PDA

View Full Version : Space Marine Chain of Command?



Damage,Inc.
31-08-2010, 20:52
I'm working on my Space Sharks list in preparation for the upcoming Forgeworld release of the Badab War book. I'm taking a Master of the Forge, and thinking about taking a Captain too.

Where does the chain of command lie within a SM chapter? Where do the Masters fall? They are high ranking officers, however they are also in charge of specialized areas. A captain falls in direct line of command over line troops and is responsible for the marines in his company or battlegroup. The Chapter Master outranks everyone, and the Masters and other captains often act as advisors. Where does the command overlap?

For example, a SM captain and his company (or portions of it) would be selected for a mission. Attachments are added for support, ranging from elites from the 1st company, armor from the support companies, or scouts from the tenth company. Dreadnoughts come from the Master of the Forge's control, and are usually seconded to captain for his mission.

Since I plan on taking 4-5 dreads, the Master of the Forge must come along to supervise their use and fix any mechanical issues that come up. Of course, as he is a high ranking member of the chapter, and holds specialized skills and position, he most likely ranks higher within the actual chapter than the captain. Would he take over command of the mission, or fall under the command of the captain until the mission was complete? Of course if the Chapter Master orders either officer to obey the other's commands and not interfere then they will likely follow those orders. But if this is not blatantly spelled out, what happens?

I've read through the codex, but not all the BL books. Just wondering where the actual chain of command comes from.

SultanBaal
31-08-2010, 20:58
I would say the Master of the Forge would have overall command but then they are Techmarines and their authority can vary from Chapter to Chapter. Iron Hands and Salamanders value them more than others but i guess it realy depends on the mission and the senority of the Captain with it.

I just took a look at my codex and it seems like the Master of the Forge is seperate authority and mainly only deal with the other techmarines and the armoury. So a Captain could command in terms of combat, and then the Master has command of the main objectives.

Son of Sanguinius
31-08-2010, 21:17
I would assume that, in your case, the Company Captain has battlefield command, even over the Dreadnoughts. The Master of the Forge would, in essence, grant the Captain the right to command himself and the war machines he presides over. The Captain would then defer in all mechanical matters to the Master of the Forge, and the Master of the Forge could assert some battlefield command over his own charges if he thought the Captain was being reckless with them.

Lennysmash
31-08-2010, 21:30
Overall command rests with the officer assigned to the mission, whilst the master of the forge is a senior officer his command purview would not overrule that of the mission commander. The MOTF would be assigned by the Grand Master and therefore would understand his position within any task force he was seconded to. In the modern sense it is highly irregular if not unheard of for an auxiliary officer to override a battlefield commander's command.

Leftenant Gashrog
31-08-2010, 22:33
The current Codex says: "Though he is part of the Chapter Council, the Master of the Forge is an outsider to all save his subordinate Techmarines, whose company is shunned in all matters save those that pertain to his beloved mechanicals."

I imagine in a regular chapter his authority extends no further than decreeing whether a particular vehicle/piece of equipment is usable in battle or not, in the same way that the chief mechanic of a police station can decide whether a cop gets a car but has no authority over where he drives it once he leaves the station.

Also note that Dreadnoughts are an integral part of companies, not armoury attachments like tanks.

Damage,Inc.
01-09-2010, 01:26
The current Codex says: "Though he is part of the Chapter Council, the Master of the Forge is an outsider to all save his subordinate Techmarines, whose company is shunned in all matters save those that pertain to his beloved mechanicals."

I imagine in a regular chapter his authority extends no further than decreeing whether a particular vehicle/piece of equipment is usable in battle or not, in the same way that the chief mechanic of a police station can decide whether a cop gets a car but has no authority over where he drives it once he leaves the station.

Also note that Dreadnoughts are an integral part of companies, not armoury attachments like tanks.

This is pretty much what I suspected, however as he is mandatory to bring Dreadnoughts as heavy support as well as elite, I was wondering if by being forced to take him, it was representing a forcible change of responsibility.

As for dreads being integral, that must be new as I had always read before they were part of the armory, much like Predators and Whirlwinds. Perhaps that's changed over the years, though, so I could be wrong. I imagine that specialized dreads might be part of the armory, like Ironclads, as they would be more useful in specific situtations.

For my Space Sharks, I'm taking one squad of TDA in addition to 4 Dreads (3 regular and one Ironclad). Space Sharks limited background describe them as being used primarily for policing space shipping lanes. During the Badab War, they did lots of fleet and boarding actions using most of their TDA and dreads for that. They also did the primary assault on the Mantis Warriors' homeworld, a jungle deathworld, leading to much close in fighting in the jungles and the final seige. They make heavy use of TDA and dreadnoughts, and drop pods. I'm including the Ironclad for close-in and seige work.

