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Ranks Within the Guard?


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#1 venkelos

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 12:08 PM

So, before I even ask that question, I suspect that the variety of the Imperial Guard regiments, each with their own structures, makes this a dumb question, what sort of varieties of rank do the Imperial Guard have? If I was in a base on Kulth, would I be answering to a Colonel, a General, or what? The top ranks, I suspect, might not be legitimate ranks, with a Lord Militant, or something, though he or she was probably a General other days of the week, but what range of titles do they go through? For maybe more what I care about, if the range of possibles might be huge, limit it to Cadia, my favorite regiment.

 

As an aside, if my character picks up the Commander Advanced Specialty, or whatever, from Hammer of the Emperor, are they still "Sergeants", or do they get promoted to Lieutenant, or something higher? I know many Sergeants do the whole "I work for a living" schtick, kinda flipping the Eagle to Officers above them, but could a PC get to be an Officer-level soldier? For every Sergeant Bastonne and G. Sgt. Harker, there is a Colonel Straken and LC Creed, but I don't know if they all went from PFC to General, or skipped the grunt stage and started in "Officer school." I suppose there would be an Officer rank where one stops moving with a unit, and remotely controls several, like a CCS controlling 5 Infantry Squads via vox, but I'm not sure where that's at. Thanks.



#2 Darck Child

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 05:35 PM

A typical list can be found here .

 

As for the Commander Advanced the way I choose to interpret it as Platoon leader. Possibly a Lt...



#3 Tygre

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 06:33 PM

In the Uplifting Primer the ranks are:

Warmaster

Lord General

General

Marshal

Lieutenant General

Major General

Colonel

Lieutenant Colonel

Major

Captain

Lieutenant

Sergeant

Corporal

Trooper

 

The ranks Colonel and lower are the ranks found in the regiment.  Names can vary depending on culture and homeworld but would correspond to one of the above.  Cadians use the list above.

 

For becoming an officer it does depend on your homeworld.  Some worlds you have to work your way up the ranks and other worlds might assign the officer ranks to the sons of local nobles, while a few world might train would be officers in academies.

I think that when creating a regiment for the IG, the new regiments officer core would be from officers from the planets PDF.  So it would be however they do it.

 

If you get the Commander Advanced speciality I do not see it that you necessarily get promoted (what happens if there is no Lt spots to fill) but you have developed an affinity for command.  And if a Lt position in your regiment becomes available you may selected to be his replacement. 

 

I do not think that Only war really caters for officers as Players yet as their is not much guidance on it.  But if the GM whats the campaign to be at officer level, a "Sergeant" speciality would fit for a green Lt.



#4 Graey

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 10:28 PM

Both of the above are good starting points, but depending on what you have planned or want, it's worth noting that there are roughly 2 tiers in many modern militaries- Enlisted and Officers (and the lower Warrant Officer "sub tier").

 

You have, using the modern American military as an example, 9 ranks of Enlisted, 5 Warrant Officer, and 10-11 for Officer. (11th being rarely used except in exceptional circumstance).

 

A Lord General/Castellan might a general in charge of a particularly large body of troops/area of responsibility, a Warmaster is the officer with final say on any and all military matters at the very top, of course. A Lord General/Castellan might be in charge of forces of a planetary battlefront, system, or sector. But, as stated before, titles in the Guard vary in numerous ways.

 

It's also worth looking up unit sizes (platoon/squad/etc) to see who might be in charge. ex. If you're reporting to Platoon HQ/Command, it would likely be an Lt.



#5 Lynata

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 11:30 PM

This is largely a matter of interpretation. In earlier editions, Imperial Guard officers had contemporary military titles such as Sergeant (this one was actually preserved until today) as Squad Leaders, and Lieutenants or Captains in the Command Squad. The most recent Codex has replaced the ranks in the Command Squad simply with "Company Commander". It is perhaps fitting for the background, though. We have to keep in mind that the regiments of the Imperial Guard are raised from many worlds with very different cultures, where the soldiers recruited could be anything from feral warriors to feudal knights, from hive gangers to prison conscripts. Former membership in the planetary defense force is not a requirement.

