I used to like Star Wars, but I digress.
While riding on the train back home from a Wedding back in August, I asked my Friend Matt the question; if he could command any army in Star Wars, which would it be? It’s a bit of an out there question I know and one that I had in my head for a couple of months preceding that, which in turn developed from a few other questions that I will probably end up writing about in the future (which include but are not limited to such things as who would I pick to be in my ultimate superhero/villain team). Anyway I asked this question. Basically the question is in the circumstances that if you were given the power and choice to lead an entire army from the Star Wars Universe, which would it be?
I remember that his immediate answer was Ewoks. Good choice, as the Ewoks pretty much single handily did defeat the Empire intrusion on the Forest Moon of Endor. Personally that is not my choice, but I can see how that could be a good choice, as not only are they practical, but also very musical, as well as very cuddly. My answer though to the question I am asking, I immediately chose when I originally thought of the question. There are a lot of good armies to choose from (even when sticking just to the films), many of which garner a lot of variety in their arsenal as well as secret weapons that are entirely attributed to them only. But for me, there really is only one obvious choice, one that if put into battle with all the others would simply dominate. They are the one army that suggests anything army like, and have the weaponry and technology to back it up: The Galactic Republic.
It would be a very short post if I just ended it there, but I feel like I should explain my reasoning and choice, so what follows is a brief but detailed post of why I would choose the Galactic Republic over all the others, and I will do that by stating where their strengths lie by going into the different elements of a Star Wars army and attempt to argue their strengths against those of the other armies.
Infantry: Infantry/personnel units make the backbone of an army; without Infantry and Personnel there would be no army. No matter the ships, tanks, aerial units, without soldiers and personnel to use them or back them up and maintain them, all you will have is a load of machines that cannot be used. Infantry is the main force of an army, and while Tanks and other vehicles have a lot more firepower and are better armored, they can cost a lot to build and are not as practical as soldiers. Every army in Star Wars has their infantry, ranging from swamp dwelling frogmen, to cuddly teddy bears, to general foot soldiers and even robots. One of the most iconic units in Star Wars is of course the Stormtrooper, and Stormtroopers are a well-equipped fighting force, but given that the universe pretty much belongs to the Empire by the time the Stormtroopers are introduced, they are less infantry, more a peace keeping force. They are a tried and tested as well as disciplined fighting force of course, but they present themselves more as shock troopers rather than infantry, if not more like; well, police officers of the galaxy. They do not suggest themselves as being a fighting force that could work on a large scale battle front, their guns themselves look pretty small, and in the end, they’re probably about as much good as those white fellas from The Hunger Games. Now take the Republic Soldier (or Clone Trooper); the republican army is of course famously built from clones, under a strict regime program that turns them into an equipped and disciplined fighting force the second they step out of the factory. The best way I can describe them is during the Battle of Geonosis. The minute they arrive in the arena, they are perched on the edge of the LAAT gunships, and the second they land they are firing shots at a large fighting force of battle droids. They don’t wait, they know who the enemy is, they know how to attack and they have been well-trained enough to know that now is the time to attack. This is just basic infantry, there are other kinds of units, but as they are just the basic infantry in battle, to go in there, and get to work, plus cause as much damage in less than a minute, only to then join a much bigger fight, suggests a dedicated and effective fighting machine, not one that is unprepared for a larger fight.
Infantry Specialists: Basic infantry units may be the backbone and largest part of a military fighting force; but every army should work at producing some specialist’s within the infantry division as to be able to deal with specific or certain situations on the battlefield. This can range of course from specialist infantry for certain weather conditions such as the Galactic Empire’s Snow Troopers, but by specialists I mean more in the form of weapon specialists to of course engineers and medics. In terms of weapon specialists, the Republic has shown a great level of degree of weapon specialists throughout their use. Some of these are designated by their role in the army, but unlike most armies in Star Wars, the Republic Army appears to be unique in their use of Snipers. I have never seen the Gungans, Ewoks, Rebel Alliance, Galactic Empire, Confederacy of Independent Systems or even the Trade Federation use Snipers. I like Snipers as it’s the idea of not being seen but picking off enemies from afar. Other unique soldiers in their arsenal include Medics, as most other armies (except maybe Ewoks) seem to work under the idea of if you are injured you are already Dead and it’s not worth bothering with. Two things may appear to be a little small in number of examples, but it’s still more than the others (at least from what I have seen).
