- "I am a stormtrooper. My skin is my armor. My face is my helmet. My name is my number. I am fulfilled, for I am an agent of the Emperor."
- ―Stormtrooper pledge
The Stormtrooper Corps was an independent military branch that operated alongside the Imperial Army and Navy of the Galactic Empire. It was the smallest of the primary three branches of the military. Though they functioned under their own command structure, Imperial stormtroopers ultimately answered directly to Emperor Palpatine, the architect of the New Order that incorporated most of the known galaxy under Imperial rule. Regarded as elite shock troopers and the special forces of the Empire, the Corps also functioned as Palpatine's chief enforcers—both within the military ranks and the galactic populace alike—due to their uncompromising loyalty to Palpatine.
The first stormtroopers were Republic clone troopers that the Empire inherited after the Clone Wars. However, the Stormtrooper Corps gradually expanded its ranks to include cloned soldiers from different genetic sources. Further changes in policy led to the recruitment of birth-born Humans as enlisted troopers. Before long, the original clones of the Jango Fett line were reduced to the status of a minority within the army that they once held as their exclusive province. Although its direct predecessor was the Grand Army of the Republic during the Clone Wars, the Stormtrooper TX-5532 implied that they may have been comparable to the Rocket-Jumper Elite Advance Unit in terms of an elite, first-attack unit of soldiers in galactic history.
Although their ranks were numerous and well-armed with advanced weaponry and armor, stormtroopers were generally less respected as soldiers by the clone troopers who preceded them. Commander Cody, one of the last clones who remained in service years after the formation of the Empire, believed that the operational effectiveness of the Stormtrooper Corps had been severely diminished over time, a setback that he blamed on the infusion of Human recruits into the stormtrooper ranks.
With few exceptions, the Corps was predominantly Human throughout the existence of the first Galactic Empire. Under the Empire's successor states, however, non-Humans were permitted to serve as stormtroopers in the Empire of the Hand, the Imperial Remnant, Roan Fel's revived Empire and Darth Krayt's Sith Empire.
- 1 Role
- 2 History
- 3 Organization and structure
- 4 Personnel
- 5 Equipment
- 6 Behind the scenes
- 7 Appearances
- 8 Sources
- 9 Notes and references
An independent branch of the Imperial Military, the Stormtrooper Corps supported both the Imperial Army and Navy while belonging to neither. Existing as an elite, fanatically-loyal force of shock troopers, the Stormtrooper Corps existed to impose the Galactic Emperor's will on the military and the galactic populace alike. Their loyalty to the Emperor and Empire was such that, although they were perfectly willing to die for the Empire if needs be, they lacked suicidal thoughts, as they realized that a dead stormtrooper would be useless to the Empire unless it was to further the Emperor's wishes, and were also purported to lack fear to such an extent that they don't surrender unless facing impossible odds, and even then only after securing the primary objective. Although their primary loyalty was to the Emperor, they also served as honor guards to protect influential Imperial personnel such as Ambassadors, Grand Moffs, Moffs, Admirals, and/or Governor Generals, with such units being composed of at least 10 stormtroopers.
When serving with the Navy, Stormtroopers served as Marines and ensured loyalty aboard ships, as well as acting as security forces on both ships and battle stations as well as securing various enemy ships for capture. On the ground, they led assaults, advancing ahead of Army units to take strategic targets like spaceports and gun emplacements, and were deployed to the toughest fighting. A rapid deployment force rather than one for occupation, the Stormtrooper Corps was almost entirely infantry-based and was far smaller in number than either the Army or Navy. Largely because of their serving both military branches depending on the situation, the Corps were far more flexible regarding ground and space operations than their Army counterparts. The Corps maintained its own command structure and training regimens, and generally relied on its own infrastructure for support. The Stormtroopers were the best-known Imperial soldiers, and one of the most iconic symbols of the Galactic Empire's military might. The Corps' reputation was such that even their very presence is enough to act as an effective deterrent against any and all groups save for the most motivated of saboteurs and aggressors.
Because of their role as the Emperor's chief enforcers and shock troops, and thus, their being deployed when Palpatine requires their service and being recalled when needed elsewhere, the Stormtrooper Corps was unconcerned with long-term occupation of a planet, gaining extraction only when securing a withdrawal point. The only exception to this rule is when prolonged struggles threaten the Empire's industrial capacity and/or weaken its strategic positions. Also because of this, the Stormtrooper Corps was streamlined and ready for rapid deployment, operating on every planet in the Empire. They also had little concern about having fewer members than the assembled ranks of both the Imperial Army and Navy, with TX-5532 stating that this is just as it should be, comparing it to how a narrow blade is much sharper than a thick blade. As such, they can also be deployed in large numbers if a quick victory was essential and/or heavy opposition was expected. However, they are rarely deployed to worlds that have no strategic value to the Empire, and are generally deployed to planets that the Empire deems important enough to function as forward bases, places to harvest natural resources, and/or industrial capacity-related roles.
- "The Stormtrooper Corps is unparalleled. Do not compare us to the feeble Judicial Security forces that existed in the dying decades of the Old Republic. You must look back nearly four thousand years to the time of Republic rocket-jumpers to find an equivalent corps of elite, first-attack soldiers."
- ―TX-5532, Imperial Handbook: A Commander's Guide
The New Order
- "Armed with deadly new weapons, blazing new ships, and shiny new armor, our presence let the galaxy know that the days of the Old Republic were well and truly over."
