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Grndhog89
10-02-2013, 23:50
So this actually came about from seeing a user on here named "childsoldier". It made me think....if the 40k universe is so grimdark its missing a very grimdark element (child soldiery). So I was just wondering if the IoM or any other faction has any mention of doing so. This might be a little too "taboo" for GW to touch. However, if we are talking a real grimdark universe......child soldiery would definitely occur.

Thanks to the posters who have answered already. Please note: I'm really referring to children/adolescents seeing active front-line duty. Not just being trained indoctrinated at early ages.

SomeRandomEvilGuy
10-02-2013, 23:58
I haven't read anything mentioning the subject, so this is conjecture on my part. On an invaded world desperately trying to fight off their attackers? Probably, although I'd imagine using them in logistics, farming (if possible on that world) and manufacturing to be more likely. As a general rule it strikes me as inefficient. Children don't make great soldiers, which is what the Imperium wants. The equipment is often more valuable than the people using it, so putting it on subpar soldiers doesn't happen that often (the Imperial Guard while widely ridiculed online does generally consist of highly disciplined and trained soldiers). But yeah, in times of emergency, why not? Half the xenos or Chaos-aligned factions would put them all to the sword or at least enslave them anyway, so getting them to fight wouldn't necessarily be morally wrong.

Actually, I think Space Marines are usually implanted prior to\during puberty, so they're probably child soldiers. Bit of outlier though considering they number so few.

Zywus
11-02-2013, 00:18
I seem to recall Commisars being largely comprised of orphaned children being trained and indoctrinated from a young age so that's a form of child soldery i guess.

The military value of using children as soldiers are that they are more easily indoctrinated than adults. Since the imperium seems to have a rather good grasp of the minds of their population I would assume that child soldiers are seldom used as a first choice. If a Ork waagh or tyranid swarm are banging as the doors and there are some spare lasguns laying around and children to carry them I would certainly assume that they would be deployed in a heartbeat. Although i can't recall any fluff detailing such situations.

New Cult King
11-02-2013, 00:21
Cadians start training very early - I seem to remember a quote somewhere about Cadian children being able to field strip a lasgun by the time they are 10.

Unsure how old they are before seeing active duty though.

Grimbad
11-02-2013, 00:26
Space Marines. Yep.

And others, notably Cadian Youth Regiments, but probably most fortress worlds have those.

Grndhog89
11-02-2013, 00:28
Space Marines. Yep.

And others, notably Cadian Youth Regiments, but probably most fortress worlds have those.

Do said Cadian youth regiments actually see front line battle? Also curious, are these child regiments mixed between male and females? Or are they still following the old "the man protects" archetype in the 41st millenia? Lol.

NemoSD
11-02-2013, 00:34
Do said Cadian youth regiments actually see front line battle? Also curious, are these child regiments mixed between male and females? Or are they still following the old "the man protects" archetype in the 41st millenia? Lol.

Cadians are pretty mixed, but it seems to differ planet to planet. (The Tanith were not keen on females joining the ranks, nor female officers.)

goldenhorde
11-02-2013, 01:41
The Guard doesn't seem to raise new child soldier regiments (manpower is the Imperium's most abundant resource), but there are children born into service: born from active Guardsmen and wives in their logistics contingent/on their garrison world. They are seconded to their parent regiment as Whiteshields until they are promoted to full Guardsmen.

However there are Cadian Youth Armies in the PDF.

Da Roc
11-02-2013, 02:09
In the novel 'imperial glory', the children from the active duty soldiers are put in a unit of whiteshields. They're typically behind frontlines, but can fight if situation demands it. In the novel '13th legion', Lt. Kage came across some Mordian youth platoon, which followed him around for a bit at the frontline.

Model wise, the Necromunda Orlock youth looks like Catachan youths.

Kaldor Draigo
11-02-2013, 02:16
What is a Marine if not a soldier recruited as a child?

Grndhog89
11-02-2013, 02:38
The marine is still being trained though and not really thrown into front line combat. At least that is how I view it. So they technically are a "trainee" and not a legitimate soldier at that point. Also a note on these youth regiments; whats the average age? Are we talking adolescents (15-17) or even younger (like 8-15; Sudanese war fighter children)?

bittick
11-02-2013, 04:55
It's the wrong style of grimdark. Doesn't fit the visual theme. The Imperium is a horrible, oppressive regime that will virus bomb a planet, but they don't send soldiers around cutting off a mother's breasts so she can't feed her child. It would be out of place, almost anachronistic. The Imperium takes its inspiration from the excesses of European history, and the child soldier thing is more of a modern African nation thing.

Gimp
11-02-2013, 05:46
Well Space Marines have are in a sense a form of child soldiers. To me Space Marines never really leave that child mentality behind, kind of explains a lot of their thinking behind the Horus Heresy.

But yeah Cadian has the White Shields and the Battle for Valhalla against the Orks it clearly states that every man, women and child able to bears arms was sent to the front line.

Rogue Star
11-02-2013, 06:33
The marine is still being trained though and not really thrown into front line combat.

To be fair though if you take the Spartan-esque, grimdark dialled up training regime of Space marine Chapters 100% seriously, those 10-12 year olds they take would have had a better odds on a battlefield.

Seriously, potential aspirants are pre-teen boys that have survived in dinosaur-infested jungles with weekly meteor storms only to be told by the recruiters "Play time's over. Time to kick it up a notch."

Da Roc
11-02-2013, 06:38
The marine is still being trained though and not really thrown into front line combat. At least that is how I view it. So they technically are a "trainee" and not a legitimate soldier at that point. Also a note on these youth regiments; whats the average age? Are we talking adolescents (15-17) or even younger (like 8-15; Sudanese war fighter children)?

In the 'imperial glory', the viridian dragoon's whiteshields were 9-17 if I recall correctly, with some of the smarter eldest being officers of the company. In a battle against a revolt, some whiteshields got sniped, their dads(veterans) were eager and doubling their pace to relieve the pinned down company. The whiteshields that were eager to shoot became targets as they pop their heads out.

Harwammer
11-02-2013, 07:00
As a general rule it strikes me as inefficient. Children don't make great soldiers, which is what the Imperium wants.

I've actually read children make pretty good soldiers. I don't know if the idea holds any merit, but if it is true I guess inefficiency may not be an argument against the imperium doing it.

In the Eye of Terror book there is a unit entry for Cadian white shields. I think in that particular codex white shields were children that had completed basic training and were being given real battlefield experience (from recall, not checked it recently).

Harwammer
11-02-2013, 07:01
As a general rule it strikes me as inefficient. Children don't make great soldiers, which is what the Imperium wants.

I've actually read children make pretty good soldiers. I don't know if the idea holds any merit, but if it is true I guess inefficiency may not be an argument against the imperium doing it.

