As might be imagined, there are a great many honors and medals of merit available to the Imperial Guardsman throughout the galaxy. Many are specific to particular worlds or campaigns, while others are Empire-wide. In this section we will confine ourselves to the medals and honors of valor won by the Lyubov 613th (the most recent of which were honorably won in the battles fought on the doomed world of Medusa V).
The Star of Terra
The Star of Terra is the highest military award conferred by the Imperium. It is awarded for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of one’s life far above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against any enemy of the Imperium; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign, alien or rebellious force. Because of the nature of its criteria, the medal is often awarded posthumously.
The Macharius Cross
Named for Macharius and awarded to Imperial Guard officers for tactical brilliance and unusual initiative, It recognizes the highest levels of military leadership ability.
Mere valor cannot win the Order of Macharius, it can only be won by spectacular success won by dint of strategic excellence in the face of an armed enemy.
The Honorifica Imperialis
The honorifica is actually a class of awards given to members of the Imperial military.The Honorifica Imperialis denotes individuals who has distinguished themselves above and beyond the call of duty and who represents the finest ideals humanity can aspire to.
The Honorifica Imperialis is awarded for valor in a specific campaign – the Honorifica of Iron Gate is pictured.
Merit of the High Lords
To be awarded a Merit of the High Lords is a rare honor indeed, bestowed upon the greatest of commanders – those whose valor is such that his name has been mentioned in the Chamber of the High Lords.
It is nicknamed the ‘double-edged sword’, as it inevitably means the individual who receives it will be under particular scrutiny from his superiors from that point onwards. He can expect to be assigned to the most horrific battlefronts by jealous superiors in order to pass on his wisdom and courage first hand.
Order of St. Ollanius Pius
St. Ollanius Pius is a legendary figure, said to be a Guardsman who sacrificed his life to save the Emperor during the Horus Heresy.
He is considered the patron saint of the Imperial Guard and his image is often displayed on regimental banners.
The winged medal of the Order of Ollanius Pius, bearing the golden face of an angelic youth, laurel leaves arrayed across his noble brow, represents one of the very highest honors a mortal man could earn in the service of the Imperium.
The Steel Aquila
A golden half-circle bearing a simple steel Imperial Eagle is one of the most prestigious medals awarded to combat personnel.
Often referred to as the “lunatic’s eagle”, the Steel Aquila is awarded to soldiers who, in the face of great personal danger, have triumphed over the enemy and returned in a condition fit for further active duty.
This award is never issued without good cause, and only the most spectacularly violent and impressive feats of personal valor will earn it.
The Iron Aquila
A simple iron Imperial Eagle is one of the most prized medals awarded to combat personnel. Often referred to as the “boring hero’s award,” the Iron Aquila is awarded to warriors who, in the face of the enemy, have triumphed and returned in a condition fit for further active duty by acts of valor that do not warrant the Steel Aquila.
This award is never issued without good cause, and only the impressive feats of personal valor will earn it
The highest award given to support personnel (such as tech adepts or members of the Collegia Psykologica), the Honorifica Mundanus denotes an individual who has distinguished himself above and beyond the call of duty and who represents the finest ideals humanity can aspire to.
The Imperial Laureate
An award born of the Age of Apostasy, this Laureate indicates a warrior who has effectively “won his laurels.”
Acts of valor leading to great victory are recognized with the Imperial Laureate. Only warriors who have won a laurel may bear the unit/regiment colors.
The Imperial Administratum awards this medal to units and soldiers who have fought bravely in the defense of personnel and property belonging to this esteemed and highly necessary, but vulnerable organization.
(Knight of Medusa shown)
A medal and honorific title awarded to officers of the rank of Colonel and above who led their regiments in 30 or more consecutive days of active combat.
Colonels are awarded the Knight’s Cross, Brigadiers are awarded the Knight Companion’s Cross, Major Generals are awarded the Knight Commander’s Cross, Lieutenant Generals are awarded the Knight Grand Commander’s Cross, Generals are awarded the Knight Master’s Cross, Field Marshals or Warmasters are awarded the Knight Grand Master’s Cross. Each award carries an equivalent knighthood.
