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The Battle of Hoth: Vader the Invader

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the attack-them-with-giant-metal-camels dept.

Star Wars Prequels 111

JustOK writes "Darth Vader did a lot of bad things and did a lot of things badly; the Battle of Hoth was of both types. The Empire's attempt to capture Echo Base, while successful, was still a horrible failure. Sure, the Empire overran the ground defenses and captured the base, but most of the Rebels escaped. Luke, Leia and Han all got away. The Rebels had a poorly-laid-out ground defense, and a planetary shield that can't keep an invader out while complicating their own escape. This article at Wired takes us through all the missteps in the battle."

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111 comments

Helmuth von Moltke the Elder said it first (2, Insightful)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a year and a half ago | (#42888829)

"No battle plan survives contact with the enemy."

nuff said

Brother-in-law to Pignose, Scott said it second (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42889139)

I don't know why they call it Hoth, they should call it "Coldth"

Re:Helmuth von Moltke the Elder said it first (3, Interesting)

retchdog (1319261) | about a year and a half ago | (#42889245)

very true. people can armchair quarterback real historical battles, let alone fictional ones in a setting where magic exists.

this is why i find the endor holocaust [theforce.net] a little more interesting.

Re:Helmuth von Moltke the Elder said it first (5, Funny)

Hal_Porter (817932) | about a year and a half ago | (#42889475)

No animal larger than a few kilograms and incapable of long sheltered hibernation could survive the Endorian calamity. The air might even have been poisoned and deoxygenated for a few years until simple plant life could return to growth. If so then it is possible that all animal life perished. In any case any ewok on the surface who was not equipped with impressive high-technology survival gear and a nuclear shelter must have died.

For those unfortunate beings not painlessly obliterated by the impact concussions, the initial night of celebration would linger on and on with days of darkness. A chill would fall, the waters would turn to ice and the vegetation would wilt into death or dormancy, depending on species. Provided that radioactivity was insignificant and the air remained modestly breathable (a very generous assumption) the doomed ewoks might survive for days or weeks huddling around bonfires, until they starved.

Every read that about a hundred times and every time I read it just makes me so happy.

The only other thing better than this is this wonderful piece of liberal baiting from the WS

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/001/248ipzbt.asp?nopager=1 [weeklystandard.com]

Lucas wants the Empire to stand for evil, so he tells us that the Emperor and Darth Vader have gone over to the Dark Side and dresses them in black.

But look closer. When Palpatine is still a senator, he says, "The Republic is not what it once was. The Senate is full of greedy, squabbling delegates. There is no interest in the common good." At one point he laments that "the bureaucrats are in charge now."

Palpatine believes that the political order must be manipulated to produce peace and stability. When he mutters, "There is no civility, there is only politics," we see that at heart, he's an esoteric Straussian.

Make no mistake, as emperor, Palpatine is a dictator--but a relatively benign one, like Pinochet. It's a dictatorship people can do business with. They collect taxes and patrol the skies. They try to stop organized crime (in the form of the smuggling rings run by the Hutts). The Empire has virtually no effect on the daily life of the average, law-abiding citizen.

Also, unlike the divine-right Jedi, the Empire is a meritocracy. The Empire runs academies throughout the galaxy (Han Solo begins his career at an Imperial academy), and those who show promise are promoted, often rapidly. In "The Empire Strikes Back" Captain Piett is quickly promoted to admiral when his predecessor "falls down on the job."

And while it's a small point, the Empire's manners and decorum speak well of it. When Darth Vader is forced to employ bounty hunters to track down Han Solo, he refuses to address them by name. Even Boba Fett, the greatest of all trackers, is referred to icily as "bounty hunter." And yet Fett understands the protocol. When he captures Solo, he calls him "Captain Solo." (Whether this is in deference to Han's former rank in the Imperial starfleet, or simply because Han owns and pilots his own ship, we don't know. I suspect it's the former.)

But the most compelling evidence that the Empire isn't evil comes in "The Empire Strikes Back" when Darth Vader is battling Luke Skywalker. After an exhausting fight, Vader is poised to finish Luke off, but he stays his hand. He tries to convert Luke to the Dark Side with this simple plea: "There is no escape. Don't make me destroy you. . . . Join me, and I will complete your training. With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy." It is here we find the real controlling impulse for the Dark Side and the Empire. The Empire doesn't want slaves or destruction or "evil." It wants order.

None of which is to say that the Empire isn't sometimes brutal. In Episode IV, Imperial stormtroopers kill Luke's aunt and uncle and Grand Moff Tarkin orders the destruction of an entire planet, Alderaan. But viewed in context, these acts are less brutal than they initially appear. Poor Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen reach a grisly end, but only after they aid the rebellion by hiding Luke and harboring two fugitive droids. They aren't given due process, but they are traitors.

The destruction of Alderaan is often cited as ipso facto proof of the Empire's "evilness" because it seems like mass murder--planeticide, even. As Tarkin prepares to fire the Death Star, Princess Leia implores him to spare the planet, saying, "Alderaan is peaceful. We have no weapons." Her plea is important, if true.

But the audience has no reason to believe that Leia is telling the truth. In Episode IV, every bit of information she gives the Empire is willfully untrue. In the opening, she tells Darth Vader that she is on a diplomatic mission of mercy, when in fact she is on a spy mission, trying to deliver schematics of the Death Star to the Rebel Alliance. When asked where the Alliance is headquartered, she lies again.

