Tau Command/Rank Structure

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gunrock
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Tau Command/Rank Structure

Post#1 » Jan 31 2018 10:28

Howdy guys!
I was figuring out a way to visually represent ranks in my army on their bases, which got me thinking about how taus command is structured and how units advance through ranks. I have a feeling that there’s a bit of a gap in the fluff in the conventional saal, la, ui, etc. hierarchy. Tau command structure also does not delineate between Non-commissioned officers and Commissioned officers, or ‘branches’ (ex. Reconnaissance, versus combat vs. armored soldiers), or how shas end up in specialized roles.

Here’s how I think tau ranks line up to modern military ranks:
Saal (trainee) – Private (PVT – E1)
La (warrior) – Private First class (PFC – E3)
? (also La I suppose) - Specialist (SPC – E-4 – equivalent to CO – corporal)
Ui (Veteran) – Corporal (E-4)
Vre (hero) – Sergeant (E-5 -> E-7)
Fireblade – Sergeant Major/first sergeant/master sergeant (E-8/E-9)
El (noble) – Lieutenant
O (Commander) – Captain/second lieutenant/first lieutenant
Darkstrider – ? (first or master sergeant also?)

Army structure by unit size and associated leader:
2 or less – Specialist teams (ex. Snipers, weapons teams, etc.)
3 - 4 – Fire team – corporal
8 – 12 – Squad – sergeant
15 – 30 – Platoon – Lieutenant
80 - 150 – Company – Captain/Major
300 - 800 – Battalion – Lieutenant Colonel

So here’s my questions to ATT:
- Strategies for visually representing ranks?
- How do tau fire warriors end up in other specialized positions such as piloting tank crews, flying specialized aircraft, and piloting big suits?
- What are the ranks of units that don’t have their rank explicitly stated (riptides, tanks, flyers, etc. )?
- How do you imagine tau moving through different combat roles over their careers?
- What ranks do you think should exist or are not represented in the tau rank structure?
- What’s up with the whole ‘trial by fire’ shtick?
- How do I justify having 6 commanders? :biggrin:
All the rivers run into the sea, Yet the sea is not full; Unto the place whither the rivers go, Thither they go again.

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Arka0415
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Re: Tau Command/Rank Structure

Post#2 » Jan 31 2018 11:27

The major difference between the Tau and modern militaries is that the Tau do not use infantry for everything. Modern militaries lack battlesuits, weapons platforms, and super-heavy tanks, and mainly do not engage in pitched battles. As such, specialist roles are given to infantry.

Tau, on the other hand, don't need specialists, or snipers, or heavy weapons troops, or anything like that. Instead, battlesuits and drones occupy those roles. As such, we don't see Tau heavy weapons troopers or specialist infantry.

The Tau "chain of command" tends to flow from an off-site or in-orbit command center to a battlesuit-equipped field Commander. From there on the orders don't flow from 'O to 'El to 'Vre and so on- rather, Shas'nel (Fireblades) command Shas'ui squad leaders who direct fireteams, while Shas'vre lieutenants in battlesuits direct their battlesuit-equipped ta'ro'cha wingmen. Just because an XV8 Shas'vre outranks a Fire Warrior Shas'ui does not mean that the Shas'vre is the Shas'ui's boss, they're likely in different command groups.

I don't know much about the NATO codes and whatnot but these are how the general ranks seem to work:

Supreme Commander - Commander of the entire Tau military. Field Marshal-level.
Shas'o - Commands multiple cadres across an entire theater of war. General-level.
Shas'el - Commands a cadre. Brigadier General-level.
Shas'vre Bodyguard - Guards a Shas'el or 'O, but is also in line for promotion to Shas'el. No analogue.
Shas'nel - Commands infantry on the battlefield. Lieutenant Colonel level.
Shas'vre - Pilots a large battlesuit, or leads a battlesuit team. No analogue.
Shas'ui - Pilots a battlesuit, or leads an infantry team. Sergeant-level.
Shas'la - Basic infantry. Private-level.
Shas'saal - Trainee infantry. Cadet level.

The Shas'vre is the real sticking point. It's the immediate rank above Sergeant, yet is also directly in line for promotion to General.

I expect that Tau command officers would include tons of Shas'ui staff, Shas'vre officers, and Drone AI networks that handle communications, analysis, simulation, and logistics coordination.

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Kakapo42
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Re: Tau Command/Rank Structure

Post#3 » Jan 31 2018 11:45

gunrock wrote:- Strategies for visually representing ranks?


Adding 'line and dot' style Sept Markings is the traditional method for marking out various ranks. I personally only mark out unit leaders (regardless of rank) with such markings, using different patterns to denote different unit roles, but the GW studio has been known to be somewhat more elaborate.

gunrock wrote:- How do tau fire warriors end up in other specialized positions such as piloting tank crews, flying specialized aircraft, and piloting big suits?