- ―Retired clone trooper
The Stormtrooper Corps was formed in the year 19 BBY at the same time as the Clone Wars, a galaxy-wide civil war between the Galactic Republic and the Separatist Alliance, came to an end. In Supreme Chancellor Palpatine's historic speech addressed to the Senate and citizenry of the Republic, the old political establishment was reformed into the New Order; a Galactic Empire under the rule of the self-appointed Emperor Palpatine. The same speech detailed a number of reforms that emphasized the policy of Imperialization, including the renaming of all clone troopers as Imperial stormtroopers. Hence, the first stormtroopers were all clones of Jango Fett, the template of the Republic Clone Army.
Throughout the reign of Emperor Palpatine, various reforms to the Imperial Military steadily diminished the Empire's reliance on clone soldiers. Such changes were also intended to further distance the Empire's image from its past as the old Republic. Even before the introduction of stormtrooper armor, the Empire's preference for uniformity and obedience brought an end to the Grand Army's tradition of unit markings and armor customization, and thus restored the Phase II battle armor to a blank white appearance. The clone trooper's DC-15A blaster rifle was deemed obsolete in favor of the stormtrooper's E-11 blaster rifle. The clones' use of nicknames, which they had developed under the encouragement of their Jedi officers, fell out of style as Imperial officers referred to them by number designations. Whereas the Jedi Order had taken a keen interest in fostering individuality and creativity within the clone troopers, the Stormtrooper Corps instilled the clones with the doctrine of absolute loyalty and conformity to the New Order.
Stormtroopers were an integral part to Emperor Palpatine's efforts to consolidate the fledgling Empire. Revolts were spread across the galaxy, ranging from the Emperor's home planet of Naboo to the Outer Rim world of Mustafar. The Stormtrooper Corps not only contended with various planetary insurrections, but also the scattered remnants of the former Separatist Alliance. Order 66, the contingency directive that instructed all clone troopers to summarily execute their Jedi leaders, also remained in effect throughout the Great Jedi Purge, thus requiring the stormtroopers to kill any Jedi on sight.
The introduction of new clone lines and Human recruits to the stormtrooper ranks was the direct result of a new policy influenced by the highly classified Kaminoan Uprising, a clone rebellion on Kamino where the original clone troopers were conceived. Until then, most stormtroopers still consisted of the same genetic makeup, the modified template of Jango Fett. One exception was the experimental GeNode clone line, composed of clones created from several different templates. The GeNodes proved unreliable, however, and were prone to cases of clone madness. By and large, clone stormtroopers were bred from the same gene pool, grown and trained through Kaminoan and Arkanian Micro methods. When the Kaminoans created their own secret army of renegade clone troopers, the Emperor deemed the Fett line to be compromised. The insurrection was thwarted and the Empire regained control of Kamino's cloning facilities, but the Stormtrooper Corps became increasingly diverse with an influx of clones from a variety of templates.
The end of the clone troopers
- "Since the Empire has redirected the clone trooper program to other pursuits and stepped up recruiting inferior humans from the Outer Rim, the operational effectiveness of this army has declined significantly."
- ―Commander Cody
Clones remained an essential factor to the Stormtrooper Corps, but their importance continued to diminish over time as the ranks became increasingly filled with enlisted troopers; birth-born Humans recruited to serve the Empire as Imperial stormtroopers. Both numerous throughout the galaxy and the dominant species of the Empire, Humans were regarded as the solution to the dilemma of cloning. Arkanian processes created subpar troopers, and the Kaminoan method was considered too slow and expensive. From the perspective of the Fett clones, the Stormtrooper Corps had lost the purity that defined the old Clone Army of the Republic. The few remaining clones of the Fett line, such as a veteran of the 501st Legion and Commander Cody, regarded the new clones and enlisted personnel as unwelcome outsiders. Cody especially loathed Human recruits, deeming them to be inferior to clone troopers and the reason behind the significant decrease in the operational effectiveness of the Stormtrooper Corps. Throughout the decade before the Battle of Yavin in 0 BBY, the percentage of clone soldiers had been reduced to roughly a third of the overall Stormtrooper Corps.
When the once all-clone Stormtrooper Corps opened its ranks to Human recruits, the Imperial Academy System was utilized for stormtrooper training. Most enlisted troopers graduated from the academies on Corulag and Raithal, but the most exceptional stormtrooper cadets were assigned to the Academy of Carida. During the Clone Wars, Carida was a training center for non-clone officers who led clone divisions, and continued to do so with the Stormtrooper Corps. Under the Empire, Carida gained a reputation for producing the best and bravest cadets. Clones bred with greater independence were also stationed at Carida where they developed their leadership skills with a combination of flash instruction and live training.
Stormtrooper training consisted of two years of grueling exercises—both physically and mentally—that produced elite soldiers, heavily indoctrinated in the tenets of the New Order. Their personal loyalty to Emperor Palpatine was well-known throughout the Empire; few stormtroopers could be bribed, blackmailed, or seduced into renouncing their allegiance to the Galactic Empire. In large part because of Imperial NewsNets reporting on the Empire's various victories against the forces of Rebellion and chaos, the Stormtrooper Corps proved to be a very popular choice of profession among Imperial citizenry when asked how they were to serve the Emperor.
The Battle of Endor and legacy
The Battle of Endor not only marked a turning point in the Galactic Civil War for the Rebel Alliance, but also a sharp and steady decline for the Galactic Empire. While both Emperor Palpatine and the Sith Lord Darth Vader perished aboard the second Death Star during the space battle above Endor, the stormtroopers suffered a devastating defeat against a Rebel strike team and the Ewoks, a primitive race indigenous to the forest moon. Due to the sudden vacuum of power created by the Emperor's death, the leaderless Empire fractured into numerous factions, fragmenting the Stormtrooper Corps between various warlords and claimants to the Imperial throne. In some factions' cases, they even blended the Stormtrooper Corps and Imperial Army together by supplying Imperial Army Troopers with Stormtrooper armor due to the decrease of cloning facilities and academies, while in Zsinj's faction's case, they were largely replaced in terms of function with the Raptors.
