- "Men, we are the first, last and often only line of defence the Imperium has against what is out there. You and that fine piece of Imperial weaponry you hold in your hands is all that is keeping humanity alive. Most of you will probably not live to see your second year in the Guard and most of you will probably never see your homeworlds again, but I can guarantee you that when you do fall, with a prayer to the most high and mighty God-Emperor on your lips, you will have earned the right to call yourself a man!"
- — Staff Sergeant Vermak, 12th Cadian Shock Regiment
The Astra Militarum, also known as the Imperial Guard in colloquial Low Gothic, is the largest coherent fighting force in the galaxy. They serve as the Imperium of Man's primary combat force and first line of defence from the myriad threats which threaten the existence of the human race in the late 41st Millennium. It is comprised of countless billions of men and women -- hundreds of thousands of different regiments, supported by a vast array of light and heavy armoured vehicles that provide the Guard's primary offensive punch. The Astra Militarum are usually the first Imperial force to respond to a threat if a world's Planetary Defence Force (PDF) fails to suppress it. They also garrison major locations of strategic or cultural interest to the Imperium and are often found in defensive roles. Supported by legions of heavy armour and thundering artillery, the Imperial Guard fight a never-ending war for the survival of Mankind in an unrelentingly hostile universe.
The Astra Militarum is often referred to as the "Hammer of the Emperor" -- the sheer amount of force that the Imperial Guard can bring to bear on the enemy is devastating, but is not as direct or as precise as their Space Marine allies, who are described as the "Scalpel of the Emperor." There is no universal uniform or regimental command hierarchy in the Imperial Guard, although it is compulsory for every regiment to have at least one Commissar to maintain the discipline and morale of the men while watching for any signs of corruption or taint in the ranks. However, it is worth noting that a number of worlds copy the uniform used by the regiments of the Cadian Shock Troops, who are viewed as being the most effective of the Imperial Guard's infantry units. The main tactic of the Imperial Guard is to overwhelm the enemy with their endless numbers, while at the same time hammer them into submission with devastating artillery and crush them with powerful main battle tanks.
The origins of the Astra Militarum date back to the Great Crusade of the late 30th Millennium, when the Emperor of Mankind conquered the stars and forged the Imperium of Man. On the front line of this mission of expansion and reclamation were the Space Marine Legions -- the Adeptus Astartes -- the finest warriors humanity had ever created, each the equal of a dozen normal men. Despite their formidable battle prowess, the forces of the Space Marines were not limitless, and the relentless demands of building a galactic empire pushed the Legions further apart. Separated by countless thousands of light years, their presence became ever more scattered and dilute. The Emperor required more manpower to ensure the momentum of the Great Crusade did not falter, and so the Imperial Army was created, known in High Gothic as the Imperialis Auxilia.
The Imperial Army was a vital part of the expedition fleets sent out to claim the stars in the Emperor's name. Gargantuan numbers of brave troops -- millions growing to billions of men, ranks of armoured battle tanks and mighty armadas of capital-class starships -- were raised, all subordinate to the Legiones Astartes. At first, the Imperial Army was employed for garrison duties and to mop up resistance in the wake of the Legions' assaults, utilised where the back of an enemy was broken and Compliance to the Imperium required only a watchful presence. Eventually, certainly by the time the Crusade reached the Eastern Fringe of the galaxy, the Imperial Army was deployed at the forefront of the Crusade, fighting alongside the power-armoured super-soldiers of the Adeptus Astartes. But everything changed when the galaxy was ripped asunder by the treachery of the Warmaster Horus, triggering a cataclysmic interstellar civil war that engulfed the newly founded Imperium.
In the aftermath of the Horus Heresy, the organisational structure of the forces of the Imperium were revised significantly. To prevent the possibility of large-scale rebellion occurring again, the titanic armies of the Imperial forces were divided. The nine remaining Loyalist Space Marine Legions were split into Chapters. The Imperial Army, as it was, ceased to exist. The link between fleet and army was severed; never again would ground commanders be given direct control over interstellar warships. From its ashes were born the Imperial Navy and the Imperial Guard -- known officially as the Astra Militarum. The Astra Militarum was reorganised into planetary-sized units known as "Militarum Regimentos," which in turn were divided into smaller regiments. Commissars of the Officio Prefectus were introduced to ensure loyalty and discipline. The interdependence of the newly formed Imperial Guard ensured that, should a regiment turn against their oaths, they would not be able to spread their treachery beyond a single world, and should a Navy fleet mutiny then they would not have the ability to re-supply or deploy ground troops. The Imperium had learnt a painful lesson from the dark days of the Horus Heresy, one its rulers were determined never to repeat in the grim days to come.
- "When the people forget their duty they are no longer human and become something less than beasts. They have no place in the bosom of humanity, nor in the heart of the Emperor. Let them die and be forgotten."
- — Prime Edicts of the Holy Synod of the Adeptus Ministorum
The Imperium is vast on a scale incomprehensible to mortal man. Communication and travel between the glinting motes of this far-flung stellar empire are laden with risk. The inimical realm of the Warp provides the only conduit for interstellar movement or messages yet it also taints or temporally displaces much of that which plunges into its depths, confounding the Imperium's attempts at centralised control or unified strategy. On every border and every battlefront, humanity's worst nightmares press ever inwards, and are held at bay only through vast and constant sacrifice. In these dark times, warfare on a galactic scale is a matter of soulless, grinding logistics. Only the Astra Militarum can marshal the manpower to fight such a war.
The Imperial Guard fights punishing battles of attrition in which incalculable lives may be expended for each objective achieved. An Imperial Guard army must utilise the twin advantages of vast numbers and overwhelming firepower to annihilate its foes. Where xenos aircraft dance and weave with impossible grace, the Imperial Guard simply fills the sky with a thunderstorm of munitions from which no amount of aerobatic skill can save the foe. Where heretical bastions stand defiant, Imperial Guard commanders call down artillery bombardments that reduce all to rubble with their apocalyptic fury. The greatest enemy threats are torn apart in the crossfire of thousands of heavy weapons, or smashed aside by the gallant charge of hundreds of Imperial tanks. The enemies of Mankind may employ dark sciences or alien weapons beyond humanity's ken, but such deviance comes to naught in the face of honest human intolerance backed by a sufficient number of guns.
For all the might of its armour and artillery, the true backbone of the Astra Militarum is the countless waves of infantry who take to the field. The sheer scale of the battles fought by the Imperial Guard is dehumanising in the extreme. Entire regiments of brave warriors are reduced to statistics upon the scrolling screens of Imperial strategoes, grains of sand sliding through the fingers of greater and more privileged individuals. Yet every single company, every single squad, every single Imperial Guardsman who lifts their Lasgun and takes a stand in defence of their species, is crucial. Without a constant deluge of new recruits, the Imperial Guard would cease to function.
A battle may see the deployment of millions, yet time and again it is a single heroic company who carry their charge to secure a crucial gatehouse or pivotal objective. Squads of desperate men battle impossible odds, with nothing but their courage and faith driving them to hold the line while their valuable betters are evacuated to safety. Every day that the Imperium endures, Imperial Guardsmen stand in the face of beasts more hellish than their worst nightmares. Men charge screaming alongside their comrades into the mouth of hell, Lasguns spitting death at the foe even as xenos munitions tear bloodied holes in the human ranks. In a galaxy of never-ending warfare, what makes the perpetually outmatched men of the Imperial Guard so admirable is that they know near constant fear, yet they lift their weapons, plant their feet, and fight on regardless. Their lives may be short and brutal, their sacrifices insultingly thankless, but it is because of the Imperial Guard that the Imperium continues to weather the storm of these dark times.
Wars of Unification
During the turbulent era known as the Age of Strife, the Sol System and the nearby star systems that had been colonised by humanity during the Dark Age of Technology were effectively cut off from interstellar travel or communication with each other due to the massive Warp Storms that swept the galaxy. Little remained of the once sophisticated civilisation of Old Earth's glorious past as the centre of a growing human interstellar civilisation marked by advanced science, high culture and wondrous technologies. Techno-barbarian warlords and their warrior hordes continuously fought over the planet, which had become little more than a massive battleground for their wars of attrition. They made use of chemical, biological and even thermonuclear weapons of mass destruction, and slowly transformed the cradle of Mankind into a battered, post-apocalyptic wasteland across most of its scarred surface.
It was against this backdrop of oppression, violence and casual brutality that the Emperor of Mankind first revealed Himself to the people of Terra. In secret, He had been planning for this moment in history for millennia, ever since the Age of Strife had fractured what remained of the ancient human federation which had once stretched across a part of the galaxy. The Emperor moved to create the military organisations he would need to begin the reunification of Mankind, and He used the raw materials at hand after millennia of savage conflict between the techno-barbarian nation-states of Old Earth. Formed during the savage continental wars that had engulfed Terra in the Age of Strife, the genetically-enhanced warriors known as Genos comprised the first units of the force that would become the Imperial Army and would serve as the prototypes for the later development of the proto-Space Marines called the Thunder Warriors. Among the most well-known of the regiments composed of Genos were the so-called Strife Epoch regiments raised by the Emperor to initiate the Unification Wars intended to reunite all the warring peoples of Terra beneath His benevolent rule. The genetically-enhanced Strife Epoch regiments came to form the nucleus of the armed forces that would later support the even more genetically advanced Space Marine Legions during their reconquest of the human-settled galaxy. The Emperor began His conquest of Terra with the intent to reunite the warring techno-barbarian nations into a unified planetary government and then use Terra as the springboard from which to begin his reconquest of the galaxy under the aegis of an Imperium of Man dedicated to the Imperial Truth of progress and reason.
Foundation of the Imperial Army
The Imperial Guard first came into being during the Horus Heresy. Since those days, in battles beyond number, countless soldiers have forged a roll of honour so mighty that an entire continent of Terra is given over to its immortalisation. Yet every victory is but a drop in an unending ocean of warfare, for new threats assail the Imperium every single day.
The Imperium of Mankind was carved from the stars during the glorious centuries of the Great Crusade. The Emperor Himself fought at the forefront of Imperial expansion, supported by His mighty sons the Primarchs, and their gene-progeny the Space Marines. Yet even such illustrious and all-conquering heroes could only be in so many places at once. As the bounds of Mankind's conquests spread ever further outward, so the original Space Marine Legions were spread thin.
Rather than risk losing control of conquered worlds, the Emperor commanded that the Imperial Army be formed. Drawn from Imperially Compliant worlds, these formations appear to have originally comprised a collection of volunteers, mercenaries and the survivors of indigenous armed forces, and were little more than garrisons or peacekeepers. Each newly conquered or liberated world brought into Imperial Compliance during the course of the Imperial campaign was assessed and a census taken of its population. From this, the Emperor's administrators of the Corps Logisticae, the forerunner of the later Departmento Munitorum, calculated the tithe that each world was to pay in the form of regiments of soldiers and war materiel. The numbers of regiments raised from each world varied enormously in accordance with the size of each individual planet's population. Sparsely populated worlds would be tithed to supply only a handful of regiments annually, whilst the overcrowded Hive Worlds near to the Galactic Core would have to supply hundreds of regiments every standard year. However, the demands of the Great Crusade continually increased; by the time the burgeoning realm of humanity reached the Eastern Fringe of the galaxy, the Imperial Army was a fully-fledged arm of its war machine fighting on the frontlines. Imperial Army forces were self-contained and autonomous, possessing control of their own warships. Vast and sprawling, these potent fighting forces were commonly assigned to Space Marine commanders and could conquer whole worlds in their name. All this changed after the horrors of the Horus Heresy.
When the Warmaster Horus turned upon the Emperor, fully half of the Space Marine Legions turned with him. Compelled by loyalty, fear or personal ambition, so too did the majority of those Imperial Army forces under the Traitors' control. Millions upon millions of trained fighting men, possessed of their own dedicated armour units and interstellar transportation, were suddenly set at the nascent Imperium's throat. Worlds burned in the fires of orbital bombardment or were ground beneath the churning treads of countless tanks. Old scores were settled as formerly Compliant worlds turned upon those who had brought them enlightenment beneath the muzzle of a gun. One-time comrades fought tooth and nail amid the blasted rubble of Loyalist worlds as the Imperial Truth was torn down, replaced by heretical idols to ancient and malicious gods. The Traitor Space Marines were a terrible threat to the Emperor's domain, yet on every front of the interstellar civil war the situation was made worse by the countless warships, tanks and men of the Imperial Army's rebels.
In the wake of the resultant bloodshed, measures were implemented to ensure treason on such a scale could never again occur. The Imperial Army ceased to exist and the link between fleet and army was permanently severed. War in the depth of space would be the responsibility of the Imperial Navy, while any and all operations conducted on planetary surfaces would fall to the Imperial Guard. Commissars were introduced: men and women who were trained and indoctrinated as incorruptible watchdogs, arbiters of Imperial authority who would ensure the swift and public execution of cowards and malcontents. Shorn of their autonomy and watched closely for disloyalty, the newly renamed Imperial Guard were now a codependent organisation. Operations, structure and command were brutally compartmentalised. Trust and flexibility were sacrificed. Rebellions and insurrections against Imperial authority might be inevitable, but now they would be isolated, fragmented, and swiftly crushed.
The Imperial Guard have fought the Emperor's wars for ten thousand years, and for every hero immortalised upon a marble plinth, a million have died unmarked and unmourned. Yet never have the days been darker than now. Never have the Imperial Guard faced greater dangers than in this last terrible millennium. Never have they been needed more...
- 139.M41 The Gothic War - During the sprawling conflict referred to by Imperial strategoes as the 12th Black Crusade, Abaddon the Despoiler leads a vast horde of Traitors against the Gothic Sector of Segmentum Obscurus. Countless tides of Imperial Guardsmen are committed to the Gothic warzone alongside three whole Titan Legions and numerous Space Marine battlegroups. During the final Imperial victory at the Battle of Schindlegeist, the Elysian 234th win posthumous commendations for a suicidal boarding action that results in the scuttling of the Hades-class Heavy Cruiser Injustice.
- 216.M41 The Relief of Baudenvost - During fierce fighting on the world of Segrenstokh, Baudenvost city is surrounded by Khornate Chaos Cultists. Numbering in the thousands, this frothing tide hurl themselves against the Cadian Shock Troopers defenders again and again. The Cadians garrison every building and block the enemy advance with walls of Bullgryns, but the sheer maddened rage of the Cultists carries them through every crossfire and over one line of barricades after another until the Imperial forces look sure to fall. Yet relief arrives at the eleventh hour in the form of the Vostroyan 45th Regiment, who deploy Manticores and Deathstrike missiles to purge the foe en masse. The death toll is horrific, but Baudenvost is saved.
- 414.M41 The Crimson Ridge Atrocity - Angron, blasphemous Daemon Primarch of the World Eaters Legion, descends on the Hive World of Armageddon at the head of a mighty Chaos host during the often-forgotten First War for Armageddon. The continent of Armageddon Prime falls swiftly, yet Armageddon Secundus' battle lines hold strong, newly drafted regiments of Armageddon Steel Legion rallying around the stubborn defence of the Space Wolves Astartes. Ultimately Armageddon is saved and Angron banished, but millions of Imperial Guardsmen have already lost their lives. The cost of victory spirals higher as the Inquisition instigates a series of brutal purges to contain the knowledge of what has transpired from the wider Imperial population. Massed regiments are sterilised and confined to Imperial labour camps, and whole planets are exterminated to ensure the silence of some regiments. Segmentum Command are put to death en masse by their own Commissarial advisors, who then voluntarily submit themselves for Inquisitorial mindwipe. The final tally of lives lost during the First War for Armageddon is never disclosed, but defies easy calculation.
- 742.M41 The Damocles Crusade - The Tau Empire expands into Imperial space. Numerous worlds defect, initiating the protracted Damocles Crusade. Notable victories are won by the Brimlock Dragoons and dauntless Drookian Fenguard , whose sergeants wield huge ceremonial swords as they lead their men screaming into battle. However, after only three solar years, the encroaching Tyranid threat leads Imperial forces to withdraw, surrendering in only solar weeks the territory paid for in years of blood and toil.
- 745.M41 Unsung Heroes - The First Tyrannic War erupts as Hive Fleet Behemoth ploughs headlong into the Realm of Ultramar. The heroism of the Ultramarines in defeating this monstrous invasion is well documented -- yet they do not fight alone. Across Ultramar, the soldiers of over forty-seven regiments of the Planetary Defence Force join their masters in the defence of their realm. Ravening, nameless horrors are met by disciplined torrents of Lasgun fire, desperate men fight and die in order to buy the Ultramarines time to fight back, and the death-toll mounts with astronomical speed. Yet the sacrifices of these brave men remain unsung, and will stand forever overshadowed by the losses suffered by their masters.
- 755.M41 The Sabbat Worlds Crusade - The Sabbat Worlds Crusade is the largest military offensive since the Macharian Conquests. Under the leadership first of Warmaster Slaydo, and following his death the relatively young Macaroth, the Crusade wrests world after world from the foetid clutches of the Ruinous Powers.
- 762.M41 The Kato Campaign - The Catachan MXIV Regiment, the "Unseen Lurkers," led by Colonel "Steel Eye" Black, battle Orks of the Death Skulls klan on the Shadow World of Kato. Dire visibility and exceptionally rough terrain reduce the war to a never-ending string of bloody skirmishes that test the Catachan Jungle Fighters infantry to their limits. Neither side can gain an advantage until Sentinel teams locate and destroy the Orks Stompa factory, hidden deep in the Widow Valley. The Greenskins respond with an all-out final offensive but their attack is caught in the jaws of a series of Catachan ambushes, the coolly strategic Colonel Black dissecting and destroying the remaining xenos forces over three solar days of brutal bloodshed.
- 793.M41 Operation Solemnace - Five full regiments of Catachan Jungle Fighters infantry are requisitioned by Inquisitor Helynna Valeria for undisclosed operations upon the world of Solemnace, now known to be a Necron Tomb World. Though Inquisitor Valeria returns from her mission mere solar months later, none of the Imperial Guardsmen who accompany her to Solemnace are ever heard from again.
- 795.M41 The Krando Rebellion - The Cadian 23rd Regiment, "the Punishers," are instrumental in crushing a heretical uprising on Krandor III. Squadrons of Wyvern Suppression Tanks are deployed, their withering bombardments of shrapnel cutting apart the masses of tight-packed Chaos Cultists filling the streets. Casualties are high on both sides, for the cultists fight furiously, swarming the Loyalist defences time and again with tides of malformed horrors.
- 801.M41 Stormsurge - A momentary flicker of the Astronomican sees thousands of Imperial Guard troop-ships flung off-course. Many translate to realspace hundreds of light years astray of their destination, or decades out of synch. Countless others do not reappear at all.
- 813.M41 The Siege of Vraks - The Siege of Vraks was an Imperial miltary campaign fought over the course of 17 standard years to retake the Imperial Armoury World of Vraks Prime from the heretical Forces of Chaos led by the Apostate Cardinal-Astra Xaphan. Vraks was besieged by the forces of the Imperium of Man in 813.M41, after the attempted assassination by an agent of the Officio Assassinorum of the heretical and traitorous Cardinal-Astra of the Scarus Sector, Xaphan, failed. The Imperial Guard's 88th Siege Army was raised from line regiments of the Death Korps of Krieg to undertake the siege of Vraks and bring the renegade cardinal down in a campaign of attrition that the Administratum's Adepts calculated would take 12 standard years to successfully conclude. Overall command of the army and the Vraksian Campaign was given by the Imperial Guard's Segmentum Obscurus Command to Lord General Zuehlke, the son of a well-connected Imperial noble family from Segmentum Solar, who maintained his campaign headquarters on Thracian Primaris. The Zuehlke family's influence stretched across the higher echelons of the Imperial Navy and the Imperial Guard. His great-grandfather had once served as an attache to the Lord Commander Solar on Terra. Lord Zuehlke's qualifications for leading the campaign, apart from his social rank, were few beyond his martial upbringing and a detailed study of the Tactica Imperialis, but political pressure and a good family name yielded its rewards. At the conclusion of what became a 17-year-long campaign of attrition requiring 34 regiments of the Imperial Guard to re-take the planet for the Emperor of Mankind in 830.M41, 14 million Imperial Guardsmen had been lost and Vraks Prime's entire original population of 8 million souls had been consumed in the violence or exterminated after they fell to Chaos corruption. The world was then declared dead and "Perdita" by the Imperium and placed under an interdiction to cordon it off from the rest of human space as ordered by the Ordo Malleus' Inquisitor Lord Hector Rex.
- 853.M41 Krandor Overrun - The rebellion thought crushed on Krandor III rises once again. As the war escalates and the involvement of Traitor Space Marines is confirmed, the planet is deemed lost, and virus-bombed into oblivion by an Exterminatus action. Forty-two regiments of Krandorian Guard remain in service, deployed far from their homeworld. Learning of its annihilation, these regiments vow to exact revenge against the followers of the Ruinous Powers.
- 863-883.M41 The Saint Cyllia Aftermath - Nearly a full Titan Legion turns Traitor on Saint Cyllia's World, instigating a massacre of unthinkable proportions. The celebrated Knight Commander Pask successfully rallies elements of the Cadian 423rd and makes a break for the safety of Yggdrasil Spaceport. Pask and his forces score no fewer than four confirmed God-Engine kills during their escape, most notably the rebel Reaver-class Titan Oblivion 's Angel. Imperial forces finally encircle the Traitor Titan Legion upon the Planus Steppes, and Pask and the Cadian 423rd spearhead the largest armoured offensive since the battle of Tallarn, hoping to finish the Traitors once and for all. Over eight thousand tank companies and thirty-five super-heavy detachments are annihilated during the continent-spanning, year-long war that follows. With the support of three full houses of Imperial Knights, Pask's forces finally corner the surviving Chaos Titans in Shadowshroud Pass and destroy them one by one.
- 925.M41 WAAAGH! Grax - Orks in their billions descend upon the Ryza System. Regiments are raised from every planet within ten light years, including the worlds of Barac, Ulani, and Catachan. The expanding warzone, centred around the Forge World of Ryza, becomes a meat grinder as planet after planet is swallowed by the bloody conflict.
- 926.M41 The Dulma'lin Cleansing - A single regiment of Catachan Jungle Fighters warriors -- led by the bombastic Colonel Straken -- are the only survivors of planetfall on the world of Dulma'lin. The Catachans fight a year-long guerrilla war against Ork invaders in the subterranean depths of the planet's caverns. The decisive moment comes when Catachan scouts locate the Greenskins' city in a massive underground cavern known as the Mommothian Vault. Straken leads a handpicked team of demolitions experts into the heart of the Ork settlement, and is seriously injured when he drags Ork Warlord Killzkar into the path of a stampeding Squiggoth. Straken's men succeed in destroying the vault's primary support stacks and carry the Colonel's broken body to safety before the entire cavern collapses. Imperial reinforcements arrive two solar days later, led by a haughty Purbech officer, High Praetor Osh'preen. Taking complete credit for the cleansing of Dulma'lin, Osh'preen is awarded a thoroughly undeserved governorship of the planet while the men of the Catachan II Regiment are unceremoniously redeployed to the Ulani System.
- 927.M41 The Sentencing of the Hammeront IV - Daemons overrun the world of Fallax. Though its Guardsmen fight bravely in their desperate attempts to defend the civilian population, the Hammeront IV Regiment is lost to the last man against the hideous tide of Warp-spawn. Such is the Departmento Munitorum's administrative backlog that the Hammeront IV's demise goes unreported, and they are subsequently ordered to the liberation of the Abraxis Citadel on Prassium. When the Hammeront fail to deploy as ordered, the Departmento Munitorum charges the regiment with desertion. They are all posthumously sentenced to death.
- 928.M41 Osh'Preen's Reward - High Praetor Osh'preen's disastrously lax reign over Dulma'lin opens the way for an heretical uprising by the Slaaneshi Cult of Frantic Flensing. The Catachan II are the only regiment close enough to offer assistance but, thanks to a mysterious series of communication failures that bedevil the Catachans, Osh'preen and his corrupt planetary government are left to their remarkably horrible fate at the hands of the Slaaneshi devotees.
- 931.M41 Warmaster Brabastis' Triumph
- 941.M41 The Second War for Armageddon - Ork Warlord Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka, self -proclaimed prophet of the Ork gods Gork and Mork, invades the industrial Hive World of Armageddon at the head of an almighty WAAAGH! Commissar Yarrick, on Armageddon to assist in the founding of the 4th Armageddon Steel Legion Regiment, recognises in Ghazghkull a cunning and deadly foe. Ignoring Yarrick's warnings, Herman von Strab, the planet's foolish overlord, banishes the Commissar to Hades Hive -- far from the seat of the planetary government. The uncontrollable Ork assault sweeps von Strab's forces aside and only upon reaching Hades Hive do the surging tides falter before Yarrick's well-ordered defences. The momentum of the Ork onslaught bleeds away during the ensuing battle, Ghazghkull being out-smarted at every turn by the shrewd Yarrick. Though Hades Hive eventually falls to the Ork invasion, and Yarrick is grievously wounded by Ghazghkull himself, the Commissar's stoic defence succeeds in delaying the Orks long enough for reinforcements to arrive. Spearheaded by three Space MarineChapters, resurgent Imperial forces drive the Greenskins from Armageddon, forcing Ghazghkull to flee the world. Clinging to life, Yarrick is one of the few survivors found in Hades Hive and is lauded as the Saviour of Armageddon.
- 976.M41 The Ryza Escalation - A second, even larger Ork invasion smashes into the western sector of Segmentum Ultima. The resurgent WAAAGH! Grax is denied from taking key Forge Worlds by the staunch efforts of Imperial Guard regiments from more than twenty worlds.
- 992.M41 Creed's Triumph - Eldar forces attack Cadian holdings on Aurent. Ursarkar E. Creed implements a complex web of contingency plans and sealed, time-delayed orders coupled with psychic obfuscation provided by an entire coven of Primaris Psykers. Creed's tactical genius overcomes even the vaunted Eldar powers of prescience, securing an overwhelming victory by the Cadian Shock Troops at the very gates of Aurent's Hive Primus.
- 996.M41 The Tundra Wolves Unleashed
- 997.M41 The Devourer Rises - The twin tendrils of Hive Fleet Leviathan strike at the underbelly of the Imperium. Billions of Imperial Guardsmen are conscripted and deployed to face this new threat. Departmento Munitorum tithe-takers report a worrying number of worlds unable to fulfil their demands for manpower, leading several dozen Planetary Governors to face summary execution
- 998.M41 The Third War for Armageddon - On the day of the Feast of the Emperor's Ascension, fifty-seven standard years to the day after his first invasion of the planet, Ghazghkull Thraka returns to Armageddon. Ghazghkull opens the war by completely obliterating Hades Hive from orbit, a clear challenge to Commissar Yarrick. The "Old Man" returns to oppose the Ork Warlord, this time taking command of the entire world's armed forces. The Baneblade super-heavy tank Fortress of Arrogance is salvaged from the ruined world of Golgotha, and with it Yarrick leads the fight against the Orks. Though billions lose their lives, Yarrick stops Ghazghkull's hordes from overwhelming Armageddon's major hive cities and the conflict degenerates into a gruelling war of attrition. Ghazghkull himself is repulsed from the world and Yarrick pursues his nemesis alongside the Astartes of the Black Templars, determined to make the Warlord pay for the death and destruction visited twice upon Armageddon.
- 452.999.M41 The Fellguard Incident - The Fortress World of Kelthorn turns to Chaos, and dozens of Imperial Guard regiments are sent to quell the insurrection. The Cadian 39th Regiment assaults the planet's capital city, Fellguard, but are repulsed when daemons rise from the bloody mire to slaughter Guardsman and Chaos Cultist alike. Only when the Great Unclean One at their head is slain by Castellan Blakov's heroism does the daemonic tide recede.
- 757.999.M41 War Zone Damocles - Though the Imperium recovers numerous Tau-held worlds during the Zeist Campaign, these victories prove to be a distraction allowing Tau forces to overrun the defenders of the Hive World Agrellan. Unable to contend with previously unseen Tau Battlesuits of huge size and power, Agrellan's defence forces are driven from their world in short order. The planet's location as a gateway world to neighbouring systems renders this loss strategically disastrous. Segmentum Command escalate operations in War Zone Damocles, centred on Agrellan itself . Waves of reinforcements begin a desperate rearguard action to slow the Tau advance. Meanwhile, a mighty armada of Imperial warships departs for Agrellan, bearing over one thousand regiments of Cadian, Catachan, Elysian, Tallarn and Cthonol Guardsmen, several full Battle Companies of Dark Hunters and Exsanguinators Space Marines, and the Titans of Legio Absolutium. The hammer of Imperial retribution bears inexorably down upon the attacking Tau, its wielders determined to crush the upstart xenos once and for all.
- 992.999.M41 Night of a Thousand Rebellions - Countless rebellions erupt simultaneously across the breadth of Segmentum Pacificus. Despite the brave efforts of the Imperial Guard garrisons, even the supposedly secure strongholds of Enceladus, Darkhold and Minisotira are overrun. Panic spreads as Imperial contact is lost with large swathes of the Segmentum.
- 999.M41 The 13th Black Crusade Begins:
- 795.999.M41 The Dead Arise - In the sectors bordering the Cadian System, diseased Space Hulks burst from the Warp and drift toward core Imperial worlds. Though many are destroyed, some reach their destinations and the hideous Zombie Plague takes hold. Planetary Defence Forces are overrun as the dead vomit forth from heaving plague pits to consume the living. Apocalyptic religious cults arise, proclaiming the End of Days.
- 890.999.M41 The Storm Gathers - As madness and death spreads through the Cadian Gate, this outpouring of horror and zealotry echoes in the Immaterium. Warp Storm Baphomael expands rapidly into the Cadian System, bringing with it visions of burning worlds overrun by cackling daemonic hosts. The mysterious Cadian Pylons begin to resonate at an amplitude similar to that of a Gellar Field, and are found to be developing alarming hairline cracks. Outlying worlds including Dentor, Sarlax and Amistel are left blackened husks by mysterious raiders. On Lelithar a demagogue of terrifying power leads the faithful into heresy. Across the system, Planetary Defence Forces and Cadian Shock Trooper garrisons alike desperately attempt to quell the spreading rebellion.