 

This very same origin of the regiments also addresses the question of how it would be structured and who its leaders would be. Many worlds will likely have a nobility that would place its sons (and sometimes daughters) as officers in command of a soldiery recruited from the common citizens. Regiments recruited from hive gangs or a feral tribe, on the other hand, are likely to have sorted out their leadership with a mixture of violence, intimidation and charisma. Lastly, some few planets like Cadia may be egalitarian enough to allow soldiers to rise through the ranks by merit of experience - Lord Castellan Creed being the most famous example of one.

 

Perhaps this excerpt from the 5th Edition Guard Codex serves as inspiration:

 

"Officers are drawn from the same planet as their regiment, and the method by which such men are appointed depends very much upon the culture of their home world. Some commanders are schooled through war academies, drawn only from noble families or blood lines. On other planets where only the strongest or most savage may rule, leadership is ascertained through trials of skill and combat. A rare few officers are those who have worked their way up through the ranks, survivors of a dozen campaigns and as many field promotions.
 
The Tactica Imperialis normally uses specific titles to refer to these ranks, Company Commanders for example are most commonly referred to as Captains. In practice, however, the Imperial Guard is drawn from so many different worlds, many of which speak varying dialects - or even totally different languags - that the actual title applied can vary wildly. Major, Byzarr, Hetman, Spear-Chief, Prime-Warden and High Praetor are all broadly equivalent titles."
 
Ultimately, it would perhaps be prudent to stick to a set of very simple and commonly known ranks where everyone in the group immediately knows what they mean. Soldiers are Troopers, led by a Sergeant, who answers to a Lieutenant, who answers to a Captain, and so on. However, it could certainly be fun to attach a special and unique rank hierarchy to regiments depending entirely on their culture, both to honour its identity as well as to give the players a sort of social challenge in terms of "fitting in" (either with their own characters, or when making acquaintances with troops from different regiments).
 
In these cases, you could either invent your own rank systems, or get inspired by various real world militaries that may share a stylistic connection with the regiment in question. For example, for the Valhallans you could copy the WW2 Red Army ranks with Starshinas and Kapitans, Praetorians are Imperial British with Ensigns and Leftenants, the Steel Legion is WW2 Germany with Leutnants and Hauptmann, and the Death Korps of Krieg is WW1 France with Caporals and Commandants.  :)

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#6 venkelos

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 07:29 AM

Ah kay. I was mostly curious because the Commander might just be a more Command-focused specialty for someone who DIDN'T take Sergeant (say if the Operator demonstrated keen leadership, when not steering the Chimera), as opposed to an intelligent choice for the already Command-oriented Sergeant class. If a Sergeant DID take it, I didn't know if they would get bumped up, to reflect that they are more than the "average" grunt Sergeant, or not. They might still "just" be Sergeants, but with a few extras, and a few extra Comrades.



#7 Radwraith

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 03:09 PM

Ah kay. I was mostly curious because the Commander might just be a more Command-focused specialty for someone who DIDN'T take Sergeant (say if the Operator demonstrated keen leadership, when not steering the Chimera), as opposed to an intelligent choice for the already Command-oriented Sergeant class. If a Sergeant DID take it, I didn't know if they would get bumped up, to reflect that they are more than the "average" grunt Sergeant, or not. They might still "just" be Sergeants, but with a few extras, and a few extra Comrades.

I actually do see the Commander specialty as an officer. It's the only way it makes sense to me! In real world militaries there are numerous grades of Sergeants (Called variously NCO's) Staring at Corporal and progressing up to Sergeant major or Master Sergeant. These ranks while often as respected as officers but they are NOT! This represents the Sergeant's more narrow focus than the line Officer. As Sergeants progress they concentrate more and more on leading small (Relatively) groups of men on the battlefield as well as training them for said environment. Officer's become less and less concerned with directly commanding their men in battle and more on controlling the flow of the battle itself. This is the difference between Tactics and Strategy. Strategy is the grand plan for achieving an overall objective whereas tactics are the specific techniques used to achieve a given objective. 



