I was musing on this recently. Classically, the Salamanders have seven companies, right?
Well, they also have seven cities. And each company is associated to a city. But the Firedrakes live on Prometheus. And the Firedrakes are the household guard of the First Company Captain, who also does the Steward job in lieu of actual Vulkan the Primarch.
And now the new(ish) Codex: Space Marines says things along the line of 'the Scout company live out in the mountains', when describing the seven cities before 'graduating' to become a Battle Brother in a sanctuary city-company. So, what? Is one city not associated to company?
Well, actually, that'd be two 'empty of Salamanders' sanctuary cities, because, as mentioned, the Firedrakes live on the moon.
But if we stick with the seven cities idea, that surely means we've got seven companies. And no hint of 'progression' between cities, just Scouts graduate to cities, and, somehow by the long turn of the years, Battle Brothers become Firedrakes. We know the Salamanders companies are more populous than normal, and that the Scouts are fewer. So, that begs the supposition: do the Salamanders have nine actual companies?
A weird First/Command/Household Company of Firedrakes, seven 'large' Sanctuary Companies and a Scout Company?
In any case, there's also a good question of the battle/reserve dichotomy between the non-Scout, non-Firedrake companies. Do any fulfil a reserve role? Or is the reserve company 'responsibility' usually rolled up into those extra squads that feature in the battle companies?
Given the revelations in Horus Heresy: Massacre about the Salamanders' early days, I'd be quite happy with the thought that 'normal' operations see the Salamanders continue to revert to their nature despite the codex - a preference for isolation, smaller forces and 'biting off more than you can [well, should] chew'? That way the Salamanders could operate as seven 'battle companies', which are actually smaller than most battle companies in terms of raw, battle company-grade battle-brothers. Instead, they also have one or two squads of 'reserve' quality squads, and potentially also some squads who actually do a lot more heavy lifting than any normal squad should do - e.g. non-First Company 'veterans'.
That certainly makes some sense, to me. It'd also be relatively appropriate if they nominally keep to the battle company format listed in the old Index Astartes (e.g. ostensibly 7 Tactical squads, 2 Assault squads and 3 Devastator squads). If that's replicated throughout the seven (or five) non-Scout, non-Firedrake companies, then there's plenty of scope for variation within how those actually manifest on the battlefield. Again, taking Massacre as a start, the division of 7/2/3 might be a bit of a a grading system - e.g. 30 Marines who can do 'no more' than Devastator/Scout/Vehicle/Centurion roles, 20 who can do Assault/Devastator/Scout/Vehicle/Centurion/Bike/Landspeeder and 70 who can do 'all of the above' as they need to. Then, day-to-day and battle-to-battle, the individual squads may very frequently retool and change 'outfit' much more often than most other chapters.
Well, it's just a thought.
Tl;dr- Seven cities for seven companies, but the Scouts live in the mountains and the Firedrakes live on the moon... so nine companies?
Edited by Xisor, 03 August 2014 - 01:50 AM.