- "Storm Troopers work best under maximum pressure, maximum intensity, and maximum danger. When these things are shared with others, they help form a bond stronger than any tie known in the galaxy."
- — Attributed to an unnamed Storm Trooper officer
Storm Troopers are the elite special forces units of the Imperial Guard and the Inquisition. Trained from their youth by the Schola Progenium in the arts of war, Storm Troopers are, perhaps, the finest soldiers ever to serve in the Imperial Guard. Armed with their trademark Hellguns and Hellpistols, these soldiers take combat to the heart of the enemy with blinding speed and deadly precision. Their accuracy is aided by their highly-protective Carapace Armour's integrated targeting system. Equipped with the finest weapons and wargear in the Departmento Munitorum's arsenal, Storm Troopers are trained to carry out missions beyond the capabilities of the rank-and-file Guardsman. Deep strike assaults, reconnaissance, infiltration, sabotage, and airborne insertion are just a few of the special missions with which Storm Troopers are regularly tasked. They are the very best that the Imperial Guard has to offer, each man a perfect specimen of health and moral purity, forged by experience and training, not into a simple soldier, but into a one-man assault squad.
Storm Trooper Training
The Schola Progenium exists to adopt children whose parents died in the Emperor's service and train them to become the bedrock of the Imperium's defence and governance. The Schola's graduates are scattered across Imperial society: the Ecclesiarchy, the Administratum, Adeptus Arbites, Commissariat, Adepta Sororitas, or even the Inquisition. However, for those who prove to be particularly martial and aggressive, the Schola reserves its most difficult and dangerous training. This is the instruction provided to the famous Imperial Guard and Inquisitorial Storm Troopers. Storm Trooper training begins immediately after the Schola Progenium's primary educational course but does not supplant it. After all, potential Storm Troopers are expected to be more than simply warriors. Each is expected to be both well-schooled in basic education and Imperial lore and history, and be unwaveringly loyal to the Imperium as well (something a Schola education works diligently to impart).
Although the vast majority of Storm Troopers are Progena, orphans trained at the Schola Progenium, at times a senior official of the Imperium (such as an Inquisitor) uses his authority to have an individual inducted into the Storm Trooper training course of the Schola Progenium. In these situations, the Schola Progenium's Drill Abbots make no distinction between a barely-teenage new recruit and a grizzled veteran with years of service, and any complaints those veterans may have are quickly crushed under the weight of training. When (or if) those recruits emerge as Storm Troopers, they are often removed from their squad and assigned to their patron Inquisitor, instead.
To be selected to become a Storm Trooper in this manner happens but rarely, usually after some act of outstanding courage and dedication. The candidate must show developed martial skills, a strong mind resistant to terror and panic, and a deep faith in the Imperial Creed. Naturally, the sponsoring Inquisitor has his own, often obscure, agenda for sponsoring an Acolyte into this training as well. Storm Troopers make excellent Throne Agents, often serving as an Inquisitor's bodyguard in extremely dangerous situations and they are highly valued for their martial training and military knowledge.
Often, such an unusual candidate is examined carefully by the Drill Abbot instructors before being declared fit to train with the Storm Trooper Progena. Rigourous study with the Inquisition is also required for the candidate in order to acquire the same knowledge already learnt by the other Progena -- this often includes a deep understanding of the Tactica Imperialis, advanced stealth techniques, and a method to ensure basic and successful communion with the Machine Spirits of their special wargear, such as digital targeters and Grav-Chutes. In most cases, the "proper" Storm Trooper Progena never recognise the qualities of the outsider candidate, and prefer to remain aloof. The Inquisitorial candidate, after all, has entered the training from the sponsorship of a higher power, and many of the other Progena will doubt his own personal qualifications for such an honour. Traditionally, the Drill Abbots stand apart from the social aspects of their charges, and provide the candidate with no more and no less instruction than that given to any other Progena. Many a grizzled Imperial veteran may find his pride difficult to swallow when treated no differently than a raw and untested recruit by the Drill Abbots. However, swallow it they must if they are to complete their training and fulfil the expectations of their sponsor.
Should the candidate survive the gruelling regime of harsh training, he is now an Imperial Storm Trooper. However, candidates sponsored by the Inquisition are not meant to join a proper Storm Trooper unit, nor to deploy with the Imperial Guard. Instead, these Storm Troopers, with their training complete, are taken by their sponsor to serve a higher purpose -- a permanent place on an Inquisitor's retinue of Acolytes and Throne Agents.
