Third Robotech War
Part of Robotech Wars
Date 2031-2044 (previous estimates placed the third Robotech War around 2035-36)
Location Earth
Result Invid retreat from Earth
Robotech Expeditionary Force, Earth-based resistance cells the Invid
The resistance cells operated independantly though later their efforts were coordinated by advanced elements of the REF; REF forces involved in the assault commanded by General Gunther Reinhardt (who was given this authority by Admiral Rick Hunter) the Invid Regess
Possibly as many as several thousand to tens of thousands of resistors worldwide; exact REF strength unknown but consisted of all available REF forces, included over one hundred and fifty capital ships and thousands of fighters and support craft. The Army of the Regess Invid faction
Casualties and losses
Unknown; estimated to be tens of thousands of military personnel and civilians. Unknown; estimated to be in the millions

The fictional Third Robotech War (2031-44) is the third major conflict in the Robotech science fiction universe. Unlike the previous Robotech Wars, which were fought by Earth-based human forces against invading alien enemies, the Third War was fought by the returning Robotech Expeditionary Force to liberate the occupied Earth from the alien Invid. The Robotech Television series ended with the conclusion of the Third Robotech war in 1986, and it would be 20 years before Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles, which was released in 2006, would continue the Robotech Saga. Pegasus News points out, however, that "the first half-hour or so of the movie overlaps with the final battle of the Third Robotech War, just from a different perspective."[1]


The Macross SagaEdit

The First Generation
Main article: First Robotech War

The crash-landing of the SDF-1 on Macross Island in 1999 during the first saga of Robotech, known as The Macross Saga was the root cause of all of the Robotech Wars.

The Robotech MastersEdit

The Second Generation
Main article: Second Robotech War

The Second Robotech War, depicted in the second saga of Robotech known as the Robotech Masters' Saga left the Earth's defense forces weakened and leaderless with both Supreme Commander Anatole Leonard and Major General Rolf Emerson being killed. Many of Earth's cities were destroyed or severely damaged, resulting in a massive refugee crisis. With the Japanese centers of Robotech research disrupted, the economic and military infrastructure crippled, and the North American center of the United Earth Government nearly destroyed, the defensive capabilities of the United Earth Forces (UEF) Army of the Southern Cross swiftly degraded from advanced mecha and starships to late 20th century (pre-SDF-1) technology. When the Invid invaded in 2031, barely a year after the Second Robotech War's end, the military units that were even capabile of fighting were forced to fall back on conventional ordinance and a small supply of Nuclear weapons. However, the fight proved futile as the Invid, with far superior numbers and technology, were able to conquer Earth within one week.

Prelude to invasionEdit

The lack of Protoculture was not the only reason for the fall of Earth to the Invid. The Second Robotech War had devastated a number of important cities - Newton and Manville were completely obliterated while the capital of Monument City was left in ruins. The economic, industrial and military infrastructure was also severely crippled. However, even before the war, democracy had largely ceased to function and an unstable feudal society had evolved. This society had been held together under the powerful authorities of the United Earth Government (UEG) and the Global Military Police (GMP), but with both of these organizations nearly destroyed by the war, Earth began to slide into lawlessness as surviving cities became city-states and warred with one another and men and women rose quickly to positions of power only to fall just as swiftly. Greed and butchery ruled, and what little remained of the northern hemisphere's dignity collapsed. The people of Earth had been reduced to squabbling factional states that were more interested in fighting each other than preparing for the coming Invid Invasion. With the Robotech Expeditionary Force (REF) still unable to send significant aid back to Earth, efforts were made to try and evacuate the populace before the Invid arrived but the devastation from the war left only a handful of spaceworthy ships available. This, combined with the political and economic turmoil, meant that only a handful of people were able to reach Moon Base ALUCE or Space Station Liberty.


The New Generation

The Invid invasion in 2031, depicted in the third saga of Robotech known as The New Generation, destroyed what was left of the Army of the Southern Cross and the United Earth Forces (UEF) and left Earth completely devastated. The Invid established a central hive, Reflex Point, in the Great Lakes region of North America over the site of the remains of the SDF-1, and secondary hives across the planet. The Invid immediately began hunting down and destroying any and all remaining military personnel, and set up an aggressive operation to harvest the Flower of Life (and the protoculture it yielded) utilizing the remaining civilian human population as forced labor.