- 975.999.M41 The Battle of Tyrok Fields - Increasingly concerned by the havoc spreading through neighbouring star systems, Cadian High Command orders a general muster on Cadia. Millions of Imperial Guardsmen are already assembled outside the city of Kasr Tyrok when the previously trustworthy Volscani Cataphracts spring a suicidal trap. Confusion reigns as the Traitors open fire upon their former comrades, slaughtering hundreds before any response can be coordinated. The intent of the Volscani's treason is revealed when they swarm aboard the Leviathan command vehicle of the Governor Primus, "Fortress Imperium." Though they fight hard, Cadian High Command are wiped out in a single stroke. At the darkest moment, Ursarkar E. Creed rallies the reeling Cadian regiments and orders the counterattack. Accompanied as always by his trusted second, Jarran Kell, Creed orders the 8th Cadian Regiment to link up with the 7th Cadian Regiment and advance towards the captured Leviathan. Kell is wounded when he intercepts a las-round intended for Creed but refuses medical attention and continues onwards. In an impressive feat of military coordination, Creed utilises artillery cover to scatter the Traitors and bring down the Fortress Imperium 's Void Shields mere moments before his charge crashes home. The Leviathan is soon recaptured, the colours of the Cadian 8th flying proudly from its command deck. Shortly after, Ursarkar Creed is appointed "Lord Castellan of Cadia" and the Cadian 8th is renamed "The Lord Castellan's Own" in his honour.
- 976.999.M41 Bracing the Gate - Now convinced that an attack by the Forces of Chaos on an unprecedented scale will soon fall upon the Cadian Gate, Ursarkar E. Creed takes what steps he can to prepare the defences. Though heavy with portents of doom, the Emperor's Tarot is consulted time and again in the hope of gleaning insight into the movements of the foe. New fortifications are raised across Cadia and her surrounding worlds. Astropathic choirs begin broadcasting a deafening call for aid. Though it incinerates the minds of countless psykers, Creed orders that Cadia'ss distress call must ring ceaselessly through the Warp. The Munitorum respond with uncharacteristic speed, mobilising vast forces, but with aid solar weeks away at best the defenders of the Cadian Gate must stand alone.
- 994.999.M41 First Blood - Cadian High Command sends a force of Tempestus Scions out to the very edge of the Eye of Terror in an attempt to gauge where the first blow will fall. Making planetfall upon the benighted world of Urthwart, the expeditionary force finds no sign of life until it breaches the primary planetary shelters. As the vault doors swing open, a billion moaning undead Plague Zombies spill from the darkness. Meanwhile, in orbit, a vast Traitor armada thunders from the Empyrean, its vanguard elements completely annihilating the expedition's transports in an inescapable storm of plasma-torpedoes.
- 995.999.M41 The Great Eye Opens - Abaddon the Despoiler's armada blots out the stars with its sheer volume; mutants and Heretics pour from the Eye of Terror in numbers beyond count. Despite being overwhelmingly outnumbered, Imperial Navy forces under Admiral Quarren do what they can to stem the tide. Quarren's fleet fights with nobility and distinction, but the heavy toll they exact upon the foe is as drops in the ocean. Forced to disengage, the survivors limp back to Cadia as harbingers of the oncoming storm. Abaddon's forces arrive just hours after Quarren's, the sheer fury of their attack setting the Warp aboil. The skies of Cadia fill with fire as twisted landing craft descend like clouds of flies, and invaders in their millions spill onto the surface. Yet a sliver of hope remains, for Cadia's defenders know that Space Marines, Titans, and unnumbered regiments of Imperial Guardsmen are rushing to their aid. Lord Castellan Ursarkar E. Creed defends his world with a strategic brilliance not witnessed since the days of Macharius, and rumours begin to spread that the Lord Castellan is preparing some as-yet unguessed masterstroke. Whatever the truth, all know that they must fight to the bitter end with no thought for themselves. If the Cadian Gate should fall, then the unbridled fury of the Warp will spill forth into the Imperium, sweeping all of Mankind away in a tide of horror and madness.
Bureaucracy of War
- "There are those who raise their voices in anguish and sorrow for the plight of Mankind. Such faithless folk wail of an end to all days, of a final damnation for us all. I say to you, these fools are wrong! Liars, I name them, heretics and sayers of doom. Listen not to such heathens my brothers, for these are glorious days. Rejoice, for all may stand and fight for a truly righteous cause and any man -- no matter how humble -- can earn everlasting glory through martyrdom in the Emperor's sight."
- —Confessor Huldwyn Before the Black Creek Massacre
Chain of Command
The tenets of centralised Imperial strategy are set by the High Lords of Terra themselves. The Lord Commander Militant passes on the dictates of this august gathering to Segmentum Command, who in turn hold responsibility for operations within their own designated regions of the Imperium. In practice, the distance and scale involved in the Imperium's wars render such centralised command elements little more than out of touch figureheads. Tales abound of Astropathic messages being received wildly out of sync with the events to which they pertain. During the infamous War of Foretelling, the Vonost System faced a questing tendril of Hive Fleet Leviathan. Despite initial successes, Imperial efforts were crippled after temporal distortion caused all of Segmentum Command's orders for the entire war to arrive in a single, garbled message. Compelled at gunpoint by the hidebound Commissar Teitzin to follow their orders to the letter, Segmentum Command's strategy fell apart in horrific fashion and Vonost was lost in less than a solar month. Were frontline officers to await and obey the word of their remote superiors in all matters, Mankind would be swiftly overrun.
Instead, the practicalities of command fall to the officer of highest rank in any given Imperial theatre of war. Though assigned the Munitorum rank of General, native honorifics such as Lord Marshal or High Chenzin are often maintained. These officers are supported by a cadre of loyal personnel who between them comprise localised high command. Individual generals vary enormously in their approach, some coordinating their forces from well behind the lines -- possibly even from low orbit -- while others take to the field amid dedicated retinues of bodyguards. Surrounded by the chatter of Servo-skulls, the whispering scratch of auto-quills, and the barking voices of subordinates, wreathed in the reek of Promethium-smoke and holy censers, these men direct their mighty armies to victory in the Emperor's name
There are very rare circumstances in which a higher level of command is necessary. In these times, the rank of Warmaster is bestowed upon a mighty and brilliant leader. This rank can only be conferred with the express consent of the High Lords of Terra, and such an individual is said to wield authority second only to the Emperor Himself. Several centuries can pass without a Warmaster being appointed and, because of the unrivalled power of the position, there is never more than one in existence at any one time. Due to the stigma associated with the title thanks to the deeds of the Arch-traitor Horus, it is not uncommon for other titles to be used in place of Warmaster, such as "Lord Solar." Such men lead star-spanning Imperial Crusades, or else the defence of entire Imperial Segmentae.
Even the humblest Imperial Guardsmen outrank their counterparts who serve in the fighting forces of their homeworld, the Planetary Defence Forces or PDF; indeed, many veterans look down on those regiments whose only duty is to defend their own planet. These forces are perceived by some Guardsmen as having little combat experience. This is, of course, far from the truth, for the Imperium of Man is beset on all fronts. The relentless raids of pirates and encroachments by aliens are continually opposed by every planet's own military forces. Standing firm in the face of brutal horrors, these brave PDF soldiers fight and die just as well as their comrades in the Imperial Guard, but without the glories and honours won on distant worlds.
In theory, the Lord Commander of a Segmentum gives orders to various Sector officers, who in turn relay commands to the individual Militarum Regimentos. In this way the wishes of the High Lords of Terra are enacted by the Departmento Munitorum. In practice, the immense distances and delays in communication between worlds often makes a mockery of such procedures and the sheer scale of the Imperium prevents any meaningful central governance. Operational control of an army group is therefore assumed by a high-ranking Militarum Regimentum officer, such as a General, "High Marshal" or even "Lord Hetman," who assumes responsibility for the completion of their given duties. This might be the initiation of a solar-decade-long conflict to cleanse a star system of savage Greenskins, or it could involve the protection of adamantium mines or Promethium refineries from pirate raids. Just as common are military recolonisations of planets lost from the Imperium's fold. Whatever the task, the commander of an army group is responsible for the deployment and application of all resources at their disposal -- innumerable waves of infantry companies, ranks of battle tanks, batteries of artillery weapons, and a host of other tools of war.
Some commanders are hungry for glory and honour, establishing front-line headquarters and personally leading their men in battle. Banners and pennants proclaiming the officer’s many deeds are carried by his entourage, emboldening his troops and filling his enemies with trepidation. Others consider their abilities far too important and valuable to be exposed to front-line conflicts. Surrounded by a host of advisors, data-globes and parchment-bearing Servo-skulls, they direct their forces from the relative safety of an orbiting starship, a Proteus-class battle bunker or a lumbering armoured command vehicle.
While strategic command is vital to Imperial Guardsmen in the field, the true foundation of the Imperial war effort is the Departmento Munitorum, also known as the Adeptus Munitorum. The military arm of the Adeptus Administratum and the general staff of the Imperial Guard, the Munitorum is a galaxy-spanning logistical monster. Within the vast mechanisms of the Munitorum's relentless bureaucracy, individual men and women are reduced to the most miniscule of cogs. It is a mammoth organisation responsible for the distribution of all the Astra Militarum's resources. Perhaps its most important function concerns the monitoring of Imperial Tithes and the raising and transportation of the Astra Militarum between war zones -- for which it liaises with the Imperial Navy. Without the Adepts and scribes of the Departmento Munitorum, the vast armies of the Imperial Guard would stagnate, and calls for aid would go unanswered. The mighty war-fleets of the Imperial Navy would not intercept enemy invasions, the armies of Mankind would never push back the relentless attacks. Slowly but surely the isolated worlds would fall, and the Imperium would ultimately be lost.
Despite its vital significance, the Departmento Munitorum is at best an unwieldy organisation. A plea for military aid may not be acted upon for solar months, standard years or even solar decades after it has been received. Such requests typically make their way through countless Adepts before finally reaching the hands of one who can sanction suitable action, sitting at a dimly lit pulpit-station many hundreds of light years away. A battle group consisting of over a dozen regiments from Mordant and Tremert was raised to eliminate unknown xenos forces on the planet of Hurspraxia, only to arrive over a Terran century too late, finding a lifeless world with no trace of survivors. Organised at the sector and sub-sector level, every echelon of the Departmento Munitorum has enough autonomy to respond to problems within local star systems. With the vagaries of Warp travel and communication, this is essential. Their smaller size allows the individual sub-sectors to respond to emergent threats more quickly and as such, when one comes under attack, an army group is formed from the regiments of all worlds in the local star systems.
When raising an army group, the Departmento Munitorum is responsible for munitions, supplies, recruitment, training, and support both medical and technical. The methods by which Imperial forces accumulate are haphazard at best; many thousands of troops from dozens of regiments across several worlds are raised and directed to the appropriate war zone. The unpredictable nature of the Warp and the inherent dangers of interstellar travel are such that it is not unusual for entire regiments to be lost or even destroyed in transit. Some may be delayed by the ravages of Warp Storms or appear from the Immaterium many thousands of light years from their destination. That sufficient troops and equipment arrive at a crisis point is only because of the sheer mass of manpower, weapons and vehicles despatched by the Departmento Munitorum in the first place.
The remit of the Departmento Munitorum is to ensure that all the material needs of the Imperial Guard are met. From administrating recruitment tithes to overseeing the collection and disposal of slain soldiers, the Munitorum organises and provides for almost every aspect of life in the Astra Militarum. The rations in an Imperial Guardsman's pack, the Lasgun he fires and the power-packs it consumes, the bandages and tinctures with which his wounds are treated, and the liquor rations with which he dulls the horrors of each battle, all of these are Munitorum-issue. From cultural readjustment to dogmatic primers and nutritional supplements, the Munitorum reaches into every aspect of a Guardsman's life with the intention of ensuring that he performs in battle to the best of his ability. So too is it the remit of the Departmento Munitorum to assess any claim that a war zone is beyond the capacity of currently deployed Imperial forces to secure; no demand for reinforcements can be made through official channels without Munitorum approval stamped in triplicate.
The Departmento Munitorum has a presence on every Imperial world from which regiments are raised. Yet it would be a mistake to believe that with such proliferation comes intelligent application of labour. The Munitorum is a bloated, unfeeling organisation to which quotas are all, and proper process in the face of desperate demand is the highest form of service to the Emperor. With trillions of souls engaged at monotonous and little-understood administrative tasks every day, errors are common and rarely rectified. A mistaken stroke of an ordinator key may denote, to a lowly menial, nothing more important than a misplaced zero among three hundred pages of tight-packed binary code. Yet that same erroneous character, once fully processed, may send whole regiments to their deaths. One wrongly filed form or incomplete requisition order may see an entire army issued the wrong ammunition, or divert vital reinforcements into the deepest gulfs of space. Paperwork stacks as tall as hive city habblocks are processed by armies of scribes in mindless, methodical order, with routine reports often taking precedence over desperate cries for help by simple dint of their chronological order of receipt.
It is a testament to the sheer size of the Imperial Guard -- and to human courage and ingenuity -- that they are able to absorb the Munitorum's frequently disastrous errors only to emerge victorious. Yet for every regiment that overcomes such adversity, another finds itself deployed to inimical environments without vital survival gear, or sent into battle against overwhelming or nonexistent foes.
Every world within the Imperium is ruled over by a Planetary Governor or Imperial Commander. Whether such men and women inherit their title by blood or are awarded it for some great service in the Emperor's name, their responsibilities are the same. These Governors are afforded absolute authority to rule their realm precisely as they see fit. In return, however, each Governor is beholden to the wider Imperium, expected to ensure that a set of key responsibilities are fulfilled without fail. Each Governor is responsible for the day-to-day defence of his or her own realm, for the Imperial Guard cannot be deployed to handle every brush-fire war, piratical raid and minor incursion. To combat such threats, Governors are expected to raise, train and equip their own Planetary Defence Forces to safeguard their holdings. Fortifications must be raised, manned and maintained, the skies must be watched, and the populace must be carefully monitored lest the outer dark creep into the hearts and minds of loyal Imperial citizens.
Perhaps most importantly, there is the Imperial Tithe. Based upon archaic criteria assessed by Munitorum officials, each world of the Imperium must provide one tenth of its total military force to fight for the Imperial Guard. It is an offence punishable by death for a Governor to supply substandard soldiery when the Tithe is exacted, or to provide insufficient numbers. Furthermore, it is a capital offence should these soldiers lack proper uniforms, sufficient training, or appropriate levels of genetic purity. For these reasons, though some worlds recruit by caste, population density, geography or even lottery, most Planetary Governors are given to pouring their best men into such regimental foundings. This is less out of a sense of altruism or duty than it is an ongoing effort of self-preservation. Nonetheless, on many worlds it is a matter of some honour to be chosen for this duty. Indeed, it is not uncommon for lives to be lost in the fierce competitions that the Tithe often spurs. In a few rare cases, such as the Bardellan Wars of Proving or the Charon's Cluster Schism, localised wars can even be triggered in the lead-up to the solar month of tithing. Planetary authorities are normally quick to crush such counterproductive disputes, fearful of the concurrent waste of tithe-grade manpower and the apparent loss of control in front of Munitorum officials.
In times of great peril, the Departmento Munitorum is permitted to call upon Planetary Governors to raise quantities of forces substantially above their normal tithe. Such measures can see entire cities or continents all but emptied, or key societal strata removed en masse. When the Imperium demands its pound of flesh it is not within a Governor's rights to refuse, and each knows that next time it could so easily be his world that requires the protection of the wider Imperium. Only through compliance with the Tithe can such security be guaranteed, for only worlds of proven loyalty may rely upon receiving Imperial aid when their own defences prove insufficient. Isolated human worlds will not long survive in such a harsh galaxy, and the Munitorum's most economical recourse to punish rebellion is often simply to cut a world loose from the Emperor's protection.
Every Imperial Commander in the Imperium, also known as a Planetary Lord or Imperial Governor, is responsible for the defence of their world. This is crucial, as a planet may need to defend itself against the predations of myriad nefarious enemies for many solar months, or even standard years, before reinforcements arrive. To this end, they are duty bound to recruit, equip, train and maintain a fighting force. On some planets this may take the form of an official military or a garrison force like a standard Planetary Defence Force. On other worlds the duty to defend their world may fall to dozens of separate armies, tribes and hive city gangs, some of which may even be warring factions who unite to oppose an invading foe. In any case, these forces are unlikely to ever leave the confines of their homeworld.
Each of these forces is an individual body within the wider Astra Militarum -- a separate Militarum Regimentum. They are free to defend their own world and enforce their own laws as long as these do not conflict with those of the Imperium, and so long as they pay their tithes. A part of the annual tithe that Imperial Governors must fulfil is to send one tenth of their overall fighting force, or more if the Departmento Munitorum deems it necessary, to fight the Emperor's wars throughout the galaxy. The exact number of regiments that are to be raised for the Astra Militarum will depend upon the individual world's Tithe Grade and its proximity to hostile war zones. For a Hive World such as Armageddon, caught in the throes of an all-consuming war, a draft of at least a hundred million men at arms and several million armoured vehicles is typical -- a tiny fraction of the total populace which numbers in the hundreds of billions. A far-flung Agri-World may have a significantly lower military tribute -- perhaps as few as five million men and cavalry -- but this may be a significant proportion of that world's population. In any case, should a tithe be of an unacceptable quality, the Imperial Governor's life is forfeit. For this reason, those soldiers selected for the Astra Militarum tend to be drawn from the elite of a planet's troops.
Methods of recruiting vary from world to world. On the Death World of Catachan, every man, woman and child is expected to serve in the regiments of the Catachan Jungle Fighters and, by extension, the Astra Militarum. On seething Hive Worlds such as Alcatran, it is common for entire generations to be drafted and sent to fight on distant worlds, the indentured gangs given the choice between volunteering or summary execution. On many planets service in the Imperial Guard is seen as noble and brings much honour to the ruling houses. Many young hopefuls, especially on Industrial Worlds and factory planets, flock to the world's military forces in the hope of being found worthy of the Imperial Guard -- often the only chance of escape from their claustrophobic existence and endless work shifts. It is not unusual for the elite warriors of a planet to compete for promotion to the Astra Militarum. On some of the more savage Frontier Worlds, these competitions can escalate into affairs that claim as many lives as a small war.
Upon their initial founding, regiments are identified by the name of their homeworld and a number -- for example, the Cadian 144th is the one hundred and forty-fourth regiment to have been raised on the lost Fortress World of Cadia. It is not uncommon for a regiment's number to be recycled following its destruction, a new raising taking the designation of their predecessor. In this way the regiment is re-founded, the new recruits tasked with upholding its honour and traditions. Indeed, the Vintor 823rd serve the Emperor to this day, despite having been wiped out on more than nine different occasions in the span of a single solar decade. In addition, regiments are often given unofficial names, either inherited and therefore part of tradition, or else earned on the field of battle. For example, the Catachan VII "Catachan Devils" Regiment take the name of the apex predator from the lethal jungles of their foetid Death World, whereas the 8th Cadian, "The Lord Castellan's Own," honour the exploits of their former commanding officer, Lord Castellan Ursarkar E. Creed.
The uniforms and specific armaments of the different Militarum Regimentos change dramatically from world to world. Upon their raising, each regiment is equipped in the manner of their homeworld, each newly inducted Imperial Guardsmen issued with the same style of uniform and weapons as those of their fellow soldiers. Troopers may go to war in full battle-dress or little more than primitive armour and tribal tattoos. The only universal piece of equipment common throughout the entirety of the Astra Militarum is the Lasgun. This weapon is cheap and easy to manufacture, extremely reliable and simple to maintain. The Lasgun is therefore ideally suited to arm the massed armies of the Astra Militarum.
From the greatest crusading armada to the smallest watch-tower garrison, Imperial Guard armies are composed of a mixture of distinct regiments. These basic units of organisation have not changed since the aftermath of the Horus Heresy. Each regiment is raised from a single world, its personnel bringing with them their native dialects, uniforms, customs and loyalties. However, any indigenous military structure is exchanged for the Munitorum-enforced standard. Internal politics, grudges or debts are -- for the most part -- ignored and allowed to fester so long as the morale and performance of the regiment is not affected. That said, the regiment's attached Commissars will gun down without compunction any who put their own personal vendettas before the wider cause of the Imperium's wars.
Each Militarum Regimentum comprises multiple regiments, all of which come from the same planet. Because of the shared culture and fighting styles of regiments sourced from a single world, soldiers, officers and even officials of the Departmento Munitorum often interchange the term "Militarum Regimentum" and "regiment," referring to all Guardsmen from Cadia as being from the "Cadian Regiment." On their homeworlds, the forces who serve to defend the planet may have been split into battalions, divisions, cohorts, militia groups, geno-corps and a host of other formation names and compositions, but in the Astra Militarum these are all different types of regiment.
Although there are many different classes of Astra Militarum regiment, each one is largely uniform in its tactical composition. Infantry regiments, for example, are unlikely to contain much or any heavy artillery, whilst tank regiments contain little or no infantry. Success requires Astra Militarum regiments to work together. Whilst this interdependence may at first seem like an inherent weakness, it is a necessary precaution. Should a regiment rebel against the Emperor, the Traitors will not have access to the supporting units needed to prosecute a full-scale war. When the Ocanan 15th declared its allegiance to the Ruinous Powers of Chaos it had little in the way of either heavy armour or artillery support and was unable to compete against the "combined arms" forces of the Cadian 17th Armoured and Elysian 110th Drop-Troop Regiments sent to eliminate them.
Regiments are typically raised with a strength of several thousand soldiers but the precise numbers can vary enormously. The Valhallan 18th "Tundra Wolves" consists of over one hundred and twenty thousand men whilst the Vostroyan 24th "Iron Bloods" Armoured comprised less than one and a half thousand tank crewmen. Regiments of Baneblades and Shadowswords, each an armoured behemoth capable of laying waste to a small army by itself, rarely consist of more than a dozen super-heavy tanks. The basic principle held by the Departmento Munitorum is that regardless of the number of men at arms or the exact composition of armoured vehicles, the overall fighting strength -- and hence combat effectiveness -- of one regiment is equivalent to any other. This is clearly a gross oversimplification but a necessary one when organising wars on a galactic scale.
Some planets are able to raise a variety of regiments. Cadia or Armageddon, for example, are huge worlds embroiled in seemingly endless wars whose populace are given ample opportunity to train in various aspects of warfare. By comparison, other worlds take great and often justifiable pride in their reputation for training a specific kind of regiment to exceptional standards. The pale-skinned, dark-eyed stealth infantry of the Night World Prometheron or the clockwork discipline of the Kalatian artillery brigades are excellent examples of this. Feral or Feudal Worlds, on the other hand, often provide only infantry or Rough Rider regiments, thus circumventing a huge potential culture shock.
Leadership at company and regimental level is a duty assigned to officers recruited from the same world, and normally from the same founding, as the regiment they lead. This practice ensures that local planetary nobles are placed in charge of those culturally disposed to offer them deference; officers stay with the troopers they have spent solar months or Terran years training, and disruption to regimental morale is minimised. These officers will be supported and observed by regimental Commissars, attached during their founding by the Munitorum. These men and women must look to their regiment's morale and loyalty above all else, and will take any measure -- no matter how extreme -- to ensure the troops do not disgrace themselves, whether on or off the field of battle.
Astra Militarum regiments are divided into several companies according to a complex set of templates detailed in the Tactica Imperium, each placed under the command of a senior officer. The number of companies in a regiment depends upon the type and size of the forces at the commander's disposal, but may consist of as few as three or as many as twenty. Companies are themselves organised into several platoons, typically between three and six. Platoons are typically comprised of a Platoon Command Squad and several ten-man Infantry Squads -- the most numerous of the Imperial Guard's forces.
Support units, such as heavy weapons platoons and much-valued specialist units, such as battle tanks, artillery, Rough Riders and Abhuman squads, may be attached to a company for a single battle or the entire duration of a campaign. These are rarely permanent additions and are attached as needed by the regimental commanders. It is a common practice, especially amongst armoured and artillery regiments, to break down several companies and second them to infantry forces, granting heavy firepower to the platoons whilst providing troop support for the vehicles. If serving together for extended durations, attached units tend to adopt their foster-regiment's uniform and unit markings. This not only helps to avoid friendly-fire incidents, but also aids in promoting comradeship with the soldiers they will be fighting and dying alongside.
Deployment and Training
In those instances where a threat to the Imperium cannot be repulsed by local defence forces and naval assets, the Departmento Munitorum will sanction immediate deployment of the Imperial Guard. Such a response will be guided by the wisdom imparted in the strategic parables of the Munitorum. This threat response pattern has served the Imperium well for thousands of standard years.
Initial forces will be drawn from localised assets deemed sufficient for the task at hand. This includes any Guardsmen already mobilised within response range, along with regiments raised from neighbouring worlds. Such forces can be disparate in nature, requiring officers to prove themselves adept at working with whatever materiel is at hand. Should a threat escalate, or prove greater than initial response forces can handle, the Munitorum will expand their designated conflict zone, drawing down relentless waves of reinforcements to crash upon the foe until it is entirely ground to dust. In this way even the onrushing fury of an Ork WAAAGH! can be brought to a grinding halt, or the nimble Eldar drowned in manpower and ordnance.
Regiments en route to their designated warzone usually possess some previous military experience, whether culturally inherited or earned through campaigns already fought in the Emperor's name. While aboard their troop-ships these regiments will be further trained to deal with the specifics of the war into which they are being sent. Whether this is learning to recognise and combat particularly inhuman foes, use of environment-specific equipment, or acclimatisation to peculiarities of the destination world, such orientation can be vital. Imperial Guard regiments from Feral Worlds, for example, would be rendered catatonic if unprepared for the immensity of the standard Imperial hive city.
On deployment, Imperial Guard forces operate according to the tenets of the Tactica Imperium, stringently enforced by their rigid chains of command. Regiments complement each other's strengths and weaknesses, ensuring that the army as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts. When facing especially ferocious or peculiar enemies, such as daemons spilling from a Warp rent or the horror of a Tyranid swarm, this standardised method of making war can encounter costly snags. Yet with the constant flow of new manpower enjoyed by high command, individual engagements with casualty rates as high as one hundred percent can be considered rousingly successful, providing the fallen first achieve their allotted tasks or highlight some strategic weakness in the foe.
When an army is assembled, regiments are drawn from many different planets, resulting in a conglomeration of uniforms and combat skills rather than a single homogenous force. Bio-screened techno-troopers fight side by side with primitive barbarians and noble-born soldiers rub shoulders with the lowliest hive gang fighters. When WAAAGH! Grax invaded the Ryza System, all planets within ten light years were ordered to recruit and raise at least an additional fifty regiments as a primary reaction to counter the Ork invasion. Should the Imperium's response not prove to be decisive in crushing an enemy then the sphere around the conflict zone is increased in ever-larger increments, as reinforcements are drawn from further away and more regiments are raised to replace the losses. This ponderous process repeats itself until the enemy is ground down and destroyed, the massed forces of the Astra Militarum slowly pounding at the foe until eventually the hammer blow is delivered and all resistance is completely and utterly shattered. In this way, the harder a foe strikes at the Imperium, the greater its response will be.
Many of the newly raised regiments inducted into the Astra Militarum will already have some modicum of fighting experience. This may have taken the form of formal military instruction or simply be the result of the harsh conditions in which they live. Only the strongest survive the gang wars of the Hive Worlds, the tribal conflicts of medieval Feudal Worlds or the carnivorous predators that stalk the Death Worlds. In any case, during the long voyage between their homeworld and the regiment's destination, the newly inducted Guardsmen will receive intensive training that tempers the natural fighting skills of their many disparate cultures and forges them into soldiers worthy of the Astra Militarum. They are trained in the use of specialised weaponry and vehicles and receive proper indoctrination into the Imperial Cult. Officers are tutored in the broader aspects of the Tactica Imperium, all the while being judged under the vigilant gaze of the Officio Prefectus. The regiment will be drilled for many solar weeks before their trial by fire in the crucible of war. The training is also intended to adapt and, where necessary, re-educate the new recruits for the inevitable shock of fighting on foreign worlds. It is unlikely that a Guardsman from the monolithic spires of a hive city has ever seen the open sky, whilst those from a backwater Agri-World will never have seen the towering might of a mountain-sized basilica sanctum or set foot inside the twisting labyrinth of a sprawling factorum-city.
Should a regiment survive a campaign, it is unlikely that it will return to its homeworld, moving instead from one war zone to another. As casualties reduce the overall strength of fighting forces, regiments are often amalgamated together so that, united, they can continue to wage the Emperor's wars. Where possible, two half-strength regiments from the same Militarum Regimentum will combine, but it is not uncommon for two disparate cultures to find themselves brothers-in-arms. Many commanders declare that the reduced efficiency of these combined regiments makes them barely worth their rations, infighting and mistrust hampering their battlefield effectiveness. Other commanders are interested only in the number of men-at-arms that can be fielded, their successful integration as fighting units a secondary concern. A handful of particularly canny officers prefer to lead combined regiments, as they can harness the diverse skill sets and ingrained competitiveness of their soldiers.
If a regiment has been so badly mauled that it is considered a waste of time and resources to combine it with other Imperial forces, they may be assigned garrison duties on a nearby world, usually the very same planet they have been fighting over. The safety of the world and its population becomes the duty of the regiment's remnants. The garrisoning of such worlds is vital. After a brutal war in which the local defence forces are inevitably decimated and the planetary government left in tatters, the small Astra Militarum contingent may be the only loyal force left to impose law and maintain control for many solar decades. In rare circumstances, a regiment may be granted custodianship over a world as a reward. The officers of such forces inevitably become wealthy and powerful figures in the society they maintain watch over, forming the new noble and ruling classes.
