[GZG] ESU ships names (Look from the Russian side)
From: Тимофей Потапенко <potapenkoteo@m...>
Date: Fri, 04 Apr 2008 18:27:07 +0400
Subject: [GZG] ESU ships names (Look from the Russian side)
In the Name of Socialism.
VKF, as it is shown in the "Fleet Book 1" follows mostly Russian (or
better to say Soviet Union) naval traditions. That affects not only
ranking system, crew official and nonofficial customs, but also
nominating ships. In this brief article I want to give some impression
of how to name military ships to make them sound "Soviet" and
The truth is, that Russian Navy hasn't ever had any single system of
ships' names (that's probably because of relative insignificense of the
Russian VMS (navy) in comparison with "Ground Forces", unlike, let's
say, Britain, Russia has always been a continental power). It would be
more right to say, that Russian navy has a mix of traditions, and some
of them were different in times of Empire and the Soviet Union. Let's,
finally look at them.
Tradition 1. Adjectives. In the last years of the 19th century our navy
got new class of ships: fast torpedo armed destroyers (in Russian
"esmintsi"). For those completely new light ships Admiralty set up a new
tradition: give them numbers or adjective names instead of nouns. Note,
that in British navy, adjectives (like "Invincible") belong to capital
ships, but in Russian - to light ones (no bigger than destroyers).
Additional rule: at the beginning they tried to invent the names for the
ships of the same design, starting of the same letter.
So I would suggest adjectives as the names of the ESU escorts. Russians
say "he" about their fighting ships (but submarines are "ladies"), and
Russian male adjectives end with a combination of an impossible for any
English-speaker vowel (written like "bl" in capitals), and a consonant,
which sounds like the "y" in English word "play". So normally that
combination is written "-iy", "-ii", or "-y" when transliterated into
Very good and traditional for Russian escort would be names Agressivny
(Aggressive), Aktivny (Active), Bespokoyny (Disturbing, Restless),
Voinstvenny (Militant), Gremiashchiy (Thundering), Derzky (Daring),
Proslavlenny (Renown), Sovremenny (Modern), Yasny (Clear) etc.
Tradition 2. "Flyers". From the very beginning Russian submarines got
the names of fish and other water creatures: Akula (Shark), Krokodil
(Crocodile), Krab (Crab); while amphibious ships often got names after
small or medium predators: Kunitsa (Marten), Rossomaha (Wolverine).
So, once "swimming" submarines got fish-names, then "flying" spaceships
should have birds' names: Orel (eagle), Voron (vulture), Yastreb
(falcon), Socol (also falcon, but of different kind), Orlan, Filin,
Albatros, Burevestnik, Chaika, Skopa would be nice.
But more popular are not flying birds but flying winds. We still have in
Russian Navy "Buria", "Shtorm" (both mean storm). But in Russian science
fiction our spaceships are often called after snow winds. The most
popular spaceship in Russian Sci-fi is called "Hius" (Hius - is strong
cold wind, which blows in steppes in February). Like in Arabian language
there are 20 words for "Camel", in Russian there are several words for
"blizzard", and many of them are used for warships, while the last - for
real spaceship. Here are some (and all of them are different blizzards):
Poziomka, Metel, Viuga, Purga, Zariad, Buran.
Tradition 3. Geography. That tradition evolved in 1920s-30s, and it is
still used, but it has changed much and became nonsystematic nowdays.
I'll try to restore it.
So, in 1920s-1930s some light cruisers were named after big national
areas of the USSR. The idea was to underline communist loyalty of the
areas. They were "Krasny Crim" ("Red Crimea", note male adjective
ending); "Krasny Kavkaz" ("Red Caucasus"); "Chervona Ukraina" ("Red
Ukraine", not Russian, but Ukranian language name). Gunboats had the
names of the smaller regions, there were for example "Krasnaya Abhazia"
("Red Abhasia"), "Krasnaya Gruziya" ("Red Georgia"), "Krasnaya Armenia".
In VKF ESU there are some light cruisers of the "Tibet" project. Tibet -
is a national mountain area in China. Add word "Krasny" and get the name
of the tradition: "Krasny Kavkaz", "Krasny Tibet", "Krasny Xinjian",
"Krasnaya Transilvania" etc.
There were other ships in old Soviet Navy in 1920-1940s, which class was
called "leaders". Leaders were smaller then cruisers but bigger than
esminets-classes (destroyers), so we also may consider them like
cruisers. They were named after capitals of the Soviet republics
"Moskva", "Kharkov", "Tashkent", "Kiev". And, finally, Soviet
battleships were also called after biggest ports and renown naval
fortresses: "Vladivostok", "Petropavlovsk", "Sevastopol", "Archangelsk"+
In VKF ESU there are some ships of "Bejing" project. So, it would look
authentic if some cruisers (even big ones, cause "Kiev-class carriers"
in Soviet Navy were also officially called "aircraft carrying cruisers")
in ESU squadrons would have names of local capitals. E g "Changsha",
"Kunming", "Namp'o", "Nagpur", "Rostov", "Minsk", "Bratislava" etc.
The biggest battleship of the Soviet Navy was going to get name
"Sovetskiy Soyuz" (The Soviet Union), but it hadn't ever been finished.
