Battlefleet Victorum has guarded the worlds of the Victorum Sector since the time of the Great Crusade. It is the Imperium's shield, the first line of defense against the dangers of the galactic dark. The influence of its high officers spans the sector, from feudal worlds where kings give up their children to the Navy's most menial positions to gilded hive cities where Navigators vie for distant postings that will seal their House’s fate.
Despite its power and wealth, Battlefleet Victorum is hard-pressed to answer the threats now encroaching upon the Victorum Sector. While the large volume of void traffic and the attendant wealth of the sector fueled its growth beyond the size of most sector battlefleets, much of its strength was concentrated in escorts and light cruisers. While this mix of ships is well-suited to the warp patrols and pirate hunting operations that typify the Segmentum Tempestus, the losses and subsequent requisitions of The Tyrannic War drained Battlefleet Victorum of both escorts and capital ships, a situation worsened by the rising threat of full-scale void war.
Battlefleet Victorum once took a place of prominence in the crusades of the Segmentum Tempestus. Far-ranging were her ships and well-respected were her warriors. The Age of Apostasy brought this storied establishment low; torn between faith and heresy, power and responsibility, Battlefleet Victorum went to war, first against the adherents and followers of Battlefleet Bakka, then against itself.
A Brief History
Battlefleet Victorum was once a by-word for honour, tenacity, and skill. But it fell from such lofty heights long ago, and the reputation of its betrayals has haunted it ever since.
The precursors the hallowed battlefleet were drawn from three sources: The Imperial Navy task forces attached to the Seventh Tempestus Crusade, the indigenous naval forces assembled by Saint Castor during her wars with the Falxian Gladocracy, and the remnant Imperial Army traditions which survived the interregnum between The Great Crusade and The Scouring. From these disparate traditions, a legacy was established, one which focused as much or more on commerce raiding and the skillful use of attack craft as traditional broadside, line-of-battle tactics. Shaped by the experiences of crusading against ramshackle void fleets and hunting down lone marauders, the strategies and theories developed by the Battlefleet Victorum were broadly indicative, though unique in detail, of the evolution of Segmentum Tempestus naval strategy. This collection of theories would eventually be dubbed the "Insular School," for it was invariably championed by officers whose primary experiences were limited to the Segmentum Tempestus.
These theories would be opposed by schools of orthodox Naval strategists, many of whom were veterans of expeditions, crusades, and battles beyond the typical Tempestus experience against xenos empires, Black Crusades, and other fleet-level engagements. This "Orthodox School" eventually established itself in strength at the Segmentum Naval Base of Bakka, whose officers were drawn from across the Imperium and whose ships could be summoned as far as the Eye of Terror and the Ghoul Stars when demanded by the Imperium.
The Insular School contained a powerful and vocal contingent hailing from the Victorum Sector, one which championed their own crusading experience in the Veiled Region and Segmentum Pacificus. However, the locus of political and materiel influence ended up being the Sector Naval base of Gareox, far to the galactic north and close to the Segmentum Solar.
Though sidelined by their lack of influence in the Terran Court, Victorum remained a powerful voice for the Insular School within the Segmentum itself. Far-ranging squadrons led spearheads for Rogue Trader expeditions, while ingenious captains won fame and acclaim throughout the stars for their skill in ship-to-ship duels against xenos raiders of the outer dark. The ideas and principles maintained by the fleet became a subject of study and admiration among Imperial tacticians.
The First Fall
By the opening of the 36th Millenium, the two schools of had evolved into competing political factions: The Orthopraxic Tradition, which emphasized the tried-and-true tactics and weapons of the Imperial Navy, and The Gareox Prerogative, which argued for an overhaul of Imperial naval tactics to incorporate rediscovered technologies and explore new tactical theories. They eventually gained enough political control to influence ship designs across multiple segmentum and numerous sectors.
Battlefleet victorum, as a major contributor to the Gareox Prerogative, was a leading voice in the lead-up to The Gareox Incident. As the opposing schools clashed, first in politics and then on the warp routes, large elements of Battlefleet Victorum became involved in a titanic civil conflict that was only masked by the rising unrest of the Reign of Blood. The Battlefleet's naval hierarchy saw this as their chance to dethrone Bakka as the preeminent naval influence in the Segmentum Tempestus, a view shared by many of the captains and commanders in the field.
In the end, much of Battlefleet Victorum was caught up in the chaos that brought down Goge Vandire before they could become fully enmeshed in the Gareox Incident, and many of the pro-Gareox officers would die fighting. The latter battles of the Gareox Prerogative would not be lead by the admirals of Battlefleet Victorum, and the survivors would renew their oaths of fealty to the Imperium. Victorious Bakka did not forget, however, and Battlefleet Victorum was much-diminished in future millennia.
