Wow . . . Just Wow -- Dooku's Landing

This is one of the better examples of StarDestroyer.Net absurdity.

In a thread on SDN, a poster recently sought assistance in his efforts to spread the rabid SDN line on another board. There, he encountered resistance from someone familiar with SDN and ST-v-SW.Net who could see through the usual SDN BS. Hence the thread title, "Need help with Darkstar's follower!"

So naturally, they've all piled on to try to provide counterarguments and rebuttals . . . even our old friend Ossus.

The attack is occurring at a forum not conducive to debating, so the usual invasion has not occurred. Instead, the SDN intelligentsia is posting jewels to the original poster like this:

in AOTC, we see precisely what scooter denies--Coruscant having two suns. When Dooku is landing on Coruscant after Geonosis, the camera pans across the cityscape following him in. We see a bright glow in the sky at the beginning of the panorama and another at the end.

Here is a quick-and-dirty low-quality 200k 3ivx video of Dooku's landing. Please, someone explain to me how a second sun is supposed to exist based on that shot?

(C'mon, fellas, at least pretend you have a ticket for the clue train, even if you invariably refuse to board.)


Two-Legged Walker Designation

I received some site feedback back in July that was interesting. (Sorry to the guy who wrote it ... I started writing this that day but got distracted.)

For reasons I could never quite understand, my opponents have always gone apeshit over a tiny issue. In The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, we see some two-legged walkers running around in addition to the big four-legged AT-ATs. We're never told the name of these. In the RoTJ novelisation, they are referred to as "war wagons", "armored vehicles", and "war-machines" . . . in the script, they are "giant", "mighty machines" . . . none of which sound anything like an official designation. And of course, the term "chicken walker" that some have employed was also out-of-bounds.

At some point way back when someone got the bright idea to use a knock-off of the "AT-AT" designation, and so in the EU these two-legged walkers were known as AT-STs. Whereas AT-AT had stood for "All Terrain Armored Transport" per the TESB novel, AT-ST was given the meaning "All Terrain Scout Transport" by EU sources.

But since EU sources aren't canon and my site is based on the canon, the most I could do is what I did: I used the AT-ST term for ease of reference (much as I use Starfleet ship class names never spoken on screen but widely accepted), while accepting none of the non-canon info about the vehicle ... including the phrase "All Terrain Scout Transport".

And as I'd said, "In spite of the non-canon denigration of the vehicles, AT-STs are evidently the premiere small combat vehicle of the Empire, not reconnaissance vehicles or transports (how does one do much transporting in a two-seater?). We have witnessed their frontline combat use at Hoth alongside the larger AT-ATs, and we see them serve as the primary fighting vehicle in the thick forests of the Endor moon. In the RoTJ novelisation, they are referred to as "war wagons", "armored vehicles", and "war-machines" . . . in the script, they are "giant", "mighty machines" . . . hardly terms befitting a mere scout. Indeed, the only scout/recon activity we see is performed on the speeder bikes which suit the role best, and which are piloted by people identified as scouts."

However, since I have a page detailing the weak armor and structure of the AT-ST (or whatever its proper designation in the canon universe), it became very important to my opponents to make the vehicle out to be a 'mere' scout, intentionally fitted with a pitiful papier mâchè hull.

It's silly, but then so are they.

However, I'm told that in the radio play of Return of the Jedi, they are indeed called "scout walkers". Of course, this is the same RotJ radio play that was made about a decade after the film and used EU characters and terminology, so I'm hardly that concerned.

But, I was inspired by the guy to take a closer look at real scout vehicles.

After all, it is true that scouting vehicles have taken many forms, historically. The usual concept of a scouting person is of a quick fellow who is not bogged down by too much equipment, capable of rapid movement and at least a little stealth. Wars of the 20th Century have seen a similar design philosophy behind scouting vehicles. One of the more popular American scouting vehicles of WW2 was the Harley-Davidson WLA, a motorcycle which served with distinction. (I'm guessing they muffled the hell out of it, 'cause these days you can hear a Harley coming from miles away.)

There were also larger vehicles that served in the role of scout, however. A wide variety of armored cars have been used in the role. These heavier scouts are generally multi-role vehicles, capable of performing various duties like cargo transport, armored personnel carrier, command car, ambulance, and so on, sometimes dependent on modifications.

