Imperial Rank Insignia Discussion

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Re: Imperial Rank Insignia Discussion

Post by Galvatron » 2017-04-11 07:09pm

It also raises the question of whether or not Captains Piett and Needa were actually captains in rank or just captains of their particular ships. The OT tended to vacillate back and forth between ranks and titles quite often, which just added to the confusion.

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Re: Imperial Rank Insignia Discussion

Post by Tiriol » 2017-04-12 07:00am

Ender wrote:Per Thrawn the Naval Rank system goes

Ensign
Lieutenant
Second Lieutenant
Captain
Lieutenant Commander
Commander
Commodore
Admiral
Fleet Admiral
Grand Admiral

No real description of the badges though
I can understand Commander outranking Captain (clones had similar system), but this system also contradicts previous Dosney continuity material, where there are Rear Admiral and Vice Admiral as ranks.
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Re: Imperial Rank Insignia Discussion

Post by eMeM » 2017-04-12 08:13am

Zahn was a mistake.

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Re: Imperial Rank Insignia Discussion

Post by Ender » 2017-04-12 10:11am

Galvatron wrote:That's awful. A naval captain ranks lower than a lieutenant commander? It sounds like Zahn's collaboration with Stackpole has contaminated the new EU too...
So how do we go about fixing this one?
This would have come from the storygroup/editor not Zahn. Honestly if you read it with an eye towards Zahn's prose style it shows a lot of editorial fingerprints. Kinda distracting tbh. Anyways, it is pretty much that weird system from the old essential guide to warfare, is it not? Given that in-universe the entire military is an outgrowth of the grand army, them hewing largely to army rank structures makes sense, though the exact way they laid it out in that book still lurches.

Tiriol wrote: I can understand Commander outranking Captain (clones had similar system), but this system also contradicts previous Dosney continuity material, where there are Rear Admiral and Vice Admiral as ranks.
Or it just skips those parts of his career. The book touches base with Thrawn about every 1-3 years to show his career advancing. Also, he's deeply connected to the megalomaniacal autocrat of the Galaxy who can give him whatever rank he wants in a whim so...
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Re: Imperial Rank Insignia Discussion

Post by Ender » 2017-04-12 10:15am

eMeM wrote:Zahn was a mistake.
The list of folks who can do franchise fiction well is real damn short, and the other great ones will never get hired on by Disney. As much as I would love to see Peter Watts tell a clone wars story, going deep into the genetic engineering and psychology of a kaminoan clonetrooper and ruminating on a complete racket of a war, the House of Mouse will never hire a guy who has written about murdering cops as a game theory response to police brutality.
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Re: Imperial Rank Insignia Discussion

Post by Galvatron » 2017-04-12 02:25pm

Ender wrote:Anyways, it is pretty much that weird system from the old essential guide to warfare, is it not?
I'm not familiar with that. I thought the old EU made it clear that there were two distinct ranking systems since the Empire had army majors, colonels and generals existing alongside their traditional naval counterparts.

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Re: Imperial Rank Insignia Discussion

Post by RogueIce » 2017-04-12 03:36pm

Ender wrote:Per Thrawn the Naval Rank system goes

Ensign
Lieutenant
Second Lieutenant
Captain
Lieutenant Commander
Commander
Commodore
Admiral
Fleet Admiral
Grand Admiral

No real description of the badges though
That's a weird way to do it.
Galvatron wrote:It also raises the question of whether or not Captains Piett and Needa were actually captains in rank or just captains of their particular ships. The OT tended to vacillate back and forth between ranks and titles quite often, which just added to the confusion.
We also have Captains Slavin and Brunson now, who had identical badges and yet were the senior officers presented. And in Slavin's case, there was no need for him to be address as "Captain" in a title sense, so one would assume that was his literal rank.
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Re: Imperial Rank Insignia Discussion

Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2017-04-12 03:49pm

I'm presuming both Army/ground forces and Navy/space forces have differing ranking systems, so each has an individual ranking system and then when dealing with their equivalents in the other services there's this compromised joint-services-ranking-equivalents system (CJSRES!). So in purely naval ops with just naval personnel involved, the Captain is above Lieutenant Commander... but in the army it's something else entirely. And when the CJSRES was made, they decided that for the captain rank they'd follow the army's way of doing it... maybe because the guys forming the CJSRES were ground pounders who wanted to give the navy boys some shit.