In the decades after the Galactic Civil War concluded with victory for the New Republic, the Stormtrooper Corps continued to exist, although in a heavily reduced state, mirroring the Empire's devolution into the Imperial Remnant. The Empire of the Hand, a state loosely based on Palpatine's Empire, retained stormtroopers as an elite force, but also permitted non-Humans to enter military service. The same policy was also adopted by the Remnant, and retained after its transition into the Fel Empire. At some point prior to 130 ABY the corps stopped being an independent military branch and were made part of the Imperial Army. In 137 ABY, a new civil war divided the resurgent Empire once more, forcing the stormtroopers to fight amongst themselves in the conflict between Darth Krayt's Sith Empire and Roan Fel's loyalist faction.
Organization and structure
Prior to the Battle of Endor and the de facto collapse of Imperial authority, the highest organizational body of the Imperial Military was the Imperial High Command. Below this was Stormtrooper Command, the organizing body that directed all operations of the Stormtrooper Corps. Stormtrooper Command took orders directly from Emperor Palpatine, although some individual units, referred to as Moff's Own, were often under the direct command of an Imperial Moff. In addition, Vader implied that the Stormtroopers were lower in the direct command structure of the Emperor compared to himself. In addition, Stormtrooper Command members were held to a high standard: Any that were ruled as incompetent were sentenced to either execution, or otherwise being forced to serve the Corps in the field.
The Stormtrooper Corps, pre-Imperial Remnant, was made up largely of Humans, and primarily of males, with very few females becoming stormtroopers. According to one female stormtrooper, Isila Drutch, the reason behind the comparatively small amount of females in the Corps had more to do with practicality rather than outright prejudice, as the stormtrooper physical training regimen was brutal enough that females were simply more likely to wash out than males due to their physiology, as well as there being no female clone lines. She also implied that the stormtrooper armor's design was such that it was impossible for civilians to know the gender underneath and thus it was assumed there were no females in the Stormtrooper Corps.
Aliens were generally not allowed to join the Stormtrooper Corps during the New Order, the only exception being the T'Syriél stormtroopers, due to the officer who recruited them, General Bentilais san Sk'ar, being an alien himself, specifically belonging to the Kaleesh, and possibly Major Stafuv Rahz, a Gektl, due to his wearing a similar uniform to that of NCO Stormtrooper Corps officers. After the Empire was reduced to the Imperial Remnant, the Stormtrooper Corps started recruiting more females and also started recruiting aliens into its ranks, mostly as desperation in trying to fight off the New Republic. The Stormtrooper Corps belonging to the Empire of the Hand faction also incorporated aliens among its ranks, and the United Warlord Fleets under Admiral Natasi Daala had a small corps of stormtroopers that were composed entirely of aliens.
- "The Empire has a legion of loyal soldiers that are in endless supply."
- ―Darth Vader
The Stormtrooper Corps was organized under the Order of Battle. This mirrored the Imperial Army's lower-level structure, but unlike the Army, the legion was the highest level in the Stormtroopers' command structure. In addition, stormtrooper units did not include support personnel. Despite this, however, the Stormtroopers had no issue with gaining enough supplies to maintain the overall sizeable amount within the Corps in addition to siphoning off at least some supplies from the normal chain of logistics. How they were able to do so is unclear, with it being debated that they merely "lived off the land," had access to a shadow network to enhance their mystery, or simply did not even need a resupply in the first place.
- Legion—9,813 units: 4 regiments (9,812 units: 8,192 troopers and 1,620 officers) led by a High Colonel. The largest defined level of organization within the Stormtrooper Corps, it is the approximate equivalent to an Imperial Army battlegroup. Depending on the specific size of the squads and legions composing it, a legion can even reach as high as 14,826 units, composed of 12800 stormtroopers and 2025 officers. The legions mere deployment and parading also act as a form of psychological warfare, being adept at manipulating the psychology of dominance while shielded in the eerie anonymity of their armor.
- Regiment—2,453 units: 4 battalions (2,452 units: 2,048 troopers and 404 officers) led by a Lieutenant Colonel. A Stormtrooper regiment is considered sufficient enough to seize a Class A planetary starport. Depending on the size of the scouts and platoons, it may reach as high as 3,701 units, composed of 3,200 troopers and 505 officers.
- Battalion—613 units: 4 companies (612 units: 512 troopers and 100 officers) led by a major. A Battalion is very likely to incorporate many types of specialized stormtrooper units, including scout troopers and incinerator stormtroopers. Depending on the amount of squad and platoon manpower, the units may reach as high as 926 units; specifically 800 troopers and 125 officers. In some cases, however, they also lacked of staff officers, which have them holding 820 men similar to that of battalions within the standard Imperial Army.
- Company—153 units: 4 platoons: 128 troopers, 16 sergeants, 16 corporals, 4 lieutenants, and 4 sergeant-majors, led by a captain.
- Platoon—38 units: 4 squads: 32 troopers, 4 sergeants, and 4 corporals, led by 1 lieutenant and 1 sergeant major.
- Squad—9 units: 8 troopers, including a corporal, led by a sergeant. It was the smallest stormtrooper unit typically deployed into a threat situation; it could also include up to 10 troopers.
Although a Legion was the highest possible standard unit within the Stormtrooper Corps, various legions had been known to merge from other sectors into one unit within a Sector Group for a major offensive. Similarly, even though the squad was the lowest possible standard unit within the Stormtrooper Corps, the squad itself could be further subdivided into two Fire Teams, each being in a wedge formation, with the fire team leaders being at the tip of each wedge, in order to allow for maximum firing range every direction and allow for ready communications between members.