The American M3 scout car resembled the well-known "half-track" vehicles of the era (which were based on the M3 chassis), but with four wheels instead of tank-like treads in the rear. Capable of carrying the driver plus seven occupants, they had 6-13mm of armor depending on location on the vehicle, giving it armor numerically equivalent to the British Mk I heavy tank of WW1. The vehicles saw extensive multi-role use. The M3 was equipped with a .50 cal machine gun and two .30 cal machine guns on rail mounts. During 1943 they were largely replaced by other vehicle types, including the six-wheel M20.

The M20, known as the Armored Utility Car or the Scout Car, was based on the M8 tank destroyer. The turret removed and an open-top rear section added, the vehicles were lightly armed with a .50 cal machine gun but fast, and featured up to 19mm of armor in the front. For armor comparison, note that the basic Sherman tanks of WW2 featured some 50mm of armor on the best-protected upper-front area, achieved in part via armor sloping. The M20s were probably the heaviest scouts of the war, and the crew of up to four were even provided a bazooka for anti-armor use. The additional capacity of the open-top rear section allowed additional cargo or transport ability.

The British Dingo was designed as and often used as a scout. Officially known as the Daimler Scout Car, the Dingo was a 2-seater with 30mm of forward armor protection. They generally carried a light machine gun or, in some theaters, an anti-tank rifle capable of penetrating up to 20mm of armor plate at about 100 yards.

Also of interest is the T-60 "scout tank". Featuring 7-20mm of armor protection and a 20mm armor-piercing main gun with at least one additional light machine gun, the scout tank was a far cry from the Harley-Davidson WLA. Similar to the scout tank were the tankettes . . . small one or two man tanks, often without a rotating turret, designed for infantry support or reconnaissance. These were usually armed with either multiple machine guns or, more rarely, a 20mm cannon or RPG. Most tankettes were somewhat lightly armored, with the Japanese tankettes the best protected with 12mm of forward armor.

For more modern scout car examples, the French VBL is a small vehicle of a jeep- or Humvee-like design, but which was designed as a light armored vehicle with a recon variant. The vehicle has up to 11.5 mm of armor protection. Also in existence is the RG-32 Scout, an unarmed SUV-looking vehicle designed to be survivable against small arms and small mines.

Jeeps and Humvees have also been widely employed in the scout/recon role over the years. Though generally lacking the armor protection of armored cars, their speed and nimble maneuvering make them very good in the scouting role.

On the flipside, we have the British CVR(t) vehicles . . . combat/ recon vehicles, either tracked (t) or wheeled (w) (though the latter never came to much fruition). One such vehicle is the Scimitar, an "armoured reconnaissance vehicle" that is basically a light tank like the T-60 (and often classed as such), featuring a 30mm main cannon capable of firing explosive and armor-piercing rounds at up to 90 rounds per minute (limited by the 3-round clips employed).

From this little survey of scouting vehicles, we can see two or three main families:

1. The "light scout" . . . including the Harley, jeep, and Humvee:
Light, nimble, and quick, these vehicles are designed for rapid travel over whatever terrain is needed. Like human scouts they are not intended for combat or any significant contact with the enemy, but instead to quickly gather information and return safely and with haste. These generally feature little more than the defensive small arms of the crew, and the vehicles are generally just multi-role or logistical vehicles used in the scouting role. As such they have limited armor protection.

2. The "heavy scout" . . . including the Dingo, VBL, RG-32, etc.:
Not quite so nimble or quick as the light scouts, these vehicles are designed with the idea of briefly bumping into small pockets of enemy personnel in mind. Some are armed with light defensive weapons and some are not, but all offer some form of armor for crew protection in forward battlefield or patrol conditions. These vehicles are purpose-built scouts, though other uses may occur.

Included in our informal "heavy scout" designation would be vehicles like the M20 or M3, large vehicles of significant armor protection which featured one or more large machine guns.

These latter vehicles blur the lines between scouts and "battle taxi" armored personnel carriers like the M113, especially given their transport capacity. The M3 and M20 were both used in the APC role. All scouts, like most or all APCs, were not intended for combat against other armored vehicles. Their armament was anti-personnel in nature.

Vehicles intended for combat against other vehicles or positions as well-fortified as combat vehicles are armored fighting vehicles (AFVs) or, if troops are also carried, infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs). Indeed, M3 variants were AFVs, and the M20 Scout Car was simply an AFV with downgraded weaponry.

