From Gineipaedia, the Legend of Galactic Heroes wiki
The Black Fleet (Japanese: 黒旗軍), also called the Black Flag Force (Japanese: ブラック・フラッグ・フォース), was the military arm of the Anti-Earth Movement responsible for defeating the United Earth Government in the Earth–Sirius War.
Carle Palmgren, Winslow Kennes Townshent, Joliot Frankul and Chao Yuiling founded the Black Fleet in 2691 CE. These four men, all survivors of the UEG's brutal occupation of Rondolina, quickly rose to prominence within the Anti-Earth Movement. Together, they organized the resistance forces which, until then, had only been a loose coalition of forces under the general authority of the Sirius Revolutionary Congress into a single, unified, elite fighting force.
Carle Palmgren was the leader of the Anti-Earth movement following the formation of the Black Fleet, but worked primarily as a political leader, holding the loosely-knit alliance of colony worlds together. Effective control of the Black Fleet's military was given to Joliot Frankul; Winslow Kennes Townshent was placed in charge of logistics, finance and supply; Chao Yuiling directed the Black Fleet's espionage operations and covert intelligence. Through the clever use of propaganda and misinformation, the Black Fleet was able to subvert the intelligence gathering capacity of the United Earth Government, and with Joliot Frankul's military abilities, the Black Fleet was able to exploit those weaknesses and win victory after victory against the United Earth Government's better-supplied, better-trained and far more numerous Space Force, eventually managing to liberate the central planet of the Anti-Earth Movement, Rondolina, some time prior to 2703 CE. (LOGH: 'To Earth')
The Second Battle of Vega
The Space Force of the United Earth Government had superior numbers and technology to the Black Fleet: but the colony worlds were many, and Earth only one. For the first seven years of the Earth–Sirius War, large-scale fleet combat would have been rare, with most of the conflict occurring on planets either occupied by UEG forces, or fighting off occupation forces. The space fleets of the Anti-Earth Movement were too disorganized for much more than simple hit-and-run tactics. Because of this, the Anti-Earth Movement was forced to fight a defensive war. When the Black Fleet was formed in 2691 CE, however, things began to change. The Black Fleet managed to fight the Earth Forces on even terms at the First Battle of Vega and again with the Liberation of Rondolina. Despite their victories, however, the Earth forces still had the upper hand.
In 2703 CE, admiral Joliot Frankul led the bulk of the Black Flag Force into battle against a much larger Space Force fleet in the Vega Starzone. The Earth fleet was composed of more than 20,000 warships, all state-of-the-art; all crewed by professional soldiers. The Black Flag fleet, however, was only able to muster 6,000 ships. 6,000 ships drawn from all across the colony worlds, crewed by volunteers. Despite the many obvious disadvantages, Joliot Frankul managed to lead the Black Flags to an overwhelming victory. The United Earth Government's defeat proved so costly that the tides of war shifted in the Anti-Earth Movement's favor, and the Black Fleet began to push the Space Force fleets back toward Earth herself. (LOGH: 'To Earth')
The Battle of Sol
The Battle of Sol was the final battle of the Earth–Sirius War, and also the bloodiest. In 2704 CE, the Black Fleet, under the command of Joliot Frankul, penetrated the outer Solar System and quickly captured the the outlying space. Desperate to defend the faltering United Earth Government, the Space Force gathered all of its remaining fleets at the asteroid belt to make one last stand.
One of the precipitating causes of the Earth–Sirius War was the total depletion of all of Earth's natural resources in the 26th century CE, and Earth's complete dependence of the colony worlds for survival. With the Black Fleet cutting off Earth from the rest of the colonies, what few resources had been stockpiled — including essentials like food and water — began to run out. After blockading the inner planets for three months, the United Earth Government fleets were exhausted, hungry, and utterly demoralized. It was then that Frankul chose to attack.
The UEG's Space Force was defeated quickly, but refused to surrender. To each ship, to each man, they fought on until they were completely obliterated. Unapposed, the Black Fleet pressed on to Earth. Once in orbit of Earth, the Black Fleet began to bombard the planet from orbit. Devastating the surface, killing billions of innocent civilians, and rendering the planet nearly uninhabitable. The scale of destruction was even greater than the Thirteen Day War, which had occurred some six and a half centuries prior. In the end, only one billion human lives remained below. (LOGH: 'To Earth')
The Sirius Republic
With the Earth–Sirius War over, Carle Palmgren set about building a new pan-galactic government. Using the Sirius Revolutionary Congress as a base, he moulded a crude republic out of the various colony worlds, holding them all together with the Black Fleet.
Unfortunately, a republic cannot be sustained by military force. When Palmgren died in 2706 CE, Joliot Frankul, the Minister of Defence, and Winslow Kennes Townshent began to fight over control of the Sirius Republic. Frankul was ultimately killed, as was fellow Black-Fleet founder Chao Yuiling, and Townshent seized control of the republic. Townshent used the power of the Black Fleet to declare himself dictator, replacing Palmgren's republic with a dictatorship. (LOGH: 'To Earth')
Winslow Kennes Townshent's dictatorship was short-lived: a neutron bomb attack in the capital took his life, and the black fleet, without a leader, soon fractured. Various Black Fleet officers attempted to seize control of the empire for themselves, but too many had the same ambition, so only one could succeed. These officers became territorial warlords, carving their own private dominions out of the colony worlds. For the next century these minor planetary states, baby republics and infant fiefdoms would rise and fall, forge alliances and war with one another. This period of chaos would endure until the founding of the Galactic Federation in 2801 CE.
By the time of the Alliance–Imperial War, the actions of the Black Fleet were notorious, but also served as a historical parallel to the Free Planets Alliance own fight against the despotic Galactic Empire and the tyrannical Goldenbaum Dynasty. Alliance historians seemed to sympathize with the Black Fleet, despite the horrible crimes committed at the Battle of Sol.
Winslow Kennes Townshent's military coup in 2706 likely also served as a reminder to the Free Planets Alliance of the dangers of granting any one man too much power, as well as the ultimate fragility of a democratic system of government. (LOGH: 'To Earth')
Aesthetically, the ships of the Free Planets Star Fleet resembled that of the Black Fleet. This may have been a conscious aesthetic decision or it may have been due to issues of efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
- The bombardment of Earth may or may not have been authorized by the Black Fleet leadership: it is possible, given the diverse composition of the fleet, that the Black Fleet lacked the discipline required to prevent the massacre.
- It is unclear whether or not "Black Flag Fleet" was the actual anti-Earth forces of the Earth–Sirius War, or if the name was given to the Fleet after the brutal actions committed at the Battle of Sol.
- If the name 'black fleet' or 'black flag force' was given by posterity, it may possibly be a reference to the "Black Ships" under the command of commodore Matthew Perry that force Japan to "open" to trade with the United States of America in 1854.