Ranks: On the battlefield, much like in other more modern (REAL!) day circumstances, it’s important to have a clue as to what on earth you are meant to be doing. This is where more experienced and well taught soldiers come in to play whose job it is rather to issue commands to the lower downs than fight up front. In the real army these are known as commanders or officers. Now, not all high level commanders are sat behind the army with their feet up, many have to be on the battlefield to direct soldiers in the heat of battle. All armies have ranked commanders, but the Republic better enhances the role of theses soldiers in a very obvious way, one that is actually used in the real world – using colour on uniform to point out who is in charge. It’s not just the Republic who uses this system in Star Wars of course as the Droids of the Trade Federation use a similar system. Now the colour for the most part in both armies is more of a designation as to their role in the army, but even when uniform and colour changes in role, Yellow has always stood out as some form of Commander. This use of colour is actually used in the real world; one example is in the uniforms of the Police in the United Kingdom. During big events, officers use coloured epaulettes to highlight their rank, as it stands out more than symbols. Examples of colour include White for Sergeants and Red for Commanders.
On the battlefield this would be very useful for an army, as if soldiers lose their place and need guidance or even assistance, being able to pin point a commander or someone in a similar position would be a lot easier if it was especially highlighted, rather than going round examining their shoulders.
Tanks: Since World War One, Tanks have been an instrumental feature on the battlefields of the world; it’s the same with Star Wars (but as the film suggests it was a long time ago, the question has to be raised as to whether or not the films are set before or after World War One). Tanks play an important role on the battlefield, as they can do things infantry cannot do. They come with far superior forms of firepower, are a lot quicker and more mobile than infantry, can travel great distances, and can attack bigger and more armoured units as well as buildings from afar. Tanks have always been a key role to the battlefields of Star Wars and there are several unique and iconic tanks in the series, ranging from but not limiting to vehicles such as the AAT hover Battle tanks of the Trade Federation to the giant four-legged AT-AT’s of the Galactic Empire. While these vehicles are all well and good, the Republic’s AT-TE is a much more superior vehicle than both of these and more for some very simple reasons. Firstly, while it is a big and possibly sluggish vehicle, because it hugs the ground, it does not fall to the great weakness of the mighty AT-AT. While the AT-AT is a pretty good piece of equipment, due to its set of four legs to walk on carrying a heavy load, it makes the vehicle very unstable, and easy to be tripped up with something as easy as a cable. Once it hits the ground it’s less useful than paper weight. The AT-TE uses six legs, supporting and distributing the weight evenly across itself. Also, it does not fall under this trip up weakness either, as in order for that to work, the cable would need to intertwine and near shackle each leg, and would need to be done quickly. Another major gain for the AT-TE is that it has access to one main Big Gun. While it has access to smaller support guns, using a much bigger gun allows it to use the gun for close up attack but also far off artillery shots too. The gun itself also means it uses one main powerful shot rather than distributing its attack between several guns, and in the use of energy weapons which require fuel and power to use, a big shot would be a lot better than lots of small shots, plus would mean it could be used a lot more than others and would be more energy-efficient in the long run.
The other advantage though the AT-TE has over its contemporary rivals is that it can be considered as being like what is known as an MBT or Main Battle Tank. During World War Two, lots of different kinds of tanks were made for various purposes and reasons and there was a lot of variety. Since then however it has become apparent that designing lots of Tanks for different purposes is sort of a long-winded strategy and in the end it would be a lot more efficient t design one vehicle that could suit most, if not all purposes than just a few, then support said vehicle with other support vehicles (or even infantry) in that vehicles (short) list of failings. Variations of MBT’s exist of course, but as they are based on a base vehicle, it actually makes designing variations a lot easier. The Galactic Empire utilities a lot of different walker based designs but very few of these are similar, which means, in similar fashion to Germany in WW2, they designed them for different situations in order to create as much power as possible from each vehicle, but in the process spread themselves rather thin. The Republic on the other hand, created a vehicle, and stuck with it. They adapted future designs and included features such as wheels and even made base troop carriers out of them, and in one case a two-legged version and sometimes carry even smaller weapons, but in the end, all variations were based on the same vehicle; one that was the real ground work horse of their arsenal. It’s similar to the UK’s use of the Challenger 2; it’s the base model for variations, but in the end is based on a workable design. In the end the AT-TE would probably be replaced for a more up to date advanced model, but it would still serve the Republic in a long-term purpose for a very long time.