In the Eye of Terror book there is a unit entry for Cadian white shields. I think in that particular codex white shields were children that had completed basic training and were being given real battlefield experience (from recall, not checked it recently).

m1acca1551
11-02-2013, 07:56
It would certainly make a great deal of sense, feed them the patriotic crap when they are young and you will have soldiers for life.

budman
11-02-2013, 08:25
Child soldiers... Well the Source material calls it "the cruelest and most bloody regime imaginable" so yeah.
The only question is how we treat this fact... utter horror or ultra-black comedy.

a five year old being given full adult kit, the uniform may fit in 11 years then being sent out to face the child soldiers that chaos have as they copy every thing the Imperium has...

Sai-Lauren
11-02-2013, 08:49
Yes, even excluding people signing up under age out of patriotism, hive gangs being rounded up en mass for a guard founding and their ages simply ignored, Commissar Cadets (at the very oldest, in their late teens - Gaunt's referred to as "The Boy" in the flashbacks of First and Only, indicating at the very least he was still a child when he joined that regiment, although he could wee have been in his early-20s at that particular time) and enforced servitude during an invasion, there are units like the Whiteshields which are children.

Regiments may also have things like drummer boys, PDF's would almost certainly have cadet corps, the Navy would almost certainly have "powder monkeys" taken from the children of the ships crew, and I can see the Orders Militant of the Sororitas pushing their new recruits into battle as and when they need to.

And depending on how long their training takes, considering Officio Assassinorum agents are normally taken when they're very, very young (no older than 5 IIRC), they could still technically be children when they go on their first missions.

MvS
11-02-2013, 08:53
In the million worlds of the Imperium I'd be very surprised if the Imperium didn't use child soldiers in the proper sense of the word, rather than just young adults.

Space Marines don't really count as far as I'm concerned. They may take children, but then this is like a vastly more hardcore version of monasteries having child novices, an army cadet force and the harsher elements of the Spartan agoge rather than child combat soldiers. However strict the discipline and harsh the training, this doesn't mean that children are used in formal combat/soldiering roles. Even when they are facing deadly scenarios, these aren't scenarios where a campaign or battle is at stake. So the children aren't fighting in a military campaign.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that the Asartes are warm and cuddly or that they treat people in a better way than other elements of the Imperial war machine. Nor am I saying that Marine Chapters don't give children military training and then put them into lethal situations in order to test their suitability for recruitment, more often than not resulting in the deaths of said youths. They most certainly do.

Rather I'm saying that Marines don't factor youths into their battle plans until after those youths have passed puberty and have undergone the alterations needed to have the physiology of a Space Marine. So probably very late teens or early/mid twenties, depending on the candidate.

budman
11-02-2013, 09:35
Yes, even excluding people signing up under age out of patriotism, hive gangs being rounded up en mass for a guard founding and their ages simply ignored, Commissar Cadets (at the very oldest, in their late teens - Gaunt's referred to as "The Boy" in the flashbacks of First and Only, indicating at the very least he was still a child when he joined that regiment, although he could wee have been in his early-20s at that particular time) and enforced servitude during an invasion, there are units like the Whiteshields which are children.

Regiments may also have things like drummer boys, PDF's would almost certainly have cadet corps, the Navy would almost certainly have "powder monkeys" taken from the children of the ships crew, and I can see the Orders Militant of the Sororitas pushing their new recruits into battle as and when they need to.

And depending on how long their training takes, considering Officio Assassinorum agents are normally taken when they're very, very young (no older than 5 IIRC), they could still technically be children when they go on their first missions.

Speaking of Gaunt's lot how old was Milo?

Sai-Lauren
11-02-2013, 09:52
He's of sufficient age to serve in the ranks by Necropolis, although presumably that's actual physical age - given warp transit effects, in real space time he'd likely have been much older.

So I'd guess something like a minimum of 12-13 at the start of Ghostmaker. Although, IIRC, Caffran's not that much older than him, so, either Milo's a little older, or Caffran could also be at the bottom end of the age limits (or even slightly under age).

Angry SisterOfBattle Nerd
11-02-2013, 10:30
The Imperium takes its inspiration from the excesses of European history, and the child soldier thing is more of a modern African nation thing.
This guys says hi.
164100
That one too.
164101

Leftenant Gashrog
11-02-2013, 11:05
Also curious, are these child regiments mixed between male and females? Or are they still following the old "the man protects" archetype in the 41st millenia? Lol.

Or neither. I remember reading about a study years ago by.. I think it was either the Soviets or the Israelis, they found that all-female combat units were just as effective as all-male units but that mixed-gender units had their abilities impaired because "the man protects" is innate to the male psyche and leads to the male soldiers being over-protective of the female ones.

Another reason to keep them apart is that children grow into adolescents, with hormones.. easier to keep them apart if they're in different barracks.

TheDungen
11-02-2013, 11:45
i dont think so, like rape that's an issue that gw wont touch i suppose.

Grndhog89
11-02-2013, 12:33
Or neither. I remember reading about a study years ago by.. I think it was either the Soviets or the Israelis, they found that all-female combat units were just as effective as all-male units but that mixed-gender units had their abilities impaired because "the man protects" is innate to the male psyche and leads to the male soldiers being over-protective of the female ones.

Another reason to keep them apart is that children grow into adolescents, with hormones.. easier to keep them apart if they're in different barracks.

Interesting. I am aware that this is not a concern for the IoM, but I'm still surprised at all female combat units in modern day warfare. As contemporary nations our populations are finite. The biggest reason why females were never sent into war was because losing one was like losing a potential baby/extra citizen in the future. That is (partially) why it has been more acceptable for men to go to war and get killed. Remember, we could have a ratio of like 1 man for every 5 women and could probably propagate our population upwards fairly quickly (genetic diversity being accounted for of course).

ntw3001
11-02-2013, 12:52
Isn't one of the advantages of child soldiers that enemies are reluctant to shoot them? Does that still apply when fighting Orks and Necrons?

baphomael
11-02-2013, 13:04
Whiteshields and youth armies date back to rogue trader, but subsequently have only really been touched on obliquely. A bit too Grimdark for GW these days it seems.

Da Roc
11-02-2013, 14:03
Isn't one of the advantages of child soldiers that enemies are reluctant to shoot them? Does that still apply when fighting Orks and Necrons?

I highly doubt an ork would pass up a hack, a necron would shoot back for sure if fired upon, a tyranid passing up an easy meal, dark eldar might pass it up as kids make poor slaves, eldar might not kill the kids fatally, tau may try to persuade the kids to the greater good.

The Highlander
11-02-2013, 15:11
I think there should be a little distinction between 'child solders' (under 13s handed a rifle, trained how to shoot and packed off to the front line) and what could be called 'cadet solders' (teenagers who have been in military style training for several years).

