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|Timeline : Superpowers|
|Admirallis||Lucius Horatius Pavelus|
|Ships||One Supercarrier; 90 Carriers; 320 Battleships; 700 Destroyers; 980 Transports/Attack Cruisers; 200 Heavy Cruisers; 240 Light Cruisers|
|Motto||Non sibi sed patriae (Not ourselves but country)|
The Classis Imperialis (Imperial Naval Legion) is the sea branch of the Roman armed forces. It fields more than 2500 ships of varying sizes and classes, as well as nearly 1800 aircraft. With only 1,240,000 active crewmen though, along with several thousand officers, the Classis is by far the smallest branch of the Roman military. Nevertheless its importance to the Roman economy can not be overstated due to its necessity for controlling Rome's assets at sea. In the past few decades however, the Space Legion has been taking on many of the duties of the navy, namely their most important one of patrolling Rome's waters. The fact of the matter is, automated systems in space can patrol sea borders far more quickly and with less cost than a boat full of trained soldiers.
Founded in the heat of the First Punic War, the Roman Navy has saved the Empire many more times than they're given credit for, and sadly they have nowhere near the prestige of the Legion. As the Romans conquered more and more of the Mediterranean Sea, it grew in size until the time of the Empire, when they held total mastery over the Mediterranean, now the Mare Nostrum (Our Sea). In the late-400's and mid-500's two emperors, the Scipios, made several reforms which brought the Classis from an amalgam of defensive fleets to a powerful part of the armed forces. Then, with the fall of Axum, it was the greatest navy on the planet.
Following the First World War, during which the Classis was a crucial player, the Japanese emerged from isolation and began to put their newly built industry to churning out ships to protect their trade routes. By the XIXth Century, the Nippon Kaigun had greatly surpassed the Classis and are even now the foremost navy on the planet.
Whilst still behind the Kaigun, the Classis continues to lead the world in naval technologies, particularly in the field of robotics. What they lack in personnel, the Romans more than make up for in automated systems, and now the life of a Roman sailor is very far from menial. Being a member of the navy is considered a distinction, at least equal to the honor of being a Legionary, though whilst they command the same amount of respect, the public's reaction to them is hardly as impressive. The Legion remains and will always be the heart of the Empire.
In the early years of the Roman Kingdom and Republic, a standing navy was worthless with all of the countries assets located along one strip of land, the Italian peninsula. Circa 311 BCE, the first standing Roman Navy was founded with 20 ships or so, and put under the control of a set of duumviri, that year is therefore the traditional founding date of the Classis Imperialis, a celebrated day for sailors. This force continued to be pitifully negligible, losing more often than winning battles, until the days of the First Punic War.
Rome had tried to take Sicilia, an island to its south, but this movement sparked a war with the mighty Carthaginian people. Using the city's resources however, the Romans managed to quickly build a powerful navy to challenge the Carthaginians. Through the use of the corvus, a boarding plank, the Romans managed to defeat their far more experienced enemies on many occasions. From this period, and even up to the present, most of the navy consisted of Greeks first from the south of Italia and then from Greece itself. Up to this day, about 30% of the members of the navy consist of Greeks, despite their 6% share of the population.
After the three defeats of Carthage, the Roman navy was only rivaled by the power of the various Greek states. From 215 to 168 BCE, the Romans engaged in numerous wars against the Greeks, both on land and at sea, with the Romans performing admirably in battle. Ultimately, they emerged victorious once again and finally the Mediterranean could truly be called "Mare Nostrum", Our Fleet.
In the succeeding centuries, the navy was enormously important in the restriction of piracy, being used several times to wipe pirates out from particular regions of the Mediterranean. This anti-piracy role continued into the Early Imperial period until the First Scipian Reforms in the mid-400's CE. These culminated in the completion of the Bosporan Wall near Constantinopolis, finally shutting out all foreign influence from the Empire's personal sea. From then on the navy's role moved to one of maintaining this status quo, both through internal and external means.