The Invid also began experiments to improve their survivability, including experimenting on captured humans. Some humans collaborated with the Invid in exchange for power and/or protection and helped hunt down those who resisted or helped with the harvesting and management of Protoculture. Many humans escaped the notice of the Invid by relocating to remote areas where the Flower of Life was scarce such as the mountains, deserts, and wilderness, with some even reverting to simple hunter/gather communities. Areas not under the control of the Invid were often ruled by criminal gangs and self-appointed leaders who ruled through brute force.

Fortunately, the Robotech Expeditionary Force (REF) had long been self sufficient with the help of other recently established extraterrestrial settlements, and was only minimally hampered by the loss of Earth. In addition, Moon Base ALUCE (Advanced Lunar Chemical Engineering) was also able to continue to function despite its close proximity to Earth. Space Station Liberty was also able to continue to function. Unfortunately, events in deep space that kept the REF from sending aid during the Second Robotech War continued to plague them and kept them from turning their full attention to reclaiming Earth for another decade.


Early Assaults against the InvidEdit

In 2038, the 10th Mars division of the REF launched an assault against the Invid forces on Earth. The attack failed, resulting in the complete destruction of the Division. Some survivors managed to reach Earth including Lieutenant Lance "Lancer" Belmont, who subsequently assumed the identity of Yellow Dancer, a female singer, to evade capture by the Invid and their collaborators. Lancer served as a courier and spy for resistance forces that sought to not only harass the Invid while biding their time until, it was hoped, Admiral Rick Hunter would return with the full strength of the REF to liberate Earth.

In 2042, the 21st Mars division launched another offensive against Invid, but this attack also proved disastrous, with the entire division being wiped out. One confirmed survivor was Lieutenant Commander Scott Bernard, who successfully reached Earth and formed a resistance cell of his own, who among its members was Lancer.[2]

In 2043 and again in 2044, attempts by the REF to gain footholds on Earth in preparation for an invasion also met with disaster. Some resistance forces began to wonder if the REF would ever be able to free Earth from its 13-year nightmare.

Full Scale Assault in 2044Edit

In July 2044, a final full-scale assault, ordered by Admiral Rick Hunter, was launched with all available REF forces against Reflex Point to destroy the Invid.[3] This force assembled consisted of four Shimakaze battlecruisers,[4] 40+ Ikazuchi carriers,[5] 100+ Garfish light cruisers,[6] and thousands of VFA-6 Alpha and VFB-9 Beta fighters. This force, built with assistance of the Sentinel races, is led by the newly completed SDF-4 Izumo, under the command of General Gunther Reinhardt. A large force of ground troops including both REF and guerrilla forces armed with mecha and new Shield Destabilizers to get past the Invid Protoplex Energy Barrier Hive Shields also attacked Reflex Point simultaneously. In this latest attempt the REF made use of new stealth and weapons technologies including Shadow Technology, which rendered their ships and mecha virtually invisible to Invid sensors, and Synchro Cannons, much improved versions of the older Reflex Cannons. Among pilots of the new shadow fighters are Marcus Rush, Alex Romero and Maia Sterling, all of whom had been born in space and had never seen Earth until now.

The REF is hampered when the SDF-3 fails to return from the Omicron Sector where it was overseeing a test-firing of a Neutron-S missile; however, despite not having the SDF-3 and its powerful arsenal, General Rinhardt is forced to begin the attack.

Initially, the final battle of the Third Robotech War proceeded well for the REF. The capital ships' massive syncro-cannons were able to destroy many Invid carriers before they could launch their fighters. Combined with the use of Shadow Technology enabled REF fighters to evade detection by the Invid forces. the first Invid attack wave from the Northern Hemisphere was defeated. On the ground, resistance forces assisted by REF commandos were able to fight their way to Reflex Point and approach striking range.

