Kilrathi War

Kilrathi War

The Kilrathi War was a fictional interstellar conflict between the Terran Confederation and Kilrathi Empire that takes place during the majority of the fictional Wing Commander series. It starts before the events of the first game, Wing Commander (1990). After several sequels, novels, and other games that related to the main games but focused outside of the main storyline, the war ends during the events of .


First contact official contact between humans and the Kilrathi race was on 15 April 2629, when the TCS "Iason", a Terran Confederation research vessel, encountered an unknown vessel along the frontier of space. The crew on board the "Iason" sent a non-verbal, wide-band greeting to the vessel, repeating it for twenty minutes with no response from the vessel. The "Iason"'s captain chose not to prepare the ship's weapons in order to avoid hostilities. However, the Kilrathi detected a wide-band radiation eminating from the message and believed that the signal was an attempt to lower their shields. The Kilrathi vessel then attacked and destroyed the "Iason", with all hands lost. The unknown ship was later discovered to be the KIS "K'rath'kan", a Kilrathi destroyer.

The next year, the Confederation Assembly tried to hold negotiations with the Kilrathi leadership, but these overtures were rejected. Despite this, Confed created a non-aggression policy in a failed attempt to soothe the faltering relations between the two sides, though promised military action if raids against its vessels and colonies were not stopped. These warnings fell on deaf ears, and from 2629 to 2634, the Kilrathi conduct numerous raids on Confed vessels. In 2634, a Kilrathi destroyed the "Anna Magdalena", a civilian transport carrying orphans to the planet Dieno, with all aboard killed. In response, the Confederation Assembly officially declared war on the Kilrathi Empire on 5 July 2634.

Battle of McAuliffe

The first few months of the war largely favored the Confederation, with many Kilrathi border outposts taken with minimal loss of life or equipment. However, per the limited engagement orders of the declaration of war, most of the Confed fleet remained inactive, with much of the fleet stationed at Alexandria Base above the planet McAuliffe, the second-largest base in the Confederation after Earth. While intelligence reports and certain military leaders believe that the Kilrathi were preparing for a massive counteroffensive to quickly overrun the Confederation, they are rebuffed by the President, who is facing an election in which an anti-military coalition is set to take power should the war needlessly escalate.

However, the commander of Confed Navy, Admiral Banbridge, personally orders the commanders at McAuliffe to cancel leaves and prepare for a full Kilrathi attack on Confederation Day, and orders a Confed task force, led by Admiral Dayan aboard the TCS "Ark Royal", to reinforce the fleet at McAuliffe. Due to complications, the orders never arrive to McAuliffe, leaving the fleet mostly inactive on Confederation Day, when a massive Kilrathi fleet invades the system. Using a new torpedo that renders Terran shields ineffective, the base and over eighty ships in the fleet, including four carriers, are lost in the opening wave of the attack, with only the TCS "Concordia" and a handful of other ships, all undermanned, escaping to rendezvous with Dayan's task force, which had arrived hours after the battle started.

Instead of ordering the remaining fleet to flee back to Earth, the acting captain of "Concordia", Commander Winston Turner, decides to counterattack the Kilrathi fleet, despite having an enormous numerical disadvantage in all classes of ships and fighters, in hopes of relieving the entrenched marines on the surface of McAuliffe as well as dealing the Kilrathi a psychological blow. The plan works, with Confed fighters destroying numerous troop landing crafts and the fleet destroying two carriers and a battleship. Surprised by the ferocious counterattack, the Kilrathi quickly retreat from the system. Despite the victory, "Concordia" is lost soon after the battle and "Ark Royal" sustains such significant damage that she must be taken offline for six months. Furthermore, the destruction of much of the fleet leaves the Confederation with only three active carriers, placing them at a numerical disadvantage with the Kilrathi for the rest of the war.

Early years

The rest of the Confederation suffered significant defeats in the weeks following the battle. Within thirty days of the Battle of McAuliffe, the Kilrathi had taken over one hundred and fifty three star systems, with over thirty percent of the Confederation's industry capability, forty percent of its strategic resources, and over twenty-eight billion Confederation citizens captured by the enemy.

In 2639, Enyo, a Confederation planet, was invaded by the Kilrathi, leaving a quarter of a million colonists on the planet imprisoned by the Kilrathi. Fortunately at Enyo, Confederation forces in the area, commanded by Captain Geoffrey Tolwyn, was able to launch a counterstrike against the Kilrathi. Using the Raptor-class Heavy Fighters, Tolwyn's forces destroyed a great deal of the Kilrathi forces and saved almost all of the 250,000 people on Enyo. This event became known as the Enyo Engagement.

