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"Who were those guys? I've never seen stormtroopers like those."
"Those were storm commandos. They're elite soldiers responsible for carrying out special operations against the rebellion."
Luke Skywalker and Tycho Celchu during the Mission to Dantooine[3]

The Storm Commandos, also known as Imperial Commandos or Shadow Scouts, were the Special forces of the Imperial Stormtrooper Corps. One task for storm commandos was to instigate uprisings on enemy systems or to subdue insurrections on Imperial-held worlds. They also served as second-wave attackers in the battlefield, tasked with holding territory won by the first wave.


A storm commando variant in white armor

These commando forces were created with the intention of performing specific tasks that regular soldiers were incapable of accomplishing.[4] As such, they were considered an elite unit within the Imperial Military and operated within small forces with an emphasis on stealth as well as covert operations over brute force. Storm Commandos were trained to perform covert assaults, precision strikes, and sabotage operations against enemy forces. They were typically deployed into squads that consisted between three to six commandos. They were normally deployed on operations against enemy leaders ranging from capture missions as well as destroying any important facilities used by their foes.[5] They were even known to take part in assassination missions against a target.[6]

Ultimately, the Storm Commandos were created in response to the effectiveness of guerrilla tactics used by the Rebel Alliance. As such, they were trained to make use of the tactics and use them against Rebel forces. When formed, their ranks consisted of only the best and finest members of the Stormtrooper Corps. The aim of the unit meant that they were experts in guerrilla tactics and had a reputation for ferociousness in combat that exceeded those of other divisions of stormtroopers, and were often used to put down insurrections or revolutions near Rebel hotbeds. Storm commandos were trained especially for counter-insurgency missions with a priority placed on Rebel targets and were often involved in missions such as siege breaking, sabotage, extractions and even in Base Delta Zero operations against hard targets.[7] Other missions involved causing uprisings on target systems against governments that were hostile to the Empire. In addition, they also were used against uprisings that were within Imperial control.[6] To further their skills, each commando was an expert pilot and was quite capable in operating vehicles.[6]

A storm commando captain overlooks a battlefield

A unit of Storm Commandos could range from 4 to 40 commandos in strength, divided into four equal parts. The first were standard commandos trained and equipped as line units. The second were assault specialists with additional training on how to operate vehicle and artillery blasters. The third were designated saboteurs and particularly resourceful even for Storm Commandos, given extra training in stealth, demolition and countering security systems. The last part were dedicated tech units meant to repair (or jury-rig) a wide array of technology, often assisting saboteurs.[7][4]

Storm Commandos, when not assigned to a specific mission, would operate in specific sectors. These Commandos were granted some autonomy and usually saw action against separated rebel forces and had directive from COMPNOR to suppress and enforce imperial policies on both civilian and military personnel alike.

Members of the Rebel Alliance SpecForce had several terms for storm commandos, including shadowmen, shadows, and black hats.[4]



"I formed the storm commandos and led them in their early missions. It was those successes that put us in a position to unleash a biological weapon, the Candorian plague, on Dentaal. We were just following orders. That was the last order I took from the Empire. I defected to the Alliance, but I'll be paying my debt to Dentaal until the day I die."
―Crix Madine, Imperial Handbook: A Commander's Guide[8]

Storm commandos with AT-PT cover

Storm commandos were seen in action as early as 19 BBY. In the months following the Declaration of a New Order, a group of storm commandos was affected to Darth Vader during the Atoan insurgency, under command of Captain Shale. When Shale betrayed the Empire, his commandos mutinied and tried to kill Vader.[9]

The development of the storm commandos was overseen by Grand Moff Tanniel in response to the guerrilla tactics of the Rebel Alliance during the early days of the Galactic Civil War. Tanniel placed Crix Madine in charge of the first unit of storm commandos deployed. Despite Madine's later defection to the Alliance, the commando training program continued. Only the best Imperial stormtroopers received this training. By the end of the war, commandos were only available in limited numbers.

Galactic Civil War[]

A storm commando

Storm commandos, along with representatives from every specialized stormtrooper corps, were assigned to Darth Vader's personal Death Squadron.[10] Important tasks of the commandos included acquiring new technology for the Empire by capturing scientists. In 0 ABY, they engineered the Battle of Ralltiir to abduct a group of scientists. Rebel pilot Sarkli defected from the Alliance during this battle; he later became a Captain within the Storm Commandos.[3] After the destruction of the Death Star, Emperor Palpatine ordered a renewed offensive against the Rebel threat which was spearheaded by Admiral Victor Strang who led a detachment of Imperial Storm Commandos onboard the Conqueror. This special forces team came into conflict with the Rebel Alliance's Renegade Squadron.[11]

They were also sometimes tasked with capturing defectors such as Tycho Celchu, who evaded them on Dantooine with the help of Luke Skywalker.[12]

Captain Sarkli flew a modified escort carrier with an improved hyperdrive, in which he abducted Rebel scientists during the Raid at Bakura in 3 ABY.[3] He later fled to Geonosis, where Wedge Antilles shot his craft down, beginning a battle in orbit and on the surface of the planet.[3] While piloting an A-wing during the Mission to Destrillion, Antilles encountered and destroyed a carrier containing about 24 TIE Hunters.[3] Imperial escort carriers were known to have guarded the Fondor construction yards, and fought during the Fondor shipyard assault.[3]

In 4 ABY, Captain Sarkli was present on the Second Death Star during Emperor Palpatine's visit.[13] He was reassigned from the Death Star to the shield bunker on Endor, commanding a storm commando sentry unit. During the Battle of Endor, he attempted to block Han Solo's escape from the burning bunker. Firing his rifle, Sarkli backed away from Solo all the way to the entrance. He received a fatal wound from Solo's blaster and fell to the floor, dead. His body was destroyed when the shield bunker exploded.

