The Crucible War and its aftermath revealed many deficiencies in the old Imperial military system inherited by the old Regency of Deneb. Imperial military services were divided along mostly centralised lines, between the Imperial forces funded, recruited, trained and equipped/maintained by the Imperial government; the subsector reserve forces that managed with older castoff equipment; and finally a polyglot soup of colonial, corporate and noble forces that that proliferated at the local levels. During the Quarantine War (IY 1132 to 1177) the Regency of Deneb abolished or absorbed private militaries in an effort to beef up frontline forces, reduce the strain on its logistical and C3I networks, and eliminate the persistent source of local brushfire wars that had plagued the Third Imperium in its last few centuries. The main Imperial forces were divided into the Navy, Army and Scout Service, whereas subsector and colonial forces followed their own various tables of organisation and equipment suitable to their own localized conditions.
While strategic command responsibility was centralized, some effort was made to decentralize tactical and operational control over military forces to better handle the nebulous threat of vampire ships/fleets, especially in the aftermath of the Rape of Trin. However, the inconsistent and ad hoc nature of most vampire fleets, including those controlled by "Puppeteer" strains, meant that only minor incremental changes in command structure had to be instituted. Regency Navy officers used a variation of the defense in depth strategy adopted after the Fifth Frontier War and extended to their entire trailing frontier. This was a layered array of sensors, reporting and tracking stations and sentinel ships that were posted at the vulnerable points of a star system, backed up by concentrated squadrons of SDBs and naval warships in what basically amounted to a free-fire kill zone. This reorganisation was more radical for the Scout Service, which lost considerable manpower and equipment transferred to the new Regency Quarantine Service. This structure did not prevent interservice rivalry, and actually increased it where the Navy and RQS overlapped in responsibilities, and it did not affect the Army or lower echelon forces.
During the initial stages of the Crucible War, Regency forces operating in Ziafrplians Sector were exposed to a new kind of Zhodani battle "doctrine" that heavily stressed their ability to respond to in kind to enemy aggression. The majority of these forces were a mixture or regular and guerilla units under the command of either local warlords or leaders of the Dawn Heralder cult that were supplied and supported by acephalous networks, and were more broadly organized around general philosophy rather than command unity. While these forces were much less well organized or trained and led than normal regular units, their amorphous nature and relentless attack doctrine meant that the Regency's normal intelligence and command structures were very often overwhelmed by the unpredictability of enemy tactical forces. Command responsibility and articulation frequently descended to the tactical level simply because old fashioned central command units were all to frequently innundated with GIGO data or hindered by faulty assumptions about local terrain and unit factors.
As the Zhodani shifted from a strategy of raiding to one of tactical and strategic concentration, and now featured more professional Consular units in addition to local irregulars or militias, the task of defending against this polymorphous threat with a centralized network became nightmarish. The normal interservice boundaries had to be set aside in favor of coordinated commands as the Zhos used space and ground units in close proximity. During the Long Retreat from Zarontse, Army and Naval units shared the same logistical lifelines by dint of necessity. As these forces began to retreat across sections of the Regency proper rendered indefensible by unit losses, they merged with local world and subsector forces, creating ad hoc task forces whose TO&Es looked, as one naval officer put it, more like tree rings than a proper flow chart. As the frontlines contracted, political maneuvering and interference by the Black Regent and his allied factions had turned the clean organisational lines of the services into an uproar. The earlier purging of dissident officers, and their subsequent relocation to trailing areas far from the main strategic theaters had robbed second line forces of competent military officers. When these officers were recalled after Arthurian's death by loyalist commanders, direct integration of their separate forces wasn't even attempted. By war's end this network of military, intel and paramilitary units proved to be better equipped for the postwar situation than the prewar hiearchy.
Instead of separate military forces divided by now outmoded traditions, the modern Commonwealth forces actually consist of a network of compatible, interlocking services divided by their area of specialty. They share the same logistical, training and intelligence networks, often have common equipment, and some services more broadly resemble a decentralised militia, ala the Dawn Heralder Militia, whose members are evenly balanced between their professional obligations to the Commonwealth and their commanders, and the local adjustments that are dictated by the communication lag of jump space. During peacetime, the active duty forces of each service answers to an appropriate bureaucratic ministry that oversees and directs their operations and budgets. The main offices for national defense are divided between external and internal security roles. The Ministry of Defense commands the Commonwealth Navy and Corps, which correspond to the space and ground based forces respectively, and handles all situations that approximate a war or military hostilities with external enemies, but is more limited in its internal security role. Under the statutes of law, MoD may not deploy its forces for internal situations except in cases where local hostilities pass a certain defined threshold. Internal security is handled mainly by the Ministry of Interior, whose bailiwick includes customs and immigration, celestime security and safety, disaster preparedness and response, counterterrorism, and internal intelligence and counterespionage. Additional security is provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which oversees external civilian intelligence gathering, by way of the Pathfinder and Secret Services; and the Ministry of Colonization, which maintains a Frontier Constabulary for security on colonized worlds or worlds too lightly populated or balkanized to maintain their own common police and paramilitary functions.