#8 Lynata

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 04:28 PM

As far as contemporary real world militaries are concerned, I always thought that this difference between NCOs and Commissioned Officers is an outdated holdover from when one's purse and bloodline determined rank in the army, and like so many other questionable things it is being maintained only due to a sense of "tradition".

 

Still, it would probably make sense that someone who does take this specialisation receives a promotion of whatever kind is appropriate for regimental culture and hierarchy (as leading more people generally means a higher position) - or rather, this specialisation should follow a promotion or any other sort of event where the character could have developed these skills.

 

What exactly does this Advanced Specialty do, by the way? I do not have Hammer of the Emperor.  :unsure:


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#9 Adeptus-B

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 07:30 PM

As far as contemporary real world militaries are concerned, I always thought that this difference between NCOs and Commissioned Officers is an outdated holdover from when one's purse and bloodline determined rank in the army...

 

-And, since the cost of a college degree (the requirement to become an officer in today's U.S. military) has, since the 1980s, increased drastically faster than the rate of inflation, it could be argued that that's still the case...

 

But as to the topic at hand- what the heck is the basis of separation between Officers and NCOs in 40K? My first instinct is to say 'Schola Progenium education', but there are plenty of Stormtroopers who attended SPs and didn't become Officers. So, if not that, then what...?


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#10 Tygre

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 08:44 PM

I think that the distinction between NCO's and Commissioned Officers really depends on the homeworld.  Promotions within the regiment come from the Colonel of the regiment.  And if his homeworld only uses nobility for officers he will only promote nobility as that is tradition.  The character of the Colonel would dictate how officers are promoted.  Is it cronyism or aptitude, or more likely a mixture of both. 

 

Of course the higher you are promoted the more political sway you need, especially ranks above the regiment.

 

In my opinion the Munitorum officially, as an institution, would favour promoting based on ability and not care about petty politics, individuals in the Munitorum are a different matter though.

 

I guess its like finding a job in real life, its who you know first and what you know second.


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#11 Radwraith

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 04:38 AM

As far as contemporary real world militaries are concerned, I always thought that this difference between NCOs and Commissioned Officers is an outdated holdover from when one's purse and bloodline determined rank in the army, and like so many other questionable things it is being maintained only due to a sense of "tradition".

 

Still, it would probably make sense that someone who does take this specialisation receives a promotion of whatever kind is appropriate for regimental culture and hierarchy (as leading more people generally means a higher position) - or rather, this specialisation should follow a promotion or any other sort of event where the character could have developed these skills.

 

What exactly does this Advanced Specialty do, by the way? I do not have Hammer of the Emperor.  :unsure:

The Commander specializes in command and social skills. While the fluff write-up heavil.y features the "mustang" style officer (Promoted from within the ranks) The application is pretty obviously the role of an Officer in general. Even the equipment listed is that of a low level Officer from the TT 40k so I'd say the intent was pretty obvious.


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#12 Fgdsfg

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 06:56 AM

 

As far as contemporary real world militaries are concerned, I always thought that this difference between NCOs and Commissioned Officers is an outdated holdover from when one's purse and bloodline determined rank in the army...

 

-And, since the cost of a college degree (the requirement to become an officer in today's U.S. military) has, since the 1980s, increased drastically faster than the rate of inflation, it could be argued that that's still the case...

 

But as to the topic at hand- what the heck is the basis of separation between Officers and NCOs in 40K? My first instinct is to say 'Schola Progenium education', but there are plenty of Stormtroopers who attended SPs and didn't become Officers. So, if not that, then what...?

 

Tithed/Drafted vs. Career Military?

That was my immediate thought.


