"It is simply a matter of tactics." Cash said, addressing the full complement of Bandit Squadron. The hanger deck of the asteroid base echoed with the sound of his voice and the steady tapping of his polished boots on the laser cut stone floor. "A TIE fighter is faster, and about six times more agile than a single Y-wing. It can fly circles around you, and use its two small laser cannons to chew through your shields, rip into the hull of your fighter, and blow you to pieces." He said. THe looks on their faces told him that these were the survivors, those who knew what he was talking about. According to the records that Anton had let him see, the squadron had lost over 30 fighters in the eight months of its operation.
There were a handful of original pilots and gunners, like the one-eyed gungan, and the mysterious female Soondi. The culture of her homeworld dictated that she had to paint her face completely black, save for a vertical white strip that was as wide as a finger and ran from the point of her chin to the base of her scalp. The rest were newer pilots and fell neatly into one general pile.
Dashi had been on Saluca when Governor Pilate had declared martial law, and had lost half of his family, and almost everything he owned. Being a licensed cloud-car pilot, he joined the Rebels to fight the empire. He was half-rate as a pilot, but was good as a tail-gunner. THe rest read out the same, some aviation skill, and a grudge to pick with the empire.
"Now, let me tell you some of the TIE's deficiencies. It has no shield generator. Even a glancing hit can disable or destroy a TIE. It also lacks a pressurized cockpit, each pilot has to fly in a vaccuum rated flight suit, with a full helmet. This is tiresome, and the helmet restricts peripheral vision." he said, pulling out his flight issue imperial helmet. He handed the gloss black helmet to the first flight member closest, Djana. She pulled the helmet over her hair...
"I can only see directly in front of me," she tapped the sides of the helmet, her perspective reduced greatly.
"Some of you may have noticed that the TIE has a large plasteel nosecone. Forward vision is perfect, but again, peripheral vision is reduced. The Y-wing has a wrap around canopy, but it also has a blind spot directly beneath it." Cash said. He picked up some improvised tools. He had a miniature TIE fighter and a mini Y-wing on metal rods.
"Y-wings fly in on attack runs, fast straight and narrow. This presents a strong attack, and the advantage of overlapping shields. It also creates areas of weakness." he pointed the nose of the TIE at the belly of the Y-wing. "Ventral attack, weak shields, no defensive maneuvering, easy pickings. Dorsal and rear attacks are offset by the defensive gunner, making the belly attack the best avenue."
"Great job of showing us what we already know." Anton said, "Really insightful stuff, Imperial."
"If you already know this captain, why haven't you done something about it? Content to keep having your higher ups send you new pilots and fighters to throw away?" Anton threw his cup of klah on the ground, shattering it against the flight deck.
Half of the squadron pulled the captain off of the former imperial under-officer. They had been struck by Cash's words, by the accusation that the captain had simply kept using the tactics that got so many of them killed, so many maimed for life.
"How do we maintain an attack run without being killed like this?" Soondi asked.
"For one, there is maintaining combat cover, like we did on the last mission. However, with only one squadron and limited resources, this might be more of a luxury than a viable option. Another option is to invert half of the fighters, make the attack run upside down."
"You'se bee kiddin." Hun-Go said.
"Not at all. All gravity is subjective, artificial. It is hard to tell, but half the time a TIE is inverted. Roll, changing the pitch and yaw of the fighter, changes in speed, all of these throw off gunners and targeting computers. Each fighter has armor plating, a shield generator, at least 50% more firepower than a TIE, pressurized cockpit, a hyperdrive, and a back-up droid. Yet, smaller and faster keeps winning."
"Deploy into attack groups, with a rear group providing covering fire for the leader..." the imperial lectured on space combat tactics developed over centuries of the Old Republic.