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oneeyedmatt87

Poe Dameron, Master Strategist?

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OK. I wanted to pose a question since I've seen it come up multiple times in various threads here:

Poe Dameron. Villianized in the TLJ for leading his fighter wing and destroying a First Order Dreadnought (also I've seen him called "Hero of the FO", I'm assuming due to the transports being attacked). I understand that the Resistance's resources are limited, and the loss of a strategic bomber squadron is a heavy blow... but while we're treated to a heavy handed "growth" arc for Poe... may I present this perspective? Maybe Poe Dameron is the only person in Resistance leadership that has basic math skills.

Lets run the numbers: 7 resistance bombers at 5 crew each: 35 resistance crew and pilots. Time to manufacture? One day? A week at most? Time to train pilots/crew? A few years?

1 Mandator IV class siege dreadnought: 215,000 crew, (53,000 officers, 140,000 enlisted, 22,000 stormtroopers). Time to manufacture? Years. Probably the whole project of one (or more) planetary shipyards. Time to train crew? Literal hundreds of lifetimes?

Lets be frank. To defeat the First Order, the Resistance's ONLY chance is to unite the Republic's remaining forces to stand against the First Order (obviously the Resistance's 4 ships wouldn't stand a chance against 2 Star Destroyers, a fraction of what we see in TLJ). In this case, the value of a superdreadnought vs a bomber wing is a no-brainer. The superdreadnought is literally a "fleet killer", seemingly capable of destroying any highly shielded (and armored) capital ship every few minutes. In this light, I'm surprised by the decision by Leia (and by extension, the rest of Resistance command).  Was there some other, high priority target with less defenses than a dreadnought stripped of its anti-fighter guns and with delayed fighter launches? 

I understand that he disobeyed a direct order. He'd probably be written up. Demotion is... possible, if not necessarily probable. But how could any military strategist discount the value of what he'd done?  In light of this, the demotion seems... petty, at best. A "You didn't listen to me, even though I was wrong". Don't get me wrong, I've been in the military, I know that this isn't super uncommon. But I'd rather not have it come from one of the revered characters in the series.

Tangentially, the fleet didn't have to wait for him. All of the strike craft were hyperspace capable. If it wasn't for plot convenience the capital ships should have jumped when the final pod landed and rendezvoused with the strike craft after the attack. Immediate danger solved.

I mean, part of being in a military unit during a war is recognizing the fact that some of the people under your command will die, and to make their sacrifice worthwhile. I think that the "lesson" that he's "taught" in TLJ is directly contrary to that. The idea that he must protect all the people under his command to the exclusion of anything else (calling off Finn from the superlaser battery exchanges his life for that of the entire Resistance, if it wasn't for a Deus ex Rey) is fundamentally counter to the idea of a military unit.

For the record, I understand the whole "Poe's a hothead who learned to be more level headed in TLJ". I GET what they were "going for".  But 1. He was a hothead with sound strategic insight 2. "Level headed", while great for people directly onscreen, doesn't make for a great leader of the Resistance, which, inherently will need risks to achieve its goals.

Finally, I understand that the intelligence leak about the transports plays into the "Hero of the First Order". But a) Finn never told him that it was an open channel to a (demonstrably) untrustworthy person  and b)  even assuming a ship can only track one size of ship at a time (unprecedented in the canon so far) do you think not ONE of the 6+ Star Destroyers would be "scanning for fighters" in case the Raddus launched anything small? Ridiculous. c) it's definitely something I could see the FO trying to make the prisoners feel guilty for, even if not true, to try to get them to spill more intel.

 

PS. This doesn't even go into the toxic command structure (and horrible planning) promoted by the command in TLJ. For the record, I have no hatred for women, people with purple hair, or paleobotanists, but it's a miracle Admiral Holdo got anywhere with that leadership style.

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Manufacturing those new bombers takes resources, time and machining capacity that the Resistance doesn't have at that point. Despite taking out Starkiller Base they're losing, and they're losing hard. What they have is what they get, and they can't be sure to get anything more since the republic navy is gone and the First Order is going to move to secure the shipyards of any planet they think might harbor Resistance sympathy.

 

Under the brutal arithmetic of attrition it certainly makes sense to sacrifice those bombers. But this is not a traditional war, the resistance can't afford to lose those resources even for a fleetkiller dreadnought. Because the First Order has more of those and can build new ones, the Resistance can't get new bombers or build new ones. They're operating with what they have and can't really expect to get anything more at present time.

