Endor: Anatomy of a Tribal Insurgency

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Endor: Anatomy of a Tribal Insurgency

Ewoks are the Viet Cong of Star Wars.

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Beautiful, Rob, beautiful. Anyone who still doubts the ability of the small and weak to fight back against the strong should also read the classic Dragon magazine editorial, Tucker's Kobolds.

Rubbish. Ewoks weren't insurgents. Guerillas =/= insurgents.

The ewoks were not part of the empire, there was not a bunch of Imperial ewoks for them to hide amongst.

Anyone who is an ewok is the enemy. You don't have to worry about telling civilians apart from hostiles, because you want to kill them all.

Now, if there was a large population the empire wanted onside for the insurgent ewoks to hide amongst, fine. If they wanted to fight a guerilla war, fine.

Only they went and fought an open battle against the Imperial forces, and should have gotten massacred, because that's exactly what someone in their position does not do.

(For that matter, none of them had captured Imperial weapons)

Comparing the Ewoks to Viet Cong is nonsense. The ewoks had stick and stones the empire had modern weapons. The battle of Endor should have looked like The Battle of Rorke's Drift.

The problem isn't the concept, the problem is that they had no means of even hurting the storm troopers besides their traps.
Last time I checked the Viet Cong had guns, and plastic armor doesn't stop a bullet.

thaluikhain:
Rubbish. Ewoks weren't insurgents. Guerillas =/= insurgents.

The ewoks were not part of the empire, there was not a bunch of Imperial ewoks for them to hide amongst.

Anyone who is an ewok is the enemy. You don't have to worry about telling civilians apart from hostiles, because you want to kill them all.

Now, if there was a large population the empire wanted onside for the insurgent ewoks to hide amongst, fine. If they wanted to fight a guerilla war, fine.

Only they went and fought an open battle against the Imperial forces, and should have gotten massacred, because that's exactly what someone in their position does not do.

(For that matter, none of them had captured Imperial weapons)

Oh they did, one got a blaster and there were the two were piloting the AT-ST with Chewie

DVS BSTrD:
(For that matter, none of them had captured Imperial weapons)

Oh they did, one got a blaster and there were the two were piloting the AT-ST with Chewie[/quote]

True, I meant before the battle. They rocked up to fight with pointed sticks and several hundred tonnes of log.

thaluikhain:

(For that matter, none of them had captured Imperial weapons)

image

Who ever came up with primitive fluffy Ewoks defeating Imperial troopers with the latest in weaponry
should have his ass cooked and served to him on a plate. I had the same reaction to them
as I had with Jar Jar Binks. I wanted to make dents in the wall with my head.

woundwart:
Comparing the Ewoks to Viet Cong is nonsense. The ewoks had stick and stones the empire had modern weapons. The battle of Endor should have looked like The Battle of Rorke's Drift.

That comparison actually did come to mind, but not exactly in the way you've suggested. Rourke's Drift only happened because the Zulus massacred a much larger British force at the Battle of Isandlwana, where the numerically superior force of Zulus armed with spears and cowhide shields (and some old muskets and rifles they weren't trained to use) attacked and destroyed an entire British column.

Perhaps not surprisingly, British popular history is more interested in remembering the 150 soldiers that fought at Rourke's Drift and won, rather than the 1,300 who were wiped out the previous day.

But still, Lucas said they were VC so I went that direction.

Not sure how the comparison with the American revolution is comparable as the ewoks weren't being supplied by an enemy that was similar strength to the empire who were also fighting them at the same time.

I was never super bothered by the ewoks. I mean, I would have liked it better if Lucas had gone with his original idea and they were wookies, but that disappointment never stopped me from enjoying Return of the Jedi.

"The AK-47 is the great equalizer." ~The Jackal, Far Cry 2

The viet cong had AK-47s. The ewoks didn't have anything at all like the power that the AK brings to the battlefield. It wasn't even close. Someone said that the battle should have looked like Rorke's Drift. I think it should have looked like that scene in Avatar when the mean ol' humans blow the fuck out of the big tree. Just utter domination.

Spygon:
Not sure how the comparison with the American revolution is comparable as the ewoks weren't being supplied by an enemy that was similar strength to the empire who were also fighting them at the same time.

Yeah, really the rebel commandos themselves were more comparable to the American revolutionaries, same basic capability and equipment but without the numbers, regular vs. irregular forces.

