Best Fleet-level commander in Canon Star Wars.

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Who is the best fleet commander?

Admiral Thrawn.
8
47%
Admiral Piet.
0
No votes
Darth Vader.
2
12%
Admiral Ackbar.
1
6%
Vice Admiral Holdo.
1
6%
Commander Sato.
0
No votes
Admiral Yularen.
0
No votes
General Grievous.
0
No votes
Admiral Raddus.
4
24%
Other.
1
6%
 
Total votes: 17

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The Romulan Republic
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Best Fleet-level commander in Canon Star Wars.

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-08 05:43pm

So, simple question: who, in current canon (ie not Legends, where we all know that Thrawn would win) is the best fleet level commander, taking into account tactical instincts, experience, ability to grasp the larger strategic/political picture, and personality/command style? To be counted, any candidate must have commanded multiple ships (ie, not fighter squadrons but full-sized ships) in combat on at least one occasion.

The candidates are:

Admiral Thrawn ("Rebels").
Admiral Piet (The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi).
Darth Vader (The Original Trilogy).
Admiral Ackbar (The Return of the Jedi and the Sequel Trilogy).
Vice Admiral Holdo (The Last Jedi).
Commander Sato ("Rebels").
Admiral Yularen ("The Clone Wars").
General Grievous ("The Clone Wars", Revenge of the Sith).
Admiral Raddus (Rogue One).
Other (if there's anyone I've left off).
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Crazedwraith
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Re: Best Fleet-level commander in Canon Star Wars.

Post by Crazedwraith » 2018-11-08 05:46pm

What fleet did Vader command in action at least in the films? You can't have him and Piett there, they overlap.

(Vader may have commanded fleets in Disney EU for all I know)
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Re: Best Fleet-level commander in Canon Star Wars.

Post by Captain Seafort » 2018-11-08 05:49pm

Crazedwraith wrote:
2018-11-08 05:46pm
What fleet did Vader command in action at least in the films?
Death Squadron at the Battle of Hoth.
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Re: Best Fleet-level commander in Canon Star Wars.

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-08 05:51pm

Yup. Whereas Piet commanded it without direct oversight (just some broad orders from the Emperor) in RotJ.

He was also the highest Imperial present at the fleet action in "Siege of Lothal" on Rebels.

Edit: Incidentally, I voted for Vader, just edging out Thrawn.
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Re: Best Fleet-level commander in Canon Star Wars.

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-11-08 06:04pm

Piett and Vader really didn't do a whole lot of commanding in the OT far as I know, other than Vader expressing frustration at Ozzel's bungling in ESB and telling Death Squadron to enter the asteroid field. About all Piett ever did in the movies from what I recall was stand around, look nervous, and be Vader's milquetoast. He does give some direction towards the end of the ROTJ battle (increase forward firepower) but that's about it.

Holdo similarly doesn't really deserve a place, unless she has some feats detailed in new-EU books or something. All she did was transfer her flag from one ship to another, and then hold the course. Nothing particularly striking on a tactical level, never mind strategic. The whole notion of getting close enough to Crait to send cloaked transports there wasn't even entirely her idea IIRC, Leia came up with that one with her I think.

Ackbar and Raddus did do some actual commanding of ships, Raddus notably above Scarif. I might argue that Lando Calrissian shares some credit for the Rebel fleet action in ROTJ, though he mainly led the fighter wing; Ackbar in his turn didn't do a whole lot in the sequel trilogy.

It's been a long time since I watched Clone Wars, but I don't think Yularen was ever an Admiral in that series, mostly just a Commander/Captain. Maybe in season 5? I want to say Anakin Skywalker and General Kenobi did most of the commanding in the actions Yularen was at. Honestly, Skywalker and Kenobi might deserve a place in their own right... Mace Windu as well, perhaps (I want to say he was in charge during at least one battle?)

Grievous doesn't do a whole lot of commanding in TCW either. I might argue that as far as the CIS goes, Admiral Trench was a more competent fleet commander, as he was able to blockade Christophsis fairly effectively IIRC.

Yavin 4 probably doesn't count as a 'fleet action' since it was Rebel starfighters versus the Death Star, but Jan Dodonna might get a nod.

I haven't watched Rebels, so I can't comment on anything there (Thrawn, Sato or Vader).

Anyway, Raddus gets my vote, mostly because he's the most involved commander, and the one that gives the most actual battle direction from what I recall apart from Ackbar.
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Re: Best Fleet-level commander in Canon Star Wars.