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There are some measures of intelligence (typically as viewed by those programming game AI designed to beat masters at Go and Chess and the like), that rate intelligence as preserving the maximum number of options for the maximum amount of time. By wiping out the bomber fleet, Poe took a whole lot of choices out of Organa's hands. 

And while, yes, the trade in credits and personnel is vastly in favor of the Resistance, the value of those bombers was possibly greater than the value of that ship to the First Order as a representation of their total assets. That said, when you are the guerrilla force in asymmetrical warfare, you value trained people over material by a large factor. Most guerrilla doctrine emphasizes resupplying from the enemy. So it's not even the bombers so much as it is the pilots and crew. The resistance likely doesn't have years to retrain new personnel from scratch. The conflict is going to be over before fresh recruits can make an impact. 

So, in my view (as a former Naval Intelligence Specialist), no, sacrificing the bombers when you could have escaped without doing so wasn't worth the cost to the Resistance. They might have hit a First Order shipyard at a later date and caused 100 fold the damage. They might have been able to deploy and hide behind asteroids, and launch surprise attacks on the fleet, which has its shields down to divert power to engines. Most of the Resistance might have escaped TLJ relatively unscathed if Holdo had those bombers. Instead, there is a small group of what? a few dozen from the evacuation by the movie's end? 

Granted, if the Empire had that ship while chasing the Resistance, they likely could have wiped it out easily (range didn't seem to be an issue for the big gun). So ultimately, she would have had to send Poe to do the same thing at some point. But again, preserving that choice until later would have been better. 

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There are a lot of issues with that movie, and especially the scenes after the destruction of that ship.

 

I'll just say that from a resource management perspective, the loss of the bombers was a bigger blow to the rebels than the loss of the dreadnaught was to the Empire/First ORder/whatever they're calling themselves now. The FO/E apparently can build plenty of ships, and somehow magic up the crews for them. The rebels, OTOH, can scrape together a couple dozen fighters, a handful of bombers, one Mon Cal cruiser, two frigates, and a bunch of small transports. And promptly get their $h1t pushed in by the Empire/FO. 

 

They're actually worse off than the rebels were during the original trilogy and the period leading up to it. Back then, the Empire controlled the galaxy but there was resistance on a great many worlds. Now, the FO is lurking on the outskirts of the galaxy, and the republic is doing their best Alfred E. Neuman impression. It looks like there's maybe a couple hundred beings, galaxy-wide, that dislike the FO enough to do anything about it. Which makes you wonder, why are the rebels even bothering? What's the point? If they're outclassed THAT badly in every category, why not just pack up their stuff and head into the Unknown Regions? If the republic can't be arsed to defend itself from the FO, and the people of the republic can't be arsed to even show up, then why risk your life fighting the FO? Obviously the republic is even worse than it was during the runup to the Clone War. If it was worth anything, there would be a lot more showing up to defend it/restore it/whatever. Heck, it's so worthless, it can't even be bothered to enslave beings to defend it through conscription! 

 

OK, a little off topic. I just had that in my mind and wanted to get it out before it fled the scene.

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11 hours ago, Kualan said:

This sounds like a topic for the Star Wars subreddit or TheForce.net forums - because no offence, but what does this have to do with Edge of the Empire?

It's a matter of storytelling and the dissection of player choices, and how those choice impact said story. Indeed a good GM that's really in tune with his players can really set up a situation exactly like this and play it out.

This is where I consider one of the lines marking a good GM from something more is.  A good GM will layout an encounter, evaluate the 2-3 most probable outcomes, and make the story work with them. In this case the GM really looked at how the player was running the character, and in addition to laying out that encounter and it's probable outcomes, took the #1 most probable and made it a key story point and major character arc. That's some great GMing there. You know Oscar likes to run Poe with some snark and recklessness, so you put him in a place where he can do exactly that, and then use it to fuel his story.

Poe is the Brash Pilot character and Oscar plays him as such. In TFA he takes a lot of chances and gets lucky. So when given the chance to take on a dreadnought he takes it. It's good he does, but GM Rian set the encounter up in such a way that Poe gets spanked for it, and has to learn the lesson that the Galaxy doesn't revolve around him.

Indeed one of the core story ideas GM Rian had was "I want to put the PCs in the most uncomfortable position they can possibly be in." That's a great concept for GMing and designing certain adventures, and indeed some of my best RPG sessions were ones where the PCs were put into a position they weren't well equipped for. 

