Tauntauns are a species of snow lizard found roaming the windswept snow plains of Hoth. The Rebel Alliance domesticated the swift creature during their stay on the ice planet, and used the tauntauns for patrol duties outside Echo Base. The animals were useful as the Rebel technicians had difficulty adapting their repulsorlift speeders to the subzero temperatures.
Both Luke Skywalker and Han Solo rode tauntauns on Rebel patrol missions, planting a network of life-form sensors along Echo Base's perimeter. Though tauntauns are sure-footed and well equipped to handle Hoth's daytime temperature, the chilling extremes of a Hoth night will prove deadly.
After abandoning their headquarters at the Massassi outpost on Yavin 4, the core group of the Rebel Alliance established Echo Base on the Hoth. Alliance engineers worked non-stop to adapt their technology to withstand the subzero temperature extremes of the frigid ice planet. When the technicians were unable to get the T-47s functioning in time, the Rebels domesticated the indigenous tauntaun for use as a patrol mount.
The nerve center of Echo Base was its darkened command center, where General Rieekan issued orders to the rest of his troops. Here, Alliance scanner operators carefully monitored incoming data from the scattered sensors placed by Rebel scouts in the Hoth wilderness.
Protecting Echo Base was a powerful energy shield strong enough to deflect Imperial bombardment. When the Empire arrived in the Hoth system, the Rebels erected the shield, forcing the Imperials to engage in a ground battle. The Rebels speedily evacuated the personnel and equipment they could aboard Rebel transports with starfighter escorts, offering covering fire for the fleeing ships from a massive ground-based ion cannon.
As the transports retreated, the Rebel ground forces and snowspeeder squadrons covered their escape by delaying the Imperials for as long as they could. Rebel troopers dug into snowy trenches, blasting at the incoming Imperials with turret-mounted laser cannons and blaster rifles. The Imperial walkers were unstoppable. The Rebels were routed and Echo Base was overrun.
Hoth is the sixth planet in the remote system of the same name. It is a world of snow and ice, surrounded by numerous moons. Small meteorites that have wandered away from a nearby asteroid field constantly pelt Hoth's icy surface. This icy world has developed a number of indigenous lifeforms, including the wampa ice creature, and the tauntaun. The daytime temperatures of Hoth were bearable for properly dressed humans, but the Hoth nights are too hostile even for the native creatures.
Following their victory at the Battle of Yavin, the core group of Rebel Alliance heroes had to abandon their headquarters at the Massassi temples of Yavin 4. Pursued by the Empire, they eventually set up a new base on the ice planet. Code-named Echo Base, this new outpost was under the command of General Rieekan. The temperature extremes required a great deal of effort from Alliance technicians to keep all their vital supplies from freezing.
An Imperial probe droid -- one of thousands dispatched throughout the galaxy -- eventually discovered Hoth. The Rebels were fortunate enough to learn of the droid, and began evacuation procedures immediately. The Empire -- in the form of the Imperial Death Squadron -- arrived in the Hoth system shortly thereafter.
History records the conflict that followed as the Battle of Hoth, one the greatest setbacks suffered by the Rebel Alliance. The Rebels barely had enough time to evacuate their headquarters and scatter from the pursuing Imperial fleet.
Located in the Hoth system is a chaotic asteroid field filled with dangerous swarms of colliding rocks. Stray bodies from the field get caught in Hoth's gravity well, and enter the ice planet's atmosphere, becoming meteorites.
If the threat of being crushed by massive asteroids is not enough to deter the most foolhardy pilot, the asteroid field is also home to dangerous lifeforms. At least one unbelievably huge space slug has made a home out of one of the larger asteroids. The field is infested by mynocks, leathery-winged energy parasites that attach themselves to passing ships and then chew on the power cables.
The odds of successfully navigating an asteroid field are approximately 3,720 to 1. Han Solo, never being too concerned with the odds, recklessly plunged the Millennium Falcon into the field to escape Imperial pursuit after the Battle of Hoth.
Within three years of the Death Star's demise, the Galactic Empire again proved its evil nature with the construction of a second Death Star in a remote region of space. Fortunately for the galaxy, the Empire never completed this monstrosity. Word of its construction was spread through the Rebel ranks by Bothan spies. The Alliance was able to pinpoint the exact location of Death Star's construction, and mount a pre-emptive strike to destroy the station.
