Hoth battle analyzed

  • Goken
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17 Apr 2015 16:08 #188660 by Goken
Hoth battle analyzed was created by Goken
A friend just sent me this link.

Military analysis of the Battle of Hoth

I haven't fact checked it yet, but it's a pretty cool read.

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19 Apr 2015 00:25 - 19 Apr 2015 01:23 #188830 by Adder
Replied by Adder on topic Hoth battle analyzed
What a great excuse to watch it again when I get some free time!!!

I think the author got it mostly wrong. I'd never really thought about it before so this was a fun topic for me!!!

Here is my thoughts on where/why the author was wrong, TLDR, author doesnt know squat IMO
:) :ohmy: :lol:


Author is looking at it the wrong way, with the benefit of hindsight. It might be wrong to assume the Imperial assault had 100% confidence in the intelligence about the Rebel's capabilities, they knew what they knew but didn't know to what extent they might have missed stuff. Also the use of shield might be a misnomer for integrated air/orbital defense.... which would explain why air cover or air assault was not an option early on.

So Vader being Vader, he didn't want to wait to undertake extensive surveillance, indeed they didn't even know for sure it was a Rebel base when launching the assualt - even though it became evident quickly it was. So they wanted to move in immediately into a 'unknown' fortified ground positions.

So the strategy I'd say its an example of recce by fire - in particular the use of armored vehicles to push directly into defenses to probe for weakness. Heavy energy weapons need line of sight, and Imperial Walkers seemingly were first detected by seismic activity seemingly beyond the horizon (line of sight) as it was pre-engagement with perimeter trenches.

Anyway the purpose of the armored force is it can do this probing and have a good chance to survive what it might find long enough to id and ideally damage the defenses, and withdraw under orbital fire support as cover.

Vader's strategy gives him options in the face of uncertainty whlie meeting his desire for haste. Depending in what they found there, an orbital bombardment could have safely engaged ground targets to both cover the withdrawal or target the critical infrastructure directly - without risk of hitting friendly (Imperial) forces. But once they were confirmed as the Rebels, Vader wanted to join in and capture anyone he could (like in the opening battle of Ep IV). Else if it wasn't a Rebel base (say a crime syndicate etc) they would have realized this and either retreated to continue the search, or wiped them out from orbit as a 'Police' action LOL.

The Imperials already know whoever it was had 'shields' to protect from aerial assault to some degree, so they would be silly to waste point defense ships (fighters) on ground attack, and do not have enough information to plan strike missions (bombers). It is not a good idea to send air power into a likely operational integrated air defense system, as attempted to be demonstrated in Ep VI.

The assessment of the ground assault seems wrong too, the AT-AT had more then enough to decimate the ground defenses and it was the imminent reality of being overrun which forced a Rebel retreat to evacuate. I doubt this even sped up the inevitable success of the Imperial ground assault, as the ground defense was having zero impact anyway against it.


The Rebel Hoth defense was way too under powered and the initial Imperial push seemed to drive all the way straight in - not needing the orbital bombardment. But they were on the run and only had what they had seemingly.
The Ion Cannon might not need the generator as a pulse weapon would probably have to incorporate a large capacity to store up power for it's shot's. They might have a certain amount of power stored which they divided amongst the evac wave's.

The Rebel's were limited to their departure by their launch location (the rally point) and limitations to escaping the planets gravity (there is only so many ways to launch to escape velocity). They cannot go flying around in the atmosphere to fly out somewhere else, they'd just be tracked and easily chased down. A vessel in orbit can travel at a hugely faster ground speed then something in the atmosphere, so an orbital blockade only needs to cover the launch site, track any objects and then they can easily position for intercept. The Rebel strategy was to fly directly at an Imperial Destroyer, disable it temporarily at the critical moment of busting past the blockade line. Vader's taskforce probably didnt have the asset's to stack depth into the blockade because they probably expected ships to flee in every direction possible. Without an Ion cannon the only other option (besides fighting it out) is to depart as one big wave, and then flee in all directions upon contact in the hope some survive (semi-suicide). For the above mentioned reasons a desperate strategy which would suffer a great percentage of casualties.... not everyone has one of these "Ion" cannon's so it might not have been expected.