In the Isandlwana example, the difference in equipment and capabilty wasn't that great, 15000+ guys with spears vs under 2000 guys with single shot breech loading rifles without magazines and no armour...yeah, not that surprising the Zulus won that one. The Reason Rorke's drift is remembered is because it's so fucking amazing.

Really, the only thing that can explain the ewok thing is that the entire stormtrooper legion were a bunch of congenital retards who couldn't hit a barn door at 20 paces. *watches the Star Wars films* ...ah...

The best analogy for Vietnam was that family guy clip where is it, oh here it is.
The U.S. as Mike Tyson and Carol Channing as the Viet Cong


The Viet Cong lost the Tet offensive and nearly every upfront battle in every traditional sense(kill/death ratios, maintaining ground, capturing points of interest like say a capital city), but were political victories in demoralizing the American public to continue the war.

No where in the fight with Ewoks demoralized or whittle down the stormtroopers. We also know that if they were a tangible threat to the shield garrison(IE: actually fighting beforehand) the Imperials wouldn't have scouting parties numbering a grand total of two.

Also, if they were so scared of the locals why are the perimeter guards so far away from home?(We know they were a great deal of time away from the generator due to the lengthy chase scene even with the super speedy bikes)

Zykon TheLich:
Yeah, really the republic commandos themselves were more comparable to the American revolutionaries, same basic capability and equipment but without the numbers, regular vs. irregular forces.

Also, they have American accents, and they are fighting British people.

Zykon TheLich:
In the Isandlwana example, the difference in equipment and capabilty wasn't that great, 15000+ guys with spears vs under 2000 guys with single shot breech loading rifles without magazines and no armour...yeah, not that surprising the Zulus won that one. The Reason Rorke's drift is remembered is because it's so fucking amazing.

Well, the British commander did get a number of things seriously wrong. The British could have won that one, and should have done better than they did, but they were up against a serious threat.

The two examples given the article are misleading. Both the Viet Cong and the revolting Americans were being supplied by a rival superpower. In the case of the revolting Americans the French even provide combat troops and in the later stages of the war the Americas became one theater in a global war between Britain, France and Holland. A better analogy would be something like the Sicilian Vespers, the revolutions of 1848 or even the recent arab spring. All three represented a sudden boiling over anger into revolt against the powers that be. I think the fact that Lucas described them as VC has more to do with him being a baby boomer than any serious historical examination.

As an aside T E Lawrence's is the father of modern arab armies but his cousin Ord Wingate trained the Haganah, the forerunner of the IDF.

Robert Rath:

Perhaps not surprisingly, British popular history is more interested in remembering the 150 soldiers that fought at Rourke's Drift and won, rather than the 1,300 who were wiped out the previous day.

You mean like American popular history is more interested in remembering the revolutionary war and forgets about the war of 1812. Who wants to remember that whole burning down of Washington, the virtual defection of New England and New York and the surrender of the federal army.

I still say Lucas should have gone with his original idea of using Kashyyyk and Wookies.

Sure, they couldn't have gone with the 'sticks versus guns' routine but we could have gotten scenes of gore and mayhem as Wookie guerillas ripped the arms off stormtroopers and beat them to death with the soggy ends, tore helmeted heads off, used stolen weapons, tore off someone's leg and used it to knock several stormtroopers off something really high... I mean, the capacity for carnage would have been massively entertaining. Who wouldn't want to see a Wookie strangle a scouttrooper to death with their own entrails? Who wouldn't want to see a speederbike thrown at the viewport of an AT-ST and stove it in? What sort of person doesn't want to see a wookie covered in scorched marks from blaster fire, oozing blood, beat a stormtrooper to death barehanded, each blow cracking and crushing armour?

Yeah, what I'm saying is if there's ever a 'gritty reboot' of the original trilogy, you know who to call.

albino boo:
the revolting Americans

Quoted out of context for amusement value. Tee hee.

thaluikhain:
Well, the British commander did get a number of things seriously wrong. The British could have won that one, and should have done better than they did, but they were up against a serious threat.

It was certainly possible, they fucked up, but as you said, it was going to be a proper fight whatever happened, it's not ZOMFG how on earth did the British lose that.

My main point though, was that the difference between the British and the Zulus was a hell of a lot smaller than then Ewoks and the Stormtroopers. OP's point about the Stormtroopers pairing off into ones and twos [ed.2s and 3s] and running off into the jungle pretty much confirms my "congenital idiot" theory. Guarding an important objective against a numerically superior force? Split your guys up and have them leave the objective!

RhombusHatesYou:

albino boo:
the revolting Americans

Quoted out of context for amusement value. Tee hee.