I suspect the use of actual child soldiers in the Imperium to be very rare apart from desperate battles (where everyone who can just about hold a gun is sent into action), simply because it wouldn't be very effective. Why waste time with a group who are a lot smaller and weaker than most normal humans?

On the other hand, cadet forces are a well documented part of the 40K background. The entire Schola Progeniumis largely based around this philosophy, taking very young children and then indoctrinating them with religion and military training. This approach also produces extremely effective soldiers at the end of it, a typical Whiteshield solder may only be a teenager but has probably had a longer experience of military discipline and training than most new conscripts.

Grndhog89
11-02-2013, 15:31
Yeah. To get even more specific on what I am looking for evidence of; pretty much 6-13 year olds that are taken up by the IoM, or whatever planetary government and are handed a gun and armor. The cadets/teenage soldiers are also applicable but I'm talking more about children who are pre-pubescent/on the cusp of becoming so.

Madmongo
11-02-2013, 15:35
Almost certainly. We are after all talking about a futuristic setting of total galaxy wide conflict/inter species conflict. How effective children are is arguably irrelevant when facing a species extinction.

Yes Imperial command may not include child soldiers in the army lists/deployments/crusade fleets but that doesn’t mean they are not there (see for example RUF ‘units’ in sierra Leone).

I would also assume that many children (teenage and younger) are particularly suited for lethal combat give the extremely dangerous environments many of them grow up in. Various people have already mentioned marines, commissar cadets, whiteshields etc as being technically child soldiers but I think you can probably go wider than that in definition. Is for example a person who supplies an adult soldier with ammunition a soldier? Or are we counting a soldier as someone holding a weapon?

If one includes the countless supply/logistics elements of a unit I would imagine most units have some child soldiers in them.
Almost certainly. We are after all talking about a futuristic setting of total galaxy wide conflict/inter species conflict. How effective children are is arguably irrelevant when facing a species extinction.
Yes Imperial command may not include child soldiers in the army lists/deployments/crusade fleets but that doesn’t mean they are not there (see for example RUF ‘units’ in sierra Leone).
I would also assume that many children (teenage and younger) are particularly suited for lethal combat give the extremely dangerous environments many of them grow up in. Various people have already mentioned marines, commissar cadets, whiteshields etc as being technically child soldiers but I think you can probably go wider than that in definition. Is for example a person who supplies an adult soldier with ammunition a soldier? Or are we counting a soldier as someone holding a weapon?

If one includes the countless supply/logistics elements of a unit I would imagine most units have some child soldiers in them.

Lord Damocles
11-02-2013, 16:36
The Death Korps Grenadier(s) in Dead Men Walking are teenagers.
The elite troops are in their teens.

I'm guessing that the Cadian Youth Army (Whiteshields) aren't called that by accident, either.

Easy E
11-02-2013, 18:23
Beat me to it.

White Shields are the offspring of the Regiment. They are typically part of the White Shields when they are old enough to be considered a "man" in the culture they are form. It is not uncommon for warrior cultures to have this be at age 10+. White Shields do serve in combat zones and the front lines.

I think PDF soldiers could commonly be youth regiments as well. The PDF fights planetary battles against insurgents, pirates, gangs, etc. therefore, more child soldiers.

canucklhead
11-02-2013, 19:09
I would guess that standard IoM doctrine counsels against the use of children in combat. Wargear is mass produced for the standard guardsman, 6'0" tall, 200 lbs, size 9-11 boot. adequate manpower is not a major issue of the Imperium, with youth being 'conscripted' into cadet corps and schola Imperium without exception.

That being said, in desperation, all bets are off.

It simply doesn't fit the purely pragmatic Imperial way of doing things to have a standard model where every living being in your population is given a weapon and pointed at the bad guys. That fits a very short sighted view, hardly the centuries long plans of the IoM. It would have nothing to do with morality or compassion, simply good management of the resources.

on a different note, the ranking officer in Space Marine is female, lieutenant Mira. And her presence is not remarkable.

Xisor
11-02-2013, 19:22
The Salamanders in their long, slow recruiting process are said to start prepping very early, aren't they? It strikes me that, though they'd prefer not to risk them, when pushed they wouldn't bat an eyelid at deploying their pre-teen trainees/apprentices, giving them the best weapons they can use and getting to the business of killing.

The problem, I suppose, with child soldiers is 'when would they be better than adults'? The only sensible case, in my eyes, would be: when the adults are all occupied. So any time a planet or society is facing 'total war', when assets of the population can't reliably be set aside for safekeeping - they can instead be deployed to fight.

FarseerMatt
11-02-2013, 20:13
eldar might not kill the kids fatally.

The "real" Eldar would likely be appalled at both the enemy's use of children as soldiers and their own duty to cut them down. The "war mask" that protects their psyche during combat would note these things only abstractly, and cut the child down without hesitation. Eldar are scary once they've severed themselves from their sense of empathy and remorse.


It simply doesn't fit the purely pragmatic Imperial way of doing things to have a standard model where every living being in your population is given a weapon and pointed at the bad guys. That fits a very short sighted view, hardly the centuries long plans of the IoM. It would have nothing to do with morality or compassion, simply good management of the resources.

Hence, while children might not get sent to the front-line, they may well get drafted into logistical support roles (e.g filling manufactorum jobs after the original workers are conscripted). No matter how bad things get, the people on the front line need many more people behind them to keep the war machine going for more than a day.


On a different note, the ranking officer in Space Marine is female, lieutenant Mira. And her presence is not remarkable.

Yes. Titus' surprise at her being in charge was fairly clearly because a lieutenant was the highest ranking officer left, rather than the fact that she was female.

In the far future gender standards may well be different - if not across the entire Imperium them certainly on individual planets. So you may get segregated regiments, mixed regiments, regiments where each gender can only serve in certain positions, or the case where only one sex or the other is allowed to fight at all.

Angry SisterOfBattle Nerd
11-02-2013, 20:50
dark eldar might pass it up as kids make poor slaves
What ? Sweet sweet suffering ! Their souls tastes like candy. And as an extra, torturing it in front of grown-ups can add a total sense of desperations unto them.

HBT
11-02-2013, 21:14
I don't know; whilst it's something that GW tends to touch on obliquely rather than directly, a lot of 40k novels from the days of 'Space Marine' onwards go to great lengths to describe how children are accomplished killers.

In Space Marine the three Imperial Fists aspirants are already killers by the time they're selected to be Space Marines. It's the same scenario with 'Nightfall' in the 'Heroes of the Space Marines' collection of stories and so on and so forth.

So whilst it may not be written that children are actually in the front line; in a lot of instances innocence is something that doesn't exist (particularly where a Hive World is involved) and there's no reason to suspect that children aren't actually fighting.

