Covenant fleet tactical formations

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The Covenant fleet used tactical formations within fleets to arrange the deployment of their naval forces in engagements. Covenant naval formations generally consisted of standard and specialist formations that divided warships within a fleet into battle groups, with standard formations occasionally being used to support specialist formations.[1] As the war against humanity continued through the 26th century, the Covenant fleet was, despite its vast size and overwhelming power, forced to adapt to the stalwart defenses of the United Nations Space Command and its fleet.[2]

Standard formations[edit]

Line formation[edit]

Line formation was a standard Covenant tactical formation that consisted of two warships parallel to each other when in combat. Although the formation was not effective defensively, ships in the formation were able to support each other and unleash a greater amount of weaponry upon their opponents. Line formations of smaller warships, such as Ceudar-pattern heavy corvettes, were effectively used to support large warships, such as an Varric-pattern heavy cruiser.[3]

Oblique formation[edit]

Oblique formation was a standard tactical formation that consisted of two warships remaining in close proximity of each other while in combat. This formation was considered to be more defensive than the standard line formation and allowed ships of the formation to bolster each other's armaments. Oblique formations were often made of SDV-Class heavy corvettes[3]

Staggered line[edit]

This was a formation used by the Jiralhanae.[4]


Tri-formation was a standard tactical formation that consisted of three warships in a V-like shape while in combat. Tri-formations were often made of SDV-class heavy corvettes.[2]

Specialist formations[edit]

Golden Path Battle Group[edit]

The Golden Path Battle Group specialist formation consisted of two groups of Ket-pattern battlecruiser reinforced by two Ceudar-pattern heavy corvettes each. Sangheili Fleet Master Kantar 'Utaralee was the first to deploy the idea of a Golden Path Battle Group. A firm believer in the prowess of the Ket-pattern battlecruiser, 'Utaralee moved to reinforce the medium-sized vessel with two SDV-class heavy corvettes, resulting in a devastating formation with each vessel in the formation providing large fire support, especially when firing plasma torpedo ordnance.[2]

This specialist formation provided an important fire bastion for Covenant fleets. Two groups of a single battlecruiser and paired heavy corvettes working in close formation, the Golden Path Battle Group utilizes various armaments of the three vessels to debilitate its targets before delivering the kill-shot with a devastating brace of plasma torpedoes.[2]

The Harbinger Battle Group[edit]

The Harbinger Battle Group was a Covenant specialist formation with a primarily offensive purpose. The formation consisted of two Varric-pattern heavy cruisers, supported by four SDV-class heavy corvettes arranged in two separate line formations. Although cruisers of the ORS class often served as flagships of fleets, the Harbinger Battle Group incorporated the heavy cruisers as circumstances occasionally required a fleet to use the large ships saturate combat zones with heavy weapons fire and space fighters.[1]

The Oathsworn Battle Group[edit]

The Oathsworn Battle Group was a specialist tactical formation used by the Covenant that consisted of two Ket-pattern battlecruisers and four SDV-class heavy corvettes, with the four heavy corvettes in two separate line formations. With the corvettes and cruisers supporting each other, the tactical formation was noted to provide an effective mix of firepower and utility. The Oathsworn Battle Group proved too difficult for the UNSC Navy to counter until later in the Human-Covenant War.[1]

The Penitent Battle Group[edit]

The Penitent Battle Group was a specialist formation consisting of two Ket-pattern battlecruisers. The Penitent Battle Group was rarely employed by Covenant naval forces since most shipmasters could not tolerate cooperating with each other in naval arrangements for long. However, when Covenant shipmasters were able to put aside their greed for glory, this battle group formation proved to be highly effective.[2]

When overwhelming firepower was called for, the Covenant sought to pair Ket-pattern battlecruisers to form the terrifying first-strike battle group. Though, due to the drain of fleet resources and potential for infighting this battle group caused, only a handful of Penitent Battle Groups were ever formed, and only when in dire need.[2]

The Sacred Pledge Battle Group[edit]

The Sacred Pledge Battle Group was a Covenant specialist formation that consisted entirely of SDV-class heavy corvettes. Noted to be of a flexible design that could be modified for specialized roles, corvettes of the SDV class were often deployed by Covenant fleet commanders in support roles. The Sacred Pledge Battle Group formation generally consisted of eight heavy corvettes, with four in two sets of line formations and the other four in two sets of oblique formations. Some Covenant fleets were entirely composed of SDV-class heavy corvettes in Sacred Pledge Battle Group formation.[1]

The Solemn Vow Battle Group[edit]

The Solemn Vow Battle Group was a specialist tactical formation that consisted of two large warships paired together to form a "hunting pack". These battle group formations often consisted of one Ket-pattern battlecruiser and one ORS-class heavy cruiser. In addition, the cruisers were supported by smaller warships, such as SDV-class heavy corvettes. Solemn Vow Battle Groups were often charged with scouting the outsides of engagements during the Human-Covenant War to threaten UNSC carriers and other support vessels.[1]

Supplicant Battle Group[edit]

The Supplicant Battle Group was a specialist formation that gave a solid core of three groups of SDV-class heavy corvettes arranged in the tri-formation to provide fire support for the main fleet. This type of battle group formation commonly held back until its opponent had been suitably damaged, before rushing in to finish off and destroy surviving vessels.[2]

Covenant fleet commanders often sought to engage their opponents en masse with SDV-class heavy corvettes within their fleets, attempting to overwhelm their enemy with a combination of speed and withering short range weapons fire from the corvettes' plasma weaponry. The Tri-formation of the battle group allowed the formation to increase its ability to engage considerably.[2]


List of appearances[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Halo: Fleet Battles, Core Rulebook - pages 120-121
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Spartan Games: New Formations for Halo: Fleet Battles (defunct, Archive)
  3. ^ a b Halo: Fleet Battles, Core Rulebook - pages 122-123
  4. ^ Halo 3 - The Ark

See also[edit]