Friday, 15 March 2013

Imperial Guard Medals - Part I

Speaking of medals, the latest
addition to my militaria
collection - an Iron Cross! Ha ha ha.
 Hello all, welcome back to Palladian Guard.  Thinking about campaigns, last week I shared some 'admin files', lists and check sheets where you can keep tally of your troops' valourous deeds.  Well, some of the good Col Ackland's comments got me thinking about medals.

Specifically, Imperial Guard medals.  Now, anyone who's seen a copy of the Departmento Munitorum Manual, or Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer, will have seen the collection of medals at the back, complete with some fairly nifty sketches and descriptions.  These are all brilliant, and I enjoy reading them.  But for me, the list seemed incomplete. There were some fairly specific medals (for example, for taking part in airborne landings), but didn't seem to be many ordinary bravery medals.  The whole thing lacked proportion (or, to use the proper military word, precedence.  Which medal is worth more, in other words).



So I decided to do my own.  This involved a fair degree of using what was already there, but jiggling the descriptions and pictures round a bit and giving them cool, Palladian-sounding names.

To save people from having to read the whole chapter, I'll spread these posts out a bit into groups of five or six.  These are the gallantry medals but there are leadership and service awards to come as well. As a reward for reading through the mounds of texts, please feel free to use the descriptions for yourselves.  Enjoy!

6.    Medals and Decorations. 

i.)    Gallantry Awards. 


a.)    Honorifica Imperialis. This award is the highest decoration for gallantry that the Palladian Senate can bestow. It is usually only awarded for acts of great personal valour, or righteous leadership in the face of personal danger. In order to be awarded the Honorifica, a recipient must be nominated by both his immediate superior and the R.P., with such nominations being confirmed by either a Senate official or officer. The Honorifica is open to both officers and enlisted men, although the concomitant awards such as the title Honorifica in Bellum and a land entitlement are usually waived when awarded to enlisted men. The bearer of the Honorifica Imperialis will be considered a true and worthy hero of the Imperium and can expect the highest admiration from his subordinates, and the greatest expectation from his superiors. 

b.)    Aquilla Ferrum. Also known as the Steel Aquilla, this is an individual gallantry award presented to officers and men who triumph over a great foe and survive, reporting fit for duty. Over the millennia these criteria have changed somewhat, and the latter requirement for a recipient to survive unscathed is often waived, especially in cases of extreme heroism. In practice, this medal is often presented to individual soldiers who defeat a powerful enemy, be it war machine, beast or commander. Although second in precedence to the Honorifica Imperialis, the very specific criteria of the Aquilla Ferrum clearly convey a feat of personal bravery that makes it a very highly-regarded award. Its presentation often entails an immediate honorary promotion to the next rank.

c.)    Laurelus Bellum. The ‘Laurels of War’ represent an ancient Palladian martial tradition. Men who had proved themselves in a great battle would be awarded with a laurel, representing their true status as a warrior of Palladia. This tradition is honoured in these times by the award of the Laurelus Bellum, which recognises ‘acts of great valour, leading ultimately to victory’. In the past this medal could be awarded to whole units, who would often receive it after their first successful engagement. Contemporarily, however, it is a more select decoration given to individual soldiers and officers who perform valourous acts. It is informally considered a lesser version of the Aquilla Ferrum, but is awarded along similar guidelines. Wearers will often append the award with the clasp from the theatre service medal - for example, Laurelus won in the Cadian theatre will have the ‘Cadia’ clasp from the Cadian Star attached, to signify its award during that campaign.

d.)    Infula Innatus. Considered the Palladian Equivalent of the Ribbon Intrinsic, the Infula Innatus is granted to men and to units who are the lynchpin of a particular battle or victory. There are many circumstances which could lead to this award but most often it is a symbolic unit award, granted to the first unit in a counterattack, a squad which defends an objective, or one with the most confirmed kills. In other circumstances it can be issued to an officer as a lesser grade of the Laurellus Bellum. Whereas the latter requires some distinguishing act of gallantry, the Infula Innatus can be awarded for simply holding the line and performing one’s duty at a critical point.

