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Cobra-class Close Escort

An excerpt from "Selling the Gazelle," by Sir Eneri Achter-Altermann, Imperial Navy, Retired. Published in the Holiday Annual issue of 1110 of the Proceedings of the Imperial Naval Institute. (Permission to repost this article on private websites is granted.)

So how did the Cobra-class of close escorts acquire a reputation for being mutiny prone?

In fact the crews of Cobra-class escorts were no more prone to mutinies than the crews of any other class of Imperial warship under normal conditions. But it was during the Imperial Civil War that a statistical blip occurred as a result of the sloppy manning practices in effect at the time.

When Admiral Plankwell unloaded his sidearm into Empress Jacqueline he not only disconnected the Imperial Navy from legitimate civil authority, he violently disrupted the bond of comradeship within the officer corps and enlisted ranks of the navy. If Plankwell -- an unwashed lout from the farthest frontier -- could by force of arms proclaim himself to be El Numero Uno, reasoned one would-be claimant to the throne, then anyone could. And anyone who could gather a battle fleet would do just that.

Prior to the assassination of Empress Jacqueline the Imperial Navy guarded the frontiers and kept the peace between the worlds, to be permitted to serve in the Navy was an honor and privilege granted to a select few. But when Plankwell planted his posterior upon the Iridium Throne he converted the various sector fleets, and the Core Fleet in particular, from being guardians of the empire to being in effect bands of pirates that any sufficiently warm body could join.

Sector Admirals seeking to plant their hindquarters on the throne would gather a fleet for an expedition to the core, and as a general rule would place personnel who are the most competent -- and certainly the most loyal to themselves -- aboard their flagships. The less powerful the unit being manned, the less loyal or competent the embarked crew. The loyalty and competence of close escort crews were often the last thing on the mind of the would-be rulers. To further aggravate matters, bureaucrats (usually ground based) would use the requisitioning of fleet units by would-be claimants as an opportunity to rid themselves of incompetents and other unwanted personnel.

All of this was in no way conducive to the creation of a sense of comradeship amongst the crews of Cobra-class escorts. Normally a military unit, from the infantry fire-team to the crew of a first line battleship, is also a social unit. But the crews of close escorts in the claimant fleets were little more space-going mobs. It should not have been a surprise to see a high rate of disorder aboard units of the Cobra-class. Nor should it have been a surprise if the captain of a Cobra decides to turn pirate, as many did during the Civil War.

The notable exception to the aforementioned misadventures in personnel management was the task force organized and led by Grand Admiral Alkhalikoi to put down what she called "The Great Mutiny," and restore civil authority over the Imperial Navy.

Whereas most escort captains in the claimant fleets were flakes and losers, Admiral Alkhalikoi hand picked the commanders of her close escorts and gave them license to head-hunt for their own crews.

The close of the Civil War and the restoration of rational personnel management practices (along with the hunting down of the remaining renegades) brought an end to the mutiny problem in the close escort units. However, the aforementioned statistical blip would become an issue when the time came for the Imperial Navy to replace the Cobra-class escort.

CE-13  COBRA   CE-4144452-300000-44003-0  MCr 334.92  400 tons
       batteries bearing         22  1               Crew=12
               batteries         22  1               TL=13
Passengers=0. Low=0. Cargo=4. Fuel=180. EP=17. Agility=1. Marines=0

Tonnage:        400 tons (standard), 5600 cubic meters.
Crew:           4 officers, 8 ratings
Performance:    Jump 4, 4-G, Power Plant 4, 17 EP, Agility 1.
Electronics:    Model/5 computer.
Hardpoints:     4 hardpoints.
Armament:       One twin fusion gun turret (factor 4x2),
                One triple missile turret (factor 3),
                Two triple beam laser turrets (factor 4x2).
Defenses:       Armored hull (factor 3)
Craft:          20-ton gig.
Fuel:           180 tons, on board scoops and purification plant.
Cost:           MCr 334.92 standard, MCr 267.936 in quantity.
Const. Time:    16 months individually, 11 months in quantity

Comments: Built by Ling Standard Products, the CE-13 Cobra class was designed to meet a specification for a revenue-collection/anti-piracy vessel which could also perform reconnaissance/courier duties with the main Imperial fleets. Each of the fusion guns in the two-ton double turret are fired separately by the Chief Gunner and thus are each counted as a separate battery. Cobra-class close escorts have a unfortunate reputation for crew mutinies, although some historians believe that this was due to special circumstances occurring during the Imperial Civil War.

Although a number of CE-13 Cobras have been transferred to private owners (such as Oberlindes Lines), units of this class continue to serve in backwater areas and client states of the Imperium.

Armed Gig (Imperial Data Package-TL13/14 design).

GG (IDP13/14)    EB-0106B21-000000-20000-0 MCr 27.65 20 tons
 Agility=6       one battery               Crew=1. TL=13/14
Passengers=7..Emergency Low Berths=3 (for 12). Cargo=2. Fuel=2.2. 

Tonnage:        20 tons (standard), 280 cubic meters.
Crew:           Pilot
Performance:    6-G, Power Plant , 2.2 EP, Agility 6.
Electronics:    Model/2 Computer.
Armament:       Beam laser (factor 2).
Defenses:       n/a
Fuel:           2.2 tons, on board scoops.
Cost:           MCr 27.65
Const. Time:    24 weeks individually, 19 weeks and 2 days in quantity

Comments: Standard unit designed by the Imperial Bureau of Naval Construction and adopted for use on the Cobra, Carronade, Gazelle, and Fiery classes of escorts.