A combined force unit of the Union Defence Force, comprising vessels of the Caspian, Krittish, and Yari navies. The Third Fleet was founded in the fourth year of The Crest, and its sponsor was Her Honorable Senator Aly Soussamon. The fleet's nickname was the Iron Torch Fleet, and was often dispatched to patrol the regions of Caspia's frontier that were closest to the Perlemian Trade Route. Because of this, the forces of the fleet found themselves tackling pirates and raiders on a frequent basis, and those pilots that distinguished themselves became aces and masters of their trade.
Growing in strength and ability, Third Fleet began to take on a mishmash of warship classes, and soon garnered the reputation of being "An Admiral's hobby fleet". While no means ragtag, it became a bit of a logistical challenge to coordinate all the varied classes of ships. The combined power of such diversity, though, outshone any detracting issues.
With its new assembly of force, Third Fleet travelled out onto the galactic stage in a limited capacity. One notable tour took her from Caspia to Mon Calamari on a goodwill visit, then to Corporate Sector Authority space, then to Thule, Toprawa, and finally Ithor as a "sabbatical stop-over".
Each tour out would be followed by increasingly longer rotations back home in the Caspian system, as galactic tensions and events would precipitate and cause concern by The Crest and the Admiralty. Because of its flexible nature, and the manner in which the officers of Third Fleet treated fleet operations, it was felt that Third Fleet would be strategically best-serving if it was to remain in Caspia as much as possible.
Third Fleet was at the center of the Imperial War of Aggression, dueling with elements of the Empire's Task Force Steel Resolve over the course of three months (see below). At the close of the campaign, the Third Fleet was disbanded and reconstituted into The Home Fleet.
Noteworthy Events Edit
Battle of the Inner Caspian Worlds Edit
At the outbreak of the Imperial War of Aggression, the Third Fleet was spread around Caspar and Mergansar when the Imperial invasion force first entered system. A protracted standoff ensued, with the Imperial force operating under the guise of negotiating with Presav Laarken. What ensued next remains a subject of mystery and persistant debate.
Without warning, the Imperial forces in the Caspian system mounted a full attack against Third Fleet. For reasons unknown, the Third Fleet units were not at the highest state of readiness. What ensued is something of an embarassing rout, with Third Fleet being mauled badly. Nearly every ship in the fleet received some degree of damage, with those nearest Caspar receiving the brunt of it. For reasons defying all military sense all of Third Fleet's assault ships were present in the line of battle when the conflict ensued, and were either crippled or destroyed, leaving Third Fleet without a meaningful Marine contingent. Admiral Salonika Batrad, the commanding officer at the time, barely managed to keep his command intact during the running retreat, watching overeager ships that were orbitting Mergansar come charging in headlong and un-coordinated to the fray. Through strenuous efforts, he managed to round up as many operable vessels as possible and jump to Krittain.
Third Fleet spent the next 48 hours at Krittain, assessing what had transpired. At some points, Admiral Batrad's command was either refuted or communication was so mangled, a few captains took initiatives to head back to Caspia to re-engage. The results were far from encouraging. Third Fleet was wounded, and would not be able to stay at Krittain much longer. Batrad once again ordered the Fleet, now joined by Krittish forces as meager replacements, to head on a path toward New Republic territories.
The next weeks saw Third Fleet either evading or fighting off Imperial skirmishers sent to track it down. Ultimately it ended up at the New Republic shipyards at Sluis Van, where the New Republic agreed to assist in returning the fleet to the state of readiness. During this time, the 'Fleet in Exile' received regular updates on the Imperial invasion of the home system, via the garrisons on Sakjahlin and Kichnar. The Imperial occupation was not going well at this point (in no small part due to the near-fanatical resistence put up by dug-in Marine, Levee, and Ranger forces prolonging the occupation into Caspar's rainy season), and was leading to a deteriorating political situation on key Imperial worlds. Enlisting the aid of the Griffon Alliance, and this time coordinating with select units of the CDU's First and Second Fleet, Third Fleet returned to the Caspian system en force. Imperial forces mounted initial resistance, but retired from the arena in the face of the loss of several key warships.
At this time, the Third Fleet was comprised of no less than forty warships, including:
- CMS Typhoon
- CMS Prentice (destroyed in First Stage of battle)
- CMS Volcania (destroyed in First Stage of battle)
- CMKS Coventry (Krittish contribution)
- CMS Audace
- CMS Tamarick
- CMS Kearsarge
- CMS Torbay
- CMS Provost (destroyed in First Stage of battle)
- CMS Swiftsure (damaged beyond repair in First Stage of battle; scrapped)
- CMS Commerson
- CMS Fraser
- CMS Hector
- CMS Blackfish