e.)    Aquilla Mundanis. The Aquilla Mundanis is part of a series of segmentum-wide, standardised decorations which are collectively known as the Eagle Ordinary. It is issued to Guardsmen and officers who perform acts of valour above what is required, but not considered extraordinary. In Palladian tradition, it is often awarded to whole units for particularly successful actions, and unlike the more well-known Cadian and Medusan versions can be awarded multiple times. Indeed, for subsequent valourous actions which are recognised with more senior awards (such as the Aquilla Ferrum), the Aquilla Mundanis is often awarded again. The relatively low requirements for the award of this medal, along with the opportunity to win it as part of a group action, mean that many veterans bear six or seven bars to this award and there are variances in the method of wear. Some wear a single bar to denote multiple awards, others take the ‘Palladia’ clasp from the Palladian Star and use that to signify multiple bars, others do wear three or four bars according to regulations, and some even wear non at all. Such deviation is tolerated in proven heroes and veterans despite its contravening regulations.

f.)    Mention in Campaign Dispatches. The oldest method of recognising valour on campaign, the Mention in Dispatches is the most frequent award granted to Palladian soldiers and officers. Every commander submits daily reports, with platoon commanders usually submitting theirs in the early evening after a day’s fighting. The company commander will use these to collate a report for the battalion commander a few hours later, until the reports are passed up the chain of command. Usually divisional and corps briefings are then held in the early morning. Each report has to be condensed for the next level of command and therefore only the most gallant actions remain in the report when it is read by the corps commander - these reports are forwarded to the Palladian Senate and the soldier concerned will be considered to have been ‘Mentioned in Dispatches’. The award usually carries a bonus in pay, usually taken from the share of those men punished for desertion.

(Note: Should probably mention, for form's sake, that the medal pictures are of course GW's and not my own.  See the legal mumbo-jumbo at the bottom - I'd hate to get a visit from GW's Legal Inquisitors and have my insides turned to ash by an unholy Cease and Desist Letter.)

6 comments:

  1. I suspect then, looking at the above list, that bagging a live witch during an artillery ambush might get the survivors of the two platoons an aqilla mundanis (each ?). If the OH express a disire for such an award to be made it is almost certain that 4* Gen Tolstoy would want to have a Parade (back in Randstad) in order to have news-picts taken of the event (casting him in a good light and showing off his war as a success).

    So winning a medal gets the individual (and possibly their unit) a nice little swan in the rear areas as well.

    And then there's the OH and Commissariat de-briefings. It's all fun being a winner.

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    1. That's pretty much bang on. AMs get handed out fairly freely, in particular for successful actions. CF the Iron Cross 2nd Class in the German Navy in WWII - awarded for individual gallantry, but also on occasions given to the whole crew for a particularly successful single action, like all of U-47 getting the award for infiltrating Scarpa Flow.

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  2. I like the way you've applied precedence to your decorations. The result is quite convincing. Does Palladia also issue campaign medals as Canadian or British armies do?

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    1. Cheers Mike, glad you liked 'em. They do have campaign medals yes (passing reference in the text, full info to follow in the next post), but unlike UK/Canadian campaign medals they're not worth a lot. In my experience because bravery medals are fairly rare (in the British Army at least), the campaign medals are held in quite high regard, because they encompass/imply a lot of gallantry and bravery that isn't covered by the sparing awards of the MC etc. In the Palladian Guard however, since even fairly 'common' valour will get you an AM, anyone with just a campaign medal is pretty obviously a REMF.

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  3. I love these. I love them all. I have some more ideas (as per usual), but rather then posting up a massive comment (like I something do) I will wait and eagerly see what is in the next posts :D

    ok ok, one idea though. Not so much a medal, but have you thought of including Victory Titles? The Romans would put the defeated nation at the end of a commanders name (such as 'Africanus' for defeating the Africans) and the British did it in medieval times, Napoleonic times and still do (but for campaigns or major battles rather than defeated nations). As an example Viscount Montgomery of Alamein. Anyway, as a more accomplished historian then I I'm sure you know this. I think it would only take a short paragraph to define how the Palladians do it (if they do) and would suit your army really well.
    ok I said I wouldn't do a long comment thing so I'll leave it there!

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    1. I need those massive posts! Seriously the ideas on the comments section normally form the basis of the next project so I'd love to hear your thoughts on the next few. Probably tomorrow...

      I actually thought of doing that, some of the awards mentioned above come with land grants (the leadership awards coming in the next post even more so), it wouldn't be a massive jump to give them landed titles. The Roman idea is what inspired me (hence Colonel Scipio's full title being Scipio Edethoria, having defeated the Edethorian Insurrection). I think it just needs a bit of formalising, and that's something generally in need of an overhaul after I touched on pay and rations in an earlier post - officers, land, promotion, titles, all that sort of thing.

      Anyway, I'll try get the next stage up soon and can't wait to see what you reckon! Thanks for the ideas!

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