Rogue One – A Tactical Analysis by a Staff Officer

Perhaps one of my favorite non-firearms blogs is Angry Staff Officer, a completely irreverent, passionate, off-kilter, and on-point blog of a US Army mustang who perhaps regrets the jump into officerdom. In his occasional musings, Star Wars frequently pops up as a favorite topic including his recent missive analyzing the Raid on Scariff as only an officer can.¬†Replete with words like “plan”, “operationally”, and “command and control.”

As an enlisted man, ugh.

However, as a manager, the Angry Staff Officer has some very good points. While the raid was shot and executed primarily for the entertainment of an audience, not the satisfaction of armchair generals, the officer draws to a very succinct point Рthat the raid was unnecessarily costly due to poor planning and the usage of decision by consensus/emotion.

As the analysis opens up, the Army teaches today “No more Task Force Smiths” which in modern military terms is a close allegory to the Raid on Scariff. Task Force Smith was a haphazardly thrown together force during the Korean War when US Command thought the mere presence of US troops would be sufficient to show “…that American wasn’t messing around…”

For the full analysis, head on over to Angry Staff Officer. (Warning РSpoilers if anyone has not yet seen the movie). 



Nathan S.

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

Nathan can be reached at Nathan.S@TheFirearmBlog.com

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


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  • BattleshipGrey

    Good read and accurate, but the one thing not mentioned is that the writers were forced to kill off the characters due to when Rogue One takes place. If the members of Rogue One survived, it would leave audience viewers scratching their heads as to why they’re not even mentioned in Episode IV, V & VI and disrupt the “canon” and the credibility of the overall story.

    • Cal S.

      Indeed, but what was the end-game if the fleet hadn’t shown up? Without that happenstance, those plans never would have made it anywhere. The operation didn’t fail because of a sudden, unforeseen occurance that they couldn’t have planned for, it failed because they simply didn’t have an exit strategy at all.

      The story could have been written with that unforeseen occurance being the mechanism that doomed them all. Instead, the writers wrote it in such a way that the rebel fleet showing up was the only reason it worked even though they were the only ones 100% certain it would.

  • Iggy

    My only comment is while he is correct, this can probably be explained by the fact that the rebel troops on Scariff don’t generally operate as a straight combat force. They’re a large group of assassins and saboteurs, so while they may individually be good fighters they’re probably used to working in small two-three man teams and generally don’t fight engagements this size. Also they weren’t expecting to survive anyway, so were deliberately trying to send troops in every direction to make the battle that much more confusing for the Imperials.

    • Cal S.

      The only problem from my perspective is, with the “Our plan is to have a plan” ‘planning’ going on, there was no way for the infiltrators to get the plans anywhere once they’d obtained them. If the rebel fleet hadn’t shown up, they would have had no options but to transmit it to the ether and hope someone got it because the physical plans weren’t making it off Scariff once the shooting started and the original team got torn to bits. I haven’t seen it for a second time, but I don’t believe the plan was to transmit it to the rebel base which was literally systems away.

      Essentially, it only worked because of the story-writing. Which made it successful from a story perspective; but a failure as a strategic plan.

      • valorius

        An epic failure.

  • Juggernaut

    Any Star Wars movie released after TESB has sucked.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Perhaps the Rebels should have consulted this book first for ideas on sabotage and battlefield survivability prior to main force engagement….

    https://www.amazon.com/Special-Forces-Berlin-Clandestine-Operations/dp/161200444X

    • Moonman45

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/30a82137f9cc7a44e1deece9afb523bfc6973671fd8e86039a70baf8ecbbc137.jpg

      “The Notorious IUD sits back, after tyrone and jamal have cut off the airflow to his lungs after a 20 minute session of ‘throat olympics’ “

      • ostiariusalpha

        Wow. Just how much gay porn did you watch to find the screen capture you wanted for this post?

        • Not even a tiny fraction of his personal “Black on submissive White” collection, I’m guessing.

    • lanabs

      Yes I believe they served as the prototype for the worlds most feared soldiers of today, the ‘social justice warrior’ trained for sabotage and subversion, while disguising themselves as feminists and effeminate men. Such sacrifice and service to their country is truly commendable. My overly manly son wants to be a sjwarrior too, but I tell him only the most elite can join these ranks, but I’m glad he sets his goals so high.

