- "Warning. Enemy capital ships. Venator-class."
- ―A tactical droid
The Venator-class Star Destroyer, also known as a Republic attack cruiser or Jedi Cruiser, was the wedge-shaped capital ship utilized by the Galactic Republic during the Clone Wars. The backbone of the Republic Navy, the Venator was a versatile capital ship able to fill the roles of both a warship, capable of ship to ship combat, as well as the role of a carrier with its impressive starfighter complement against the forces of the Confederacy of Independent Systems, in some of the most well-known battles of the Clone Wars, including those of Sullust, Christophsis and Coruscant.
During the early period of the Clone Wars, the Venator-class Star Destroyer featured a wide array of hangar space. The forward section of the Star Destroyer featured a passage down the middle, with bays for starships on either side. It was mainly accessed by large doors on top of the ship. At the fore of this passage, at the bow the ship, was a collection of hyperspace transport rings. Towards the aft of the passage, doors in the floor could open, leading to a space where Republic frigates could dock. If no cruiser was docked, however, the space could be used by personnel to jump out of the Star Destroyer directly onto the battlefield, or to deploy walkers without the need for dropships. Overseeing the passage was a raised command station positioned at the aft. Even further aft, the Venator-class had two independent docking bays on their port and starboard sides, again protected by blast doors.
Towards the end of the war, a different type of Venator was used. These featured a set of smaller doors on the dorsal side of the ship, and lacked access from the ventral side altogether, with the blast doors that previously lead to the main hangar space replaced with additional lighting, a crane and sometimes additional weaponry, such as a built-in beam weapon. Additionally, the side doors no longer led to independent hangars, but another passage that linked the two sides of the ship. The central hangar row then joined the smaller passage in the middle, replacing where the command station used to be. At the front of the main passage was a small opening starfighters could launch from without having to go through any of the main doors.
Venator-class Star Destroyers featured two bridges, with the starboard bridge serving as the primary command center of the ship and the port bridge being dedicated to starfighter operations. These bridges were raised from the main body of the destroyer and provided a wide, panoramic view of the battle. However, the bridges' exposed nature made them vulnerable to attack. The bridges featured large windows at the front, with two sunken pits behind, with a raised command walkway in between. This design would become a staple in Imperial vessels, giving emphasis to the command hierarchy. Further behind, a holotable sat between two sets of blast doors which could be used for communication, ship analysis and troop movements.
Venators usually required specialized landing strips to perform atmospheric landings, such as those on Coruscant, while the similar Acclamator-class assault ships could perform surface landings with their legs. However, surface landings could occur, as exemplified during the Battle of Kashyyyk.
Battle of ChristophsisEdit
Several months after the outbreak of the Clone Wars with the First Battle of Geonosis, the Separatist Alliance had established a 30-warship blockade over the planet Christophsis led by the Harch Admiral Trench, which allowed the Separatists to gain access to the Corellian Run and the resources on the surface. The Separatists' occupation soon led to the Battle of Christophsis, where their blockade was engaged by a fleet of three Venator-class Star Destroyers and three Pelta-class frigates led by Jedi General Anakin Skywalker aboard the Resolute. However, Skywalker's fleet was severely outnumbered and outgunned, leading to the loss of one of the Venators and one of the supply ships.
Skywalker was later reinforced by fellow Jedi General Obi-Wan Kenobi, who arrived aboard the Venator-class Star Destroyer Negotiator. After Kenobi arrived to assist Skywalker, the former ordered the latter to withdrawal his ships and regroup on the other side of Leesis, Christophsis' moon, where Skywalker would be asked to pilot a new prototype stealth ship and continue with his mission to deliver the supplies to Senator Bail Organa and his troops, who were attacked by the droid forces by air and ground. Deciding to take matters into his own hands, Skywalker went on the offensive and engaged Trench's flagship, Invincible, and managed to destroy the command ship, but Trench managed to survive, sending the remaining ships of the Separatist fleet into disarray and allowing Kenobi and the remaining Republic ships to destroy the rest of the fleet.
