- For the canonical depiction of this subject, see: The Fleet (TOS).
After the destruction of the Twelve Colonies in a devastating genocidal attack on the Colonial worlds, Commander Adama orders all survivors to find what operational ships that remain on their shattered worlds and fly them towards battlestar Galactica, the sole surviving battlestar after her sister warships are also destroyed in the two-prong Cylon attack. With nowhere else to call home, Adama decrees that the remnants of humanity will search for the Thirteenth Tribe on a planet called Earth.
Under the guardianship of Galactica, the Fleet comprises of 220 civilian ships. With the exception of Galactica, the ships are not capable of lightspeed flight. The Fleet's overall speed is limited to that of the slowest ship within the group. As all ships in the Fleet were filled to (or over) capacity, removing the slower ships from the caravan is not an option.
Before setting out on the long journey to Earth from Carillon, Commander Adama orders a mission to recover a possible source of information regarding Earth from the planet Maytoria. This leads to a brief incursion and take-over of Galactica that would have doomed the Fleet, were it not for the strategic yet desperate actions of a few (Classic Battlestar Galactica Vol. 1).
Yahrens following the Battle at Galaxy's Edge in 7348, the Fleet finds itself continually harassed and fleeing from the Cylon fleets, even after abandoning Baltar on a planet (Battlestar Galactica Annual 2014).
Galactica itself is nearly destroyed, but due to the deployment of temporal weapons is able to find assistance from an alternate reality in the Nebula Ambush (Classic Battlestar Galactica Vol. 2 #1 & #5).
Following that encounter in 7351, the Fleet is pushed into an unnamed storm zone by the Cylons, nearly losing an ailing ship, the pleasure liner Ariadna (Classic Battlestar Galactica Vol. 2 #6). While in this storm zone, various persons in the Fleet are subject to dreams of Earth, ultimately found to have originated from flight engineer Xam. Xam uses his psionic powers to project a large fleet of battlestars, which force the pursuing Cylon fleet to leave the storm zone, thus allowing the Fleet itself to escape (Classic Battlestar Galactica Vol. 2 #7—#9).
The reprieve is temporary, and the Fleet's sole protector, Galactica, is forced to fend off a Cylon basestar. While its weapons are not enough to damage the basestar while shielded, Colonel Tigh and his repair crew use the ailing Ariadna in a suicide run. Ariadna overloads, eliminating the basestar's shielding, and allowing Galactica the final coup de grâce (Classic Battlestar Galactica Vol. 2 #11).
At a later point, Count Iblis creates a "black hole" that transports the Fleet into a realm separate from the known universe. A few of the ships are destroyed during transit, and other ships are damaged; an explosion of a tanker knocks Adama unconscious, making him susceptible to outside influence (Battlestar Galactica: Folly of the Gods).
The Fleet finds a reprieve from Cylon pursuit between 7356 to 7358, during this time creating a super basestar that would be used as a Fleet-killing ship later deployed against the Fleet during an ambush. While many of the Fleet's ships are damaged or destroyed, the Fleet-killer is dispatched and humanity survives this renewed aggression (Battlestar Galactica: Death of Apollo).