The Death Star has a considerable number of Stormtroopers onboard the station. In both A New Hope and Rogue One, we see that they are used for internal security and shooting laser canons aboard the Death Star. Presumably some of them fly the TIE Fighters too. But there seems to be so many of them, more than I would expect for internal security.

This made me wonder, were the Stormtroopers on the Death Star ever intended to be a ground assault force? I could see this being useful if the Death Star enters a system, threatens to blow it up, and then when they surrender choose instead to invade it.

Disney canon answers are preferred, but I will accept Legends answers. An ideal answer would include both.

  • Related: scifi.stackexchange.com/q/146204/51379
    – Adamant
    Dec 29, 2016 at 2:58
  • "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore." E.G. 2 Dec 29, 2016 at 4:36
  • @AndrewThompson There are certainly ground assault Stormtroopers (we see them in the standard armor on both Cloud City and the forest moon of Endor, but were the ones on the Death Star intended for that purpose? Dec 29, 2016 at 4:41
  • 1
    Of course. You can threaten to blow up a planet from orbit, but to control you will always need boots on the ground. Just like in real-life, you can't win a war entirely from the air. Dec 29, 2016 at 16:17

2 Answers 2


Yes, the Stormtroopers on the Death Star were intended to be capable of ground assault, or at least to board and take over ships. Their armor and guns are evidence of this. That kind of armor and sidearm combo really shouldn't be necessary for a mere security detail; they were equipped for combat. Soldiers who are trained for combat will often wear their full uniform (including armor, guns, etc.) when they are on active duty, especially in hostile territory, even if they are in their own base and have no reason to believe they will be going to combat any time soon. The Stormtroopers on the Death Star were just soldiers stationed on a mobile military base, prepared to be deployed into combat whenever necessary.


About the names

Stormtrooper comes from the German word, Sturmtruppen, which means "assault trooper." These were WWI soldiers who specialized in infiltration tactics.

Shock Trooper comes from the German word, Stoßtruppen. Shock Troopers were used as heavy infantry in WWI, which is exactly how Shock Troopers are used in the Star Wars Universe.

Judging by the repeated use of nomenclature to match real world examples of German soldiers, it seems obvious to conclude that anyone identified as a Storm Trooper in Star Wars likely was trained, equipped, and prepared to perform the duties that we would normally associate with a Stormtrooper in the real world. Yes, anyone called a Stormtrooper should be trained for ground assault.

  • That kind of armor and sidearm combo really shouldn't be necessary for a mere security detail; they were equipped for combat. But before Luke and crew are discovered aboard the Death Star, aren't all the the Stormtroopers walking around equipped for combat? Wouldn't that imply it's normal security detail? May 1, 2018 at 19:16
  • @Thunderforge If you have ever been at a military base before, you will realize that active duty soldiers will wear their full military uniform, even if they are not currently headed for combat.
    – BlackThorn
    May 1, 2018 at 19:18
  • Gotcha, so your argument is that because they are assigned that gear at all, they are expected to be put into situations where it is of use, correct? May 1, 2018 at 19:34
  • @Thunderforge that is a main part of my argument, yes. A Stormtrooper is someone who is equipped and trained for the role of a Stormtrooper whenever one is needed. Darth Vader could just say, "Hey, you lot! Come down to this planet and help me secure this Rebel base" because all Stormtroopers should be prepared to do that at any time.
    – BlackThorn
    May 1, 2018 at 19:40
  • well, the ones that were on Vader's ship who went down to Tatooine were equipped differently, but still, I'll concede your point. May 1, 2018 at 20:55

Yes the emperor states, this base is fully operational. Maybe you blow up Alderaan, zap Yavin out the sky (successfully this time) and then have a moon sized base full of laser totin' stormtroopers to zip around and subjugate the galaxy with since because after all that who's not going to surrender?

But no, seriously, The first Death Star is depicted in various sources of having a crew of: 265,675, as well as 52,276 gunners, 607,360 troops, 30,984 stormtroopers, 42,782 ship support staff, and 180,216 pilots and support crew.

Those troops aren't just decoration, they mean business.

  • 1
    Welcome to Sci-fi Stack Exchange! This site works a bit differently from a forum in that we are looking for quality answers that reference sources. It sounds like your first paragraph is speculative and you don't say where the numbers in your second paragraph came from (aside from "various sources"). Don't worry about the downvotes; everybody makes mistakes as they're figuring out the format. I would love to see you improve your answer with sources (ideally not "Star Wars Wikia"). Dec 29, 2016 at 18:20
  • Yep, I appreciate the feedback. Thinking about it, it is a pretty garbage response. Should I take it down or something?
    – rimmram
    Dec 29, 2016 at 19:41
  • Up to you if you want to delete it depending on whether you think it's salvageable. I appreciate you caring about your response enough to ask! Note that if you delete too many of your posts in too short a time, it can cause you to trigger a temporary ban, but deleting a post every now and again won't, especially if you post quality stuff in the mean time. Dec 29, 2016 at 22:17
  • The last statement is an unsupported assertion.
    – user38763
    Jan 3, 2017 at 18:58

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