My idea for an official name for my Naval Infantry is based on the use of Latin as the language of the Imperium, as the Navy is called Aeronautica Imperialis, the infantry branch in my work is called, the Arma Aeronautica. So here is an outline of the fluff I have developed...
The Arma Aeronautica is the official term for the Navy Surface Combat Insertion troops, SCI which has given the appellation 'Sky Troops' due to these being airborne in nature, or 'drop troops'. Due to the laws and restrictions governing the military of the Imperium the Imperial Guard and Imperial Navy once split from the Imperial Army after the Horus Heresy in the fears that rebel forces could be too powerful if given combined abilities. Thus the Imperial Guard was prohibited from all aeronautical craft and command of ships, and reversely so for the Navy who were restricted from infantry forces. However, due to the development of demands and the requirement for military efficiency, various exceptions to these rigid rules have come about.
For example, the Imperial Guard uses its own aeronatical companies, of flyers and bombers best known of which are the Phantine Air Corps, furthermore the Guard special forces Stormtroopers and Grenadier units are typically deployed via airborne drops onto the field in dedicated craft such as the Valkyrie which are increasingly under Guard and not Naval command.
Similarly so, the Imperial Navy make use of boarding troops as well as drop troops, which are best known in the form of the revered Naval Armsmen. What follows is a full desciption and breakdown of the 'SKY Troops' organisation; the Arma Aeronautica.
Naval Infantry consist of three tiers of soldiery although only one is widely known, that of the Armsmen. However, these represent a single branch of the SKY Troops forces. Onboard ship the designation specialisation for infantry boarding response, secure control and protective assignment duties are the highly trained NavSec (Naval Security) branch. These are the Armsmen proper and hold the rank Armsman or Master-at-Arms, all officers are automatically required to hold some basic SCI training although some officers have specific specialisation as NavSec. NavSec provide disciplinary supervision onboard ship and on naval bases, perform guarding tasks such as at weapon depots, they also enforce officer rule upon the hardy masses of voidborn crewmen and pressgangers.
NavSec armsmen form several types of combat unit which can respond to all nature of Naval requirements for infantry.
- OVERSEERS The main role is that as outlined above, actual ship security also called Fleet Protection Mandate, which allows the assignment of infantry posted for this specific role, officially the designated unit will be termed Overseers. Overseers are typically referred to by non-Naval personnel as Naval Arbiters (police) or Naval Commissars (political officers as seen amongst the Imperial Guard.)
- FIRSTWAVE The primary function of NavSec within the SKY Troops is to offer a Special Operations role, and in the following three unit classifications, NavSec operate in a support role to Naval Special Forces whom we shall meet later. FirstWave units are the units that respond to boarding and breaching alerts during ship-to-ship fighting, but they also carry the same equipment and fulfil a similar role during surface combat insertion or 'drops'. FirstWave utilise protective armour, cutting tools and close quarter combat weapons. CAGE atmospheric armour suits fall under the FirstWave class, and are always deployed in concert. Assault Support
- CORSAIRS Formed into larger teams than other units, Corsairs provide a grenadier role on the battlefield wearing little or no armour and relying on special weapons, grenades and technological equipment. Considered seek-and-destroy units they are invaluable in boarding actions as well as surface combat insertion where they can provide much needed firepower. Tactical Support
- MARKSMEN Sniper rifles may seem an unusual choice for Armsmen in ship-to-ship fighting but the neccessity for minimising collateral damage when fighting onboard a vessel requires often more surgical devices than raw bombardment. Sharpshooters can pick off enemy targets without risking destroying valuable technology or rupturing a bulkhead or hull. The range of labyrinthine corridors and vast hangar decks are extremely similar to dense industrial or urban theatres of war on most planet surfaces and allow naval snipers to maintain a high level of proficiency. Snipers
- Master-at-Arms Assigned as single operatives, these NCOs give a much needed strategical backbone to the naval militia units such as the Watch and the Field Gun crews. They also stand as team leaders within the NavSec units unless a specialised officer such as a Sniper Captain or Corsair Captain is assigned to that unit. Infantry Branch NCOs
Apart from the Armsmen themselves the typical bulk of a SKY Troop deployment force will generally speaking be emergency conscripts drafted from surplus ships' crews. Not every Naval ship has a compliment of Imperial Guard, infantry and vehicle divisions who operate to full efficiency when ammassed in great numbers. Therefore when a planet or outpost has need of infantry forces during military emergencies, it is more often than not the Imperial Navy ships that are on hand. Rather than ferrying Imperial Guard forces or waiting it out, the Navy will deploy its own Arma Aeronautica forces and commit to the fight as best as possible in a Light Infantry and Airborne role until heavier relief forces such as the Guard can arrive.
Naval Militia & the Watch
The conscripted ships' crews are referred to not as Naval Infantry per se such as the trained Commandoes and Armsmen, but instead bear the temporary position of a militia. Formed into large ranked bodies called a Watch, these are in effect the equivalent of a platoon. Reinforced by Masters-at-Arms and a leading Officer of the Watch they can provide a basic wall of fire.
Militiamen also man the Field Guns of the Imperial Navy which are the only surface heavy weaponry available to the SKY Troops due to there being a Munitorum restriction on surface vehicles such as tanks, APCs and artillery. Field Guns are heavy operable mobile positions which are only transported on foot by the sheer grit, determination and skill of their crewmen. Field Gun Crews are considered an elite in their own right, performing intense drill regimes even when serving onboard ship in deep space. Under the instruction of the Armsmen and Commandoes, Field Gun Crews provide the only Naval unit that is solely dedicated to surface warfare. There are three types of NAVAL ISSUE heavy weapon:
- MACE Mobile Assault Cannon Emplacement.
- MAUL Mobile Assault Utility Laz. A combined multi-laz cannon
- LANCE Laz Assisted Naval Cannon Emplacement. A battle cannon with multi-laz fixture
Imperial Naval Commandoes
The final tier of the Imperial Naval Infantry is the highest but least known, and is in fact one of the most secretive and elite organisations within the entire Imperium of Man. Dating back to the time of the Emperor, the Imperial Commandoes have operated as a special forces unit, assigned for most of their history to Naval ships to conduct recon, demolitions, rescue missions, infilitration, kill team objectives and deep strike runs into enemy territory mainly to augment Naval superiority. Relative to Imperial Assassins, Commandoes have a prolonged training regime supervised by the Combined Operations Executive whose members hold rotary positions and are made up of high ranking officials from a range of Imperial military organisations apart from the Navy and Guard (such as the Adeptus Astartes). The COE fulfils the Munitorum stipulations that the Commandoes must be given a watchdog community for fear of their infiltration by rebel or xeno agencies. The COE also serves in the reverse capacity of maintaining a wide-range of intelligence and cutting-edge training. The Commandoes open their training selection only to veterans of the Guard, Navy and Arbites and failure in such exercises means death, so extreme is the course that it is comparable to the Space Marines themselves.
Copyright Ross Downing 2009