- "Orbital bombardment. Annihilation from the stars. Or rather, from the Star Destroyers. I sent the code. Nothing is to survive."
- ―Grand Moff Lozen Tolruck, during the Liberation of Kashyyyk
Orbital bombardment, also known as an orbital strike, was a military strategy, where huge star cruisers (such as Star Destroyers) would fire their main cannons to the surface of a planet, causing heavy damage to the enemy. This strategy was used mostly to wipe targets that were in close proximity, like regular ground troops, or was used to easily deal with large heavy targets. However, the tactic was imprecise, especially if the target was moving.
While orbital bombardment could be used to devastate a planet, like Base Delta Zero, it was more commonly used for military strikes to decimate a target area, and not an entire planet. Base Gamma One was a code in the Imperial Navy for a bombardment.
General Grievous used this tactic against Darth Maul and the Shadow Collective by bombarding the Black Sun base of Ord Mantell before landing his troops on the planet. However, the Shadow Collective managed to capture both Grievous and Count Dooku.
- "What is it, General?"
"My Lord, the fleet has moved out of lightspeed. Com-Scan has detected an energy field protecting an area of the sixth planet of the Hoth system. The field is strong enough to deflect any bombardment."
"The Rebels are alerted to our presence. Admiral Ozzel came out of lightspeed too close to the system."
- ―Darth Vader and General Maximillian Veers prior to the Battle of Hoth
In order to defeat an insurrection on Haruun Kal, the Imperial Navy used an orbital bombardment to claim victory. The victory helped grow the navy's reputation, though its bombardment had been fired when there were still ground troops on the planet.
Orbital bombardment was a common tactic among the Galactic Empire. During the Galactic Civil War, when Agent Kallus found the Ghost crew on the planet Seelos, Admiral Kassius Konstantine proposed to kill all the rebels with an orbital strike. Agent Kallus however preferred to operate a ground attack, using All Terrain Armored Transports. During the Battle of Atollon, Grand Admiral Thrawn deployed an orbital strike against Chopper Base.
This tactic was to be used during the Battle of Hoth by the Imperial Navy. Lord Vader had planned to surprise attack the Rebel Alliance by jumping in to the Hoth system from hyperspace secretly and destroying the base via orbital bombardment, but failed to do so when Admiral Kendal Ozzel jumped too close to the system. This alerted the Rebels, who in return activated their shield generator, causing the anger of Vader, who blamed Ozzel for stupidity and Force choked him upon General Maximilian Veers reporting the blunder. Afterwards he promoted Firmus Piett to the rank of Admiral. Due to the failed attempt of bombing the rebel base, Veers landed AT-ATs, AT-STs and other ground troops to take care of the shield generator from inside it.
After the death of Emperor Sheev Palpatine, Messenger droids were sent to numerous Imperial officers bearing a hologram of the late Emperor, who commanded them to execute his final command, Operation: Cinder, an orbital bombardment campaign that ordered the purging and destruction of multiple targeted worlds.
During the Liberation of Kashyyyk, Grand Moff Lozen Tolruck ordered three Imperial-class Star Destroyers to bombard the surface of the planet once he realized the planet's Wookiee rebellion had gotten out of hand.
First Order-Resistance War
- "What are we waiting for? Fire on the base!"
- ―Moden Canady during the Battle of D'Qar
During the outbreak of the First Order/Resistance War, the First Order launched an attack on the Resistance base on D'Qar. A Mandator IV-class Siege Dreadnought, the Fulminatrix, opened fire on the evacuated base from orbit with its Orbital autocannons, completely destroying it.
Sometime later, the First Order deployed a fleet consisting of several Resurgent-class Star Destroyers and one Mandator IV-class Siege Dreadnought to Tah'Nuhna after following the remnants of the Resistance there. While the Resistance had already left the planet, General Armitage Hux nonetheless ordered the fleet to bombard the planet to set an example.
- Star Wars: On the Front Lines
- Star Wars: The Rebel Files
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Visual Dictionary
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 32 (Weapons & Uniforms: Echo Base)
- Star Wars: Destiny – Way of the Force (Card: Planetary Bombardment)
- "The Imperial Troops" – Star Wars Encyclopedia
- "Anakin Skywalker" – Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars Day-at-a-Time Calendar 2022
Notes and references
- Star Wars Battlefront
- Sabine My Rebel Sketchbook
- Aftermath: Life Debt
- "The Final Order"—From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back
- Darth Maul—Son of Dathomir 2
- Star Wars Rebels – "Relics of the Old Republic"
- Star Wars Rebels – "Zero Hour"
- Star Wars Battlefront Battle of Jakku DLC
- Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
- Star Wars Battlefront II
- The Star Wars Book
- Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi
- Allegiance 1