  • MrBrassporkchop

    This guy sounds like the semi-antagonist in movies.

    You know the guy that isn’t a bad guy but does everything by the books and their pragmatism and experience gets in the protagonist way. Like the boss from 2012 that argued they can’t stuff the arks full of people because the people that paid for it bought their tickets that paid for the arks in the first place.

    • Don Ward

      In this department, we go by the book!

    • Tassiebush

      Haha I never thought about it but that movie and a bunch of disaster movies all revolve around freeloaders using other people’s stuff!

  • Don Ward

    Rogue One was pretty good. But what we all wanted to see was 2 hours of Darth Vader cutting down Rebel troopers, enslaving Wookies and hunting down and defeating Jedi Knights.
    This is what we’ve wanted for 30 years.
    But yeah, the final two or three minutes of the film was b itchin.

    • mcjagermech

      I couldn’t agree more. Vader needs his own movie after being snubbed for screen time for so long

    • valorius

      Rogue 1 was just another dose of SJW nonsense. It was easily the worst of all the star wars movies IMO. And that’s really saying something in a universe that includes The Phantom Menace.

      • iksnilol

        I think y’all are a bunch’a nerds for watching Star Wars.

        • valorius

          Quiet youngster!

          • iksnilol

            Don’t make me give you a wedgie, old man.

          • valorius

            LMAO, whippersnapper.

          • noob

            Wedge was the Rebel Alliance’s best pilot.

          • Tinkerer

            …now you’re fantasizing about giving wedgies to old men…? Duuude…

          • iksnilol

            Hey, I’m old school. Gotta give nerds them wedgies.

          • Tinkerer

            Bad idea. Nowadays, it’s nerds who sign everyone’s paychecks.

          • iksnilol

            No.

          • Tinkerer

            Suit yourself, my man. But don’t complain if you find out your boss has a stash of Battlestar Galactica tapes hidden somewhere.

          • iksnilol

            Then my ex-boss gets a wedgie as well. I mean, battlestar galactica? For crying out loud, Star Trek would be okay, but battlestar galactica!? No.

        • Tinkerer

          You go “Live Long and Prosper” somewhere else, you damn, filthy trekkie.

          • iksnilol

            Those are neeeerds as well.

          • Tinkerer

            Don’t act like you don’t have a little nerd somewhere inside of you, nobody’s that “normal”.

            …well, and to be honest, my friend, “normal” you are not. ..

          • iksnilol

            Appreciating the human body in spite of gender is perfectly normal and healthy.

            I just never found Star Wars interesting… fandoms in general I’ve not really felt much for. I’m not a passionate person in regards to entertainment.

          • Marco Antonio Gonzalez
      • Don Ward

        I get folks not liking Rogue One for a variety of reasons. What I don’t understand is the critique that I’ve seen about it being some SJW thing. I didn’t read that at all in the movie.

        What I DID read into the movie is that the Rebel Alliance is basically the Taliban/ISIS. Which is something a lot of us Star Wars nerds have long suspected…

        • valorius

          Female lead, all supporting actors are minorities. White man is the bad guy. Text book SJW. The developers of the movie even said so in print.

          The only thing missing was Jyn Erso screaming “You’re a white male!” at the bad guy.

          • Don Ward

            Fair ’nuff. I’ll take your word about the developers saying so in print since I honestly didn’t pay that much attention to the lead up of this film.
            With that said, Star Wars has pretty frequently cast the Empire as being primarily a bunch of white guys – white guys with British accents – while the Rebellion has been a coalition of different races and species. So I didn’t see Rogue One as being anything outside of the norm.
            Now what was made abundantly obvious was the Rebels – or at least those under control of the Forest Whitaker character – were meant to be Taliban/ISIS going so far as to replicate a battle scene where Empire Stormtroopers in armored vehicles are bushwhacked in an occupied desert town.
            I half expected the Rebel fighters to start mumbling Aloha Snackbar while someone was filming the fight.

          • valorius

            Aloha Snackbar, lmao.

          • noob
          • noob
          • Tassiebush

            Haha I never picked up on that. What a cheeky heretic redefining it!

          • Tassiebush

            Haha so so my me and my family look like a bunch of Star Wars villains?!… I I never thought of that!

