Warfare in the Star Wars Universe

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Rebel_Loyaltist, Feb 26, 2004.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Moderators: Darth_Nub, Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn
  1. Rebel_Loyaltist Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 17, 2001
    star 2
    In the Star War movies and EU (Games, Books, Comics etc.) we've seen two basic types of warfare, guerilla warfare and conventional warfare. The best example of guerilla warfare in SW is the Rebel Alliance fighting the Empire. There are also many examples of conventional warfare in the SWU, the newest one that we are being exposed to is the Clone Wars. But is conventional warfare in the SWU just an extension of guerilla warfare?

    Well first off I think we all know that warfare in the SWU is heavily dependant on the starship. Warfare?s are not confined to just continent like on Earth. On Earth opposing forces would pit millions upon millions of men against each on the same area of land. Naval and air forces were used mainly to strike deep in enemy territory, transportation and defense of key installations. In the SWU conflicts on land hardly ever pitted millions upon millions of people fitting for land. At most opposing armies would throw a few thousand men at the enemy. Is this due to an unavailability of men to station on a planet or is it that most of their military is out fighting the war?

    Back to the importance of starships, like I said they are the main force in any Star Wars military. They fulfill everything that their Earth counterparts but deliver a lot more. They transport, they protect, they surge deep into enemy territory, they're mobile bases, they move the war. They are the feet (with steel tipped boots) of this war and the starfigthers are the hands so to speak.

    But how is guerilla warfare fought in a wide vast galaxy? From what I?ve read and seen a galactic war in space is not much different than the ones on earth. A band of rebels form together to overthrow a government which most likely controls anywhere from a few planets to half the galaxy. From whatever resources they can gather they strict at strategic points such as shipyards, unprotected fleets, convoys and such. They hit planetary surfaces with quick hit and fade attacks to put the enemy in a position where they put reinforcements at one place while weakening another. After enough damage has been done the guerilla forces make their all out daring attack at the capital in all or nothing attack, one they?re not used to, a traditional conventional battle to control the planet, and thus end the government?s reign. But lets back up; I said they made one all out assault on the capital right? The reason they can?t take other planets it would stretch their already limited fleet too thinly. They would have part of the fleet protect the planet (and build up planetary defense using limited money) and part of the fleet making the hit and run attacks. Eventually that?s going to catch up to them. But had the Rebel Alliance, who waged the greatest of guerilla war against the Empire, succeed where so many of other groups would?ve failed?

    The Rebel Alliance, the mother of all resistance, groups was made up of millions of supporters, from whole planets, to various companies to basic ordinary people who wanted to see the Empire overthrown. But the Rebel Alliance was fighting a war against an enemy that controlled a great deal of the galaxy. That itself forces them to look for support everywhere and everyway they can. With all of this support the end up gain enough resources to somewhat fight in a conventional war like style. Sure they?re way to small to take on the Empire dead on but they can put up a good resistance in a particular region. Even though they still use hit and run tactics they can engage in ?assaults? like conventional armies. The Rebel Alliance after a number of successful hit and run tactics in a particular region would they would assault the main fleet area or planet and would occupy it like most armies would. Yet the majority of its forced is still forced to hide because if their whole force were in known locations the Empire would?ve overrun them everywhere. The Alliance did this to show their power and at the same time show its illusiveness.

    But there?s one more form of combat in the SWU to be discussed, conventional warfare. Of all
  2. Rebel_Loyaltist Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 17, 2001
    star 2
    Not one reply? Come on now.
  3. Jedi_Hood Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 10, 2000
    star 6
    Umm....that is an awfully long post. Good, but long. ;)

    Let me see if I can digest it, then maybe I'll have some thoughts.
  4. Siri_Ruane Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 13, 2003
    star 4
  5. Rebel_Loyaltist Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 17, 2001
    star 2
    Why does no one reply to my thread?!? :_|
  6. VadersLaMent Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 3, 2002
    star 9
    2 points of view:

    1. Since it would be easy to drop from hyperspace, blast a world, then hop back into hyperspace, it has a deterrant effect since the targeted world may have a military of its own and be able to do the same thing.

