Space Naval Warfare is about the act of war in space and everything in it. Warfare on a planet may or may not be part of it.
Declaring war is a right, waging war is a privilege. Warfare is a choice of action on how to do war or what to do exactly. It is a choice to follow conventions, ethics, and to honor agreements or understandings. There's is no reason a hostile entity shares the same or follows the same sentimental values or will wage war in which there is a victor and a defeated. “War does not determine who is right - only who is left.” (Often attributed to Bertrand Russell, but no sources exist.) Warfare as it is often understood is but a regulated war among equals. However, there have always been wars of annihilation. The Abh before founding their Empire resorted to planetary destruction as they lacked understanding of humans and their various cultures, specific traditions or signs, hence, misunderstood things. Even humans located just a bit further away don't understand each other whether in the past nor today. Ignorance, prejudice, and greed has been fueling war and warfare more than anything. The Abh have learned and adjusted but humans have been holding a grudge and started the war. Zero understanding is not the only possible reason for a war of annihilation. Repeated excessive or escalating violence or ethnic differences resulting in hatred and vengeance is another e.g. Punic War. A war of annihilation dramatically changes the choices for offensive warfare. Usually, these are brutal and unlimited collateral destructive choices. Regular warfare is not about this.
Space Naval Warfare has little to do with naval warfare of ancient times or on the waters of some planets. It is more comparable to air combat. As in the past battle commences according to formation or battle plan and the weapons or ships available.
Due to the different environment and nature of normal space and plane-space warfare differ for each area. In the past when technology limited the reach of weapons the difference in tactic was large. Now a day, advanced mines and space-time generators have reduced the difference to close quarter and long-range combat.
"Know thy enemy." Aside from understanding the enemy, intelligence on everything is important for planning, and executing warfare. Information-, economic- and political-warfare are also warfare. For a field commander real-time sensor data and its evaluation, presentation, and emanation is vital for situational awareness. The Imperial Data System Symbology was designed for this reason. All these information are important for recognizing options, taking initiative or coming to a decision.
There are no rules in war or space only physical laws. Nothing is the same and danger is everywhere. Unless it's some star there is no more hostile environment than space. An enemy force will surely use it to its advantage.
With plane-space being the primary means to control territory normal space battle do not occur first any longer unless it's a surprise attack. The sord acting as a gate to plane space has become the choke point of interest for all parties. An enemy has no choice but to invade through the sord. Therefore, the primary strategy is to blockade the sord in normal space, and shoot down any appearing ship while it's still unaware or try to reorient. It is a common practice to lay mines in the vicinity of a sord or shooting mines into a sord once an enemy force appears.
Normal Space can be fought by simply following good old strategies and best practices known since ancient time as far as it is about the use of weapons or ships. However, strategic movements is for the most part astrophysics, while tactical maneuvering is old school again. Close quarter combat is typical dog-fighting. This is a robust approach but won't always work.
- Main article: Space Assault
This is an ambiguous term often referring to any kind of space combat. To narrow it down we simply view it as referring to offensive operations.
- Main article: Space Defense
As opposed to Space Assault, Space Defense is about defensive efforts. The best defense is an offense is an option to be kept in mind. Since the age of cannons weapons have become powerful enough to negate any kind of fortification. In the age of space warfare with all weapons on the level of weapons of mass destruction defense cannot be achieved by conventional means. Defense will call up even more destructive weapons or strategies to be used. The likely hood of a well defended asset to be destroyed in the process increases with the destructiveness of weapons.
Forming a stand e.g. at an asteroid field is possible but it is not always the right choice. (see , Maginot Line, Osowiec Fortress, Brest Fortress, Island hoping) An equal enemy force has no choice but to engage. An enemy force, at least 4 times stronger, can simply bypass through the vastness of space while incurring minor loses. It can choose to make a pincer attack or ignore the defending force and take on the object of interest. After being bypassed the defending force will be force into chasing the invaders. Even if the defending force can force the enemy to engage at this point it offers no advantage. A better strategy is to form a wall, and fight while retreating. An enemy force will be forced into a chase while taking on weapons fire. This strategy poses a higher threat forcing an enemy to be more cautious. Another strategy is to leave the immediate ground to the enemy and retreat all together to a far defensible position and rebuild. Needless to say the enemy force will also rebuild plus has support from elsewhere through plane space, hence, this strategy only delays the inevitable defeat.
