STABSFELDWEBEL ROLPH SCHAEFFER, First Sergeant of the Kopftjägers
, and the most senior sergeant in the regiment, and known with affection as “the Spiess“.
To those who knew him, he was a living legend, a hero to the common soldier, but a constant thorn in the side of the officer class. To me, he was a terrifying figure, a hard-arsed
veteran of a thousand battles, who was also my protector, and, if the stories were true, the best-goddamned rough-and-ready Non-com in the whole Imperial Guard.
Schaeffer. The name has been heard before. But this was not the Schaeffer, the Peoples Hero that was the stuff of legends. When people think of Schaeffer, they think of Colonel Schaeffer, the bloodthirsty leader of the 13th Penal Legion, known as “Schaeffer’s Last Chancer’s”.
This Schaeffer, Rolph Schaeffer, was from a small village on the banks of the Sorperzee Lake on Jirmania Prime, and he was something else all together. He was a soldier’s soldier and leagues apart from Colonel Schaeffer, his namesake. He was as tough as steel spikes and twice as sharp. He was a rare and dangerous breed, a professional soldier through-and-through, a warrior from legends who walked the worlds today. He had an impeccable fighting record, unmatched, and second only to an Astartes.
The two Schaeffer’s did share many physical characteristics, in both height and build, and had probably shared similar experiences serving the God Emperor.
Nevertheless, Colonel Schaeffer would happily sacrifice a thousand lost souls in the blink of an eye, if it meant final victory. Rolph Schaeffer would do everything humanly possible to keep his men alive.
He was six feet tall, and very slim and gaunt looking. He had a drawn forlorn face that had seen too much war. He was the wrong side of forty, but looked far older, the twenty-five years service in the Imperial Guard, had clearly taken its toll on him. His skin was grey and had a leathery look, hardened by harsh weather and climate extremes.
You were immediately drawn to the black patch he wore over his right eye.
Schaeffer would not have an augmentic fitted and preferred wearing an old-fashioned eye-patch, which became his trademark.
He had lost his eye during a vicious close quarter fight with a Tyranid Hormaugaunt on Aspen 432. Schaeffer had killed the Tyranid warrior, but at a heavy cost. He lost the eye, and received multiple wounds during the encounter, which would have killed lesser men. His body was now a mass of scar tissue and metal plates.
Schaeffer wore the fallen Hormaugaunts teeth on a necklace made from some of its leg sinews. A priceless trophy and an obvious reminder to all, as to just how tough and lethal the man was.
He was an incomparable warrior, and a soldier of renown, but unlike other Jirmanic soldiers of the warrior caste, he refused to wear a beard or display any warrior rings to signify his status. He was always clean-shaven and immaculate in every way, the very epitome of a regular NCO. He remained aloof from most of the Jirmanic ways.
He never removed the heads of his fallen enemies, and never robbed the dead. He always treated his enemies with the utmost respect, even the xenos breeds. By leading by example, he tried to encourage his men to do likewise.
He was highly decorated and his dress tunic was adorned with medals and honours that he had earned from across the universe. Schaffer would barely give them a second glance, but a casual observer would be impressed, very impressed.
The Close-combat clasp in gold for 150 days of hand-to-hand fighting, the Jirmania-issued Infantry assault badge, the Wound Badge in gold, five Tank-Hunter badges in silver for the destruction of twenty-five armoured vehicles without the use of rockets or flamers. The Eban Emaal*
and Kuban Primus*
Campaign Shields along with the Lax System Triumph cuff title. Above these, and rare achievements in themselves, he wore the Ultimata Honorifica
and the Medallion Crimson
for the horrific injuries he had received. In battle, he only wore the Tyranid necklace and the Eban Emaal Shield on his arm.
The senior sergeant also carried a small, intricately carved hammer on his belt, an alien weapon that was produced on the Squat Homeworld’s. No one, except Dormagen perhaps, knew why he carried it. The hammer was another mystery that surrounded this living legend.
As far as anyone was aware, he had no kinfolk, and no family to mention. He hailed from the lake region in central Jirmania, but did not have a home, a place where his roots were. No one where he came from, a ghost.
He was one of the Teutons, the tribe-less mercenaries who roamed the planet, selling their services to the highest bidder. Men with no allegiance to any chieftain, clan or tribe.
His leaders, his officers, they all recognised his worth, and was offered a position in the Bodyguard Regiment
, the personal escort, to the Great War chief and the Imperial Commander, Adolph Haussar on Jirmania Prime. This was a great honour, and any warrior from the Bodyguard was held in great esteem in Jirmanian society. Schaeffer had subtlety declined the invitation, preferring to fight in a line-infantry regiment like thousands of others. When they offered him a commission, he turned that down without hesitation.
“I am my own man’, he would tell them ’and subject to no one except the God Emperor himself. Besides, I hate all officers”.
They never pushed it any further. They accepted him, and respected him for who he was… they could not do otherwise.
Schaeffer was a warrior-knight in the classic sense. His men loved him, and they would follow him through the Eye of Terror, if he led the way.
A 653 day siege, that finally lead to an Imperial victory
Epic land battle between Ork's and the Guard
* * *