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#1 Brother Anselm

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 07:02 AM

I'm just about to start an only war campaign. 

My players are all members of the Avernus 15th Mechanised Infantry, an elite regiment from an Imperial world. 

 

How many Commissars would a regiment usually have. I'm thinking, a senior Commissar on the regimental command staff, plus one for each Company in the regiment.

 

This would equal five Commissars

 

Do I need to add any more, would each platoon in the company have one assigned, If so would these be junior Commissars or cadet level Commissars,

 

Thats an extra six per Company for a total of twenty four, for a Grand Total of twenty nine in the regiment, this seems a bit too much though.

 

Thanks for any input



#2 FieserMoep

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 07:50 AM

For a regular regiment I would assume there are around 3-5 commissars in total. You may add up to 5 junior-commisars to that though they can not act like a regular commissar at all. An Elite regiments might have less commissars where else a more problematic regiment like penal legions most likely have more. Also the doctrine plays a role. Line infantry might have more commissars for they have to coordinate massed attacks etc. where else mechanized infantry operates differently and commissars have more a regulating than inspiring function in these.

 

(This assumes your regiment is 1000 men strong and the base for my assumptions are mostly IG novels)


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#3 Lynata

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 07:52 AM

This being 40k, there is no "fixed" or "true" organisation for Commissars in the Imperial Guard, and you will find conflicting information depending on where you look. On the other hand, this allows you to cherrypick what you prefer, or even come up with your own idea.
 
The following is an excerpt from White Dwarf, just to provide one possible inspiration:
 
"The Commissar-General is the senior Commissar of the regiment with the longest service and most extensive campaign experience. He assigns Commissars to Imperial Guard officers according to his judgment of the battlefield situation or the character of the Imperial Guard officers in question. Cadet Commissars are allocated to Commissar Training Squads by the Commissar-General of an Imperial Guard regiment. These squad members are identified by a blue uniform trim and Cadet badge. 
 
The Commissar-General assigns one of his Commissars to take the regiment's Cadets and form a tactical unit in its own right, known as the Commissar Training Squad. The unit is made up of one Commissar and nine Cadet Commissars. The Commissar Training Squad accompanies Imperial Guard forces into battle and takes part in some of the fiercest fighting. 
 
The training of a Cadet Commissar has no fixed duration. A Cadet qualifies as a full Commissar on the judgment of the Commissar-General. He will be awarded his Commissar status as soon as he is deemed worthy of it by his actions. This provides great inspiration to the other Cadets on the battlefield. The new Commissar can then be allocated Commissarial duties in his own right. Commissar Training Squads are highly motivated fighting units, respected by all other troops in the Imperial Guard. Any Imperial Guard force accompanied by such squads will consider itself fortunate and probably destined for victory. 
 
When a Commissar decides that a Cadet has failed in his duty, but has not shown cowardice or insubordination, the Cadet is relieved of his position and duties. Commissar Cadets who fail their training can often get a commission in a penal battalion. Others volunteer for service in a Rogue Trader entourage. Sometimes, their destiny will be decided by the Commissar-General or Commissar under whom the ex-Cadet trained."
 
Based on this, personally I'd say:
 
- 1 Commissar-General for the Regiment
- "a handful" of Commissars for its Companies, ranging from just a few roaming the troops on an "as needed" basis, to one per every single Company, depending on the Regiment's morale and level of civilisation (Feral Worlders and Hive Gangers might simply require more hands-on oversight than, say, Agri-worlders driven by faith and fear/respect)
- optional: a bunch of young Cadets organised into their own Squad, often acting as Barrier Troops and Firing Squad
 
Though this is just how I'd do it, mind you.

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#4 FieserMoep

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 08:05 AM

The problem I have with that White Dwarf source is that it is based upon the term regiments. And this term is also up to a huge variety of interpretations.

 

A Valhallan 10k strong regiment with a general as its commander? Hell yes, give them a Commissar-General and bunch of regular commissars.

A mechanized 1k strong regiments with a colonel as its commander... does not feel right with something like a commissar-general in my opinion unless he assigned himself to it as his "home-regiment" though he is part of a crusade for example.

 

In the end it comes down to your preference and interpretations. I for example like the idea of commissars being largely equal in rank and Commissar-Generals or Lord Commissars to be quite a rarity for commissars are actually political officers and have the entire trust of battlefield justice on their back. There is no need for much rank diversity because they all are already the best and everyone has to live up to this best standards.

 

So Lyn is right, you can pick whatever suits your own taste without any problem. Just take what feels right for you.



#5 Tenebrae

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 08:05 AM

I'm just about to start an only war campaign. 

My players are all members of the Avernus 15th Mechanised Infantry, an elite regiment from an Imperial world. 