- "[…] many seek to wear the polished white armor of the Stormtrooper Corps. Only a few succeed. Most fail to meet the posted physical requirements. Others wash out during training. Passing the merciless standards of the Stormtrooper Corps is a point of honor for those within our ranks, but the Imperial Army and Navy need recruits too."
- ―TX-5532, Imperial Handbook: A Commander's Guide
Upon the implementation of a program to recruit from the Imperial citizenry as opposed to relying solely on clones, facilities for the training of new Stormtrooper recruits were implemented. New recruitment policies compensated for the lack of uniformity among non-clone cadets by adopting strict standards of conformity to maintain the integrity of the Corps. The requirements for the Stormtrooper Corps, at least by 0 BBY, required that the recruit have a genetic suitability in comparison to the Human clone template of 97.5% or higher, be between 1.79-1.85 meters in height, a weight of 78-85 kg, a Scala body mass/musculature rating of 22.x5 or less, a Marrev tactical intelligence rating of 790 or higher, and a Minimum Class C in Receptivity to Indoctrination.
By seeking optimal morphologic consistency with the previous cloning standards, the Empire saved money by being able to produce interchangeable uniforms and armor. At the height of the Empire, the Corps was almost exclusively Human but for a few experimental units, and overwhelmingly male since very few females could pass physical training, though female Stormtroopers were more common than most laymen realised. Shielded in the eerie anonymity of their white armor, Stormtroopers were trained to think of themselves as expendable and to ignore casualties within their own ranks beyond a tactical standpoint in order to achieve the objective. Extensive indoctrination also produced unswerving loyalty to the Empire: throughout the entire Galactic Civil War, very few attempts to bribe, blackmail or seduce a Stormtrooper succeeded.
The Stormtrooper Corps had a variety of stormtrooper specializations, each one trained in a specific role for enforcing the Emperor's Will and directly confronting any threats to the Empire. Specialized stormtroopers were selected for training in the field at an early stage, and then conditioned with the appropriate knowledge and psychological training for the field in question. Upon being specialized, their psychological conditioning to their particular identity was rendered strong enough that the trooper almost never wished to change his division. As such, the various Stormtroopers, via a combination of exceptional training and extraordinary armor, also possessed various specialized units to tackle any environment in the galaxy, up to and including various worlds that harbor climates that are hostile to humans.
- Aquatic assault stormtrooper— Also known as "Seatroopers", they were deployed to oceanic worlds to pacify threats beneath the waves. Their armor was resistant to crushing ocean depths, and its air supply lasted for over an hour. They also sported flippered boots and a backpack propulsion unit for aiding in underwater mobility, and were armed with a modified E-11 blaster rifle that doubled as a speargun.
- Bomb squad stormtrooper— Also known as "Bombtroopers", they were trained to disarm explosive devices, varying from anti-tank mines to primitive spring traps, as well as to recover the device intact for Imperial Intelligence, making them more valuable than bomb-disposal droids. They possessed specialized armor that could withstand controlled explosions and high-velocity shrapnel, and a helmet fitted with sensors for detecting chemical signatures of explosives and an automatic full muffling mode to protect the eyes and ears of the wearer at the first sign of an explosion.
- Crowd Control Stormtrooper—Crowd Control Stormtroopers, similar to riot stormtroopers, were often dispatched to areas with high crime rates. Unlike the riot stormtrooper, however, they largely relied on various anti-riot materials from afar and had equipment relating to this goal.
- EVO trooper— EVO troopers were stormtroopers that were specifically trained to operate in various extreme environments, such as extreme heat, acid rivers, and places constantly being struck by lightning. As such, they underwent extreme training, and were generally recruited among those who had significant anti-alien sentiments. They were identified by their wearing heavy enhanced armor with breathing tubes.
- Grenadier trooper— Grenadier troopers were stormtroopers who often acted as grenadiers. Several wore a similar uniform to the cold assault stormtroopers, albeit equipped with an armored hand shield and plasma grenades.
- Hazard stormtrooper— Hazard troopers were trained and deployed to worlds with extreme planetary climates and conditions, often wearing armor that fully sealed them from acidic, electromagnetic, biochemical, and other environmental threats. Because the extreme conditions for the job, Stormtroopers selected for hazard duty undergo cyborg limb replacement to supply the strength and stamina needed to operate the armor for extended missions.
- Heavy stormtrooper— Heavy troopers wore a specialized type of stormtrooper armor and were trained for frontline combat against incredibly powerful enemies such as Wookiees, Trandoshans, and other large aliens. Due to their role in melee based combat, these troopers made use of large electro staffs against their enemies.
- Imperial Marine— Assigned to the Imperial Navy, the Imperial Marines were stationed on Star Destroyers and other naval warships, serving as the first wave boarding party on captured starships. They were also trained to repel hostiles if a ship's defense is breached.
- Incinerator stormtrooper— Incinerator troopers were identified with red markings on their armor to indicate their specialty, and were trained for laying down flame and reactive chemicals. They were equipped with Oppressor flamethrowers and plasma rifles with wide-stream spreads capable of exciting molecules to the burning point, though they had at one point completed a mission only with thermobaric canisters and mortar launchers. They were most frequently used against enemy infantry and to purge local villages.
- Magma stormtrooper— Magma troopers, also known as "Lavatroopers", were stormtroopers specifically trained to operate in active geologic vents. They were often stationed to volcanic mines containing rare ores that are threatened by the Rebel Alliance. They were supplied with equipment directly relating to volcanic activity, including Duravlex-reinforced armor capable of withstanding extreme temperatures up to 1,900 degrees centigrade.
