Imperial Guard Rank

The diversity of Imperial Guard regiments mean that there are literally thousands of variations on officers' ranks throughout the Imperium. However, local variations are generally tied to a basic standard list of officer ranks, for determining comparative seniority between regiments, a tentative hierarchy of which might be as follows:

* Lord Commander Militant of the Imperial Guard
* Lord Commander Militant (High Commander Militant) (commands hundreds of millions)
* Lord General Militant (commands tens of millions)
* Lord Marshal (commands millions)
* Lord General (commands hundreds of thousands)
* General (commands tens of thousands)
* Lieutenant General
* Major General
* Brigadier Marshal
* Brigadier General
* Brigadier
* Colonel
* Lieutenant Colonel
* Major
* Captain
* Lieutenant

Two other notable officer ranks exist amongst the Imperial Guard. Commissars (almost certainly modelled on the Soviet political officers of the same name) are individuals attached to Imperial Guard regiments for the purposes of maintaining rigid Imperial discipline throughout the Guard. For strategic purposes, Commissars have little authority and are usually subservient to the tactical decisions of line officers. However, exceptionally experienced commissars may be given field commands, such as Viktor Hark and Ibram Gaunt in Dan Abnett's novel First and Only. The fact that any commissar can detain or execute any standard rank up to Lord General Militant (although summary executions are rare for ranks higher than Colonel) makes this distinction somewhat academic, as any commissar could remove an officer from command and assume control of the officer's unit.

The rank of Warmaster is a title issued by the High Lords of Terra to a military commander (usually a previous holder of the Lord General or Lord Marshal rank, or else an Admiral of the Imperial Navy) when one overarching leader is deemed necessary to command a crusade of historic magnitude (examples include the Warmasters Horus, Slaydo, Macaroth, Solon and Lord Commander Solar Macharius). A Warmaster’s military authority is absolute within his assigned area of operations, and it is for this reason that a Guard officer desiring this rank must be seconded by two Admirals of the Imperial Navy (similarly, a Naval officer holding the rank must be seconded by two Generals, or other senior staff officers, of the Imperial Guard). There is seldom more than one of these individuals in the entire Imperium at any one time. While it is said that a commander with the rank Lord Solar is higher than a Warmaster they are actually the same rank. On occasion the rank Warmaster, due to its association with Horus, simply falls out of favour and is replaced with Lord Solar.

Other ranks of import to the Imperial Guard are the Imperial Commanders, who have authority over the standing forces on an Imperial world (generally held by the Planetary Governor of the world in question) and the Lord Commanders of the Segmentae Majoris, a primarily administrative rank whose incumbents are responsible for overseeing and directing the Imperial military within one of the five Segmentae of the galaxy.

All remaining troopers are enlisted soldiers. Like the commissioned ranks, the enlisted rank structure can vary wildly from regiment to regiment. However, the Imperial Guard enlisted rank structure roughly equates as;

* Warrant Officer
* Colour Sergeant
* Sergeant
* Corporal/Bombardier
* Lance Corporal/Bombardier
* Trooper/Private

Others mentioned include Master Sniper (usually a Sergeant however due to his speciality, does not wear any insignia), Sergeant Major (confusingly, this is not an actual rank and instead is the name given to Warrant Officers) and Command Sergeant. Again, other variations exist based on planet of origin, Crusade or Army group etc. Some Sergeants in the Imperial Guard are known as 'Veteran Sergeants' but this is not generally an actual rank - Veteran Sergeants are either very experienced holders of the Sergeant rank or senior NCOs. The evolved Ogryns and Ratlings seem either to follow no ranking system at all or some internal ranking system, although they are obliged to obey Imperial Guard officers. Some Ogryns are given surgery to augment their intelligence, a process known as "Biochemical Ogryn Neural Enhancement" (BONE). Ogryns that receive these modifications are able to act as middlemen between humans and other Ogryns, and are often known as "Bone 'eads".

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