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(Wired)   Strategy of historic battle critiqued as fiasco, even though the battle was won. Difficulty: Battle of Hoth   (wired.com) divider line 94
    More: Amusing, Hoth, Empire Strikes Back, galactic empire, Emperor Palpatine, Rebel Alliance, TIE fighter, walkers, Tora Bora  
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3562 clicks; posted to Geek » on 12 Feb 2013 at 11:59 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-02-12 12:12:24 PM
2.bp.blogspot.com
 
2013-02-12 12:37:29 PM
Don't place unaccountable religious fanatics in wartime command
The author forgets that this particular religious fanatic has a long history of command in the Clone Wars. He's hardly an amateur.

A smarter plan would have been to launch TIE fighters against Echo Base - since aircraft and spacecraft can get past that Rebel enemy shield
TIE fighters are not atmosphere-capbable. They're utterly unaerodynamic; vertical wings and a spherical cockpit give absolutely no lift whatsoever.

Once Vader orders the shields destroyed, he lacks the force to prevent a pell-mell Rebel retreat.
He'd lack the force to prevent an unorganized retreat, but would be able to simply. Additionally, many of the escaping craft managed to flee before the shield went down.

Only Vader can't bombard the base: He's in it. For reasons that never get explained - and can't be justified militarily - Vader joins the Stormtrooper assault on the base.
OK, you might have a point there.

He flies into an asteroid belt - which somehow the Imperial Fleet had failed to account for when planning its hasty "blockade"
Yes. The imperial navy should have devoted precious resources to blocking off an avenue of escape that 3,269 out of 3,270 spacecraft would not survive navigating.
 
2013-02-12 12:44:17 PM
Only Vader can't bombard the base: He's in it. For reasons that never get explained - and can't be justified militarily - Vader joins the Stormtrooper assault on the base.

He WANTS Skywalker. That's why.

Did you not watch the farking movie?!?!?
 
2013-02-12 12:44:44 PM

Karac: A smarter plan would have been to launch TIE fighters against Echo Base - since aircraft and spacecraft can get past that Rebel enemy shield
TIE fighters are not atmosphere-capbable. They're utterly unaerodynamic; vertical wings and a spherical cockpit give absolutely no lift whatsoever.


Still, it's weird that the Empire should have no atmospheric-flight-capable craft that could defend against the snowspeeders and the like.
 
2013-02-12 12:45:26 PM

Karac: Don't place unaccountable religious fanatics in wartime command
The author forgets that this particular religious fanatic has a long history of command in the Clone Wars. He's hardly an amateur.


When the film was first in theaters we had no understanding of Vader's extensive history of command nor did we know what the Clone Wars were beyond an off-hand remark in one scene.  Neither the Extended Universe nor the prequels existed yet.  While it's easy to be an armchair general and critique Vader's strategy now, with the body of knowledge we've accumulated over the past two decades, I much prefer to view it in a simpler time when there was only the original trilogy.
 
2013-02-12 12:45:50 PM

Karac: Don't place unaccountable religious fanatics in wartime command
The author forgets that this particular religious fanatic has a long history of command in the Clone Wars. He's hardly an amateur.

A smarter plan would have been to launch TIE fighters against Echo Base - since aircraft and spacecraft can get past that Rebel enemy shield
TIE fighters are not atmosphere-capbable. They're utterly unaerodynamic; vertical wings and a spherical cockpit give absolutely no lift whatsoever.

Once Vader orders the shields destroyed, he lacks the force to prevent a pell-mell Rebel retreat.
He'd lack the force to prevent an unorganized retreat, but would be able to simply. Additionally, many of the escaping craft managed to flee before the shield went down.

Only Vader can't bombard the base: He's in it. For reasons that never get explained - and can't be justified militarily - Vader joins the Stormtrooper assault on the base.
OK, you might have a point there.

He flies into an asteroid belt - which somehow the Imperial Fleet had failed to account for when planning its hasty "blockade"
Yes. The imperial navy should have devoted precious resources to blocking off an avenue of escape that 3,269 out of 3,270 spacecraft would not survive navigating.


