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Dafydd

The Imperial Army, having seen Rogue One and Rebels [spoilers for both]

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Ever since I played the old WEG Star Wars RPG, I've always been in the camp that was happy with the idea of a separate Imperial Army and Stormtrooper Corps. The idea of a large regular army and a smaller, better-equipped and more politically reliable force made sense in the context of the Empire, analagous to the regular army and the Waffen-SS in Nazi Germany.

 

Nothing in the original trilogy seemed to contradict this, as every situation in which we saw Imperial ground troops was one where it made sense to use the 'elite' rather than the grunts. In A New Hope, of course Vader would use the best troops available when boarding the Tantive IV and when searching for the droids on Tatooine. SImilarly, it makes sense that the force responding to a security breach on the Death Star would be the best available (rather than Army or Navy troops). In Empire, the strike force attacking Echo Base would obviously be the best cold-weather assault troops under Vader's command, and he'd deploy the best he had to capture Han and Leia on Bespin, and to lay his trap for Luke. Finally, in Jedi, if you're going to deploy a large force to guard the shield generator on Endor, why wouldn't you use the best you had?

 

So, while there's nothing in the original trilogy that shows an army separate from the stormtroopers, there's nothing that contradicts it. However, Rebels and Rogue One (particularly the latter) cause a problem for this view. Other than officers and cadets, the only Imperial ground troops we see in Rebels (at least up to the end of season 2, which is as far as I've seen) have been stormtroopers. Now, you could argue that most of the time the Spectres are in places that are high-value, and that Lothal seems to be more important to the Empire than appearances would suggest, so perhaps it has a better-quality garrison than most planets, so maybe Rebels isn't an issue.

 

Rogue One, however, is. IIRC, we see stormtroopers (of various types) in six situations. Five of them are no problem for the Army/Stormtrooper split theory:

 

1) Capturing Galen Erso at the start of the film - he's a high-value asset, Krennic would use the best troops available to take him

2) Guarding the khyber crystal recovery operation on Jedha - the operation is critical to the Death Star project, you'd guard it with the best you had

3) Guarding the research base where Galen dies (can't remember the planet) - again, it's involved in the Death Star project

4) Guarding the base on Scarif - again, a site critical to the Death Star project

5) Boarding the Rebel command ship - critical information about the Death Star has been taken, you'd use the best troops to get it back.

 

However, the sixth occurence of stormtroopers poses a problem. If stormtroopers are an elite force, why are they patrolling the market on the trading post where Andor meets his source and finds out about the Imperial defector? Now, perhaps they've been deployed because there's been word of a leak, but Andor gives no indication that a stormtrooper patrol is unexpected, and there's no sign that the trading post is a high-value place that would warrant inn elite garrison.

 

So, in the light of all this, where do you stand? Do you say there's a regular army apart from the Stormtrooper Corps or not?

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We also see stromtroopers guarding Jyn's prisoner ground transport. And those guys don't seem very elite, with the dirty armor, and seemingly nodding off on the job, etc.

Dirty armour I could accept, Jedha's a dusty, dirty place so if the troops have been outdoors for any length of time they'll get grubby fast. Just imagine taking a white-painted car through Jedha City's back streets. The sloppiness of the guards' attitudes is harder to forgive, thought even the best troops can get lazy if they're not challenged enough.

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It been established in canon for a long-time that stormtroopers are a lot worse equipped, a lot worse trained and to a good deal conscripts with a lot less motivation than clone troopers. Stormtroopers are just the cheap replacement for the army of the grand republic, there is no general army corps, there is however a gunner and navy corps and the ISB. 

 

The republic had trouble financing the few millions of clone troopers, the empire wanted magnitudes more soldiers, so the quality of those soldiers suffered greatly. 

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Also i am sure you fill find Stormtroopers who failed their commanders, who disobeyed orders, or anything else which could lead to punishment. Then they are sent to serve as guards at prisons just a punishment act. Not every Stormtrooper will be the perfect, pro-empire, elite, always on duty example soldier.

I am quite fine with Stormtroopers patrolling a city, simply to bring fear to the citizens. AND that is what the Empire wants, rules by FEAR and TERROR (Tarkin doctrine). So if a city is known for resistant in any way, every Governor / Sector Commander or what ever will make use of Stormtroopers, because they are fearsome (even if they a very bad at hitting someone :) ).

 

Cheers

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Jyn's rescue happens on Wobani, not Jedha.