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-08 06:29pm

Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-11-08 06:04pm
Piett and Vader really didn't do a whole lot of commanding in the OT far as I know, other than Vader expressing frustration at Ozzel's bungling in ESB and telling Death Squadron to enter the asteroid field. About all Piett ever did in the movies from what I recall was stand around, look nervous, and be Vader's milquetoast. He does give some direction towards the end of the ROTJ battle (increase forward firepower) but that's about it.
Vader takes a pretty hands on role at Hoth and in the pursuit of the Falcon, with mixed results. His performance in "Siege of Lothal" is more impressive, tracking the Ghost crew to their fleet and destroying most of a fighter squadron and the Rebel command frigate personally in exchange for zero Imperial losses (though it could be argued that that's more down to his personal combat prowess than his skill as a commander). He failed to prevent the rest of the fleet from escaping, as he got into a dogfight with one of the few pilots who can match him (Hera Syndulla) and his subordinates bungled the capture.

Also, though commanding only a single ship, he effectively cut off the escape of a large portion of the Rebel fleet at Scariff, though he failed to capture the ultimate goal (the Death Star plans).

He's competent, but he keeps just missing the main goal either by getting personally fixated on an single person, or just falling short due to plot necessity.

Piet strikes me as a pretty by-the-book, unimaginative and too-easily ruffled commander in the films, yes (much as Ackbar does, really).
Holdo similarly doesn't really deserve a place, unless she has some feats detailed in new-EU books or something. All she did was transfer her flag from one ship to another, and then hold the course. Nothing particularly striking on a tactical level, never mind strategic. The whole notion of getting close enough to Crait to send cloaked transports there wasn't even entirely her idea IIRC, Leia came up with that one with her I think.
She's one of the admiral characters who gets the biggest roles and the most screen time, and she did command a (small) fleet in battle. So I felt she should be in. Granted, Hux would too, but I ran out of room, and come on-anyone voting for Hux is doing it purely to troll. :)

As to her performance, I'd say she scores high on personal courage, tactical innovation in the planning stage, and grasp of the larger strategic picture, but lower on charisma, and perhaps demonstrates a certain lack of flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances.

Outside of TLJ, there's the battle Poe references her participating in when she first appears, but I don't know if its ever been depicted or described anywhere in detail.
Ackbar and Raddus did do some actual commanding of ships, Raddus notably above Scarif. I might argue that Lando Calrissian shares some credit for the Rebel fleet action in ROTJ, though he mainly led the fighter wing; Ackbar in his turn didn't do a whole lot in the sequel trilogy.
Ackbar strikes me as competent but limited- fairly by the book and too easily rattled. Raddus handled Scariff very well, yes.
It's been a long time since I watched Clone Wars, but I don't think Yularen was ever an Admiral in that series, mostly just a Commander/Captain. Maybe in season 5? I want to say Anakin Skywalker and General Kenobi did most of the commanding in the actions Yularen was at. Honestly, Skywalker and Kenobi might deserve a place in their own right... Mace Windu as well, perhaps (I want to say he was in charge during at least one battle?)
I was sure he was an admiral.

I thought about including the Jedi, because I'm pretty sure some of them did command fleet actions at times, but there were too many to include them all, and they are mostly ground commanders. So they can go under "other". Of them, Kenobi and Anakin (ie the future Vader) are probably the best. Anakin is inventive, brave, and charismatic, but a bit too reckless. Still, he might be the best for that era. Kenobi seems to be more deliberative, and perhaps more skilled at misdirection.
Grievous doesn't do a whole lot of commanding in TCW either. I might argue that as far as the CIS goes, Admiral Trench was a more competent fleet commander, as he was able to blockade Christophsis fairly effectively IIRC.
Hmm, I don't recall much of him.
Yavin 4 probably doesn't count as a 'fleet action' since it was Rebel starfighters versus the Death Star, but Jan Dodonna might get a nod.

I haven't watched Rebels, so I can't comment on anything there (Thrawn, Sato or Vader).

Anyway, Raddus gets my vote, mostly because he's the most involved commander, and the one that gives the most actual battle direction from what I recall apart from Ackbar.
Raddus is a pretty good option, yes. I'd say its probably between him, Vader, and Thrawn.
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Re: Best Fleet-level commander in Canon Star Wars.

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-11-08 06:32pm

Trench was in only a couple of episodes, which is probably why you don't recall him too much. First time around, they had to resort to a cloaked ship to defeat him, which says something, I think, for his skill. Don't recall how the second time around went.

Yularen, I think, did become an Admiral after the Clone Wars, but I can't stand on that. I know he's on the Death Star as the ISB guy in ANH, but his rank plaque there doesn't match depicted Admiral ranks IIRC. Of course those damn rank plaques have never been terribly consistent...
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Re: Best Fleet-level commander in Canon Star Wars.

Post by Tiriol » 2018-11-09 01:40am

Yularen was identified as Admiral all the way from the beginning of the Clone Wars. It appears that at least Jedi Generals outrank other officers in the Grand Army, since Yularen was clearly subordinate to the Jedi.

