Troops, and their use in general combat, has been a long debated central theme for many nations that field space navies. Since the early days of space expansion, many nations have had the need to embark, transport, disembark and assault a fixed position using a variety of specialized equipment and personnel. Many nations, such as the Klingons or Cardassians, mount a mobile army force that can conduct a wide range of military operations, while other nations field a more specialized ground force, designed to conduct long term combat operations with  varied support. Unlike Frigates and another Marine carrying transports, Troop Vessels conduct most of their operation again, purely ground targets, including cities and towns, fortresses, group outposts and another normal city operations. Most troop operations in the modern combat theater is conducted against defended and shielded ground targets, many of which are too well defended to be attacked from space. Troop Vessel operations are often on a much large scale than Marine operations, and require a wide range of vessels for the transport of both men and material. Troop ships are designed to specifically support Army forces and their ground vehicles/sub-systems. Most Troop vessels are used only during war, and against a specific target. Assault vessels are short range platforms, capable of moving from 500 to in some cases over 3,000 troops from a garrison or base, to front line action. Troop vessels can then disembark those troops and their equipment, and conduct support functions from space. Although used primarily in times of war, Troop vessels can also be used to transport massive numbers of refugees, and can even be converted quickly to cargo transport when necessary. Most Troop vessels have light crews, despite the large number of troops they can carry. Many are inexpensive to build, but extremely expensive to fully load and maintain during combat. Most troop ships are armed, due to their dangerous mission profile, but their large compliment and heavy cargo loads often reduce maneuverability, and internal space, often at a premium, is reserved for support facilities, rather than weapons.



Assault Command Vessels operate as a command post for extended ground operations, coordinating medical, support and assault functions for an entire Expeditionary force. Assault Command Vessels can also coordinate air support, and even close-in space defense around a ground assault force. ACVs are most likened to other command vessels, often internally laid out in a similar fashion. Many ACVs are indeed converted Command Cruisers with systems specialized for ground units rather than space units.



 Assault Ships are the most specific troop movement vessels assigned to most space navies Assault Ships are designed to quickly load men and material for moderately extended operations, transport said troops to a planet and support landing and operations planet side for months at a time. Most Assault Ships are moderately armed, able to aggressively defend them selves and support defending escorts from hostile space born combat platforms. Most Assault Ships are able to support over 1,000 troops in ground operations. Many Assault Ships have moderate medical facilities, cargo replication ability, some research capability and minor command and control ability. Assault Ships have a wide range of specialized defense system to keep troops safe during transport and in the initial stages of an assault. Many Assault Ships also support fighter wings to help protect the vessel and conduct ground attacks. Assault Ships are usually faster than Troop Transports, and are often seen in large convoys with other Troops vessels.



While a lofty sounding name, many are aware that Assault Support Vessels are primarily armed cargo/ supply transports, used by army forces to move ground force vehicles and support systems to and from the battlefield. Most Assault Support Vessels are specifically designed to defend themselves and other troop vessels while maintaining orbit and transporting ground vehicles, shield systems and other troop support systems under fire. Assault Support vessels are used in conjunction with Ground Support Vessels to maintain troop equipment, help move non-replica table material, and conduct other non-engineering support functions, including medical, logistic and transport needs that would otherwise strain an Assault ships capabilities. Most Assault Support Vessels are better armed than other Troop Vessels, owing to their use during most initial combat operations. Assault Support Vessels can also use a wide range of specialized combat ordinances to support ground assaults. Although the Crew of an Assault Support Vessel is large than other Troop Vessels, there is still a large group of transient officers and men during combat operations.




