A Platoon Commander is a junior officer of the Astra Militarum who commands one of the platoons of an Imperial Guard company. The Astra Militarum is a vast fighting formation and even basic troop movements can involve the mobilisation of thousands of men. For these operations to go smoothly the Imperial Guard has a substantial command structure. One of the first links in this chain is the Platoon Commander.
Platoon Commanders are known by a variety of official ranks and titles -- Lieutenant, Marshal and Shield-Centurion are just a few examples. Their role is to ensure the platoon fulfils its Company Commander's orders and gets the job done. Sadly, for every fresh-faced officer who bravely leads his troops against the enemy there is another who panics and falters in the heat of battle. These incompetent individuals are responsible for wasting countless lives and such ineptitude is quickly punished. Those who survive multiple encounters -- both with the enemy and the Commissars attached to their regiment -- are given ever greater responsibilities on the battlefield, and those who excel are highly valued. Where almost any lieutenant can be relied upon to simply herd infantry towards the enemy, senior officers turn to their most trusted Platoon Commanders to undertake more nuanced and vital missions -- gaining the high ground to outflank the enemy position or knocking out a heavily guarded shield generator so that artillery bombardments can commence.
While the Astra Militarum is vast in its size and reach, its constituent units do not have infinite resources or manpower. A single Guard company may face many threats across multiple fronts, stretching thin the organisational capacity of its commander. In such cases, a Platoon Commander with a proven record of success can be tasked with leading small contingents of soldiers without the supervision of his superior officer. Failure to adhere strictly to the parameters of the mission -- as dictated by the Company Commander -- is considered an act of insubordination, but otherwise the Platoon Commander is able to direct the soldiers in their charge as they see fit. Those who show exceptional cunning, unfailing determination and the appropriate amount of initiative in fulfilling their charge are often singled out as candidates for promotion.
Astra Militarum Platoon Command Squads
Like their senior counterparts, Platoon Commanders are often accompanied by a hand-picked Platoon Command Squad who help them fulfil their duties. The members of this entourage are typically amongst the most skilled and experienced Veterans in the platoon, and provide extra firepower and Vox support in battle. In addition, should there be doubts amongst the rank-and-file regarding the competence of a new Platoon Commander, these scar-faced soldiers help to maintain order -- if the Commissar doesn't do so first.
- 1 Platoon Commander
- 4 Veterans as Platoon Command Squad
- Flak Armour
- Frag Grenades
- Refractor Field
- Power Sword (Optional replacement for Chainsword)
- Power Fist (Optional replacement for Chainsword)
- Bolt Pistol (Optional replacement for Laspistol)
- Bolter (Optional replacement for Laspistol)
- Plasma Pistol (Optional replacement for Laspistol)
Platoon Command Squad
- Flak Armour
- Frag Grenades
- Laspistol (Optional replacement for Lasgun)
- Chainsword (For any Veteran who also takes a Laspistol)
- Vox-caster (For one Veteran)
- Heavy Flamer (Optional replacement for 1 Veteran's Lasgun)
- Regimental Standard (For one Veteran)
- Medi-pack (For one Veteran)
- Mortar, Autocannon, Heavy Bolter, Missile Launcher, Lascannon (Any two Veterans can take one of these weapons and form a Heavy Weapons Team on the Command Squad)
- Sniper Rifle, Flamer, Grenade Launcher, Meltagun, Plasma Gun (One of these special weapons is an optional replacement for 1 Veteran's Lasgun)
- Codex: Astra Militarum (8th Edition), pp. 38, 95-96
- Codex: Astra Militarum (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), "Infantry Platoons," "Troops - Infantry Platoon"