Space Forces Command (SPAFORCOM), also known informally as the Imperial Navy, is the spaceborne force of the Barrayaran Imperial Service. While equal in rank and position, the Chief of the Space Staff takes precedence over other Chiefs of Staff following the tradition of the Imperial Navy. The space naval fleet command is mostly de-facto dominated by Vor officers, while ground and other space high ranking posts are more commonly assigned to non-Vor capable officers, such as the Barrayaran jump point defences, although within the highest ranks Vors are spread through the Staff positions. SPAFORCOM is the descendant of the Imperial Navy. In 2901, immediately after the Vordarian Pretendership, the Imperial Navy was merged with the Army to form the new Imperial Military Service, although the reform became effective only three years later. Since 2993 SPAFORCOM's ships are commissioned as His Majesty's Ships, and the initialism HMS designates them. With its headquarters in Vorbarr Sultana, SPAFORCOM has both the largest share of resources assignment and the command and control of the four space formations framed into the Service Strategic Commands, while other space units are framed under command of other major commands, such as Imperial Security, which maintains a completely separate chain of command, Landing Forces or Transportation Command:
- Space Forces Barrayar (SPABAR): comprises First and Ninth Fleets, and has responsibility for Barrayar's immediate star system including the jump points in the wormholes. SPABAR is based at ISB Tanery Base. SPABAR Command is the sole command to operate system defence crafts, which are not provided with Necklin jumpers, but equipped with extra armour and weapons: these vessels are therefore unable to jump and to use wormholes, but they are more manoeuvrable, fast, and armed than same category ships.
- Space Forces Komarr (SPAKOM): has responsibility for protection, defence and surveillance of Komarran space. It is by far the largest fraction of the Space Forces. SPAKOM is based at ISB Archangels, Vormoncrief District. SPAKOM comprises Second, Fourth and Fifth Fleets. Because of the need to protect each wormhole, at jump-points along the Barrayar-Komarr route is permanently stationed a Fleet.
- Space Forces Sergyar (SPASER): comprises the Third Fleet and has responsibility for protection, defence and surveillance of Sergyaran space. It is the smallest space force. SPASER is based at Vorbarr Sultana and has a detached command, at Sergyaran Capital City, Sergyar.
- The fourth formation is the Expeditionary and Reserve Headquarters (EXPRES), located the Imperial Military Complex, in Solstice, Komarr, responsible for the Space Reserve Forces and for space forces sent across the wormhole nexus. Under EXPRES Headquarters there are Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Fleets. It is keen to note that at least one fleet of EXPRES HQ is always deployed into the Komarran star system, as a reserve and rapid reaction force.
The SPAFORCOM has nine active numbered fleets — First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eight Fleet and Ninth Fleets are each led by a Vice Admiral. These nine fleets are further grouped under the Commands Barrayar, Komarr, Sergyar, Expeditionary and Reserves: the Commanders of SPABAR, SPAKOM, SPASER and EXPRES are full Admirals, under the command of competent Field Commanders. Commanders of the jump point military bases rank from Captain, for jump points less relevant, such as wormholes opening on empty space, to Rear Admiral, for most important bases.
In addition to the combatant forces, there are also the Space Surveillance Command, which patrols inner space zones outside orbital ranges, and the Explorations Command, which deals with deep space explorations.
The history of the Barrayaran space forces divides into two major periods: the "Early Navy", a small force of spaceships, and the "Modern Navy", the result of a modernization effort that began in the middle 2880s.
Early years Edit
Although the first Barrayaran space crafts track back to the "rediscovery" years, when Emperor Dorca bought some Betan patrol scouts and army shuttles for orbital defence and surveillance, the military space history of Barrayar begins from the end of the Cetagandan Wars, in the 2850s, since the Dorca's space assets were all blown away by the very first Cetagandan vanguard. The Cetagandans, during the gradual withdrawal had left a considerable amount of ground vehicles and some space assets, among the old and battered ones, as well as the spacecrafts captured by Barrayarans during the final stages of the Wars. The Barrayaran Imperial Service space forces recognize 2857 as the year of its official establishment, when Emperor Yuri issued a resolution creating the Imperial Star Forces. These Imperial Star Forces, the real precursors of the Space Forces Command, were firstly built keeping as a model the same Cetagandan Navy. Among many changes, this included using traditional naval ranks for space-borne forces, even in the absence of a native-Barrayaran wet-navy tradition.
At beginning of Barrayaran space history, in the 2870s, the space navy was composed of some captured Cetagandan ships, and of some less advanced newly built Barrayaran ships. His Imperial Majesty's light cruiser "Revenant", a captured Cetagandan ship, was the first flagship Barrayar ever had, although old and battered and in need of repairs. She had better sensors than any Barrayaran-made ship had at the time. The main task of the small early space fleet was the wormhole patrol and the space-mines detection. The Cetagandan-built "Revenant" was the flagship of the Barrayaran space forces until 2881.
The main space unit, the Commodore Kanzian's Red Squadron, which the Revenant belonged to, in these years was assigned to Jump-point Five, the most external Jump-point under Barrayaran sovereignty, with the tasks of mine-clearing, guarding the shipping, anti-piracy patrols, fleet manoeuvres and training. The smart space-mines were the Cetagandan parting retaliation, blocking each jump-point from Barrayar to Komarr, in order to continue to bottle the Empire of Barrayar. The main task of the fleet was allowing at least a narrow shipping passage, in order to reduce the shipping tariffs by cutting down on the danger of bringing galactic goods to Barrayar.
In 2869 the Barrayaran space forces "White Squadron" captured a smuggler convoy which was attempting to avoid custom checks and inspections. The convoy consisted of two large cargo ships lightly armed and - most important - a new Betan Magneto-class survey ship, refitted for goods trafficking. While the cargo ships were refitted as large orbital weapon barges, the survey ship was disassembled and closely analysed, permitting to Barrayarans to build their first survey ship class, the Pathfinder Class.
The building years: from Betan period to Polan period Edit
From 2871, Emperor Ezar continued with reforms to industrialize and militarise Barrayar to prevent Galactic powers from invading again. On early 2871, the first space review on Barrayar was held before the Dorca Vorbarra Space Station, above Vorbarr Sultana, with six ships participating. The following year, in 2872, the Imperial Star Forces changed their name into Imperial Space Navy, absorbing orbital assets previously lent by Beta Colony.
In 2873, the new government drafted an ambitious plan to create a modern space navy, but shortly after it was abandoned due to lack of resources. In 2876 a brief but harsh war erupted against the last remaining Cetagandan stronghold around the control of jump-point 6: Barrayaran forces managed to capture an heavy frigate only lightly damaged, the "Celestial Swan", adding her to their fleet as "Dagger". During the 2870s and 2880s, the Imperial Space Navy remained a pure defence force, centred on the two large defence batteries on the Barrayaran moons, although Ezar's government continued to attempt to modernize it. The "Princess Ekaterin Vorbarra" was launched at Jester Shipyards, Beta Colony in 2872. In 2876, an Imperial decree determined that Cetagandan Navy should be the model for military development.
From late 2872 some Betan instructors were put in charge of gunnery practice. In 2873, the General Staff resolved to send 16 trainees abroad for training in space navigation sciences (20 to Beta Colony, 6 to Pol). A 50-member Betan military mission visited Barrayar in 2874 for two years, headed by Commander Andrew Bertie. Later, Commander John Williamson was hired in 2880 to train space forces cadets. Ships such as the "Emperor Dorca", "Prince General Xav" and "Count General Vordarian" were built in Betan shipyards specifically for the Imperial Space Navy. Private construction companies also emerged around this time.
A covert but steady arms race was taking place with Komarr, who began to equip itself with some warships and to hire mercenaries to guard jump-points.
In late 2880s, Barrayar flanked Pol to Beta Colony as military assistance partner, in order to build a large, modern fleet which could stand far away the homeland in the upcoming conflict. Barrayar was uneasy with being dependent only on Beta Colony, radically opposed to the autocratic way of rule.
The Polan doctrine favoured smaller and faster warships, especially cruisers and destroyers, against bigger units. The Ezar's government issued the first Space Expansion Plan in 2886, requesting and requiring the construction of 51 warships, of which 22 were to be destroyers, an approach which also attractive to the limited resources of Barrayar. In 2887, the leading Polan Navy engineer John K. Nightingale was hired for four years to reinforce the Barrayaran Navy and to direct the construction of the space arsenals of General Vorkraft Orbital Shipyards and Vortala Shipbuilding Industries Ltd, as well as to oversee the fortifications upgrade on the two moons. Altogether, Nightingale supervised the building of more than 25 units. They helped establish the first modern substantial space force of Barrayar. This period also allowed Barrayar to embrace the new technologies.
In preparation for war against Komarr, Barrayar turned again to Beta Colony, with the order of a massive dreadnought, the "Fatherland", in 2888, and with the purchase of the "Honour", the fastest battleship ever seen in that arm of Hegen Hub.
From the Komarran Conquest to the Escobaran War Edit
Barrayar continued the modernization of its navy. The Barrayaran-Komarran War was officially declared on Midsummer 2896, though some fighting had already taken place. Komarr had not any significant ally due its high tariffs. The Conquest of Komarr was planned and executed by Admiral Aral Vorkosigan. Komarr had hired the Selby Fleet for protection, but the Imperial Security disrupted employer-employee relations. After the surprise passing out of jump-points, the Barrayaran Navy captured the Komarran soletta as almost the first thing: this aided the psychological victory.
As a result of the conflict, Komarr was annexed to Barrayar. The Imperial Space Navy took possession of the vast shipyards and of the numerous ships owned by the Komarran government: a large part of these ships were refitted and adapted for military purposes. Following the War, the War Party was able to manage to continue in efforts to build up a strong national space industry.
Over the years, the importation of whole classes of ships was progressively substituted by local assembly, and then by complete local production, starting with the smallest ships to finish with whole battleships in the very latest years of the decade. In 2898 the Imperial Space Navy was renamed into Imperial Navy and uniforms were changed from black to wood green.
The Escobar War was fought between Escobar and Barrayar in 2899. It was an invasion by Barrayar and resulted in the blockading of the Escobaran wormholes and a failed attack on the planet. The Escobarans were aided by Tau Ceti and Beta Colony; the Betans gave particular help by providing the Escobarans with the brand-new technology plasma mirrors. Barrayaran losses were significant: six battleship and several cruisers were destroyed, most of surviving cruisers and battleships were heavily damaged and Betan aid was, naturally, cut to the end. Moreover, a significant part of the flag officers were killed during the landing attack.
