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Federation rank structure

 
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David
Lieutenant Commander


Joined: 08 Nov 2009
Posts: 205
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 6:54 pm    Post subject: Federation rank structure Reply with quote

I understand that Star Fleet rank in many ways mirrors naval rank. In the U.S. Navy, I've seen a submarine commander (as an example) with the rank of either Lt. Commander or Commander (and of course Captain).

I would assume that a Frigate skipper would 'probably' be a Lt. Commander or Commander while a Destroyer skipper would 'probably' be a Commander or Captain. And of course a leader would be the higher of the ranks. Is this generally correct?

With the heavier units such as Light Cruiser, Heavy Cruiser and probably War Cruiser units the C.O. would be a Captain.

For units with a flag bridge i.e. CC, BC, DN etc, are they generally commanded by a Commodore or Admiral? Or by a Captain under normal duty and a higher ranking officer when needed?

I just reread the 'Betrayal' in an earlier CL where Captain Jefferies commanded the BCF Forrest. Would it be normal practice for a Captain to command a BCF or would normal be more towards a Commodore or Admiral?
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mjwest
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Joined: 08 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I could be mis-remembering this, but I believe it is general structured like this:
- Frigates and Destroyers commanded by Commander.
- Cruisers and above are commanded by Captains.

Destroyers can be commanded by a Captain. Light cruisers or war cruisers can be commanded by Commanders. Frigates might occasionally get a Lt. Commander. There are always exceptions and border cases, but this is the most common. During war, the average tends to go down. (E.g. during a long period of peace, light cruisers are probably all commanded by Captains. During a long war, almost all are probably Commanders.)

Gunboats are typically commanded by a Lieutenant, while the gunboat leader will have a Lt. Commander who also commands the whole flotilla.

CCs and above are commanded by senior Captains (or Fleet Captains). It is possible a Commodore kicked someone to the curb to grab the chair (or keep the chair), but that is probably less common.

BCs and above operating as an actual fleet flagship will also have an Admiral (or Commodore). The Admiral will command the fleet, while the Captain commands the ship. Occasionally, a Fleet Captain or Commodore will do both (e.g. Kosnett), but that is the exception for the Federation. (On the other hand, that is standard for the Klingons.)
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djdood
Fleet Captain


Joined: 01 Feb 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[cross-posted with Mike West, but we're basically saying the same things]

There's an article about this somewhere, but here's what I understand:

Yes, a small Star Fleet ship (FF) would usually have a Lt. Commander as its "skipper".

Star Fleet (old, "lollipop", Saladin-class) destroyers are weird, in that they are more like a light cruiser than other empire's destroyers. They (and the Texas/Province-class old light cruisers and Kearsarge-class new light cruisers) would usually have a full Commander as the CO, with a Captain in some instances and only a Lt. Commander in rarer instances.

The heavy cruiser type hulls (CA, CF, CS, NCA, etc.) would essentially always be commanded by a Captain. The term "Fleet Captain" was used on tv - I can't recall at the moment if it was ever introduced in the SFU; if it was, it was probably as an "informal" temporary brevet rank, noting the senior captain in a group of other captains.

The "command" cruisers (CC, NCA) would usually have a Commodore aboard, but he commands the squadron from his Flag bridge, with a Commander actually acting in the role of CO of the ship itself (possibly a Captain, in some cases). There seem to be exceptions to this, in the case of Tony Stocker, etc., where the Commodore is the active combat CO of the ship, especially in peacetime. The Klingons have the senior officer in nominal command of the ship always (but he often delegates much, to manage the workload).

In peacetime, Admirals are usually in their office, on a starbase.

In wartime, the Admirals are aboard a dreadnought, commanding a fleet from their flag bridge, again with a Captain commanding the ship itself (with no exceptions that I recall).

Battlecruisers are a unique case, at least equal to a command cruiser, but operating alone more often. They could easily have a Commodore as CO, but also a very senior (or popular) Captain.

Operational needs, complications, and politics, can put a person in command of a ship above or below what would be typical for their rank, at least until things settle down.
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DNordeen
Commander


Joined: 05 Apr 2007
Posts: 523

PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 4:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just for a bit of history....

There were three ranks of ship captain in British/US navy based on the "size" of the ship

Lt, Commanding
Master and Commander
Captain

Lt, Commanding became Lt Commander. Master and Commander became Commander.

I'll try to remember to jot down the references next time I pull out the document I found that in. It's titled "Why are Colonels called Kernal"
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DNordeen
Commander


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 4:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On a whim, I googled it. Here's the document for your reading pleasure.

http://www.afhso.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-110111-034.pdf
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David
Lieutenant Commander


Joined: 08 Nov 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So it would seem the BC is sort of an odd duck in that the CC came out in Y143 and was used prior to the DN (Y148) for an admiral to command his/her fleet from, while the BC didn't come out until the late Y170's. By that time the Fed's had better DN's for the Admirals and CC's were still around. And as we see in several fiction/scenario's, several Commodores are using the CC's prior to and into the GW.

So in essence the BC will have at least a Captain but be available for Commodores and Admirals should the need arise i.e. commanding a small fleet from a BC flag bridge.
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the US Navy, most ships have a commander as a skipper. It's pretty rare for an actual naval warship to have a Lt Commander. Captains are used only for big things (battleships and carriers).

In wartime, it's fairly common for any job to be held by someone who is one rank lower.

In some ways I like the continental system.

Kapitan zur see
Korvetten Kapitan
Kapitan Leutnant
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djdood
Fleet Captain


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

David -

Yes, the Fed BC is an odd duck.

It is able to act as something of a less-capable surrogate to a DN, and carries a flag bridge for that purpose (and is certainly more survivable than a CC). Sometimes in lieu of a DN, sometimes as a adjunct/backup in large fleets.

However, they operate as large cruisers just as frequently, sometimes patrolling alone (something DNs never do).

This spread in roles leaves the rank of the CO open to a pretty good range. You could see anything from a senior Captain all the way up to an Admiral (who lost his DN).
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Sgt_G
Lieutenant Commander


Joined: 07 Oct 2006
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Location: Offutt AFB, Nebraska

PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2014 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Captain's Log # 43, page 25, is the typical crew roster for a Federation Burke-class FFG -- the ship's captain is listed as an O-5 Commander. So says the guy who drafted that list. Wink
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David
Lieutenant Commander


Joined: 08 Nov 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Revisiting this topic. Where do you see the CB Heavy Command Cruiser fitting into the picture? I'd figure at least a Captain but available for a Commodore or Admiral.

And since the CB operates more or less at the same time as the CC (though becoming operational later, though I don't know the service date off hand), would that have moved the CC more towards being a Captain-only vessel?
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DNordeen
Commander


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 09, 2014 1:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For the most part, Flag officers don't command a ship. They'd command a squadron or fleet from the Flag Bridge, while their Flag Captain commanded the ship from the bridge.

This allows the Admiral/Commodore to focus on the fleet and leave fighting the ship the flag bridge happens to be on to the Captain.
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 09, 2014 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In SFU, CCs and even CCHs often have a captain in command who runs whatever ships the admirals told him to take charge of. This is fairly common in peacetime.

In wartime, with more ships in service, and grouped into smaller areas, a CC might well have a commodore who might also be the captain of the ship. but in such cases the XO is really overworked. On many ships from Y172 and from every CC/CCH in Y177, there is more or less always a commodore on the flag bridge and a captain on the bridge.

The appearance of CCHs (CBs) does not drive CCs into the hands of mere captains. Squadron command ships are whatever ships are available. CCHs replaced lost CCs and expanded the number of squadron command ships.
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David
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for all the replies Very Happy
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