I’ve seen the film once, but my impression of this last battle from the X-Wing perspective was this:

We are shown about 12 (?) X-Wings arriving at the target location and going in for the attack.

Then, the story switches mainly shows ground events which would seem to happen while X-Wings and TIE fighters battle the whole time. During the scenes where we see that battle, it seems like X-Wing losses are pretty frequent - maybe one per ten seconds.

The ground events include hiking a fairly long distance through forest and a wide open field, sneaking around a base and fighting, taking and disposing of a prisoner, trying to connect with a confused adolescent child, planting lots of explosives, hiking back across the open field and through woods, and having a fairly long set of fights. Seems like that probably would have taken at least 45 minutes.

In stark contrast to the space battle in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, where pretty much every X-Wing loss is shown or heard, in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens it seems like there must have been a much larger battle that we don’t see most of.

So, given that there was still a useful number of X-Wings remaining, how many X-Wings were actually sent and lost in that attack?

  • ELLO ASTY / 5 BBY - 34 ABY / RIP Commented Dec 26, 2015 at 21:51
  • 5
    The novelization mentions three squadrons: Red, Blue, and Black. Unfortunately, it provides no information regarding the size of each squadron. In the EU, there are usually about 12 per squadron in the Rebel Alliance.
    – phantom42
    Commented Dec 26, 2015 at 22:05

4 Answers 4


Three squadrons are mentioned in the film, Red, Blue, and Black. I could not count all the X-Wings prior to the attack on Starkiller

The squadron size for X-wings as depicted at the Battle of Yavin in A New Hope is 11 (22 X-Wings spaced over 2 X-Wing squadrons).

The EU size, and size of most WWII squadrons (bearing in mind the space combat drew heavily on WWII fighter dogfighting) of 12 could still be correct if one or both squadrons were understrength, the fact that newcomer Luke slotted straight in would suggest that the rebellion had the fighters but not necessarily the pilots to fly them (similar to the Battle of Britain in WWII).

Assuming the 3 squadrons attacking Starkiller Base were at full strength and the loses at Takodana were replenished gives us a range of between:

33 - assuming the figures from A New Hope as full strength and 36 - using EU, and real world WWII squadron sizes and assuming that the squadrons were understrength at Yavin

I counted 7 X-Wings returning from the assault on Starkiller base. Giving a total of between 26 and 29 X wings destroyed, a 78-81% loss rate.

  • Ok, thanks. I guess there were also 8 (11?) Y-Wings at Yavin, as the officer reporting to Vader says they counted 30 enemy ships? I wonder if the novellization sheds any light on the Starkiller attack, because at the rate they blow up, it seems to me like they must have had something like ten times as many to sustain the losses for all that time, unless they were avoiding combat during the time they were not on screen.
    – Dronz
    Commented Jan 1, 2016 at 19:05
  • @dronz yes there were 8 in two squadrons gold and green I think... I do believe they peeled off for a time until they noticed the explosions had opened a breach Commented Jan 1, 2016 at 19:15
  • As a bit of addon here: Just watched the film a thrid time. By the time they go into the death star approach attack they had lost 50% of their forces already and only 9 x-wings are seen on screen.
    – Thomas
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 22:54

Saw this again today and counted it.

12 xwings are shown coming out of lightspeed and engaging starkiller (poe's black x-wing is in the lead). During the fight, the resistance HQ says they lost half their fleet which implies 6 down, but up to this point we only see 3 or 4 shotdown.

After that point, we see at least 1 more die (the english speaking alien pilot one during the final trench run)

But, in the final shots, 7 xwings are seen surviving and leaving for home.

  • This was about what I remember seeing (I've only seen it once). Combined with how I also remember most of the losses being early on and frequent, but then the ground action takes quite some time, it seems extremely inconsistent to me. Seems like to take on all the fighters at this planet-sized base for all the time needed to do everything they do on the ground, that they'd need about ten times as many fighters, and they'd lose a lot more than a half-dozen. Of course, it also seems like they should have more than a dozen to send...
    – Dronz
    Commented Jan 10, 2016 at 17:22

I counted 11 x-wings when they showed Poe's Black Squadron when they first inter the atmosphere. So with 3 squads that would be about 33-35 total. I doubt they would be under strength squads because the resistance would send every available x-wing they had to attack star killer base.

Also I counted 12 x-wings flying into the trench to bomb the oscillator a few movies time minutes after the control base said they lost half their fleet. So 33-35 x-wings sounds correct.


So I've seen many people saying that black squadron was at the battle... Black squadron was A squadron of handpicked pilots that was mostly destroyed... And all the pilots in black squadron were in other squadrons aswell.. So here are.all the named.pilots. . Poe dameron . Jess pava . Ello asty . Yolo ziff . Nien nunb . Bastian . Snap wexley . Niv lek . Furillo And there were other pilots. Given that in the last Jedi there were a couple of blue squadron still left and the remaining survivors of starkiller base attack were sent on other missions that means probably only half of blue squadron attacked starkiller... So in an estimated guess I would say 18 pilots attacked starkiller base and only 7 returned as Vober sand says that's half our fleet and then ello asty dies

  • 1
    Where any of those people qualified to say if Black Squadron was at the battle? Do we have any other evidence that this was the case?
    – amflare
    Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 18:49

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