Well, in the case of specialised aircraft the answer is they don't - flying aircraft of any kind is the Air Caste's job. ;)

In the case of other positions there are two schools of thought. The answer given in some GW material is that Fire Warriors are simply rotated through various specialised roles to gain experience and cross-training, and if they find an area they excel in they stay, a system not entirely unlike the one Codex Astartes-compliant Space Marines are described as using in the 5th edition Space Marine codex.

An alternative method was created by ATT background legend Doombringer some time ago, and breaks down Fire Caste service into a number of specialised 'Paths' which Fire Caste warriors are sorted into at 'saal level based on aptitude testing. From memory the different paths are:

- Line Path: Fire Warrior teams - Crisis and Broadside teams -Commander bodyguards - XV8 commander

- Reconnaissance Path: Pathfinder teams - Stealth teams - Stealth operations commander (possibly with an XV22 battlesuit)

- Support Path: Devilfish and Piranha crew - Hammerhead/Skyray crew - Armoured Interdiction Cadre tank commander

You can find more information on the Path theory here.

It was originally created before the advent of the larger battlesuits, but there is some official GW material suggesting that their operators are 'recruited' from other areas with a lot of overlap. Thus Riptides are piloted by veteran crisis suit Shas'Vre, Ghostkeels are manned by experienced Stealthsuit operators and Stormsurge crews are trained from Hammerhead crews (experience with long-range gunnery and not needing a neural link, you see).

gunrock wrote:- What are the ranks of units that don’t have their rank explicitly stated (riptides, tanks, flyers, etc. )?


In 6th edition material Riptides are explicitly stated as being piloted by Shas'Vre:

Matt Holland, White Dwarf Issue 400 (AU), pg. 86, 'Battlesuits: The Riptide Unleashed' wrote:The Riptide pilot is an elite Shas'vre - chosen to don the greatest armour and fight for his Cadre mates.


6th edition background material supports this, as it states Riptide pilots come from Bodyguard teams, which are exclusively Shas'Vre:

Codex: Tau Empire (6th edition), pg. 43, 'XV104 Riptides' wrote:The honour of wearing such a mighty battlesuit is only given to those who have nobly served their Commanders as Crisis Battlesuit Bodyguards.


There is some debate about the rank of tank crews. Recent GW material seems to suggest that Tau gunship crews are almost entirely Shas'la, but common consensus on ATT follows older background which suggested specialised Shas'Os and Shas'els commanding Armoured Interdiction Cadres and other armoured formations.

I myself tend to side with the latter viewpoint, and consider the average Devilfish to be manned by 1-2 Shas'la, the average Hammerhead or Skyray to be crewed by Shas'la overseen by a Shas'Ui tank commander, and higher-level tank commanders controlling formations of gunships to be Shas'El or Shas'O, with tank aces being Shas'Vre.

Once again, aircraft are crewed by the Air Caste, and are out of Fire Caste jurisdiction. Kakapo Canon(tm) has fighters being piloted by Kor'Ui and cargo transports (like Orca dropships) being flown by Kor'la, with squadron leaders and aces being Kor'Vre and Air Cadre wing commanders being Kor'El or Kor'O. Flyers with two crew, such as Tiger Sharks, have a Kor'Ui pilot and a Kor'la co-pilot.

Other systems also exist however, putting fighters into the hands of Kor'la as well.

As for the rest, there's not much I'm aware of. Perhaps someone else can fill you in there.

gunrock wrote:- How do you imagine tau moving through different combat roles over their careers?


It depends on how you envisage them ending up in various roles in the first place. Going by the path system outlined above, for example, once set into a particular path by aptitude tests a Fire Caste warrior will simply advance along it until they either die, settle into a role they are exceptionally adept at, or advance so far they can retire. I tend to add an extra twist in that should a Fire Caste warrior end up becoming a better fit for a different path than what they are currently assigned to they can be transferred over and receive extra training for it. But that's just my take on that particular concept.

gunrock wrote:- What ranks do you think should exist or are not represented in the tau rank structure?


In my eyes, none - I actually quite like how the Tau rank structure doesn't neatly match up with any human one in real life. I feel it makes the Tau seem more alien and different to just 'blue/grey humans'.

While on the subject of modern military ranks, I feel it should also be considered that - as I understand it at least - not all countries use the same system, with some countries having slightly different takes on different ranks, and some having entirely unique ones - how, for example, might one correlate a Praporshchik or Starshy Praporshchik to the Fire Caste rank structure?

gunrock wrote:- What’s up with the whole ‘trial by fire’ shtick?


The Trial By Fire is how Fire Caste Tau advance in rank. The idea is that after a certain period of time (traditionally four years), a Fire Caste warrior will be given a Trial By Fire and an opportunity to be promoted. The Trial By Fire itself will be a difficult challenge of some kind, commonly an important (and dangerous) mission, but particularly arduous tests are also sometimes used instead. In either case it will often be relevant to the rank being advanced to, so for example a Shas'Vre eligible for advancement to a Shas'El command position might be put in command of a small-scale operation and be required to successfully manage the planning and execution of it as a test of their command and leadership skills.