That's my tuppence worth anyway.

jakka
11-02-2013, 22:08
of course children soldiers exist in the 40K universe, just about anyway you look, the imperial guard have white shield regiments as mentioned before, in the Caiaphas Cain series, the teenage Commissarial cadets accompany a PDF detachment onto a hostile tyranid asteroid, and when chaos threatens to overtake the planet the young sisters of battle novites go to battle against the chaos horde., they are said to be anywhere from 9-17 years old. In the eishenhorn series chaos uses child psyker to wreak havoc during an imperial parade.

also, just about every space marine chapter goes to war with the support of scouts, scouts are initiates that arn't considered full space marines yet, the surgery to become a space marine must be taken during the end of puberty, so the scouts have to be less than 20, depending on how old the initiate is upon recruitment the scouts can range anywhere from 15-19 although not technically "children" this young warriors are used in almost every space marine chapter.

The bearded one
12-02-2013, 04:43
Wasnt the leading Black Lucifer from HH 'legion' from a planet that, in a decadeslong world war, had begun to employ childsoldiers, the black lucifer being one of those (the 10 year old or something who led his particular unit was killed the first day IIRC).

This was before the imperium came, though. The imperium arrived and managed to end the world war and conquor the planet in a matter of days.

Griefbringer
12-02-2013, 08:54
The old novella Deathwing (from ca. 1990) features one of the characters telling a story about his experiences on the hive world Thranx, that had been totally taken over by a genestealer, unknown to the Imperial forces showing up to collect the missing tithe. Eventually they find out about the infestation, and end up in a fight with the genestealers and their human brethren. One of the encounters is described as follows:

"My brother Red Sky was pulled down by a wave of feral children with explosives in their hands. They detonated them as they crawled over his body. He did not live."

Pretty grimdark if you ask me. Granted, these are not ordinary children but ones under the influence of genestealers.


As for actual Imperial forces, what about the Imperial navy? At least the merchant / civilian fleets seem to have part of their crew consisting of voidborn, who have born on the spaceship and spent their whole life on it. Does the same thing happen amongst the crews of the navy craft?

Lord-Caerolion
12-02-2013, 10:45
Well, there are always the Cherubim. Sure, they aren't child soldiers, but they are lobotomised babies. Other than that, the only thing I can say is "if it happens on Earth, it's pretty certain there's at least one planet in the Imperium that views it as standard practice".

Polaria
12-02-2013, 10:54
The Imperium takes its inspiration from the excesses of European history, and the child soldier thing is more of a modern African nation thing.

Its African thing TODAY because its forbidden in all civilized countries. Today. During World Wars I and II (and before) it was standard practice in most European countries.

Lord Damocles
12-02-2013, 16:59
In the eishenhorn series chaos uses child psyker to wreak havoc during an imperial parade.
The child is implied to be one of the Apex Twins, though, and they're actually several thousand years old.


(Not that Chaos isn't likely to use children, but still...)

Shamana
12-02-2013, 20:57
Has anyone noticed that the IG codex describes conscripts as either those who hadn't completed basic training or those too young to be normally drafted? I think the idea of using child soldiers is by far not limited to Cadia.

madprophet
12-02-2013, 23:59
Space Marines are recruited at age 12 and the fluff mentions something called Whiteshields who are child soldiers brought up in the regiment

http://warhammer40k.wikia.com/wiki/Whiteshields

baphomael
13-02-2013, 11:28
I think the point remains that the imperium is a vast and diverse place. If it occurs on our one, diverse, little rock then it likely occurs somewhere in the imperium.

quantumcollider
13-02-2013, 11:51
Not to mention the possibility that on many feral worlds boys are considered adults, and therefore warriors, in their early teens. If the IG recruits from those worlds, a lot of young boys (and possibly girls) will be drafted for combat.

Come to think of it, every world probably has its own standard age of adulthood. And what is a full warrior on one world may be considered a child-soldier on another.

Retrospectus
13-02-2013, 13:49
He's of sufficient age to serve in the ranks by Necropolis, although presumably that's actual physical age - given warp transit effects, in real space time he'd likely have been much older.

So I'd guess something like a minimum of 12-13 at the start of Ghostmaker. Although, IIRC, Caffran's not that much older than him, so, either Milo's a little older, or Caffran could also be at the bottom end of the age limits (or even slightly under age).

Milo just turned 18 during ghostmaker (his first time in combat) that's the reason guant let him. I think the ghosts wait till you're an adult before joining



also read "Cadian Blood", there's a whiteshield platoon (about 30 of them) deployed on the front lines and they do pretty well for themselves. IIRC their sergeant was about 18 and they got progressively younger from there

childsoldier
13-02-2013, 19:38
Oops...

For what it's worth I think child soldiers would be prevalent in a wide variety of situations within the 40k universe. For example my mate, who's a member on here by the name of Felwether, has a character named Vincent Nyl. His home world, an agri world without much in the way of a PDF iirc, was invaded by Orks. His family are butchered but Vincent escapes, making his way across a devastated countryside to one of the few major settlements on the world. Rather than a warm embrace and safety he finds a scary man in a big black coat and hat who shouts a load of stuff about The Emperor, hands him a gun and leads him, along with a bunch of other survivors, some simple farmers, others simple farmers' sons, to go and fight Orks. He's about eight at the time. I see this being a not altogether unusual occurrence in the vast galaxy-wide struggle for the survival of the human race.

Other situations which might see "child soldiers" of some description employed might be, as was mentioned before juves in hive gangs. Lower hives are basically enormous slums/favelas/what have you, where in our world we see children routinely involved in horrible situations (City of God, the kid from Breaking Bad etc.), involved in gang warfare, drug dealing, smuggling of illicit material (be that archeotech, non-sanctioned literature) and other things it's generally accepted children shouldn't have to go through. Obviously death worlds where xenos (not necessarily the sentient ones we know but rather those that might be classed as deadly indigenous fauna) prey on the weak and vulnerable. Working in any number of horrible situations like munitions factories, cleaning out blocked pipes too small for adult counterparts and not worth the bother of servitors/robotics (or if they aren't available). The issue of paedophilia and child serial killers has never, for understandable reasons, been touched by GW. Likewise the targeting of certain types of children, like Breivik at Utoya, or school shootings/stabbings (like those in the US/China). I'd particularly see this as something like the lower, menial classes targeting the educational establishments of the upper hive in the early stages of a revolt, or if a particularly densely populated world had to introduce control measures like the one-child policy that those who could afford to bypass these laws might be targeted, along with their offspring. Actually, in that situation a new tithe might be raised to bring the population down to more manageable levels to take, for example, a % of the young people of the world to a newly settled world which needs to be populated with workers.

