- "What's the last thing to go through an Imperial scout trooper's head when he hits a tree? His afterburner."
- ―Joke told by Rebel strike team forces on Endor
Scout troopers, also known as biker scouts, were specially trained soldiers of the Imperial Stormtrooper Corps. As light-armored variants of the Imperial stormtroopers, scout troopers were specifically trained for activities too complicated for regular infantry troopers. As such, they were exceptional additions to the Imperial Military as reconnaissance troops, spies and survivalists. They were especially excellent marksmen, and thus they were regarded as the finest snipers in service to the Galactic Empire. Hence, they were particularly useful as assassins.
Their wide-range of skills inevitably created feelings of pride and self-importance amongst the scout troopers. As a consequence of their bravado, they developed a fierce rivalry with their infantry counterparts, as well as everyone else in the military who was of equal or lower rank. Their most infamous activity was arguably in the Battle of Endor in 4 ABY. Although they were stationed in an environment most suited to their training, the scout troopers were unable to prevent a small team of Rebel soldiers from destroying the shield generator that protected the incomplete Death Star II. An entire legion of Emperor Palpatine's best soldiers, including many scout troopers, were annihilated by a few Rebels, assisted by the Ewoks, an indigenous species of Endor.
- "By and large, the entire platoon seems to be composed of egotistical, unpleasant braggarts."
- ―An excerpt from an intercepted transmission from the 439th Legion
Scout troopers, light armored and far more mobile than regular stormtrooper units, were usually assigned to planetary garrisons where they patrolled perimeters, performed reconnaissance missions and identified enemy positions. As scouts, their mission profile often positioned them far from Imperial resupply. As a result, the scout troopers received special training in order to become efficient survivalists who were equipped with an array of equipment and supplies to aid in their military role. Their training was such that the scout troopers possessed an unusual degree of independence for other Imperial personnel, although they are nonetheless conditioned to work with partners whenever it is possible. They were also trained to advance ahead of infantry divisions or to provide rear-guard cover with their sniper rifles.
Throughout the first two decades since the formation of the Galactic Empire, scout trooper became well known for their self-reliance and ability to operate alone or in small squads. Due to their capabilities in stealth and mobility, Imperial High Command recognized that the scouts were also natural snipers. As such, they were exceptionally skilled in assassination missions and long-ranged combat. When undergoing missions relating to surveillance at high-priority Imperial bases, such as the shield generator on Endor, scout troopers tended to work in units of two or four and coordinate their efforts for superior surveillance coverage.
Whereas the E-11s sniper rifle symbolized the scout troopers' role as assassins and expert marksmen, the 74-Z speeder bikes added to the troopers' efficiency in reconnaissance and patrol duties. Over the course of their early service to the Empire, the speeder bikes became a signature piece of equipment utilized by the scout troopers, thus earning them the nickname "biker scouts." In battle, the scouts typically refrained from engaging in close-combat situations, particularly due to their function as snipers and the fact that they were less protected than the more heavily armored stormtroopers. They took pride in their role as keepers of Imperial law. Their training profile also included scouting, infiltration, and sabotage missions. They rarely saw combat and were instructed to call in stormtroopers.
By the year 1 BBY, nearly twenty years since Emperor Palpatine's rise to power was completed, the scout troopers were a notoriously disruptive factor throughout the entire Stormtrooper Corps. Various reports indicated that there was extreme difficulty in integrating scout troopers with other types of Imperial soldiers. In most cases, the cause of the friction was almost entirely on the side of the scouts, who made a sport out of being as belligerent and insufferable as possible. Although the scout troopers shared a fierce sense of camaraderie with each other, they made a habit of treating everyone else of equal or lower rank as inferiors.
A platoon of scout troopers from the 439th Legion personified the infamy of their class's reputation throughout the military. Part of the way they entertained themselves was by riding their speeder bikes through the halls of their base on Byss in the late hours of the night, much to the fury of stormtroopers and other non-scout soldiers who were suddenly wakened by the loud roar of the speeder bikes. The enmity between the scout troopers and their "comrades" was so intense, officers were forced to segregate them from the rest of their military units, mainly out of fear for the scouts' safety.
- "So how come you're not a scout trooper?"
