New: Formations, Attack Patterns and Manoeuvres

Terran Stellar Navy Forums (OOC) Division Development New: Formations, Attack Patterns and Manoeuvres

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    Here is the link to the new document detailing formations, attack patterns and manoeuvres.

    Formations, Attack Patterns and Manoeuvres

    I have added more detail into the section on manoeuvres, outlining and naming each with standard terminology. They are the simpler manoeuvres, which can be linked to make more complex sequences. For example, the J-Hook would be moving ahead full and then coming hard to port, starboard or hard about. Of course, when communicating this, a helm officer would only say “coming hard to port” and forego the “moving ahead full”.

    I think I might also add in some simple ones for a short warp jump, for example when you want to warp around/ away from an enemy, but keep in combat range of them. Along with these, I was thinking of adding in some specifically to use for positioning the ship in a formation, or relative to another object e.g. come alongside, match speed and course, and others like position them off the forward, port side of the ship. These would then mean that helm officers don’t need to know the close or fleet formations (they are supposed to be for captains and ship-to-ship coordination, not orders from one ship to the crew of another i.e. crews should not respond to the formation, the captain should respond by issuing appropriate orders).

    This should then complete the system, with maneouvres being the most basic element, using them to move the ship with attack patterns, and then attack patterns being utilised to carry out the combat formations. And the other maneouvres/attack patterns being ordered to fulfill close formations. An example would be; when the close formation, issued by the battlegroup commander comes in and is “Assume formation Fox 1, close” (which is to inform the captain), the captain would issue the order “Come portside of TSN Raven” (which the helms officer should follow).

    Note how the helms officer responds to the captain’s order, not to the formation order from the battlegroup commander. (This is the most common issue that seems to occur with battlegroup operations.)

    Anyway, any questions or comments, or typos or possible errors you spot, reply here!


    1) Would “hard to port/starboard” be inverse like in traditional sailing?

    2) How will each individual ship know which specific spot to take in a formation?

    3) I think helm officers should know the close formations. I’m not sure what the expectation is, that the captain receives an order, e.g. “able 1”, and then micromanages the helm while he or she is none the wiser to the bigger picture? It sounds like a mess to set up and a chore to maintain. In reality, on the Lancer, all that happens is that Jemel translates “able 1” to “wedge” and I know right away what’s up.


    Interesting comment Aposine, one that made me do a little bit of research on this. I found this:

    Hard a starboard is order so to place the tiller as to bring the rudder over to the port-side of the stern-post, whichever way the tiller leads.

    So ‘hard a starboard’ would mean ‘put your helm or tiller hard a starboard’. This would turn the ship’s rudder to port and so the ship would turn to port.

    This all changed with the Merchant Shipping (Safety and Load Line Conventions) Act, 1932, which came into effect on 1 January 1933.

    This brought the British Merchant Navy into line with the rest of the world, so that from that date all steering orders were given as wheel orders, and ‘hard a starboard’ did in fact mean ‘turn right’. (ref:

    So for simplicity sake, we will go with the modern definition of “hard to port” meaning to turn the ship to the left, and “hard to starboard” meaning to turn the ship to the right.


    Ok, and looking at questions 2 and 3.

    A2: As for specific spot to take, it is relatively clear up to three ships from the diagrams given. If there are four or more, it is less clear. There was an earlier document on formation in which the different classes were lined up in terms of the heaviest being towards the front and the lighter vessels taking up rear positions.

    A3: I think helms officer can be aware, but shouldn’t necessarily need to know them. When the close formation order comes in, the captain could simply say “form up on Raven, starboard side” indicating the ship should be positioned with Raven to the right hand side of the ship. With close formation, the small delay of captain communicating the order should be negligible, and more experienced helms officer would likely have anticipated the positioning. Rather than leaving it an unstated order, I think it is clearer for a captain to state it though, even if the helm officer is moving there. It will be of a benefit to the one time the captain wants to change the position for some reason or another.

    We’d need to indicate clear positions that helm and captain would have to know. Bow (front), Starboard bow (right front – the klingon side!), Starboard (to right), starboard stern (back right), stern (rear), port stern (back left), port (to left), port bow (left front) and back round to bow. The only one that doesn’t sound right is “starboard stern”. The rest sound fine. I have found the word “quarter” used as well as “beam” which would replace some e.g. starboard stern would be starboard quarter, and starboard would be starboard beam.


    Where’s the pretty picture version for us lowly non-readers?

    John van Leigh

    Here’s the pretty Quick Reference Sheet. For the formations themselves you might want to look at the pictures on the actual documents, although the best you can do is to work with a sheet next to you.

    Mine is a nice reminder of:
    a. Whispers. I use the numpad for whispers, and each number is a specific ship.
    b. Fleet orders. The common ones are rather easy to remember, but I’d hate to be the guy who doesn’t remember what a Lambda 4 is when it actually gets ordered.
    c. Formations, as those are relatively new and I’m not entirely confident with them just yet.

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