- Minetrooper—Also known as "Imperial tunneling underminers", the minetroopers are stormtroopers that were specifically trained to operate within the spice-laden atmosphere of Sevarcos II mine quarries. As such, their armor, which was given a tanned color, was also designed to take into account the mine's spice-laden atmosphere, such as the bodysuit being thicker than usual to seal the wearer and thus protect them from the noxious spice gases. Their primary duty was guarding the mining equipment, although they also can be called in to stop rampaging spice eels and/or suppressing revolting prisoners in the mines.
- Radiation zone assault trooper— Also known as "radtroopers", they were deployed to heavy radiation zones, namely those that are strategically valuable planets or battlegrounds that were rendered inhospitable due to the detonation of fission weapons. Because of this, their armor, powered by a backpack unit, was coated with silver and lined with a lead-polymer that blocked electromagnetic energy as well as guarding its wearer from outside contaminants, and also contained handheld sensors as standard equipment to determine any potential risks for any slaves that might be assigned to work in the area.
- Riot stormtrooper— Riot troopers were stormtroopers created specifically to deal with civil unrest in various worlds to reestablish Imperial Order. Because of the important need for personal combat, they were trained at the Yinchorr academy alongside the Emperor's Royal Guard.
- Stormsurgeon— Stormsurgeons, as implied by the name, were medics within the Stormtrooper Corps trained to undergo dangerous medical operations on the field or within direct combat. They are identifiable with bronze pauldrons.
- Sandtrooper—Desert Stormtroopers, better known as Sandtroopers, were stationed on desert worlds, with their armor being designed specifically for use on these worlds, such as SD-48 survival backpacks.
- Scout trooper—Scout troopers, also known as biker scouts, were often used in recon-related missions including leading patrols to determine the strength of enemy forces and/or perform hit-and-fade attacks in support of a larger ground force. As such, they were experts in mobile reconnaissance, trained infiltrators, and survivalists.
- Skytrooper/Jumptrooper—Skytroopers and Jumptroopers were experts at air to ground attacks, being equipped with Hush-About AJP-400s that they used to reconnoiter battlefields, reach inaccessible areas, land undetected behind enemy lines, or gain elevation to fire on enemies.
- Snowtrooper—Cold Assault Stormtroopers, better known as Snowtroopers, were trained for operation in arctic environments.
- Speeder Bike Assault Force—A Stormtrooper variant that utilized specialized Speeder Bikes. Were active on both Hoth and Bespin.
- Swamptrooper—Wetland Assault Stormtroopers, better known as Swamptroopers, were given tinted-green lightweight armor for camouflage in forested wetlands. Theywere often deployed near lakes, rivers, and other waterways where settlements tended to cluster on habitable planets. Their armor also incorporated environmental sealants to keep out several biological perils that thrive in swamplands, such as colonies of toxic bacteria, swarms of stinging insects, amphibious carnivores, and more.
- Zero-G assault stormtrooper—Zero-G Assault Stormtroopers, better known as Spacetroopers, were widely considered the best soldiers in the galaxy, and specialized in assaulting and capturing starships. They served aboard vessels in the Imperial Navy, like the Imperial Marines, although they operated best in the interstellar void. Because of the nature of their job, their varying models of armor incorporated vacuum sealing and safeguards against hyperspatial radiation, as well as a propulsion system and a small arsenal of anti-starship weaponry.
In the Empire Reborn and the Dark Empire factions of the Galactic Empire, there were also stormtroopers that were trained as Dark Jedi called shadowtroopers and dark troopers, respectively (not to be confused with Cronal's unit of stormtroopers and/or the variant of the Imperial shock troopers, or the battle droids of the same name respectively). The latter's armor was indistinguishable from the stormtroopers save for a darker complexion, while the former had a significantly different set of armor, having a more cone-shaped helmet as well as a green center.
- Classified/experimental units
- Shadow stormtrooper—Shadow stormtroopers, also known as Blackhole Stormtroopers, were stormtroopers under the direct command of Agent Blackhole (the head of Imperial Intelligence), and as such their missions were considered extremely classified. However, they received special training in infiltration and ambush tactics.
- Terror Trooper—Terror troopers were cyborg experiments conducted by the Imperial Department of Military Research. Very rare, they specialized in direct combat with sharpened, durasteel talons on their hands and feet. Because of their cyborg limbs, they possessed enhanced strength, speed, and agility, and their masks also provide augmented respiration for their organic lungs. They also continued to fight even after the loss of one or more limbs.
- Dark trooper— Dark troopers were battle droids specifically designed to bring back personal combat, and came in three phases, Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III. Other models included Phase Zero dark troopers, who were aged clone troopers, transformed into cyborgs, and were essentially prototypes to the overall Dark Trooper Project that included the above three phases; Triumphant-class dark trooper, which were Dark troopers created as a hybrid between battle droids and stormtroopers; Black Hole dark troopers, which were dark trooper models often deployed deployed with shadow stormtroopers; Exogen-class dark troopers; Dark novatrooper. which were dark trooper variants that were programmed with expertise in boarding operations; Glory-class dark trooper, which were dark trooper variant that were primarily designed to function as city guards; Inquisitorium dark troopers, which were dark trooper variants created specifically to serve under the direct command of the Inquisitorius. and the purge trooper, a dark trooper prototype specialized for anti-Jedi combat.
- Cuis clone—An experimental force-sensitive unit of clone stormtroopers, they were created using the genetic template of the deceased Emperor's Hand Sa Cuis, and as such were trained to utilize lightsabers. However, although there were plans to create enough Cuis clones to form a battalion for deployment to the Arkanians, this production line ended up terminated before it could enter mass-production after the six prototypes were involved in a coup instigated by their trainer, Sheyvan, who was also an Emperor's Hand.