Emperor Ezar's death and the subsequent civil war caused a minor attention paid to the Navy in its final years as separate Service within the Barrayaran military. The Navy kept itself out of the civil war: Admiral Knollys, the commander of Barrayar's space forces during the time of Vordarian's Pretendership, rather than step in and end the battle in favour of one of the candidates for the Regency, he sat back and waited for the fighting to resolve itself, and managed to keep watched all the wormholes.
The New Service Edit
The unified Imperial Military Service in its modern form (the "New Service") dates from the early years of Aral Vorkosigan's regency. In 2904, under the Aral Vorkosigan's Regency, the Imperial Navy, Royal Imperial Orbital Force and Imperial Army were amalgamated to form what is the Imperial Military Service, a single service under the Emperor and the Ministry of War. The controversial merger resulted in the abolition of the Imperial Navy as a separate legal entity. All personnel, ships, and vehicles became part of Space Forces Command (SPAFORCOM), an element of the Imperial Service formed in 2905 as part of the integration reorganization. Space stations and ship-borne spacecraft continued to be under SPAFORCOM command.
For many of the serving space personnel, the transition - giving up the old ensigns - was a very painful process: many Imperial Navy officers retired soon thereafter, as well as the cavalry did. The following years were devoted to the build-up of a strong space defence force, due to the brief but harsh space war against Cetagandans, occurred between 2903 and 2904. This led the Imperial Service to require massive military jump-stations, as well as several cruisers, but no battleship was commissioned.
The Komarran Revolt did not affect greatly the still-establishing Space Force Command, with the exception for some minor space clashes, where three lightly armed freighters, equipped by Komarran rebels, attacked the Barrayaran battleship "Invincible", at the time the Barrayaran flagship. Commander, Komarran Fleet Admiral Lord Dmitrij Vorlakial launched a series of bombings of melta bombs in the middle of the desert, in order to intimidate the civilian population and to induce them to withdrawn their support to rebel groups.
From the aftermaths of the Komarran Revolt to the War of Hagen Hub Edit
After the suppression of the harshest forms of revolt on Komarr, Barrayaran space assets underwent a period of calm, often accompanied by a decline of attention. In general terms, the new Space Forces Command assumed a defensive role, building up its static orbital and space defence facilities, although it maintained a "sailing" mobile force. Since 2905, however, the age of the SPAFORCOM had started to increase, while funding to innovation had started to decline until the 2920s. Operational activity was greatly reduced, due to both absence of significant threats and Barrayaran diplomatic isolation.
Following the unification, SPAFORCOM undertook several changes to its force structure. The few remaining battleships up to Nexus standard, HMS Invincible, HMS Glory and HMS Bonaventure, were slowly nearing the end of their service lives. In the mid of 2910s, it was decided to pay them off and not find an immediate replacement, instead focussing on the medium-term space forces renovation. The fleet was enhanced in 2915 with the addition of the thirty new Dagger-class destroyers. By the late-2910s, the navy was looking at new classes of battleships, cruisers and destroyers, in order to replace the ageing existing classes and to give to the Empire new strategic instruments to project its presence across the Nexus. Continuing the renewal path, 2920 saw the laying down of the HMS Prince Serg, head vessel of the new battleship class.
The gist of the War of the Hagen Hub was the Cetagandan aim to spread its control on the minor powers near the Hagen Hub, a useful and strategic Nexus crossroads. The Cetagandan aims stirred up the planetary governments that neighboured the Hub, causing them to become extremely suspicious of each other and to build up military resources in the Hub. The crisis situation led to the Hagen Hub Alliance, a mutual-defence pact between the Barrayaran Imperium and the planets Vervain, Aslund, and Pol. The affiliated powers - led by a Barrayaran space forces which was engaging a massive renovation work - defeated the Cetagandan forces.
The significant military victory (although not in a major war) allowed Barrayaran space forces to regain the military reputation previously enjoyed; this, in turn, permitted Barrayar to consolidate strategic cooperation and to achieve access to some vanguard military technology. The new deal was successfully exploited thanks to the favourable economic situation, and between 2921 and 2929 - the very late years of Aral Vorkosigan's dominance on the Barrayaran political scene - the Space Forces Command laid down several cruisers and HMS Prince Xav, the second starship of the Prince Serg class, in order to strengthen military presence around the Nexus. In the same years, the Empire started long and lasting military cruises, in order to "show the colours" and to prepare military escorts provided to Komarran merchant convoys and fleets. In 2929 a small flotilla of the Space Forces was overtly detached to the allied planet of Marilac in order to aid them after the failure of the Cetagandan invasion; however, important Barrayaran military space assets were covertly transferred to Marilacan resistance through Dendarii Free Mercenary Fleet. The military cooperation between Pol and Barrayar was renewed and, since 2964, joint space exercises had been held.
From the 2930s to early 2960s: economic and military growth Edit
Decades following the rebirth of the Barrayaran military and diplomatic activism were marked more by the consolidation of the Barrayaran presence and achievements rather than new jumps toward power and aggressive politics, also due to the attention granted to the internal economic and political situation. Following the avoided new (fourth) Cetagandan War in 2931, the Imperial Service was reorganized in its space assets under a more defensive structure. Space stations underwent extensive refits, and orbital defences were improved around every inhabited planet. In 2929, 2930 and in 2931 three other battleships were launched or released from refit shipyards: the HMS New Athens, the HMS Admiral Kanzian and the HMS Emperor Ezar. This improvement of the top-level spacecrafts coincided with launch of the general renovation of much of the ships of the line and of smaller vessels. This expansion trend lasted until late 2950s, i.e. until the economic growth phase ended.
From an organizational point of view, the traditional, relatively small fleets and squadrons acting independently and depending only on the central command started to be merged and amalgamated under greater formations, operating at a regional or sub-regional level, although these commands were not actually connected to the ground forces. The new pattern was successfully tested during the brief and almost quiet Polian War: the sub-regional immediate response plan worked well, also thanks to the external threat-role played by Admiral Elli Quinn, leading a vast mercenary coalition ostensibly hired by a third power. The mercenary coalition, which was the hearth of an enlarged Dendarii Fleet, was indeed raised and organised by the Imperial Security.
2960s and early 2970s: planet-based troubles and downgrading of importance Edit
The financial crunch and the following political/economic crisis and the subsequent social unrest determined the end of the space forces golden age and favoured the strengthening of ground forces and repression systems. During the troubled 2960s and early 2970s, the Space Forces Command undertook only ordinary space-faring activity, providing military escorts to trade convoys and carrying out systems defence and surveillance; alongside ordinary operations, a few large multilateral exercises were held, both in Barrayaran Space and abroad.
The Space forces continued their reorganization and reshuffled the space-based component commands, by organizing three System Regional Space Commands, the predecessor of current Regional Component Commands: differently from today commands, these structures were co-ordination and framework providing agencies, without actual operational powers.
Future developments Edit
As of 3003, the Space Forces Command faces an international - and therefore interstellar - situation which sees a growing instability quite far from Barrayaran borders, but within the expanding Barrayaran sphere of interests. This leads to a renewed need of deployment capability, as well as a projection capability. The future of the Space Forces is, as it is in every military in the Nexus, closely linked to the new strategic assets of foreign policy. There are three main tendencies suggested by think tanks associated to the Imperial Service, all advocating a growth of space assets:
- Panamera Project: this project involves the establishment of an additional fleet, to be assigned to the EXPRESCOM, made up of medium ships: beyond to the flagship and its battle group, the supposed Tenth Fleet would include only light cruisers, frigates and destroyers, organized in small flotillas, in order to provide a more widespread Barrayaran military presence, without excessively uneasing foreign powers with capital ships constantly passing through their star systems. The Panamera Project is supported by a foreign policy aiming to build up a solid net of friend or non-hostile partners across the Nexus in order to counter possible hostile actions by the Cetagandan Empire or other aggressive powers (other than Barrayar, of course). The Panamera Project is deemed to be fit with a defensive foreign policy.
- Pastura Project: this project aims to strengthen existing nine Numbered Fleets, introducing relatively few capital ships capable of independent missions. The aim is similar to that pursued by the Panamera Project, but relies more on the firepower of the single capital ship (heavy and/or battle cruisers) in order to let them operate alone in support of minor allies.
- Paladin Project: this project seeks for a massive space rearmament, in order to get the ability to both defend the Imperial borders and to launch a major attack (or at least a major support mission) at the same time. This project includes the establishment of an additional reserve fleet, consisting of several complete battle groups, as well as the construction of new military star-bases at jump points. The Paladin Project also requires the launching of battleships other than those commissioned independently the 3000s modernization programmes.
Space-borne Space Defence Phases Edit
The defence phases is an alert state used by the Barrayaran space-based assets. It prescribes five graduated levels of readiness for Barrayaran military spacecrafts, and increase in severity from Defence Phase BLUE (least severe) to Defence Phase BLACK (most severe). Space Defence Phases are a subsystem of a series of Defence Phases. Different branches of the Imperial Service usually are at the same level of Defence Phase at the same time. An upgrade in the military preparedness of is typically made by the Chief of Operations recommending a change to the Chief of General Staff. This military preparedness level is referred to as Defence Phases.
- Space Defence Phase BLUE: This is the condition used to designate normal peacetime operations. No abnormal activities are taking place at any time and all access is Defence Phase BLUE.
- Space Defence Phase YELLOW: This condition is called upon by the Regional Command when increased intelligence and security measures are taken, these should not be notable to outsiders and only minimally invasive.
- Space Defence Phase ORANGE: This refers to an increase to fleet readiness above normal. No shoreleaves are cancelled, but Service Security and Landing Forces personnel are to be armed and on heightened alert. Jump pilots are recalled on board.
- Space Defence Phase RED: At this condition all shoreleave is withdrawn and the fleet is gathering at pre-defined (classified) coordinates. All transmissions are now secured and no unauthorised ship movement is allowed.
- Space Defence Phase BLACK: This refers to maximum fleet readiness, all shoreleave is cancelled, and all personnel are requested and required to report to their designated battlestations on all ships and stations. It is reserved for imminent or ongoing attack on controlled sectors or outposts.
Escort system Edit
The Imperial Service provides military escort convoys to both Barrayaran and Komarran merchant fleets through the Nexus. The purposes of escorts on trade convoys are numerous. The stated goals include the protection from pirates and hijackers and the opportunity to gain experience scarcely less valuable than war games in the military manoeuvres. The economic positive effects allow merchants and traders to save money, because the trade fleets are now protected by Barrayaran military vessels so they don't have to pay mercenaries for their own security. It also provides a number of officers the opportunity to learn about the galactic cultures.
The presence of the military escort also allows the collection of a wealth of information, economic, political, social and military. In addition, the presence of the fleet enables political surveillance on merchants, mostly Komarrans.
