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Okay, i know this is probably going to be like "dood ur such a noob" to some people, but after reading through the fluff in the codex, the main battleforce of the Space Marine armies are Tactical Squadrons correct? Yet these are supposedly made up of the most elite warriors drawn from the other kinds of squadrons, excluding veterans of course, and the top ranking troops. Yet in any military ranks system, wouldn't the more experienced also be the fewer?
Take Initiates and Scouts for example, these would be the equivalent to your Recruits and Privates in a normal army, your lowest grunts, and they should number the highest, then according to the fluff you have Devastator Squads, which are heavy weapons teams, and would be considered your Lance Corporals and Corporals a these thankfully do not out-rank the scouts, so they keep in the heirarchy scheme, then you hit Assault Squads which would probably be your E5-6 ranks, who are explicitly stated in the codex to have been those marines who have proven themselves in combat as devastators.
Finally we have our tactical marines, which suddenly swell in numbers (based off point values for each squad) over assault and devastators. yet would be the next highest rank.
After the tac-marines, we have Termie squads and companies which drastically drop in numbers, both due to points and fluff.
Now i know all the last 3 squads are based off the same model, with different wargear, but wouldn't fluff wise, the tactical marines technically be the more elite, smaller numbering units, instead of your bread and butter unit? Orks follow a proper heirarchy, most numerous (excluding grots) Da Boyz, sluggaz and shootaz, then you move into Nobs , gits, mekboyz, then da bosses, each unit becoming less numerous the more elite it is within the races structure.
Marines... its a strange triple pyramid shape: large number of scouts possible, small number of devastators (next rank) Larger number of Assault Squads (yet drafted from a smaller pool) then tac-marines, HUGE numbers, pulled from a supposedly small pool. then tapers to a point through termies, command squads and ICs
I don't know where you're getting this information from, but I think you've got it the wrong way around.. If I remember right, the tactical squad is the general 'all purpose' marine squad and as such is the place where ex scouts go to learn general combat skills before being upgraded to a specialized squad if they show particular specialized aptitude for something.
Scouts are not the most numerous because they have an operational lifespan of 8-10 years (probably less, since I doubt they'll be deployed in the field aged 10). Once they recieve their back carapace implant and are able to wear power armour, most of them immediately move on to serve in a tactical squad.
On a side note, trying to compare real life ranks and military roles with space marines is unlikely to work. Their structure is based around things like implantation and hundreds of years of veterancy.
it says right under their codex entry that they must first prove themselves in many campaigns as both devastators and assault marines before they can become a tactical marine, which is why its so weird, because Devastators and Assault squads have a higher death rate than tactical squads within fluff.
The problem with the comparison is that Space Marines are not organized like the army. It's not the scouts, but the tactical marines that are the privates. The scouts are essentially soldiers in basic, and their numbers are only equal to the number of battle-brothers that are lost in combat (unlike our military which takes all the recruits it can get). Similarly, devastators and assault marines are just different "jobs" that a Space Marine fulfills as a private. Assault marines, devastators, and tactical marines are all the same rank, unless promoted to sergeant. The reason that there are so many more tactical marines is that Space Marines rarely die. Their armor and toughness make them relatively difficult to kill, as we have all seen on the tabletop. But also, even when one of our models "dies," they are not necessarily dead. They could be incapacitated, and in the case of space marines, this is very likely. Their redundant organs mean that it takes a LOT to kill one of them as even being shot through the heart won't always stop them. When these wounded marines are taken back to base, apothecaries likely are able to fix them up and get them back out on the battlefield. So, marines don't die easily, so they are not replaced often. Thus the small number of scouts, devastators, and assault marines, as this troops are only used as replacements for dead tacticals.
I hope that all of that made sense.