 

How many Commissars would a regiment usually have. I'm thinking, a senior Commissar on the regimental command staff, plus one for each Company in the regiment.

 

This would equal five Commissars

This would be my suggestion, the 4 of them junior commisars.

In the Black Library novels, both Cain and Gaunt operate alone in at least part of their carreers, menaing just that one commisar for the entire regiment.

Though admittedly Gaunt get's a minder or 2, and Cain might've had collegues but just neglected to mention them.



#6 Chaplain

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 08:41 AM

If none of the PCs are Comissars, I guess it will be OK to have regimental comissars plus company commissars. If you have comissar PCs you can make them responsible for companies of your rgt. or, alternatively, make your PC comissars attached to the squad/platoon with other PCs by army groop HQ because high command is suspicious about their morale or simply because their company is constantly assigned on the most dangerous (and therefore requiring a pair of watchful eyes to sucseed) missions
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#7 Lynata

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 08:42 AM

A Valhallan 10k strong regiment with a general as its commander? Hell yes, give them a Commissar-General and bunch of regular commissars.

A mechanized 1k strong regiments with a colonel as its commander... does not feel right with something like a commissar-general in my opinion unless he assigned himself to it as his "home-regiment" though he is part of a crusade for example.

 

Hmm, I was under the impression that individual regiments always have a Colonel as their commanding officer (reinforcing the point that a Commissar-General can overrule the IG Colonel), and that Generals are rather commanding the Army Groups that are created when multiple regiments are thrown together for a proper campaign - after all, an individual IG regiment is rarely a formation capable of waging full-scale wars on its own, as they are so specialised that they rely on other regiments to make up for their deficiencies via mixing and matching their respective troops.

 

As far as the Munitorum is concerned, the 10k cannonfodder infantry have the same tithe grade and combat value as the 1k mechanised regiment, so it might make sense to assign both COs the same rank. Unless one of them is predetermined to serve as the basis for an Army Group ... I admit I am unsure about how Generals in GW fluff are appointed, meaning whether this is a rank you can achieve by veterancy (might fit, as it'd simultaneously qualify a veteran regiment to serve as the basis for an Army Group) or if they are Sector Command staff officers, individually attached to newly formed Army Groups and installed above the Colonels of their Regiments. Surely this is not a temporary rank like the Warlord?

 

Though, one could also mix GW and BL novel fluff here - didn't some Black Library books about Gaunt have the rank of Commissar-Colonel? If so, perhaps you can install that one as an alternative to the Commissar-General for the less important regiments. ;)


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#8 Brother Anselm

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 08:52 AM

Great answers all,

 

I think I'll go with a Commissar Colonel, to oversee the moral and such along with the commanding Colonel of the regiment. Plus one for each Company, plus a cadet training squad commanded by another commissar, these can then be assigned to 'problem' platoons for seasoning and on the job training if the situation warrants it.


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#9 FieserMoep

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 09:06 AM

Nah, we are mixing some things up here.

 

Commissar-General is the regular rank Commissar-Genera of the commissariat.

Commissar-Colonel is a regular Commissar in the commissariat AND a regular colonel in the imperial guard.

Gaunt is one of the very few individuals that actually had this rank for it mixes up two different institutions, even worse, one that should actually watch the other. In the case of gaunt it required the order of a war master to actually allow him to have this rank. So Gaunt has the Rank of a Commissar AND a Colonel. He is both, the senior commissar and the highest ranking imperial guard officer, making him the commander in chief of his regiment and hence there is no other colonel, only a major.

 

As for the ranks a Regimental commander can have, there are actually Majors that have command over a Regiment and this not because of the loss of their colonel but because they are allowed to do so. Though the most common rank for a regiment commander is colonel, yes. For Generals there are several different possibilities. Some of them are in fact promoted regimental leaders, that act as general and keep their regiment. Others are senior officers that might have their own regiment but are more or less part of the tactica and get assigned where they need to. (This is the case for a lot of crusades where army groups get formed because of logistics and might change a lot and where you need your best officers in the field, even if their "home" regiment has been wiped out or cant be fielded.)

 

One of the Gaunt novels had a General that was the regimental commander of an armored regiments though he was not commander in chief of the entire operator for Gaunt was "higher" ranking as a colonel for the strange rule that infantry commanders are higher than armored commanders for example. Though I never saw this rule outside the Abnet novels.

 

Commissars do not need the suffix of -General or anything else to overrule a regimental commander. As a commissar they have all the rights they need. In the Abnet Novels the Commissar-General had no more right in the field as another commissar but they were able to pass judgement on other Commissars in trials if they abused their power etc.

