The Separatist Droid Army was the largest droid army in galactic history that was created and used by the armed forces of the Confederacy of Independent Systems in an effort to secure power throughout the galaxy during the Clone Wars. It comprised battle droids from the Trade Federation's army, Techno Union's army and other corporations that allied themselves with Count Dooku's Separatist movement. By the end of the Clone Wars it was said to be comprised of quintillions of battle droids.
The Separatist army had several skilled commanders in charge of various campaigns through the Clone Wars—most notably General Grievous, Fenn Shysa, informal leader of the Mandalorians, Sev'rance Tann, Asajj Ventress, and Durge.
Formation of the Confederacy of Independent Systems
What would ultimately become a Separatist army originally began as several immense forces comprised almost exclusively of droids. When merged, these formed a colossal army numbering in the quintillions.
The land elements encompassed an enormous ground force which comprised battle droids and ground attack vehicles. The ground forces utilized many vehicles, such as the Heavy Missile Platform, the Hailfire droid tank, and the aquatic Manta droid subfighter. The Droid Army also employed a large space force, with a number of different types of droid starfighters, such as Vulture droid starfighter. The various services were eventually reorganized into the Separatist Droid Army by Count Dooku. Dooku would eventually deploy the new Separatist army to overthrow the Galactic Republic during the Clone Wars—it was countered by the Jedi-led Grand Army of the Republic.
This droid army drew upon of the battle droids of the Trade Federation, the Techno Union, the Commerce Guild, the InterGalactic Banking Clan, the Corporate Alliance, and other independent Separatist factions. These groups were subtly manipulated by Darth Sidious to expand their forces in response to seemingly random attacks of piracy from groups like the Nebula Front, which were also controlled by the Sith Lord. A number of assassinations then left these groups with leaders that Darth Sidious could control.
Under his orders, these corporate giants began to purchase huge orders of battle droids from the millions of factories controlled by companies such as Baktoid Combat Automata, Colicoid Creation Nest, and Haor Chall Engineering over a decade before the start of the Clone Wars. While the Invasion of Naboo provided an inkling of what was to come, it was not until Count Dooku deployed over a million B1-Series battle droids, one hundred thousand B2 super battle droids, and three thousand droidekas, plus many other types, at the First Battle of Geonosis in 22 BBY that the Republic understood the scope of the threat, thus the Clone Wars had begun.
While the Confederacy had an enormous number of soldiers, they initially lacked proper military leadership. Command of the army was initially given to Count Dooku's protégé Sev'rance Tann, a Chiss general, whose penchant for personal combat made her a counter to the Jedi. However, she was killed early on in the war by Echuu Shen-Jon. She was soon replaced by the Kaleesh warlord known as General Grievous. After proving to Count Dooku that his cybernetic enhancements were sufficient by defeating Asajj Ventress and Durge aboard the Space Station Trenchant, Grievous was formally awarded the title of Supreme Commander of the Droid Armies.. Other commanders besides Ventress and Durge were Fenn Shysa, Spar, and Alto Stratus, who held lesser commands in various battles through the war.
The Clone Wars
- "Our friends from the Trade Federation have pledged their support. And when their battle droids are combined with yours, we shall have an army greater than any in the galaxy. The Jedi will be overwhelmed. The Republic will agree to any demands we make."
- ―Count Dooku
Backed by the millions of warships comprising the Confederate Navy, the Separatists challenged the rule of the Republic across the galaxy, beginning in 22 BBY, with the outbreak of the Clone Wars. Though initially outnumbered as of the start of 21 BBY, the Separatist forces had grown in strength by the time of the Mission to Vjun in 20 BBY to the point where Count Dooku questioned the need for continual subterfuge between the governments and thought the Separatists could simply win outright.
The strategy of the Separatists could be thought of as exceptionally defensive—their deployment at the start of the war was designed to deflect any attack on their territory, while they continued to build up the strength of their military. Though this frustrated some Republic generals such as Mace Windu, it also allowed the Republic time to muster its own forces to challenge the Separatists—exactly as Darth Sidious intended. The first offensive moves on the part of the Confederacy sought not immediate victory, but instead to deny the Republic advantages and sow fear among the civilians. They also sought to discredit or kill those on the Confederate side who would end the war too swiftly.
