Battle of El Facil
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The Initial Skirmish
Located just beyond the Iserlohn Corridor, the planet of El Facil held moderate strategic value, but was not a high-priority target. When the Galactic Empire attempted to seize control of the planet in 788 UC (479 IC / 3588 CE), both the Alliance fleet and the Imperial fleet numbered only about 1,000 ships.
The two fleets moved back and forth, constantly advancing and retreating, without either side gaining advantage. After the Imperial fleet feigned a retreat, only to rapidly turn about and attack the Alliance forces, the Alliance commander, Rear Admiral Arthur Lynch panicked and gave the order to retreat, withdrawing to El Facil. The hasty decision to retreat left the Alliance ranks in disorder; many ships were left behind to be destroyed, while others opted to escape from the starzone altogether. Many chose to surrender to the Imperial forces rather than continue fighting.
The Alliance fleet that was able to return to El Facil amounted to only 200 ships, with a grand total of around 50,000 soldiers. The Imperial fleet meanwhile received reinforcements and tripled in size, and decided to take advantage of its numerical superiority to capture the planet and its surrounding starzone. (SL: 'The Hero of El Facil')
The Hero of El Facil
At the time of the battle El Facil had a civilian population numbering over 3,000,000. Fearing the impending Imperial attack on the planet, many civilians fled to the military spaceport for help. Arthur Lynch simply ordered a subordinate to "find someone with too much time on his hands" to direct the civilian evacuation and the man chosen turned out to be Yang Wen-li.
Being a young officer who had only recently graduated, the civilian authorities had little faith in Yang's abilities to protect the civilian population. Nevertheless, Yang worked diligently despite the confusion and fear, and managed to obtain the carrier and cargo ships necessary for the evacuation. (During one small moment of respite, Yang was brought sandwiches and coffee by a young Frederica Greenhill. He ate so quickly he choked, and told Frederica that he would have rather had tea).
After finalizing the evacuation plan, Yang attempted to give it to commander Lynch, but Lynch was too preoccupied with his own evacuation plan to see it. Ultimately, Lynch and the other high-ranking military officers fled the planet, leaving Yang with the civilians (and NCOs) to fend for themselves.
Yang used Lynch's withdrawal for his plan to evacuate the civilians; the civilian fleet launched shortly after Lynch's shuttles, and fled in the opposite direction of the military ships. The Imperial fleet decided that the civilian fleet, which made no effort to hide its presence, was an obvious diversion and ignored it. Moving away from the civilians, the Empire managed to capture Lynch and his fellow officers, allowing the 3,000,000 civilians of El Facil to safely leave the starzone. For his actions in the battle, Yang Wen-li gained the attention of the entire Alliance, becoming known as the young "Hero of El Facil." Lynch was condemned by the Alliance for his actions, sowing the seeds of jealousy and resentment that would later lead to him cooperating with the Empire in instigating the Alliance civil war in 797 UC (488 IC / 3597 CE) (SL: 'The Hero of El Facil', LOGH: 'Before the Storm', 'Victory for Whose Sake?')
- The Imperial conquest of El Facil was apparently short-lived; a few years later, it was back in the control of the Alliance.