Oh come on. The author makes some good points, even if just in theory. The total lack of tie fighters and Vader's drop to the surface put them totally behind schedule. By the time they get there the base is abandoned.

The empire failed to deliver a decisive blow to the rebel alliance. That much is obvious.


/lol
//nerds
 
2013-02-12 12:47:33 PM
Vader is lazy, he wants to capture Han and Leia only at this point. Luke he wants later, after the hard work of training him to be a Jedi is complete. Once trainign is done it is a simple matter of turning him to the Dark Side.

Also, the cost of that single ground to space Ion Cannon was likely what forced the Rebel Alliance to flee the known galaxy to escape not the Empire, but their creditors.
 
2013-02-12 12:53:31 PM
Good thing Vader f*cked that up so bad cuz otherwise the story would have ended then and there.
 
2013-02-12 12:55:30 PM

Inquisitive Inquisitor: I much prefer to view it in a simpler time when there was only the original trilogy.


Wait, wait, wait, what are you talking about? "Original trilogy"? What, did they film some of the Zahn books and I didn't know about it?
 
2013-02-12 12:55:41 PM

Arkanaut: Karac: A smarter plan would have been to launch TIE fighters against Echo Base - since aircraft and spacecraft can get past that Rebel enemy shield
TIE fighters are not atmosphere-capbable. They're utterly unaerodynamic; vertical wings and a spherical cockpit give absolutely no lift whatsoever.

Still, it's weird that the Empire should have no atmospheric-flight-capable craft that could defend against the snowspeeders and the like.


Why did they need to defend against snowspeeders?  The only way they could harm an AT-AT was to wrap a tow cable around their legs - and that only worked once or twice.  They were more vulnerable to Luke's lightsaber.

It's like saying a German tiger tank should have some defense against someone prying a tread off with a crowbar.
 
2013-02-12 12:56:58 PM

Karac: Don't place unaccountable religious fanatics in wartime command
The author forgets that this particular religious fanatic has a long history of command in the Clone Wars. He's hardly an amateur.

A smarter plan would have been to launch TIE fighters against Echo Base - since aircraft and spacecraft can get past that Rebel enemy shield
TIE fighters are not atmosphere-capbable. They're utterly unaerodynamic; vertical wings and a spherical cockpit give absolutely no lift whatsoever.

Once Vader orders the shields destroyed, he lacks the force to prevent a pell-mell Rebel retreat.
He'd lack the force to prevent an unorganized retreat, but would be able to simply. Additionally, many of the escaping craft managed to flee before the shield went down.

Only Vader can't bombard the base: He's in it. For reasons that never get explained - and can't be justified militarily - Vader joins the Stormtrooper assault on the base.
OK, you might have a point there.

He flies into an asteroid belt - which somehow the Imperial Fleet had failed to account for when planning its hasty "blockade"
Yes. The imperial navy should have devoted precious resources to blocking off an avenue of escape that 3,269 out of 3,270 spacecraft would not survive navigating.


Ties absolutely are atmosphere capable. Gravity manipulation is well within the technical means of all combatants in the star wars galaxy. Tie fighters don't even have on board life support but the pilots on board are still clearly experiencing normal gravitational pull towards the floor of their ships. It must be a trivially cheap addition. No reason they couldn't have a more powerfully artificial gravity generator stand in for lift surfaces.
 
2013-02-12 12:57:43 PM

Karac: It's like saying a German tiger tank should have some defense against someone prying a tread off with a crowbar.


www.mindhuestudio.com
 
2013-02-12 12:59:01 PM

Ishkur: Only Vader can't bombard the base: He's in it. For reasons that never get explained - and can't be justified militarily - Vader joins the Stormtrooper assault on the base.

He WANTS Skywalker. That's why.

Did you not watch the farking movie?!?!?


Yeah, that's a duh moment there.
 
2013-02-12 01:00:34 PM

Karac: TIE fighters are not atmosphere-capbable. They're utterly unaerodynamic; vertical wings and a spherical cockpit give absolutely no lift whatsoever.


I don't see any wings on the Millenium Falcon or Slave I, but they both seem to be able to fly in a planetary atmosphere. Those little Cloud Cars at Bespin don't look like they'd have much aerodynamic lift either.
 
