21 Responses

  1. valoren

    According to its wookiepedia article, the station is actually generating the planetary shield. It’s weird because it barely has the same volume as a destroyer and it has no distinctive emitter, but it seems to be the canonical explanation for the moment. Plus there was no noticeable interaction between it and the superlaser beam when the death star fired on scarif surface.
    I know the torpedoes were ion-weaponry but they still hit the entire length of the hull and two even exploded on the front of the bridge tower. I don’t remember the dialogues or own the movie, so I’ll take you’re word for it on on them going for a gap.
    After further examination with what can be found on the internet, It seems there actually is shots fired by the profundity onscreen from two small batteries on the middle of the ship, but they don’t seem to be used for more than anti-fighter defenses. My best guess is that the rebels brought the ship in the hope that it would attract and slug most of the enemy fire simply by its sheer size, but that’s still nowhere near enough firepower to bring the pain to two SDs and a fully crewed & armed space station.

      • gorkmalork

        Eh, easy to miss a reply-chain click when you’re in a hurry-no worries.

        Anyhow, color me remaining skeptical that Profundity’s entire contribution to the orbital duel (which, keep in mind, was off-camera for minutes on end) was command/control + turbolaser sponge (and ditto for Ackbar’s cruiser contingent at Endor). DK’s Rogue One visual guide credits the thing with a dozen (heavy?) TLs, an equal number of (anti-ship?) torp launchers & four ions, and while I agree that wasn’t nearly enough against a *competently crewed* Impstar (nods at Devastator), two greenhorn dingbats creeping straight in & *barely* dipping enough for their forward mains to bear seem to have proven a different story. Granted, that fight might’ve ended differently if not for the Hammerhead collision trick, but maintaining a formation tight enough for said gambit to work still doesn’t say much for the Scarif guard squadron’s bantha sense.

        As for the shield gate…all I can figure is that *projecting* a planetary-scale shield and maintaining its own defenses may result in some heinous energy-demand conflicts on a platform that size-maybe they keep the latter on standby & just got surprised by the Rebels popping in so damn close. Later Gold Squad bombing runs didn’t seem to be getting anywhere, hence that “drop two Impstars on the damn thing” strategy-too much mass for the particle deflectors, possibly coming in too slow to trigger ’em properly. Come to think of it, DS2’s shield projector on Endor seemed to be lacking much built-in protection beyond armor & stationed units, though at least that one was apparently *beneath* a planetary shield & might’ve had more powerplant surface area to play with than an orbital facility.

        • keb

          There’s a Youtube video where we can see Profundity shooting from its starboard side at the shield gate station, causing multiple explosions across the station’s surface. It’s worth noting that X-wings start strafing the station’s gun turrets only after Profundity pummels the station.


          The scene in question starts at 1:58. It’s easier to see the shots if you run the video at 0.25 speed.

          • gorkmalork

            Ah, good eye. So the station’s (ray?) shields might’ve been briefly swiss-cheesed enough for fighter strafing to do damage, but regained integrity after Profundity (and the corvette screen) turned their attention to the Impstars. Funny how some of those later torps were aimed at that buttoned-up shield window rather than the station itself-an attempt to disrupt the aperture extensions, perhaps?

          • valoren

            Yep, I see it. I noticed it before but didn’t make the connection with the profundity’s batteries. Since the explosion’s are relatively similar in shape and size to the ones created by the fighters/bombers, I just assumed it was the result of a previous bombing run.

        • valoren

          It still seems to be an horribly hazardous way to protect a planet. I’m not completely sure why they need a full planetary shield, since a smaller shield capable of stopping aircracft would have been much more useful, but putting things in perspective, the Hoth theatre shield/defensive batteries were able to hold the assault of five SDs and one SSD for maybe hours before finally giving up.
          I would have expected the profundity to ram the station, instead of this wacky, unworkable trick with the corvette.

          • gorkmalork

            Yeah, the orbital-gate method might’ve been a half-assed (Republic holdover?) traffic control compromise that had security wonks scrambling feverishly back to ground-based facilities after the R1 debacle. Incidentally, that concept art with an orbital ring makes so much more sense I all but facedesked after double-checking the Wookiee.

