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In Star Wars original trilogy we saw a huge number of Rebellion ships controlled by Admiral Ackbar, etc... Furthermore, the Empire's fleet looked quite bigger.

In The Force Awakens, the First Order looks full of assets (maybe a Empire's heritage?) owning that big Starkiller, TIEs, etc....

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But my question is: How big is The Resistance, in terms of its fleet?

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According to TFA novelization by Alan Dean Foster, it's way way smaller than Rebel fleet.

  • The X-Wings at Starkiller were basically most of their fighting force

    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.”

  • We can see may be a couple dozen X-Wings attacking Starkiller, tops (we are only aware of 3 squadrons, and in the EU, that was usually 12 X-Wings each)

    “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. {{ and Poe himself is Black Leader, so may be there's a 3rd black squad }}

  • Star Wars Databank explains 1/2 of why the fleet is so small:

    ... The credit-strapped Resistance relies on X-wings donated or lent by sympathetic New Republic senators and local security forces.

  • The other half of the explanation is that all of the Rebellion fleet went to New Republic (given that Rebellion became the New Republic), after which, as per Visual Dictionary, they promptly passed Demilitarization act so they wouldn't seem as threatening as Empire.

    When Resistance started, they didn't take the remains of that fleet from the Republic, they stayed there (and mostly got wiped out by Starkiller with with 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.

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So, it seems that after the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance reorganized itself into the New Republic. Though outnumbered against the vast resources and navy of the shattering empire, Gallius Rax deliberately allowed victory to be achieved. While the galaxy rejoiced after Jakku and chancellor Mon Mothma began restoring order to the galaxy, remnants of the Imperial fleet began amassing in the outer rim and were eventually united into the First Order under the force sensitive Snoke.

The senate passed a military disarmament act which reduced the New Republic's military capacities. While contracts were issued for the manufacture of new advanced T-85 X-wings and the government could still field out hundreds of capital ships including star destroyers and MC85s.

The Resistance was unable to acquire many cruisers though they did manage with what they got. Their main base of operations was the MC80 Raddus and other Mon Calamari ships operational included the eco of hope and home one. A Nebulon C frigate served as their medical craft. Other than these ships and a bunkerbuster termed the Ninka, the Resistance did not have any ships of notable value. They used primarily fighters (max 50) and massive bombers of the Cobalt Squadron (around 20 bombers in 2 groups) in hit and run attacks.

The resistance was underfunded and lacked even sufficient crew to operate its navy. In The Last Jedi,

after losses in the evacuation of D'Qar, The paramilitary unit had only 400 surviving members on 4 ships when the Raddus alone needed a minimum of that number to operate fully.

  • 1
    Welcome to SFF! This seems like a decent answer but could you edit in some sources/evidence to back it up? – TheLethalCarrot Jul 25 '18 at 10:35

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