2013-02-12 01:00:55 PM
It wasn't a battle for conquest or annihilation, it was a battle for reconnaissance and capturing POWs.

There. I just invalidated the entire god damn article.
 
2013-02-12 01:02:46 PM

Contrabulous Flabtraption: Good thing Vader f*cked that up so bad cuz otherwise the story would have ended then and there.


Hell, if the gunnery commander in the first movie had just let his gunner have some target practice on that "empty" escape pod, it would have been a REALLY short movie.

No R2D2 on Tattooine - no Luke Skywalker saving the Rebellion.
 
2013-02-12 01:03:43 PM

Karac: Arkanaut: Karac: A smarter plan would have been to launch TIE fighters against Echo Base - since aircraft and spacecraft can get past that Rebel enemy shield
TIE fighters are not atmosphere-capbable. They're utterly unaerodynamic; vertical wings and a spherical cockpit give absolutely no lift whatsoever.

Still, it's weird that the Empire should have no atmospheric-flight-capable craft that could defend against the snowspeeders and the like.

Why did they need to defend against snowspeeders?  The only way they could harm an AT-AT was to wrap a tow cable around their legs - and that only worked once or twice.  They were more vulnerable to Luke's lightsaber.

It's like saying a German tiger tank should have some defense against someone prying a tread off with a crowbar.


Tigers had machine guns for just that sort of thing.
 
2013-02-12 01:05:28 PM

NathanAllen: Vader is lazy, he wants to capture Han and Leia only at this point. Luke he wants later, after the hard work of training him to be a Jedi is complete. Once trainign is done it is a simple matter of turning him to the Dark Side.

Also, the cost of that single ground to space Ion Cannon was likely what forced the Rebel Alliance to flee the known galaxy to escape not the Empire, but their creditors.


Of course he would have wanted Luke by then. He knew the pilot who blew up the Death Star was strong in the force, and you can't imagine that the Rebel Alliance wouldn't have turned Luke into a hero and household name for doing that.  Vader wasn't stupid; someone with the same last name as him who was strong in the force, from the same planet as him, who happened to have lived with his stepbrother, and the same age as his son - he would have put two and two together.

The only evidence that Luke wasn't his son was that the Emperor told him that in his anger he killed Padme - but he didn't say the kid died too.  And even if he had, Vader would have known that Palpatine wasn't the most trustworthy person in the galaxy.
 
2013-02-12 01:06:14 PM

Karac: Arkanaut: Karac: A smarter plan would have been to launch TIE fighters against Echo Base - since aircraft and spacecraft can get past that Rebel enemy shield
TIE fighters are not atmosphere-capbable. They're utterly unaerodynamic; vertical wings and a spherical cockpit give absolutely no lift whatsoever.

Still, it's weird that the Empire should have no atmospheric-flight-capable craft that could defend against the snowspeeders and the like.

Why did they need to defend against snowspeeders?  The only way they could harm an AT-AT was to wrap a tow cable around their legs - and that only worked once or twice.  They were more vulnerable to Luke's lightsaber.

It's like saying a German tiger tank should have some defense against someone prying a tread off with a crowbar.


It would need defense against an infantryman crawling up its back and sticking a grenade in the hatch, which would be equivalent to what Luke did.
 
2013-02-12 01:06:54 PM

Ishkur: It wasn't a battle for conquest or annihilation, it was a battle for reconnaissance


If your reconnaissance involves a massive battle, you're doing it wrong. Recon on a base you've just captured is kinda pointless.

and capturing POWs.

Since most of the Rebels escaped, that seems to have been a failure as well.

Echo Base was the Rebel Alliance HQ after they abandoned Yavin IV. Why wouldn't it be a target of conquest/annihilation? Is Vader even more incompetent than the article says?
 
2013-02-12 01:07:30 PM

rufus-t-firefly: Hell, if the gunnery commander in the first movie had just let his gunner have some target practice on that "empty" escape pod, it would have been a REALLY short movie.


I always thought that was a little funny.

"What a minute -- you live in a Universe teeming with artificial lifeforms and you're not going to check the pod for any?!?"