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#13 Lynata

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 07:58 AM

 

The Commander specializes in command and social skills. While the fluff write-up heavil.y features the "mustang" style officer (Promoted from within the ranks) The application is pretty obviously the role of an Officer in general. Even the equipment listed is that of a low level Officer from the TT 40k so I'd say the intent was pretty obvious.

 

Gotcha, thanks.  :)

 

I might've been tempted to suggest that specialties may sometimes just denote the relevant experience and/or skills without actually doing anything about a character's position in the hierarchy, but if even the equipment changes then it would indeed seem obvious that it should, by all rights, affect the actual rank of the character.

 

But as to the topic at hand- what the heck is the basis of separation between Officers and NCOs in 40K? My first instinct is to say 'Schola Progenium education', but there are plenty of Stormtroopers who attended SPs and didn't become Officers. So, if not that, then what...?

 

I'd actually argue that Schola graduates are the least likely to become officers, simply because there's no regiment for them - except for the Storm Troopers*. In a way, it supports the Grim Darkness™ of the setting that the Imperium's most loyal sons and daughters are the ones exploited the most, in that most of them end up deprived of any chance to rise above their humble orphan origins, instead being assigned to serve as simple cogs in the big machine.

 

Imperial Guard regiments are raised locally with their officers already in place - by whatever means their original homeworld has assigned them. The entire command structure (sans Commissars) is thus already in place, and on principle, Guard regiments are never reinforced by fresh troops, but instead either fight until they get wiped out, retire, or are merged with another depleted regiment.

 

The 2E SoB Codex, which goes a bit into detail about the Scholae, does mention that the Navy recruits petty officers out of the Schola, though (filling the gap between the "rabble" press-ganged into service as crew and the noble officers who are too good to deal with said rabble directly), so perhaps the Guard could recruit Schola graduates as NCOs for service in Segmentum Command, where they serve the appointed officers in the staff?

 

 

Anyways, as Tygre proposed, I think that the difference between NCOs and Officers really depends on the homeworld, as its culture and military tradition would heavily influence the regiment. Indeed, it is likely that at least some if not most worlds do not even have "non-commissioned officers", as the entire idea of an "officer" that has not actually been "commissioned" as one might be ridiculous to them! (it does sound ridiculous today when you just look at the words)

Certainly, the Roman Legions fared well without this distinction.  ;)

 

So, some worlds could have "NCOs" that are not actually NCOs but simply fulfill their duties, yet count as either enlisted or as officers (depending on how many troops they command), whereas other worlds could have NCOs by current real world definition.

The medieval Sergeant, for example - the origin of the quintessential NCO today - was a simple ranker appointed by the Captain of a company to help him keep order. The term is derived from the Latin "serviens", which means servant. This did not make the Sergeant an NCO, he was still just an enlisted soldier with more authority, like a Corporal.

 

I believe the distinction later on came as more social classes asserted themselves in-between the simple "peasant or noble", so perhaps whether or not a world has actual NCO-NCOs or not depends on how many classes it has, and how their military leaders may rise to a command position. Lots of opportunities for a GM to get creative - it actually means you have to consider a regiment's homeworld culture! ;)

 

 

*: on that note, I've never thought about how promotions in the Storm Trooper regiment would be handled. I guess I could see it two ways - either by promotion through the ranks from the ground up, or by having officers appointed from special nobles (tying into my idea that this formation might be a leftover from the original Terran Imperial Army, explaining its "current" situation that is so utterly different from any other regiment of the Guard) ... or perhaps it could be a mixture of the two, in that most officers are veteran Storm Troopers that somehow actually managed to survive long enough (tricky), yet the overall commanding officer is some noble for whom this is a desk-job position of prestige. With a fancy title like "Lord-Colonel of the Storm Trooper Regiment" ... like today's "General of the Army"?  ^_^

 

(sidenote: as always, my interpretations are based solely on GW's original writing - it may well be that they are contradicted in other sources, potentially including FFG's own books which I do not all own myself, so take this with a grain of salt!)


