Pro Imperator! Pro Hominum!
According to the Tactica Imperialis, Imperial Guard regimental command officers range in rank from Colonel to Lieutenant. In practice, however, the individual regiments making up the vast Imperial Guard are drawn from so many different human worlds and cultures that the actual name given to an officer rank can vary widely across the Guard. Regimental officers always hail from the same world as the troops they command, assuming their officer rank at the initial formation of the regiment. Providing a regiment with officers from its homeworld is an easy but extremely effective way to enhance an enlisted Guardsman’s loyalty and morale.
While the exact title of an officer will vary depending on which Imperial world his regiment hails from, the various regimental ranks are standardised as:
Colonel – The most senior officer in a Regiment and the Commander of the Regiment.
Major – Usually serves as the executive officer of an Imperial Guard regiment, and the primary assistant to the regiment’s commanding Colonel. This rank is not universal in the Imperial Guard’s organisation and only exists in certain regiments. In some regiments Major takes the lead of Veteran Company or some smaller unit of Veterans who serve as elite troops within the regiment assigned to escort and protection of HQ personnel, long range reconnaissance, special operations and all other important tasks requireing more expirienced troops then regular Guardsmen.
Captain – Usually serves as combat unit Commander, and can command either multiple Platoons bound together into a Company, or multiple Armoured Squadrons bound together into an Armoured Company. Captains are the most common senior officers found in an Imperial Guard regiment.
Lieutenant – Lieutenants are the most junior officer rank to be found in the Imperial Guard. They serve as Platoon Commanders or as the leader of an Armoured Squadron.
Non-commissioned officer ranks act as small unit commanders for the Imperial Guard, as well as providing almost constant oversight of the main body of Guardsmen within a regiment. They carry out any tasks assigned to them by their officers and are essential to the running of the regiment such as Quartermasters and Chief Medics.
Sergeant – A Sergeant is a non-commissioned officer of the Imperial Guard who is either in charge of a single Squad, or the Commander for a single Combat Vehicle or Artillery Piece. Although they are often thought of as mere grunts, good Sergeants are just as necessary to the Imperial Guard’s mission as good Generals, and some Sergeants have gained famous renown thanks to their bravery, resourcefulness or sheer resilience.
Corporal – A Corporal is a non-commissioned officer of the Imperial Guard who serves as a second and aide to his squad Sergeant. He will also serve as a Fire Team leader during patrols or on sentry duty when the whole squad is spread out or not employed as a whole. In Armoured Regiments, it is common to have the main Gunners and Drivers of all Combat Vehicles promoted to the rank of Corporal, while the secondary Gunners, Loaders and the Vox Operators remain simple enlisted Guardsmen. This is done to denote the fact that main Gunners and Drivers hold the most prestigious positions within the vehicle. It is purely a question of prestige though, for on the battlefield, a Commander is his vehicle’s sole lord and master.
The enlisted rank-and-file troops of the Imperial Guard perform a large variety of combat and support roles and make up the vast bulk of the Imperial Guard’s forces. They are the grunts who ultimately get the job done for the Emperor. There are two kinds of troops in the Imperial Guard, namely the “regular” professional Guardsmen who have been raised from their homeworld and trained as part of the Imperial tithe and conscripts. Conscripts are those civilians present in an Imperial Guard warzone who get inducted into the Imperial Guard to replace losses for the duration of the conflict. Well-equipped but poorly trained, Imperial Guard conscripts are often used as reserve troops, manning static defence posts and secondary battle lines, allowing the Imperial commanders to deploy their best troops on the frontline.