An institution that has stood for thousands of Terran years, the Schola Progenium is nominally an offshoot of the Departmento Munitorum, though in practice its facilities are staffed by hard-line brethren of the Adeptus Ministorum known as Drill Abbots. Housing the orphans of Imperial worthies, the Schola strives to ensure that children born to those of quality are neither abandoned, nor squandered as a potential resource.
The Schola Progenium nurtures the orphan sons and daughters of Imperial officials from all over the galaxy. They are tutored to love the Emperor and to desire nothing more than to serve Him and the Imperium to the best of their abilities. They tolerate no disloyalty and remain ever vigilant for signs of treachery. Many who pass through the hands of the Schola Progenium are initiated into the Adeptus Terra. Some find their way into the Inquisition, and the most studious and zealous are welcomed by the Ecclesiarchy.
The Schola has many fortified facilities, scattered in secret locations across the galaxy. It is the belief of those who maintain these institutions that, through sufficient rigour, any youth of appropriate origins can be turned into a valuable servant of the Imperium. Each Schola Progenium facility is run according to meticulous strictures applied by Departmento Munitorum officials. The Schola's orphan wards must undertake a punishing daily routine of prayer, lessons, combat drill and chores that leaves them hollow-eyed and exhausted.
Every Emperor Day (Day of the Emperor's Ascension), all wards are assessed for aptitude, piety and dedication. Those found to excel in a particular area are split off into special classes, teaching them to become elite troopers of the Militarum Tempestus (Storm Troopers) or even Cadet Commissars ready for transference to the Officio Prefectus. Upon coming of age, most students are sent on their way, unquestioningly adopting the role they have been conditioned for. Those without the aptitude for a role in the wider Imperium form a staff of menials and guards who can look to the needs of their founding orphanage. A very few vanish altogether, swept away under the auspices of mysterious Imperial officials to provide altogether more secretive services to the Imperium, such as service to the dreaded Holy Ordos or even the Officio Assassinorum.
For natural warriors, the Militarum Tempestus offers a place in one of the elite Tempestus Scion companies, where the training received is of a brutally high standard. A few individuals, those who are both natural leaders and are fiercely loyal, attract the attentions of the Officio Prefectus. Commissars provide the link between regimental officers and the Departmento Munitorum. They are tough, ruthless individuals whose primary responsibilities are to preserve the courage, discipline and loyalty of the regiment. Commissars have the absolute authority to punish and execute any member of a regiment who fails in their duties. As Commissars are not from the same world as the regiment they serve with, they are not coloured by that world's traditions and culture. Instead, a Commissar can provide an objective and unbiased viewpoint, one seen purely from the Imperium's perspective.
The Adeptus Mechanicus and the Guard
- "For every unsettling sight the galaxy paraded before my eyes, still some of the strangest came from within our own ranks. Take the Tech-priests for one. All glowing eyes and waving cables, nests of wires and wasted flesh. To think that any man might choose to do that to himself voluntarily -- it fair sets my teeth on edge. And they're secretive too, always removed, always aloof. Dealing with them was tougher than getting a biletick off your boot. Yet for all that, my boys wouldn't have lasted a day in the field without the red-robes. Getting engines running again, fixing up weapons systems, calming angry Machine Spirits -- they'd walk through fire to save one of their precious tanks, those Tech-priests, even if they couldn't care less about the men inside."
- — From the collected memoirs of General Kurtis Hicks, Catachan IV Army Group
The soldiers of the Astra Militarum are not the only element of the Imperial war machine that requires the ministrations of a priesthood. The Adeptus Mechanicus are masters of arcane automation and technological mysticism, who look to the provision and well-being of the Imperial Guard's countless engines of war. Without these lore-keepers of high technology there would be no voidships to carry the Imperial Guard between worlds, and no weapons with which to hold back the countless foes that seek to overwhelm Mankind.
Astra Militarum vehicles and equipment fall into two basic categories. The majority of their materiel is bulk-manufactured on an immense, relentless scale on Industrial Worlds throughout the Imperium. Some planets specialise in a particular pattern of vehicle or weapon, such as Armageddon, with its vast Chimera manufactories, or Sanctus Valorium, with its renowned las-craft workshops. Others like Parabellus III or Kogen's Toil are equipped to turn out a range of the tanks, guns and munitions that the Emperor's many wars demand. To supplement this endless tide of ruggedly built basic equipment, Mechanicus Forge Worlds will -- on occasion -- provide compliments of far rarer war machines to aid their Imperial allies. Such vehicles incorporate the higher mysteries of the Omnissiah. The templates to construct these machines may only exist enshrined upon a single forge world, or may have been lost altogether, making deployment of these relics of war a decision of some weight.
The Lasgun is the universal battle rifle of the Imperial Guard provided by the Munitorum and manufactured by the Mechanicus, but there are many models, marks and patterns in service. The Cadian Shock Troops commonly bear the M36 Lasrifle, a weapon well known for its reliability. The Catachan Jungle Fighters bear the Mark 4 Lascarbine, the hefty power cells of which give the weapon additional clout both as a short-range assault rifle, and an improvised club. Other common marks include the mass-manufactured Armageddon Lasgun, the much sought-after Triplex Pattern and the short-barrelled, folding stock models used by mechanised infantry, tank crews and troops on starship detail. More exotic are the intricately wrought heirloom weapons of the Vostroyan Firstborn, and the Accatran Pattern Mark IV, much valued for its compactness and utility at short range.
The Tech-priest Enginseers are the best-known Martians within the ranks of the Astra Militarum. These cybernetic holy men stand aloof from the Guardsmen that surround them, concerned only with tending to the Machine Spirits of their foster-regiment's vehicles and weaponry. Yet there are other, rarer classes of Tech-priest who aid the Astra Militarum at war. Tacticus Cognosavants sit amid octopoidal tangles of cabling, deep within the bridges of Leviathan Command Crawlers. Logisticus Adepts assist the coordination of Munitorum supply-lines, their servo-scribe harnesses spewing kilometres of parchment every hour. Communication equipment, tactical hololiths, support Servitors and countless other vital high command assets are provided by the Mechanicus and continue to function only through the diligence of the mysterious Tech-priests.
The Adeptus Ministorum and the Astra Militarum
- "There are those who raise their voices in anguish and sorrow for the plight of Mankind. Such faithless folk wail of an end to all days, of a final damnation for us all. I say to you, these fools are wrong! Liars, I name them, heretics and sayers of doom. Listen not to such heathens my brothers, for these are glorious days. Rejoice, for all may stand and fight for a truly righteous cause and any man -– no matter how humble -– can earn everlasting glory through martyrdom in the Emperor's sight."
- — Confessor Huldwyn before the Black Creek Massacre
The essential remit of the great and glorious Adeptus Ministorum is the furtherance of the Emperor's veneration. Nowhere is this mission more important than in ministering to the faith of the vast ranks of the Emperor's armies. Many men of faith gravitate toward the Imperial Guard, where their presence is sorely needed both on and off the bloody field of war. Horrors untold bedevil the soldiers of the Imperial Guard, many of whom will barely have made peace with the concept of spaceflight before they are faced by the unspeakable heresy of the alien or the Traitor. Mutation and abomination proliferate while men are slain in graphic and grisly fashion before the eyes of their horrified comrades. Often, the soldiers of the Imperial Guard must do their duty upon battlefields the mere spectacle of which may be so apocalyptic as to shake the reason of the bravest individual. In such circumstances, blind faith can prove to be potent armour for a man's soul.
For this reason, the Ministorum, also known colloquially as the Ecclesiarchy, maintains a considerable presence amongst the ranks of the Imperial Guard. Whether orating from the laudhailer-laden pulpit of a shrine-deck, or from atop piled ration crates in a hastily cleared corner of the soldiers' mess, Ministorum clergy have a huge impact upon the confidence and courage of their allotted flock. At the commencement of a campaign, most Guardsmen have been marched amongst thousands into the close-packed hold of a starship, surrounded by strange and of ten frightening sights and sounds. Their destination a tangle of mystery and rumour, their homes and families never to be seen again, such men find a refuge in the familiarity of Imperial scripture. Many newly founded regiments will cling to their religion like a drowning man clings to driftwood; it is the duty of the Ministorum to shape this fervour into something that high command can use.
If Guardsmen have questions or doubts, the Ministorum must bolster these unfortunates' shield of ignorance before they stray into the wilds of dangerous speculation. Should the slightest sign of Warp-taint or heresy present itself -- either within the ranks of the Imperial Guard or without -- it is the role of the Ministorum to ensure this is swiftly dealt with. Nothing restores a soldier's faith faster than watching accused seditionists or mutants from amongst another regiment's ranks lashed to stakes and set ablaze for their sins. While such measures are doubtless draconian, none can question the Ministorum priesthood's flair for grand and faith-affirming spectacles, nor its value to the morale of the Imperial Guard.
The Inquisition and the Astra Militarum
The vast armies of the Imperial Guard are drawn from the finest of the planetary regimental tithes, in which one tenth of a world's military forces are rendered up to the Imperium whenever it is demanded of them. Some worlds go generations without such a tithing being demanded, while others are drained almost dry by constant demands for troops, often depending on the world's location relative to any ongoing Imperial wars. Units pass out of the authority of whatever military institutions produced them, and become part of the vast organisation that is the Imperial Guard. Planetary militias are reformed into Imperial Guard regiments, and often locally manufactured arms and equipment are replaced with mass-produced models provided by the Officio Munitorum. New regiments are then shipped out to take part in an ongoing campaign, or sometimes despatched to garrison worlds, to provide a strategic reserve while they await their final deployments.
But not all of these regiments reach the wars for which they were raised to fight. Some are instead intercepted by an Inquisitor, requisitioned for service against quite a different foe than they were intended to fight. Depending on the mission and its duration, a single squad or platoon might be detached to serve the Inquisitor, or it might be an entire company, or sometimes the entire regiment.
As with their dealings with Imperial Commanders, different Inquisitors deal with such matters according to their own character. Some simply arrive at an army's high command and inform the Chief of Staff of their requirements, leaving it to the officers to deliver the requisite units. Others take entirely the opposite approach and go straight to the unit itself and inform them of their new assignment.
Again, it would be a very foolish Chief of Staff that refused an Inquisitor whatever he demanded. It has been known for particularly officious staff officers to insist the Inquisitor go through the "proper" logistical channels, demanding reams of paperwork be completed. Such junior officers are usually dealt with by a nearby Commissar before they cause undue offence.
Once a unit has been requisitioned, the Officio Munitorum's involvement in the matter is not necessarily at an end. If the unit is to be detached for some time, a supply chain and source of replacements for battle casualties may need to be put in place. Few Inquisitors require the services of such units for long enough for this to be a major concern however, and those that survive their missions are normally returned to the Imperial Guard at some point in the future, more or less intact.
One side effect of the nature of the enemies that the Inquisition must often face is the need to contain reports about the specifics of their work. What this means is that many Imperial Guard troops who survive contact with their foe may find themselves purged as a result, lest any hint of corruption remain to be passed on. This is particularly the case when units serving the Ordo Malleus have faced the daemonic servants of the Ruinous Powers. At the conclusion of a mission, the Inquisition is not above bombing its own troops from orbit, a fate many would consider a mercy, considering what the troopers might have witnessed. Other units are fortunate enough to be mind-wiped, although this is an intensive process normally reserved for skilled troops that the Inquisitor intends to keep in his or her service and make use of again.
It is not unheard of for an Inquisitor to requisition the services of an entire Imperial Guard regiment, and for the unit to be slowly whittled down over the course of its engagements. What started out as a 5,000-strong force might, within solar months, be reduced to a dozen or so grizzled veterans, able to withstand the very worst the Imperium's foes can throw their way. Sometimes, a single, scarred Guardsman standing at the side of an Inquisitor is the last survivor of an entire regiment, long since become a trusted servant, or indeed, an Acolyte in the service of the Inquisition.
At times, an Inquisitor has cause to doubt the loyalty of an Imperial Guard unit, or its leader. In the vastness of the Imperium, it is entirely possible for entire regiments, even armies, to simply disappear from the orders of battle, through duplicity or error, or for them to fail to respond to orders issued from many light years away. An Inquisitor who discovers a mutinous or outright Renegade Imperial Guard unit inevitably calls upon the services of other Imperial Guard regiments to deal with the outcast. Some Inquisitors make a point of using troops raised from the same world as the Renegades to bring them to justice, taking advantage of the zealous desire to atone for the sins of their erstwhile fellows.
Abhumans and the Militarum Auxilla
When Mankind first spread out amongst the stars during the Dark Age of Technology, humans voyaged to the furthest corners of the galaxy. Worlds were settled with diverse and unusual environmental conditions that were to shape and change the peoples that called them home. After the Age of Strife, as the Imperium regained contact with the scattered seeds of humanity, they discovered human populations who had devolved into entirely separate subspecies. Some of these were freakishly altered or irredeemably hostile and deserved only annihilation. A few, most notably the lumbering Ogryns and keen-eyed Ratlings, were accepted into the Imperial fold, albeit with hesitance and distaste. These races are known as Abhumans, and their thinly spread populations contribute regiments to the Militarum Auxilla of the Astra Militarum.
The Militarum Auxilla is a specialist division of the Astra Militarum that contains most of the Abhuman units of the Imperial Guard. Indoctrinated in the Imperial Creed, they are taught self-loathing, and watched closely by the Commissars and Priests of the Adeptus Ministorum.
The small numbers and specialised abilities of Abhuman soldiers mean that Ogryn and Ratling regiments are almost always split for distribution to more conventional Astra Militarum formations. Abhumans evoke revulsion in their genetic cousins, for whom the degenerate inhumanity of their forms is only a step from the heresy of mutation. They must be constantly watched by Commissars and Priests alike for any signs of excess deviancy, and are taught self-disgust and a desire to atone for their failures of birth through honest toil in the Emperor's name. However, these squads have proven their worth time and again. Such units as Magogg's Ratling Rifles in the Damocles Crusade, and the Anark Zeta 88th Bullgryn regiment who carried the breach during the siege of Gregoria, have won great fame.
There are those whose value to the Astra Militarum and the wider Imperium itself outweighs the rabid moral repugnance they evoke. Most notable amongst these are the Warp-sensitive psykers of the Scholastica Psykana. The untrained psyker is a beacon to the daemons of the Warp, his lack of control and improper absence of self-loathing presenting a deadly danger to all. To counter such hazards, the Black Ships of the Inquisition ply the space lanes of the Imperium, endlessly harvesting nascent human psykers and proven witches to take back to Terra for assessment and classification. The fate of many is to feed the infernal mechanisms of the Golden Throne or be yoked to the blazing beacon of the Astronomican. The most stable find a different calling, fighting amongst the ranks of the Astra Militarum as Wyrdvane Psykers (also sometimes referred to as Sanctioned Psykers), Primaris Psykers and Astropaths.
There are numerous Scholastica Psykana training facilities in remote locations across the Imperium, isolated from populated star systems and known Warp anomalies. Security at such facilities is nigh impenetrable, intended as much to keep the students in as to ensure outside threats are repulsed. Within the austere surroundings of these psionically-shielded scholas, the Wyrdvane Psykers meditate. They gain understanding of and train to control their potent abilities, learning how they may better serve the forces of the Imperium. Alongside their mental and spiritual training, those psykers marked for service are taught the basics of close quarters combat and battlefield survival, but it is the Warp-fuelled devastation these individuals can unleash that has won the Astra Militarum so many battles.
Anatomy of an Astra Militarum Regiment
The Astra Militarum is a colossal organisation, dwarfing every other military force in the Imperium for sheer manpower, and matched only by the Imperial Navy in logistical complexity and universal significance. It has been claimed that for every star visible from the surface of Terra, there are a hundred million Imperial Guardsmen waging war on some distant world in the Emperor's name, though nobody could possibly know how many Imperial Guardsmen there truly are at any one moment, so vast are their numbers and so quickly do those numbers change. However, what is certain is that every one of these brave souls, and more besides, are required to fight and die for the Imperium in order to try to preserve it.
Some have claimed that the numbers of the Imperial Guard are matched or even exceeded by the sheer number of scribes, Adepts, prefects, and a bewildering array of other administrative officials in the Departmento Munitorum whose duty it is to ensure that the Imperial Guard are able to fight their countless wars. In their hands is the impossibly complex task of raising armies from a million individual worlds, each with a different culture, equipping them in an appropriate manner, and ensuring that every man and woman is fed, watered, and supplied with ammunition.
What this all boils down to is the regiment. The regiment is the building block of the Astra Militarum, and the nature of each regiment defines how it is to fight, how it is to be equipped, and the manner in which it is best employed. Regiments are raised either as part of the tithe that all worlds contribute to the Imperium, or as necessary from worlds within a particular distance of a newly-opened warzone. It is a rare world in the Imperium that has not raised at least one regiment of Imperial Guard, with the overwhelming majority of those being the tithe-exempt Forge Worlds of the Adeptus Mechanicus and the Chapter homeworlds of the Adeptus Astartes, both of which produce their own particular fighting forces.
Though regarded as such by many within the Departmento Munitorum, a regiment of the Imperial Guard is not a uniform mass of warriors, equal in might and utility to every other regiment. On the contrary, regiments vary immensely in size, structure, and purpose, from small, deadly, armoured regiments, to bewilderingly large regiments of siege infantry. In truth, the regiment is a difficult thing to define, but some might classify it thusly: a regiment is the operational unit of the Astra Militarum, a discrete formation of Imperial Guardsmen, all trained and equipped to operate in a single way, and all drawn from a single world and its dominant culture, the combined regiments forming the Militarum Regimentum -- all the regiments of that type raised from that world. All other factors are subject to local variation and prevailing logistical doctrine -- at times, all the fighting men and women taken from a single world at a single time have been classified as a single regiment, creating units of millions of men, while other periods and places have attempted to define a set number of warriors or an arbitrarily calculated fighting strength to determine a regiment.
Nonetheless, some elements remain consistent. At the top of every regiment in the Astra Militarum is a single commanding officer, commonly given the rank of Colonel, who serves as the frontline combat leader. Traditional expectations are that a Colonel takes to the field with his or her men, leading in person, and is often accompanied by advisors such as Imperial Navy Aeronautica Imperialis liaisons to provide air support, Adeptus Ministorum preachers, psykers, Tech-priests, and the dreaded Commissars.
Each regiment is typically divided into several companies, each of which is commanded by a Captain or Major. A company normally consists of several hundred warriors, and can serve well as a fighting unit in its own right, with individual companies commonly split off to achieve distinct objectives pertaining to a regiment’s overall mission. Within each company, the unit is further divided. The exact term used varies by type of company, with vehicle companies divided into squadrons, infantry operating in platoons, and artillery operating in batteries. Each platoon, squadron, or battery is typically commanded by a Lieutenant, the most junior of officers, new to the service of the Imperial Guard.
The most basic building block of the regiment is the squad. In an infantry regiment, the squad is the smallest operational unit, overseen by a Sergeant. In an armoured or artillery regiment, each squad is given a single vehicle or artillery piece to control, with different troopers serving as gunners, loaders, drivers, spotters, and a variety of other roles, as required by their duties.
Order of Battle
- "What does it matter that our world loses an entire generation in battle, if by not losing it our world has no more generations at all?"
- —Imperial Commander Abrhest Kohlt on the mass conscriptions of Durant III
Each Astra Militarum regiment is a powerful combat force, but it is only when the constituent infantry platoons and tank squadrons are fielded together on the battlefield that the deadly potency of the Astra Militarum is truly realised. Lasguns, Battle Cannons and devastating ordnance fire in coordinated salvoes to eradicate the enemies of Humanity.
The organisational structures of the Astra Militarum are based upon the Tactica Imperium, which groups squads together based on their categorisation. Infantry platoons are pooled together in infantry companies, which then make up infantry regiments, and similarly tank squadrons are grouped into tank regiments comprised of tank companies. However, the many varied demands and challenges of war usually mean that these structural theories cannot be applied on the battlefield. Instead, the various constituent parts of each regiment are often reorganised into much more varied and versatile deployments.
The war zones of the Imperium are as diverse as they are numerous. Some are grinding battles of brute force and attrition, whereas others require guileful feints and swift redeployments. Where one war zone may call for a mechanised advance over a barren planetscape, another will require infiltration into a Heretic-infested hive city. The multifaceted nature of the Astra Militarum allows battle groups to be effectively deployed against all the multifarious enemies of humanity. The separate components of a Militarum Regimentum are drawn together to form a cohesive fighting force, and if an operational commander can successfully navigate the bureaucracy of the Departmento Munitorum, these battle groups can be tailored to the specific enemies and environments they must face.
The Astra Militarum is the largest and most diverse military organisation that the galaxy has ever known. Numbering in the billions and equipped with innumerable tanks and super-heavy war machines, the Imperial Guard serves as both the hammer and the anvil of the Imperium of Man. The Astra Militarum is not a swift and precise military tool like the Space Marines. Instead, it is used to bludgeon a foe into oblivion in bloody wars of attrition that can last for Terran months, years or even decades in many cases. Although a single Imperial Guardsman can never be the equal of even the most raw and unblooded Astartes, there are thousands of men in each regiment and it is in the sheer size of its forces that the true strength of the Astra Militarum lies.
An Astra Militarum regiment is mostly uniform in its force composition. Infantry regiments contain no heavy artillery, whilst armoured regiments contain no infantrymen. As a result of this policy, regiments are required to work together in combined arms formations known as battle groups or task forces. This order of battle dates back to the days immediately following the end of the Horus Heresy in the early 31st Millennium, when the High Lords of Terra decreed that Imperial Guard regiments should be separate yet interdependent. This was done so that no faction of the Imperial Guard would ever be able to rebel against the Imperium with such devastating effect as the combined arms regiments of the Imperial Army who had joined the Forces of Chaos and supported the traitorous Warmaster Horus.
The Tactica Imperium sets down the basic template around which all Astra Militarum regiments are to be organised. Each is divided into companies, some with as few as 3, others with as many as 20. Companies are further divided into between 3 and 6 platoons and these platoons each consist of between 2 and 6 10-man squads led by a command squad whose commanding officer is a Lieutenant. Terms and naming conventions may vary from regiment to regiment, and while the regimental commanding officer is normally accorded the rank and title of Colonel, the military and planetary culture from which he is drawn may use a different title for the same rank, ranging from "Knight Commander" to "Chief Hetman", whereas the commander of a company could have the title of "Captain," "Taxiarchos" or "Marzban."
This structure is maintained in all the different types of Astra Militarum regiments. In an armoured regiment the individual Guardsmen form tank crews, with each tank taking the place of an infantry squad as the basic unit. These tanks are then formed into squadrons, led by an officer's command tank, and further organised into armoured companies, a number of which make up the entire armoured regiment. In an armoured regiment that consists of super-heavy tanks, each individual tank is treated as being equivalent to an infantry platoon, meaning that such an elite regiment will only number 9 to 12 super-heavy tanks, in addition to its numerous and uncounted supply and services vehicles.
When an "all-arms" force is required, units are drafted from the available regiments and placed under the command of a senior officer, such as a Colonel or a Captain. These "battle groups" can vary in size, from units of a hundred or so soldiers and five or six armoured vehicles, to a force almost as large as a single regiment. Some are a balanced mix of infantry and vehicles. Many, however, are highly specialised, designed to meet very specific tactical challenges. A battle group might consist of Chimera-mounted infantry and self-propelled artillery assigned to support a lightning-fast armoured breakthrough, or it may be an entire Sentinel company aiding a light infantry force in a jungle fight. Other battle groups are even more specialised, drawing together multiple tank and artillery squadrons to form an entirely armoured force. A "standard" battle group might comprise multiple infantry companies supplemented by several armoured, artillery and support companies. These can then be fielded in multiple detachments, each of which can have support personnel and materiel seconded from one of the other branches of the Departmento Munitorum, such as the Militarum Auxilla or the Officio Prefectus.
On occasion, a lighter Astra Militarum force may be called for. In such cases, individual detachments are deployed. These small-scale forces adhere to the same hierarchy of command as the larger battle groups, with a Platoon Commander, Tank Commander or possibly even a Lord Commissar operating as the ranking officer. Similarly, these detachments can contain infantry, tanks, artillery or a combination thereof. A single detachment can be outfitted to engage a range of enemies on the battlefield, or it can be equipped to deal with a single, specific set of targets.
Just as battle groups are comprised of several detachments, so too can several battle groups be drawn together into a huge, operational-level force known as an "army group." These forces are led by high-ranking commanders such as Generals and High Marshals and will typically contain battle groups from multiple Militarum Regimentos -- sometimes as few as two to as many as several hundred in the largest, sector-wide Imperial campaigns. The method by which Astra Militarum forces make it to a new war zone are often haphazard, with many thousands of troops from dozens of different regiments sent to a stellar region or star system under assault once the Imperial bureaucracy raises the alarm. Such are the vagaries of travel through the Warp, to say nothing of the difficulties of communication posed by the sheer size of the Imperium, that it is only because so many regiments are despatched that a sufficient number of forces arrives in time to be of any use at all in a specific campaign. It is quite common for thousands of Imperial Guardsmen to be lost in Warp Storms during transit, to be attacked by human or xenos pirates or diverted to an entirely different conflict as the need arises. Meanwhile, the high commander overseeing the battlefield can rarely craft a strategy before knowing which resources they will receive, and will instead have to improvise a battle plan based upon the troops at their disposal. That this usually proves more possible than not is a testament to the versatility of Imperial combat doctrine, but even more weight should be given to the sheer amounts of manpower and materiel that the Astra Militarum can bring to bear. With enough perseverance, even an improper tool can be used to reap results -- particularly if the commander is unconcerned with how many such tools are destroyed in the process.
Once an Astra Militarum army group has been assembled where it needs to be, it operates on the same basic principles as a battle group, but on a far larger and more complex scale. Entire regiments of tanks advance under the covering fire of 100 Basilisk self-propelled artillery pieces, supported by human waves of infantry. While an Astra Militarum battle group is capable of taking a single tactical objective, an army group can be used to conquer and hold an entire world or even star system, and few enemies of the Imperium are capable of mustering a force that can withstand its sheer momentum.
The Guardsmen of the infantry form the foundation of the Imperial Guard's structure. However, it is uncommon for regiments to despatch formations made entirely out of Guardsmen without attaching auxiliaries or support elements. In the chain of command, for example, an Imperial Guard officer, often a Colonel or a General, will find himself accompanied by Imperial Sanctioned Psykers drawn from the Adeptus Astra Telepathica's Scholastica Psykana facilities, or officers of the Imperial Navy to relay co-ordinates to harass enemy deployments and conduct interception attempts.
The Imperial Guard is able to draw upon a not inconsiderable number of specialized troops and sub-human and Abhuman auxiliaries. These may include the Storm Trooper Regiments of more disciplined origins, drawn from the Schola Progenium facilities on many Imperial worlds. The Guard can call upon Abhuman Ogryns from Feral Worlds whose brutish strength may be used in order to make up for the Guardsmen's lack of close combat endurance, or Ratling snipers whose small size and nimbleness allows them to infiltrate behind enemy lines where they can wreak havoc with their natural talents behind the telescopic sights of their needle rifles.
Though the Imperial Guard has enough men and firepower to throw up a withering wall of laser bolts, most opponents that close the distance with the Guard's lines find themselves at a major advantage in close combat, which more often than not results in a bloodbath as the Guardsmen find themselves outmatched in melee and slaughtered.
Different types of Imperial Guard Regiments utilize different methods of warfare. Though most of their engagements would count as battles of attrition, often Imperial Guard units will work alongside auxiliaries or specialized units in order to achieve different tactical outcomes some which may include, sabotage, infiltration, demolitions.
The Imperial Guard is the stalwart primary fighting force of the Imperium of Man, capable of dispensing a myriad of specialized troops. The Imperial Guard's most prominent asset is its ability to draw upon endless ranks of Guardsman -- drawn from various human-settled worlds. Each Imperial world supplies an annual tithe of Guardsmen, often accompanied by quotas of las-gun production and armoured vehicles in order to sustain the never-ending war machine that is the Imperial Guard.
The hierarchy of command and the formations of local Planetary Defence Forces (PDF) may differ from world to world. On some worlds, a PDF may be composed of hiver gangs or other irregular troops or it may be an official, professional army making use of proper military organisation and equipment. In the Imperial Guard, there is only one primary tactical and strategic formation -- the Regiment. The Regiment provides a solid command structure that allows for both versatility and lethality when the application of force is needed in any Imperial warzone. Guardsmen form the bulk of many Imperial Regiments, however it is common for Regiments to exclusively include the support drawn from other Regiments in order to sustain operations. The nature of the Regiment alone is one that requires the support of many other Imperial assets. Infantry Regiments consist mainly of Infantry Squads and Conscript Militia. However, Armoured Regiments may include Armoured Fighting Vehicles and Support Tanks with little to no Infantry, or may only include Guardsmen in mechanized formations, known as Armoured Fist squads, where a single Infantry Squad is attached to a dedicated armoured transport, likely a Salamander or Chimera Armoured Personnel Carrier or its equivalent. Thus, most regiments' Armored Fist squads that are borrowed from other regiments as infantry regiments may have no Chimera APC's. Others may be drop troops trained to drop onto a battlefield using drop ships or Drop Pod-like vehicles or they may have Valkyries attached to them for drop troop insertion. The regiments are mixed once the Imperial Navy's transport vessels picks up all the regiments or brings them to their destination so that tank regiments cannot be outflanked by infantry while an infantry regiment will have an attached artillery battery to back it up.
Imperial Guard regiments are drawn from all types of planets in the Imperium, from Terra itself to pre-industrial feral and feudal worlds, and the contributions of troops from certain planets like Cadia over the ten thousand years of the Imperium's existence run into the millions. The Imperial Guard is constantly at war, freeing worlds from the influence of aliens or the Ruinous Powers, or defending them from the same enemies. The Imperial Guard relies upon the Imperial Navy for transport to and from war zones. The regiments of Guardsmen are as diverse as the worlds they come from. Where the Space Marines might fight a war through tactics and efficiency, the Guard can easily afford to crush its opposition amidst thousands of lasgun volleys and hundreds of ordnance blasts. Such is the numerical superiority of the Imperial Guard that even Orks can sometimes find themselves outnumbered by the so-called "Sledgehammer" of the Imperium.
