I was posting this in a Ars thread, and decided to expand upon it. I know some people who have too much time on their hands (.. er... um... yeah...) who think about these things. So let's take "The Empire Strikes Back," which is one of the goofiest titles in the original trilogy, in my opinion. The beginning sequence has the Rebel base on Hoth, an icy planet, which then gets attacked by rather odd military tactics (and loses).
The first thing that I thought of when I thought "why did this happen?" I remembered all the stories and tales from friends who worked in the military. Then I used this logic for the Star Wars universe to easily explain some "gaping plot holes." I also had help from the "Wookiepedia."
The Empire around this time is a vast, sprawling military regime that probably has trillions upon trillions of people to control. Born by the Sith as a way to control the galaxy (not sure why, seems like a lot of work for no real benefit), Darth Sidious took control of an already mired Galactic Senate to give himself supreme executive power. Then, around "Star Wars: A New Hope," he dissolved this Senate and took full control. By "Empire Strikes Back," despite the destruction of their planetary-destroying superweapon, the Empire was still pretty much in control of all the major systems, forcing the Rebel Alliance to outlying reaches of their grasp.
But, even with communication systems and ships faster than the speed of light, there's just a general breakdown that will occur in a structure that size the Empire would not be able to control. Small "micro-empires" would develop; systems within systems. And not everyone would be motivated for the common goal of supreme dominance of the galaxy. As was shown many times, there were all kinds of rampant security leaks. Plus in order for those using the Dark Side of the Force, it would be in your best interest to keep people in positions of power weak-willed and easily dominated. These people would make terrible military leaders. Generally, you'd end up with more than a fair share of materialistic, sadistic, and greedy cowards. Add to that that your main police force are a bunch of clones bred for the sole purpose of just serving you and shooting at enemies.
Now, the Empire didn't own everything. Despite their control, they would have had to make deals with thousands of worlds for raw materials, labor, skills, and negotiate with locals to place outposts. Among these systems would be independent contractors. Most of these people would be fighting among themselves for favoritism of the Empire, who probably would lure lots of worlds with amazing contracts promising wealth and protection from enemies. But now you have added an entire different set of layers of communication problems.
And by the time leading up to the Battle on Hoth, you had a lot of worlds incredibly upset about the destruction of Alderaan, and the subsequent destruction of the weapon that blew it up by a handful of Rebels didn't make them look very strong. Now the general feeling by the populace is that the Empire, who was slow and inefficient, was now run by bullies and cowards, which... was pretty much the truth. And on top of that, the Emperor's right hand man, Darth Vader, was obsessed with snuffing out Rebels.
Darth Vader, but the time of the Hoth attack, had sent out probes to find the Rebel Base after if had left the moon of Yavin. Eventually, it was found by a viper probe droid. To oversee the vital assault on the heart of the Rebellion, Grand General Malcor Brashin and his talented second-in-command General Brenn Tantor were summoned to the Hoth system. Lord Vader and many of his top officers had planned a sneak attack, jumping out of hyperspace at some distance from the planet and taking advantage of the fact that the meteor activity made it difficult for the Rebels to spot approaching ships. They would then initiate limited long-range orbital bombardment to destroy any spacecraft and defenses, followed by a sweeping ground assault to capture any survivors.
The plan would have likely allowed the Imperials to easily take the planet with few casualties, however, Admiral Kendal Ozzel made his own assault plan, and exited hyperspace close to the star system planning for a saturated bombardment. This tactical blunder allowed the Rebel's early-warning sensors to detect the fleet. The theater shield protecting Echo Base was activated, which precluded any undesirable bombardment. An angry Darth Vader executed the Admiral for his incompetence and promoted Firmus Piett, then chief fleet captain of the Star Dreadnaught Executor, to Admiral.
But that's what the Wookipedia says. I have a different theory, if I am to take these general facts.
Brashin: So, I just got word from Lord Vader.
Brashin: Viper probe droids have found a rebel base on the 6th planer of the Hoth system.
Tantor: And... you believe him?
Brashin: That's not my position to judge, you know that.
Tantor: Fair enough. It's just that we go on these wild Nerf herder chases--
Brashin: We get paid either way. We need to deploy a fleet of ground troops and--
Tantor: I hate to break it to you, but that's in the Ison Corridor.
Brashin: [sigh] And just what does THAT mean?
Tantor: I'll tell you what that means, it's in the fucking middle of nowhere is what that means. Not an outpost for hundreds of light years.
Brashin: So how soon can we get ground troops?
Tantor: A few months.
Brashin: A few months? Unacceptable! Lord Vader will have my head--
Tantor: And just where will he get his troops from? Thin air?
Brashin: Are there ANY ground troops nearby?
Tantor: This is a smuggler's dead end, General. There's no reason to even to have so much as a police droid out there. Hoth was always considered small potatoes. You might as well ask for an outpost on Tatooine.
Brashin: So that whole sector is unguarded?
