501st Legion (Star Wars)

501st Legion (Star Wars)

The 501st Legion (also known as "Vader's Fist") is a fictional Clone Trooper (and later Stormtrooper) unit from the Star Wars movies and Expanded Universe. They served under Darth Vader, and were considered to be the best soldiers in the galaxy. Most of the story linked to the 501st comes from the game . [summary of the game's story and features - http://www.gamespot.com/ps2/action/starwarsbattlefront2/review.html?om_act=convert&om_clk=tabs&tag=tabs;reviews]

The Legion's name is based on a fan organization of the same name; their inclusion in the official continuity was based on the worldwide organization's dedication to Star Wars fandom.Fact|date=September 2008


The Clone Wars

The 501st Legion, like all Clone Trooper Legions, was created on Kamino; cloned from the genetic samples provided by famed bounty hunter Jango Fett and bred to serve as part of the Grand Army of the Republic. They served in the first actions of the Clone War, and assisted in the assault on the Jedi Temple. They appeared identical to the 1.25 million clone units created by the Kaminoans. However, the actions of the 501st, as well as the 65th Homeworld Security Shocktrooper Legion under the command of Thire, during the Battle of Geonosis became the center of special interest from Supreme Chancellor Palpatine.

Both Legions were transferred to a secret facility on Coruscant, where they were retrained in advanced infantry, commando and space-combat techniques. The 501st Legion was kept on Coruscant until the Battle of Jabiim highlighted the level of threat the Confederacy of Independent Systems posed to the Galactic Republic. In response to this, Palpatine authorized the 'release' of members and squads of the 501st to other Clone forces, in order to spread their specialist skills amongst the fronts of the Clone Wars. These clones were absorbed into their new Legions, but a record of each clone's location was kept in secret, so that the entire Legion could be pulled back together when necessary.

During the final weeks of the Clone Wars, members of the 501st were being continually deployed between fronts. They were split into small teams, sometimes used to supplement other units of the Republic Army, at other times operating independently of the existing forces and command structure of the warzone. Members of the 501st Legion served at Felucia, Mygeeto, Kashyyyk, and Utapau during the last days of the Clone Wars. The 501st did not specialize in any particular combat skill, and had members who served in roles such as combat engineer, anti-tank infantry, and fighter pilots.

Rise of the Empire

Although a substantial number of the Legion was offworld at the time of the Battle of Coruscant, the forces remaining on Coruscant were instrumental in the world's defense by weakening the defenses of Grevious's flagship, which would make the Jedi raid on it easier. Under the leadership of Commander Appo and the newly turned Darth Vader, the 501st was instrumental in carrying out the first action of the Great Jedi Purge: the sterilization of the Jedi Order. Journal entries made by members of the 501st prior to this event suggest they knew that they would have to kill the Jedi, but ultimately would follow the Emperor's orders. It is also heard by the retired trooper in the beginning of the mission Knightfall in Star Wars Battlefront II saying that they said nothing and may have private traitorous thoughts, showing that the troopers may have had some form of compassion, but their orders overrode this.

The 501st was assigned by Palpatine to act as the personal soldiers of Darth Vader. During the early years of the First Galactic Empire, the Legion saw service on many worlds, putting down rebellions on Naboo and Kamino, and prevented the efforts of Gizor Dellso to reignite the Clone Wars. The aforementioned rebellion on Kamino saw the 501st pitted against fellow clones as a revolt staged by their creators. After the conflict's end, it was considered by the Empire that replicant soldiers were too susceptible to organize an insurrection, and therefore continued production of clones based on varied templates other than just Jango Fett. During this time, the Legion came to be known by its nickname - "Vader's Fist", and became the only legion to be completely made up of Jango Fett clones. The Legion was later assigned to the First Death Star as a security force; the majority of the Legion survived the Battle of Yavin as they were 'off-world' at the time, attempting to track down the stolen technical readouts.

The Vader's Fist Legion continued to serve the Empire throughout the Galactic Civil War, including playing a key role in the Empire's victory at Hoth. Little of their history is known after Hoth, although after Vader's death at the Battle of Endor, the Legion was dissolved and its members were requisitioned by Imperial ex-officers during the internecine fighting that followed.

