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Background:

I am trying to find some evidence for a request I would like to make to the developers of the Star Wars Commander game. Currently the only match-ups possible are Rebel versus Empire. There are many more Imperial commanders in the game than Rebel commanders and match-ups can be slow. I would like to propose to the developers that an Empire commander should be able to fight another Empire commander. This would help to speed up the matchmaking process. My reasoning is that in such a large galaxy and organization, like the Empire, there must be some infighting.


Question:

Are there any instances of battles between Imperial forces?

What I am looking for: battles between large groups of Imperial ground forces or star-ships (i.e. large scale engagements; Stormtroopers, AT-ATs, Star Destroyers, TIE-Fighters, etc.)

What I am not looking for: single combatant fights or duels (e.g. Vader Force-Choking an Admiral)

I would like to hear about any such battles, but since the game is published by Disney Interactive current Disney canon would be helpful.

  • 4
    I'm sure the Empire had war games, much like modern militaries have. Also, in the EU there were factions that were fighting each other. In the novel "Lords of the Sith" there is some infighting on Ryloth due to a traitorous commander. – CBredlow Jul 26 '16 at 17:55
  • Welcome to SFF. I have edited your question to help generate a better response from our community. If you feel these edits conflict with your original intent, you can roll them back. – Skooba Jul 26 '16 at 18:23
  • 1
    Thank you for the edits. They convey my intent more clearly and make it more readable. – L.T.Smash Jul 26 '16 at 18:25
  • @Skooba The Legends tag is not appropriate here since the OP specifically asks for Disney canon. – Null Jul 26 '16 at 18:26
  • 2
    This was pretty common in the old EU for post-Endor. Effectively the Empire started fracturing into smaller portions (with the Rebellion going legit and becoming one of the parties) and there were several mini-Empires, Moffs, and warlords who fought against each other. Not sure if this applies to your timeline though, and of course it's not Disney, so YMMV. – Dan Smolinske Jul 26 '16 at 19:08
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TL;DR: Yes, after the death of the Emperor.


From the Disney canon novel Star Wars: Lost Stars:

“The Rebellion is sending out mass communications claiming to be the new power in the galaxy. The Imperial Starfleet is regrouping to plan the next assault and name the next emperor.”

“Another emperor?”

“You can imagine the power grabs we’re seeing. Civil unrest across the galaxy, even on Coruscant. But the strongest will prevail, and we’ll have the leader we need for these difficult times.”

The most vicious and ruthless of the Moffs or admirals will take power. We won’t have a better emperor who might be able to right our course. Instead we’ll sink further into the mire.
- Star Wars: Lost Stars, by Claudia Grey

And:

In the wake of the Emperor’s demise, the galaxy endured even greater chaos than Ciena had believed possible. Coruscant remained in turmoil; Grand Vizier Mas Amedda tried to keep the Empire together even as other forces threatened to tear it apart. Consolidating and confirming personnel information was hardly a top priority. So the Star Destroyers had only their own records to draw from, and even when that information was synthesized, the picture remained spotty at best.

To further complicate the situation, neither Ciena nor any other Imperial officer could be certain exactly which person they served. Declarations of a new emperor were so frequent as to be meaningless. No one figure seemed able to consolidate power. Already the propaganda holos spoke of “skirmishes” or “mutinies.” The truth: would-be emperors forced Imperial soldiers to fight one another, spilling their blood in the service not of law and order but of one man’s naked ambition. They seemed willing to tear the Empire to shreds rather than give up their own standing, Ciena thought with contempt. Already the Anoat sector had been cut off completely.
- ibid

And:

In Nash’s opinion, it had taken them too long to coalesce as a united front again; infighting had allowed the rebels to gain territory they could not have hoped to contest otherwise. Now, however, the Imperial Starfleet had reestablished a hierarchy of command. They had developed a long-term strategy. The old factionalism had been swept away, and at last they stood together, united again.
- ibid


From the Disney canon novel Star Wars: Aftermath:

Admiral Rae Sloane convenes a council of high-ranking Imperials, and one of them - Moff Pandion - attempts to usurp her position:

“I am the admiral of this naval fleet. You do not have the authority, self-proclaimed or not, to command one ship against the movement of its fellows. You do not have the authority to deny me in this.”