    2. Worlds are more heavily defended than they appear. It took screen caps to relize Alderaan had a planetary shield. PSs are probably quite common so hit and run tactics are not so easy, Hoth makes a good example.

    In the ANH novel it mentions that hyperdrives cannot operate too close to a gravity well, so ships can only get so close. There must be a galaxy-wide accepted distance that ships must come in from a given world. If a ship ius detected too close then a PS goes up automatically.

    There are probably many worlds besides the ones we see like Tatooine and such that do not have shields and for the most part seem underpopulated and not much of a military target. Worlds that have important assests will have PSs.

    In the time of the Republic PSs were probably not in widespread use, but as the Separatists grew, and later on the Rebellion, PSs were more than likely brought back out across the galaxy. Worlds with large populations and assests probably used PSs to some degree if for no better reason than to deflect asteroid impacts, however, spacefaring worlds could easily deflect such threats without PSs.

  7. DS615 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 30, 2003
    star 4
    There must be a galaxy-wide accepted distance that ships must come in from a given world.

    One of the novels (I think it's ANH) mentions six planetary diameters as the distance.
  8. Bib Fortuna Twi'lek Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 1999
    star 10
    Yep, that's where it comes from.
  9. VadersLaMent Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 3, 2002
    star 9
    Does it say that is an accepted distance for coming out of hyperdrive, or is that har far away a ship has to be in order for hyperdrive to work? It sounds like the latter.

    For Earth that would be 48,000 miles, just double GEO.

    When I get motivated maybe I'll pull some info and thoughts together on ground warfare as possible in a GFFA. :)
  10. DS615 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 30, 2003
    star 4
    That's the distance required for the hyperdrive to engage. Or disengage I guess, if you were heading toward the planet.

  11. Rebel_Loyaltist Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 17, 2001
    star 2
    Ah, ground warfare, that'd be a great edition.
  12. VadersLaMent Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 3, 2002
    star 9
    Ground warfare in the time at the height of Palpatine's Empire is degraded, this is a result of power from space.

    SDs can unleash multi-megaton energies in seconds and travel about the galaxy in a matter of hours or days. With this kind of projected power the ground forces of the Empire are for the most part occupation forces rather than attacking forces.
    Just from the shere numbers of Stormtroopers that exist by the time of ROTJ the quality of training must be degraded greatly from the time of AOTC.

    At times though, as we see with the Rebellion, ground assaults happen. AT-ATs are the Empire's primary ground assault weapon. If you are going to have a walking weapon that armor had better be TOUGH. A question I see on the boards every so often is "why didn't the Rebels just nuke the walkers?"

    Make no mistake, had a 1 megaton bomb gone off in the middle of those 5 walkers Vader would have been Force choking some engineer over the matter of 5 obliterated walkers.

    So, why not launch nuke missles?

    There are 2 RL thoughts here considering the future of ground combat:

    1. Denial of airspace via lasers.

    2. Horizon limit.

    Missles can be shot over the horizon. There is a laser weapon in serious development that will target and destroy multiple incoming missles and aircraft in seconds. In testing a laser has knocked out missles, drones, and even artillary shells in multiple target fashion.
    The blasters on the AT-ATs serve this purpose well. In movie drama moments they do miss, but in other shots they are very accurate.
    In a nutshell, anything coming over the horizon at the AT-ATs would have been shot down as a denial of airspace.

    Lasers and blasters on the ground have a major disadvantage, they cannot shoot over the horizon, they are strictly a line-of-sight weapon.

    What this means is that most land battles are going to be done in close, on Earth you have a horizon no greater than 15 miles. An all laser battle will happen within 15 miles.
    AT-ATs do have a functionality here, being a bit over 50 feet tall they can basically become a standing weapons platform that can hide most of its mass behind a hill, snow dune etc etc.

    All in all, ground forces in the Empire win by shere numbers. There are a number of ground weapons in other sci fi storylines that would waste the Imperial ground units with some ease. In 15 years time our soldiers will have armor suits not just some kevlar and a helmet. The suits will have the ability to form auto-splints in case of a broken leg, allow the wearer to carry greater loads, the skin of the suit will seal itself off from the outside air if any trace of chemical or bio weapon is found, the skin of the suit will be the detector due to nano-sensors.