"Once I put the helmet on, I couldn't see. I sideswiped a cadet and caused a pile up that destroyed twelve speeder bikes. I was kicked out of the Trooper Corps."
- ―Anonymous snowtrooper in Echo Base
Unlike the infantry units of the Stormtrooper Corps, scout troopers wore light armored variants of the stormtroopers' armor, thus making them far superior as a mobile military force than regular troopers. Though less protected and not as heavily armed as regular stormtroopers, scout trooper armor was designed to give their wearers maximum movement and flexibility in any situation, especially combat. To aid their function, the scouts were equipped with a variety of resources to give them maximum effectiveness in their field of expertise. Their most essential equipment included personal survival kits, portable power units, food supplies, micro-cords, and specialized gear designed for local terrain. Their helmets were equipped with enhanced macrobinocular viewplates for target acquisition, and had options of energy emission detection, night vision, and designated target magnification. The helmets also contained terrain-following tactical readouts.
Because of their excellent marksmanship skills, scout troopers were armed with collapsible, long-range E-11s sniper rifles equipped with powerful scopes and small targeting computers for increased accuracy. However, despite the rifle's deadly and extremely accurate quality, it emitted a brief laser sight beam shortly before firing. In addition to their sniper rifles, scout troopers utilized a single holdout blaster pistol as a sidearm for close-range combat. They also carried R-4 recon droids for battlefield intelligence as part of their field kit, along with Baradium-core code key thermal detonators.
Ironically, the Imperial code of military uniformity was a hindrance to the scout troopers and their ability to properly fulfill their function. Like almost all members of the Stormtrooper Corps, the scouts' uniforms consisted of white armor and a black body suit. As a consequence, the scout troopers were extremely visible in forests and any terrain that consisted of a multitude of colors. Despite their lack of camouflage, scout troopers were skilled combatants in forest and jungle environments, especially when utilizing their 74-Z speeder bikes. They were particularly well-trained and fully capable at adjusting to the speed of their vehicles; their reaction time was efficient enough to avoid crashing into dangerous objects. While riding on their speeder bikes, the scout troopers were capable of swift and lethal hit-and-run attacks on enemy units.
Overall, their field kit included rations, a reel of micro-cord with a grappling hook, a shielded comlink, a camouflaged shelter, a water purification kit, and an R-4 recon droid.
When deployed to particular environments like the frozen worlds of Hoth or Rhen Var, scout troopers were equipped with a variant of the standard snowtrooper armor, which included a slightly modified scout trooper helmet with polarized snow goggles. Further differences included extra joint armor, a special backpack that could be plugged directly into the speeder bike's heating systems in order to keep the armor's wearer warm, and the lack of a kama. Also, the scouts wore heat-insulated white snow pants instead of the full black body suit. As a result, the scout troopers garbed in the snowtrooper version of their armor were sometimes referred to as "snow scouts."
Tools and weapons
Typical supplies include food, micro-cords, and other gear to assist them in the silent infiltration of their objective. Each scout trooper was fitted with these items:
- Stormtrooper rations
- Heat packs
- Water purifier
- Grappling hooks
- Camouflage tent
- Thermal detonators
- E-11s sniper rifle (Scout trooper snipers only)
- E-11 blaster rifle
- Blaster pistol (Standard issue weapon for scout troopers)
- E-Web heavy repeating blaster
- Fragmentation grenades
- Missile launchers
- R-4 recon droids
- R-1 recon droid
- "Bogey 1212 here. 9662 is dead. I have the traitor in my sights. Executing Order 66."
- ―Bogey 1212, clone scout trooper
The Imperial scout troopers were preceded by the clone scout troopers of the Galactic Republic. Like their successors, the clone scouts were specially trained soldiers in the Grand Army of the Republic and operated under many of the same functions as the Empire's scout troopers during the Clone Wars. However, unlike their Imperial "descendants," the clone scout troopers were not as strictly bound by a code of uniformity, thus allowing them to customize their Phase II variant armor with camouflage.