The next instance are the Lord Commissars, the big bad asses of the bad ass commissariat that are able to pass judgement on Warmasters and Campaign Leaders. In theory a simple commissar can do the same though he is not assigned to the staff of such a powerful individual and a Lord Commissar, as a senior commissar, has all the power of the commissariat in his back without any doubt.


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#10 venkelos

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 09:18 AM

It always throws me a bit when people talk like a regiment millions strong might have a half dozen Commissars to manage its morale and front-line performance. Certainly, the training for Commissars and Storm Troopers is tough, but there should be numerous people in the Schola, the Imperium being as big and casualty-ridden as it is, and so the number could be much higher. The way some people talk, it sounds like there are more Space Marines than Commissars in the Imperium.

 

If nothing else, in my opinion, a regiment must have enough Commissars to man all of its appendages. Cadians are amongst the best IG in the galaxy, and many other warzones scramble to get them, as well as the Catachans (the Cadians can get their Commies, since the Cata don't like them much), Elysians (might like to push the Commie out of a plane, but not sure if they do drops), and one or two others whenever possible. Any group of Cadians dispatched to a distant warzone should be expected to bring a Commissar, or three, with them; these Commissars are accustomed to how the Cadians work, while those already standing with the Brontian Longknives or Maccabian Janissaries they are being sent to reinforce might not, and the IG need their Commissars to go where they do, and keep a bead, err eye on things. Yeah, there are numerous regiments under the "Cadian" flag, but I still don't see how the groups of that size are expected to benefit from three hardasses, who couldn't possibly be most of the places they need to be to keep things running smoothly. Again, this is my opinion.



#11 FieserMoep

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 09:29 AM

Well, the "low amount of commissars" approach does not see the commissars as the constant bad asses that have nothing to than to execute any little coward they see. In most cases the imperial guard is well functioning and the duty to keep moral high is also shared with the every NCO and CO. The commissars are just the last authority and not everyones mama where they can cry and a big deal of their job is actually keeping moral and discipline high when there is no fighting at all going on.

 

In my opinion it is not difficult that a 5 to 1000 ratio would work. In that case a commissar has only to keep watch over 200 men and that is even less than some modern teachers have to look after pupils^^. Also if there would be the acutal need of one commissar for every 50 or less soldiers the imperial guard would be in such a bad state that they could not even fight after all.


Edited by FieserMoep, 23 April 2014 - 09:30 AM.

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#12 venkelos

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 09:40 AM

well, as much as I might take heat for it, for me the final arbitration is often the table top, and there I can have eight in one army, which is more than some people think the whole regiment has.

 

I don't know, but I also often don't care. For PC purposes, I'd be leery of the Commissar occupation anyway, just because, and an NPC one wouldn't be following my group around much, probably for the same reason Paladins avoid them in D&D and PF. I'd probably rate that, for the most part, if you don't have a Commie in my game, you aren't very likely to see one, and if you do have one, a good reason behind why I am letting you should've been given. Getting a chain sword shouldn't be too hard, a bolt pistol slightly more, but why else does this class seem so popular, as to be worth getting brought up this often?



#13 FieserMoep

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 09:51 AM

well, as much as I might take heat for it, for me the final arbitration is often the table top, and there I can have eight in one army, which is more than some people think the whole regiment has.

 

[...]

 

Getting a chain sword shouldn't be too hard, a bolt pistol slightly more, but why else does this class seem so popular, as to be worth getting brought up this often?

 

Well, in the tabletop you can play a regiment that is just a few dozen soldiers strong (or a minor fraction of the overall regiment strength with the most important COs in it, if you want it). You can field a conscript squad that blocks a space marine dreadnought the entire game. You can also equip any sergeant with a power weapon just like you can equip any squad with a commissar. But does that show the fluff? No it does not, exept for very special regiments where it might be common to have good gear like vostroyans or the terrax regiments that consist of "wannabe-commissars"

 

The tabletop never reflected the fluff perfectly, especially when it came to numbers.


Edited by FieserMoep, 23 April 2014 - 10:03 AM.


#14 Lynata

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 10:43 AM

It always throws me a bit when people talk like a regiment millions strong might have a half dozen Commissars to manage its morale and front-line performance. Certainly, the training for Commissars and Storm Troopers is tough, but there should be numerous people in the Schola, the Imperium being as big and casualty-ridden as it is, and so the number could be much higher.

 

The total number of Scholas as well as their output is open to interpretation - but previous Codex fluff made a point about Commissars being amongst the creme de la creme of their students. The majority simply became scribes for the Administratum. So yes, Commissars are an elite of sorts. And when you think about the high number of regiments the Imperial Guard has as a whole, each one usually numbering thousands of troops ...

 

Getting a chain sword shouldn't be too hard, a bolt pistol slightly more, but why else does this class seem so popular, as to be worth getting brought up this often?

