As you probably already know, The Stormtrooper Corps kind of sucks and on multiple levels too: from weapons, tactics, armor and even leadership, the Stormtrooper Corps just plain awful. These flaws can easily be broken down into an entire book (work in progress), however here are a few points of criticism on The Stormtrooper Corps and how they kind of suck…or really suck.
That said, please keep in mind, that we actually don’t know a lot of detailed information about the Star Wars Universe weapons, technology, other stuff. The movies did not go into technological detail about most of these things, so I’m going off the official Disney “canon” on this. Yes, there is EXTENSIVE info in the “Legends” category/Expanded Universe (EU). Obviously, just looking at it we can figure out there are some…”issues”.
Context Statement 3/20/20: I know any henchman suffers from the Plot Armor (or lack thereof) cinema device. I'm breaking it down on a more detailed level past the plot armor issue.
1. The E-11 Blaster* Correction On Bottom
It’s lacking any sort of stock - *This has been proven wrong* please read updated post
I guess you can MP5K this thing and push forward while holding the rifle and have a single point sling that strapped on you that holds it in place. However no single point sling exists as far as we’ve seen. Meaning that even if this thing were capable of Sub MOA performance, it would be nearly impossible to achieve it. Holding a firearm like you’re an extra in Commando doesn’t lead to the best results.
Correction 3/20/20: Comments on FB have alerted me that the E-11 does have stock, it's folded right underneath the blaster in the picture above. However I believe my overall point stands, it's never used and practically doesn't exist.
The optic seems to be useless as well
We do not know the blaster’s official magnification, however in the EU it states that it is 2x. I would assume it’s a simple magnified red dot since the trooper helmet would obscure any way of aiming and the position you have to hold the blaster in order to use it (pushed forward). A red dot is the only thing that makes sense to me. The only saving grace I can think of is the possibility that the E-11 Scope functions similar to the US Military’s new FWS-I – in which the trooper can link the scope to his helmet display and allow him to aim his blaster independent of his line of sight. Of course, we’ve never seen ANY indication of that being a possible feature. It definitely would’ve helped them if that were the case.
It literally has a holster
The blaster has a simple leather holster that hangs on the side of the trooper like it’s a mare’s leg from 1892. This can be fixed by simply you know…issuing a sling? Also, don’t “holster” your rifle…it’s dumb.
2. The Armor
We actually have more insight into their armor after watching The Mandalorian. In the original trilogy the StormTroopers were picked off with relative ease. Anytime a blaster bolt hits one of them, they are instantly taken out of action. Some people have argued that the armor merely displaces the energy and knocks the trooper unconscious while keeping them alive, but again there is no evidence of this. During the battle of Endor we see several StormTroopers falling to Ewoks who literally beat them with rocks tied to sticks. Even if that Ewok could knock you off your feet, the armor should be good enough to take that blow without you getting killed or seriously injured. The armor’s weakness is even more apparent in The Mandalorian when we see Mando point blank light a StormTrooper on fire with his wrist mounted flame-thrower and the Trooper’s armor gets cooked through and through. Our combat military uniforms of today (as in currently issued) are designed not to melt; I would assume that the full armor of a Trooper should be able to take some amount of heat. I’m not saying you should be able to jump into a volcano with the thing but for an intergalactic force you’d think it would have some environmental resistance. Also, don’t forget that in The Mandalorian that the Mandalorian armor-making woman was able to beat an entire squad of Troopers to death using her crafting hammers. I know I wouldn’t want to experience it, but my issued Kevlar could take a pretty serious war hammer blow and I’d still be combat effective. Oh and don’t forget the part in Rouge One where a blind dude literally beat an entire PLATOON of Troopers with a wooden stick.
