droid tri-fighters and buzz droids to reach Grievous' flagship, the Invisible Hand, where Grievous and Dooku were commanding the Separatist forces. This was also the location where the kidnapped Palpatine was being held.
By the end of the battle, Invisible Hand had crash landed on Coruscant, damaged beyond repair, while Grievous escaped, Dooku had been killed, and Palpatine had been rescued by the Jedi. The remaining enemy ships had no choice but to retreat. The members of the Open Circle Fleet had saved the day again.
During the intrigues of the last days of the Republic, Skywalker and Kenobi undertook divergent missions. The assets of the Open Circle were likewise divided: Yoda took at least one Venator to reinforce the Loyalist armies on Kashyyyk. Other units went to the battlefields of Felucia, Utapau, and possibly other smaller conflicts.
When Palpatine put Order 66 into effect, the clone pilots of the fleet turned their guns against the Jedi commanders with the order's transmission. After the reorganization of the Republic into the Galactic Empire, the ships of the Open Circle Armada were incorporated as part of the new Imperial Navy.
Ships of the Open Circle Armada were easy recognized by the distinctive red-and-yellow emblem painted onto their hulls. The heraldic emblem consisted of a yellow circle that was formed by two separate semi-circle arcs. One arc represented Kenobi, the other, Skywalker. The image signified that while they were both two independent halves, together they formed a single entity. The symbol was awarded to their fleet for its courageous and distinguished actions in the war against the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Although often used to identify Open Circle Fleet vessels, this emblem eventually spread to many other units in the Republic Navy. When the armada was absorbed into the Imperial Navy, the emblem that the ships of the Open Circle had borne with pride was replaced with the uniform gray of the Empire.
Behind the scenes
The computer artists who implemented the design of the insignia originally intended it to be a generic symbol of the Republic military, which is why it appears on Republic vehicles throughout the galaxy in Revenge of the Sith. A number of Expanded Universe writers, however, seem either to have only been shown images from the opening battle sequence or to have missed the symbol's appearance on vehicles of other Republic battalions, leading to a continuity discord with the lore regarding the Open Circle Fleet. This was quickly retconned, however, with the explanation that Fleet munitions and cargo were dispersed among other Republic units and (in the case of the symbol's appearance on a crate at the Separatist headquarters on Mustafar) even captured by Separatist pirates on occasion.
In the PlayStation 2 version of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed on Kashyyyk, there are crates with the insignia of the Open Circle Fleet. In the Xbox 360 version, the insignia appears on various pieces of scrap metal on Raxus Prime.
In Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption maps, some of the Republic vehicles such as the Venator-class and AT-AP have Open Circle Fleet symbols. These symbols appear in the color of the team using the vehicles.
- Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith Incredible Cross-Sections
- "Ask the Master" – Star Wars Insider 85
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 32
- Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 35
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- Star Wars: Complete Vehicles
- Star Wars: Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook (Picture only)
Notes and references
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars film
- Star Wars PocketModel TCG: Clone Wars
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Nomad Droids"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Citadel"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Jedi Crash"
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Rising Malevolence"
- Star Wars: Complete Locations
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars novel
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Cloak of Darkness"
- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith novelization