Storm Troopers form a single Imperial Guard regiment, which is unique in that it is a permanent unit, receiving a constant influx of new recruits to keep it up to full strength. By virtue of its members having been recruited from the orphaned progena of the Schola Progenium, the regiment is made up of soldiers originally hailing from worlds across the Imperium of Man. With up to ten thousand men under arms at any one time, the regiment is also larger than most other Imperial Guard regiments raised from a single world. However this huge force does not fight in a single place; individual companies or battalions are instead sent to different war zones, and from there, individual Storm Trooper squads are spread among the other Imperial Guard regiments in a given war zone as required.
The Storm Trooper unit assigned to a warzone provides a core of elite squads, which are entrusted to carry out important missions requiring more training and initiative than possessed by the average Imperial Guardsman. Storm Trooper squads are effective at spearheading assaults into heavily fortified positions, infiltrating behind enemy lines and sowing confusion and panic. They are often dropped into the thick of combat from Valkyrie Assault Carriers, guns blazing before they even touch the ground. In some rare instances, several squads of Storm Troopers will gather for a mission which is intended to be an annihilation of a target, rather than a take-and-hold. This task force is referred to as a Storm Trooper Strike Force.
Storm Trooper recruits are chosen from the progena of the Schola Progenium, where they have been raised and educated, and moulded into loyal and dedicated servants of the Emperor of Mankind. They are then taught to use superior battle tactics and the use of more advanced equipment than the average Guardsmen. The regiments to which the Storm Trooper squads are attached often regard the inimitably dedicated and better equipped Storm Troopers with a certain amount of animosity, referring to them by such names as "Glory Boys" and "Big Toy Soldiers." Regardless of the animosity or opinions of the average Guardsman, the effectiveness of Storm Troopers cannot be disputed, and even the most embittered Guardsman thanks the God-Emperor when a Storm Trooper squad appears to turn the tide of battle and save the day.
Several types of Imperial Guard regiments commonly employ Storm Troopers as part of their standard order of battle, including the:
- Armageddon Steel Legion
- Cadian Shock Troops (employ Cadian Kasrkin)
- Death Korps of Krieg
- Harakoni Warhawks
- Terrax Guard
Types of Storm Troopers
Storm Troopers can be divided roughly into four different categories: Grenadiers, standard Storm Troopers, Inquisitorial Storm Troopers, and Cadian Kasrkin:
- Grenadiers - Unlike standard Storm Troopers, Grenadiers are raised from the toughest and most skilled members of an already existing Imperial Guard regiment. This practice is normally found on highly martial worlds, such as Cadia or Krieg. Grenadiers are selected while they are still in the youth armies of the local Planetary Defence Forces or during their Imperial Guard basic training and are enrolled in special academies where they receive additional training. They are utterly dedicated to the preservation of the Imperium and follow an ethos of duty and honour that is both impressive and intimidating. Unlike standard Storm Troopers, who are looked upon with disdain by their fellow Guardsmen, Grenadiers are looked up to and seen as a model to follow and emulate, as Grenadiers are from the same world as the rest of the regiment. Grenadiers are often known by different names, depending upon the world they hail from, such as the Cadian Kasrkin, who are considered both a type of Storm Trooper and the Cadian equivalent of Grenadiers.
- Storm Troopers - Storm Troopers are the closest equivalent the Imperial Guard possess to elite special forces; they act as shock troopers and commandos, conducting raids behind enemy lines and acting as the spearhead for later offensive assaults. Storm Troopers are recruited from the orphaned sons of Imperial officials and military officers from all over the galaxy -- such as Planetary Governors or high-ranking members of the Imperial Guard or Imperial Navy. Raised within a Schola Progenium under the care of the Ecclesiarchy, they live a demanding life of prayer, study and physical exercise. This unremitting and punishing training regime hones their minds, bodies and skills to the very peak of human perfection. These potential Storm Trooper candidates are notable for their outstanding skills in the arts of war, but lack the iron personalities and charisma that would earmark them to become an Imperial Commissar or Imperial Guard officer or the affinity for space warfare that would make them an Imperial Navy officer. They are usually not from the same regiment or homeworld as those they serve with. Due to this origin, their superior wargear and training, they are often called "Glory Boys" or "Big Toy Soldiers" by the average Guardsman, who are jealous of their skill and access to specialised gear. Wearing highly protective Carapace Armour and armed with armour-piercing Hellguns, a single squad of Storm Troopers can be more dangerous than an entire company of regular Guardsmen.
