In the end of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, we saw a battle similar to

Battle of Hoth. But, unlike Battle of Hoth, nobody was even firing from enemy side in the beginning.

Why didn't First Order land AT-M6s near blast doors instead of moving slowly towards it such that enemies had enough time to mount a little resistance to delay them?

  • 1
    Because they needed time to get that big gun linked up to the crawlers?
    – Valorum
    Dec 18 '17 at 1:08

This is addressed in the film's Visual Dictionary. Recognising that a siege is taking place, the First Order airlifts a bunker-buster to the battlefield. This Superlaser Siege Cannon is a highly vulnerable piece of kit while it's charging (and apparently has a line-of-sight range) so the goal is to keep it safe until it can be used at least once. This means landing outside the range of the Resistance's gun emplacements.

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"To penetrate the Resistance defences, the First Order airlifts a massive superlaser siege cannon to Crait's surface. Towed by tug walkers, the enormous 200-metre-long weapon is a piece of miniaturised Death Star technology. A fiery tracer beam creates a path along which a devastating pulse travels towards the target, detonating with terrifying impact. The cannon requires time to charge up between blasts, however, during which time it is vulnerable, necessitating escort walkers and air support."

  • This seems to be a better answer than suggesting that the shield is preventing a closer landing, since we later see TIE fighters (and the Falcon) flying through the airspace closer to the base. Would have liked the "miniaturized Death Star technology" to project a superlaser-green beam. Dec 18 '17 at 3:03
  • 1
    "outside the range of the Resistance's gun emplacements." any competent commander would protect something as important as the SSC with radar-guided counter-battery artillery.
    – RonJohn
    Dec 18 '17 at 8:29
  • 4
    I think any laser weapon is going to be line of sight range. Dec 18 '17 at 10:02
  • 3
    @JeremyFrench - Indeed. But most weapons in Star Wars are plasma based and travel about as far as a bullet.
    – Valorum
    Dec 18 '17 at 10:32
  • 1
    @anaximander - Yeah, but it looked amazing. Which is the entire point of a film
    – Valorum
    Dec 18 '17 at 14:08

Same reason the First Order couldn't shoot the base from orbit. As the rebels were occupying the base, one of them mentioned that the shields will stop us being shot from space. Presumably the shield boundary extends out into the salt plain a short distance to prevent the First Order doing a closer landing. Presumably the same shields do not stop you moving through them with your walkers and your battering ram cannon.

Also, like the battle of Hoth, this is Star Wars canon, and it is just the way things are done.

  • 1
    "this is Star Wars canon, and it is just the way things are done." I wish I could vote this +10. If matter like walkers can pass through the shield, then you can drop a rod from God on the door.
    – RonJohn
    Dec 18 '17 at 8:38
  • Large-area shields like the ones covering the planetary base seem to be more effective against things that are fast-moving. Shields are also shown to be directional (a few times, ships have been instructed to direct power to shields in a certain direction), and it makes sense that a shield covering a surface base would be focused on attack from above, given that space-based weaponry is the most dangerous. Given these two points, the easiest way to penetrate a shield is therefore to come in slowly from low angle, which is what the walkers do. Dec 18 '17 at 14:05

I think it has to do with speed. The blocking power of a shield is directly proportional to the speed of the incoming object. Projectiles, meteors and especially light (lasers) are moving fast enough to get blocked by a shield, but of course the energy required to do the blocking is also proportional to the energy of the object being blocked, and that energy is turned into heat at the point of contact, and this heat can and will cause damage to a ship inside a shield bubble if intense enough.

A slow moving object (like an imperial walker) should be able to penetrate a shield, and once inside it can do its damage. A siege cannon slowly dragged into position can also penetrate a shield this way, and being inside its laser energy can used much more effectively to punch a hole in a heavily fortified door or similar.

  • 2
    Do you have any canon evidence for the fact that the blocking power of a shield is directly proportional to the speed of the incoming object? Kylo's fighter got through the cruiser shields pretty easily...
    – Edlothiad
    Dec 18 '17 at 9:41
  • Kylo's fighter as well as our heroes got inside with high speed..
    – I' Robot
    Dec 18 '17 at 11:07
  • I just remembered Goaul'd shields...
    – Shirkam
    Apr 10 '18 at 15:19

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