Regardless of the specifics, should the Fire Caste warrior manage to successfully accomplish the Trial By Fire, they are promoted to the next rank up. Shas'O who pass their fifth and final Trial By Fire are instead allowed to 'retire' and join the Shas'Ar'Tol high command and/or the council of advisers who help the Ethereals govern the Tau Empire.

gunrock wrote:- How do I justify having 6 commanders? :biggrin:


My suggestions are:

- an elite force of 6 highly skilled and experienced Crisis battlesuit Monats who just happen to use commander stats.

- six commanders who, after having their cadres destroyed, have now banded together with the survivors of other cadres for a final delaying action to ensure as many of the evacuating Tau as possible reach safety.

- some kind of snarky comment regarding controversial GW statements. :P
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gunrock
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Re: Tau Command/Rank Structure

Post#4 » Feb 01 2018 12:39

Thanks for the responses guys!

Arka0415 wrote:The Tau "chain of command" tends to flow from an off-site or in-orbit command center to a battlesuit-equipped field Commander. From there on the orders don't flow from 'O to 'El to 'Vre and so on- rather, Shas'nel (Fireblades) command Shas'ui squad leaders who direct fireteams, while Shas'vre lieutenants in battlesuits direct their battlesuit-equipped ta'ro'cha wingmen. Just because an XV8 Shas'vre outranks a Fire Warrior Shas'ui does not mean that the Shas'vre is the Shas'ui's boss, they're likely in different command groups.


Thanks for the elaborations! I think I was a bit stuck in the human conception of military structure which is built around an idea of if X dies, then command fall to Y, but the tau rank has other connotations and rank is somewhat compartmentalized within the function of the unit.

Kakapo42 wrote:An alternative method was created by ATT background legend Doombringer some time ago, and breaks down Fire Caste service into a number of specialised 'Paths' which Fire Caste warriors are sorted into at 'saal level based on aptitude testing. From memory the different paths are:

- Line Path: Fire Warrior teams - Crisis and Broadside teams -Commander bodyguards - XV8 commander

- Reconnaissance Path: Pathfinder teams - Stealth teams - Stealth operations commander (possibly with an XV22 battlesuit)

- Support Path: Devilfish and Piranha crew - Hammerhead/Skyray crew - Armoured Interdiction Cadre tank commander


Oh wow! thanks for the link! I really like Doombringers path based idea. Also, just a great thread with lots of background crafting on tau society.

Kakapo42 wrote:
The Trial By Fire is how Fire Caste Tau advance in rank. The idea is that after a certain period of time (traditionally four years), a Fire Caste warrior will be given a Trial By Fire and an opportunity to be promoted. The Trial By Fire itself will be a difficult challenge of some kind, commonly an important (and dangerous) mission, but particularly arduous tests are also sometimes used instead. In either case it will often be relevant to the rank being advanced to, so for example a Shas'Vre eligible for advancement to a Shas'El command position might be put in command of a small-scale operation and be required to successfully manage the planning and execution of it as a test of their command and leadership skills.

Regardless of the specifics, should the Fire Caste warrior manage to successfully accomplish the Trial By Fire, they are promoted to the next rank up. Shas'O who pass their fifth and final Trial By Fire are instead allowed to 'retire' and join the Shas'Ar'Tol high command and/or the council of advisers who help the Ethereals govern the Tau Empire.


That makes a lot more sense, the 40k wiki was really vague beyond implying it was hard and had something to do with honor and values, or some esoteric ritual like gladitorial combat. :roll: 6th edition rule book was also basically just quarter page blurb. Having the trial basically be a direct extension of their military role or acting as a provisional leader in an important task makes a lot more sense in my mind.

Kakapo42 wrote:- an elite force of 6 highly skilled and experienced Crisis battlesuit Monats who just happen to use commander stats.

- six commanders who, after having their cadres destroyed, have now banded together with the survivors of other cadres for a final delaying action to ensure as many of the evacuating Tau as possible reach safety.

- some kind of snarky comment regarding controversial GW statements.


The first one was sort of my thought, that after leading a crisis team, el's may advance to 'special operations' roles operating as Monats. My cadres is basically in Agrellan/Mugalath Bay colors, so that second rationalization actually works too. Really, I just take whats given to tau.
All the rivers run into the sea, Yet the sea is not full; Unto the place whither the rivers go, Thither they go again.