Edited by Lynata, 03 November 2013 - 08:03 AM.

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#14 Radwraith

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 03:43 PM

@ Lynata: Historical note: The Roman legions DID in fact have a rank equivalent to Sergeant. He was called a Decanus. He commanded a squad or contuberniumI mention this because the Roman legion was in many ways the direct forefather of modern military organization. These Sergeants filled much the same role as they do today while the Centurions fulfilled the role of Junior to mid-grade officer.In fact, in almost EVERY army in history they had similar rank structures under different names of course. This is simply because these proved to be efficient ways of managing armies or were observed to be such when observing an effective enemy that was so organized (As was often the case with the Romans.). I would assume this would also be true of the Imperial guard. Whether there was a clear delineation between Non-commissioned and Commissioned officers would depend heavily on the culture. The Space Marines for example; promote entirely from their Sergeants to their Officer Corps. This also was hinted at being the case with the Tanith first and only. Other regiments (Particularly where the various social strata serve together) may not allow as much upward mobility. Thus commissions could be harder to come by. In the OW rules and going all the way back to the Beta it was pointed out that the Class of Sergeant did not necessarily assume that same rank. (I remember some spirited debates about the subject! ^_^ ). Thus, a beginning squad's "Sergeant" might actually be a corporal or maybe even a 2nd lieutenant getting his first real "command" assignment. These distinctions are left largely to the Gm and rightly so. :)



#15 Lynata

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 05:28 PM

@ Lynata: Historical note: The Roman legions DID in fact have a rank equivalent to Sergeant. He was called a Decanus.

I know that - my comment was referring to the Roman Legions not having anything like "non-commissioned officers". Only soldiers and officers. Whatever the Decanus was, he was no NCO as we currently understand the term.  ;)

 

That's what I meant by it being dependent on the homeworld and regimental structure. Planets that do not feature militaries with such a peculiar tradition as Earth may well have only soldiers and officers, too, even though the various ranks may fill exactly the same roles as "our" NCOs.

 

[edit] Actually, it seems there's quite a number of countries still around that have not adopted the model with NCOs as their own distinct military class, awkwardly wedged between soldiers and "true" officers, amongst them Sweden or India. Iraq was the same, until the occupation recently forced the new military to conform to western standards, as if this three-class-model is the only one that can possibly work. And Singapore recently abolished the NCO class by incorporating the ranks into the officer corps, newly designated "specialist officers" (and some of them can even outrank "normal" officers).

 

I think a lot of people are confusing a rank like "Sergeant" always having to be an NCO, even when the respective army makes no distinction between them and the officer corps. This also makes researching this topic very tricky because it's not enough to just look at the ranks, but you need to look at what differentiates them from that nation's soldiers and officers, if there is a difference. All too often, the author of an article or website apparently simply tried to shoehorn another military hierarchy into the NATO system, probably because the existence of NCOs is taken for granted nowadays.


Edited by Lynata, 03 November 2013 - 06:06 PM.

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#16 Radwraith

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 02:28 AM

We seem to agree then! What is called a Sergeant within OW actually may or may not be depending on their regiment of Origin. I will give you that the current sense of 3 classes of troops seems awkward but then most people (As you also said) tend to think in terms of modern western style armies. It is certainly possible for different Hierarchies to exist within the guard. BTW: I wasn't really referring to the concept of NCO's being universal today. More the idea of how armies are broken down. IE, Squad, Platoon, Company, etc. As larger formations tend to vary more and unit type (Infantry, Armor, etc.) are also different it can be confusing.  :) You are right, The concept of an NCO that was not promotable within the Officer ranks is a fairly western construct that descends from Medieval Nobility through Renaissance Gentry. Nowadays we use a college degree to apply the same pedigree as noble birth. With about the same results: We are told that Officers are somehow "better" than the men they lead but it's rarely true.


