18

During the

attack on Starkiller Base,

Mon Calamari cruisers, Star Destroyers and all the other capital ships were conspicuously absent. In fact, the only spaceships I saw in that scene were X-wings and TIE fighters.

I understand that the Resistance is underfunded, but are they really so poor they can't afford a corvette or something? Or at least a few Y-wing bombers to

take out the oscillator?

For a major military installation,

Starkiller Base seems very poorly defended as well. Is the Finalizer the only star destroyer the First Order has left? If the Order can turn an entire planet into a weapons platform, they must be able to crank out something better than TIE fighters.

TFA fighters are significantly improved over their OT equivalents, but the lack of bomber cover, capital ships or light cruisers are highly unusual.

Does the novelization/other sources clarify this?

  • Don't forget - the killer shot for Death Stars I and II came from an X-Wing (oh, okay, and the Falcon helped with DSII)... – HorusKol Feb 17 '16 at 22:47
19

Yes.

TL;DR

  • Yes, Resistance basically has nothing else. 3 X-Wings, a rowboat, and a barefoot drummer boy.

  • No, New Republic wouldn't be able to help them (even if they wanted to, which they explicitly didn't) - most of N.R. fleet was wiped out together with Hosnian system. Because that's what happens when you worry about taxation of trade routes more than about Imperial remnants howling at the door.

  • Yes, Starkiller Base is very lightly defended. Security through obscurity. They are basically Microsoft.

Novelization quotes upcoming in a wee bit.

Details:

  • New Republic was not interested in military confrontation with First Order.

    This is covered in detail in Visual Dictionary. I won't elaborate here because it isn't very germane to this answer, and deserves its own separate answer if anyone's interested in details.

  • Even if they were, their fleet was all Starkillered in Hosnian system:

    Expanding outward from the explosion, a tremendous burst of heat tore through the Hosnian system’s other worlds, searing their surfaces clean of life and incidentally obliterating all settlements, installations, and outposts, as well as the hundreds of ships belonging to the Republic fleet. In its wake, the detonation left behind a blazing, spherical mass. The home of the Republic had become a new binary system: one utterly devoid of life.

  • I can confirm from the novelization that ONLY X-Wings were sent. No mention of Y-wings or anything else.

    In addition, there were only 2 or 3 squadrons:

    “Roger, base.” Hitting the controls necessary to alter course within a lightspeed run, Poe addressed the rest of his flight. “Red squad, blue squad—follow my lead.” At his touch, their revised vector entered the flight computer of every ship in every squadron, and the X-wings promptly adjusted as a single unit.
    “Copy, Black Leader,” Wexley replied, as his own craft changed direction

    Depending on whether Black squad existed (or was simply Poe), we have 2 or 3 squadrons.

  • To top that off - that's pretty much ALL that Resistance has.

    “All teams, nice job!” Poe said to his fellow pilots. “General, the target’s been destroyed!”
    Leia’s warm voice filled his ears, but the message she delivered was an unexpected one. “Good—now retreat immediately! The planet could be unstable. Get out of there now.”
    Even with the relay in place, it took a moment for the message to be received. Poe didn’t hesitate to reply. “If we retreat, we leave our friends behind!”
    Having anticipated Poe’s response, Leia was ready with her own. “Poe, outside of those of us here, your group is all that remains of the Resistance that’s capable of putting up a fight. If you stay to find them, we lose you all.

  • The reason Resistance is so lightly armed is (Hat/tip @Jake Gould) is in Star Wars Databank article for Resistance X-Wing:

    The Incom T-70 X-wing is the latest incarnation of a classic design, and the signature combat craft of the Resistance’s Starfighter Corps. Faster than the Alliance-era T-65s, Resistance X-wings are maneuverable enough to engage TIE fighters in dogfights, but powerful enough to take down capital ships. The credit-strapped Resistance relies on X-wings donated or lent by sympathetic New Republic senators and local security forces.

    That same article gives a hint as to why they didn't really need a bomber, the new X-wing basically served as fighter-bomber.

  • The weapon was lightly defended, at least as far as Resistance could tell, because First Order assumed nobody knew about it, because they had a shield, and because they had a way to detect if Resistance mobilized:

    “We’d likely get only one shot at it,” Poe put in. “What Admiral Ackbar said about keeping it secret would only work as long as its location remains unknown. Once the First Order realizes that we know where it is, they’d throw everything they’ve got into defending it with ships, mobile stations, and long-range detectors. We might never get close to it again.”

    “None of this is possible,” a downcast Ackbar postulated. “While the planet in question may at present be deliberately underdefended, the instant we move forces out of hiding and in its direction, the First Order will realize that we know the location of the weapon. They will mobilize everything in the vicinity to protect it. Their fleet is too large for us to fight our way through. Additionally, despite what Poe theorizes, I would wager they must already have at least a minimal planetary shield in place. Plainly, they can access the energy to support such a defense.” He looked at Finn, whose reply was not encouraging.
    “Yes, such a shield does exist.”

  • 1
    “as well as the hundreds of ships belonging to the Republic fleet” you see at least some of those ships being destroyed in the movie, although my first couple of times I was distracted by the planets blowing up. – Paul D. Waite Dec 25 '15 at 0:31
  • 1
    @JakeGould - edited (found original canon source, I hate Wookiepedia). Thanks! – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 25 '15 at 1:28
  • they had a few more than onoly 3 xwings ;) – Thomas Dec 25 '15 at 20:33
1

According to the Rise of Skywalker Visual Dictionary, the fleet's bombers and capital ships were busy on other missions against the First Order, presumably taking advantage of their focus on Starkiller Base to launch surprise strikes against other targets.

The Resistance takes care not to collect its meager resources into a single target for the First Order. During the Starkiller crisis, only its starfighter launch base on D'Qar is ready to act, while the Resistance fleet and bomber craft — ships that would have been useful in the attack — are on missions elsewhere. They arrive just in time for the D'Qar evacuation.

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