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The Masked Man Reviews the Star Wars Movies
The Masked Man Reviews the Star Wars Movies
The Lone Ranger
Published by The Lone Ranger
Default The Empire Strikes Back; Military Competence

Military Competence or Lack Thereof:
The Imperial task force: Darth Vader’s command ship, the Executor was surrounded by a whole bunch of lesser stardestroyers, apparently acting as escort. It would appear that the Imperials learned their lesson from the Death Star disaster and realized that important ships should be escorted. Good for them! If only they showed such competence in other areas!

When the Imperial task force arrived at Hoth and deployed so that “nothing gets off the surface,” the Rebels managed to disable a stardestroyer almost immediately with their ion cannon. Did the idiot in command of that stardestroyer not have his shields up? Why not? Surely it must have occurred to him that the Rebels would have had defenses in addition to the planetary shield?

Okay, so the Rebels managed to get one ship away from Hoth, using the element of surprise. Had the Imperials been competent, the Rebels wouldn’t have gotten any more ships off Hoth though. Consider: the Imperials had maybe a dozen stardestroyers at hand, and probably thousands of fighters. All they had to do was set up a constant barrage of the shield, directed at two targets – the shield generator and the ion cannon. The Rebels would not have been able to lower the shield for any more ships to escape, because the shield generator and ion cannon would have been destroyed immediately. Meanwhile, the Imperials would be free to put together and launch a ground assault to capture the hapless Rebel base.

The Imperial ground assault was spearheaded by slow, lumbering AT-ATs. That’s supposed to stand for “All-Terrain Armoured Transports,” if I recall correctly. All-terrain? Who were they trying to kid? How well would those things perform in a swamp, or in a dense forest? Never mind that they could literally be defeated by tripping them! And imagine what would happen if one of there were to step on a mine. The hover-tanks in The Phantom Menace made a lot more sense.

Those AT-ATs were something like 20 meters tall, it seems, and we saw Rebel snowspeeders flying above them. So, the Rebels’ planetary shield must have been at least 20 or so meters up, and it was probably much higher. In other words, fighter craft could operate under it. So, how come the Imperials didn’t take advantage of their overwhelming aerial superiority and send in about a thousand TIE fighters and bombers to wipe out the Rebel defenses? The battle would have been over in 30 seconds. The ground forces would simply have come in to mop up. We know that TIE fighters could operate in an atmosphere, because we saw them doing just that later in the movie.

The AT-ATs’ guns were clearly designed to fire at targets to the front, and were clearly incapable of firing to the sides, much less to the rear. (Pretty poor design, that!) So, were the Rebel pilots suicidal or just stupid? They kept attacking the AT-ATs from just above ground level and from the front! If Luke had the slightest grasp of elementary tactics, he’d have had his pilots attacking from the sides, above, and perhaps behind; he would not have had his pilots flying right into the Imperials’ guns! Luke’s comment that “that armour’s too strong for blasters” was belied moments later when, after Wedge immobilized one of the walkers, it was quickly destroyed by shooting at its “neck”. So, you’d think the Rebels would have realized that the walkers could be easily destroyed by simply flying up above them (where the guns couldn’t shoot at them) and targeting the neck regions.

Why were the Rebels using those wimpy snowspeeders in the first place? They had X-wings and Y-wings, for crying out loud! Maybe the walkers were immune to blaster fire, but I’d bet a few proton torpedoes would have done the trick!

As the Millennium Falcon was fleeing Hoth, it was pursued by three stardestroyers, and two of them actually collided (a glancing blow). How could the helm operators of those vessels have been so monumentally unobservant? Besides, you’d think with all that sophisticated technology, the ships’ computers would automatically sound a collision alert and/or initiate evasive action.

When the Millennium Falcon made its “attack run” against the Imperial stardestroyer pursuing it, did no one on the stardestroyer’s bridge keep an eye on his tracking console? Perhaps we’re meant to believe that stardestroyers’ sensors had “blind spots” and that Han flew into a blind spot, hoping they’d assume he went to hyperspace while they couldn’t track him, instead of attaching to their hull as he did. (That certainly seems like a better strategy than hoping no one on the stardestroyer’s bridge was watching the tracking console when you attached to their hull.) You’d think Han would have mentioned the blind spot though, if that was his strategy.


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