CDF naval formations
Naval formations in the Community Defence Forces of Sober Thought are distinct from naval units because each vessel is its own unit. Most naval formations are actually tri-service, including major CDF naval aviation and minor CDF Land Service components.
The commanding officer, called a commodore for historic reasons, is the ranking captain of a naval formation. Where there already exists afloat an officer with an appropriate substantive rank, this person takes command automatically. If not, a shore officer may be temporarily attached for this purpose; but more commonly, an existing officer afloat is granted temporary rank, usually but not necessarily by seniority.
While their composition is highly variable, there are a dozen or so typical formations (with some internal variation) frequently activated in the Naval Service. Consult the chart below for a summary of naval formations routinely encountered in the Community Defence Forces. Those marked with an asterisk operate frequently or invariably as subdivisions of larger operational formations.
|Typical formation||Commodore||Sailors; ships||Fliers; aircraft||Soldiers; formation|
|Army Expeditionary Fleet||Chief Marshal||~50 000; 4 A, 20 C, 45 D, 30 F, 22 T, 60 L; roughly equivalent to three Corps EFs||~25 000; ~1 300 aircraft; composite air corps||~160 000; army of three corps|
|Corps Expeditionary Fleet||Marshal||~17 000; 1 A, 1 E, 6 C, 15 D, 10 F, 7 T, 20 L||~8 000; ~420 fighters and helicopters; composite air division||~50 000; corps of two armoured and two marine divisions|
|Nominal Fleet||Marshal||~16 500; 1 A, 6 C, 12 D, 24 F, 24 S, 9 M, 12 P, 2 XT, 6 XO, 3 T, 9 L||~5 500; ~290 aircraft; three air groups||~5 500; sharp end of a division|
|Battle (Cruiser) Flotilla||Vice Marshal||~10 500; 17 C, 4 D||~2 700; 36 jets, 37 helicopters; composite air group||565; light infantry battalion|
|Strategic Carrier Flotilla||Vice Marshal||~3 700; 1 A, 1 C, 4 D, 4 F, 4 S, 1 XO||~2 800; ~110 aircraft; air group||~2 200; brigade|
|Tactical Carrier Task Force||Chief Commander||~2 200; 1 A-, 2 D, 4 F, 1 XO||~1 000; ~50 aircraft; wing||~200; two companies|
|Cruiser Task Force||Acting Chief Commander||~2 000; 4 C||~500; 12-24 aircraft||~500; battalion|
|Troop Transport Task Force||Chief Commander||~1 700; 1 T, 1 C, 1 D, 2 F, 1 XO||~300; ~15 aircraft||~5 000; brigade group|
|Air Defence Task Group*||Commander||~1 600; 1 C, 4 D||~250; 11-14 aircraft; squadron||~250; two company equivalents|
|Anti-Submarine (Frigate) Task Group||Vice Commander||~1 000; 1 D, 4 F||~100; 6 helicopters||~100; one company equivalent|
|Replenishment Task Group*||Vice Commander||~750; 1 D, 6 XO||~150; 8 helicopters||~50; platoon|
|Merchant Escort (Corvette) Task Detachment||Chief Lieutenant||429; 1 F, 4 K||80; 5 helicopters||11; squad|
|Mine Warfare Task Detachment||Chief Lieutenant||404; 1 tender, 9 M||20; 1 helicopter||11; squad|
|Coastal Patrol (Fast Patrol Boat) Task Detachment||Chief Lieutenant||317; 1 tender, 12 P||20; 1 helicopter||144; company equivalent|
|Submarine Task Detachment||Acting Chief Lieutenant||250; 5 S||nil||nil|
It consists of less than a thousand and usually no more than about five hundred sailors under a Chief Lieutenant. The TD is roughly analogous to a Land Service battalion, Air Service squadron or escadrilles or flotillas real world navies.
Anti-submarine operations – chiefly in CDF Coastal Command – give TDs their greatest level of freedom, surface vessels are normally organised for one class of vessel (patrol craft, minesweepers/layers and corvettes) with the next largest class (tenders and frigates) providing the flagship for the commodore. Submarine TDs consist of three to six boats, which in combat generally act on their own with only slight guidance from the pack leader or commodore.
Task detachments are rarely encountered in deep sea commands (besides Merchant Escort TDs). When they are, they tend to merely be administrative conveniences which rarely have the chance to conduct truly independent operations.
While there is no real equivalent in the ground forces or aviation, one could compare it to a demi-brigade or wing based on their commanding officer, strength and responsibility. A TG’s Vice Commander or Commander is responsible for about one or two thousand tri-service personnel with a specific mission. RL equivalents include like-named task groups, naval squadrons and NATO's standing naval forces in the Mediterranean (previously known as NAVOCFORMED and STANNAVFORMED; now a Standing NATO Response Force Maritime Group like the former STANAVFORLANT).
Dependent TGs consist of all one class of vessel (often excluding the flagship) and have no organic means of refueling and resupplying underway so they look to the higher formation for these functions. When task groups operate independently, they are assigned a supply ship for replenishment at sea so that they may stay on station for extended periods.