 

*facepalm* D'oh. Wobani was all mud, wasn't it? I think my point would stand, though, it would be hard (impossible, really) to keep your armour spotless in that environment.

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Also i am sure you fill find Stormtroopers who failed their commanders, who disobeyed orders, or anything else which could lead to punishment. Then they are sent to serve as guards at prisons just a punishment act. Not every Stormtrooper will be the perfect, pro-empire, elite, always on duty example soldier.

I am quite fine with Stormtroopers patrolling a city, simply to bring fear to the citizens. AND that is what the Empire wants, rules by FEAR and TERROR (Tarkin doctrine). So if a city is known for resistant in any way, every Governor / Sector Commander or what ever will make use of Stormtroopers, because they are fearsome (even if they a very bad at hitting someone :) ).

 

Cheers

 

Now that's a very good point, if there is a separate Army and Stormtrooper Corp, the stormtroopers will be a lot more intimidating - which suggests that the Army might be deployed only on the more loyal worlds, where they'd present a more human (in every sense) face of the Empire to its citizenry.

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Yes, even in current canon, there's an Imperial Army that's separate from the Imperial Stormtrooper Corps much like there's a separate United States Army and United States Marine Corps.

 

In real life, if your country is invaded by the United States military, you're more likely to come face to face with marines than soldiers because marines, as a whole, receive more intense training in infantry and combat tactics than US Army soldiers. In the marines, there are specialties such as EOD and journalism, but everyone is considered a rifleman (every Marine Corps Hollywood training montage sequence involves drill sergeants and enlisted screaming about being killers). The US Army has a broader swath of career options ranging from infantry to piloting helicopters to driving armor to construction to medicine and dentistry. The US Army has a lot more officers as the Army has more technical positions that require academy/college-level training. The Marine Corps does have a small cadre of pilots and tank drivers - I believe we saw open-top tanks in Rogue One - but they operate in support of Marine Corps operations, rather than broader, cross-service military operations.

 

US Marines also handle a lot of base security roles - the US President's helicopter is Marine One after all - so it makes sense that the Imperial ground forces at Scariff would be stormtroopers.

 

It's like what Kevin Smith wrote in Clerks. Stormtroopers only know about white suits and killing, not about how to install a toilet main. The Imperial Army are the officers and enlisted that maintain and pilot the walkers, repulsorcraft, and crawlers and operate artillery pieces. We didn't see inside those vehicles in Rogue One but we did in Return of the Jedi and the men behind the consoles wore Army Uniforms. Conscripted Imperial ground forces are also part of the Army because there's no way to guarantee their loyalty to the Emperor.

 

Stormtroopers are considered a separate corps within the Imperial ground forces that also happen to report directly to the Emperor, rather than the Army chain of command.

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I'm a fan of the "everyone wears the same outfit" idea where the regulars and the elite both wear the same white armor to present one unified vision of "the Empire is here" to the citizens/enemies. In my headcanon, the Imperial Army is separate from the Stormtrooper Corp and the citizens of the galaxy call army troops stormtroopers (little s) simply as shorthand because of the outfits (which were/are made famous by the Stormtroopers). When actual Stormtroopers (big S) show up, that's when things really get done because of their elite and specialized nature. In other words, Imperial Army troopers in white patrol planets, hunt for rebels, protect Imperial interests, etc but if they identify a rebel base or some other hard/important target they call in the Stormtroopers to kick down the door and kill rebels.

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Still reading the novelisation of Rogue One and it suggests Andor being forced to rush to his meeting with his informant because he was late for some reason.

Because he had to rush it drew imperial attention but not because they knew who they were confronting

it was only because the informant had a broken arm and couldn't escape was why Cassian killed him

.

It's an interesting point but wouldn't that suggest they lost a majority of that elite force with the destruction of the Death Star?

Making it more likely why they were forced to use mass conscripted recruits to fill the void left by those heavy losses?

Edited by copperbell

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I've a convert from "Imperial Army Trooper exists" (argued it for years) to, nope, the army trooper is the Stormtrooper. Having argued both sides of this debate, a few comments:

 

Yes, even in current canon, there's an Imperial Army that's separate from the Imperial Stormtrooper Corps much like there's a separate United States Army and United States Marine Corps.

 

The link you provided doesn't say separate. It says the Stormtrooper Corps is actually part of the Imperial Army (literally says that). So, I think a better analogy are the Ranger Regiments of the US Army. Stormtroopers are thus still just a branch of the Imperial Army even if the Emperor has a strangle hold on them.