The plan is to put the Captain in TDA and have him join the Termies for deep striking, while the main ground element is lead by the MotF. I think it will work out, as the Captain could have easily entrusted command of certain elements to the MotF while he was busy with other sections.

Gorbad Ironclaw
01-09-2010, 06:00
As for dreads being integral, that must be new as I had always read before they were part of the armory, much like Predators and Whirlwinds. Perhaps that's changed over the years, though, so I could be wrong. I imagine that specialized dreads might be part of the armory, like Ironclads, as they would be more useful in specific situtations.


I think Dreads have always been part of individual companies. Certainly as far back as 2nd they have listed Dreadnoughts as part of individual companies, along with basic transports like Rhinos etc.

It's entirely possible that there are more Dreadnoughts in the Armoury, although I could also see that being mostly spare Dreadnought bodies, possibly as you say specialist models. But the Marine inside them would belong to a Company. Of course, as with all things different Chapters are bound to do it differently.

As for the requirement to bring one if you want to bring them as heavy support I think that's just a rules balance thing, I don't think it really holds much significance in terms of background information on the organizational structure. Or it might be that since such a large number of Dreads are deployed it makes sense to send a specialist that can look after them and make sure they perform at peak efficiency.

Tak
01-09-2010, 12:37
I'm not entirely sure where Dreadnoughts fit into the chain of command but I like to think of them as being, to a point, outside that Chain.

In other words, a Captain CAN order a Dreadnought to do something but would have to add a very nice pleaseat the end. Kind of like, in todays British Army where a Junior officer has seniority of command over a platoon Sergeant who would usually have decades more experience than the officer but would yield to the sergeant in difficult times.

Hence the reputation of the officer being the brains of the outfit but really it's the sergeant who runs the day to day affairs.

Of course if there is anyone out there who knows EXACTLY where dreadnoughts stand in the chain of command then please illuminate me.

Gorbad Ironclaw
01-09-2010, 15:05
In other words, a Captain CAN order a Dreadnought to do something but would have to add a very nice pleaseat the end.

I don't really think so. While it will depend a bit on the Dreadnought in question (no one is going to order Bjorn the Fellhanded around like a raw recruit) in general they seem to just be another specialised tool/warmachine/squad under the command of whatever officer is in command at the time. That it's a Dreadnought doesn't gets it any special dispensation to act outside the chain of command or anything like that. If told to assault position X it will assault position X or support squad Y or whatever else the orders might be.

And while it's likely to have a lot of experience any Marine officer is likely to have centuries of experience himself so outside of very specific circumstances I don't think that's likely to come up/be an issue.

Son of Sanguinius
01-09-2010, 15:20
I don't really think so. While it will depend a bit on the Dreadnought in question (no one is going to order Bjorn the Fellhanded around like a raw recruit) in general they seem to just be another specialised tool/warmachine/squad under the command of whatever officer is in command at the time. That it's a Dreadnought doesn't gets it any special dispensation to act outside the chain of command or anything like that. If told to assault position X it will assault position X or support squad Y or whatever else the orders might be.

And while it's likely to have a lot of experience any Marine officer is likely to have centuries of experience himself so outside of very specific circumstances I don't think that's likely to come up/be an issue.

Agreed. There hasn't been much indication that placement in a Dreadnought leads one to arrogance, which means the pilot is still a Marine who understands and respects the chain of command and will take the orders of a superior officer (superior in rank, mind you) as quickly as any other subordinate.

Damage,Inc.
01-09-2010, 18:52
This thought is beyond what I was asking, but let's go there anyway-

Induction into a dreadnought suit doesn't differentiate between "enlisted" marine or officer marine. Those "inducted" need only be severely wounded and incapable of life without life support. Also, if the marine was heroic, that seems to help as well.

Dreadnought-bound marines seem to fade over time, losing mental accuity and becoming harder to wake as the years pass. Once set about their tasks, they perform them ably, however most dreadnought pilots, it seems, are not around for planning stages unless absolutely needed.

So, if an officer is interred in a dreadnought, does he lose his command status? I know in some instances the dreadnought becomes a leader, like Bjorn, but mostly it seems as though this isn't the case. For many marines, becoming a dreadnought may be an honor, but for an officer this may actually represent being stripped of rank.

I think an enlisted marine that becomes a dreadnought pilot may stay with his company, which is why dreadnoughts are company assets. That marine is still on the rolls with his brothers, just in a different capacity. Perhaps once enough time passes and the company takes on enough new recruits, the dreadnought pilot becomes venerable and is moved to a more chapter asset role?

