In the opening sequence of The Last Jedi, we observe

a squadron of Resistance bombers flying in fairly close formation towards the First Order dreadnaught. Arguably, the bombers arm their ordnance quite prematurely and fly irresponsibly close to each other, the result being that when one ship is destroyed it practically wipes out the whole squadron.

So my question is:

Why did the Resistance bombers fly in such close formation and arm their bombs so early?

EDIT: I don't see this as a duplicate of Why arm the bombs early? because this question primarily addresses the flying formation of the squadron.

  • 2
    Because that way would've led them to trouble.
    – Edlothiad
    Dec 21, 2017 at 13:00
  • 8
    In real life, all bombs have safety mechanisms such that they are not truly armed until they are some distance away from the bomber (as measured by some scheme such as: air speed, barometric pressure, rotation, acceleration, etc.). Also, even fully armed bombs do not chain react that way. Military bombs are designed to be pretty safe for a wide range of pre-firing conditions. Dec 21, 2017 at 21:08
  • 4
    Possible duplicate of Why arm the bombs early?
    – Wildcard
    Dec 22, 2017 at 2:24
  • 2
    The proposed duplicate does not answer the question in the title (or the first part of the question in the text).
    – Blackwood
    Dec 22, 2017 at 3:09
  • 2
    Because Johnson wanted a WW2 bombing run sequence. That's the only reason. God, I hate this sequence with passion.
    – Petersaber
    Dec 31, 2017 at 19:36

1 Answer 1


The question of why they're so close to each other is dealt with in the Last Jedi: Incredible Cross-Sections factbook. In short it's because they rely on overlapping fields of fire to prevent small fighters from getting too close, using much the same tactics as bombers in our own galaxy.


Bombers are slow and ungainly, leaving them vulnerable to enemy star fighters during attack runs. For protection, they depend not just on fighter escorts but also on each other. Resistance flight instructors teach bomber pilots that it is essential to fly in a tight formation, opposing attacking fighters with overlapping fields of fire. The rear and ventral turrets offer a potent defence against attackers approaching from below or from the rear, but are less effective against threats from above or in front of the bomber squadron.

The bombs themselves weren't armed until the bombers were directly over the nose of the dreadnought (pictured below) and were within mere seconds of being dropped. It was just bad luck that this happened at almost exactly the same time as a TIE wing ploughed through the bomb bay of one of the bombers, causing a chain-reaction.

enter image description here

  • 11
    Can I propose an edit to add that the Resistance bomber formation was probably built to create the imagery of a B-17 formation as often depicted in ww2 material (where most of the space combat is drawn from). The bombers are even named SF-17s for goodness sake. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combat_box Dec 21, 2017 at 13:23
  • 6
    Also, the SF stands for StarFortress evocative of the names of the B-29 Superfortress and B-52 Stratofortress. The B-17 was called the Flying Fortress.
    – vynsane
    Dec 21, 2017 at 13:55
  • 2
    @vynsane right? I'm half surprised they didn't name the X-Wings T-47 and new A-Wings as T-51D it's almost too blatant at this point, as soon as I saw that formation appear on screen I knew exactly what they were trying to do. Dec 21, 2017 at 14:02
  • 6
    Love how the complaint is formation and not "dropping bombs" in a vacuum.
    – alemus
    Dec 21, 2017 at 19:33
  • 4
    You're probably better off not including that image; it's impossible to tell what it's depicting due to how dark (and cropped) the shot is.
    – TylerH
    Dec 21, 2017 at 21:31

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