Sorry, I'm writing as I think, with no real overall point, other than that the galaxy is a huge, grim place, worse than the nightmares of many kids today. I think it's unavoidable that in a population that probably exceeds trillions there will be cases of child soldiery, child labour and other nastiness concerning human children.

Grndhog89
14-02-2013, 02:51
@childsoldier

You are the reason this thread began! I was wondering when you'd show up or if you'd ever see this thread. Welcome.

childsoldier
14-02-2013, 11:43
Haha yeah I read your intro Grndhog89 and thought "oh God, I hope I didn't accidentally spawn a really nasty, contentious argument!" Thankfully the debate has been lively and civil instead. Glad you saw my name and started this thread, it's been interesting reading people's opinions, cheers!

Awilla the Hun
14-02-2013, 16:22
In the Imperial Guard, the Cadian Youth Armies deploy them, because it's a last ditch line of defence. The world is designed for war, to defend against Chaos. It is not a typical world. I doubt you'd see many of the Youth Armies serving offworld, or on the front line unless they had no choice. There may be PDFs who, in times of desperation, adopt the same practice. There are also a number of guard regiments where you'll probably see children as drummer boys, or young noblemen as officers/squires to knights. (Meaning adolescent. You didn't have eight year olds leading soldiers in Europe.) However, as the IG picks from the best of the planets' regiments, you are unlikely to see many children among them. It's telling that in Gaunt's Ghosts, you have kids accompanying the Regiment as the offspring of soldiers, but they don't fight until they're old enough. There will be some kids who volunteer to get into action below the age limit; however, most imperial worlds are at a scientific, social and industrial level when they will be able to check up on the background of a suspiciously babyfaced recruit. This is doubly so for the Imperial Guard, which will only accept the best.

Amongst the Commissariat, there are Cadets (again, adolescents) serving as apprentices to Commissars. In the Inquisition, you have a number of acolytes who, for various reasons, are children but help Inquisitors. (Everything from 'Baker Street Irregulars' to that street kid from Ravenor.) And this isn't counting all the hive gang Juves, young warriors on savage worlds, and so on. And the Navy, with their ships containing entire tribes in their forgotten depths, will definitely have children on board.

So, yes, there are child soldiers. Just not that many in the modern sense of waves of children with AK47s. The Imperium isn't that desperate. Yet.

EDIT: As for Space Marines, it depends on your definition of child. A Marine may go into training a pre-pubescent. He will emerge many years later fiddled around with so much that definitions of humanity probably cease to matter. He will be adolescent in age, but that's it.

baphomael
15-02-2013, 07:41
Though on many death worlds, and probably many hive worlds too, you'd likely find stone cold killers and survivalists that havnt hit puberty. On catachan, for example, despite not having dropped yet most kids would have bigger nuts than most adult offworlders.

But then, they'd have to be... they live on a planet where the entire ecosystem is actively trying to kill them. On a death world one cant afford the time or luxury of "childhood".

nedius
15-02-2013, 10:36
I'd say that child soliders are non unknown, but also not first choice. On worlds more distant from active hostilities there are probably none. I doubt they'd be shipping 10yr olds off world as part of raised regiments to fight elsewhere.

However, I'm reminded of the Battle of the Hornburg in LotR;tTT in which Theoden calls for every man and strong boy able to bear arms. When push came to shove, all those worlds with youth regiments - who probably are just a more hardcore version of cadet forces today - would likely call them up.

So I'd say it's not normal, but a useful narrative indicator of the desperation of the fight when it has gotten to the point that the youth regiments are being called up.

Col. Tartleton
18-02-2013, 14:31
We should remember that in the middle ages you normally became a page at 7, a squire at 14, and a knight at 21. Knights were the proper combatants, squires were trained to fight and the older half were fully grown men, but held in reserve by and large. In Space Marine terms you have Aspirants, Neophytes, and Initiates. Although it's slightly different in most described cases, but that's more how it should be organized.

Of course I prefer aristocratic marines being the norm rather than barbarians in power armor. More John Carter, less Tarzan.

There's no clear benefit I can see to a wild weeding out over a professional system.

Grimbad
18-02-2013, 15:01
We should remember that in the middle ages you normally became a page at 7, a squire at 14, and a knight at 21. Knights were the proper combatants, squires were trained to fight and the older half were fully grown men, but held in reserve by and large. In Space Marine terms you have Aspirants, Neophytes, and Initiates. Although it's slightly different in most described cases, but that's more how it should be organized.

Of course I prefer aristocratic marines being the norm rather than barbarians in power armor. More John Carter, less Tarzan.

There's no clear benefit I can see to a wild weeding out over a professional system.

I thought Ian Watson's Space Marine did a good job with that. Education is a huge part of the marines' training. They get huge amounts of history in particular. If I recall they're encouraged to spend all of their free time in the archives reading whatever texts interest them (forbidden tomes aside) and there's wonderful details like the holo-projector having the option for illuminated manuscript display and some brothers preferring it and others not.

Chem-Dog
19-02-2013, 01:17
They are typically part of the White Shields when they are old enough to be considered a "man" in the culture they are form.

This is the crux of my thoughts of the subject, exactly what anyone classifies as a child soldier is entirely dependant on their own social norms.

Mogul Kamir is a pretty good example. In a warrior culture, he was entitled to challenge and consequently kill his uncle at the age of thirteen. Two years later he'd united twenty tribes (probably easier than it sounds once you've amalgamated the first couple) and got bored enough to sign up to the Imperial Guard.

If Kamir has the status to challenge the chieftain at the age of thirteen, he must be recognised as being "of age" which means any number of the individuals who accompanied him when he joined the Imperial Guard could have been as young as he was when he became head of his tribe, if not younger.

childsoldier
19-02-2013, 15:33
This is the crux of my thoughts of the subject, exactly what anyone classifies as a child soldier is entirely dependant on their own social norms.

Mogul Kamir is a pretty good example. In a warrior culture, he was entitled to challenge and consequently kill his uncle at the age of thirteen. Two years later he'd united twenty tribes (probably easier than it sounds once you've amalgamated the first couple) and got bored enough to sign up to the Imperial Guard.

If Kamir has the status to challenge the chieftain at the age of thirteen, he must be recognised as being "of age" which means any number of the individuals who accompanied him when he joined the Imperial Guard could have been as young as he was when he became head of his tribe, if not younger.

I think this hits the nail on the head. Grndhg you mentioned in another thread (Bureaucracy & Sociology in the Imperium of Man) that you have a social science background. You might be familiar with Margaret Mead's Coming of Age in Samoa? It talks about the socially constructed nature of childhood, adolescence and adulthood, and how Samoa and America differed in their construction of these categories. If two nations separated by a mere few thousand miles of ocean can differ in a significant way, it's only reasonable to suggest that two systems separated by many thousands of light years would also differ enormously.