Pandion grins. “And what if I do, anyway?”

Then the Vigilance will shoot your ship out of the sky. Its pieces will rain down upon us, and that is how the Empire will end. With us destroying one another, like rats driven mad by hunger, rats who eat one another instead of hunting down a proper meal.”
- ibid

And:

The Empire is fractured. That is not new information, but it has been clarified here. And a new dimension is revealed to her, as a result: Many inside the Empire do not want to heal those fractures but rather, want to use the division for their own designs.
- ibid

And:

That wicked grin. “If one wants power, one must take it.”

“True, perhaps.”

“Not perhaps. And you know it in your bones. I know that you have wrested control of not only the Vigilance, but of the Ravager, too. And likely the fleet that goes with it. Imagine that. Little Rae Sloane, manning an entire Super Star Destroyer all by herself. Our last, isn’t it?”

She says nothing. All she does is stare, stone-faced.

He goes on: “That was the fleet admiral’s ship, wasn’t it?”

“It was.”

“Was. So he’s truly gone?”
- Star Wars: Aftermath, by Chuck Wendig

But the Admiral isn't gone - he's plotting war against the other Imperial splinter groups. He ordered this summit to take place, sent Rae Sloane to lead it, then - posing as a Rebel informant called "The Operator", told Admiral Ackbar about the conference, leading to a devastating attack by the Rebels. Sloane escapes, but Pandion stows away on her shuttle and confronts her:

“Let me tell you how this will go. You’re going to the Ravager. You will take me to that Star Destroyer, and then I will take control of it in return. It is mine, now, Admiral. Not yours. The last great weapon of the Empire is in my control because you are incapable of wielding it.”

The shuttle quickly ducks a hail of incoming blasts. Rae steadies herself on her chair. Pandion remains standing, leering, scowling.

“You fool,” she says. “You eager, egotistical fool. Grand Moff. Pfah. You have so much, so wrong. The Ravager is not the last weapon. Nor do I even control it. There is... another.”

His face twitches. “You don’t mean...”

“I do mean. He’s not dead.”

“But you said he was.”
- ibid

The two Imperials fight it out, Pandion loses, and Rae goes back to her Admiral.

“The summit. On Akiva.”

“Dreadful thing.”

“It did not go as planned.” She hesitates. “Though now I’m not so sure. Did you... plan for it to go that way?”

He smiles. “Explain.”

“I’ve... been thinking. Everything happened so fast. Faster than it should have. Faster than any timeline predicted. And I wondered: Did we have someone in our midst who summoned the rebels? I went and I looked and I found... communications. From an encrypted channel on this very ship. Sent out to what appears to be a rebel frequency.”

“Enlighten me. Why would I have cause to do that?”

She hesitates. “I’ve been thinking about that. I would guess... to eliminate competition.”

“An interesting theory.”

“I’m more interested if it’s an accurate one, Admiral.”

He takes her hand and gives it a squeeze. “It was a test.”

“I could have died there. On Akiva. Or been taken captive.”

“But that did not happen. You were not captured. And you remain alive. You are my best and my brightest, and that is why you passed this test. I need people like you.”

This, a question she hates to ask: “And if I hadn’t survived?”

“Then my assessment of you would’ve been wrong. You would not have been my best and my brightest. It’s like the others. Pandion, Shale, and so forth. They were weak. Sick animals that had to be culled from the herd. They did not pass the test and now they are no burden to us.

She tries to repress a shiver.

“Here,” he continues, pointing out at the glowing red bands of the Vulpinus Nebula— the swooping whorls of crimson clouds and the stars beyond them. “Look out there. That is no longer our galaxy.”

“Admiral, we have not lost yet.”

