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Why the Battle of Hoth Was a Disaster – For the Empire

Posted by Rampant Coyote on February 15, 2013

hothJust last week, I re-watched The Empire Strikes Back with my youngest daughter, who couldn’t remember the original Star Wars movies all that well. Yes, it’s been that long. Yes, I’ve been failing in my duties as a geek parent.

The movie reminded me of just why I used to love Star Wars. And it also reminded me that I still do. Yes, the prequel movies soured our relationship somewhat. The plans and plots of George Lucas never made much sense to begin with, yet the brilliance of the original movies hid the lack of logic in his character’s mastermind schemes. At least, they hid it enough that you could willingly disbelieve the incoherence because it led to REALLY REALLY COOL action scenes. I mean, Luke’s plan to rescue Han Solo was… what exactly? He seriously planned to be fed to the Sarlacc? And knew R2D2 would be assigned to the prison barge, and made custodian of his light saber? The dude’s got some serious precognitive powers from The Force, I guess.

And the whole video of how Star Wars should have ended is perhaps the best in the series. Sadly, it got much worse in the prequels.

Sadly, the Battle of Hoth doesn’t quite pass muster, either.  Spencer Ackerman rips into the military fiasco that was this particular battle, which is nevertheless portrayed as a victory in the movie. Just goes to show that you can’t trust the media to report the truth about what’s going on behind the fog of war, doesn’t it?

Inside the Battle of Hoth: The Empire Strikes Out

Filed Under: Movies - Comments: 6 Comments to Read

  • Andy_Panthro said,

    It’s surely no wonder than the Empire’s armed forces are so inept, given that any failure results in a force-choking. I’m surprised they have any officers left!

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    True dat! You’d better get really good at learning from everybody else’s mistake in the Imperial Armed Forces!

  • Patrick said,

    He seems to make one major but completely unwarranted assumption – that the Empire could deploy fighters past the shield.

  • Felix said,

    Nitpick: Luke hid his new lightsaber inside R2 himself, as shown in the prologue (which is unclear in the movie, but very explicit in the book); I guess it was a lucky event that nobody in Jabba’s workshop was too curious. For the rest, you’re right, though I can imagine Jabba wanting all of Luke’s and Han’s friends to watch them die — and then there is plain dumb luck.

    As for the battle of Hoth, was there ever a doubt? The Empire had several capital ships taken out of commission and not a single Alliance leader killed or captured to show for it. And Vader knew it from the moment they dropped into realspace. So why the big fuss? 😛

  • Felix said,

    Also, after reading the Wired article, I can point out several flaws in their analysis:

    – one Star Destroyer is enough to turn the crust of an entire planet into molten slag, and they have engagement ranges in the millions of kilometers; by all means, six of them should have been able to cover a nice chunk of space;
    – I thought it was established that aircraft couldn’t pass through the shield — otherwise why would Vader bother to send ground vehicles at all?
    – the AT-ATs were impervious to blaster fire from any weapon the Rebels had; Luke alone manages to destroy a couple through utterly unconventional tactics, and nearly gets himself killed in the process;
    – Han and Luke evading lumbering Star Destroyers in their tiny ships is hardly a surprise considering they’re the best two pilots in the galaxy, above Vader himself.

    Certainly, the Rebels were stupid to put all their eggs in a single basket, and Vader could have handled things much better, but overall the battle is just the kind of freak chain of events that tends to happen during wars, and not a grand example of incompetence on either side.

  • Captain Kal said,

    A couple of things that I ‘ve noticed:

    1. Rebel Alliance mistake: How the hell the Empire found their base in THE WHOLE PLANET? From some some probe’s debris? So the Empire sent a couple of dozen probes in the planet, and only one of them was destroyed? And Vader dedused the location of the base from THAT???? (Counter Point: That was an excuse. There was an Imperial agent in the base. Vader wanted to protect him)

    2. Imperial blunder: “His bumbling fleet admiral leaves hyperspace too close to Hoth, losing the element of surprise and allowing the Rebels to activate the shield.”

    He would also lose the element of surprise, if he left hyperspace to far from Hoth. Those Star Destroyers are not exactly Stealth Ships. The only way of having the element of surprise was, to jump as CLOSE AS POSSIBLE to Hoth, since there is no way to detect ships flying in hyperspace, and then blast the base before there is time for the Rebels to recover. (Case Study : Battlestar Galactica Exodus Part II – The jump into the atmosphere manouver) He could also kamikazed a Star Destroyer that way, if he was trully desperate.