From hauling cargo to lassoing Imperial walkers - The T-47 Snowspeeder

Words: Scott Blackburn Images: via Wookiepedia

Composed to: Walking Papers - Walking Papers

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There once was a lowly speeder that went from hauling the galaxy's cargo to taking down Imperial AT-ATs on Hoth, saving the Rebellion in the process. This almost infinitely modifiable little airspeeder was the T-47, built by the Incom Corporation and once piloted by the famed Jedi, Luke Skywalker.

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In their original function as a cargo hauler, T-47s would have a pilot up front and a cargo manager sat in the back whose job it was to operate the magnetic harpoon and tow cable. They served as brilliant little haulers until the Alliance got their hands on them during the Galactic Civil War. They loved them for their lightness, speed and manoeuvrability. A few modifications were necessary however to make them battle ready, not sure they would have got far lifting storm-troopers one by one and just putting them somewhere else.

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The Alliance refitted them for patrol and combat by adding AP/11 dual laser cannons, operated from the rear from the former cargo manager's seat. The gunner also had computerised targeting systems to manage the blasters and the harpoon in tandem. To ensure the T-47s could take a little more punishment they were beefed up with armour, scavenged mostly from Y-wing bombers. Once all the extra kit was attached the Alliance engineers realised that, believe it or not, all that extra metal made the little speeder quite a bit heavier. As a result they were also given an advanced power plant and improved repulsorlift engines.

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These militarised versions of the T-47 were used galaxy-wide by the Alliance and beloved for their battle performance, reaching speeds of over 400mph. The harsh climate of Hoth required special modifications however. In order to be able to protect Echo Base on the ice planet's surface the models used on Hoth were given heaters near the drive units and de-icing nozzles to keep the control surfaces from freezing. This is where they picked up the name 'Snowspeeder'.

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As proved by their effectiveness on Hoth the T-47 was a brilliantly adaptable and easy-to-use fighter that packed a serious punch. Their widespread usage is testament to this and while the initial sight of them probably wasn't enough to strike fear into anyone any fear wouldn't have been misplaced. It almost makes you wonder why the Empire kept using giant walkers when the Alliance kept flooring them with tiny cargo haulers, almost as though Palpatine was compensating for something.