Gaming - Genre

9 Votes


Hits: 6704
Comments: 13
Ideas: 0
Rating: 3.8889
Condition: Normal
ID: 3787


March 26, 2007, 4:44 pm

Vote Hall of Honour

You must be a member to use HoH votes.
Author Status


Warship Classes


A brief list of warship types and their identification

Popular war literature and much science fiction is peppered with terms like battlecruiser, frigates, destroyer, and other warships. What is often lacking is the technical definitions of these types of vessel and how to determine if that Yentazi ship is a battlecruiser or a battleship. Included are the US Navy designations for each type of ship.

The Battleship

These are generally the most massive ships operated by a fleet, second only the realm of the super-aircraft carriers. A battleship’s primary weapons are cannons, and in a futuristic space setting, this would certainly include lasers, particle cannons, as well as traditional projectile cannons and even gauss/rail guns. While clad in massive amounts of armor and bearing massive guns, the main clout of the Battleship is it’s sheer size. Deployment of battleships is as likely to involve national level politics as well as military deployments. A nervous ally can be bolstered by the deployment of an allied Battleship to one of their contested regions, while a saber-rattling opponent can be forced to show their hand for a bluff by close deployment of a battleship. While less strategically valuable than a carrier, which can command a larger volumn of space, no one EVER wants to go toe to toe with a battleship.

The Battlecruiser

The principle weakness of the Battleship is the sacrifice of speed in favor of massive firepower and impressive armor. The battlecruiser is a compromise between the Cruiser genre of ships and the larger battleships. A battlecruiser will sacrifice either firepower or armor protection to gain the same speed as a normal cruiser. Those that keep the firepower for the sake of armor tend to be called Gun Cruiser, those that sacrifice firepower for speed and keep their armor are pocket battleships. Gun toting battlecruisers serve as extra muscle to be used in fleet on fleet engagements, while the pocket battleship is deployed to hunt the merchant marine and shipping vessels of enemy powers.

The Cruisers
Cruisers are medium sized ships that are intended to operate in small numbers, alone, or in support of a primary strike force. Smaller and less expensive to build and operate than battleships, the role of the cruiser is as varigated as the name. In the current day, the supremacy of guided missles, aircraft and submarines have greatly limited the value of the gun toting cruiser and as such the US fields very few of these ships.

CL - The Light Cruiser is determined as a warship with an armored hull and less than battleship/heavy cruiser sized guns. Light cruisers can range from oversized destroyers to normal cruisers with less than expected firepower. Tonnage is rarely considered in the classification of light versus heavy in cruiser types.

CB - the Large Cruiser is a rare class that mounts the forward firepower of a battlecruiser but has the side and rear firepower of a normal cruiser and cruiser type armor. Large Cruisers and Battlecruisers are very difficult to tell apart, though the later tend to be much more common.

Possibly the most famous Heavy cruiser is the Constitution class of Heavy cruisers from Star Trek, the Original series.

CA - The Heavy Cruiser mounts medium bore guns, as compared to the heavy/big bore guns deployed by battleships and battlecruisers. In comparison, Light cruisers carry light or small bore capital guns. Deployed much like Battleships, Heavy cruisers are cheaper, more common, and require less resources to maintain.

CG - The Missle Cruiser supplants it’s big guns with an arsenal of guided missles fire from tubes buried in the deck, or from rotating missle turrets. While a few big guns are retained, these are superfluous to the guided long and medium range missles carried by the ship.

The Destroyer

The role of the Destroyer is to serve as a scout and picket ship for the larger and slower ships of a fleet. They scout coastal regions for areas of opportunity to attack, eliminate coastal defense ships such as torpedo boats and other light ships and generally are the first to engage enemy ships in combat. Destroyers are fast, agile, and carry only moderate armor and relatively light weaponry.

The most famous fictional destroyers are the Imperial and Victory Class Star Destroyers from the Star Wars universe. However, by the weapons layout and disposition of these ships, the Victory is more of a Heavy cruiser or a Battlecruiser, while the larger Imperial is very much in heart and steel a Battleship.

The Frigate

The ships are generally smaller than Light Cruisers and Destroyers and are generally not used in fleet combat. However, frigates remain deployed constantly in peace or wartime. These ships are small and fast enough to run down fast light cargo ships, serve as harasser and skirmisher ships and perform courier duty as the need arises.

The Corvette

Even smaller than the frigate, the Corvette is used as a agile coastal water fighter that is also capable of long distance travel. In terms of futuristic warships, the Corvette would be the smallest warship possessing a FTL drive, while smaller ships would be in system patrol craft and monitor type warships. Corvettes are operated by smaller powers unable to afford large numbers of destroyers.