Common culture and logistics are dictated by the National War Council, a committee headed by the Chancellor. During wartime, the different ministries are dissolved, and the NWC becomes the war cabinet, with direct control over all forces under the Chancellor's command. The NWC always includes several senior members of the Conclave, senior Praetors (who supervise wartime tribunals and oversee martial law declarations), and of course the bureau chiefs. The various Federation and Commonality governments have representatives that consult the government, and provide clear communication channels between the Chancellor and local governors. Prominent civilians are also appointed or elected from industry, academia, medicine and clergy by random lot; these provide an additional voice that prevents the Council from becoming too insular. The NWC is not a democratic structure however, as all decisions that are delegated to it are ultimately handled by the Chancellor, though usually the magnitude of his or her responsibility usually means that the final decision is usually arrived at by consensus or informal vote.
The Chancellor and NWC have several units that report directly to them in peace and wartime: Commonwealth Mail Service, General Operations and Training Function and the Combined Intelligence Network. These are "transcendental" agencies that report directly to the Commonwealth National War Council. CMS controls all general logistics to ensure that Commonwealth Services are fully supplied with what they need, maintains all resupply vessels and vehicles, and supervises the Commonwealth X-Web and X-Mail services. GOTF combines the G-3 and G-1 functions, standarising and supervising all recruitment, training and placement of Military and Civil Service personnel. It also handles menial bureaucratic functions, oversees housing and personnel services, base and unit operations, and all construction functions. CIN is nothing more than a set of technological standards and organizational protocols that allow for common realtime intelligence network that feed up to date information to all units segregated only by their level of clearance and area of operations. CIN also controls the design, procurement and proliferation of communication and computer equipment for all services, and establishes the protocols for the training and operations for covert operatives and analysts.
The Commonwealth Corps are the collective military forces assigned to fighting on or just above a planetary surface, in fleet boarding actions, or in specialised situations that call for use of infantry and their supporting arms in small unit to army sized battles Behind the Claw. Their ranks are descended from the various former militaries once maintained by current members of the federation, which included former Regency, Sword World, Darrian and surviving Avalar or Zhodani military outfits. The Corps originally had two previous incarnations: as the allied "Federation" forces formed by the Liberators out of disparate military units exiled to Corridor, and the Amalgamated forces created after the capitulation of the Zhodani Forward Army Group in 1241 required the folding of nearly fifteen million Zhodani and Avalar troops into the Federation forces. The current Corps was created and organized in accordance to the postwar Commonwealth Constitution, and is commanded by the Chancellor of the Commonwealth in his/her role as commander-in-chief, is overseen in peacetime by the Minister of Defense, the Combined Chiefs of Staff, and commanded directly by the Corps Commandant, the sole five star general permitted under Commonwealth law.
The term "collective" is reflective of the Corps' syncretic nature, and the still evolving nature of its traditions and cohesion. With the demise of the Regency, it was decided that the old Marine Corps provided a better touchstone for cohering the vast number of non-Imperials the new force had inherited. The name and upper command structure are taken virtually verbatim from the Corps, and the force enjoys better relations with the Commonwealth naval forces that was previously imagined possible in the old cats-and-dogs Imperial military. The rank structure, tables of organization and equipment, and logistical backbone of the Regency Army predominate in the remainder of its organization.
The Corps is actually divided into four main arms: Frontline Forces (or just simply called Line), which constitute those units under the direct responsibility of the central government; Federation reserve forces, that act at the behest of Commonality governments, but are subject to callup for national service; Planetary "Roundout" and Militia forces that are primarily used to backstop frontline units in specific operations; and the Peacekeeping Corps, lightly armed units trained and equipped by the Corps, but are seconded to the Interior Ministry for internal security, relief and peacekeeping operations. The total force is equivalent to about ten thousand divisions under the old Imperial military. Forty percent of these are Line, another forty percent are Subsector reserves, and twenty percent are mainly planetary units. All planetary forces not attached to the Corps are still subject to call up in wartime, though their equipment and training are highly divergent. Transitional "territorial" units consisting of former Zhodani and Sword Worlder units were common in the aftermath of the Crucible War, but these had all been phased out by NE 50, and their senior officer corps have been retired or cashiered.
