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Thread: Clev's military Sci Fi thread

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    Clev's military Sci Fi thread

    I'm designing a Space Military, and I wanted to answer an age-old military complaint by separating the title of Captain from the rank of Captain.


    A Captain commands a vessel. What should I call the rank between Commander/XO/First Officer and one-star?
    Last edited by Noclevername; 2018-Oct-02 at 08:54 AM.
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    Don't follow the Navy. That's so old hat.

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    Apollo had the Commander as in the chief of the mission. And they had a Pilot. The Commander was piloting the craft. Spaceflight is difficult. I'm not helping you.

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    It's an age-old tradition. You should NOT change it. Having old military traditions in a space navy works, for me. Pretty much the only reason I liked Niven's The Mote in God's Eye.

    If you want to fix something, do something about what you call one-star flag rank. The US Navy has been struggling with that for years. "Rear Admiral, Lower Half" indeed.

    Oh, and did you know that the US Navy uses officers with the rank of Captain as Executive Officers in aircraft carriers?
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    Having seen many variations on either the USAF or USN model for space navies, I was going to suggest creating something a little different that was more in turn with the realities of advanced space military forces, maybe a combination of the two with something new added. Tradition must give way at times to the new: the USAAF was not constructed exactly like the US Army.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    It's an age-old tradition. You should NOT change it. Having old military traditions in a space navy works, for me. Pretty much the only reason I liked Niven's The Mote in God's Eye.

    If you want to fix something, do something about what you call one-star flag rank. The US Navy has been struggling with that for years. "Rear Admiral, Lower Half" indeed.

    Oh, and did you know that the US Navy uses officers with the rank of Captain as Executive Officers in aircraft carriers?
    A space military will not be a navy. It'll be a space military.
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    Make sure his last name is Captain.

    Then you can say
    "We're being hailed, Captain Captain!"
    "Roger, Roger."

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    Make sure his last name is Captain.

    Then you can say
    "We're being hailed, Captain Captain!"
    "Roger, Roger."
    Over, Unger!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    A space military will not be a navy. It'll be a space military.
    Ok, easy-peasy then. The rank you are looking for (O-6 in the USA) is a colonel. If it's not a space navy, why are you wanting to use naval ranks? If it bothers you to have a "Captain" way down at O-3, mix things up a bit.
    O-1: Subaltern.
    O-2: Junior Lieutenant
    O-3: Lieutenant
    O-4: Commander
    O-5: Sub-Colonel
    O-6: Colonel
    O-7: Brigadier Admiral
    O-7: Rear General
    O-8: Vice General
    O-9: The Big Cheese
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    Sub-Commodore? OverCommander? Very Rear Admiral? Medium Cheese?
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    Works for me!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    ... If you want to fix something, do something about what you call one-star flag rank. The US Navy has been struggling with that for years. "Rear Admiral, Lower Half" indeed. ...
    Commodore. It seems to be used (used to be used) primarily as a "courtesy" or "retirement" grade. Captains about to retire out were promoted to Commodore (one star). Captains who were staying around went to Rear Admiral (one star).
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    The trouble with commodore is it always sounds like a cross between a commode and a cuspidor.

    Wasn't commodore a temporary rank for a person in command of more than one ship? Or is that just historical / Royal Navy / both?

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Wasn't commodore a temporary rank for a person in command of more than one ship? Or is that just historical / Royal Navy / both?

    Grant Hutchison
    Yes, and that's still the usage for many navies. That said, Commodore was an actual rank in the US Navy at various points in its history.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    Commodore. It seems to be used (used to be used) primarily as a "courtesy" or "retirement" grade. Captains about to retire out were promoted to Commodore (one star). Captains who were staying around went to Rear Admiral (one star).
    I've never heard that one before. The US Navy, until relatively recently, didn't have a one-star rank.

    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    The trouble with commodore is it always sounds like a cross between a commode and a cuspidor.

    Wasn't commodore a temporary rank for a person in command of more than one ship? Or is that just historical / Royal Navy / both?

    Grant Hutchison
    Quote Originally Posted by schlaugh View Post
    Yes, and that's still the usage for many navies. That said, Commodore was an actual rank in the US Navy at various points in its history.
    That's the main usage I'm familiar with. As noted in the link, making it a subsantive rank in the 1980's caused confusion and resulted in the current "lower half" silliness.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    I'm designing a Space Military, and I wanted to answer an age-old military complaint by separating the title of Captain from the rank of Captain.


    A Captain commands a vessel. What should I call the rank between Commander/XO/First Officer and one-star?
    It depends on the context. As you state, the commander of a ship is called Captain, no matter his/her rank. And an officer with the rank of captain (O-6 in the US Navy) may or may not be in command of a vessel.

    Same with XO, by the way. That's a position title referring the the second in command of a ship.

    ETA: to answer your question directly, you have mixed rank and position in your list. Commander is a rank; XO is a position; First Officer is a position; One-star (Commodore or Rear Admiral Lower) is a rank. The rank between commander (O-5) and rear admiral (O-7) is captain. In the US navy - you may want to model your hierarchy on other navies.
    Last edited by geonuc; 2018-Oct-03 at 03:13 PM.

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    Rank names I'm considering:

    Overcommander
    Consul
    Sovereign
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    Overcommander. It has sort of a German vibe going for it ... two words combined to make one ... very military sounding.

    Or, hey, go the M*A*S*H route and use something like corporal-captain.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    O-9: The Big Cheese
    Maybe, for ranks below The Big Cheese you could have "Wedge" and "Slice"
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    Ship Master
    Overlord
    First Principal
    Chief Governor
    Flight Officer


    maybe separate rank systems for merchant space marine, private navies, and shipboard marines.
    Last edited by Roger E. Moore; 2018-Oct-03 at 09:47 PM.
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    Hmm, how about "Master" for the officer in command of a vessel? Lot of history to that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Rank names I'm considering:

    Overcommander
    Consul
    Sovereign
    Ok, those are really good rank names. If I had to pick one, I'd go with Consul. I like the Romans. But the other two sound great, too.
    Solfe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
    Boaty McBoatboss
    Well there you go.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
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    Do it the RN way.

    A ships captain can be anything from a Lieutenant for something like a Minesweeper or patrol Craft up to a full Captain or Commodore for a Capital Ship.
    Admirals or 'Flag' officers would command a flotilla, squadron or fleet at sea but would not be the captain of their flagship, he would have his own staff and separate 'bridge' but the ship itself would have a captain running it.

    Rank structure

    Admiral of the Fleet
    Admiral
    Vice admiral
    Rear admiral
    Commodore
    Captain
    Commander
    Lieutenant commander
    Lieutenant
    Sub lieutenant
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    Quote Originally Posted by captain swoop View Post
    Do it the RN way.

    A ships captain can be anything from a Lieutenant for something like a Minesweeper or patrol Craft up to a full Captain or Commodore for a Capital Ship.
    Admirals or 'Flag' officers would command a flotilla, squadron or fleet at sea but would not be the captain of their flagship, he would have his own staff and separate 'bridge' but the ship itself would have a captain running it.

    Rank structure

    Admiral of the Fleet
    Admiral
    Vice admiral
    Rear admiral
    Commodore
    Captain
    Commander
    Lieutenant commander
    Lieutenant
    Sub lieutenant
    But that still leaves a rank called Captain. Exactly what I don't want.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    But that still leaves a rank called Captain. Exactly what I don't want.
    I believe the tradition to get around this is "Captain <Last Name>" when they mean rank and "the captain" when they mean the person in charge of the vessel.

    I think you have the problem of etymology. The Greek title was "top most" and the Latin term was "head". The ideas sort of fused so you have both title and rank being the same word. Ancient Greeks tended to have "commanders" followed by "sub-captains", but no rank of just "captain". Short of making up a new tradition, abandoning a real tradition or out and out changing languages, you are stuck with rank and title as the same thing.

    I did flip through google translate and I saw some things like "Elect" and such from Arabic. Probable not the best translation, not only is it Google auto translate, I had to mess with it to get there.

    You could short hand it and use titles as ranks XO and CO.
    Solfe

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