In The Last Jedi, The Resistance is running away from the First Order fleet, and they have 4 ships: a Heavy Cruiser (The Raddus), and 3 support ships: a "Bunkerbuster" (The Ninka), a Medical Frigate (The Anodyne), and a Cargo Frigate (The Vigil). They bring all 4 ships along with them, and the support ships gradually run out of fuel and get destroyed.

It sure seemed like they knew this was going to happen. They didn't seem surprised at all, just sad about the (unavoidable) loss.

My question is:

If the support ships are going to be lost eventually anyway, what's the point of bringing them along? If they'd evacuated those ships right away and transferred the fuel to The Raddus, wouldn't they have made it farther before running out?

  • 6
    The more important question is why didn't these smaller ships peel off and hyperspace away? They were destroyed needlessly. Perhaps they were part of the anti-fighter cover that kept the cruiser from being swarmed by TIE fighters?
    – Jason K
    Commented Dec 20, 2017 at 16:10
  • @JasonK Interesting question, one that bothers me now. Would you mind asking it on here or on SF SE? Or would you mind me doing it? :)
    – Neinstein
    Commented Dec 27, 2017 at 22:39
  • @Neinstein go ahead. I'm not sure there is any coherent reason in universe. Clearly narratively they served to show the desperation of the resistance and to set up that captains die with their ships but tactically I'm not sure what purpose they served.
    – Jason K
    Commented Dec 28, 2017 at 14:07

1 Answer 1


Transferring fuel between aircraft and ships is something we do a lot here on Earth. However, it's not something anybody in their right mind would try while running at full speed from a pursuing enemy - one who is also firing at them.

It's entirely likely that you can't exchange fuel with shields up, and probably dangerous to try doing so while both ships are moving (it's already been established in Empire Strikes Back and Rogue One that capital ships are cumbersome and slow to manoeuvre).

As for why the smaller ships weren't abandoned sooner - the Resistance evidently knew exactly at what range they were safe, and how much fuel they had in total. There was no reason to abandon these ships sooner than absolutely necessary, just in case help arrived. That would be a tremendous waste of resources!

  • 2
    I'm most convinced by the part about transferring fuel under fire. They "fuel up the transports", but those are inside the cruiser, and thus protected by the shield. Good answer, thanks!
    – LevenTrek
    Commented Dec 20, 2017 at 22:15

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