The All Terrain Armored Transport, or AT-AT walker, from the Star Wars universe, is a quadruped mechanized infantry combat vehicle used by Imperial ground forces.
The AT-AT (pronounced either casually as ‘at at’, or using only the letters ‘A.T. A.T.’) was first introduced in The Empire Strikes Back (as the Galactic Empire’s main units against Rebel Alliance infantry during the Battle of Hoth) and also appears in Return of the Jedi (as the vehicle used to transport Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader to their shuttle on the forest moon of Endor) and in Rogue One (in the AT-ACT variant, used to respond to the attacks of Rebel infantrymen of the Rogue One unit during the Battle of Scarif, although later defeated by the arriving Rebel Red Squadron of starfighters).
Could an AT-AT be killed by an A-10 Warthog?
‘But first, a few key points to keep in mind…
‘Now, down to business…
‘AT-ATs have a lot in common with tanks:
‘The weapon of choice would be an anti-armor missile like an AGM-65 Maverick. It’d be great if the Hawg carried the AGM-114 Hellfire, but it doesn’t. The trick with the Maverick is that it usually targets center of mass, unless you’re in ship mode. You’d probably want to go that route in this case to blast the bottom of the beast and hopefully break the drive motor. Or you could use a laser Maverick and poke any of a number of other fun targets such as the neck.
‘Now, when most folks ask questions like these, they’re pretty much focused on The Gun. So, let’s look at that, too. Based on how (in)effective the T-47 airspeeder cannons were, I’m going to say that you’re probably not going to penetrate most parts of the AT-AT, even with a 30mm armor piercing incendiary round. (Side note… the airspeeder cannons did not appear to be very precise, or maybe it was pilot inexperience with the airspeeders.)’
‘That said, Hawg drivers are used to picking out soft spots and laying down some precise fire to make an impact. There are a few spots on the AT-AT that would make tempting targets, and would likely be soft enough that a few well-placed rounds could provide at least an M-kill.
‘You might be tempted to try to shoot through the front windscreen and kill the crew. My guess is that’s probably not going to work. First of all, it’s an extremely small target. You might get some rounds to land there, but I expect a 30mm armor piercing round would, at most, crack what I assume is a thick transparisteel viewport.
‘Targets that I’d be interested in testing out include:
‘Now, according to the Wookipedia article All Terrain Armored Transport, it says about the neck:
If punctured, it can lead to a reactor breach, although it was considered an unlikely scenario, it nonetheless was considered potentially catastrophic.
‘If that’s the case, then I’d go for the neck first, last, and always. It would be the AT-AT’s Achilles heel. In fact, (SPOILERS) there’s an episode of Rebels where an AT-AT gets hit in the neck with a cannon that couldn’t damage it any other way, and the results were spectacular. So, maybe there is something to that.
‘The neck is big enough that The Gun could easily hit it from over a mile away and pepper the entire neck area with a mix of armor piercing and high explosive shells. Given that the concern about the vulnerability of the neck appears in the Imperial Handbook: A Commander’s Guide, and given the Empire’s penchant for designing fatal flaws in its equipment, maybe we should give the neck vulnerability more credence.
‘Rogue One always makes me smile because it includes the closest thing to close air support you ever see in Star Wars films. In the Battle of Scarif, there is a great clip of a door gunner focusing fire on the knee of one of the AT-ACTs. The results are impressive. Most impressive.
‘Yes, there are some design differences between an AT-AT and an AT-ACT, but I think they’re close enough to be an apples-to-apples comparison (even though they may be Red Delicious vs. Golden Delicious varieties).
‘It’s at least worth a shot to see what happens. If either the neck or the knees end up being prime soft spots, then we can go AT-AT hunting with the Hawg, loaded up with both Mavericks and The Gun, and it’ll end up being a bit of a turkey shoot.’
‘Bottom line, I’d place better than even odds that your A-10 vs. AT-AT encounter would go something like this:
‘May the Force be with you!
Photo credit: U.S. Air Force and Unknown
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