Saturday, March 19, 2011

Navies of Barsoom

The aerial navies of Barsoom are the force that gives the Red Martians superiority in warfare against the other races. The battleship is the principal warship upon the Red Planet. Proudly displayed on the bow of all warships is the nation’s identifying device or insignia. While the hulls of scientific or merchant vessels are painted grey. “Upon each battleship there are five ten-man cruisers, and ten five-man scouts, and a hundred one-man scouts." (GM XIX)

Smaller and swifter warships such as cruiser or destroyers are used for patrol or convey duty. “If we are high enough our keel plates will protect us from rifle fire. . . . The swifter craft are seldom equipped with large buoyancy tanks, since the added bulk of them tends to reduce a vessel's speed. . . . Our speed must have approximated two hundred miles an hour, for Martian fliers are swift, so that at most we were in the shaft not over forty seconds.” (GM XIII)

Naval crew are referred to as sailors or thans. A lieutenant or padwar is the lowest rank of naval officer and sometimes will command a ten-man cruiser. A captain or dwar is the rank required to lead either a 100 man cruiser or a destroyer. A battleship is controlled by an odwar or commander, while a fleet (some as large as 100 battleships) is under the direction of a warlord or jedwar.

“My fellow prisoner was Kantos Kan, a padwar (lieutenant) in the navy of Helium. He had been a member of the ill-fated expedition which had fallen into the hands of the Tharks at the time of Dejah Thoris' capture, and he briefly related the events which followed the defeat of the (twenty) battleships. … Thirty days after the capture of Dejah Thoris, or about the time of our coming to Thark, his vessel had reached Helium with about ten survivors of the original crew of seven hundred officers and men. Immediately seven great fleets, each of one hundred mighty war ships, had been dispatched to search for Dejah Thoris, and from these vessels two thousand smaller craft had been kept out continuously in futile search for the missing princess." (PM XIX)

Soldiers salute by placing both palms forward above their head. Advancement in rank for officers and crew is thru merit and courage. \Warfare, is too omnipresent upon the Red Planet for politics and wealth to have a major roll in career progression. Naval crews of the Red Martian are disciplined, virtuous and merciless. “Upon Barsoom, quarter is neither asked nor given, and each dead man means so much more of the waning resources of this dying planet to be divided amongst those who survive.” (GM VII)

A naval battle upon Barsoom is a most spectacular sight to behold; however there is “an extremely pathetic side to the surrender of these mighty fliers, the result of an age-old custom which demanded that surrender should be signalized by the voluntary plunging to earth of the commander of the vanquished vessel. One after another the brave fellows, holding their colors high above their heads, leaped from the towering bows of their mighty craft to an awful death.” (PM XXVI)

“On the morning of the second day we raised the great fleet of transports and their consorts at the first flood of dawn, and soon were near enough to exchange signals (by flags). I may mention here that radio-aerograms are seldom if ever used in war time, or for the transmission of secret dispatches at any time, for as often as one nation discovers a new cipher, or invents a new instrument for wireless purposes its neighbours bend every effort until they are able to intercept and translate the messages. For so long a time has this gone on that practically every possibility of wireless communication has been exhausted and no nation dares transmit dispatches of importance in this way.” (PM XIX)

At its zenith, the fleet of Helium is about 7000 battleships and capital ships and at least 1000 transports. Each transport can carry 250 Green Troopers or 750 Red Troopers or 2000 Red Infantry.

The navy of Ptarth has 4,000 battleships.
The navy of Dusar has 5,000 battleships.
The navy of Zodanga has 3,000 battleships.
The navy of Gathol has 500 battleships.
Protected by a forest of towering trees, the nation of Kaol requires no navy.

The Fleet of the therns is 2000 battleships. while the elite black pirate armada is 1000 capital ships.

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