            RE: ESB…honestly not even sure Vader’s squadron bothered trying to hammer down the Hoth theater shield-they might’ve just dropped walker buses & troop transports on the iceball’s uncovered arcs before positioning for Rebel escapee intercept.

  2. StellarMagic

    Shields in Star Wars are a confusing thing… I get the impression they’re a system that is actually several types of shields working together to protect the ship.

    Deflectors – redirect incoming shots away from the ship, reducing their effective angle against subsequent shielding. Deflectors work best against low-density projectiles (like blaster bolts) causing the bolt to diffuse or scatter and making the resulting impact easier for the shields or even armor protected by the deflector to absorb. Deflector shield failure results in other shield systems being forced to absorb or redirect more energy at a more precise point.

    Particle Shields – absorb or redirect the kinetic energy of projectiles impacting the shields… maybe in conjunction with inertial compensation. Particle shield failure results in missiles and massdrivers penetrating the shielded area and impacting the hull.

    Ray Shields – absorb or redirect the thermal energy of energy weapons impacting the shields… possibly dumping it into heat sinks or through the vessel’s power converters. Ray shielding can also be deployed around parts of the ship that can’t be particle shielded, like the engines (which need to be able to throw particles to generate thrust) or thermal exhaust ports (which need to be able to emit exhaust for cooling purposes).

    Part of the reason shields seem to be talked about as a single entity is that blaster weaponry seems to be both a particle beam and delivers thermal energy.

    • gorkmalork

      Interesting categorization-the 1st edition Essential Guide to Vehicles & Vessels basically recognizes energy/ray & particle shields (though it’s not currently an official source), and for a while I’ve been assuming that ‘deflector’ was basically another word for the latter based on one ROTJ scene (namely, Executor losing the ‘bridge deflector shields’ but *not* sustaining any further command-module damage ’till that A-wing collision). The d-mechanism you describe sounds a lot closer to active defense, though I wonder if blasters’ supposed particulate effects can’t be chalked up to massive split-second heat transfer into a compact area.

  3. gorkmalork

    Ah, that semi-protected hangar arrangement again. I’d be tempted to nudge said space a little further forward from the reactor, but hey, pre/mid-Clone Wars design.

    • Fractalsponge

      I dunno, the hull itself isn’t going to be a hundred meters thick. There’s enough space in the aft portion of that fairing there for dozens of meters worth of armored bulkhead and cofferdam. Anything getting through that via the hangars will have to blow the ventral hull and bulb off anyway.

      • gorkmalork

        Point there. I’ve absorbed the impression that SW armor runs a very distant second to shielding, but material (and material density) that won’t stop an HTL bolt *might* still suffice against TIE/shuttle-scale warheads cooking off.

        Possibly pointless tangent: that bit at the start of Scarif’s orbital portion where Red Squad strafes the shield-gate station & seems to plink off a couple turrets. Further proof that fighters can just zip in beneath warship-scale ray shielding and zap lightly-armored components, or were the station’s own defenses just warming up and/or compromised by Rebel capital fire? I’ve mulled over an SDN thread or two proposing that ray-shields *have* to stop TL fire at a certain safe distance from the hull, but as you’ve observed prior, major naval construction (be it Alliance, Imp, CIS, etc.) would look rather different from the films if strike snubs were normally such a silver bullet.

        • Fractalsponge

          Yeah I get that partial shield permeability would explain a fair number of scenes, but it just totally invalidates the naval structure we see in the movies. It would drive everything towards missile spam and dealing with missile spam. Fighters are generally irrelevant to fleet actions except for story purposes.

          My bet for Scarif is that the platform either had partial shielding or got surprised by the opening volley and had some shield sectors compromised by damage. The disabling Y-wing squadron volley specifically exploited a shield gap. If they didn’t need them, then both destroyers would’ve been out from the get-go.

          Maybe small shield gaps open routinely due to damage and deliberate focusing against bigger threats, but not big enough to be exploited at long range by TL fire. That would explain the value of fighters for component strikes and give everything we see a reason to be there.

