15

During The Battle of Hoth, a damaged snowspeeder rammed an AT-AT.

enter image description here

During the space battle above the moon of Endor, two star destroyers were rammed by damaged rebel fighters. One was a Y-Wing pilot shot down by TIE Fighters which crashes into a Star Destroyer.

enter image description here

And Green Leader is shot during his attack run on the Super Star Destroyer Executer where he managed to crash his A-Wing into the ship's bridge which had just lost their deflector shields.

enter image description here

What I'd like to know is, why is it so common for the rebel pilots to crash their damaged or dying ships into the enemy?

  • 3
    The Rebellion leadership is willing to selflessly through wave after wave of their own men at the enemy, until they reach their preset kill limit. Obviously, they are led by Zap Brannigan. – Jeff Dec 7 '13 at 4:45
  • 3
    It should be noted that this could be interpreted as extreme desperation... By the second movie, the empire has already demonstrated the willingness to destroy entire planets and kill billions of people. If you expect them to continue this, you might just take it upon yourself to do the kamikaze thing hoping that it might (in part) protect loved ones. – John O Dec 8 '13 at 0:00
  • 1
    Just FYI, that snowspeeder did not in fact ram the walker youtu.be/5BkOVSFb2Zw?t=4m44s – RedCaio Oct 3 '17 at 1:11
  • 2
    That last one would make a great album cover – DCOPTimDowd Oct 3 '17 at 20:31
30

If you're joining the Rebellion, you are a passionate, driven individual. You have your reasons to hate the Empire, and you support the Rebellion with everything you have and everything you are.

Think about what joining the Rebellion means: you are not just a criminal, you are a traitor in the eyes of the Empire. You cannot ever expect anything but death if you're caught, you are knowingly committing yourself to a life of hiding and running, fighting every minute of every day.

If you're a fighter pilot? You are worse. You didn't just join the Rebellion, you put yourself outside of the relative safety of the larger ships. Most starfighters can't survive more than a hit or two from any thing that is larger than man-portable (and some weapons that ARE).

Fighter jocks are brave to the point of ludicrousness, and see themselves as the first line of defense against the enemy (largely because this is the role they play). The whole reason to use fighters is because they are cheap and easy to replace. Fighter jocks know this, they do their job knowing they're expendable. If a dozen pilots and ships lives can be spent to save a larger ship, it will be done in a heartbeat. The pilots know and accept this.

That sort of personality, facing certain death? They're going to try to take their enemies with them. A damaged snowspeeder? You can't maneuver well enough to use the standard attack patterns, and you'd be blasted out of the sky if you broke off. You're already dead, might as well take out a walker and buy your allies a little more time.

An A-wing? Fragile as hell. Green leader's ship was already lost, and ejecting into space right above the Executor? His momentum would have carried him into the ship or its shields anyway. Worse, if it hadn't he'd have been the Empire's 'guest' (as his only way of surviving would have been via a quick application of a rescue tractor beam, and only the Imperials were close enough).

Even the back pair of fighters in the Trench Run on the first Death Star were just there to be an extra pair of shields between the Imperials and the torpedo-armed fighters. Most fighter pilots in the Rebellion went into combat expecting to never come back.

They're fighting a guerrilla war against a larger, more powerful force. To do any damage, they have to commit themselves fully to that cause. A suicide charge that might slow or stop an enemy and save your friends or further your cause? Lots and lots of times through history, we see that it can and does happen.

  • 1
    X-Wing series covered this in detail re: fighter pilot life expectancy, especially for non-elite pilots in Rebellion. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 7 '13 at 14:26
  • 1
    Imagine how all the scrubs stuck in Eyeballs felt – IG_42 Sep 22 '15 at 13:28
7

Lucas famously used WWII fighter combat as a model for his space combat[1]. As such, Kamikaze attacks would have been a very standard tactics, having been heavily used in WWII

[1] "When ILM fell behind on generating X-wing footage, Star Wars producer George Lucas and his editors temporarily used World War II dogfight footage for initial editing cuts" (src: Wikipedia, via Burns, Kevin and Edith Becker "Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy" 2004 Documentary)

  • I assume that this is a commongly known fact, and it was mentioned unreferenced several places in IMDB Star Wars trivia page. I'll see if I can ind a more formal reference. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 7 '13 at 2:27
  • I think that "standard tactics" and "heavily used" are stretching it a bit. While any pilot might choose to crash into a target as a final desperate act, Kamikaze attacks were used by one nation (Japan) in WWII. They didn't begin until the final months of the war (starting in October 1944) and they weren't very successful. thefairjilt.com/2014/11/05/… – Blackwood Oct 3 '17 at 0:11
-1

In an unused bit of dialogue a rebel pilot said "I'm not telling you to commit suicide... but if you're going to die anyways go for the bridge." (unnamed a-wing instructor referring to crashing fighter into star destroyer)

  • 3
    Unused bit of dialogue from where? What is your source for this, and how do you answer the question? – Gallifreyan May 2 '17 at 5:18

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.