Imperial Guard Medals - Part III

The last in the series on Imperial Guard medals...

ii.)    Medals honouring wounds suffered in the line of duty.

a.)    Medallion Crimson.  Part of a series of awards granted to those who suffer injuries or death in the service of the Immortal Emperor, the Medallion Crimson is one of the highest in this category, and is only granted to soldiers who perform their duty despite the most grievous injury.  As such, it is often awarded posthumously in circumstances where, had the solider survived he might be eligible for the Aquilla Ferrum.  Living bearers of the Medallion Crimson are so rare that a bearer is granted a raft of special provisions, including a large grant of land, the reduction of a soldier’s remaining service, an annuity, and a permanent servant's staff in the familial home.  Nonetheless almost all such bearers accompany the award with extensive bionic augmentation.  It is tradition that wounded officers are employed as instructors at training academies and the ranking majors in the P.M.O.A. training battalions are all Medallion Crimson winners.

b.)    Patium pro Imperatora.  The Patium is a lower grade of the Medallion Crimson, and is a local Palladian variant.  It is awarded to all officers and men suffering wounds on active service, although not necessarily as the result of enemy action.  Like the Medallion Crimson there is a degree of support to wounded soldiers’ families, as the Palladian Guard recognises the damage that a debilitating wound can do to a family line.  The Patium is also awarded to all Palladians killed during their service, weather on campaign or not.  Its award also entitles the bearer to use the post nominals P.p.I. to signify the blood that has been shed in the service of the Immortal Emperor.
c.)    Order of the Triple Skull.  This is unique in being a unit-level distinction awarded to regiments which suffer the numerical equivalent of two-thirds their number in casualties.  In practice, the number of support and non-combat troops in a regiment means that the award of the Triple Skull in fact signifies closer to four-fifths killed in action, amongst combat troops.  To bear this award is to have survived a horrific and bloody action, and though rightly worn with pride it is a grim decoration to bear.  It often represents the memory of comrades-in-arms lost in the Eternal Struggle, and is sent to the father of a soldier killed in action.  For this reason it is a symbol of remembrance, and a manufactorium worker with such an award in his lapel will have the respect of his comrades, who will know that his family’s blood has been shed in the service of the Immortal and Most Holy Emperor.

iv.)    Other Decorations, which are not governed by any order of precedence.

a.)     Edethorian Star.  The Star Decorations are a series of standardised General Service medals issued to all Imperial Guard personnel serving in a declared warzone.  They are intended to display, at a glance, a soldier’s service history and thus his experience.  They are generally only awarded to enlisted men, but officers sometimes privately purchase them for display.  In some cases, Segmentum Commanders may widen the award of the medal to all those engaged in supporting operations as well as those who fought in the warzone itself.  For example, during the Black Crusades members of the Palladian Guard who did not serve on Cadia received the Cadian Star.  In such instances the ‘support’ medals are struck in silver rather than gold, to differentiate between those in support and those who served in combat.  While the medals themselves are not highly valued, requiring only service and not valour, they are prized as being a manifestation of a solider’s career and many of the medals will hold great personal significance for their owners.

b.)     Valoris Imperatora.  The Imperial Guard does not generally award service medals, since all Guardsmen are enlisted for the duration of the eternal war, and even when demobilised are liable to recall until death.  As such a particular length of time served is no great distinction.  However, the Valoris Imperatora is awarded to personnel who have served in a frontline or combat unit for twenty years and survived - no mean feat.  The bearers of these awards invariably accompany it with a plethora of service and valour decorations and are respected by friend and foe alike as having displayed great loyalty during a lengthy and distinguished service.  These also bestow the post-nominals V. I.

c.)     Ungula Aquillae.  The Ungula is an equivalent decoration to the Cadian Winged Skull, and is bestowed for successfully participating in a combat jump.  Technically a ‘successful’ jump means one in which the solider survives, although by tradition in the drop units those who die in their first mission also receive this award posthumously.  As with the Star decorations no act of valour is required to win one, but the bearer will be recognised as someone who has ‘earned his wings‘ and performed combat duty.  Such decorations add to the élan and esprit-de-corps of the already elite drop regiments.  A gold version is awarded to Line Regiments.