Also, while the Master of the Forge is responsible for the dreadnought suits, wouldn't the sarcophgas's themselves fall under the Apothecarium? The health of the dreadnought pilot seems to be beyond the scope of techmarines.

Col. von Dryden
01-09-2010, 20:03
Here's my own feelings:

Top: The Chapter Master and overall commander of everyone.
2nd: The Captains (think Arthur and his Knights). The positions of Master is awarded to various Captains based on ability/need/utility/ect... So the master of the Fleet would be the Captain with most experience/desire/ordered to learn about/ect... the Fleet and probably liason with Imp. Navy.
From this point its broken into the specific companies with the Captain at the top and mirrors the chapter (i.e. a Sgt may be experienced in Naval combat and so would advise re: any naval actions but the Captain always makes the final decision.)
In turn, Chaplains, Librarians, Techmarines, ect... can also be promoted to "master" depending on the circumstances and act as advisors in this capacity beyond what they normally would.

Dreads sit outside the normal chain of command. Yes, they may have been great tacticians and warriors in their time, but they are the living-dead now. Advise will most defenitely be sought from these oft-living legends, but as others have put it...how much of the marine's mind is still there and "intact?"

Sir_Turalyon
01-09-2010, 20:26
See organisation of Codex chapter on page 17 of C:SM. The Dreadnaughts are part of companies so they fall under the captains, just like squads of battle brothers. Trying to split chain of command into tiers (with brothers on the same tier being approximately of the same rank) I end up with something like that.

Tier1:

Chapter Master sits on top, with company Captains, Master of the Forge, Chief Librarian, Chief Apothecary, fleet commander, Honour Guard and (if present) senior Chaplain directly below him. All these commanders presumably hold equal rank, except Honour Guard seregant.


Tier 2:

Captain has command of his company which includes Chaplains, Dreadnaughts, transports and seregants of the squads. His authority over company chaplain, command squad apothecary and crews of Rhinos/ Razorbacks overleaps with those of chief apothecary / master of the forge / master chaplain (if present).

Master of the Forge commands armoury, which means Techmarines and vehicles.

Chief Librarian / Apothecary / Chaplain commands all Librarians / Apothecaries / Chaplains, but most of their duties are off-battlefield (runnig hospital, chronicles or shrine ). They have to say which apothecaries / chaplains are seconed to companies or which librarians get battlefield duties than leave matter fo field officers like captains.

Tier 3:

Chaplains and Librarians are outranked by Tier 2 officers, but they still get appointed to command forces of other units and probably stay slightly out of chain of command. They order Tier 4 and lower marines assigned to their force on regular basis, and probably can order all such marines unless captain, master of the forge or senior chaplain / librarian is present to pull rank on them.

Command Squads and Honour Guard are slightly outside the chain of command too: they don't get to command forces like Librarians or Caplains, but are never assigned unter their command eighter. As they are part of company command staff in the same way as chaplain and include apothecaries, I'd place them in tier 3 - none can pull rank on the other. Perhaps Honour Guard should be even in tier 2, having no aouthority other than Chapter master above them?

Tier 4:

Squad seregants probably have command of crews of their dedicated transports, overleaping with Master of the Forge, as well as their own squad.

Techmarines answer to Master of the Forge, but in practice will probably follow orders of captain, librarian or chaplain in charge of the army.

Dreadnaught pilots answer to their company captain, but will follow orders of chaplain or librarian, at least if seconded to their command.

Tank crews / speeder pilots answer eighter to Master of the Forge or their company captain, but will follow orders of commander of force they are part of.


Tier 5. Battle brothers are generaly in charge of themselves. There are multiple lower ranks like leaders of combat squads, or 1st company brothers outranking the rests, but it has meaning mostly to toher tier 5 brothers.

MajorWesJanson
02-09-2010, 17:07
Agreed. There hasn't been much indication that placement in a Dreadnought leads one to arrogance, which means the pilot is still a Marine who understands and respects the chain of command and will take the orders of a superior officer (superior in rank, mind you) as quickly as any other subordinate.

Well, it depends. Best example is Brother Jarold, the Black Templar who was interred into a Dreadnought. He promptly assigned himself to a kill team by reminding the commander that he was a "revered dreadnought" even though that commander was his senior and I believe trainer. I can get the exact quote tonight or tomorrow. Another book has him talking to a Chaplain who asked why he wasn't with the other Dreadnoughts on the Forgeship, and his response was that he did not want to/could not sleep.

Dreadnoughts do vary from each other, as they are individuals just like chapters differ.