The purely military function is to maintain a discreet armed presence around the Nexus, which in an emergency can quickly turn into a military threat, ready to intervene at strategic points. In case of escort systems, discipline and security are overseen by military officers detached on each ship, but actually enforced by civilian masters-at-arms.
Space Staff Edit
Although the Imperial Service is a fully unified operational command, SPAFORCOM retains important responsibilities about the majority of space-related issues, but with concern the logistics and transport. The Central Command of the Space Forces structure is centred around the Chief of Staff of Space Forces, who is part of the High Command.
Chief of Space Staff Edit
The Chief of Space Staff (CSS) is a post held by an Admiral in the Imperial Service, and is the most senior officer assigned to serve in the space-related issues. The Chief of Space Staff is an administrative position, and while the CSS does not have operational command authority over operational forces, the CSS exercises supervision of space-related organizations. The CSS reports directly to the Chief of General Staff for the command, utilization of resources and operating efficiency of the operating forces of the space forces and of the space forces landed activities. The CSS also designates personnel and resources to the commanders of Service Strategic Commands.
Space Surveillance Command Edit
The Space Surveillance Command is a military command within the Space Forces Command with a law enforcement capacity in a close similar capacity to the Internal Troops Command way. Among the primary responsibilities that are entrusted to the Command there are space search and rescue, enforcement of Barrayaran space transportation law, space vessels safety enforcement, patrols of the dead ending wormholes, maintenance of spacemarks and custom control.
The Command contributes to space defence, to ancillary services of Space Forces, applying the rules of interstellar law and the exercise of the military police, in assistance to the Service Security. The command also provides the technical expertise of the Imperial Service for embargo missions, through the control and inspection of merchant ships; as a result of international agreements, it can provide the technical tools for surveillance of the interior space of other countries.
During wartime, the command has additional responsibilities in harbour and spacedocks defence, port security (in co-operation with the Military Intelligence Service). The Command operates spaceships and minor spacecraft: most common types are fast couriers or other auxiliary vessels, although also some destroyers are employed.
Command's Officers roles Edit
Officers assigned to the Command have their own internal organization due to the distinct duties. When assigned, officers are appointed in the Space Surveillance Command in one of four branches, as either Line officer, Pilot officer or Law officers.
- Line officers: Line officers of the Command are assigned operational tasks, including command of weapons systems, navigation systems, crews and vessels. Command of ships can only be exercised by Line officers. Command of operations, and the safety of crew and ships is the primary responsibility of these officers.
- Pilot officers: Pilot officers may serve on bases (mainly orbital) at a Command Flight Station, or operate auxiliary spacecraft or interceptors from Space Surveillance Command ships.
- Law Officers: Law officers act as legal advisers to their respective commanders. They represent the Imperial Service in legal actions filed by or against the organization. There is one law officer posted in each Command's ships.
Internal organization Edit
The Space Surveillance Command operations are split into three regions: Barrayar Region head-quartered in Vorbarr Sultana, Komarr Region head-quartered in Solstice and the Sergyar Region head-quartered in Capital City. The Command is led by the Chief Command, who is an officer of the rank Vice Admiral. Each Space Surveillance Region is led by an Inspector, of the rank Rear Admiral.
Chief Command Edit
The Chief Command is the highest ranking officer of the Space Surveillance Command. Chief Command is responsible for the policy, planning and execution of the service. The functions of the Chief Coastguard are to co-ordinate four main tasks:
- to initiate and co-ordinate civil space search and rescue
- to ensure the public interest is fully taken into account when an accident to a ship might require salvage or other emergency action
- to maintain contingency plans for dealing with major space incidents within Barrayaran space
- to develop and promote a space travel safety and SAR Prevention strategy
Explorations Command Edit
The Explorations Command is a detachment of the Barrayaran space forces which works alongside the Minister of the West, primarily concerning itself with venturing into regions of space and charting them. It most notably was responsible for the exploration of Sergyar. The Command is currently undergoing a minor activity phase. In the early days of the space history of the Barrayaran Empire, exploration was primarily done by civilian or even private entities, but with the end of the First Cetagandan War, the Imperial Navy took the reins. The Explorations Command was created to fill the need for exploration. Composed primarily of industrial freighters and scientific vessels, with a light escort, the Command ventures in the uncharted space.
Thanks to powerful instruments, the existence of planets in orbit around a star are known prior to visitation. The Empire tends to look for planets in a specific order. If the planet's atmosphere shows signs of civilization, such as high levels of hydrocarbons or other signs of industrialization, it is considered a high priority target, mainly because this would mean that an uncharted wormhole leads to a Nexus power. Otherwise, it prioritizes systems with habitable terrestrial planets with signs of life, then systems with a large number of planets, and finally the systems closest to its borders. It rarely sees the need to investigate systems without planetary bodies.
The Explorations Command is led by a Rear Admiral, and is organized to report to (although it is not part of) the EXPRES Command. The Command has a dedicated Command Staff (headed by a Commodore), a Command School, and several flotillas. Each Flotilla consists of an old Destroyer, a fast courier, a pinnace jump-ship, a long range shuttle and of two to three scientific vessels; often, these vessels are relatively small in size and can land, but a larger scientific vessels always have a landing-capable shuttle.
Space Forces Barrayar (SPABAR) Edit
The Space Forces - Barrayar (SPABAR) is a space fleet command in the Imperial Service, also known as "Home Fleet". SPABAR area of responsibility includes the Barrayaran star system including the jump points in the wormholes. The command comprises the First and Ninth Fleets.
SPABAR is based at ISB Tanery Base, Barrayar. SPABAR Command is the sole command to operate intra-system defence crafts, which are not provided with Necklin jumpers, but equipped with extra armour and weapons: these vessels are therefore unable to jump and to use wormholes, but they are more manoeuvrable, fast, and armed than same category ships. In addition, SPABAR operates the massive defence points based on the two Barrayaran moons.
The commander of the SPABAR is Admiral Alexandr Vortaine. SPABAR is a component command of, and reports to, Barrayar Command (BARCOM). Under Alexandr Vortaine's command there are two numbered fleets: First Fleet and Ninth Fleet.
The organization attached directly to SPABAR is relatively small: it consists of the SPABAR staff, some security detached units, the Battle Station commands (including the two moon defence bases) and the HMS Admiral Vorkosigan battle group.
- SPABAR Commander
- Secretariat SPABAR
- SPABAR Fleet Orbital Depot (dependent on Logistic Command)
- SPABAR Staff HQ
- Service Security Liaison Officer
- HMS Admiral Vorkosigan Battle Group
First Fleet Edit
The First Fleet is led by Vice-Admiral Pjotr Vormoncrief and is composed of nine Task Forces, each led by a Rear Admiral, which are in turn composed of Task Groups, each led by a Commodore. First Fleet's primary area of responsibility is the immediate Barrayaran star system.
- First Fleet Command HQ
- First Fleet Staff
- First Fleet Staff Group 1: Explosive Ordnance Disposal
- First Fleet Staff Group 2: Logistics Support
- First Fleet Staff Group 3: Space Security (Force Protection of ground operations, as well as point defence of strategic platforms)
- TF-11 Commander Strike Force Barrayar
- TF-12 Logistics
- TF-13 Expeditionary Force
- TF-14 Mine Warfare Force
- TF-15 Patrol and Reconnaissance Force
- TF-16 Patrol and Reconnaissance Force
- TF-17 Patrol and Reconnaissance Force
- TF-18 Patrol and Reconnaissance Force
- TF-19 Patrol and Reconnaissance Force
Ninth Fleet Edit
The Ninth Fleet is led by Vice-Admiral Ivan Vorparadjis and is composed of twelve Task Forces, each led by a Rear Admiral, which are in turn composed of Task Groups, each led by a Commodore. Differently from First Fleet, Ninth Fleet has into its responsibility jump-points surveillance and wormholes patrolling; moreover, it can be requested to provide additional line forces.
- Ninth Fleet Command HQ
- Ninth Fleet Staff
- Ninth Fleet Staff Group 1: Explosive Ordnance Disposal
- Ninth Fleet Staff Group 2: Logistics Support
- Ninth Fleet Staff Group 3: Space Security (Force Protection of ground operations, as well as point defence of strategic platforms)
- Task Force 91: Battle Force (1 x Forward Strike Group)
- Task Force 92: Landing Force (1 x Expeditionary Strike Group; Expeditionary Strike Group Nine)
- Task Force 93: Mine Warfare Force
- Task Force 94: Mine Warfare Force
- Task Force 95: Patrol and Reconnaissance Force
- Task Force 96: Patrol and Reconnaissance Force
- Task Force 97: Expeditionary Force
- Task Force 98: Patrol and Reconnaissance Force
- Task Force 99: Patrol and Reconnaissance Force
- Task Force 910: Patrol and Reconnaissance Force
- Task Force 911: Patrol and Reconnaissance Force
- Task Force 912: Mine Warfare Force
Space Forces Komarr (SPAKOM) Edit
The Space Forces - Komarr (SPAKOM) is a space fleet command in the Imperial Service. SPAKOM area of responsibility includes the Komarran star system, including the Komarran-side jump points in the internal wormholes and all jump points in the external wormholes, with the exception of jump points towards Sergyar. The command comprises the Second, Fourth and Fifth Fleets. SPAKOM is by far the largest space formation within the Barrayaran military, and most elite and loyal units and formations are assigned to this command. it is to note that SPAKOM has three different roles: firstly, guarding Komarr against any independence revolt; secondly, defending Komarran galactic accession gate, from Pol and other Nexus powers whose attack directions hit directly and in their first instance the Komarran star system; thirdly, defending Komarr against any hypothetical threat coming from Sergyar.
SPAKOM is based at ISB Archangels, Vormoncrief District, Barrayar, although its Operational Head Quarters are based in Solstice, Solstice Sector, Komarr. The commander of the SPAKOM is Admiral Jean Vorvayne. SPAKOM is a component command of, and reports to, Komarr Command (KOMCOM). Under Jean Vorvayne's command there are three numbered fleets: Second, Fourth and Fifth Fleet. The organization attached directly to SPAKOM is relatively small: it consists of the SPAKOM staff, some security detached units, the Battle Station commands and the HMS Vorkosigan District battle group.
- SPAKOM Commander
- Secretariat SPAKOM
- Komarr Fleet Orbital Depot (serving both SPAKOM and EXPRESCOM; dependent on Logistic Command)
- SPAKOM Staff HQ
- Service Security Liaison Officer
- HMS Vorkosigan District Battle Group
Second Fleet Edit
The Second Fleet is the Barrayaran space permanent force operating deployed in the Komarran system, with units positioned all around the star system, and particularly to guard the inner jump-points. Therefore it is a key component force of the SPAKOM, representing the fulcrum around which the space security of Komarr is ensured. The Fleet has three major assignments:
- Patrolling of internal Komarran star system and cul-de-sac related systems;
- Defence, surveillance and guard of space installations within the Komarran star system jump-points;
- Defence of the Komarran star system.
