In Rogue One Blue Squadron got through before the shield closed and managed to blow up AT-ATs but in The Empire Strikes Back they have to use cables to bring them down. Why?

  • 2
    Do you want an in-universe answer? Because the out-of-universe answer is: better special effects budget.
    – RoboKaren
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 1:32
  • 1
    They were transporting Kyber crystals, which are dangerous when exposed to energy blasts, as we know from the unfinished CW episodes on StarWars.com, so maybe that's why thet exploded.
    – RedCaio
    Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 22:51
  • Not all of them blew up. Only two out of three I remember.
    – user15742
    Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 22:00

4 Answers 4


They were not AT-ATs but AT-ACTs (all terrain armoured cargo transports). Wookieepedia link

They are larger than AT-ATs but have no armour covering their centre which is open and used to transport cargo.

Have yet to see a vehicle cross section on this one but AT-ATs used heavy blast resistant armour plating making blasters all but useless against them (in old canon the snow speeder blasters were more powerful than what was found on x-wings) since these were cargo transports it could just be normal armour plating.

Also in old legends canon the ESB ATAT was still under construction and testing during this time with the battle of hoth being its first official battlefield test.

  • Where is th einfo from about the AT-ACTs?
    – Thomas
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 15:44
  • @Thomas added link to the wookie entry about the at-act to the answer, its very barebones as it seems not alot of info has been releaased yet about it.
    – Bosc
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 15:49
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    @Bosc "in old canon the snow speeder blasters were more powerful than what was found on x-wings" Are you sure? Someone here ( scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/29242/… ) quoted the novel Isard's Revenge to indicate that the X-Wings stood a greater chance against the AT-ATs due to more powerful weaponry (the user stated that they used blasters on the AT-ATs). Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 2:31
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    @Spar10Leonidas Leonidas From a certain point of view :D While EU canon had everything including commando ewoks destroying ATAT's, Game canon had snowspeeder blasters more powerfull these same blasters were outfitted on larger cargo freighters as well.
    – Bosc
    Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 12:10
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    It may have been that the events of Rogue 1 led the Empire to strengthen the armor of the ESB ATAT deciding they did not want them vulnerable to attack by fast moving attack vehicles.
    – Richard C
    Commented Jun 14, 2019 at 11:36

Different Equipment

The T-47 airspeeder was very much a jury-rigged combat vehicle. It was designed by the Incom corporation as an industrial cargo-handler, and was later modified by the Alliance with weaponry. If we were to find a modern-day analogy, it would be something like a so-called "Technical" - a pick-up truck with a gun mounted in the back. A vehicle like this is fine for patrolling and anti-infantry work, effective against light armour like an AT-ST, but it was totally outclassed by a heavily armoured combat vehicle like the AT-AT.

The T-65 X-Wing is a totally different beast. It was a purpose-built starfighter, designed to attack armoured targets and blow the living, ah...daylights...out of them, and had sufficient shielding to survive attack runs on defended targets. The closest comparison would be something like the F/A-18 Hornet, which is designed to fight its way to a target, hit the target, and fight its way back out again.

In fact, the X-Wing was originally being designed for the Empire, as a more powerful complement to its fragile TIE fighters. At the end of development, however, the entire Incom corporation defected to the Rebel Alliance, taking all the designs and prototypes for the X-Wing with them.

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    This is a great post, but you missed a critical and canonical important point. "We're having some trouble adapting them to the cold." There's no evidence that the X-Wings were modified in a similar way, and both vehicles being manufactured by Incom probably shared similarity in design and parts. The X-Wings were probably unable to spend extended amounts of time operating in support of ground operations on Hoth.
    – Mark
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 14:26
  • Absolutely, I agree that's why the X-wings weren't used, but I'm not sure it belongs to this question, since the question was specifically about why the different vehicles had different capabilities.
    – Werrf
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 14:32
  • Not saying you're wrong, but thats an odd backstory for the T-47 with its very large laser cannons that seem very well designed and integrated into the ship. Its a much more seamless integration than bolting a gun turret to a pick-up.
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Jul 15, 2019 at 19:47

The X-Wings and other fighter craft taking part in the battle on Scarif in Rogue One have more powerful weapons available to them than the blasters on the snowspeeders used during the Battle of Hoth.

Even if the X-Wing blasters aren't enough on their own, they've got their missiles/torpedoes.

In the Battle of Hoth a walker is shown being blown up by blaster fire after having been weakened by other damage first.

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    This is what I'd assumed as well, that the X-Wings simply had better gear than the snow speeders.
    – Paul
    Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 2:07
  • Wasn't that shots into the top/roof armour after it tipped forwards? (It's been a while) Anyone who knows about armoured vehicles will know that the roof armour is typically a lot weaker - all that weight needs to be supported, and it, and the supporting structures take away from the weight of armour that can be carried where it's most needed, e.g. on the front of the vehicle.
    – Baldrickk
    Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 10:26

Essentialy, both crews used the most suitable weaponry they had available.

In the ESB, movie portraits mainly the T-47 airspeeders, armed only with double laser cannons. On the other hand, they did have the harpoon gun, which they brilliantly used against the walkers.

On the other hand, X-Wings were one of the best starfighters in Alliance arsenal, very verstaile, and equipped with 4 cannons, as well as proton torpedoes launchers. Most of the X-Wings also used astrodroids, who help a great deal with piloting and aiming. Thus, better aim and better weaponry = more destruction. (And they didn't have the harpoon gun, so they had to bring the walkers down with sheer power.)

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