Between 510 and 515 CE, an even grander reformation of the navy occurred, with a near tripling of its present capacities. In 562, the Empire defeated its last remaining naval rival, the Axum Empire, and became the most powerful naval force on the planet. The naval dominance of Rome continued for many centuries, eclipsing the Vikings and their successor Danish Kingdoms, the overly ambitious Federations of Germania and even the powerful forces of Islam. For those seven centuries, the Romans and their navy seemed unbeatable.
All of that changed when the Romans started to colonize the Columbias and they met the forces of the Mayan Conglomerate. This new foe was the only nation with comparable ship-to-ship weaponry to beat Roman flamethrowers and heavy artillery, the cannon. Once they'd developed a cannon specially for naval use, the Mayans could combat the Roman navy on roughly equal ground. Were it not for the much larger size of the Romans forces, the war may well have stopped being a stalemate. Once the war ended with the Mayans requesting a ceasefire in 1437, the Romans once again boasted of their mighty navy. The Classis was still on top.
Now that less ships were required for war, the efforts of the navy became directed more towards protecting colonists and maintaining colonial trade routes. With its help, Rome expanded to both continents of Columbia, further into Africa, to the Southern islands of Australis and even the Indian subcontinent. The importance of the Classis in these efforts can not be understated, and it is inarguable that Roman naval dominance around the world allowed them to achieve everything that they did.
World Wars and Interbellum
The First World War was as much a fight of colonialism as it was imperial ambitions, and so the Roman navy played a huge part in their eventual success. As well as fighting battle after battle in both the Baltic and the Atlantic, the Roman navy transported resources to the colonies to help the fight and gave them a great degree of freedom in terms of troop mobility. The Caribbean was largely dominated by the Romans during the war, and both the Baltic and the Red Sea became under almost total Roman control over the course of the war, aiding greatly in the defeat of the Danes and Ottomans respectively. It also enabled the invasion of the Conglomerate in the later stages of the war, ultimately bringing the fighting to an end.
Between this war and the Second World War, the Roman dominance of the world's oceans was put into question by a new challenger, the Japanese. Although the two nations were military and economic allies, oftentimes working together in policing and anti-piracy operations at sea, there was a race for most of the 1700 and 1800's over who would play the biggest role and have the most control. Although the Romans managed to get ahead with their developments in ironclad and battleship technologies, the Japanese decision to focus on speed and maneuverability rather than power and intimidation as the Romans had, made them the ultimate winner in this competition. Still, Roman efforts to keep their navy ahead of the Japanese did make them the only other contender on the world seas, with most other nations left completely behind these two juggernauts.
The advancements that Rome had made over other nations was most evident when the Second World War broke out. Despite many of Rome's ships being destroyed in the preemptive attack, the ones that they had left were sufficient to protect the Empire's coastal borders until they could recuperate their forces. In the fighting, the aircraft carrier showed its importance for the first time, and after the closing of the war, carriers became the next favorite ship design in the navy. This development allowed for the navy to greatly extend the power of the air force, further spreading Roman influence.
The Classis Imperialis is managed by the government through the Ministry of the Navy, itself a branch of the Ministry of War led by the Praeministrum Bellicum. The MoN itself is administrated by the Praeministrum Nauticum, who answers to both the PB and the Generalissimus. Nevertheless it is through the MoN that the navy is controlled for the most part. Militarily speaking, the highest position in the Classis is Admirallis (The Admired). Although still subordinate to the Minister of the Navy, the Admirallis has total command over all officers of the Navy and is usually the one to lead important naval movements. Furthermore, the Nuntius Nauticus attends virtually all Caetus Legati, representing the Admirallis and thereby giving direct influence over affairs in the Legion. The Generallissimus is however his superior, and is actually superior to all other military positions in the Empire.