 

Also, the link is listed in the "canon" part of Wookieepedia, but take a look at the sources. It stated, "first appearance" as being Episode IV. The only troops we see in that movie are Stormtroopers and what most call Naval Troopers. There's also a recruitment poster in that link for the Imperial Army that shows only a Stormtrooper.

 

 We didn't see inside those vehicles in Rogue One but we did in Return of the Jedi and the men behind the consoles wore Army Uniforms. Conscripted Imperial ground forces are also part of the Army because there's no way to guarantee their loyalty to the Emperor.

 

The AT-ST pilot didn't wear a uniform that said "Army" on it, but I agree he is part of the Imperial Army just like Stormtroopers are. WEG compared the AT-ST pilot's uniform to the one we see General Veers wearing when he commanded the Stormtrooper attack on Hoth and explained it by saying it's the uniform of the standard Army Trooper. This helped create the idea that there's a separate Army from Stormtroopers and thus more mooks for an RPG.

 

But, we have yet to see the fabled Imperial Army Infantry Trooper in anything canon. That's pretty significant in my opinion. The only true infantry we see are Stormtroopers. I think it's much more easy to explain by saying the Stormtroopers ARE the only infantry of the Imperial Army and the Emperor has a solid grip on their corps and loyalty. Thus that AT-ST pilot is a non-elite unit driver for the Imperial Army. The Jedha tank crew and AT-AT pilot troopers we see on Hoth are the elite units within the Stormtrooper Corps that are more directly controlled by the Emperor.

 

So, in my opinion, it's Imperial Navy (ship crews, naval security troopers, gunners) and the Imperial Army (all ground vehicle and infantry forces) with not much of a separation between branches like we have in the real world. We see obvious Naval officers and possible Army officers (Veers) commanding Stormtroopers in the field. But, the Emperor never wanted to give up his direct control of the descendants of his clone army. Thus, all of the primary war fighters are called Stormtroopers and he still has a tight grip on them whether they be infantry, TIE pilots, or ground vehicle pilots.

 

Stormtroopers are considered a separate corps within the Imperial ground forces that also happen to report directly to the Emperor, rather than the Army chain of command.

 

I agree, but I would replace "Imperial ground forces" with "Imperial Army".  Think of a future US Army after a dictator used his direct control of the military to take over (a.i. clone troopers and the Emperor). Imagine a US general turned dictator that arose from a storied background as a general within the US Army Rangers. He uses the Ranger regiments to seize power during a coup. Then, he abolishes all other infantry units while retaining the Rangers and forming a few elite "Ranger" tanker and aircraft units directly loyal to him. It's all still the US Army, but the only true "fighters" left are the Rangers. In Star Wars the Emperor didn't have to worry about an army that wasn't directly loyal to him since there was no other Republic-wide armed forces except the Jedi and clones. The Jedi were gone and he was left with the elite and loyal clone army which included infantry, tanker, and starfighter units. He later grew them into the not-so-elite-but-still-good Stormtrooper corps which he kept under this thumb and thus it would be nearly impossible for an internal coup to oust him. With what? Naval security troopers and a few non-elite ground vehicle units?

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As far as Disney canon is concerned, Stormtroopers are the imperial army. I've not seen many stories that's used anything but stormtroopers and given the descriptions above; it makes perfect sense, they want their army to be repersented by terrifying, stark white armour while planets kept a local security force. If anything actually needed invading, stormtroopers would do it. After all, local forces are naturally predjuiced toward their own people, thus the best way to do that would be to take any candidates, train and assign them elsewhere to a location far away from their homes and assign someone else that duty so that if the people ever did rebel, they would murder all of them without hesitation to make a fine example to the rest of the galaxy.

 

I imagine the only places that would keep their own security forces are certain core worlds, the corporate sector and outer rim worlds that haven't received the gut and refill treatment yet. And that individual worlds would have their own policing system for petty crimes; but I feel the moment it becomes a military matter storm troopers would take over. As such I imagine storm troopers would be present at even the slightest rumour of rebel activity.

Edited by Lordbiscuit

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Personally I have always treated the army and the stormtroopers as wearing the same outfits and looking very similar, thus they both wear stormtrooper armour. In many cases it is difficult to distinguish between regular forces and special forces without delving into equipment and training. Taking that into account I created two stat blocks for my troopers, the standard and the elite. Visually they just represent so much the Empire so I really don't feel the need to use other army troopers.

