|WD 109||The Imperial Guard: (excerpted from WD 109)
Captain Worlak grunted with satisfaction as the gates of the fortress were blown to atoms and J Company advanced on the Traitor's position. Horren's assault platoon gunned their jump packs and flew forward into the gateway. It would all be over soon.
Worlak rubbed one band over his stubbled chin, automatically tracing the zigzag scars that were the mark of a Warrior of the Kratch. He bad feared that his 42nd Vorgarn would be assigned to some other duties because they were raised from the same homeworld as the traitor 38th, and had made sure that his superiors knew of the hereditary blood-feud between the Kratch of the 42nd and the Tarsh of the 38th. He had written long dispatches pleading for the duty of stamping the 38th out - to eradicate this stain upon the honour of the homeworld, to make a centuries-old cultural enmity serve the Imperial cause, and as many other arguments as be could muster
He did not, of course, mention his strongest reason - that the traitors of the 38th were led by Tarsh Mardik. Cultural enmities between units were accepted as natural, but personal vendettas between commanders could interfere with judgement, and were sternly discouraged.
A huge explosion announced that the citadel was taken, and Worlak burled his jetcycle up and forward, puncbing the comm into life as be did so. He had to find out.
"Horren. What news?"
"We have the command bunker, Captain."
"We have saved the one you wish."
"Good. You will be rewarded."
"We are rewarded already, Captain trezny." Horren used the Kratch word for a leader of warriors, with the highest honorific suffix. The Imperium was all but forgotten - this was a Vorgarn affair, and Horren was a Kratch warrior who was very happy with his leadership. The screams which could be beard in the background bore out his words.
Worlak strode into the wreckage of the command centre to find the traitor commander chained up, away from the bodies of his men. He paled visibly as Worlak took off his visored helmet, revealing the empty socket of his right eye.
"Yes, Tarsb Mardik. Me." He stripped off his uniform jacket, and at his signal one of his men unchained the captive. The others bad begun to spread out into a loose circle around the two.
"It's been a long time, eh, Mardik?" Worlen drew the silver handled Kratch bunting knife from his boot. "What must it be - twenty-five years, Terra standard? I expect you'll almost have forgotten by now. But I never forgot. I have this empty socket to remind me." He dropped the knife on the floor of the bunker and backed away until the knife was exactly halfway between the two of them.
"You owe me an eye, Tarsh Mardik. And I've come to collect."
Simultaneously, the two men lunged forward for the knife.
INTRODUCTIONThe Imperium is vast, and wars are constantly raging throughout the galaxy. Rebellions flare up and are crushed; Orks, Tyranids and other alien races attack on a thousand fronts; heretic prophets rise to brief glory and are destroyed; new worlds are discovered, claimed for the Imperium, and pacified. At times, it seems, the whole universe is at war.
Indeed, as far as the line troopers of the Imperial Guard are concerned, the whole universe is at war. The Imperial Guard makes up the vast bulk of the Imperial military machine; recruited from the planetary defence forces of the Imperium's millions of worlds, it is a huge military force of Humans and Abhumans.
No one man knows the true size of the Imperial Guard, and only the huge Codex Exercitus, maintained on Terra by the highest ranks of the Administratum, contains the necessary data for such a calculation. There are some guesses and rumours - some say that if the whole of the Imperial Guard were paraded shoulder-to-shoulder they would cover the entire planetary surfaces of such-and-such a system, or stretch from Terra to such-and-such a star. The only thing known for certain is that the Imperial Guard is unimaginably vast.
Because of its enormous size, the Imperial Guard is also an incredibly diverse organisation. To define the configuration of every company and platoon, to describe every variation in troop organisation, equipment and tactics, would require a work many times the size of this one and the lifetimes of many scribes beside your servant who writes this. Of necessity, then, we must confine ourselves to standard-issue equipment, common troop types and conventional tactics.
An unofficial, but very common practice, amongst units of the Guard is the adoption of Battle Badges. These riveted circular metal plates are sold to Guardsman by their officers after major wars and battles The Battle Badge simply has the name of the action and date stamped onto it. The troopers are proud to display such records of their battles and the badges are fixed to helmets and body armour even taking precedence over official unit Insignia.
IMPERIAL GUARD REGIMENTSThe major unit of the Imperial Guard is the Regiment. Precise numbers vary, but most Imperial Guard Regiments are raised with a strength of 2,000-6,000 men. Each regiment is raised from a single homeworld, and the Imperial Guard trooper regards himself as belonging first and foremost to the Regiment rather than the Army to which it is assigned at its raising.
Regiments are identified by the name of their homeworld, and a number - for example, the 8th Necromunda Regiment is the eighth Regiment of the Imperial Guard to have been raised from the hive world of Necromunda at a particular raising. Regiments are often given unofficial names by their commanders; thus, the 8th Necromunda Regiment call themselves 'The Spiders', and use the symbol of a spider as an unofficial emblem. Their commander, Colonel Raeven Mortz, even goes so far as to keep one of the deadly Necromundan Greenback spiders as a pet and mascot.
