The Kor'vattra, also known as the T'au Navy, or the most cowardly group of aliens in an already cowardly race, are the epitome of T'au dakka technology. They are also one of the active factions in the T'au Empire and somehow a faction in Battlefleet Gothic.
Like the fire caste, the space bluies(AKA Air Caste) have all sorts of technobabble that they use to either save their blue asses or pound some poor distant fucker into a million tiny pieces with railgun batteries, torpedoes, LOCKON FUCKING TORPEDOES, Ion Cannons, or any number of their weeb voidcraft. While they are
substantially totally less cooler than Imperial warships, they make up for it by having a sleek and sweet design that can only be outclassed by Eldar.
In spite of the fact that Imperial vessels regularly outclass them and look badass, they do not require thousands of chattel slaves just to load a single fucking shot, instead delegating such tasks to machines and auto-loaders
because they aren't swol so they can use the crew more efficiently. From an age standpoint, the Kor'vattra is relatively new (duh), but already has required Primaris Space Marines levels of modification to it's entire layout and ship classes after the Damocles Gulf Crusade, where the T'au got fucked over so badly in space that Dal'yth is still reeling from it.
Weird little thing about the T'au is that many of their vessels that make up their regular navy also serve well as merchant ships. The other interesting gimmick is that the Kor'vattra has specialist Fire Warriors that serve essentially as marines. Which goes about as well as you would expect. They also spend massive amount of money on it, which may indicate they are trying to compensate for....something.
Types Of Ships
The T'au are, as stated previously, weird. Due to not having Warp Drives and all the fun that entails, the Tau only have a select few ships that can cross vast swathes of space. As such, some vessels in their fleet can "skim the warp" if you will, while others are too small to have the warp cheating drives and thus have to be towed into battle or across such distances by larger vessels. For the ease of this entire fucking article, we will simply label the ships in their respective class and then tell you its not "warp" capable.
This is pretty Obvious. They're the ships with the giant fucking guns and swarms of fighters and weeb tech. Typically, these vessels are large enough to tow other ships with them. They are the biggest, and like all Tau stuff that's expensive, are not an asset to be risked lightly.
- Gal'leath: Also known as the Explorer class. Fairly obvious, they are the earliest ships in the Tau navy, first used to explore and colonize outlying systems and expand the Empire. They were also featured prominently in an ad for BFGAII. It has a large cargo space, some Railguns strapped to the top of it, and is fucking slow. Seriously, we are talking 1/5th of warp speed, whatever the hell that even means. They show pretty prominently as colony ships, as the Tau met the Orcs, got their asses kicked, and immediately decided that they would need something new and as such began designing newer vessels. However, the Tau don't mothball them for several reasons: They are still decent carriers, can carry smaller non warp ships with them, and they are fucking cheap. Seriously, on a battleship level, these things are cheap to build compared to the plural centuries it will take the Imperial navy to produce vessels of similar size.
Some weirdos with missile fetish, namely Bork'an sept, tend to replace half of the space reserved for hangar bays to get even MORE TORPEDOES, turning this log of driftwood into an actually dangerous foe, especially for smaller enemies who don't have the air support or a ton of turrets.
- Or'es El'leath: Also known as the Custodian class. No, not that custodian. One of the newer ships in the Kor'vattra, these ships are seen in the T'au Empire trailer for BFGAI. Pretty much an upgrade from whatever the hell the Explorer Class was supposed to be, at the cost of having a design with a reduced hull strength. However, it makes up for this with being a good all-rounder, having more torpedoes than the Bork'an variant of Explorer, almost as many hangars as the default variant, along with superior shielding and weapons technologies in the form of Larger Railguns and Ion Cannons. These guys are part of the Kor'Or'Vesh initiative and despite their hiccups, are a drastic improvement over earlier models. But most importantly, they are faster, and have a decent taskforce inside, so they aren't going to get boarded that easily
Cruisers are the next step down. Most are just like the Explorer design, but smaller and with fewer capabilities, while others are more unique in their design. Some can tow other ships, some can't.