Table of Ranks:
|Private First Class
|Fire Team Leader
|Squad or Vehicle Leader
|Sergeant First Class
|Senior Platoon NCO
|Senior Company NCO
|Senior Battalion NCO
|Senior Regimental NCO
|Command Sergeant Major E-9
|Higher Command NCO
|Chief Warrant Officer-1
|Chief Warrant Officer-2
|Chief Warrant Officer-3
|Command Warrant Officer
|Company Executive Officer
|Battalion XO or Staff Officer
|Battalion CO or Regiment XO
|Brigade CO or Division XO
|Division or Army Commander
|Army or Army Group Commander
|Theater or Regional Commander
Because the Commonwealth recruits only about 1 military personnel out of every 5000 citizens, or about 0.0002%, it can be rather selective about its training. Though military service is a right guaranteed by the Constitution, the Corps concentrates on quality over quantity. Sixty percent of the Corps formations, including all Frontline units and a sizeable majority of the Reserves, are rated as elite units that are almost comparable to the old Marine Corps. Basic Training weeds out the weaker recruits largely on the basis of physical ability, as the Corps prides itself on its ability to forge the minds of its inductees through extensive training and to find a use for any piece of personnel regardless of their limitations. Affirmative action programs are in place to ensure that the Corps officer corps is diverse, a critical requirement given its polyglot ethnic and species diversity.
Tech Level 15 is the baseline of its equipment; though an increasing number of units, particularly the new Heavy Infantry units, are receiving new Tech Level 16 material as fast as it is manufactured. Many units were underequipped due to combat losses during the Crucible War, and it has only been recently that new material has been issued in enough quantity for the Corps to reach its assigned TO&E. New weapons systems like the Avery fighting vehicle family, the Dreadnaught gunboat series, and new battledress and Juggernaut suits now constitute the equipment of nearly half of the Line forces, and about a third of the Reserves and Planetary Militias.
Unit Types: The "Line" Corps is divided into two main groups: regular forces and special operations units. Regular forces are usually less specialized units, consisting of less intensively trained troops, assigned to basic combat and logistical operations. These units are generally operated in groups in excess of a battalion, oftentimes in brigades or divisions. Spec Ops units by contrast are specialist units staffed by highly trained and motivated troopers. The nature of their missions usually require more flexibility in unit size and structure:
Tank: These are units primarily organized around 30 dton "Righteous Thunder" MBTs and their derivatives, with fewer supporting infantry and artillery systems. These units usually deploy at the regimental and brigade level, as they are generally assigned to exploiting breakthroughs or quick strike missions against discrete objectives. Those tank units seconded to the Peacekeeping Corps usually deploy a mixture of heavy and light vehicles and infantry, and oversized engineering battalions.
Orbital Cavalry: Similar to a tank unit, OrCav is actually a highly mobile intervention force consisting of a mixture of light and heavy armor and infantry that can be quickly deployed from smaller transport ships. These units are usually deployed at the divisional level, though they have far fewer brigades and a smaller logisitical "tail".
Armored Infantry: One of the primary military formations in the Corps, ArmInf units correspond to the traditional Mechanized Infantry force. These units are often the heaviest and largest, built around a large contingent of battle dressed infantry and rigs, 30 and 50 dton AFVs and support vehicles, all backed up by large amounts of ortillery/artillery. ArmInf units are deployed at the regimental, brigade and divisional levels.
Lift Infantry: The lighter cousin of ArmInf units are usually brigades or divisions built around smaller 5 and 15 dton vehicles, more rigs, and less substantial supporting units. Their mobility and relative lower cost makes them popular for deployment into more remote and less advanced parts of the Commonwealth, and the Interior Ministry prefers to use them as the core of the Peacekeeping Corps.
Assault Infantry: Sault Inf are considered to be borderline Special Operations, as these troopers require the kind of special mindset and training that permits them to jump out of a orbiting spacecraft to a planetary surface below. In practice these units are the first wave of any planetary assault or internal intervention force, and always the first troops of the main body to make contact with an enemy or dire situation. Assault units are usually brigade or divisional in deployment, consisting roughly of 50% drop troops and the remainder divided between heavy armor and armored infantry battalions or companies.
Marines Infantry: Like their Imperial and Regency predecessors, Commonwealth Marines are intervention troops designed to react quickly to unexpected emergencies in peacetime and handle a variety of specialised operations. Marine infantry units are "Green Beret" troops: expected to handle disaster relief and response, planet and nation-building operations, internal security and police action, counterinsurgency, and foreign military training and assistance. In wartime these units are often used ahead of an invasion force to attack enemy supply lines and installations, secure landing zones, and harass and disrupt enemy movements. These units can be regimental, brigades or divisions in organization. Internally they follow a triangular structure: equal numbers of mixed armor, drop infantry, and scouting and engineering units.