Leia's lies are perfectly defensible--she thinks she's serving the greater good--but they make her wholly unreliable on the question of whether or not Alderaan really is peaceful and defenseless. If anything, since Leia is a high-ranking member of the rebellion and the princess of Alderaan, it would be reasonable to suspect that Alderaan is a front for Rebel activity or at least home to many more spies and insurgents like Leia.

It's hilarious. It's like he's seen the Power of Nightmares and written a piece in the guise of the strawman "neocon" that documentary creates.

Re:Helmuth von Moltke the Elder said it first (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | about a year and a half ago | (#42891161)

Christ, that's beautiful. I am forwarding that on to all my Star Wars fanboy friends.

Re:Helmuth von Moltke the Elder said it first (3, Insightful)

guspasho (941623) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893055)

The arguments are pretty weak. Evil is as evil does. Summary execution, collective punishment and decimation, these are evil acts, and hallmarks of tyrannies. Just because supposed good guys like the United States and Israel engage in them now does not make them any less evil, it only makes the people that engage in them evil.

Re:Helmuth von Moltke the Elder said it first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42895513)

The arguments are pretty weak. Evil is as evil does.

Ah, but there's an answer for that too, as early as Ep 6, but clearly brought out in Ep 3 (the WS piece appears to have been written before Ep 3)

Obi-Wan "Palatine is evil"
Anakin "From my point of view, the Jedi are evil"

From a certain point of evil, the actions of the Jedi are evil.

Summary execution - being the "peacekeepers", Jedi hold the power to be judge, jury, and executioners all in one. We are simply told to believe that the Jedi hold great wisdom, so we can trust them and their judgment. But that's like saying "trust the cops, they're always right".

As the story unfolded, we saw that the Jedi are not infallible. Yet that's how the Republic operated - giving this small elite royalty the power to execute the law as they see fit (including but not limited to using rather invasive techniques, such as the Jedi mind trick or a light saber to the hand). Obi-Wan in ep 3 said he served democracy, but the Jedi order itself and its role within the Republic goes against the principles of democracy

Collective punishment and decimation - that's mostly how Jedi treat the Sith. Oh sure, maybe the Sith started it first (but just like the WS piece's author, I'm not bothering with the EU, so I don't even know if the Sith actually started it first), but that's the sort of excuse school yard kids pull.

Similarly, the Republic certainly did not respond well to the Separatists, which escalated into the Clone Wars.

Jedi also engage is strict controls and censorship over its members. Jedi are restricted in pursuing romance - leading to Anakin to hide his marriage and another factor to his turn.

So if evil is as evil does, Jedi can be see as evil too.

History is written by the victors (1)

LongearedBat (1665481) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893409)

All this happened a long time ago, and the Rebels (later the New Republic) won. So who do you think wrote that history?

Re:Helmuth von Moltke the Elder said it first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42899909)

Also, unlike the divine-right Jedi, the Empire is a meritocracy. The Empire runs academies throughout the galaxy (Han Solo begins his career at an Imperial academy), and those who show promise are promoted, often rapidly

There are thousands of different races in this Galaxy, but you see exactly one race running the Empire. This racism is touched on in the Thrawn trilogy. (Grand Admiral Thrawn was the only non-human to reach that rank and it was only because of his unequaled tactical genius.) The Galactic Republic was anti-slavery and the Empire allowed it against many non-human races.

Anyone trying to claim the Empire was really the good guys has to somehow talk around this, as this piece clearly does.

Re:Helmuth von Moltke the Elder said it first (3, Informative)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year and a half ago | (#42889729)

"No battle plan survives contact with the enemy."

nuff said

It was a kids movie. Lucas even said so. This is like dissecting a Gumby show.

Re:Helmuth von Moltke the Elder said it first (1)

dotHectate (975458) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890999)

The Gumby episode with the out-of-control robots was surprisingly perceptive given it's intended audience.

Re:Helmuth von Moltke the Elder said it first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42890051)

everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.

M. Tyson.

Re:Helmuth von Moltke the Elder said it first (1)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | about a year and a half ago | (#42891117)

"No battle plan survives contact with the enemy."

nuff said

But hindsight is 20/20, and Helmuth von Moltke lived a long time after the battle of Hoth.

Nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42888831)

NERDS!

Re:Nerds (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about a year and a half ago | (#42889111)

WHAT?

Re:Nerds (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42889153)

An (apparently serious) complex battle analyses of a hastily written mythical battle !!

All the while not blinking an eye in disbelief at either FTL or the existence of Darth Vader.

Re:Nerds (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42889447)

or the existence of Darth Vader.

I hope he does not find you lack of faith disturbing, for your sake. Lord Vader is not as forgiving as I am.

Re:Nerds (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42892259)

Lord Vader died a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.

Shield (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | about a year and a half ago | (#42888835)

The shield it's job quite well enough - the base wasn't glassed from orbit.

Re:Shield (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year and a half ago | (#42889013)

Indeed. The orbital defenses were just that - defenses against things in orbit.

The guns and troops on the ground, the bunker itself - that's all there to protect against a planetside assault. It accomplished that task - the shields and ion cannon prevented the Imperials from slagging the area, and the ground force stalled the invasion long enough to evacuate.

Vader was on the ground, presumably, to capture Luke. Keep in mind that Luke was his son, and he knew about it - as we see in Cloud City. He wanted a chance to convert Luke for his own purposes (overthrowing the Emperor and taking control) which may not have been possible had Luke been captured by ground troops.

