Earth population was in the billions. Babylon 5 population was only around quarter of a million and a substantial of the population were aliens who will not fight against Earth. Babylon 5 was merely a station built by Earth. They were not equals. Babylon 5 has White Stars which were built with Vorlon technology but I doubt there were many. Clark's Earth was touched by the Shadows and may have learnt from Shadow technology. I am sure Earth has much more ships than Babylon 5.

I am watching Season 4 now and Babylon 5 has just declared war on Earth. Babylon 5 is going to launch an attack.

In terms of resources, Babylon 5 was grossly outnumbered in weapons and soldiers. How could Babylon 5 even dream of declaring war and launching an attack, much less win?

  • 3
    Sheridan has something like 100+ White Stars. Earth Force isn’t like Starfleet that has thousands of ships. Earth only has less than a dozen colonies so I doubt they have more than 50-100 destroyers themselves. A RL analogy; the US Navy has 430 vessels total. Their biggest ships - aircraft carriers and destroyers etc - number in the tens. So I don’t think you’re right to say he’s outgunned, especially given the advanced tech of White Stars.
    – Darren
    Nov 5, 2017 at 10:01
  • @Darren That's more of an answer then a comment...
    – Anonymous
    Jun 4, 2021 at 1:56

6 Answers 6


Sheridan has a fleet of White Stars and enough humans to crew them.

The logistics of the war will play out over the course of the season, but effectively, Sheridan uses his advanced tech for the edge at first. There are enough crew among B5 staff, Rangers, and humans defecting from Earth to crew enough of the White Stars for an initial strike. He avoids using alien crew or alliances where possible to avoid the implications that a third party would be involved, or that aliens are attempting an Earth takeover, which would play into Clarks hands. He rightly decides he needs allies first, and so the first strike is at the outer colony Proxima 3, where he both gains a planet and manages to get several ships and crew to defect to his side. Sympathetic allies, resources, and additional weaponry, plus high morale, all in one swoop.

If he made a run directly at Earth, it'd be strategic suicide. By letting the aliens defend B5 while he picks off targets, freeing up forces and defectors that will assist his effort, he's able to use his smaller (but more advanced) forces for maximum effect.

This also plays against Clark's weaknesses - to enforce loyalty, he has to keep his military on the defensive, or Earth will have open rebellion all over the place. If he moves a large fleet of ships to take out B5 once and for all, he'll have nothing left to keep order with. By enforcing his dictatorship over all the colonies, Earth has effectively made themselves a sitting duck.

As it gets harder and harder and Earth's defenses get thicker further into the war, the alien governments will eventually come off the bench as well, recognizing that Earth is a threat to all of them, but only after Sheridan has made his point, and collected quite a few defector ships that represent Earth itself rebelling against Clarks' regime.

  • 1
    And of course we saw the sabotage of the Earth Fleet at Mars.
    – Brandon
    Nov 5, 2017 at 8:58
  • This answer is good but doesn't mention Draal being in alliance with B5 since episode 2.19 The Long, Twilight Struggle. Especially once Draal shows Ivanova the Santiago assassination in Voices of Authority, 3.04, we can't expect B5 to have kept Earth informed of everything but in A Voice in the Wilderness, Part II, 1.21, there were many races warned to stay away from Epsilon III. The firepower evident in that episode, and the fact the warning was given by a Minbari, can hardly have been lost on Earth politicians and military. Jun 3, 2018 at 11:06
  • @Smartybartfast - it apparently was lost, because Clark showed up in Season 3's Severed Dreams to recapture B5 long before the 4th season's campaign to Earth. During which Draal was apparently asleep, or Sheridan didn't call him, or any number of other hand waves, so Earthforce still wouldn't have clued in properly. Draal was left out as evidence in this answer because Draal was mostly left out of the show by S4, the Great Machine only used as a signal booster for Ivanova's broadcasts.
    – Radhil
    Jun 5, 2018 at 2:26

Simply put, they had support from the other species in the Interstellar Alliance.

This video shows a key scene:

  • The aliens will defend Babylon 5 but I don't think they will join Babylon 5 in attacking Earth.
    – user486818
    Nov 4, 2017 at 15:22
  • @user486818 Even if they wouldn't join in the attack, they could still provide support, freeing all the humans and their vessels up to actually carry out the attack. Or they might join them for the actual attack. Or they just wait and see. I'm not giving anything away in saying that you will see what happens if you continue watching :)
    – BMWurm
    Nov 4, 2017 at 17:19
  • That clip also makes an important point: Mimbari warships were in another league to the Earth Alliance ships. The White Stars are even better: joint Mimbari-Vorlon. Nothing the EA has could match them. Nov 4, 2017 at 17:37
  • 2
    @user486818 You make it very hard to address your concerns without spoiling the rest of the season for you. You might enjoy it most by watching it play out and then returning here to ask about what still doesn't add up. Nov 5, 2017 at 5:16

It wasn't a conventional war. B5 itself was defended by the other races, and had been upgraded shortly before the clark crisis. They also had very good intel (from the rangers) and the goal of the war wasn't to defeat the EA militarily

Initially the goal was to was to help colonies that wanted to declare independence maintain it by preventing indiscriminate attacks on them. With the white stars, B5 was able to do hit and run attacks, but rarely went toe to toe with EA forces.

They also were trying to erode support for Clark, as part of a broader attempt at a 'coup' - especially once proof of him killing off Santiago. Rather than a direct war, getting ships to defect or at least refuse to attack civilian targets was the goal. Quite a few of B5's actions were in support of EA ships against the psicorps/shadow conspiracy (say when they went in and took out the psy corps ambush of EA forces).

Likewise, rather than a direct attack on mars, the rangers provided a distraction allowing the local resistance to take strategic locations on mars.

On the final assault on earth, while there were heavy losses, the final victory wasn't because Sheridan had an overwhelming victory (heck, he almost died again), but because Clark went nuts and tried to destroy Earth. Arguably, he even surrendered to the EA, and got saved by the new Interstellar Alliance.

Sheridan never wanted to fight against the EA - Both B5's independence and the actual war were reactions to abuses of power but arguably, without the white stars, and Earth and Martian resistance, Sheridan had no hope of winning an unconventional war. Without help from alien races - and Clerk spun Sheridan as someone who was influenced heavily by the minbari, a direct, toe to toe war would have ended badly.


The Minbari funded his war effort, so even though the face of the war was humans, it was Minbari who built the ships, trained the rangers and kept B5 in business.

It's also explained that the station itself is self sustainable via commerce (docking fees, taxes etc).


Sheridan formed an alliance with the Minbari and the Centauri and the Narn and other races.

President Clark was not popular with the military and Sheridan set out to win Captains over to his side with their ships. They had the firepower to defeat Earth. The Minbari did that themselves before. They did not want casualties unless there was no other alternative. So they set about giving Earth's resistance fighters the chance to remove the President with the knowledge that there was a huge armada orbiting Earth on their side.


There were the White Stars which were superior in speed and maneuvering, had very good if not comparable weaponry and, while smaller, there were many more of them. It evens things some.

Additionally the non-aligned worlds bolstered by a joint spearhead by the Narn and Centauri ultimately joined the independent B5’s cause.

Finally Earth may harbor a big population but a majority are civilians while B5 had a fairly large military contingent which grows as Earthforce ships defect to their side.

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