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Why didn't the Alliance use X-Wings against Walkers on Hoth?
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Wajeb Deb Kaadeb
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 9:02 pm    Post subject: Why didn't the Alliance use X-Wings against Walkers on Hoth? Reply with quote

I don't know why this is coming to me after all these years, but here's a question: Why didn't the Alliance use their X-Wings against the Walkers on Hoth, especially when the speeder weapons had a hard time penetrating that armor?

And, where was the Walker air support? Those Star Destroyers had several squadrons--surely they could have run a CAP above the Walkers as they advanced.
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Whill
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wajeb Deb Kaadeb wrote:
I don't know why this is coming to me after all these years, but here's a question: Why didn't the Alliance use their X-Wings against the Walkers on Hoth, especially when the speeder weapons had a hard time penetrating that armor?

And, where was the Walker air support? Those Star Destroyers had several squadrons--surely they could have run a CAP above the Walkers as they advanced.

Because X-Wings and Imperial air support vehicles were not adapted for extended combat in the cold. Snowspeeders were only renamed airspeeders, and the film establishes that they were having trouble adapting them to the cold. Nighttime temperatures on Hoth were still too cold for the snowspeeders, which is why the rebels had to wait until the following morning to search for Han and Luke. It's a good thing for the Alliance that the Empire attacked during the day. But then again maybe night temperatures would be too cold for even walkers.
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Wajeb Deb Kaadeb
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
Because X-Wings and Imperial air support vehicles were not adapted for extended combat in the cold.


Cold? X-Wings operate in space!
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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wajeb Deb Kaadeb wrote:
Whill wrote:
Because X-Wings and Imperial air support vehicles were not adapted for extended combat in the cold.

Cold? X-Wings operate in space!

Here are a couple sources that don't get too sciency.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SpaceIsCold

http://coolcosmos.ipac.caltech.edu/cosmic_classroom/light_lessons/thermal/differ.html

Quote:
Heat is energy... Temperature is not energy, but a measure of it... If we add heat, the temperature will become higher. If we remove heat the temperature will become lower... If we take two objects which have the same temperature and bring them into contact, there will be no overall transfer of energy between them because the average energies of the particles in each object are the same. But if the temperature of one object is higher than that of the other object, there will be a transfer of energy from the hotter to the colder object until both objects reach the same temperature.

Heat is not the same issue in space that it is in an atmosphere because space is mostly empty. There aren't a lot of molecules to give or take energy from a ship in space. The atmosphere of Hoth is loaded with very cold molecules that absorb heat from warmer matter such as airspeeders, X-Wings and TIE Strikers.

In space, ships don't have hardly anything to transfer their heat energy to. In an extremely cold atmosphere, they do. So it is actually plausible for ships that can operate in empty space to not operate as well in extreme cold matter environments like cold air or water. But what is much less plausible are ships doing heavy combat maneuvering in space not overheating because they don't have any matter to transfer excess heat energy to. There's probably technobabble that addresses that.
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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2018 2:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
Wajeb Deb Kaadeb wrote:
I don't know why this is coming to me after all these years, but here's a question: Why didn't the Alliance use their X-Wings against the Walkers on Hoth, especially when the speeder weapons had a hard time penetrating that armor?

And, where was the Walker air support? Those Star Destroyers had several squadrons--surely they could have run a CAP above the Walkers as they advanced.

Because X-Wings and Imperial air support vehicles were not adapted for extended combat in the cold. Snowspeeders were only renamed airspeeders, and the film establishes that they were having trouble adapting them to the cold. Nighttime temperatures on Hoth were still too cold for the snowspeeders, which is why the rebels had to wait until the following morning to search for Han and Luke. It's a good thing for the Alliance that the Empire attacked during the day. But then again maybe night temperatures would be too cold for even walkers.


Yeah, not to mention blundering about in the dark on an unmapped tundra probably wouldn't be very helpful for those walkers either, what with their ungainly high center of gravity and all. Night vision and heat vision equipment is extraordinarily useful on a planet like Hoth, to be sure, but it can't help you maintain the balance of your badly-designed attack vehicle-cum-terror weapon if you make even a single bad step.

