Imperial Navy

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Imperial Navy Ranks
Imperial-Sunburst-Sun-Navy-Traveller.jpg
Commissioned Officers
O12 » Grand Admiral
O11 » Sector Admiral
O10 » Fleet Admiral
O9 » Vice Admiral
O8 » Rear Admiral
O7 » Commodore
O6 » Captain
O5 » Commander
O4 » Lieutenant Commander
O3 » Lieutenant
O2 » Sub-Lieutenant
O1 » Ensign
O0 » Cadet / Midshipman
Enlisted (Ratings)
E9 » Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO)
E8 » Senior Chief Petty Officer (SCPO)
E7 » Chief Petty Officer (CPO)
E6 » Petty Officer First Class (PO1)
E5 » Petty Officer Second Class (PO2)
E4 » Petty Officer Third Class (PO3)
E3 » Able Spacehand (ASH)
E2 » Spacehand (SH)
E1 » Spacehand Apprentice (A)
E1 » Spacehand Recruit (R)

The Imperial Navy is the premier space navy of the Third Imperium.

  • It is the "Regular Navy" of the Third Imperium.
  • It is supplemented by the Colonial Navy, or more accurately many colonial navies, which is comprised of the many starbourne fighting forces of the many smaller states that owe fealty to the Emperor.
  • Naval personnel are colloquially known as "spacers".

Please refer to the following AAB library data for more information:


Description (Specifications)[edit]

"An interstellar community operates under many unique restrictions, most notably the fact that it consist of many island-planets set in an ocean of vacuum. Such a society must take control of that ocean. Its instrument is the Navy.

The Imperium is a remote, centralized government possessed of great industrial and technological might; but due to the sheer distances and travel times involved within its star-spanning realm, the Imperium is unable to be everywhere at once. As a result, the Imperium allows a large degree of autonomy to its subject worlds, calling only for some respect for its overall policies, and for a united front against outside pressures.

To monitor the space lanes, the Imperium maintains a Navy. Because these forces can never be everywhere at once, local provinces (subsectors) also maintain navies, as do individual worlds. This three tiered structure of Imperial, subsector, and planetary navies produces a flexible system for patrolling space, while putting the limited resources of the Imperium to best use."

- Grand Admiral Marc William Miller from the Master Naval Manual, in the introduction to Book 5 High Guard (pg. 1), written in 1110 (paraphrased).

Doctrine & Strategy (Operations)[edit]

No information yet available.

History & Background (Dossier)[edit]

The Imperial Navy began its life as the Sylean Federation Naval Service during the expansion of the federation, and in its life as the SFNS fought many wars and battles against other empires around and within the final borders of the Sylean Federation. Theirs was not a peaceful life in the later years of the Federation, but the experience and loyalty engendered in the service was to stand it in good stead in the future.

Third Imperium Naval Founding[edit]

Once the Warrant of Restoration officially formed the Third Imperium, Emperor Cleon I set about renaming and rebranding all the previous Federation's services under his command. At this point SFNS was engaged in hostilities with the Chanestin Kingdom, a minor empire rimward of Sylea. The war had been raging, on and off, for over 100 years, and it would have been a monumental task to reorganize and reform the navy during such a conflict. As a result the service was at the time only renamed the Imperial Navy and it was not until two years later, after the fall of the Chanestin capital at Keshi, that the task of reorganization could begin anew.

Once started the reorganizations completely reshaped the navy and laid the foundations of what it has become today. Most of what was implemented in those early days still holds true today although the sector and subsector fleet structures came later. The rank structures were basically left the same as those used by the SFNS, which were themselves holdovers from the Rule of Man.

In the opening years of expansion of the newly established Imperium the navy had a busy time. Besides the usual flag waving missions to newly absorbed worlds, there was the constant threat of piracy and minor disputes between member worlds. However, their major task was the pacification of the pocket empires that had grown up during the Long Night.

Pacification Campaigns[edit]

Beginning in the year 76, four separate pacification campaigns were fought to bring these resistant worlds into the fold. While for the most part these campaigns were economic or political, there were few holdouts that an Imperial battle fleet couldn't manage to "persuade". Each of these campaigns concentrated on specific regions of space and each was overseen by an Archduke of the Imperium.

By 120 the pacification campaigns had drawn to a close, and imperial expansion drew to a halt. The Imperial Navy used this period to look at its structure and deployment patterns. The relative peace of the following fifty-odd years allowed the navy to completely revamp its operations to create a more streamlined creature that was professionally capable rather than something that had just grown together over the last hundred or so years. Unfortunately, as in any extended period of peace, those years also saw the experienced officers in the service rise through the ranks and eventually retire out of the navy. By the end of this period very few officers and ratings had ever seen combat.