Imperial Guard equipment and weaponry spans a wide range of common Imperial hand-held weaponry, from the standard-issue Lasgun to the high-powered Hellgun and Hot-Shot Lasgun for Storm Troopers. Likewise, the Imperial Guard soldiers can also range in quality from Cadian Guardsmen who are trained to kill from childhood, to ordinary Imperial citizens dragged from their homes and stores, handed a Lasrifle and Flak Armour and conscripted into the Guard. However, all Guardsmen will be given intensive training, if not on their homeworld then in transit to their first war zone. They are taught how to shoot and use special and heavy weapons effectively for weeks before they are sent into combat, and braced for the inevitable shock of being on a foreign and sometimes alien world. A Guardsman who spent his youth on a hive world will probably never have seen the open sky before, while a savage Guardsman from a feral world will have never seen a city or factory or a motorized vehicle before he joined the Guard.
- "With every regiment raised, many millions of tonnes of materiel must be gathered. Thousands of men must be properly trained and prepared to serve the Throne in an approved manner. Vessels must be secured to transport these resources and these warriors. It is in the best interests of the Imperium that while vast numbers of regiments are raised each year, they are only raised when necessary, and always with a mind to the speed at which the muster can be completed—for even the mightiest army is futile, if its force cannot be brought to bear quickly enough."
- — Extract from the Tactica Imperialis
Each regiment of the Imperial Guard includes a substantial number of soldiers equipped with a broad range of wargear. The simple matter of billeting, feeding, and providing for the basic needs of these troops requires substantial resources. Of course, providing them with adequate equipment to engage in extended conflicts only complicates these matters. Ostensibly, the Departmento Munitorum ultimately assumes full responsibility for supplies. The overworked scribes and adepts must constantly verify that the appropriate gear is sent to each regiment so that they may function at acceptable levels of efficiency.
When a regiment is initially raised, its home planet is expected to provide ample supplies as part of their military tithe to the Imperium. Consequently, the initial supply of foodstuffs, uniforms, battle armour and standard kit that are issued to each trooper are generally consistent with those used as part of the planet’s standing military of Planetary Defence Forces. The Lasgun is the sole exception to this rule. Even on worlds where that weapon is not commonly used, Imperial Guard units are issued some variant of the Lasgun as their standard weapon. Only after a regiment has been issued these supplies and undergone at least rudimentary training can the planetary tithe be considered complete. The variation between different homeworld military traditions and cultural proclivities leads to the substantial variations that are observed between Imperial Guard regiments from different star systems.
Unfortunately, these initial supplies are seldom sufficient to maintain a regiment through an extended campaign. Vehicles, weapons, and gear rapidly degrade under battlefield conditions. Foodstuffs are quickly depleted as the thousands of soldiers strive to remain in effective fighting condition. As a consequence, the Departmento Munitorum must continue to ship supplies, with the help of the Imperial Navy, to needy war zones. For worlds that regularly provide regiments as tithe, additional supplies may exceed their capacities. Instead, food must be drawn from agricultural worlds with available production, while other gear often comes from manufactoria. Because of this, over time, as a regiment is repeatedly resupplied, its arms and equipment may begin to show some variation.
In practice, the vast reserves of food, fuel, and munitions required represent a substantial issue for any Imperial Guard regiment. In order to stretch them, rationing is a crucial factor. Officers responsible for supply and inventory must take constant care to see that all wargear is allocated in a responsible fashion. Otherwise, these reserves may be quickly depleted, leaving a regiment unable to operate at their expected efficiency levels. Different regiments employ a variety of policies to see that these allocations are performed in a reliable fashion. Ultimately, however, it boils down to a logistical system that ensures the necessary supplies are available when needed, but may not be squandered.
An Imperial Guardsman is a sworn servant of the God-Emperor. His life is the Imperium’s to spend in whatever way his commanders see fit. In the same vein, a Guardsman does not own any of his wargear. Instead, it is all entrusted to his care by the Departmento Munitorum. Because of this, a soldier in the Imperial Guard cannot be expected to purchase new equipment or to receive special compensation in exchange for his service. At least, that is how the system is intended to work.
In practical terms, things function slightly differently. Every Guardsman is issued a standard kit that is consistent with the gear provided to all members of his regiment. In addition, specialist gear is provided to soldiers who have particular responsibilities. This might include a special or heavy weapon, tools required for a specific responsibility, or even gear that is appropriate for a specific mission or environment. Once equipment is issued, soldiers are fully responsible for maintaining it and returning it, when requested, in fully operational condition. Any gear lost or damaged through the course of training or conflict must be fully justified to regimental command. The consequences for unacceptable losses can be unpleasant.
Often, Guardsmen may wish to acquire gear that is outside of the normal mission specifications. Sometimes this may be as simple as having the best possible equipment for the situation. Other times, something might land in a Guardsman's lap with little explanation. The galaxy is enormous, and there are countless Imperial battlefronts with similar or even identical names. The adepts of the Departmento Munitorum may make clerical errors and deliver something entirely inappropriate. If the wargear is assigned through official channels to a unit, then that group must assume full responsibility for it. However, if the goods are delivered without a paper trail, then the lucky Guardsmen might be able to exploit it for their own purposes.
Relations with the Adeptus Astartes
The Imperial Guard is composed of men and women possessed of unquenchable faith in the God-Emperor of Mankind, but they are still ultimately mortals of flesh and blood. To the common troopers, the superhuman Space Marines of the Adeptus Astartes are as gods walking amongst men and for most of the common people of the Imperium, including the troops of the Imperial Guard, they are a rare sight indeed. Most Imperial Guard troopers will never see a Space Marine, let alone fight alongside one, and as such they are the subjects of all manner of legends, myths, and superstitions. Different Imperial cultures, and the Imperial Guard regiments drawn from them, have their own beliefs about Space Marines. Some hold them in awe as the literal sons of the Emperor, whilst others fear them as the deliverers of the Emperor’s divine judgement. While it is true that a Space Marine can spit acid, in their ignorance many claim they can also kill with a glance or rout an army with a single word. Tales abound of small groups of Space Marines conquering entire planets or holding off wave after wave of slavering xenos fiends. Some Chapters, in particular the Ultramarines, are lionised across the Imperium. Others, such as the Blood Drinkers, inspire dread.
Any Imperial Guard trooper finding himself in the presence of a Space Marine is likely to drop to his knees in abject supplication, so potent is the martial bearing of a Battle-Brother of the Adeptus Astartes. Even senior Imperial Guard officers might find themselves stammering like newly commissioned subalterns when conversing with a Space Marine. In the main, most Space Marines barely notice mere mortals and it takes a great and rare man indeed to earn their respect. Rumours of their presence in a war zone can often generate great excitement amongst Imperial Guardsmen, but such rumours often prove to be false. An encounter with a single squad of Space Marines is a legendary encounter for the mortals of the present-day Imperium, even those mortals who are themselves pledged to the Emperor's service, and will result in hushed tales of awe told around the tables of the officers’ mess for many years to come.
Astra Militarum Rank Hierarchy
The military organisation of the Astra Militarum is a simple, hierarchical chain of command to which blind adhesion is required, especially from the lower ranks. Independent thinking and action is at best frowned upon, and at worst sanctioned by death. This one-way immutable decision structure is the only method that has proven efficient in coordinating the gargantuan resources necessary for the correct deployment of the Imperial Guard in a given war zone.
The main issues of confusion and lack of cohesion within the Imperial Guard's hierarchy come from the interdependence of the Imperial Guard with the Imperial Navy and the Adeptus Administratum's Departmento Munitorum. Indeed, following the Horus Heresy, the Primarch Roboute Guilliman made sure that no single individual would ever again have enough military power to threaten the stability of the Imperium. Thus, the Imperial Guard furnishes the manpower, the Departmento Munitorum furnishes the materiel and the Imperial Navy ensures air superiority and transports both men and weapons to their objective without intervening directly on the ground other than providing air support. The arrangement has proven effective, but politicking amongst Imperial officers can lead to confusion in the chain of command as they vie for seniority and the most prestigious assignments. It is one of the roles of the Commissariat to ensure, by force of arms if necessary, that the Imperial military's chain of command always remains clear and operationally efficient.
From highest to lowest, the ranks of the Astra Militarum include:
|Lord Commander Militant||Supreme Commander of the Astra Militarum and a High Lord of Terra.|
|Warmaster (Lord Solar)||A special rank only rarely bestowed upon a general officer who leads an Imperial Crusade.|
|Lord Commander||Supreme military commander of one of the five Imperial Segmentae.|
|Lord General Militant||Supreme military commander of a designated theatre of operations or Imperial Crusade.|
|Lord General||Various different titles for this rank exist depending upon cultural context, including Lord Castellan, Lord Marshal and Captain-General. This general officer commands an entire army group and is a member of the General Staff of the Astra Militarum.|
|General||Various different titles for this rank exist depending upon cultural context. This general officer is the leader of multiple regiments in an army group or the commander of a single battlegroup and is a member of the General Staff of the Astra Militarum.|
|Colonel||Various different titles for this rank exist depending upon cultural context. This officer is the commander of an entire regiment or equivalent formation.|
|Major||Various different titles for this rank exist depending upon cultural context. This officer is usually the executive officer of an entire regiment or equivalent formation, or the commander of a regimental sub-formation incorporating multiple company-sized units.|
|Captain||Various different titles for this rank exist depending upon cultural context. This officer is the commander of a company or equivalent-sized formation|
|Lieutenant||Various different titles for this rank exist depending upon cultural context. Commander of a platoon or equivalent-sized formation.|
|Sergeant||Various different titles for this rank exist depending upon cultural context. This non-commissioned officer is the commander of a squad or equivalent-sized formation.|
|Corporal||Various different titles for this rank exist depending upon cultural context. This non-commissioned officer can serve as the commander of a squad or equivalent-sized formation in the absence of a Sergeant.|
|Trooper (Guardsman)||A rank-and-file enlisted trooper.|
|Specialists||The Astra Militarum is assisted by a range of specialists who hold no official place in its military chain of command. These include Commissars, Priests of the Ecclesiarchy, Tech-priests, Enginseers, Sanctioned Psykers, Inquisitors.|
Since the dark days after the end of the Horus Heresy when the Imperial Reformation was completed by Robute Guilliman, the Imperial Guard has been controlled jointly by the Chancellor of the Estate Imperium, the Master of the Administratum and the Lord Commander Militant of the Imperial Guard. These three High Lords of Terra represent the top of the chain of command for the Imperium as a whole. In matters of strategy, it is the Lord Commander Militant who is the supreme commander of the Imperial Guard, and he is directly assisted by the five Lord Commanders of the Imperial Guard, one for each of the five Segmentae of the Imperium. Since most of the time of the Lord Commander Militant is occupied defending the Imperial Guard's interests in the Senatorum Imperialis, it falls to the Lords Commander Solar, Pacificus, Tempestus, Obscurus and Ultima to ensure the correct day-to-day deployment of the Imperial Guard in their Segmentum. The highest "conventional" rank reachable in the Guard is that of Lord General Militant, the highest rank above the General Staff corps. This rank brings with it command of armies of almost limitless number, and the responsibility for command of a whole theatre of operations. It is the duty of the Lord General Militant to not only ensure military objectives are met, if necessary by negotiating for the assistance of the Adeptus Astartes, but also to ensure that the retaken or defended territories quickly return to the fold of the Administratum and the Ecclesiarchy. It is an uneasy rank to bear, for not only must the Lord General Militant be a keen strategist, he must also be a good politician and have the courage to stand up to the priests of the Ecclesiarchy or even to a Space Marine Chapter Master when necessary.
The General Staff of the Imperial Guard is not a coherent organisation; the term is principally used to describe all general officers who serve in the command echelons above those of regimental level. The Imperial General Staff serves the Lord General Militant directly. It is a highly decentralised formation, with its officers present in every battle theatre in the Imperium. Most members of the General Staff bear the rank of General (or the cultural equivalent depending on their homeworld of origin) and each of these men is in command of a battlegroup or multi-regiment force. It is the task of the General Staff to ensure that their objective is met, that the men under their command work efficiently together despite sometimes wildly varying origins and home cultures and that they work well with the forces of the Adeptus Astartes and the Orders Militant of the Adepta Sororitas when they are present. More junior officers can also be found in the General Staff; they are drawn from individual regiments to act as aides and administrative assistants. They do not exercise individual authority over other troops and merely act as conduits between their direct superiors and other officers. A position common in the General Staff is that of Imperial Tactician, a non-command rank that nevertheless is vital. As trained staff officers, Tacticians help to devise and organise battle plans and strategy.
Operating in parallel to this command tree is that of the other Imperial organisations the Imperial Guard comes into contact with, principally that of the Commissariat. Commissars are integral parts of the Imperial Guard command echelons, with every regiment having at least one Commissar attached to it, and likely more. Commissars are also normally included in any General Staff grouping. Occasionally, one or more Inquisitors will also attach themselves to the General Staff, especially where the Imperium faces the Forces of Chaos. Although they are technically allowed to take command of any Imperial Guard force, most Inquisitors leave actual tactical leadership of such a force to its professional officers, only intervening when a situation requiring their particular expertise emerges. Other "civilians" who will operate in parallel to the Imperial Guard's chain of command are the numerous priests of the Adeptus Ministorum who accompany the Guard's soldiers and ensure their devotion towards the God-Emperor, and the Tech-priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus who provide the required expertise to keep the numerous machines and vehicles of the Imperial Guard working. Last but not least come the psykers of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica, the Astropaths and Sanctioned Psykers who will counsel the various officers and allow them to coordinate their efforts and face off against foes who also wield the power of the Empyrean.
An unusual command rank outside the normal hierarchy of the Imperial Guard is that of Warmaster, the Imperial general officer who serves as the supreme commander of an Imperial Crusade. There is rarely more than one Warmaster operating within the Imperium at any one time, due to the extreme powers given to them. The title was created in recognition of Horus' promotion by the Emperor to take his place as the supreme commander of all Imperial military forces during the latter half of the Great Crusade, after the Emperor had retired to Terra to begin work on his secret project to open the Eldar Webway up to human use. At present, the title of Warmaster, officially designated as "Lord Solar" (not to be confused with the Lord Commander Solar who serves as the commander of all Imperial military forces in the Segmentum Solar) is one of the most powerful ranks that can be granted to a general officer of the Imperial armed forces, including officers of the Imperial Guard, the Imperial Navy or even the Chapter Master of one of the Adeptus Astartes Chapters who is commanding a much larger Imperial Crusade force. The rank is officially second in the Imperial military hierarchy only to that of the Lord Commander Militant of the Imperial Guard, who serves on the Senatorum Imperialis as one of the High Lords of Terra and is the commander-in-chief of the Imperial Guard.
The title of Warmaster is bestowed by the High Lords of Terra in the present Imperium only when an Imperial Crusade is being planned and resources from multiple Imperial sectors are needed. The supreme overall command designated by the rank of Warmaster is necessary as inter-and intra-service strife and bureaucratic rivalries might make assembling the materiel required and co-operating in the field difficult for officers of the different services without a clear grant of supreme authority. The rank is not available unless granted by the High Lords of Terra and it is the normal formulation to say that such an individual has been given his or her command by the Emperor himself. There is rarely more than one Warmaster operating within the Imperium at any one time, due to the extreme powers given to the holder of the title.
Some consider the title of Warmaster to be cursed or a sign of ill-omen because of the ties of the rank to Horus and the Horus Heresy, the terrible galactic civil war that tore the Imperium in two over ten thousand standard years ago. This is one reason why the title is rarely granted, and why it is officially designed as "Lord Solar". It is also the reason why the Forces of Chaos now grant that title to the Chaos Lord who is capable, like Horus, of uniting all the many different Chaotic factions under the banner of Chaos Undivided in pursuit of the single goal of destroying the Imperium of Man.
According to the Tactica Imperium, Imperial Guard regimental command officers range in rank from Colonel to Lieutenant. In practice, however, the individual regiments making up the vast Imperial Guard are drawn from so many different human worlds and cultures that the actual name given to an officer rank can vary widely across the Guard. Regimental officers always hail from the same world as the troops they command, assuming their officer rank at the initial formation of the regiment. Providing a regiment with officers from its homeworld is an easy but extremely effective way to enhance an enlisted Guardsman's loyalty and morale.
While the exact title of an officer will vary depending on which Imperial world his regiment hails from, the various regimental ranks are standardised as:
- Colonel - The most senior officer in a regiment and the commander of the regiment.
- Major - A Major usually serves as the executive officer of an Imperial Guard regiment, and the primary assistant to the regiment's commanding Colonel. This rank is not universal in the Imperial Guard's organisation and only exists in certain regiments
- Captain - The Imperial Guard's Captains serve as Combat Unit Commanders, and can command either multiple infantry platoons bound together into a company, or multiple Armoured Fists bound together into an Armoured Company. Captains are the most common senior officers found in an Imperial Guard regiment.
- Lieutenant - Lieutenants are the most junior officer rank to be found in the Imperial Guard. They serve as platoon leaders or as the leader of a single Armoured Fist.
Sergeants, Corporals and other non-commissioned officer ranks act as small unit commanders for the Imperial Guard, as well as providing almost constant oversight of the main body of Guardsmen within a regiment. They carry out any tasks assigned to them by their officers and are essential to the running of the regiment.
- Sergeant - A Sergeant is a non-commissioned officer of the Imperial Guard who is either in charge of a single squad of 10 Guardsmen, or the tank commander for a single tank. Although they are often thought of as mere grunts, good Sergeants are just as necessary to the Imperial Guard's mission as good Generals, and some Sergeants have gained famous renown thanks to their bravery, resourcefulness or sheer resilience. Legendary Imperial heroes such as Sergeant Lukas Bastonne, Gunnery Sergeant "Stonetooth" Harker and Jarran Kell are all proud to hold the rank and that "they work for a living" rather than enjoy the privileges and pomp of the Imperial Guard's officer corps.
- Corporal - A Corporal is a non-commissioned officer of the Imperial Guard who serves as a second and aide to his squad Sergeant. He will also serve as a section leader during patrols or on sentry duty when the whole squad is spread out or not employed as a whole. In armoured regiments, it is common to have the main gunners and drivers of all tanks promoted to the rank of Corporal, while the secondary gunners/loaders and the Vox operators remain simple enlisted Guardsmen. This is done to denote the fact that main gunners and drivers hold the most prestigious positions within the armoured machine. It is purely a question of prestige though, for on the battlefield, a tank commander is his vehicle's sole lord and master.
The enlisted rank-and-file troops of the Imperial Guard perform a large variety of combat and support roles and make up the vast bulk of the Imperial Guard's forces. They are the grunts who ultimately get the job done for the Emperor. There are two kinds of troops in the Imperial Guard, namely the "regular" professional Guardsmen who have been raised from their homeworld and trained as part of the Imperial tithe and conscripts. Conscripts are those civilians present in an Imperial Guard warzone who get inducted into the Imperial Guard to replace losses for the duration of the conflict. Well-equipped but poorly trained, Imperial Guard conscripts are often used as reserve troops, manning static defence posts and secondary battle lines, allowing the Imperial commanders to deploy their best troops on the frontline.
Officio Prefectus (Commissariat)
The Officio Prefectus, better known as the Commissariat, attaches one or more Commissars to each Imperial Guard regiment in order to ensure that discipline and loyalty to the Emperor are maintained. A Commissar is a political officer and doctrinal enforcer who has no official rank within the Guard's hierarchy, but he or she has the supreme authority to punish or execute any soldier, whatever his rank, that he judges to have failed in his duties to the God-Emperor. Should the necessity arise, a Commissar can assume command of an Imperial Guard force for the duration of a battle, but he will relinquish it at the end of the fighting to a regular officer.
The Preachers and Confessors of the Ecclesiarchy who attach themselves to the Imperial Guard hold no official rank within the Guard's hierarchy, but their fiery sermons and acts of devotion will bolster the faith of the troops and inspire them to greatness, making them fearlessly and zealously rush forward to exterminate the enemies of Mankind in the name of the Emperor. Many a battle has been won by a Priest leading a platoon of Guardsmen forward to purge their opponents in holy flames. However, Imperial Guard officers often consider a member of the Ecclesiarchy attached to their command a mixed blessing: their presence is a potent morale bolster for the Guardsmen, but often a Priest will urge the men into a heroic but tactically unsound frontal charge, forcing the officers to modify their plans on the spot with potential catastrophic results.
The Tech-priests and Enginseers of the Adeptus Mechanicus are honoured guests of any Imperial Guard formation to which they are routinely attached. They hold no official rank within the Guard's hierarchy, but all Guardsmen are under the explicit command to protect the servants of the Machine God and assist them whenever necessary, such is the importance of their work to the Guard's mission.
Adeptus Astra Telepathica
Sanctioned Psykers and Astropaths are often detached as counsellors to the various commanding officers of the Imperial Guard. They hold no formal rank in the Guard's hierarchy, and are often reviled by the men they serve with, who have been raised on worlds where the ancient human prejudice against those who wield psychic abilities can still be quite strong. The fear of the mutant is so deeply ingrained in the mind of the average Guardsman that Sanctioned Psykers will have a very hard life alongside the men they serve with, and will always be treated with suspicion and watched by their comrades for any signs of daemonic possession or other Warp-taint. Yet the help they can provide to the Imperial Guard thanks to their psychic powers, be it long-range communication or unleashing the potent energies of the Empyrean upon the battlefield, is potent and capable of turning the tide of a close-fought campaign.
An Inquisitor, regardless of which Ordo he or she serves, holds no official rank in the Imperial Guard or any of the other Imperial armed forces. However, upon simple presentation of his Inquisitorial Rosette, an Inquisitor can commandeer any Imperial military asset, from a single Guardsman to a whole battlegroup. The most sensible Inquisitors leave the tactical considerations to the professional soldiers, and often use the masses of the Imperial Guard as a distraction whilst they proceed to their objective with a small Kill-team of specialists drawn from their own Acolytes or their Ordo's Chamber Militant, but it is not unheard of for Inquisitors to actually assume command of a large Imperial Guard force, lending their peculiar expertise against a foe to the blunt instrument that is the Guard. Most officers dread being seconded to an Inquisitor, for it is akin to a death sentence: all too often those Guardsmen seconded to service with the Inquisition are callously sacrificed to hold the line to the last man while the Inquisitor purges the heart of corruption with his chosen team of Acolytes or specialists, and even if some Guardsmen manage to survive the mission, Inquisitors never hesitate to execute all those who have come in contact with Chaotic or xenos corruption to prevent its spread to other regions of the Imperium.
Psykers in the Astra Militarum
Ruinous power. Highly destructive capabilities. A wild card, capable of turning the tides of war. These are the thoughts of many in the Departmento Munitorum when the idea of psykers comes into their minds. For the troops that must serve alongside these beings, they are enigmatic monsters drawing upon eldritch forces, kept in check only by the steady shot of a Commissar’s Bolt Pistol. Psykers are feared throughout the Imperium with good reason. On Feral Worlds, witches conjure demonic power and break all laws of nature. On more civilized worlds, those who are shown to be psychically active rarely have the time to even realise the power they hold before they are captured and taken to the dreaded Black Ships. From there, they either prove themselves useful enough to serve where needed, or prove too wild and dangerous to be allowed to live; those that come up wanting are taken to Terra. Once there, they will join tens of thousands more psykers in giving their souls to sustain the God-Emperor for another day.
While psykers are feared and distrusted throughout the Imperium, the empire of Mankind could not function without them. Psykers are the links that hold the human-settled galaxy together -- psychic communication is the only means the Imperium has to communicate over the vast distances of space. Astropaths relay orders, allowing the sweeping force of the Imperial armies to spread across the galaxy. Without psykers, the Imperium would fall apart, with all of the many worlds Man has claimed being unable to communicate with even the lords of their sector. However, every psyker is also a grave danger to those around them. Each psyker is a gateway through which the daemons of the Warp may enter the material world and bring destruction to Mankind. Thus, the collection and training of those who show signs of this power is a serious -- and often brutal -- undertaking. Those who brandish the power of the Warp in the hopes of building cultish power often meet very swift ends at the hands of dreaded Inquisitors.
However, those who prove useful may be put to work for the benefit of Mankind. Clever and competent Wyrdvane Psykers (Sanctioned Psykers) may be put to use by the Imperial Guard, or find a place in the Imperial Navy, giving Imperial commanders advice pulled from the Aether. Particularly wily and talented psykers may be called in to serve the Inquisition. Many psykers are branded and marked, ensuring that they may be easily identified and punished for any unusual activity, wherever they may be.
Psykers play an important role amongst the ranks of the Imperial Guard. Gathered into large psychic choirs, a group of psykers can weave their power together to perform extraordinary feats. As they gain experience, psykers can even ascend to the rank of Primaris Psyker, accompanying Imperial commanders into battle and summoning incredibly destructive powers to turn the tides of battle. These potent individuals are viewed with a mix of fear and awe by the general ranks of Guardsmen, and having a psyker attached to an Imperial Guard squad can raise tensions considerably.
The Imperium needs psykers, but only those who can use the unstable powers of the Warp for the good of Mankind. When the seed of power is found on any Imperial world, they are gathered, sedated and sent away on board the dreaded Black Ships. They are tested, and those found worthy are selected to attend the revered Scholastica Psykana, where they may learn to control their power. Out of these countless psykers, only a very small percentage will leave alive. Most meet their end in the deadly training, or are executed by the overseers when their power exceeds their control. If they are to control the energies of the Empyrean, they must first learn its true nature. Many are driven mad when they first look into the roiling energies of the Warp, and see it staring back at them. Those who survive their trials may become Sanctioned Psykers.
Once sanctioned, a psyker may be approached by certain powerful individuals, if they have shown exceptional power and control. For most Sanctioned Psykers, they will get their chance to serve the Imperium and prove their loyalty to the Emperor amongst the ranks of the Astra Militarum.
Psy Rating (PR) is a raw measure of a psyker’s power and his ability to draw power from the Warp. The higher a psyker's PR, the more powerful he will be. PR usually ranges from 1 (a novice Imperial psyker or petty Warp-witch) to 10 (a monstrous Greater Daemon or masterful Eldar Farseer), though in some extremely special cases it may go higher still. A starting Sanctioned Psyker of the Astra Militarum usually has a Psy Rating of 2, with a Primaris Psyker reaching 5 or 6 at the height of his power. Sanctioned Psykers' individual relative weakness is the reason why they gather in Circles when in service to the Guard, as their combined power allows the Circle to face off against a truly powerful psyker and prevail where each Sanctioned Psyker individually would be swept aside.
Unfortunately for the Guardsmen fighting the Imperium's wars, the psykers of the Imperium are not the only beings in the galaxy who can wield the foul powers of the Warp. From mysterious Eldar Farseers and vicious Chaos Sorcerers, to unpredictable Ork Weirdboyz and the ominous Zoanthropes of the Tyranid Hive Fleets, powerful psychic individuals stand amongst the ranks of almost all of the enemies of Mankind. Simply seeing the destruction that can be wrought by these individuals can drive a Guardsman mad.
Forces of the Astra Militarum
Regimental Command Squad
In large-scale Imperial Crusades that usually involve large armies of the Astra Militarum, Guardsmen High Commanders are often found directing the Crusade effort from the rear, keeping with him representatives from the various Imperial Guard regiments and the occasional Space Marine Chapter involved in the Crusade to keep in constant contact with the fighting components. However, when necessary, the High Commander may take to the battlefield with his aides and bodyguard, boosting his men's morale with his mere presence. High Commanders have a higher rank than other officers normally found at the front lines. A commander has the choice of which regiment to lead from the front, but they can be put into the major sections of all different types of Imperial Guard regiments.
Company Command Squad
The senior-most officer of an Astra Militarum company leads his troops as part of a Company Command Squad. This is the heart of an Imperial Guard army, from where the Company Commander can disseminate orders, execute the Regimental Commander's battle strategy and direct the actions of specific units. The Command Squads typically number five men - the Senior Officer and four of the unit's most competent troopers. They are often given additional training and equipment, enabling them to function as combat medics, vox-operators and other orderlies. A soldier who has displayed gallantry above and beyond the call of duty is often inducted into such Command Squads. This gallant trooper may be permitted to carry the regimental standard, a privileged distinction. The Guardsmen of the Command Squad are equipped with a variety of weapons from the Company's armoury - one carries the company standard, another serves as a medic, a third carries a portable vox unit, and the last soldier acts as the Commander's orderly/bodyguard. The squad may all be mounted in a Chimera. The officer is in continuous contact with his subordinates and coordinates attacks and provides a solid leadership anchor and can have advisers and bodyguards accompany him. The Company Commanders fight on the front line, leading by example, providing their subordinates a solid anchor of leadership.
Command Squads are sometime bolstered by the presence of Regimental Advisors, whose task is to ensure and better the coordination of the company (or the regiment) with the other Imperial forces present. There are three recurrent types of advisors: the first is the Officer of the Fleet, an Imperial Navy junior bridge officer who serves as liaison with any present Imperial Navy starship and coordinates air support and orbital bombardment manoeuvres with the Aeronautica Imperialis, the division of the Navy that provides crucial air support for the Astra Militarum. The second is the Master of the Ordnance, a junior officer who serves as an artillery spotter, and is trained and equipped to direct the punitive volleys from rear echelon artillery support. The third is the Astropath, whose instantaneous long-range telepathic messages allow for a quicker and better (re-)deployment of Imperial forces and ensure a rapid response to any unexpected development during a battle.
Commissars and Lord Commissars
Even in battle, a Guardsman may need to be reminded of his duty to the Emperor to overcome his fear, and Commissars of the Officio Prefectus are often seen as the Emperor's personal representatives on the battlefield. Stern-faced and grim individual officers trained by the Imperium's Schola Progenium, Commissars are able to either inspire great deeds or strike fear into the hearts of Guardsmen. Either way, these emotions encourage the troops to stand their ground against an often horrific enemy and battle it out to the end.