Most of the people on the list are hard to gauge, since we really don't know how they handle fleet engagements all that much: Vader's blockade of Hoth was effectively just that, a blockade, one that his subordinate bungled, Scarif was already over by the time he arrived, and Siege of Lothal was mostly him flying in his fighter craft and letting Admiral Konstantine do his work. And we haven't really seen Piett in that many fleet engagements besides the Battle of Endor, in which he was hampered by the Emperor's personal orders.

Just about the only ones using their fleets to their full potential without outside interference on that list seem to be Thrawn and Raddus (and maybe Ackbar).
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Re: Best Fleet-level commander in Canon Star Wars.

Post by Lord Revan » 2018-11-09 01:56am

I dunno if I'm correct but to me it seemed that each clone legion had a ground element (the clone troopers and their ground equipment), a fleet element and possibly a starfighter element (though it could have been part of the fleet) with Jedi being at overall command with a clone commander commading the ground element, while an admiral would command the fleet element.
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Re: Best Fleet-level commander in Canon Star Wars.

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-10 10:12pm

Lord Revan wrote:
2018-11-09 01:56am
I dunno if I'm correct but to me it seemed that each clone legion had a ground element (the clone troopers and their ground equipment), a fleet element and possibly a starfighter element (though it could have been part of the fleet) with Jedi being at overall command with a clone commander commading the ground element, while an admiral would command the fleet element.
That sounds about right, yeah.

Though I'd imagine the star fighters were a somewhat separate force, albeit subordinate to the fleet- or at least they seem to have been by the Galactic Civil War era. At Endor, Lando (a general) commanded the Rebel star fighter squadrons, while Admiral Ackbar was seemingly in overall command.
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Re: Best Fleet-level commander in Canon Star Wars.

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-11-11 01:49am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-11-10 10:12pm
Lord Revan wrote:
2018-11-09 01:56am
I dunno if I'm correct but to me it seemed that each clone legion had a ground element (the clone troopers and their ground equipment), a fleet element and possibly a starfighter element (though it could have been part of the fleet) with Jedi being at overall command with a clone commander commading the ground element, while an admiral would command the fleet element.
That sounds about right, yeah.

Though I'd imagine the star fighters were a somewhat separate force, albeit subordinate to the fleet- or at least they seem to have been by the Galactic Civil War era. At Endor, Lando (a general) commanded the Rebel star fighter squadrons, while Admiral Ackbar was seemingly in overall command.
Honestly we don't see enough large-scale fleet engagements in the OT to say; Endor is pretty much the only one. Hoth is a blockade, so that's a lot of individual encounters within that envelope, not a fleet engagement.

At Yavin the Rebel fighters are acting pretty much as expected for a fighter unit, protecting the Y-wing bombers. At Hoth likewise they're harassing the AT-ATs and escorting freighters and (presumably) light capital ships off-planet. Endor is the first time they really act in concert with capital ships, and there the fighters aren't really supporting the capital ships as much as they're independently engaging targets of opportunity such as enemy fighters and the occasional capship (there's production artwork of B-wings blowing up a Star Destroyer, IIRC). Honestly I'm not really sure why the fighter flotilla needed a general in charge, other than having an officer to make tactical decisions on the fly, which is reasonable I guess. Then Rogue One came around and we had the Battle of Scarif, where the fighters... acted pretty much like Endor, preceding the capital ships and pursuing targets of opportunity, led by General Merrick.

Scarif would seem to confirm the example of Endor to some extent, though there the missions were slightly different; at Endor the fighters had a definite mission of flying into the Death Star and destroying it, while at Scarif they were mostly capital-ship escorts, anti-fighter suppression, escorting ground troops in transports and engaging the occasional ground target. Of course, Scarif wasn't quite planned out like Endor was, they were kind of seat-of-pantsing it... which makes Raddus look even better, he was basically flying into a hostile engagement blind, and still came out pretty well until the Death Star and Vader showed up.

The clones definitely had a starfighter element to their forces; we see clone starfighter pilots in both AOTC, TCW and ROTS, in the ARC-170s and V-wings. That said, the clones obviously hadn't been alive long enough to have much space-battle experience, and the Republic had living officers who had participated in naval combat before the Clone Wars; Wookieepedia mentions that Yularen fought Admiral Trench in a Republic vs. Corporate Sector incident, for example. Ground battles were another story because before the Clone Wars, the Jedi had mostly handled that for the Republic, so they needed Clone Commanders with Jedi oversight for those.
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Re: Best Fleet-level commander in Canon Star Wars.

Post by FaxModem1 » 2018-11-11 08:19pm

Thrawn. His actions in Rebels weren't up to par to his prowess in the Disney Canon books, but he was still heads and shoulders above anyone else in strategy, fleet operations, and not losing his cool against the enemy.

His biggest problem was leaving command to overview situations personally in the ground, making openings for incompetent subordinates to wreck the battle. Sometimes it couldn't be helped, as having to leave the Lothal sector to play politics on Coruscant was beyond his control.

Even with such limitations, he gave his adversaries cause to avoid him.
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