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#17 Darck Child

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 05:05 PM

It would have been nice to have example ranks tied to their units and maybe a unit break down.

 

As for the command advancement could help with a player with comrades in a vehicle such as in an armoured vehicle...



#18 Magnus Grendel

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 07:58 AM

As noted, Sergeants (or Hetman, or Ancient, or any of a dozen analogous titles) are of whatever origin their homeworld decides they should be.

 

You'll almost certainly find that you don't get schola progenium 'inserts' for the simple reason that it seems Progenii always get shipped off-world.

 

Stormtroopers are discrete companies who won't be stationed in a planet's PDF, and it's been previously stated explicitely in codexes and background material that Arbitrators and Commissars aren't assigned to their world of origin as a way to avoid conflicts of interest.

 

The 'officer class' thing is, as noted, a feudal holdover.

 

But that said, even if you were to exclusively accept promotions-from-the-ranks, it's generally accepted that Lieutenant and above or its equivalent is the rank at which additional 'war college' type training tends to be required - notice that 'officer equivalent' NCOs go through a raft of additional training at the same point - where they hit RSM/GSM/S1C (delete as appropriate) - covering things outside of their "yell very loudly at people" core expertise.



#19 venkelos

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 04:03 PM

So, if you aren't in the Ring of the North Pole, on Kulth, what is the highest-ranked Officer you are likely to see? If I was the GM, and I wanted to play out my PCs being brought before the Commanding Officer, either to receive their mission, or to be debriefed, maybe reprimanded, depending on what happened, who'd they be seeing? Feels kind of sad to be PCs who never see better than a Colonel. In an episode of NCIS, Agent DiNozzo references a game soldiers played, where they showed coins of the highest Officers they'd rubbed up to, and the lowest had to buy drinks, or something like that (don't know if it's a real game in the Navy, but him getting the Sec.Nav. did seem a pretty good bet at not losing again); how are you supposed to win that if you cap out at Colonel? ;) Seriously, though, I'm not sure how the structure works for a base, or even how often they'll be at a base, rather than dying on the front lines, or sleeping in a tent, out in the middle of nowhere.



#20 Lynata

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 04:58 PM

From personal experience, I'd say they would interact with their Captain, but would get to see their Colonel. Though the men and/or women will be further sub-grouped into platoons (led by Lieutenants) and squads (led by Sergeants or Corporals), they will all regularly gather as a company for muster, mess, and training. On a garrison, it is also customary to have one company occupy one building (with one platoon per floor), and though forward operating bases will likely feature more improvised lodgings (tents or containers) they would still be grouped in a similar fashion. In short, the company is the largest formation the individual soldier will be truly familiar with. This also follows the sociological theory that ~150 people is the largest number a human being can actually have a meaningful relationship with, and group cohesion is critical in the military.

 

They still wouldn't interact with their Captain regularly, but it's likely they'd get to talk to him on several occasions, usually for paperwork or because they goofed up. They'd get to see their Colonel when he inspects the unit (individually or as part of the regiment), when he meets up with their CO rather than letting him come to his command post, or maybe (this would be the most fitting option shortly before an important battle) when he gives a motivational speech for everyone. Since this is 40k, and depending on the personality of the Colonel, he might also lead his troops from the front, but I'd rather expect him to remain behind in some pillbox to coordinate the movements of his troops.

 

Keep in mind that this is just what I would consider the (NATO-inspired) "average" for the Imperial Guard, and that a lot of this depends on the type of regiment - and with this I mean both their homeworld culture (behaviour of the officers) as well as what sort of regiment it is (the more people there are in the regiment, the less likely it is the PCs are amongst the ones who get to see the higher-ups ... though you can always "arrange for exceptional circumstances" ;) ).


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previous characters: Captain Elias (Celestial Lions Chapter), Comrade-Trooper Dasha Malenko (1207th Valhallan Ice Warriors), Sister Elana (Order of the Sacred Rose), Leftenant Darion Baylesworth (Rogue Trader Artemisia)




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