d.)     Administratum MedalAnother direct equivalent of the Cadian version, the Adminstratum medal is the only award which cannot be bestowed by the Departmento Munitorium.  All awards are subject to the approval of the Administratum.  In theory this award was intended to reward individual soldiers who had saved the lives of Administratum officials but the nature of the Eternal War has rendered the application of such criteria impossible.  Now the award is granted to whole units, usually entire regiments, who participate in the defence of Administratum property.  Such is the length of time for awards to be granted and approved, and news of the award sent back to the unit, that many hundreds of years can pass before the regiment will receive a medal.  Since the Administratum also does not inform the Departmento Munitorium what constitutes Administratum property, the first many will ever hear of a qualifying action is when their awards arrive at the regiment, often hundreds of years after the original recipients have died.  It is considered to be practically worthless and many soldiers utilise the medals as screw keys to disassemble locking pins on lasguns, the width of the medal fitting exactly with the pins.  Such activity is to be discouraged but enforcement should be considered a low priority.

Thanks for reading all these.  Hope you enjoy and get some use out of them, back to modelling next week!

The Colonel.


  1. I did enjoy reading these! As I said after the first post – I love them all!

    I particularly liked the leadership awards; the Crux Macharia is my favourite.

    I thought the hereditary titles was a nice touch (Knight of Palladia)

    A nice mix of OR and Officers awards.

    All that Colonel Scipio Edethoria needs now is for someone to build him a Triumphal Arch!

    Oh, one other thing that I was contemplating was having a list of non-official awards. When I was flying in the military we would try and earn ‘wings’ for doing specific (usually silly) things. In 40k I thought an equivalent might be things like surviving a plasma gun overheating. Probably more game based events then fluffy things. I’ll see if I can fat out a list of events that guardsmen would joke about or dare each other to attempt.

    Another idea was having badges, not so much for a role but for an achievement like for being deployed against an alien race. Like maybe a jade dagger badge for having a confirmed Ork kill, silver dagger for Daemon, bone dagger for Eldar or whatever. I could see experienced guardsmen lining them up or their collars, or possibly if they are not part of the uniform they might be put on a backpack or bed roll.

    I guess I’m thinking like how sailors use tattoos to denote experience; soldiers end up with extra stuff on their uniforms in addition to medals.

    Anyway just some random thoughts.
    Again, well done on these!!

    1. Thanks, my good Col.

      Thought you'd like the titles, I thought leadership rather than gallantry awards would be the ones that carried the majority of the available titles. As for non-official awards, that sounds like a good idea. I've glossed over a lot of the 'ordinary solider's' life but it's something I'd like to explore. I've got a few similar awards of my own I might use for inspiration along the way. You saw Kieran's post on Navy tattoos on DYHAF, didn't you? Might see if he can do me some similar graphics. Anyway, thanks again!

  2. LOL - Yes. Our discussion on the tattoo post end up being longer then the original article :/ (It seems I'd much rather hang out on other peoples blogs then go home to my own)
    I'm always blown away by Kieran's pictures and figures, I'm sure he could come up with some really cool looking awards.
    As a side note, I just found you that I will be fielding 300 to 400 men in my next game. If anyone survives I might get the chance to hand out a few of these medals... although it could be a Praetorian massacre on the Toof River scale!

    1. I always find that as well. I have to confess I copied the whole post, with comments, and printed it out :p

      Great! Sounds like there might be a few 'Triple Skulls' handed out... good luck!

  3. Saw these, and they're for sale.

    Moving on, I really like the awards. One thing that might add even more depth to the background. Presumably, by the timeframe we're operating in (post Taros, principally) all of the 'land' on Palladia is actually taken and the stipend that goes with any of the awards would actually be the 'title' to a Hive level or hab block. Unless the Legion is on a war of conquest, in which case the Departmento Munitorium could well offer up some real estate as a part of the deal.

  4. Thanks for the link there, I'll check those ones out. Yep, you're dead right, although the 'landed' system is heavily coloured by the system of hereditary inheritance. At first, when the colony was new, lands were handed out like sweeties. Now, they're much harder to get (at least proper Palladian land, as opposed to conquest land as you say). This is partly because there's not much land left, but more because the military lines are established, and granting new people land is like admitting them to this ultra-exclusive snobby landed officers' club.


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