It’s really useless
There’s only two times in the Star Wars series when the StormTrooper gear gets mentioned. It’s when Luke says “I can’t see anything in this helmet”, and in The Force Awakens when Finn states that the StormTrooper helmets only filter out smoke, not poisonous gas. Both are insane; let’s say Luke didn’t know how to activate any piece of the helmet. At the very least he should be able to see out of the damn thing. Regardless of HUD interface I can’t see why any general issued helmet that would obscure the users standard vision. Naysayers will point to the Current issued gas mask as a comparison. Remember though that gas masks are currently issued for ONLY NBC environment, not for 100% use at all times. In Finn’s case, I’d assume the armor designed 30 years later for the First Order would be an improvement over its predecessor. The gas masks issued in 1915 filtered out poisonous gas, so I don’t know why they didn’t have that filter built in to a simple helmet in such an technologically advanced galaxy. The lack of night vision is also apparent and concerning. In the The Clone Wars & Rebels TV series there are multiple instances where the Troopers are in sole darkness and are able to turn on either a weapon mounted light or helmet-mounted light. I understand that white light is currently used in combat, but white light being your primary way to tactically see at night went away pretty much in 1990. Yes in The Clone Wars the Clones do have detachable visors that give night vision, however in reality that helmet should have it all built in. More embarrassingly, in Rebels there are multiple instances where the elite Death Troopers get obscured by smoke or darkness and are picked off like NPC’s in Call Of Duty.
It’s unnecessarily In Multiple Ways
Let’s say every panel from the chest piece to the thigh-guard work as they are “supposed” to. It’s still dumb, years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan have pretty much solidified the armor vs mobility debate. Interesting enough knights of 600 years ago figured this out too. You wear armor over your most vital area & exposed areas and that’s really about it. Having an armored plate on your ass really doesn’t make any sense, unless you’re into that sort of thing, and if you are…Why is it armored? Even if everything fit right, donning the Trooper armor correctly would’ve take about 10-15 minutes and would leave them unnecessary encumbered (ass plate). Some people will point out that the armor itself was more environmental and worked as a way to keep Troopers adaptable to any planet. The evidence points to the contrary, the Troopers on Hoth had specialized armor for snow/cold and the flamethrower scene in The Mandalorian proves it’s definitely not built for high temperatures.
It’s Bright White
Ok I get the whole “Show Of Force” aspect; the camo I was issued was far from making me a chameleon (I know chameleons don’t actually do that), but at least I was issued Desert Camo to be used in a desert environment. Wearing a bright white uniform may look fancy, but much like the British Empire learned, the brighter the colors, the bigger the target.
3. The Tactics
Where are the NCO’s?
It seems as if the only commander of the StromTroopers were either Naval Officers or a mystical wizard who wields a laser sword. There doesn’t seem to be any middle management in the battlefield or in garrison. Once an officer or space wizard issues an order, what usually follows is what I can only assume is a group of Storm Trooper privates running in a gaggle towards the objective and shoot at it from the hip. It appears to have no middle management or rank structure outside of Trooper and then officer.
Where do they fit in exactly?
In Solo we see a larger imperial army in action with some Stormtroopers thrown in the mix. Unfortunately, it’s never made clear what role or who the Stormtroopers are as whole in the Imperial Military. It’s implied that they are the *main force* as in they are standard issue trooper. Especially if you follow the line of Logic that Lucas put forth as the Clone Army directly became the Imperial Army. However, in Solo it appears there are another contingents of Imperial forces, which are separate from them or at the very least wear different uniforms and are issued completely different gear. Furthermore, in Solo it clears that no matter what part of the Imperial Military you’re in there are two types of people; officers who scream and yell propaganda before getting blown up, and literally everyone else. Are the storm troopers an elite corps similar to the Marines? Or are they the standard trooper? Many questions remain.
Tactics? No really, has anyone in the Imperial Military even played a game of laser tag?
