- "The Empire can always use more mindless stormtroopers"
- — Darth Vader
Stormtroopers were the elite shock troops of the Galactic Empire, fanatically loyal and answerable directly to Galactic Emperor, Emperor Palpatine.
The stormtroopers were direct descendants of the clone troopers created from a template of Jango Fett in 32 BBY to serve the Galactic Republic's Grand Army of the Republic|Clone Army during the Clone Wars. In fact, the clone troopers that lived after the end of the Clone Wars were renamed Imperial stormtroopers by Palpatine during the Declaration of a New Order; immediately afterwards, Palpatine ordered three new stormtrooper clone batches to be grown in the Outer Rim Territories.
During the time of the Galactic Civil War and the Battle of Yavin, Fett's clones were still used by the Empire, although Fett's progeny were heavily supplemented with clones from new DNA sources and troopers recruited in the traditional manner.
If a man between the ages of 18 and 30 scored in the top fifth percentile, an Imperial recruiting agent would contact these people and presumably arrange DNA sampling for cloning. Men who didn't score that high were still wanted as regular soldiers.
When the Rebel Alliance defeated the Empire in the Galactic Civil War and took over the machinery of galactic government, they terminated the stormtrooper program, including the cloning process on Kamino.
The Imperial Remnant continued to use stormtroopers in battle until a peace treaty was signed some years after. Following the treaty, stormtroopers became little more than guards and police officers on Remnant worlds, though they fought along with their New Republic and Galactic Federation of Free Alliances contemporaries against the Yuuzhan Vong. Stormtroopers would also be used by other Imperial groups including the Second Imperium and the Empire of the Hand.
Stormtroopers had their own command structure, ranking system, and support facilities. A company commander could give command to any regular officer over any given squad or platoon. Their organizational manners were similar to those of the Imperial Army. They were, however, loyal only to the Emperor, and only followed orders from Imperial Army and Navy personnel at their discretion.
The basic unit of organization was the individual trooper. Each stormtrooper is assigned a number for tactical purposes and to reinforce the Imperial ethic of uniformity. Troopers were organized into squads, platoons, companies, battalions, regiments and legions.
It is known that a battalion consisted of 820 soldiers. From that, the relative size of other organizational units may be extrapolated.
Stormtrooper officers were traditionally non-clone graduates from the Imperial Academy. In battle, commissioned stormtrooper officers wore standard stormtrooper armor with rank insignia to indicate status. Non-commissioned officers were identified in the field with shoulder pauldrons instead of the standard rank squares worn over the armor. For non-combat situations, officers wore a black tunic and pants dress uniform including a cap, boots, gloves, and standard rank squares.
- "Now, that's a picture, isn't it? The Galactic Emperor"
- — Emperor's stormtroopers setting the example for good manners. Like arming protocol droids with blasters.
In addition to their military role as elite troops, stormtroopers constituted an important part of Palpatine's New Order. Stormtrooper training was accompanied by thorough indoctrination to Imperial ideology, above and beyond what the normal military was exposed to, and stormtroopers were closely associated with the Emperor himself. This was particularly significant in light of the tensions between the Emperor and the Navy. For instance, the stormtroopers deployed to the Death Star were, arguably, largely there to ensure the immensely powerful battle station remained in the Emperor's control. Darth Vader was sent for a similiar purpose.
The BlasTech E-11 blaster rifle was the standard issue weapon of the Corps and one of the most common issued rifles in the Empire. All Stormtroopers, excluding those assigned to heavy or special weapons, carried an E-11 along with a SE-14R sidearm.
Before stormtrooper armor was developed, the first stormtroopers used Phase II clone trooper armor after the transition from the Republic to the Empire. For how long, this is unknown. Later, a distinct stormtrooper armor was developed.
This armor was a white body armor over a sealed black body glove, and in this respect appeared similar to their Clone Wars predecessors. The complete set completely encases the body and typically has no individually distinguishing marking outside of rank. In fact, the casual first-time observer sometimes mistakes the stormtroopers as a form of battle droid.
It also protects the troopers from very harsh environments as well as projectiles and impact weapons. The armor might be penetrated by a direct blaster bolt, but it will reduce damage from the bolts absorbed significantly. The body glove allows for operation in warm or cold climates, however it can protect the trooper from almost any environment—from total vacuum conditions to the very extremes in cold and heat for a very limited period of time.
In certain situations, however, stormtroopers would sometimes wear camouflage armor to help them blend in with different environments. The Stormtrooper Corps instituted this reform after the embarrassing defeat at the Battle of Endor.
Some special features include a wrist comlink, a tiny battle holocam built into the helmet, a proper resonator (to open secure doors) built into their armour, or an external helmet light. For extended operations, stormtroopers carried field backpacks that included a personal tent, five concentrated rations, fifteen water packs, eight blaster power packs, and a glowrod.
There were several subgroups in the stormtrooper Corps with training and equipment for particular mission profiles, generally sorted by the type of environment the trooper will encounter.
- Airtroopers: aerial assault stormtroopers.
- Blackhole stormtroopers: Agent Blackhole's stormtroopers.
- Bombtroopers: explosive expert stormtroopers.
- Coruscant Guards: Coruscant Police stormtroopers.
- Dark troopers: special droid stormtroopers.
- Force-sensitive stormtroopers: lightsaber-wielding stormtroopers cloned from a Force-sensitive template.
- Hazard Troopers: corrosion-/temperature-armored stormtroopers.
- Magma Troopers: volcanic environment stormtroopers.
- Novatroopers: elite stormtroopers.
- Radtroopers: radioactive zone assault stormtroopers.
- Sandtroopers: desert stormtroopers.
- Scout troopers: biker/scout stormtroopers.
- Seatroopers: aquatic assault stormtroopers.
- Shadowtroopers: (Empire Reborn) Dark Jedi-stormtrooper hybrid.
- Snowtroopers: Blizzard Force/cold assault stormtroopers.
- Spacetroopers: Zero-G/vacuum stormtroopers.
- Storm Commandos: special-mission/stealth stormtroopers.
- Swamp troopers: swamp assault stormtroopers.