First Defeat[edit]

Emperor Martin I, who ascended to the throne in 166, was more ambitious than his actual powers allowed. He decided to try to add the sectors of Meshan, Mendan, and Amdukan to the Imperium in an attempt to significantly expand its borders.

After several years of negotiation with the various states in these sectors got nowhere, he decided to take them by force. In 175 the Imperial Navy staged an invasion of the sectors.

Progress was, initially, relatively swift as the local governments did not have the power to resist the Imperial fleets, and many worlds fell to the Imperium. However in 178 a bureaucrat by the name of Julian came to power in one of the confederations in the Amdukan sector. Julian managed to persuade all the disparate governments to rally to his call to drive out the Imperial aggressors from their homes. Surprisingly enough it worked.

The Julian Protectorate, as the new alliance was to be called, spent time uniting its fleets and fighting several major actions against the Imperial Navy. It was not until the Protectorate decided to carry the battle to the Imperium that the war started to take a serious turn.

In 185 the fleets of the Julian Protectorate moved across the Lesser Rift and through the Empty Quarter sector. They raided deep into Imperial territory and actually managed to raid and destroy the Imperial Naval Depots in the Antares and Ley sectors.

The Imperial Navy didn't know what had hit them. With their two closest Depots totally destroyed, the supply lines were devastated and all the fleets involved in the invasion were recalled to Imperial territory to protect their own lines of communication. What had started as a war of expansion was now turning into a defensive conflict.

Protectorate forces had by now taken many Imperial worlds and, despite a counterattack in 190, the worlds remained in Julian hands.

Eventually Martin I admitted that the worlds of the Protectorate could not be incorporated into the Imperium so he called for a truce. Part of the settlement included granting autonomy to a group of 12 worlds on the border of Imperial and Protectorate space.

After colonization of the more spinward reaches of the Imperium was initiated around 220, clashes with the already established Vargr states in and around the Vland, Corridor, and Deneb sectors became increasingly common. For the next 128 years, small-scale conflicts with the semi-organized Vargr occurred with depressing regularity.

Ilelish Rebelion[edit]

In 418 the sector capital world of Ilelish and several other worlds in the Ilelish sector declared their independence from the Imperium and urged many other worlds in the Ilelish and Verge sectors to join them. By 420 six whole subsectors had declared their autonomy.

The response of Emperor Martin III was a patient and well thought out plan. A circle of warships surrounded the rebellious worlds to prevent any trade in or out of the region. Slowly, over the course of the next 15 years, the noose was tightened, mobilizing more and more ships as it reached Ilelish, the center of the revolt. As it fell, each world was reincorporated into the Third Imperium. The patience of the Emperor paid off in minimizing the losses incurred on both sides.

Ilelish was the last planet to fall. Its surrender, once the Imperial fleets reached the Ilelish system, was unconditional and quick.

In order to exact a punishment against the people of Ilelish the sector capital was moved to Dlan, a world completely loyal to the Imperium. Emperor Martin ordered the evacuation of the entire equatorial region of the planet. This entire region of Ilelish was then sterilized by the Imperial Navy. What once was an area full of lush forests was reduced to a barren desert that still exists today, over 500 years later.

First Frontier War[edit]

The First Frontier War, as it was to later become known, began in 589 and spanned 15 years, and exacted a massive toll on the Navy as the Outworld Coalition, formed between the Zhodani and Vargr, invaded Imperial space. Communication times between the Spinward Marches and Capital, added to an almost complete lack of support from Empress Jaqueline I, resulted in the war lasting longer than it should have. Even though the Imperium eventually defeated the Outworld Coalition forces the conflict was to have a long lasting affect on the Third Imperium.

Barracks Emperors[edit]

In 606, after victory had been achieved in the Marches, Grand Admiral Olav hault-Plankwell took the bulk of his fleet all the way to Capital. Once there, he petitioned for an audience with Empress Jaqueline I and, during the course of the audience, murdered her.

Olav at once proclaimed himself emperor by right of fleet control and started a civil war that would rage throughout the Imperium for the next 18 years. The Imperial rule broke down as many groups vied for power, though the bureaucracy kept the government running. During this time 18 emperors sat on the Iridium Throne, all of them naval officers, and all the while the Imperial Navy was torn apart by its commanding officers choosing to ally themselves with the various factions. Historians would later know these rulers as the Emperors of the Flag.

