View Full Version : Rebel Alliance Light Carriers?

2 July 2021, 07:24 AM
Hey all...I know this site is seldom traveled these days, but I'm hoping this might liven things up a bit for those who still occasionally visit!

Now then...

We know that for most of it's existence, the Rebel Alliance relied on its starfighters to project force, achieve objectives, and generally win the day. While they had ground troops, and even some capital ships, both of these were directly countered and overmatched by their equivalents in the Imperial forces. In short, if the rebels were using ground troops, it was to go against imperial ground troops...and in most (certainly not all, hence their existence) cases, anywhere that rebel troops could be deployed, imperial troops could be deployed faster, better supplied and supported, and in far greater numbers. Same goes for capships. So these forces would only take center stage in lopsided situations where their force could be brought to bear to achieve an objective, then everyone could get out of Dodge before an appropriate imperial response could be mounted.

While this was also broadly true for starfighters, in this one area, the rebels had the superior equipment...provided they could account for the discrepancies in numbers and piloting. As such, the Starfighter Corps took center stage in convoy and commerce raiding, hit-and-fade strikes, and the broader "space denial" tactics that, eventually, spread the Imp navy thin. Basically, Rebel fighters could appear at any time, nearly anywhere in the galaxy outside the core...and unless there were armed Imp vessels ready to serve in a defensive role, these rebel fighters could appear, hit, and be long gone before any aid at all could be scrambled, let alone arrive in time to do anything.

We all know that a huge advantage of the rebel fighters was that they were hyperspace capable. This had a dramatic impact on their ability to stage, attack, and retreat effectively. They were also capable of long range operations without capital ship support. Again, a huge advantage for an insurgency on a shoestring budget. However, while this independence was a huge advantage when actually carrying out a planned operation, at all other times, it would have been a logistical headache to move a squadron around without a mothership. With 12 fighters independent in space, there's no way for the pilots to practice personal hygiene or get a reasonable sleep. There's no support or repair available, nor any way to transport repair parts or technical crew to carry out those repairs anyway. There's no central location to plan, brief, or do anything else. You get the idea.

By the post-RotJ era, we see the Mon Cal cruisers form a stable capship backbone to the fleet, but prior to this, it seems to me that for the heavy focus the rebels placed on starfighter missions, we see precious few examples of cheap, durable craft capable of supporting 1-2 squadrons and their ops.

The lone example(s) I can find are the Quasar Fire class of carriers and, depending on who you ask, the Nebulon-B frigate, which holds anywhere from 0-2 squadrons, depending on who you ask (with RPG sources typically the most generous, at 2 squadrons plus shuttles...others saying 24 TIE but 12 of anything else, since TIEs are small, and "stackable" in racks...and still others arguing that there's simply no room for a hangar bay of any size in that spaceframe).

So with the Nebulon-B being up for debate, we've got the Quasar Fire, which is exactly the type of ship I'd expect to see the Alliance employing tons of. Holding anywhere from 4-6 squadrons, lightly armed and armored...basically, it's a mobile space garage and not much else. I'm good with that.

What surprises me though, is that we don't see anything else similar, but smaller and even more compact, customizable, and durable. A light carrier, capable of carrying 1-2 squadrons and supporting crew...and possibly a small contingent of troops...no more than 100, all told.

...or am I just missing something obvious?

2 July 2021, 01:20 PM

Great topic! :) You are right. There are only few known ship classes of the type of compact carriers. I am not yet familiar with all the new sources and series of the newer days, but I still have the old knowledge of the former and now abandoned legends. :) You often read in the novels that the Rebels used soem sort of modified bulk transport for their missions, but little is known on actual specifications. However I can remember the DarkStryder campain by West End Games. There they use a modified Corellian Corvette with a large hangar bay capable of holding one squadron of starfighters. As the Corellian Corvette often called a multi-purpose ship, it's at least very likely that several of those were withinin the Rebels rows as "auxiliary" carrier. Here is a link to images and data (not near my scanner currently):


Definitely an interesting topic! Finally I can talk about and search for ships! I will get back if I find more. :)



7 July 2021, 01:33 PM
Thanks for the reminder about FarStar, although that's one that even pushes my limits of believability as far as its size vs capabilities. IIRC a CR90 is 150m long? Not saying a squadron could never fit in there, but it seems like it's playing very fast and loose with even the Star Wars universe's disregard for inside vs outside dimensions.

Still, that leaves only the Quasar Fire class, and a one-of-a-kind heavily modified corvette filling this role. In light of the info we have about the inter-trilogy period, I would think that this specific role would be the single most common capital ship in the rebel fleet. Maybe they wouldn't all look the same, but I'd imagine that the process of converting a bulk freighter into a light carrier would be one that many rebel wrench monkeys would be familiar with, to the point that there would be a healthy exchange of ideas between crews when two of them were assigned together for an op.

7 July 2021, 02:17 PM
Hello again! Well, there's still the Neutron Star Bulk Cruiser as mentioned in the first and original Thrawn Trilogy. It also appears in the WEG sourcebooks for the Thrawn Triogy and the Rebel Alliance Sourcebook. It's a refitted bulk cruiser to serve es a carrier, 600 meters in length, and capable of holding 3 squadrons of starfighters.

It's also interesting to read the Truce at Bakura Sourcebook, the original source for the Quasar-fire-class cruiser carrier. If you stick with these "old" sources, there's indeed no other carrier ship besides the MC80 cruisers, the NeutronStar and the QuasarFire. :)

See you around!

9 July 2021, 09:31 PM
Have you looked into any of the "lost ships of Star Wars" on YouTube? They're done by EC Henry and are pretty good overall. One video in particular, this one: https://youtu.be/dtozC1NLZY8 , talks about a Mon Calamari ship that was capable of holding up to a full squadron of fighters. I'm pretty sure you could easily use other Mon Cal ships in the "light carrier" capability.

13 July 2021, 07:24 AM
Thanks gentlemen!

Yes, Deck, I'm familiar with the Bulk Cruiser, although I didn't know the specific name of the model in question. I'm sure the Rebels did plenty of heavy mods of old cargo haulers...I guess I'm just surprised not to see a more widespread utilization of ships in that role.

Grimace, thanks for that link! You've sent me down a rabbit hole of his videos, and I'm enjoying most of them!

16 July 2021, 05:43 PM
Hey, you're welcome. I've been enticed by a few of his videos, specifically the "forgotten ships" videos.