I would, at this juncture, like to point out that I am British and that any double meaning is entirely intentional.

albino boo:

RhombusHatesYou:

albino boo:
the revolting Americans

Quoted out of context for amusement value. Tee hee.

I would, at this juncture, like to point out that I am British and that any double meaning is entirely intentional.

Just doing my part to help those who found your wit too subtle.

albino boo:
The two examples given the article are misleading. Both the Viet Cong and the revolting Americans were being supplied by a rival superpower. In the case of the revolting Americans the French even provide combat troops and in the later stages of the war the Americas became one theater in a global war between Britain, France and Holland. A better analogy would be something like the Sicilian Vespers, the revolutions of 1848 or even the recent arab spring. All three represented a sudden boiling over anger into revolt against the powers that be. I think the fact that Lucas described them as VC has more to do with him being a baby boomer than any serious historical examination.

As an aside T E Lawrence's is the father of modern arab armies but his cousin Ord Wingate trained the Haganah, the forerunner of the IDF.

I don't consider the Viet Cong or American Revolution examples excellent either, but that's what Lucas was thinking of, along with the Huns vs. the Romans. Do they work totally? No, not really - there's a reason he isn't teaching history at Princeton. But those were the ones he chose, so I ran with them.

Though outside military intervention can be a stage in insurgency as it was in the American Revolution, as well as the Vietnam War. Though people don't often discuss it this way, Vietnam was a proxy war between the U.S. and the Soviets (including China) inasmuch as the French assistance to the U.S. and U.S. assistance to the Afghans during the Soviet invasion. In all these instances, outside forces exploit local grievances in order to strike a wider strategic blow. In other words, if we were comparing it against the American Revolution the Rebels would be the French, while the Ewoks were the colonists.

Also note that the article is, essentially, tongue-in-cheek.

Robert Rath:

Perhaps not surprisingly, British popular history is more interested in remembering the 150 soldiers that fought at Rourke's Drift and won, rather than the 1,300 who were wiped out the previous day.

You mean like American popular history is more interested in remembering the revolutionary war and forgets about the war of 1812. Who wants to remember that whole burning down of Washington, the virtual defection of New England and New York and the surrender of the federal army.

Yes, exactly. Cultures in general like to celebrate their victories more than they like to mourn their failures, which is why all the American movies about 1812 are about the Battle of New Orleans.

Of course the War of 1812 also isn't helped by the fact that it wasn't that important to anyone involved - the British least of all. At best, it was a distraction for them. After all, they were too busy fighting Napoleon to worry about a bunch of farmers across the Atlantic! Americans tend to ignore it because in reality there wasn't much danger of the U.S. going back to Britain, who couldn't afford an extended conflict. I'd actually say the really overlooked war, though, is the Korean War. It never gets talked about at all, which is a shame considering it shaped issues that are still plaguing U.S. foreign policy today.

Rastelin:
Who ever came up with primitive fluffy Ewoks defeating Imperial troopers with the latest in weaponry
should have his ass cooked and served to him on a plate. I had the same reaction to them
as I had with Jar Jar Binks. I wanted to make dents in the wall with my head.

It was originally supposed to be a plant of Wookiees, but then Chewbacca became a really popular character and Lucas thought a planet of Wookiees would be a bad idea. Still don't quite understand why....

Anyway, thus we got the teddy bears.

This is brilliant. Also, I had never heard of the horse soldiers in Afghanistan. I'll have to get that book.

Susan Arendt:
It was originally supposed to be a plant of Wookiees, but then Chewbacca became a really popular character and Lucas thought a planet of Wookiees would be a bad idea. Still don't quite understand why....

Anyway, thus we got the teddy bears.

From what I understand about Lucas, it was most likely a marketability-/merchandising-based decision.

If they were Wookies, all the people who already bought Chewbacca toys would have no incentive to buy another Wookie doll. Whereas if you introduce a brand new race, and this time make them all cuddly instead, they'd go out and buy those.

I doubt that was all of the reasoning behind it, but by all accounts, Lucas was more interested in merchandise and milking the IP for cash by the time ROTJ came out than what makes a better movie.

Agayek:

Susan Arendt:
It was originally supposed to be a plant of Wookiees, but then Chewbacca became a really popular character and Lucas thought a planet of Wookiees would be a bad idea. Still don't quite understand why....

Anyway, thus we got the teddy bears.

From what I understand about Lucas, it was most likely a marketability-/merchandising-based decision.