Commissars are more than just a visible representative of the Emperor of Mankind. They also often take the fight to the enemy, battling against foe after foe to aid their units in battle. Their elevated status marks them apart from the standard hierarchy of an Imperial Guard Regiment's command, and they often operate as autonomous individuals, counseling and advising the commanding officer of a Guard unit. They have the authority to execute Sanctioned Psykers and Primaris Psykers if they are possessed by the dark forces of the Warp. If a commander or soldier is found wanting, or wavers in his duty to the Emperor, the Commissar has full legal authority to immediately execute him. It is this mix of extreme corporal punishment and courage that makes Commissars such effective boosters of Imperial Guard morale on the grim frontlines of the Imperium. Such is their reputation that in some regiments the wrath of the Commissar is more feared than the enemy.
The Schola Progenium teaches and trains orphans of Imperial Officers until they are ready to be initiated into one of the numerous organisations of the Imperium. Here, young orphans are schooled to love the beneficent Emperor. It is here that many Commissars find their unbreakable strength of their faith in the missionary orphanages. This orphans are recruited into the ranks of the fiercely loyal Imperial Storm Troopers. Commissars are often drawn from the ranks of these elite soldiers. Commissars are also drawn from the ranks of orphans of the Schola Progenium. They learn how to lead and fight in these squads at the Schola Progenium, working their way up to the rank of Cadet Commissar. As such, their training continues on the galaxy's battlegrounds where they are formed into special Commissar Training Squads, fighting alongside Imperial Guard units.
The Commissar-General is the senior Commissar of the regiment with the longest service and most extensive campaign experience. It is the Commissar-General's responsibility to select the most promising recruits from those recommended to him by the schools of the Adeptus Ministorum. After basic Imperial Guard training these become Cadet Commissars and proceed to special training for their demanding responsibilities as Commissars. The best way to achieve this is for the Cadets to be instructed under battlefield conditions. The Commissar-General assigns Cadet Commissars to these special training squads, who are then allocated to specific Imperial Guard officers according to his judgement of the battlefield situation. These squad members are identified by a blue uniform trim and Cadet badge.
A Commissar is then assigned to take the regiment's Commissar Cadets and form their own tactical unit. This Commissar Training Squad is made up of one Commissar and nine Cadet Commissars. The training of these Cadets Commissars has no fixed duration. A Cadet qualifies as a full Commissar on the judgement of the Commissar-General. He will be awarded his Commissar status as soon as he/she is deemed worthy of it by their actions. This newly promoted Commissars provide great inspiration to the other Cadets on the battlefield. The new Commissar can then be allocated Commissarial duties in his own right. Those Cadets who fail in their duties, but has not shown cowardice or insubordination, is relieved of his position and duties. These failed Commissar Cadets are often commissioned in a penal battalion. Others volunteer for service in a Rogue Trader entourage. Sometimes, their destiny will be decided by the Commissar-General or Commissar under whom the ex-Cadet trained.
The few Commissars who survive for long and demonstrate extreme valour and leadership may achieve the rank of Lord Commissars. The gallantry of Lord Commissars is legendary and tales abound of stranded, demoralised Astra Militarum squads being driven to valourous deeds by the leadership of such heroes. Lord Commissars exemplify power and bravery, making them natural leaders with a reputation for turning the tide of battle, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. Just being in the presence of a Lord Commissar drives Imperial Guardsmen to extreme measures of discipline and in may cases they have been lead without fear into the heat of battle. Lord Commissars are few and far between among the Imperium's forces, but they inspire their soldiers to acts of valour in a way no average Commissar can.
Ecclesiarchy Priests and Crusaders
- "No army is big enough to conquer the galaxy. But faith alone can overturn the universe."
- —Ecclesiarch Deacis IX
These fanatical members of the Ecclesiarchy and ministers of the Imperial Cult follow the Astra Militarum on campaigns and battles preaching the righteousness of the God-Emperor. These Priests of the Ecclesiarchy play a vital role in the Astra Militarum, imparting holy teachings of the Emperor and providing spiritual succour to the troops both on and off the battlefield. To these followers of the Imperial Creed there is no higher calling than tending the flocks of the Emperor's armies. They lead by example and gladly martyr themselves on blood-soaked fields of battle. They favour close combat over the use of ranged weapons, as they bring holy death to their enemies and they instill this ideal in the Guardsmen following them, making them equally as ferocious as a Commissar when it comes to motivating men, although they use religious inspiration rather than terror in the way most Commissars do.
Adeptus Ministorum Priests ensure that troops are sufficiently motivated to do their duty without fear, as well as fighting fanatically themselves. In battle they harness the faith of the troops to smite the Emperor's foes. They fill the hearts of nearby Guardsmen with righteous anger through their powerful and rousing oratory, chanting litanies of devotion and mantras of hate. Together they charge down Heretics that dare oppose the Emperor, determined to purge such filth from the battlefield. During the Second Tyrannic War, the Miasman 15th "Brimstones" found themselves out of ammunition and cut off from reinforcements on the Shrine World of Dystra Angelicus. Roused by the righteous fervour of a trio of Ministorum Priests, the Miasmans sallied forth, butchering half a dozen broods with their knives before they were eventually cut down.
More than one Astra Militarum commander has been grateful for the powerful oratory of a Ministorum Priest. Their fiery speeches can stir a populace to rebel against a Heretic lord or persuade an army to lay down its arms and surrender to the mercy of the Emperor -- which is inevitably quick and bloody.
All members of the Ecclesiarchy carry with them a rosarius -- a symbol of Imperial faith as potent as the holy Aquila. The more bloodthirsty of Ministorum Priests, including those that have ties to the Redemption Cults, often preach in the swirling melee of combat, and so supplement their faith with snarling Chainswords and bulky pistols. Few liturgies are more rousing to the soldiery of the Astra Militarum than those accompanied by sprays of Traitor blood and the wet thud of carved enemy flesh hitting the ground.
Though a Ministorum Priest may serve within an Astra Militarum regiment -- sometimes for an extended period -- he is still formally part of the Ecclesiarchy, the religious body of the Imperium. In a practical sense this has little bearing on his place in a battle, for a Priest will follow the orders given to the regiment he has been seconded to, and will fight and die alongside the soldiers he shepherds.
Imperial Guard commanders who show exceptional zeal, unflinching faith and appropriate deference towards the Adeptus Ministorum are sometimes afforded a retinue of Crusaders. These warrior ascetics hail from the most mysterious of all the Ecclesiarchy's many orders -- the Cardinals Crimson -- and it is said that nowhere in the Imperium can more devout warriors be found, save perhaps for in the ranks of the Adepta Sororitas. Armed with formidable shields, shrouded in robes and wielding heavy longswords wreathed in crackling power fields, Crusaders form a dauntless honour guard that is nigh impenetrable in both body and spirit.
On the battlefield, Crusaders will often form a halo around their commander, allowing them to move freely wherever the Emperor guides. Xenos, Heretics and Traitors who would approach this holy officer are slaughtered by the Crusaders, while incoming fire ricochets harmlessly off their ornamented Storm Shields. Blessed are the soldiers serving under such a commander, for to fight in the presence of Crusaders is to be assured that the war being waged is truly righteous in the eyes of the Emperor.
A Tech-priest Enginseer is a heavily armoured warrior from the Adeptus Mechanicus who can repair tanks and other Imperial vehicles on the battlefield. They can be accompanied by up to five other lobotomised cybernetic Servitor units, who can aid the Tech-priest in ranged combat or repairing vehicles.
A Tech-priest has numerous cybernetic enhancements which aid them in the performance of their duties, such as when tanks and other vehicles need to be repaired under heavy fire or extreme time constraints. Many Tech-priests have their lungs replaced with mechanical breathers or portions of their cerebral cortex replaced with Cogitator (computer) circuitry to allow for easier interfaces with the archaic but advanced technology of the Imperium. Some of the more fanatically devoted Tech-priests who worship the Cult Mechanicus have their blood replaced with a synthetic oxygen-carrying chemical substitute, to minimise the effects of wounds and injuries inflicted on the field of battle. Many Tech-priests choose to have the serpentine cybernetic Servo-Arms called Mechadendrites installed, as an extra limb is always useful for both combat and repair duties.
The Servo-Arm is the most iconic tool of the tech-priest Enginseers serving within the Astra Militarum. Powered by whirring servos, these large robotic limbs are articulated such that they can reach every point within several feet of the Tech-priest, and have enough strength to life a tank chassis while track repairs are made. With an industrious Machine Spirit, a Servo-Arm is endlessly driven to repair and maintain its fellow mechanical creations, though should a Tech-priest desire, it can also visit ruin upon those who would interfere with his work. Its powerful claw, designed to clamp shut rents in the hulls of tanks, is equally effective at severing limbs and crushing skulls. With a single swipe, the Servo-Arm can send a Chaos Space Marine flailing, or punch through the ensorcelled plating of a taint-ridden Daemon Engine.
The Tech-priest Enginseers are privy to the mystical secrets of the Machine Spirits that the Adeptus Mechanicus' Cult of the Machine God believes inhabits all Imperial vehicles and technology and they are held in high regard amongst the Imperial Guard's armoured companies, which are comprised primarily of tanks and other vehicles. However, in most Imperial Guard armies, the Tech-priests are shunned by their fellow Guardsmen because of their bionic enhancements and cybernetic disfigurements.
Many Tech-priest Enginseers are accompanied on the battlefield by retinues of mindless Servitors. These lobotomised cyborg slaves are often vat-grown, though many were vicious Imperial criminals or Heretics prior to their enforced conversion. Regardless of their origins, most Servitors will boast industrial cybernetics allowing them to aid their master in his work. Others are fitted with hefty heavy weapons whose chattering volleys drive back the foe and permit the Enginseer to make his repairs without interruption.
Servitors make effective battle-line troops, but only when shepherded by a Tech-priest who can engage the raw circuitry of their minds to direct their unthinking aggression. Without such guidance Servitors do little but fire wildly, and may even wander off without warning in pursuit of some erroneous protocol.
The Tempestus Scions of the Militarum Tempestus, also known as Storm Troopers in Low Gothic, are considered superior to other Imperial Guardsmen because of their additional training and indoctrination by the Schola Progenium, as well as their improved personal technology and equipment. They are often used in the vanguard of an assault or as infiltrating troops to carry out special objectives lesser Guardsmen would be unable to undertake. Storm Troopers are ruthless, proficient killers whose combat skills within the Imperial Guard are second-to-none. To complement their superior training, Storm Troopers are better armed and armoured than regular Guardsmen. Their bodies are protected by carapace armour composed of rigid arma-plas and reinforced ceramite plate, protecting them better than the standard issue Flak Armour. Storm Troopers also wield sophisticated Hot-Shot Lasguns and Hot-Shot Laspistols -- a more potent and lethal form of weapon than the standard issue Lasgun. However, the drawback of these weapons are that they are difficult to produce and maintain. These weapons are rarely issued to soldiers outside Storm Trooper companies, who are trained to look after and even rebuild these weapons if necessary. These elite units are constantly moving from one war zone to another and are amongst the most experienced units within the Imperial Guard. Storm Troopers are taught to perform covert operations, spearhead assaults into fortified positions and storm key installations.
Trained in the Schola Progenium, these men commit to a rigorous program of physical and mental indoctrination that raises them to the peak of human conditioning. Loyal to the Emperor above all else, Tempestus Scions provide the Imperial High Command with a core of flexible, nigh-incorruptible soldiers. Militarum Tempestus Scions are often viewed with fear or resentment by the regular troops -– nicknames such as "glory boys" and "big toy soldiers" are common. Yet this rancour is nothing to the Scions themselves. Trained in covert operations and rapid insertion strike-tactics, they go to battle confident that their every deed is for the good of the Imperium itself. Deployed sparingly, they can be depended upon to complete any mission, no matter how deadly. Racing into battle aboard armoured transports or plummeting down on grav-chutes, the Scions are the sharp edge of the Imperial Guard's war machine.
Ogryn hail from high-gravity Imperial worlds, which led their ancestors to grow taller and much more muscular than most humans during the long years of the Age of Strife before contact with the rest of humanity was reestablished during the Great Crusade. Often drafted into Astra Militarum regiments from the Militarum Auxilla's Ogryn Auxilia Legions, these mutant Abhuman offshoots of humanity are large, hulking, intellectually simple and very, very angry. Ogryns tend to be very loyal to anyone they consider a friend and have the same values, personal loyalties and determination as Guardsmen drawn from barbaric Feral World societies, so the two groups tend to get along very well. Of course, given their tendency for brute force and phenomenal melee power, Ogryns are extremely tough combatants and can serve as a powerful assault force, preventing the enemy from reaching the softer, inner core an Imperial army's standard Guardsmen. Ogryn troops of the Imperial Guard usually wield well-built Ripper Guns, which more often than not are used for bashing the enemy as a club, rather than shooting them. The weapon has a built-in burst limiter to prevent the Ogyrn from shooting off their entire ammunition drum at once, something that would be conceived as great fun to the simple mind of an Ogryn. Ogryns can be mounted in a transport, although they do suffer from a form of claustrophobia and are not at their best when being transported within the confined enclosure of a vehicle. However, it has been found that Imperial Guard officers can get Ogryn into armoured transports with the help of a friendly-faced trooper and a crate of rations. Unfortunately for the trooper, he is stuck in the transport with the hulking Abhumans until they are deployed. Because of their sheer size and bulk, even unarmoured Ogryn can resist large amounts of incoming fire and move up the field to tenaciously assault the enemy's stronger combat units.
Ratlings are small mutant Abhumans who developed on low-gravity Imperial worlds and are unsuitable for use as close combat troops with the Militarum Auxilla. The Ratlings instead act as perhaps the Imperial Guard's most skilled snipers, and many a regiment has been saved at the last moment only by the pinpoint accuracy of the tiny Abhumans. Ratlings are also great cooks, being able to make anything out of whatever they find (or pilfer). Ratlings are notorious crooks, organizing gambling rings or using their small size to steal whatever is laying around, whether it be a shiny bullet casing or the senior Commissar's peaked hat. Needless to say, Regimental commanders have noticed that rates of petty theft and drug-dealing invariably increase when a Ratlings squad is attached to the regiment. This tendency means the Ratlings make fine profits on the front-lines, where they smuggle in whatever the soldiers need or want - for a price.
Astra Militarum Troop Types
Found in every single Imperial Guard regiment, the Guardsman is the ubiquitous representative soldier of the Astra Militarum, as he makes up the very backbone of the organisation's fighting force. Armed with low-power laser weaponry known as Lasguns, an individual Guardsmen's lethality is minimal. Clad in standard Flak Armour fabricated from basic metallic alloys, they have little protection in comparison with the Adeptus Astartes and the other intelligent species' front-line warriors. Instead of cybernetic upgrades, daemonic Chaos powers or biomechanical weapons, the Guardsmen face up to the universe's unimaginable horrors with nothing more than a las rifle in their hands and the fire in their bellies. Guardsmen are used differently by their regiment, depending on their commanding officer's preferences. Some regimental commanders choose to use the near-limitless number of Guardsmen like water on rocks -- maximum casualties, but a slow and sure victory. Others prefer a sledgehammer style -- an enemy will always fall under a volley of a thousand Lasguns. Others just use the Guard like flesh shields -- force the enemy through the human meat grinder until it works no more. However they are used, the Guard always maintains its faith in victory no matter the cost, in the name of the God-Emperor of Mankind.
The standard and most basic tactical infantry deployment of the Astra Militarum, an infantry platoon comprises 1 command squad lead by a junior officer who serves as the Platoon Commander and their staff, 2-5 Infantry Squads and 0-5 Heavy Weapon Squads, 0-2 Special Weapon Squads, and 0-1 Conscript Platoons.
Platoon Command Squad
The Platoon Command Squad provides the first link in the chain-of-command within Imperial Guard Regiments. For battlefield operations to perform smoothly the Imperial Guard operates by using a substantial command structure. The Platoon Command Squad provides the command-and-control necessary for effective combat operations. The officer who lead Platoon Command Squads are known by a variety of official ranks and titles; lieutenant, marshal and shield-centurion are just a few examples. Their primary role is to ensure the platoon fulfills the Company Commander's orders and gets the job done. It is their duty to ensure that their most basic unit of the Guard fights effectively on the battlefield. Sadly, for every fresh-faced officer whom performs valiantly there is another that panics and falters and is quickly punished by a neighbouring Commissar for wasting the time and countless lives of the Guard. The Platoon Commanders are accompanied by this hand-picked team who help them fulfill their duties. The Platoon Command Squad consists of a junior officer and his personal staff of non-commissioned officers (NCOs). They may be chosen for their medical skills, their skill with special weapons or their potential to ultimately become an officer. These squads coordinate and plan their platoon's movement and actions. Troopers within these squads are chosen for their courage and may be given the honour of carrying the platoon standard. Others are chosen for their technical or medical skills. A select few are individuals that are thought suitable for officer training. Troopers assigned to a Command Squad not only assist in relaying the officer's orders but also gain first-hand leadership experience.
The main body of men and women fighting in the Imperial Guard are organised into Infantry Squads. These squads do everything that is required in combat and do most of the dying until the enemy is defeated. Infantry squads form the backbone and the heart and soul of the Imperial Guard. The fighting ability of each regiment reflects the world and society it comes from. Some planets specifically breed and train men as soldiers which are ultimately handed over to the Imperial Guard by the planetary government as part of their world's Administratum tithe. They are given a Lasgun and Flak Armour, and sent into battle. They can comprise small units or can be brought together to form a formidable swarm of men. A regular Imperial Guard infantry squad is composed of 10 soldiers, led by a non-commissioned officer who holds the rank of Sergeant. Often, one of the more experienced troopers of the squad will wield a specialist's weapon to add to his comrades' firepower; be it a Flamer, Sniper Rifle, Grenade Launcher, Plasma Gun or Meltagun. Squads are formed up into platoons, regrouping from two to five squads under the command of an officer with the rank of Lieutenant and his own platoon command squad.
Heavy Weapon Squads
Although some Guardsmen are equipped with a variety of powerful and specialised weaponry, the primary strength of the Guard's infantry regiments remains their huge and expendable mass of firepower. The massed firepower of an Imperial Guard regiment is what makes it a deadly opponent, despite the relative weakness of every individual Guardsman. Some opponents, especially enemy armoured vehicles, can easily shrug off volleys of Lasgun fire, and require a different solution than what standard infantry weapons can provide. Dedicated Heavy Weapons Squads are the Astra Militarum's answer to all those foes who prove invulnerable to massed Lasgun fire. They are equipped with Mortars, Missile Launchers, Heavy Bolters, Autocannons or Lascannons to offer long-range fire support or anti-armour support to regular Guardsmen. Unleashing a torrent of indiscriminate firepower, a Heavy Weapons Squad can reduce the packed ranks of the enemy to a pile of bleeding corpses in the time it takes to pull the trigger. Those soldiers who demonstrate an affinity with specialised weaponry are gathered together into squads within a heavy weapons company. Generally, these Heavy Weapon Teams are made up of two soldiers who crew a heavy weapon -- one crewman fires whilst the other hauls and loads the ammunition. Placed under the command of an officer, a Heavy Weapons Team or Heavy Weapons Squad boosts the firepower of individual squads or platoons, respectively, allowing them to engage enemy armoured units or hold off alien hordes that outnumber them many times over.
Conscript Platoons ("Whiteshields")
Conscript platoons consist of normal Imperial citizens with little or no military training, new Guard recruits who have not yet entered training, children of an already extant regiment's troops or Guardsmen that have not yet completed their training. Sometimes, in military emergencies, the Imperium's need for manpower is so great that normal Imperial citizens will simply find themselves conscripted by their local Imperial Guard regiment. These conscripts are officially designated in the military hierarchy as Probitors, but are better known by a variety of nicknames, the most common moniker being "Whiteshield." This name is derived from a Cadian custom in that these Probitors show no regimental, company or platoon markings until they have earned the right to do so after facing their first combat test on the battlefield. Then they will be able to display their regimental colours or the heraldry of their fathers. Their only identifying insignia before this is the display of a single white helmet stripe. These reckless cadets are eager to prove their courage and earn the title of "Guardsman." To them this is more than a simple promotion, this is considered a rite of passage for many amongst the Probitors, marking their entry into adulthood, particularly if they are Cadians who have spent their entire lives preparing to enter the military service of the Imperium. "Whiteshields" continue to perform menial and support duties, but combat training takes up an increasing proportion of their time, until they are judged ready for action. Finally, they get a chance to prove their mettle in combat and to demonstrate that they are worthy of becoming true warriors of the Emperor.
Only those Whiteshields who distinguished themselves in battle are allowed to become Guardsmen proper. Some regiments merely demand that a Whiteshield take part in a battle without giving way to fear. Others only accept those who have drawn blood or killed an enemy, sometimes requiring the young soldier to collect a grisly trophy to prove his claim. After they have shown their worth, the Whiteshield has his blank, white helmet badge ceremoniously replaced with the regimental number and colours of his platoon; they take the shoulder motif of their company, and the helmet markings of the squad to which they are newly assigned. These rituals vary widely, as they are taken from the regiment's homeworld culture. Tattoos and ritual scarification are common and receiving these marks without crying out in pain is as much of a test of the youngster's courage as his bravery on the battlefield.
Special Weapons Squads
Most Imperial Guard regiments maintain a separate support company dedicated to providing infantry platoons with troops armed and trained to fulfill a number of specialist roles. These six-man Special Weapons Squads of specialist Imperial Guardsmen may consist of snipers and spotters, combat engineers with Flamers, or demolition experts offering a variety of special support. Sniper teams are used to target enemy commanders, whilst those armed with heavy explosives perform tasks such as destroying fortifications. Demolitions experts can carry either grenade launchers or a special Melta demolition charge. Combat engineers are particularly feared by the enemy and can clear out bunkers with gouts of lethal Promethium flame. Some of these specialists can act as anti-tank units using a Multi-Melta or Plasma Gun.
These hardy soldiers are Guardsmen are members of squads and platoons who have survived grueling wars of attrition for years and even decades at a time. Inevitably, each company shrinks in size as casualties take their toll. These superlative warriors have been forged into lethal and efficient killers through their battlefield training. These Veterans are the hard-core of the Astra Militarum -- the first squad in an assault and the last in retreat. They possess unmatched skills and the combat experience to survive. They are crack shots and can have several special weapons in their squads and have non-standard weapons not issued to regular Guardsmen. Many of their weapons are taken from their foes. It is rare for a Regiment to possess a large number of Veterans except for Regiments with elite soldiers like those from the world of Cadia or those who have had a run of unusually good luck or competent commanders. A Regiment that has been reduced to the point when there are just a few Veterans left are combined with a new Regiment in the hope that their skills will rub off onto the new men. Many of these Veterans may not be from the Regiment or even the same home world, and so may introduce brand new combat-tactics and an entirely different war-ethic to their foster regiment. Although technically these Veteran squads remain a part of the same rigid command structure, these grizzled survivors function best when allowed a certain amount of autonomy. Through their valuable battlefield experience and insight - they often employ unconventional, but effective tactics- such as the use of booby traps - that are not taught by the Tactica Imperialis. Veterans excel in all aspects of warfare, from close-range firefights to heavy demolitions work.
Imperial Guard Penal Legions are formed by those individuals who have committed capital crimes against the Imperium of Man but have been given a chance to redeem themselves by the Adeptus Arbites with their inevitable deaths in battle as warriors of the Imperial Guard. The troopers sentenced to serve in the Penal Legions invariably have short lives. They must live under a tremendous burden of guilt - for they have not only committed crimes, but in doing so, they have also betrayed the Emperor. For those Penal Legionnaires who are genuinely repentant, the opportunity to alleviate this burden is fully embraced and many die on the battlefield in desperate attempts to atone for their crimes. In rare and exceptional circumstances, Legionnaires who complete their missions and survive may be absolved of their crimes and allowed to rejoin the ranks of the Imperial Guard. The ranks of the Penal Legions are made up of the scum of the galaxy. Their ranks are swelled with rapists, murderers, traitors, mutants, and psychopaths, contributing to their disreputable aura; nonetheless, nearly every century a particularly brave (or lucky) Penal Legion is awarded freedom for their years of service, and their sins absolved before the Emperor. This is the only hope that the Legionnaires' cling to as they bloodily die by the dozen, leaving behind the most violent and hardened of their number. Reprieved from the death cells because of some talent or uncanny instinct, these dregs comprise the most vicious, ill-tempered and unstable group of psychopaths and killers in the Imperial Guard. New Legionnaires of the Penal Legion have their heads shaved and tattooed with their unit insignia. Discipline within a Penal Legion is necessarily harsh, even by Imperial Guard standards. A blind eye can never be turned from those that would kill each other by 'accident' or design. The commanding officer or Custodian of the Legion has control of the detonator that is linked to the explosive collars that every Legionnaires' must wear after they join the Legion, and he can use it to kill any Legionnaire he chooses, showering those nearby with sanguinous gore in an effort to retain order. Penal Legionnaires are tasked with the most dangerous missions where their unorthodox abilities and unique skills are essential for victory. Though they are composed of the worst dregs of the Imperium, amongst them are found some of the most skilled warriors of the Imperial Guard. Some of those who serve within the Legion want to die in battle and forget their disgrace. But often, its the toughest and most dangerous born killers that somehow survive.
See Also: Joppal
The Bane Wolf tank is only used when the complete destruction of the opposition is warranted. It carries a Chem Cannon which fires a chemical shell infused with a chemical weapon that dissolves all organic material. Skin is destroyed and the victims blood boils as the horrific weapon takes its toll. Even Power Armour will not protect the enemy and so all infantry, apart from heavily armoured infantry units such as Chaos Space Marine Terminators, will run for their lives as their friends and allies scream behind them. The Banewolf can form a squadron of 1-3 vehicles mixed with the Hellhound and the Devildog tank variants.
Capable of transporting twelve Guardsmen, the Chimera is the standard Imperial armoured personnel carrier for nearly all Imperial Guard regiments. It is amphibious and capable of supporting naval assaults from orbit. It is often the basis for other Guard vehicle variants, such as the Basilisk, the Hellhound, and the Griffin self-propelled mortar platform. They play a heavy role in highly-mechanised Imperial Guard armies, such as that of Armageddon's Steel Legion.
The Devil Dog is a variant of the Hellhound tank armed instead with a Melta Cannon. The Melta Cannon makes a howling sound when it is fired. The Devildog offers crucial anti-tank support to Imperial Guard armies that would otherwise be lacking it. The Devildog can form a squadron of 1-3 vehicles mixed with the Hellhound and Banewolf variants of the tank.
Based on the chassis of the Chimera, Hellhounds have large Promethium fuel tanks mounted on the rear of the vehicle. These tanks are used to fuel a large front-facing Flamer known as an "Inferno Cannon". The Inferno Cannon has the ability to spew streams of flaming fuel over large distances, making it the bane of infantry like Orks and Chaos Space Marines. The Inferno Cannon and its tanks are highly unstable, making the Hellhound a risky vehicle to operate. Because of this, most Hellhounds are crewed by maddened pyromaniacs. The Hellhound can form squadrons of 1-3 vehicles, and can be upgraded to the Devildog and the Banewolf variant tanks.
Rough Rider Cavalry Squadron
Rough Riders are specialist horse warriors who are recruited from Feral Worlds where nomadic clans and warrior horse-lodges have perfected the art traditional cavalry techniques through years of bloodshed. Often, members of the Rough Riders retain many of the ferocious customs of their home worlds such as ritual scarring and tribal tattoos. Mounted upon specially bred steeds or other draught animal's back that are as tough and dangerous (and ill-tempered) as the warriors who ride them. Whilst the majority of Rough Riders are raised from feral, undeveloped worlds this is not exclusively the case. On some planets the honour of riding a steed to war is reserved for the elite classes, formalised horse-warrior aristocracies that have accumulated generations of cavalry experience. Despite its legions of machinery and fighting vehicles, even the Imperial Guard has a place for these fierce mounted warriors. These traditional cavalry units are fast and flexible, but cannot last for long in intense combat with advanced technological or armoured enemy forces. Compared to normal Guardsmen, Rough Riders specialise in close combat, but they are weak compared to the close combat specialists of many other armies. Rough Riders carry a variety of weapons but the most deadly is, without doubt, the potent explosive-tipped hunting lance derived from lethal spear heads used by cavalry on their home worlds to hunt down large carnivorous animals. This one-shot advantage in close combat makes them especially useful when deployed for hit-and-run tactics.
Scout Sentinel Squadron
These small squadrons of mechanical combat walkers known as Sentinels can carry a variety of heavy weapons, depending on the pattern of the Sentinels, and bring high levels of power and maneuverability together in one place. They are lightly armoured however, and are susceptible to light arms fire. They are often employed as anti-infantry units and can be used for defending the flanks of other units or striking forward to take out light to medium armoured infantry or vehicles. They are also commonly used in hit-and-run attacks and many foes will find themselves attacked in the middle of their own territory by squadrons of these effective walkers. Sentinel squadrons will commonly attack refineries and factories, harassing the enemy garrison protecting them, if any.
Armoured Sentinel Squadron
These Sentinel Squadrons are more heavily armoured than Scout Sentinels and can carry weapons such as Plasma Cannons and Lascannons to destroy tanks. They are more deadly in combat because they are not open topped and have heavier armour. Unlike the Scout Sentinel, the normal Sentinel will be used for tank-hunting as well as anti-infantry combat duties. They are far deadlier, and by a consequence of design, far noisier. While Scout Sentinels produce little engine noise, the armoured variant is one that will be heard coming from a long way off.
The Valkyrie is an airborne transport and dropship used by the Imperial Guard that can carry troops into battle from long distances.The Valkyrie is used for drop missions and aerial insertions. Its missile pods and Hellstrike Missiles are potent, and can be used as excellent anti-tank weapons. The Valkyrie is often used to air-drop the elite Storm Troopers into battle on special operations missions. If a Valkyrie is moving at maximum speed it can drop its occupants anywhere along its flight path.