It does make sense, for the most part, except for the fact that within the codex itself, it states that a marine only can become part of a tactical squad after proving his worth in devastator and assault squads, so again, by the codex fluff, they are the elites of their ranks. I have no problems with tac-squads being the brunt of the force, but fluff wise, it isn't cohesive, as when i compared it to the orks, which i know is completely different organization, but still the basic tenets are there, their bread and butter units, Boyz, are the lowest tier, and as they become da biggest and da strongest, they move up within their heirarchy, and the numbers get smaller, yet with space marines, the tactical squads are the brunt of a force, yet also by their very own codex are the ones who survive all the other "assignments" like devs and assaults. I'm probably being nitpicky, as it would be a pain to field SM in the way that their fluff says if it was completely cohesive. You'd have to have a ton of Devs, Assaults and scouts, or make Devs troops instead of HWS. I think that they should have made Dev squads their "elite" units, as being heavy weapons in any army is a higher echelon than your standard grunts, not the other way around. It kind of feels like the tac squad is a spec ops unit, and the army is based almost purely around spec ops. i dunno i'm losing my own train of thought now lol.
I'd consider it a writers error which will be ironed out in future editions. No other edition, as far as I'm aware, has ever mentioned such a system and indeed it seems both counterproductive and runs counter to a great weight of previous fluff. Until it's mentioned across several editions and has been fully explained as more than just a throwaway comment, I'm not buying it myself.
As far as I'm aware the progression is something like.
Scout -> Tactical -> Assault/Devastator -> Veteran -> Command
With a marine being able to stop at any point and in some cases skip ahead (tactical marines becoming veterans). Tactical marines are not the elite though, first company veterans are the elite and always have been.
When it comes to being based around special ops though, you kind of have to remember that all marines transcend the very definition of special forces. Even the lowliest scout is a superhuman elite supersoldier capable of taking multiple gunshot wounds without flinching or punching out someone's spine. Even an entire chapter of 1000 troops would be a drop in the water compared to the millions who get thrown around in the average Imperial warzone if that were not the case.
Again, I think you're getting stuck on the rank issue. Tacticals don't out-rank Devs or Assault marines, they've just been around a bit longer. I'm also curious about your concept that every military has more trainees than active service personnel. Firstly- training never really stops in the military and I'd guess marines are the ultimate expression of that. In a more real world example look at the US Army. It's big. It's got lots of soldiers all running around doing stuff. Do you really think that there are more guys in training than in actual service? What about the Chinese million-man army?
Back to Marines; Tacticals are the mainstay of the force, the real work-horses of the battle groups. I'd suspect that they have a lower casualty rate than the others simply by having more experience of haivng not been killed yet. They'd have seen a lot of different ways of marines being knocked out of battle and will have learnt from every single one. Some experience as Devs will have picked them up a grasp of battlefield situational awareness and their role within the force. As Assault Marines they'd have learnt about the power of focused aggression and keeping the enemy on the back foot, as well as getting squads in to enemy positions without getting them all killed on the way.
Scouts are even lower on the scale. They've still not proven they can handle Astartes physiology, let alone battle skills or armour. A scout squads veteran sergeant has one of the toughest jobs in the chapter, I reckon. He has to take lightly armed and armoured troops, use them to make a valuable warzone contribution, get them some combat experience but not take too many risks with getting them all killed- they're the future of the chapter!
No more NG spearmen, thanks! Now I need some pump-wagons!
According to the SM Codex 5e entries for Dev Squads it says that most dev squads are made up of those marines who have recently finished their tours as scouts, the assault marines says the same, but replace scouts with devs, and then tacs are assaults and devs. to paraphrase the SM Tac-squad entry on page 59:
Marines who prove themselves in campaigns as devastators and assault squads will then earn the oppurtunity to prove they are worth being tactical marines. this makes sense, as Tac-squads can really act as both dev and assault squads, just not nearly as good in those roles, as they are meant to cover all aspects of the battlefield.
