Stormtroopers, nicknamed "bucketheads," were the elite shock troops of the Galactic Empire. As members of the Stormtrooper Corps, an independent branch that operated under the Imperial Army, they served as frontline assault forces and formed the backbone of the Imperial Military. Indoctrinated to support the ideology of the New Order, stormtroopers were fanatically loyal to the Empire, making it impossible for them to betray the Imperial cause. With their signature white armor and the E-11 blaster rifle, stormtroopers became the face of the Empire on the countless worlds they patrolled throughout the galaxy.
In the aftermath of the Clone Wars, the Sith Lord Darth Sidious declared himself Emperor of the First Galactic Empire, ending the thousand-year age of the Galactic Republic and inaugurating a new era in galactic history. As a result, the clone troopers that composed the Grand Army of the Republic became the first stormtroopers during the early years of the Empire. Over time the cloning operation on Kamino was shut down; future troopers were no longer cloned but recruited from the Empire's human population, yet still trained for absolute loyalty and obedience.
Stormtroopers fought against the forces of the Alliance to Restore the Republic throughout the Galactic Civil War. During the conflict, they often utilized their numerical superiority, employing swarm tactics to overwhelm the enemy. Despite the setback at Yavin 4 in 0 BBY, the Empire struck back, deploying an army of stormtroopers—led by the Sith Lord Darth Vader—in cold weather gear to conquer the Rebel base on Hoth three years after the destruction of the first Death Star. A year later, the Emperor perished aboard the second Death Star, which was also destroyed during the Battle of Endor. Combined with the defeat of an entire legion of the Empire's best soldiers, the war turned in favor of the newly-formed New Republic.
As the Empire fractured into several remnant factions, a large number of stormtroopers united under the command of Fleet Admiral Gallius Rax and made a desperate last stand against the armies of the Republic on the forlorn frontier world of Jakku. Despite their efforts to turn the tide, Rax's forces were defeated and the Empire subsequently sued for peace in 5 ABY. The terms of the Galactic Concordance treaty forbade the mobilization and training of stormtroopers; Imperial academies throughout the galaxy were consequently shut down during the new era of peace.
However, the treaty's conditions proved unenforceable as the Galactic Senate was unwilling to risk further warfare. The First Order, a successor to the Empire in all but name, disregarded the treaty and conscripted human children into its growing army. Modeled on both Republic clone troopers and Imperial stormtroopers, members of the new generation of stormtroopers were trained from birth and conditioned by First Order propaganda to ensure absolute loyalty. But whereas the Empire settled for numbing routine, the First Order's training simulations and live-fire drills encouraged improvisation on the battlefield, making their stormtroopers more dangerous than the ones that served the Empire.
Soldiers of the EmpireEdit
- "I heard they shut down the facilities on Kamino. They'll train up the last batch of clones and that's it."
"But that's crazy. Who will protect the Empire?"
"Don't know, Kicker. But it won't be us. We get to pack up old Jedi way stations and crate everything back to Coruscant. I think our fighting days are done."
- ―Stormtroopers "Ding" and "Kicker" discuss the end of the cloning program
The stormtroopers represented the ultimate evolution of the clone troopers, the soldiers who fought on the Galactic Republic's side against the Confederacy of Independent Systems in a prolonged and protracted conflict that came to be known as the Clone Wars. Following the execution of the Separatist Council, Sheev Palpatine, then Supreme Chancellor of the Republic, transformed the democratic government into an autocratic regime of his own, which he dubbed the First Galactic Empire.
With the development of the new Imperial war machine, the clone trooper armor was upgraded. Additionally, the new Emperor ordered the extermination of the Jedi Order, the members of which had served as officers in the Grand Army of the Republic during the Clone Wars. Within the new regime, the clone troopers—now known as stormtroopers—were placed under the guidance of Imperial officers and governors instead of Clone Commanders or officers.
Following the transition, stormtroopers were used to bring any remaining Separatist worlds into line. As the clones' accelerated aging process began causing their physical skills and abilities to deteriorate, they were replaced by non-clone volunteers and conscripts. Amidst a groundswell of nationalism and popular support, many signed up to become the next generation of the "Boys in White;" the mythos and appeal of the former clone troopers giving the new stormtrooper ranks a sense of grandeur and glory. The Stormtrooper Corps, a sub-command under the Imperial Army was eventually formed by a group of former clone commandos. As time wore on, stormtroopers would replace Imperial Army soldiers—the main infantry force of the early Empire, often consisting of local planetary defense forces conscripted into the Imperial Military—as mainline combat troops and security forces. With a lack of jobs and opportunity in the wake of the Clone Wars, posterity would later come to criticize an "aimless generation" as complicit in abetting the rapid militarization and recruitment of the Imperial war machine.