Re:Shield (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about a year and a half ago | (#42889185)

"Vader was on the ground, presumably, to capture Luke. Keep in mind that Luke was his son, and he knew about it - as we see in Cloud City. He wanted a chance to convert Luke for his own purposes (overthrowing the Emperor and taking control) which may not have been possible had Luke been captured by ground troops."

hence keep the reliegous nut with his own ego, and personal agenda away from command

Re:Shield (1)

v1 (525388) | about a year and a half ago | (#42889641)

He wanted a chance to convert Luke for his own purposes (overthrowing the Emperor and taking control) which may not have been possible had Luke been captured by ground troops.

I believe his motivation would be more of thinking he was the only one capable of catching a budding jedi. He'd much rather capture him than risk him escaping, or worse yet, be killed by an orbital bombardment.

Though one wonders why when he spots the Flacon taking off, why he doesn't radio the fleet above him, to capture the escaping ship at all cost. He just looks at it as it leaves, and is like... crap. and turns away. Like he's the only one that can lay a finger on Luke.

Re:Shield (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42890297)

The next scene of the Falcon is it desperately trying to avoid capture from the Imperial Fleet. Vader then chases it into an asteroid field with his command ship. Just because the movie didn't explicitly show Vader calling up the ship, doesn't mean it didn't happen. Especially when the rest of the Falcon crew's storyline seems to indicate said action did occur.

Re:Shield (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42894309)

I think Vader was bitter about his percieved fall, and resented the emperor, though he saw the merit in the empire - remember the events that led to his fall. He loathed the path he was in, but had already given up so much, that he couldn't turn back(though it gnawed at him, who had to protect his sanity by closing his heart.)
      In the end, though, his goals were either reached or unreachable and he was finally allowed to "let go", return to the light side, and put all that past behind him. He died a truly happy man.

      One might compare him to Severus Snape in harry potter, in that he was trying to work from within, but Snape never sacrificed as much of himself, though he gave his life for it.

Re:Shield (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42889047)

Exactly this.
The shield prevented orbital bombardment, which is an automatic loss condition given the rebels cannot repel the empire fleet at Hoth. (I'd guess not enough time to recall their entire fleet from other locations)

Their strategy at Hoth looked to be simply to buy enough time against a ground invasion so their ships could leave the atmosphere and jump to hyperspace. (Presumably this is easy enough to do while being covered by the ion canon)

The Rebels seemed to know all this in advance, had planned ahead, and executed their escape plan almost calmly. They didn't even seems surprised when the empire eventually did find them.

Vader's motivations don't seem questionable either, because being a Jedi knight himself, he probably thinks the fate of the rebel fleet/base is completely inconsequential compared to the capture/conversion of Luke and Leia (and company). Which is why he goes in himself.

Re:Shield (1)

Jack9 (11421) | about a year and a half ago | (#42892857)

> They didn't even seems surprised when the empire eventually did find them.

Until the destruction of the first Death Star, there was not a single instance of the rebellion repelling an Imperial Assault. They were always found out eventually.

Paratroopers could have made the difference (1)

poity (465672) | about a year and a half ago | (#42889687)

and commando units, had Ozzel come out of light speed undetected. But seriously, paratroopers ahead of the main assault force.

A Serious Fan Could Apologize This All Away (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | about a year and a half ago | (#42888855)

But, I really don't have all day to do this so just to cover a few of the points: If the energy shields could only stop energy and not physical materials from entering, then the rebel shield makes sense. The Star Destroyers are too massive to get below the shield without crashing to the planet and yet all of their weapons are ion or energy based. So you have to transport in ground troops and walk them in. If you believe in the future that energy is cheap and mass is expensive, then the energy shields make more sense. You might have physical bombs on a fighter like a Y-wing with proton torpedoes but a Star Destroyer that might need to be out for years would never need to reload if they have cheap energy to power their systems.

Also, the article asks why Vader didn't bomb out the base. One explanation is that he senses Luke is inside and it's his duty to turn Luke over to the Emperor. Another explanation is that they're dug in too far and they don't have the bunker busting utilities on the ATATs and ATSTs.

He flies into an asteroid belt — which somehow the Imperial Fleet had failed to account for when planning its hasty “blockade” — and the Falcon has defied the odds.

I would have guessed that since the odds of successfully navigating an asteroid belt are so low (as threepio notes) that the blockade used that as a natural barrier like you would a mountain or sea in an earthly battle. When they flew into it, nobody was expecting them to opt to be blown up in an asteroid belt and they reluctantly gave chase.

Yeah, I know, I'm the life at parties and this is all done tongue in cheek but I could probably come up with apologetic responses. I'm actually really glad that Lucas didn't decide to have meaningless strategic dialogue of Tom Clancy proportions so that we could all follow why every little thing was happening. I've read fantasy books by authors with military backgrounds and the battles get tedious -- though very informative.

Re:A Serious Fan Could Apologize This All Away (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42888957)

I love detailed discussions of hypothetical scenarios, but Star Wars is really way too soft of SciFi for it to do anything other than maintain suspension of disbelief.
Trying to apply reality to it quickly results in an obvious mess.

Re:A Serious Fan Could Apologize This All Away (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | about a year and a half ago | (#42889045)

If the energy shields could only stop energy and not physical materials from entering, then the rebel shield makes sense. The Star Destroyers are too massive to get below the shield without crashing to the planet and yet all of their weapons are ion or energy based. So you have to transport in ground troops and walk them in.