In 1990, Roberts had introduced the Wing Commander flight simulator computer game the general public. Through this game, the public, first hand, was able to play through events of the Kilrathi War. In the game, the year is 2654, twenty-four years since the Kilrathi War had began. Christopher Blair, the main character of the story who was created by Chris Roberts, is assigned to the TCS Tiger's Claw, where he played a vital role in the winning most campaigns in the Vega Sector for the Confederation. It is also at this time that the Firekkans from the Firekka system ally themselves with the Terran Confederation and when Kilrathi lord Ralgha nar Hhallas defected to the Confederation. In 2656, the TCS Tiger's Claw was ambushed by an unknown enemy, later to be revealed as Kilrathi Strakha stealth fighters, and Blair was the only survivor in the immediate vicinity. His missing flight recorder disc and stories of invisible stealth fighters earned him the scorn of Admiral Geoffrey Tolwyn. He was convicted of negligence and relegated to the backwater Caernarvon Station in the Gwenydd System for some nine years.

The Kilrathi War would continue on to Origin Systems' sequel to Wing Commander, which was . In Wing Commander II, on the year 2665, a fluke attack near Caernarvon Station forces Blair to come to the aid of the flagship TCS Concordia under the command Geoffrey Tolwyn. Wing Commander Jeannette Devereaux helped Blair stay aboard the Concordia, where he was able to clear his name by proving Zachary Colson framed him for the TCS Tiger's Claw's destruction. With Blair's help, the Concordia won the Enigma Sector by destroying the base at K'tithrak Mang, although it was later revealed that was a strategic move on the part of the Kilrathi to take the Confederation's Headquarters in the Deneb Sector.

Battle of Earth

By 2668, the Kilrathi found themselves in a losing situation. Though their military outnumbered the Terran Confederation, the Confederation's percentage of trained personnel exceeded that of the Kilrathi's, and their technology was becoming old and obsolete. Because of a successful raid on the Kilrathi home planet by the TCS "Tarawa", which destroyed a number of dry docks and the nearly-finished carriers within them and a sudden shortage of transports, forcing the carriers to return to base for supplies and putting further miles on spaceframes that were already overworked, the Kilrathi Empire was on the verge of defeat. Crown Prince Thrakhath nar Kiranka revealed to the leaders of the eight Kilrathi clans the reason behind the transport shortage. The majority of the Kilrathi transports were transporting materials in the outer reaches of Kilrathi space, where the new "Hakaga"-class heavy carriers were under construction. These new carriers were far more powerful than any capital ship the Kilrathi had and with this in mind, Baron Jukaga nar Ki'ra suggested an armistice and promising peace with the Confederation. Because the Confederation was in a similar losing situation, they accepted the peace terms, although many speculate this because the Kilrathi were warriors that were against surrender.

However, later that year, the "Hakaga" fleet is discovered, but it was too late. Thrakhath already had several of these new carriers fully operation, and had formed a massive fleet that was in a direct course for Sol. The fleet first entered the Sirius system. At Sirius Prime, the first of the Confederation's inner colony worlds, Geoffrey Tolwyn had a small fleet to protect the colony worlds. The fleet consisted of four old carriers, less than two dozen support crafts, and perhaps three hundred fighters. With a small fleet that wasn't fully prepared for the large Kilrathi fleet, Tolwyn lost. Only one Hakaga carrier was crippled and another significantly damaged, but none were destroyed; where Tolwyn lost most of his bombers and fighter-bombers, two of his carriers, and almost his flagship, the TCS "Concordia". Because of his loss, the inner colony worlds on Sirius were sterilized by the Kilrathi's thermonuclear missiles loaded with strontium-90, a loss of almost two billion lives. The Third Fleet retreated to Earth.

By 2668.365, Thrakhath's remaining "Hakaga" fleet, still strong, entered the Sol system, where the Confederation would make their stand. A heavy battle followed, resulting to heavy losses in both sides, mainly the Terrans. The Kilrathi were able to destroy the majority of the Confederation's industrial sites, including shipyards and starfighter factories. In return, Confederation marines boarded and planted bombs inside Kilrathi carriers, destroying many of the Kilrathi ships in the fleet, including most of the Hakaga carriers. With the arrival of the "Tarawa" and several more reinforcements, the Kilrathi cruisers orbiting Earth didn't have a chance to launch thermonuclear warheads towards Earth. Prince Thrakhath, seeing as that his mighty fleet had suffered heavy losses, ordered a retreat. With this, Earth was saved, but at a heavy price. The majority of Confed's fleet was crippled as well, along with their shipyards and factories. This battle would be documented as the Battle of Earth.

The end of the Kilrathi War

Chris Roberts continued with Origin Systems in making . Before the events of the game, because the Confederation suffered heavy casualties after the Battle of Earth, Confed officials were starting to get desperate. With most of their starships and fighters lost, Confed started production of newer capital ships and fighters ( era ships), designed by Chris Roberts. Confed also started developing a few new weapons in hopes of ending the war in desperation. For now, the Confederation assigned older carriers and other older capital ships from secondary duties to the front lines in order to make up for their capital ship losses from the Battle of Earth indefinitely. One such carrier was the famous TCS "Victory", where Christopher Blair was assigned to and played a vital role in the final times of the Kilrathi War. It is from here that the events of would begin.