So I would suggest this kind of "geographical line, going up". Cruisers
are named after lands and local cities. Battlecruisers and battleships -
after biggest cities and small countries with adding words "Sovetsky"
(Soviet), "Narodny" (People's), "Sotsialistichesky" (Socialist) or
"Krasny" (Red) ("Sovetskaya Manchuria", "Leningrad", "Narodnaya Korea",
"Sotsialisticheskaya Chekhoslovakia"). Dreadnoughts might have names
after the biggest territories, planets, star systems ("Sovetskiy Soyuz",
Tradition 3. Revolutionaries. In this "tradition" there are two
"branches": revolutionary events, and revolutionary leaders and
Events. Biggest and the most powerful capital ships were named after the
most powerful or most significant Communist revolutions. In the soviet
Navy there were battleships "Parizhskaya Komunna" (Paris Commune) and
"Octyabrskaya Revolyutsia" (October Revolution). You may call your
battleships and battledreadnoughts after any revolution you like from
history of the past or GZG-universe.
Leaders. It's easy. Take any revolutionary or communist leader from any
history and give his (her) last name for a ship. If you want to name a
ship after a Chinese revolutionary, take his full name. The only rule:
more powerful ships should be called after a bigger leader. Let's say
"Bauman" or "Komarov" for destroyer, "Mikoyan" for cruiser, "Che Gevara"
for battleship, "Mao Zei Dong" or "Lenin" for dreadnought.
For lighter ships you may choose nonpersonal names "Revoliutsioner"
(Revolutionary), "Krasnogvardeets" (Red Guardsman), "Stalinets"
(Stalinist), or, for example, "Luddit" (Luddite).
Tradition 4. Famous people. Very often Soviet ships got names not after
revolutionary leaders, but after famous warlords, naval commanders and
scientists. In that case slight different system is used. Not only
surname, but also rank of the person is included into the ship's name.
If we take Full Thrust ESU classes, they should sound "Admiral
Gorshkov", "Marshal Voroshilov", "Marshal Zhukov". In the Soviet Union
there was rater a big scientific fleet, research ships of which were
called mostly after famous scientist. In GZG-universe ESU carriers are
obviously called after people, who stood at the beginning of the
spaceflights (the same way were some sci-ships in the USSR). So, in that
tradition the ships shouldn't have just surname, but also rank of the
person. "Kosmonavt Komarov" (Cosmonaut Komarov), "Akademik Koroliov",
"Professor Yangel". This way you can determine cruiser named after
revolutionary Komarov (which name would be just "Komarov"), from the
carrier named after the astronaut. If the person had no title or rank
(like Tsiolkovsky), there should be his first name instead: "Konstantin
Tradition 5. Renown. Since the middle of XIXth century in Russian navy
there is a tradition to "reincarnate" ships with admirable history.
Several names have changed three bearers so far. Those renowns are:
"Merkuriy" (Merkurius). Brig, which defeated in 1827 two heavy Turkish
frigates. Later there was a light cruiser with the same name.
"Azov". Russian battleship renowned at the sea battle of Navarin in
1829. In the end of the XIX century, there was raider (cruiser) with the
"Avrora". (Aurora). Corvette of the Baltic Fleet, took part in the
Crimean war against English and in 1862\63 journey to USA, to uphold
Notherns in the American civil war. Light cruiser with the same name,
built in about 1897, survived terrible Tsushima sea battle, took part in
the WWI, and became the leading force of the October revolution. Now,
it's one of the symbols of the Revolution, and "honorable olderman"
(ship number 001) of the Navy.
"Variag" (Viking). Cruiser which in 1904 engaged suicidal battle against
Japanese navy, gloriously fought till the last cannon, drowned, but
didn't surrender. Battlesong "Our Variag isn't going to surrender"
became unofficial anthem of Soviet and modern Russian navies. There was
a missile battlecruiser with the same name. And nonfinished big nuclear
powered air carrier, scrapped in 1993, also supposed to be called
"Slava" (Renown). WW1 battleship (yes, we also had one with that name).
Delayed advancing German fleet fighting all alone, in 1916 in the Baltic
Sea. Flagship of Soviet heavy fleet (former "Molotov") was renamed into
"Slava" in 1957, when Molotov tried to coup Khrushchev, and was expelled
from the leadership.
"Kirov". Cruiser of the Baltic fleet, which took huge part of defence of
Leningrad during WW2. Big nuclear powered battlecruiser (flagship of
late Soviet Baltic fleet) has the same name.
So, for game purposes you may choose any heroic episode of Russian,
Chinese, Polish or Corean navies (or imagine any from the history of ESU
spaceforces) and transfer any name from there.
Minor traditions. Sometimes ships were called because of certain
anniversary or political event. "50 let Octyabria" (50 years of October
revolution). Sometimes they are called after sponsors. "Leninsky
Komsomol" (Leninist Young Communist League, traditional sponsor of
Soviet Navy) or "Severstal" ("Nothern Steel", an industrial concern,
which builds submarines). Traditionally auxiliary transports are called
after big Russian rivers (Volga, Lena, Volkhov, Dnepr, Don).
Altered tradition. Battles. In "Fleet book one" there are three ships,
which are completely out from MODERN tradition, but they could fit, into
TSARIST tradition, never used in post-revolution times, but rather
possible. I mean names "Manchuria", "Rostov", "Petrograd". There is NO
city Petrograd, but there was a victorious and glorious defense of it
(from bolshevist side, surely) during the Russian Civil war. And there
was victorious battle for Rostov during WW2, and there were successful
battle for Manchuria where Soviets were against Japanese in 1945 and
there was a "Manchurian victory" of the Chinese People's (Red) Army
during the Chinese Civil war in late 1940s. So, I would suggest name
capital ships after big victories of different communist armies.
I hope these short principles will help you to get more fun from
fighting on the side (or against) of glorious Peoples Military Space
Fleet, which brings liberation to the working class of all the nations
Timophey (Tengel) Potapenko
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