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Arka0415
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Re: Tau Command/Rank Structure

Post#5 » Feb 01 2018 01:27

gunrock wrote:Thanks for the responses guys!
Arka0415 wrote:The Tau "chain of command" tends to flow from an off-site or in-orbit command center to a battlesuit-equipped field Commander. From there on the orders don't flow from 'O to 'El to 'Vre and so on- rather, Shas'nel (Fireblades) command Shas'ui squad leaders who direct fireteams, while Shas'vre lieutenants in battlesuits direct their battlesuit-equipped ta'ro'cha wingmen. Just because an XV8 Shas'vre outranks a Fire Warrior Shas'ui does not mean that the Shas'vre is the Shas'ui's boss, they're likely in different command groups.

Thanks for the elaborations! I think I was a bit stuck in the human conception of military structure which is built around an idea of if X dies, then command fall to Y, but the tau rank has other connotations and rank is somewhat compartmentalized within the function of the unit.

Kakapo's point about the Tau and modern military ranks not quite lining up is a good observation. The Tau operate their military very differently- it's not only a fighting organization, but also a whole social caste. Also, militaries aren't perfect, efficient machines, they deeply reflect the assumptions, norms, prejudices, and worldviews of their respective cultures.

Another point is that, as in all militaries, there are many middlemen and intermediaries between officers, especially those in different areas. A hunter cadre Shas'el might technically report to a Shas'o, but normally communicate with one of hundreds of Shas'ui officers who make up that Shas'o's staff.

Also, while the Tau don't have military commissions, I'm sure there are plenty of elite Fire Caste academies and training schools that fast-track Shas'saal to Shas'ui status, and the officer staff that deal with logistics, communications, etc. probably don't perform harrowing missions for their Trials by Fire.

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Wes
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Re: Tau Command/Rank Structure

Post#6 » Feb 01 2018 07:34

I will just add my thoughts on representing rank.

Saal - These aren't in battle.

La - Armor is normal camoflage color except for sept markings.

Ui - One antenna is sept color

Vre - Whole helmet and both antenna are sept color. No sept markings on the helmet.

Nel - (This rank is for Cadre Fireblades and is just barely below El) They look pretty distinguished already. I'm not sure they need further representation. Traditional paint jobs seem to have his armor be camo and his cloak be the sept color.

El - White helmet. The two antenna are camo color.

O - Whole helmet and both antenna are sept color and sept markings on the helmet are camo color

Unit leaders are typically noted by a portion of their shoulder pad being the sept color.

Edit: El rank details linked to by HivMnd below.
Last edited by Wes on Feb 01 2018 08:50, edited 4 times in total.

HivMnd
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Re: Tau Command/Rank Structure

Post#7 » Feb 01 2018 07:45

Wes wrote:I will just add my thoughts on representing rank.

Saal - these aren't on the field.

La - Armor is normal camoglage color except for sept markings.

Ui - (One) antenna is sept color

Vre - Whole helmet and both antenna are sept color. No sept markings on the helmet.

Nel - (This rank is for Cadre Fireblades and is just barely below El) They look pretty distinguished already. I'm not sure they need further representation. Traditional paint jobs seem to have his armor be camo and his cloak be the sept color.

O - Whole helmet is sept color amd sept markings on the helmet are camo color

Unit leaders are typically noted by a portion of their shoulder pad being the sept color.

We don't have a way to represent the El rank in the above scheme, though to my knowledge only Commanders would be capable of having either the El or O rank in our current list.


According to Panzer's post here http://www.advancedtautactica.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=26573
The Shas'El has sept helmet with camo antenna.
Last edited by HivMnd on Feb 01 2018 08:53, edited 1 time in total.

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Wes
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Re: Tau Command/Rank Structure

Post#8 » Feb 01 2018 08:49

Thank you! I did not know that. I will add it to my last post.

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TauMan
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Re: Tau Command/Rank Structure

Post#9 » Feb 01 2018 03:23

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGHH! - Sorry Tau'fann that's the sound of frustration! I was writing an article to submit here on the forum two years ago on Tau Military Rank versus Caste Rank.. But then I had a computer crash, then another computer die, and then flash drive with the back-up files get broken. And **sigh** since then Real LifeTM has gottnen in the way! What with looking for work, writing stories, and now submitting to Black Library. (Have you seen this thread? Alert! Black Library Submissions are Now Open!) Just last night and this morning I've been working on the discussion thread Tau in Close Combat & Traditional Tau Martial Arts! When I see this discussion thread pop up! AAAAAAGGGH! I can't be in all places at once! :::(

Thumbnail Background
1) Caste Rank is not Military Rank, rather it is the individual's standing within their caste. I.e. it's a tribal thing.
2) Military Rank is determined by what command a firewarrior has.
Examples
Shas'ui commanding a la'rua (squad) = Sergeant/2nd Lieutenant.
Shas'vre commanding a kau'ui = Captain.
Shas'o in command of a shan'al = Field Marshall or Four star General

There is way too much information that I have to share, but can't do it right now. Real LifeTMagain!

