Why is combat in Star Wars so impractical compared to real life military tactics. Why do they have giant, top-heavy, walkers instead of just building tanks? Why stand up in battle lines during the Clone Wars instead of taking cover? Well the real world answer is the screenwriters weren’t thinking about realistic battle tactics. They wanted to make things look cool. However I have a pleasant piece of head-cannon to explain this phenomenon in-universe.
By the time of the Clone Wars it’s been what, four thousand years since the great Sith Wars? So the Republic, perhaps the whole galaxy has gone millennia without a real conflict. The Republic doesn’t even have a standing army. So what’s happened in that time, lots of theory, not a lot of practice. In a galaxy of a million or so different cultures of varying levels of technological development. So for centuries you have a bunch of armchair military strategists, drawing from a hodgepodge of tactics, weapons and conflicts.
Maybe some other localized conflicts happen in that time, but those may not be especially enlightening. For one thing half of them probably involve backward or primitive planets who have all the tactical prowess of a 90s street gang. More sophisticated militaries may not be interested in sharing their secrets. Finally, even when someone shows up to the Republic Military Academy with real battlefield experience, there’s a chance they’ll be shot down by a bunch of arrogant armchair strategists.
Meanwhile the arms industry has degenerated into something reminiscent of the home shopping network. They’re no doubt drawing ideas from the ravings of the esteemed Republic Military Academy because it’s so famous and prestigious. Their customers range from local barons who want to put down revolts, to pirates and smugglers, to people who just need something to scare off the primitive tribes that live outside their settlements. There’s not going to be much buyer’s remorse over these purely theoretical weapons and vehicles because chances are they’re not going up against any sort of disciplined enemy so they will more or less work most of the time .
The inevitable result is a bunch of zany nonsense that appears utterly laughable to a society that’s been refining it’s art of war, uninterrupted for six thousand years. There’s no one to tell anyone that these things would never work in a real war because no one’s been in a real war in a thousand years.
Then the Clone Wars come around and suddenly you have a giant sandbox for all that insanity.
Now by the time of the Galactic Civil War things are a little more down to earth. Take the battle of Hoth for Example:
The rebels have actually dug a trench to use for cover. They’ve clearly learned a thing or two compared to the clones who stood up in battle lines completely exposed.
Granted they’re still fighting these:
But hey the Empire does love to go for psychological impact and they’ve probably still got a few old timers from the Republic Military Academy who insist on things like this.
This article is based on my original Quora post: