View Full Version : The Republic Navy

20 May 2003, 04:26 PM
While it’s been established that the Old Republic had no standing army, there have been many EU references to a Republic Navy (such as Timothy Zahn’s Dreadnoughts).

What was the state of the Republic Navy during the Rise of the Empire era and what ships did was the fleet composed of? My feeling is that prior to the Clone Wars the Dreadnought was the main heavy cruiser of the Republic fleet. Other ships like the Loronar Pursuit Cruiser and the Corellian Support Frigate rounded out the fleet. Of course this is just my view, and I’m not up on all the RoE material. Does anyone else know anything about the Republic fleet?

21 May 2003, 05:20 AM
Before Episode II there are a bunch of references to Republic Army and Republic Navy. As soon as the Episode II script made it clear there had been no such thing in a very long time -- something that had been clear to me and many others before, since massed naval power is equated so plainly with tyranny in Episodes IV-VI -- the EU retconned itself so there is a central military in the Old Republic era (25,000-1,000 BBY), it's disbanded during the Ruusan Reformation, there's no Republic Navy or Army in the Rise of the Empire era. (In fact the references more or less stopped with Episode I, with exceptions such as Secrets of Naboo.) So stuff like the Katana fleet is left needing continuity fixes (that one has yet to appear). What there is is the Judicial Department/Republic Guard, the Republic's galaxywide lawkeeping organization, which has a small fleet with ships such as Corellian space cruisers, Corellian Lancets, and Dreadnaughts (from the late reference in Starships of the Galaxy). And there's Republic Special Task Forces (assembled from planetary and sector forces). When Ranulph Tarkin temporarily assembles what he calls a 'Republic Navy' during the Stark Hyperspace War it's a rogue act without Senate support -- he's part of a militarist faction that anticipates the forming of the navy/army in Episode II. Elements like Jan Dodonna's military service are now interpreted as service in 'Republic police forces', i.e. the Judicial Department. Also see here re the Living Force campaign (http://www.wizards.com/rpga/livingforce/article.asp?x=lf/swlf20011004b_thaere,en&c=swlf).

21 May 2003, 06:08 AM
I think there main capital ship that you see would be the Acclamator-class star destroyer and for troops the clone army. ( near the end of the Old republic.)

30 May 2003, 02:04 AM
My take on the situation, which is what I use in my game universe (just a 'certain point of view' interpretation of the films with a fair dollop of EU):

As is generally assumed, there was a standing Republic Military prior to the battle of Ruusan. The post-Ruusan reformations mostly abolished the standing military in favor of regional/system-level security forces. The Army of the Republic was wholly disbanded.

The Galactic Starfleet (not the 'Republic Navy', though the concepts are pretty much interchangeable and the term 'navy' is used colloquially) was placed on a peacetime footing and was very heavily demobilized. The remaining 'fleet, composed mainly of numerous small vessels (averaging in size between the Republic cruiser from TPM and the familiar Corellian corvette), was placed under the joint authority of the Judicial Department and the Bureau of Ships and Services. The Starfleet was tasked primarily with inter-system deep-space law/customs enforcement, lifesaving/space safety, antipiracy patrols, and the like (in short, a Republic 'Coast Guard' whose main jurisdiction was the spacelanes connecting the myriad sovereign systems of the galaxy). Over the next thousand years, the Starfleet conducted these functions with distinction. On occasion, a certain number of larger capital ships were constructed in order to provide the nucleus of a wartime naval mobilization; these ships-of-the-line came and went according to the whims of the Senate. The Dreadnaught class cruisers were one of the latest and best-known examples of such shipbuilding programs prior to the Clone Wars; these vessels fell into disrepute following the disastrous loss of the Katana Fleet (which took the careers of a goodly number of Senators and bureaucrats with it).

Apart from the customs/law-enforcement functions mentioned above, the Starfleet's main purpose was to provide the basis for a full-fledged wartime fleet in the event of armed conflict. A considerable ready reserve of officers was maintained at all times, through the expedient of a half-pay system. The half-pay system had served for centuries, despite repeated attempts by certain factions within the Senate to abolish it. Owing to the comparatively small number of available active-duty commissions within the fleet, political influence was key to an officer's career advancement and continued active employment. For every one officer serving in a commissioned vessel, scores if not hundreds of officers lacking political influence languished on half-pay, hoping against hope that a miracle might afford them the chance for active employement, distinction, and even promotion.