The Merit of Terra
The Merit of Terra is awarded to soldiers who have voluntarily postponed their own demobilization. A bittersweet award, the Merit of Terra signifies that the bearer will be required to serve much longer than expected. However, it is a well-known sign of steadfast loyalty toward the Golden Throne.
All Imperial military personnel respect those bearing the Merit, and it is reported that even the Adeptus Astartes acknowledge the diligence and self-sacrifice that the award represents.
The Valoris Imperator
While this huge, solid gold medal in the form of an Aquilla is meant to be awarded to veterans who have served for 20 years or more, in recognition of long and steadfast service, it is usually only awarded postmortem to long standing veterans who have died in particularly unpleasant and Heroic circumstances.
There are however some rare circumstances where the medal is awarded to veterans who have served for 20 years or more, when such individuals perform unimaginable feats of survival from certain death situations where the individual later returns to active service.
On the back of the Aquilla there is an inscription in Imperial high Gothic that reads: “Imperator Gratia!” (“The Emperor Thanks You”).
The Medallion Crimson
Those men who survive grievous, life-threatening injury without losing faith or honor are often awarded the Medallion Crimson. As one might expect, the award is often made posthumously.
Bearers of the Medallion Crimson are rightly feared as mighty warriors and it is said it takes a lot to stop a warrior who has won the Medallion Crimson.
The Order of the Storm
A campaign badge awarded to soldiers who have been honorably wounded in battle. Unlike other Imperial awards, it is not required that a trooper be recommended for this award, he is entitled to it if he suffers a combat injury that requires the attention of a medicae officer.
The Order of the Storm depicts a pair of crossed lightning bolts over an Imperial Eagle.
Taking the form canvass insignia with a tripartite ribbon hanging beneath, the Ribbon Intrinsic is awarded to units rather than individuals.
It is given only to squads that have proven to be the linchpin for a victorious battlefront, where it the line fast and turned a defeat into a victory by determination alone.
The Golden Skull
This medal is awarded posthumously to those who fall in actions in which their units have suffered at least 66% casualties.
It is considered in every way superior to the Triple Skull, which is issued to those who survive such engagements
The Triple Skull
This medal is awarded to the survivors of actions in which their units have suffered at least 66% casualties.
It is considered in every way inferior to the Golden Skull, which is issued posthumously to those who fall in such engagements, although doubtless the recipients view it a little more favorably.
The Order of the Eagle’s Claw
Awarded to soldiers who have made landfall in the most perilous of landing zones and triumphed. Only those who have proven victorious against overwhelming odds in a fashion that has been witnessed by their superiors or Imperial Navy observers can earn this award.
Bearers of the Order of the Eagle’s Claw will often receive increased respect from Imperial Navy personnel, regardless of the soldier’s service arm.
It is rare for soldiers outside of Drop Troop regiments to receive this award, but it has occasionally been issued to Imperial units that have participated in mass orbital deployments (under fire).
The Order of the Scarlet Wing
A basic medal from the same group as the Order of the Eagle’s Claw, the Scarlet Wing signifies that the bearer has been injured but survived a battle in which he has participated in some manner of airborne assault. Injuries in such actions are commonplace, however, and veterans refer to receiving this medal as “getting your wings”.
Bearers of the Order of the Scarlet Wing will usually receive increased respect from Imperial Navy personnel, regardless of the soldier’s service arm. It is rare for soldiers outside of Drop Troop regiments to receive this award, but it has occasionally been issued to Imperial units that have participated in mass orbital deployments (under fire).
Commonly awarded to Officio Medicae personnel, it is awarded to soldiers who whilst actively engaged in a combat zone have successfully rendered medical aid to a wounded comrade.
The award is very common among veteran combat medics but it is not uncommon for valorous common soldiers to be awarded a Crimson Skull for saving the life of an injured comrade.
Campaign Awards are medals for participation in a specific campaign. They are awarded to all ranks, though officers receive a gold version. They are the most basic award a Guardsman could be awarded in any given campaign and have little intrinsic value except to those soldiers newly transferred to the regiment.