After establishing a base on the planet's surface, the Republic fleet was once again engaged by Separatist warships, forcing Admiral Wullf Yularen aboard the Resolute to retreat to a Haven-class medical station. After retreating, Jedi Master Mace Windu contacted a clone officer to summon Admiral Wurtz, requesting three star cruisers from his fleet. Gaining additional reinforcements, Admiral Yularen and Master Yoda managed to break through the Separatist blockade with the Venator-class Star Destroyers, which fled the system, and allowed the Acclamator-class assault ships from Wurtz's fleet to land on the surface, supplying additional clone troopers and winning the battle.
Battle of RylothEdit
In the first year of the war, the Separatist Alliance led a planetary-wide invasion of the Outer Rim world of Ryloth, establishing a blockade under the command of Captain Mar Tuuk of the Confederacy navy. However, a fleet of at least two Venator-class Star Destroyers under Republic Admiral Dao were providing protection for Jedi General Ima-Gun Di and the Outer Rim garrison clone troopers, but his fleet's necessary resources began to diminish, and were soon destroyed after the Star Destroyers' shields were disabled.
Some time after the Separatists gained full control of Ryloth, with the Separatist blockade holding a tight grip around the planet, the Republic sent a fleet of three Venator-class Star Destroyers—the Resolute, Defender, and Redeemer—under Jedi General Anakin Skywalker, Admiral Yularen and Skywalker's Padawan Ahsoka Tano, to break through the blockade to allow the Republic to land their forces on the planet's surface. While Skywalker and Yularen commanded the fleet from the Resolute, Tano was to command a squadron of V-19 Torrent starfighters to engage the attacking vulture droid starfighters, and after breaking through the vulture droids, she pressed her attack on the blockade, but were caught off guard as the Separatists summoned four additional Munificent-class star frigates, and launched their fighters to attack the Venator-class Star Destroyers. Outflanked and overwhelmed, Skywalker and Yularen both ordered the young Jedi back to defend them from the enemy vulture droids, which were launching suicide runs against the three Star Destroyers. After Ahsoka was ordered a final time by Skywalker to return to the fleet and Admiral Yularen was severely injured after the Resolute's bridge was rammed by a vulture droid, Tano reluctantly ordered the remaining pilots of her squadron to return to the Resolute so the Star Destroyers could flee the system, before jumping to hyperspace, the Star Destroyer Redeemer was unfortunately destroyed.
After the Resolute and the Defender fled the system, Skywalker was contacted by Jedi Masters Mace Windu and Obi-Wan Kenobi, and informed them of their lack of progress and their losses. Windu warned Skywalker that if his attempt to break the blockade was unsuccessful, the Republic's planned invasion would have to be postponed, although Skywalker stated that the Twi'leks could not afford the postponement, and assured them that he would break through the blockade.
Later on in the Clone Wars, the Separatists secretly created the Malevolence, a Subjugator-class heavy cruiser equipped with two devastating mega-ion cannons that could easily disable the systems of any ship, starfighter or station, including an entire fleet of three Venator-class Star Destroyers led by Jedi General Plo Koon.
After Plo Koon's forces were decimated by the Malevolence at the Battle of Abregado, the Republic, learning of the warship and its ion cannons, attempted to locate the Malevolence, which was placed under the commander of the notorious Separatist General Grievous. However, after receiving information of the destruction of a Republic medical convoy of three Pelta-class frigates escorted by a lone Venator-class Star Destroyer at the hands of the Malevolence in the Ryndellia system, which was close to Naboo and the Kaliida Shoals Medical Center, the Republic's secret Haven-class medical station, which was tending to over 60,000 wounded clone troopers, and would become Grievous's next target, leading to the loss of both of the Malevolence's ion cannons and the deactivation of the ship's hyperdrive.