- Il'fannor: Also known as the Merchant class. Apparently, these speed freakz can achieve one third warp speed. These vessels were the next heavy interplanetary ship developed after the Explorer, and has two variants: The Kel'shan, which shoots railguns in a wide arc and can tow smaller ships to fire more railguns. The other is the Dal'yth, which exchanges the massive levels of fucking dakka for Ion Cannons in order to get into close range with enemy ships. Despite the vivid description, these ships are actually trash and are considered disposable due to the ease to produce them. They were featured prominently in the Kor'vattra until the advent of the Lar'shi Class. But seeing as its called a merchant ship, the bluies probably just shot a huge number of them into the Merchant Fleet and said "Congrats. You are a conscript navy now!"
- Lar'shi: Also known as the Hero class: These replaced the Merchant class vessels mentioned above. These guys are fucking monsters, both aesthetically and literally. I mean, they look horrible. Notwithstanding its horrid appearance, the ship is superior in a firefight to the Explorer class, and was designed to at least be able to hold it's own against a Luna class Cruiser, though it failed to meet this expectation. Yes, you read that right. T'au cruisers will outgun their own battleships in a firefight. Couple this with the juicy options of either the Vash'ya pattern, which carries Barracudas, Gravitic Launchers(lock on torpedoes) Railguns, Ion Cannons, and Mantas, or the
lamer butmore Dakka Tolku variant that just replaces the voidcraft bay for more Railguns, and you have a pretty sweet, albeit ugly ship. This ship actually looks pretty cool.
- Il’Porrui: Also known as the Emissary class; This was actually the first Tau ship seen, as it was designed for the game Fire Warrior long before the official Tau fleet was released. Think of this as the Beauty, while the Hero is the ugly inbred beast. It actually looks pretty stupid, like a hover tank in space and its wingtips curl up which prevent its turrets from firing to the side. The Emissary is the first in the new line of ships to be produced, and fits multiple roles: VIP transport, Mainline warship, and even a merchant vessel surprisingly enough. It carries enough Railguns to hold it's own, and two squadrons of Barracuda to fight off any enemy bombers that the Mantas can't seem to kill. Usually, anyone who thinks of the Kor'vattra thinks of these. Water caste diplomats like to use it as a transport for obvious reasons.
- Lar'Shi'Vre: Also known as the Protector class. It is a mainline vessel, designed to pound enemy ships into fine powder, and then pound that powder into powdered powder. These Vessels are not commonly seen, but have very much Manta Ray Shape to them. They have three variants: The vanilla variant, equipped with Gravitic Launchers, Railguns, Ion Cannons, as well as Mantas and Barracudas, but also a Vior'la variant that replaces the Voidcraft bays with long range Ion Cannons, or a Tolku Varient that replaces the said bay with normal Ion Cannons. Apparently, these guys are tough fuckers, and can fight on even terms with the likes of Imperial Cruisers.
These mostly don't have Warp drives, and instead must be towed by bigger ships. They make up for this by carrying an XBAWKSHUEG Number of Railguns or other annoying weapons on them. You can consider their equivalents in the Imperial navy to be frigates.
- Kir'qath: Also known as the Defender class, it was the first escort, and for the longest time the ONLY escort in the Kor'vattra. Additionally, it is one of the only escorts that has it's own Warp drive. Unlike it's fellow ships in the cruiser and Battleships classes however, it still retains it's usefulness after the Damocles Gulf debacle. They are equipped with Railgun batteries and Torpedoes, but is so fucking slow that Imperial Sword Frigates can literally ballet dance in front of them. Until the Tau captain decides he's had it with the bullshit and proceeds to cream the fuck out of that arrogant Gue'la.
- Skether'qan: Also known as the Messenger Class, it is yet another one of the smaller Warp capable ships in the Kor'vattra. Unlike most of these ships, it only carries one Railgun. Why, one may ask, would ANY T'au ship carry only a single Railgun? The answer is because it acts like a Pathfinder, but in SPEHHSSS. They literally exist to make their bigger, cooler brothers hit things more, while hiding in the shadow of their other, larger vessels. In short, they are the biggest cowards in the entire fucking galaxy. I mean Jeez, even Fire Warriors have more balls than these fools.
- Kass'l: Also known as the Orca Class. Orca Gunships are pencil thin looking buggers, but are more nimble than the Defender, bristling with Ion cannons and Railguns, but lack the juicy warp drives, requiring them to
leechattach to larger ships in the Kor'vattra. Besides that, there's not really much to them. Not Great, not bad. Oh, and they were featured in the T'au trailer for BFGA1. That's all folks.