It's meant to prevent confusion but there's no way in hell each service would abandon its preferred system so they decided to use BOTH systems, for a total of THREE systems! Because why not?
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Re: Imperial Rank Insignia Discussion

Post by Galvatron » 2017-04-12 08:44pm

I just started reading the Thrawn novel and the dialogue between Imperial Army Colonel Mosh Bariss and Imperial Navy Captain Voss Parck indicates that the latter outranks the former (even when not on board their ship).

Make of that what you will.

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Re: Imperial Rank Insignia Discussion

Post by Lord Revan » 2017-04-12 11:29pm

Galvatron wrote:I just started reading the Thrawn novel and the dialogue between Imperial Army Colonel Mosh Bariss and Imperial Navy Captain Voss Parck indicates that the latter outranks the former (even when not on board their ship).

Make of that what you will.
I could be a matter of seniority though IIRC if 2 officers have same formal rank the one with longer service time is considered to be "of higher rank" if needed and the operational chain of command doesn't say otherwise.
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Re: Imperial Rank Insignia Discussion

Post by Tiriol » 2017-04-13 04:42am

Galvatron wrote:I just started reading the Thrawn novel and the dialogue between Imperial Army Colonel Mosh Bariss and Imperial Navy Captain Voss Parck indicates that the latter outranks the former (even when not on board their ship).

Make of that what you will.
This isn't the first time this crops up in Zahn's fiction set in Star Wars. The same happened in Legends novel Allegiance - except that time it was an ISB colonel and Captain Ozzel of Imperial Navy. I don't know why this keeps happening, unless Zahn has been told to use that Essential Guide to Warfare rank system (even though it does not include Army ranks, at all).

IMO Imperial Security Bureau and political offices like Moffs and Governors should be treated entirely separately from formal military ranks: ISB Colonel Yularen was tasked to be Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence despite being just a Colonel; and later on he more or less spoke on equal terms with Grand Admiral Thrawn and Governor Pryce, despite both outranking him, if we follow the usual military rank system (discounting the fact that Pryce is not a military commander per se, but rather a paramilitary functionary of the state). And I can't see the Emperor ordering Yularen on the Death Star to keep a watch on Tarkin and other high-ranking officers if he would be outranked by them all. ISB must follow some rank system all of its own (since otherwise Yularen would actually have been demoted after the Clone Wars). And Moffs and Governors are a question all of their own...
Ender wrote:
Tiriol wrote: I can understand Commander outranking Captain (clones had similar system), but this system also contradicts previous Dosney continuity material, where there are Rear Admiral and Vice Admiral as ranks.
Or it just skips those parts of his career. The book touches base with Thrawn about every 1-3 years to show his career advancing. Also, he's deeply connected to the megalomaniacal autocrat of the Galaxy who can give him whatever rank he wants in a whim so...
Does the book progress chronologically? That's about the last straw I can grasp to make any sense out of that system, if the book jumps back and forth between past and future.
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Re: Imperial Rank Insignia Discussion

Post by Galvatron » 2017-04-13 12:26pm

Lord Revan wrote:
Galvatron wrote:I just started reading the Thrawn novel and the dialogue between Imperial Army Colonel Mosh Bariss and Imperial Navy Captain Voss Parck indicates that the latter outranks the former (even when not on board their ship).

Make of that what you will.
I could be a matter of seniority though IIRC if 2 officers have same formal rank the one with longer service time is considered to be "of higher rank" if needed and the operational chain of command doesn't say otherwise.
Maybe navy always trumps army even between officers of equivalent rank.