The shields the Gungans used in the prequels seemed like that. It could stop weapon fire from outside, but the droids could just walk inside of it without any trouble.

Re:A Serious Fan Could Apologize This All Away (3, Informative)

elfprince13 (1521333) | about a year and a half ago | (#42889159)

The Star Wars universe makes a clear distinction between ray shields and particle shields. This is also the case with the shielding over exhaust port on the Death Star.

Re:A Serious Fan Could Apologize This All Away (1)

Kidbro (80868) | about a year and a half ago | (#42889747)

Honest question (from a not so die hard, but still a Star Wars fan) - what's the shield that blocks the path between first Darth Maul and Qui Gon Jinn and then later Obi Wan prior to the last part of the duel which kills both Qui Gon and Maul in Episode I? I guess it's a particle shield, given that it stops the Jedi themselves for a while, but if I recall correctly it also blocks the light saber when someone (can't remember who) briefly strikes at it to test it. I would have assumed a light saber was "energy" in this case.

Re:A Serious Fan Could Apologize This All Away (2)

elfprince13 (1521333) | about a year and a half ago | (#42889913)

Those were Laser gates [wikia.com] .

Re:A Serious Fan Could Apologize This All Away (2)

jeremyp (130771) | about a year and a half ago | (#42894985)

what's the shield that blocks the path between first Darth Maul and Qui Gon Jinn and then later Obi Wan

It's called a "Plot Device". The Star Wars films and other films are full of them.

It gets quite amusing watching people try to rationalise stuff when the only real logic is to allow the writer to manipulate the narrative the way he wants.

Allegedly J. Michael Straczynski was once asked by an obsessive fan how fast a certain spaceship (in Babylon 5?) could travel and the answer he gave was "at the speed of plot". You may also have noticed that things like transporters and communicators in Star Trek are exactly as unreliable as they need to be to make an episode last 45 minutes.

Re:A Serious Fan Could Apologize This All Away (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42889731)

The Gungan shields were special, according to the lore. They blocked objects which crossed a sufficient energy threshold. So an energy weapon would be blocked as it's pure energy moving at high speed, easily exceeding the limit. However, so would a physical object of high kinetic energy, whether due to large mass (the tanks) or high velocity (the artillery). This left the small droids to march through the shield and gun it down from the inside. The weakness of the shields was their duo nature, requiring twin generators to function instead of the usual central shield generator.

I have no idea if this principal applies to the shields on Hoth though.

Re:A Serious Fan Could Apologize This All Away (1)

witherstaff (713820) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893093)

Silly robots must not have known : " The slow blade penetrates the shield"

Here's the real explanation. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42889079)

Vader didn't want to eliminate this particular Rebel Base, he wanted to deal with the whole alliance, and the Emperor had a plan for that, his fully operational Death Star which was a honeypot meant to suck in the Rebels yet again, but this time with surprise on their side.

And most of those authors with military backgrounds just sound like pompous asses in my experience. Armchair generals declaring their own vacuous superiority instead.

Re:A Serious Fan Could Apologize This All Away (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42889411)

All you have to do is sacrifice one (1) Imperial Shuttle, accelerate it to a significant fraction of the speed of light (in Real Space) and just let it crash in the general vicinity of the base.... BOOM! Game over.

Re:A Serious Fan Could Apologize This All Away (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year and a half ago | (#42889631)

Doesn't work. Relativistic death bombs run into one small problem - atoms. If it was moving at a more than 10% fraction of the speed of light it would be vapourised long before it hit the rebel base. And that's assuming the Imperials had the ability to accelerate that quickly, one of the bonuses of a "warp" drive is that you can just use that to cross long distances and stick to sub-5000km/h speeds otherwise, also an excellent reason for the dogfights.

Re:A Serious Fan Could Apologize This All Away (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | about a year and a half ago | (#42894139)

This always drives me crazy. Velocity is relative. Isn't there a high probability at any given time that you're moving at more than 10% of the speed of light relative to those atoms?

Or is it the case that basically everything in the local part of the universe is going at "relatively" the same speed with respect to the fixed stars?

Re:A Serious Fan Could Apologize This All Away (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | about a year and a half ago | (#42889525)

If the energy shields could only stop energy and not physical materials from entering, then the rebel shield makes sense.

There is, in fact, some precedent for that in the first movie's Death Star's exhaust port being "ray shielded." The countermeasure to ray shielding was to use a physical torpedo.

Small flaw (1)

Namarrgon (105036) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890211)

If the Rebel shields couldn't stop matter entering (and the Imperials didn't even have a crowbar [wikipedia.org] ) - then how does it prevent the Rebel ships from leaving? A shield that won't stop a kinetic bombardment or even an invasion, but still blocks your own retreat, is worse than useless.

Re:Small flaw (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year and a half ago | (#42891383)

then how does it prevent the Rebel ships from leaving

It's an energy dampening field - it would kill the anti-gravity field the ships use for atmospheric navigation, and they have no aerodynamic glide capability so they'd fall like stones.

I just made that up to show that there's always going to be an excuse to move the plot along in a fantasy.

Re:Small flaw (1)

Namarrgon (105036) | about a year and a half ago | (#42892007)

That explains the wings on those invading AT-ATs...

Re:Small flaw (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year and a half ago | (#42892595)

the Empire ground forces landed beyond the energy shield - that's from dialogue, not speculation.

Re:Small flaw (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42894151)

It doesn't stop the ships from leaving, it stops the Ion Cannon from firing through.