Tantor: Not technically. But we'd have to scrape the bottom of the barrel, General. I mean, we're talking the kind of troops being sent to penalty planets just because if they screw up, their death by the hands of the natural elements is its own reward. Troops out in those regions are just for show to impress people who still use clumps of dirt as weapons.
Brashin: I have to have something! How many can we scrape up?
Tantor: I'd say maybe 100-200.
Brashin: THAT'S IT?
Tantor: You'd be lucky to get that. There's a lot of paperwork involved. Personnel transfers, requests for rerouting of supply chains, and then we'd have to have military ships to guard those supplies from smugglers because that area is lean and mean with some of the most desperate of the desperate criminals hiding from the Empire. Many of them with personal grudges.
Brashin: Well, Vader said he's sending some of his best generals on this.
Tantor: Are THEY bringing troops?
Brashin: He didn't say.
Tantor: How about ground transports?
Brashin: They are making a shopping trip at Kuat Drive Yards.
Tantor: Oh man. Seriously?
Brashin: Whats wrong with the Kuat Drive Yards? They produce some of the finest class ships in the Empire's fleet!
Tantor: Yes. Ships. As in "flying in space and not landing on anything" ships. The only ground vehicles that place could make would be those old... what are they, AT-ATs?
Brashin: What's an 8080?
Tantor: They are like... huge armed transport carriers on legs.
Tantor: Legs. Like those things used in the Clone Wars. [makes stomping movements with his hands]
Brashin: You're joking. They still make those cows?
Tantor: NO, but no one is buying them, either. Kuat has like a metric ton of those, I bet they try and unload them on Vader's supply sergeants. Give them a snazzy name like, "Imperial Walkers," or some such bullshit.
Brashin: I guess it won't matter--
Tantor: Matter? They don't just walk from an Imperial Ship onto the planet's surface. They have to be dropped, in parts, and assembled on site. These juggernauts are best for second waves. Once a secure site has been established, you land them down, put them together, and scare the crap out of a dirt clump throwing populace.
Brashin: Well, they plan an aerial assault anyway. Bombardment from orbit, and then the ground troops will sweep the rest clean.
Tantor: You know how cold it is on Hoth?
Brashin: I'm sorry?
Tantor: Cold. COLD. It's colder than the Emperor's tit down there.
Brashin: So give the men some bantha wool underwear and tell them to jog in place!
Tantor: And where does one buy Bantha wool underwear?
Brashin: I don't know!
Tantor: And what sizes do they need? Are there pre-made sizes?
Brashin: Don't we have snow gear of some sort? Like cold assault stormtroopers?
Tantor: You mean those guys on Akuria II? Trained for arctic conditions?
Tantor: And who replaces them when we pluck them from Akuria II? Men in woolly bantha pants?
Brashin: Now you're being unhelpfully sarcastic.
Tantor: Does Lord Vader seriously thing we can pool together all this stuff in enough time to get there before the Rebel base is long empty?
Brashin: We plan on sneaking up to the planet through the asteroid belt.
Tantor: Really. You know how dense that belt is?
Brashin: The ships have shields.
Tantor: Even the best shields don't do shit when hit by a space rock twice the size of your biggest ship.
Brashin: So they will shoot the bigger ones into smaller ones.
Tantor: Great! So now we have a huge fleet of giant ships shooting asteroids in all directions, with flashes of lights when the smaller rocks slam into the shields. No, THAT won't attract attention! They'll sneak up to Hoth during the day they have their telescopes out for lens cleaning.
Brashin: Now look--
Tantor: ... and they go deaf.
Brashin: -- just get as many troops as you can --
Tantor: ... and they don't have huge shields of their own, you know, to protect aginst the frequent meteors that hit Hoth on a daily basis.
Brashin: -- and call Akuria II and see if they have any spare suits.
Tantor: The only suits they give us will be those discontinued models that look like gay bath robes.
Brashin: JUST DO IT, OKAY?? And do it quickly; remember Dantoonine? I am not dying like that project leader did.
Tantor: No. Way.
Brashin: What is Admiral Ozzel doing? Did he get the memo about the sneak attack?
Tantor: Oh, my god. They put up the shields. So much for an aerial assault.
Brashin: How could this get any more screwed up?
Tantor: Oh, look... look at that. They have an ion cannon! You know, that would have been useful military knowledge. Might have held onto a few more Titan Dropships and their Imperial Walkers had we known that.
Brashin: Fuck me, I am so dead.
Tantor: In other news, The Blizzard force that did get through got a few AT-AT walkers up. But the cold climate made them super-slow. Maybe we can make them have big-boy steps, and by night time, we'll actually reach their base. Just hope they don't trip on anything.
Brashin: Oh, Jedi Christ, you shittin' me? I am so dead!
Tantor: Not as dead as Ozzel. Wow. Hellooo... Admiral Piett.
Brashin: Oh, Gaahd! Piett got promoted. Mr. "Nothing is ever my fault." This place is run by retarded clowns!
Tantor: I am totally defecting. Screw this shit.
Wait, is this technically fan-fic? Oh, man, I am so embarrassed.