- Elite Stormtrooper units
In addition, there were also several elite units within the Stormtrooper Corps, with their duties being directly tied to either defending the Emperor and the Imperial capital, or otherwise to steal technology to use against the Rebel Alliance.
- Emperor's Royal Guard—Considered the most important unit within the Imperial Military, the Emperor's Royal Guard was charged with the personal protection of the Galactic Emperor. They are hand-picked from within the ranks of the Stormtrooper Corps, and are given extensive combat training at the Imperial Royal Guard Academy on Yinchorr. Those who survive the training, including a battle to the death, are permitted to join the ranks. They are identified by their red robes, with matching armor inspired by the Sun Guard.
- Emperor's Shadow Guard—A variant of the Emperor's Royal Guard, these guardsmen were trained to utilize the dark Side of the Force, and were considered an elite special operations unit within the Royal Guard. They are easily distinguishable from the Royal Guards by the inverted color patterns (i.e., the robes and underarmor are black, while the visor is red). They often wield lightsaber pikes into battle, though they did have access to heavy repeating pistols.
- Novatrooper—The novatroopers were stormtroopers who were selected for a place in the Emperor's honor guard. They are identified by armor glistening with black and gold ceremonial colors, and are rarely encountered outside of official Imperial ceremonies, including the semi-annual awarding of the Medal of Valor and the Emperor's public address at the start of New Year's Fete Week.
- Coruscant Guard—The Coruscant Guard maintained peace on Coruscant, and as such worked in conjunction with the Coruscant Police, but outranked all local law officers in numbers. They maintained security at key governmental sites, including the Imperial Palace and the Pliada di am Imperium, and escorted high-ranking Imperial senators and moffs.
- Storm Commando—Storm Commandos were the special forces division of the Stormtrooper Corps, formed specifically to beat the Rebel Alliance at their own game. Their armor is similar to that of scout troopers, albeit colored matte black, leading to the nickname of "shadow scouts". Their missions rely on stealth and have heavy emphasis on sabotage and assassination.
- Shock troopers—Similar to the Storm Commandos, the shock troopers acted as the special forces within the Stormtrooper Corps early into the Empire's existence. They acted under a support role, and as such had a variety of equipment to utilize, many of which are non-standard. They were easily distinguished from regular stormtroopers via their heavier armor.
- Shadow Troopers—A specialized version of the shock troopers, they were dispatched to various operations. They can be identified by their blue-lit panels underneath their armor.
- Strategic Insertion battalion—Similar to the Storm Commandos, the Strategic Insertion battalion was a special forces unit within the Stormtrooper Corps that were deployed for infiltration and other operations against an enemy via the element of surprise. They were among the only Stormtrooper units where using their signature armor is not required.
- Imperial Elite Guard— The Imperial Elite Guard were a unit of bodyguards tasked with guarding a Field Commander during military operations, in the event that an enemy force successfully infiltrated the compound the commander was staying at. They were later reorganized by 41 ABY.
- Vader's Special Force Trooper—Special forces led by Darth Vader during the Occupation of Bespin. They wore similar uniforms to the Cold Assault Stormtroopers.
- Darth Vader's Security Force—An elite unit led by Darth Vader during the Occupation of Bespin. Like their counterparts, they wore similar uniforms to the Cold Assault Stormtroopers. However, their uniforms were colored red instead of the usual white. Some members also held similar equipment to the grenadier troopers, namely armored shields and plasma grenades.
- Related stormtroopers
Although technically not part of the Stormtrooper Corps due to their actually belonging to differing branches of the Imperial Military and in some cases actually not actually being affiliated with the Empire at all, these stormtroopers nonetheless had some ties to the Stormtrooper Corps in some way, whether it be due to joint cooperation with the stormtroopers, or otherwise being modeled after them for infiltration purposes by a third party.
- Stormtrooper droid—Stormtrooper droids were life-like droids encased in stormtrooper armor created on Mechis III factories. They were not affiliated with the Empire at all, as they were instead created by IG-88 as part of their planned droid revolution. Their task was to kill a stormtrooper unit assigned to deliver a computer core to the then-nearly finished Death Star II and replace them while also modifying the computer core to include IG-88A's consciousness.
- Trachta's Stormtroopers—These clone stormtroopers were not officially members of the Stormtrooper Corps, as they were created as part of a conspiracy by various Imperial officers against the Emperor and Darth Vader due to the two's ties to the Order of the Sith Lords, headed by Grand Moff Trachta. Several of these replaced the members of the Stormtroopers that were assigned to personally guard Palpatine after they were killed in a bombing of his shuttle. They were eventually wiped out when Kadir, another member of the conspiracy, jumped the gun and arrogantly challenged Palpatine.
- ISB stormtroopers—These stormtroopers were not actually part of the Stormtrooper Corps, or even the Imperial Military, answering instead to the Imperial Security Bureau. They were generally assigned to go undercover within various stormtrooper units in order to ensure the various members were ideologically consistent.
- Imperial Navy commandos—The Imperial Navy commandos technically answered to the Imperial Navy instead of the Stormtrooper Corps, but they wore similar armor and performed similar duties to various members of the Stormtrooper Corps, and have been known to work alongside them.
- Imperial Senate Guard—The Imperial Senate Guards were technically not part of the Stormtrooper Corps or even the standard Imperial Military hierarchy, officially acting as bodyguards for Imperial Senators. However, they wore similar attire to the Emperor's Royal Guard, and have occasionally worked with the Stormtrooper Corps if the military operation was significant enough to require their presence.
- Imperial Senate Sentinel—Being a subdivision of the Imperial Senate Guards, the Imperial Senate Sentinels, like the senate guards, were technically not part of the Stormtrooper Corps or even the standard Imperial Military hierarchy. However they did work alongside the Stormtrooper Corps if the mission was important enough to require their presence.