The Vendetta is a modified version of the Valkyrie, replacing the usual Valkyrie armaments with three twin-linked Lascannons. For this reason, the Vendetta gives up most of its anti-infantry capabilities and takes on the role of an anti-tank unit, allowing it to counter enemy armour while simultaneously transporting soldiers across the battlefield. Notwithstanding this difference, the Vendetta is otherwise identical to the Valkyrie variant of the aircraft.
Heavy Armoured Support
Destroyer Tank Hunter
The Destroyer Tank Hunter was a once common vehicle of the Imperial Guard regiments, but is now considered a relic. Now it is rarely seen and its numbers are steadily declining. Whilst its hull can be mass produced, its Laser Destroyer cannot be so easily produced. Only a few Forge Worlds possess the skills to be able to hand-craft each weapon. This is a painstaking and laborious process, resulting in demand far outstripping supply. The Destroyer utilises the old Mars Alpha pattern hull design, modified due to the removal of the standard Leman Russ' turret ring. Destroyers are generally issued to specialist tank destroyer squadrons, and occasionally enough vehicles are gathered to form an entire Tank Destroyer Company. Those Imperial Guard Regiments that still do possess Destroyer Tank Hunters guard them jealously and each vehicle is continually patched up and repaired to keep it operational. Once lost, a regimental commander knows he is unlikely to get any replacements. Wrecks which can be reconstructed are high priority salvage after a battle. The role of the Destroyer on the battlefield is to seek out and eliminate enemy tanks.
Hydra Flak Tank
The Hydra Flak Tank is incredibly effective against opponents that rely upon poorly armoured but highly agile vehicles in combat like the Tau and the Eldar. The tank's auto-targeting system is what makes it so effective against agile enemy vehicles. This is a very effective weapon against Tau or Eldar skimmers, but it possesses little armour so will need some protection from enemy infantry. There is also a version where the main gun is mounted on a Chimera chassis.
Leman Russ Main Battle Tank
The Leman Russ main battle tank is named after one of the Adeptus Astartes' Primarchs, Leman Russ of the Space Wolves, and is the primary tank used by the Imperial Guard. It has a large main battle cannon, which is a hugely powerful kinetic ordnance weapon that fires explosive shells, a hull-mounted lascannon and optional sponson-mounted Heavy Bolters, Heavy Flamers, Plasma Cannons,or Melta Cannons. With strong frontal armour, the Leman Russ is designed to initially bombard large enemy formations and then assault the weakened enemy defensive lines later, its weapons firing. However, the Leman Russ tank is particularly vulnerable to rear and flank attacks because of the thinner armour it possesses in those positions. The Leman Russ tank is the most commonly found armoured vehicle in the Imperial Guard, and is the base design for some of the other vehicles of the Guard, including the Vanquisher, Conqueror and many others. Leman Russ tanks can be upgraded or customised to enhance their combat effectiveness.
Leman Russ Conqueror
The Leman Russ Conqueror is an uncommon variant of the standard Leman Russ main battle tank. Imperial records show that it is only produced in significant numbers on the Forge World of Gryphonne IV, where the original pattern blue-prints were rediscovered sometime in the 38th Millennium. These plans currently reside in Mars, though several Forge Worlds are lobbying for access to them. The Conqueror has many notable features, including a smaller cannon which allows the Conqueror greater mobility and the a higher rate of fire, due to the smaller shell size. Initial field-testing showed that the Conqueror's reduced recoil from the gun's torsion bar counter-balance gives the tank better accuracy for firing on the move. The turret of the Conqueror includes additional armour plates riveted on the forward turret sides. There is also a co-axial-mounted storm bolter for anti-infantry defence, alleviating the need for a pintle-mounted storm bolter and thus eliminating the need for exposing the tank commander. A small searchlight is also included, which can be used for night time communications in the event of radio failure or interference from atmospheric conditions.
Leman Russ Demolisher
Based on the standard Leman Russ chassis, the Leman Russ Demolisher has a similar configuration. It boasts a Demolisher Cannon, designed for short-range kinetic bombardment, rather than the longer-ranged main battle cannon. The extreme power of this weapon makes it tear easily through even Terminator Armour. The simplest tactic is to get just within range of the enemy and then blast away with the Demolisher Cannon as much as possible, relying on the tank's thick frontal armour to keep the tank intact as it advances. The Demolisher is the only tank in the Imperial Guard that is directly attached to infantry formations, rather than being assigned from an armoured company, and have a reputation for never letting down their "little brothers." As such, Demolishers are often at the front of the battle with the infantrymen of the Guard.
Leman Russ Eradicator
The Leman Russ Eradicator is a variant of the Leman Russ main battle tank that was first used during the urban conflict on the world of Khai-Zhan. The Eradicator cannon's blast is so powerful that any cover is useless against such a torrent. The Eradicator offers a solution to a simple but annoying problem: enemy forces hiding behind a wall. Even throwing Krak grenades and plasma bolts at such an enemy can fail, as they can use cover to negate the killing power of those weapons. The Eradicator is the solution for this problem because of the power of its cannon which can simply knock down most forms of cover. The Eradicator is the vehicle of choice for fighting cover-dependent enemy units who hide and harass the Imperial Guard's troops and tanks.
Leman Russ Executioner
The Leman Russ Executioner is an ancient and very powerful version of the Leman Russ main battle tank dating back to the time of the Great Crusade. Once it was produced in vast legions of vehicles, but as the Imperium's understanding of plasma technology degraded, so was the technology to make this variant of the tank. The Executioner is in essence a plasma tank. Its main gun is an Executioner Plasma Cannon that fires massive beams of pure plasma that can simply disintegrate a target or mass of targets on contact. Because of its power, the few remaining Executioner tanks are highly prized relics of those few Imperial Guard Regiments that possess them and they are only used on the battlefield when the risk of their destruction is outweighed by the need for their unmatched firepower.
Leman Russ Exterminator
The Leman Russ Exterminator variant of the Leman Russ main battle tank is an excellent choice for taking on enemy infantry and light vehicles. its twin-linked Autocannons excel at knocking out light vehicles such as buggies and Land Speeders, and the sponson-mounted Heavy Bolters can decimate enemy troop formations. Against more heavily armoured troops and vehicles, the Exterminator flounders, as it lacks the stopping power of dedicated anti-tank weapons such as Lascannons or Krak Missiles.
Leman Russ Punisher
The Leman Russ Punisher can pump more ammunition at the target than any other tank in the Imperial Guard with its powerful Autocannons. The crew is usually gung-ho and trigger happy. The Punisher has proven to be the Imperial Guard's most effective vehicle when assaulting Tyranid and Ork forces which rely on large volumes of poorly armoured troops. A Punisher tank can kill most known forms of Tyranid Genestealers due to their low armour value.
Leman Russ Vanquisher
The Leman Russ Vanquisher is an old variant of the Leman Russ main battle tank that is now slowly becoming a rare sight on the battlefield. Its 1 shot:1 kill ratio makes it a great candidate for anti-tank jobs. The Vanquisher is renowned amongst Imperial Guard armour commanders for cracking open Chaos Space Marine Land Raiders, along with any other light or medium tanks. There is only one known enemy vehicle that can stand up to its power, the Necron Monolith, because of the special properties of its regenerative living metal Necrodermis casing. The Vanquisher is usually fielded against tank-heavy enemy forces that the standard Imperial Guard infantry platoon has difficulty attacking. The technology required to make this tank's main gun, the Vanquisher Cannon, was lost when the Adeptus Mechanicus Forge World of Tigrus was overrun.
Each super-heavy tank is a monument to the destructive power of the Astra Militarum. They are the Emperor's undying wrath cast in steel, holy weapons with the power to obliterate anything in their path. Few commanders have earned the honour to field one of these glorious relics in battle, and fewer enemies can withstand their destructive power.
The largest and most destructive weapons of the Astra Militarum are its super-heavy tanks. Powered by enormous multi-fuel engines and driven by ferociously bellicose Machine Spirits (artificial intelligence), they are remnants of the Dark Age of Technology that continue to exemplify the implacability of Mankind. The hull of a super-heavy tank is layered with plates of adamantine steel armour, and bristling from this near-impenetrable casing are a multitude of armaments. Each of these monstrous machines boasts enough firepower to eradicate entire enemy formations single-handedly, and certain patterns have even greater offensive potential, with added sponson- and hull-mounted weaponry. Ubiquitous to all variants is a colossal main gun protruding from the turret. Some of these fire ultra-explosive shells, whereas others emit beams of immolating directed energy or a superabundance of mass-reactive bolts. Regardless of their payload, these weapons are capable of bringing utter ruination to the most fearsome enemies of the Imperium.
During the Great Crusade, entire regiments of super-heavy tanks were fielded in battle. The rumbling of engines rolled like thunder so that the enemies of the Imperium felt their advance long before the armoured wave broke over the horizon. Now, only a handful of Forge Worlds possess the sacred STC databases required for their construction and maintenance. As such, they cannot be deployed on every one of the Astra Militarum's many war fronts. Only in the most crucial theatres, where failure is absolutely unacceptable and the sheer weight of Guardsmen corpses has not yet won victory, are these steel behemoths unleashed upon the enemy.
A single super-heavy tank is a dominant presence in an Astra Militarum battle line. As it ploughs inexorably forward it lays down a wide path of destruction. Enemy ranks shatter long before it reaches their position, and those unlucky few who are able to maintain their defensive formations are ground to paste under the slab-like plates of its tracks. To witness such merciless punishment meted out against their foes provides a huge boost of morale to nearby Astra Militarum forces. Though they face unimaginable horrors, they are given hope by the vessel of incarnate devastation that fights alongside them.
The Baneblade is the most common variant of Imperial super-heavy tank. Its primary weapon -- the fearsome Baneblade Cannon -- is capable of delivering apocalyptic bombardments at a terrifying range. At close range, armoured vehicles are blasted to scrap by its hull-mounted Demolisher Cannon, and enemy infantry and xenos beasts are blown to pieces by its Autocannon and twin Heavy Bolters.
Each other pattern of super-heavy tank has armaments that make it dominant in specific battlefield roles. The Banehammer is the ultimate equalizer when facing a highly mobile enemy force. The massive shells of its Tremor Cannon are primed to explode only once they have been embedded below ground. The sundering effect of their detonations makes rapid redeployment impossible. The Hellhammer and Stormsword are both designed for use in siege and urban warfare, their respective cannons making a mockery of defensive barricades. The Hellhammer also mounts a Demolisher Cannon, whereas the Stormsword's Siege Cannon alone provides reliable devastation. Similarly, the Banesword's Quake Cannon can pulverise enemy armour and reduce fortifications to rubble. The Shadowsword is equipped with one of the most fearsome primary weapons -- the dreaded Volcano Cannon -- and is capable of taking down Titans at extreme ranges. Nothing short of the most powerful energy fields can hope to stop a direct hit from its blasts. The Magma Cannon of the Doomhammer is a smaller version of the Volcano Cannon. Though it has a reduced range of fire, its compact size allows for troop transport space within the hull. The Stormlord, on the other hand, is almost entirely dedicated to troop transport, its cavernous bay capable of carrying forty Guardsmen, while its Vulcan Mega Bolter makes it particularly potent against enemy infantry.
- "Infantry win firefights, tanks win battles, artillery wins wars."
- — Old saying amongst Imperial Guard artillery officers
When the Astra Militarum marches to war it is accompanied by the thunderous bombardment of artillery fire. Artillery companies comprising dozens of ordnance batteries fire ceaseless barrages from long range, pounding the enemy prior to a general advance. Before the smoke has cleared the infantry emerge, launching their assaults in the wake of the destructive artillery salvoes whilst the enemy is still reeling from the blows.
Many a lengthy siege has been brought to an abrupt conclusion by dedicated artillery regiments, heavy shells breaching walls and flattening fortifications. The Astra Militarum is well-equipped to conduct siege warfare, and there are few bulwarks strong enough to withstand the magnitude of firepower unleashed by the Imperium's biggest guns.
One of the longest range weapons in the galaxy, the Basilisk self-propelled artillery unit is a common sight on the battlefields of the Imperium. Equipped with the powerful Earthshaker Cannon, the Basilisk is designed to sit far from the frontlines, ceaselessly bombarding the enemy's troops with massive kinetic shells of explosive power. The Basilisk uses the standard Chimera APC chassis but has had all of the troop transport room and the lasguns removed, leaving it with a single hull weapon and the Earthshaker Cannon itself. It can be upgraded to be allowed to fire from behind cover, blindly destroying targets before the other Imperial Guard forces arrive, while keeping itself safe from enemy fire. The explosive ordnance used by the Basilisk is able to break through most known enemies' defences and is greatly feared among enemy forces, and rightly so. The Basilisk is vulnerable to enemy fire if caught in the open, however, and will not last long against any heavy weapons or heavily armoured vehicles like tanks.
The Colossus is an ancient and renowned Imperial artillery piece. They are rarely seen in an Imperial battle line except when their enormous siege cannons are required to flatten enemy positions and fortifications. While not as powerful against infantry as some of the other Imperial artillery units, the Colossus is used when a wall or fortress needs to be penetrated. The Colossus is a massive mortar that fires high explosive shells that produce an enormous shockwave when they detonate, crushing bones, cracking rocks and reducing flesh to pulp. In its delivery of ordnance, a Colossus is brutally uncompromising.
Deathstrike Missile Launcher
The Deathstrike Missile Launcher is a massive one-shot missile launcher. Another variant of the Chimera chassis, it sports a colossal long-range missile that delivers the largest payload of explosives on a target of any weapon commonly used by the Imperial Guard. Used only in situations where total destruction of an enemy and the surrounding environment is warranted, a Deathstrike Missile Launcher can carry multiple warheads including every type of missile ordnance from thermonuclear Titan-killing warheads to warheads outfitted with bio-weapons. Its most destructive weapon is the Vortex Warhead that can only be used if approved by Segmentum Command. Traditionally the Deathstrike Missile Launcher carries a large plasma-enhanced thermonuclear charge that can incinerate entire armies in a single blast, along with most of the surrounding environment.
The Griffon is a self-propelled heavy mortar. Based on a Chimera chassis, this cheap artillery option is very effective. The Griffon is a close relative of the Basilisk, replacing the Earthshaker cannon with a heavy mortar. Used as a close support for infantry attacks and during sieges to throw shells over enemy walls. The mortar shells fired by the Griffon are extremely heavy and their trajectory means they can bury themselves in the ground before exploding, if the fuse is set correctly. This reduces the blast radius, making this type of explosion less dangerous to infantry but devastating against buildings and bunkers, whose foundations can collapse, bringing the building down with it.
Manticore Missile System and Manticore Missile Tank
The Manticore is one of the most feared units in the Imperial Guard. It is an anti-personnel weapon which is highly effective against Orks and some Tyranid bioforms. The Machine Spirit (i.e. technological reliability) of the Manticore is so unpredictable that its rockets may not fire, even when given the proper blessing, or sometimes all four rockets will launch at once unexpectedly. The Manticore has only 4 shots and reloading is a time-consuming process. This unpredictability makes the Manticore a danger to all those around it, including friendly units. Once during a siege of a major fortress the defenders surrendered at just the sight of a single Manticore. Moments later the fortress was destroyed by the rockets of the Manticore all going off at the same time. Clearly this vehicle is dangerous to everyone except the crew inside it. The Manticore Missile Tank has its main rocket weapons mounted on a Chimera chassis so that it can be mobile.
The Medusa is a siege cannon designed to crack open enemy bunkers or blast a breach into an enemy fortress. It is a very high-powered for of explosive artillery and excellent for piercing armour, but the cannon possesses only a very short range. A Medusa is usually fielded with heavy infantry support to protect its vulnerability to infantry and armour assaults. Unlike the Griffon which can fling its shells over a curtain wall, the Medusa fires heavy shells directly into the walls, turning them into rubble and dust and opening a breach for assaulting infantry to attack through. The Medusa is often regarded as an aging warhorse whose time has passed. It is no longer regarded as an important or necessary part of an armoured force. It lacks the range of a Bombard, Manticore or Basilisk, or the thick armoured protection of a Demolisher of Thunderer. Because of this, Medusa's are no longer a common vehicle amongst the Imperial Guard. They are generally only used when Demolishers are in short supply.
Notable Imperial Guard Regiments (Militarum Regimentos)
The Imperial Guard is as infinite in its variety as the Imperium itself, and the war zones across which it fights are quite literally as numerous as the stars in the sky. Ten thousand standard years of war on such a scale has seen enough valiant heroes pass into darkness that no memorial could successfully commemorate their loss. Individual names are as meaningless in this eternal battle as the oceans of paperwork responsible for sending these soldiers to their unsung deaths, but the archives of Terra overflow with regiments whose contribution to the Imperial Guard has been considered worthy of permanent record.
In the turbulent years following the mass rebellions of the Horus Heresy, the newly raised regiments of the Astra Militarum were eager to prove their loyalty. Such zealous dedication was coupled with a burning desire for revenge against those who had turned Traitor, leading many Loyalist regiments to perform great and glorious deeds. The thunderous charge of the Ritterghast 18th against the Cult of the Emperor Dethroned, the capture of Petrov's Fastness by three companies of Janiverden Tunnelrats, and the final destruction of Lord Morloth's Chaos Terminator retinue under the guns of eleven thousand Vespertine Guard, all are deeds commemorated upon dust-smothered scrolls of honour.
Yet the regiments of past millennia do not hold a monopoly on deeds of legend. During every age of the Imperium, countless worlds have produced companies of men who have earned reputations for excellence and heroism. Even today, in the Imperium's darkest hour, there are those regiments who stand above all others in the selfless valour of their deeds. However such regiments earn their name, they are vital assets for any Imperial commander. Their mere presence provides inspiration for their more parochial comrades, and can mean the difference between victory and defeat.
With few exceptions, badly mauled Imperial Guard forces are merged to form composite regiments. Where possible, the formations in question are from the same world, as was the case when the Cadian 12th and 78th were merged after the fall of Ice Hive Magnox, forming the 12th/78th Cadian Shock Troops. Sometimes, two very different regiments are combined with unexpected benefits, as happened with the 182nd Catachan and 90th Elysian Drop Troops, the combined regiment named as the 314th Prosan. Despite an initial clash of cultures, the new regiment became expert in airmobile jungle warfare after being issued Valkyries during the Saikong Justification Wars. However, the unthinking sublimation of regimental remnants can prove disastrous. During the liberation of Seraph's Fall, tensions between elements of the Necromundan 86th and Savlar 14th saw their entire regiment dissolve into barbarous internecine warfare after their Commissars were lynched. The rebellion was eventually brutally suppressed by several Cadian regiments, but not before the feuding regiment's running gun-battle blew an entire supply depot sky high.
Almost every Militarum Regimentum also has its own armoured, artillery and mechanised infantry regiments, with markings similar to those worn by their foot soldiers.
The following section represents a small selection of the more notable forces to have served in the Astra Militarum. For a complete list of all known regiments of the Imperial Guard and its predecessor, the Imperial Army, please see List of Imperial Guard Regiments.
Armageddon Steel Legion
Armageddon is a Hive World of the Segmentum Solar, an Imperial planet covered in vast polluted industrial wastelands broken up by hive cities, huge human arcologies stretching miles into the sky. True to its name, Armageddon has been the site of three apocalyptic battles between the Imperium and its enemies, most recently a pair of invasions by the Ork Warboss Ghazghkull Thraka. As a result, the Imperial Guard regiments raised from Armageddon, known as the Armageddon Steel Legion, are highly skilled in combat against Greenskins. The Steel Legion's soldiers are siege experts and masters of attrition, driving their wounded enemies back across the ash wastelands of the planet after they have suffered severe casualties. Armageddon produces many armoured fighting vehicles for the Imperium, such as Chimera APCs. As such, the Armageddon Steel Legions are primarily mechanised infantry, employing Chimera armoured personnel carriers, Hellhounds and several variants of the Leman Russ main battle tank. Commissar Yarrick is the best known hero of the Steel Legion, and he is greatly feared by the Orks for having ripped off an Ork Warboss' Power Klaw with his bare hands -- hence the fact that Yarrick is the only human Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka respects. In appearance, the Armageddon Steel Legion's regiments resemble the ancient German Fallschirmjäger (paratroops) deployed by Nazi Germany during World War II.
Notable Armageddon Steel Legion Regiments
- Armageddon Ash Wastes Militia - Fought in the Third War for Armageddon.
- Armageddon 16th Steel Legion - In 776.M36 the 16th Armageddon Steel Legion Regiment put down a rebellion by a Chaos Cult on the world of Cassell called the Way of the Emperor's Flesh in less than 6 hours.
- Armageddon 47th Steel Legion - Served with distinction in the Third War for Armageddon.
- Armageddon 69th Steel Legion
- Armageddon 87th Steel Legion
- Armageddon 91st Steel Legion - The 91st served at Helsreach during the Third War for Armageddon.
- Armageddon 93rd Steel Legion- The Armageddon 93rd Legion fought with distinction in the Third War for Armageddon at the Mannheim Gap.
- Armageddon 101st Steel Legion - The 101st acted as the command regiment at the Battle of Helsreach during the Third War for Armageddon.
- Armageddon 121st Steel Legion - The 121st served at Helsreach during the Third War for Armageddon.
- Armageddon 116th Steel Legion
- Armageddon 141st Steel Legion - The 141st Steel Legion fought in the defence of the hive city of Palonious during the Third War for Armageddon, where they suffered heavy casualties. They were eventually reinforced by the Salamanders Chapter of Space Marines. During the battle around the Eumenides Bridge, the regiment was nearly destroyed by a large force of Orks of the Blackskulls Tribe as they migrated out of the Diablo Mountains. With the assistance of the Salamanders, the bridge was saved and the Greenskins were pushed back towards the mountains. The remnants of the regiment were then used to reinforce the 252nd Armageddon Steel Legion Regiment.
- Armageddon 273rd Steel Legion- The 273rd Steel Legion Regiment fought at the Battle of Helsreach during the Third War for Armageddon.
- Armageddon 276th Steel Legion - The 276th Steel Legion Regiment fought in the ash wastes of Armageddon where, in 963.M41, the 3rd Company discovered the remains of a shattered Ork Gargant left over from the Second War for Armageddon and secured it with the help of the regiment's 4th Company. They did so in the face of heavy Ork counterattacks from the Ork tribes that had remained on Armageddon after the conclusion of the Second War.
- Armageddon 8th Super Heavy Tank Company - The Armageddon 8th Super Heavy Tank Company was an amoured company of the Imperial Guard raised on Armageddon that was equipped with Stormsword super heavy main battle tanks and then employed them against the Orks during the Third War for Armageddon.
Cadian Shock Troops
The Regiments of the Cadian Shock Troops of the Imperial Guard are famous throughout the galaxy for constantly proving themselves in the arena of battle. Their leader is the Lord Castellan, the position currently held by Ursarkar E. Creed, hero of the Battle for Cadia during the 13th Black Crusade. The model for Cadians are the standard model for all Imperial Guard troopers, consequently making them the Imperial Guard's equivalent of the Ultramarines, who serve as the model for all standard Space Marine Chapters. Cadia has always been an Imperial Fortress World, charged with guarding the great Warp rift of the Eye of Terror.
The population of Cadia are all destined for a military life; the birth rate and Imperial Guard or Planetary Defence Forces recruitment rate of the world are practically synonymous. Cadian Regiments are highly disciplined, make excellent shots and use elite shock troops to lead their attacks. Such is their reputation of the Cadian Shock Troops that many other regiments mimic their appearance and equipment, although their doctrines may differ.
History of Cadia
Cadia has a special and honoured place in the history of Mankind. Cadia stands upon the very edge of the Eye of Terror within a narrow corridor of stable space called the Cadian Gate. This forms the one and only predictable passage between the Chaos infested daemon worlds of the Eye of Terror and Terra. No battle fleet of any size can rely upon other unstable passages and must pass through the Cadian Gate. Cadia is therefore one of the most strategically important planets of the galaxy.
On several occasions the forces of Chaos have moved against Cadia and raging battles have been fought in the depths of space. Such huge battles are rare, but the constant intrusion of Chaos raiding craft is commonplace. Chaos Space Marines make frequent forays onto the surface of Cadia and must be hunted down. The bulk of the Cadian army is made up of the Shocktroops, with the remainder made up of the Whiteshields (conscript soldiers recruited at the age of 14 and trained to take place in Shocktroop regiments) and the Elite Kasrkin soldiers.
Notable Cadian Shock Troops Regiments
- 7th Cadian, "The Lucky Sevens"
- 8th Cadian, "The Lord Castellan's Own" - led personally by the Cadian Castellan Ursarkar E. Creed during the 13th Black Crusade
- 39th Cadian, "Xenobane"
- 89th Armoured Cadian - Possess the famous Baneblade "Steel Lord"
- 110th Cadian, "Shadow Corps"
- 122nd Cadian - Distinguished themselves in the Vogen Campaign
- 412th Cadian - Featured in the Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War expansion Winter Assault
- 417th Cadian, "Hellbringers"
Catachan Jungle Fighters
Catachan is an Imperial death world almost completely covered in dense jungle where it seems the entire ecosystem is hostile to human life. Catachan's only export is its people, who through natural selection are bred tough and strong from living in such a dangerous world. Catachan Jungle Fighters are among some of the deadliest experts of jungle warfare in the entire galaxy and their reputation precedes them. They make use of many close combat weapons, including the "Catachan Fang", a knife measuring up to 20 inches of gleaming steel, which is the most common weapon. It is also used for settling disputes between Catachans. Another knife is the Night Reaper, which is smaller and blackened, effective for use in night infiltration and assassinations. They are sometimes poisoned to improve their kill strength, the poisons coming directly from Catachan's deadly flora and fauna. The Devil's Claw, named after the Catachan Devil, is the longest Catachan weapon, up to four feet long. It is closer to a sword than a knife and has achieved status among the Orks who call it "Da Cutta" with respect. The blade is hollow and half filled with mercury in order to improve swing strength and control, and the design of this weapon has been copied by Catachan regimental officers for use as a power weapon.
They also make extensive use of traps, mines and other unpleasant surprises. They use traps, spring mines, shredder mines and plasma charges, each specializing in killing certain types of troops. The most skilled Catachan Jungle Fighters are capable of launching deadly ambushes, remaining unseen in the foliage and appearing only when they want to attack. Due to their tactics and the terrain which they specialize in, the Catachan Jungle Fighters do not use any vehicles save for the Sentinel walker which is modified for jungle warfare. They also use fewer heavy weapon teams than a standard army, and those that they do have favor mortars and Heavy Bolters. This leaves them undergunned compared to other Imperial Guard Regiments, but their weaponry is optimal for their preferred style of combat.
Catachan Jungle Fighters, as a whole, bear similarities to the Rambo movie series of the 1980's, complete with red headbands, and to a lesser extent, Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movies Commando and Predator. Catachan Jungle Fighters closely resemble members of the United States Army and Marine Corps during the Vietnam War, which involved a great deal of jungle combat in Southeast Asia.
Notable Catachan Regiments
- The Catachan 24th Jungle Fighters, "Waiting Death" - Use of extensive traps, using "baiter" squads to lure the enemy onto the traps.
- The Catachan 18th Jungle Fighters, "Swamprats" - Attacked a Tyranid horde, masked themselves in Tyranid ichor and successfully wiped out the Tyranids. They then had to spend two years on a decontamination ship.
- The Catachan 17th Jungle Fighters "Screaming Devils" - Led by Captain Thorn, including famous sniper, Sniper Dell, who won the Silver Bullet seven years in a row.
- The Catachan Jungle Fighters 22nd Airborne Assault Group - Led by Colonel Paseski, combined with the 1139th Orbital Attack Group, known for their extensive use of Valkyries.
Death Korps of Krieg
The Death Korps of Krieg is the name given to all of the Imperial Guard regiments that originate from the devastated, post-nuclear Death World of Krieg in the Segmentum Tempestus. Krieg was the site of a rebellion against the Imperium of Man over 1,500 standard years ago in the 40th Millennium and was bombarded with nuclear weapons followed by 500 years of grinding warfare to purge the heretical rebels. After all those years of nuclear destruction and bitter trench warfare, Krieg was reduced to a scorched, radioactive husk of a world composed of dust and mud whose surviving people were forced to retreat into underground hive cities to survive the toxic planetary environment. The Death Korps of Krieg are siege specialists and those regiments raised on Krieg seek to repent for their former treachery against the Imperium by displaying a disturbing disregard for their own lives in combat. Death Korps troops excel at wars of attrition and defensive combat in particular. They bear a strong resemblance to the ancient Imperial German Army in World War I, in tactics (trench warfare) as well as appearance.
Notable Death Korps Regiments
- 83rd Death Korps Infantry Regiment - The "inspirational founder" of the modern Death Korps, Krieg's 83rd Imperial Guard regiment was commanded by the legendary Colonel Jurten at the onset of the planet's civil war when he initiated the "Purging," the nuclear armageddon unleashed upon his homeworld that turned Krieg into a ravaged Death World, which later served to shape the character of its people forever.
- 127th Death Korps Infantry Regiment - The Death Korps 127th Infantry Regiment was assigned to the reconquest of the world of Baran in 224.M41. The Exodites of this former Eldar Maiden World had been overrun 300 standard years earlier by the Orks of WAAAGH! Arbuttz. The 127th was granted the right of conquest of this world as they were the sole regiment assigned there.
- 127th Death Korps 993rd Infantry Regiment - Commanded by Colonel Trymon Stagler, the 993rd Death Korps Infantry Regiment was deployed to Tarsis Ultra in 998.M41 to take part in the defence of this Imperial world from the encroachment of a tendril of Hive Fleet Leviathan.
- 3rd Death Korps Siege Regiment - The Death Korps 3rd, 5th and 15th Siege Regiments were assigned to the 1st Line Korps, 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, which was assembled to take part in the notorious campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. Eventually, the 3rd Siege Regiment was withdrawn with the rest of the remaining units of the 1st Line Korps in 828.M41.