If they were Wookies, all the people who already bought Chewbacca toys would have no incentive to buy another Wookie doll. Whereas if you introduce a brand new race, and this time make them all cuddly instead, they'd go out and buy those.

I doubt that was all of the reasoning behind it, but by all accounts, Lucas was more interested in merchandise and milking the IP for cash by the time ROTJ came out than what makes a better movie.

I'm sure that was a pretty big part of it, but I think it also had to do with the fact that Chewbacca had already proven himself a capable warrior, so therefore Wookies wouldn't make good underdogs.

All this talk of Ewoks being psychotic little monsters brings back warm fuzzy memories of Empire at War, when I played the Empire and TIE-Bombed the Ewoks and their Tree houses on Endor to cinders. That'll show those fuzzballs who's the boss!

Susan Arendt:

Agayek:

Susan Arendt:
It was originally supposed to be a plant of Wookiees, but then Chewbacca became a really popular character and Lucas thought a planet of Wookiees would be a bad idea. Still don't quite understand why....

Anyway, thus we got the teddy bears.

From what I understand about Lucas, it was most likely a marketability-/merchandising-based decision.

If they were Wookies, all the people who already bought Chewbacca toys would have no incentive to buy another Wookie doll. Whereas if you introduce a brand new race, and this time make them all cuddly instead, they'd go out and buy those.

I doubt that was all of the reasoning behind it, but by all accounts, Lucas was more interested in merchandise and milking the IP for cash by the time ROTJ came out than what makes a better movie.

I'm sure that was a pretty big part of it, but I think it also had to do with the fact that Chewbacca had already proven himself a capable warrior, so therefore Wookies wouldn't make good underdogs.

In the DVD commentary Lucas claimed that the main reason they didn't use Wookies was because he wanted a "primitive" tribal society, and since Chewbacca was shown to be able to use technology, pilot starships, etc. they figured that the rest of the Wookies were just as technologically able.

(Shrug.) At least that's what Lucas claimed. Your mileage may vary on that answer. It's Lucas, he doesn't always make sense.

I never thought of the Ewoks as an 'insurgency'...that really doesn't make much sense. If there's ONE thing the Empire's down with; it's crushing everything that opposes it. I have to think that if old Palpi really thought the Ewoks were a threat, but couldn't spare the resources for a planet-wide hunting expedition, he would have at least ordered a 'scorched earth' cordon of 10 kilometers in every direction of the shield generator to eliminate any chances of a sneak attack (and, thus, free up the AT-AT to do what it does best).

To me, it seemed the Empire considered ewoks to be as cute and harmless as we would. Grumpy creatures that might toss a crude spear or a stone at you from time to time, but ultimately not a consideration in larger strategies. I don't think the underlying premise of the article is necessarily too far off, but some of the pre-game details don't add up.

Meh, the vietcong comparison doesn't really click with me. Vietnam was won by attrition, not military might.

A more apt comparison would be storm troopers slaughtering the Ewoks before just saying "Fuck it, we're tired, the emperor doesn't pay the legion of his best troops enough to deal with this BS." Then they just leave.

Nope, just ain't buying it. Stone age societies had enough trouble with bronze and iron age soldiers. Steel and gunpowder won almost every time. Cortes briefly got in a pickle but it still ended with Azteks dead, not Spaniards. There was nowhere near the numerical advantage that would make the Zulu example applicable. And hunter/gatherer tribes very rarely go after prey larger than them.

Like some others have said, I'm not really buying the insurgency angle. (regardless of what Lucas apparently intended)
Still, Great article, very interesting to read. I've liked every Critical Intel but so far the complete nerd-fest lore delving stuff like this and the Hoth Tactics article have been my favourites.

RhombusHatesYou:
snip

Wow, That's amazing... I think I'm gonna use that as my headcannon and pretend that's what actually happened.

Nicholas Bagwell:
Nope, just ain't buying it. Stone age societies had enough trouble with bronze and iron age soldiers. Steel and gunpowder won almost every time. Cortes briefly got in a pickle but it still ended with Azteks dead, not Spaniards. There was nowhere near the numerical advantage that would make the Zulu example applicable. And hunter/gatherer tribes very rarely go after prey larger than them.

If the war had gone on, the Ewoks would inevitably lose. But they didn't have to win, they just had to distract one Imperial garrison long enough to sabotage the shield generator.

