High Colonel is the title given in the Imperial Army to the officer commanding a Battlegroup, as well as the title given in the Stormtrooper Corps to the officer commanding a Legion. In the latter case, "High Colonel" is the highest rank available to the entire branch.
A typical High Colonel had four regiments under his command, totaling just over ten thousand front-line troops, with the next highest rank being General. Such a command represented a significant military resource usually deployed for extended campaigns against organized enemies, although Imperial Army strategists did not consider it enough to undertake the conquest or pacification of an entire planet.
Behind the scenesEdit
The rank of High Colonel originates in The Imperial Sourcebook. Officers holding this rank are senior to the Lieutenant Colonels in command of Regiments but below the Major Generals in command of Corps; the Battlegroups which High Colonels command are said to be newly-introduced formations analogous to former Divisions.
Beyond this, there is no canon evidence for exactly how the position of High Colonel fits into the fictional hierarchy of the Imperial Army, and a number of options remain possible:
- A rank equivalent to a real-world Brigadier General (Nato Code OF-6) but treated as a field officer rather than a general officer. Real-life parallels include the British Army rank of Brigadier and its 1922-8 precursor "Colonel-Commandant", and the Swedish Army rank of Överste av första graden, currently being phased out in favor of Brigadgeneral.
- A full Colonel as opposed to a Lieutenant Colonel.
- An additional rank grade inserted on a level between Colonel and Brigadier.
- A title rather than a substantive rank, denoting an officer holding a battlegroup command. With regard to this possibility, it can be observed that in the Lords of the Expanse RPG scenario, Imperial officer Tessala Corvae is described as leading the 1st Tapani Assault Battlegroup, the level of command we might expect to find a High Colonel; although she is said several times to hold the rank of Major General, her RPG stats describe her as wearing a "Colonel's uniform".
- A title to distinguish a divisional command level officer without giving them flag rank. In the Stormtrooper Corps this would ensure that a Legion level officer in command of an Imperial Star Destroyer's Stormtrooper contingent would not outrank the ship's captain.
Considering that the Battlegroup is said in the source to be a newly-created level of command replacing the Division, it may be that the rank of High Colonel was created along with the formation; also, there is nothing to say that "High Colonel" was any longer-lived than the comparable rank of "Colonel-Commandant" in the British Army.
It is often said that the rank insignia for High Colonel consists of six yellow squares with a code cylinder worn on either side of the badge; but this is merely a popular fanon conjecture, apparently originating on the Imperial Insignia page at the Star Wars Technical Commentaries website.
- Galaxy Guide 3: The Empire Strikes Back
- Imperial Sourcebook
- Dark Force Rising Sourcebook
- Imperial Sourcebook, Second Edition
- Lords of the Expanse
- "Special Military Unit Intelligence Update"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 15
- Star Wars Galaxies: The Total Experience: Prima Official Game Guide
- Star Wars: Imperial Handbook: A Commander's Guide