All units in a marine division are specially selected and trained, and are not interchangeable with regular line units, regardless of their designation. An armored infantry battalion or brigade, for example, in a larger marine unit consists of marines only, not regular line troops!
Marine Cavalry: These rare units are usually regimental and brigade sized forces that are permanently stationed on ships and are deployed on a discrete trajectory. MarCav forces are built mainly for immediate impact rather than long term occupational duty, and are essentially "bucket brigades" meant to tie down an emergency long enough for regular line or Marine units to react and respond. MarCav units also use a triangular organization: equal amounts of drop and armored infantry, and several mixed armor units.
Denebian Rangers: The elite commando forces of the Commonwealth are usually deployed in independent company and battalion sized forces at the army and army group level, and are often attached to divisional commands during extended planetary operations. Larger contingents are theoretically possible, but have been rarely used since the start of the Crucible War.
Force Recon: Long Range Reconaissance Partrols (LRRP) are usually deployed as part of Line and Marine divisional and brigade sized forces. Usually a division will acquire one or two battalion sized FR units, that it uses to supplement its existing scout units. Army and army groups automatically receive several battalions, and on occasions a full regiment.
Basic Unit Breakdown:
Fire Team: 4 Individuals or a single Heavy Infantry rig
Squad: 2-4 Fire Teams, 4 rigs, or a single AFV
Platoon: 3-4 Squads or 4 AFVs
Company: 3-4 Platoons (called a Troop in Cavalry and Tank units)
Battalion: 3-4 Companies (called a Squadron in Cavalry and Tank units)
Regiment: 3-5 Battalions
Brigade: 2-3 Regiment Equivalents
Division: 2-3 Brigades
Army: 6-12 Divisions
Army Group: 2-4 Armies
The smallest tactical unit in the Corps is the fire team, an infantry unit of 4 persons. A fire team is usually led by a corporal, and is usually 3 riflemen and a support weapon gunner. Several fire teams constitute a squad, the number of teams per squad depending upon the kind of unit it is. Assault and Marine infantry units prefer large 12 man squads of 3 teams each, and 3 squads form a platoon of 36 men. Normal infantry units prefer 2 teams per squad, and add an additional squad to form a 32 man platoon. Vehicle platoons are always 4 vehicles in strength. Squads and individual vehicles are led by sergeants (E5) and platoons are led by 2nd Lieutenants (O1). 3 to 4 platoons form a company or troop (tank and cavalry units only) and are commanded by a Captain (03) with a 1st Lieutenant XO (O2). 3-4 line companies and several support sections or companies form a basic maneuver or combat battalion
In the Corps the battalion is the heart of all larger operational combat units, and its constituents train and operate together. In Cavalry or Tank units, the terms "squadron" and substitute for battalion. A battalion is the largest indivisible unit, formed around a single type of troops or vehicles, and is often shunted between larger formations, depending upon the mission and requirement faced by those units. A battalion is commanded by a Lt. Colonel (O5) with a Major (O4) XO and either Captains or 1st Lieutenants as staff officers. When four to five or more Battalions are put together, they form either a regiment or a brigade. A regiment is always a smaller unit designed for independent operation, usually consisting of lighter troops like Assault and Marine Infantry or Orbital Cavalry. Basic regimental structures are as follows:
- Assault Infantry: 3 battalions of Jump Troops
- Marine Infantry: 2 battalions of Jump, 1 mixed battalion (1:1) of 30 dton heavy tanks and 5-15 dton scout armor
- Marine Cavalry: 1 Tank battalion (30 or 15 dton), 1 Armored Infantry battalion, 1 Jump Battalion
Regiments are commanded by a Colonel (O6), with Majors as XOs and staff officers.