Problems that have to be taken into consideration
  • Career paths Shas'ui Crisis suit pilot versus Shas'ui as infantry/armour/skimmer path (mentioned by Kakapo42)
  • Who are Shas'Nel then? What is a Shas'Nel? Are they NCOs or officers? And are there Shas'nvre or Shas'nui?
  • What is the actual command structure of the fire caste? How does it relate to caste ranks and military ranks?
  • Are the any units larger than a squad but larger than a cadre? Are there Tau platoons?
  • Are the any units larger than a cadre? Are there Tau battalions or brigades?

Too little time to go into it now, but I will be reconstructing the article for the community in the next week.

TauMan
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Arka0415
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Re: Tau Command/Rank Structure

Post#10 » Feb 01 2018 06:19

TauMan wrote:Career paths Shas'ui Crisis suit pilot versus Shas'ui as infantry/armour/skimmer path (mentioned by Kakapo42)

We know that all Fire Caste Tau start as Fire Warriors, so I assume the first Trial by Fire would determine if they follow a command path (Shas'la > Shas'ui > Shas'nel) or a battlesuit path (Shas'la > Shas'ui > Shas'vre).

TauMan wrote:Who are Shas'Nel then? What is a Shas'Nel? Are they NCOs or officers? And are there Shas'nvre or Shas'nui?

The Shas'nel are basically combined infantry battalion commanders and chaplains. They both direct battlefield infantry and bolster morale.

TauMan wrote:What is the actual command structure of the fire caste? How does it relate to caste ranks and military ranks?

As I discussed in the other thread, it can't be a pyramid of Shas'o > Shas'el > Shas'vre etc. All Shas'ui and Shas'vre can't be battlesuit pilots and infantry leaders, you'd also need tons of officers, support staff, etc. I expect there would be tons of "lowly officer" roles for Shas'ui that cover everything from communication to logistics to office secretary.

TauMan wrote:Are the any units larger than a squad but larger than a cadre? Are there Tau platoons? Are the any units larger than a cadre? Are there Tau battalions or brigades?

Lexicanum has a very detailed description of all this:
http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Tau_Lex ... ganization

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TauMan
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Re: Tau Command/Rank Structure

Post#11 » Feb 01 2018 11:51

**Sigh** I feel like Nikola Tesla and Guglielmo Marconi is trying explain to me how radio works. "Signore Marconi, I understand how a radio works. I invented it after all." (Tesla did invent radio)

Sorry, that's not meant to be snarky, it's just frustrating to have worked this all out, like two years or two and years ago, for an article meant to published on the A.T.T. forum. Only then to have lost the same article three times, before I had a chance to publish it here.

Let's start at the beginning.

78 79

How does it possible for Captain Miller and General Patton to both be Shas'O?

They're both shas'o? Of course they are because Captain Miller commands a cadre, that is a Infantry company. And General Patton commands a Coalition, the U.S. Third Army. See the problem we're having here? Well, the problem is that caste rank is not military rank, and Captain Miller would in fact have to be the rank of shas'vre and not shas'o. Or thinking of it in another way, if the cadre is being led by General Patton, then it has to be the HQ company of that larger military force. Like the HQ company of the U.S. Third Army.

When I first started thinking about this I thought like everyone else that caste rank equaled somehow military rank. Like Shas'la = Private. But then I started thinking about how caste rank was about well caste. Caste rank then wouldn't be rank, but a requirement of rank, meaning a firewarrior has to attain a certain caste rank, before assuming a certain command. But it caste rank isn't military rank, then what is it?

CASTE RANK
Many tribal cultures have a system of ranking individual members within the tribe's hierarchic structure. Some have similar tests or required achievements like that of the "trial by fire". They could be the killing of the first prey animal, marriage, birth of first child, performing certain ceremonies, killing of "x" number of enemies, having lived for "x" number of years. Whatever the criteria is met, that person moves up the ranking system within the tribe. Eventually to become a tribal elder. Coming back to the Tau, it is important thing to remember that the ranks for all castes in the Tau culture, follow the same exact structure and hierarchy: -Saal, -La, -Ui, -Vre, -El, -O.

Although, we don't know what the requirements for the various ranks among the different castes. And we don't even know exactly, what the requirements are for a firewarrior to pass his or her first "trial by fire". All members of a given caste in Tau culture, have to pass some kind of test or standard to advance to the next level. In Fire Warrior firewarriors are said to be evaluated on their record in combat. In any case, like the other castes, the fire caste determines the placement within the hierarchy by testing its members. A very tribal thing to do.

Caste rank therefore has nothing to do with either military rank, or even the command structure; but is only an indicator of the firewarrior's place in the hierarchy of the fire caste.