StashAugustine:

Nicholas Bagwell:
Nope, just ain't buying it. Stone age societies had enough trouble with bronze and iron age soldiers. Steel and gunpowder won almost every time. Cortes briefly got in a pickle but it still ended with Azteks dead, not Spaniards. There was nowhere near the numerical advantage that would make the Zulu example applicable. And hunter/gatherer tribes very rarely go after prey larger than them.

If the war had gone on, the Ewoks would inevitably lose. But they didn't have to win, they just had to distract one Imperial garrison long enough to sabotage the shield generator.

Perhaps. This does bring up another question: just what was that Stormtrooper armor supposedly made of and why would they continue to wear something so useless?

There is nothing about your article that makes a lick 'o sense. First, let me agree with almost everyone above me who is saying that the American Revolution / Vietnam War are terrible examples. A more accurate example would be the colonization of the Americas by the Europeans. You've got a group with far superior technology meeting savage singular tribes and getting in the way of emplacements that were going in. That is the closest you're going to get, and that is with a group of athletic same size people that seem to have some knowledge in fighting.

(Oh, and we're sticking strictly to the movies at this point, and not any other Star Wars source. That includes the novelizations, cartoons, or the stupid Ewok movie that came after that probably tried to give more information for justification on how that nonsense in episode 6 occurred.)

Here is where my own example breaks down (and yours breaks down even further):
1) The Empire is seeking one small section for a shield generator, they're not planing on expanding and settling on the world. This means that they don't care if the place is nice or not, they're just using it while they're there.

As they are not dependent on the land for food, materials, or other things that actual settlers have to worry about (all their materials would have come pre-fabricated from Imperial Planets) they can do whatever they like to prevent setback. This includes releasing a pathogen that targets the Ewoks, a planetary bombardment, setting the forest on fire the clear out any of the pests that get near, etc. This is not beyond the Empire to do, they blew up a freaking planet as a demonstration.

2) The Empire was not on high alert on Endor. They had patrols, sure, but so does every military installation. They seemed pretty comfortable with the environment, were calm and relaxed when they were taking their breaks off the speeder bikes, and why wouldn't they be? They have a Super Star Destroyer, a mostly completed space station,a hidden fleet, and who knows what else above them. They where armor that is supposed to help them survive a shot from a weapon that shoot energy to disintegrate matter.

The Ewoks had bows and arrows, some logs, and some rocks. Think about if we had some Marines in that environment, they'd probably be pretty thrilled! No IEDs, no automatic weapons, nothing but rocks and arrows... compared to a tank (AT-ST) or an M-4 (E-11) they're pretty safe and we're hundreds of years behind this movie technologically. I don't care if the Ewoks new the terrain, had a few traps set up, whatever... our forces would lay absolute waste to them. So in my example above it would not be Europeans settling, but the USMC... I think the Stormtroopers had nothing to worry about.

That's my big problem with the movie, is that I think they had to throw in the Ewoks kicking butt because if they didn't... Han, Luke, and Leia just used a tribe full as savage idiots as cannon fodder for a distraction so they can make their move. That's probably a bit more harsh than they wanted to show our heroes, and that's why you have the obligatory scenes of Ewoks killing Stormtroopers.

3) During the American Revolution, the whole reason we won boiled down to several factors.
A) The British had to go a long way to reinforce their troops. - Not a factor for the Empire, their
reinforcements were right in orbit
B) Troops were needed to fight against France closer to home. Not a factor for the Empire (the whole thing
was a trap... they were expecting the Rebels to show up
C) Our tactical use of Guerrilla warefare allowed us to take fewer casualties than the Brits had to endure
during battles, and we would snipe their leaders to cause chaos. - Not a factor for the Empire since the
Ewoks were not a threat due to the armor the Empire had and the lack of serious weapons for the Ewoks.
D) The British populace didn't really care and all thought we'd come crawling back to them

4) Last thing is: This was literally a trap for the Rebels. They were trying to bring in the whole of the Rebel fleet because that was the real insurgency. They were trying to wipe them all out in space, so they didn't need their "best troops" anywhere else but Endor. The loss of the shield wasn't part of the plan. The plan was to let the rebels think they've got something going and herd them into position. They knew the rebels had landed on Endor. They sprung the trap and it worked beautifully.

This is why people get so angry about the Ewoks. It doesn't make sense that it would all suddenly unravel because of a few Ewok rocks. Lucas had written himself into a corner and it was a lazy way out. It was the beginning of the prequel nonsense that we had to later indure.

So... I guess I basically disagree with everything you say. I'm sorry if I rambled... I got angry as us fans are wont to do

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