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Who do Commissars Salute?
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Old 16 Jun 2008, 17:49   #1 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Who do Commissars Salute?

It's a question thats been nagging me for a while.

I've read all but two books about Guard from Abnett. The two left are Guns of Tanith, which I can't ever find, and His Last Command, which I'm about halfway through right now.

Now, throughout the Gaunt's Ghosts novels, its made very clear that Commissars are outside of the Guard command structure. They answer to their own authority, and have their own command structure (Commissar Generals, Field Commissars, Cadet Commissars, etc.)

Also, in the Cain series, he's quite independant of the Guard command structure, and whilst troopers salute him, he need not salute anyone outside the Commissariat.

However, in His Last Command, we see Hark and Novobasky (whatever the hell his name is) salute Col. Wilder as he passes them. In this book, the two Commissars seem almost underneath Wilder's chain of Command, whilst in others, they are completely independent of the whole Guard heirarchy.

Anyone have any thoughts/insights? I'm writing a bit about Commissars and could use the help clarifying thier role.

Thanks!
Stankov
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Old 16 Jun 2008, 18:22   #2 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Re: Who do Commissars Salute?

I always thought that Commissars would salute as a sign of personal respect rather than simply because of rank like a guardsman.
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Old 16 Jun 2008, 18:46   #3 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Who do Commissars Salute?

Well commissars only salute eachother within their own command structure and a guess here but they might salute a marine commander or a inquisitor as a sign of respect but that is about it.
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Old 16 Jun 2008, 18:53   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Who do Commissars Salute?

Isn't the rank of Field Commissar equivalent to a Col. such that a commissar can lead an IG company on the battlefield?

So then a junior to the Field Commissar might feel obligate to salute the colonel.

Otherwise, I'd imagine its a sign of mutual respect.
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Old 16 Jun 2008, 18:54   #5 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default Re: Who do Commissars Salute?

I think it has to do with the fact that although the Commissariat is a separate entity from the rest of the Imperial Guard, they are still attached to the regiment or company etc... Since that is the case they fall directly under the chain of command. When I was assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment, we had an Air Force detachment assigned to us as liaisons between the two branches. Although they had no command authority they were still subject to standard military discipline (saluting superior officers and so on). Since the Commissariat is in charge of maintaining military discipline within the ranks of the Imperial Guard, would they not also practice the same discipline that they themselves enforce. The idea of leading from the front and by example is what defines the Commissar corps afterall. So when they cross paths with the regimental/company commanders that they are assigned to, they would salute them (as per standard military tradition). Likewise, since they outrank Guardsman the same way that a 2nd Lieutenant outranks a Sergeant Major, the Guardsman would salute the Commissar the same way that the Sergeant Major salutes the 2nd Lieutenant.

If the commissars didn't adhere to standard military discipline, they wouldn't make very good enforcers of it would they? Hope this helps with your nagging question.
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Old 16 Jun 2008, 19:44   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Who do Commissars Salute?

It's the same reason a Captain will salute a sergeant in the regular army. He doesn't have to, it is just a sign of mutual respect.
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Old 16 Jun 2008, 19:58   #7 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default Re: Who do Commissars Salute?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vallessian
It's the same reason a Captain will salute a sergeant in the regular army. He doesn't have to, it is just a sign of mutual respect.
Not entirely true. Yes, the Captain will salute the Sergeant, but only after the Sergeant salutes him first. Officers return salutes from subordinate ranks, but never salute them. Likewise, the only time enlisted ranks salute enlisted ranks is when they are reporting to them.
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Know your foe, for they shall make every effort to know you. Know yourself, for if you do not you yield the advantage to your foe. Never allow a foe to gain an advantage, but never take your own advantages for grantid. Always leave your foe a way out, for they will fight harder when there is no escape. If a battle is inevitable, fight it on your terms, not your enemy's. Mercy and kindness should never be taken for weakness. And lastly, the only perfect victory in war is one that has no casualties, for either side.
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Old 16 Jun 2008, 21:14   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Who do Commissars Salute?

Remember that a Commissar is there to maintain order. Failure to salute a superior officer is punishable by flogging, or even execution.

With that in mind, it doesn't hurt for the Commissar to salute the Regiment's commander. Remember also that an Officer of Captain or higher is empowered to execute anyone who fails to obey his orders during battle. A Commissar is required to take orders in battle, so long as morale and order are maintained.

In short, both Officer and Commissar are well aware that they are at each other's throats. It pays, therefore, to be civil.
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Old 16 Jun 2008, 23:09   #9 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Who do Commissars Salute?

Mortargrunt: The situation you raise in the US military is, I think, a bit different. After all, the pay grades of the services clearly show that ranks in the Army have equivalent ranks in the Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, MS, NOAA, etc. An Air Force Captain would be expected to salute an Army Major, and a Navy Lieutenant would do so to a Marine Colonel.

However, in the Guard, Commissars, to my knowledge, don't have set ranks like the Guard. There are no rank systems in the Commissariat.

I think Wargamer's explanation sounds the most plausible (quell suprise ). They do it simply to acknowledge each other and sort of set an example to the grunts concerning discipline, respect, and obedience to superiors.

Thanks all. Any other thoughts?
Stankov
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Old 16 Jun 2008, 23:44   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Who do Commissars Salute?

Well, as for the Military, technically you don't have to salute an officer from a different service... but it's usually good to anyway, just to show a little respect.
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