 

Personally, I'd be interested in the roleplaying rather than the gear. Commissars walk a thin line between being hated, being feared and being inspirational. This character class can either wreck a game via PK, or enrich its atmosphere considerably by adding a critical background element of the Imperial Guard. I imagine that this type of character (zealous, confident, uncompromising) is a challenge to play, much like Space Marines and Battle Sisters. A Commissar also wouldn't work in a group where the other players are messing around too much, regardless of how well he or she is played. However, where everyone plays their roles accurately, I believe it can add a lot of flair. :)

 

(and the same goes for D&D paladins, for what it's worth :P)

 

The tabletop never reflected the fluff perfectly, especially when it came to numbers.

 

Hmm, I dunno, I've never had that impression - I simply imagined the numbers to (mostly, depending on the scenario) represent only a section of the greater front. This ties in nicely with how Space Marines work, in that they use their mobility to concentrate their attack on a small portion of the enemy army to counter-balance their smaller numbers.

 

Epic 40k is of course a much better idea of the greater battle, but you can see how one would tie into the other. :)


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#15 Chaplain

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 11:26 AM

Since we raised a question about regimental structure - if that is important, GM can take real world units with similar roles, analyze them and come up with something like that - http://pastebin.com/eKMT3jZ9
And now your pcs and their comrades know where they are in the regiment.
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#16 Askil

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 01:30 PM

I'm just about to start an only war campaign. 

My players are all members of the Avernus 15th Mechanised Infantry, an elite regiment from an Imperial world. 

 

How many Commissars would a regiment usually have. I'm thinking, a senior Commissar on the regimental command staff, plus one for each Company in the regiment.

 

This would equal five Commissars

 

Do I need to add any more, would each platoon in the company have one assigned, If so would these be junior Commissars or cadet level Commissars,

 

Thats an extra six per Company for a total of twenty four, for a Grand Total of twenty nine in the regiment, this seems a bit too much though.

 

Thanks for any input

 

just to tangent back to the original question.

 

All regiments have an assigned commissar (at least on paper) additional commissars may be assigned as needed or when available to particulaly troublesome or hard-pressed units requiring a little extra morale policing.


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#17 Alrik Vas

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 12:15 AM

I didn't think a Commissar-General was the same as a Commissar General.

 

I'm fairly certain that Commissar-General just refers to the senior commissar of a regiment, not a proper military rank.

 

And for what it's worth, i think there could be about 20-30 commissars (including cadets and full commissars) in a 2000 man regiment.  It sounds more than reasonable to me.


Edited by Alrik Vas, 24 April 2014 - 12:16 AM.

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#18 Askil

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 04:27 PM

I didn't think a Commissar-General was the same as a Commissar General.

 

I'm fairly certain that Commissar-General just refers to the senior commissar of a regiment, not a proper military rank.

 

And for what it's worth, i think there could be about 20-30 commissars (including cadets and full commissars) in a 2000 man regiment.  It sounds more than reasonable to me.

 

Do have any fluff to back that up? In my years of reading it is unusual for there to be more than one or two.


Edited by Askil, 24 April 2014 - 04:28 PM.


#19 Lynata

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 06:57 PM

Well, aside from the old fluff about the Training Squads (which make for 10 Commissars already, if you include the Cadets), there's also this line from the 5E Codex:

 

"At least one Commissar is assigned to every regiment, and most will have several who remain with the regiment throughout its duties."

 

several \ˈsev-rəl, ˈse-və-\

- determiner, pronoun

- "more than two but not many"

 

Now, personally, I wouldn't go to such comparatively high numbers as "20-30", and treat Training Squads as an optional occurrence (which they seem to be according to their own fluff anyways) - possibly a sort of "joint forces training program", where a number of regiments is selected to serve as a sort of "hands on" training ground for future Commissars - but there is room for interpretation.

... and, of course, the option to simply discard existing fluff and go with one's own preferred idea, just like a whole lot of Black Library novel authors and FFG designers do.

 

For what it's worth, I'd probably say 1-5 to be the norm, Training Squads not included.


Edited by Lynata, 24 April 2014 - 07:01 PM.

current 40k RPG character: Aura Vashaan, Astromancer Witch-Priestess
previous characters: Captain Elias (Celestial Lions Chapter -- debriefed), Comrade-Trooper Dasha Malenko (1207th Valhallan Ice Warriors -- KIA), Sister Elana (Order of the Sacred Rose -- assassinated), Leftenant Darion Baylesworth (Rogue Trader Artemisia -- retired), Taleera "Raven" Nephran (Hive Ganger & Inquisitorial Assassin -- mindwiped)

#20 Brother Anselm

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 06:14 AM

I had a look at what the soviet system was during WW2, theirs was one per unit, next to useless as it never said what the size of a unit was. 






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