After losing its primary weapons and the hyperdrive being disabled, Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi led a fleet of three Venator-class Star Destroyers, including Kenobi's flagship Negotiator and Skywalker's flagship Resolute, against the Malevolence, which was retreating to Separatist-controlled space. Yet crippled, the Malevolence was able to withstand the combined firepower of the three Star Destroyers.
In the second year of the pan-galactic Clone Wars, the Galactic Republic had held a strategy conference in the Carida system, aboard the Valor orbiting the planet Carida. However, unknown to the Republic, the Confederacy of Independent Systems was planning to bomb Valor and end the conference. As part of their plan, the Separatist forces managed to hijack one of the Republic's Venator-class Star Destroyers, which had been held in orbit above the Outer Rim world of Abafar, a planet rich in an extremely valuable and highly volatile starship fuel known as rhydonium, which the Separatists were mining from a mining facility established on the surface by the Confederacy, with the intent of loading the Star Destroyer with thousands of canisters of rhydonium to transform the vessel into an unassuming bomb.
Following their escape from Abafar, the Republic's D-Squad, a covert unit of Republic astromech droids and one DUM-series pit droid, led by Zilkin Colonel Meebur Gascon, managed to board the Star Destroyer, assuming that the Republic had sent the Venator to rescue them. However, once they arrived on the Star Destroyer's command bridge, they discovered that Separatist forces had hijacked the vessel, and, after narrowly escaping the pursuing battle droids, Colonel Gascon and the droids found a detonator painted in the respective colors of the Separatist Alliance in the center of the hangar bay control room, coming to the realization that the ship was truly a massive, unassuming bomb, opening the doors inside the hangar, revealing thousands of rhydonium canisters stacked together in each hangar, and upon sight of the canisters, Colonel Gascon remarked that the amount of rhydonium aboard the vessel could possibly destroy the entire Republic Navy.
While aboard the Venator in hyperspace, D-Squad came across a small group of Republic droids that served aboard the Star Destroyer before the Separatists took control, one of which was the LEP servant droid BNI-393, who informed the squad that the ship had been hijacked by the Separatists, and that its destination was a space station located within the Carida system, bringing the Zilkin to realize that the Separatists intended to use it to destroy the Republic space station Valor, the location of the Republic's strategy conference, forcing the team to take matters into their own hands and thwart the Separatists' plans by triggering the ship's explosion sooner than intended. However, the team soon ran into a series of complications as the super tactical droid in charge of the operation sent a swarm of buzz droids after the squad to dispatch them, but were eventually defeated at the cost of one of the team's members, M5-BZ, who sacrificed himself in order to defeat the buzz droids by opening the airlock, pulling the buzz droids into hyperspace. After BZ's sacrifice, the Star Destroyer exited hyperspace in the Carida system, and the engines were put to maximum power.
Before the super tactical droid could initiate the countdown sequence, he crossed paths with the astromech droid R2-D2, who managed to keep the Separatist droid out of reach of the detonator, granting him a small amount of time to trigger the detonation before it reached the station, resulting in a simultaneous explosion of the rhydonium canisters, destroying the Star Destroyer and creating a large blast that engulfed the station and all vessels flanking it, sending large pieces of debris hurtling through space, obliterating a single Arquitens-class light cruiser, and damaging the station.
Battle of CoruscantEdit
Nearing the end of the Clone Wars and, subsequently, the Galactic Republic, the Confederacy of Independent Systems—under the orders of Darth Sidious, the true leader of the Confederacy— launched a massive and startling assault on the planet Coruscant in the Core Systems, the capital of the Republic, in an attempt to capture Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, who secretly orchestrated the battle and arranged for himself to be kidnapped by the Kaleesh cyborg General Grievous as part of his plan to bring Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker closer to the dark side of the Force.
