These following comments might be a little dangerous, as I don't have ILH-1 to hand (it being lent to a friend), but I personally have gravitated to the position that Warlord is very much an upper-echelon rank of considerable power. In such a paradigm, Warlords are not two a penny, but effective military and political plenipotentiaries in their spheres of action, the very military proxies and servants of the Emperor... who personally grants the rank.
The standing administrative bodies of the Lunar battalia are commanded by more honorary Warlords, who are perhaps even field commanders elect. Only in times of war are other Warlords appointed to command provisional and varyingly formed field armies from the Imperial Bodyguard, Provincial Army and Heartland, Cavalry, Hunter and Anirestyu Corps.
Again, IMHO, it is not otherwise a standing rank (except in certain special circumstances), but a position of authority granted in conflict by the Emperor to a higher ranking officer, who is to oversee a given theatre. Perhaps not too dissimilar to Dictatorial powers in some spheres: many rights of command in civil spheres in the theatre of ops, the right to select junior officers, aides and companions for a variety of subcommanding roles (exepting 'brigaded' units from the CoM and Sisters Army, probably), the right to appoint Feshori and grant Vexilla, etc.
This might very much lead to a situation where, pending the intrigues and jockeyings of the Ordenviru and various Associations, a Warlord uses his power to secure his own circle of lieutenants for a campaign: "Fazzur's Ring" if you will.
Therefore I wholly agree with Donald's points regarding varying authority and responsibility of subcommanders, but IMG at least the actual Warlord is a rarer creature. I favour a deflation of titlage and number in the Imperial Generality, keeping such for the very highest Imperial servitors.
Yet this creates a problem. Beyond Fereshori, there is no clearly defined mediate command level between the highest effective operational rank (be it Polemarch, Tribune whatever) and Warlord.
The question is "What comes inbetween?" I have no hang-ups with this, as I personally like a system wherein:
(i) there is no continuum between tactical regimental ranks, and
supra-regimental operational and strategic ranks.
(ii) name and imperial status is as much a rank and indicator of
responsibility as any military convention. When his realm of command is known, Jorad Sideburn will simply suffice, with no call for a 'general rank'.
(iii) as supreme plenipotentiary, the Warlord has the right to define
areas of responsibility for subcommanders, and appoint such. As effective plenipotentiaries of the Warlord, they are doing his, and therefore the Emperor's, will, and are obeyed accordingly. They have power through their warrant as a lieutenant.
I agree that such appointments need some kind of a name (something akin to Fereshori), but as we seem to have very active Warlords, there need not be a plethora of such individuals. I also favour functional and situational titles, with purely functional and situational authority -- Master of Horse, Master of Wagons, Commander of the Left Wing -- over and above conventional military ranks.
Though, again, I personally feel such would frequently be known by their names in most parlance, over and above some conception of rank.
I can understand that such might be confusing to some, especially to those unfamiliar with the rather curious military practices of many of our antecedents, and favouring of a defined military chain of command, or at the very least nominal ranks!
The above are just my thoughts, based on the Lunarcentric viewpoint, and can be modified by any manner of Solar etc. intrigue. Though ILH- 1 is expressive, the notes on the Imperial Army are not extensive. Consider the above to be nothing more than Stu considerably interpolating and reading between the lines.
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