- Kir'la: Also known as Warden Class. These guys typically travel with Custodians, the big battleships of the Tau empire, in order to provide escort. Though they are bristling with Rail and Ion Batteries, they have to leech onto the mothership in order to get the warp jumps. Featured quite prominently in the T'au trailer for BFGA1, much like the Orca. Like the Protector, it has a Manta Ray design to it.
- Kir'shasvre: Also known as the Castellan class. These vessels are literally Firestorm Frigates, but they have torpedoes and Railguns, must be dragged into battle, and have a similar design to the Warden. Not much else is really known about them, except that a fuckload of them helped at the Battle of Taros.
There are only two ships that fit into the parameters of not being an escort but also not just a space hulk, so without further adue, our other two T'au vessels.
- Il'Emaar: Also known as the Courier class. These vessels have a Heavy Railgun to ward off would be attackers, are equipped with Gravitic drives, and are a common transport vessel within the T'au Empire for trade, troop, and material transport. Additionally, they are designed to be fast, making them a strange, yet sensible take on supply vehicles.
- Manta: There's an article for this so let's be brief. Carries a fuckload of weapons that can be used to tear enemy fighters to shreds, put the hurt on lighter line vessels, and is the main way in which the Tau board enemy ships (I.e. lugging Crisis suits at the target.) Are also used to intercept and destroy enemy ordinance, and land troops on the surface of planets safer than Orcas. Remarkably, these ships carry a warp drive that allows small jumps, but otherwise are just stored in a hangar until the time is right.
The final group of T'au ships that aren't T'au at all. These guys have some unique gimmicks to them.
- Warspheres: It's a giant Kroot sphere. It shoots missiles, has weak armor, and an actual warp drive, and the T'au are too ignorant to figure out how it works. Kroot usually use them as colony vessels, and are effectively migrating cities trying to find a new planet to colonize. They are rare because they are usually bad warships, but also because the Kroot loathe to risk them without substantial compensation.
- Dhow: A small, escort sized ship propelled not by engines, but by the Nicassar inside it using psychic powers. They function as the scouts for the T'au empire. They have no warp capabilities, but have no need for them, seeing as they are explorers by nature, mapping the stars. Whenever the stars are not friendly(which is probably often) they will use T'au weapons to shoot the fuck outta whatever they found. Before they are brutally murdered for pissing said thing off.
- Bastion Class Commerce Vessel: One of the Two Demiurge vessels. It is propelled by collecting stellar gasses and then using said gases as fuel. They are powerful warships equipped with boarding devices, lasers that can melt through ship hulls with ease, and also work as a very nifty merchant transport and mining vessel. Bastions will often have a single Demiurge Brotherhood inside it, with a stronghold of Demiurge typically making up 2 or more vessels.
- Stronghold Class Commerce Vessel: The other, fuckhuge Demiurge vessel. It is propelled by Hydrogen that is scooped up by the ship, and is a monster of a ship. It functions both as a void ore processing plant, but also as an extremely lethal close combat ship, equipped with banks of cutting lasers and a giant mining laser, along with attack craft and makeshift boarding pods. Unless with a fleet of T'au ships, they will usually flee. But when they do fight, it is a sight to behold.
- Crew: Since the T'au are not retarded, unlike certain other races in the 41st millennium, they have a very simple, yet efficient Chain Of Command.
- Kor'la: Ground staff, grunts, radio technicians, cannon operators. etc. You're basic run of the mill fleet personnel who are always the first to die in the movies.
- Kor'ui: Pilots. Not just of Sun Sharks and Barracuda, but also of bigger ships like the Custodians, Orcas, and Mantas.
- Kor'vre: A confusing title, but most likely a Lieutenant or Commodore, or bridge staff. Anything administrative that the Captain doesn't do(or doesn't want to), they are assigned.
- Kor'el: Captain. If you don't know what a captain is, you are an idiot. Go back to primary school twit.
- Kor'O: Admiral. He is the cool guy, getting to plan all the attacks and shit, while getting to yell FOR THE GREATER GOOD to inspire his fellow T'au.