Nonetheless, several clones remained in service to the Galactic Empire, with some serving as training instructors in the Imperial Academy, while other members remained in active duty such as Sergeant Crest and TX-828, who was still active following the Battle of Yavin. Ultimately, stormtroopers came to represent the face of the Empire, but the soldiers were opposed by a growing rebellion that sought to restore democratic rule to the galaxy.
Galactic Civil WarEdit
The Battle of Scarif officially launched the Rebel Alliance and Empire into a full-scale civil war. Following the Rebel victory at Scarif, the Emperor's enforcer, Darth Vader, commanded a battalion of stormtroopers who served him loyally. With those troops, Vader captured Princess Leia Organa's Alderaan cruiser Tantive IV over Tatooine shortly before the Battle of Yavin. Stormtroopers were also used to arrest dissidents on numerous worlds including Akiva and Zeitooine. Stormtroopers also saw action against the Rebellion forces during the Battle of Hoth, the Mid Rim Retreat, and the Battle of Endor.
After the events on Endor, stormtroopers saw action on many fronts against the armed forces of the New Republic, the successor government to the Rebel Alliance. Numerous stormtroopers were killed on worlds as far flung as Uyter, Naalol, and Akiva. New Republic forces also took many stormtroopers prisoner with many prisoners being sent to the New Republic capital of Chandrila. On one occasion, the New Republic public relations official Olia Choko personally stopped New Republic soldiers from parading stormtrooper prisoners through the streets of Hanna City. Later, stormtroopers saw action during the liberation of Kashyyyk and the Battle of Jakku.
Following the defeat of the Empire at Jakku, the remnants of the Empire signed the Galactic Concordance with the New Republic. The Galactic Concordance forbade the recruitment and mobilization of stormtrooper forces and forced the Empire to abandon its network of Imperial Academies. The Imperial remnants eventually retreated to the Unknown Regions where they reorganised themselves as the First Order. Defying the Galactic Concordance, the First Order recruited and mobilized new stormtroopers. The new stormtroopers were influenced by the ideas of Brendol Hux, a former commandant at the Arkanis Academy. The First Order's stormtroopers were equipped with sleeker armor and powerful weaponry.
Unlike their predecessors, the majority of stormtroopers were non-clone recruits. Imperial cadets were shipped off to Imperial Academies, and subjected to rigorous training programs in order to produce highly trained shock troopers fiercely loyal to the Empire. Stormtroopers were trained to disregard fallen comrades in battle, and to press on, no matter the cost, even when the odds were stacked against them.
Although they were a rare sight, women were not prohibited from serving in the ranks of the stormtroopers. During training, female cadets were placed in all-female units. Unit Forn was an all-female unit at the Academy for Young Imperials on Lothal.
Those who were selected for stormtrooper training had to undergo extra reconditioning. This has the effect of dehumanizing the cadets, who came to refer to themselves by their operating numbers rather than their names. One such cadet was Ames Bunkle, an acquaintance of Zare Leonis.
Among other things, cadets would train to fire blasters, and Imperial specialist Ralsius Paldora noted that stormtroopers hit 77 percent of their targets. Cadets also learned to pilot Imperial walkers and the ruthlessness it took to become a stormtrooper. Cadets who attended Imperial Academies also underwent simulated obstacle courses in the Well, which were designed to test their strength, agility, reflexes and intelligence. Such courses and tests of skill became increasingly difficult over time, and accountability for losses were harsh.
While cadets attended the academy, they wore white uniforms and specialized helmets, similar to the standard stormtrooper or pilot gear. Aside from their basic training, many cadets were also assigned other non-combat duties on base. Such duties offered cadets the opportunity to gain experience over their peers, and were often presented as rewards for excellent performance during training exercises.
As cadets were being evaluated, the officers in charge were often instructed to take note of performance that might denote an affinity for the Force, and report it to one of their superiors. Cadets who met this special criteria were taken by the Grand Inquisitor and forcibly inducted into Project Harvester, a top secret Imperial program based on Arkanis. Cadet Zare's older sister Dhara Leonis was one known subject of Project Harvester. Another prospective subject was Jai Kell, who managed to escape due to the help of Ezra Bridger.
Stormtrooper and other Imperial cadets also assisted in law enforcement operations. Following a spate of rebel activity on Lothal, Imperial cadets there were used to search homes and streets for illegal activities, detain the children of fugitives, and to raid smugglers. During these law enforcements operations, some cadets like Nazhros Oleg came to flout their new-found powers; a trait that was encouraged by some officers like Captain Piers Roddance. Some prospective officer cadets like Leonis and Oleg were also given the chance to lead adult stormtroopers in these raids. Cadets also had their backgrounds investigated for any sign of criminal connections and other subversive activities.
- "They trained us to treat that armor like it was part of us."