The Second Fleet is led by Vice-Admiral Henry Vorgier and is composed of nine Task Forces, each led by a Rear Admiral, which are in turn composed of Task Groups, each led by a Commodore. Differently from the other stationary space formation, the First Fleet, the Second Fleet is more combat-oriented, due to the necessity to be permanently able to crack down any uprising or unrest, as well as any sudden enemy attack or raid.
- Second Fleet Command HQ
- Second Fleet Staff
- Second Fleet Staff Group 1: Explosive Ordnance Disposal
- Second Fleet Staff Group 2: Logistics Support
- Second Fleet Staff Group 3: Space Security (Force Protection of ground operations, as well as point defence of strategic platforms)
- Task Force 20: is the Battle Force of Second Fleet and is made up of two distinct components: Line Combatant Force 2nd Fleet, composed of cruisers and destroyers, and Battle Force Second Fleet, made up of a Emperor Dorca class battleship and its group.
- Task Force 21: fulfils the function of Command and Coordination Force, Second Fleet.
- Task Force 22: is the Patrol-Reconnaissance Force of the Second Fleet. It is mainly composed of interceptor aircraft and surveillance platforms.
Task Force 23: is 2nd Fleet's Logistics Force composed of supply ships and other fleet support vessels.
- Task Force 24: is the second front-line force, in charge for the immediate orbital defence of Komarr.
- Task Force 25: is the third front-line force and groups all battlegroups, cruisers and other capital ships that are not assigned as escorts to battlecruisers or battleships.
- Task Force 26: is mainly responsible for supporting landing operations. It is composed of units capable of delivering ship-to-land assault troops, such as landing assault ships, and landing craft.
- Task Force 27: is the 2nd Fleet Mine Clearance Force composed of mine countermeasure, mine hunter, and mine control ships.
- Task Force 28: is the security branch within the II Fleet.
- Task Force 29: is the Landing Force assigned to the fleet, consisting of several Landing command units and formations and their equipment. This Task Force is separate from the Landing Forces.
Fourth Fleet Edit
While the Second Fleet is tasked with the "stationary" surveillance of the Komarran system, the Fourth Fleet is tasked with the highly sensitive task of guarding the several jump-points leading to foreign planets. It is a relevant duty, because the Fourth Fleet faces not only relatively allied or friendly powers such as Pol and other minor Nexus powers, but also the dangerous and threatening planet of Rho Ceta, accession planet to the Cetagandan Empire: between Komarr and Rho Ceta there are only two jump-points.
In order to fulfil these duties, the Fourth Fleet has a slightly different organization: instead of being an highly centralized force, such as other Fleets, it is fractioned into six quasi-independent fighting forces, each tasked with a particular jump-point, wormhole, route or planet to guard. The "regional" subdivision, instead of a functional one, leads to the multiplication of staff and functional bodies, alongside a greater number of combat formations.
The Fourth Fleet is led by Vice-Admiral Dmitri Vormoncrief and is composed of six Battle Forces, each led by a Rear Admiral, which are in turn composed of Task Groups, each led by a Commodore.
- Fourth Fleet Command HQ
- Fourth Fleet Staff
- Fourth Fleet Staff Group 1: Explosive Ordnance Disposal
- Fourth Fleet Staff Group 2: Logistics Support
- Fourth Fleet Staff Group 3: Space Security (Force Protection of ground operations, as well as point defence of strategic platforms)
- Expeditionary Strike Group Four
- Fourth Fleet Battle Force 41 Command: in charge for the Rho Ceta border. It is the most elite "Force" within the Imperial Service.
- Staff Group 411: Explosive Ordnance Disposal
- Staff Group 412: Logistics Support
- Staff Group 413: Space Security (Force Protection of ground operations, as well as point defence of strategic platforms)
- Battle Force 4101: Mine Warfare Force
- Battle Force 4102: Patrol and Reconnaissance Force
- Battle Force 4103: Strike Force
- Battle Force 4104: Line Force
- Fourth Fleet Battle Force 42 Command
- Staff Group 421: Explosive Ordnance Disposal
- Staff Group 422: Logistics Support
- Staff Group 423: Space Security (Force Protection of ground operations, as well as point defence of strategic platforms)
- Battle Force 4201: Mine Warfare Force
- Battle Force 4202: Patrol and Reconnaissance Force
- Battle Force 4203: Strike Force
- Battle Force 4204: Line Force
- Fourth Fleet Battle Force 43 Command
- Staff Group 431: Explosive Ordnance Disposal
- Staff Group 432: Logistics Support
- Staff Group 433: Space Security (Force Protection of ground operations, as well as point defence of strategic platforms)
- Battle Force 4301: Mine Warfare Force
- Battle Force 4302: Patrol and Reconnaissance Force
- Battle Force 4303: Strike Force
- Battle Force 4304: Line Force
- Fourth Fleet Battle Force 44 Command
- Staff Group 441: Explosive Ordnance Disposal
- Staff Group 442: Logistics Support
- Staff Group 443: Space Security (Force Protection of ground operations, as well as point defence of strategic platforms)
- Battle Force 4401: Mine Warfare Force
- Battle Force 4402: Patrol and Reconnaissance Force
- Battle Force 4403: Strike Force
- Battle Force 4404: Line Force
- Fourth Fleet Battle Force 45 Command
- Staff Group 451: Explosive Ordnance Disposal
- Staff Group 452: Logistics Support
- Staff Group 453: Space Security (Force Protection of ground operations, as well as point defence of strategic platforms)
- Battle Force 4501: Mine Warfare Force
- Battle Force 4502: Patrol and Reconnaissance Force
- Battle Force 4503: Strike Force
- Battle Force 4504: Line Force
- Fourth Fleet Battle Force 46 Command
- Staff Group 461: Explosive Ordnance Disposal
- Staff Group 462: Logistics Support
- Staff Group 463: Space Security (Force Protection of ground operations, as well as point defence of strategic platforms)
- Battle Force 4601: Mine Warfare Force
- Battle Force 4602: Patrol and Reconnaissance Force
- Battle Force 4603: Strike Force
- Battle Force 4604: Line Force
Fifth Fleet Edit
The duty assigned to the Fifth Fleet is quite different from those assigned to both Second and Fourth Fleets. It consists, mainly, to guard and patrol jump-points, wormholes and normal space areas between Komarr and Sergyar. It is a quite pacific duty, although the Fleet may have to intervene to support either SPASER either Second or Fourth Fleet.
The Fifth Fleet is led by Vice-Admiral Nikon Vorkalloner and is composed of twelve Task Forces, each led by a Rear Admiral, which are in turn composed of Task Groups, each led by a Commodore. Fifth Fleet has into its responsibility jump-points surveillance and wormholes patrolling; moreover, it can be requested to provide additional line forces and is organized on the same basis of the Ninth Fleet, the other "mobile patrol" Fleet.
- Fifth Fleet Command HQ
- Fifth Fleet Staff
- Fifth Fleet Staff Group 1: Explosive Ordnance Disposal
- Fifth Fleet Staff Group 2: Logistics Support
- Fifth Fleet Staff Group 3: Space Security (Force Protection of ground operations, as well as point defence of strategic platforms)
- Task Force 51: Battle Force (1 x Forward Strike Group)
- Task Force 52: Battle (1 x Expeditionary Strike Group; Expeditionary Strike Group Five)
- Task Force 53: Mine Warfare Force
- Task Force 54: Mine Warfare Force
- Task Force 55: Patrol and Reconnaissance Force
- Task Force 56: Patrol and Reconnaissance Force
- Task Force 57: Expeditionary Force
- Task Force 58: Patrol and Reconnaissance Force
- Task Force 59: Patrol and Reconnaissance Force
- Task Force 510: Patrol and Reconnaissance Force
- Task Force 511: Patrol and Reconnaissance Force
- Task Force 512: Patrol and Reconnaissance Force
Space Forces Sergyar (SPASER)Edit
The Space Forces - Sergyar (SPASER) is a space fleet command in the Imperial Service. SPASER area of responsibility includes the Sergyaran star system, including the Sergyaran-side jump points of the wormholes connecting Sergyar to Komarr. The command comprises only the Third Fleet, being the smallest space formation within the Barrayaran military. SPASER has the main role of guarding external space (towards Escobar) against possible menaces and threats. Sergyar is strategically important because it is a link from Komarr to Escobar, and then Beta Colony. Therefore the surveillance is ensured by an entire Fleet, instead that by a smaller formation. SPASER is based at ISB Bosanklar, Vorpatril District, Barrayar, although its Operational Head Quarters are based in Capital City, Sergyar. The commander of the SPASER is Admiral Aral Vorberg. SPASER is a component command of, and reports to, Sergyar Command (SERCOM). Under Aral Vorberg's command there is only one numbered fleet, the Third Fleet. The organization attached directly to SPASER is relatively small: it consists of the SPASER staff, some security detached units, the Battle Station commands and the HMS Admiral Vorkalloner battle group. However, it is to note that, being the Third Fleet the sole fleet attached to SPASER, the staff of that Fleet carries out also most of duties of SPASER itself.
- SPASER Commander
- Secretariat SPASER
- SPASER Fleet Orbital Depot (dependent on Logistic Command for logistic operations)
- SPASER Staff HQ
- Service Security Liaison Officer
- HMS Admiral Vorkalloner Battle Group
Third Fleet Edit
The duty assigned to the Third Fleet is to patrol Sergyaran space and to guard both Sergyaran side of wormholes connecting Sergyar to Komarr and external wormholes, against possible menaces and threats coming from Escobar and, in perspective, from Beta Colony. The Fleet can rely on immediate support of Fifth Fleet, SPAKOM.
The Third Fleet is led by Vice-Admiral Nikolai Vorlaisner and is composed of twelve Task Forces, each led by a Rear Admiral, which are in turn composed of Task Groups, each led by a Commodore. Third Fleet has into its responsibility jump-points surveillance, wormholes patrolling and normal-space surveillance.