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Re: Imperial Rank Insignia Discussion

Post by Lord Revan » 2017-04-13 01:11pm

Galvatron wrote:
Lord Revan wrote:
Galvatron wrote:I just started reading the Thrawn novel and the dialogue between Imperial Army Colonel Mosh Bariss and Imperial Navy Captain Voss Parck indicates that the latter outranks the former (even when not on board their ship).

Make of that what you will.
I could be a matter of seniority though IIRC if 2 officers have same formal rank the one with longer service time is considered to be "of higher rank" if needed and the operational chain of command doesn't say otherwise.
Maybe navy always trumps army even between officers of equivalent rank.
Could be it would certainly make sense given that army isn't going anywhere without the navy.
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Re: Imperial Rank Insignia Discussion

Post by Patroklos » 2017-04-13 01:58pm

When military officers serve in political positions you end up with weird situations where an officer's formal power is far above military rank.

Informal power is also a reality. We have many reserve officers in Congress for instance who generally serve at their military rank without fanfare but everyone around them knows they are Congressmen. In a system where humbleness about such things is not a virtue there would be no shame in switching between the two at will for self aggrandizement.

There are also situations where officers hold military rank in multiple services at diffferent levels. For instance Admiral Nelson was also a Colonel of Marines. These are often honorary, but given the Empire is a monarchy such honors are signs of favor and are valued as such. Official rank is of little importance in the rarified heights of a system that functions on perceptions of favor from an individual.

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Re: Imperial Rank Insignia Discussion

Post by Lord Revan » 2017-04-13 02:25pm

It doesn't even have to political position tbh, when I was doing my service there were time when I could in theory order even generals due to my duties at the time dispite never getting past private and normally having the authority linked to that rank that is to say no authority what so ever. Granted that authority was very limited and I had to be mindful of the actual ranks in question (aka by respectful but stern when dealing with people who outranked me, which again was pretty everyone who I dealt with due working in the regimental HQ).
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Re: Imperial Rank Insignia Discussion

Post by Patroklos » 2017-04-13 03:08pm

Yes, it's called positional authority and is statutory so not the same thing as informal. It's also situational, so those who abuse it generally pay for it in short order.

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Re: Imperial Rank Insignia Discussion

Post by Tiriol » 2017-04-13 04:25pm

Lord Revan wrote:
Galvatron wrote:
Lord Revan wrote: I could be a matter of seniority though IIRC if 2 officers have same formal rank the one with longer service time is considered to be "of higher rank" if needed and the operational chain of command doesn't say otherwise.
Maybe navy always trumps army even between officers of equivalent rank.
Could be it would certainly make sense given that army isn't going anywhere without the navy.
It could be something of a blowback from having Admirals to obey the Jedi Generals despite the Jedi having little to no military training and emphasizing small groups or single operative missions. But somehow I doubt it, since Tagge certainly wasn't holding back in ANH and he very specifically was a General at that time; if Navy would outrank the Army, then he certainly would be in ill position to speak against Admiral Motti (or former Admiral, current Grand Moff Tarkin); plus the commander of Scarif Base, despite the established presence of at least one Admiral, was a General. General Veers wasn't that much intimidated by Admiral Ozzel, either, although we don't see much of their interaction (at least he didn't address Ozzel as "sir", just "Admiral").

Patroklos probably is on the right track with his ideas of the Empire utilizing multiple positions for the same individual. One could try to imagine the double row rank insignia somehow reflecting that, but it doesn't really mesh well with any evidence.
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Re: Imperial Rank Insignia Discussion

Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2017-04-13 04:35pm

Maybe each officer has two sets of rank insignias - his branch and the joint universal insignias or something - but can only wear one at a time so this leads to mixups and inconsistencies.
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Re: Imperial Rank Insignia Discussion

Post by Lord Revan » 2017-04-13 04:41pm

Patroklos wrote:Yes, it's called positional authority and is statutory so not the same thing as informal. It's also situational, so those who abuse it generally pay for it in short order.
Yeah that's putting it mildly at least for the Finnish Defense Force, I had a term called "diploma Private" for went to the (reserve) NCO or reserve officer training but got kicked from the program for what ever reason and from what I could gather "abuse of authority" was pretty common reason, they still had to serve the full 12(at the time of my service) months but were demoted to Private.

