- "You planned this. You sacrificed an entire world…"
- ―Luke Skywalker to Jacen Solo
The Second Battle of Balmorra, also known simply as the Battle of Balmorra, occurred in 40 ABY as part of the Confederation's push toward the Core during the Second Galactic Civil War. Co-Chief of State Jacen Solo, who had adopted the persona of Darth Caedus, and Admiral Ratobo led the Galactic Alliance Fourth Fleet against Commenorian Star Destroyers and the Hutt fleet which was attempting to occupy the planet of Balmorra.
With Corellia's and Bothawui's fleets poised to move against the major Core world of Kuat, it fell to the forces of Commenor and their allies, the Hutt fleet, to take Balmorra. Following Balmorra's capture, the Confederation fleets planned to move en mass against Kuat before pressing forward to assault the galactic capital of Coruscant.
Advance of the Fourth Fleet
- "I have good reasons for my orders. Even if it doesn't always appear that way."
- ―Jacen Solo
By the time the Alliance's Fourth Fleet had begun its advance toward Balmorra, the world's planetary shields were being overloaded by concentrated Confederation fire. The famous Balmorran defense platforms had been crushed, and a Hutt landing force was descending toward the surface of the world. The Commenorian Star Destroyers acted as a defensive screen to keep the Alliance at bay, and managed to inflict major casualties on the Fourth Fleet as it pressed forward. As part of its defensive measures, the Confederation utilized long-range turbolaser technology, a factor which was unforeseen by the Alliance battle tacticians. As a result, Admiral Ratobo's men could not return fire without halting their advance. As the frigate Zoli detonated under the fire of the Commenorians, Admiral Ratobo ignored the orders of Chief of State Solo, who ordered the Fourth Fleet to not retreat, and turned the battered Fourth Fleet about to withdraw. In his opinion, the ponderous advance toward the lost planet was a waste of lives and resources.
Nonetheless, Jacen Solo was able to persuade Ratobo not to withdraw, demonstrating his skill at battle meditation in order to restore the admiral's faith. Shortly afterward, concentrated fire from the Confederation's Star Destroyers overwhelmed the Peacebringer's shields and destroyed it, forcing Solo to transfer command to Rear Admiral Gavin Darklighter on the Trucemaker. Darklighter immediately dispatched the fleet's starfighter squadrons to swarm the Star Destroyers, a tactic which would force the Confederation ships to stop using their long-range turbolasers, as they drew too much power away from the shields. Under attack by the Alliance starfighters, the Confederation commanders decided that they could not risk the backbone of the Commenorian fleet on the skill of its starfighter pilots, and as result the Star Destroyers began to withdraw. However, this did not aid Solo's ultimate plans, as he had no intention of ever saving Balmorra, and as such, the bold tactics of Gavin Darklighter had turned counter-productive.
As the defensive screen continued their retreat, a wing of StealthXs, led by Jedi Grand Master Luke Skywalker, arrived to lead the fight against the Commenorian Star Destroyers. Once again it was an action which went against the pragmatism of Jacen Solo, for he had no interest in saving Balmorra. Having made the decision that Balmorra would fall and there was nothing he could do to prevent that, Solo decided that the Alliance's main goal would be to inflict such tremendous casualties on the Confederation forces present that they would be useless to their allies at the coming Battle of Kuat. It was this upcoming battle which Solo believed to be the decisive factor of the war.
However, as the StealthXs continued their attacks on the Confederation Star Destroyers, the Fourth Fleet managed to break through to where the Hutt fleet had begun to launch an invasion force aimed at capturing the planet's surface. Hoping to save Balmorra from a Hutt occupation, Darklighter ordered his gunners to target the shuttles descending upon the planet below—however, he was shocked when Solo ordered him to wipe out the fleeing Confederation forces, thus leaving the Balmorrans to fend for themselves.
Rationally, Solo's orders made sense; following the severe damage inflicted on them as they retreated from the battle, the Commenorians and the Hutts were of little use to their allies at the Battle of Kuat. However, Solo had lost a great deal of the Fourth Fleet as well as its commander, which managed to earn him the enmity of the surviving crew members. Likewise, this battle proved to be one step further away from his familial relationships as well as the Jedi Order. Due to the decisions he continued to make, Solo continued to earn the distrust of the Order's leading Masters, who despised his actions—it was his ultimate decision to sacrifice Balmorra which would drive him further away from those he had once served beside. Likewise, this battle would be one of the many factors which would directly lead to the withdrawal of the Jedi from the Galactic Alliance.
Behind the scenes
- Legacy of the Force: Inferno (First appearance)
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia (First identified as Second Battle of Balmorra)
- The Essential Atlas
- The Essential Guide to Warfare