In Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, we see the Jedi learn of the clone army built on the order by Sifo Dyas. Then, presumably very quickly, Yoda traveled to Kamino to examine the army.

Then, Yoda was able to assemble the army and deploy them Geonosis to stop the droid attack. The Jedi, who didn't have experience leading battles of this scale, seemed to have very little difficulty taking up the mantle of generals and commanders, and leading the clones to victory.

While the Jedi are powerful on their own and strong in the force, how does this translate to being not only a natural leader, but automatically skilled in the art of warfare? Was more going on behind the scenes that we never saw? Did the Jedi get lucky in the surprise attack on Genosis and then later train to be commanders? The Clone Wars cartoon doesn't really allude to to anything like this, either.

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    The Jedi lacked practical experience at warfare, but that doesn't necessarily mean they weren't trained for it. Plus, of course, they were guided by The Force. Commented Sep 7, 2017 at 1:29
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    I think they weren't good leaders / generals, frankly. Like you said, they got lucky on Geonosis and then learned under fire after that.
    – Paul
    Commented Sep 7, 2017 at 2:41
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    "The Jedi, who didn't have experience leading battles of this scale". Experience is a good teacher, but it's also fair to assume that the more intelligent and wise a person is, the better they are at doing something right the first time.
    – Flater
    Commented Sep 7, 2017 at 9:56

5 Answers 5


  Both Clone and Droid Army were created to give Jedi false sense of power and competence.

  First consider Droid Army. Very large, but with almost useless individual troopers (especially ubiquitous B1 droid). With few exceptions ineptly lead, with unimaginative frontal assaults in geometrical formations, without any small unit tactics. Even average Jedi would destroy dozens of droids with relative ease, which lulled them in false sense of power, which was in reality miniscule compared to Sith and their assassins. Remember that even Savage Opress could kill Jedi master Adi Gallia.

  And then there was Clone Army, with even more sinister role. Jedi had no formal military training, and even less knowledge how to command large formations. Yet, 20-something Anakin Skywalker become General, and Ahsoka Tano (practically a child) Commander. Clones were "programmed" to obey them without questions, but behind the scenes they certainly tried to correct worst blunders. This situations is similar to historical situation in many European armies up to WW1, where nominal commanders were from highest nobility, but troops were actually led by professional chiefs of staff and other officers with experience.

  Anyway, Jedi were tricked into false belief that they are competent military leaders, well loved and respected. In fact, they more often then not served as shock troops leading the charge and nothing more. So when Palpatine finally gave Order 66, they were completely surprised and most of them were killed off without putting up much fight.

  EDIT: Added some examples for claims above:

Example 1: Mace Windu leads Clone troops straight into ambush, without doing any reconnaissance although he has the means (speeders). He then charges into attack, letting Clone commander lead rest of the troops. Fortunately, Droids are too inept to take advantage, so Clones suffer casualties but are not wiped out.

Example 2: Same battle. Again Mace Windu and Obi-Wan make serious blunder, going straight into teeth of enemy defense. At 2:12 you could see that Clone troopers do not really trust judgement of their Jedi commanders. Again unnecessary loss of warship and several transport which could be avoided if they simply disembarked some distance away from objective. Again, day saved by incompetence of Droids. Btw, Droids mostly lack imagination, they have good algorithm to cover usual attack routes, but not unusual.

Example 3: Chaotic retreat. If you pay attention, you would see that actual fleet is led by Clone commander (0:35), while Jedi run off to individual combat. Jedi are good as fighters or pilots, but often don't have bigger picture in mind. Ahsoka is not only one with this trait, although as youngest she often gets scolded for mistakes of others. Droids, as usual just march and shoot, no small unit tactics.

  • This would be an awesome answer if you could provide some discrete examples (which would probably come from the Clone Wars).
    – Jason K
    Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 15:26
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    @JasonK Added examples.
    – rs.29
    Commented Sep 9, 2017 at 8:13
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    nice. It adds a bit of depth to consider that both sides were engineered to instill overconfidence in the Jedi. Somehow I feel Lucas wasn't thinking about it this way.
    – Jason K
    Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 13:36
  • @JasonK I think he did. When you look at it, on surface Clone troopers are perfect soldiers (brave, obedient, trained, loyal). And Droids are perfect cannon fodder . But main idea Lucas had is that whole war is just one giant Jedi trap. So both armies had a role in that trap. One to bait Jedi (Droids), other to win their loyalty and then stab them in the back.
    – rs.29
    Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 18:06
  • Damn, yeah. Like others I always just assumed this was Hollywood warfare tropes. I like the idea that it was intentional!
    – Paul
    Commented Aug 23, 2018 at 11:47

Jedi do not only train how to fight with a lightsaber, and are expected to have experience in much more than that. For the simplest example of this, just look at The Phantom Menace (preferably from a safe distance): Obi-wan and Qui-gon travel to Naboo to negotiate with the Trade Federation. When that goes south, they undertake a mission to free the queen and escort her back to Coruscant so she can ask for aid. When that fails, they accompany the queen as she locates and organizes a local resistance.

