"None of you needs to be reminded that in the past few weeks our war against the remnants of the Empire has changed from what was once called a mopping-up exercise to a battle for our very survival."
- Admiral Ackbar
The Thrawn Campaign is Grand Admiral Thrawn's invasion of New Republic space. An invasion that should have been quickly defeated, if not for Thrawn's military genius. Thrawn had planned out his victory over the New Republic step-by-step, and executed each step perfectly. His initial force was comprised of only a few Star Destroyers, but quickly turned into a full fleet.
The initial phase of his strategy was two-fold. First he deployed his Star Destroyers to probe the borders of New Republic space, testing their strength. Second, he made strides to build a vast army. To accomplish this, he sought out Emperor Palpatine's Spaarti Clone Cylinders to produce his soldiers. In order to prevent the cylinders from producing mad clones, Thrawn traveled to Myrkr to acquire the Ysalamir. These creatures would also be used in keeping the mad Dark Jedi Jorus C'baoth in check.
But Thrawn didn't know where these prizes were located. To discover the location of these tools, Thrawn raided the archives of Obroa-skai. The wealth of knowledge within these archives provided Thrawn with the location of the Cloning Cylinders. Before he could act on it, he was forced to display his brilliance when New Republic forces responded to his attack. He noted that the commander of the response force was Elomin and devised a strategy that would leave the commander dumb-founded and incapable of responding. This allowed Thrawn's lone ship and a few wings of fighters to defeat an entire fleet of New Republic vessels.
With the archive data in hand, Thrawn took his flagship, the Chimaera, to Myrkr to negotiate with Talon Karrde. After negotiations, Thrawn was allowed to take a large number of ysalamiri for his purposes. He then traveled to Wayland and found Emperor Palpatine's secret fortress, and inside he found the clone cylinders, the plans to an experimental cloaking device, and the mad Dark Jedi. Thrawn used the ysalamiri to defend himself from Jorus' attacks and convinced him to join in his conquest, promising Luke Skywalker as well as Leia and her unborn twins. To these terms, Jorus could not refuse.
Thrawn then used notable officers like Maximilian Veers and Soontir Fel as templates for his clone army. With his clone army churning out clones at an exceedingly fast pace, Thrawn began his campaign by targetting recently liberated worlds. He executed feint attacks on Bpfassh and Nkllon to weaken the defenses of the Sluis Van shipyards. He then deployed a cloak freighter to sneak mole-miners and a task forces of TIE Fighters into the system, which would act as boarding parties so that he may steal the New Republic vessels stationed there. It would have been successful, if not for the interference of Lando Calrissian when he activated the plasma cutters of the mole-miners, thereby destroying the docked New Republic ships. A minor setback for Thrawn severely crippled the New Republic's dwindling forces.
The loss at Sluis Van only stalled Thrawn's advances for a short time. Thrawn began launching attacks on New Republic convoys, intending to simply destroy their defenses and force the New Republic to dispatch more forces to protect the convoys, or risk having to abandon entire systems. Either way, the New Republic would take severe losses. Thrawn then struck Pantolomin in the Core, allowing him to steal nearly two hundred dreadnaughts. These ships, along with his nearly unlimited army, the new cloaking field, and his military genius had tipped the scales heavily in the rising Empire's favor.
Thrawn continued a relentless assault that worked to cripple the New Republic fleets. Feint attacks stripped worlds of their defenders, allowing for critical strikes on whichever world Thrawn wanted. He then captured Wistril and destabilized over twelve different sectors. He used his dreadnaughts to make critical strikes at will, allowing his forces to win wherever and whenever he wanted.
He then made an attack on Coruscant. The forces there were under the command of Garm Bel Iblis, who hoped to catch Thrawn making a full offensive. Instead, Thrawn deployed over twenty cloaked asteroids to blockade the planet and faked signals to make it look like nearly three hundred asteroids had blockaded the planet. This brilliant move effectively removed Coruscant from the war.
The New Republic struggled to recover from the relentless attacks by the Grand Admiral, and hastily formed an attack group from across the galaxy for an attack on the world of Bilbringi. They feited an attack on Tangrene to lure Thrawn into a trap while the New Republic fleet attacked Bilbringi in hope of collecting a Crystal Gravfield Trap, as well as humiliate Thrawn. However, Thrawn expected this and laid his own trap.
With everything the New Republic could throw at him and on the eve of victory, Thrawn was overwhelmed by a series of unfortunate events. Talon Karrde and the Smugglers Alliance along with Rogue Squadron punched through the shipyards. Normally such an attack would be laughable, if not for the Grand Admiral's untimely demise. Because of Leia's work on Honoghr, Thrawn's Noghri bodyguard betrayed him and assassinated him, forcing Thrawn's second in command, Gilad Pallaeon, to retreat.
At the same time, Thrawn's Wayland fortress was breached and Jorus C'baoth was destroyed along with the cloning tanks. Without Thrawn and the cloning tanks, the Empire crumbled.
But it was not the actions of the New Republic that solely caused Thrawn's ultimate demise. Hidden on Byss, the reborn Emperor Palpatine made strides to work against his faithful Admiral. He brought in the majority of the remaining Imperial forces, thereby stripping Thrawn of a vast number of ships. In a pathetic display of petty jealousy, Emperor Palpatine caused Thrawn's ultimate demise. Had the reborn Emperor combined his forces with Thrawn's, the New Republic's death would have been quick and painful.
However, despite the actions of the reborn Sith Lord, Grand Admiral Thrawn was very close to victory. Indeed, even without the full might of the Empire, Thrawn was just one battle away from total victory.
*What was the name of Thrawn's flagship before Chimaera?
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