COMPANIESRegiments are divided into companies, which can vary widely in their size and composition. The company is the major tactical unit of the Imperial Guard. The heart of a company is composed of a varying number of platoons, and various specialist units and machines are attached to the company as need, availability and individual preference dictate - robots, vehicles, support weapons, ally contingents and the like.
PLATOONSThe Codex Exercitus gives the standard configuration of an Imperial Guard Platoon as a Command Section and up to four squads. A Command Section consists of an Officer (normally either a Captain or a Lieutenant), a number of specialist troops such as a Medic, a Commissars, an Orderly who may carry the platoon's standard, and perhaps an attached group of Sanctioned Psykers, in addition to rank-and-file Guardsmen. A squad consists of one Sergeant and nine Guardsmen, and is always attached to a Command Section. Imperial Guard squads always act as part of a platoon.
RECRUITMENTEach of the populated worlds of the Imperium has its own planetary defence force, raised from among its population. The lex imperla de munimenta publica lays down that each planet shall raise and maintain a planetary defence force, and a further Imperial decree provides that these planetary defence forces shall provide recruits for the Imperial Guard.
Recruitment for the Imperial Guard creams off the elite of the planetary defence forces, according to a series of quotas set by the Administratum. Using a complex system of probability computations and battle forecasts backed up by the Imperial Tarot, the Administratum issues a requirement for troops, which is passed down to the Imperial Commanders of individual planets. The Imperial Commander can then formulate his population control policy for the next generation around the Administratum's requirement for Imperial Guard troops and his own requirements for labour.
Quotas are normally set each generation, but in times of great need, the Administratum may require a planet to supply two or more raisings from a single generation. During the wars of the Horus Heresy, for example, Necromunda was required to provide dozens of separate raisings, supplying the Guard with hundreds of millions of troops in total. Many hive worlds suffered similar burdens, while at the other end of the scale, many agricultural and feral worlds were almost entirely stripped of their meagre populations, and had to be left for several generations in order for their populations to recover.
Among the planetary defence forces, it is considered a great honour to be chosen for recruitment into the Imperial Guard. Many young hopefuls, especially on hive worlds and factory planets, flock to the planetary defence force in the hope of being found worthy of the Imperial Guard - their only chance of escape from their claustrophobic homeworlds.
Methods of recruitment vary according to the world involved. On hive worlds such as Necromunda, it is common to draft entire street gangs into the planetary defence force - in effect, to legitimise their activities and give them formal control of an area. The most successful of these - and some are so successful as to threaten the long- term stability of a wide area - are drafted as complete platoons or companies into the Imperial Guard. On feral and mediaeval worlds, the planetary defence force is recruited from the warrior caste by a series of trials and ordeals, and given names such as the Knights of the Star Lord or the Eagle Warriors. The greatest of these, chosen again by trial, may join the Warriors from the Stars when their great ships come out of the sky. Some feral-world warriors will commit ritual suicide if they fail to meet recruitment criteria.
Skinner felt good. Electricity seemed to come up through the street and flow through his body The Blood Rats were ranged out to right and left of him, and people were keeping off the street. Their street. Just like the old days.
It hardly felt any different - the old feeling was still there Even after eighteen months in the belly of a spaceship in basic training. Even though they were now officially the Second Platoon, F Company, 23rd Vintor Regiment, Imperial Guard. Even though Rubblebead was toting a missile launcher in place of his home-made bombs.
Even the uniforms were a good omen. A hundred- to-one shot, minimum. Owing to local dyestuff supplies in the Hoptor system, the uniforms were a rusty brown. The colour of dried blood. The colours of the Blood Rats.
Hoptor IV was a borne from borne. And the Blood Rats bad some fresh turf to carve themselves out.
Particularly on feral worlds, the taking of scalps, ears, and other trophies is encouraged as an index of martial prowess. Trophy-taking is also common among hive world gangs, which are similar in many cultural respects to the tribal warbands of pre-gunpowder feral worlds. On Necromunda, for example, many gangs take the smallest finger of the right hand as a trophy. Trophies are all-important proof of martial prowess, and thus of worthiness to join the Imperial Guard.
An Imperial Guard Regiment is recruited from a single planet at a single raising. The Regiment is shipped to its posting after it is raised, but does not receive replacements for losses. Because of the vastness of the Imperium, and its huge Human population, it is rare for the transport of personnel to justify the huge costs, risks and time-lags involved. However, in many Regiments the Guardsmen's offspring are brought up within the Regiment, and are recruited when they come of age. Until that time, they perform menial and support duties, and may fight as a probitor unit alongside the rest of the Regiment, being fully inducted into the Regiment when they have proved themselves in battle.