Do they not have the ability to scan for droids? Why not? Droids are everywhere. I think it would be really useful if the scanners could locate them.
 
2013-02-12 01:07:45 PM

Arkanaut: Karac: A smarter plan would have been to launch TIE fighters against Echo Base - since aircraft and spacecraft can get past that Rebel enemy shield
TIE fighters are not atmosphere-capbable. They're utterly unaerodynamic; vertical wings and a spherical cockpit give absolutely no lift whatsoever.

Still, it's weird that the Empire should have no atmospheric-flight-capable craft that could defend against the snowspeeders and the like.


As mentioned by someone else, Star Wars spacecraft have repulsor-lift technology that lets them defy gravity. You think X-Wings and Snowspeeders are sound aerodynamic designs?

The X-Wing should have been called the X-Brick. Those aren't wings, they're squared-off blocks of metal that don't generate lift.
 
2013-02-12 01:08:17 PM

Ishkur: Only Vader can't bombard the base: He's in it. For reasons that never get explained - and can't be justified militarily - Vader joins the Stormtrooper assault on the base.

He WANTS Skywalker. That's why.


Then why would he order "that no Rebel ship be allowed to leave Hoth alive", as the article mentions?
 
2013-02-12 01:11:13 PM

Ned Stark: Ties absolutely are atmosphere capable. Gravity manipulation is well within the technical means of all combatants in the star wars galaxy. Tie fighters don't even have on board life support but the pilots on board are still clearly experiencing normal gravitational pull towards the floor of their ships. It must be a trivially cheap addition. No reason they couldn't have a more powerfully artificial gravity generator stand in for lift surfaces.


You think the Empire would have sprung for atmosphere capable gravity manipulation on a craft that would have been used 99% of the time in space?  These are the same bean counters who didn't bother to put shields on the things so that they could survive more than a single hit.


theorellior: Karac: It's like saying a German tiger tank should have some defense against someone prying a tread off with a crowbar.

[www.mindhuestudio.com image 800x506]

Why would the Wehrmacht be shooting panzerfausts at their own tanks?
 
2013-02-12 01:13:22 PM

Ishkur: rufus-t-firefly: Hell, if the gunnery commander in the first movie had just let his gunner have some target practice on that "empty" escape pod, it would have been a REALLY short movie.

I always thought that was a little funny.

"What a minute -- you live in a Universe teeming with artificial lifeforms and you're not going to check the pod for any?!?"

Do they not have the ability to scan for droids? Why not? Droids are everywhere. I think it would be really useful if the scanners could locate them.


Hell - just fire a few ion rounds into it just to fry whatever's inside.

"Hold your fire. There's no life forms. It must have short-circuited."

Are theyrationing laser bolts now?

images2.wikia.nocookie.net
Above: what a clueless moron might look like.

You could sub pretty much any Imperial officer in his place and the caption would be just as accurate.
 
2013-02-12 01:14:55 PM

rufus-t-firefly: Since most of the Rebels escaped, that seems to have been a failure as well.


Well, that was Admiral Ozzel's fault.

Vader graciously accepted his apology.
 
2013-02-12 01:17:10 PM

Arkanaut: Ishkur: Only Vader can't bombard the base: He's in it. For reasons that never get explained - and can't be justified militarily - Vader joins the Stormtrooper assault on the base.

He WANTS Skywalker. That's why.

Then why would he order "that no Rebel ship be allowed to leave Hoth alive", as the article mentions?


It's a shopping list situation.
Best case - you catch them on the ground (charmin double-ply with the little designs)
Next base - you keep them from running by blowing them out of the sky (gas station quality single play).

You'd rather have the first, but you'll settle for the second to keep from having to use the third alternative: recycled sawdust and/or corncob.
 
2013-02-12 01:18:55 PM

rufus-t-firefly: Karac: TIE fighters are not atmosphere-capbable. They're utterly unaerodynamic; vertical wings and a spherical cockpit give absolutely no lift whatsoever.

I don't see any wings on the Millenium Falcon or Slave I, but they both seem to be able to fly in a planetary atmosphere. Those little Cloud Cars at Bespin don't look like they'd have much aerodynamic lift either.