Brigades come in two flavors: independent and organic. Independent units are essentially regiments on steroids, adding integral logistic and support units to a reinforced number of battalions. This self sufficiency causes the Corps to give them preferential treatment for small intervention missions or in reinforcing divisional formations, and the majority of them are Assault and Marine units with a smaller number of conventional armor and infantry forces. Independent brigades are structured as follows:
- Assault Infantry: 3 Jump battalions, 2 Armored Infantry battalions, 1 Tank battalion (15 or 30 dton tanks), 1 Support battalion, 1 Command Company (reinforced)
- Marine Infantry: 2 Jump battalions, 1 Armored Infantry battalion, 1 Tank battalion (30 dton tanks), 1 Scout and Engineering battalion, 1 Command and Support battalion
- Marine Cavalry: 2 Tank battalions (15 or 30 dton tanks), 1 Armored Infantry battalion, 2 Jump battalions, 1 Command and Support battalion
- Tank: 4 Tank battalions (30 dton tanks), 1 Armored Infantry battalion, 1 Support and Engineering battalion, 1 Command Company (reinforced)
- Armored Infantry: Same as Tank brigade but with proportion of Tank and Armored Infantry battalions reversed
- Orbital Cavalry: Same as Tank brigade, but uses 15 dton tanks and speeders in Tank and AI battalions
- Lift Infantry: Same as Armored Infantry brigade, but uses 15 dton tanks and speeders in Tank and AI battalions
Independent Brigades are commanded by either Brigadier Generals (O7) or Colonels. Majors are the XOs and staff officers.
Organic brigades are permanent, fixed constituents of a division. These units always consist of 5 combat battalions, a Support battalion, and a mixed Command/Engineering battalion:
- Tank: 3 Tank battalions and 2 Armored Infantry battalions
- Armored Infantry: Same as Tank brigade but with proportion of AI and Tank battalions reversed
- Orbital Cavalry: Same as Tank brigade, but uses 15 dton tanks and speeders in Tank and AI battalions
- Lift Infantry: Same as Armored Infantry brigade, but uses 15 dton tanks and speeders in Tank and AI battalions
- Assault Infantry: 4 Jump battalions, 1 Tank battalion (30 dton vehicles)
- Scout Brigade: 5 Mixed AFV/Infantry battalions (5 to 15 dton vehicles)
- Marine Infantry/Jump Infantry: 3 Jump battalions, 1 Tank Battalion, 1 Armored Infantry Battalion
Organic brigades are mostly commanded by Colonels; the exception to this is the "lead" (lowest numbered) brigades, in a division, of all the tank, infantry and support brigades. These are commanded by Brigadier Generals. In the lead brigades a Lt. Colonel is XO, while a Major fills in this role in the other brigades, and Staff officers in both units are the same as in an indepenedent brigade.
Two to three brigades constitute a division, which can be between twelve and thirty battalions aggregate. The ligher the division, the fewer organic brigades it will possess in its TO&E. All divisions carry an Engineering brigade, a Divisional Security brigade (a mixture of Armored Infantry and Military Police trained to secure HQs and other vital units from terrorist or commando attack or ambush), 3 to 5 Support and Transportation brigades, a Medical Brigade, and a Headquarters Brigade (which controls divisional artillery and special operations assets in addition to the main HQ). This leaves a force of 6 to 12 combat brigades:
- Armored Infantry: 3-4 Tank brigades, 6-7 Armored Infantry brigades, 1 Scout brigade
- Armored Infantry (PKF): 3 Tank brigades, 8 Armored Infantry brigades, 2 Scout brigades
- Lift Infantry: 2 Tank brigades, 6 Lift Infantry brigades
- Orbital Cavalry: 2 Tank brigades, 3-4 Orbital Cavalry brigades, 3-4 Infantry (Armored or Lift) brigades
- Tank (rare): 6-7 Tank brigades, 3-4 Armored Infantry brigades, 1 Scout Brigade
- Tank (PKF, also rare): 5 Tank brigades, 2 Armored Infantry brigades, 4 Lift Infantry brigades, Scout brigade
- Assault Infantry: 5 Jump Infantry brigades, 3 Tank brigades, 2 Armored Infantry brigades
- Marine Infantry: 4 Marine Infantry brigades, 4 Tank brigades, 4 Armored Infantry brigades
- Marine Cavalry (rare): 3 Marine Infantry brigades, 3 Marine Cavalry brigades, 3 Tank brigades
Divisions are commanded by Major Generals (O8) with a Brigadier General, or Major General of less seniority, serving as Assistant Division Commander (ADC). Colonels and Major constitute Divisional staff officers.
A group of 6-12 divisions constitutes an Army, and 2-4 Armies form an Army Group. There are currently approximately 4000 Line divisions divided among 298 Armies, among 89 Army Groups. An Army Group is roughly approximate to the forces in an oldstyle Imperial subsector. 4000 more Reserve divisions are maintained for defense of individual Federations, and technically consist of part-time reservists, though nearly a quarter of these are currently serving with Line forces in various theaters. Finally about 4000 territorial divisions that are specific to member worlds, though most of these are actually support or logistical forces.