That's one bug-bear I've always had with the 40k universe. Obviously they can't go into much detail on the huge variety of languages, social norms, atmospheric conditions etc. that define their worlds, but the mono-culture of a world that GW portrays (this one is a hive world, this one is a jungle world) has always seemed a bit far fetched to me, when we can see such diversity on our own. When we picture the huge cultural and linguistic diversity, as well as environmental, it's always annoyed me a bit that worlds many times the size of our own are boiled down to such simplicity. As has been said if something can happen on our little rock it can surely happen somewhere in the vastness of the Imperium of Man. Or even happen three different ways on this one out of the way world depending on local norms.

Grimbad
19-02-2013, 16:35
That's one bug-bear I've always had with the 40k universe. Obviously they can't go into much detail on the huge variety of languages, social norms, atmospheric conditions etc. that define their worlds, but the mono-culture of a world that GW portrays (this one is a hive world, this one is a jungle world) has always seemed a bit far fetched to me, when we can see such diversity on our own. When we picture the huge cultural and linguistic diversity, as well as environmental, it's always annoyed me a bit that worlds many times the size of our own are boiled down to such simplicity. As has been said if something can happen on our little rock it can surely happen somewhere in the vastness of the Imperium of Man. Or even happen three different ways on this one out of the way world depending on local norms.

This is absolutely valid if you're considering the 40k setting as a roleplay game setting or science fiction setting, but when you are considering it as a tabletop wargame setting, its primary function, there is something to be said for carving the Imperium down to an archetype with unified, recognizable imagery. Language barriers make great premises for RPG scenarios and stories, but expounding on the varieties of Low Gothic doesn't add anything to the battle scenes. I thought the original, in-house Dark Heresy book did a good job conveying that there is variety in the Imperium, but as a rule you can expect everything to be industrial, militant, stratified and unpleasant.

Unified visuals are a necessity of the miniatures ranges, and the visuals are built to evoke certain concepts. For the Imperium, this is usually the decaying empire or totalitarian regime, which comes with a lot of historical reference. Since the miniatures range comes first, the background must conform to them rather than the other way around and the relatively homogenous culture implied by the miniatures is carried over, including all its historical references.

If you want, you can assume that the norms and even costumes and architecture are symbolic in the same way that bad Latin is used as a symbol for High Gothic, which is actually largely descended from Pacific languages. The tank designs, too, are said to be meant to convey their nature rather than their specifics (3rd edition design notes), and Imperial technology in general was said to be described according to what impression it would give rather than what it specifically was as far back as the 1st edition design notes. Something about how describing 'heads-up displays' would give entirely the wrong impression, even though 'heads-up displays' would be as impressive to the Imperium as a stone circle to us. Obviously, they've come around to embrace heads-up displays, but the point stands.

That said, the stories could certainly do with a lot more variety.

childsoldier
20-02-2013, 00:22
This is absolutely valid if you're considering the 40k setting as a roleplay game setting or science fiction setting, but when you are considering it as a tabletop wargame setting, its primary function, there is something to be said for carving the Imperium down to an archetype with unified, recognizable imagery.

Oh yeah sorry I never specified, I was talking about the 40k universe in an RPG/narrative setting, rather than the tabletop version which for obvious reasons has to be simplified to certain characteristics and flavours. Likewise I feel a lot of the thread may have been dealing with a more narrative approach rather than the functions of the tabletop game itself. In tabletop terms the Imperium doesn't and, I'd hazard, never will use child soldiers, unless GW decides to do an about face and risk the ire of every NGO and pressure group going!

Sai-Lauren
20-02-2013, 18:39
That's one bug-bear I've always had with the 40k universe. Obviously they can't go into much detail on the huge variety of languages, social norms, atmospheric conditions etc. that define their worlds, but the mono-culture of a world that GW portrays (this one is a hive world, this one is a jungle world) has always seemed a bit far fetched to me, when we can see such diversity on our own. When we picture the huge cultural and linguistic diversity, as well as environmental, it's always annoyed me a bit that worlds many times the size of our own are boiled down to such simplicity. As has been said if something can happen on our little rock it can surely happen somewhere in the vastness of the Imperium of Man. Or even happen three different ways on this one out of the way world depending on local norms.
I think that's one of the issues with sci-fi in general - every world is pretty much a single type - desert, forest, ice, whatever. But in reality, there's no such thing - if you looked at a real version of somewhere like Tatooine, the archetypal desert world, even with the twin stars it orbits, it would have cooler spots at the poles where liquid water would likely be more prevalent, which may well mean there's abundant plant growth etc.

As for why everyone's scraping a living in the middle of the sands, well, you could say anything - maybe someone owns the polar land (because it's cooler and there's water available) and no one can afford to settle there, or the native wildlife is too dangerous, or whatever.

Dark_Kindred
21-02-2013, 05:22
The Imperium does employ child soldiers. They would also probably employ terrorists from time to time, especially when confronted with the "Greater Good" or a particularly annoying non-chaos aligned breakaway faction. No tool is too cruel to consider.

prowla
21-02-2013, 11:31
Has anyone noticed that the IG codex describes conscripts as either those who hadn't completed basic training or those too young to be normally drafted? I think the idea of using child soldiers is by far not limited to Cadia.

As mentioned before in this thread, the Whiteshields are not technically soldiers, but cadets training to become soldiers. It's two different things: a child soldier is a kid in his early teens or younger, actively on a battlefield killing other people. A cadet soldier is a junior soldier who is training to become a soldier one day, but doesn't see actual warfare and hence isn't a child soldier. There can exist several levels within the Whiteshield ranks: I imagine most Cadians are conscripted for several year long military service, which they start relatively young, but the young conscripts usually stay off the battlefield. I assume those Whiteshields who are taking active part in battle are just about to be accepted as full soldiers, but are still fielded in their own units. Their jobs probably are to act as an emergency reserve or as second class units away from the worst fighting; they gain a bit of experience but aren't really relied upon.

Also, as mentioned, there's a simple reason why kids aren't on the battlefield of 40k: there are capable adult men and women in abundance. The second thing is that IG regiments are tithed by the Imperium, and if they have any quality demands, I'm pretty sure they include that every member of the unit is an adult, as was the case with Gaunt's Ghosts.

In history, child soldiers have always been pretty rare actually. While children have quite often served in uniform, they have pretty much always been in non-fighting roles - scouts, ammo runts, messengers etc. WW2 had some kids who were around 16-17 in the frontlines, but they were an exception. Germans had one late war Panzer Division where the enlisted were recruited from 16-17 yo Hitler Jugend members, but that was pretty much it - until Fall of Berlin, of course, where younger teens took part in combat. Most child soldiers happen in desperate situations - simply because grownups make better soldiers and are always recruited first. Why we see child soldiers in some places such as somewhere in Africa is because of the absolute lack of suitable men or even older teens for the job; in some places, kids are much easier to recruit for your cause.