They're totally atmosphere capable, but not very maneuverable:

"The front/rear cross-section of the fighter was designed to be small to make it difficult to hit with blasters, but these side panels proved easy targets for flanking enemy pilots. They also hampered the fighter's ability to maneuver while in the atmosphere." Cited

Snow speeders and x-wings which were present, would have made short work of these far-less maneuverable craft. It would have been like squadrons of Wright Fliers going up against a bunch of P-51 Mustangs.

As for the Millennium Falcon and Slave-1, neither are ever shown to be effective or nimble in the atmosphere either. In fact, the only visible evidence we have of them in atmospheric flight is rotational and straight-line flying in an attempt to reach the lack of gravity in outer space where their thrust-oriented maneuverability would be of use.

As an add-on, I'd like to point out that the author of this piece fails to understand the inability of the Star Destroyers to form a picket line prior to the disabling of the deflector shield and/or abandonment/capture of the ion cannon. So long as that cannon was active, anything in it's field of fire was going to take some pretty severe damage. Star Destroyers aren't exactly "turn-on-a-dime" and thus, wouldn't be able to quickly get into place once the shield/cannon was down. In fact, it just lends more credence to the fact that TIE fighters would be wasted on the surface campaign. The size and lack of maneuverability of the capital ships of the Imperial Fleet made them less-than-ideal as picket-line ships. In reality, they were to act as aircraft carriers do today, sit back from danger and launch their farm more maneuverable fighters to chase down/destroy the rebel ships that were attempting to escape.
 
2013-02-12 01:21:00 PM
Why did the Rebels fly down the death star trench anyway? Why not just fly directly down to the exhaust port? Plus, that way your torpedoes don't have to make a weird, downward turn.
 
2013-02-12 01:22:00 PM
Side critique: how is leaving hyperspace too close to Hoth a bad thing? Would they not be detected if they just sailed up in normal space?
 
2013-02-12 01:22:00 PM

Karac: Ned Stark: Ties absolutely are atmosphere capable. Gravity manipulation is well within the technical means of all combatants in the star wars galaxy. Tie fighters don't even have on board life support but the pilots on board are still clearly experiencing normal gravitational pull towards the floor of their ships. It must be a trivially cheap addition. No reason they couldn't have a more powerfully artificial gravity generator stand in for lift surfaces.

You think the Empire would have sprung for atmosphere capable gravity manipulation on a craft that would have been used 99% of the time in space?  These are the same bean counters who didn't bother to put shields on the things so that they could survive more than a single hit.


theorellior: Karac: It's like saying a German tiger tank should have some defense against someone prying a tread off with a crowbar.

[www.mindhuestudio.com image 800x506]
Why would the Wehrmacht be shooting panzerfausts at their own tanks?


You think same bean counters would invest in development of a seperate line of atmospheric craft when they could just throw the tie at both?

And if the didn't have repulsers did ties fly so close to the death star without crashing? If all they had was the thrusters to drive them forward its not insubstantial gravity should have dragged them down.
 
2013-02-12 01:25:16 PM

Ishkur: rufus-t-firefly: Hell, if the gunnery commander in the first movie had just let his gunner have some target practice on that "empty" escape pod, it would have been a REALLY short movie.

I always thought that was a little funny.

"What a minute -- you live in a Universe teeming with artificial lifeforms and you're not going to check the pod for any?!?"

Do they not have the ability to scan for droids? Why not? Droids are everywhere. I think it would be really useful if the scanners could locate them.


I bet the pod's own electronics would interfere with that scan.

"Sir! There's several computers on the escape pod."

"No shiat ensign it has life support and a navigation system."
 
2013-02-12 01:30:33 PM

Contrabulous Flabtraption: Why did the Rebels fly down the death star trench anyway? Why not just fly directly down to the exhaust port? Plus, that way your torpedoes don't have to make a weird, downward turn.


It protected them from most of the AA guns. Only those capable of shooting into the trench were a threat. The alternative was to get shot to pieces by the other guns.
 
2013-02-12 01:36:18 PM

Arkanaut: Then why would he order "that no Rebel ship be allowed to leave Hoth alive", as the article mentions?