The T-60 scout tank was definitely an armored fighting vehicle, despite the scout designation. So too is the British Scimitar. These "fighting scouts" make up their own family of sorts. Of course these families are very informal designations, though useful for our purposes . . . and indeed even formalized military classifications feature a great deal of overlap.

Naturally none of these are the heaviest combat vehicles by any means, nor is that the plan. The variations of military vehicles from Main Battle Tank to truck are based on selecting compromises between speed, weight, cargo capacity, armor protection, air transport ability, terrain navigation, and a hundred other things.

Now, let's stop and take a moment to process this information in the context of our subject.

The Imperial military primarily uses walkers for ground warfare. Like tanks and other modern ground vehicles, walkers must observe some mass limits in order to traverse the ground. And, as seen in the forests of Endor, size limitations also come into play . . . though AT-ATs were used, much of the forest could not have been traversed by them without the blasting of pathways.

The AT-ATs serve in the role of main battle tank, with virtually impenetrable armor and the heaviest weapons capable of striking the hardest ground or mobile targets. However, they also have APC capability in the main body, making them a fusion of tank and APC not usually considered workable in modern Earth warfare . . . infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) don't usually pack the punch of a main battle tank.

The AT-ST is another story altogether.

We could try to pigeonhole the vehicle into any number of classifications.

Let's consider some options, like Main Battle Tank (MBT), Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV), Armored Personnel Carrier, and the light, heavy, and fighting scout groups we pondered earlier.

For instance, if the AT-ST had the guns and head of an AT-AT but simply lacked the cargo/infantry-carrying part of the body we could easily think of it as a proper main battle tank. However, it is a much smaller vehicle with smaller, and thus presumably less-powerful, guns.

Further, we've seen that the AT-STs appeared on Hoth only after the AT-ATs had destroyed the majority of heavy weapons emplacements. If this was intentional, then it suggests that vehicles were considered less survivable than the AT-ATs. This could put them anywhere from light tanks on down the line.

We know the AT-ST does not have significant transportation capability, though, implying that they cannot be APCs. And we know they can't be light scouts . . . that's where speeder bikes, AT-RTs, STAPs, and similar vehicles come in. Heavy scouts might be used for fire support of a squad much as the AT-STs were used in RotJ, but as a rule would not be mainline combat vehicles with armor-piercing capabilities, unless it was a heavy scout heavily modded. If anything, what we have in the AT-ST is something like the Scimitar . . . a light tank with a recon role . . . or something akin to a T-60 scout tank or the Japanese tankette.

Indeed, given their battlefield use on Hoth, abilities of armor penetration, and infantry support use, I would argue that AT-ST would best be understood as an acronym for "All Terrain Scout Tank".

Which, coincidentally, happens to satisfy the radio play designation of "scout walker", in concert with the script and novelization statements regarding a giant, mighty war wagon.


Regarding the Canon Challenge

Commenter GStone said something that I found interesting in the comments to the last thread, and (partially due to my ever-excessive verbosity, and partially for full "mea culpa" value) I decided to take my response and make an entry out of it:

"This whole situation feels anticlimactic"

Well, frankly I think that's my fault in large degree, and I've been thinking that way for awhile now.

If you think about it, there are any number of nonsense beliefs out there, and there simply comes a point where a rational person must ignore the loons in order to carry inquiry forward.

For example, there remains in the 21st Century a group and website (with rather active forum) for the Flat Earth Society.

While random folks might occasionally strafe the whackaloons who still claim a flat Earth, I rather doubt that anyone dedicates a serious percentage of his site-writing-time to debunking flat-Earth claims. That is to say, I rather doubt that there's a ShapeWars.Com or whatever.

But, to extend the analogy, this site is based on examinations of Earth's roundness and the effect this has on, say, naval force projection ability of two different nations.

Of course, the question of naval force projection can hardly be decided until the shape of the Earth is known. And before my entry into the debate on naval force projection, a loud and nasty bloc of flat-Earthers had proclaimed themselves the authority on all things, flaming anyone who suggested that, for instance, Russia could successfully take the Aleutians because, after all, the two were on opposite sides of the world.

Of course, whereas the flat Earth question has been decided for hundreds (and, in some areas, thousands) of years, the analogous canon question has only really heated up in the past four years.

It's been like compressing the hundreds of years of debate on the matter a hundred-fold.