“Oh, but we have. I see the dismay in your eyes, but this is no cause for despair, Admiral Sloane. This is how it must be. The Empire became this... ugly, inelegant machine. Crude and inefficient. We needed to be broken into pieces. We needed to get rid of those who want to see that old machine churning ineluctably forward. It’s time for something better. Something new. An Empire worthy of the galaxy it will rule.”
- ibid


From the Disney canon novel Star Wars: Aftermath: Life Debt:

The protagonists from the first Aftermath novel have become a team of New Republic special agents charged with hunting down and capturing Imperial officers accused of war crimes. One of their targets is Vice Admiral Perwin Gedde. They catch him, but he has been poisoned by a bounty hunter hired by Rae Sloane, and dies in custody:

“I know who did it,” Jas says. Eyes turn toward her, expectantly. “A bounty hunter, like me. Mercurial Swift. He loves poisons. And that mycotoxin is one of his signature favorites.”

Jom grunts. Though he saves half a moment to pin his gaze on her. He smiles. She tries not to smile back, and fails. Damnit. “That means, what?” he asks. “The Empire is sending killers after their own?”
- Star Wars: Aftermath: Life Debt

Even Sloane's map displays the fractious state of the Empire:

At present, a new color fills the room: the blue glow of a galactic map. Sloane can see the territorial divisions, and it makes it easy to identify as the present state of political unrest. The galaxy has been butchered and stitched back together into an ugly quilt. Some systems have gone over to the New Republic, with just as many separating into their own fiefdoms. The portions of the galaxy that the Empire controls dwindle. The New Republic has had a deleterious effect; their assault has been ceaseless and effective. Even just looking at this map suddenly overwhelms her. Anxiety crawls inside her.
- ibid

It is revealed that Rae Sloane's Admiral, the Operator, is actually a shadowy Imperial leader named Gallius Rax, who had been more or less adopted by Palpatine as a boy. His faction, led by himself via a body he creates and dubs the Imperial Shadow Council, is at war with the other fragments of the Empire, including the Imperial Security Bureau, which has claimed power in Coruscant:

All around her little cargo ship, a defensive armada forms a protective shield around the planet. These are ISB ships— Imperial Security Bureau. Not the navy. Admiral Rax was very clear on that point. He said that they were not to commit resources protecting the throneworld. The ISB is controlling this world— and the navy doesn’t want any part of it. It shows the fractures in the Empire: all the broken pieces drifting apart.

“It is a symbol,” he told her, “of our indolence and torpidity. It is the moldering core of our overripe fruit, and I wish to cut away such rot so as to preserve our sweet remains. And, of course, the seeds within.

She argued that saving Coruscant would be a better symbol.

He answered with: “It is of far greater consequence to show how much we are willing to lose to preserve the strength of our Empire.” It was then that he echoed the words of Count Vidian: “Forget the old way.” Was this echo deliberate? How would he know what Vidian told her? “We must discard the obvious choices, Admiral Sloane. We must forge our own path through the stars if we are to survive.”
- ibid

Sloane tries to track down the Imperial fleet, and finds that many Super Star Destroyers and Star Destroyers are unaccounted for:

She starts with the Dreadnoughts— the Super Star Destroyers. Thirteen were in service before the revivified Death Star was destroyed above Endor. One of those is the Ravager, the SSD from which Sloane rules the Empire (and which, strictly speaking, is now Gaelan’s command). One of those is the Executor, Vader’s command ship. The Executor was lost that day, plunging into the surface of the Death Star. Taking hundreds of thousands of the best Imperials with it...

That leaves eleven others.

Three are now in the hands of the New Republic. Two of those were from admirals willingly surrendering the ship and its people. One was taken forcibly by New Republic forces while it underwent repairs over Kuat.

Five were destroyed outright in battles across the galaxy with the New Republic— the ships were understaffed, underprotected, and on the run. (The Dreadnoughts are home to massive batteries of fleet-killing weapons, yes, but are also slow, unwieldy beasts— they hang there in the sky like bricks, and without adequate protection it is an inevitability that enemy forces could erode the ships until obliteration ensues.)

One was taken by pirates: the Annihilator. Tagge’s old ship. But who controls the Annihilator now? The reports don’t say.