Several attempts were made to find ways to end the Kilrathi War for the Confederation. In 2669, Jeannette Devereaux, aka "Angel", embarked on a Special Operations mission assigned by the Confederation, aimed to secretly penetrate into Kilrathi territory. Flying a captured Kilrathi transport ship, Devereaux and her crew reached Kilrah, the enemy home planet, and conducted a geological survey, confirming that the planet was, from a seismic standpoint, ready to fall apart at the seams. They then set up three secret asteroid bases within the Kilrathi star system for use in a future Temblor Bomb strikes, which would prove vital in the end of the Kilrathi War. In , the TCS "Behemoth", one of the largest spacefaring structures ever built by the Confederation, its major weapon, a planet-killing superconducting particle beam cannon, was successfully deployed against the test planet Loki VI. However, a traitor amongst the Confederation had leaked the weak points in the "Behemoth"'s defenses to the enemy, and a massive Paktahn bomber squadron attacked the Behemoth and destroyed her. The "Victory", charged with overseeing "Behemoth", was forced to retreat, suffering a major blow to the Terran Confederation.

With almost all hope abandoned, the Confederation turned to their results from Angel's Secret Operations mission. Through her findings, Confed was able to determine that the Kilrathi homeworld, Kilrah, was seismically unstable. Thanks to the information provided by Angel, Confed began plans of a weapon that would use this information to their advantage. Thus, the Temblor Bomb was introduced. However, the person incharge of development for the weapon, Dr. Severin was being held captive by the Kilrathi on Alcor V. Blair was able to rescue Severin and work on the Temblor Bomb would start. The Temblor Bomb was a weapon that, once deployed onto a fault-line, would disrupt seismic activity on a planet, destroying it. Christopher Blair, along with Todd Marshall, personally flew into Kilrah in a F-103 Excalibur Heavy Fighter and deployed the bomb onto Kilrah. During his flight to Kilrah, he manages to eliminate Crown Prince Thrakhath nar Kiranka, and the Confederation traitor, who happenes to be the Kilrathi defector Ralgha nar Hhallas. After the delivery of the Temblor Bomb, Kilrah was destroyed, along with the Grand Fleet of the Kilrathi which was stationed in Kilrah's orbit. With the heavy loss of their homeworld, the Kilrathi had no choice but to surrender. Melek, a servant for Thrakhath, declined to take revenge for the loss of his homeworld. Instead, he offered the Kilrathi's surrender. Melek believed that the Kilrathi had paid the price for their bloodlust and corruption,and that the Confederation and the Kilrathi may have to work together in the future against the races harassing the far side of the now fallen Empire. He asked Blair to carry the offer of surrender to his superiors. A Kilrathi delegation, which included Melek, met with Confederation officials on a Confederation carrier, where they signed the Treaty of Torgo. With both sides signing the treaty that insured long-lasting peace between the two sides, the Kilrathi War had finally come to an end.


The cost of the war on both sides in nearly every aspect was enormous. The Confederation lost over thirty billion citizens, leaving countless worlds devastated and some, such as Sirius, incapable of supporting life. What remained of the Confederation's fleet was either outdated or damaged beyond repair. Severe military funding cutbacks left Confed in an even more precarious state. With an economy that had been geared towards military production for over forty years, the post-war Confederation quickly entered a depression of epic proportions, with a lack of transports for interplantery trade, a large number of unemployed war veterans and a lack of security throughout space only adding to the problem. While budget cuts were widespread, some criticized the level of resources dedicated to rebuilding the military rather than helping rebuild the devastated economies of countless worlds.

The impact of the war on the Kilrathi was even more devastating. The Kilrathi Empire ceased to exist, leaving a power vacuum that quickly led to a full-scale civil war between the major Kilrathi clans. With most of the Kilrathi fleet destroyed over Kilrah, most clans operated out of small transports, effectively ending the Kilrathi's influence over much of their galactic region.

References and sources


* [ Wing Commander CIC Encyclopedia]
* [ Wing Commander CIC Timeline]
* [ Wing Commander CIC] - Melek article
* [ Wing Commander CIC] - Christopher Blair artivle
* [ Wing Commander CIC] - General game backgrounds

Novels and books

*"Freedom Flight" novel written by Mercedes Lackey and Ellen Guon.
*"" novel written by Christopher Stasheff and William R. Forstchen.
*"" novel written by William R. Forstchen.
* [ Claw Marks] - Claw Marks: The Onboard Magazine of TCS Tiger's Claw (Wing Commander I manual)

ee also

*Wing Commander (computer game)
*Wing Commander game series
*Christopher Blair
*Terran Confederation
*James Taggart
*Geoffrey Tolwyn
*Thrakhath nar Kiranka
*Ralgha nar Hhallas

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