While the forces of the Imperium were distracted, in 615 the Outworld Coalition once again reformed and attacked the Spinward Marches. This Second Frontier War was just as bloody as the first but eventually the Grand Admiral of the Marches, Arbellatra, succeeded in pushing back the invading forces.

After the conclusion Arbellatra, like Olav before her, returned to Capital with her forces and succeeded in removing the putative emperor before taking possession of power. However, Arbellatra took a different course to her predecessor. She did not claim the throne but instead proclaimed herself Regent until such time as a suitable Emperor could be agreed upon by the Imperial Moot.

Arbellatra's regency was accepted by most – and rammed down the throats of a few. She served as Regent and protector to the Iridium Throne for seven years before the Moot proclaimed her Empress in 629, beginning the line of Alkhalikoi.

Reconstruction[edit]

This was a bleak period in the navy's history. The majority of the core fleets had been crippled, and it would take many years of construction to bring the fleets back up to strength again. Safeguards were put in place along the chain of command to prevent such events from happening again in the future. However, personnel quotas became difficult to maintain as the honor of the Imperial Navy had been stained. It was over a generation before the crew crisis would abate.

The uneasiness that followed such a turbulent period, two Frontier Wars, and a Civil War in a short period of time actually encouraged a sense of calm throughout the Imperium for the next 350 years. The occasional border dispute and some saber-rattling by the Outworld Coalition caused only ripples, and the Imperial Navy was generally at peace for much of that time.

Some say this led to overconfidence on the part of the senior naval officers and when the Zhodani opened hostilities once again, in the Spinward Marches in 979, the fleets were slow to react. After the initial Zhodani gains the war became a stalemate for much of its six years with each side using hit and run tactics. The armistice in 986 gave a little to each side but both sides came out of the war with nothing to show for it.

Solomani Rim War[edit]

The Imperial Navy would return to war yet again only four years later, but this time the battle would not be over the worlds of the Spinward Marches but along the Solomani Rim. In 990, after a period of escalating tension, the Imperium declared war on the Solomani Confederation.

The initial phase of the war went very well for the Solomani. For three years the Imperial Navy was forced back by Solomani forces until finally, in 993, a large invasion force was stopped cold in the Old Expanses Sector. The period from 993 to 998 was one of stalemate. By 998, the Imperial Navy had achieved strategic dominance, as the greater industrial base of the Imperium made its power felt. The last phase of the war, 998 to 1002, consisted of a near-continual advance by Imperial forces into the heart of the Solomani Sphere. Finally, in 1002, Imperial forces retook Terra, and a temporary armistice was negotiated with the Solomani military commanders, who were glad to gain a respite to regroup their remaining forces. The war ended on this basis as both governments informally agreed to extend the armistice indefinitely.

New Strategy[edit]

Once again the Imperial Navy was at peace, with little more to occupy it other than anti-piracy patrols. Until, in 1082, the Zhodani invaded the Jewell Subsector, kicking off the Fourth Frontier War. This was brought to a close by the Battle of Two Suns in 1084.

Following what is often called the False War, the Admiralty began a fundamental reexamination of their strategy. Prior to that, naval policy had favored a "crust" strategy, with major fleet elements well forward in potential trouble spots such as the Spinward Marches. For decades this strategy had been effective due to the tremendous technological and material lead enjoyed by the Imperium over its neighbors. The Fourth Frontier War demonstrated, however, that the Imperium's lead had narrowed to the point that a clear superiority could no longer be achieved at all points along the frontier.

The new strategy came to be known as the "elastic defense" posture. Priority in the new strategy has been placed on a minimum of fleet assets initially in the actual border areas, but with much larger reserves available for commitment to any one region in the event of war. Within the frontier itself, colonial forces have been strengthened and centered around selected "islands of resistance," high population, high technology worlds capable of withstanding protracted sieges. These forward elements are intended to delay any hostile advances and disrupt sieges of key worlds, until major reserves can intervene and reestablish the status quo.

This new strategy proved effective when the Zhodani Consulate and Outworld Coalition forces started the Fifth Frontier War in 1107. The Metal Worlds in the Sword Worlds Subsector were captured and an armistice was signed, ending the war in 1110.

TO&E (Organization)[edit]

Fleets are the highest level of naval organization and are composed of naval squadrons. Particularly large fleets are often called Grand Fleets.