 

As for Poe's decisions, lets look at it.

 

13 hours ago, oneeyedmatt87 said:

1. He was a hothead with sound strategic insight

Actually... no. He's a good Tactical thinker, but not Strategic thinker. 

This is really one of the things I've noticed that a lot of people, military officers included, have a lot of trouble with. It's easy to handle the tactical on-the-ground thing, where you can see the beginning middle and end. But making that transition to Strategic, where you're looking sometimes YEARS into the future is really really hard. 

And that's where Poe failed. He saw himself as having all the information, knowing the plan, and being a key shot-caller. But he wasn't, or at least not to the extent he thought he was.

He got lucky (as usual). Had the Dreadnought survived and joined up with the pursuing FO fleet, then later it would have been in a prime position to eliminate the Raddus with it's long range heavy cannons. 

But the thing he missed was that he doesn't know the greater war plan. He didn't know if there was another mission, far more vital than his current one, that required those bombers. He was certainly in a lot of high level briefings, but he was, at the end of the day, a field guy. He went out, in person, and planned and executed specific missions. For all we know there was another mission planned where those bombers would completely decapitate the FO, or cut off all their long range comms, or any number of other things giving the resistance a decisive advantage.

Indeed after being Insubordinate, and getting a demotion, he turned around and did it again. Planning and executing a secret mission AND a mutiny, both of which would have lead to his demise. Why? Because his concern was the tactical here and now. 

Edited by Ghostofman

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I have to start from the premise that TLJ as a cinematic story was a less than a B grade or Saturday morning cartoon (albeit one with a better budget).

So from that perspective I have this opinion on Poe from TLJ.

He was recklessly suicidal in his soloing the battleship and should be dead.

After that he was grossly insubordinate and wasteful in his tactical approach to the initial battle.

Later he continued to be insubordinate to the point of mutiny.  Mind you, Huldo as a military leader was a joke as well and demonstrated nothing praiseworthy either . . . , but I digress.

So after those two acts of insubordination, I'm thinking Poe should have been either executed for mutiny or spaced.  But that might have been a waste of air.

 

My goodness poor Poe was so poorly written in TLJ.  Mind you the whole screenplay was written at a grammar school level of comprehension.  

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12 hours ago, Kualan said:

This sounds like a topic for the Star Wars subreddit or TheForce.net forums - because no offence, but what does this have to do with Edge of the Empire?

This is totally true, but I am a member here, not on reddit or those forums, and as for why EOTE? Because it gets 10x as much traffic as the AOR forums... so apologies, but here it is.

 

11 hours ago, Darth Revenant said:

Manufacturing those new bombers takes resources, time and machining capacity that the Resistance doesn't have at that point. Despite taking out Starkiller Base they're losing, and they're losing hard. What they have is what they get, and they can't be sure to get anything more since the republic navy is gone and the First Order is going to move to secure the shipyards of any planet they think might harbor Resistance sympathy.

 

Under the brutal arithmetic of attrition it certainly makes sense to sacrifice those bombers. But this is not a traditional war, the resistance can't afford to lose those resources even for a fleetkiller dreadnought. Because the First Order has more of those and can build new ones, the Resistance can't get new bombers or build new ones. They're operating with what they have and can't really expect to get anything more at present time.

If they can't manufacture ANYTHING... then they may as well stop fighting. They clearly can't win with the resources they have. I understand attrition doesn't always apply, but we're talking a 6000:1 ratio, and that's just manpower, not money. I don't like to get into the books, because information is suspect, but these things were used for firefighting. If you could crash 5 firetrucks into an aircraft carrier, and have it explode, I think the tradeoff is obvious.

 

10 hours ago, KRKappel said:

There are some measures of intelligence (typically as viewed by those programming game AI designed to beat masters at Go and Chess and the like), that rate intelligence as preserving the maximum number of options for the maximum amount of time. By wiping out the bomber fleet, Poe took a whole lot of choices out of Organa's hands. 

And while, yes, the trade in credits and personnel is vastly in favor of the Resistance, the value of those bombers was possibly greater than the value of that ship to the First Order as a representation of their total assets. That said, when you are the guerrilla force in asymmetrical warfare, you value trained people over material by a large factor. Most guerrilla doctrine emphasizes resupplying from the enemy. So it's not even the bombers so much as it is the pilots and crew. The resistance likely doesn't have years to retrain new personnel from scratch. The conflict is going to be over before fresh recruits can make an impact. 