Once the Clone Wars broke out, Palpatine (utilizing his expanded emergency powers) mobilized the half-pay officers and embarked upon a full-scale naval armament unprecedented in the last thousand years. The venerable half-pay system provided an all-important nucleus of trained officers for the fleet, while a massive conscription effort--the 'hot press', in spacer parlance--was instituted in order to provide crewmen for the Starfleet's vessels. The vast Acclamator class assault ships, and later the Victory class star destroyers, would require many thousands of skilled officers and crewmen in order to prove effective against the Trade Federation's fleets of batrtleships and the other Seperatist armadas.

(In short, the basic traditions of the Republic's naval forces continue in an unbroken--if somewhat diminished--line from the pre-Ruusan fleet to the time of the Clone Wars. We saw what appeared to be career naval officers piloting the Radiant VII, and I seriously doubt that the Kaminoans' clone armies were capable of effectively crewing the armada of assault ships seen at Geonosis and later departing Coruscant. This, to my mind, allowed Palpatine to build up from 'no standing military' to the 'dreaded Imperial Starfleet' over a period of two decades; surely Jan Dodonna would have served in a Clone Wars-era Republic fleet, as would any number of career officers such as Ozzel, Piett, Needa, and the like. To be sure, Palpatine almost certainly folded many of the regional security/defense forces into the central Republic/Imperial fleet... but I feel the uniforms of the Radiant VII officers point to a certain continuity between Old Republic and New Order fleets.)

30 May 2003, 02:20 AM
JudroBathens, that's a remarkably well thought out, and well written piece. I very much like your arguments, and they flow nicely. It also is a feasible solution. Even in our own peacetime downsizing, we continue to develop and deploy new weapons systems, which would indicate how a Z-95 could come about, as well as Dreadnaughts and other capital ships. Nicely done!

30 May 2003, 03:18 PM
Some thing else to consider

The number of Acclamator-class cruisers seen in AotC suggests that these ships were already in service before the outbreak of the Clone Wars. For these ships to have been constructed, crewed, and launched in the few days between the Palpatine creating his “Grand Army of the Republic” and the battle of Genosis(sp?) would be impossible.

This then presents the more intriguing problem of why the Republic, with no standing army, had commissioned a fleet of assault ships primarily used for troop transport. Dreadnaughts and other such ships are made for space combat and would have been built to combat piracy, a very real threat in the last days of the Republic. However the origin of the Acclamator remains some thing of a puzzle

Also, for those purists who say that the RotE period Republic had no military period, the AtoC Visual Dictionary has several references to the “Republic Military”. Since these books are guides to the films, they have a status closer to ‘sub-cannon’ rather then EU.

30 May 2003, 04:51 PM
We know the origin of the clone hardware: after whoever-it-was posing as Sifo-Dyas (but not the Republic) secretly ordered the clone army, the Kaminoans subcontracted Rothana Heavy Engineering to construct the vehicles and weapons. Rothana is straight from Lucas, and the plot point is that these ships are the first large warships with long-range hyperdrives to be commissioned since the previous galaxywide war. They definitely weren't seen until the Battle of Geonosis. See various Databank entries and Episode II Incredible Cross-Sections.

Could you cite those Visual Dictionary references for us? Those are my favourite SW books and that's not ringing a bell.

31 May 2003, 12:30 AM
With pleasure :)

In the Visual Guide to AotC in the Date File sidebar on page 7 it says “Military expenditures are dramatically rising during this troubled period”. While it could be referring to spending by sector defense forces, based on the context it would seem more likely they were talking about the Republic as a whole.

Then on page 23 is the so-called “Lieutenant” Faytonni dressed in a stolen military uniform. While the uniform looks very similar to that worn by the Judiciary, it is still referred to as a military uniform. This then by contrary to the view that the Judiciary are the law enforcement arm of Republic government.

There may be more passages like these, but the point is made. While not a “standing military” per se, the Republic is not completely with out force of arms.

31 May 2003, 07:29 AM
While not a "standing military" per se, the Republic is not completely with out force of arms.That's true. Still, the quote on page 7 is about local and private military expenditure: see holonetnews.com for examples. Faytonni and Med-Beq are in Republic Guard uniforms. The Judicial Department is a military service -- its members are mostly SWRPG soldiers -- it just isn't an army that could fight a war. ('Rise of the Empire': 'But to senators who have faced the horrors of war, the creation of a standing army is the first step down a road leading to the sorrow and suffering of war'.)

This is one area where, for once, the (recent) EU matches the films, the published works match the intent, there's no ambiguity here. Though JudroBathens's is a sensible enough alternative if you have some reason to want it that way.

