Characters Imperial Navy ranks question

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by ladubois, Feb 3, 2014.

Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade
  1. ladubois Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 3, 2014
    So, I'm new to these forums and I'm not entirely certain this is the correct area for this question, but it was my best guess. Apologies if I was wrong. Anyway...

    I'm starting a project with a friend of mine creating a sort of internal mini-universe set during the Cold War inspired by our collective SWTOR characters (of which we have over 30, so we obviously won't be using the in-game storylines...). We may or may not actually post the resulting fanfics, since it's mostly a just-for-fun thing, but who knows. Anyway, a couple of our characters are going to be officers in the Imperial Navy and so we need to know at what rank one would need to reach before getting the opportunity to captain a ship, specifically a capital ship. My guess is Captain, but that's really just a wild stab in the dark.
    Last edited by ladubois, Feb 3, 2014
  2. Kahara Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2001
    star 4
    Well, a check of Wookieepedia suggests that Captain is a good bet.

  3. SiouxFan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2012
    star 3
    Technically, anyone who commands a ship is called 'captain': hence 'Captain Solo', 'Captain Sparrow', etc. Han quit the Navy long before he made the rank of 'Captain', but since he owns the Falcon, he can still be given the title. Capital ships would be most certainly 'captained' by a Captain (the Naval equivalent to the rank of Colonel), but anything smaller than a Star Destroyer could be 'captained' by a lesser rankÔÇŽa 'Commander' or 'Lt Commander' if you're using USN or Royal Navy ranks.

    Hope this helps.
  4. CmdrMitthrawnuruodo Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 1, 2000
    star 6
    Normally the Captain rank is the highest commanding officer that commands a single capital ship. Like SiouxFan said, someone of lower rank such as Cmdr or Lt Cmdr can also command the ship. Usually this happens when the Captain is off-duty or incapacitated/killed. A Commodore (next rank after Capt) through full Admiral can also command a single capital ship, but they also command an entire fleet of capital ships as well. Admiral Firmus Piett of the SSD Executor was one such officer that commanded a ship in addition to a fleet.

    Honestly though, a Lieutenant is quite eligible to command a capital ship but usually that happens under special circumstances and often when the chain of command has been removed and the Lieutenant is next in line. On rare occasions a Captain or Commander can leave command of the bridge to a Lieutenant if necessary.

    But to be promoted a ship command in a career, an officer usually is a Captain or at least a Commander first.
  5. Goodwood Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2011
    star 4
    Depends on the size of the ship. If we're talking the Imperial Navy of the TORverse, then this translates to whether or not they're going to be in control of one of the smaller starships such as those used by the Sith Warrior or Imperial Agent (technically these were analogous to corvettes), a frigate, a cruiser, or the Harrower-class Star Destroyer. Corvettes and small patrol craft could be commanded by a senior lieutenant, frigates by a lieutenant commnader, and cruisers by a commander or captain depending on size. The biggest Star Destroyers would often be commanded by a very senior captain or an admiral; often in the post-Endor Galactic Empire an ISD would be under the command of an admiral, with a captain as his/her executive officer.

    The term "capital ship" can also be deceptive, as just about anything above corvette could be considered one. For you and your friends' purposes, @ladubois, I would recommend you not go higher than the Terminus-class frigate (the smaller capital ships seen in space battles), both for the purpose of believability (there were lots in service) and ease of management, as running one of them would be a lot simpler than commanding a Harrower-class. Given the parallels between canon fleet operations and real-world navies, I'd say one of those ships could easily be captained by a lieutenant commander, though when in command such a person would always be referred to as "Captain."

    Example: During World War II, U.S. Navy submarines and destroyers were almost never led by someone of Commander rank or higher.
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