So, in my view (as a former Naval Intelligence Specialist), no, sacrificing the bombers when you could have escaped without doing so wasn't worth the cost to the Resistance. They might have hit a First Order shipyard at a later date and caused 100 fold the damage. They might have been able to deploy and hide behind asteroids, and launch surprise attacks on the fleet, which has its shields down to divert power to engines. Most of the Resistance might have escaped TLJ relatively unscathed if Holdo had those bombers. Instead, there is a small group of what? a few dozen from the evacuation by the movie's end? 

Granted, if the Empire had that ship while chasing the Resistance, they likely could have wiped it out easily (range didn't seem to be an issue for the big gun). So ultimately, she would have had to send Poe to do the same thing at some point. But again, preserving that choice until later would have been better. 

Much respect to your Naval Intelligence background, and I'll defer to you on real world issues. But in Star Wars, where everyone (even scumrats) are competent pilots, it seems that the relative training cost of pilots and crew are significantly reduced.

Also, I'll grant that in the PERFECT situation, the bomber squadron may have been able to hit a shipyard, but is that realistically a softer target than a (very lethal) ship you KNOW has no anti-fighter guns? Which would you commit forces to, if you were given the option in your previous job?

 

 

27 minutes ago, Ghostofman said:

This is where I consider one of the lines marking a good GM from something more is.  A good GM will layout an encounter, evaluate the 2-3 most probable outcomes, and make the story work with them. In this case the GM really looked at how the player was running the character, and in addition to laying out that encounter and it's probable outcomes, took the #1 most probable and made it a key story point and major character arc. That's some great GMing there. You know Oscar likes to run Poe with some snark and recklessness, so you put him in a place where he can do exactly that, and then use it to fuel his story.

Poe is the Brash Pilot character and Oscar plays him as such. In TFA he takes a lot of chances and gets lucky. So when given the chance to take on a dreadnought he takes it. It's good he does, but GM Rian set the encounter up in such a way that Poe gets spanked for it, and has to learn the lesson that the Galaxy doesn't revolve around him.

Indeed one of the core story ideas GM Rian had was "I want to put the PCs in the most uncomfortable position they can possibly be in." That's a great concept for GMing and designing certain adventures, and indeed some of my best RPG sessions were ones where the PCs were put into a position they weren't well equipped for. 

 

As for Poe's decisions, lets look at it.

 

Actually... no. He's a good Tactical thinker, but not Strategic thinker. 

This is really one of the things I've noticed that a lot of people, military officers included, have a lot of trouble with. It's easy to handle the tactical on-the-ground thing, where you can see the beginning middle and end. But making that transition to Strategic, where you're looking sometimes YEARS into the future is really really hard. 

And that's where Poe failed. He saw himself as having all the information, knowing the plan, and being a key shot-caller. But he wasn't, or at least not to the extent he thought he was.

He got lucky (as usual). Had the Dreadnought survived and joined up with the pursuing FO fleet, then later it would have been in a prime position to eliminate the Raddus with it's long range heavy cannons. 

But the thing he missed was that he doesn't know the greater war plan. He didn't know if there was another mission, far more vital than his current one, that required those bombers. He was certainly in a lot of high level briefings, but he was, at the end of the day, a field guy. He went out, in person, and planned and executed specific missions. For all we know there was another mission planned where those bombers would completely decapitate the FO, or cut off all their long range comms, or any number of other things giving the resistance a decisive advantage.

Indeed after being Insubordinate, and getting a demotion, he turned around and did it again. Planning and executing a secret mission AND a mutiny, both of which would have lead to his demise. Why? Because his concern was the tactical here and now. 

Like I said, I understand what they were "going for". I understand that they want Poe to grow from a "Hothead, tactical pilot" to a "Leader". But if, as you say,  the Resistance didn't brief him properly (as the leader of their fighter wing), that's on them (I guess you can only be as great as your bad guy, and they're up against the FO, so *shrug*)

But what I'm getting at is that taking out the Dreadnought IS the right decision, tactically AND strategically. As you said, it could have easily taken out the Raddus later in TLJ, or any of the Republic forces that Leia (in her initial plan) would have mustered. 


I understand the knee jerk reaction is to prove me wrong, and I value all input. I honestly just wanted to vent about (what I perceive as) the unfair treatment of on of the "heroes" of TLJ.