- Third Fleet Command HQ
- Third Fleet Staff
- SPASER Staff Support Unit
- Third Fleet Staff Group 1: Explosive Ordnance Disposal
- Third Fleet Staff Group 2: Logistics Support
- Third Fleet Staff Group 3: Space Security (Force Protection of ground operations, as well as point defence of strategic platforms)
- Task Force 31: Battle Force (1 x Forward Strike Group)
- Task Force 32: Battle Force (1 x Expeditionary Strike Group; Expeditionary Strike Group Three)
- Task Force 33: Mine Warfare Force
- Task Force 34: Mine Warfare Force
- Task Force 35: Patrol and Reconnaissance Force
- Task Force 36: Patrol and Reconnaissance Force
- Task Force 37: Patrol and Reconnaissance Force
- Task Force 38: Patrol and Reconnaissance Force
- Task Force 39: Patrol and Reconnaissance Force
- Task Force 310: Patrol and Reconnaissance Force
- Task Force 311: Patrol and Reconnaissance Force
- Task Force 312: Patrol and Reconnaissance Force
Expeditionary and Reserve Headquarters (EXPRES) Edit
The Expeditionary and Reserve Headquarters is the space branch - and the main component - of the Expeditionary and Reserve Force Command. The Command is located the Imperial Military Complex, in Solstice, Komarr, and is responsible for both the Naval Reserve Forces and for space forces sent across the wormhole nexus. Under EXPRES Headquarters there are three numbered Fleets: Sixth, Seventh and Eighth. It is keen to note that at least part of one fleet of EXPRES HQ is always deployed into the Komarran star system, as a reserve and rapid reaction force, according a rotation system.
EXPRES is the organization in charge of providing forces and resources to the escort fleets attached to the Komarran trading convoys. The commander of the EXPRES is Admiral Dmitri Vorventa. EXPRES is a component command of, and reports to, Expeditionary and Reserve Force Command: however, although EXPRES is one of the component commands of EXPRESCOM, it is by far the largest. Therefore, the Commander EXPRES is always also the Commander EXPRESCOM, though the two command structures are clearly distinct.
The organization of the EXPRES differs from that of the other commands, following the Barrayaran sectoral organization of the so-called outer space and presenting a totally unified command structure, keeping Numbered Fleets only for administrative duties.
The Nexus outside the Imperium of Barrayar is divided into three fleet zones known as the Segments. Every starship assigned to the EXPRES is assigned to one of these Segments, and falls under the command of the respective Vice-Admiral who commands all the space assets of that Segment. The operational spaceborne assets of an entire Segment are named after that division: all of the Imperial Service fleet assets in the Earth Segment are known as the Battle Fleet Earth, all the assets in the Marilac Segment are the Battle Fleet Marilac, and all the assets in the Rho Ceta Segment are the Battle Fleet Ceta. Within the Command, there are five Vice-Admirals: three command the Battle Fleet of each Segment, while the two remaining officers are in charge of reserve forces and of escort fleets. All Imperial shipping, civilian or military, is supervised within the jurisdiction of one of the three Segments. Each Segment has an orbital headquarters called a Segment Station, which forms the base of fleet operations within the Segment itself. It is to note that the Segment Battle Fleet is referred to the relevant Numbered Fleet.
Each Segment is divided into Sectors, regions of space that are the main and most important military subdivision for the Imperial Service and Imperial Security. These Sectors contain several Sub-sectors. The Imperial starships of each Segment are divided amongst the Sectors into further groups called Task Forces. These Task Forces are assigned the task of garrisoning the Sector they are assigned to, and each Battle Group is generally named after the Sector it protects (Task Force Hagen Hub is located in the Hagen Hub space, etc.) and commanded by an officer with the rank of Rear Admiral.
Sectors are further divided into Sub-sectors. Because Sub-sectors are astrographic divisions of worlds (rather than volumes of space) there are vast numbers of star systems within each sector which do not actually fall within a Sub-sector. These are formally referred to as Inter-sectors and are more commonly known as wilderness zones, forbidden zones or empty space. Inter-sector areas may contain gas or dust nebulae, inaccessible areas, unexplored star systems, uninhabited star systems and uninhabitable worlds.
Each Sector Battle Group is assigned a number of cruisers and battlecruisers. Each Sector Battle Group is also assigned multiple squadrons of escort starships, and is also in command of a large number of transports, fast couriers and Barrayaran sectors of space stations. The ships of a Battle Group constantly patrol their Sector and fulfil a variety of roles; protect Imperial merchant shipping from pirates and provide support for allied military, if requested to do so. Because of the vast volume of space that requires policing, a Sector Task Force is normally split into detachments called Battle Groups consisting of one or two cruisers, accompanied by an escort squadron. If a particular situation is more than one Battle Group can handle, additional detachments are sent in to reinforce.
Public Affairs Office Edit
The Public Affairs Office is the body within the Expeditionary and Reserve Headquarters serving for all Expeditionary and Reserve Force Command which is tasked with representing the Imperial Service and its interests to both foreign powers and domestic citizens abroad. Members of the Public Affairs Office are specialized and trained officers and enlisted personnel who are experienced in dealing with diplomats and the press. It operates under the strict guidance of the Imperial Diplomatic Corps and in close cooperation with the intelligence agencies.
The Chief of Public Affairs, a Vice-Admiral, is trained and experienced in both the arts of dealing with the press and other parties while also being a diplomat. In the duties he is the principle representative of the Imperial Service to Barrayaran diplomacy and is a direct advisor to the remaining senior staff. As head of the Public Affairs Office he is also responsible for ensuring training and discipline.
The most important position within the Public Affairs Office is the Diplomatic Officer; in every formation under the responsibility of the Expeditionary and Reserve Headquarters (from a destroyer to a Segment Command) there is at least one Diplomatic Officer. Diplomatic Officers have to be familiar with a variety of areas: history, religion, politics, economics, and military, and understand how they affect potential threats. He also must provide responsive legal and strategic services to his Commander. He is the chief expert in official functions as prescribed by protocol, and other tasks.
The Space Forces use an overall strategy of focusing on capital ship firepower rather than starfighter superiority.
- Command: An individual command, a single starship, is the building block. Achieving command of a starship, no matter its size, is a core point of pride in an officer's career. Ambitious officers sometimes turn down impressive staff promotions in the hopes of receiving a ship command, although serving as a staff officer on a prominent starship, such as a flagship, is often considered a fast track for promotion. A squadron is normally two ships of the same class, usually part of a larger command. The squadron is intended to increase the firepower/ability of a single ship to make success of the mission more probable. A division of ships is normally commanded by the senior Commander present.
- Battlegroup: A battlegroup is the smallest independent operational unit in the Space Forces. Composed by several starships, a battlegroup is commanded by a Commodore (or even by a Captain (Naval) if the group is composed only of minor spacecrafts). The Imperial order of battle designates three types of battlegroups: light, heavy and attack. Light groups patrol internal or secondary or safe areas; heavy groups engage external zones or which possess known enemy or hostile presences. Attack battlegroups are designed to be the first-line in a major attack.
- Task Force: A Task Force combined several groups under the command of a Rear Admiral. These combined forces are responsible for space actions across multiple strategic areas.
- Fleet: Where all previous units are generally bound to specific tasks, the Space Forces designate fleet as a "sector resource", allowing it to operate on a sector-wide scale (in non-Barrayaran space) or to be assigned to a part of an Imperial System's defence.
- Service Component Command: The Service Component Command is a command consisting of the Service component commander and all those Service forces, such as individuals, units, detachments, organizations, and installations under the command, including the support forces that have been assigned to the upper command, or further assigned to a subordinate unified commands or joint task forces.
Weapon and defence system Edit
Although still formidable, laser, matter and charged particle weapons are all useless against a modern warship because defence systems which are installed on major ships such as plasma mirrors, sword swallower shields and matter shields. The only weapon system which retains effectiveness is the Gravitic Implosion Technology, which may be hindered by apposite shield systems developed in latter decades of the XXX century, but it cannot be completely stopped and made useless. Weapons arrays on warships still include lasers, plasma, missile and charged particle weapons in order to deal with targets which do not carry such defences.
Battle stations Edit
A battle station is a term used for any space station armed for combat. A battle station is often defined as a combat spacecraft that uses its primary power generation facilities for combat purposes rather than propulsion. Battle stations are designed for various purposes, including defensive and offensive combat: they bulk up on shield generators, sensor systems, interceptors and evacuation transports, as well as weapons-batteries, anti-ship defences such as point-defence cannons. The main battle station hangars are often large enough to handle smaller ships in addition to the fighters and transports.
Battle stations are usually situated in orbit of a world and used for planetary defence or logistical support, as well as to guard a jump-point. Ground stations are built on or around asteroids and other small planetary objects.
The station commanders and high-ranking officers often had their own stylish dwellings and there was usually space for visiting diplomats. Travel on board the enclosed battle station is often done with turbo-lifts.
Within the Empire of Barrayar there are 40 major battle stations, including three Orbital Depots, and several minor military space installations. Battle stations are considered as Battle Groups, and are grouped into dedicated Battle Station Commands: each of them depends on the relevant Component Command (SPABAR, SPAKOM and SPASER) and are individually commanded by a Commodore each. Battle stations are deployed both at each wormhole end, and in intra-system positions in order to ensure the strategic defence of the star system critical points.
Out of 40 Battle Station command posts, only two are held by Vor officers; the remaining 38 posts are held by non-Vor officers due to a long standing tradition. This means that best non-Vor Colonels/Captains (Naval) are selected for battle group command posts, while noteworthy-but-not-so-outstandingly-brilliant officers are chosen for battle station command billets.
The names of ships are officially selected by the Emperor, often to honour important people or places. Additionally, each ship is given a letter-based hull classification symbol to indicate the vessel's type and number. All ships in the Imperial Service inventory are placed in the Vessel Register, which tracks data such as the current status of a ship, the date of its commissioning, and the date of its decommissioning.
The general tendency is of building massive 'door knocker' ships which have an high combat potential and the ability to deploy autonomous jump-travel, as opposed to the way of embarking armed vectors on a jumper. If the jump-capable ship is outnumbered, it and the ships that follow it can always jump back home if they're lucky, while jump-incapable carried vectors cannot do the same if the carrier is destroyed or damaged. However, the reluctance to employ heavy armed jump-incapable vectors apply only to ship-sized crafts, while starfighters, assault shuttles and interceptors are largely employed.
A battleship is a large warship with a main battery consisting of heavy weapons. Battleships are larger, better armed and armoured than cruisers and destroyers but pay fewer attention to speed; battleships drive systems are extremely advanced, being Necklin complex-imagery drives. Battleships are a symbol of space dominance and national might, and are a major factor in both diplomacy and military strategy. Battleships are long-term deployments: this means that a large segment of these ships are dedicated to living and accommodation. The battleship’s capacity for logistical support, long-term spaces and heavy weapons make these spacecraft rather large.