- 5th Death Korps Siege Regiment
- 15th Death Korps Siege Regiment
- 19th Death Korps Siege Regiment - The Death Korps 19th Siege Regiment was also assigned to the 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, which was assembled to take part in the notorious campaign known as the Siege of Vraks, but was subsequently destroyed during the intense fighting.
- 101st Death Korps Siege Regiment - The Death Korps' 101st Siege Regiment was assigned to the 11th Assault Korps of the 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, taking part in the notorious campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. The 101st Siege Regiment remained with the 11th Assault Korps throughout the campaign on Vraks Prime and was eventually withdrawn when the planet was neutralised in 830.M41.
- 143rd Death Korps Siege Regiment - The Death Korps 143rd, along with the 149th and 150th Siege Regiments, were assigned to the 12th Line Korps of the 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, taking part in the infamous campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. The 143rd Siege Regiment was the first Death Korps of Krieg regiment to land on Vraks. The 149th and 150th Siege Regiments were finally withdrawn when the Chaotic forces on the planet were neutralised in 830.M41.
- 149th Death Korps Siege Regiment
- 150th Death Korps Siege Regiment
- 158th Death Korps Siege Regiment - The Death Korps 158th Siege Regiment was assigned to the 12th Line Korps, 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, taking part in the infamous campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. The 158th Siege Regiment was eventually disbanded during the fighting on Vraks, due to sustaining a high number of casualties, which rendered it incapable of being a cohesive and effective unit.
- 179th Death Korps Siege Regiment - The Death Korps 179th Siege Regiment was assigned to the 12th Line Korps, 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, taking part in the infamous campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. The 179th Siege Regiment withdrew from the fighting on Vraks in 828.M41, along with the rest of the remaining units of the 8th Assault Korps.
- 261st Death Korps Siege Regiment - The Death Korps 261st Siege Regiment was assigned to the 30th Line Korps, 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, taking part in the infamous campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. In 830.M41, under the command of Colonel Tyborc, the 261st Siege Regiment was assigned the suicidal mission of taking the main gates of the citadel of Vraks of the Apostate Cardinal Xaphen in the first assault. Attacking at three points along the walls after a massive artillery barrage, the 261st sent wave after wave of infantry companies. At the lower gates, remnants of five companies from the first attack wave succeeded in reaching the walls, only to be broken by a counter-attack of Chaos Space Marines and a number of Daemon Engines. Ultimately, the 261st Siege Regiment was destroyed in the fighting and the survivors were folded into three other Death Korps regiments of the 30th Line Korps (the 262nd, 263rd and 269th Siege Regiments). Colonel Tyborc was promoted to an esteemed position on the 88th Siege Army Staff and the assault was continued, carried out by the 269th Siege Regiment.
- 262nd Death Korps Siege Regiment - The Death Korps 262nd, 263rd and 269th Siege Regiments were assigned to the 30th Line Korps, 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, during the infamous campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. The regiments served with the 30th Line Korps throughout the intense fighting on Vraks and were finally withdrawn from the planet when the Forces of Chaos occupying it were neutralised in 830.M41.
- 263th Death Korps Siege Regiment
- 269th Death Korps Siege Regiment
- 268th Death Korps Siege Regiment - The Death Korps 268th Siege Regiment was assigned to the 30th Line Korps, 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, during the infamous campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. In 830.M41, the 269th Siege Regiment took over the final assault on the Citadel of Vraks after the first wave was decimated in two days of intense fighting. The 268th Siege Regiment was assigned to attack the Undercroft, hoping to gain access to the gates through the catacombs beneath the citadel. Over eight days of fighting saw the regiment utterly destroyed, with only negligible gains.
- 291st Death Korps Siege Regiment - The Death Korps 291st, 308th, 309th and 310th Siege Regiments were assigned to the 34th Line Korps, 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, during the infamous campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. The regiments with the 34th Line Korps throughout the intense fighting on Vraks and were finally withdrawn from the planet when the enemy was neutralised in 830.M41.
- 308th Death Korps Siege Regiment
- 309th Death Korps Siege Regiment
- 310th Death Korps Siege Regiment
- 468th Death Korps Siege Regiment - The Death Korps 468th, 469th and 470th Siege Regiments were assigned to the 46th Line Korps, 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, during the infamous campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. The 46th Line Korps was rotated into the fighting and attached to the 88th Siege Army late in the campaign.
- 469th Death KorpsSiege Regiment
- 470th Death Korps Siege Regiment
- 3rd Siege Artillery Regiment - The Death Korps 3rd, 4th and 8th Siege Artillery Regiments were assigned to the 19th Bombardment Korps, 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, during the infamous campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. They were withdrawn from Vraks along with the rest of the remaining units of the 19th Bombardment Korps in 828.M41.
- 4th Siege Artillery Regiment
- 8th Siege Artillery Regiment
- 19th Siege Artillery Regiment - The Death Korps 19th, 22nd and 23rd Siege Artillery Regiments were assigned to the 21st Bombardment Korps, 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, during the infamous campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. The regiments remained with the 21st Bombardment Korps throughout the fighting on Vraks Prime and were finally withdrawn when the enemy forces occupying the planet were neutralised in 830.M41.
- 22nd Siege Artillery Regiment
- 23rd Siege Artillery Regiment
- 231st Siege Artillery Regiment - The Death Korps 231st Siege Artillery Regiment was assigned to the 8th Assault Korps, 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, during the infamous campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. The 231st remained with the 8th Assault Korps throughout the intense fighting on Vraks until it was finally withdrawn when the enemy forces occupying the planet were neutralised in 830.M41.
- 497th Siege Artillery Regiment - The Death Korps 497th Siege Artillery Regiment was assigned to the 11th Assault Korps, 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, during the infamous campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. The 497th remained with the 11th Assault Korps throughout the fighting on Vraks and was finally withdrawn when the enemy forces occupying the planet were neutralised in 830.M41.
- 23rd Mechanised Regiment - The Death Korps 23rd Mechanised Regiment took part in the Cleansing of Radnar Hive.
- 1st Armoured Regiment - The Death Korps 1st Armoured Regiment took part in the Atria Wilderness Campaign.
- 2nd Armoured Regiment - The Death Korps 2nd Armoured Regiment took part in the notable Third War for Armageddon Imperial campaign against the massive Ork WAAAGH! of Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka.
- 18th Armoured Regiment - The Death Korps 18th Armoured Regiment took part in the Barbarius Campaign. This regiment in known to contain Mars Pattern Chimeras armed with Multi-Lasers.
- 19th Armoured Regiment - The Death Korps 19th Armoured Regiment took part in the Taros Campaign on the Imperial desert Mining World of Taros from the Tau Empire and its Kroot and human (Gue'vesa) allies of the Taros Planetary Defence Force in 998.M41. The 19th was assigned to the 4621st Imperial Army, XI Corps. The XI Corps was ordered to assemble after the X Corps had departed and to act as the second wave for the invasion, in the event the campaign on Taros had collapsed before the 19th Armoured Regiment arrived.
- 21st Armoured Regiment - The Death Korps 21st Armoured Regiment took part in the Vorenz III Campaign with a Thunderer Siege Tank in the command squadron of the 3rd Company.
- 22nd Armoured Regiment - The Death Korps 22nd Armoured Regiment contains several companies comprised primarily of Leman Russ Battle Tanks.
- 28th Armoured Regiment - The Death Korps 28th Armoured Regiment was a part of the Galan V Expedition Force.
- 76th Armoured Regiment - The Death Korps 76th Armoured Regiment was a notable Armoured Regiment that contains a Leman Russ Vanquisher called Loyalty utilised by Commissar Konstantin Garrick.
- 7th Tank Regiment - The Death Korps 7th Tank Regiment was assigned to the 8th Assault Korps, 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, during the infamous campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. The 7th Tank Regiment was withdrawn from Vraks along with the rest of the remaining units of the 8th Assault Korps in 828.M41.
- 11th Tank Regiment - The Death Korps 11th Tank Regiment was assigned to the 8th Assault Korps, 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, during the infamous campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. The 11th Tank Regiment was transferred to the 11th Assault Korps when the rest of the 8th Assault Korps was transferred from the Vraks warzone in 828.M41.
- 14th Tank Regiment - The Death Korps 14th Tank Regiment was assigned to the 8th Assault Korps, 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, during the infamous campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. The 7th Tank Regiment was withdrawn from Vraks along with the rest of the remaining units of the 8th Assault Korps in 828.M41.
- 61st Tank Regiment - The Death Korps 61st and 66th Tank Regiments were assigned to the 11th Assault Korps, 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, during the infamous campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. These two regiments remained with the 11th Assault Korps throughout the fighting on Vraks Prime, until they were eventually withdrawn from the planet when it was neutrlised in 830.M41.
- 66th Tank Regiment
- 1st Heavy Tank Company - The Death Korps 1st Heavy Tank Company, known as the "Emperor's Loyal Shield," fought in the Cleansing of Radnar.
- 13th Heavy Tank Company - The Death Korps 13th Heavy Tank Company took part in the Galan V Expedition when it was attached to the Death Korps 28th Armoured Regiment.
Elysian Drop Troopers
Elysian Drop Troops are the premier airborne assault infantry regiments of the Imperial Guard who are recruited from the verdant world of Elysia in the Segmentum Solar, 30 light years from the world of Armageddon. The Elysian Drop Troop Regiments make extensive use of aircraft and elite soldiers plunging from the skies directly into battle. These regiments' true advantage lies in their speed, unpredictability and the unrivalled ability to attack anywhere on the battlefield, at any time. The Elysian Drop Troops Regiments are known for their rapid deployment capabilities using Airborne Troop Carriers called Valkyries, and they deploy from these aircraft by rappelling or making use of Grav-Chutes at high altitudes. Elysian Drop Troopers are able to strike deep into enemy territory, and so are unable to field any heavy ground vehicles during missions. While this may be the case, the Elysians do make use of a number of light vehicles including the Tauros rapid assault vehicle, the modified Drop Sentinel, Cyclops Demolition Vehicle, and Sentry Gun batteries. The Elysians make use of Valkyries, Vulture Gunships, and the support of the Imperial Navy to make up for their lack of heavy armour. Using their Valkyries and Grav-Chutes, the Elysians can capture objectives rapidly by dint of overwhelming force and their close-range firepower. Elysian Drop Troop Regiments often rely on demo-charges and special weapons for tank-busting. Vultures, Valkyries and Imperial Navy aircraft pack fearsome amounts of firepower, and swooping over the battlefield they can target just about anything. Tactical flexibility is the Elysians' true advantage over most other forces, and there are few tactical situations, other than a drawn-out planetary siege, that the Elysians cannot counter quickly and effectively.
The Elysian Drop Troops are a very specialised force. Being drop troops, Elysians lack many of the heavy weapons needed to defeat the enemies heaviest equipment and vehicles. As their primary armaments are simple Lasguns Elysian Drop Troops cannot afford to sit back and engage in prolonged firefights with an enemy either. Elysian Drop Troops do not engage the enemy in a conventional stand-up fight. Instead, they seek to take objectives by rapid, hard-hitting attacks and then hold them with grim determination and the selective targetting of enemy threats. Casualties will often be high for Elysian Regiments as a result of this strategy, but that is the price Drop Troop Regiments pay for their extreme mobility.
Notable Elysian Drop Troops Regiments
- 1st Elysian Drop Troops Regiment - This Elysian Regiment is a part of Ultima Segmentum's strategic reserve of Imperial Guard Regiments waiting for rapid deployment against any emerging threat to the Imperium. The vaunted 1st Elysian Regiment has a long and glorious tradition, having fought in the Emperor's cause across the galaxy; including having fought against heretic rebellions around the Eye of Terror, the Orks of WAAAGH! Urgok and Eldar pirates in the Barbarius Sector.
- 9th Elysian Drop Troops Regiment - Participated in the Veridian Prime Campaign, against the Tyranids of Hive Fleet Kraken.
- 12th Elysian Drop Troops Regiment - Fought in the Third War for Armageddon.
- 13th Elysian Drop Troops Regiment, "Helldivers" - The Elysian 13th Drop Troops have gained something of a heroic reputation amongst the regiments of the Spinward Front, having emerged from seemingly impossible odds on multiple occasions. Dubbed the "Helldivers" for their tendency to descend upon the enemy from above and leave destruction in their wake, the Elysian 13th are the subject of overblown tales and flights of fancy amongst the masses. The Departmento Munitorum has only encouraged this tendency, reporting whenever possible the victories of the 13th publicly, along with those of the other Imperial Guard regiments whose exploits will bolster morale.
- 15th Elysian Drop Troops Regiment - Participated in the Yarant II Campaign.
- 16th Elysian Drop Troops Regiment - Participated in the defence of Cadia during the 13th Black Crusade.
- 22nd Elysian Drop Troops Regiment - Participated in the Yarant III Campaign, the Skopios Incident and the Cathalin Crusade.
- 23rd Elysian Drop Troops Regiment - The 23rd Regiment formed part of the Imperial Taros Expeditionary Force to combat Tau aggression which had seen those duplicitous aliens seize that mineral-rich mining world. The regiment's part of the campaign was codenamed "Operation Comet" aimed at capturing and holding the planet's largest water processing plant. The 23rd Regiment also took part in the assault on Fort Moros and were awarded a regimental citation for their actions. During the desert battles of the Taros Campaign the 23rd Elysian Regiment was wiped out in the battle for Hydro-Processing Plant 23-20 by Tau forces during Operation Comet when they were surrounded and cut off three days after initially capturing the plant.
- 41st Elysian Drop Troops Regiment, the "Angel Guard" - Participated in the 13th Black Crusade.
- 158th, 101st, and 16th Elysian Drop Troops Regiments - All of these Elysian Regiments participated jointly in the 13th Black Crusade.
- 64th Elysian Drop Troops Regiment - The 64th Elysian Regiment was wiped out during the Ill-fated Fifth Ymgarl Insertion.
- 72nd Elysian Storm Troopers - Destroyed in combat against the Word Bearers Traitor Legion on Tanakreg.
- 89th Elysian Drop Troops Regiment - Fought an Ork WAAAGH! on Elysia itself during an Ork assault.
- 99th Elysian Drop Troops Regiment/Detachment D-99 - Fought against the Tyranids of Hive Fleet Kraken; the 99th Regiment made repeated combat drops in the defence of the Imperial planets of Moloch, Hamman's World and Moran. The survivors, a single, over-strength company, were amalgamated into the small Imperial Guard unit designated Detachment D-99 and seconded to the forces of the Inquisition by Lord Inquisitor Varius. Subsequently, Detachment D-99 served during the Inquisition's mission to Beta Anphelion IV to investigate a Tyranid outbreak at a secret Adeptus Mechanicus xenological research facility.
- 101st Elysian Drop Troops Regiment - Participated in the 13th Black Crusade.
- 110th Elysian Drop Troops Regiment - Defeated the Ocanan XV Traitor Guard Regiment.
- 133rd Elysian Drop Troops Regiment - Destroyed in combat against the Word Bearers Traitor Legion on Tanakreg.
- 158th Elysian Drop Troops Regiment - During the massive Chaos invasion of the 13th Black Crusade, the 158th Elysian Regiment was sent to reinforce the defenders if St. Josmane's Hope in the Cadia System. The regiment's arrival proved insufficient to stem the tide of the Chaos force's advance. The 158th was almost destroyed in heavy fighting before St. Josmane's Hope itself was destroyed to prevent it from falling into the enemy's hands.
- 181st Elysian Drop Troops Regiment - This regiment was diverted from the defence of the Forsarr Sector against the encroachment of the Ork WAAAGH! Garaghak to assist the Raven Guard Space Marines in a raid against the Orks' manufacturing base on the world of Kastorel-Novem. The regiment was all but annihilated in the attack.
The Harakoni Warhawks are elite airborne Imperial Guard regiments raised up from the Imperial world of Harakon, a low-gravity planet with tall Hive Cities. The Harakoni use grav-gliders to hunt vapourwyrms in the valleys below their hives. This makes them fearless of altitudes and great at judging air currents. Their specialised abilities have found a home in the Imperial Guard where regiments drawn from Harakon act as elite drop troops. The generations-old adaptation to adverse gravity levels leaves the Harakoni Warhawks predisposed to excel at Grav-Chute drops into planetary combat zones from orbit. This style of combat also increases the Warhawks use of elite Storm Troopers Squads and small-unit tactics over those preferred by standard line troopers of the Imperial Guard. The Harakoni wear Carapace Armour, use rebreathers during a planetary drop to breathe in the ultra-thin atmosphere at high altitudes, and use folding stock Las-Carbines or kinetic Autogun. Many an Imperial general or Warmaster owes their decorations to the bravery and experience of the regiments drawn from the Harakoni Warhawks.
Notable Harakoni Warhawks Regiments
- 31st Harakoni Regiment, the "Helldivers"- The 31st Harakoni Regiment, the "Helldivers," fought in the multi-military campaign against the various enemies of mankind during the Fall of Medusa V in 999.M41. They fought against Tau forces throughout the campaign on the Mining World of Medusa V.
- 32nd Harakoni Regiment - Two battalions of the 32nd Harakoni deployed in support of the Imperial campaign on the world of Shardenus during the Purge of Contqual Sub-Sector. They were granted the honour of leading the Imperial Guard assault on the primary Hive City of Shardenus Prime as described above. During the subsequent fighting, the 32nd Harakoni died to a man.
Mordian Iron Guard
The Mordian Iron Guard are the superbly drilled and accoutred regiments of the Imperial Guard that hail from the Hive World of Mordian. This bleak world is tidally-locked with its sun, which causes one side of it to always be bathed in perpetual darkness while the other is continuously bathed in its star's radiation, leaving it a scorched and lifeless wasteland. As such, all human settlements on Mordian are located on the world's dark side, and the planet has well-earned its moniker as the "World of Eternal Night." The people of Mordian are grim and dour by nature, respecting only discipline and duty. Their regiments are fiercely loyal to their cause: the prosecution of the Emperor's enemies. In battle, these highly-disciplined soldiers present perfectly formed ranks of troops to the enemy, unleashing precisely timed volleys of las-fire from behind a hedge of bayonet points. Some enemies of the Emperor have been misled by the Mordians' elaborate and ornate uniforms to believe they were facing amateurs, only to find the bright uniforms contain tough, steely-eyed and implacable warriors of the Imperium. The Mordian Iron Guard bear a slight resemblance to the Prussian Army under Chancellor Otto von Bismarck in the early 20th Century.
Notable Mordian Iron Guard Regiments
- 2nd Mordian Regiment - The Mordian 2nd took part in the famous Macharian Crusade fought between 392.M41 and 399.M41. They achieved a monumental victory during the Invasion of Jucha.
- 3rd Mordian Regiment - The 3rd Mordian is the most decorated regiment in their homeworld's proud history of service to the Imperium. One of their more notable campaigns occurred during the defence of Hive Barbarossa against WAAAGH! Dregruk, when the 3rd Mordian faced a horde of barbaric Orks at the Battle of the Marble Garden.
- 10th Mordian Regiment- The Mordian 10th fought in the 13th Black Crusade in 999.M41.
- 11th Mordian Regiment - The Mordian 11th fought in the Sabbat Worlds Crusade.
- 26th Mordian Regiment - The Mordian 26th took part in the Fall of Medusa V campaign, serving under Lord Marshal Graf Harazahn of the Vostroyan Firstborn, supreme commander of the Imperial forces engaged on that doomed world.
- 56th Mordian Regiment - The Mordian 56th proved instrumental in defeating the rebels during the Komarl Revolt in 999.M41. This Iron Guard regiment executed ten percent of the remaining population of Komarl for failing in their duty to the Emperor. The fear of further reprisals from the Mordian garrison left on Komarl ensured no additional further recidivism.
- 12th Mordian Armoured Regiment - The Mordian 12th Armoured are a fine example of the customary discipline and rigourous drills of the Mordian Iron Guard. They are a regiment comprised of 15 companies, each consisting of 13 Leman Russ Battle Tanks, with the command tank in each company a rare variant of the mighty vehicle, such as a Leman Russ Vanquisher or Leman Russ Executioner. The crews of the 12th are trained to an exacting standard, and understand their roles and duties well enough to require only the most cursory supervision by their tank's commander. This, at least, is the theory. The Mordian 12th are untried and untested except in the mock battles of their training, fought through the cavernous holds of the troop transport Deliverance during the regiment's transit to the Calixis Sector. Recently moved from the reserves muster on Kalf to the eternally-dark battlegrounds of Nox on the Spinward Front, the 12th have yet to face more than a brief skirmish, against enemies wise enough to withdraw in the face of the brutal might of an Imperial armoured regiment. While each is a veteran of the constant conflicts on their homeworld, their skills as vehicle crew are still fresh from training, and have not yet been tempered by the realities of battle.
- 16th Mordian Armoured Regiment - The Mordian 16th Armoured Regiment is a notable armoured regiment of Mordian Iron Guard who have earned multipel battle honours in the Emperor's service.
- 278th Mordian Armoured Regiment - The Mordian 278th Armoured took part in the Battle for Baric Six when it lost two entire armoured companies due to a Deathstrike Missile Launcher stolen by Ork Lootas.
- 3rd Mordian Heavy Tank Company - The 3rd Mordian Heavy Tank Company is known to include a Mars Pattern Shadowsword (possibly known as Alpha Three) as the third tank of the company, although the rest of the company is a mix of Baneblades, Shadowswords and Stormblades. It is possible that Alpha Three has had two confirmed Titan kills.
Praetoria is a heavily populated Hive World that lies in a star system close to the Imperial naval base at Bakka. The overpopulated hive cities of Praetoria are renowned for their rigid class divide and severe squalor and degradation in the lower classes, and produce some of the toughest gangsters on any of the hive worlds in the Imperium. Imperial Guard regiments raised on Praetoria, known as the Praetorian Guard, are renowned for their iron discipline, by-the-book drilling and unshakeable bravery, even in the face of the most overwhelming odds.
Originally the Mordians used Praetorian bodies with different sculpted heads and a few have changed poses. The Praetorians were introduced following the Games Workshop Games Day display "Massacre at Big Toof River", where a substantial Imperial Guard force was annihilated by an enormous Ork horde in a similar style to the British defeat at the Battle of Isandhlwana by the Zulus in 1879. Despite this crippling loss, the Praetorians fought back at the "Last Stand at Glazer's Creek", where they, supported by local militia and allied Ratlings, fought off a rampaging Ork horde in a battle similar to the British-Zulu conflict at the Battle of Rourke's Drift.
It is fitting, then, that the Praetorians are based on British colonial soldiers typical of those found in Africa during the 19th Century. This is further reflected by the fact that their most common enemies are Feral Ork tribes -- who function as a grotesque parody of the Zulu warriors.
Notable Praetorian Guard Regiments
- V Praetorian Guard - In 999.M41, the Praetorian V fought in the valiant defence of Cadia and its surrounding star systems during the 13th Black Crusade from the Forces of Chaos commanded by Abaddon the Despoiler.
- XXXV Praetorian Guard - The Praetorian XXXV alongside its sister regiment, also took part in the massive Imperial defence of the Cadian Gate during the 13th Black Crusade.
- XXIV Praetorian Guard - The Praetorian XXIV was commanded by Captain Caine and fought at the infamous battle known as the Massacre at Big Toof River, where they were wiped out to a man by a massive Ork WAAAGH!
Tanith First-and-Only (Gaunt's Ghosts)
The Imperial Guard regiment known as the Tanith First and Only, officially called the Tanith 1st Regiment but better known as "Gaunt's Ghosts", is a regiment that was raised from the world of Tanith in the Sabbat Worlds Sector. The regiment has been heavily engaged in the combat to retake the Sabbat Worlds from the Forces of Chaos during the Sabbat Worlds Crusade. The regiment's nickname originally came about as a result of the name of their commanding officer, Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt, and the disenfranchised status of the original Tanith soldiers after their homeworld was destroyed. Only about 3,000 men were rescued from the planet by Colonel-Commissar Gaunt before it was destroyed. It has proved to be a nickname with great descriptive power for the regiment, as the Verghastite personnel who joined the regiment to provide replacements and reinforcements also considered themselves "ghosts" due to the destruction of their former home, the Hive City known as Vervunhive on the world of Verghast during the Crusade. The regiment as a whole is also noted for its uncanny skill at stealth and reconnaissance missions. A second Commissar, Commissar Hark, eventually joined the unit under Gaunt's command. The soldiers of the Tanith 1st are excellent light infantry and scouts, and as such are known to dress in cloaks made out of cameoline for camouflage.
Tallarn Desert Raiders
The Tallarn Desert Raiders are exceptional at guerrilla-style warfare, having adapted to the harsh conditions of their home planet. They are highly skilled at desert and mobile armoured warfare. The Desert Raiders are mobile guerrilla fighters, evasive and opportunistic. They are especially known for their lightning-quick Sentinel and hard-hitting tank squadrons and are masters of hit-and-run mobile warfare. They love to strike a killing blow at the heart of an enemy formation before returning to their own lines, prepared to pounce once more. The people of Tallarn are extremely resourceful and pragmatic. They are patient, determined and utterly ferocious in pursuit of their enemies. Tallarn are all accomplished riders, and often will use riding mounts to move from battle to battle, dismounting only when they are close to the enemy and wish to employ stealth. Once the enemy is sighted, the Tallarn will stalk them closely, relying on their practiced marksmanship and lightning-quick curved combat knives to achieve victory. Tallarn Desert Raiders have a slightly Arab-like appearance, but influences have also been taken from other sources, such as the North African campaigns of World War II.
Notable Tallarn Desert Raiders Regiments
- Tallarn Desert Raiders 3rd Regiment, the "Desert Tigers" - Fought throughout the Macharian Crusade (392-399.M41) alongside the 4th and 5th Tallarn Regiments. Subsequently it was all but destroyed fighting under the command of the Imperial Warmaster Solon. On the planet of Kallastin the regiment took part in a hard but successful war against mutant human rebels, receiving a commendation from the Inquisition.
- Tallarn Desert Raiders 4th Regiment - Fought throughout the Macharian Crusade alongside the Tallarn 3rd and 5th Regiments.
- Tallarn Desert Raiders 5th Regiment - Fought throughout the Macharian Crusade alongside the Tallarn 3rd and 4th Regiments.
- Tallarn Desert Raiders 12th Regiment - Fought in the Cursus War on Tallarn in the 40th Millennium. When the Tallarn uncovered a mysterious Chaotic artefact during the construction of an arterial tunnel on their homeworld, they unearthed the Cursus of Alganar, a legendary mythical Gateway of the Gods that actually served as a potent Warp Gate into the Immaterium and the Realm of Chaos. This discovery forced the Eldar to act, and they attacked the Tallarn in full force. Before the Cursus could be sealed, the gateway opened and the Cursus poured the indescribable minions of Chaos from its Warp portal. The human commander called a truce and worked in concert with the Eldar forces to turn back and defeat the gibbering horde of daemons. The Eldar departed in peace, and the people of both races exchanged promises of friendship, a true rarity in normal interactions between Mankind and other races.
- Tallarn Desert Raiders 16th Regiment - Fought the Eldar on the Desert World of Holon Prime (762-765.M35). Having great difficulty dealing with the speed and flexibility of the Eldar forces, a Tallarn commander devised an ingenious idea to overcome this disadvantage. He ordered his regiment's Chimeras to have their armour stripped down, giving his Desert Raiders a highly mobile transport to carry them across the vast dunes of Holon Prime. The advent of this newly-designed vehicle was instrumental in the defeat of the Eldar forces. Since this engagement the Tallarn 16th Regiment's First Patrol Company has been known as the 'Gravediggers'.
- Tallarn Desert Raiders 17th Regiment - Fought during the Taros Campaign (998.M41). The Tallarn 17th Regiment had the honour of being the first Imperial troops on the ground, following the destruction of the planet's orbital defence facilities by the Raptors Space Marine Chapter. The regiment was completely destroyed during their retreat from the Tarosian capital city of Tarokeen. Many of the survivors from the regiment had been scattered by the defending Tau forces and were captured. They were condemned to forced labour by working the mines of Taros. The few survivors of the regiment that managed to escape aboard the evacuation ships were eventually reassigned to the Tallarn 331st Regiment. The Taros Campaign ultimately ended in failure for the Imperium and a great victory for the Tau Empire.
- Tallarn Desert Raiders 54th Regiment - The Tallarn 54th fought alongside the Steel Confessors Space Marine Chapter. This Chapter is known for being utterly intolerant of physical or mental weaknesses in others. An incident occurred when the Chapter actually destroyed the Tallarn 54th, for its “failure to achieve objectives.”
- Tallarn Desert Raiders 82nd Regiment - The Tallarn 82nd Regiment lost about half their number when they engaged a force of Orks. The remaining survivors were rolled into the Tallarn 892nd Regiment.
- Tallarn Desert Raiders 89th Regiment - Fought in the Annukani Campaign in the 39th Millennium. Also, one of its infantry companies took part in the Taros Campaign (998.M41). The campaign ended in failure, as the regiment was destroyed by Tau forces during its retreat from Tarokeen alongside other Imperial forces. Those few scattered survivors were captured by the Tau and forced to work the mines they had taken over on Taros. The few survivors that managed to escape aboard the evacuation ships were reassigned to the Tallarn 331st Regiment, a relatively new regiment which also participated in the Taros Campaign, emerging relatively unscathed.
- Tallarn Desert Raiders 331st Regiment - Fought in the Taros Campaign in 998.M41. This newly formed regiment managed to emerge relatively unscathed from the failed campaign against the Tau. After the conflict the 331st received survivors from both the Tallarn 17th and 89th Tallarn Regiments as replacements for their losses.
- Tallarn Desert Raiders 441st Regiment - Fought in the Fall of Medusa V Campaign in 999.M41. The 441st Regiment was stationed along the heavily fortified trenchline known as the Mortise Line. Along with the Tallarn 442nd Regiment, the 441st was sent into the desert beyond their line to investigate strange reports of unidentified creatures who turned out to be a WAAAGH! of Orks.