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9 minutes ago, oneeyedmatt87 said:

If they can't manufacture ANYTHING... then they may as well stop fighting. They clearly can't win with the resources they have. I understand attrition doesn't always apply, but we're talking a 6000:1 ratio, and that's just manpower, not money. I don't like to get into the books, because information is suspect, but these things were used for firefighting. If you could crash 5 firetrucks into an aircraft carrier, and have it explode, I think the tradeoff is obvious.

Because they can't surrender. The First Order will execute them if they try, they can't really desert either because again they will be executed if they're found. And they can't manufacture stuff because they're not a proper state or an army linked to a state. They're a guerrilla group funded by sympathetic members of the senate and drawing on dissatisfied members of the republic military. Both of those are largely gone or without a central leadership anymore. So the Resistance, like nearly all real world guerrilla groups, needs to either buy gear or have it donated to them. They can also use stuff taken from the enemy if they can actually win. But at the time of the start of TLJ they have only what we see them have and chances of getting new stuff is slim to zero. If they can play for time then new support might manifest itself and they can become a unifying point for the resistance against the First Order, but if they die then chances are there isn't going to be anything unifying various resistance cells against the First Order and it will blow over pretty quickly. So at the time of TLJ any losses they take are losses they can't really afford, because they can't get any new stuff. They need to run with what they have and play for time, which is sensible since they don't know that the First Order can track them and they're quicker and more mobile than their pursuers.

 

Guerrilla fighting and wars are often not about outright winning as much as not losing outright. The Taliban lost in Afghanistan, or at least we like to think so. They're still there though, and they're getting building up strength again. Because guerrilla movements don't really stop or give up, as long as they believe in their ideology and there is some minute popular support, they will keep going. That's why you have movements like the Tamil Tigers who kept up their fight from 1983 to 2009, they didn't stop until the government managed enough reforms to win back popular support and their leader died. There is FARC who kept fighting from 1964 until 2017, they were communist and to start with funded and aided by Cuba and the Soviet Union. Later on they kept going through cocaine smuggling and kidnappings. They're still not entirely done by the way, some dissidents still remain out in the colombian jungles, possibly hopping the border to Venezuela where they're trying to set up again.

 

Anyway, the point of that was that the Resistance would likely keep up the fight for as long as Leia was around. And if she's gone then they might have another who can step into her shoes. Lots of guerrilla movements do survive the deaths of one or several leaders. Both FARC and the Taliban lost leaders at times, they kept on trucking. As long as they have enough manpower and gear to remain an ongoing concern they can keep up the fight. Losing all of your gear and manpower in futile attacks against an enemy that can take the blow is rather foolish though.  5 firetrucks against a carrier is an obvious trade, as long as you can afford to lose those firetrucks and the people in them. The enemy has more carriers, you don't have any more firetrucks and you don't know where you can find more. Then it becomes a bad trade.

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Let me put it this way. Imagine you're leading a SEAL team. Your mission is to free and evacuate a POW camp. Toward the end of the evacuation, as refugees load into the backs of trucks, enemy reinforcements are spotted along a nearby service road. They happen to have a  tank and jeeps with mounted guns. If you don't do anything, they'll wipe through the refugees. So, you and your team deploy to distract the convoy of armored vehicles from making it to the refugees, likely by firing at their flanks, and forcing them to stop rolling and try and smoke you out. 

During this skirmish, you manage to actually damage the tank. 

Decision time, you can engage in a direct frontal assault on the damaged tank, knowing there's no way some or most of you don't get cut down by the soldiers in jeeps with mounted guns, or you can stay on mission, fall back, and ensure the convoy gets where it's going. 

It's really not a difficult decision at all. The tank doesn't matter. It's not part of the mission. It's what's known as a target of opportunity at that stage. You never (unless countermanded by a superior officer) let a target of opportunity take precedence or endanger success of your primary objective. In this case, it isn't even a judgment call, as Leia specifically tells him to fall back. It was a bad choice. 

And that's the downside to being in a rebel or paramilitary unit, is guys like Poe are going to go off script and blow operations without seeing the bigger picture. The big ship doesn't matter. The First Order probably has dozens. Even if they just have five, the evacuation mission only has one bombing unit. The big ship isn't impeding their mission objectives, and the primary mission is to evacuate. Live to fight another day. When you're fighting on the smaller side of  asymmetrical warfare, you do not make trades and fight a war of attrition, because you'll lose. You do not let engagements drag on, you launch a surprise attack, and it either works or it doesn't, and you bug out. If you stay, you suffer losses, and over time, you lose. 