During this time, the Confederacy instead worked on projects such as chemical weapons like swamp gas, Trihexalophine1138, and a clone-targeting nanovirus. However, since no army won by retreating, the Confederacy was soon on the move, seizing planets left and right in a string of victories. After his existence was officially revealed to Republic forces at the Battle of Hypori, General Grievous became known as the architect of the Separatists' victories—on his orders, he brought about by his hatred for the Republic and the modifications to his mind, the army was responsible for immense amounts of carnage and destruction. The Clone Wars saw the devastation of over a thousand worlds, including Atraken, Honoghr, and Humbarine. These horrors, perpetrated by droids and alien species, led to much of the prejudice that ruled the galaxy a generation later.
The Clone Wars was essentially one giant game against the galaxy, and, like every game, it had a closing move. Desperate to throw the Jedi off his trail, Darth Sidious ordered General Grievous to carry out an attack on Coruscant. Hundreds of millions of droids swarmed the planet, successfully distracting the Jedi from their search. The attack was a ruse to draw Anakin Skywalker over to the dark side of the Force and eliminate Count Dooku. While initially successful, the battle ended in a rout when Generals Kenobi and Skywalker arrived with the Open Circle Fleet and defeated the Separatist while rescuing the Supreme Chancellor.
The defeat did not end there, though, as days later Kenobi killed Grievous on Utapau and Darth Vader—formerly Anakin Skywalker—executed the Separatist Council on Mustafar. After completing his murder spree, Vader used the master control signal to transmit the order to deactivate all the Confederate droids across the galaxy in 19 BBY. On planets as distant as Murkhana, the droids simply deactivated immediately when the order was relayed, much to the confusion of the commanders, thus bringing an official end to the Clone Wars.
Separatist holdouts Conflicts
- "All by his lonesome, he'd found a previously hidden droid factory, fired it up and cranked out his own private army of battle droids."
- ―From the 501st Journal, about Gizor Dellso
The new Galactic Empire was swift to absorb the remnants of the Separatist Droid Army into their ranks, including the DSD1 dwarf spider droids of the Commerce Guild, the IG-100 MagnaGuard, and the Armored Assault Tanks of the Trade Federation, as well as crab droids and B1s. These units were used to force the once-Separatists strongholds to join the Galactic Empire. Many LM-432 crab droids and B3 ultra battle droids found their way to Carida, where they were used to help train stormtroopers in 19 BBY. Many Scorpenek annihilator droids were studied by the Imperial Department of Military Research before being shipped to the Emperor's citadel on Byss.
However, not all Separatist droids became parts of the Imperial Army. Some worlds, such as Enarc, still used battle droids against the new Empire and refused to surrender, thus resulting in the formation of the Separatist holdouts in 19 BBY. Also, the Geonosian Gizor Dellso reactivated a portion of the army on Mustafar around 12 BBY, requiring the 501st Legion to storm the planet afterward. This resulted in a large faction of the Separatist holdouts to fall, thus resulting in a fragmentation of the Confederacy.
The Alliance to Restore the Republic used Hailfire tanks to siege various cities across different planets in 1 ABY. Also, a few droid units would be recovered and re-programmed by various beings, such as the Vagaari, who would later use a droideka during their attempted destruction of the remains of Outbound Flight, years after the Battle of Endor. Other independent factions were able to seize some droids for their own purposes on a number of occasions. Notable examples would be the B2 battle droids that later became the famous Orange Panthacs, the slaughter of an Imperial garrison on Jaguada's moon after a group of smugglers reactivated the leftover droids there, or the use of droideka Mark IIs by Tyber Zann in the Galactic Civil War.