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an additional reason for the Stormtrooper presence on Jedha was Saw Gerrera. If branded a terrorist, it makes some sense to have an elite presence there. Of course that's actually bad tactics and strategy to use elite forces that way.

 

as for the Stormies being at that spaceport? I think news of Bodhi having defected after leaving the research depot was known enough by the Empire to warrant some patrols in places he might stop by.
 

Edited by NeoSamurai

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The link you provided doesn't say separate. It says the Stormtrooper Corps is actually part of the Imperial Army (literally says that). So, I think a better analogy are the Ranger Regiments of the US Army. Stormtroopers are thus still just a branch of the Imperial Army even if the Emperor has a strangle hold on them.

Also, the link is listed in the "canon" part of Wookieepedia, but take a look at the sources. It stated, "first appearance" as being Episode IV. The only troops we see in that movie are Stormtroopers and what most call Naval Troopers. There's also a recruitment poster in that link for the Imperial Army that shows only a Stormtrooper.

You read one paragraph and ignored the rest of the entry.

 

The Imperial Army had its own infantry, distinct from the stormtroopers. These troopers were made up of a mixture of conscripts and enlistees and used to garrison planets. They were significantly easier to sway the loyalty of in comparison to stormtroopers. 

(see the canon novel, Lords of the Sith) - added by me

 

The United States Marines Corps is a part of the United States Navy. That doesn't make a Marine a Sailor. If you click on the Wookieepedia canonical link to stormtrooper corps it says:

 

The Stormtrooper Corps, also referred to as the Trooper Corps, was an independent military branch operating under the Imperial Army of the Galactic Empire.

 

The Imperial Army link also refers to the stormtroopers as "elite shock troops." You don't have elite shock troops without rank and file troops. Otherwise, they're just "troops."

 

A US Ranger regiment is made up of special operations Army infantry who receive extra training in combat and survival and who operate with the material and intelligence support of the United States Army. The US Marine Corps is a part of, but operates independently from, the United States Navy. They have their own equipment - other than ships, which sailors tease them about - and they have their own intelligence unit which is part of the US Intelligence Community. They even have their own special operations group, which is Force Recon.

 

Swap "marine" with "stormtrooper" and "US Navy" with "Imperial Army" and the analogy still works. Clones had their own canonical intelligence units in the Clone Wars and the Death Troopers from Rogue One are canonically elite stormtroopers.

 

The AT-ST pilot didn't wear a uniform that said "Army" on it, but I agree he is part of the Imperial Army just like Stormtroopers are. WEG compared the AT-ST pilot's uniform to the one we see General Veers wearing when he commanded the Stormtrooper attack on Hoth and explained it by saying it's the uniform of the standard Army Trooper. This helped create the idea that there's a separate Army from Stormtroopers and thus more mooks for an RPG.

 

But, we have yet to see the fabled Imperial Army Infantry Trooper in anything canon. That's pretty significant in my opinion. The only true infantry we see are Stormtroopers. I think it's much more easy to explain by saying the Stormtroopers ARE the only infantry of the Imperial Army and the Emperor has a solid grip on their corps and loyalty. Thus that AT-ST pilot is a non-elite unit driver for the Imperial Army. The Jedha tank crew and AT-AT pilot troopers we see on Hoth are the elite units within the Stormtrooper Corps that are more directly controlled by the Emperor.

The Imperial Navy officers and ratings didn't have a uniform that said "Navy" on it but we took it on faith that they were because they used naval ranks. Neither General Taggee nor General Veers were stormtroopers but they were clearly in the Army as they had army ranks.

 

The AT-ST pilot's uniform was an olive gray jumpsuit with a WW2 Germany style tank helmet and goggles. General Veers' uniform was an officer's uniform with a blast vest and helmet over it. In the German army, soldiers wore the same basic gray uniform whether they were infantry or tank drivers.

 

As I said before, we only see stormtrooper infantry in the TV show and in the films for the same reason you only see Marines in the front lines of an invasion. What we see is the Empire engaging in force projection by temporarily occupying territory that isn't technically theirs, engaging in front line fighting, and patrolling high-value military installations. That isn't the job of the Army because the Army's role is to do more than just kill enemies. They build bases, run medical programs, handle intelligence and logistics and a lot of other things. None of that would fall under the role of a stormtrooper. There are no stormtrooper surgeons just like there are no Marine surgeons.