MILITARY RANK
If caste rank isn't military rank, then how do we determine what the equivalent IG military would be for a firewarrior? And how does caste rank relate to military rank? Or to the fire caste command structure? Caste rank would of course be a prerequisite for command, but it is not the rank itself. For example, a firewarrior could not command a team/band unless he or she first attained the rank of shas'ui. Therefore, it would be safe to assume that to determine the military rank equivalent, you would have to look at what unit the firewarrior commands. (See chart below #2)

In other words the size of unit that he or she commands + caste rank determines their military rank.

Chart #1: Tau Empire Military Organization
Name..............Translation............I.G. Equivalent
La'rua.................Band.....................Squad
[no equivalent].................................Platoon
Kau'uí.................Cadre....................Company
[no equivalent].................................Battalion
[no equivalent].................................Brigade
Tio've..................Contingent.............Regiment
Kavaal.................Commune..............Division
Uash'o.................Command...............Corp.
Shan'al................Coalition................Crusade [Army?]

Chart #2: Military Rank and Command
Shas'la.........N/A...............................................................E1->E4....Prvt.to Specialist/Corporal
Shas'ui.........La'rua (infantry)................................................O1->O2...1st & 2nd Lieutenants
Shas'Vre.......La'rua (Infantry)................................................O3->O4....Captain & Major
Shas'Vre.......La'rua (Crisis suit team).......................................O3->O4....Captain & Major
Shas'El.........Cadre, La'rua (Crisis suit team)..............................O5->O6....Lt. Colonel & Colonel
Shas'O.........Cadre, Contingent, Coalition,La'rua........................O7->O10...Brg.Gen to General


THE SHAS'NAN OR THE SHAS'NEL - The Line Infantry Officer
Now this leads us to ask what is then the Shas'nan or Shas'nel? But here we have to talk about career paths within the fire caste.

Career Path #1: H'er'ex'vre If a firewarrior earns the Mantle of the Hero to be able to pilot a crisis battlesuit; then he or she is on the career path to become a command level officer. That is to be able to earn the caste rank of -O. Eventually (if the firewarrior survives) to join the General Staff and command a coalition or commune.

Career Path #2: Shas'nan If however a firewarrior either does not earn or chooses not accept the Mantle of the Hero, then he or she in on the path of the Fireblade. That is to say he or she will never earn above any caste rank of -El. Without which the firewarrior could never achieve General Staff level responsibility.

80

Cadre Fireblade or Colour Sergeant?


Now one might think, (I know I did!) that this means the fire caste has NCOs or Non-commissioned officers. I even wrote story where the Shas'Nel was the "Sergeant Major" of the cadre. But, there really isn't a NCO corp in the Tau fire caste. FYI In any modern army, the NCO corp is a parallel command structure to that of the officer corp. E.g. 2nd Lieutenant -> Platoon Leader versus Sergeant -> Platoon Sergeant. This does not exist in the fire caste of the Tau Empire, and therefore the Shas'nel can't be thought of as a senior NCO. (But who knows it might be in the Enclaves?).

Note: The "N" in the cadre shas'nel's rank only indicates he or she is in the "second" to the shas'el or shas'o. The rank is still -El.

78

Captain Miller the true Shas'Nel


Going back to Captain Miller, he is a line infantry officer with no desire to follow in the footsteps of General Patton; and join the upper echelon of the General Staff. He would stick to being a straight leg infantry officer, standing alongside his men in battle. The only thing missing is the gold oak leaf (O-4 Major) on his helmet to indicate he is a true Shas'Nel.

Note: No firewarrior can attain the rank of -El or -Nel, without first being -Ui or -Vre. This means of course that there should be Shas'vre among the infantry firewarriors.


SUMMATION
  • Caste rank is not military rank, but is necessary to obtain command (military rank)
  • Military rank equivalent is based on the size of the unit a firewarrior commands, plus caste rank
  • That the cadre fireblade follows a different career path, and is therefore a line infantry officer.


TauMan
Now for those of you who were tough and brave enough to have read all of that, here's your reward. Soundtracks from three famous war movies.
Patton
A Bridge Too Far
The Great Escape
Last edited by TauMan on Feb 03 2018 06:51, edited 2 times in total.
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gunrock
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Re: Tau Command/Rank Structure

Post#12 » Feb 02 2018 05:32

I’ve been milling on this thread all day just trying to process the different perspectives:

So there’s not really a formal distinction between NCO and CO, but there is a similar juncture between two trajectories after Shas’ui. Choosing to become a fireblade is similar to continuing the path of a sergeant. Though technically, the most junior CO (a second lieutenant) outranks you for all intensive purposes a senior sergeant is functionally a higher-level leader and coordinates with other high level CO’s.

- Despite fireblade technically being at the same rank as an average crisis/stealth team member (shas’ui), suit shas’ui are not leaders, but are commanded under a shas’vre. In this context the shas’vre is basically in parallel to a sergeant and his strike team.
- Shas’nel are an interesting juncture, I know arka was suggesting they are infantry commanders, and chaplains. I think maybe their role is coordinative, as they mediate between the higher command elements (el’s), the crisis suit team leaders (vre’s), and the fire blades directing the infantry (ui’s). Going off arka, they seem like basically lieutenants.

