Star Wars Lore – AT-AT Walkers
Given the enormous size of the Death Star, the Galactic Empire were not ones to shy away from behemoth machines of war. And the All Terrain Armoured Transport was certainly no exception. The evolution of the AT-TE struck fear into the hearts of rebel soldiers across the galaxy. Moreover, its frightening firepower and awe-inspiring armour made it a near-unstoppable foe...
Inside an Imperial War Machine
Standing at over 22 meters tall, All Terrain Armoured Transports were colossal war machines. Furthermore, they were armed to the teeth with deadly chin-mounted heavy laser cannons and temple-mounted medium blasters. And while they were used more to strike fear into the enemy than anything else, AT-ATs were heavily armoured. So much so that only heavy weapons - such as proton torpedoes - were capable of damaging the walkers, especially if directed towards their necks and knee joints. This is why, in the event of smashing open in a hostile environment, the cockpit's commander, gunner, and pilot wore specialised suits. AT-ATs could also house up to forty troops, twenty-five proton mines, at least twenty E-11 blaster rifles, and five speeder bikes.
The Early Fight
Designed by Kuat Drive Yards for use in the Imperial Army, AT-ATs directly replaced the All Terrain Tactical Enforcer of Clone Wars fame. In fact, one of their very first appearances was against their predecessor – a modified version, to be exact. Such an encounter took place on Seelos in 4 BBY, when ISB Agent Kallus led three developmental versions of the walker against a band of rebel fighters. Unfortunately, the AT-ATs and their officers were completely outsmarted, to the point where Kallus had to retreat.
In the following two years, All Terrain Armoured Transports were used time after time against the aforementioned Spectres. Firstly, they were deployed on Lothal to patrol its landing platforms, which resulted in an intense stand-off with the Ghost and three Hammerhead corvettes. AT-ATs were then utilised by Lieutenant Lyste to combat an assault on the planet's Imperial Armory Complex. More specifically, walkers 271 and 414 found themselves pursuing Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridger in a hijacked AT-DP. The outcome of which mirrored their previous encounter, with the rebels making an unlikely escape. But their luck was bound to change sooner rather than later. And following the Battle of Yavin, this certainly rang true.
Proving Their Worth
Given their multiple losses at the hands of the Spectres, AT-ATs struggled to prove their worth to the Empire. Admittedly, their immense firepower was on full display during the rebel assault of an Imperial weapons factory on Cymoon 1. Though that's because one of the vehicles was hijacked by Han Solo and Leia Organa. This forced the hand of Darth Vader, who managed to cut down the walker with his lightsaber alone. Thankfully, and despite their shortcomings, AT-ATs were entrusted with destroying a shield generator during the Battle of Hoth. General Maximillian Veers and his squadron of towering walkers managed to do just that – dodging snowspeeders and gunning down helpless rebel soldiers in the process. Thus, Vader and his army of snowtroopers were free to storm Echo Base.
Several skirmishes on Tatooine and Kashyyyk later, All Terrain Armoured Transports and their AT-ST cousins were reversely utilised to protect the shield generator of the second Death Star. Regrettably, their efforts were in vain, as was their final stand on the desert world of Jakku. Despite the downfall of the Galactic Empire, however, the legacy of the AT-ATs lived on in more ways than one – whether it be as a makeshift home for the young scavenger Rey, or as the template for the First Order's base defense walker...
Now it's time for this week's question: which Star Wars vehicle is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.