The Solarian League Navy was the main spacefaring military force for the Solarian League.

Ships of the SLN used the prefix SLNS. Its uniforms were white. (SI2)

History[edit | edit source]

Organization[edit | edit source]

The Solarian League Navy was organized into two major branches: Battle Fleet, which was more prestigious, larger, and better equipped, and Frontier Fleet which was tasked with supporting the Office of Frontier Security. (SI1, SI2, infodump)

Command structure[edit | edit source]

The commanding officer was the Chief of Naval Operations, who was in essence the main military administrator under the Minister of Defense. Central Staff departments supporting the CNO were:

Some senior officers constituted the Strategy Board, the body that issued strategy recommendations for the CNO. (CS1, CS2, SI2, HH12)

Battle Fleet[edit | edit source]

The Battle Fleet was, like most navies, composed of many types of ships from fast couriers to ships of the wall, to a logistic train (repair, provisioning, ammunition, etc). They included a very large number of superdreadnoughts, dreadnoughts, and screening elements. Battle Fleet was the SLN's senior branch, so its commanding officers were entitled to precedence over those of the Frontier Fleet. This led to Battle Fleet having a deep contempt for Frontier Fleet and the Office of Frontier Security; thus, Battle Fleet rarely consulted with Frontier Fleet regarding its operations.

In 1921 PD, it had been over 90 T-years since Battle Fleet had deployed anything larger than a squadron outside the borders of the Old League.[4]

The commanding officer of Battle Fleet around 1922 PD was Fleet Admiral Winston Kingsford. (SI2)

Frontier Fleet[edit | edit source]

The Frontier Fleet, on the whole, emphasized lighter units more suited to the 'policing' actions which were its primary responsibility, along with piracy suppression and support of the Solarian Gendarmerie[5]. The SLN had a higher percentage of light units than the RMN or the People's Navy, largely because of Frontier Fleet's preponderance of such units. Frontier Fleet was held in contempt by Battle Fleet's senior officers; nevertheless, it was the more competent branch (engaging in combat far more regularly), and its senior officers were less blinded by assumptions of Solarian military supremacy.

The commanding officer of Frontier Fleet around 1922 PD was Fleet Admiral Engracia Alonso y Yáñez. (SI2)

Reserve[edit | edit source]

The Solarian League Navy maintained a very large mothball fleet as a reserve. The proportion of superdreadnoughts and dreadnoughts in that reserve was larger than that of the SLN on active service, and the smaller classes in reserve would have been insufficient to provide an adequate screen for the ships of the wall in the reserve, should all be activated at the same time. The planning expectation seems to have been that the excess of lighter units in Frontier Fleet would be used (despite mutual dislike and even hostility) as screen for the Battle Fleet wall. As of 1921 PD, the majority of the ships of the wall in the SLN's reserve were significantly outdated to the point that two thirds of them continued to retain autocannon point defenses rather than the standard laser clusters widely in use everywhere else. (HH12)

Self Defence Forces[edit | edit source]

There were thousands of ships in the various system defense forces maintained for local security by several of the League's wealthier member systems. The League's constitution specifically permitted member systems to build system-defense forces, which could contain at least a small core of ships of the wall. These self-defense forces were technically part of the SLN during times of war or another state of emergency. The SDFs provided the bulk of the light forces required to prevent outbreaks of piracy in their own areas and could be tasked by the SLN as the senior service (with the "owning" government's concurrence) to extend their activities to neighboring member systems without SDFs. Some SDFs were substantial, being as big as the Manticoran Navy prior to King Roger III's development program. (HH12, SI2, infodump)

The only known SDFs was the Beowulf System-Defense Force.

Tactical organization[edit | edit source]

Depending ultimately on size and subunit compostition, units of the Solarian League Navy would typically be commanded as follows:

  • Battle Fleet Task Forces were commanded by Fleet Admirals
  • Battle Fleet Battle Squadrons were commanded by Admirals
  • Frontier Fleet Battlecruiser Squadrons were commanded by Rear Admirals

Recorded independent units:

Strength[edit | edit source]

Before the de facto war against the Star Empire of Manticore began in 1921 PD, the SLN comprised:

  • 2000 operable superdreadnoughts in full commission
  • 300 superdreadnoughts in full commission, assigned to shipyards for regular overhaul and refit cycles - 13% of all superdreadnoughts in full commission
  • over 8000 superdreadnoughts in reserve
  • uncertain, but significantly smaller number of dreadnoughts
  • probably more than 9000 lighter vessels[7]

Duties[edit | edit source]

The primary security duty of the SLN, at the beginning of twentieth century PD, were commerce protection, border security, piracy suppression, and colonial pacification. In the twenty century PD, nearly all of those tasks were very likely performed by lighter units of the Frontier Fleet, there being very few pirates inside the Old League boundaries where Battle Fleet operated, and there being no colonies there either. (CS1, SI1, SI2, infodump)

See also: the Office of Frontier Security

Policies[edit | edit source]

