Subject Number Two - Imperial Guard Wages

I'm in the middle of a rewrite/extention to my Imperial Guard Background Book - partly to make it a bit more readable and user-friendly, but partly to add more detail in, because the Palladians are soon off for a trip to Devos IV under the watchful eye of Zzzzz.  At first in fluff, hopefully in person as well soon.

So I have to go back and add in a few more details to my fluff.  

Lothar Gunther-Buchheim, in his famous novel Das Boot, identified 'Subject Number One', which occupies most of soliders'/sailors' conversations.  If you haven't read the book, and are over 18, I'll leave it to your imagination as to what that is.

I would suggest that Subject Number Two would be pay/allowances.  Or lack thereof.  Go into any mess/NAAFI and eavesdrop on some conversations, I bet half would be along the lines of 'I've been underpaid by XXX this month, blah blah blah', punctuated by colourful addition of appropriate expletives.

I realised my background book didn't have very much on this, just pay figures really.  Here's what's in the boom with a bit of expansion:

12.           Pay and Allowances.  Soldiers in the Palladian Guard can draw two types of pay.  Standing Pay is the common wage paid to all Guardsmen at all times and is comparatively little, when stood against a roughly parallel manufacturing job.  This is due to the extensive subsidies in the form of food and accommodation a soldier receives, as well as their spiritually fulfilling employment.  However Legionary soldiers, when part of a battle group or on crusade, also draw Campaign Pay, which is considerably more and also qualifies the soldier for a share in any spoils of war.  The relative shares are given below.  Non-N.C.O.s are not entitled to plunder, but instead are usually granted pay by their lieutenants in lieu of medals, for feats of courage.  Given are the respective pay scales for the different ranks, in Imperial Credits :–

I wanted my pay to reflect two things.
  • The vaguely Roman theme of the army.  Although it doesn't show through in many of the models a lot of the fluff and names is Roman-inspired.  So to reflect that I made the majority of soldiers' pay come from loot and plunder, and their main source would be in the ratio of plunder appropriate to their rank.
  • The very snobbish view of officers in the Palladian Guard.  So officers - apart from getting lots more money - also get bravery medals.  Although soldiers are eligible for some awards, the majority of their reward for bravery would come from extra bonuses.  In fact, these bonuses would be taken from the pay of all the men executed for desertion.  Very fair, and everybody's happy!
Also it hints a little bit at a dark undertone of the Guard - once the glorious battles are over and the news cameras have stopped rolling, the officers turn a blind eye to a considerable amount of loot and pillage, as a reward for the horrors they have to face.  I'd imagine even the Commissars would let this happen.  Let the guys let off steam and steal from a few locals - so long as they don't bring their boisterousness back to base.

Anyway, just a little side avenue but it gives insight into a lot more than you'd think from the paragraph title.  That's what the fluff is about - you get as much info from the implications and what's left out as you do from what's on the page.

Hope you enjoyed!  Until next time...

The Colonel


  1. Let's not forget that the "Technical Trades" will also receive some form of uplift for their supposed skills.

    On the 'loot' front, the British in India made up their wages that way. In the M39, letting the soliders loose on the world (or part thereof) would be a part of the 'punishment' for rebellion or heresy.

    So on the Loyalist continent of Acer, the 72 Army Group are hled in check and obey the rule of law (ie the Laws of Acer, as well as those of the IG). When Benq falls, the Palladians (and everyone else) will have carte blanche to act as they see fit.

    1. You're dead right there; I glossed over/ignored technical trades since the book focusses on basic infantry regiments, but I'd imagine they'd get greater pay and spoils, much to the chagrin of the infantry who have to do the actual fighting.

      I guess it's time to be selling up in Benq ...

  2. I like the 'sharing spoils of war' approach'. It is not something that I would have come up with but was so obviously present throughout history -
    And not just in ancient times the Nazi Germans did it on a large scale.
    So yeah, I think this is a really cool fluff angle to explore.

    I have never seen the expression 'Non-N.C.O.s' (Non Non-commissioned Officers?) Not to say that you can't use it though!
    I would typically expect to see terms like 'Ratings', 'Enlisted Ranks', 'Other Ranks' or even more generalised terms like 'Solders/Sailors' 'Riflemen/ Lasmen'. The simple title of 'Guardsmen' could work as well.

    One last thing. When I read looting and pillaging one other word popped into my head. I can totally understand avoiding it in 'hobby fluff' but women are have been commonly classed as part of the spoils of war in many conflicts. In history war rape has rarely been prosecuted as a war crime and even when it has it is not the soldiers that are charged but the officers for failing to prevent it. Then there are many many example of when it was encouraged as a form of Psychological warfare (weather it was knowingly labelled as that or not). So if you really want to go 'Grimdark' there is something else to consider. I guess the challenge would be referencing its occurrence subtly.

    1. Thanks Col! Yeah it's a bit different rather than just ordinary wages, which was what I had before. I'll also have to do a bit on retirement, since retiring soldiers from an army on campaign will usually get granted some of the land they just fought over. So that's something more to write about.

      Ha, didn't even notice 'non-NCOs'. I guess that's a bit like PIN number or UPC Code. In this instance I was trying to refer to neither officers nor private soldiers. Corporals don't count as NCOs, same as in the British Army before 1969, they're just senior Guardsmen. I'll probably just rewrite that to say 'sergeant-grade ranks' or something.

      As for the last point, that's interesting. The r-word did flash through my head and while I don't consider the blog particularly child-friendly or anything, I try to avoid egregious stuff like bad language and anything enormously controversial. Although now my 'policy' is out in the cold light of day it does seem a bit daft considering all we otherwise talk about is war and fighting.

      So yes, in my head and possibly in stuff like fiction I imagine that rape would not exactly be uncommon - as Zzzzz says it's probably thought of as part of the 'punishment' for errant worlds and might even be semi-officially sanctioned with things like field hospitals for VD and military police to prevent fighting etc. So unsavoury though it is I'd like to include it in the fluff but perhaps subtly.

      Interesting though what are people's views on topic-censorship in blog posts? If I get enough material I might make a post out of it it's got me thinking.


    Second paragraph. It's not unusal for a 'corporate entity' to have a policy of not having a policy. This gives the Commissars and RPs total freedom of action, thus controlling the freedom of action of everyone else.


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