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Something thats niggled me about SM fluff and literature is that they say there are 1000 marines in a chapter, divided into approx 10 companys. But which company is used to run the fleet? In fiction they say that some SMs have been in command of their ships for decades ('Iron Hands') and that a small number are present on each ship to oversee the crews, which are mostly servitor and chapter serfs. But some SM fleets have dozens of ships.
So even if you discount the smaller escort ships, which are probably lacking in SMs, and each company may have a strike cruiser (approx 100 marine capacity) and two or three battle barges in a fleet (Monastery or 3 company capacity).
This means that at least a squad or more of each company are probably stationed onboard. How do they pick them? testing? Or rock, paper, scissors.
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I'm rambling slightly but take the Crimson Fists, they lost all but a few squads on the surface, yet their strength was a shade over a hundred remaining all told, including fleet. Thats nearly a company just for the fleet. And dont get me started on how they have enough techmarines to go round!
Anyone heard of a fluffy formula to explain this?
I know that for the UM, one of the companies is the fleet company, but I don't know how that translates to how many marines run the ship. In the Uriel Ventris novels, there are definitely marines who do so. I see your conundrum, although it never even occurred to me. Perhaps ships are capable of running themselves with servitors and human servants while the marines in charge need to go down and beat something up. In the case of the Crimson Fists, this could be prolonged while the Chapter rebuilds itself. Great question though.
The 4th company captain has the title of Master of the Fleet. Most chapters follow this codex guideline. I'm guessing the guy just coordinates and keeps track all the ships and where they go. For each individual ship the highest ranking marine just makes sure everything goes to plan, and will give orders if things veer away from that plan. So sitting in the Battle Barge would be the company captain, then in each strike cruiser the veteran or sarg. will be overlooking operations. When captains are away fighting the ship recieves orders from the ground on actions to take, and are piloted by chapter serfs. Serfs are good because they are usually people that didn't have that edge to become a fully fledged marine, but can still follow orders and get the job done.
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I'd imagine that the fleet is mostly human staffed with just a few marines who oversee things and vox/telepath them orders, barring that the highest ranking amrine on board(When they are on board) would liekly be controlling things.
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The fluff in BFG says that "Unlike the vessels of the IN, a SM ship has a relatively small crew. A SM is far too valuable to waste in manning a gun or watching a surveyor screen, and so only the officers aboard a vessel are likely to be Space Marines, as well as the few techmarines who oversee the engines and perform other tech duties. Almost all the ships systems are run and monitored by servitors...there are also a few hundred chapter serfs to attend to other duties...These serfs come from the Chapters home planet or the enclave they protect, many of them Novitiates or applicants who have failed some part of the recruiting or training process. These serfs are fanatically loyal to their superhuman masters and intdoctronated into many of the lesser orders of the Chapters Cult. Although human, they still benefit from remarkable training and access to superior weaponry than is usually found on a naval vessel, making them a fearsome prospect in a boarding action - even without the support of their genetically modified lords." Most chapters have only a few strike crusiers and one battlebarge with no escorting craft, so in essence there are very few actual SM's in the fleet, perhaps only a handful. They can theoretically be drawn from either the HQ staff or one of the reserve companies. Least thats my opinion.
Last edited by Oafe; October 1st, 2007 at 08:13.
Don't be knocking the Crimson Fists! Those fellas just won't stay dead.
There is nothing wrong with the concept of marines being the officers aboard the ships but leaving with the troops to conduct assaults and raids with the troops. They'd be leaving the serfs and maybe a skeleton crew behind to keep the ship in action.
This does remind me of an old theory of mine that there's a moderate sized corps of marine officers that operate somewhat behind the scenes, without being in charge of a company. Do we really believe that there are only 2 officer ranks- Captains and Masters? I've often thought there'd be other junior officers in charge of smaller fighting units or small raiding vessels and so on while they learn the art of officership.
On another note- The chapter always has more Techmarines around than you'd think. They just turn up on the battlefield as often as anyone else. I'm currently working on a 'tech squad' for my own Crimson Fists. I see them as the trainee techmarines recalled from Mars when the chapter took it's huge losses on Rynn's World- an attempt to regroup the chapter and it's fighting resources.
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Thats one thing that always bugged me about GW. I would like to see something about the Day to day running of a chapter. the iron snakes book was rather good about that atleast. Gotta love Abnett ;Y
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