- Tio'Ve: Tau marines. They are Fire Warriors who got shoved into spaceships and told to shoot anything that breaches the hull.
In addition to this, you'll have the Battlesuit operators and occasional contingent of Alien Auxiliaries, an ethereal or two, some Earth caste guys to repair broken drones and aircraft, and the occasional water caste members for diplomatic purposes. Also, drones, because fuck you, using slaves is inefficient and stupid.
If you look at the Tau ships, you'd think there were two separate designers. And you'd be right. The first Tau fleet ship seen was the Emissary, designed by the programmers for the Fire Warrior game because they wanted some scenes in space. GW either had their own ship designs in the pipe and didn't tell anybody, or they figured that since the game flopped they didn't have to use it. So the official Battlefleet Gothic Kor'Vattra had its own entirely different design. In the meanwhile, Forge World either already had a deal, or just liked the video game design better, any went on to not only make a Gothic model for the Emissary, but also made an entire matching fleet with the same design lines.
The lore reason for this difference is that the tau started with the emissary type ships, only the 'merchant man' vessels that ended up getting beaten so bad in the Damocles Gulf Crusade that the tau rebuild a new fleet with newer designs.
While this article sounds like a giant fan wank for the T'au, don't begin to believe for a microsecond the T'au stand a chance against the Imperium on a broad scale. The Imperium hasn't squashed them yet because they are too tough to kill and would be a waste of resources better used elsewhere. In the end, as it stands currently, the T'au are horribly outmatched at the naval game, and hence why massive spending goes to the Kor'vattra in the first place.
It matters not if your ship is 10% faster 20% shootier and has a shiny coating. Because you have one and the enemy has twenty-something. The tau are sort in the same situation North Korea or Iran are in. Yes, the major powers could beat them, but it be such a bloody and difficult affair it is not, (yet) worth the time, treasure and blood to do so, again, yet. Additionally the tau are such a relatively minor threat that the Imperium has bigger fish to fry that could actually threaten there existence.
This is perhaps best shown in the first version of the Damocles Gulf Crusade, where the Imperium wiped out the entire fleet (or at least all of the ships that had any ability to defend themselves) and then the Tau had to rebuild everything once the Imperium left, realizing in horror that warp drive technology allows the enemy to strike at any system without prior notice, and arrive en masse.
|Vessels of the Tau Kor'Vattra and its Auxillaries.|
|Space Station||Tau Space Station|
|Battleships||Battleship (Tau Merchant - Or'Es El'Eleath |
Stronghold - Warsphere)
|Cruisers||Light Cruiser (Tau Merchant - Tau Protector) |
Cruiser (Tau Merchant - Tau Protector - Bastion)
|Escorts||Escort (Tau Merchant - Tau Protector - Nicassar Dhow)|
|Titans||KX139 Ta'Unar Supremacy Armour|
|Forces of the Tau|
|Command:||Cadre Fireblade - Ethereal - Ethereal Guard - Tau Commander|
|Troops:||Drone Squadron - Fire Warrior Team - Pathfinder Team - Stealthsuit Team|
|Auxiliaries:||Gue'vesa - Kroot (Great Knarloc - Kroot Carnivore Squad - Kroot Hound |
Krootox - Lesser Knarloc - Shaper) - Nicassar - Vespid Stingwing
|Battlesuits:||Battlesuits (XV02 Pilot Battlesuit - XV15 Stealthsuit - XV22 Command Suit |
XV25 Stealthsuit - XV46 Vanguard Void Suit - XV-8 Crisis Battlesuit
XV88 Broadside Battlesuit - XV9 Hazard Battlesuit - XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit
XV104 Riptide Battlesuit - XV107 R'varna Battlesuit - XV109 Y'Vahra Battlesuit
KV128 Stormsurge Ballistic Suit - KX139 Ta'Unar Supremacy Armour)
|Vehicles:||Devilfish - Hammerhead - Hover Chair - Piranha - Sky Ray - Tetra - Swordfish|
|Flyers:||Barracuda - Razorshark - Remora - Sun Shark - Tiger Shark|
|Kor'Vattra:||Manta - Orca - Automated Fighting Drone |
Automated Barge Drone - Automated Bombing Drone