Another, the Arbitrator, made a bad hyperspace calculation to escape pursuing NR ships. It evaporated when it was sucked into a gravity well.

That leaves Palpatine’s own command ship:

The Eclipse.

Records show that it, too, was destroyed by a fleet of New Republic vessels— Ackbar’s own frigate, Home One, firing the ship-killing shot.

Ah, but there’s the catch, and it’s why Sloane is here: The ships dumped data across the stars, transmitting pulses of information to this location. That provides a black-box recording of information so one could discern what exactly happened before a ship was destroyed, captured, or surrendered. All the other tracking data adds up to the known fates of each SSD. Their stories match the data for all of them— except one.

For the Eclipse, the data ends a full day-cycle before the ship was reportedly destroyed. It shows no siege by New Republic forces. It simply... drops off the star map. Gone. Vanished.

Is it possible that the Eclipse is still out there? Could the Ravager not be the last Super Star Destroyer in the naval arsenal?

The inventory of the Star Destroyers is similar, but on a far grander scale. Seventy-five percent of the Star Destroyers in service before Endor can capably be tracked to similar fates: destroyed, captured, lost in confirmable if curious ways. But a full quarter of those ships cannot be accounted for. Records show fateful ends that contradict their black-box recordings.

Does the Empire have more ships than she knows? Ghost fleets out there somewhere? Are they operating independently? Have they been captured or abandoned? Something else may be going on.
- ibid

Sloane soon learns that Rax is the Operator, and has been feeding the New Republic information on the whereabouts of Imperial forces not under his own control. He has also been framing Sloane for his espionage:

The Scythe is destroyed. Commander Valent and all those on board are dead. And it’s her fault. Or, it was made to seem like her fault.

There, on her comm, a message sent to the Scythe from her station and with her clearance codes— text only, no visuals, no audio. That message asked the Scythe to respond to an alarm signal sent from a Prowler probe droid.

Then someone went ahead and blocked all incoming messages from the Scythe, so that distress signals from the Destroyer failed to arrive.

And finally, the last piece of a troubling puzzle— yet another missive sent out through heavily encrypted channels, onward to the New Republic. That’s him. That’s her so-called adviser— Fleet Admiral Rax. He’s been stringing along the New Republic as a character he called the Operator now for the better part of three months— but it seems he’s more interested in maneuvering the Empire into cannibalizing itself, giving the fledgling Republic a much-needed edge. He’s handing them the weapons and then shoving Imperials into firing range. Before, she could maybe excuse it— certainly remnants of the Empire truly were out for themselves. May the stars help them all if someone like Pandion were to capture the Imperial throne.

But this? The Scythe? That was an execution. Because surely it was the fleet admiral who summoned the New Republic ships under the guise of the Operator. Him tugging their leash and giving those scum the scent of another good Imperial target. Thousands of soldiers are now dead because of it.

And why? For what purpose? Shaking, Sloane paces her office, trying to figure out exactly that. Valent. He was loyal, was he not? Maybe that’s an overestimation. She sits down at her holoscreen and pulls up all the information she has on the Scythe and Commander Valent. Everything seems standard— but there. Wait. Valent didn’t go to the naval academy first, did he? He went to the officers’ school on Uyter...

...along with Grand General Loring.

So that’s it. Another rivalry extinguished. One more potential dissenter whose throat is metaphorically slit. Instead of trying to bridge the divide and lead from the center, Rax is happy to drift to the edges— and those who don’t follow him will be shot like dogs...

This is not my Empire, she thinks.

But how to reclaim it? Exposing Rax is an option, but the consequences of that may not play out in her favor. First, she’ll have to openly admit that she does not control this Empire. Second, he’s a war hero, and no matter who you are, as an Imperial, those medals matter. Third, the response might be an overwhelming shrug. So what, they may say, that he’s a manipulator? Palpatine was, too. In its earliest days, the nascent Empire grew strong precisely because he let the Republic and the Jedi destroy each other— and then he simply seized the preexisting war machine for himself, uniting the fissures in the galaxy under the Imperial banner. They might have faith in Gallius Rax’s choices, however grim, however strange. Exposing him exposes her, too. Worse, it potentially pushes the Empire into its own internal civil war.
- ibid

Sloane doesn't realize that the Empire is already fighting an internal civil war - and the New Republic is helping to sow the seeds of discord. When the Republic captures Grand Vizier Mas Amedda, Leia and Mon Mothma force him to intensify hostilities against the other Imperial remnants, and let him go:

Leia smiles. “But there is a deal to be struck here if you’re willing to make it, Grand Vizier.”