The Imperial Service currently deploys 15 battleships and a museum-ship, the HMS Prince Serg. A battleship is mostly deployed along with a host of additional vessels, forming a battlegroup. The supporting ships, which usually include three or four cruisers, a frigate, and two attack destroyers or corvettes, are tasked with protecting the battleship from threats as well as providing additional strike capabilities themselves. Ready logistics support for the group is provided by a supply ship, while the tactical support is provided by two or more fast couriers.
The main peacetime task of a battleship, with the severe exception of major commands flagships, is to lead the escort convoys protecting the Komarran trade fleets. During wartime, a battleship can perform three main tasks: leading a space squad/flotilla in autonomous tactical or strategic actions, operating without any other support or forming a narrow battlegroup with other battleships or battlecruisers.
In active service there are three main classes:
- Prince Serg class: the class is the oldest still in service, being in service since 2920, at the time of Hagen Hub Crisis. The Prince Serg class is one of the classes who ended and crowned the great renovation of the Barrayaran military under Count Aral Vorkosigan's rule, replacing older and slower dreadnoughts. Currently there is only one starship of this class still in commission, the HMS Prince Xav, assigned to ceremonial roles. At the time of its launching, and still for 20 years, the Prince Serg-class was designed with diplomacy as well as war in mind, a ship fit to carry the Emperor on state visits without loss of military efficiency: the class mounts the biggest, longest ranged Grav Imploder Lances capable to be gained around 2920s. In later decades weaponry of each ship was repeatedly upgraded, until the launch of Admiral Vorkosigan class, in late 2980s, which replaced the Prince Serg class.
- Emperor Dorca class: the Emperor Dorca class is the most numerous battleship class currently serving the Barrayaran space instrument. All Numbered Fleet flagships are Emperor Dorca class battleships. The Imperial Service has 10 battleship of this class in commission:
- HMS Emperor Dorca, HMS Vorbarra District, HMS Imperium, HMS Emperor Ezar, HMS Armsman, HMS Midwinter, HMS Admiral Kanzian, HMS Admiral Vorrutyer, HMS Vordarian District, HMS Captain Illyan.
- Admiral Vorkosigan class: the class is the newest battleship class and it is scheduled to reach ten battleships prior the 3015. All command (SPABAR, SPAKOM, SPASER, EXPRES) flagships are Admiral Vorkosigan class battleships. Vorkosigan-class battleships are built according the same intent used for the Prince Serg-class, i.e. having both diplomacy and combat in mind: in order to achieve such a result, these ships have advanced diplomatic capabilities; they have enough quarters to house 50 diplomatic guests, at 250 square metres each, a conference hall complex for 300 guests, a 40 seat briefing room, 50 independent communications facilities. Currently there are 4 ship of this class in commission:
- HMS Admiral Vorkosigan (SPABAR), HMS Vorkosigan District (SPAKOM), HMS Admiral Vorkalloner (SPASER), HMS Admiral Valentine (EXPRES).
Ships of this size are also extremely expensive to operate. As a result, the few battleships are typically reserved as commanding admirals' flagships. Battleships are typically kept out of active duty during peacetime and only sent to first line during times of conflict. Spending time in ordinary could considerably extend a battleship's lifespan. Generally, the experience and service records of crew assigned to battleships vary. Nevertheless, serving aboard a battleship is usually considered an honour and a prestigious opportunity, and as such any inexperienced or rookie crew members assigned to the core ship systems tend to be either naturally skilful or superior to their peers, or simply better connected.
Battlecruisers are large capital ships closely linked to battleships. They are similar in size and cost to a battleship, but battlecruisers sacrifice armour protection in exchange for higher speed; battlecruisers are also the largest warships to being optimized for Necklin simple-imagery drive systems.
The Imperial Service currently deploys 35 battlecruisers in active service, in addition to 23 older ships in reserve. In peacetime, the battlecruiser is principally used to provide the flagship to escort convoys spread through the Nexus or to squads patrolling the wormholes between Barrayar and Komarr, between Komarr and Sergyar and between Komarr and the permitted wormholes towards the Hagen Hub, replacing battleships, although the battlecruisers can also be employed alone. In wartime, the battlecruisers are used as fast and hard-hitting addition to a battleship battle group or to form battlecruisers-only battle groups.
- General Vorkosigan Class (7 ships)
- Emerald Class (7 ships)
- Black Reach Class (10 ships)
- Vorbarr Sultana Class (11 ships)
Battlecruisers have all some limited diplomatic facilities, in order to provide a comfortable housing to diplomats: they are usually equipped with a dedicated diplomatic section, consisting of 5 quarters at 50 square metres each, a conference hall complexes for 30 guests and a 15 seat briefing room. Battlecruisers are heavy battleships, and it is rare the presence of more than four or five such ships from a single power in a foreign star system at the same time.
Vorbarr Sultana class battlecruiser Edit
The Vorbarr Sultana class is one of the very new Barrayaran classes which are heavily biased toward the combat-support role. The ships carry an extremely heavy armament. An unusual feature of the Vorbarr Sultana Class is the hangar bay arrangements. There are two large shuttle bays in the front section, one at the forward edge and one almost at the middle of the hull. These are linked together through the centre of the ship, allowing large numbers of launch and landing operations to be handled simultaneously. During combat operations these ships often serve as fighter/interceptor carriers; in this role they can carry up to one hundred attack fighters, although a load of thirty six fighters and a dozen utility craft is more usual.
Heavy weapons of this class include the standard plasma cannons set, as well as a powerful array of combined maser and gravitic imploder pulse cannons. Defence systems of the Vorbarr Sultana class are the standard shield system, for a total capacity of almost 2 millions TeraSutt, i.e. almost 2 billions TeraJoules. As physical armour there is the standard Plast-steel hull.
A cruiser is a mid-sized warship size, smaller than a battleship or a battlecruiser, but larger than a destroyer or a frigate. Given their size, large enough to be battle-worthy and at the same time still manoeuvrable, the role of cruisers varies greatly according to ship and context, often including escort, group patrol, independent missions, commerce raiding and orbital assault. Although cruiser do not possess the autonomy level of battleships, these spacecrafts are capable of prolonged deployments in deep space. An average cruiser has a crew of about 180, including some security teams. Rapid response and garrison cruisers tend to utilize a smaller crew (usually 80-90), using only the crew needed to fulfil its primary function and few others. These crews tend to be gunners, engineers, and navigators, with command staff as needed; on the other hand, long-range patrol ships tend to carry more crew to fill other functions, to ease rotations, and cover for cases of sickness or injury. Often, Mount Eyesore Class light cruisers are assigned to flotilla leader roles.
The Imperial Service operates 135 cruisers in active service, in addition to 83 older ships in reserve: the newest class is Seligrad Class, currently operating only two vessels: HMS Seligrad and HMS Star River.
- General Vorhartung Class Refit (3 ships)
- Dendarii Class (67 ships)
- General Pierre Vorrutyer (51 ships)
- Mount Eyesore Class (12 ships)
- Seligrad Class (2 ships)
Newer classes are part of the new belief that smaller, faster, more maneuverable starships are needed to better serve Barrayaran military needs. Many rookie crews are assigned to work cruisers.
In Barrayaran terminology, a destroyer is a fast and maneuverable yet long-endurance warship designed to provide escort to capital ships in a larger fleet. However, a destroyer is also capable of independent operations, such as secondary space and wormhole patrolling: such ships were designated as Frigates until 2980s. Generally, destroyers have a crew significantly smaller than cruisers (40-60), with the ship’s quarters designed to accommodate half of the required personnel. Officers share their cabins in rotation, though the captain has their own quarters, as per tradition.. Fleet destroyers operate in support of battle groups, line action and replenishment groups, often led by Mount Eyesore Class light cruisers.
The Imperial Service operates 530 destroyers in active service, in addition to 120 older ships in reserve: therefore, destroyers are the largest part of the Barrayaran space forces. There are only four destroyer classes, with the Shining Class being quite old and the Buzzard Class its intended replacement.
- Solstice Class (130 ships)
- Shining Class (202 ships)
- Buran Class (152 ships)
- Buzzard Class (40 ships)
As destroyers are built for combat, there is little need for additional capacity for passengers and diplomatic facilities. As with frigates, only experienced or highly-trained crew are enlisted onto destroyers.
Buzzard Class heavy attacks destroyer Edit
Heavy attacks destroyers, commonly nicknamed "gunships", are spacecrafts designed to perform a limited and very specialized military role, i.e. attacks and assaults against heavily defended battleships or battle stations, although if necessary such vessels can perform escort duty. While having defences/weapons arrays comparable to the battlecruiser or even to battleship's ones, a "gunship" has a far greater manoeuvrability, although it has none of the auxiliary scientific or diplomatic facilities which capital vessels usually have or may equipped with. Such ships are designed around massive firepower and survivability and utilize redundant systems in order to improve their capability to receive fire: all individual craft systems and functions are to have backups in the case of failure.
Due to the high manoeuvrability, the reduced required crew and their small size, they are classed as a destroyer variant, although they are significantly faster than true destroyers and have a smaller crew (usually up to 30); however, gunships are still slower than fast couriers. An additional ability of the newest gunship classes is atmospheric entry and landing: they can enter planetary atmospheres with impunity.
Heavy attacks destroyers or equivalent ships have always been present within the Barrayaran fleet, since its modern beginnings, also due to the need to save resources and materials. Since last years of the XXIX century, a new attention has been paid to the gunships concept, because the minor political cost to obtain the passage rights from foreign powers. Gunships are normally found operating in small hunter packs without an heavier (and slower) flagship, although, due to their size and relative autonomy, their strategic role is a strictly defensive one.
Currently, the Imperial Service operates 40 Heavy Attacks Destroyers, of the newly launched Buzzard Class. The Buzzard Class was initiated in late 2980 as a test bench programme and was successfully implemented in order to provide a fast-and-hard response to any threat had surpassed jump-points. The design incorporates several new weapons concepts, including the gravitic implosion pulse cannons, as well still powerful weapons, such as maser cannons. The design is aimed to produce a small, tough, simple to build vessel packing the maximum possible level of firepower. The Buzzard Class is a compact and boxy ship, and the central body is a three deck block with the a single deck bridge mounted on the top; wormhole Necklin rods are mounted on the central body's sides. Although not an especially fast ship by contemporary standards, the Buzzard Class is far more manoeuvrable than any vessel of comparable size at both wormhole and normal space travel, and she is the smallest ship to be designed for Necklin simple-imagery drive systems. This, combined with her resistance and with the high level of firepower, makes the ship a significant fighter vessel.