Shas’s O’s should be exceedingly rare on the battlefield, and the only units I would consider O status would be non-generic named characters. Within the scale of a typical tau cadre I think I’m going to go against the fluff and basically say commanders are shas’el not O’s.

I’m still wrapping my head around tauman’s post, It seems to account for some of the weird rank discrepancies.

Here’s some examples I thought of:
- Crisis bodyguards, and big suits are basically senior shas’vre, but are not in positions of command.
- Crisis Shas’vre’s are technically above fireblades (ui’s), but command a completely different role, both of them basically report back to a nel. The fireblade is in a position of command at ui, while a crisis team member is not at the same rank.

I think the idea of caste rank being distinct from command rank makes a lot of sense, but I’m not sure if I completely buy your argument regarding Patton and Captain miller. Miller is a CO (a captain), which puts him at shas’el or shas’ nel. Going off of your analysis, Shas’vre don’t lead general infantry, they lead within the context of suit teams or do specialized jobs (pilot big suits, bodyguards, etc.).

Here’s my tentative scheme for my army:
- 1 sergeant (ui) and one corporal (minor-ui) per 10 fire warriors.
- Corporal directs the first fire team and coordinates with the sergeant who directs the second.
- Multiple strike teams are coordinated by a fireblade. The fireblade is functionally the staff sergeant who coordinates and report to a Nel.
- Suit teams are a different parallel structure, suit team leaders (vre) report to nels. A Crisis Shas’vre is basically a second lieutenant, he technically outranks the fire blade, but more often then not their roles are different. The same is true of a suit team shas’ui he technically outranks or is equal to an infantry sergeant, but is not in command of anything.
- Nels are basically monat who function to mediate between high command, infantry, and suit teams. They occupy a role basically of a first lieutenants.
- In my mind (given the current meta) Commanders are basically Shas El’s not Shas’O’s. they are equivalent of captains, who direct orders with the aid of a shas’nel.
- There’s only one Shas’O who is the major who is the commanding officer of the brigade and directs multiple Shas’el’s in coordinating multiple detachments through their subordinates.

If I was to make a distinction it would be between leadership caste ranks and non-leadership, so have a ‘minor and major’ shas’ui, shas’vre, and positions like there is for Shas’el.
Last edited by gunrock on Feb 02 2018 06:20, edited 1 time in total.
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Beerson
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Re: Tau Command/Rank Structure

Post#13 » Feb 02 2018 06:02

Kakapo42 wrote:
gunrock wrote:- How do tau fire warriors end up in other specialized positions such as piloting tank crews, flying specialized aircraft, and piloting big suits?


Well, in the case of specialised aircraft the answer is they don't - flying aircraft of any kind is the Air Caste's job. ;)

That's false, any atmospheric aircrafts used by tau military are piloted by fire caste pilots

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Temennigru
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Re: Tau Command/Rank Structure

Post#14 » Feb 02 2018 06:12

Beerson wrote:
Kakapo42 wrote:
gunrock wrote:- How do tau fire warriors end up in other specialized positions such as piloting tank crews, flying specialized aircraft, and piloting big suits?


Well, in the case of specialised aircraft the answer is they don't - flying aircraft of any kind is the Air Caste's job. ;)

That's false, any atmospheric aircrafts used by tau military are piloted by fire caste pilots

That is also false. The tiger sharks are obviously piloted by air caste pilots. They used to even come with tiny noodle tau to put in the cockpit :P

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Beerson
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Re: Tau Command/Rank Structure

Post#15 » Feb 02 2018 06:33

Temennigru wrote:
Beerson wrote:
Kakapo42 wrote:

Well, in the case of specialised aircraft the answer is they don't - flying aircraft of any kind is the Air Caste's job. ;)

That's false, any atmospheric aircrafts used by tau military are piloted by fire caste pilots

That is also false. The tiger sharks are obviously piloted by air caste pilots. They used to even come with tiny noodle tau to put in the cockpit :P

Right, forgot about that, did the lore change or is this just FW doing their own thing?

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Temennigru
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Re: Tau Command/Rank Structure

Post#16 » Feb 02 2018 06:48

Beerson wrote:
Temennigru wrote:
Beerson wrote:That's false, any atmospheric aircrafts used by tau military are piloted by fire caste pilots

That is also false. The tiger sharks are obviously piloted by air caste pilots. They used to even come with tiny noodle tau to put in the cockpit :P

Right, forgot about that, did the lore change or is this just FW doing their own thing?

The sun shark has this to say:
"The natural skills of the pilots allow the aircraft to manoeuvre with a skill, precision and extremity that only members of the Air Caste can tolerate."