The armor worn by clone scout troopers was, in many ways, aesthetically similar to the ones worn by the Imperial scout troopers. In terms of design, the clone scouts' equipment made them more suited for missions that required fast movement and reconnaissance work. In the waning days of the Clone Wars, the clone troopers of the 41st Elite Corps utilized scout trooper armor after they were deployed to reinforce the Wookiees on Kashyyyk. Under the leadership of Grand Master Yoda of the Jedi Order and Commander Gree, the clone scout troopers fought in one of their last battles for the Republic; the subsequent issuance of Order 66 and the rise of the Galactic Empire saw the downfall of the Republic and the near-extermination of the Jedi.
After receiving Order 66 from the office of Chancellor Palpatine on Coruscant, the clone scouts complied without question and betrayed the trust of their Jedi officers. Master Luminara Unduli was gunned down by a group of scout troopers and Commander Faie's troops nearly succeeded in murdering Master Quinlan Vos. Commander Gree personally attempted to assassinate Yoda with the aid of a nearby scout trooper, but his underestimation of the Grand Master's legendary abilities resulted in the swift deaths of himself and the trooper.
The death of Gree placed Faie in command of the 41st's mission to defend Kashyyyk from a Separatist invasion, as well as to exterminate the remaining Jedi that accompanied them to the Wookiee homeworld. Thus, Faie directed the scout troopers of Bogey Squad to hunt down and kill the injured Quinlan Vos. Yet in spite of their training and preparation for the vast forest-like environment of Kashyyyk, the entire squad fell victim to a combination of the Jedi's guerrilla tactics and the forest's natural hazards. Commander Faie attempted to kill Vos, even at the risk of destroying himself and a village of innocent Wookiees, but was quickly executed by the Jedi Master.
After Palpatine's rise to power was completed, the clone scout troopers went on to serve the newly-formed Galactic Empire. For the first decade of the emperor's New Order, the clones of the deceased bounty hunter Jango Fett continued to fill the ranks of the Stormtrooper Corps. The unofficial clone rebellion of Kamino, however, led to a series of reforms that resulted in the creation of clones from different genetic templates and the recruitment of normal Human beings as enlisted stormtroopers—and by proxy, scout troopers as well.
Galactic Civil War
- "While certainly well equipped and just as effective as reports suggested, the scout trooper platoon has encountered resistance when fitting in with the rest of the Legion. The friction is almost entirely on the side of the scouts, who seem to have made a sport of being as difficult and as offensive as possible to anyone of equal or lower rank."
- ―An excerpt from an intercepted transmission from the 439th Legion
By the time of the Galactic Civil War, the Imperial scout troopers had built a reputation as invaluable assets to the military when it came to intelligence gathering, reconnaissance, spy work and assassination missions. Though naturally unsuitable for close range combat, the scouts were known for providing excellent long range fire for their stormtrooper counterparts. The scout troopers' unique set of skills resulted in their deployment to various hostile worlds, especially former Separatist planets like Felucia and Raxus Prime. Occupied planets such as Kashyyyk and Bespin also possessed an Imperial garrison equipped with additional scout troopers. On Coruscant, a small number of scouts were stationed within the ruins of the Jedi Temple along with a military force in order to guard one of Emperor Palpatine's most prized conquests.
After nearly twenty years of serving an Empire that was relatively unopposed, the scout troopers suffered heavy casualties against a single opponent—a mysterious Force-sensitive assassin codenamed Starkiller. Unknown to any of his victims, Starkiller was the secret apprentice of the Sith Lord Darth Vader, the Empire's second-in-command behind Emperor Palpatine. Beginning at the Battle of the TIE Fighter Construction Facility above Nar Shaddaa, many scout troopers and their Imperial comrades were slaughtered by Vader's relentless apprentice.
More scout troopers were killed in action by Starkiller throughout the course of his final mission from Bespin to Coruscant, Kashyyyk, Felucia, Raxus Prime and the first Death Star—all on the order of Darth Vader so that his apprentice's existence remained strictly confidential. Upon finding redemption through the Jedi way, Starkiller died in battle against Palpatine in order to secure the survival of the fledgling Alliance to Restore the Republic. Unknown to the scout troopers, and everyone else except for Palpatine and Vader, it was the two Sith Lords who were responsible for secretly creating the Alliance and thereby initiating a war that saw the deaths of many Imperials for decades to come.