Fleet Classification[edit]

Imperial (Regular) Fleets are front-line units equipped with the best possible ships and personnel. Regular Imperial Fleets are identified by numerical designations and are assigned to specific subsectors within the Imperium. Regular Fleets carry the term "Imperial" in their name. For example, the 212th Imperial Fleet is a Regular Imperial Fleet that was assigned to the Rhylanor Subsector prior to the Fifth Frontier War. Additionally, individual squadron elements (see below) can be pulled from various numbered fleets to create specific Task Groups, Task Forces, or Battle Fleets as needed. The combined Numbered Fleets of the subsectors of a given sector are grouped together as part of the named Sector Fleet (e.g. The Corridor Sector Fleet) under the overall authority of a Sector Admiral.

The Colonial Fleets of the Imperium are comprised of the local Subsector Navies maintained by individual subsectors that are under the immediate authority of their local Subsector Dukes, in addition to the various Planetary Navies of those worlds within the subsector which choose to maintain a starfaring navy. The various Colonial Fleets are generally equipped to the technological standard of their subsector capital and/or world of origin, and with personnel with somewhat less training and experience. Together they act as a strategic reserve for the Imperial Navy and allow it to be deployed for war-fighting duties while the Colonial Fleets defend the home subsectors from invasion and piracy. During peacetime, the Colonial Navy as a whole comes under the ultimate authority of the Imperial Colonial Office, but during wartime the Colonial Fleets become "Imperialized" and are transferred to the authority of the Imperial Navy, at which time mothballed capital vessels and other heavy elements belonging to the Imperial Naval Reserve are reactivated and allocated to the Colonial Fleets to bolster them in their defensive duites. Such capital vessels and other heavy elements are generally comprised of obsolescent (but still serviceable, rather than obsolete) ships. Together they act as a strategic reserve for the Imperial Navy and allow it to be deployed for war-fighting duties while the Colonial Fleets defend the home subsectors from invasion and piracy.

Fleet Types[edit]

The Imperial Navy classifies its fleets by the type of activity they are expected to undertake:

  • assault (conqueror)
  • battle (naval superiority)
  • interdiction (siege)
  • penetration (raid)
  • strike (offense)
  • reserve (auxiliary)
  • depot (defense)

1. Assault Fleets[edit]

An assault fleet's primary mission is to conquer worlds rather than simply destroy or subdue them. They are used to take and hold valuable real estate.

  • Assault fleets are assigned world attack missions. They are sent into a star system to carry surface forces to the mainworld in order to assault and conquer world surface territory. In easy cases, an assault fleet carries forces to a small, low population world which is easily reduced. The true challenge to an assault fleet is the high population world: the fleet will carry tens of thousands of troops for world-invasion operations, then resupply the beachhead that they establish, while helping repel the local force's efforts to eliminate the invasion forces.

2. Battle Fleets[edit]

A battle fleet's primary mission is to destroy the opposing navy whoever and where ever it may be.

  • The main combat units of the navy. They are assigned battleships and are expected to meet and destroy any enemy ships they encounter. Because the Imperial Navy did not build Battle Tenders in any significant quantity to increase fleet range, battle fleets are the strongest forces the Imperial Navy can bring to bear.

3. Depot Fleets[edit]

Depot fleets primarily serve a defensive mission since they protect the logistics source and mothball auxiliaries of the Navy. A small number of the ships function actively while most assets are stored as uncrewed auxiliaries.

  • These mostly inactive ship pools — ships which are not in service but may be reactivated as needed — are assigned to the depot fleets.

4. Interdiction Fleets[edit]

Interdiction fleets have a primary destruction and denial role; they are assigned to reduce the enemy's worlds and/or prevent his interstellar economy from functioning. Interdiction fleets destroy the enemy's real estate or prevent him from benefitting from it.

  • The siege-oriented mission fleets. They are sent into a star system to surround its mainworld and stop all traffic to and from the world. They are also expected to conduct bombardments and containment operations which will force the mainworld to surrender.

5. Penetration Fleets[edit]

Penetration fleets have a primary raid role. They enter the enemy's space, cause as much damage as possible, and thenreturn to friendly territory.

  • The long-range raid mission fleet. They are expected to drive deep into enemy territory and attack important objectives (like enemy bases, industry, starports, or shipyards). After they have destroyed their objectives, they must return to friendly territory. Penetration fleets are expected to be self-sufficient for long periods of time.

6. Reserve Fleets[edit]

The primary mission of a reserve fleet is as an auxiliary. They perform training and logistics missions as well as holding a mobile auxiliary. They are often gutted to support combat elements.

  • Reserve fleets are primarily holding formations which provide the details of bureaucratic support until their ships are assigned to fleets with specific missions. The primary activity a reserve fleet undertakes is training.