- Raptors—They weren't actually part of the Stormtrooper Corps, although they did play a similar role due to their being intended to act as replacements to the branch among Warlord Zsinj's faction.
- Imperial Army trooper—They weren't actually part of the Stormtrooper Corps, since they belong to the Imperial Army. However, some factions of the splintered Galactic Empire post-Battle of Endor did supply Imperial Army troopers with Stormtrooper armor to compensate for the loss of various Imperial Academies and/or cloning centers during their fight against the New Republic.
After the Stormtrooper Corps implemented a recruitment policy to replace the cloning stock, the program implemented a strict recruitment requirement for conformity standards to maintain the program's integrity as compensation for losing clones and constrain diverse and undirected human genetic stock. In particular, their genetic suitability compared to a human genome-type clone template needs to be 97.5% or higher, their height needed to be within 1.79-1.85 meters, their weight needed to be in the range of 78-85 kilograms, their body mass/musculature rating needed to have a Scala scoring of 22.x5 at maximum, their tactical intelligence rating needed a Marrev testing result of at least 790, and their receptivity to indoctrination's rating needs to have a minimum class of C. According to Nala Se, the resulting recruitment standards were such that they met the same minimum physical benchmarks as Kamino-grown clones, and the recruitment program was such that it allowed for interchangeable uniforms and armor as a bonus.
After passing recruitment standards, Stormtrooper recruits were deployed for training at one of the stormtrooper academies. At least two are known: The first, Academy of Carida, was one of the more well-known facilities, which focused on training stormtrooper officers. As part of their training, the recruits at Carida undergo wilderness survival; desert warfare simulations; underwater battle tactics; experimental weapons testing; flash-memory instruction in military history; self-discipline through emotional suppression; and education in the principles of the Emperor's New Order. In addition, the Stormtrooper training composed of both grueling physical tests (which were caused in part by the planet Carida having a stronger than average gravity field) as well as extensive indoctrination, which was strong enough to produce unswerving loyalty to the Empire, and leaving very few successful attempts to bribe, blackmail, or seduce them. Leia also noted that the indoctrination was extremely thorough to such an extent that they can't even be reasoned with, let alone deprogrammed, and as such, makes the ideology terrifying. In addition, this training was also credited as a large part of why the Stormtrooper Corps were victorious, in addition to their uniformity and ability to bring to bear overwhelming firepower. Their training was rigorous enough in its conditioning that Stormtroopers tended to favor their right side and adopt identical kneeling positions. It is also implied that, besides wilderness survival, desert warfare simulations, and underwater battle tactics, recruits to the Stormtrooper Corps also were extensively trained to survive in any environment, including those that harbored climates hostile to that of humans.
The second was the Royal Guard Academy on Yinchorr, which, befitting its unforgiving nature, was a very severe training facility. As indicated by the name, it primarily trained members of the Emperor's Royal Guard at the citadel, while smaller complexes trained other stormtrooper divisions, most notably those belonging to the Imperial riot troopers. The Royal Guard recruits are trained in various combat techniques as well as the art of Echani, with their practicing in the Squall arena. Their final test involved a battle to the death, which required the Emperor to personally oversee the test. Owing to the importance of the Yinchorr facility, it was kept top-secret, with even officers for the Empire with a high enough military rank to be allowed access to the Imperial Handbook: A Commander's Guide, the Imperial Military's field manual, not possessing the clearance level to know anything about the facility beyond generalities.
The Stormtrooper Corps, or at least those within the 501st Legion, were also known to be superb marksmen, with Obi-Wan Kenobi noting that they were extremely precise in their executing the Jawas on Tatooine. Leia also implied shortly after her escape from the Death Star that members of the Stormtrooper Corps generally don't miss their targets unless they were deliberately trying to lure their targets into a trap.
Like in the rest of the Imperial Military, officer ranks within the Stormtrooper Corps was denoted by a specific combination of colored squares and code cylinders worn on the uniform. When out on the field, they generally also wear orange pauldrons and/or colored stripes on their armor. One of the few exceptions to this were the Cold Assault Stormtroopers, which wear rank insignia on the breastplate even while on the field.
The Stormtrooper Corps members had a variety of uniforms. Officers, when they aren't commissioned, wore a black uniform with a double-breasted tunic, trousers, and a matching cap displaying an officer's disc. When commissioned, the stormtrooper officers instead wore variations of the stormtrooper armor denoting their rank. One variant, designated for field stormtrooper officers, just gave the armor markings of a stripe over the helmet, stripes over the right leg and feet, stripes across the chest in a Y-shaped pattern, stripes on the arms, and blue-color pauldrons, with the color representing the unit they held command over. The other variant, used on the field, had them wearing an orange shoulder paudron as well as bearing specific rank insignia.
Stormtrooper armor overall is composed of enclosed white armor over a black vacuum-sealed bodysuits. Variations, however, have existed depending on the nature of the training Stormtroopers have undergone, and to some extent the specific mission environment.
Freshly recruited Stormtroopers that, for obvious reasons, were rarely seen in direct combat, wore weaker armor than the more seasoned counterparts.
Assault troopers utilized similar armor to the basic Stormtrooper armor, although it was given yellow highlights around the arms and helmet, giving them a slight similarity to the armor worn by Phase 1 clone trooper commanders. They were generally assigned to assault key Rebel Alliance bases, carry out head-on attacks, and were generally capable of fighting Rebel SpecForces when ambushed, and were frequently tasked with invading enemy planets and cities in full-scale.
Imperial heavy troopers, due to particular emphasis on hand-to-hand combat especially against larger aliens such as Wookiees and Trandoshans, wore a specialized form of Stormtrooper armor that was thick enough to withstand a lightsaber blow to some degree, and had a passing resemblance to Phase II clone armor, albeit with a slightly darker tone.