Re:Small flaw (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year and a half ago | (#42896059)

If you have virtually unlimited energy, and the capability to fire that energy in a highly concentrated 'blast' then targeting computers take care of the rest. De-orbiting large objects doesn't allow for much maneuvering.

You didn't see the cannons designed to defend against physical bombardment because physical bombardment wasn't used and therefore wasn't shown in the film.

"Sir, what about physical bombardment?"
"Idiot, didn't you read the situation report? The probe identified that the base is equipped with Quathi-arms H-74s. Get the hell out of here, read the report and stop wasting my time"

This of course, doesn't even get into the issue that de-orbiting objects takes a hell of a lot of time. If the rebels had the capability to flee the surface within hours of the Imperials arriving, they certainly would have had the time to flee any physical bombardment of mass with sizes large enough to pose a risk.

Re:A Serious Fan Could Apologize This All Away (1)

jjohnson (62583) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890255)

Well done! Now do the Enterprise E against an Imperial Star destroyer.

Re:A Serious Fan Could Apologize This All Away (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year and a half ago | (#42891453)

Well done! Now do the Enterprise E against an Imperial Star destroyer.

No contest - the Old Republic had way more energy than the Federation. They had a fully galactic Republic/Empire, whereas warp engines take decades to travel across a galaxy. The Rebels rendezvoused at a point far outside their own galaxy to stay hidden at the end of ESB. Which makes sense - the Federation is about 250 years more advanced than we are, while the Old Republic was stable for over a thousand generations.

Add to that the Empire's newly developed technology that allows them to unbind an entire planet - the Enterprise's main phasers can just make fairly narrow holes in a planet's crust. It would take a thousand Enterprises with more firepower ... then again, the ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force - like the Traveller used for transportation.

Re:A Serious Fan Could Apologize This All Away (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year and a half ago | (#42892651)

If you believe in the future that energy is cheap and mass is expensive

Past. Star Wars happened a Long, Long Time Ago.

It's a trap! (1)

Doug Otto (2821601) | about a year and a half ago | (#42888993)

Had to be said.

That's what Kim Jong-il said (0)

Dishwasha (125561) | about a year and a half ago | (#42889025)

US=Empire
North Koreans=Rebels
South Korea=Echo Base
Harry S. Truman=Darth Vader

Re:That's what Kim Jong-il said (1)

gadget junkie (618542) | about a year and a half ago | (#42889171)

US=Empire North Koreans=Rebels South Korea=Echo Base Harry S. Truman=Darth Vader

Except that a popular but absolutely mediocre general like Douglas MacArthur pulled the trick of a lifetime with the Inchon landing, neatly regaining control of the capital city/ transport node, cutting away supplies to the north Korean thrust, and giving the enemy the unpalatable choice between an hasty but long retreat or trying to basically fight a three front war against an enemy which could make good use of a reasonable ability to deny ground movement.
they could have tried to leave a screen south, fight their way back to Seoul, pressure Seoul from the north as well and mass the army reserves in the region east of Seoul. In the end, they could not or would not.

Re:That's what Kim Jong-il said (2)

DrVomact (726065) | about a year and a half ago | (#42889553)

Except that a popular but absolutely mediocre general like Douglas MacArthur pulled the trick of a lifetime with the Inchon landing...

That wasn't exactly a mediocre move, was it? Some people point out that he relied on some previous staff work, but staffs exist to plan for every possible contingency, and MacArthur found this solution and implemented it. I must grant, however, that even a mediocre general may display an occasional flash of brilliance. In addition, his success also contained the seed of eventual failure. Once the Inchon Landing succeeded and MacArthur kept on rolling, the Chinese saw a general coming toward their borders at the head of a powerful army who was on record calling for the Communist government's eradication (he frequently called for "unleashing" Chiang Kai-Shek) and who advocated the use of nuclear bombs against China. It was not at all clear to them (nor to me) that he would have stopped at the border. It's damn hard to stop a popular and victorious general—as one biographer points out, the man was effectively the U.S. viceroy in Asia. The Chinese reaction was pretty predictable.

My respect for MacArthur doesn't arise so much from his generalship (as you imply, he did much that can be faulted), but for his administration of Japan. I think he was probably a much better administrator than he was a strategist. It seems that he understood the Japanese well enough to grasp that leaving the emperor in power and positioning himself as a Shogun would play well with Japanese culture and practices. They were used to having a figurehead emperor and a military dictator. MacArthur provided both. And he did it so well that he was able to administer Japan with no resistance at all.

Re:That's what Kim Jong-il said (1)

gadget junkie (618542) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893009)

I have to concur... but nothing takes out of my mind that somebody would have smoked the move if the Spruance - Fletcher team had been there. Let's face it, that landing was not in character.

Re:That's what Kim Jong-il said (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about a year and a half ago | (#42894907)

Landings like that had been conducted in WW2 in the Mediterranean during Sicily by Patton when he made his drive from Palermo to Messina. So there's definite preexisting work that had been done regarding using amphibious landings to cut off enemy forces. In Patton's case, the landings were done with smaller detachments that couldn't hold long and required the main body to punch through and join up rather than drop a corps behind enemy lines to relieve a defense.

Re:That's what Kim Jong-il said (1)

gadget junkie (618542) | about a year and a half ago | (#42895821)

They were also made in the Central Pacific, to very good effect, while MacArthur leapfrogged in a predictable way from island to island north of Australia. To be fair, landmass dictated the strategy: the nuisance value of a Japanese garrison in a speck of land in central pacific was practically nil, while leaving for example the whole of Rabaul unscathed would have posed problems and risks best left to the enemy.