What this film shows us about the Jedi is that they're well-suited to a variety of tasks, ranging from diplomatic to military to physical. Not only that, but they're shown to be able to quickly adapt to new challenges when the need arises. They're not single-minded brutes, they're highly trained jacks-of-all-trades who use their extensive training and attunement to the Force to guard peace and prosperity throughout the galaxy. I see no reason why these skills and training wouldn't be applicable to military leadership.

Also, consider the history of the Jedi. At various times, they have fought wars, whether against Sith, Mandalorians, or themselves. Even though the galaxy has been at peace for a long time, that doesn't mean the Jedi have forgotten their bloody past, or stopped honing their minds to the art of war.


Initially the Clone army would have had its own commanders and tactitians who could put the Jedis instructions into action as actual battle plans. This was not simply an army of foot soldirs who need every command explained to them. So all Yoda needs to say is that he wants the clone Army to save Anakin etc and let the Clone Commanders actually work out the best way of doing that, this is much the same as in modern warfare where the Leaders (politicians) will dictate the overall scope and aims of the military action and allow the tacticians to determine the best way to achive it.

The force would also help allowing the Jedi to determine the best action to take in a given moment letting it guide there actions as they planned out an attack.

Later on then the Jedi would have the benifit of time, and the advise of those same commanders to teach them real military tactics. This combined with the Force would help to make them better tacticians and learn how to command a great battle. However most wars are won not on the battlefield, but through the logistics and maintaining of the Army (Its ultimatly why Rommel lost the Dessert War) and I imagine all the "Boring Stuff" was handled soley by the Clone army itself.

In terms of leadership, that same conditioning that allowed the Clone Army to be warriors also conditioned them to follow so Yoda wouldnt have had to give a rousing speech or convince the army to follow him. They where commisioned by a Jedi and so would follow the Jedi certainly initially.

Also you dont see a Jedi actually plan out the intracies of a Military campaign much, they involve themselves in the front line fighting more which suggests they didnt get highly involved in the intracecies of planning the war.

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    mmm Dessert War, my favourite kind ;)
    – user22478
    Commented Sep 7, 2017 at 20:19
  • Also, while the Republic did not apparently have a standing army of it's own before the Clone Wars, many of it's constituent member planets and systems had their own military forces with experienced commanders and tacticians that the Republic was able to draw on when founding the Grand Army of the Republic. There was also some form of Republic Navy that existed prior to the Clone Wars (e.g. Wullf Yularen is said to have served in it) which would have meant there was also an existing military command capability there.
    – user22478
    Commented Sep 7, 2017 at 20:34
  • Yes, and we do see that non-clone officers did make up the grand army of the republic, or at least the navy portion. There weren't necessarily a lot of these, but we have Wuluf Yalaren, and a few others that we see at least. So I think what you're saying is that the Jedi would have had some experience dealing with military personnel before the clones even existed, but on a smaller scale -- planetary forces and such. Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 11:52

Especially at high levels, commanders don't do the day-to-day work of planning and mobilizing troops. They make high-level decisions, and their staff officers and adjutants translate that into the specific orders that go out to the troops. Sometimes there's some back-and-forth involved: the general proposes X, the staff investigates how to feasibly accomplish X, they bring their findings back to the general, and the general picks a plan (or discards X in favor of something else). These staff officers wouldn't necessarily be Jedi; they're more likely to have been clones or, as Nathan points out, members of planetary militias or other preexisting forces. (In Shatterpoint, Mace Windu inducts a local partisan into the Grand Army to be his advisor, which he takes completely seriously; Rostu's brevet rank even shows up in an annotation in the Jedi Archives.) By relying on their staff officers, the Jedi could bypass the logistical and technical problems of maneuvering armies, which they wouldn't have much experience with, and focus on the big picture. And of course they have the Force as their ally - their decisions are more intuitive than analytical (choosing between several courses of action that have been thoroughly analyzed by the staff and are all reasonable on their face), which would benefit greatly from Force-enhanced insight.


The Jedi were the recognized as the 'Guardians of the Old Republic' (as Obi-Wan mentioned to Luke in Episode IV). As such, the Galactic Republic on Coruscant gave the Jedi authority over the existing Galactic military, so by extension the Jedi would also be able to command the new Clone Army that had been designed as an enhancement to their current military. Galactic military personnel had been addressing Jedi masters as 'sir' or 'General' for a long time before the Clones were ever made.

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