- Inquisitorial Storm Troopers - The Inquisition maintains a number of fortresses throughout the galaxy, both secret and known to the inhabitants of the Imperium. Inquisitorial Storm Troopers are used by the Imperial Inquisition to guard their fortresses and the Black Ships as they make their purity runs across the Imperium's sectors, as well as to augment an individual Inquisitor's personal forces with reliable and effective soldiers. Many Storm Troopers of particular skill are chosen to become an Inquisitor's Throne Agents. Inquisitorial Storm Troopers are selected from families with a record of unwavering faith in the Emperor and prior duty to the Inquisition. They are trained and equipped in a manner similar to standard Imperial Guard Storm Troopers, albeit lacking the rapid insertion and infiltration skills, as they are not expected to undertake such types of missions. Such activities are more often carried out for the Inquisition by the Officio Assassinorum.
- Kasrkin - Kasrkin are the elite of the Cadian Shock Troops regiments and part of the Imperial Guard structure, dedicated to the security of the Fortress World of Cadia. Their name comes from the title of the heavy defended fortress-cities of Cadia, which are called "Kasrs" in the Cadian dialect of Low Gothic. Thus, the name of these units means the "City Kin." These are the elite of the already superior Cadian Planetary Defence Forces and are recruited while still serving as Whiteshields or recruits in the Cadian armed forces into the Imperial Guard. Their training is comparable, if not better than, that of standard Storm Troopers, of which they are the Cadian equivalent, and they are utterly dedicated to the preservation of Cadia, whereas Storm Troopers are indoctrinated to dedicate themselves to the defence of the entire Imperium. Kasrkin are highly trained in the use of numerous weapons and wear the more advanced Carapace Armour like standard Storm Troopers. They maintain a strict ethos of duty and honour and a devotion to the Emperor that is impressive for members of the Imperial Guard. Whereas the standard Storm Trooper is looked down upon in envy by most Imperial Guardsmen of the rank-and-file, the standard Kasrkin is looked up to with favour and respect by the other members of the Cadian Shock Trooper regiments. The Kasrkin are the ultimate defenders of Cadia from the enemies of the Imperium, such as the ever-present Forces of Chaos, and they lead the charge in defence of Cadia, particularly during the early days of Abaddon the Despoiler's 13th Black Crusade in 999.M41 when Cadia was invaded outright by the Forces of Chaos. To be a Kasrkin is to hold a position of honour in Cadian society, and all Cadians recognise this truth.
- Kill Squad Trooper - Used to enforce execution warrants or when extreme prejudice is required, Kill Squads are comprised of the special forces of Planetary Defence Forces and represent some of the most dangerous formations that can exist within the organisation of planetary Enforcers. Though not true Storm Troopers as they serve a planetary government and not the Imperium, the troops that comprise Kill Squads are often trained to the same elite level as most Imperial Storm Troopers, particularly on wealthy and technologically advanced Imperial planets. On some worlds, where the rule of the Planetary Governor is dictatorial and harsh, Kill Squad Troopers are the hated embodiments of their tyranny.
- Storm Trooper Carapace Armour - Carapace Armour is generally a sign of status and is mostly worn by Imperial officers and agents. Made from moulded plates of armaplas, ceramite, or other strong, light but highly resistant materials, it can cover the entire body or just selected regions of the body depending on the desired level of protection. Storm Troopers, for example, wear full-body suits of Carapace Armour, including a helmet, while most Imperial Guard soldiers are lucky to gain access to just a simple chestplate of Carapace Armour to wear over more comfortable mesh or flakweave suits. Some bodysuits have slots designed for simple carapace plates to be inserted in, so that the overall suits can be rapidly configured for as much or as little protection as desired. Damaged plates can in this way be more easily replaced without requiring the purchase of an entire new suit.
- Imperial Guard Fatigues - Storm Troopers generally wear the common battledress uniform or fatigues that are standard to their attached regiment beneath their Carapace Armour.
- Micro-Bead - A micro-bead or comm-bead is a short-range radio wave communication device worn in the ear, good for communications out to about one kilometre (depending on weather conditions and the intervening terrain). Each fits discretely in the ear, with higher craftsmanship models nearly undetectable in casual inspection.
