|I know what you're thinking... did he fire six|
plasma bolts, or only five?
This is an 'in character' document so the rambling English is deliberate, I assure you. One thing I really wanted to emphasise with my fluff was that not everything in the 40K universe is better than modern times. All too often, you read the 'fluff' for a Guard army that reads like the history of the US Marine Corps; I wanted to highlight that some things might have gone backwards with regards officer commissions, for example. This isn't necessarily a bad thing - the 40K universe is a big, big place and some of our 'modern' ideas about how military forces should be run just wouldn't apply in the desolate, dystopian far future. For example: Commissars executing their own men is seen as 'bad' by modern standards, but would the Imperium have even survived as long as it has by being soft and caring towards its men? Perhaps not.
Anyway, a bit of a distraction from the point of the post which is to illustrate how a Palladian officer is selected and trained. If you dare to read this in full, (thank you) and don't worry if it seems rambling and goes over your head. I assure you that it's deliberate, and all part of the experience. Any ideas and feedback would be humbly welcome.
9. Recruitment of Officers. Palladian Officers can be recruited by any of the following methods. They are listed in approximate order of frequency.
Appointment of an Aspirant from the Annual Draft; the first son in a Palladian military family.
Granting of a Brevet commission to a non commissioned officer in the field.
The procedure in each case is briefly outlined below.
(i.) Cadets. Those of the Annual Draft who come from military families are presented, upon their 15th birthday by Terran years, with a literarae commendaticiae; a letter from the principal of their father’s regiment which invites and recommends him for commission into that regiment. From the cadet’s enlistment, he will spend 1 year in the Palladian Officer’s Military Academy. The top third of the class will be granted immediate commissions as 2nd Lieutenants and join their regiments. The remainder will be granted the honorary rank as ‘3rd Lieutenants Without Commission’, serving a probationary period before principal approval allows them to receive their full commission as 2nd Lieutenants.
(ii.) Aspirant. If a recruit of a suitable background is identified, who does not possess a literarae commendaticiae (ie., a potential officer whose father is not an officer of the Palladian Guard) he may be accepted as a probationary, or Aspirant officer. Reasons for this case are numerous; a soldier may be of a noble family bloodline, but his father is either on the staff (and so without a regimental principal to furnish a literarae commendaticiae), on secondment to another Imperial Guard force, or even in rare cases an ordinary citizen who wishes to prove himself worthy of commission. Aspirants spend the same 1 year in the Military Academy, but do not ‘graduate’ with the other cadets. They are sent to Legionary units as 3rd Lieutenants Without Commission, and must lead a platoon for 24 months (including a combat posting) before returning to the Academy for their graduation and full commission.
(iii.) Brevet. In the most exceptional circumstances, it may be necessary to commission a man from the ranks to assume the command of a unit due to high casualties. This is avoided wherever possible, as historical precedent has shown that only those of the noblest blood are suitable to lead men in battle. However, the non-commissioned men are no less brave or skilled than their officers and can readily step in to command if required, until a suitable Cadet or Aspirant can be found. It should also be noted that while such Brevet Commissions are rare, Brevet Promotions are exceptionally common amongst commissioned officers. They are used to denote temporary seniority or honorary rank; for example if a Captain were to be made Principal of a company to find his Executive Officer also a Captain with a more senior commission, the Principal Captain would be made a Brevet-Major to give him the necessary seniority to command the company . Such brevets are extremely common, and this footnote should go some way to alleviating the confusion arising between the Palladians and other Imperial Guard regiments unaccustomed to the practice. Brevet commissions and promotions are published in the Gazette of Imperial Commissions.
10. The Palladian Military Academy. The Academy referred to in the above texts is the central location for the training of all Cadets and Aspirants in the Palladian Guard, and although the famed Gothic structure in Perseus Majoris is renowned as a school of excellence, the title can refer to any school for training officers, provided the same training battalion staffs it. Most commonly ‘front line’ schools are often established so that officers can complete the last few months of their training nearer to true combat. The Academy itself houses a training battalion of 2,200 instructors, Cadets and aspirants. The course lasts for 18 months and is commanded by a Staff-General (Maj.-General equivalent) who will usually be a student of war, having trained at not only the Palladian Staff College but also the Cadian General Staff Offices as well. It is traditional for wounded or convalescent captains and subalterns to lead the training platoons and companies. The syllabus includes:
(a.) Theory of War. Lectures on the approved theory of warfare, taught by an experienced Executive Officer. The pupils are given over three thousand theoretical problems, and called on to memorise the solution to each one by heart before their graduation. This also includes theoretical lessons such as map reading, codes of war, relations to men, superiors, civilians &c, and battalion planning.
(b.) Practical Battle. Regular manoeuvres are held in which cadets will be called on to act as not only officers, but also sergeants and sergeants-at-arms. Live ammunition is always used and casualties are not unheard of. The exercises are physically and mentally demanding; to prepare cadets they are schooled in practical skills such as marksmanship, fieldcraft and physical improvement.
(c.) Duties of an Officer. Includes instruction of a cadet on his prospective duties as an officer, focussing mainly on administration and the command of subordinates.
And... *snap* you're back in the room! That's all the fluff today folks, I try to limit these rambling text posts to a minimum and stick to shiny pictures of conversions &c, but I really have a passion for this stuff. The document from which this is taken is now about 60 pages long and counting...
Anyway, I'd love to hear what you think.
All you readers keep up your own great posts, I always love to read them, and look forward to posting again soon. As a aside (and some shameless plugging), check out Headologist's blog for some really great-looking work on 40K animations.
Dice well, and prosper!