As for the X-wing fighters not providing air support at the Battle of Hoth (besides the cold preventing it), many of them were providing escort for the fleeing Gallofree transports. (No way in hell would the Rebels send Gallofree transports completely unescorted in the face of Star Destroyers, even though two X-wings makes for a crappy escort, something which was promptly lampshaded by Hobbie Klivan during Leia's briefing.) The rest of the X-wings that could have been committed to the ground battle at Hoth were without pilots because they were piloting the snowspeeders instead. Rogue Group's X-wings weren't at the ground battle because those same X-wings were Rogue Group's only way off Hoth. You don't risk your escape vehicles in battle if you have an alternative vehicle to take into combat (inferior though it may be). Thus, it makes tactical sense for Rogue Group to fly expendable snowspeeders to the front line and battle the AT-ATs while they're still some distance from Echo Base, then retreat to the landing field where the X-wings are parked while the AT-ATs are still some distance away. The Empire's troops would have to navigate through the maze of Echo Base to reach Rogue Group's X-wings by foot. It's likely that there was rocky terrain (what was essentially the top/roof of Echo Base) between where the AT-ATs were approaching from and where the X-wings were parked, thus preventing Imperial ground vehicles from getting to the X-wings in time to prevent them from taking off.

Another thing that isn't shown in TESB but is seen in expanded material like the Lost Stars YA novel is that several Rogue Group pilots did have to use their X-wings to fight their way through TIEs as they were escaping Hoth. Thane Kyrell has to shoot down a TIE fighter while he's still in Hoth's upper atmosphere to escape and even gets a glimpse of Death Squadron just before he jumps to hyperspace. He even wonders if his ex-girlfriend Ciena Ree was piloting the TIE he just shot down and realizes that he'll probably never know.
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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2018 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've often wondered, why they didn't build the base and it's shield, so any walker attacks, would have to either land near or on a lake of ice, or cross over it going under the shield.. That way the sheer weight of the walkers would CRASH through the ice, and they'd go under..
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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2018 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
Because X-Wings and Imperial air support vehicles were not adapted for extended combat in the cold. Snowspeeders were only renamed airspeeders, and the film establishes that they were having trouble adapting them to the cold. Nighttime temperatures on Hoth were still too cold for the snowspeeders, which is why the rebels had to wait until the following morning to search for Han and Luke. It's a good thing for the Alliance that the Empire attacked during the day. But then again maybe night temperatures would be too cold for even walkers.

The official explanation (from the cross-section book) is that the heat sink vanes on the backs of the speeders were actually too good at their jobs in the cold temperatures of Hoth, causing the speeder engines to run too cold to operate properly. As such, the vanes each had to be fitted with insulation sleeves to keep the temperature up. This is a legit issue for some real world vehicles, as well; big rigs operating in cold climates have to put additives in their diesel tanks to keep their fuel from freezing, and have to put air dams in their radiator grille to keep the radiator from getting too cool.

Sutehp wrote:
Yeah, not to mention blundering about in the dark on an unmapped tundra probably wouldn't be very helpful for those walkers either, what with their ungainly high center of gravity and all. Night vision and heat vision equipment is extraordinarily useful on a planet like Hoth, to be sure, but it can't help you maintain the balance of your badly-designed attack vehicle-cum-terror weapon if you make even a single bad step.

For something like the AT-AT, ground scanning sensor to assist in navigation around terrain hazards. It’s worth noting that, in both TESB and ROTJ, despite all the different ways used to trip up either AT-ATs or AT-STs, there were no static pit traps. Maybe they knew from experience the walkers would detect them and route around them.

I’m hesitant to ascribe the same climate challenges to the AT-AT as to the speeder, though. The category “vehicle” is just too broad to say they will all face the same challenges.

