Battle of New Caprica
From Battlestar Wiki, the free, open content Battlestar Galactica encyclopedia and episode guide
Prior to the battle, Admiral William Adama makes contact with the New Caprica Resistance, and later deploys a Raptor, Lt. Sharon Agathon commanding, to coordinate a plan to liberate the colonists from the planet safely during the Colonial offensive. Agathon uses her Cylon heritage to retrieve the Colonial civilan ships' launch keys from a secured Cylon building, while Samuel Anders and Tory Foster train the colonists in "fire drills," meant to show readiness to the Cylon Occupation Authority in the event of a natural disaster, but in reality has prepared the colonists to escape to any Colonial ship to leave the planet and the Cylons.
Admiral Adama begins the offensive with an elaborate plan that relies on a squadron of Raptors, escorted by Viper and together designated Red Squadron, to fire a series of swallows that collectively mimic the EM signatures of his two Colonial battlestars. After firing the swallows, the Raptors retreat, luring several Cylon Raiders further from the planet. The Cylons are deceived temporarily by the false readings.
On New Caprica, Samuel Anders and the resistance team detonate dozens of bombs in key Cylon structures as a feigned attack by Colonial forces. The people evacuate per their fire-drill training, but escape to the various grounded ships of the Fleet, which prepare their engines and FTL drives to depart. Many people become pinned down by Centurion fire.
Admiral Adama performs an extremely risky move. He orders Galactica to conduct an intra-atmosphere FTL jump, escaping the detection of the basestars in orbit. While in freefall, it launches Blue Squadron. The Vipers perform hit-and-run attacks on Cylons on the ground and in observation towers, and interdict the few Raiders operating near the surface. Blue Squadron destroys the main gates of the civilian shipyard to allow access and escape. Before Galactica impacts the surface, it performs a second jump back into space. Stress from the vibration and ionized gases from reentry heavily tax the structure of the battlestar.
Soon, the two basestars engage Galactica without any fighter support, their Raiders engaged elsewhere. Galactica’s mission analysis had predicted that only two basestars would engage. However, two more basestars jump into the vicinity to attack the battlestar.
With the Vipers destroying targets on the ground and in the air in vicinity of New Caprica City, the civilians previously pinned down are able to board their ships. Simultaneously, Colonial Marines and resistance members assault the detention center, freeing Kara Thrace and other detainees.
The Cylons in charge on the ground begin their retreat, escaping in a Heavy Raider as they task a Number Three with setting off a nuclear detonation to "clean up."
In the four-baseship assault, Galactica's FTL drives and maneuvering thrusters are disabled, and the port side of the ship reaches its structural limits. Upon hearing that the FTL drive is disabled, Admiral Adama is resigned to imminent destruction when battlestar Pegasus, against orders, appears and joins the attack. The Mercury class battlestar's forward batteries score several direct hits against one of the attacking basestars, forcing it to retreat from the battle. On the surface, most of the civilian ships become airborne and jump away.
Commander Lee Adama directs Pegasus to a position between the basestars targeting Galactica, in an effort to draw fire away from her. Admiral Adama infers from the absence of Vipers from Pegasus that its Vipers are guarding the remaining ships of the Fleet at the rendezvous point and that Pegasus is on a one-way trip. While Pegasus endures serious bombardment, Galactica is able to bring its FTL drive back on line, retrieves her Vipers, and escapes.
With Pegasus taking mortal damage, Commander Adama orders all to abandon ship (using standby Raptors to jump away from the battle) setting all weapons to auto-fire and directing the ship on a collision course with one of the basestars before departing. The dying battlestar then takes another round of hits as she collides with an unfortunate basestar, blasting both to pieces. As the vessels break apart, the force of the explosion throws Pegasus's starboard flight pod in the direction of another basestar, caught in the wrong spot at the wrong time. After clearing away a few unfortunate raiders caught in its path, the debris strikes the basestar almost dead on center, effectively destroying it, and ending the battle.
Colonial One is the last Colonial ship to leave the planet. On the surface, the Cylons' planned nuclear detonation (which would be of questionable tactical value now that the Colonials have left the planet) does not occur, due to the unexpected recovery of the infant Hera Agathon by Number Three (Exodus, Part II).
Aftermath and Impact
The battle was strategically a victory for the Colonials, but it didn't come without loses and consequences. Pegasus was destroyed in the battle, depriving the Fleet of their most powerful battlestar. Also with its destruction, the Fleet lost the ability to build new Vipers to replace destroyed old ones as the manufacturing facility was on that ship. Galactica took near-crippling damage, the effects of which were felt by the old battlestar for the rest of its life. The damage was never fully repaired and it was said to be so much that the ship would need "six weeks in dry dock just to bang out the dents let alone tackle the structural damage" indicating that it took very severe damage.
It is later revealed that 5,197 New Caprican colonists were left behind, killed or otherwise missing (Crossroads, Part I), and that the Fleet also suffered the loss of a handful of vessels in the escape, leaving many without a home. These Colonials later found semi-permanent housing in Galactica's unused starboard flight pod, forming "Camp Oil Slick", and later, "Dogsville", in the hangar bay of the flight pod. This led to overcrowded conditions, along with food and medical shortages, forcing many into gang like groups in order to secure supplies.
Hera Agathon and Gaius Baltar ended up in the hands of the Cylons giving the Cylons the human-Cylon hybrid baby they wanted and Baltar's information about how to find Earth. Hera was rescued by her mother with the help of Caprica Six after learning of Hera's survival from Boomer who was assigned to take care of her and Gaius Baltar was captured by Chief Galen Tyrol during the Battle of the Algae Planet, but the Cylons were able to make headway on finding Earth thanks to Baltar's help. Also Galactica's structural damage from this battle added to the stress the old ship had already had thrown upon her and contributed greatly to the need to abandon ship 18 months later.
After being poisoned by her husband for colluding with the Cylons, Ellen Tigh downloads into a new body on a Resurrection Ship, and remains Cavil's prisoner for 18 months. There she is constantly pestered by a Number 1 after he is dismayed that things aren't going according to his "plan". She is about to be operated on by Cavil after the Resurrection Hub is destroyed by a force of Colonials and Rebel Cylons, when Boomer sneaks her into a Raptor and escapes the baseship for the Colonial Fleet.
Raptors and Vipers
Galactica's Surprise Attack
Pegasus’s Suicide Run