The Dark Age
The surviving fleet was stripped bare by the victors. With the exception of a few loyal and sacred ships, the sector's surviving capital ships were transferred to make good losses in other, more deserving sectors. A few surviving carrier ships, a ragged remnant of the Gareox Prerogative, were disarmed and mothballed, their few macro-weapons gifted to a new generation of light cruisers, escorts, and intra-system monitors.
These light warships underlined Battlefleet Victorum's new commitments. No longer would her fleets range far and wide in crusades, or lead Rogue Trader expeditions into the distant unknown. Now her grasp would be shortened, her ambitions limited. It was time for Victorum to focus on enforcing customs duties, protecting merchant convoys, and keeping a lid on the unrest spawned of the Thorian Reformation.
Ironically, this winnowing of Victorum's power led to even greater embrace of the discredited theories of the Gareox Prerogative, as light cruisers and even escorts were converted or designed as cruiser-carriers to better multiply their limited resources. Many strange and unique designs were built during this period, only to be discarded as the growing dangers to the Imperium required that Battlefleet Victorum be re-armed to its fullest abilities.
With Victorum's shipyards and foundries unleashed, and conscious of the tremendous burden the Grand Trunk warp routes placed upon the fleet, the sector endeavoured and completed the construction of far more vessels than would normally be found in a sector battlefleet. Once more, squadrons could be sent on crusade, while now warp routes would patrolled by far-ranging light warships and their attack squadrons. A renaissance of naval might flowered for Battlefleet victorum as the 40th Millenium drew to a close, one much needed by a besieged Imperium.
The Tyrannic War
The latest crisis to rock the Imperium has been The Tyrannic War, a conflict so world-shatteringly devastating that a Segmentum Battlefleet had to be despatched to end it. In its wake, millions of Navy officers were slain, hundreds of ships lost, and many storied heroes honoured posthumously.
Battlefleet Victorum had contributed mightily in escorts and scout craft, but the heaviest blows were yet to come. Her large complement of ships, held in reserve by her sector commanders, was requisitioned by Segmentum command. From battleship to corvette, dozens of vessels were transferred to make good the Imperium's losses and needs in other, more perilous regions. Combined with the oath-bound promises of support to distant crusades, Battlefleet Victorum has found itself staggeringly weakened just as the sector's star routes were destabilized by the chaos unleashed by Qatasoum's War.
Like any organization in the Imperium, Battlefleet Victorum is riven by factions and infighting. Whether they seek fame, fortune, or freedom, each faction represents both an opportunity for rich patronage and dangerous censure.
The Noble Chancers
Part-drinking group, part-duelling society, The Noble Chancers are among the least dangerous faction within the battlefleet. Highly selective in their membership, and discerning in their tastes regarding food, wine, and company, they have striven mightily to remain free of the curse of politics.
That is not to say they don't know how to play the game. Many of its members are also affiliated with other factions. However, none would risk the convivial fraternity of The Noble Chancers for short-sighted gain; such a person would not have been invited in the first place.
Representing orthodoxy and authority, this faction most prominently seeks to maintain the dominance of Port Rosella and the Avalonus sub-sector over the rest of Victorum.
A school of though found most prominently among graduates of the Poseidon Naval Academy. Shaped by the history and experiences of the Poseidon Run, the Anchorites are notable for their emphasis on logistical superiority and active surveillance bordering on paranoia.
A term denoting a captain or officer of rank who makes the capture of xenos raiders their overwhelming concern. Many such officers care only the bare minimum for showing the flag or defending a system, preferring to spend their lives prowling the darkness beyond the Imperium. Given the preponderance of scout frigates in the battlefleet, Voidrunners are among the most numerous and politically unified faction, and have often exerted their influence to secure supplies, bases, and the freedom to roam.
A faction with deep-rooted ties to the powerful Rogue Trader dynasties of Victorum. It counts many lesser scions of the dynasties among its ranks, cousins and siblings of Warrant Holders who found success within the Imperial Navy. Their attentions are focused on the expansion and exploitation of worlds beyond the borders of the Sector, most prominently through the Gros Pajan system but also along the long-neglected St. Ellard's Gauntlet.
The Red Prows
Now-defunct, this small band of reform-minded officers were allies of the Rostrum Conclave, a body of Inquisitors associated with the Recongregator doctrine. They were key players in Qatasoum's War and were slain with their warships and crews.