- Respirator - A simple breathing mask that covers the nose and mouth or entire face, these offer much better protection than filtration plugs and are used by Storm Troopers in toxic environments or during attacks by chemical or even biological weapons.
- Hotshot Lasgun (Lucius Pattern) - Sometimes also known as Hellguns, "hot-shot" weapons are almost exclusively used by high-ranking Imperial officers and elite forces who favour the higher power provided by these weapons over the higher rate of fire but poorer penetration power of the Imperial Guard's standard-issue laser weapons. While Hellguns are rarely seen employed in the Imperial Guard outside of the elite Storm Trooper units, Hellpistols can be seen in use among many members of the Guard's officer corps and among agents of the Inquisition where their greater power often means the difference between life and death.
- 4 Charge Packs for Hotshot Lasgun - Charge packs are powerful batteries used almost exclusively by Imperial laser weapons. The cost of a charge pack varies depending on the class of the weapon. In all cases, it provides shots equal to the weapon's full clip value.
- Combat Knife - This one-handed melee implement is the ubiquitous back-up weapon for warriors all across the Imperium, be they lowly hive scum or the elite soldiers of a Planetary Governor. Some, such as the Catachan Fighting Knife, are designed for a specific purpose, whilst others are more generic in nature.
- Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer - A standard-issue Imperial text that covers a vast variety of topics, this book is possessed by all members of the Imperial Guard as part of their standard-issue equipment. The Primer is a basic guide that details everything a Guardsman needs to know: principles and regulations of the Imperial Guard, issued arms, attire, apparatus, and equipment, basic battlefield policy and Imperial Guard organisation and structure, elementary battlefield medical instructions, and a detailed guide on the foes of the Imperium. No Guardsman should ever be found without possession of a copy of the Uplifting Primer, for the punishment is severe. The Primer is a basic guide to life in the Imperial Guard and the tactics employed by its regiments. Even elite Imperial troops like Storm Troopers often times still rely on its advice.
Notable Storm Trooper Units
- 709th Storm Troopers Company - The 709th Company participated in Operation Comet during the Taros Campaign of 998.M41. The intent of this operation was for the Imperials to seize Taros' means of producing water and turn it to their own use. They spearheaded this operation by arriving over their targets, the hydro processing plants that produced clean water, and deployed by fast rope. Part of their mission was to place the homing beacons for the following wave of the 23rd Elysian Drop Troops Regiment. This task was of great importance to the successful continuation of the war for control of Taros with the Tau and was successfully completed despite ferocious Tau resistance.
- 2378th Storm Troopers Company - The 2378th Company participated in Operation Deathblow during the Taros Campaign of 998.M41. Receiving intelligence about the location of the Tau supreme headquarters, the Imperial Guard organised, planned and executed an operation known as Operation Deathblow. During this operation, 3 volunteer squads from a hand-picked platoon of Storm Troopers from the 2378th Company, led by Colonel Scheja, attacked the headquarters of the Tau army near the capital of Tarokeen on the Mining World of Taros during the Taros Campaign, in order to kill the alien leader, the Ethereal Aun'Vre. Aided by the suicide bombing attack of a highly-skilled operative of the Officio Assassinorum's Eversor Temple, the mission was almost successful. Though they were successful in the assassination of Aun'Vre, the Imperials failed to kill Shas'o R'myr (Commander Longknife), the Supreme Commander of Tau forces on Taros. Though initially stunned into inactivity by the loss of the Ethereal, anger swelled inside each Tau warrior into a vengeful wrath that they soon unleashed upon the humans. The Tau eventually won control of Taros and expanded their nascent empire during the Third Sphere Expansion. The Imperial forces were forced to withdraw from Taros, which was absorbed into the Tau Empire and renamed T'ros.
- Codex: Daemonhunters (3rd Edition), pg. 29
- Codex: Imperial Guard (5th Edition), pg. 46
- Codex: Imperial Guard (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex), pg. 43
- Codex: Imperial Guard (2nd Edition), pg. 21
- Codex: Witch Hunters (3rd Edition), pg. 34
- Dark Heresy: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 341
- Dark Heresy: Ascension (RPG), pp. 43, 86-89
- Imperial Armour: Volume Three - Taros Campaign, pp. 45, 106, 109, 142
- Only War: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 96-97, 373-374