          • Don Ward
      • Translation: “Women were allowed to speak and a Generic White Guy wasn’t The Hero, 0/10”.

        …You know Darth Vader is both black and Black, right?

        • El Duderino

          The blackest brother in the Galaxy. Nubian god! Then this cracker, Skywalker, gets his hands on a light saber…

          • There’s a video on Youtube that replaces all of Vader’s dialogue from Episodes IV-VI with lines from the wide array of magnificently terrible Blaxploitation movies James Earl Jones did in the ’70s, and it is some of the funniest Star Wars related %$#& you will ever see.

        • valorius

          One doesn’t expect such SJW blather from a Texan.

          • Stay mad, bruh. We’ll surely roll back the clock to the 19th Century if you just yell at the internet hard enough.

          • valorius

            I’m mad because i laid out the exact reasoning behind why i said Star Wars is an SJW paradise? Not mad, just conscious.

  • valorius

    From a realistic perspective Scariff was a total cluster F.

    • noob

      We don’t get to see much of the Imperial preparations to defend their archives on a remote tropical paradise, but they had a defense shield, a combined arms garrison and 10 death troopers.

      How did they fail so badly against such a laughable attack and what doctrinal changes should they implement to avoid humiliating defeats like that again.

      One clue might be this showerthought –
      I was actually totally mystified about why Tarkin didn’t just blow up the rebel flag ship (the cruiser that had the plans, the blockade runner and Princess Leia on board) with his superlaser?

      Well Tarkin has already been shown to be more of a politician than a commander, and always thinks of his actions in terms of the political and not tactical outcome. So he saw an opportunity to shoot his rival in the face with a superlaser, and also humiliate Vader by tasking Vader with the difficult if not impossible job of boarding a Rebel flagship in search of a thumbdrive. Yes Vader could kick all kinds of ass, but he would never be sure he got all the copies of the plans and could be labeled a failure and a weird religious nutcase – decreasing Vader’s influence in the Imperial military machine.

      • Tarkin was perfectly cast– and recreated in TFA– for the kind of villain who’s scary for a whole different set of reasons than a villain like Vader is scary. Peter Cushing was an absolute master of cold, calculating, purely ruthless evil.

        • Don Ward

          Indeed. Peter Cushing was an awesome actor throughout his repertoire. I know the producers got a bit of flak over CGI Tarkin by some folks on the Internet. But I thought that on the whole they did a good job and the actor Guy Henry did a very serviceable Cushing/Tarkin impersonation.
          Obviously Hollywood will only continue to work on having this technology mature.

  • schizuki

    I spent the whole damn movie wondering where/who the Bothans were. Y’know, the ones who supposedly “died to get us this information.”

  • RicoSuave

    I think it was pretty obvious that there was zero common sense and tactical planning when you have a 20 something woman with no combat experience put in a central position of a major mission. But it made for good SJW tweets from the empowered…

    • Sounds like you’re mostly mad that a bunch of guys in white outfits and facemasks got wasted.

      • RicoSuave

        LOL… hardly. I don’t get mad over movies. I was just amused that the writers felt they have to shovel in so many eye rollingly bad SJW themes into a 2 hour movie. The writers hysterical tweets that were soon deleted confirmed their motives.

  • Rock or Something

    I pissed off my brother after I ripped apart the illogical military planning and plot device that went on in the final part of the movie. I told him what did he expect by asking someone who was in the Army for ten years.

  • Tassiebush

    That was an enjoyable nerd out!

  • some other joe

    Website blocked by the CENTCOM NEC. BWAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHA!!!!!!

  • Cal S.

    Forgive me if I’m recalling it poorly, but if that was the plan, then why didn’t the forces who set the diversion explosives fall back to the landing pad?

    Also, they were very optimistic.

  • MP

    You do realize in the movie producers fevered dreams that the Rebels are the SJW’s warriors and antifa black bloc full of “strong powerful” feminists and effeminate Black men with a few Asians for diversity? The Empire is the US.
    Of course the Empire (US) will win but only after destroying peaceful communes and victimizing said aboriginal and minority peoples and crushing them underfoot.

  • CavScout

    First thing you should do in a surprise attack is drop in out of hyperspace and then start up roll call….
    They needed to hire more mil advisors for tha tmovie. Also, Disney needs to stfu and let the director make a good movie.