7. Strike Fleets[edit]

Strike fleets serve a primarily offensive role, to support battle fleets destroying the enemy's navy, and assault fleets destroying the enemy's planetary network, facilities, and ground forces. They may also be called upon to support interdiction fleets.

  • The strategic supplements to the battle fleets. They support the flanks of the battle fleets with maneuverability and firepower. Often a strike fleet will be assigned to clear a system that a battle fleet will need to pass through. Strike fleets are used for diversions while the battle fleet proceeds to its primary objective, and strike fleets protect the flanks of battle fleets in major battles.

Squadron Classification[edit]

Squadrons are classified by their position within the hierarchy of the Imperium. Regular squadrons are front-line units equipped with the best possible ships and personnel. Colonial squadrons are equipped with obsolescent (but still serviceable, rather than obsolete) ships and with personnel with somewhat less training and experience. System squadrons are not jump-capable, but are rather equipped with SDBs and monitors, and staffed with local personnel.

Regular squadrons are assigned to the numbered fleets of the Imperium and stationed at naval bases within the Imperium. Regular squadrons carry the term Imperial in their name. For example, Imperial BatRon 11 is a regular squadron.

Colonial squadrons are assigned to the numbered reserve fleets of the subsectors. They are based at worlds which can provide personnel and technology to support them: worlds with tech code Early Stellar+ (TL9+) and High Population (Pop 9+). Colonial squadrons carry the term colonial in their name. For example, Colonial TankRon 4051 is a colonial squadron.

System squadrons are not assigned to any fleet. They are based in a home system with tech code Early Stellar+ (TL9+) and Moderate Population (Pop&). System squadrons carry either the term defense or the name of their system or both in their name. For example, Defense CruRon Regina is the system squadron for the Regina system. When several system squadrons are in a system, they are numbered as well.

Squadron Types[edit]

The Imperial Navy maintains five major squadron types: BatRons, CruRons, AssaultRons, TankRons, and ScoutRons. Any squadron type may be in any fleet type, depending on the specific mission being performed.

1. AssaultRon[edit]

The assault squadron is composed of troop transports and supporting ships. Potentially capable of carrying hundreds of battalions of invading troops, the AssaultRon's mission is to transport troops, their equipment, and their supplies from star system to star system, and to deliver troops from orbit to a disputed planetary surface.

AssaultRons tend to be homogeneous units, each equipped with only one type of ship. Thus, the 10897th Imperial Assault Transport Squadron would be equipped for troop transport, while the 9705th Assault Invasion Squadron would be equipped to deliver the troops to an invasion beachhead on a world surface.

2. BatRon[edit]

Battle squadrons are created from battleships and are intended to meet the best of the enemy fleet, engage it, and destroy it. Their purpose is battle. Battle squadrons are usually reinforced with large numbers of auxiliary ships, including refueling shuttles, escorts, and support cruisers. In addition, they are accompanied by a number of fleet couriers which carry communications between squadrons.

3. CruRon[edit]

Cruiser squadrons are organized with cruisers and are intended to support BatRons in space combat. Although a cruiser cannot defeat a battleship in one-on-one combat, a number of cruisers can overwhelm a lone battleship, and this occasionally happens. The function of the CruRon is to hold or delay a BatRon early in a battle.

CruRons are strong units. When no BatRon is around, they are easily the strongest type of squadron available. In addition to supporting BatRons, they are given the mission of supporting planetary surface operations once the space battle has been won.

Cruisers are the ships that bombard the planetary surface, conduct siege warfare, and cover the invading AssaultRons. CruRons are accompanied by a variety of auxiliaries, including shuttles, transports, and fleet couriers. Every CruRon is assigned a bulk ordnance carrier which resupplies it with bombs and missiles.

4. ScoutRons[edit]

Scout squadrons are composed of ships assigned to the Imperial Interstellar Scout Service. They rarely serve as ScoutRons; instead, the ships are assigned to other squadrons based on need. For example, many fleet couriers are considered scout-type ships. When a fleet courier assigned to BatRon 10 is sent with dispatches to BatRon 11, it is automatically reassigned to BatRon 11 when it arrives. Ships awaiting assignment to serving squadrons are assigned to a ScoutRon, as are ships being resupplied or undergoing repairs.

5. TankRon[edit]

Tanker squadrons are special-purpose units dictated by the need for Imperial Navy vessels to travel farther than their fuel tankage will allow. TankRons carry large quantities of fuel and are positioned to refuel other squadrons as they cross territory which would not otherwise provide fuel resources for them.

References & Contributors (Sources)[edit]

This article was copied or excerpted from the following copyrighted sources and used under license from Far Future Enterprises or by permission of the author.