Madmongo
21-02-2013, 12:26
Prowla, whilst I would broadly agree with you that the Imperium has manpower in abundance and does not normally sign up/arm children this is also a totalitarian state after all facing potential species extinction.

Yes the standard Guard army would not accept child recruits as the recruitment process generally takes the best units it can get from tithed worlds. It does however also take penal regiments etc...But on a more important point whilst the imperial military machine does not employ Child Soldiers (barring astartes arguably) its constituent worlds certainly do when pressed.

There are countless mentions in books to widespread annihilation of the civilian population just as there are mentions of large scale 'scratch companies' fighting back. At the end of the day if I am governor of a planet facing invasion by Orks/Tyranids/etc I would empty to my armories to my standing forces, then recruit everyone and anyone who was left. As mentioned previously nids donít care what size you are, you still taste nice! In which case moral quibbles amount the age of the child is irrelevant in the need to kick out as many rounds/ordnance as possible.

My second point would be that if children are being used as ammo runners, messengers etc, they are still carrying out vital military functions and as such could arguably be seen as soldiers. It is also worth considering that the reason the hitler youth division of the SS was viewed with such disdain by the allies stems not only from the horror of fighting teenagers but also their fanaticism to the nazi ideal.

Dark_Kindred
21-02-2013, 17:26
Child soldiers make some of the best soldiers. Young children have no real concept of death and are often cruel and vindictive to begin with. Most standard Imperial weapons could probably be used by children as young as six or seven. Physical strength is certainly less of an issue than swords or whatever. Why do you need a grown man when a child would suffice? Also, children are harder to hit than grown men and can be easily taught/controlled. I also wouldn't be surprised if children who were impressed into military service were kept in the Guard just because they would generally be super messed up and would have difficulty re-integrating into society.

Sojourner
21-02-2013, 18:53
Thread is becoming tl;dr at this point, but my view is basically that 'the Imperium' probably doesn't directly use or advocate the use of child soldiers since the Imperium's fighting force is the Imperial Guard, and they just wouldn't be good enough. The merits of recruiting children accounted for, the way one becomes a good soldier is experience and a system of mutual respect between the rank and file and a capable leadership, and child soldiers don't really fulfil those criteria. You would also have to consider how impressionable children can be, and the motivations of the strong ones aren't likely to be as rational as those of a seasoned professional - they could therefore be a liability when it comes to being captured and indoctrinated in precisely the opposite ideology to the one they were fighting for up to that time.

That's not to say that Imperial fiefs don't use them, but it would depend on the local culture, and as common as Balkanisation and low-level tribal skirmishes among relatively primitive cultures is, so there will be a corresponding rate of resorting to such means. Since the Imperium tends to let local leaders get on with it and only gets involved where either i) tithing is concerned or ii) a war shows up nearby, I don't see the two ideas crossing all that often.

Dark_Kindred
21-02-2013, 19:47
Thread is becoming tl;dr at this point, but my view is basically that 'the Imperium' probably doesn't directly use or advocate the use of child soldiers since the Imperium's fighting force is the Imperial Guard, and they just wouldn't be good enough. The merits of recruiting children accounted for, the way one becomes a good soldier is experience and a system of mutual respect between the rank and file and a capable leadership, and child soldiers don't really fulfil those criteria. You would also have to consider how impressionable children can be, and the motivations of the strong ones aren't likely to be as rational as those of a seasoned professional - they could therefore be a liability when it comes to being captured and indoctrinated in precisely the opposite ideology to the one they were fighting for up to that time.

It would seem that The Council on Foreign Relations (http://www.cfr.org/human-rights/child-soldiers-around-world/p9331), the head of the 21st Century Defense Initiative (http://www.pwsinger.com/biography.html), and the government of Iran (http://www.nytimes.com/1988/12/19/opinion/l-child-soldier-treaty-has-wide-support-697888.html?src=pm) would disagree with you. As I recall, child soldiers were a potent tool against Iraq in the 1980s. In fact, they aren't that incompetent at all (http://www.brookings.edu/research/articles/2001/12/01usmilitary-singer). A more complete account of the battle explains just how "brutal" the fighting really was.

madprophet
21-02-2013, 23:55
It would seem that The Council on Foreign Relations (http://www.cfr.org/human-rights/child-soldiers-around-world/p9331), the head of the 21st Century Defense Initiative (http://www.pwsinger.com/biography.html), and the government of Iran (http://www.nytimes.com/1988/12/19/opinion/l-child-soldier-treaty-has-wide-support-697888.html?src=pm) would disagree with you. As I recall, child soldiers were a potent tool against Iraq in the 1980s. In fact, they aren't that incompetent at all (http://www.brookings.edu/research/articles/2001/12/01usmilitary-singer). A more complete account of the battle explains just how "brutal" the fighting really was.
Be that as it may, the GW fluff clearly says that some IG forces do use child soldiers, to whit:

"Barring a small minority composed of those unfit to serve as soldiers, every child on Cadia is expected to serve in the Cadian Youth Army, better known as the Whiteshields, from the age of fourteen until their maturity, learning the combat skills and discipline regarded as essential. From these, many will continue their service by joining the Interior Guard (the Cadian Planetary Defence Force) as adults, pledging their lives to the defence of Cadia, a force of hundreds, even thousands of regiment-strength units, and the equal of any comparably sized Imperial Guard force. Even those who do not remain in military service -- fulfilling some rear-echelon role essential to the upkeep of an immense defensive army -- are expected to maintain their skills and remain vigilant, stepping up to fifight should the Interior Guard be overwhelmed. Indeed, such is the number of capable youth soldiers, Interior Guardsmen, reservists, and the sheer quantity of new recruits on Cadia every year, that many invasions have been defeated through attrition alone, the invading armies unable to match the hundreds of millions of Cadians. " - Warhammer 40,000 Wiki (http://warhammer40k.wikia.com/wiki/Cadian_Shock_Troops) quoting Codex: Eye of Terror.


Also we have this quote - "Children you call them? They can pull a trigger just as well as veterans, and they have the spirit of a bull narthax. Call them children if you wish - I call them troops. Good troops." ó Colonel Marus Cullen, 5th Pannonia Regiment (White dwarf 111 (UK) Apr 1989)

In the accompanying article, Whiteshields are described as child soldiers born to members of the regiment (often by indigenous partners) while posted to warzones across the Imperium. These children provide a means by which the regiment's home culture can be transmitted to posterity and a means of replacing combat loses.