    We don't see this in the Empire, moslty because they don't need it. Not many are going to mess with a 'Trooper backed by a Star Destroyer parked in orbit with a few thousand more 'Troopers ready, along with large walking weapon platforms.

    The Rebels on Hoth lacked large numbers, which is good from a survival standpoint. They also lacked numerous weapons. You can deny the sky over the horizon with those walker blasters, but what if the Rebels had over 1,000 missles that they could launch all at one time? Lack of resources prevented this and of course it would only have succeeded in delaying the inevitable.

    As a summary; the Imperial ground forces are not a super quality engine, but they are good enough to get the job done when backed by space craft firepower and the threat of annihilation.

    With that I would wonder just how degarded the ground forces would have become with a Death Star or two running around. As Tarkin said, no one would dare defy the Emporer now.

    With planet busting power, Stormtroopers would have become security guards rather than special ground units acting as a whole army.
  13. Plurimus Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 5, 1999
    star 3
    A good site for the tactical and strategic warfare is Stardestroyer.net.

    The website's a SW v. Star Trek site using scientific analysis as the mode for comparison. It's got a lot of commentary on battles and the like.

    An interesting comment gleaned from Stover's Shatterpoint was Windu's comment that dropping a nuke on Geonosis would've been an easy fix for an underlying political problem.

    When looking at conventional warfare in SW, it's important to look at the goal of each event. For example, Gungans fighting droid armies as a distraction so Amidala can penetrate the palace. I like how clone troopers were all over the place on Geonosis. I wonder how modern land tacticians would disperse their troopers. Wish I had the competence to do so with authority.
  14. ObiwanJohn Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 12, 2003
    star 4
    "In the ANH novel it mentions that hyperdrives cannot operate too close to a gravity well, so ships can only get so close. There must be a galaxy-wide accepted distance that ships must come in from a given world. "

    That only matters when jumping/traveling through hyperspace. A gravity well prevents the jump and will pull a ship out of hyperspace.

    A Stardestroyer can orbit a planet quite closely and commence ariel bombardment, mentioned in ESB, and systematically slag the entire surface with it's batteries of turbo lasers. Of course if there's a planetary shield that's a different story. However, the code to disable most planetary shields is 1,2,3,4.
  15. Rebel_Loyaltist Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 17, 2001
    star 2
    Lol, damn forgot I had this thread going. Anyway, there was the one question I never did ask. I never did realize why ground warfare was always kinda linear in Star Wars. Like in AoTC and in some books you'll hear of like several land battles and that'd be the end of it. You never really hear about month of year long ground wars. You never see land battles use a variety of different tactics and manuevers. In AoTC the Republic Army and the Seperatist Army just marched head on into each, soldiers, artillery, tanks, aerial support etc. The troops just kept on marching and marching, never really stopping. You never saw anyone trying to take cover behind any rocks, tanks etc, you never saw strategic placements of machine guns or snipers or any of that. Why does Star Wars land warfare always seem so linear and not fought like, WW2 for example.
  16. VadersLaMent Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 3, 2002
    star 9
    Real world explanation:

    GL can't/won't/doesn't have time to make as good a land battle scene as was portrayed in movies like Blackhawk Down or Saving private Ryan.

    Other explanation:

    When you get to power levels where even the smaller weapons can be as powerful as Earth modern nuclear weapons, there really isn't alot you can hide behind. it's actually not a bad idea to go right into the enemy so they are no so prone to just obliterate you since they will take their own forces with them. Lando does this in ROTJ when he takes on the SDs at point blank range.
  17. fosh-bantus88 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 27, 2003
    star 4
    the rebellion's war against the empire wasnt really guerilla in my opinion, but a conventional one.

    instead of spreading out through the galaxy in raids and insurgency type movements, they focused on a fighting retreat.

    they waited for the empire to come to yavin rather that seek out the death star and attack it on their terms.

    when conventional battle on hoth was lost, they retreated rather than stay and continue the fight.

    their tactics are based on fighting as a group and maintaining a seperate terretory against their enemy; just what defines a conventional styled war.

