Hull Classification Symbol

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A Hull Classification Symbol (abbrev: HCS) is a method of naval vessel identification used by the Royal Manticoran Navy, the Grayson Space Navy, the Imperial Andermani Navy, and the Republic of Haven Navy. This symbol is sometimes referred to as a hull code, or when paired with a specific hull number, a hull number or hull classification number (abbrev: HCN).


On old Earth, the U.S. Navy began to assign unique Naval Registry Identification Numbers to its ships in the 1890s. The system was a simple one in which each ship received a number which was appended to its ship type, fully spelled out, and added parenthetically after the ship's name when deemed necessary to avoid confusion between ships. Under this system, for example, the battleship Indiana was USS Indiana (Battleship No. 1), the cruiser Olympia was USS Olympia (Cruiser No. 6), and so on. Beginning in 1907, some ships also were referred to alternatively by single-letter or three-letter codes—for example, USS Indiana (Battleship No. 1) could be referred to as USS Indiana (B-1) and USS Olympia (Cruiser No. 6) could also be referred to as USS Olympia (C-6), while USS Pennsylvania (Armored Cruiser No. 4) could be referred to as USS Pennsylvania (ACR-4). However, rather than replacing it, these codes coexisted and were used interchangeably with the older system until the modern system was instituted on 17 July 1920.[1]

Within the Royal Navy, the pennant number system was adopted prior to World War I to distinguish between ships with the same or similar names, to reduce the size and improve the security of communications, and to assist recognition when ships of the same class are together. Traditionally, a pendant number was reported with a full stop "." between the flag superior or inferior and the number, although this practice has gradually been dropped, and inter-war photos after about 1924 tend not to have the full stop painted on the hull. The system was used throughout the navies of the British Empire so that a ship could be transferred from one navy to another without changing its pendant number.[2]

Modern Use

More information about modern usage will be populated here.


Chapter names in The Royal Manticoran Navy: The Official Honor Harrington Fan Association, Inc. follow the style used in the Honor Harrington novels written by David Weber. The naval prefix is capitalized, the hull name is italicized, the hull number is contained in parentheses with the ship type abbreviated and the hull number after.

Code Hull Type
BC (P) Battlecruiser (Pod-laying)
CA Heavy Cruiser
CL Light Cruiser
CLAC LAC Carrier
DD Destroyer
DN Dreadnought
LAC Light Attack Craft
SD (P) Superdreadnought (Pod-laying)

The Pod-laying or Pods (P) designation is never used in official documentation such as orders or record-keeping, only as an unofficial or colloquial designation.

Example: HMS Fearless (CL-56)

See Also