You don't make a big stand like that until the benefit outweighs the loss. 

Let's look at the same sort of engagement from the perspective of the Battle of Hoth. 

Rebel Ion Cannon disables two Imperial Star Destroyers. There are two X-Wings escorting a shuttle. The shields are down on those ISDs. The X-Wings COULD run up on them and proton torpedo the bridges. It's a valid target of opportunity. But their mission is to escort the transports. 

Now, imagine Wedge decided hey, screw that, let's take out these ISDs, even if we lose a few fighters from the other ISD rebooting before we can kill it, taking out even one is a huge win for us. Do the rebels then have Red group or Gold group to make a run on the second Death Star a few months later? Are there enough fighters to send down that shaft to get a kill shot? Does Lando even take the gig flying solo (puns!) instead of as a leader of Gold group? 

So yeah, I absolutely stand by the idea that this was a poor choice by Poe (to say nothing of the fact that it really wasn't Poe's call. Leia was on site and gave the order). 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Target_of_opportunity 

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I don't think they wanted Poe to grow. It didn't seem written that way. It seemed like they wanted him to take a back seat and be a dumb hayseed goof. He was poorly written, that's for sure.

 

Holdo is/was a disgrace to the very idea of anything military. She's a vice-admiral? With purple hair. Aaaannnndddd she can't even be arsed to wear anything vaguely resembling a military uniform. Nor can she be arsed to let anyone else in on her "master" plan, in case, oh, I don't know, THE BRIDGE EXPLODES AND SHE'S WIPED OUT. She's the type of 'officer' that gets fragged in their very first combat. Officers that are arrogant pr1cks and abusive to the people they've managed to get promoted over tend to have accidents. I'd bet that she got where she is by politics. It wasn't leadership nor tactical acumen. Poe showed amazing restraint in merely arresting her, rather than killing her outright. She wouldn't have survived to get off the bridge if I was in Poe's place. Assuming that I could be bothered to stick around after the way her and Leia treated him. I probably would have just said "OK, good luck, K THX BAI!", resigned, and let them figure their problems out on their own. Leaving a live enemy around to keep causing trouble is never a good idea. Of course, that wouldn't have given the writers the chance to show how she's so amazing and he's such a clod.

 

*shrug* It wasn't as bad as I was expecting, believe it or not, and there were parts I liked, and overall it's worth watching...once...if you don't have to pay to do so.....but I'm glad that watching TLJ cost me nothing more than some time that I wasn't using to do anything else. Hopefully the next movie is better. Fire the clowns that wrote this one, fire Riann or however you spell her/his/its name, fire Kennedy, and let someone who actually likes Star Wars see if they can salvage it. 

 

I won't be holding my breath waiting for that though.

 

 

 

 

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11 minutes ago, KRKappel said:

Let me put it this way. Imagine you're leading a SEAL team. Your mission is to free and evacuate a POW camp. Toward the end of the evacuation, as refugees load into the backs of trucks, enemy reinforcements are spotted along a nearby service road. They happen to have a  tank and jeeps with mounted guns. If you don't do anything, they'll wipe through the refugees. So, you and your team deploy to distract the convoy of armored vehicles from making it to the refugees, likely by firing at their flanks, and forcing them to stop rolling and try and smoke you out. 

During this skirmish, you manage to actually damage the tank. 

Decision time, you can engage in a direct frontal assault on the damaged tank, knowing there's no way some or most of you don't get cut down by the soldiers in jeeps with mounted guns, or you can stay on mission, fall back, and ensure the convoy gets where it's going. 

It's really not a difficult decision at all. The tank doesn't matter. It's not part of the mission. It's what's known as a target of opportunity at that stage. You never (unless countermanded by a superior officer) let a target of opportunity take precedence or endanger success of your primary objective. In this case, it isn't even a judgment call, as Leia specifically tells him to fall back. It was a bad choice. 

And that's the downside to being in a rebel or paramilitary unit, is guys like Poe are going to go off script and blow operations without seeing the bigger picture. The big ship doesn't matter. The First Order probably has dozens. Even if they just have five, the evacuation mission only has one bombing unit. The big ship isn't impeding their mission objectives, and the primary mission is to evacuate. Live to fight another day. When you're fighting on the smaller side of  asymmetrical warfare, you do not make trades and fight a war of attrition, because you'll lose. You do not let engagements drag on, you launch a surprise attack, and it either works or it doesn't, and you bug out. If you stay, you suffer losses, and over time, you lose. 

