So rewatched the final battle scene from Return of the Jedi last night and caught the line:
They’re heading for the medical frigate!
It’s something I never thought about before since seeing the film in the there in 1983, but here is a seemingly obvious question:
Why would the rebels bring a fairly defenseless medical frigate into battle like that? And is there any canonical discussion or allusion to the rationale behind the deployment of a medical frigate to a large scale battle like that?
This thread on Rebel Scum theorizes many things such as:
- The rebels believing that the assault on Death Star II would be a “milk run” so they brought the medical frigate to deal with limited casualties. They generally saw the assault as a hyperspace jump in, attack & destroy and hyperspace jump out endeavor.
- The Nebulon-B was a medical frigate yet still had significant assault and defense capabilities since as the Wookieepedia states, “The EF76 Nebulon-B escort frigate was a 300-meter-long warship that was built by Kuat Drive Yards for use by the Imperial Navy, to protect convoys from Rebel Alliance star fighter actions.”
But looking at that same article on the Nebulon-B at the Wookieepedia seems to contradict itself under the “Variants” heading; emphasis in bold is mine:
The Rebels converted some of their Nebulon-B frigates into medical vessels, which served as mobile hospitals. Weaponry and hangar space was sacrificed to make room for treatment facilities, 15 bacta tanks, 745 beds, and other hospital suites. The crew was slightly modified to included an additional 80 medical personnel and 30 medical droids (such as the 2-1B model). These ships could not carry any fighters, and their armament was reduced to 6 turbolasers (with computer-assisted targeting) and 8 laser cannons.
So the Nebulon-B medical frigate at the “Battle of Endor” was truly a sitting duck of a “battleship” if it was retrofitted into a medical frigate, correct? It was significantly reduced of it’s core offensive/defensive capacity, right? Then why was it there? And does anything in historical canon of the original trilogy—such as novelizations and such—address this issue?