Some droids were not shut down. The droids of Geonosis did not require a control ship to activate and deactivate, as discovered by Plo Koon and Ki-Adi-Mundi during the Battle of Geonosis. Therefore, the droid "leftovers" from Geonosis survived the deactivation. Wedge Antilles found this out the hard way after his X-wing crashed on Geonosis during the Galactic Civil War in 3 ABY. Following the Rebel's retreat from the planet, the Imperial Stormtroopers utterly destroyed whatever was left of the droids, along with the last surviving Core Ship in existence, one of the sole remaining strongholds of the Separatist holdouts, Even though a majority of the Separatist organizations were dissolved, many former relics of their influence remained for decades following the Galactic Civil War from crashed droid pods to forgotten foundries around multiple systems of the Outer Rim.
Post-Confederacy and Independence
Following the dissolution of the Separatist holdouts, some droids were not shut down, but managed to form their own societies. On Arzid, a squad of E4 baron droids overthrew the existing government to rule the settlement. Surviving A-series assassin droids returned to the wilds of Kashyyyk. There was also a case where several dozen Manta droid subfighters founded a colony on Mon Calamari, where they formed a symbiotic relationship with some native Quarren. During the Yuuzhan Vong War, Jedi Klin-Fa Gi along with Uldir Lochett encountered a type of drone on Wayland that had somehow not been deactivated, it is possible it was a droid tri-fighter. Some groups of sentient vulture droids were spotted in remote systems.
The Separatist Droid Army was a massive, eclectic mix of droids, organic soldiers, vehicles and aircraft drawn from the various systems and corporate organizations that had declared for the Confederacy, including the Trade Federation Droid Army, the Techno Union Droid Army, the Commerce Guild Punitive Security Forces, the IGBC Collections and Security Division, and the Corporate Alliance Policy Administration Directorate. At the onset of the war, each had its own Order of Battle, which were reorganized by General Grievous to fit more closely with the Trade Federation model. Grievous assembled ad hoc task forces and armies from those available to him. While each commercial faction had its own military leader, as did local forces pledging loyalty to the Confederacy, they all reported to Grievous.
The basic tactical unit was a squad of 8 battle droids. Seven squads made a platoon of 56 droids. Companies were composed of two platoons, making 112 battle droids, plus support droids, transported via either a Multi-Troop Transport, Attack Craft, or equivalent. Battalions were composed to 784 battle droids and support droids in seven troop carrier companies, plus a squadron of 24 Armored Assault Tanks or equivalent.
Above the battalion level, vanguards sat between battalions and regiments in size and were designed to break through heavy defences. They were composed of 1,232 battle droids and support droids and consisted of eleven MTT companies and a squadron of 18 repulsortanks. Regiments consisted of 4,368 droids and support troops in four battalions and a single vanguard, and were the total number of troops and vehicles carried aboard one C-9979 landing craft. Divisions consisted of 21,840 droids in five regiments, while corps consisted of 109,200 droids in five divisions. The largest tactical unit was the army, composed of 218,000 battle droids and support droids in two corps, and represented the total surface force carried aboard a Lucrehulk-class Battleship.
Weapons used by the army included; E-5 blaster rifles, SE-14 blaster pistols, E-5s sniper rifles, V-1 thermal detonators, HX-2 antipersonnel mines, TB-47 time bombs, F-187 fusioncutters. Heavy ordnance weapons like; the E-60R missile launchers, RPS-6 rocket launchers, Bulldog RLR, and the RD-4 grenade launchers which fired unstable radiation grenades. Mark IV recon droids were used as recon surveillance of the battlefield. Autoturrets were used to defend key positions.
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Notes and references
- Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith: The Visual Dictionary
- Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith Incredible Cross-Sections
- Star Wars: Attack of the Clones: The Visual Dictionary
- Cloak of Deception
- The New Essential Chronology
- Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
- The Story of General Grievous: Lord of War
- Star Wars: Republic
- Star Wars: Clone Wars
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- The New Essential Guide to Droids
- Star Wars: Battlefront II
- Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divded
- Outbound Flight
- Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader
- Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption
- Star Wars: Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike
- Emissary of the Void
- The Essential Guide to Warfare, pp. 86-8
- The Essential Guide to Warfare, pp. 86-8
- The Essential Guide to Warfare, pp. 86-8