However, the Invid Regess, desperate to hold onto Earth and determined to fight to the bitter end, launched a second assault wave against both the REF and the resistance forces on the ground with of all her remaining forces. Every available Invid fighter on the planet is sent into orbit while all Invid ground troops are pulled back to Reflex Point. The Invid forces in space soon greatly outnumbered the REF fighters, which became overwhelmed and began taking very heavy losses, with some squadrons being completely destroyed. The Invid forces soon punched through the REF's front lines. To further compensate for their technological disadvantages, Invid fighters, desperate to win at any cost, resort to making suicide runs against the REF capital ships, further straining the ability of the REF flight to continue the fight. On the ground, the resistance and REF forces also find themselves greatly outnumbered and begin taking heavy losses, forcing them to halt their advance while still out of range of Reflex Point.

Aboard the SDF-4 Izumo, General Reinhardt, the leader of the REF assault, realized that the REF was hopelessly outnumbered and that the resistance forces on Earth had failed to get close enough to attack Reflex Point. As he hears constant reports of REF ships and fighters being destroyed, Reinhardt decides that the only option remaining was to launch the new Neutron-S missiles, powerful new weapons given to the REF by their new allies, an advanced cybernetic race known as the Haydonites, that were believed to be able to easily destroy Reflex Point but also wipe out a large portion (and possibly all) of life on the surface of the Earth. This last resort weapon had been authorized by Admiral Rick Hunter if the REF's final attack failed to dislodge the Invid.

As the missiles are launched and fly towards Earth, the Invid Regess, recognizing the true power of the missiles, which is to create micro black holes capable of destroying not only Earth but also much of the Solar System, decided to retreat. The Invid exodus from Earth proceeded much along the same lines as their initial invasion, with the Invid converting herself and her race into energy and leaving the planet in a stream of light. The Invid Regess, as a final gift to her daughter Ariel who chose to stay behind with the humans, destroys the Neutron-S missiles as the Invid energy form leaves, though a small number of REF ships are destroyed in the process. The Regess takes her followers into space again, in search of a new planet on which to continue their evolution.


Although victorious, the losses to the REF were very heavy in both ships and manpower. For the first time in 13 years, Earth was again under the control of humanity but Earth's future remained uncertain. Most of its cities and industries lay in ruins and most of the planet was in a pre-Robotech (pre-SDF-1) technological state at best. There was also no government to speak of. During the occupation, many had allied with the Invid in exchange for power. Areas not under Invid control were often controlled by criminal gangs and other self-proclaimed leaders who ruled through brute force.

Further, the SDF-3 Pioneer, which was intended to join the final assault, was damaged during the test-firing of a Neutron-S missile in the Omicron Sector, which resulted in the unexpected creation of a micro black hole. The Deukalion, a Garfish class cruiser converted into a science vessel to record and study the test, was heavily damaged by the resulting blast and all aboard were killed save one android named Janice Em, which was later repaired. The SDF-3 Pioneer was then attacked by the REF's former allies, the Haydonites, who were attempting to capture the ship and its Protoculture Matrix. Although Captain Vince Grant of the Icarus is able to rescue the Deukalion, his attempts to rescue the SDF-3 fails due to Haydonite interference. The fate of the SDF-3, which was last seen adrift in space near the newly formed black hole, is currently unknown.

The retreat of the Invid ended the Third Robotech War, though it also marked the start of the Shadow Chronicles, the fourth Robotech war between the REF and their former allies, the Haydonites who betrayed and manipulated the REF during the war with the Invid and whom now, with the Invid gone, launch their own attack to destroy the REF and Earth. As the people of Earth celebrate their freedom at a concert, where Lancer reveals his identity as Yellow Dancer to the crowd, the surviving forces of the REF found themselves engaged in a new conflict that would once again determine the survival of the human race.

