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Preceding each great Expeditionary Fleet of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of vessels often ranged smaller contingents of independent flotillas led by a class of martial leader that would become known as the Rogue Traders Militant.
Many of these individuals were former rulers of the numerous realms the Emperor had cast down first during the Unification Wars and later, as the Great Crusade spread, came to include leaders of formerly independent human worlds.
Collectively, these massive war fleets would come to be referred to as the Armada Imperialis.
Under this form of organisation, each Imperial Cruiser would have a single Imperial Army regiment assigned to it.
Some were used for a matter of months before being declared obsolete or wearing out and degrading to destruction, quite apart from losses incurred in battle, while others gained a permanent place in the canon of war, with successful designs endlessly copied and modified as the decades progressed.
The first vessels to enter the service of the Imperium were constructed in the orbital foundries of Terra, and later Mars' Ring of Iron and the orbital shipyards of Saturn, under the scrutiny of the Emperor and the Forge-wrights of the Mechanicum, and indeed it was only in alliance with Mars that the trans-solar expansion was possible in any meaningful way.
They were forbidden to return to Terra, for in His wisdom the Emperor sought not to just rid Himself of powerful rivals, but to ensure that even in their deaths they might serve Mankind.
Many vanished alone and unheralded; slain, consumed or enslaved by nameless xenos abominations far from the light of Terra. Countless long-lost wonders of technology were recovered, some wrested from the dead hands of unwilling custodians, and others surrendered willingly as fitting tribute to the Master of Mankind.
In terms of the warships that physically made up these fleets -- and the Port Maw Armada was an exemplar of this -- they outnumbered and en masse likely out-gunned any single Expeditionary fleet of the Great Crusade, at least on paper.These fleet anchorages, at least one of which was founded in each of the Segmentum Majoris, with more planned, were the largest of their kind outside of the Segmentum Solar, and in their turn were dwarfed by the vast capacity of the Sol System itself, and were founded for the specific purpose of securing the domains the Great Crusade had forged from the strife-torn galaxy.As such, their functions were in the main as ports of supply and muster, command-and-control hubs, and as home bases for a permanently stationed armada of warships with their own armies of Auxilia troops.The Imperial Navy is one of the armed forces of the Imperium of Man.While the Astra Militarum (Imperial Guard) represents the Imperium's ground forces, the Imperial Navy is responsible for the fleets of starships that maintain order between the stars and planets in the Imperium, for all space and air support provided to the infantry of the Astra Militarum, and for transporting those Guardsmen across the galaxy to the Imperium's myriad warzones.