While official the key word for positional authority is "positional", another example of positional authority would be that a (chief) medical officer can say that an officer is unfit for duty due to medical reasons regardless of the actual ranks, though positional authority is always limited, something very limited and there's be hell to pay if you step outside of those limits
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Re: Imperial Rank Insignia Discussion

Post by Galvatron » 2017-04-13 09:22pm

Lord Revan wrote:
Galvatron wrote:
Lord Revan wrote:I could be a matter of seniority though IIRC if 2 officers have same formal rank the one with longer service time is considered to be "of higher rank" if needed and the operational chain of command doesn't say otherwise.
Maybe navy always trumps army even between officers of equivalent rank.
Could be it would certainly make sense given that army isn't going anywhere without the navy.
Perhaps it also depends on the type of operation. If the captain of the ship and the commanding officer of the troops on board hold equivalent ranks, the fact that it's a fleet operation may determine who's really in charge of the overall mission.

Conversely, the commanding officer of an army garrison may outrank a visiting navy officer of equivalent rank because their roles are essentially reversed. However, I doubt a navy captain could give orders to an army general or an army colonel to a navy admiral regardless of the operation.

That's all I got.

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Re: Imperial Rank Insignia Discussion

Post by Ender » 2017-04-13 10:26pm

The interactions between Bariss and Parck are not informative to this topic.
Spoiler
the twist of the book is that Thrawn wasn't really exiled and found. That was all political theater to give cover for what was essentially a diplomatic and military exchange. The Ascendency and Empire had some degree of backchannels, the Empire dispatched a ship there (with Parck having a direct line to Palpatine) and the Chiss were informed that the ship was going to be there 3 months before it arrived, so they hastily "disciplined" Thrawn, rigged up the camp to look much older than it was for the benefit of any observers. Thrawn was taken back for a private audience with Palpatine; he has been supposed to be an advisor in the court but was sent to the Navy instead. Thrawn was looking to recruit a counterpart to send to the Ascendency, wanted Nightswan but ended up sending Vanto. Both powers wanted diplomatic interactions but couldn't openly have them due to domestic concerns, so they did this instead.

Point is that Parck being on a direct mission from the Emperor is a source of authority over Bariss that supersedes any other channel of authority.
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Re: Imperial Rank Insignia Discussion

Post by Patroklos » 2017-04-14 01:23am

I have a real world personal example of this. When I was on the staff of the Navy Nuclear Propulsion Training Command (my first and hopefully ladt exposure to the nuclear navy!), Naval Reactors would send inspectors down from DC every year. Most of these inspectors where whiz kids straight out of the best engineering schools in the county and thus for those who were military officers they were low ranking. Naval Reactors, however, is a four star and he wanted to make sure his inspectors were treated a personal extensions of his authority to the point that he wanted none of the niceties of military courtesy to get in the way of his inexperienced junior inspectors who had the book smarts but due to being so new might be easily intimidated by senior instructors and staff at the school who were the best performing officers in the nuclear fleet. For this reason all of the inspectors wear civilian clothes and are referred to as mister of miss.

Long story short as an O3 I was kissing the ass of of an inspector I thought was a senior civil servant or officer over email/phone for months only to find out he was in his mid twenties like me at the time. After the inspection I also found out he was an O1 with less than six months on the job. Now functionally this was no issue, I would have provided him whatever the inspection required regardless , but it shows how a connection to a very senior person can supersede the normal rank structure.