I am familiar with the Sicily campaign, and it was not the high note of Patton's career: a significant proportion of forces were allowed to repair to Calabria, since the Allies were unable to plug the small sea lane between Sicily and the continent.

Re:That's what Kim Jong-il said (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about a year and a half ago | (#42896015)

I'm not sure I would compare bypassing islands in the pacific that were cut off from Japanese reinforcements on the same degree as using a maneuver to cut off or otherwise place pressure on the enemy's force. In the Pacific, if I remember correctly, skipping those islands was a trivial matter since we had naval and air dominance by that time. So there was no point wasting troops on islands that had little to no strategic values, like the Philippines.

Maybe they had advance intelligence? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42889027)

traceroute -m 100 216.81.59.173

But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42889031)

Really, the author of TFA had nothing better to write about than a science fiction battle happening in a movies from 30 years ago????

Re:But... (1)

gadget junkie (618542) | about a year and a half ago | (#42889281)

Really, the author of TFA had nothing better to write about than a science fiction battle happening in a movies from 30 years ago????

Ever read "Falkenberg's Legion" or other Scifi of mixed "sci fi / military" theme? they are actually quite good. and anyway, I am quite sure that the powers that be have wargamed scenario that would seem farfetched even to a preteen on a high from "battlestar galactica". It's cheap, it's outside the box, and it's effective.
on a sidenote, I had a classical education at school, and please do remember that the basic ingredients of the classical epic story are the same. I always joke with my son about how his generation is basically fed good second hand scrap, simply because they do not know the real things. Xenofon is a nobody to them, no point screaming "thalassa! thalassa!" any more.

Re:But... (1)

gargleblast (683147) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890413)

It's crap all right. Not enough Bothans died to bring us this information.

I Beg of You... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42889033)

...save up a few hundred bucks, get on Backpage, and GO GET LAID.

You'll be astonished at how fast Star Wars loses its cool when you actually grow up a little.

Re:I Beg of You... (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42889173)

Better yet, have sex without paying for it. I know, I know. I must be new here.

Re:I Beg of You... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42889955)

*Better yet, have sex without paying for it. I know, I know. I must be new here.*

You always pay for sex, one way or another. Ask any man who's been divorced.

Re:I Beg of You... (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about a year and a half ago | (#42889273)

Many years ago, before the world wide web existed, I went to some online system, maybe Compuserve, I don't remember, and I noticed that they had a bunch of forums for Star Trek, Star Wars, etc. Being a big sci-fi fan fan I thought "this sounds pretty cool." Wrong. It took me all of about 5 minutes to discover that having serious discussions about fictional characters and events is boring, pointless and just plain stupid.

Why did [some character] do [something] instead of doing [something else]?
Why? Because it was in the script. That's why.

Are people really so dense they can't figure out that every movie and television show contains giant holes in the story line that don't make sense because telling the story that the writer wants to tell is the number one priority.

Re:I Beg of You... (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | about a year and a half ago | (#42889283)

I didn't need sex for Star Wars to lose its cool.... George Lucas did that with his wretched prequels and constant fiddling with the originals.

Re:I Beg of You... (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | about a year and a half ago | (#42889473)

I didn't need sex for Star Wars to lose its cool.... George Lucas did that with his wretched prequels and constant fiddling with the originals.

Dude, get laid... Then you won't care about what one very rich man does to a bunch of kids movies.
Wait a second, I forgot this was Slashdot... Nevermind.

Re:I Beg of You... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42889453)

...save up a few hundred bucks, get on Backpage, and GO GET LAID.

You'll be astonished at how fast Star Wars loses its cool when you actually grow up a little.

Uh, yeah... cuz being obsessed with "SCORING!" is SO mature...

Re:I Beg of You... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42889993)

*Uh, yeah... cuz being obsessed with "SCORING!" is SO mature...*

Compared with being obsessed over an imaginary battle in a 30 year old movie that really wasn't all that in the first place...yes, yes it is.

Re:I Beg of You... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893237)

No it isn't. It's still just prolonged adolescence.

Too much valuable intel (4, Interesting)

DCheesi (150068) | about a year and a half ago | (#42889141)

I think what the author is missing is that Vader may have wanted to take the base intact, probably to recover information on remaining resistance cells elsewhere. Nuking the base from orbit was never his plan.

He actually succeeded in prompting an evacuation of the base; his only failure was in assuming that the star destroyers could handle the mop-up operation and prevent ships from escaping the system. Either he didn't anticipate the presence of the ion cannon, or he gravely overestimated his forces' competency in that regard (personally the fact that one ion cannon so easily facilitated their escape always seemed like a bit of a stretch).

In any case it seems like the rebels always planned to use the ion cannon to cover their escape path, so the issue of the shield creating a "chokepoint" was probably moot.

Re:Too much valuable intel (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890269)

I think what the author is missing is that Vader may have wanted to take the base intact, probably to recover information on remaining resistance cells elsewhere. Nuking the base from orbit was never his plan.

Not to mention that scattering the Rebels complicates their operations, logistics, communications, etc... (In a real war, that's a non trivial win.) If the goal is to deny the Rebels the use of the base as the author claims - it doesn't matter if the base is turned into a smoking crater or the Emperor's personal bordello. The Rebels are gone, mission accomplished.
 