You don't make a big stand like that until the benefit outweighs the loss. 

Let's look at the same sort of engagement from the perspective of the Battle of Hoth. 

Rebel Ion Cannon disables two Imperial Star Destroyers. There are two X-Wings escorting a shuttle. The shields are down on those ISDs. The X-Wings COULD run up on them and proton torpedo the bridges. It's a valid target of opportunity. But their mission is to escort the transports. 

Now, imagine Wedge decided hey, screw that, let's take out these ISDs, even if we lose a few fighters from the other ISD rebooting before we can kill it, taking out even one is a huge win for us. Do the rebels then have Red group or Gold group to make a run on the second Death Star a few months later? Are there enough fighters to send down that shaft to get a kill shot? Does Lando even take the gig flying solo (puns!) instead of as a leader of Gold group? 

So yeah, I absolutely stand by the idea that this was a poor choice by Poe (to say nothing of the fact that it really wasn't Poe's call. Leia was on site and gave the order). 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Target_of_opportunity 

 

It's been a minute since I watched it, and I"m not going to watch it again, but I thought that destroying the dreadnaught *was* the objective, until Leia changed it halfway through because she decided they didn't need to any longer? 

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27 minutes ago, oneeyedmatt87 said:

But if, as you say,  the Resistance didn't brief him properly (as the leader of their fighter wing), that's on them

Quite the opposite, they probably briefed him on everything he needed to know about as a wing commander. Thing is everything he needed to know isn't EVERYTHING. When talking military, you need to have some compartmentalization as just a basic Operations Security practice. 

Poe's command is very tactical, he's in the field leading squadrons and conducting some intelligence work. The possibility of him getting captured or killed is very high. So high that's literally the first thing that happens to him in the first film he appears. Letting him in on the full 5 year vision for the war effort isn't wise, or necessary. 

Poe just needs to know the status of the forces under his command, and their mission and immediate plans. He'll probably be in on greater strategic things on a baseline conceptual level, but he's not down on how the resistance plans to use all the resources at it's disposal (indeed he doesn't even know all it's resources).

If interrogated Poe's intelligence value is probably <10% after about 3 days time. Which is kinda the whole idea.

38 minutes ago, oneeyedmatt87 said:

But what I'm getting at is that taking out the Dreadnought IS the right decision, tactically AND strategically. As you said, it could have easily taken out the Raddus later in TLJ,

It was tactically...ok...maybe. Strategically, it worked out. Poe didn't know that the FO had a way to track the Resistance in hyperspace. If the FO had not had a way to track them, then it was largely a waste of people and materiel. 

The Resistance likely had other more long-term plans for the bombers, that Poe just threw out the airlock to score a win here and now.

2 minutes ago, the mercenary said:

Holdo is/was a disgrace to the very idea of anything military. She's a vice-admiral? With purple hair. Aaaannnndddd she can't even be arsed to wear anything vaguely resembling a military uniform.

Dude, while Holdo is an extreme example, I've seen plenty of general officers that preferred to wear some "costume" instead of a proper uniform if they weren't expect to go out in public. Holdo's choice of clothing is odd, but as a resistance leader, I can totally see it.

 

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No, his primary objective was to delay the dreadnought and collect intelligence while the evacuation finished. There was a plan in place to destroy the dreadnought had it arrived earlier (in the event they needed to buy much more time). Because they didn't need the time, leia called for Poe to move back (as she should have), and proceed with the full evacuation. Then Poe went off script. 

As for Admiral Holdo's non-military appearance. A few things. 

1.) This is the Resistance or para-military. It is NOT a formal military officially representing any government. That's why you have discipline issues with people like Poe, and why plenty of people aren't in proper uniform. I would imagine most of the people "in uniform" are just wearing their New Republic military uniforms, as many of them have that background. 

2.) If you look at the books, Holdo is a civilian with a senator background. 

3.) For all we know, purple is her natural hair color. It's Star Wars. There are lizard people and head tail people. A person with purple hair seems a very minor situation, relatively speaking. 

 

Edited by KRKappel

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I’ve often thought that the new trilogy happens far away from “regular space.” Think about it, after years of Imperial rule all the planets are finally freed. It takes either a firm reasoning or a firm fist to keep entire star systems aligned and Star Wars really only gives us one of those things. So what do they do when Leia starts her whole “Republic this” and “Republic that” after the collapse of the Empire? Relegate that nonsense to a fringe corner of the galaxy where... you guessed it... the fringe remnants of the Empire also remain.