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Kakapo42
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Re: Tau Command/Rank Structure

Post#17 » Feb 02 2018 07:02

Beerson wrote:That's false, any atmospheric aircrafts used by tau military are piloted by fire caste pilots


Might I inquire as to what source this comes from? Virtually all GW material I have encountered states otherwise, that the Air Caste handles both aircraft and spacecraft. This includes the original Tau background in the first codex:

Codex: Tau, pg. 9, 'The Caste System' wrote:Air - The Air caste members were traditionally messengers and couriers but now, with the march of technology, they are the Tau equivalent to the Imperial Navy. They are pilots and spaceship crews, transporting goods and warriors to where they are needed. They are the unseen force that can lay waste to towns and cities, bombarding them from orbit. Air caste members live almost entirely off-world, except for pilots of atmospheric craft (although frequently they live in orbital stations). They are the invisible caste, normally unseen but essential nonetheless.


Codex: Tau, pg. 15, 'Grand Tactical Equipment - Barracuda Superiority Fighters' wrote:All pilots are of the Air Caste and have superior three-dimensional situational awareness to Human pilots and marginally higher acceleration tolerance.


And Imperial Armour Volume III: The Taros Campaign:

Imperial Armour Volume III: The Taros Campaign, pg. 194, 'Barracuda' wrote:All Tau pilots come from the Air Caste.


Imperial Armour Volume III: The Taros Campaign, pg. 198, 'Tiger Shark' wrote:All crew come from the Air Caste, giving them the natural advantage of superior three-dimensional awareness and tolerance for higher acceleration speeds, and more Gs in the turn, than a human pilot.


Imperial Armour Volume III: The Taros Campaign, pg. 202, 'Orca Dropship' wrote:The Orca is crewed by a single Air Caste pilot...


Underlined emphasis mine. Both works are seminal pieces and lay the groundwork upon which all other Tau background is built. More recent material also states atmospheric aircraft are the Air Caste's repsonsibility, such as the 6th edition Tau codex:

Codex: Tau Empire (6th edition), pg. 7, 'The Caste System' wrote:In battle, the Air Caste can rain death from the skies while crewing either skyborne attack fighters or bomber aircraft in support of the planet-bound Fire Warriors.


Codex: Tau Empire (6th edition), pg. 48, 'Sun Shark Bombers' wrote:... a source of bragging rights for the Sun Shark's Air caste pilots...


Codex: Tau Empire (6th edition), pg. 49, 'Razorshark Strike Fighters' wrote:[The Razorshark's seeker missiles] can be auto-fired by the Razorshark's Air caste pilot himself...


This is also why Tau aircraft models have always featured Air caste logos on them rather than Fire caste ones. It is possible that some piece of background material published later might contradict this (possibly in the FFG background), but if that is the case this would be the first I am hearing about it, and the majority of other sources still support Air Caste piloted atmospheric craft.

Edit: Ninja'd on some points.
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shasocastris
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Re: Tau Command/Rank Structure

Post#18 » Feb 02 2018 11:56

I love this thread and I'll add some points of my own.

In the original Apocalypse book from 2007, it notes the commander of an Armoured Interdiction Cadre as 'Shas'o Vionca Tau'er Daus' and has the note 'Crew within Command vehicles are believed to be of rank Shas'el and above." So the corroborates with the idea that there are actual tank commanders, which makes sense if one considers the AIC as a genuine cadre, different from a Huntre Cadre, but still requiring a commanding officer.

As for the ranks more broadly, I take most of my cues from the Taros campaign story line. Across an entire world, the only actual Shas'o was R'myr. This indicates that a Shas'o is a much rarer occurrence than we might expect. They are nothing less than those that hold the rank of General (whatever type) in modern armed forces. Every other commander that was mentioned was a Shas'el, each given various roles. As such, they seem to be the various Lt Colonels/Colonels that execute the various plans the general needs to execute.

The Shas'vre, as noted, are more difficult. They serve both as the role of middle officers (Captains/Majors) but also as bodyguards, which, from what I understand, can be of any rank in modern militaries as long as they have the right training. (They are also often civilians.) While I don't know any fluff to support it, I suspect that bodyguard Shas'vre are also shadowing their commander to learn what it is to command a Huntre Cadre. So it's sort of like a major both being a bodyguard and shadowing a colonel or general.

Fireblades are, in my opinion, high ranking NCOs. They generally don't command whole cadres, but oversee the efficiency of the infantry. As such, being something like master sergeant makes more sense than lieutenant.

I also think in this context, it's worth differentiating between shas'ui that lead fire warrior teams and shas'ui that command battlesuits. Again, I don't have fluff to support it, but I always felt that the battlesuit shas'ui were more trusted to handle the 'Hero's Mantle' whereas fire warrior Shas'ui hadn't quite proven themselves or were on the path to Shas'nel. This also raises the fact that Tau don't have the enlisted vs officer path, and so a lot of the comparisons don't necessarily cross over that nicely.

Cheers!

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