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Re: Imperial Rank Insignia Discussion

Post by Lord Revan » 2017-04-14 01:59am

Patroklos wrote:I have a real world personal example of this. When I was on the staff of the Navy Nuclear Propulsion Training Command (my first and hopefully ladt exposure to the nuclear navy!), Naval Reactors would send inspectors down from DC every year. Most of these inspectors where whiz kids straight out of the best engineering schools in the county and thus for those who were military officers they were low ranking. Naval Reactors, however, is a four star and he wanted to make sure his inspectors were treated a personal extensions of his authority to the point that he wanted none of the niceties of military courtesy to get in the way of his inexperienced junior inspectors who had the book smarts but due to being so new might be easily intimidated by senior instructors and staff at the school who were the best performing officers in the nuclear fleet. For this reason all of the inspectors wear civilian clothes and are referred to as mister of miss.

Long story short as an O3 I was kissing the ass of of an inspector I thought was a senior civil servant or officer over email/phone for months only to find out he was in his mid twenties like me at the time. After the inspection I also found out he was an O1 with less than six months on the job. Now functionally this was no issue, I would have provided him whatever the inspection required regardless , but it shows how a connection to a very senior person can supersede the normal rank structure.
I'd say that's more of an example of positional authority then connections (the position in question being "inspector") and there's a very good practical reason why it's done that way, you all ready noted you wouldn't want your inspectors to be intimidated by having to to deal with senior officers and do a lackluster job because of it, especially when you're dealing with nuclear reactors. That's the theory at least, I dunno if it works in practice though.
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Re: Imperial Rank Insignia Discussion

Post by RogueIce » 2017-04-15 03:12pm

Tiriol wrote:[This isn't the first time this crops up in Zahn's fiction set in Star Wars. The same happened in Legends novel Allegiance - except that time it was an ISB colonel and Captain Ozzel of Imperial Navy. I don't know why this keeps happening, unless Zahn has been told to use that Essential Guide to Warfare rank system (even though it does not include Army ranks, at all).
This one's simple: ISB is like the secret police of the Empire, they can disappear your ass whenever they want, for whatever reason they want, so you defy them at your own peril. Especially if it's an officer of equivalent seniority to you. A Naval Captain may not have much to fear from an ISB Lieutenant, but a Colonel is another matter.

Plus, throw in that the ship and trooper compliment had been coopted for some kind of ISB mission, so you have some positional authority there as well.

Further, due to the Hand of Judgement's murder of an ISB officer, that ISB Colonel was basically holding it over Ozzel's head as a career ender, so even if he lacked official authority, he was able to essentially bully Ozzel into doing what he wanted. Because Ozzel is as stupid as he is clumsy.
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Re: Imperial Rank Insignia Discussion

Post by Tiriol » 2017-04-16 10:03am

RogueIce wrote:
Tiriol wrote:[This isn't the first time this crops up in Zahn's fiction set in Star Wars. The same happened in Legends novel Allegiance - except that time it was an ISB colonel and Captain Ozzel of Imperial Navy. I don't know why this keeps happening, unless Zahn has been told to use that Essential Guide to Warfare rank system (even though it does not include Army ranks, at all).
This one's simple: ISB is like the secret police of the Empire, they can disappear your ass whenever they want, for whatever reason they want, so you defy them at your own peril. Especially if it's an officer of equivalent seniority to you. A Naval Captain may not have much to fear from an ISB Lieutenant, but a Colonel is another matter.

Plus, throw in that the ship and trooper compliment had been coopted for some kind of ISB mission, so you have some positional authority there as well.

Further, due to the Hand of Judgement's murder of an ISB officer, that ISB Colonel was basically holding it over Ozzel's head as a career ender, so even if he lacked official authority, he was able to essentially bully Ozzel into doing what he wanted. Because Ozzel is as stupid as he is clumsy.
You misunderstand me: the ISB Colonel kept referring to Ozzel as "sir", despite them being officially on somewhat same ranking (of course since an ISB Colonel was keeping tabs on Tarkin, Colonel should have been mich higher ranking...). Zahn did seem to operate under the idea that the Colonel was lower-ranking than Ozzel, even though both knew that in a pitch the ISB could wreck Ozzel.
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