All flights, in we go, scatter formation.
—Lt. Commander Atton Juyode
The Raid on the Roche Asteroids was a small-scale diversionary strike at the Roche asteroid field, conducted by starfighter squadrons from the Republic Navy and Marine Corps, on the Sith-occupied asteroid Cobalt J-27 and the shipyard and repair facilities that had been established within by the Verpine. Planned as a hit-and-fade operation by Marine captain and Jedi Padawan Laera Reyolé, the attack involved the 23rd Marine and 52nd Navy Starfighter Squadrons executing a two-pronged infiltration of the outer layers of the Roche system's asteroid belt, after which they successfully attacked and neutralized the facility, along with a battle-damaged Interdictor-class cruiser and an escort of several Sith interceptors.
With local space temporarily clear of enemy forces, the two Republic squadrons made good their escape, jumping to hyperspace in order to rendezvous with the task force under the command of Rear Admiral Kedlis Hetton. Though the raid itself was intended as a minor diversion, it provided a morale boost for the soldiers, officers, and pilots of Hetton's force, which included the Marines' Third Battalion. In addition, it provided necessary battle experience for the starfighter units involved. This was a contributing factor to the success of the victory won at the Zabrak homeworld of Iridonia, which led to the successful defense of Rodia and the Republic counteroffensive that would follow.
The Aurek fighters of the 52nd Navy and 23rd Marine Squadrons will be hyping in on another location, in order to conduct their own operation, and should return soon enough to support our attack, the goal being to draw resources away from our target.
—Captain Laera Reyolé, briefing her officers on the raid
In the wake of the surprise attack on the shipyards at Foerost and the subsequent strikes of the Sith Empire under Darths Revan and Malak, the Republic was left with few reserves and struggled to hold onto key sectors. In an attempt to seize the initiative, Marine captain and recently-initiated Jedi Padawan Laera Reyolé intended to mount a counterattack on the Zabrak homeworld of Iridonia, which had been lost to the Sith not long beforehand. In an effort to draw attention away from the real target, Reyolé devised a plan for a small-scale diversionary attack on the Verpines' home system of Roche, which had also recently been conquered by the Sith, who continued to use the facilities that had been abandoned by the Republic.
Believing that two squadrons of Aurek-class tactical strikefighters would be sufficient to inflict crippling damage on one of the major shipyard and repair facilities located within the asteroids, Reyolé—with the blessing of Rear Admiral Kedlis Hetton—dispatched the 23rd Marine Starfighter Squadron and the 52nd Starfighter Squadron. Staging from the Centurion-class battlecruiser Stalwart Defender, the two units were ordered to inflict whatever damage possible to the yards at Cobalt J-27, as well as any Sith forces that attempted to intervene. They were also ordered to return after having expended their proton torpedoes, if they ran short of fuel or targets, or if surprise was lost.
Shabu Lead to all wingpairs: fire at will, fire at will, fire at will!
—LTCMR Juyode orders the attack
Arriving at the outer edges of the Roche asteroid belt, the two squadrons separated, with the Marines going into scatter formation and penetrating the outer belt as one fork in a pincer that was intended to come together over the target. The Marine flyers, led by Lt. Commander Atton Juyode, arrived at Cobalt J-27 undetected and unopposed, and began firing torpedoes into the facility before its defenses could be brought online. As a result, the dockyards were all but completely demolished with at least one transport—then undergoing repairs—and a fully-laden bulk cruiser destroyed. This was in addition to a number of unmanned Sith interceptors blown into space when a torpedo entered a hangar bay before exploding.
As this was going on, the 52nd Squadron, entering the area by a known shipping lane as the other fork in the pincer, encountered a badly-damaged Interdictor-class cruiser that was being shepherded toward the asteroid repair facility by a vanguard of a half-squadron of Sith interceptors. After surprising and eliminating the escorting starfighters the Navy fliers, under the command of Lt. Commander Veris Elli, engaged the now unprotected cruiser, finishing it off with the judicious application of more torpedoes and repeated strafing runs with their Aurek fighters' laser cannons. After having done as much damage as they could in such a short time, the two squadrons retreated, rendezvousing at the edge of the asteroid belt before making the jump into hyperspace.
More than we could have ever hoped for. Commanders, please relay my personal regard to your pilots
—Rear Admiral Kedlis Hetton, on hearing the raid's results
Having completed their mission without loss, the two squadrons returned to the Stalwart Defender without further incident. Admiral Hetton praised the pilots and their commanders; when news of the mission's success was shared with the rest of the task force, morale increased dramatically. Both according to Captain Reyolé's plan and how the events to come were played out, this was to be but a prelude to the task force's next engagement. However, since both units as a whole were short on battle experience, it was to prove a key factor in how they participated in the Iridonian liberation and the success of the counteroffensive that eventually resulted.
Behind the scenesEdit
The raid on the Roche asteroids was first described by fan fiction author Sean "Goodwood" Nash in his second novella, Star Wars: Saber Battalion. The scenes themselves were intended to provide the reader with an example of Republic Marine-style starfighter doctrine as well as to help set up the secondary character Chak Ravartin, from whose point of view the scenes are narrated. The raid itself is based on the aftermath of the canonical Battle of Roche.