Why The Empire Strikes Out at the Battle of Hoth

He may be the Dark Lord of the Sith and all, but one thing's for sure: Darth Vader ain't no Sun Tzu. The Battle of Hoth should've been an easy win for the Galactic Empire - it has superior fire power and the Rebel Alliance's Echo Base was particularly vulnerable - but missteps almost cost Vader his victory.

Spencer Ackerman of Wired's Danger Room dissected the Battle of Hoth and showed us why we should find Vader's lack of cohesive military strategy disturbing:

From a military perspective, Hoth should have been a total debacle for the Rebel Alliance. Overconfident that they can evade Imperial surveillance, they hole up on unforgiving frigid terrain at the far end of the cosmos. Huddled into the lone Echo Base are all their major players: politically crucial Princess Leia; ace pilot Han Solo; and their game-changer, Luke Skywalker, who isn’t even a Jedi yet.

The defenses the Alliance constructed on Hoth could not be more favorable to Vader if the villain constructed them himself. The single Rebel base (!) is defended by a few artillery pieces on its north slope, protecting its main power generator. An ion cannon is its main anti-aircraft/spacecraft defense. Its outermost perimeter defense is an energy shield that can deflect Imperial laser bombardment. But the shield has two huge flaws: It can’t stop an Imperial landing force from entering the atmosphere, and it can only open in a discrete place for a limited time so the Rebels’ Ion Cannon can protect an evacuation. In essence, the Rebels built a shield that can’t keep an invader out and complicates their own escape.

When Vader enters the Hoth System with the Imperial Fleet, he’s holding a winning hand. What follows next is a reminder of two military truths that apply in our own time and in our own galaxy: Don’t place unaccountable religious fanatics in wartime command, and never underestimate a hegemonic power’s ability to miscalculate against an insurgency.

Read the rest over at Wired: Link


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"Never get involved in a land war in Asia."
"Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line."

Just watched Princess Bride last night.
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