The author knows a hell of a lot less about military affairs than he thinks he does.
 
And in the end, the Rebel forces that escape are irrelevant anyhow - because they had little role in winning the war. *That* was accomplished by Luke taking out Darth Vader and the Emperor.

Re:Too much valuable intel (1)

StCredZero (169093) | about a year and a half ago | (#42892067)

In any case it seems like the rebels always planned to use the ion cannon to cover their escape path, so the issue of the shield creating a "chokepoint" was probably moot.

From what I remember of the dialogue, the rebels fired the ion cannon, and let the fighters and transports pass, by turning off the whole shield for a fraction of a second. The ion cannon is mounted in a ball turret, which seems to be able to cover 1/3rd of the sky. Hence, the shield is not a choke point. An entire 1/3rd of the sky is available for escape vectors.

Re:Too much valuable intel (2)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year and a half ago | (#42896193)

Basically this: The ion cannon prevented the ability for the blockade to be in a position to directly target the weak spot in the shield, and just far enough away to give a fast transport enough time to zip through.

People who get upset at that have never watched a football game where an offensive lineman opens a hole just long enough for a runner to slip past the defenders. It's not much of a hole, but it's enough if you are quick.

It was Ozzel (3, Funny)

JWW (79176) | about a year and a half ago | (#42889163)

It's well known that Admiral Ozzel came out of hyperpsace too close to the system and cost them the element of surprise. He's as clumsy as he is stupid....

Re:It was Ozzel (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42889791)

Also, as a good manager, Vader gave Ozzel immediate and clear feedback on his poor performance, promptly demoted him, and simultaneously strongly motivated the replacement to perform better in their new job.

Re:It was Ozzel (2)

Guppy06 (410832) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890633)

It's well known that the late Admiral Ozzel came out of hyperpsace too close to the system and cost them the element of surprise. He's as clumsy as he was stupid....

FTFY

Plus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42890809)

There's that darn Imperial Stormtrooper school of marksmanship...

Re:It was Ozzel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42891203)

"How many Ozzel's we have on this ship?"

Re:It was Ozzel (1)

r33per (585447) | about a year and a half ago | (#42894945)

"Yo!"

Re:It was Ozzel (1)

r33per (585447) | about a year and a half ago | (#42894965)

He obviously learned his lesson. 9 years later [wikipedia.org] , he was the man in charge...

News for Nerds, (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42889235)

Stuff that mattered in 1980...

Re:News for Nerds, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42891371)

Stuff that mattered a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

Fixed.

Only attack from in front... (1)

fostware (551290) | about a year and a half ago | (#42889327)

Haven't most of these points been argued to death before, like why everyone attacks the AT-ATs from in front?

Why not flank them and attack from behind or from the sides? The trip cables don't care which part of the body they start from, and you're less likely to be shot with cannons that only shoot in the front quadrant...

Hmm, after deep consideration.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42889373)

If you're thinkin about the battle tactics
and other milit'ry facts (la! la! la!)
Just repeat to yourself, "It's just a show...
I should really just relax."

The real point (2)

ceswiedler (165311) | about a year and a half ago | (#42889417)

The real point of this is how a good story doesn't need to be consistent or even especially believable, if it's told well. The characters in Empire are vivid, the story is strong, and the direction is fantastic. The goal isn't to write a plot so airtight it can't be nitpicked apart, it's to get the audience so caught up that they don't bother with any nitpicking.

That said, this article picked some very entertaining nits.

Re:The real point (2)

CannonballHead (842625) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890195)

the story is strong with this one. ;)

I don't always (1)

dragon-file (2241656) | about a year and a half ago | (#42889895)

I don't always analyze the battle strategies of fictional characters but when i do, It's usually the characters from Star Wars, or Jurassic Park.

He is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42890821)

The most interesting commentator in hyperspace.

Re:I don't always (1)

Megane (129182) | about a year and a half ago | (#42891319)

He is... The Most Nerdy Man In The World.

Ignorant Journalist (4, Informative)

Fieryphoenix (1161565) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890001)

Even an incompetent reporter should know that a planetary shield protects against orbital bombardment from capital ships and is not a kinetic barrier to ship movement. It's exactly this lack of diligence in reporting that we were protected from by the previous regime, and I for one, miss the grav-trains running on time.

What about the book (original) version? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42890345)

This battle analysis seem to be based on the movie (correct me if I'm wrong), but about the book version? Was there only 1 Ion cannon easilly detectable by the imperials? Was there only 6 Star Destroyers?

What if those mistake was only change make during the movie creation for other reason?

Motives (2)

sg3000 (87992) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890977)

I think the author is missing the point about Vader's motives. The article said:

For reasons that never get explained — and can’t be justified militarily — Vader joins the Stormtrooper assault on the base. So much for his major weapon against the Rebels, and the primary reason for ordering the Walkers to invade and destroy the generator. Once Vader opts to bring down the shield and lead the invasion, he’s lost the battle.

The author assumes that Vader actually cared about winning whatever military objectives the Empire had. I don't think he did. In Episode V, Vader wanted only one thing: to get Luke Skywalker. I imagine that after the Death Star was destroyed and there was a big ceremony highlighting to everyone in the Rebel Alliance that Luke was the hero, word got to the Empire (and Vader) that someone named Skywalker was involved. Vader may have claimed that the name had no meaning for him, but it certainly did. So that's why he went down to the base. He didn't trust the stormtroopers to be able to capture Luke; he was going to do it himself.