It was a debacle from the beginning. The Empire came out of light-speed too quickly, they weren't prepared, and their probe droid had been discovered. So here we see the advantages of preparation and organization in warfare. The Rebels had the advantages of terrain (they knew the lay of the land -- the planet and their base -- better than the Empire), intelligence (they knew the Empire was coming and how -- they got the shield generator up in time), and positioning (they were already packed and ready to leave by the time the AT-ATs were deployed).

The Empire, meanwhile, was playing catchup. Their first objective was to establish a blockade, ground all Rebel ships and keep them on the planet but they didn't have time to set it up. So they had to change mission mechanics on the fly and quickly mobilize a ground assault force (aka Plan B) hoping speed (and shock & awe hence the use of AT-AT's) could quickly regain the advantage and it's only with the impressive ingenuity of General Veers that they were able to deploy and fight so effectively and quickly. To expedite the assault, Vader joined them.

When rebel ships broke from the planet, new instructions were given to prevent them from leaving the system. It was simply a desperate order to prevent an already bad situation from becoming worse ie: Rebels escaping and regrouping to continue the fight elsewhere. Above all, the Empire wants an end to the war but that was not their primary objective in this particular conflict. They did what they had to do given the knowledge and resources they had as would any field army in any situation.

But yeah, although the battle was a tactical victory, none of the Empire's objectives were met because the conditions were not favorable from the outset. In fact, it's not likely that it was ever winnable. Essentially, the battle was lost the day the Rebels found the probe droid.
 
2013-02-12 01:39:29 PM

Karac: Vader wasn't stupid; someone with the same last name as him who was strong in the force...


And there is the single biggest plot hole in all of Star Wars.  "We desperately need to hide the existence of Vader's kids from the emperor!  So let's let him keep his birth name."
 
2013-02-12 01:41:16 PM

Fano: Side critique: how is leaving hyperspace too close to Hoth a bad thing? Would they not be detected if they just sailed up in normal space?


It could be that hyperspace has some sort of timey wimey warp signature that is easily detectable (something that no natural object in space can produce) while creeping up quietly makes you look as indistinguishable as an asteroid. It's space physics, don't worry too much about it.
 
2013-02-12 01:42:14 PM

KingsleyZisou: Contrabulous Flabtraption: Why did the Rebels fly down the death star trench anyway? Why not just fly directly down to the exhaust port? Plus, that way your torpedoes don't have to make a weird, downward turn.

It protected them from most of the AA guns. Only those capable of shooting into the trench were a threat. The alternative was to get shot to pieces by the other guns.


Also to keep the Empire from guessing what they were aiming at. The dive to the Death Star would have been difficult either way. The Imperials didn't figure out what they were doing until too late.

Anyway, the Empire has always been about shock and awe and overconfidence. The author should have pointed out that AT-ATs aren't good technology by the prequel standards.
 
2013-02-12 01:43:43 PM
I've always been concerned with the "shield prevents bombardment." bit.  If you have six destroyers capable of bombardment, especially with energy (non-ammunition limited) weapons, why would you not bombard the hell out of it until a) the shields give out or b) your troops get to the generator.  Why let them launch anything.  Rain down unholy hell as covering fire until you destroy the entire damned atmosphere if you need to. Then stroll in, take Leia, deflower her in the tower, and win the war.
 
2013-02-12 01:45:18 PM

Fano: Side critique: how is leaving hyperspace too close to Hoth a bad thing? Would they not be detected if they just sailed up in normal space?


Heh, I never really understood that.   What, exactly, did Ozzel do wrong and why did it hurt?
 
2013-02-12 01:45:58 PM

Trivia Jockey: Karac: Vader wasn't stupid; someone with the same last name as him who was strong in the force...

And there is the single biggest plot hole in all of Star Wars.  "We desperately need to hide the existence of Vader's kids from the emperor!  So let's let him keep his birth name."


And on the same planet! Being guarded by Anakin's relatives! And crazy Old Ben!

(flaws the prequels highlight)
 
2013-02-12 01:48:04 PM
www.atariage.com

Look, I've played through the reinactment simulator a million times and the author is full of beans. The AT-ATs NEVER stop coming!
 