Sure, there might've been a time when otherwise-reasonable people could've been swayed by the flimsy logic of flat-Earthers. There was a time when the limited resources and limited knowledge of man made the issue debatable.

But since then, it isn't like people who understood the roundness of Earth wasted time (better spent pondering the round Earth and the many results of that roundness) by tearing down and/or mocking flat-Earth beliefs over and over and over again because some people just didn't get it, and because flat-Earthers continued to yell and holler.

I, however, did make that mistake. In effect, I gave their cockamamie claims too much implicit merit by bothering to answer them.

My mistake . . . one that I make quite consistently . . . was to believe that (a) the modern-day flat-Earthers could be swayed by logic and evidence, and more importantly that (b) someone needed to provide a contrary voice to flat-Earth lies. The sort of optimism of the first is a very hopeful line of thinking . . . dare I say, it's very Star Trek . . . but in the modern world it's usually very wrong. Sadly, most absurd beliefs only disappear as adherents die off.

And while it may be true that a contrary voice is needed, there simply comes a time when a belief system is so absurd you just laugh and move on.

It was in August, 2005 that the Star Wars canon question was finally decided, via Lucas in Starlog. There was certainly plenty of evidence of the round Earth before that, but Starlog '05 was the equivalent of a satellite picture of a spherical Earth.

But just as flat-Earthers live and breathe and expel their mental muck upon the internet even to this very day, so too will there probably always be militant EU Completists of the SDN variety.

The Chee quotes are like a movie from a shuttle in low Earth orbit circling the globe . . . yet another confirmation of what we already knew.

I like them on that basis, but more importantly I find them liberating. There are no modern objective statements by high-ranking folks left for them to hang on to, and even if someone who hasn't gotten the memo says something (or, more likely, if someone says something they think they can twist), the facts are now so brutally obvious to anyone who troubles themselves to look that I don't feel like I have to do anything anymore to oppose the lies they tell. They are, in the end, just talking to themselves.

Sure, I still have a morbid curiosity as to what pitiful claims the flat-Earthers will make next, and I may yet give their silly attempts to maintain their worldview too press by tearing them apart yet again (once, that is, they concoct a defense against Chee). This I'll do even knowing it's a mistake.

But whatever my faults, you're right that this is anticlimactic. The climax of the war came in 2005 when they were decisively routed by Starlog. This event isn't the climax . . . just another profound rout of the foes of Star Wars, its makers, and its canons.

But of course, there will be no honorable Appomattox here, despite my challenge of the last post. The SDN insurgency, if you'll forgive the phrasing, is bound to continue.

But, like flat-Earthers, they are now so marginalized that it cannot be of consequence.


CanonWars Challenge

Given that there are some folks who read ST-v-SW.Net that don't read CanonWars.com, and given that the canon issue is still considered contentious in some circles, I figured I ought to point specifically to the . . . what, 20th? . . . final nail in the coffin of the staunch EU-centrist viewpoint of most pro-Wars/anti-Trek debaters.

Now, three major mouthpieces for Star Wars . . . Lucas himself and two vocal continuity experts in Licensing (Rostoni and Chee) . . . all state that there are separate continuities in Star Wars . . . one focused on Lucas's films and another focused on the films and the vast material of the EU.

Up until recently Chee had been the only hope for EU Completist militants, since he'd made comments in the past year or so that suggested he'd abandoned his old statements regarding two separate canons, instead favoring the idea that "one overall continuity" existed per 2004 comments and his response to Lucas's "two universes" from Starlog's August '05 issue and the related "parallel universe" comments he's made.

But in early December, Chee acknowledged that there are indeed two official continuities . . . a Lucas continuity of the films and the Licensing continuity of the EU and other materials in Chee's "Holocron" database. (Read more about it here and here.)

As such, the final noteworthy official whose statements were malleable enough to be misused by the foes of the canon has now come down squarely in the centrist, dual-canonism camp, originated here at ST-v-SW.Net and now housed at CanonWars.com.

In other words, the old canon battle is over. Of course it has been over for a long time, given Lucas's statements over the past few years, but there's really nowhere for the foes of the canon to turn anymore.

Right now their continued support of their opinion is sustained only by the inertia of the old obfuscations and lies upon which it was based. There is nothing objective for them to point to anymore.

With that in mind, I've offered a challenge to my opponents, most of which are more likely to read this blog than the one at CanonWars.

But whether they accept it or not, their concession is accepted.