Quote:
As for the X-wing fighters not providing air support at the Battle of Hoth (besides the cold preventing it), many of them were providing escort for the fleeing Gallofree transports. (No way in hell would the Rebels send Gallofree transports completely unescorted in the face of Star Destroyers, even though two X-wings makes for a crappy escort, something which was promptly lampshaded by Hobbie Klivan during Leia's briefing.) The rest of the X-wings that could have been committed to the ground battle at Hoth were without pilots because they were piloting the snowspeeders instead. Rogue Group's X-wings weren't at the ground battle because those same X-wings were Rogue Group's only way off Hoth. You don't risk your escape vehicles in battle if you have an alternative vehicle to take into combat (inferior though it may be).

This was the inspiration for my home brewed Z-Wing Close Air Support Starfighter: a Z-95 modified for ground support, and equipped with its own hyperdrive so it could extract itself, rather than requiring the pilots abandon their speeders and switch over to their starfighters.

Another factor is how confined the airspace may have been underneath the shield. A theater shield protecting only a single base and its immediate surroundings may only be projected a few hundred meters off the ground, and that’s awfully tight quarters for a starfighter, which per the RAW is larger and less maneuverable than a speeder. If my theory about Scale affecting terrain difficulty is correct, an airspeeder might be able to operate normally under the shield while a starfighter (either X-Wing or TIE) would be operating at a minimum Difficulty of Easy (or +8 to 10, depending on how you calculate it) for every piloting action taken while under the shield.

If that were the case, neither side would’ve wanted risk the loss of a fighter due to a crash in such confined quarters.
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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2018 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

garhkal wrote:
I've often wondered, why they didn't build the base and it's shield, so any walker attacks, would have to either land near or on a lake of ice, or cross over it going under the shield.. That way the sheer weight of the walkers would CRASH through the ice, and they'd go under..

Probably multiple factors: the location to do so might not have a stable enough location to build a base. Or the temperature on Hoth may have been too cold for the ice to be fragile enough to crash through.

The Incredible Locations book does mention that the Empire lost several walkers due to poor route choices on the approach march, though, so terrain may still have been a factor.
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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:

For something like the AT-AT, ground scanning sensor to assist in navigation around terrain hazards.


Do we know if walkers have that??
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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 1:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

garhkal wrote:
CRMcNeill wrote:

For something like the AT-AT, ground scanning sensor to assist in navigation around terrain hazards.


Do we know if walkers have that??

Well...
Quote:
Luke: “Look, there’s something on the scanners, might be our little R2 unit. Hit the accelerator!

If they have sensors on the Star Wars equivalent of a Volkswagen Baja Bug, it’s not unreasonable to assume they have them on a front-line war machine...

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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Was that the vehicle's scanner, or his hand held one we saw him use?
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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

garhkal wrote:
Was that the vehicle's scanner, or his hand held one we saw him use?

It never ceases to amaze me how you can be when it comes to technological development and proliferation in the SWU.
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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2018 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

garhkal wrote:
Just asking C.. No need to pop a gasket..

Well, why wouldn't it be installed in the speeder, unless you are specifically looking for a way to justify not putting sensors on a vehicles in general, and walkers in particular?
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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2018 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, looking in the Essential guide to vehicles and vessels, i see that the following vehicles are listed as having them:
AT-St
AT-AT
Jabba's sail barge
The Lars family speeder (not the one luke used) has a scanner scope
Z-74 military speeder bikes
Mobquette S-swoops

While these don't
At-PT
Desert skiff
Chairot lav
Hutt Caravel
Jawa sand crawler
Juggernaught (has a sentry tower)
Luke's landspeeder
MT-AT (spider walker)
Snow speeders
Swoops

So there are quite a few canon vehicles that do NOT have scanners/sensors as part of them..
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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2018 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Doesn't have them, or doesn't mention them? I notice the official write-up on Imperial Star Destroyers doesn't mention the restroom facilities, so it must get pretty messy in the hallways in your SWU. Unless you assume that an omission by the writers does not mean that said omitted tech is specifically excluded.

If a little POS speeder on a backwater planet has at least basic sensor capacity, it is not unreasonable to assume that other, more advanced vehicles (especially those designed for combat) would also have at least basic sensor capacity (and probably far more advanced).
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