Lord Commander Militant of the Imperial Guard
Imperial Guard Regiments
Imperial Reformation (31st Millennium)
- "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 Imperial Guard is the largest military force of the Imperium of Man and also serves as the Imperium'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. They are usually the first Imperial force to respond to a threat if a planet'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. The Imperial Guard is often referred to as the "Sledgehammer 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.
Anatomy of an Imperial Guard Regiment
The Imperial Guard 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.
The matter of assembling and arming the uncountable masses of Guardsmen is the responsibility of the Departmento Munitorum, a department within the Adeptus Administratum responsible for military logistics across the Imperium. 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, 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 Imperial Guard, 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 Imperial Guard, 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. 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 Imperial Guard is a single officer, commonly given the rank of Colonel, who serves as the frontline commander. Traditional expectations are that a Colonel takes to the field with his men, leading in person, and is often accompanied by advisors such as Imperial Navy liaisons, 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.
The Imperial Guard 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 Imperial Guard 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 Imperial Guard lies.
An Imperial Guard 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 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 Imperiumsets down the basic template around which all Imperial Guard 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." This structure is maintained in all the different types of Imperial Guard 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 a combined arms battle group is required, units are drafted from all of the regiments available by a senior officer, such as a colonel or a captain. These formations can vary in size, from company level units of 100 or so men and 5 or 6 armoured vehicles, to a force almost as large as a full regiment. Some battle groups are a balanced mix of infantry and vehicles. Many, however, are specialised for different 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 company of Sentinel combat walkers aiding a light infantry force in a desperate fight in a thick jungle.
Just as regiments provide individual units for the smaller tactical level battle groups, so entire regiments are often drawn together to form massive strategic-level forces called army groups. These forces are led by high-ranking commanders such as generals and high marshals and can consist of any number of regiments, from as few as 2 to as many as several hundred in the largest, sector-wide Imperial campaigns. The method by which Imperial 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. As such, a high-ranking commander cannot depend on receiving the assets he requested to achieve victory in a given war zone and he will have to improvise a new battle plan based on the forces that actually wind up ultimately being at his 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 Imperial Guard can bring to bear. With enough perseverance, even an improper tool can be used to reap results -- particularly if a commander is unconcerned with how many of his tools he is willing to lose in the process.
Once an Imperial Guard 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 infantrymen. While an Imperial Guard 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, every Guardsmen will be given intensive training, if not on there 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.
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 simply be to have the best possible equipment for the situation. Other times, something might land in Guardsmen'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.
Imperial Guard Rank Hierarchy
The military organisation of the Imperial Guard 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 Imperial Guard include:
- Lord Commander Militant (supreme commander of the Imperial Guard and a High Lord of Terra)
- Warmaster (Lord Solar) (special rank only 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)
- General (various different titles for this rank exist)
- Colonel (various different titles for this rank exist)
- Captain (various different titles for this rank exist)
- Commissars, Priests of the Ecclesiarchy, Tech-priests, Sanctioned Psykers, Inquisitors (All have no official rank in the Imperial Guard)
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.
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 that they are routinely attached to. They hold no official rank within the Guard's hierarchy, but all Guardsmen are under the direct command to protect them 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 Imperial Guard
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 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 Imperial Guard.
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 Imperial Guard 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 man. Simply seeing the destruction that can be wrought by these individuals can drive a Guardsman mad.
Forces of the Imperial Guard
Regimental Command Squad
In large-scale Imperial Crusades that usually involve large armies of the Imperial Guard, 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 Imperial Guard Company leads his troops as part of a 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 ship and coordinates air support and orbital bombardment manoeuvres. 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 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 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 Imperial Guard 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.
These fanatical members of the Ecclesiarchy and ministers of the Imperial Cult follow the Imperial Guard on campaigns and battles preaching the righteousness of the God-Emperor. These Priests of the Ecclesiarchy play a vital role in the Imperial Guard, 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. 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.
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 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 minimize 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 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.
Storm Troopers 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 soldier 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.
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 Imperial Guard regiments from the 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 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. 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.
Imperial Guard Troop Types
Found in every single Imperial Guard Regiment, the Guardsman is the ubiquitous representative soldier of the Imperial Guard, as he makes up the very backbone of the organisation's fighting force. Armed with low-power laser weaponry known as lasguns, a Guardsmen's lethality is minimal. Armoured with basic 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 biological 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 Imperial Guard, an infantry platoon comprises 1 command squad lead by a junior officer 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 Teams
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 Weapon Teams are the Imperial Guard'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 Team 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 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 boosts the firepower of individual squads, 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 Weapon Teams
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 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 Imperial Guard - 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 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.
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 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.
- "Infantry win firefights, tanks win battles, artillery wins wars."
- — Old saying amongst Imperial Guard artillery officers
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 Forces
The following section represents a small selection of the more notable forces to have served in the Imperial Guard. 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 LegionArmageddon 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 Ghazghkull Thraka's Power Klaw with his bare hands -- hence the fact that Yarrick is the only human Ghazghkull 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 Kaskrin 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.
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
- 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: 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)
- The Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer (Sourcebook)
- Horus Heresy: Collected Visions
- Only War: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 40, 334
- The Art of Warhammer 40,000
- Warhammer 40,000: Apocalypse, pp. 102-103
- Warhammer 40,000 Compendium, p. 44
- 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