Unlike an Assault Support Vessel, a Ground Support Vessels is referred to as an “Engineering” ship. The primary use for most Ground Support Vessels is to help construct permanent and semi-permanent support facilities for ground troops. GSV’s also help to build housing, recreational facilities, shield systems, and even planetary defense weapons to support army units on hostile worlds. GSV’s are fitted with a large number of replicators and other material construction systems that allow the vessel to operate as a base for engineering teams and units. GSV’s also transport unique equipment, not normally called for by ground forces. Ground Support Vessels also coordinate transfer of material to various troops units from other vessels, such as freighters and transports. Within the Romulan and Federation fleets, GSV’s also function as a mining vessel, capable of extracting and processing raw material at a limited capacity. This further extends the ability of a fielded Army unit to remain independent of other support ships during times of war. Because of the wide range of onboard systems, GSR’s are surprisingly expensive, often equal to Heavy Cruisers and Battleships. They are also difficult to build and maintain due to their specialized nature.



Considered one of the most vulnerable and specialized vessels, Landing Ships provide field commanders with the ability to load troops, equipment, support systems and secondary systems in space, then physically land these resources on planets where transporters or other transport mechanisms are ineffective. Landing Ships are known for their massive repulson lifts, often able to lift two to three times their standard weight. Many are specially equipped with systems that allow landing, take off and transfer of men and material while under fire. Most landing ships are able to load and transfer hundreds of men at a time, including all light craft, air support vehicles, construction vehicles, and ground instillation construction systems in one fell swoop. But the Landing Ships’ unique abilities come at a cost. Landing ships do not have the support facilities associated with other troop ships, and cannot maintain troops onboard for extended periods. Most can only support troops for short duration flights, often less than a week. Landing Ships also do not have long range space weapon systems, opting for large numbers of short range weapons that can be employed accurately while in atmosphere. Landing ships are also extremely slow when compared to even the largest of starships. Although able to operate within an atmosphere even after several of it’s repulse systems are damaged, most Landing Ships are sluggish at the best of times. Even at top speed, achieving orbit when fully loaded can take vulnerable minutes, during which Landing Ships must rely on fighters, escorts and orbiting starships for protection. Despite their restrictions, when properly employed, landing ships can allow armies to garrison and occupy a planet in hours, rather than the traditional time period of days. Landing Ships are surprisingly difficult and costly to build, and frighteningly expensive to maintain. Each single ship often costs the equivalent of a squadron of destroyers, owing primarily to the unique equipment needed to fulfill their primary mission profile.



Unlike the lumbering and vulnerable Landing Ship, the Marine Lander is considered a high speed, heavy assault ground support vessel designed to drop large numbers of troops and their equipment into hostile territory, and cover their deployment while under fire. Marine Landers can often transport about 1/3 the total number of troops as a Landing Ship, but can maintain their shield cover and support firepower, even against orbiting starships. Most Marine Lander expense is dedicated to the shield systems, which require numerous back-ups, redundant crossovers and other specialized equipment to allow the troops to disembark in relative safety. Marine Landers can project their shields to help support other landing craft while engineers set up ground based shield systems and other buildings during combat. Marine Landers maintain enough shuttles and escape pods for every crew member and soldier, as well as combat and emergency transporters for each person. The entire complement of troops and equipment can be transporter in less than 2 minutes, allowing the Marine Lander to rededicate its power to shields and weapons. Marine Landers must maintain extremely precise short range sensors, as well as large power reserve systems. (Most Federation Marine Landers can operate  for in excess of 20 minutes from batter power alone, with full shields, transporters and other combat systems.) Life other specialized landing vessels, Marine Landers are not built to maintain troops on long journeys, and must rely on troop transports and assault ships to move troops over great distances. One on location, though, most Marine Landers can move entire platoons from orbit to ground positions in less than 10 minutes.



Troop Transports are primarily used to move very large groups of troops to and from the battlefield, relying on other vessels to transport ground systems and vehicles. Troops Transports are specifically used to move men, rather than material, and can often move thousands of men quickly and safely. Troop Transports primarily use transporters to move troops to other vessels or to safe ground positions before operations commence. Unlike an Assault Ship, a Troop Transport has little room for transporting ground vehicles, building material and other planetary resources. Among some naval power (specifically, the Klingon Empire) Troop Transports have support facilities for only the on board crew, relying on other vessels to support disembarked troops. Troop Transports are almost always used in conjunction with Assault Support Vessels, who provide the required support systems. Troop Transports are expensive to maintain, but simple and easy to build.

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