Trope-a-Day: Putting on the Reich

Putting on the Reich: While the Imperial Military Service has been known to like peaked caps (although not in the current uniform), capes, trenchcoats, jackboots, eagles – well, the-local-animal-which-for-our-purposes-let’s-call-a-wyvern, actually, but any raptor gilded and put on top of a standard probably counts – lightning bolts, and calling rapid interface drop-troop legions stormtroopers because they fall from the sky with great speed and mighty thunder, it’s never even been within a couple of thousand light years of Those Wacky Nazis, okay?

No black, white and red, either. It’s mostly blue and gold, maybe some silver. And besides, they’re usually the good guys.  They just like to dress with some style.  (See also, Bling of War.)

Military Uniforms

Among the things I have finalized recently in my notes are the details of the field dress uniforms for the Imperial Legions and Imperial Navy, and since I have them all finalized and polished up as of now, I present them for your envisioning pleasure:

Field dress (Imperial Legions & Home Guard)

The basic field dress uniform of the Imperial Legions consists of the following elements:

Beret: The velvet beret is worn in branch colors (dark crimson and gold for the Legions, emerald and silver for the Home Guard), with the serviceman’s unit crest in front. Non-commissioned and warrant officers add a silver oak-leaf cockade, and officers a gold oak-leaf cockade, around the unit crest.

Tunic: The thigh-length tunic, belted at the waist, is also worn in the branch colors (dark crimson with gold trim, or emerald with silver trim), single-breasted, with a high stand-up collar to protect the wearer’s neck[1] and five brass buttons impressed with the Imperial crown-and-star. The front of the tunic actually overlaps completely – the inner layer fastens at the opposite shoulder to the outer layer’s buttons, thus doubling the protection over the wearer’s vitals, and making it impossible to slip a blade through the seam. It is worn over a double-layered silk shirt.

For rankers, brass collar-pins on the gorget patches also show the crown-and-star, whereas for officers they hold rank insignia, in silver for non-commissioned and warrant officers, and in gold for higher ranks. Rank insignia is also worn as a knot in matching cord on the left breast. Ribbons and knots for medals and other awards are worn on the right.

Runér, exultants, and praetors may wear certain insignia related to their associated rank and office on their tunics in accordance with service regulations; most typically, their family or personal arms may be worn on the left breast, adjacent to the rank-knot.

Detachable shoulder-boards are added to the tunic to show unit affiliation, on a black background for regular units, a crimson background for units designated as Guards units, and a gold background for units designated as Coronal’s Guards. The design on the shoulder-boards is the battle flag of the unit to which the legionary belongs, or the ship’s crest in the case of ship’s troops.

Sword-Baldric: The legionary sword (a teirian) is worn on a wire-reinforced braided synthetic leather baldric hung over the right shoulder to hold the sword at the left hip. The hanrian and sidearm, conversely, are worn on the tunic belt, at the right hip. The baldric also contains attachment points for grenades, replacement heat sinks, and powercells.

Breeches: The breeches, black regardless of branch, are worn tucked into the boots, and have piping to match the tunic’s trim, bordered with silver braid for officers, or gold braid for flag officers.

Boots: The high (mid-calf), glossy black boots have no buckles or snaps, and are made of internally-reinforced synthetic leather.

Cloak: In wintry conditions, a heavy wool cloak may be worn over the field dress uniform.

Special note: Heavy legionaries who do not wear the uniform when in the field wear instead a surcoat[2] over their combat exoskeleton in circumstances that would ordinarily call for field dress, bearing rank insignia, battle honors, etc., as the tunic does for conventionally dressed legionaries.

Field dress (Imperial Navy)

The basic field dress uniform of the Imperial Navy consists of the following elements:

Hat: Imperial Navy officers wear tricorne hats in the Navy’s silver-trimmed midnight black, a tradition inherited directly from its wet navy precursors. Naval tricornes bear the ship’s crest at front right, surrounded by a silver cockade, or a gold cockade for flag officers.

Unofficially, naval officers who are members of various IN internal societies and clubs may wear a variety of feathers in their hats to denote this, according to their own internal traditions, something broadly tolerated even on formal occasions.

Non-commissioned officers and men do not wear hats.

Shirt & Jacket: The single-breasted naval jacket, of black wool and leather trimmed with silver, is worn over a simple black silk shirt. Rather than buttons, it seals to itself along its edge, in a similar manner to many vacuum suits.

Since the naval jacket has a down-turned rather than a high collar, rank is indicated not by collar pins but rather by the arabesque-embroidered cuffs of the jacket, including either silver or gold rings to indicate basic rank, and colored rings to indicate departmental specialty. As with the legionary uniform, rank insignia is also worn as a knot in matching cord on the left breast; in the case of enlisted ranks, this knot surrounds the symbol of their rating. Qualified pilots (in the Flight Ops department) wear their wings above the rank knot. Ribbons and knots for medals and other awards are worn on the right.

Runér, exultants, and praetors may wear certain insignia related to their associated rank and office on their tunics in accordance with service regulations; most typically, their family or personal arms may be worn on the left breast, adjacent to the rank-knot.

The ship’s crest is worn as an embroidered badge at each shoulder.

Trousers: The trousers of the naval uniform are of heavy black wool. For officers, they have silver braid piping, or gold braid piping for flag officers. Sidearms are worn on the belt, as is the naval sword on formal occasions.

Boots: The naval boots are low, black boots, without buckles or snaps, made of internally-reinforced synthetic leather. They include soles designed to interlock with the gratings used in starship engineering sections, and magnetizable clamps for use elsewhere.


[1] A communication transceiver is often woven directly into the collar, into which a visor can be connected.

[2] A huge, long-sleeved tunic that fits over the armor and hangs to the knees.

Trope-a-Day: Bling of War

Bling of War: Except for the brief chunk of time that matched our Industrial Age, played mostly straight by the Imperial Legions.  Beforehand, for much the same regions as Napoleonic (and previous) armies were quite dressy – well, that, and the giant steam clanks stomping around on the battlefield – and afterwards because big stompy Powered Armor with both noise and the ensuring thermal and neutrino emissions tends to make stealth something that happens to other people anyway, so you might as well go back to looking gorgeous on the battlefield if you’re anything other than scouts or special ops (who sneakily enough do have their own “field drab” armor which somehow never shows up on parade).  And, of course, so long as the bling of war is on top of the fully functional deadliness of war and doesn’t interfere with its functionality.

This is, of course, completely unnecessary and not done by most people who advance past Industrial Age warfare – it’s just a local aesthetic preference.  (The trope – which is still generally true in their universe – that the side with the shiniest uniforms tends to lose therefore has at least one qualification to it.  That some people haven’t heard of said qualification and will fall right into the wrong assumptions isn’t strictly intended by the Admiralty, but they certainly don’t mind that it happens.)