In the Six months that followed the death of the original Starkiller, Darth Vader secretly attempted to recreate his disciple through cloning. However, various imperfections in the process resulted in many unstable subjects. One particular clone managed to escape from Kamino, but not before killing dozens of Imperial troops, including several scout troopers. The deranged clone later encountered more scout troopers on Cato Neimoidia and the Rebel flagship Salvation; The clone, with his genetically inherited command of the Force, defeated the troopers with ease. However, the first major defeat that the scout troopers suffered was arguably the Assault on Kamino, in which the rogue clone, accompanied by the entire Rebel fleet, invaded the Empire's primary location of cloning facilities. The battle ended with the deaths of many Imperial soldiers, including the scout troopers who were easily dispatched by Starkiller's clone, and the capture of Darth Vader as well.
Scout troopers, along with different classes of soldiers from every specialized variant of the Imperial stormtrooper, were assigned to Darth Vader's personal Death Squadron. Their mission priority was to aid the Sith Lord in his ultimate task in hunting down and exterminating all members of the Rebel Alliance, as well as their sympathizers and secret allies. During their service to Vader and the Empire, scout troopers were deployed on the planet Teardrop where they participated in a massacre of civilians conducted by the Imperial Security Bureau. A detachment of scouts also assisted Darth Vader's elite 501st Legion on Shelkonwa during a search for former Imperial Senator Leia Organa. In the year 3 ABY, many scout troopers participated in the Battle of Hoth where they served mostly as snipers. Despite failing to fully eradicate the Rebellion or its leaders, the scout troopers and their fellow soldiers regarded the battle as their finest hour and were convinced that a decisive victory had finally been won for the Empire.
The Galactic Empire established an advanced Scout trooper training camp in one of the more remote regions of the planet Moorja. It was selected as a political favor to an officer of the Imperial Navy that hailed from the colony. The scout base was largely kept a secret from the planet's inhabitants, although a small garrison was established on the planet to enforce Imperial order in the urban centers. The training facility offered refresher courses for Imperial units who were rotated out on a weekly basis. While the facility was under the command of Colonel Dyrra, a group of smugglers broke into the facility and stole a Lambda-class T-4a shuttle. Fighting off the troops stationed there, and a number of training probe droids, the thieves piloted the shuttle straight into an ion storm and into orbit.
In the long history of their service to the Galactic Empire, the most famous historical record of the scout troopers' activities was ironically based on their grievous defeat in the Battle of Endor in 4 ABY. The unexpected loss resulted not only in their personal humiliation, but also in the deaths of both Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader. On Endor, the scouts and their comrades were ultimately taken by surprise and annihilated by a small team of Rebel soldiers, aided by the extremely primitive Ewok race. On Endor, they worked in groups of two to four, and kept watch for signs of trouble.
Post-Galactic Civil War
When the Galactic Civil War ended almost twenty years later, many scout troopers had perished along with numerous other types of Imperial soldiers. The last true remnant of the former Empire was forced to concede the victory to the New Republic, the successor state of the Rebel Alliance. As the Imperial Remnant struggled to maintain what few territories and resources it had left, the scout troopers, as well as the entire Imperial Military, was for all intents and purposes a "broken shadow" of its former glory.
Behind the scenes
Scout troopers first appeared with the release of Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi. They serve as snipers in several LucasArts video games. Scout troopers were re-imagined in LEGO form for the 2005 video game LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game.
- Star Wars Infinities: A New Hope
- LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
- LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
- LEGO Star Wars: Microfighters video game
Notes and references
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
- The New Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II in-game databank
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed in-game databank
- Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary
- Star Wars Battlefront: Prima Official Game Guide
- Star Wars Customizable Card Game – Endor Limited (Card: Biker Scout Trooper) (backup link)
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed video game
- Star Wars Character Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: Imperial Handbook: A Commander's Guide
- Star Wars: Incredible Cross-Sections
- Star Wars: Crimson Empire III—Empire Lost
- Star Wars: Republic: Hidden Enemy
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- Star Wars: Battlefront II
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II video game
- Galaxy Guide 3: The Empire Strikes Back
- Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
- The Lambda Heist"—Star Wars Gamer 2 "
- Vision of the Future