2013-02-12 01:49:39 PM

Ishkur: Fano: Side critique: how is leaving hyperspace too close to Hoth a bad thing? Would they not be detected if they just sailed up in normal space?

It could be that hyperspace has some sort of timey wimey warp signature that is easily detectable (something that no natural object in space can produce) while creeping up quietly makes you look as indistinguishable as an asteroid. It's space physics, don't worry too much about it.


IIRC, the plan was to exit hyperspace far out in the system, and then use the asteroid belt as cover to sneak up on the planet.
 
2013-02-12 01:52:56 PM

Fano: The author should have pointed out that AT-ATs aren't good technology by the prequel standards.


I like to think that 20 years of warfare has regressed technology which is why everything looks broken down and dirty and used. The economy has crashed, people are miserable and suffering, all technology is rationed for the war effort and nothing works, men grow their hair out because haircuts are expensive, that sorta thing.....although to be fair, we see 90% of the action from the Rebels point of view and they're always going to be using hand-me-down stuff.
 
2013-02-12 01:57:24 PM
All TIE Starfighters are atmosphere capable. This is covered extensively in most of the Expanded Universe, especially the X-Wing series. Most Star Wars spacecraft are not aerodynamic, even the rebel fighters, and all of them would fail to fly if they relied on air lift (none of them actually have effective wings). All atmosphere-capable craft in Star Wars rely on powerful thrust engines for forwards thrust, vectored thrusters for maneuvering, and repulsor lifts and gravity manipulation to keep the crew oriented and not plummet into gravity wells. They use the same methods in space that they do in atmosphere, so their shape doesn't matter much. The only spacecraft in Star Wars that are NOT atmosphere-capable are capital ships that are too massive to be able to pull themselves out of gravity wells, or to hover on repulsorlifts. anything Corellian Corvette sized or smaller is perfectly capable of flying and maneuvering in atmosphere.

However, it was noted in the X-Wing books that the TIE Fighters (and to a lesser extent the Interceptor and Bomber) had serious yaw problems. If you tried to turn, air would catch the wings and fling the ship sideways. Most experienced TIE pilots could handle it, but they usually relied on pivoting and then pulling up (or down) to make a turn. This left TIEs at a serious disadvantage in atmosphere against the Rebel's more aerodynamic fighters, and many times pilots of Rogue and Wraith Squadrons used this property to cause inexperienced TIE pilots to crash their own ships, or cause them to inadvertently open themselves to attack.
 
2013-02-12 01:58:04 PM

Trivia Jockey: Heh, I never really understood that. What, exactly, did Ozzel do wrong and why did it hurt?


He gave away their position. Never mind the mechanics of how or in what way, he basically lost the battle for the Empire. That's why Vader was so pissed.

Their ultimate objective (capture Skywalker) relied on an element of inconspicuous secrecy, like a big cat in the reeds slowly creeping up toward a herd of gazelle at a water hole. Ozzel thought "surprise was wiser" and opted to pounce immediately and chase them down. Vader disagreed.
 
2013-02-12 01:59:03 PM
Many movies feature spectacularly stupid battle plans and/or tactics, if you stop to think about them. The one that always jumps out at me is movie-verse Aragorn deciding that the best thing to do with the couple hundred elven archers he's landed in front of is to have them charge in and fight the orks hand-to-hand at the breach in the wall at helm's deep, rather than standing back and pincushioning the orks as they struggle in until that narrow chokepoint is literally blocked by the bodies.
 
2013-02-12 02:35:59 PM

Ishkur: Fano: The author should have pointed out that AT-ATs aren't good technology by the prequel standards.

I like to think that 20 years of warfare has regressed technology which is why everything looks broken down and dirty and used. The economy has crashed, people are miserable and suffering, all technology is rationed for the war effort and nothing works, men grow their hair out because haircuts are expensive, that sorta thing.....although to be fair, we see 90% of the action from the Rebels point of view and they're always going to be using hand-me-down stuff.


The EU has a short story in one of the anthologies (can't remember which one) that the designers had never considered the AT-AT to have any weaknesses; the AT-AT pilot from the story is reprimanded when he has the metal beast hunker down to keep enemies from diving between its legs.