“Anything. Anything at all.”

“Sign a treaty of surrender.”

He laughs at first, and then the laugh dies in his mouth. “You... you’re serious. You want me to surrender... the entire Galactic Empire?”

“That’s right.”

“I don’t...” But again he swallows the sound.

Leia suspects what he was going to say, and she helps him finish his statement: “You don’t have the power, do you?”

“I...”

“So, get it back. And then bring a treaty to our door.”

“That,” the chancellor says, “is the only deal we will make, and the only deal that earns you a life beyond this existence. Anything less than that will be met with a charge of war crimes and a brutal trial to follow— if your own people don’t jettison you from an air lock first.”
- ibid

Sloane soon realizes that the Empire has turned on itself, and despairs:

What, though, could her reply be? The most pointed one, the one that sticks in her mind like a nail, is that these are not her “people.” That is a thought that thickens and chills her blood, because what it means is that there does not exist one Empire anymore. There are several— fragments of the mirror broken. All reflecting something similar, but broken apart...

And, she worries, impossible to repair.
- ibid

After his encounter with Leia and Mon Mothma, Mas Amedda plans to commit suicide because he knows that the Imperial remnants' infighting has made it impossible for the Empire to survive:

Mas wishes he was dead, too.

And that is his plan when he returns to his office in the tallest spire of the palace. The office has a balcony over which one can regard the width and breadth of the Empire’s throne room. It has a deflector shield, of course; the whole palace does. But that shield only stops energy blasts— it won’t stop a physical being such as himself from passing through it.

He will go to his office. He will step out onto the balcony.

And he will jump.

None will care. Why would they? The illusion of a united, cohesive Galactic Empire won’t last much longer. Already the schisms have begun. It’s breaking apart like a delicate pastry in his fingers.
- ibid

Sloane confronts Mas, and he assumes she intends to kill him. Instead, she is seeking information about the mysterious Gallius Rax. Mas suggests that he and Sloane unite and take out Rax and his forces:

Here, before him, is the leader of one of those Imperial fragments— a rather considerable one. Perhaps the fragment of note. She controls what remains of the Imperial Navy, and their navy is dominant, so it is clear that whoever controls the navy controls the Empire. More or less. Still, it leaves her without the bulk of the ground forces, but rumor already has it that she’s begun to bridge that gap and complete the deficit in her military presence.

Another rumor is that she has been cleaning house. Those who are not faithful to the navy find themselves at the wrong end of a blaster.

That’s what this is, he realizes.

She’s come to kill him...

He reaches in—

And finds no blaster.

“I have your weapon,” she says. She pulls it from behind her, letting it dangle like a tantalizing piece of fruit hanging from a branch too high to reach. “I’m not here to have a conversation with blasters. I’m here to have a conversation between two equals.”

“Rax is still alive, isn’t he? You don’t have to answer. I see the fear in your eyes. You’re a prisoner of your own command, just like me. Perhaps we can plot our escape together. Perhaps we can take over the prison.” He idly drags a nail against his teeth— click, click, click. “The droids are in storage. Along with the wreckage of the Imperialis itself.”