  • The SLN had no equivalent of the RMN's policy of switching out senior officers to make sure their experience remains current. The senior officers of the SLN were almost all well over a century old, with habits of thought and views of what makes an effective ship/fleet that were formed when they were in their thirties and forties (and which were formed in the institutional bosom of a fleet which hasn't been to war in centuries). (infodump)
  • All SLN Battle Fleet procurement decisions were made through the demands of a three hundred year old doctrine, not the possibilities offered by new tech which had not yet been fitted into existing doctrine[8]. (infodump)

Fleet 2000 programme[edit | edit source]

The Fleet 2000 programme was an initiative to modernize SLN hardware; it also had a very important public relations and appropriations purpose. The program was conceived by Battle Fleet (and later found support with Frontier Fleet) in response to the Haven-Manticore wars, which suggested that advances in naval hardware were being made outside the Solarian League. Fleet 2000 was essentially a PR campaign to ensure the public would demand more funding for the Navy, which, as always, was competing with other bureaucracies to increase its share of available funds.

Normally, Frontier Fleet units, some of which were much more likely to actually see action, were more carefully refitted than were ships of the wall and battlecruisers assigned to the Central Reserve or to Battle Fleet. Nevertheless, Frontier Fleet, afraid all the new funding would go to Battle Fleet[9] On the other hand, the Battle Fleet ships of the wall had been more recently updated by the Fleet 2000 programme than the Frontier Fleet's battlecruisers[10].

In reality, the majority of the Fleet 2000 changes were purely cosmetic, making new bridge designs look like something out of an HD flick.[11] Fleet 2000 refits were also intended to accommodate "future" enhancements, and so were built on an improved modular concept[12]. (SI1, SI2, infodump)

Marines[edit | edit source]

The Solarian League Marine Corps served aboard Frontier Fleet[13] and Battle Fleet ships, and recruitment for both the SLN and the SLMC was done by SLN recruiting officers.

Personnel[edit | edit source]

By the 20th Century PD, the SLN command level included a number of centenarian or even supercentenarian flag officers who had much more experience in political infighting than in actual combat, let alone modern fleet combat.

The formal separation into Battle Fleet and Frontier Fleet personnel led to a lot of competition and distrust between the two groups. (SI2)

See here for a list of SLN personnel.

Problems[edit | edit source]

  • Corrupted procurement
  • Cronyism - First Families of Battle Fleet
  • Rank inflation - Positions on staffs held by flag officers that would be held by normaly lower ranks in other navies.

Solarian built platforms in other navies[edit | edit source]

Solarian platforms also served in other navies, like ships of wall and cruisers in the Erewhon Navy, light cruisers in the People's Navy, battlecruisers and probably other types in the Monican Navy, as well as very likely in the Mesan Space Navy.[14] The usual Solarian League policy was to provide a downgraded 'export level' hardware fittment in ships supplied to other navies, thus retaining a level of higher performance against any such ships which might come up against the SLN in future.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 300 years before the First Manticoran-Havenite War, some smaller-call war was waged.
  2. According to HH7, approximately a little less than two centuries ago before beginning of the 20th Century PD; according to SI2, none of Battle Fleet's capital ships had fired a shot in anger in over two T-centuries; according to The Universe of Honor Harrington, the last major war before 1901 PD occured before 1759 PD.
  3. Probably a non-SLN unit; nobody ever beat four Solarian heavy cruisers at once with anything short of a dreadnought.
  4. In 1921 PD, Fleet Admiral Sandra Crandall ran a training exercise in the McIntosh System (in the Talbott Cluster) for Battle Fleet, including a substantial logistic component from the Fleet Train, with over a hundred ships.
  5. as well as other bureaucratic institutions operating along the fringes of the League (infodump)
  6. 5 DD in 1922 PD.
  7. According to infodump the SLN had a higher percentage of light units than the RMN (81% in 1904 PD), which makes strange number 36 vessels per one protectorate world
  8. eg. the SLN didn't used as strong and long range missiles like ones at missile pods provided Monican Navy by Technodyne (SI2)
  9. With films such as "Our Fighting Navy" and "The Men and Women of the Fleet", Battle Fleet was heavily involved in a PR campaign. frontier Fleet fired back with its own "On the Frontiers of Freedom" and "First to Respond"
  10. Likely, even the Nevada-class
  11. The newer consoles were a non-trivial, but not extensive, improvement, providing more information and control than before.
  12. Eg., the Nevada-class battlecruisers
  13. For example, a battalion of the 887th Marines Regiment was assigned to Frontier Fleet's Maya Sector Detachment. (CS1).
  14. Light ships appeared in the Verdant Vista System. (CS1)

External links[edit | edit source]

Solarian Starship Classes
Antares | Bridgeport | Defiant | Dromedary | Gladiator | Hyperion | Indefatigable | Kutuzov | Liberty | Masquerade | Mikasa | Morrigan | Nevada | Packrat | Pegasus | Rampart | Scientist | Triumph | Vega | War Harvest | Warrior (DD)
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