The armament of the Buzzard Class gunship is very impressive for a ship of her size: one maser cannon (front), two batteries of gravitic pulse cannons (two cannons each, rear and front), which are the direct evolution of the gravitic lances, two plasma cannons (front) and four torpedo tubes, capable to fire advanced nuclear missiles and space mines to crush enemy shields. Also the defence systems are designed only for high-intensity combat: the standard system is replaced by an auto-modulated shield, overpowering medium cruisers.
Fast couriers and other auxiliary vessels Edit
The very fastest jumpships are the auxiliary vessels as couriers, heavy interceptors, scouts and pinnaces, which are used to perform a quietly wide array of purposes. To avoid that sensitive or relevant material and documents have the risks of being de-scrambled by others, which is a risk when messages are sent on coded beam-communications, and do not want them sent by a slow freighter either. In most cases fast couriers and jump-pinnaces are small spacecrafts, with very cramped quarters and living spaces, much faster than most cargo ships and fairly heavily armed. Unlike other types of ships, fast couriers and scouts are used mainly by the Imperial Security, in order to move diplomatic documents or field agents; however also the Space Forces Command deploys them in a large number, to operate as perimeter wardens.
Some couriers can also take off and land like shuttles, for maximum speed in getting from one planetary surface to another. A courier (or "Fast Courier" as it is named by the official military designation) can outrun any other warship; if taken by surprise, it has a good chance of surviving an hit or even two. Fast couriers are 3-crew ships, designed to carry very few passengers: most classes have only one passenger room and the wardroom is little more than a lobby between the commander's room and the guest's one. An average fast courier can make a 2 AU run in roughly 15 hours.
Sinuous-class fast courier Edit
The Sinuous class enhanced fast courier was born in 2994, when the project managers were appointed to develop a fast courier that would meet the technical requirements current. The result was a ship that departs from the traditional requirements for a fast courier, being slightly slower and slightly armed, but nevertheless manages to fulfil the typical functions of the category. This class has two decks, with an ordinary crew of 15. The generator is based on M/AM technology, and feeds all major systems. The secondary systems are also powered by the base generator, and have dedicated generators. The Sinuous class, unlike the other classes of fast courier, can perform operations not only in low orbit, but also in atmosphere. Defensive systems are slightly heavier than those of a fast courier: in addition to energy (plasma mirror and laser swallower) and mass shields, a Sinuous-class fast courier is equipped with MS-500 shields, able to offer limited protection against gravitic lances; offensive systems consist mainly of a high-power plasma cannon. The wardroom (deck 1) can be configured as a stellar cartography section. Crew quarters are small and functional: the commander has a studio with a bath cabin, while the other crewmen have rooms for two people with a bath cabin. The eight quarters are mainly on deck 2 and in part on the deck 1.
STR-704 type freighter Edit
STR-704 type freighters are the most used mass cargo vessel within the Imperial Service. Only a small fraction of these is operated by commands reporting to the Space Forces Command, being the favourite vector of both Logistic Command and Transportations Command. The Imperial Service as a whole operates more than 1,200 STR-704 type freighters in order to supply operational space assets. Such freighters are ordinarily unarmed, although they can be easily equipped with some heavy weapons. STR-704 type freighters are appreciated for their speed abilities, which are significantly higher than those of similarly sized freighters and cargoes.
Differently from the warship typical outline, it is squat and relatively compact, like most of freighters or cargo ships. The unmodified STR-704 type freighter is a bundle of nine huge parallel cylinders: the central-most devoted to personnel and weapons systems, six of the outer eight are devoted to freight. The remaining two nacelles, opposite each other in the outer ring, house the ship's Necklin rods. Normal-space engines are housed behind, linked to the central cylinder, while mass deflector shield are located in front of the same cylinder. The STR-704 can rotate around its central axis to bring each outer cylinder in order to align with the lock for loading or unloading of containers.
ETR-560 type freighter Edit
ETR-560 type freighters are used as general purpose cargo carriers, used both civilian and military fleets. It is a modular design, with a power system and normal space engines in a rear section and the crew quarters, computer systems and bridge in the front section, just behind mass deflectors. Necklin rods are located just under the main hull. Between the two sections of the main hull is anything from one to five cargo sections, each of which carries ten storage pods. The standard pod is capable of carrying normal cargo items, but pods designed for bulk ores, liquids, and frozen items are also available. Front and rear sections are connected by a relatively thin central spine; in order to fit with the modular design, each cargo pod has a spine module built in, to enable the plugging of several modules.
Although most cargo vessels are unarmed, they can be equipped with a relatively light plasma weaponry in order to defend against low intensity threats such as mercenaries, pirates and raiders; however ETR-560 type freighters are not expected to go beyond the Barrayaran borders outside merchant convoys. The ship has only light shielding and no armour of any kind. The ETR-560 type freighter has been out of production since late 2980s, and over two thousand remain in service.
Ship naming conventions Edit
The Imperial Service uses the following convention for spaceship naming. In the Imperial Service a class is always named after the lead ship, that is, the first ship of the class to be approved by the Council of Counts. The lead ship or class leader is the first of a series or class of ships all constructed according to the same general design.
The lead ship almost always has the lowest hull number of her class.
Barrayaran battleships are named after:
- Ground and Space Battles
Barrayaran cruisers are named after
- Mythical figures
Barrayaran destroyers are named after:
- Birds of prey
- Fish or sea animals
- Komarran major cities
Fast couriers and auxiliary vessels Edit
Barrayaran fast couriers and major auxiliary vessels are named after:
- Ocean currents
- Komarran and Barrayaran minor cities
- Smaller birds of prey
Minor auxiliary crafts are identified by an hull number.
Ship launching Edit
The Ceremonial ship launching is the process of transferring a vessel to the space deeps. On Barrayar, the tradition has been absorbed by other space powers, as well as by ancient naval traditions. If the launched ship is at least a destroyer, it is a public celebration and a solemn blessing. Ship launching involves many superstitions intended to invite good luck, such as christening by breaking a sacrificial bottle of precious win (or other precious alcoholic beverage) over the hull as the ship is named aloud and formally launched.
A godfather for the new ship presents a godmother with a bouquet of flowers as both said the ship's name before the guests. Usually, the godparents are an high ranking officer and his spouse, but, if the ship construction involved Vors or other civilians, they may be invited to be the godparents along their spouses. Godfathers of major warships are customarily members of the Imperial family.
Following the formal saying of the ship's name, the master shipbuilder traditionally presents the crafting of a special axe for the new vessel; and after the launching ceremony, he present the axe to the vessel's first commander as a commemorative gift. The axe is used to cut the rope which tethers the wine bottle to the place where it is kept before being launched onto the ship.
The launching, especially if the ship is a battleship or a battlecruiser, is shown live, and usually a great concourse of people is assembled in city squares, at least on Barrayar and Sergyar. On Komarr, large crowds assemble only in largest cities, while in minor domes there is a great interest only if the ship has been built in the local shipyard. In addition to the ceremonial breaking of a wine bottle on the hull, the godfather remains in contact with the ship's crew and is involved in special events such as homecomings.
Ships operate for months, sometimes years, out of communication with home. A Captain is personally responsible for every nut, bolt, and person aboard. He is responsible for maintenance, training, condition, survival, of the vessel. Thus, the ship is the heart of the spaceborne craft, and the Captain and his command staff are the nerve centre of the entity. A space craft is often dubbed as a city-state, sufficient unto itself, capable of performing varied missions. Therefore, each rank carries out its own very specific responsibilities.
|Rank||Small craft (Fast couriers et sim.)||Minor vessels||
|Numbered Fleets||Component Fleet|
|Ensign||Departmental head||Assistant departmental head||Member of department|
|Lieutenant||Command||Departmental head||Assistant departmental head||Member of department|
|Command||Departmental head||Assistant departmental head||Member of department|
|Commander||Command||Departmental head||Assistant departmental head||Member of department|
|Captain (Naval)||Command||Chief of Staff||Departmental head||Assistant departmental head||Member of department|
|Commodore||-||Command||Chief of Staff||Departmental head||Assistant departmental head|
|Rear Admiral||-||Command||Chief of staff||Departmental head|
|Vice Admiral||-||Command||Chief of Staff|
Internal ship subdivision Edit
A chain of command is maintained on-board each vessel, depending on its size and purpose, and it involves the warrant officers, the non commissioned officers and the other, enlisted ranks, which have relevance only within a ship-related system. Generally the ship is divided up into functional units:
- Work centre: the Work Centre is a group of sailors that concentrate on one specific operation or piece of equipment that they maintain and practice with. Within an Auxiliaries division, there may be work centres that deal with Air Conditioning, Water Distilling, Steering Gear, etc. It depends entirely on the equipment installed and the role of the ship. The commander ranges from an experienced sailor to a senior enlisted.
- Division: the Division is a group of sailors devoted to one specific aspect of the ship's operations, with a warrant officer or senior enlisted for leadership. For example, within an Engineering department there may be divisions devoted to Main Propulsion, Electrical, Auxiliaries, or Repair. The commander depends heavily on size, but usually led by a Warrant Officer.
- Department: the Department is a portion of the ship's officers and crew devoted to a particular broad aspect of the ship's operations, such as Engineering, Combat Systems, Operations, Weapons, Supply, etc as per the ship's role. The commander is, depending on size, from an Ensign all the way to a Commander on very large ships. An exception is the Command Staff, which is considered to be a Ship Department: the Command Staff is headed by the ship commander.
Barrayaran ships use the Barrayaran day. The 1,602 minutes-long day is therefore divided into 9 watches, each lasting 178 minutes. The nine watches are grouped into three duty sections. The first officer is responsible for creating the "watch bill" for all crew members. This is a document specifying the watch rotation for the crew, it tells the crew who has to be where and when. The Ship Watch bill is composed of department watch bills created by the department heads. There is a different watch bill depending upon whether the ship is in space or on a planet.
Command Staff Edit
The Command Staff is administratively considered to be the main and foremost of the Ship Departments; it is tasked with overall, tactical and strategic ship management. The head of the Command Staff is the ship commander or, in case of a flagship, the ship's Executive Officer. The Department is also the less numerous department on board of a ship, including two to three Officers and an handful of troops (up to five).
Commanding officer Edit
The commanding officer is the officer in command of a space vessel. The Commanding officer has ultimate authority over the spacecraft, and is given wide latitude to run the unit as he sees fit, within the bounds of military law. In this respect, commanding officer has significant responsibilities (for example, the use of force, finances, equipment), duties (to higher authority, mission effectiveness, duty of care to personnel) and powers (for example, discipline and punishment of personnel within certain limits of military law).
"Commanding Officer" is the official title of the commander of any ship, unit or installation. However, they are referred to as "the Captain" no matter what their actual rank, or informally as "Skipper". If the spacecraft is a flagship, he is referred to as "Executive Officer", the nominal commander being the flag officer.