Below the Admirallis are the Magistrassis who each lead one of the 5 Roman High Fleets. These fleets are classed as Mediterranean, Arabian/Indian, North/Brittanic, Atlantic and Pacific. Although militarily speaking all five Magistrassis are of equal ranking, the Magistrassis Nostrum is the second most prestigious military position in the Navy. As well, the Magistrassis Atlanticum operates out of the Praetorium Mundum, headquarters of the Alliance of Earth, which makes him an important link between the Alliance and the Roman military, often helping in coordinating attacks.
Below the Magistrassis are the Praefectus Classis, officers who lead the individual fleets which made up the High Fleets. Below the Praefecti are the Nauarchi, squadron commanders who usually controlled between 12 to 20 ships of varying types. Individual ships are led by a Trierarchus, the captain of the ship. Trierarchi, regardless of their ship type and size, are of equal ranking, their only commanding officer is the Nauarchus. A mid-rank officer on board a ship, for instance helmsmen, is called a Classiarius. These are essentially officers aboard the ship and do not perform the more menial duties. The base rank for a soldier in the Classis is Remex, essentially the crewmen on board the ship.
Unlike the other Legions, every member of the Navy (exc. Magistrassis), regardless of their ranking, would usually find themselves "on the field", so to speak. The Admirallis acted as captain, or Trierarchus of the Flagship, essentially the largest and most powerful ship in the Roman armada. A Magistrassis usually went with the largest battleship in their High Fleet, though they usually did not act as the captain. Another way in which this contrasts with the Admirallis is that whilst the Magistrassis were in a battleship, the Flagship of the Admirallis has long been an aircraft carrier type vessel.
Although the fleet structure varies from High Fleet to High Fleet, the individual fleets themselves are virtually identical, and the general structure of the entire Navy is:
- Roman Government (Praeministrum Nauticum)
- Classis Imperialis (Admirallis)
- 5 High Fleets (Magistrassis)
- 32 Fleets (Praefectus Classis)
- 224 Squadrons (Nauarchus)
- 2688 Ships (Trierarchus) (+250 Officer Flagships)
- 53,760 Classiarii (Helmsmen)
- 1,240,000 Remiges (Crewmen)
- 53,760 Classiarii (Helmsmen)
- 2688 Ships (Trierarchus) (+250 Officer Flagships)
- 224 Squadrons (Nauarchus)
- 32 Fleets (Praefectus Classis)
- 5 High Fleets (Magistrassis)
- Classis Nostrum: (Mediterranean High Fleet)
- West Mediterranean Fleet
- Fleet of Melita
- East Mediterranean Fleet
- Black Sea Fleet
- Imperial Fleet of Carthage
- Classis Britannicus (British High Fleet)
- Fleet of Gallia
- Hibernian Fleet
- Baltic Fleet
- Arctic Fleet
- East Atlantic Fleet
- Imperial Fleet of Londinium
- Imperial Fleet of Parisium
- Classis Rubrum (Arabian High Fleet)
- Red Sea Fleet
- East African Fleet
- Fleet of Axum
- South African Fleet
- Antarctic Fleet
- Indian Trade Fleet
- Imperial Fleet of India
- Classis Atlanticum (Atlantic High Fleet)
- Fleet of Africa
- Atlantic Trade Fleet
- Alliance Defense Fleet
- Brasilian Fleet
- Mayan Assistance Fleet
- Fleet of New Rome
- Defenders of the Colonies
- Imperial Fleet of Halorium
- Classis Pacificus (Pacific High Fleet)
- Japanese Assistance Fleet
- Pacific Trade Fleet
- Australis Defense Fleet
- Khmer Control Fleet
- Imperial Fleet of New Alexandria
Technology is as important for the Imperial Navy as it is for any other part of the Roman military, perhaps more so given that other nations exceed the CI in size. The three broad technological fields which the Navy focuses on are robotics technology, for its use in automated systems, weapons technology, for obvious reasons and material design technology.