The Commonwealth Navy are the composite forces raised, equipped, trained and tasked with defending the space and worlds of the Commonwealth using naval vessels and exoatmospheric craft, individually or in organized groups, against all enemies of the Commonwealth, external or domestic. Unlike the Corps, which inherited a motley collection of forces from capitulated enemies and decimated allies, the Navy was purely a force derived from its predecessor, the Regency of Deneb Navy. The original Liberator command structure had been created from the staffs of various Regency Naval units "exiled" to Corridor by the Black Regent, and the various mainstream command units that survived the Black Road and Long Retreat battles in Ziafrplians and the Spinward Marches were seamlessly grafted on this backbone when the Purifiers fled from the Regency. The Navy also benefitted from the exorbitant emergency shipbuilding decrees the Black Regent had declared at the beginning of the Crucible, and the secret largess that the Last Regent Caranda had accumulated in the Avalon caches in trailing Deneb sector. This consistency in equipage and organization gave the early Commonwealth Navy a cohesion and clear command structure that enabled the Liberators to rally the flagging Regency to their cause and defeat the Dawn Revelers. Unlike the Corps, most of its personnel were newly recruited from among the new member-races and groups, rather than absorbed from the shattered Zhodani, Vargr and Sword World fleets, and the lack or resistance from their officer corps have allowed for quicker integration of these groups.
After the Crucible War ended, the emergence of the new republic, and war reconstruction and consolidation, took precedent over naval reorganization. The result was a fleet that remained in a wartime footing for another fifteen years, an aggressive stance that may have proven worthy against the Dominate, and allowed the Commonwealth to bully its way into Vland Sector after the Scouring to establish the Vilani March. The term "composite" is reflective of the mixture of different "Phoenix" fleets built out of Tech Level 16 vessels represented in the Avalon Caches, local Territorial reserve fleets, and various training, logistical, communication and planetary security fleets that currently constitute the "Fleet". During the fifteen years following the war, the entire Navy was under the command of an "Overseer" semi-independent of the fledgling Commonwealth government; this arrangement has ended with the official retirement of the last Liberator commanders, and their sworn disavowal of interference in the new government. The Chancellor is the legally sanctioned commander-in-chief of the Navy, and the fleet to the Minister of Defense in peacetime, is overseen by both the Combined Chiefs of Staff, and day-to-day operations set by the the Commandant of Naval Operations.
The basic unit of the Navy is known as a Division, which constitutes two to four autonomous units, either ships or squadrons of small craft. Two to four divisions form a Squadron of 4-16 ships. The Squadron is the mostly a bureaucratic structure, and oftentimes detaches its ships for deployment as a task force. And only capitol ships are counted when forming squadrons, with destroyers, escorts and support elements attached without independent capabilities. Two to four Squadrons form a Flotilla, and two to four Flotillas form a Group. Finally two to four Groups constitute a basic fleet unit. On average a Commonwealth fleet constitutes between six hundred and eight hundred capitol ships, a preponderance that makes sense given the larger regions of space assigned to the Post-Imperial fleets, and roughly four to five times that number of escort vessels.
Division: 2 to 4 warships (not counting escorts), 4-8 escort warships or
a section of a small craft squadron
Squadron: 4-16 capitol ships, 12-24 escort warships, or 24-48 small craft
Flotilla: 2 to 4 Squadrons
Group: 2 to 4 Flotillas
Fleet: 2 to 4 Groups
BatRon: Battle Squadron. Consisting of either 4-8 Leviathan, dreadnaught,
battleship or battletender/rider tandem units plus escort craft
CruRon: Cruiser Squadron. Consisting of 6-12 cruisers between 100,000 and 300,000 dtons
SaultRon: Assault Squadron. Usually consisting of 4-8 battleships, several large assault transports, and 1-4 assault carriers and smaller escort craft. All MarInf and MarCav units have permanently assigned SaultRons.
TransRon: Strategic Transport Squadron
TankRon: Fleet Replenishment Squadron
ScortFlot: Crusader Fleet Escort Flotilla for protection of civilian or naval shipping
SecFlot: Crusader Fleet Security Flotilla of destroyer or escort sized shipping
The naval structure is divided into three basic layers. The frontline Phoenix fleets number about twenty five fleets; these forces constitute the main active duty units tasked with defense and intervention. Because of their fewer numbers scattered over a larger volume, the Phoenix Fleets are further subdivided into five fleet groups of five fleets each, known as "Vikings", to facilitate logisitics and information flow. The Phoenix Fleets are almost eighty percent Tech Level 16, with less advanced equipment mostly confined to their supply and support fleets. Since the Phoenixes are often assigned operational duties within a broad swath of space, regional defense is assigned to the Territorial fleets. Each of these are centered upon a member Federation, and their ships are manned by local reservists. Concentration on reconstruction at the expense of new naval construction, and a paucity of available ships has limited the Navy to building just a dozen of the sixteen territorial fleets so far, though the embryonic structures of the remaining fleets exist, and are rapidly accumulating ships and personnel. Beyond these are several special dispatch units known as Crusader Fleets, which consist of smaller warships and are designed primarily for supporting the Ministry of Interior in peacetime, and waging unconventional warfare, surveillance and antiraider operations during wartime. Eight of these fleets are currently in operation, all along the Commonwealth's borders.
