- "Kessel. It's a mining colony but the Imperials often keep political prisoners here too."
- ―Kasan Moor on Kessel
The Rescue on Kessel was an operation that took place around 1 ABY. During the Rebellion's assault on Kile II, Wedge Antilles's Y-wing starfighter had been disabled by Imperial forces. Antilles was smuggled into an evacuation shuttle and shipped to the prisons of Kessel. Rogue Squadron commander Luke Skywalker led a raid on the prisons using modified X-wing starfighters, equipped with ion cannons. He and Rogue Squadron disabled the Armored hovertrain carrying Wedge using their ion cannons.
Soon after the rescue of Antilles, Rogue group returned with a commando team commanded by General Crix Madine and freed the remaining prisoners using Wedge's knowledge of the prison. They disabled the shield generator protecting the prison centers, evacuated the Rebel prisoners, and proceeded to rendezvous with the Rebel fleet.
Following the defection of Kasan Moor, the Imperial commander of the 128th TIE Interceptor Squadron, to the Alliance to Restore the Republic, the Alliance used her knowledge of Imperial bases and operations to their advantage, and won a string of battles striking against Imperial installations. During an assault on the Imperial spaceport in the canyons of Kile II, Wedge Antilles, of the elite Alliance starfighter unit Rogue Squadron, was shot down by Imperial forces, and was taken as a prisoner of war. Antilles was scheduled to be transferred to the prisons on the spice planet Kessel. Rogue Squadron, under the command of Luke Skywalker, refused to let this happen, and a rescue operation was initiated to safely extract Antilles from the hovertrain transferring him and other prisoners to the main prison facility.
Rescue of Wedge Antilles
- "There it is. Rogue group, use your ion cannons. We want to disable this train, not destroy it."
- ―Luke Skywalker
Using modified X-wing starfighters equipped with ion cannons, which shuts down the electric systems of whatever it impacts, Rogue Squadron deployed to disable the hovertrain carrying Wedge Antilles and other prisoners. The Imperials attempted to use a secondary convoy to mislead Rogue group's on-board lifesign scanners.Kasan Moor, Rogue group member and a former Imperial pilot, recognized this tactic and persuaded Rogue group to ignore it. Skywalker destroyed the convoy before moving onto the hover train carrying the prisoners. Zev Senesca's long range scan confirmed Antilles to be on the train, and a barrage of ion cannon fire caused the train's systems to shut down, allowing Antilles and the train's passengers safe passage to escape.
Extraction of other prisoners
Based on advice given to him by Antilles, General Crix Madine organized an operation to free other Rebel prisoners of war held on the planet. The prison camp Antilles was to be taken to, situated in a series of canyons, had three main facilities protected by a main DSS-02 shield generator, turbolasers, and a missile turret. The battle plan called for Rogue Squadron to knock out the main power generator, allowing Madine to deploy his commandos via a landing craft into the prison facilities and free the prisoners. Skywalker and the Rogues protected the transport while it traveled to each of the three facilities and disembarked the Rebel commandos to free the prisoners.
While liberating the second facility, Rogue Squadron, after making sure any threats to the escape transport were neutralized, proceeded to destroy a bunker nearby, retrieving advanced seeker missiles in the process.
The rescue mission succeeded, and the Rogues and the transport returned to the fleet.
Behind the scenes
The Rescue on Kessel appears in two consecutive missions in the 1998 video game Star Wars: Rogue Squadron. It was also mentioned in the game's strategy guide, Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 12, and Wedge Antilles' entry in The New Essential Guide to Characters.
During the first mission, there is a secondary convoy which the player may ignore or destroy. This article assumes the Rogues skipped it and went to the hovertrain.
It takes 129 enemy forces destroyed to win a gold medal. The player can optionally retrieve the advanced seeker missile tech upgrade. The guide likewise suggests doing so in order to ensure a Gold Medal win. This article assumes the player did so. The guide suggests the V-wing airspeeder would be necessary to win a gold medal in the mission. However, the article assumes the player did not use a V-wing due to it not being developed yet at the time of the mission.
- Star Wars: Rogue Squadron (First appearance)
- Star Wars: Rogue Squadron: The Official Nintendo Player's Guide
- The New Essential Guide to Characters
- Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 12