Check Out a Breakdown of How the Empire Bungled the Battle of Hoth

Slate's Culture Blog
Feb. 13 2013 2:36 PM

How the Empire Lost the Battle of Hoth

While the debate over whether or not The Empire Strikes Back is the best film in the Star Wars franchise will likely never be resolved, it cannot be denied that it was a significant technological achievement for the time of its 1980 release. The film introduced the famous AT-AT walker vehicles to the Star Wars universe, and featured several exciting fight sequences, some more complex than those found in its predecessor. Over at Wired, Spencer Ackerman offers a breakdown of one such sequence—the Battle of Hoth—and the militaristic failings of the Empire to destroy the Rebel Alliance once and for all.

As Ackerman explains, Vader has everything going for him at the outset of the showdown—the Rebels have concentrated their forces at just one base, and their shield is easily penetrable by Imperial forces. But the villain messes up royally, and the battle’s course of events is a lesson in strategy for the Star Wars universe as well as our own: “Don’t place unaccountable religious fanatics in wartime command,” he warns, “and never underestimate a hegemonic power’s ability to miscalculate against an insurgency.”


In the end, he points out, the Battle of Hoth is “the exact opposite of the Empire striking back.” Check out his full, detailed account at Wired.

Aisha Harris is a Slate staff writer.



Scalia’s Liberal Streak

The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.

Colorado Is Ground Zero for the Fight Over Female Voters

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B


Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.


The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
The Slate Quiz
Sept. 18 2014 11:44 PM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Double X
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.