Post-Endor Period[]

Luke Skywalker fighting storm commandos on Corellia

One week after the Battle of Endor, a force of storm commandos led by General Weir attacked Coronet City on Corellia from their base on Tralus. The attack was meant to instill fear upon the Corellian population, despite the defeat of the Galactic Empire and the death of the Emperor at the Battle of Endor, that there was still an Imperial presence in the system. Weir discovered a small Rebel Alliance force consisting of Luke Skywalker and Rogue Squadron pilots Wedge Antilles, Tycho Celchu, and Wes Janson, as well as Ten Numb of Blue Squadron. Despite not capturing the Rebel forces, Weir ordered his commandos to withdraw to awaiting transport vessels. Ten Numb was captured personally by Weir while withdrawing and taken back to Tralus.

Ten Numb was tortured by General Weir until he broke, giving the General the information he required. The Sullustan later died from injuries sustained as part of the interrogation. Luke Skywalker and Rogue Squadron found the hidden Imperial base on Tralus with the help of Lady Leyli and R2-D2. Weir ordered his storm commandos to attack the Rebels while he escaped the planet in a TIE Interceptor. Weir's Sunspot Squadron was scrambled in response to an attack by Wedge Antilles and Tycho Celchu in stolen TIE Fighters. Antilles used his TIE Fighter to shoot down Weir. Unable to flee due to injuries sustained in the crash, Weir was arrested by Antilles. Weir was extradited to Sullust and interrogated by Rebel officers.[12]

Equipment and vehicles[]

"Imperial escort carriers!"
"They're not part of the regular Imperial Navy. They're exclusive to the Imperial storm commandos.
Crix Madine and Wedge Antilles upon seeing an escort carrier[3]

A storm commando takes aim

An Imperial storm commando wearing a painted version of Imperial shock trooper armor.

Their armor was based on the scout trooper's light armor, though the black color most commonly seen earned them the nickname "shadow scouts"; it was enhanced with a coating of an advanced polymer called reflec, which deflected light and sensor energy. This made the wearers virtually invisible to all but the most determined of scans.[5] The armor was designed by Dr. Nashiak Llalik.[14] To support their mission profile, storm commando armor included a small generator that created a sound-dampening field, numerous concealed weapons, and a thermal detonator that a commando could detonate if faced with capture. The storm commandos sometimes wore a different variant of their armor with a helmet that resembled Darth Vader's helmet, as well as red stripes on the shoulder pads, as evidenced by the storm commandos involved in the attempted arrest of Tycho Celchu on Dantooine. They also sometimes wore painted versions of Imperial shock trooper armor.

Storm commandos used a wide assortment of weaponry. The E-11 blaster rifle served as their primary rifle, though they were sometimes known to make use of Evasive-226-R field disruptors. If the situation required, storm commandos could also use the Oppressor flamethrower and the Imperial long-range rocket rifle.

An Imperial storm commando participating in Celchu's arrest.

In addition to their standard gear, storm commandos who were part of the assault section carried concussion grenades and a heavy weapon, the latter of which depended on the commando's choice and mission parameters. For example, in operations which required speed, a single-trooper light repeating blaster or grenade launcher allowed for a measure of firepower and mobility. For members of the saboteur team, their extra gear were satchels of detonite, (usually three for every other trooper) and occasionally thermal detonators and thermal wells. Tech team members carried sophisticated communication gear, tool kits, and computer probes in addition to their normal weaponry.[7][4]

Storm commandos used modified 74-Z speeder bikes[6] to aid them in missions of deep infiltration. These missions usually involved uncovering plots and discovering deadly secrets that could be used to force enemies to cooperate. Their speeder bikes were designed for silence and speed, with a trideflective energy shield that prevented detection.

According to some reports, certain Storm Commando units (such as the DeathWhispers), made use of Imperial war droids such as the ZQ infantry droid long after they were supposedly phased out of general use by the Imperial military.[15]

Storm commandos were also trained to fly commando-exclusive TIE Hunters, generally operating from Imperial escort carriers. These carriers would be under their direct command and control.[3] In addition, in certain special forces operations, they made use of Imperial Troop Drop Pods.

Behind the scenes[]

In Star Wars: Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike, the escape pods from Captain Sarkli's escort carrier on Geonosis contain soldiers in normal white stormtrooper armor. Whether or not these were storm commandos in standard stormtrooper armor is unknown.


A Storm commando mauled by a Watch-beast


Notes and references[]

External links[]

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