While the struggle between the First Order and the Resistance rages on in the Galaxy’s proverbial “backwaters,” the actual civilized worlds all laugh and carry on their regular daily lives and try to forget concepts of universal unity.

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22 minutes ago, DarthHammer said:

You want to know why sacrificing experienced pilots to 'sink' a capital ship is a strategic loss?

Just ask the Imperial Japanese Navy.

You have a suggestion for a better way they could have lost?

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Well thankfully for Poe the 1st Order are dumber than he is so they shot the planet first, which couldn't fly away, instead of the command ship, that could, and saved the hour long space chase in the middle of empty featureless space where there were no asteroids or anything remotely interesting to interfere with the riveting plot of him and Holdo arguing.....😐

Edited by 2P51

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7 hours ago, HappyDaze said:

You have a suggestion for a better way they could have lost?

Huh? Which 'they' are you referring to?

I was just pointing out that it is many orders of magnitude harder to replace experienced pilots than it is to replace materiel, even a large capital ship or similar investment. 

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14 hours ago, oneeyedmatt87 said:

This is totally true, but I am a member here, not on reddit or those forums, and as for why EOTE? Because it gets 10x as much traffic as the AOR forums... so apologies, but here it is.

 

15 hours ago, Ghostofman said:

It's a matter of storytelling and the dissection of player choices, and how those choice impact said story. Indeed a good GM that's really in tune with his players can really set up a situation exactly like this and play it out.

 

To be honest, I think I was having a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to anything looking to discuss TLJ given the ****-show that 'GM's Lost Hope' thread descended to further down the board (to the point it had to be locked) so I apologise for my initial abrupt reply to this thread. Shouldn't have assumed any thread on that was doomed to the same fate.

To address some of OP's points - I always felt a simple plot point change would have helped explain so many of Poe's and Holdo's actions throughout the majority of the film. That is, instead of having Leia figure out straight away that the FO now has "hyperspace tracking technology", have the Resistance believe there is a traitor on board the ship which is why the FO are able to find them. This explains Poe's rogue operation with Finn/Rose, his mistrust of Holdo, Holdo's mistrust of him and ultimately the mutiny and "redemption" arc.

It would also be very easy for them to find out later that there was no traitor (for example, when Finn/Rose/DJ are looking at all the tech being sold by the owner of the Canto Bight ship they steal, have them uncover some hyperspace tracking tech that's been sold to the FO) whilst still making everyone on board the Raddus' actions feel a little more grounded in logic.

Edited by Kualan

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I think the thing that gets me here about this is that in the inexplicable context of the situation in that film - where everything about that battle is already white hot nonsense - we really are only able to go on what the exposition tells us. And that is that the resistance is in an untenable situation, with a handful of people and an even smaller number of ships on the verge of utter destruction. The priority at that point for resistance leadership is to preserve what little forces they have left presumably for a guerilla war to buy as much time as possible. For those purposes the bomber squadron would have been invaluable. It's a decision that wasn't Poe's to make. 

The larger objective at that point was not destroy as many FO for as few Resistance as possible, which is a short sighted goal that ultimately achieves nothing. Rather, it seems the hope (not plan) was to survive long enough to continue small strikes as long as possible and create a groundswell of resistance. 

In that respect I'd say Poe was no hero. As it happened, the script contrived to created that groundswell through some poorly explained mythology mechanism that meant Poe's error was largely irrelevant. But it showed a lack of trust, an all too eager willingness to subvert the command structure and a lack of long term thinking. If anything I think he got off way too lightly but then, they couldn't really afford to lose their best pilot. 

 

However, those things are fine as far as a character goes. He's no hero but an interesting charcter. There are other things about Poe that I find annoying but all that's for a different thread. 

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Also of course the entire movie was built around subversion of expectation (hence it's divisiveness), so by setting up the traditional plucky, cocky, hot shot hero, he could not succeed as he typically would (in a movie).

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Poe's story arc over the course of the film is moving from just living and thinking in the moment as part of a larger whole to transitioning into a leadership position where he's got to be responsible for everyone else. By the end of it he truly understands his new place in the Resistance, I suspect by Episode 9 he'll have advanced to one of the main leadership positions and complete his journey.

In effect he take the role of anti-hero. Someone we share sympathy for but his character traits puts him at odds between where he wants to be and what he needs to be. His big fulcrum is learning to put aside his personal desires for the good of the group. 

Edited by LithiumBlossom

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