Artillery: Artillery is just as important as Tanks, as Artillery delivers greater levels of firepower to bring down much bigger obstacles such as buildings and fortifications. The Republic (as a going theme you may have cottoned on to) is possibly the only ones to show off a degree of artillery usage. The Empire and Trade Federation have only really used a tank’s superior firepower to one shot defences, but have not really experimented with using them to bring down buildings. The Republic however has presented their artillery in the past in the form of the self-propelled SPHA-T; most notably during the battle of Geonosis to bring down the Trade Federation star ships. These vehicles are very big, possibly bigger than AT-TE’s but use a very simple form of artillery to bring down the ships: that being an adjustable arm with a strong energy weapon on the end. Such vehicles are of course very slow, but on show they are very powerful and capable in the role. In comparison, well; no one has actually showed off a viable comparison, which is even weirder considering how basic these vehicles are.
Aerial Vehicles: This being Star Wars, this could probably be put in two different parts, so for now we will consider those on the battlefield, not necessarily for use in non-air space. When it comes to use on the battlefield, aircraft serve mainly the use of transportation in Star Wars. In the real world aircraft are better used for support craft and can be used to bomb enemy positions from afar and more importantly be used for reconnaissance. In Star Wars it appears armies decide to just jump into battle full force with no dedicated planning, so reconnaissance is not really required. In Star Wars, battles take up quite a bit of the screen as well as scene, but in order for anyone to actually get there; they have two options, either walk, or get some Transport. In terms of practicality; the Republic is very practical in their designs. Armies like the Trade Federation use transport vehicles to move troops around, but are susceptible to attack as the troops need unfolding and then turning on. Empire transports such as the Lambda-class T-4a shuttle and it’s larger variants are less than practical also, as while they can disembark from the front, the access is very limited, and only really practical when allowing two people off at a time, but then the ramp is very narrow and can be a bit of a squeeze. For the most part Storm Troopers usually depart from the back, which is protective, but makes them prone to attack from the enemy as they run around and set up, meaning they could be picked off with ease before they fire a single shot. The Low Altitude Assault Transport (LAAT) used by the republic army is a gunship aerial vehicle, which comes packed to the teeth with a variety of advanced weaponry. These range from standard light laser cannons, to focus beams and cluster missiles. It is a powerful and fearsome vehicle in its own right; however it is also a very useful ship for the transporting of infantry across the battlefield. Once again, the battle of Geonosis proves their practicality and efficiency, as the vehicle allowed soldiers to sit off the side of the ship on both sides, fire from the ships openings, and as soon as it landed, could safely and effectively deploy troops into the battlefield. It allowed and carried defensive capabilities, plus carried offensive abilities too, while also providing an effective launch pad for a quick infantry deployment and attack. Much like the AT-TE too, it was such a well-designed vehicle, that it allowed itself to be customized into other varieties including a vehicle carrier which could carry good heavy loads including the likes of the AT-TE.
Ships: As stated in the last section, aerial vehicles provide two purposes in Star Wars, because you could not have a war in the stars if you did not have vehicles that could compete in the stars. So to this end, huge capital ships become an integral part of the arsenal for any Star Wars Army wishing to compete on a Galactic Scale. Now, while the Republic could be considered weak in context – just bear with me for a moment. If this question was simply about star/space ships, I would have chosen the Empire. I love Star Destroyers, and the Galactic Empire has the awesome power of the Executor. However I would not consider the Republic weak in this department, as they have a superb collection of small fighter/bomber craft ranging from Jedi Starfighters, to X-Wing like designed aircraft in the form of the ARC-170 space fighter. But when it comes to Capitol carrier ships, these Acclamator-class Assault ships are well designed as carrier transports, but in the form of space conflicts, they can still bring a level of broadside firepower. Their shape allows them to sort of glide through the stars, and their light size in comparison to others should give them a speed and maneuverability bonus, but if you think about it, a fleet of these things are less like capitol ships, and more like mini sized battleships, and there are entire fleets of them. Just imagine that. Less a capitol/command ships, but more a proper battle ship. In Earth terms it would be like having an entire fleet of Yamato or Iowa Class Battleships, and who doesn’t want that? Yes, they could look a little weaker to the might of the Star Destroyer, but in Firepower, they could still deliver a punishing.
Well I hope that wasn’t too boring of a read, but I wanted to cover the reasoning of my choice. Anyway the chances of me being given the keys to the Republic Army Arsenal is very slim, probably more like impossible as Star Wars isn’t real, but I suppose it’s just good fun. Anyway, that is why; given the power and choice I would choose to command the Republic Army. Yes, the other armies have their own strengths as well that should (and need to) be considered, but as a good all-rounder, there can’t be any better than the Republic, as for one thing, they are at least consistent in their designs and are a very efficient machine. That is my choice, who would you pick to command?