The fighters went in first, about 40 of them to each of the three largest installations. They made a first high level pass with no response from below and then a second slightly lower level pass again without response from the ground. Even assisted visibility was down to almost zero. The advanced avionics struggling to cope. "We are nearly flying blind here, across the whole spectrum" reported the star fighter squadron leader at the very largest and presumably primary installation. "Respectfully request we wait for improved visibility."
"Can't do that" responded the Admiral from the flagship "time is of the essence, we don't want the machineries recovering from the EMP or the live operators regaining consciousness." "Our star troopers on the ground will be able to see better than the pilots, we have the very latest enhancements" he finished talking to everyone in general and no one in particular.
The Admiral did make one concession. The star troopers would only go in to the largest installation. Though fighters would come in low, ground attacks on the two other very large installations would be delayed. Quietly the big man thought this unnecessarily cautious. His heavily armed and armored, force field and exo-skeleton assisted troopers had kicked ass across much of the Galaxy and in much more formidable places than this.
Ahead of the incoming troop transporters the star fighters came in on a very low and slow approach run to the massive installation. Visibility seemed to have improved a little right across the spectrum as they approached the largest building in the installation. A building relatively low only in relation to its huge two mile plus length.
Then as the fighters continued their approach run the huge building started to move.
"My god, it's not a building at all, but one of the machineries," yelled out one of the pilots as they all banked away to avoid a rapidly opening ravenous maw that must have been two miles long. Not all of them were able to bank away in time. Those unfortunates were instantly melted into slag. The same thing happened on a slightly smaller scale at each of the other two largest installations.
Thankfully the troop transporters were recalled in time.
The Admiral ordered all remaining fighters into formation for a high altitude attack but just at that moment radar, visual, thermal and all other visibility dropped to zero. It was all the fighters could do to return to the orbiting star ships.
Yet the Admiral was far from finished. Ordering the starships to train their energy weapons on each of the major installations. Yet the absolute maelstrom below was worsening and it wasn't possible to get a fix on any of the huge machineries. In frustration the Admiral ordered the fleet to fire blind heavy duty energy discharges into the installations.