So I'm watching the first couple episodes of BSG, when the Cylons are mysteriously following the human fleet, FTL jump after jump. Each time the BSG is there, waiting for the Cylons to arrive, so they can start the jump procedure to escape again, they send out their smallish fleet of single pilot fighters while they're getting ready to jump.
I just don't really get why, though. From what they're showing us, it seems like the fighters are doing basically nothing: there are a pretty small number of them, and there are just thousands of Cylon ships swarming around. It seems like they could be destroying Cylon ships constantly but it would have no effect on actually defending the BSG or civilian ships any better.
And it has a really obvious downside: in the last episode I saw, they basically had to delay the FTL jump because they didn't get all their fighters back in the dock, and all their fighters had to crash land to even get in there quickly.
Is there some reason I'm missing, or is it just to have more space-fighting scenes?