- Main article: Planetary Assault
Planets are still the final goal of modern warfare. There is no way around conquering a planet, hence, planetary warfare is a stable section in every officers book. The Abh no longer wage large scale planetary war. They either choose to annihilate all life or enforce an embargo until a planet gives up. The Star Forces does keep the means and training to wage conventional planetary warfare. This is evident in the design of their ships, the weapons they can deploy, and the ground troops they keep.
- Main article: Jousting Warfare
This is a normal space tactic used by assault ships due to unrestricted space, maneuverability, and limited firing arc spinal mounted main weaponry. Just like knights on horse in far ancient time, the ships engage in direct confrontation and fire their main anti-ship weapon at speed while trying to evade the enemy shot. To increase success this tactic is usually employed by a whole squadron targeting on one single enemy ship.
Since the dawn of plane space technology, man and Abh alike have expanded their territory through plane space. Plane space inevitably became the primary battleground with sords being the choke point of interest. As space-time particles continually flow from a sord into plane space it requires more effort to approach than to distance. Therefore, highly active sord or regions become the high ground in plane space. Communication within plane space is very limited, which necessitate communication ships to rely news and patrol ships to patrol the territories. Scouting is essential to detect and identify enemy forces. The risk of running into major enemy forces while scouting are high. Therefore, reconnaissance fleets are made up of the strongest and relatively fastest ships available. As technology advances, weapons and ships became more sophisticated, it has become possible to initiate military actions at a time, date, and location of its choosing on terms of its choosing and the extensive preparation of the battle area for operations. Now a day battle can be fought anywhere and is no longer restricted to sords only. Of course the advantage can only be gained if the enemy does come from the expected place and does go through the choosen battleground. Otherwise it's the same as being bypassed.
As the entry point to anywhere sords have become the choke point of interest. Battles are fought for control of these gateways. Defending forces would blockade a sord while attacking forces would try to breach through and gain control of it. As (important) sords are well guarded this is a common course of action.
A closed sord can be opened and used for a surprise attack as has been shown in recent history.
Once, an enemy has broken through the sord and the blockade can no longer hold there is no longer a sure strategy to win. The most common strategy is to regroup and reorganize the defense. Refer to Space Defense.
- Main article: Trampling Warfare
Since weapons range and effect are restricted to mines only, plane space battle on the command level has become similar to ground battle in far ancient times. Ancient cavalry attacks found a place in military strategy once again together with its advantage and disadvantage. Just like before a strong cavalry can blow through, devastate and confuse an enemy force.
- Main article: Mine Warfare
In the past when mobile mines with plane space technology were not available or too expensive to produce ships could only do close quarter combat. Merging was essential to combat in plane space. Today, merging is still essential for combat but it is no longer restricted to ships only. Mobile mines can reach out and destroy ships on their own and have increased the range of the battlefield. Long-range attacks have become possible in plane-space. Mobile mines allows a forces to initiate battle without putting the soldiers in harms way, at least temporarily.
As mobile mines can be set to stay dormant, or be remote controlled or to search and destroy (S&D) there is no limit to the number of possible strategies or tactics. However, in fleet battle mines are primarily used for long-range attacks. The mine carriers would line up and fire their mines in unison toward the enemy fleet. As these carriers are large and vulnerable they always stay in the back and never do battle themselves. Due to the similarity to ancient of Ships-of-the-line tactics these ships are termed "Line-of-battle ships" (戦列艦) or "Battle-line ships". This term is usually shorten to battleship by the common folk, even though it has nothing in common with a battleship.