New Generation episode listEdit

Air Date
Genesis Climber Mospeada
New Generation
1983.10.02 1. Prelude to the Offensive 61. The Invid Invasion
1983.10.09 2. The Broken-Hearted Girl's March 62. The Lost City
1983.10.16 3. Showdown Concert at High Noon 63. Lonely Soldier Boy
1983.10.23 4. Survival Song Feeling 64. Survival
1983.10.30 5. Live Inn Scorched Earth Policy 65. Curtain Call
1983.11.06 6. Support Girl Blues 66. Hard Times
1983.11.13 7. Fallen Hero's Ragtime 67. Paper Hero
1983.11.20 8. Johnson's Elegy 68. Eulogy
1983.11.27 9. Lost World Fugue 69. The Genesis Pits
1983.12.04 10. Requiem of the Battlefield 70. Enter Marlene
1983.12.11 11. Lullaby of Distant Hope 71. The Secret Route
1983.12.18 12. Fortress Siege Boogie 72. The Fortress
1983.12.25 13. Sandstorm Playback 73. Sandstorm
1984.01.08 14. Mint's Wedding March 74. Annie's Wedding
1984.01.15 15. The Ballad of Breaking Up 75. Separate Ways
1984.01.22 16. Trap Reggae 76. Metamorphosis
1984.01.29 17. White Night Serenade 77. The Midnight Sun
1984.02.05 18. The Nature of Old Soldier's Polka 78. Ghost Town
1984.02.12 19. Forte of the Ice River City 79. Frost Bite
1984.02.19 20. Birthday Song of the Night Sky 80. Birthday Blues
1984.02.26 21. Arpeggio of Assassination 81. Hired Gun
1984.03.04 22. New York Bebop 82. The Big Apple
1984.03.11 23. Black Hair's Partita 83. Reflex Point
1984.03.18 24. The Dark Finale 84. Dark Finale
1984.03.25 25. Symphony of Light 85. Symphony of Light

Major charactersEdit


Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles answers a long-debated story point: exactly how much of the Expeditionary Force main fleet was destroyed in the Regis's departure. These points had been the subject of some debate in Robotech fandom; while the last episode of the series only shows a handful of ships caught up in her wake and destroyed, the Jack McKinney Robotech Novels Symphony Of Light (book 12) and The End of the Circle (book 18) both stated that nearly the REF entire fleet, including the Izumo and it's commander had been destroyed, and for many years many fans had regarded the novels as more definitive despite breaks from the show's canon.

On the official website (launched in 2001), the timeline for Third Robotech war stated that "much of the Expeditionary Force's fleet" was destroyed when the Invid departed and the Scott Bernard was to join "the remainder of [REF]." This also implied that a only a small portion of the REF fleet survived the battle (although there is no mention of the Izumo).[7] The official episode summary for the last episode provides no details of the losses the REF sustained.[8]

In Shadow Chronicles, the Invid are shown to depart without affecting the REF ships in orbit, although it could be implied that the ships were destroyed off-camera. Additionally, the Izumo commander, now named General Reinhardt was a key character in Shadow Chronicles. In addition, it is shown that at least a large portion, and probably a majority (if not more) of the REF fleet survived the battle. It was said, however, that ships damaged in battle were diverted to Space Station Liberty for repair- most of those ships were destroyed there when Haydonites turned on the REF. The exact or approximate remaining strength of the REF is unknown.

Although the Shadow Chronicles depicts some of the same events of the final two episodes of the series, it excludes Rand, Rook, Lancer, Lunk, Annie, and Sera although they were present at Reflex point and in the Regess' chamber during those episodes. The writers wanted to avoid including previous characters with too much backstory, particularly when those characters were not going to factor into the film's storyline.

Further readingEdit

  • Carl Macek and Tommy Yune, "The Third Robotech War", The Art of Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles (Stone Bridge Press, LLC, 2007), 19-21.


  1. Todd Maternowski, "Movie Review: Robotech, the Shadow Chronicles," Pegasus News (January 17, 2007).
  2. [1]
  3. [2]
  4. Shimakaze-class battlecruiser at
  5. Ikazuchi-class Carrier at
  6. Garfish-class Cruiser at
  7. Robotech Timeline - New Generation at
  8. Symphony of Light episode no.85, summary at
sr:Трећи Роботек рат

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