In Episode IV, Vader seemed to be nominally to be a team player (at least he stopped choking that guy in the conference room) and willing to take orders. By the time Episode V rolled around, Vader was off the leash. All he wanted was to get Luke to turn him into his Sith Apprentice and everything else (stormtroopers, admirals, star destroyers, what have you) was just fodder. So although I enjoyed the article, I don't think Vader's tactics weren't because of poor planning or insight. If every Rebel escaped and every Imperial died, it wouldn't matter to him if he captured Luke.

It other words: it's not that I'm a bad driver. It's that I needed to get to the airport to make my flight and that now-dented car was a rental.

Rebel Strategy Fail (2)

Livius (318358) | about a year and a half ago | (#42891085)

Let's not forget...

Hiding the base on Hoth was Luke Skywalker's one major leadership decision.

The base was discovered and attacked before even becoming fully operational. Although the rebels themselves escaped, there would have been a massive loss of costly and difficult to replace military hardware.

Skywalker did at least have the sense not to show his face again except for personal rescue attempts in The Empire Strikes Back and then not to even attempt to participate in the actual rebellion until after the strategic decisions had already been finalized in The Return of the Jedi.

No planetary shield (2)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | about a year and a half ago | (#42891251)

The Rebels had a poorly-laid-out ground defense, and a planetary shield that can't keep an invader out while complicating their own escape.

But they didn't really have a planetary shield. It was merely a shield over Echo Base. With highly limited resources and a shoestring budget, it was better than nothing. Don't forget, this was not a well funded, professional army, it was a ragtag group of rebels on the run.

TL;DR (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year and a half ago | (#42892309)

It was damn cold. The good guys got away, as expected.

all the problems with these problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42892655)

So, first phase?, probe droids scout the nearby planets. One doesn't come back, which is a pretty good clue.

So, head to that planet. Incompetent Admiral comes out of Hyperspace too close, giving them away. Mistakes happen... Vader just deals with them a bit differently them.

So, they know you are coming, and raise their shield. Due to the basics of physics, it's easier to produce the shield in empty space. Just like radar coverage has gaps because of the terrain. Star Wars is one of the only groups that consider the difficulties of consistent shield coverage, (take the Droidekas, who could only create their shield when using their slower movement style over flat terrain).

Far from what the article describes, Echo Base is rather a sideline. It has the main storyline characters, but only one of them is considered a Rebel Leader, and most of the rest of them came on the same ship.

Why would Darth Vader be way out on the ass-end of the galaxy dealing with this shitty little rebel base?, well, Luke, of course, (or maybe Leia). The entire point of the Empire Strikes Back is the Vader / Luke relationship. He doesn't want to annihilate the base. Even if Luke wasn't there, he still wouldn't want to annihilate the base; he'd want to capture the Rebel Leadership for interrogation.

The AT-AT's are completely invulnerable to the firepower the rebels have. The only thing that even slows them down is 1) an almost-a-Jedi, doing something that's pretty obvious no one had ever done before, and 2) an almost-a-Jedi and his light saber. Before the fall of the Republic, Jedi Knights operated in 1 or 2-man teams, and took on armies. Why is Vader leading the attack?, because he is a Jedi Master, increasing the effective strength of his little attack force 100x. Also, he is looking to make sure the rebel leadership is captured alive, (it's a lot more difficult to capture soldiers alive, especially if they feel the need to hold the line for the good of the entire galaxy).

The attack succeeds. Again, contrary to the article, the blockade only has to blockade the side of the planet they are likely to escape from. Chances are they aren't going to fly through the planet's core, and pop out the other side. Also, it's not just the capital ships, a small group of TIE's is more then a match for almost any ship the rebels are using. The only reason the Millenium Falcon is doing so well is 1) they didn't just bomb the crap out of it at first glance, (remember in A New Hope, when they escaped from the Death Star?, it is explicitely mentioned that they were let go, with only token show resistance), and 2) the fact that Corellian YT-series freighters have an uncanny amount of armament for civilian ships, so much so that the Empire was explicitely considering arresting the developers for treason, (they were distracted by civil wars, and the untimely death of the Emperor). What do they send after the Millennium Falcon?, a Star Destroyer, (meaning they knew how dangerous it was).

The only thing that let's rebels through the blockade is 1) a massive planetary ion cannon powerful enough to, (temporarily), disable a Star Destroyer with a single shot, and 2) that some of them were crazy enough to fly through an asteroid field that normal odds were over 3000 : 1 in favour of dying, (the only reason they made it is that smugglers are known to fly through there habitually, like say, Han Solo, implying he has previous knowledge of it). Considering how much firepower it normally takes to even dent a Star Destroyer, it was nearly incomprehensible to expect one that powerful to be on Hoth.

"the only ones remaining at the base when Vader arrives are Han, Leia, Chewbacca and C-3PO."
The people he wants to capture and interrogate. Imagine that. Maybe, just maybe Darth Vader wasn't leading the ground forces for the shear visceral pleasure of stabbing people with his light saber Leia isn't even the political symbol of the Rebel Alliance, that's Mon Mothma, who wasn't even there.

The only reason the Empire lost any soldiers in the assault was because of a magick space ninja with a laser sword, and they utterly destroyed one of the only bases the Rebels have left. Hell, as it turns out, they even expected the story's protagonists to escape. They knew where they were heading, and arranged a welcoming committee.

Re:all the problems with these problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893387)

Nerd.

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