Star Wars FAQ: How Many Clone Troopers Are There?

Clone Warriors
Lucasfilm Ltd.

The exact number of clone troopers in the Grand Army of the Republic is a point of some contention. The numbers given, both in the films and the Expanded Universe, seem far too small for a huge, galactic conflict like the Clone Wars.

Clone Trooper Numbers Compared

In Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Lama Su tells Obi-Wan Kenobi that the Kaminoans have created 200,000 "units," with a million more on the way.

"Units" is taken to mean individual clone troopers by both the characters and the writers of the Expanded Universe. According to Karen Traviss' novel Republic Commando: Triple Zero, the size of the clone army has increased to "three million men" by the next year -- a figure repeated in several other sources.

That may sound like a large number, especially considering how fast the additional clone troopers were produced, but let's put it in perspective. At the beginning of the Clone Wars, the Republic contained over one million planets. That's not much more than three clone troopers per planet. For a real-world comparison, consider that the size of the United States military alone during World War II was 16 million.

Furthermore, the population of Coruscant alone, at the end of the Clone Wars, was somewhere between one and three trillion. Whereas the 16 million Americans who served in the armed forces during World War II made up about 12 percent of the United States population, the Grand Army of the Republic was between 0.0001 and 0.0003 percent the size of the population of Coruscant.

Further Problems

The RPG supplement The Clone Wars Campaign Guide gives the size of the Grand Army of the Republic as the rather vague "3,000,000+ troopers plus support personnel." This might be more generous -- if the book didn't go on to give the number of droids in the Separatist army as one quadrillion.

That is to say, there are 300 million droids for every one clone trooper. This ratio greatly dwarfs even the largest of underdog victories in world history. Even considering the general incompetence of the droid army, it seems unlikely that the clones could fight a three-year war without sustaining massive casualties, except that the plot demands it.

Possible Justifications

The paltry size of the Grand Army of the Republic seems more like an error of scale than a deliberate choice. However, there are still some ways to justify its size in-universe.

First, consider how quickly the Grand Army expanded. In a single year, at least 1.8 million clone troopers were produced -- probably more than that, to account for losses among the original 1.2 million clones. The speed of clone production was nothing compared to the speed of battle droid production in Separatist factories, but it could still be enough to maintain the numbers of the Grand Army over the course of the war.

Second, consider how much trouble it was to get the clone army approved in the first place. A fighting force of 1.2 to 3 million clones, plus a few thousand Jedi commanders, is hardly anything for a government the size of the Republic.

It's easy for such an army to appear non-threatening to the populace, as well as maintain the idea that the Republic is merely an underdog trying to defend itself from an overpowerful aggressor.

Third, consider that the Grand Army of the Republic wasn't designed to win a war. The entirety of the Clone Wars is all smoke and mirrors, plotted by Darth Sidious to justify his attempt to take over the Republic. In order for the ruse to work, the clones couldn't be too good or too numerous, or they'd be able to take down the Separatists in a fair fight.

The convenience of such a small clone army being able to hold off so many droids does draw suspicion from a few Expanded Universe characters, such as Besany Wennen in the Republic Commando series. Perhaps the third justification for the army's numbers, then, only opens a new question: why didn't more people notice?