Patrol Craft

These craft, torpedo boats, gun monitors and the like are short range craft limited to close to shore engagements. In a futuristic setting, these are the warships that are not able to move faster than light and are limited to whatever planet or starsystem they are in. These ships tend to be small, fast, and maneuverable, and their crews are fighting on their own turf and are more knowledgeable of the region than invading forces.

The Carriers
Following the end of WWII, the dominance of airpower and the mobile Aircraft Carrier overshadowed the big gun era of warships from the previous century. The prominence of the Carrier depends on the power of small aerospace fighters and attack craft compared to the vulnerability of said gun based warships. If fighters are able to battle and defeat these gun toting behemoths, the carrier will have a prominent place in a fleet. If the gun toting cruisers and battleships can repulse fighters with little to no damage, the presence of carriers will be non-existant. In the Star Trek milieu, fighters are nearly worthless when confronting the shielded vessels of the Federation and other powers, so cruisers are the norm and carriers are non-existant. While in the Star Wars universe, the fighter is capable of causing severe damage to gun based ships, so carriers are available in a variety of shapes and forms as well as most any warship carrying a contingent of fighters as defense.

The Supercarrier

Virtual cities in their own right, supercarriers support an entire wing of aircraft or space fighters, generally 100 or evne more depending on the overall size and disposition of fighter formations. These mammoth vessels command an area of space far excedding the range of mundane guns, and with their stows of fighters are able to destroy many targets at great range. While vulnerable to close range attack, carriers are armed and armored, but this is secondary to their role as a fighter craft platform.

The Escort Carrier

Smaller, faster and only carrying a single group (30-40 fighter craft, Escorts are used to ‘escort’ convoys and defend smaller areas than are needed for a larger super carrier. Many crews describe their ships as Combustible, Vulnerable, and Expendable, a reference to the ship hull code of CVE.

The Light Carrier

Even smaller in tonnage than the CVE, the Light Carrier is a conversion manufactured onto a non-carrier design. Most light carriers are built off of modified cruiser hulls and carry the same fighter complement of a CVE in more confined space.

Additional Ideas (0)

Please register to add an idea. It only takes a moment.

Join Now!!

Gain the ability to:
Vote and add your ideas to submissions.
Upvote and give XP to useful comments.
Work on submissions in private or flag them for assistance.
Earn XP and gain levels that give you more site abilities.
Join a Guild in the forums or complete a Quest and level-up your experience.
Comments ( 13 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted valadaar
March 26, 2007, 18:08
A most worthy assortment of ships! I salute you. Though I would add the Ageis cruiser (which I believe is much smaller then traditional Gun cruisers) or equivalent and maybe a treatment of the amphibious (transatmospheric?) assault vessels.
March 26, 2007, 18:18
The Aegis class is a specific class of cruiser rather than a broad type of craft, so I wouldn't add it in here.
Voted Dozus
March 26, 2007, 18:18
Very thorough, certainly useful to anyone in a modern or sci-fi game.
Voted Cheka Man
March 26, 2007, 18:43
Only voted
Voted MoonHunter
March 27, 2007, 1:59
Always useful information. I learned much of this playing Star Fire. It is amazing what gamers pick up and why.
Voted manfred
March 27, 2007, 3:06
Good reference article.
Voted Murometz
March 27, 2007, 17:41
what Dozus said.

Are you sure you are not missing your true calling Scras? Get thee inside a tank!! :D
Kuseru Satsujin
February 6, 2008, 11:34
Actually, AEGIS refers to a type of combat system, no the class of ship it's mounted on. It's not limited to use on cruisers, and there are several classes of destroyers and one class of frigate which mount AEGIS suites.
February 6, 2008, 13:02
Technicalities aside, my arguement remains valid. AEGIS does not consitute a ship classification of it's own.
February 6, 2008, 15:12
I am in agreement on this.
Voted Michael Jotne Slayer
February 7, 2011, 6:58

Yep, good reference article. 

Voted Ramhir
February 7, 2011, 10:45

Like Michael said, a good reference article for those who play in an SF campaign. Reminds me of the Honor Harrington books.

Voted axlerowes
December 20, 2012, 17:48
I use to have an ascii game that allowed you to play out WWII naval engagements. Used the same letter code, I didn't have a manual. This would have been useful in that respect.

Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

The Necklace of Midas

       By: Wulfhere

is a lovely golden necklace that gradually transforms its wearer's skin into gold. Given enough time, this will prove fatal, but the wearer cannot remove the deadly jewelry without assistance. Some might be cruel and greedy enough to leave it on its victim...

Ideas  ( Items ) | May 15, 2007 | View | UpVote 4xp

Creative Commons License
Individual submissions, unless otherwise noted by the author, are licensed under the
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
and requires a link back to the original.

We would love it if you left a comment when you use an idea!
Powered by Lockmor 4.1 with Codeigniter | Copyright © 2013 Strolen's Citadel
A Role Player's Creative Workshop.
Read. Post. Play.
Optimized for anything except IE.