Armored Stormtroopers wore a heavily armored version of the Stormtrooper armor, and also possessed orange pauldrons similar to the Imperial Marines, and their helmet included a red monocle device.
There are also cases where stormtroopers who had been specialized in a certain type of firearm were given a variation of their armor that included pauldrons with colors indicating their assigned tasks, such as yellow for riflemen and blue/white for snipers. The latter also had slightly more durable armor. In other cases, stormtroopers of a particular specialty don't have any major differences in terms of armor, like the Stormtrooper Grenadier.
Although the Emperor's Royal Guard generally wore armor that resembled that of the Sun Guard, they have occasionally entered the field in crimson-colored stormtrooper armor.
In some cases, Stormtrooper armor was customized.
The standard rank-and-file members of the Stormtrooper Corps had as their standard weapon the BlasTech E-11 blaster rifle and the SE-14r light repeating blaster, the only exception being Stormtroopers who had been assigned to heavy and/or special weapons. Aside from these weapons, they also have at times been seen using weapons such as the 4-X blaster rifle, DLT-19 heavy blaster rifle, as well as the DLT-20A blaster rifles, T-21 light repeating blasters, T-28 repeating sniper rifles, E-11s sniper rifle, Oppressor flamethrowers, Plasma casters, ARC casters, and PLX-2M portable missile launchers, PLX-4 Missile Launchers, CSPL-12 projectile launchers, "Equalizer" shoulder ion-cannon, Ion mortars, Stouker concussion rifle, V-6d mortar launchers, DXR6 heavy carbines, DEMP 2, Proton rifles, EE-3 carbine rifles, DXR-6 disruptor rifles, Imperial Heavy Repeaters. They also had access to modified blaster pistols. The stormtroopers that served under the Empire Reborn faction of the Stormtrooper Corps were also known to have used Golan Arms FC-1 flechette launchers or the FA-3 flechette launchers. They also came equipped with Baradium-core code key thermal detonator, which were attached to the back of the torso. In order to ensure an enemy doesn't use the detonator against the Stormtroopers if stolen, it requires a specific code that only the stormtrooper it was assigned to knows, and the buttons are left unmarked to ensure the enemy can't input the code even if they did find out the code. Aside from the Baradium core detonators, they have also been known to use up to two LXR-6 concussion grenades.
Although stormtroopers did not utilize lightsabers, the Cuis clones did utilize lightsabers due to their being force-sensitive as a result of being cloned from the deceased Emperor's Hand Sa Cuis.
Vehicles and steeds
The Stormtrooper Corps, aside from the vehicles assigned to them during joint missions with either the Imperial Army or the Imperial Navy, also had access to some of their own vehicles, such as the Delta-class DX-9 stormtrooper transport, the Imperial escort carriers and TIE/HU Hunter multi-role starfighters used by the Storm Commandos, as well as the Emperor's Royal Guard TIE/In starfighter for members of the Emperor's Royal Guard. During the early stages of the Empire, when stationed on former Separatist worlds, the Stormtrooper Corps would make use of battle droids such as the DSD1 dwarf spider droid, ironically enough to help clear the remaining Separatist hold-outs in the early stages of the Empire. Even afterwards, they often had them near checkpoints.
In addition, they have also utilized Dewback lizards as steeds when conducting ground operations. These stormtroopers, known as Dewback troopers, often used them to attack mechanized weaponry such as Rebel combat speeders and Rebel attack tanks as well as patrols, though they were also suited for taking down troop centers. Although they were most suitable for desert areas due to their reptilian nature and thus were mostly part of the desert stormtroopers, they were also observed being used even in areas such as Hoth.
Behind the scenes
The Stormtrooper Corps is roughly analogous to the following real-world organizations:
- The Stormtroopers (in German Stoßtruppen, "shock troops") were specialist soldiers of the German Army in World War I, who operated in companies of Sturmtruppen ("assault troops", more often and less exactly Storm Troops).
- The United States Marine Corps is a semi-autonomous force that fights alongside the other branches of the armed forces, responsible for strategic amphibious assaults and boarding actions. One of the units within the Stormtrooper Corps is even called the Imperial Marines.
- The later Legacy-era stormtrooper forces are more comparable to the real-world U.S. Army Rangers in that they have become an elite form of infantry as an integral and subordinate part of the Imperial Army command structure. The 501st, on the other hand, was more semi-autonomous, similar to the United States Marine Corps functioning as the Emperor's praetorian guard alongside the Imperial Knights.
Contrary to popular belief, there is little to suggest that the Stormtrooper Corps were analogous to the Sturmabteilung (SA) of Nazi Germany in any way other than the latter also being called "Stormtroopers".
According to Mary S. Henderson's Star Wars: The Magic of Myth, the Stormtroopers, and in particular, their armor, were partly inspired by the police droids of the underground prison facility in THX-1138, one of George Lucas's first films.
- Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game
- Imperial Sourcebook
- The Rebel Alliance Sourcebook
- Death Star Technical Companion
- Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game, Second Edition
- Death Star Technical Companion, Second Edition
- The Rebel Alliance Sourcebook, Second Edition
- Imperial Sourcebook, Second Edition
- Galaxy Guide 3: The Empire Strikes Back, Second Edition
- Wretched Hives of Scum & Villainy
- (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide
- Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary
- Scum and Villainy
- Star Wars ABC
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- Galaxy at War
- Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Core Rulebook
- The Bounty Hunter Code: From the Files of Boba Fett
- Star Wars: Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook
- Star Wars: Imperial Handbook: A Commander's Guide
- "Blaster"—Star Wars Insider 153
- Fly Casual