Imperial Guard Medals - Part II
Without too much preambling guff - here's Part II on my series of Imperial Guard Medals. These are the leadership awards. (Check out Part I here!)
Crux Macharia. This award is highly-sought after by aspiring officers, and justly so. Named for the Lord Solar St. Macharius, this medal recognises brilliant tactical or strategic genius and despite this local variation, it is widely seen as the greatest honour a commander can earn. In the Palladian tradition, which values tactical leadership in the thick of battle as highly as strategic command of an army, several of the Palladian Guard’s 74 recipients are junior officers; indeed, 21 are subalterns. Although not strictly a gallantry award, for a junior officer to win the Crux Macharia usually requires the best example of leadership to be set in the heart of the thickest combat. Thus, the Crux Macharia conveys two distinct breeds of officer. A lieutenant seen wearing such a decoration will be known as a cold, measured and skilled commander, expert at surrounding and destroying a foe in combat. Equally, a general so honoured will be a highly successful leader with many successful campaigns commanding thousands of men behind him.
ii.) Leadership Awards.
b.) Knight of Palladia. Like many other Palladian awards the Knight of Palladia is common on most Imperial worlds. It is an Administratum distinction, awarded in this instance for military merit in the form of a medal. It is a lower grade of award than the Crux Macharia but is in fact more highly valued award since it is a local distinction which carries elevation in the Imperial nobility with it. Indeed, being a member of the Palladian Knightly Order is a prerequisite for promotion to General. The award criteria are broadly similar to those of the Crux Macharia, except it is more often awarded for strategic rather than tactical leadership. The title is hereditary and passed from father to son although the medal is not, and concomitant to its award is a grant of land and an annuity. In this way, many noble families bear the title of ‘Knight of Palladia’, but only those people with the medal itself have actually been awarded it for military service. This underlines the emphasis that Palladian officers place on familial links, in that an officer bearing the title (their fathers having been awarded the medal), and those with the medal itself, are considered almost equals.
c.) Alarum Cranius. This is an extremely recently-instituted award, having only been in existence for some three millennia. It was created to address the imbalance in awards available to junior officers, who were generally only eligible for the Crux Macharia. Being such a senior award, it was felt by commanders that there was insufficient recognition for leadership by junior officers, and so the Alarum Cranius was instituted. Formally, it is granted in instances of ‘inspirational leadership leading to righteous victory’. In practice, it is often granted to the commander of units in a victorious or decisive engagement. It is a basic award and as such does not convey any special or noteworthy leadership qualities, merely a successful application of the Theory of War on the battlefield. Nonetheless it is eagerly sought by young officers who will see it as a confirmation of the successful completion of their period of instruction at the Palladian Military Officer’s Academy. Unlike many other Palladian decorations a bar is never awarded.
Two more instalments to come! Medals for being wounded in the line of duty, then some more service/miscellaneous decorations. Thanks again for reading, let me know what you think! Modelling is going on in the background I assure you, piccys soon!