- Tallarn Desert Raiders 442nd Regiment - Fought in the Medusa V Campaign in 999.M41. The 442st Regiment was station along the heavily fortified trenchline known as the Mortise Line. Along with the Tallarn 441st Regiment, the 442nd was sent into the desert beyond their line to investigate strange reports of unidentified creatures that were falling from the sky in ever increasing numbers, who turned out to be an invading WAAAGH! of Orks.
- Tallarn Desert Raiders 892nd Regiment - The Tallarn 892nd was created from the remnants of two decimated Tallarn units (the 82nd "Shantani of the Dust," and the 351st "Derv'sh Blades of the Imperium").
- Tallarn Desert Raiders 3rd Armoured Regiment - The 3rd Armoured fought during the Taros Campaign (998.M41). The 3rd Regiment was effectively destroyed during that action, having lost all of their combat vehicles and much of their equipment during the retreat from the Tarosian capital of Tarokeen. The Tallarn 3rd Armoured Regiment would be reconstituted in the aftermath with the survivors of their regiment and the 12th Tallarn Armoured Regiment. The Taros Campaign ultimately ended in failure for the Imperium.
- Tallarn Desert Raiders 9th Heavy Tank Regiment, the "Blue Devils" - The 9th Heavy Tank Regiment is known for using primarily Baneblade super heavy tanks. They paint their vehicles in desert yellow with a sky-blue camouflage. The commanders of this regiment are known for riding in the turret, exposing themselves to obtain a panoramic view of the battlefield, waving their curved chainswords to inspire their men to greater acts of courage.
- Tallarn Desert Raiders 12th Armoured Regiment - The 12th Armoured fought during the Taros Campaign (998.M41). The 12th Armoured was effectively destroyed during that action, having lost all of their combat vehicles and much of their equipment during the retreat from the Tarosian capital of Tarokeen. The survivors of the 12th Tallarn Armoured Regiment would be reconstituted into the Tallarn 3rd Armoured Regiment. The Taros Campaign ultimately ended in failure for the Imperium.
The Terrax Guard are the elite regiments of the Imperial Guard raised on the world of Terrax, the site of a major Schola Progenium facility, the Schola Excubitos. The Schola Progenium train many Imperial agents for war, most notably the elite Storm Troopers and Commissars, and their methods are rigorous and effective. The tithed regiments raised on Terrax have been trained under the auspices of the Schola Excubitos and are truly moulded in its image almost as an entire regiment of Commissars.
Valhallan Ice Warriors
Valhalla was originally a verdant paradise world. No records survive of its colonisation by humans, but legends recall a world ripe for conquest. Unfortunately, Valhalla was destined for catastrophe. A rogue comet entered into a collision course with the world. The planet's defence lasers fired at the comet, but only succeeded in breaking it up. Later, it was found that the comet was made of almost pure iron, rather than the more typical conglomeration of ice and rock, which explained why the lasers were so ineffective. The comet impacted in the world's vast ocean, but a mile-wide fragment impacted the northern continent, creating vast plumes of dust which proceeded to cover the planet in a blanket of dirt. To make matters worse, the planet's orbit was changed, moving it farther away from its sun. This change in the amount of warmth and light altered Valhalla's ecosystem permanently, changing the planet to an icy wasteland, the most well known of the Imperium's Ice Worlds. The people struggled to make a living, fearing famine due to a lack of viable farmland. Unfortunately, this was not the end of Valhalla's troubles. A damaged Ork warfleet descended on the planet and proceeded to fight the Valhallans for the precious food they had stored. The Valhallans held out bravely for a long time in their vast hive cities beneath the ice but were pushed right back to the food vats. Eventually they destroyed the Orks by using ice boring machines to strategically strike at the heart of the mob, burning and melting most of the Orks and scattering the rest. Regiments of Valhallan Ice Warriors have been assigned to planets infested with Orks due to their intimate knowledge of Ork tactics and their dogged determination in the face of defeat, where other armies might run. Valhallan Ice Warriors resemble the Soviet Red Army during World War II in both their capabilities fighting in extreme low-temperature conditions and their sheer durability and tenacity. Famously, the Commissar Ciaphas Cain served with the Valhallan 597th Regiment.
Notable Valhallan Ice Warriors Regiments
- 18th Valhallan Regiment, "Tundra Wolves" - At its founding strength, the 18th Valhallan "Tundra Wolves" Regiment consisted of over 120,000 Guardsmen.
- 23rd Valhallan Regiment - The 23rd Valhallan are known to wear steppe fatigues and are often deployed to service on worlds characterised by large swathes of grasslands and other steppe terrain.
- 54th Valhallan Regiment - The 54th Valhallan Regiment is known to have fought against the Forces of Chaos during the 13th Black Crusade in 999.M41.
- 93rd Valhallan Regiment - The 93rd Valhallan Regiment fought in the Soldane Campaign in the 38th Millennium.
- 222nd Valhallan Regiment - The 222nd Valhallan Regiment was first formed during the Ork invasion of Valhalla and proved instrumental in the valiant defence of their homeworld.It has remained in continuous service for almost 10,000 standard years, providing it one of the deepest regimental cultures and histories in the entire Imperial Guard.
- 296th/301st Valhallan Regiment - The Valhallan 296th and 301st Regiments both fought with the Reclaimers and the Swords of the Emperor Space Marine Chapters against the Tyranids at Corania and later merged to form the 597th Valhallan Regiment.
- 319th Valhallan Regiment - The 319th Valhallan Regiment was part of the Imperial force that responded to the invasion of the Imperial world of Cressida by the Forces of Chaos. They formed the rearguard when the planet was evacuated prior to being virus-bombed.
- 597th Valhallan Regiment - The Valhallan 597th Regiment was formed from the merger of the 296th and 301st Valhallan Regiments in 931.M41, and was famous for being the home regiment of the notable Commissar Ciaphas Cain for many years.
- 1212th Valhallan Regiment, "Cold Bloods" - The "Cold Bloods" were raised for service during the Eastlight Nebula Wars, but their first battle was among their last. With their supply and logistics lines overstretched, only one in every three Guardsmen in the 1212th were issued a Lasgun. Their first mission saw a forced-march across the frozen and toxic wastelands of Triox against a larger force of Traitors. Despite their survival skills, only half the Ice Warriors made it across the plains to assault the Traitors' flank. Once again displaying the sheer tenacity of the Ice Warriors, many of the Valhallan Guardsmen recovered weapons on the fallen and in the end decisively defeated the enemy forces.
- 8th Valhallan Armoured Regiment - The 8th Valhallan Armoured Regiment is known to include Leman Russ Demolishers and fought on Sallan's World. The regiment also possessed a Leman Russ Executioner which fought in the advance on Sallan's Point. This armoured regiment also includes a Destroyer Tank Hunter which was put on sentry duty defending a fuel or ammunition dump during the Sallan's World campaign.
- 14th Valhallan Armoured Regiment - The 14th Valhallan Armoured Regiment took part in the Gravalax Incident under the command of Lord General Zyvan.
- 28th Valhallan Armoured Regiment - The 28th Valahallan Armoured Regiment is a highly honoured unit amongst Imperial Guard armoured regiments, and is allowed to display a red Aquila symbol. It includes at least one Leman Russ Vanquisher which is the second vehicle of the first squadron of the 1st Company. The 28th Armoured also includes a Leman Russ Exterminator as the third tank, fourth squadron, 4th Company. Also, the regiment possesses a Leman Russ Conqueror which has subtle camouflaging unlike the other tanks in its company or squadron. The 28th Armoured is known to have taken part in the Retreat to the Auriga Parallel on the Ice World of Adhara. The Valhallan 1st Heavy Tank Company is attached to the 28th Armoured.
- 58th Valhallan Armoured Regiment - There is little recorded information on this armoured regiment in current Imperial records.
- 193rd Valhallan Armoured Regiment - The Valhallan 193rd Armoured Regiment includes a Stygies VIII Pattern Leman Russ Vanquisher and took part in the Defence of Canaan's World.
- 1st Valhallan Heavy Tank Company - The 1st Valhallan Heavy Tank Company includes a Mars Pattern Shadowsword super-heavy battle tank, which is the third vehicle of the company. The company is normally attached to the 28th Valhallan Armoured Regimen
The Vostroyan Firstborn is the name given to the regiments of the Imperial Guard that originate from the industrial Hive World of Vostroya located near the Halo Stars beyond the galactic rim in the Segmentum Obscurus. The Vostroyan regiments have served the Emperor for countless centuries, though in truth they fight to absolve themselves of a terrible shame incurred by their ancestors over ten millennia ago when, during the dark days of the Horus Heresy, Vostroya failed in its duty to the Emperor of Mankind. When the galaxy was consumed in war and anarchy, the Emperor commanded that worlds still loyal to the Imperium send forth fighting men to help defend it against the Warmaster Horus and his Traitor Legions. Vostroya refused, arguing that it could better serve the Imperium by continuing to devote all its efforts to the manufacture of weapons for the Emperor's armies, and that to give up so much of its populace to become warriors for the Imperial Army would render it incapable of producing those weapons in sufficient quantities. The Vostroyans' refusal to provide soldiers was met with uncommon mercy by the Imperium once the Heresy had ended, and the people of Vostroya have forever after sought to atone for their mistake, promising to provide the first-born son of every Vostroyan family to the service of the Imperial Guard. Despite the black mark on their people's history, the Vostroyans now consider it an honour to fight for the Emperor, and view other more reluctant regiments with disgust. The Vostroyans first came to prominence during the Fall of Medusa V in 999.M41. The Vostroyans' Carapace Armour is mildly based on the armour worn by the Russian Cossacks, and the Vostroyan culture itself is inspired by that of the 19th Century Russian Empire.
Notable Vostroyan Firstborn Regiments
- 5th Vostroyan Firstborn Regiment - The 5th Vostroyan Regiment was commanded by none other than Lord Marshal Graf Harazahn, the supreme commander of the Imperial forces on Medusa V during the Fall of Medusa V campaign. The regiment defended Hive Euryales against the Forces of Chaos' assault tactics before the Warp Storm known as Van Grothe's Rapidity overwhelmed the planet.
- 7th Vostroyan Firstborn Regiment - The 7th Vostroyan Regiment defended Hive Euryales on Medusa V alongside Lord Marshal Graf Harazahn and the 5th Vostroyan Regiment during the Fall of Medusa V campaign.
- 9th Vostroyan Firstborn Regiment, "The Old Irascibles" - Earning their name the "Old Irascibles" through hundreds of battles, the vaunted 9th Vostroyan Regiment served for three and a half centuries during the late 41st Millennium. The 9th Vostroyan became one of the most veteran formations in the Segmentum Obscurus, before finally meeting their match on the world of Nimbosa. Around 790.M41, the 9th Vostroyan defended the Imperial world of Nimbosa against the Tau's effort to expand their burgeoning alien empire and annex the world. The Vostroyan regiment heroically sacrificed themselves to a man defending the factory city of Polia. Inspired by the Vostroyans' sacrifice, the populace refuse to submit to the Tau Empire. Reformed after their destruction on Nimbosa, the 9th Vostroyan once again met their ultimate fate during the Fall of Karak Prime in 998.M41. They held the hive city for 18 months against the brutal onslaught of a splinter fleet of Hive Fleet Moloch, valiantly facing a Tyranid swarm that stretched from the base of the city's walls to the distant horizon. With the onset of midwinter, and with the rapid depletion of ammunition and supplies, the 9th Vostroyan knew that they were doomed and vowed to sell their lives dearly. Only when the bulk of the Tyranid swarm had passed into the city did the regiment detonate its nucleonic stack, incinerating the hive, its defenders and an estimated 85% of the Tyranid swarm. With the coming of midwinter, the few surviving Tyranid organisms eventually starved to death and the splinter fleet was entirely defeated.
- 11th Vostroyan Firstborn Regiment - The 11th Vostroyan Regiment served under Lord Marshal Graf Harazahn, supreme commander of the Imperial forces on Medusa V during the Fall of Medusa V campaign.
- 16th Vostroyan Firstborn Regiment - The 16th Vostroyan Regiment helped defend the world of Nimbosa from another attempt by the Tau to conquer it before the Imperial Nimbosa Crusade liberated the world in 992.M41.
- 22nd Vostroyan Firstborn Regiment - The 22nd Vostroyan Regiment was instrumental in the liberation of the world of Kurkaris. They are notable for being one of the very few Vostroyan Regiments to make use of Rough Riders mounted cavalry squadrons (called Hussars by the Vostroyans) in order to better engage the Orks in Kurkaris' thick forests.
- 55th Vostroyan Firstborn Regiment - The 55th Vostroyan Firstborn Regiment can trace its history back to the reconstruction of the Imperium after the Horus Heresy. Generations of Vostroyan men have served in the 55th and fought, bled, and died on countless worlds across the galaxy. It is an old saying amongst their number that Vostroyan blood has been shed on every world in the Imperium, and given the illustrious history of even this one Firstborn regiment, this may not be too far from the truth.
- 68th Vostroyan Firstborn Regiment - The 68th Vostroyan Regiment defended Danik's World from a massive Ork invasion and a planet-wide rebellion. Last known Imperial records of the regiment indicated that it had dropped to a strength of around 30 effective soldiers, all from the 5th Company. The bulk of the regiment was destroyed by the rebellious forces, both through sedition and ambush tactics. The 5th Company, which had previously been attached as a rearguard, suffered severely in their valiant attempt to make it back to Imperial lines. The commander of the 5th Company, Captain Gregorious Sebastev, was officially placed in command of the hardened survivors, shortly before the whole group was seconded to the Inquisition. The eventual fate of these survivors, and therefore the regiment itself, is currently unknown.
- 241st Vostroyan Firstborn Regiment - Nicknamed the "Legia Zaimprowizowany" or "Improvised Regiment," the 241st Vostroyan Regiment is famous for its troops' ad hoc organisation. They are well-known for adopting the fighting style of other regiments as the circumstances dictate. The commander of the regiment when it participated in the Fall of Medusa V campaign was Colonel Illyich Szradislav.
- 24th Vostroyan Heavy Armoured Regiment, "Iron Bloods" - The 24th Vostroyan Heavy Armoured Regiment consisted of less than 1,500 Guardsmen at its founding-strength.
Other Imperial Guard Regiments
The Imperial Guard is the most diverse collection of military units in the entire Imperium of Man, drawing tens of thousands of different regiments from all across the galaxy, from worlds striking different in culture, technological levels and history. The regiments describe above represent only a tiny selection of the sheer variety of units that serve within the force collectively labelled the Imperial Guard.
Because of this, perhaps more than any other Warhammer 40,000 army, the Imperial Guard allows painters and modellers a great deal of scope for creating a personalised force. With regiments of the Imperial Guard present on almost every world in the Imperium, many players like to invent their own regiment, writing their own background and creating a unique looking force.
Medals and Honours
The awarding of medals and honours is given for acts of heroism and bravery. There are three broad types; Imperial Honours, which are granted to troops throughout the Imperial Guard; Campaign Honours, which are awarded for meritorious action in a given Imperial Crusade or planetary action; and Regimental Awards, which are unique to each regiment and are awarded for specific achievements and meritorious action in regimental engagements.
Imperial Honours are commendations that are recognised, in one form or another, throughout the Imperium. There are many different commendation systems that vary by segmentum, sector, crusade, campaign, regiment, and company, some with traditions dating back thousands of years, however, the honours presented in this section are some of the most commonly used and widely recognized throughout the Imperium:
- Medallion Crimson - The Medallion Crimson is awarded to Imperial Guardsmen who continue fighting even after sustaining grievous injury.
- Ribbon Intrinsic - The Ribbon Intrinsic is awarded to a unit as a whole for being the lynchpin in a large battle, for having held the line and turned defeat into victory by determination alone.
- Triple Skull - The Triple Skull is awarded to the units who have taken massive casualties in a single action. Its sister honour, the Golden Skull, is awarded posthumously to those who have fallen in battle.
- Winged Skull- The Winged Skull is an ancient commendation awarded to officers who have shown extraordinary and inspirational leadership.
- Macharian Cross - The Macharian Cross is rewarded for successful and intelligent application of the Tactica Imperialis. Bearers of this medal are often recruited into the general staff of future crusades or campaigns, and their tactical advice is given a great deal of merit by field commanders purely by virtue of having been awarded it.
- Honorifica Imperialis - The Honorifica Imperialis is a broad class of gallantry medals. The medal is titled according to the sector it was awarded, so a Guardsman awarded this honour on the Eastern Fringe would receive an Ultima Honorifica. Such awards are sometimes further subdivided into specialities, such as the Honorifica Imperialis Armourum, so a Tank Commander who was receiving this medal for valour in the field within the Calixis Sector would receive the Obscurus Honorifica Armourum.
There are countless medals pinned to the uniforms of Imperial Guardsmen across the galaxy, and the examples here do not even begin to scratch the surface. Many honours are created for specific Crusades and engagements. These unique awards created based on the engagements in which the individual trooper fought. Below is an example of an award created for a specific engagement:
- The Shield of Sacrous - The Shield of Sacrous is a regimental award for the 19th Brontian Longknives for having seen service on the planet Sacrous. The award looks like a shield with a planet etched in its centre. It was awarded for victory in a major engagement on the planet Sacrous.
The Imperial Guard is unimaginably vast, and many awards and citations are unique to a given region of space or a given crusade or campaign. The following are a sampling of Imperial Guard Honours used in the campaigns and crusades of the Spinward Front:
- Trenchman's Long Service Medal - The Trenchman's Long Service Medal was a commendation first given to veterans of the Third Burgs' War, a conflict that saw vicious trench fighting and lasted for over 150 years. Only the hardiest and most tenacious Guardsmen survived that conflict for any length of time. As many Burgs' War veterans became commanders in their own right, these medals eventually saw widespread usage throughout the sub-sector. These award appeared as two crossed spades, hanging from a triangular grey ribbon. It was awarded for participating in a single trench deployment lasting two months or more.
- The Order of St. Kark - This is a Commissariat Commendation, awarded for maintaining discipline above and beyond the call of duty. This medal honours St. Kark, a particularly brutal and effective Commissar of the Angevin Crusade, venerated throughout the Calixis Sector. This award appears as a brass medal in the shape of a bolter shell hanging from a crimson ribbon, and was awarded for unhesitating dedication to the maintenance of discipline. This commendation is awarded to Commissars for field executing two or more members of the unit to prevent a rout while engaged with the enemy.
- Drusian Laurels - Drusian Laurels are awarded for defending high-ranking members of the Ecclesiarchy of the Calixis Sector, or participating in actions to protect particularly valuable or venerated shrines or artefacts. This award appears as a gold-etched Aquila flanked by laurels. Awarded for defending the personnel and property of the Adeptus Ministorum.
- Cog of Het - The Cog of Het is an example of one of the very rare Calixis Sector Adeptus Mechanicus commendations, given by representatives of the masters of the Lathe Worlds for properly venerating the machine spirits of vehicles and equipment being used on the field of battle. This award appears as a Mechanicus Cog, with three circles worked into the design above the skull. Awarded for the effective supplication under fire. This commendation is awarded for successfully for repairing a vehicle or equipment that was vital to the success of the unit later in the conflict.
Astra Militarum Relics
- Blade of Conquest - The greatest Imperial Guard commander ever to bestride the stars, Warmaster Solar Macharius reclaimed a thousand worlds for the Emperor. Upon his death he was enshrined as a saint; the six ornate blades of his subordinate generals laid upon the altar to his glory. Only one of these weapons has been reclaimed to active service. The Blade of Conquest is a beautiful example of bladesmithing, but its true worth lies in the authority it symbolises. Any man who wields this sword can light a righteous fire in the hearts of his men, for they fight in the shadow of Saint Solar himself.
- Deathmask of Ollanius - Ollanius the Pious is the epitome of Imperial sainthood, believed martyred at the hands of Horus himself. In the millennia since his passing, Ollanius' deathmask has been revered as a holy relic; whosoever wears this ancient artefact is granted the determination and endurance of the famous martyr himself. The mask is a terrifying piece of craftsmanship, depicting in obsidian and void-fired bronze the agonised visage of a tortured angel. It is said that, in the presence of traitors, the Deathmask will weep tears of blood.
- Emperor’s'Benediction - Wielded by a succession of brutal, uncompromising Commissars, the Emperor's Benediction is a masterwork Bolt Pistol is feared by all. Its elementary but bloodthirsty machine spirit has been blamed for a series of unfortunate 'accidents' on the field of battle. In spite of this, the Officio Prefectus view the Emperor’s Benediction as an artefact of some distinction -- some say that it can taste cowardice even before the reprehensible act has been committed.
- Kurov’s Aquila - General Kurov was one of the most gifted officers in Imperial history. Upon retirement, he recorded dozens of tactical treatises that were translated into vox-ghosts by the Adeptus Mechanicus and uploaded into a two-headed avian servitor referred to as ‘Kurov’s Aquila’. A senior officer who possesses this prestigious tool can turn to it for tactical guidance, addressing his questions to the hunched machine-bird. In response, the servitor's blindfolded head will vocalise the most relevant vox-ghost in Kurov’s stentorian tones. The other head’s eyes glow above its sound-shut beak as they project a hololithic display of Kurov himself, arms folded and dress uniform immaculate, his imago flickering as it reveals the secrets of the foe.
- Laurels of Command - The Laurels of Command are a callous and controversial means to ensure obedience. Concealed within their peerless artistry is a band of empathic-impulsion circuitry which allows the wearer limited control over the minds of indoctrinated individuals via subliminal suggestion. Under their effects, orders are executed in perfect synchronisation and even cowards fight to the last. However, if the officer wearing the Laurels of Command is slain during battle, the echoes of his death can leave his subordinates reeling in confusion.
- Tactical Auto-Reliquary of Tyberius - Built into the gold-chased skull of Lord Commander Lucellin Tyberius himself, this device contains a web of psycho-circuitry containing Tyberius’ memory engrams and tactical acumen -- and with it, his curmudgeonly and overbearing personality. Borne aloft by its own gravitic motors, the device can observe and evaluate an officer's decisions. The moment it considers an order poorly chosen, the skull cuts into the vox and loudly overrides its exasperated owner. In imperious, static-laden tones, the auto-reliquary will countermand the officer’s orders and issue a barrage of its own from Tyberius’ store of tactical insights.
Notable Imperial Guardsmen
- Lord Commander Solar Macharius
- Captain Al'rahem of the Tallarn Desert Raiders
- Sergeant Lukas Bastonne
- Commissar Ciaphas Cain
- Commander Kubrik Chenkov of the Valhallan Ice Warriors
- Lord Castellan Ursarkar E. Creed
- Mogul Kamir of the Rough Riders of Attila
- Nork Deddog
- Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt
- Commissar Hark
- Gunnery Sergeant "Stonetooth" Harker of the Catachan Jungle Fighters
- Major Pious Korren of the Armageddon Steel Legion
- Sergeant Poul Marlin
- Knight Commander Pask
- Colonel Schaeffer (and his Last Chancers)
- Colonel "Iron Hand" Straken of the Catachan Jungle Fighters
- Commissar Yarrick
|Astra Militarum Hierarchy|
|General Officers||Lord Commander Militant • Warmaster (Lord Solar) • Lord Commander • Lord General Militant • Lord General • General|
|Officers||Colonel • Major • Captain • Lieutenant|
|Non-Commissioned Officers and Enlisted||Sergeant • Corporal • Trooper (Guardsman)|
|Specialists||Inquisitor • Commissar • Priest • Tech-Priest • Enginseer • Sanctioned Psyker • Primaris Psyker • Wyrdvane Psyker|
- Citadel Journal 49, "Tank Aces of the Imperial Guard: Colonel 'Snake' Stranski" & "'Blood and Thunder': The Cadian 114th Mechanized Infantry Regiment," pp. 16-17
- Citadel Journal 47, "Tank Aces of the Imperial Guard: Captain Obadiah Schfeer," "The Varolian Steel Dogs: Armour Company," "Steel Dog Alpha: Obadiah's Leman Russ Vanquisher," pp. 28-30
- Citadel Journal 15, "Armoured Fighting Vehicles: Imperial Guard Conversions," pp. 11-12
- Codex: Astra Militarum (8th Edition), pp. 6-17, 29, 46, 52-55, 60-61
- Codex: Astra Militarum (6th Edition) (Digital Edition)
- Codex: Imperialis (1st Edition)
- Codex: Imperial Guard (5th Edition)
- Codex: Imperial Guard (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex)
- Codex: Imperial Guard (3rd Edition, 1st Codex)
- Codex: Imperial Guard (2nd Edition)
- Codex: Catachans (3rd Edition)
- Dark Heresy: Ascension (RPG), pp. 175-176
- Horus Heresy: Collected Visions
- Only War: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 40, 294-295, 334
- The Art of Warhammer 40,000
- The Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer (Sourcebook)
- Warhammer 40,000: Apocalypse, pp. 102-103
- Warhammer 40,000 Compendium, pg. 44
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (Digital Edition) (7th Edition), pp. 275, 283, 321, 357-364, 496
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (8th Edition), pg. 71
- White Dwarf 316 (US), "Index Imperialis: Firstborn Sons of Vostroya," pp. 44-67
- White Dwarf 200 (US), "Faith in the Emporer: Army Design," pp. 21-25
- White Dwarf 198 (US), "Storm Troopers: Imperial Guard Elites," pp. 11-14
- White Dwarf 197 (US), "Incoming!: Imperial Guard Artillery," pp. 65-67
- White Dwarf 195 (US), "That's an Order!: Imperial Guard," pp. 77-79
- White Dwarf 194 (US), "Ker-Boom!: Imperial Guard Basilisk," pp. 49-53
- White Dwarf 193 (US), "Pyromania!: Imperial Guard Hellhound," pp. 11-14
- White Dwarf 191 (US), "Legions of Steel: Imperial Guard Tanks Tactics," & "Tyranid Invasion: GW Campaign of Ichar IV Defense by Ultramarines, Imperial Guard and Eldar," pp. 67-70, 76-81
- White Dwarf 190 (US), "Follow Me, Men!: Codex Imperial Guard Preview," pp. 43-46
- White Dwarf 189 (US), "Imperial Griffon: Imperial Guard," pp. 29-33
- White Dwarf 187 (US), "Leman Russ Demolisher: Imperial Guard," pp. 9-16
- White Dwarf 186 (US), "Imperial Chimera: Imperial Guard," & "Ratling Snipers: Imperial Guard," pp. 9-15, 19-21
- White Dwarf 185 (US), "Tallarn Desert Raiders," by Rick Priestley, pp. 41-44
- White Dwarf 184 (US), "Imperial Guard Veterans," "Mordian Iron Guard" by Rick Priestley, pp. 33-35, 43-46
- White Dwarf 183 (US), "Ice Warriors of Valhalla: Imperial Guard," pp. 6-11
- White Dwarf 182 (US), "Cadian Shock Troops: Imperial Guard," "Commissar Yarrick" by Jervis Johnson & "Blood and Fire: Battle Report - Ultramarines and Imperial Guard vs. Ghazghkull's Orks," pp. 6-9, 27-30, 54-71
- White Dwarf 181 (US), "Rough Riders of Attila: Imperial Guard," by Rick Priestley, pp. 7-9
- White Dwarf 180 (US), "Catachan Jungle Fighters: Imperial Guard," by Ian Pickstock, pp. 12-17
- White Dwarf 178 (US), "The Leman Russ: Imperial Battle Tank," pp. 25-30
- White Dwarf 160 (US), "The Assault on Barbarius: Battle Report - Imperial Guard vs. Eldar," pp. 20-39
- White Dwarf 152 (US), "Commissar Yarrick and Warlord Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka," pp. 14-22
- White Dwarf 143 (US), "Armies of the Imperium: Imperial Guard Colour Schemes," pp. 63-74
- White Dwarf 115 (US), "Commissar Training Squads," by Nigel Stillman and Sean Masterson, pp. 5-7
- White Dwarf 113 (US), "The Pacification of Flotis III: D Company of 7th Mordion Imperial Guard Regiment," & "Sentinel: Imperial Guard Walker," pp. 63-65, 69
- White Dwarf 111 (US), "Rough Riders and Whiteshields," by Graeme Davis, pp. 12-18
- White Dwarf 110 (US), "Ogryns" by Ivan Weeds and Graeme Davis & "'Eavy Metal: Quick Methods for Painting Imperial Guard Squads," pp. 11-19, 74-79
- White Dwarf 109 (US), "The Imperial Guard," pp. 37-59
- Ciaphas Cain (Novel Series) by Sandy Mitchell:
- For the Emperor (Novel)
- Caves of Ice (Novel)
- The Traitor's Hand (Novel)
- Death or Glory (Novel)
- Duty Calls (Novel)
- Cain's Last Stand (Novel)
- The Emperor's Finest (Novel)
- The Last Ditch (Novel)
- The Greater Good (Novel)
- Dead In The Water (Audio Drama)
- Bringers of Death (Anthology), "Sector 13" (Short Story)
- Crucible of War (Anthology), "Fight or Flight" (Short Story)
- Traitor's Gambit (Short Story)
- What Price Victory (Anthology), "The Beguiling" (Short Story)
- Gaunt's Ghosts (Novel Series) by Dan Abnett:
- The Founding (Omnibus)
- The Saint (Omnibus)
- The Lost (Omnibus)
- Imperial Guard Novel Series:
- Fifteen Hours (Novel) by Mitchell Scanlon
- Death World (Novel) by Steve Lyons
- Rebel Winter (Novel) by Steve Parker
- Desert Raiders (Novel) by Lucien Soulban
- Ice Guard (Novel) by Steve Lyons
- Gunheads (Novel) by Steve Parker
- Cadian Blood (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Redemption Corps (Novel) by Rob Sanders
- Dead Men Walking (Novel) by Steve Lyons
- Imperial Glory (Novel) by Richard Williams
- Iron Guard (e-book) by Mark Clapham
- Waiting Death (short story) by Steve Lyons
- A Blind Eye (short story) by Steve Parker
- Better the Devil (short story) by Steve Lyons
- Knee Deep (short story) by Mitchell Scanlon
- Mercy Run (short story) by Steve Parker
- The Citidel (short story) by Steve Parker
- Survivor (e-short) by Steve Parker