 

Neither the films nor the television shows have gone out of their way to explain the hierarchy of the Imperial military but seeing as the Imperial military is an obvious homage to both Nazi Germany and American/British military tradition, and, without conflicting information, its pretty easy to make safe assumptions.

 

So, in my opinion, it's Imperial Navy (ship crews, naval security troopers, gunners) and the Imperial Army (all ground vehicle and infantry forces) with not much of a separation between branches like we have in the real world. We see obvious Naval officers and possible Army officers (Veers) commanding Stormtroopers in the field. But, the Emperor never wanted to give up his direct control of the descendants of his clone army. Thus, all of the primary war fighters are called Stormtroopers and he still has a tight grip on them whether they be infantry, TIE pilots, or ground vehicle pilots.

Veers was canonically an Army officer. The AT-AT pilots aren't stormtroopers. They fall under the same category as AT-ST drivers; they're canonical Imperial combat drivers. Canonically, TIE pilots aren't stormtroopers either, though they wear similar face masks. They're Navy or Army pilots.

 

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My version of the Imperial Military includes the Imperial Army, Imperial Navy, Imperial Stormtrooper Corps, Imperial Survey Corps, and Imperial Customs. Beyond that I include the paramilitary CompForce and the Imperial Security Bureau. It's all rather WEG-based, but I feel it's best for a RPG even if it doesn't necessarily match what we see in the non-interactive media.

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My observation RE:WEG and the Imperial Army:

 

Ok, so there's a lot of "elite" talk about the boys in white, and, depending on your definition Stormtroopers are pretty good. Namely that Stormtroopers appear to be trained and equipped in all environments. No matter what that planet looks like, you can go into the stores and pull the weapons and gear the stormtrooper need to fight on it knowing every trooper is qualified on the equipment. Stormtroopers are also by definition assault troopers, but they generally perform the same mission as any other trooper, they are just a little bit better at assaults specifically because they just keep pushing. Storming if you will...

 

HOWEVER WEG aslo made two lesser noticed points relevant to the Stormtroopers.

1) Under WEG's interpretation, Stormtrooper cannot be bribed, or convinced to knowingly betray the Empire.

2) Stormtroopers are not directly in the Imperial Army or Navy chain of command. They are detailed, detached, and assigned to various Army and Navy units and perform the missions and assignments required, but at the end of the day, they have their own internal chain that goes back up to Palpy and those orders trump all.

 

This, to my knowledge, hasn't been disproved in new canon yet (has it?) and generates a perfectly good reason you see Stormtroopers EVERYWHERE. They aren't just combat troops, they are also yet another reason for the Imperial machine not to betray the Emperor. If you attempt to defect, go renegade, execute a coup attempt or otherwise try and do your own thing, You'll have to first deal with the stormtroopers assigned to your ship/region/unit/whatever. So like a Star Destroyer, that's 9,700 well equipped troops trained for shipboard combat ready to take care of your treasonous rear.

 

It sounds a little weird, but it does line up. We're talking about the replacement of the clones that executed Order 66, an order that was all about the elimination of an "internal threat." So making Stormtroopers a kind of ready loyalty enforcement force makes sense, and also explains why they are so readily used in all kinds of missions. If you knew a percentage of the Soldiers under your command could turn on you the moment you made a bad joke about the Emperor, you probably wouldn't hesitate to send them into the fray first....

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While a pretty biased source, all of Rex's opinions of the Stormtroopers as seen in Rebels seem to imply they're a lot less "elite" than EU material ever implied. Cheaper, badly designed gear, inferior training, generally a bargain basement follow-up to the Clone Troopers.

 

I'm not sure if you can really trust a bitter old clone's opinions 100%, but nothing in Rebels seems to prop up the image of Stormtroopers being elite military.

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I'm not sure if you can really trust a bitter old clone's opinions 100%, but nothing in Rebels seems to prop up the image of Stormtroopers being elite military.

 

Obi-wan was sarcastic then in Episode 4 when telling Luke at the destroyed sandcrawler that only stormtroopers can be so accurate... ;)

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I take the radical approach that all of the materials we see, both EU and Disney, are in-universe propaganda pieces that are made decades after the "true events" of the Clone Wars and the Galactic Civil War. As such, they are at best "based on true stories" but the details are obviously slanted for dramatic effect. This is why the Imperial Army doesn't show up and Stormtroopers do all of the fighting. It's much like almost any movie about WWII spending and inordinate amount of attention on the SS rather than the basic German grunts.

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