Stormtroopers wore a distinctive set of white armor that was intended to instill fear in the Empire's subjects, while also providing the soldiers with an extended range of survival equipment and temperature controls. Their armor was also specifically designed to dissipate blaster shots and stormtroopers were known to recover after being shot. The helmet provided cranial protection, filtered air, and contained enhanced vision, communication systems and an effective HUD (heads up display) that could help locate threats, aid in navigation, and to help alert the wearer. Rank was determined by a color coded pauldron worn over the right shoulder, with orange or red representing the rank of commander, black indicating an enlisted trooper, and white representing a sergeant. Sometimes on the pauldrons they had specific symbols distinguishing who they were serving, exemplified by Grand Admiral Thrawn's troops, who had a styalised chimaera on their pauldrons. They also had a utility belt and a grappling hook attached to it, and primarily used the E-11 blaster rifle, however they occasionally utilized the DLT-20A laser rifle, T-21 light repeating blaster or DLT-19 heavy blaster rifle, especially for long range engagements. However, stormtrooper armor was not without its faults. The plates made running harder and offered little protection against large scale pulse detonations and blunt weapons.
By 28 ABY, stormtrooper helmets and armor were collected by individuals like the New Republic senator Ransolm Casterfo, who had an interest in Imperial "artifacts." Several of Casterfo's Centrist senators including Ormes Apolin and Fatil also admired and collected Imperial uniforms and armor. In addition, Imperial armor and other artifacts also sold at markets on Chrome Citadel.
Outside of combat and security details, stormtrooper officers wore black dress tunics, caps, and boots, as well as code cylinders, rank insignia plaques, officer's disks conform to the standards of the Imperial Navy.
In addition to the "standard" troops, the Empire had created a number of specialized stormtrooper units assembled to operate on varied planets and climates within its territory as well as different combat operations.
- Cave troopers: Stormtroopers that were equipped with scout trooper armor, blaster carbines, as well as oversized vibroknives. Cave troopers were also equipped with low-light vision gear to help them see in the darkness and had rappelling cables.
- Coastal defender stormtroopers: Stormtroopers that were more commonly known as shoretroopers and were trained and equipped to operate in coastal and tropical regions. They were notably deployed on Scarif.
- Cold weather assault stormtroopers: Stormtroopers, commonly known as snowtroopers, were trained for frozen environments and wore a special masks and a kama that both resembled the equipment worn by the Galactic Marines on Mygeeto during the Clone Wars.
- Crimson Stormtroopers were also trained to operate in extremely volcanic environments.
- Death troopers: Elite black armored stormtroopers with specialized training and classified augmentations to make them "beyond human." They served under Imperial Intelligence and were deployed as bodyguards to high ranking personnel such as Director Orson Callan Krennic and Grand Admiral Thrawn. They were also given special assignments such as guarding shipments of large kyber crystals. They were equipped with SE-14r light repeating blasters, C-25 fragmentation grenades, and E-11Ds. Death trooper specialists were equipped with a black pauldron.
- Demolition Troopers: Stormtroopers that wore standard armor and were equipped with Smart Rockets and SE-14C blaster pistols. They often were not equipped with helmets.
- Flametroopers: Stormtroopers equipped with incendiary weapons.
- Forest troopers: Stormtroopers trained to operate in forested environments.
- Heavy Weapons Stormtroopers: Specialized stormtroopers that wielded large rotary blaster cannons and were equipped with black pauldrons. There were also Heavy Sandtroopers that specialized in desert operations, Heavy Shoretroopers that were Shoretroopers trained for coastal and tropical regions and were equipped with reciprocating quad blaster cannons, and Heavy Snowtroopers that were specialized in cold weather environments. Heavy snowtroopers could also be equipped with small black pauldrons.
- Imperial Heavy Troopers: Stormtroopers who were equipped with heavy combat armor and electrostaffs.
- Imperial shock troopers: Stormtroopers that were armed with heavy weaponry and wore stormtrooper armor with distinctive red markings, similar to those of Republic clone troopers who served as in the Coruscant Guard during the Clone Wars. It was not uncommon for Imperial shock troopers to be equipped with Clone Wars era shock trooper armor.
- Jumptroopers: Also known as Rocket troopers, were stormtroopers equipped with Jump Packs or Jetpacks. One variant of jumptrooper was equipped with standard stormtrooper armor and a jump pack, while another variant used specialized armor equipped with jetpacks and respirator tubes. The officers of this variant maintained an orange left shoulder pad to indicate rank. There was also another variant of jumptrooper with more sophisticated armor, consisting of a control panel on the chest, respirator tubes, and black markings. For sub-zero environments, there was the Arctic Jumptrooper with similar armor to that of snowtroopers, for desert operations another variant was the Desert Jumptrooper, and for densely forested areas, the Forest Jumptrooper was used. Forest jumptroopers wore armor similar to that of Shoretroopers.