Axis Kast
12 June 2003, 08:28 AM
Just prior to Episode I, there were some unusual designs floating around the StarWars.com database. They were later removed. One of those was in face the mothership form Homeworld turned on its broad side. A flying crescent, if you will.

By the way ... Why is the board text so ... large?

12 June 2003, 05:00 PM
Originally posted by Axis Kast
Just prior to Episode I, there were some unusual designs floating around. One of those was in face the mothership form Homeworld turned on its broad side. A flying crescent, if you will.

What, you mean like this? :D

Reverend Strone
12 June 2003, 07:53 PM
That bears a strong resemblance to the Commerce Guild Starships that were designed for but not seen in AOTC. Check out this link to the TCG Cardlist (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=swtcg/cardlist/aotc) and sroll down to card 128. Click on it for a reasonably good picture of the ship in question.

12 June 2003, 07:57 PM
Man I love that ship. Have to think that ships are really hard to come by from that era, seeing as they were scarce even then. Man, where did the Kaminoans keep all the ships and vehicles and stuff!!

Axis Kast
13 June 2003, 08:42 AM

Thanks kindly!

Also ... about the text?

Axis Kast
13 June 2003, 07:11 PM
What was the story behind that crescent ship?

14 June 2003, 01:22 AM
I'd have to say that the concept of there not being any army or navy is a foolish notion. in the USA before WWI, and up until WWII, we Officially had no standing army or navy. Does this mean we had no soldiers or military ships? No, just means that they weren't very big. We still had a navy, albeit with about 90% of it in mothballs just in case, did we not have soldiers? We didn't have a standing army, meaning we didn't have a fully filled out body of combat troops, we still had the command and support structures (in a skeleton crew fashion). totally disarming, in a setting where there are outside "potential" threats is a form of national and political suicide.

Because of this, my point of view would be that the Katana Fleet was probably a mothballed fleet from roughly a thousand years earlier, and due to the lack of crew, had the slave systems installed that caused that group problems. During the interval improvements will still be made, probably focusing on fewer crew.

Also, the wording of forming a "Grand Army of the Republic" suggests to me that they had a smaller one that was probably used for internal conflicts and small border brush fire conflicts. This would not be enough to fight an all out war.

my two cents.


14 June 2003, 04:48 AM
Originally posted by farr0095
JudroBathens, that's a remarkably well thought out, and well written piece. I very much like your arguments, and they flow nicely. It also is a feasible solution. Even in our own peacetime downsizing, we continue to develop and deploy new weapons systems, which would indicate how a Z-95 could come about, as well as Dreadnaughts and other capital ships. Nicely done!

Thanks for the kind words, farr. I developed the ideas sometime prior to AOTC, when it became clear that Lucas intended to show that the Republic had no standing military as such. A lot of the basis for my hypothesis came from the way the British Royal Navy operated in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries (especially the ideas of officers on half-pay and vast numbers of skilled spacers being press-ganged into the service; the idea that political interest played a big role in an officer finding active employment dovetails nicely with the increasing corruption within the Republic in the prequel era).

The whole thing came about because one of my players had a character (originally in an Ep1-era D6 game) who was a Republic fleet officer, and I wanted to retain that character in light of the AOTC revelations with a minimum of backpedalling and retroactive continuity. I could have sort of fudged it and said, "No--she was never a Republic officer; she was always a member of (regional security force X)." But I am a stubborn bugger, so I decreed that if I as GM said there was a pre-Clone Wars Republic Fleet, then there damned well was one and then set about proving it.:D

Other thoughts that come to mind on rereading my post:

--A lot of serving officers in regional security fleets might also be commissioned Republic officers on half-pay; should a commission to an active Republic vessel come about, they'd need to abandon their 'moonlighting' jobs and report for duty or else forfeit their right to half-pay and any potential future employment.

--The Katana Fleet, with its focus on automation and droid/slave control, seems to fit nicely into the idea of a reduced peacetime fleet with minimal manpower available to it. It also sounds like a perfect pork-barrel project for Senators to pour money into/siphon money out of.

--faraer's points about references in Ep2 ICS re: the Acclamator class ships were on my mind as well--especially the fact of them being the first large, long-range ships seen in a great many centuries. The idea of the Republic fleet using smaller vessels like the Dreadnaught whereas larger warships were only used locally helps explain the apparent discrepancy in size between a lot of the tiny 'cruisers' that first appeared in WEG sourcebooks (Dreadnaughts, Carracks, Strike Cruisers, etc.) and the big honkin' Star Destroyers. the former were the remnants of the old Republic fleet, whereas the latter represented Palpatine's desire to consolidate galatic military power in such a way that no other force could have a chance to defeat the Imperial fleet. Imperial Star Destroyers could handily defeat any of the smaller long-range ships, and have a fighting chance against large local ships (or, failing that, the ability to escape if the fight turned ugly). This last sentence makes me think of Han's boasting of outrunning "the big Corellian ships, not the local bulk cruisers".