The real-world issue of Child Soldiers is not to be taken lightly. It is widespread and practiced by regimes like Angola, Somalia, Uganda, Iran as well as irregular forces such as Hamas and Hizb'Allah, among others. I would encourage anyone who is interested in this issue to visit child-soldiers.org/ (http://www.child-soldiers.org/) and get involved.:angel:

However, 40k is a tongue-in-cheek "worst case" scenario for humanity - as bad as the Imperium is, the alternatives are worse - so every base human instinct and practice has to be harnessed in the fight for survival against every nasty the universe can throw at humanity. It's so Grim:chrome:Dark that it's darkly humorous (the Cain Novels are the best example of this, but also read the Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer - it's a hoot! Gallows humor to be sure, but funny nonetheless). The fluff allows for child soldiers because it is shocking but even more so because it fits so well with the background. Look at the atrocities routinely ascribed to the various Chaos factions (mass rape, genocide, bizarre medical torments), the Tau (mass sterilization, selective infanticide), the Eldar (genocide, sadistic slavery, gladiatorial games), the Orks (casual violence, callous disregard for life - even their own). Hell, by comparison, the Tyranids seem the sanest of the bunch! They are just hungry!:wtf:

prowla
22-02-2013, 02:03
My second point would be that if children are being used as ammo runners, messengers etc, they are still carrying out vital military functions and as such could arguably be seen as soldiers. It is also worth considering that the reason the hitler youth division of the SS was viewed with such disdain by the allies stems not only from the horror of fighting teenagers but also their fanaticism to the nazi ideal.

I would disagree those would be classified as child soldiers, but more as enlisted child workers. AFAIK the definition of a child soldier is that he's given a rifle and expected to kill something.

On a side note, Hitler Youth isn't anything that Nazis invented - most more totalitarian states had or have similar 'youth indoctrination' systems, complete with arms training and heavy political propaganda. Most western countries had some form of Home Guard youth branches as well. Some countries like US still have all kinds of young cadet schools and whatnot, teaching military lifestyle and soldiering skills to teenagers and preparing them for army career. Even the Boy Scouts as an organization had their origins in military.


Child soldiers make some of the best soldiers. Young children have no real concept of death and are often cruel and vindictive to begin with. Most standard Imperial weapons could probably be used by children as young as six or seven. Physical strength is certainly less of an issue than swords or whatever. Why do you need a grown man when a child would suffice? Also, children are harder to hit than grown men and can be easily taught/controlled. I also wouldn't be surprised if children who were impressed into military service were kept in the Guard just because they would generally be super messed up and would have difficulty re-integrating into society.

It's really not that a child couldn't shoot with modern firearms, just that a grownup makes a better soldier. Not only is a grownup physically more capable and has more stamina both mentally and physically, a grownup is also more constrained and focused, and in that sense easier to train. 90% of a soldier's life is other things than sitting in a trench and shooting things; there's plenty of hard labour involved - starting from actually carrying all the gear, when just personal material for a soldier might weight total of 40 kg - and it can be very harsh both mentally and physically.

Dark_Kindred
22-02-2013, 03:19
madprophet, I think we're arguing the same point. I also do not take the issue lightly--it's a vile, disgusting thing easily worse than modern slavery. Beyond the atrocities of war, the survivors are physically and emotionally and often lack any employable skills.



It's really not that a child couldn't shoot with modern firearms, just that a grownup makes a better soldier. Not only is a grownup physically more capable and has more stamina both mentally and physically, a grownup is also more constrained and focused, and in that sense easier to train. 90% of a soldier's life is other things than sitting in a trench and shooting things; there's plenty of hard labour involved - starting from actually carrying all the gear, when just personal material for a soldier might weight total of 40 kg - and it can be very harsh both mentally and physically.

I am not convinced by your assertion, especially given both the academic and actual recounts by child soldiers. If child soldiers can fight and beat competent professional armed forces-- even when their age is not known --then that makes them good fighters. Given the indoctrination and training methods used, I would argue that those children might be better able to cope with battlefield stress. I would also not be surprised if many the weapons/gear used were much lighter and/or compact than anything in use today.

In any case, we have established that the Imperium does in fact use child soldiers

Angry SisterOfBattle Nerd
22-02-2013, 15:56
The real-world issue of Child Soldiers is not to be taken lightly. It is widespread and practiced by regimes like Angola, Somalia, Uganda, Iran as well as irregular forces such as Hamas and Hizb'Allah, among others.
Why would Iran need child soldiers ? They are not at war ! The Iran-Iraq war has been over for quite a long time.
I have family there, I've been there two times, and I don't remember ever hearing about child soldiers. They have a decent professional army, and the Pasdaran and Basijis for inner repression forces.

Nikolaus
22-02-2013, 19:52
Arent the Death Korps of Krieg made up of adolescents?

baphomael
22-02-2013, 22:05
As mentioned before in this thread, the Whiteshields are not technically soldiers, but cadets training to become soldiers. It's two different things: a child soldier is a kid in his early teens or younger, actively on a battlefield killing other people. A cadet soldier is a junior soldier who is training to become a soldier one day, but doesn't see actual warfare and hence isn't a child soldier. There can exist several levels within the Whiteshield ranks: I imagine most Cadians are conscripted for several year long military service, which they start relatively young, but the young conscripts usually stay off the battlefield. I assume those Whiteshields who are taking active part in battle are just about to be accepted as full soldiers, but are still fielded in their own units. Their jobs probably are to act as an emergency reserve or as second class units away from the worst fighting; they gain a bit of experience but aren't really relied upon..

Depends on culture, but whiteshields are fielded in front line duties. The reason whiteshields have that name is they have to earn their regimental colours in the crucible of battle. Some regiments take this as merely surviving a combat action, others (perhaps more feral or feudal regiments) require the whiteshield to make a confirmed kill, blooding so to speak, to earn their place in the regiment.

They're whiteshields because they are not yet allowed to wear the heraldry of the regiment - their shields are metaphorically 'white'. To take up the regimental colours or any other unofficial regimental markings (tattoos, fetishes etc) requires earning your stripes in battle.

Cultist of Sooty
23-02-2013, 13:53
The minimum recruitment age for the British armed forces is currently 16 years, though according to the regulations, soldiers under 18 now aren't allowed to be deployed to combat roles.

According to this:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jul/07/michael-lyons-britains-own-child-soldiers

In 2010, 30% of British Army recruits were under 18.

Danny_Boy
28-02-2013, 18:30
The Imperium is too calculating, rather than compassionate, to use child soldiers. Children aren't good soldiers; they're weak in body and too young to effectively steel themselves against the horrors of the universe. I'm sure children are forced to fight in extremis, even though I've never heard it explicitly mentioned in any 40k story I've ever read, it can be extrapolated from information about the universe being a horrible, dangerous place.