13

In Rogue One, during the Battle of Scarif, once the shield gate has closed, Y-Wings and X-Wings from the Alliance are seen probing the shield by dropping bombs and firing torpedoes at it, to no avail.

They focus their effort on the section of the shield that is within the gate, at great cost to them since that exposes them to the fire from the gate's defensive turrets.

Why did they focus their probing on that specific section of the shield?

  • 2
    I'm assuming they were hoping to break through it. – Valorum Nov 12 at 22:21
  • 2
    Indeed, but why that section and not a point 100 km away where they would not be under fire from the defense turrets? – Sava Nov 12 at 22:22
  • 4
    @Sava Because then they'd be 100km away? – Lightness Races with Monica Nov 13 at 18:18
  • Speaking of which, how did the Death Star fire through the shield outside of the gate? – Chloe Nov 14 at 21:26
  • @Chloe Overwhelming amount of firepower. The Death Star ray is orders of magnitude more powerful than anything else. – Sava Nov 15 at 2:20
39

The section inside the ring is a particularly weak point in an otherwise nearly-impenetrable shield.

“Do it!” Krennic roared, and Ramda and his men scurried to act. When the orders had been given, Krennic lowered his voice but still heard himself quivering with fury. “Is there any way,” he asked, “that the rebel fleet can break through the shield? Think before you answer.”

“The shield gate itself,” Ramda said with deliberate care, “is the only weak point. With massive amounts of firepower, an enemy could conceivably punch through the field contained by the ring. But Admiral Gorin is positioning his ships to prevent even that unlikely occurrence.”

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - Official Novelisation

The Rebels presumably know this from Bodhi's debriefing, hence why they're concentrating their fire on this section of the shield.

  • Unfortunately, that really doesn't gel with the film itself, as the gateway was only temporarily breaching the complete planetary shield using physical obstructions to block the shield (which makes sense as to how the Star Destroyer colliding with the shield was able to penetrate it - its a physical object being forced through it beyond what the shield could stop). In reality, its another ambiguity in the SW universe as to how planetary shields work (see my older question on the differences in vulnerabilities between the Endor shield and the Starkiller Base shield). – Moo Nov 13 at 21:34
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    @Moo - One assumes that the generator is on the polar opposite of the gate, hence the exact location of the gate is the weakest part of the the shield. – Valorum Nov 13 at 22:09
  • Meh, there are all sorts of inconsistencies with how SW tech works... – Moo Nov 14 at 0:14
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    @Moo Why inconsistencies? Are you assuming that every single planetary shield generator should work the same way? Car engines don't work the same way. They have different failure modes, they use different fuel, they have different emissions... Heck, just look at the hundreds of designs of actual shields that humans have used over the centuries. How did you even get to "temporarily breaching a shield using a physical obstruction"? If that was something you could do with normal planetary shields, there would be no need for the Death Star in the first place. Scarif was a secret base. – Luaan Nov 14 at 8:19
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    @Moo I believe that the main difference between the Endor and Starkiller Base shields are that Starkiller Base was finished. They rather explicitly mention in Return of the Jedi that the shield generator is on Endor instead of Death Star II because construction hasn't finished yet. If the Rebels had waited, them I'm sure that the generator would have been moved to the Death Star itself - but, the Emperor decided A) to get the weapons working first and B) bait the Rebels with it, because it's a trap! – Chronocidal Nov 14 at 8:35
9

That area was designed to be opened and closed regularly. The rest of the shield around the planet stayed active at all times. That one area is presumably a weaker area so they had a better chance to break through.

  • 7
    This makes sense intuitively: When police have to enter a house, they don't typically hit the wall or the door frame, they hit the door. – Brendan Nov 14 at 13:05

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