--One thing I haven't sorted out yet (and have been thinking about addressing in-game) is just who the devil was driving those assault ships. Sure, the ships themselves were ordered by 'Sifo-Dyas' in conjunction with the clones and all their other vehicles... and clearly we had specially-trained clone pilots for walkers, gunships, etc. But would the Kaminoans really have earmarked a considerable percentage of expensive clone soldiers for training in fields such as astrogation, hyperdrive engineering, and other strictly naval fields? Surely, under the circumstances, the clones were needed for their primary purpose as ground assault troops. I have no good answer to the question at hand, but suspect that a fair number of Republic fleet officers were pulled off of other duties and/or recalled from half-pay to command the assault ships, while crewmen might have been covertly pressed into service. Or perhaps some officers and/or crewmen might have been loaned out by the Kuat defense forces (referenced in ICS again). But I don't buy that clones were conning the assault ships. That's just not what they were created for. I dunno. A lot of my campaign, which is just now seriously getting into the Clone Wars timeframe, is centered around illustrating the gradual change from Republic to Empire, so this is the kind of stuff I spend a lot of time speculating on.

Edit: As a post-script and potential fodder for further discussion... I was also thinking of intro'ing early T.I.E. fighters somewhere along the line. My basic assumption would be that fighter pilots would be recruited and trained as part of the inevitable wartime mobilization (which in turn would lead to a massive standing Imperial military). However... there was a reference (possible spoiler?) in a recent Clone Wars comic--Republic #50, I think, maybe--to a program being underway to develop starfighters for the clones. I don't know that I like the idea of clone pilots; it's not unfeasible, to be sure, but I always want to think of snubfighter jocks being your basic, well... fighter jocks. Chuck Yeager, Right Stuff types. That their piloting ability came hand-in-hand with being rugged, rampant individualists. I don't see a lot of Jango Fett clones with their individuality and initiative being dialed down in favor of blind obedience doing a great job as fighter pilots. Anyone got any opinions to offer?

14 June 2003, 07:43 AM
Maybe sjard is right if this was a 'real' Republic; we don't need that discussion. But that's irrelevant to the SW galaxy, which is determined by symbolism.

Anyway, a couple of minor points. Boba Fett 2: Crossfire has, aboard a Republic assault ship, multi-species crew in magenta tunics as well as the clone troopers. We aren't told who they are, and they haven't appeared in other materials.

Re the fighters, this holonetnews.com story (http://www.holonetnews.com/51/business/13411_1.html) shows us where the EU is going with this. I think the mere fact Jango Fett is a great pilot makes clone fighter pilots make sense; if the association with individualism does hold true, the Clone Wars are not an ordinary war (and obviously clone fighters prefigure the Empire's TIEs), and there are surely non-clone fighter pilots too, Jedi and sector defense force and Judicial Department.

14 June 2003, 05:53 PM
JudroBathens, while what you say about fighter jock is true you also have to remember that TIE's are basicly desposable ships just as Clone troopers are desposable combatents and the vast number of tie pilots are not what I would call free thinkers.... maybe just a little bit more then Stormies but not much.

14 June 2003, 06:07 PM
If my memory serves me right, the metioning of the TIE fighter indicated that it was going to be used by regular (non-clone) people, since their was no referience to clones piloting it in the first place. But don't quote me on that, I may be wrong.

Caamasi Jedi49:plokoon:

15 June 2003, 12:56 PM
Well perhaps the TIE fighter gets developed in the end of the Clone Wars....

18 June 2003, 04:21 PM
About the crews of the Acclamators

If it were me, I wouldn't have the Acclamators 'kept' anywhere. I'd have them out on maneuvers, shakedown cruises, and running wargames, getting the crews ready for active fighting.

This does bring up a point in my mind though. Do you think those officers who are eventually going to command these ships are covertly pulled off their normal assignments and placed onboard these ships to get accustomed to them before the battle of Geonosis?

I DO agree that the Acclamators probably weren't used before then, but I think you'd want some leeway between manning the boat and sending it off, so everyone could 'get their sealegs'.

Palpatine shows incredible forsight in predicting future events, and may have pulled some cream-of-the-crop officers for these assignments, in such a backhand way as to make their absense easy to mask, and keep plausible deniability to his involvement.