|Space of Deployment
|1st Fleet (Celestials)
|Tienspevnekr Occupation Zone
|2nd Fleet (Elementals)
|Tienspevnekr Occupation Zone
|3rd Fleet (Prometheans)
|Ziafrplians Occupation Zone
|4th Fleet (Proteans)
|Ziafrplians Occupation Zone/High Zhdant Federation
|5th Fleet (Phoenix)
|Foreven Occupation Zone (coreward)
|6th Fleet (Great Divide)
|Riftspan Reaches Quarantine
|7th Fleet (Great Depths)
|Great Rift Quarantine
|8th Fleet (Cosmic Fire)
|9th Fleet (Tempest)
|Aslan Hierate Remnant
|10th Fleet (Infinity)
|Tribune Federation/Reft Islands County (Islands Federation)
|11th Fleet (Federation)
|12th Fleet (Commonwealth)
|13th Fleet (Continuum)
|Sabinar Federation/Vincennes County (Islands Federation)
|14th Fleet (Homeland)
|Pretoria Federation/Kedzugh Commonality
|15th Fleet (Metropolis)
|Tribune Federation/Commons Crescent
|16th Fleet (Capitol)
|Mora County (Islands Federation)
|17th Fleet (Frontier)
|Monoceros Federation/Abyss Federation
|18th Fleet (Liberty)
|Enterprise Federation/Hammer County (Islands Federation)
|19th Fleet (Challenger)
|Arden Federation/Daryen Reservation/Sword Worlds
|20th Fleet (Quintessence)
|Avalar Occupation Zone/Kamrathi Commonality
|21st Fleet (Gnosis)
|22nd Fleet (Discovery)
|23rd Fleet (Destiny)
|24th Fleet (Fountainhead)
|25th Fleet (Five Phases)
|Corridor Swing Fleet
|26th Fleet (Stygians)
|Island Federation Territorial
|27th Fleet (Empire Builders)
|Sabinar Federation Territorial
|28th Fleet (Trenchant Decision)
|Pretoria Federation Territorial
|29th Fleet (Yin and Yang)
|Gateway Federation Territorial
|30th Fleet (Juggernauts)
|Tribune Federation Territorial
|31st Fleet (Stronghold)
|Common's Cresecent Territorial (Embryonic)
|32nd Fleet (Archers)
|Drayne Federation Territorial (Embryonic)
|33rd Fleet (Barnstormers)
|Arden Federation Territorial
|34th Fleet (Red Bulls)
|Vilani March Territorial
|38th Fleet (Tornado)
|Kaasu Federation Territorial (Embryonic)
|39th Fleet (Tricksters)
|People's Republic Territorial
|40th Fleet (Starlight)
|Enterprise Federation Territorial
|42nd Fleet (Bifrost)
|Sword Worlds/Daryen Territorial
|43rd Fleet (Atlas)
|Zhdant Federation Territorial
|45th Fleet (Retribution)
|Monoceros Federation Territorial
|47th Fleet (Star Vikings)
|Kamrathi Commonality Territorial (Embryonic)
|49th Fleet (Prospectors)
|Abyss Federation Territorial
|101st Fleet (Spiral Arms)
|Spinward Marches Crusader
|102nd Fleet (Charioteers)
|103rd Fleet (Emerald Knights)
|104th Fleet (Phantoms)
|Trojan Reach/Reft Crusader
|105th Fleet (Dragonslayer)
|Training and Support Command
|182nd Fleet (Dark Horse)
|Diplomatic/VIP Escort and Support Fleet
|183rd Fleet (Gatekeepers)
|193rd Fleet (Indomitable Will)
|Spinward Marches Training
|201st Fleet (Blood and Silver)
|Trojan Reach and Reft Training
|207th Fleet (Samurai)
|314th Fleet (Endgame)
|315th Fleet (First to Fight)
|OpFor Training Fleet
|321st Fleet (Countdown)
|Foreign Military Instruction Fleet
|323rd Fleet (Avalon)
|Avalon Cache Fleet
Table of Ranks:
|Petty Officer 3rd Class
|Group Supervisor (5 to 10 Men)
|Petty Officer 2nd Class
|Group Supervisor (10 to 20 Men)
|Petty Officer 1st Class
|Section Chief (Gunnery, Engineering Etc...)
