Clones: Parade Grounds

Following the Battle of Geonosis, Chancellor Palpatine and several senators of the Loyalist Committee observed an assembly of clone troops at a parade ground on Coruscant. The edges of the plaza were defined by terraces in a rectilinear plan. Beyond this perimeter there was at least one higher terrace level, and then skyscrapers standing on the horizon. The terrace edges are steeper than 45°, except at a few vertical buttresses and horizontal steps. The central area was filled with troop formations, AT-TE walkers and LAAT gunships. The men and materiel appeared to be loading into Acclamator-class assault ships, which stood on the ground level as well as the two terrace levels. Several small towers stand out of the field.

Most of the clones march in formations with 26 columns and 24 rows, amounting to 624 men. Numerically, this level of organisation is equivalent to a battalion (several companies). A few clones, possibly the commanding officers, march outside the main rectangular formations.

The longest panning shot subtends a visible arc of about 45° – 60° around the landing field (inferred from the grid of the battalions). In the immediate foreground there are at least 5 × 6 battalions. A minimum of 4 × 4 more battalions stand in the background beyond the nearest terrace corner. The could be many more battalions within the filmed area: at distances beyond 5 battalions from the camera, the outlines become unresolvable. The bare minimum number of troops in discernable areas, within this angular slice of the parade ground, is over 28704.

The number of transport ships visible in the panning view is 21. (At least one more transport stands elsewhere with its tail sunward, raising the minimum to 22.) When loaded, 21 ships carry 336000 troops: one division of 16000 each. At least seven ships are launching and therefore their troops (112000) are already aboard. An unknown number of ships have already departed. Additional ships may be obscured from view, particularly any of them that sit on the high terraces behind the foreground ships. There are two ramps into every ship with ongoing boarding, and over 800 troops stand on each ramp at any instant (22400 on 14 ships). This is comparable to the countable battalions in the foreground sub-region, and yet the entire parade ground is many times larger than the boarding ramps.

The figures above naïvely assume that the panning view is complete, but it is certainly only a partial glimpse or the parade panorama. If transport ships are distributed evenly around the plaza's perimeter then the total number should be six or eight times greater than the visible count of 21. The angular slice subtended by the visible areas amounts to no more than a sixth of the whole horizon. If the view is typical and the vantage point is unbiased (with the terrace sides being equidistant to the camera) then there must be at least 130 Acclamators around the full circle. That would imply two or three million troops in this demonstration performance alone (which excludes those left to occupy Geonosis, and those deployed to the galaxy's many other fronts).

If Palpatine's observation tower is actually near the right edge of the landing field (close to the on-screen terraces rather than in a central or left position), then the visible area is an even smaller fraction of the whole field. This would imply an even greater number of troop-ships and troops.

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A local, troop-level view. The sun is slightly off the left side of the picture. Three troopships are visible on the ground; another one is in the air.

* * *
Another area of the landing field. The foreground Accalamtor has its tail directed at the sun. At least two others on the ground are facing with the sun off starboard. Two ships in the air are facing opposite the foreground ship. This region must be beyond the views shown from Palpatine's balcony (none of those 21 ships set its tail sunward). Most of the clones march aboard in companies of 10 × 10. The ramp fits two companies side by side.

* * * * * * * * *
A wide sequential view of the parade ground, with the camera panning through approximately 45° to 60°.

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Troop-level view. The sun is slightly off the left side of the screen; the troopships are facing with the sun at maybe 20° – 30° off to portside. The terrace corner in the mid-left background suggests that this is a view from somewhere in the right side of the parade ground. Four airbourne ships and four landed ships are visible.

Supreme Chancellor and several senators gazing over the parade ground. The sun is to the right. The horizon is near the bottom of the image; the troops and ships must be below this level. It looks as if they haven't changed clothes since the debate on the Chancellor's emergency powers: this establishes a tight time-frame for the parade.

* *
Parade ground panoramas stitched from fullscreen and widescreen DVD sources.


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