The leaked information was all a ruse. The scheming Emperor Palpatine engineered the Rebellion's discovery of the Death Star in the hopes of trapping the growing Rebel fleet. The second Death Star would not be as vulnerable as the Rebels believed.
To ensure that the Death Star would destroy the lured Alliance fleet, Palpatine entrusted the supervision of its final phase of construction to his Sith apprentice, Lord Darth Vader. Vader motivated the Death Star's commander, Moff Jerjerrod, to see that the battle station was operational when the Emperor arrived for his inspection tour.
The second Death Star was not a complete sphere. Though much of the battle station's recognizable shape was visible, there were huge sections of exposed superstructure and visible skeleton. To protect the half-completed and immobile station during its construction, the Empire projected an immense deflector shield from the nearby forest moon of Endor. The shield was strong enough to protect any breach from both capital and starfighter-class ships.
The Alliance sent a commando team to land on the moon and deactivate the shield generator while the Rebel fleet emerged from hyperspace to destroy the station. Unlike the previous Death Star, whose reactor core was accessible only from a two meter wide exhaust port, the second Death Star's heart had to be destroyed by actually flying into the superstructure and detonating the collosal power plant.
The commando team was waylaid by Imperials and the Rebel fleet arrived to find the deflector shield intact. Worse yet, the superlaser was operational, and began destroying Rebel Mon Calamari cruisers with each blast. General Lando Calrissian came up with a daring and foolhardy tactic to engage the Imperial fleet at point-blank range, thus limiting the Death Stars available targets.
Aided by the native Ewoks of Endor, the Rebels were able to infiltrate and destroy the shield generator complex. With the shield down, General Calrissian led the Alliance starfighters into the inner recesses of the Death Star. There, he and Wedge Antilles loosed a volley of ordnance that began an immense fireball that tore apart the station.
Emperor Palpatine's body was consumed in the explosion. The Imperial fleet never recovered from the fiasco. What was to be the Rebel Alliance's demise instead turned into the death of the Empire. As firey fragments of the battle station burned away in Endor's atmosphere, the celebratory cheers of freedom rang throughout the forests, and indeed, the entire galaxy.
The bone-chilling cold is not the only danger that awaits a traveler on the Hoth plains. Despite standing over two meters in height, the wampa ice creature is nonetheless a stealthy predator. Its white fur is the perfect camouflage, and the howling Hoth winds mask its approach until it is too late. With a crushing blow from its clawed hand, a wampa is strong enough to snap the neck of even a hardy tauntaun.
Wampas live in caves carved from the ice. It is here that the ice creature drags its prey. It suspends its victims from the cave ceiling until it is ready to feast.
The Rebels were plagued with wampa attacks when they erected their hidden base on Hoth. Commander Luke Skywalker was savagely attacked by a wampa while on scouting duty. Skywalker narrowly escaped becoming a meal and dying in a Hoth blizzard. Despite bacta treatment administered by the skilled medical droid 2-1B, Luke still bears scars from that encounter.
Just prior to the evacuation of the Hoth base, the Rebels had to deal with repeated wampa attacks. The first indication that was something amiss was the discovery of a dead tauntaun, its neck mysteriously broken. Attracted to the sound of astromech droids, several wampa ice creatures penetrated deeper and deeper into the Alliance caverns. The Rebels were able to capture at least one wampa in a pen before having to abandon Echo Base altogether.
Growing increasingly outdated with the advent of sleeker, more powerful starfighters, the Y-wing nonetheless has a proud track record of service in the Rebel Alliance. The sturdy fighter-bomber gets its name from its shape: a reinforced central spar connects the cockpit to a cross-spar. At each end of the cross-spar rests a powerful engine nacelle, which houses the fighter's sublight and hyperdrive engines. Just aft of the cockpit module is the astromech droid socket.
The Y-wing's primary weapons are twin forward-firing laser cannons, housed in a recessed slot in the front of the cockpit module. A secondary weapon is a turret mounted paired set of cannons. Though many Y-wings fly as single-pilot fighters, some sport a two-seat configuration with a rear-facing tailgunner operating the turret canons.
The Y-wing also carries proton torpedo launchers. During the Battles of Yavin and Endor, Y-wing squadrons were influential in helping defeat the Death Star threats. A Y-wing brandishes its squadron colors and markings on its main cockpit module and the forward tips of the engine nacelles.