To all practical purposes, the designers would think it is impervious. None of the Rebel's conventional ground weapons were even able to scratch it.

Besides being another example of the Empire's hubris, the AT-AT was an example of the Empire trying to employ a psychological advantage in the same way that Star Destroyers and the Death Star were in space.

I know I sure had a "holy cow" moment the first time I saw the movie. And I wasn't facing down imminent death.
 
2013-02-12 02:42:34 PM

Ishkur: Trivia Jockey: Heh, I never really understood that. What, exactly, did Ozzel do wrong and why did it hurt?

He gave away their position. Never mind the mechanics of how or in what way, he basically lost the battle for the Empire. That's why Vader was so pissed.

Their ultimate objective (capture Skywalker) relied on an element of inconspicuous secrecy, like a big cat in the reeds slowly creeping up toward a herd of gazelle at a water hole. Ozzel thought "surprise was wiser" and opted to pounce immediately and chase them down. Vader disagreed.


You'd think the fleet commander would have discussed this with his commander before the attack, no?  I mean, anyone under Vader's command has got to know you're getting a force choke if he's unhappy- perhaps it would be worth 5 minutes of your time to get him to sign off on the battle plan rather than winging it?

The Star Wars universe is home of some of the stupidest military tactics ever filmed.  Films 1-3 are just a massive pile of suck in that department (and most else).  You have people walking into battle shoulder to shoulder with a few crappy shields between them and no attempt at cover, the entire Jedi command walking into an obvious deathtrap and an massive drone army dependent on a poorly defended control ship.  Every piece of military tech owned by the Empire is just farking worthless- armor that can't protect against any weapon from spears to blasters, defensive guns that can't target fighters, ground walkers that can be tripped up by just about anything, etc etc etc.   The current US military could slaughter any of the SW ground forces at will.

/Kids were addicted to SW films.  I had a hard time watching the battle sections because they are so unendingly, mind bendingly stupid.
 
2013-02-12 02:57:02 PM
Nuke it from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.

If a ship could penetrate the sheild, then surely a missile or just a gravity bomb could have as well.  Hell, just start dropping asteroids on the base, you had plenty at your disposal. wait for the rebels to run like rats and pew pew, down they go.
 
2013-02-12 03:01:39 PM
He ignored some strategies too:

-  The average star destroyer carries a decent complement of tie fighters which could have been deployed in space to catch escaping craft.  They don't need to care that the destroyers get disabled from the ion cannon as the TIEs are on their own power.  Any escaping craft should have been total mince meat including Luke and Han Solo.  It's not like they didn't know there was a base there anyway, they landed recon droids on the planet that figured it out.  They can expect to intercept fleeing craft when they landed.

-  The AT-ATs should have been deployed with anti-air support.  While they had intel on that there was a rebel base, they did not know what the base's capability was.  Knowing that AT-ATs are piss poor at AA defense they could have deployed some other artillery to deal with any aerial threat the rebels would supply.  They got lucky that the rebels didn't have any bombers stationed at the base else their invasion would have failed completely.

-  If the shield does not block physical objects from crossing it what is to stop them from deploying bombers within the shield to level the base.  It would be equally ineffective at blocking bombers as it was blocking AT-AT deployments.

-  War in space is different from war on the ground.  In space there are 3 dimensions of escape and movement routes available to combatants.  It would be impossible to blockade a planet with 6 cruisers since there are infinite other ways to fly into and out of a planet.  The trade federation blockade at Naboo we at least assumed had 100+ cruisers as well as secondary ships and constant fighter deployments.  Granted Naboo is a more built up planet this does not avoid the fact that it was a planet.  Hoth is at least earth sized and would require a similar sized force to effectively blockade it.

- The only real strategy they had going for them was the element of surprise that the good Admiral ruined for everyone by dropping out of hyperspace too close.  An additional surprise would have been to come out of hyperspace on the other side of the planet and orbit around.  The scanners they have are obviously line of sight and range limited.

Needless to say Fox News would report that the invasion was a success and we'd see Darth Vader with a big "Mission Accomplished" flashing behind him on a star destroyer.  Later we would see a segment go "Was the invasion of Hoth actually a success?  More at 11."
 
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