A captain is the space officer in ultimate command of the vessel. The captain is responsible for its safe and efficient operation, navigation, crew management and ensuring that the vessel complies with military law. All persons on board, including officers and crew, other shipboard staff members, guests and pilots, are under the captain's authority and are his ultimate responsibility. The captain commands and manages all ship's personnel, and is in charge of the ship's accounting, payrolls, and inventories. The captain is responsible for maintaining the ship's certificates and documentation and for compliance with the vessel's security plan. The captain is responsible for responding to and reporting in case of accidents and incidents, and in case of injuries and illness among the ship's crew and passengers. Among ship commanders, there is a clear, albeit unwritten, hierarchy; the top is held by battlecruisers and battleships commanders, who are considered holding the most prestigious and desirable appointments. Battlecruisers commanders vary in their background and experience, with former battleship captains filling in for particularly slow battlecruisers in a sort of demotion, while more agile vessels may require captains with experience in the command of smaller vessels.
Commanders on battleships need extensive experience in managing large volumes of personnel. While it is perfectly possible to defer duties and responsibilities down the very large chain-of-command, only few commanders can survive under the pressure of the survival of several thousand people. Command of a battleship is almost compulsory for ascension to flag rank, and also alone it is considered a desirable end of a quite successful military career.
Ship commanders, assuming their commands, receive the "Navigation Letters Patent", an official commission of the Emperor to operate a Barrayaran spacecraft in space.
A Ship commander, who is also formally the head of the command department, is assisted by a low-ranking soldier as Yeoman, charged of clerical or menial works. It is to note that the Yeoman is not the Commander's aide-de-camp, even if the nominal commander is an Admiral.
First Officer Edit
The title of First Officer is formally used in the Imperial Service: he is responsible for the management of day-to-day activities, such as maintenance and logistics, freeing the commander to concentrate on tactical planning and execution and ensuring the orders from the CO is carried out by the crew. The First Officer also takes charge in the absence of the Commanding Officer. While the experience gained as First Officer is highly beneficial for an officer's professional development, it is not a necessary prerequisite for a command position.
Second Officer Edit
The Second Officer is responsible for taking command of the spacecraft when both the Commanding Officer and First Officer are off-duty, incapacitated, or otherwise unable. He is often a department head (while on battlecruisers, battleships and Space stations he is a distinct officer), and thus is much less involved in the duties required of day-to-day command.
Mission Assistant Edit
The Mission Assistant advises the Commander on mission-specific areas of importance. Many times, the Mission Assistant is a member of the Imperial Service, but it may be a member of another security organization, a civilian or even a foreigner. The Mission Assistant often knows just as much about the mission as the Commander and First Officer do, if not even more. He (or she) also performs mission-specific tasks, and can take on any roles that a mission requires him (or her) to do.
The Security issue is handled by Service Security personnel. The Master-at-Arms is one of the most important positions of the ship, and he is one of the senior officers. The Master-at-Arms has direct control of all Service Security troops on the ship, and manages the assignment of officers during a crisis. He is the manager during the intrusion alarms and investigates the possible crimes committed on the ship. It is also a reserve officer that can be used to help with the damage control, evacuation, etc. The Master-at-Arms is assisted by the Chief of Ship (or Station) Security. Because Service Security is a task which while aboard deals also with ship security, there is a fair deal of rivalry between Service Security and Landing Forces personnel; at in-ship martial arts or hand-to-hand fight tournaments, customarily the opening fight is between soldiers of Service Security and Landing Forces. A Security Department on a quite large ship usually consists of about 25 Service Security soldiers.
There are several Service Security soldiers aboard each vessel. They are assigned to their duties by the Master-at-Arms and mostly guard sensitive areas (mainly computer core, engines and weapons bays), protect people (mainly the Commander and the Political Officer), patrol (mainly during alerts), and handle other threats as well as guard and manage prisoners or confined soldiers.
Security station Edit
The Security station is the Service security complex within a ship or a space station. According the ship's or station's size, it can be as simple as a post manned by a single Service Security officer to an office that allows Service Security to monitor a certain area, control access, or even provide fast response teams. It also makes Security readily available to the crew. A large space station can literally have dozens of security stations about its decks. Usually such posts are located near areas requiring limited access, such as the computer core, weapons bays, and the Tactical Centre. If dignitaries are aboard, Service Security may establish a post near the VIP/Guest Quarters.
Besides controlling its detached posts through the ship or the space station, a Security Station also has some central facilities, such as armoury, the ship prison and offices and interrogation rooms.
The Armoury is the main storage and distribution area of weapons on a vessel or space station. It is the second most-heavily guarded room on board any vessel or station as access to weapons must be monitored at all time. Aboard large vessels or space stations, there are several armouries, dispersed throughout so there is easy access to weapons in case of emergency. Armouries are controlled by the Master-at-Arms, as well as a small team of Service Security Troops. They ensure that access to the armoury is restricted to authorised personnel and that weapons are properly functioning and maintained. Every armoury will contain Plasma hand guns, arcs and rifles, Laser hand guns, nerve disruptor handguns and rifles, plasma automated guns, projectile and particles rifles, additional energy cells and maintenance packs for weapons. A separate armoury exists for landing forces, if present.
The interrogation room is a large room aboard larger classes of ships that can be used for interrogations and hearings. The usual layout of the room features a circular raised riser with a single chair were the accused would be questioned; however, if needed, the layout may be adapted for tougher methods.
Ship Operations Edit
The Ship Operations Department maintains the ship's physical functionality through routine monitoring and repair of the M/AM reactors, thrusters, computer, tractor beams, transporters, weapons, deflector array, sensors and probes, the hull, life support and anything else that it is possible to be fixed. The Department is also in charge for prioritising resource allocation among departments and functions, including hardware and supplies, as well as handling large-scale repairs, and ensuring that the crew has the correct equipment to do their jobs. The Chief of Engineering and Operations (usually shortened as CEO) is a senior officer, and usually holds the position of Second Officers on warships which do not have a separate Second Officer. Being in charge of both Engineering and Operations, the CEO has two Assistant departmental heads, the Chief Engineer (actually in charge of ship's engines and power plant) and the Quartermaster. Being the department the hearth of the ship, departmental numbers are quite high. Usually, on large ships there are 35 to 40 crewmen assigned to Engineering and 15 to 20 soldiers assigned to quartermaster and operations duties per turn. Operations soldiers are also tasked with providing the primary assistance to the ship's Service Security, if the need arises. It is to note that menial services, such as cleaning rotations, are carried out by the whole crew, while Operations department is involved only in the planning the duty rosters.
The Chief of Engineering and Operations, also known as C.E.O., is the head of the department and manages the Engineers in keeping the spacecraft operational. He also advises the commanding officer on technical problems both inside and outside of the ship. Within his department, the CEO has a wider authority than other senior officers: appointments are done with regard to experience and knowledge, rather than seniority, and the flexible Barrayaran rank structure was originally created in order to meet the peculiar spacecraft-related engineering needs; sometimes a CEO may appoint even a particularly experienced Warrant Officer as his deputy, although the case is rare, also because promising troops or warrant officers are actively encouraged to join officers' ranks.
Medical Department Edit
The medical department is responsible for the mental and physical health of the crew, from running annual physicals to dealing with service and combat injuries. The Chief Physician Officer is responsible for the physical health of the entire crew, as well as for the recovering from service and combat injured. In order to keep the crew healthy, his function is to ensure that crewmen do not get sick and to monitor their health and conditioning with regular check ups. If strictly necessary, he can remove anyone from duty, except a commanding officer, unless the commander is physically unable or declared mentally unstable. Besides this he coordinates the medical advice to any individual who requests it and deals with most serious cases. Additionally, the Chief Physician Officer is also responsible for all aspect of the infirmary. Among the Chief Physician Officer's assistants, the Morale Officers holds an important position, being responsible for keeping the morale of the crew high and for delivering regular reports on morale to the First Officer. The Morale Officer also plans activities that will keep the crew's morale and demeanour up.
Landing Forces Edit
On each capital ship there is a Landing Detachment, whose size varies according the ship type:
- Battleship or Space station: 1 Company + ground vehicles;
- Battlecruiser: 1 Company (ground vehicles included);
- Cruiser: 1 Platoon + ground vehicles;
- Destroyer: 1 Platoon (ground vehicles included).
Each Detachment is divided into four Teams: Black and Red Teams are lightly armed Scout Teams, the Yellow Team is a Support Team with heavy weaponry and the Blue Team is the Support Team, specializing in the escort. The Landing Detachment also operates as a ground support element, leading armed confrontation in case of boarding. However, Barrayaran crews are all combat-trained, and therefore the leadership role comes up only in assault carried out by Barrayaran forces.
The Detachment Commander is responsible for all the Landing Forces personnel assigned to the ship or facility. He is required to take command of any special ground operation. The Detachment Commander is charged with the training, condition and tactical leadership of the landing element and is a member of the senior staff, reporting directly to the Commander of the ship or facility.
Each capital ship is assigned a Starfighter Detachment, whose size varies according the ship type:
- Battleship or Space station: 1 Squadron Group - 372 personnel;
- Battlecruiser: 1 Squadron (support personnel included) - 101 personnel;
- Cruiser: 1 Squadron (only flight personnel) - 36 personnel.
In peacetime, not all the capital ships actually embark a starfighter force, but only those assigned to foreign duty. The Starfighter Detachment operates as a reconnaissance support element, in support to the shuttle crafts and to interceptors of the ship. The Detachment Commander is responsible for all the Starfighter personnel assigned to the ship or facility. He is required to take personal command of any star fight and interceptor superiority operation. The Detachment Commander is the most senior fighter officer and he is charged with the training, condition and tactical leadership of the mobile and reconnaissance element and is a member of the senior staff, reporting directly to the Commander of the ship or facility. When deployed, the Starfighter Detachment Commander has authority also over the ship's own mobile force.
The Detachment Deputy Commander is assistant to the senior flight officer. He is tasked to assist the Detachment Commander by overseeing all matters, such as personnel, maintenance and acquisition of supplies. He is usually in charge of the support personnel. The Fighter Squadron Commander is a distinct officer only on Battleships and Space stations, where a whole Squadron Group is deployed. If present, he is responsible for all the pilot personnel assigned to his squadron. He is in required to take command of any flight operations and lease such actions with security. The Flight Leader is responsible for all the personnel assigned to his flight. He is in required to take command of any operations. Affectionately known as the RIO, they are the crew whom occupy the rear seat of the fighter. They watch for enemy fighters, run sensor scans, and are responsible for the payload that the fighter is carrying.