I understand this is more of an Leadership thing. Honestly though, After boot camp I watched Empire again and was questioning the Imperial tactics. Why the hell would you raid a place when you plan on killing or capturing everyone in it? Hoth was under siege, pull up the whole imperial Navy and sit there. Siege battles have been done for literally thousands of years, and the tactics behind it are pretty easy. You stand around, they starve, that’s basically it. Speaking of Solo, why is there trench warfare in Star Wars? You have ships that can literally drop off AT-ST’s anywhere ON A PLANET and are capable of “interstellar travel”, but your best idea is to fight like it’s 1917? Don’t even get me started on the Clones literally running at a entire Corps of battle droids on the barren lands of Geonosis likes it’s the Battle of Waterloo. Also…Endor, really? I know you can throw wars such as: The Revolutionary War, the Vietnam War, The Afghanistan War, The Iraq War as examples of local forces resisting a much larger and well supplied military. Don’t start with me, those are different. We watched an AT-ST get taken out by two logs tied to trees, and another literally just slipped on logs and fell. You could make the case for a 20 year Ewok insurgency, but insurgencies are launched specifically not to get into open battles with militaries. Endor was an embarrassment for the Corps and everyone knows it.
Even The Special Forces Suck
When we see the Death Troopers for the first time in Rogue One they look really badass. The director of Rogue One, Gareth Edwards, definitely took modern lessons and designed them appropriately. Their weapons had stocks (that they used), they had black armor (better than bright white), and they had Comms that were scrambled to the outside user but obviously understandable to their comrades. However, any practicality pretty much ends there; they miss just as much as their standard counter parts. They do stupid things like run out of cover to throw a grenade. They are all killed without much ceremony and unfortunately do little to add any suspense. To make matters worse they let the person they are assigned to protect to get shot within the first ten minutes of seeing them. In The Mandalorian we see one Death Trooper get into hand to hand combat with Mando. Why I have no idea, but the fight lasts for about 4 seconds, before he is promptly executed – clearly someone needs more STMAP classes (Stormtrooper martial arts program). Plus, when we’re able to view the aftermath of the Death Troopers barrage into the cantina (full of their own guys, of course) we see scorch marks of laser bolts all over the wall containing the window. For surgically enhanced super soldiers, missing a literal broad hole in the wall seems pretty pathetic. I’ve mentioned the Death Troopers appearance in Rebels too. It’s embarrassing for them and you can even look up “Death Troopers all scenes, Rebels” on YouTube - just cringe.
They are embarrassingly inaccurate
Ok this has been joked about since the release of Star Wars: A New Hope in 1977, and yes I know the battlefield can make us all inaccurate, but Stormtroopers however are in a whole other category. Highlighting the concerns I brought up about the E-11, the Troopers can’t hit shit. I don’t really need to go into it here. We’ve all seen the movies and we all know they can’t hit anything.
Basic Training is a confusing joke
Look I didn’t handle Basic Training well at all when I went through it. Before I entered, I was a sheltered nerd and soft kid who really hadn’t dealt with any real hardships or mean people in my life. However, compared to the little training tidbits we saw in Rebels, I would’ve been the Star Wars equivalent of Denzel Washington in training day. I understand that Rebels is a kid show and the military aspects are written by people clearly not in the military, however the basic training we see is akin to sending your child through Gymboree at the mall and then handing them a rifle and putting them in the Ranger regiment and wishing them Good Luck. From what Rebels shows us, storm troopers take literal children and make them do Non sensical obstacle courses and encourage betraying and backstabbing each other. I’m not saying that modern Basic training is the pinnacle of efficiency but good lord it’s horrific in the SW universe. Just YouTube “Star Wars Rebel Storm Trooper training” and realize why the Stormtrooper Corps really does suck from the very beginning.
I hope you had fun reading this. And I know the original vision of Lucas was to showcase the Stormtroopers as dehumanizing war props. That people were used as numbers between battles of larger ideals. And for whatever reason, the military and Star Wars just mix. I don’t know why, but it’s fun to write about.
Many seem to take some sort of offense to this. Remember we’re talking about the Source material here, not the EU. The EU is a vast world on where Stormtroopers are portrayed as competent and deadly, we’re not talking about that.