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Friday 3 February 2023 Dublin: 10°C
# Empire Strikes Back
Just how bad were the Empire soldiers in Star Wars?
US military experts weighed in this week.

1353105499_4858_Darth Vader

These blast points; too accurate for Sand People… Only Imperial Stormtroopers are so precise.

THE SEEMING INEPTITUDE of stormtroopers in the original Star Wars trilogy has become something of an internet fixation.

The fact that a group of faceless henchmen weren’t very good at their jobs probably only served to advance the plot and keep the heroes alive, but has since become seen as a flaw in the reality of a movie about knights wielding swords made out of light on distant planets.


But, should the rebels have been able to topple the Empire?

A Quora post earlier this week asked just that question and, despite what you might think, military minds think that Darth Vader’s men actually did a good job, but were poorly led.

The post attracted comments from US military experts, with Dan Rosenthal, a veteran of the Iraq War saying that the Empire obviously did something right.

You have to consider that the Empire managed to conquer 1.5 million worlds, and colonise or exert governance of some kind over nearly 70 million more. That could not be done by a completely incompetent organization.

“The sheer size and scope were immense — tens of trillions of soldiers in the Army alone, and that’s not even including the Stormtroopers.”

A post endorsed by a number of military historians and former US military personnel goes further into the battle.

The rebels…had superior fighters and a faster-moving fleet that was able to go from one remote side of the Galaxy to the other, concentrate, and thereby achieve at least temporary, local parity or even superiority against Imperial forces–and it was this which enabled the Rebels to destroy both Death Stars.


Jon Davis, a US military historian, says that the Empire lost the battle on the snow planet of Hoth that starts Episode V for a multitude of reasons.

  • Tactics not congruent to the campaign type
  • Ineffective leadership practices
  • Excessive lead time to the attack
  • Cheapening of Imperial forces
Hoth is a study on the misaligned values of Sidious’ Empire. By thinking only of setting the strategy of making the citizens of the Empire cower in fear of its world killing weapons, massive super star destroyers, behemoth walking strike tanks and historically notorious Stormtroopers it has made too many compromises in too many areas to guarantee victory.

“Once the veil of terror is lifted, the weaknesses inherent in the strategy of Darth Sidious is given way to those wishing to rebuild the free Republic.”


“Without the means to fight the insurgency war, the mightiest war machine in Galactic history is now completely unable to even prevent the escape of a tiny base from passing through the middle of one of its most powerful fleets.”

So, there you have it, they were well armed but poorly led.

As if that would happen in real life.

Read: George Lucas responded to a little boy who asked him to allow Jedis to get married

Read: The new Star Wars trailer is out and people are losing their minds

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