Besides the three typical TGs (air defence, anti-submarine and replenishment), there are many other examples of this type of formation. For instance, a quick show of force abroad might be satisfied by a small amphibious task group consisting of a cruiser, two assault ships, a destroyer, a frigate and a supply ship designed to land, defend and supply a battalion group. A “show the flag” tour of friendly ports might be served by a composite task group consisting of a destroyer, frigate, corvette and tender.
This is roughly comparable to an army brigade or brigade group or air force air group. It is headed by a Commander or Chief Commander, and has two to seven thousand tri-service personnel (at least two thousand of which are conventional sailors).
The most common task force is based on a tactical aircraft carrier and its associated anti-submarine and surface defence vessels, often organised into task groups or detachments themselves. The overall carrier group commanding officer is a Chief Commander, who controls two thousand-odd sailors and half as many fliers. It ranks between the like-named RL United States Navy (based on full-size fleet aircraft carrier) and the RL British Royal Navy (based on pocket aircraft carrier) formations.
The most purely naval powerful task force is based on cruisers, whether of the hybrid carrier type or not. A specially-appointed or acting Chief Commander controls several of these powerful gun and missile platforms. It is comparable to 20th century RL navies’ cruiser squadrons.
Dictionaries and RL navies use this term in two major ways: to indicate a fleet of small vessels and to indicate a small fleet of larger vessels. The Naval Service has adopted the latter definition for its forces and uses task detachment for the former purpose.
The strategic aircraft carrier forms the protective cover and base for the most common flotilla consisting of itself, air defence destroyers, anti-submarine frigates and other specialist ships. Even before naval sealift and ground forces contribute troop transports or landing ships to the mix, the Vice Marshal commands more than eight thousand tri-service troops. It is comparable to a USN carrier battle group.
Besides the carrier flotilla, a hypothetical disaster relief flotilla might be commanded by a Vice Marshal with a destroyer as a flagship, and have about 2 000 sailors, 4 400 soldiers and 700 aircrew. Its Aid Task Group would have a troopship, three landing ships and three supply ships with about 800 sailors under a Chief Commander. On board they would have embarked about 4 000 soldiers. The medical, transport, two engineer and supply battalions would provide the aid, while the six marine assault companies and one infantry battalion the land force protection element. The flotilla's Escort Task Group, also under a Chief Commander, would have an Anti-Submarine Task Detachment of four frigates and two submarines, and a Small Craft Task Detachment of a tender, three patrol boats and a minesweeper/layer.
A hypothetical medium amphibious flotilla might also be under a Vice Marshal with a cruiser as flagship, and have about 4 200 sailors, 5 300 soldiers and 600 aircrew. The Escort Task Force consists, besides the cruiser, an Anti-Submarine Task Group of eight frigates, a Submarine Task Group of three submarines and an Anti-Air Task Group of three destroyers. The Landing Task Force would consist of a troopship, three assault ships and a supply ship.
Fleet and grand fleet
As in RL navies, the meaning of this term is rather slippery and has multiple exclusive or inclusive meanings. Depending on how the term is used, fleets may be commanded by Marshals, Chief Marshals or Grand Marshals. At the most basic level and especially in the first population wave of one hundred million citizens, “fleet” is sometimes but incorrectly used as synonymous with “navy” or “Naval Service,” similar to the United States Navy’s five-star Fleet Admiral or the Royal Navy’s Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
After the second population wave, the distinction needs to be made between each nominal fleets and the navy as a whole. Each fleet, bearing the number of the population wave, consists of all the ships commissioned and sailors enlisted in that wave. There are 43 surface combatants (from aircraft carrier to frigate), 24 attack submarines, 21 combat boats (patrol and mine warfare) and 20 sealift ships (from troop transport to assault landing). Their total seagoing crews are about seventeen thousand, not counting some six thousand naval aviators (exclusive of the coastal defence air group), six thousand marines normally permanently embarked, six thousand marines sometimes embarked and up to fifteen thousand land-based soldiers carried in transports.
After the third population wave, when the Naval Service commissions its first Chief Marshal on par with the leaders of the other services, the term “chief fleet” is sometimes used to refer to the navy. Furthermore, the Southern Fleet (facing Braunekuste and Hochelaga) and the Western Fleet (facing the Bay of Roses) are created on par wit the tri-service CDF Coastal Command as general operational areas rather than specific operational forces. This is similar to the RL United States Navy which divides into the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets, and additionally into subordinate regional fleets (e.g., the 6th in the Mediterranean, 7th in the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean) .
After the seventh population wave, the Naval Service finally commissions its own Grand Marshal and the term “grand fleet” is sometimes used to refer to the navy.
Finally, there are the actual sea-going fleets which are truly huge naval formations which are created only on operational demand. Their tasks are too varied to have a typical composition. For example, an expeditionary fleet of about one hundred thousand all ranks (roughly analagous to that of Operations Neptune and Overlord in Normandy on June 6, 1944) would be large enough to land an entire expeditionary corps of the Land Service on hostile shores. It might deliver its troops in nine transport ships, a couple dozen landing ships and innumerable small landing craft; and its supplies in a dozen replenishment ships and a few dozen container ships. These troops and materiel would be defended by the aircraft, guns, missiles and torpedoes of perhaps three aircraft carriers, half a dozen cruisers, a few dozen destroyers, as many frigates and some submarines. Such a huge force might consist of roughly seventy thousand soldiers, twenty thousand sailors and ten thousand embarked fliers.