The most commonly used material for ship armor is carbon nanotubes, and its variants. The Memphis and Correlia Class carriers for instance have an outer armor covering of a carbon nanotube-tungsten alloy which is 200 times stronger than steel, one fourth its weight and melts only above 2500 degrees Celcius. Most inner parts of their structure, as well as the structure of other modern Roman ships are made of regular carbon nanotubes, still 100 times stronger than steel but also a sixth of the weight and fifty times cheaper than the tungsten alloy. This outer armor, present on all of the largest Roman vessels, makes nearly all missiles, other than the most powerful cruise-bunker busters, completely ineffective. As well, most lasers must fire on them for a great deal of time before being able to penetrate the armor, even Roman satellites take about half a minute to just burn through one spot. Collisions and small arms fire, even with aircraft, are likewise ineffective. Roman ships are in essence floating bunkers.
Though Admiral Horatius' recent statement to the public that "[the ships] practically run themselves" is a little bit of an exaggeration, Roman ships do have about 70 to 80% of all their operations controlled by computer systems or robotics. Things such as navigation, targeting, power regulation and even communications to some degree are completely in the hands of automated systems. The only crew members are needed for his course plotting (though the more advanced ships can do this too), repairing and aiding the ship's operations.
The most impressive ship in this regard is the recently deployed Rome-Class battlecruiser, the second largest ship of its kind and third largest ship design in the world. Rome are the first type of ship to use nanotechnology to repair the ships systems, including memory metal (in the form of a type of carbon nanotube) making up most of its structure, thicker nanotube-tungsten armor and a system of pipes which can release nanotubes over an area to enact most repairs. The ship itself is more than 90% automated and despite its size needs only 40 people on board to man it. Most impressively though, each of those ships have their own supercomputer which monitors all onboard systems.
There are three main types of weapons on board all Roman ship, aircraft not included.
The first are ballistic weapons, now almost entirely large railgun emplacements along the hull and deck. Unlike the early XXth, and much of the XIXth and XVIIIth Centuries, projectiles are purely kinetic in nature, using their enormously high mass and velocity to destroy enemy ships. The advantage of this is that almost no point defense networks can block these shots, and they are effective against literally every existing target. The largest naval gun is the Main Cannon of the Rome battlecruisers. This 20 inch cannon fires 1500 kg projectiles at a muzzle velocity of 4000 m/s, giving it almost as much power as the Potestas orbital kinetic guns. Not only that, but these are still filled with explosives, causing substantially more damage on impact. Simple calculations can show that this is the TNT equivalent of 2.6 tons of explosives, all concentrated in one direction.
Another weapon on board most ships, even aircraft carriers, are missile pods, containing between two to 18 missiles. Though virtually all of them are of the laser guided variety, they vary greatly in speed and explosive force. CC-Missiles (contra-caeli) are usually hypersonic, with velocities that can reach five times the speed of sound. Many battleships and battlecruisers are outfitted with a complement of at least ten cruise missiles, often of able to bust through bunkers and with hypersonic capability. This reflects the Roman view of ships as simply a base on water, one which they have had since the use of Galleons became popular in the Xth Century.
The final weapon variety is of course lasers. Though all large ships use them for point-defense against missiles and ballistics, a few of the larger vessels are outfitted with outright laser weapons. Most impressively, the Alexandria-Class battleships have a single massive ventral laser used to take out entire ships ahead of them. When fired, the laser requires 50% of the ship's available power from its fusion reactor and a great deal more stored in ultracapacitor banks, meaning that the laser fires for up to four seconds with 40 GW of power. The weapon can cut straight to the other side of the hulls of most ships, and even badly damage vessels with nanotube-tungsten armor plating. Other ships use lasers in a contra-caeli role, rapidly shooting planes out of the sky as soon as their in the vessel's line of sight.