- Lava Troopers: Stormtroopers that were equipped with black armor and respiration tubes that were charged with defending Fortress Vader on Mustafar.
- Magma troopers: Stormtroopers that were equipped to operate in extremely high temperatures, and were trained to fight on volcanic worlds such as Sullust. They were equipped with reinforced leg armor, black pauldrons, and respirators connected to a backpack.
- Patrol trooper: Stormtroopers that utilized C-PH patrol speeder bikes to police the city streets of occupied worlds.
- Purge Troopers: Elite stormtroopers in black heavy armor that helped enforce Imperial law in the Anoat sector. They were lead by the formidable Commander Bragh during the Iron Blockade.
- Range troopers: A branch of the Stormtrooper Corps that was harshly trained and were considered to be one of the toughest branches of Imperial Military. They were equipped with snowtrooper-like armor, as well as fur and magnetic boots. They were assigned to protect various Imperial cargo, and were deployed to combat zones.
- Recon Stormtroopers: A variant that wears a pauldron and carries thermal detonators.
- Riot control stormtroopers: Stormtroopers that were equipped with standard armor and batons.
- Rocket stormtroopers were specialized stormtroopers equipped with missile launchers and wore a red emblem on their shoulder pads.
- Sandtroopers: Stormtroopers who wore modified armor that allowed them to survive on desert worlds such as Tatooine. Dewback troopers, or Dewback Riders, were sandtroopers that utilized dewbacks as mounts.
- Scout troopers: Stormtroopers that wore lighter armor and used speeder bikes to patrol the perimeter of the Imperial garrisons they were assigned to. Sniper troopers were specialists pulled from Scout trooper ranks and wielded the deadly E-11s long-range blaster.
- Seatroopers: Stormtroopers trained and equipped to operate in aquatic environments and wore white armor.
- Shadow troopers: Elite stormtroopers in black armor that were also equipped with cloaking devices and used deadly T-21 light repeating blasters.
- Spacetroopers: Specialized stormtroopers that were trained for Zero-G environments and wore armor designed to breathe in space and were used to patrol parts of the Death Star with no air.
- Special Commando Advanced Recon troopers: Also known as SCAR troopers, were elite stormtroopers in the Imperial Special Forces division.
- Storm Commandos: Elite stormtroopers that were part of the special forces of the Stormtrooper Corps, and were trained to deal with extreme combat situations.
- Stormtrooper Chargers: Specialized stormtroopers that took down their opponents with extreme ferocity.
- Stormtrooper grenadiers: Stormtroopers that wielded grenade launchers and wore a red pauldron along with a black bandolier across their chest.
- Stormtrooper snipers: Stormtroopers that were pulled from standard stormtrooper ranks which wore a blue pauldron over their shoulder, had a visor attached to their helmet, and had a black bandolier across their chest plate.
- Swamptrooper: Specialized stormtroopers trained for amphibious combat.
- Wet-weather gear stormtroopers: Stormtroopers that wore waterproof capes and additional armor and equipment. Notably deployed on Mimban.
Stormtroopers in mechanized battle armor armed with heavy handheld cannon were present at the Battle of Sevarcos. Thirty years after the Battle of Endor, variants of the former Galactic Empire's armed forces would exist under the auspices of a new organization known as the First Order. It utilized new stormtroopers, and variants such as the megablaster heavy assault troopers, riot control stormtroopers, snowtroopers, and flametroopers.
Behind the scenesEdit
Stormtroopers, as depicted in the early drafts of Star Wars and envisioned by Ralph McQuarrie, were to wield lightsabers and hand-held shields. George Lucas, when composing background information for licensees in 1977, stated that females did exist in the Stormtrooper Corps, although there were few stationed on the Death Star. He suggested that they were numerous in other units.
In Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, an actor playing a stormtrooper accidentally hit his head on a doorway. In the Star Wars Special Editions, a sound was added for the purpose of comedy. Over the years the accident turned into a tradition by making actors hit their heads on doors in the Star Wars films.
Stormtroopers were named after Imperial German Sturmtruppen, which in English translated to Stormtroopers, special troops who were tasked in the last year of World War I with mounting fierce infantry assaults on Allied trenches in an attempt to break the stalemate on the Western Front. However, many aspects of the branch of service, such as their unwavering obedience to the Emperor, their reputation for excessive force, and their status as an independent element separate from the overall army bears some similarity to the Sturmabteilung (Lit: Assault Section) of the 1930s NSDAP party in Germany, as well as the Waffen-SS or "Armed SS" units that served as independent military formations controlled directly by the Nazi hierarchy and not the German High Command during World War II.[source?]
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Notes and referencesEdit
- Stormtrooper on Wikipedia