The number of officers in the light division continues to grow and it recently occurred to me that it will soon be possible to have multiple ships operating together more frequently. With the introduction of new bridge communications training and the newly formulated combat orders, I have started considering how the ideas can be extended to situations in which multiple ships are operating together. I have looked into this area before and had a few different ideas that I think, with a little development, will work well. I also have several fresh ideas that I would like to try out. Overall, my aim will be to make communication and coordination between ships much more effective and efficient.
As a starting point, I intend to focus on how two ships could communicate with one-another, particularly during a combat situation. I envision two ships working together to engage the same enemy fleet, coordinating fire and manoeuvring to quickly overcome the larger enemy formations. My first idea is to use a simple hierarchy to aid in coordination; before a combat, one ship would be designated the lead vessel, the second the supporting vessel.
My next idea is to develop something similar to the combat orders. The combat orders allow a captain to give the helm officer more autonomy; the order outlines the general tactics and types of manoeuvres that the captain wants without having to detail specifics about what to do. The multi-ship orders would do a similar job, but between ships. Only captains need know them, and they would give a general outline of the tactics that will be used. For example, an order may be a simple "Fleet Order 2" issued by the senior officer. The captain of the lead vessel would translate this as "you can use the following combat orders - delta 1, echo 1, etc. Overall the idea is to close in with the enemy". The captain on the support vessel would translate them as "the other ship is going to close in, you have to support them with long range fire from homing torpedoes e.g. Evasive pattern Gamma 2." It would add to the knowledge a captain requires, but it would also become part of a senior officers training as they progress into command ranks.
Of course, these are only ideas at the moment, but I doubt it will be long until I can begin experimenting and improving them. For now, my main focus is still on standardising bridge communications protocol and developing the skill and experience of the officers in the division.