          • gorkmalork

            Local-area shield projectors getting caught flat-footed, briefly compromised or flat-out zorched by barrage bleedthrough strike me as a plausible development for strike birds to exploit, presuming the beleaguered ship can’t spare any thrust/juice/escorts to discourage ’em. As for Scarif/Endor-style point-blank clusterkriffs where you’d *think* the attacking capitals would have a clear shot, perhaps their targets were forced to prioritize ray-shields, leaving *particle* deflectors power-starved & flicker/microgap prone.

            Incidentally, I recently cracked open an OT storyboard collection, and not only does Anon Battleship #2 appear in one ESB panel as a stand-in for the final Executor design, but the ROTJ sensor-dome strike was initially ‘boarded with a pair of B-wings.

          • valoren

            It would seem strange that a platform who can constantly maintain a full planetary shield by itself is only partially shielded or cannot power its own defensive shield at all time. If the Y-wing squadron exploited a shield gap, then it was more of a general shield failure than a gap, since the torpedoes clearly exploded all over the hull and onto the bridge structure. I also seriously doubt the volume of fire delivered by the rebel fleet, who was mostly composed of corvettes, some frigates and a single capital ship, would have been enough to force the imperials to divert all power to their ray shields. Mon-cal ships are known to take a beating, but not especially giving it (in the entire scarif battle, I couldn’t spot a single shot coming from the profundity), which let the fighters/bombers as the only real threat on the battlefield.

          • Fractalsponge

            I don’t think the station is the shield generator. It’s a gate station, so I think it’s just the gate. Maybe a local node? But either way, it does funny things to the shield, and disrupting it disrupted the shield, at least locally.

            The Y-wing torpedoes were some kind of ion torpedo, hence why it scattered rays all about, and didn’t wreck the structure underneath. The movie clearly states they were going for a gap though.

            As for capital firepower – meh. We don’t see rapid fire very often, and usually the bolts are relatively unobtrusive. We also don’t get to see the Rebel fleet’s fire very much at Endor, but we know they were launching a maximum effort close range attack on the Imperial fleet. One of the Scarif destroyers does let loose a rapid sequential volley from its starboard main turret line, and the rate of fire is actually extremely impressive, substantially more than 1/s. Maybe step-down power fire? Of course we don’t get to see the effects. We do see Devastator’s volleys landing on Profundity, but not which guns send out which bolt. Clearly Profundity was quickly disabled, but it was just fighting 2v1, however anemically handled the 2 ISDs were.

          • Steve Bannon

            We see that some of the Devastator’s main flank HTL turrets are engaging the Profundity, but they don’t seem to be hitting any harder than the dorsal axial battery, trench guns, or any of the ventral turrets. All of the explosions/shield interaction effects on the Profundity appear to be of roughly the same size and duration.
            Perhaps the Scarif Destroyers are funneling reactor output to only certain turrets because they’re severely undermanned and don’t have enough gun crews to fully operate every turret? Skeleton crews would explain the total lack of combat maneuvering, failure to dynamically readjust shielding, and reluctance to launch their wings of TIEs. I can’t really see any other reason for such a pathetic performance.

          • gorkmalork

            Yeah, I’d be wary of figuring Mon Cals just turtle up & let their strike wings do the job if cinematic battle sequences are out to keep audience interest by spending most of their time on ground hijinx & Swooping Light Craft Cam(R). Lotta room for the less excitingly-presented assets to handle business off-camera. Come to think of it, given (a) the extra accuracy/damage potential of visual-range slugging matches and (b) the Rebel squadron starting said match with a clear-looking shot at both Impstars’ ventral surfaces, that disabled ship might’ve started off on its back foot, soaked up enough hangar/reactor-threatening gutshots to (even further) panic relevant crew, and hence shunted enough shield-juice from dorsal facings that flanking X-wings could turn a split-second fire window on the golfball (or rather, its superstructure shield-vanes) into reduced missile-deflection coverage for that bombing run. Though search me why those destroyers didn’t just roll inverted & bring the rain, besides Steve’s skeleton crew proposal.

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