  18. Rebel_Loyaltist Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 17, 2001
    star 2
    When you get to power levels where even the smaller weapons can be as powerful as Earth modern nuclear weapons, there really isn't alot you can hide behind. it's actually not a bad idea to go right into the enemy so they are no so prone to just obliterate you since they will take their own forces with them. Lando does this in ROTJ when he takes on the SDs at point blank range."

    True, but you still see basic elements of warfare in the SWU, navy, infantry, artillery, tanks etc. And also, isn't one of the rules of engagment to make a small a target for you enemy are possible?

    "the rebellion's war against the empire wasnt really guerilla in my opinion, but a conventional one."

    The had elements of both in their war against the Empire. That's why the focused on having all their bases hidden and on far out planets and why they used numerous hit and run raids. I mean they had some battle that were conventional like the BOE but a lot of the time they used guerilla warfare. Heck, the mission to destroy the shield generator was guerilla in a sense.

    "instead of spreading out through the galaxy in raids and insurgency type movements, they focused on a fighting retreat."

    The Rebels didn't have the resources to fight in retreat because if they did, the numbers game would've caught up to them eventually.

    "they waited for the empire to come to yavin rather that seek out the death star and attack it on their terms."

    Well they really had no choice, they knew that the Falcon was being tracked and thet the Death Star was gonna appear at Yavin sooner or later. Provided with the fact that they had to destroy the station, all they could do was wait for the chance to strike.

    "when conventional battle on hoth was lost, they retreated rather than stay and continue the fight."

    Well they sorta knew that the battle wasn't gonna be won and the only reason for the defense of the station was to delay the Imperial advance from reaching the base and destroying the shield generator. Once the base was mostly evacuated and the shield generator destroyed they had little else to defend and thus retreated so they could be evaced.

    "their tactics are based on fighting as a group and maintaining a seperate terretory against their enemy; just what defines a conventional styled war."

    That's why I thought it was wierd because they use elements from both types of warfare.
  19. fosh-bantus88 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 27, 2003
    star 4
    When you get to power levels where even the smaller weapons can be as powerful as Earth modern nuclear weapons, there really isn't alot you can hide behind. it's actually not a bad idea to go right into the enemy so they are no so prone to just obliterate you since they will take their own forces with them. Lando does this in ROTJ when he takes on the SDs at point blank range."

    go into the enemy, but not as one group. by doing this, the empire's numerical superiority is only focused on one objective, rather than being confused by unceasing attacks in every direction.

    True, but you still see basic elements of warfare in the SWU, navy, infantry, artillery, tanks etc. And also, isn't one of the rules of engagment to make a small a target for you enemy are possible?

    that is why it is better for an out numbered and overwhelmed group to make many small targets instead of just one. the one being easy prey. many small tagets have a better chance of avoiding complete destruction.

    would you rather shoot at a nest of ducks, or the lot of them, spread out through a field?

    the had elements of both in their war against the Empire. That's why the focused on having all their bases hidden and on far out planets and why they used numerous hit and run raids. I mean they had some battle that were conventional like the BOE but a lot of the time they used guerilla warfare. Heck, the mission to destroy the shield generator was guerilla in a sense.

    the guerilla raid was in support of the conventional attack. much like the american rangers or the british commandos of WW2.

    The Rebels didn't have the resources to fight in retreat because if they did, the numbers game would've caught up to them eventually.

    but for some reason, they stuck together and fought a hopeless toe to toe battle instead of forming local partisan groups.

    Well they really had no choice, they knew that the Falcon was being tracked and thet the Death Star was gonna appear at Yavin sooner or later. Provided with the fact that they had to destroy the station, all they could do was wait for the chance to strike.

    putting all their eggs in one basket in yavin was the problem.

    if they fought a geurilla war, all their forces would be far apart and apread out. if they had the whole operation on thousands of different planets, and right in the empire's backyard, using the deathstar in the war would be like trying to use a nuclear weapon in the war on terror.
  20. Emperor_Windy Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2003
    star 1
    the death star would be irrelevant, but then the stormtroopers and regular army would be sent out to hunt them down...and palpatine wont back down to popular sentiment on individual planets
Moderators: Darth_Nub, Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.