All Roman ships that are either a battleship, battlecruiser or aircraft carrier are outfitted with at least one powerful fusion reactor to generate all of its energy. Although one might think that these use hydrogen from sea water, they instead use supplies of regular supercooled liquid hydrogen and carbon in a CNO fusion cycle, and so it must carry its own supply of fuel with it. Still, this mode of power generation can keep most ships going for at least three years, often more when no battles are being fought. In smaller ships, power is typically generated by fission reactors or taken from energy stored in large nuclear battery banks. The smallest military vessels run on ultracapacitor batteries, giving them only about a week of power before they must be recharged, something which takes less than a minute.
Communication and Sensors
All Roman ships have at least one kind of radio communicator, with larger ones permanently linked to satellites in either geosynchronous or regular orbit. Virtually instantaneous communication can occur between ships, as well as from ship to land or space, and on the very largest vessels, the communication networks can support even live holographic conversations. In fact, on ships led by a Magistrassis or the Admiral, their chambers usually have an entire chamber to serve as a holographic conference room between the six leaders.
Sensor systems on all vessels are also state of the art. Though radar and sonar are both ubiquitous parts of the navy, some more specialized systems are in use as well. Superconducting Quantum Interference Devices (SQUIDS) can detect even the faintest functioning electric motors or generators on board another ship or submarine, even plane, allowing a vessel equipped with an array of them to detect even the most cleverly cloaked enemies. Furthermore, all ships of heavy cruiser size and up have access to real time data collection from satellites in orbit, giving even a cruiser in the Pacific Ocean as good a view of the British coastline as someone who was right there. Computer simulators turn this into more useful data, even providing a real time up to the millisecond map of the area around the ship, with both friendly and potentially hostile ships clearly displayed.
Though most ships have thousands of other systems, both to entertain the crew, sustain them or handle threats, there are a few which are so important that they require mentioning. The biggest of these are the Shielding systems used on board ships. All destroyers, battleships, carriers and battlecruisers built in the last fifteen years (since 1985) have powerful electromagnetic projectors which are used to maintain what is called a plasma window around the vessel that extends from a few feet above water right to even above the command center, in the form of an invisible band circling the ship. This shield vaporizes or at least prematurely detonates any physical object on a course for the ship, causing it to useless splatter on the ship's hull. The only disadvantage is that with a vehicle the size of a ship, it takes more than 40 minutes to get the plasma window up and running, and once it is, SQUIDS become almost useless. Once it is done being used, the plasma window falls harmless into the sea, causing no noticeable damage to the environment. These shields are only used in circumstances when the ship captain knows that he'll be entering a dangerous zone, and so they are used at his own discretion.
Furthermore, small point-defense guns are used underwater on most ships to fire electromagnetically accelerated rounds that detonate torpedoes before they impact the hull. These are usually unnoticeable from the outside, even from under water, but are still highly effective at their required function.
Note: Since the creation of the first battlecruiser and dreadnoughts (battleships), every class has been named after a major Roman city, with successive versions, Marks, being created whenever one went out of service. As a line of ships reached Mark X, the last ships were officially decommissioned and no more could be called that name, at least as far as that one ship type went. Eventually, carriers began to use the same system when they were invented. All other ship classes are named after something in Greek, Roman, Egyptian or Celtic mythologies. Individual ships within these battleship, carrier, etc. orders were always named after a Roman province or major historical figure. Once the ship was destroyed or decommissioned, the name was passed on to another ship, with those in line keeping the same honors as their predecessors had. On rare occasions, when a ship and its crew performed a stunning honor to their country, the name was permanently removed from use in their honor, even if the ship wasn't destroyed.
Lines Currently In Use
Roma-Class Battlecruiser (Mark V)
Halorium-Class Battlecruiser (Mark III)
Melita-Class Battlecruiser (Mark I)
Alexandria-Class Dreadnought (Mark VII)
Parisium-Class Dreadnought (Mark II)
Londinium-Class Dreadnought (Mark I)
Correlia-Class Aircraft Carrier (Mark VII)
Memphis-Class Aircraft Carrier (Mark IV)
Carthage-Class Aircraft Carrier (Mark X)
Defunct Lines of Ships (Mark I-X)
Jerusalem-Class Aircraft Carrier