The New Republic is well aware of the divisions within the Empire:

The metal shutters of the meeting room window are closed, though light from the bright Chandrilan day outside bleeds in at the edges like magma. All around them float various holoprojections: data-graphs, system maps, planet maps, schematics. It adds up to a galaxy in chaos. A galaxy whose allegiance is divided— not divided merely between the two warring sides of the New Republic and the Galactic Empire, but diced up finely into factions. Those factions will fight. They will fall to one another. They will form their own power structures. Warlords will lead them. As will despots, crime bosses, cult leaders. The galaxy will go from suffering the cruelty of the Empire’s order to being thrown into the maelstrom of disorder and madness. It will be an ugly time, Leia knows, if the New Republic cannot see its way clear through this labyrinthine tangle. A dark time.
- ibid

And Chancellor Mon Mothma is content to stand back and let the remnants of the Empire destroy themselves in the infighting:

As to defeating the scattered remains of the Empire, Mon seems of a mind to let that infection burn itself out. Strike when necessary, and otherwise sit back and let the antibodies of a free galaxy do the work.
- ibid

One of these fragments, which has claimed Kashyyyk as its domain, is ruled by Lozen Tolruck. Formerly a middling Imperial officer, he has since named himself Grand Moff of Kashyyyk, but has far loftier ambitions:

He is lord of this world. The Empire has abandoned him. He is grand moff only in name. In truth, he is warlord. He is emperor. No—

He is god.

An entire world and its feral species exist under his sway.

What glorious power.
- ibid

When Tolruck hears that a representative from Sloane's forces has come to see him, he considers the possibility of joining her larger fragment, then decides to go to war against her:

“We have a visitor.”

“Who?”

“An Imperial. One of Admiral Sloane’s people.”

That makes him sit up. Perhaps they have finally remembered him. Perhaps they hope to include him and his throneworld in their Empire.

But then, that gives him pause. Does he want to join them? Does he care for their token advances, their crumbs flicked into his waiting mouth— they will expect him to be gracious, but they have abandoned him here.

He can do better on his own.

Best to let this Imperial stew. Besides, Commandant Sardo has been pleading for a meeting now for some time. He’ll take the call, and that’ll give Sloane’s lackey plenty of time to sit and simmer in regret. Then he’ll meet with her man, finally, and when he does, he can send Sloane back a present— her man’s head in a footlocker.
- ibid

At the end of the story, Sloane is sent into a trap by Rax, but survives, and decides to go to war with him:

Sloane takes a moment.

And in that moment, rage surges through her like acid.

I am going to kill Gallius Rax.

Sloane leaves the room, rifle in her hand.
- ibid

She goes to Jakku, Rax' homeworld, and no sooner does she arrive than Rax and her former fleet appear in the sky. It isn't said explicitly, but it is hard to imagine Sloane being so stupid as to consider attacking the entire fleet alone. Thus, she must have some plan to muster her own forces.


8

The new canon book Star Wars Aftermath: Life Debt shows that there are factions within the remnants of the Empire and that there are occasions when one faction will attempt to eliminate another or allow the destruction of Imperial forces for an overall larger and hidden strategy.

Some in-fighting appears to have occurred or was expected:

Gallius Rax hid a large fleet of ships after Endor. He says: "With Palpatine's demise, it was clear that some factions within the Empire would attempt to wrest control."

Additionally, there are indications that the New Republic is being manipulated by a small group of Imperials to take out other fractious Imperial forces:

Admiral Sloane investigates an attack on an Imperial fleet by the New Republic and finds that her superior had set up the Imperial fleet and notified the New Republic as to its whereabouts so as to have the Imperial fleet destroyed. This turns out to not be traitorous in that, Gallius Rax isn't turning against the Empire in favor of the Rebellion, but that he is pitting sides against each other to further his own plans for the Empire.

Later, she (Sloane) also has a conversation with Princess Leia that is similar:

"I gave you targets", Sloane says, in order to strengthen my position within the Empire. Relatively speaking..all the targets, you will find, stood in opposition to my ascent" (although this is likely subterfuge on some level)

  • But did that infighting result in "battles between large groups of Imperial ground forces or star-ships"? – Null Jul 26 '16 at 19:24
0

Due to the fact that 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' will supposedly be exploring the gray areas in the cinematic universe, one would assume that the Empire will show remorse for their actions taken against their enemies. Other than this, I don't believe the Empire will harm their allies other than the canon source material that currently shows this matter to a degree.

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