|Chief Petty Officer
|Crew Chief/Chief NCO on smaller warships
|Senior Chief Petty Officer
|Chief NCO on smaller to middleweight warships
|Master Chief Petty Officer
|Chief NCO for ships of the line/naval bases
|Flag Petty Officer
|Chief NCO for larger battle units
|Section Leader/Small Craft Officer
|Small Craft Commander/Flight Officer
|Small Craft Commander/Flight Leader
|Gunboat or Corvette Commander
|Destroyer or Escort Commander
|Cruiser or Battleship Commander
|Admiral of the Commons
|Commander of the Navy
Because the Commonwealth recruits only about 1 military personnel out of every 5000 citizens, or about 0.0002%, it can be rather selective about its training. Though military service is a right guaranteed by the Constitution, the Navy concentrates on quality over quantity. All frontline combat units are rated as elite (or crack crews in Brilliant Lances). Basic Training weeds out the weaker recruits largely on the basis of mental ability, as the Navy and its careers require a bit more cerebral prowess than the ground forces. Affirmative action programs are in place to ensure that the Navy officer corps is diverse, a critical requirement given its polyglot ethnic and species diversity.
Naval doctrine is a modified variation of the older Imperial/Regency naval structure. The structure of the fleet is arranged along a tripartite "combined arms" structure that emphasise two of the three main construction elements of spacecraft (armor, firepower and acceleration) to create specialised units. These include Intruders (armor and firepower), Hunters (firepower and acceleration) and Jousters (armor and acceleration). Dreadnaughts and Battleships comprise most Intruders, large battleriders fill the hunter role, and cruisers of various displacements fill the jouster role. The huge Leviathan warships combine the Intruder and Jouster roles, and are used as "system killers", huge moving fortresses designed to shut down all avenues of approach around a planet or refuelling source, or to destroy elaborate or very heavy enemy defenses. Finally the Navy has added a substantial amount of lighter gunships for protecting their main fleet units. Given that the Navy, rather than the Marines, is considered the force of last recourse by Commonwealth military doctrine, meaning that an approaching task force is often the last thing a target may ever see in this life, these units are designed to keep civilian vessels at a significant distance and prevent their approach for their own safety.
Under this doctrine, Naval commanders endeavor to pit their strength against the enemies weakness in a ballet that resembles the ancient Terran game of Rock, Paper and Scissors: Hunters are used to kill enemy Intruders, while Jousters are used to defend friendly fleets against enemy Hunters. Intruders are used to capture enemy worlds, destroy defenses and installations, and annihilate enemy commercial shipping. In practice capitol ships are designed to blend their roles more than the Admiralty would like to admit, and the Leviathan class warships are sufficiently large to be capable of all three roles equally. It is worth noting that while the Navy's capitol warships are very large (in excess of 100,000 dtons), the preponderance of its escort ships (and indeed the bulk of the fleet) are less than 20,000 dtons. This dichotomy allows the navy to concentrate its massive firepower affordably, while maintaining significant flexibility and cost effectiveness for more mundane roles. Midsized fleet units exist, but are concentrated in the Crusader Fleets for internal security operations.
Commonwealth Naval Rates:
Fighter: An armed craft of less than 100 tons used for combat or patrol
Brigantine: An armed spacecraft of between 100 and 300 tons displacement.
Sloop: An armed starship of between 100 and 500 tons displacement.
Corvette: An armed starship of between 500 and 1000 tons displacement.
Frigate: 1000 to 5000 tons displacement.
Escort: 5000 to 15,000 tons displacement.
Destroyer: 15,000 to 40,000 tons displacement, spinal mount equipped.
Light Cruiser: 40,000 to 60,000 tons, spinal mount equipped.
Fleet Cruiser: 60,000 to 100,000 tons, spinal mount equipped.
Battlecruiser: 100,000 to 150,000 tons displacement, spinal mount equipped.
Battleship: 150,000 to 500,000 tons displacement, spinal mount equipped.
Dreadnaught: 500,000 to 1,000,000 tons displacement, spinal mount equipped.
Leviathan: 1,000,000 tons+ displacement, spinal mount equipped.
Carrier: Starship designed specifically for the carriage of small craft.
Tender: Starship designed specifically for the carriage of large spacecraft or smaller starships.
Assault Transport: Starship designed specifically for carriage of troops and their equipment.
Dropship: Spacecraft designed to carry troops directly between a ship and a planetary surface.
Jumpship: Spacecraft designed to drop jump troops onto a planetary surface.