[LMB] Barrayaran Ranks and The problem of being related to Miles

beatrice_otter at haugensgalleri.com beatrice_otter at haugensgalleri.com
Wed Sep 7 13:34:30 BST 2011

"Jeff Shultz" <jeffshultz at gmail.com> wrote;
> I seem to remember his desire to beat - or at least equal - his father's
> success at being the youngest captain... and then Admiral.... in the
> service.

Yes, but that *does not mean* that
captain-the-rank-coming-after-lieutenant and captain-of-a-ship are the
same rank/title.  Or that either match up with the British and American
system of ranks, as Tel has pointed out several times.

Particularly when you consider that Barrayar doesn't seem to have had much
of a navy (if they had one at all) prior to becoming a galactic power and
needing to come up with a space navy.  All the historical soldiers we hear
of were ground soldiers, mostly cavalry, and the only water boats we hear
of are private sporting vessels on lakes.  What I'm assuming happened is,
they had a vestigial small naval force that was very much the junior
service.  Real vor served in the cavalry.  Then the ToI is over, and the
Cetagandans invade, and all of a sudden they Really Need Spaceships and
the army still has all this prestige, but practically the spaceships are
the first line of defense.  So all the Vor (like Aral) who are now going
to ship duty instead of ground duty bring their customs with them, and
when the ranks are standardized the Army gets the bulk of the ranks
because the Army is a bastion of power in a way the Navy isn't yet, so
lower ranks get consolidated onto a mostly Army system and yet they can't
truly tweak off the Navy guys that much so a ship captain stays a captain
in title whatever rank he may have, and Admirals stay Admirals (while
Generals stay Generals).

I assume they had some kind of Navy because I can't see Barrayarans
ignoring a possible place they could fight.  I assume they had ships
because they had a coastline (Aral remembers going there as a child) and
it's a lot easier to ship things over water than over land.  They almost
certainly had barges/shallow draft boats for rivers and lakes and such, as
well, and those can have naval action.  We know Barrayar has at least two
continents (the main one, never named, and the South Continent), and it
may have more, but since the majority of Important Things happens on one
continent, I'm assuming that that's mostly the place they have settled. 
(For example, the Pretender's War: ships were needed to keep in touch
with/the loyalty of the space forces.  They weren't needed to shuttle
troops from one continent to another.)  It makes sense; travel takes a lot
of time and effort, and so does terraforming, best to concentrate on one
area.  The South Continent may well not have been settled until the end of
the ToI.

Beatrice Otter

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