What ends up happening is a few remaining transports slip out with this Rebel strategy, leaving at least a few Star Destroyers incapacitated. Vader see's the 'Falcon' depart and so order it as the main priority for pursuit, letting the other few remaining Rebel ships slip away, including Luke in his XWing wandering off alone in some other direction.

I think the movie stacks up, and the assessment is the one full of holes... and linking it to Al-Qaida, really bad taste.

Knight ~ introverted extropian, mechatronic neurothealogizing, technogaian buddhist. Likes integration, visualization, elucidation and transformation.
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Last edit: 19 Apr 2015 01:23 by Adder.

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  • Kitsu Tails
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19 Apr 2015 01:18 #188835 by Kitsu Tails
Replied by Kitsu Tails on topic Hoth battle analyzed
I want to say that...there is actually a book that leads into the Hoth Battle. Though it's been ages since I read it so, I could be wrong.......

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19 Apr 2015 20:44 #188910 by Reacher
Replied by Reacher on topic Hoth battle analyzed
Interesting topic. I'd have to go back and re-watch the film with a military eye to analyze it properly. What I will say is that conventional military doctrine (in most all countries) does some form of comparing war-fighting functions. Yes, assumptions must be made to continue planning an operation, but those assumptions are usually finite and manageable - meaning detailed contingency planning is often the difference between victory and defeat. As they say, "Plans are worthless, but planning is everything." Tactically, there are a great many question-marks in the Hoth scenario for both sides, but moreso for the. Empire. The Rebels, if they're smart, will have done a great deal of contingency planning for compromise (which it appears they did) and should have planned for a hasty getaway based on what they know of the Empire's predicted response time. The Empire, for their part, knew all well and good that they would likely be facing a 'Time-sensitive Target' (TST) and should have also planned accordingly. There are many things which the Empire could not have known about the rebels, but there are certainly a great number they could. I'll use some doctrinal examples:

In any raid (seizing of ground with a planned, deliberate withdrawal), the decisive point of that operation is sealing off the objective. Once you are sure no one goes in or out, you have both the time and space to achieve your endstates. Without a sealed objective, there is no way to ensure success because enemies can escape. To do that, assaulters have three conceptual locations to land for insertion/infiltration - the X, the Y, and the O. The X is most preferred because the raiders are literally on the objective once the target realizes they're there, and the OBJ is already sealed. It's tough to do sometimes, but most often worth the gambit. The Y is least preferred...when one is detectable by a target and NOT in a position to seal the OBJ off. It becomes a bit of a race, as it were, and the assault force must take steps to regain the initiative. This is what happened with the Battle of Hoth - the Imps landed accidentally on the Y and lost initiative. Then there is the O - where the assault force inserts beyond the target's ability to detect them, with the intent to infiltrate with a much smaller signature. This is likely what Vader was intending to do. Or at least be in an assault formation that would be able to seal off the Objective faster than a disjointed cold-start. I do have some questions regarding the operational-level though. Solo called it quickly - they were compromised there. The moment one is compromised, a reaction-time clock starts. As a weaker force, that clock is ticking doom and they know it. Additionally, the Empire was cross-wiring some things operationally. Vader was ready to launch immediately (makes sense - the Rebs smoked the probe droid. If you are assuming that WAS rebel activity, you also have to assume the probe is compromised - that would good business, at least). But then Vader felt compelled to plan for the O, which doesn't make much sense if you're launching against an enemy you can overpower and who you are assuming is desperately trying to run away. I'll have to go back and watch, but there's a great deal more I'd like to post on this later.

Jedi Knight

The self-confidence of the warrior is not the self-confidence of the average man. The average man seeks certainty in the eyes of the onlooker and calls that self-confidence. The warrior seeks impeccability in his own eyes and calls that humbleness. The average man is hooked to his fellow men, while the warrior is hooked only to infinity.
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