Brow Beat

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.