Prior to the assault, the Republic and Separatist Alliance became enmeshed in the climax of the Outer Rim Sieges campaign, which was primarily fought on various worlds of the Outer Rim Territories, far from the Core Worlds and, consequently, Coruscant. As a result of the Sieges, most of the Republic's fleets, experienced officers and Jedi Generals were preoccupied on the various fronts of the campaign, leaving Coruscant sparsely protected by the Republic's remaining officers and the ill-prepared Coruscant Home Defense Fleet, which had seen little to no action in the duration of the Clone Wars, giving the Separatists an opportunity to launch an unexpected and seemingly effortless attack on the Republic's capital.
Despite the high belief that the Separatists would never attempt such an attack, the Confederacy unexpectedly attacked Coruscant with a fleet of over 1,000 starships led by General Grievous' flagship the Providence-class dreadnought Invisible Hand, catching the Home Defense Fleet off guard and quickly overwhelming them, with the Chancellor, after a lengthy chase through the Federal District, taken captive by Grievous and back to the Invisible Hand.
Learning of the Separatist attack, the Republic's Open Circle Fleet and Jedi Generals Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker were recalled to Coruscant to rescue the Chancellor from General Grievous. The Coruscant Home Defense Fleet, despite being outnumbered, attempted to prevent the Invisible Hand from escaping with the Chancellor onboard. Before the Separatists could make their escape from the besieged capital, the Open Circle Armada and the two Jedi arrived in time, bolstering the number of Venator-class Star Destroyers to the thousands, including the Star Destroyer Ro-ti-Mundi, to engage the large number of Munificent-class star frigates, Recusant-class light destroyers and Lucrehulk-class Battleships, which were escorting the Invisible Hand in order for it to flee, and allowed Generals Kenobi and Skywalker to enter the heart of the chaos of turbolaser fire and starships with their personal Eta-2 Actis-class light interceptors. Struggling to reach the flagship due to the interference of hundreds of Vulture droids, droid tri-fighters, and a brief evasion of discord missiles, two of which managed to deploy buzz droids onto Obi-Wan's starfighter, but were nonetheless destroyed. Returning to their flight path to the command ship, the Jedi quickly discovered that the hangar bay still had its deflector shields raised, forcing Anakin to open fire on a vulnerable point of the hangar to deactivate its shields, granting them mere seconds to enter the hangar before the blast shields were completely shut.
While aboard the Invisible Hand, the Jedi released the Chancellor from captivity and managed to kill the Sith Lord Count Dooku, the Confederate Head of State, and following their triumph over Dooku, the dreadnought briefly came into confrontation with the Venator-class Star Destroyer Guarlara and the two starships exchanged turbolaser fire as they engaged one another, with Guarlara inflicting extensive damage upon the Invisible Hand, causing it to momentarily plummet towards the planet below before the crew regained control. Despite rescuing the Chancellor and destroying a third of the Confederacy navy, General Grievous nonetheless managed to escape his flagship aboard an escape pod, which was retrieved by the Lucrehulk-class Battleship Profusion. Only days later, however, Kenobi killed Grievous and, shortly after that, Skywalker turned to the dark side of the Force. He slaughtered the Separatist Council on Mustafar and had the Separatist Droid Army shut down, officially ending the Clone Wars.
Age of the EmpireEdit
In the years after the formation of the Galactic Empire, Venators were still in service; however, they were being gradually replaced by the newer Imperial I-class Star Destroyer, which had been introduced in 18 BBY, as the backbone of the Imperial Navy. By 14 BBY many Venator-class Star Destroyers used in the Clone Wars were being scrapped on planets like Bracca, which were the sites of major campaigns during the war. The salvaged parts were used to support the construction of newer Imperial machinery and ships.
The design of the Venator-class Star Destroyer ultimately evolved into the similarly wedge-shaped Victory-class Star Destroyer and Imperial-class Star Destroyer, the signature battleship of the Galactic Empire. As of the Campaign at Salient, during which Venator-class Star Destroyers reassigned from Telos deployed ARC-170 starfighters to assist Governor Wilhuff Tarkin and the Executrix, the vessel was considered an older-generation model. However, at least one Venator-class was stationed at the Anthan Prime Orbital Dockyard several months after the Battle of Yavin.