According to "Star Wars: Battlefront II", the 501st was present in the Battle of Endor, and practically destroyed. However, the 501st were to be resurrected in name through Grand Admiral Thrawn. The "purity" of the 501st would not survive though since aliens and eventually women were included in the legion.

The Hand of the Empire

An armed force under the name of the 501st Legion did not come back into being until the designation was resurrected by Grand Admiral Thrawn. Thrawn's 501st was an elite unit charged with the defense of the Hand of the Empire (also called as the Empire of the Hand in some novels), however it was no longer completely composed of Jango Fett clones. It should also be noted that by this time the 501st was composed of aliens as well as humans, an incredible thought considering how xenophobic the Empire under Palpatine was.

Known actions

This is a list of major and minor conflicts the 501st were involved in.

Fall of the Old Republic

*Battle of Geonosis- This is referred to as the 501st Legion's training mission, but mainly they were just fighting like the rest of the Army.
*Battle of Mygeeto- The 501st Legion was ordered to assist Jedi Master Ki Adi Mundi during the conquest on Mygeeto, but was also secretly ordered to gather a sample of a Mygeetan power crystal (which would later power the superlaser on the Death Star) by Chancellor Palpatine himself.
*Battle of Felucia - The 501st Legion was ordered to destroy the droid presence on Felucia with the help of Aayla Secura.
*Battle of Coruscant- The 501st is quickly pressed into space combat, and clears a path for Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi to rescue the Supreme Chancellor.
*Battle of Kashyyyk- The 501st superbly defended a key refinery against overwhelming CIS forces, allowing Jedi Master Yoda time to arrive and coordinate the defense.
*Battle of Utapau - The 501st liberated the Separatist held planet after Obi-Wan Kenobi landed on the planet surface in search of General Grievous.
*Great Jedi Purge- Darth Vader leads the 501st in the extermination of the Jedi Temple.
*Battle of Christophsis - The 501st, in conjunction with the 212th Attack Battalion, take the planet from Separatist forces.
*Battle of Teth - The 501st accompanies Anakin Skywalker on a mission to Teth in order to recover the kidnapped son of Jabba the Hutt.

Rise of the Empire

* Second Battle of Naboo- The 501st was ordered to eliminate Queen Apailana of Naboo, who was accused of harboring fugitive Jedi.
* Battle of Mustafar- Not to be confused with Darth Vader's mission to Mustafar, the 501st was sent to Mustafar to eliminate the Geonosian Gizor Dellso when he began construction of a new army of battle droids in order to restart the Clone Wars. Dellso did not escape Mustafar.
*The Rebellion of Kamino- The Rebellion on Kamino was unofficial. The Kaminoans turned on the Empire and bred a clone army to take arms against the Empire; the army was destroyed before it could do so.
*Uprising in the Death Star- A large band of Rebel troops led by a Jedi managed to escape from their prison cells and attempted to escape. The Rebels also attempted to steal plans to the Death Star, but were stopped. None of the Rebels were able to get off station, after the 501st destroyed their only means of escape---an imperial shuttle. As punishment for their recklessness, Vader sent them across the galaxy. (Ironically saving them from destruction when the death star was destroyed.)
*Battle of Polis Massa- "Vader's Fist" was sent to Polis Massa to try and locate the stolen Death Star plans that were thought to be hidden there.
*Capture of the Tantive IV- The 501st spearheaded the assault upon the consular ship, and captured Princess Leia Organa.
*Battle of Yavin- Following the destruction of the first Death Star, the 501st is given the honor of leading the retaliatory attack on the Rebel base.
*Battle of Hoth- The 501st was instrumental in the destruction of the Rebel base, and nearly succeeded in capturing the Millennium Falcon.
*Battle of Endor- "Vader's Fist" was never mentioned directly as being present at Endor during the epic battle, but a hint towards that was made by the Emperor himself when he said a legion of his best troops were waiting for Luke's friends down on the sanctuary moon. It was not until later confirmed that the 501st was indeed the troops fighting the Ewoks and the Rebels on the sanctuary moon.Fact|date=May 2008

501st appearances

*"" - movie and all associated works
*"" - single player campaign
*""- Online
*" Volume 2

Reference List

External links

* [http://www.starwars.com/databank/organization/501st/?id=eu 501st Legion entry at Star Wars Databank]

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