And @ Paint
When i say the elites, i'm not saying the most elite units, i know that is 1st company, first and foremost, they are the ones who get the honor of wearing terminator armor, and i should say that they have more veterancy than assault and devastator squads, since they have already completed many campaigns as both. it probably really is writer's error, or trying to really make the tac squad feel super special, since we know GW loves them space marines, and would characters like Captain Loken be nearly as cool if he were only a devastator captain or assualt captain, rather than able to not only fulfill those roles, but every other role that the battlefield could throw at him?
Thank you all though for bearing with me, i'm extremely observant, to a fault, and things that don't mesh in my head irk me occasionally. Like if an ork army suddenly made one of da Boyz a boss i'd go WTF? and try and figure out how it could happen,
I do love my space marines though, and who knows, the chapter i'm working on would probably more follow the fluff in the 5e codex as its written where the tac squads are less numerous, and i'd have more scouts, but thats mainly because the chapter i'm designing relies alot more on stealth and guerilla warfare, more so than the white scars or raven guard. that or some way for the tactical squads to do more guerilla warfare, like substitute combat tactis for chapter tactics: relentless or infiltrate. but now i've gone off topic in my own thread haha!
You've got the wrong idea about the devastator-assault-tactical "hierarchy." It's not a hierarchy, it's like a tour of service.
Tactical Marines don't outrank devastators or assault marines. But they do have a fairly complicated job, in that they have to be relied upon to perform several battlefield functions, often while under heavy pressure. So, rather than throw new Scouts into the Tactical squads and laugh as they fumble with the plasma cannon, new recruits are rotated through assault squads and devastator squads first so that they can familiarise themselves with those unit's functions.
This doesn't take long. I mean, a new Scout could hardly expect to be an assault marine for more than a few years, maybe a decade if he was a slow learner. He's only going to stay there if he really likes assaulting things and can't handle heavy weapons. The majority are going to pass and move into a tactical squad, where they might see centuries of service. Some might move "backwards" (it's really sideways) into assault squads or into vehicle or bike squads. Most are going to stay tactical marines.
It isn't a case of the elites outnumbering the new recruits because the only real ranks in a Marine system are scout, battle-brother, Sergeant, Captain, and Chapter Master. "Battle-brother" encompasses the vast majority of marines, including tactical, assault, devastator, bike, what have you. Most Marines are going to be on an equal footing with most other Marines. You can't really impose modern rank systems onto that, you'll get confused.
This is actually a new element to the fluff that was introduced in 5th edition, because those codices typically contained much more fluff than previously. If you ask me, it was a not-very-subtle attempt at plugging Tactical Marines to the Marine player base. In 3rd and 4th, tactical marines didn't see a whole lot of use beyond the two mandatory troop choices, because they were pretty useless - jacks of all trades, masters of none. You gained "competency" in numerous fields in exchange for total mediocrity in all fields. The modern situation is really exactly the same, but the core rules have shifted so that only Troops choices can score objectives, making Tactical Marines a game winner. This was because GW felt that Troops were under-represented in most army lists, so they changed the rules so that Troops were vital. To plug the process, they accompanied the rules change with a fluff change that made Tactical Marines seem like the most hardcore of the hardcore, so that people wouldn't feel reluctant to field them.
Of course, they also introduced Pedro, meaning that a lot of lists you see these days are Pedro, tactical, tactical, sternguard sternguard sternguard - basically a 4th edition list with 5th edition units. But I digress.
Interestingly, the BA codex shuffles the process around; new recruits are made Assault Marines instead of Devastators. BA armies do pack a lot more assault marines than other units, which fits with what you were thinking. Fluffwise, it's because so many of them are unable to overcome the Black Rage and resist the urge to pummel people with a chainsword.
The above poster = Totally a member of the Fluff Masters Clan. Click here for fluff pwnage.
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Mr_Wayne: "Some people believe that the World Eaters do not field any ranged weaponry. Those people often die at a distance."
I'd also like to add: Matt Ward. That is all.