Because of the lack of ongoing recruitment, it is common for Regiments to become severely depleted, and it is thought that a great many Imperial Guard Regiments are currently at less than half their founding strength. In some cases, such as the 22/4 Valeria, two or more Regiments serving on a world may be combined to form a new Regiment, which is given the name of the base world if its parent Regiments came from different homeworlds.
TRAINING AND DEPLOYMENTRecruits to the Imperial Guard are already partially trained by virtue of their service with the planetary defence forces from which they are recruited. Advanced training, weapon cross-training and various drills take place during the long voyage from the Regiment's homeworld to their posting. Since it is Imperial policy to post Imperial Guard units well away from their homeworld in order to minimise the risk of revolt, these voyages can take months or even years. By the time an Imperial Guard unit arrives at its destination, it is a highly-trained and cohesive force, ready for almost any eventuality.
The Imperial Guard is most often deployed into war zones or on planets where a garrison is required. Garrison postings are seldom the easy tasks they may seem, for often an Imperial Guard garrison has to conquer a world, or recapture it from Orks or other aliens, before they can garrison it. Less common postings include attachment to the entourage of a Rogue Trader, and posting to a Titan Order as Secutor support troops.
A successful Regiment can look forward to being granted the overlordship of the planet to which they are posted. If the planet remains peaceful and meets all its quotas, the Regimental Commander may in time be rewarded with the title of Imperial Commander and the governorship of the planet, while substantial land grants maybe made to Guard veterans who retire from active service due to old age. In due course of time, the Regiment will become a hereditary nobility, almost indistinguishable from the now-peaceful native population. The descendants of the original garrison may well be recruited, first into the planetary defence force, and then into the Imperial Guard Regiments that are raised there.
Occasionally, the powers and responsibilities of office may corrupt a Regimental Commander who is appointed Governor of his garrison planet, and he may be tempted to rebel, as in the case of the 3rd Vorradion Regiment on Bradur IV. In such cases, Imperial justice is swift and total - less than a hundred days after the rebellion began, the governor's palace was assaulted by the Space Marines of 3 Company, Legio Astartes Blood Drinkers, with orders to take no prisoners and accept no surrender terms.
SUPPLYA Regiment is supplied with weapons and other equipment at its foundation, and a Regimental Commander may request equipment from the Administratum for a particular task. However, since these requests can take some time to process and are by no means certain to be approved, many Regiments will take over factories and workshops on the world to which they are assigned.
Uniforms are supplied at the foundation, but are not replaced thereafter; it is the responsibility of the Regimental Commander to arrange the supply of such items, and in an old-established Regiment it is common for uniforms to vary from platoon to platoon. The basic pattern of the uniform will remain the same, as laid down by Imperial regulations, but its colour and material will vary according to what is available at the time. Thus, for example, a Regimental Commander may requisition a batch of material from a factory on the Regiment's posting world, and if only blue material is available, then the replacement uniforms will be blue.
TROOP TYPESThe Imperial Guard incorporates troops of many types and races. In addition to the standard, general-purpose tactical platoon, a wide range of individuals and units see service with the Imperial Guard.
ADEPTUS MECHANICUSThe Imperial Guard's equipment is serviced directly by the Adeptus Mechanicus and their Servitors. The Adeptus Mechanicus personnel and Servitors are directly responsible for the Guard's vehicles and are the custodians of all the Guard's support weaponry and equipment.
COMMISSARSOn the battlefield, Commissars accompany the highest- ranking officers in an Imperial Guard force, encouraging bravery and devotion to the Imperial cause, and ensure that cowardice and vacillation are punished and their effects on the force minimised. Away from the battlefield, Commissars act as priests and advisors, conducting rituals, giving instruction and performing other duties to ensure firm adherence to the Imperial cult. This does not necessarily mean that the religious or ritualistic practices of a platoon's cultural origins are forbidden. On the contrary, the Commissars are skilled at adapting such rites and making them an 'official' part of the Imperial Cult.
SANCTIONED PSYKERSNot all psykers are killed out of hand or shipped to Terra for absorption by the Emperor. Sanctioned Psykers are often attached to Command Sections of Imperial Guard platoons. These individuals have often led a bizarre life as fugitives, hidden by friends or tribal groups and always in fear of their lives. Consequently, they may manifest considerable eccentricity in their dress and behaviour. They are often afflicted with mutations, an enlarged cranium being particularly characteristic.
ASSAULT PLATOONSSome platoons are specially trained for close combat; recruits from feral and hive worlds are particularly renowned for their ferocity in hand-to-hand fighting. These troops are drawn from the most ferocious and brutal feral-world tribes and hive-world gangs, and take great pride in their fearsome reputation. Ritual scars, facial mutilations and other identity marks characteristic of their homeworld culture are common - as they are throughout the Imperial Guard - and some assault troops invent their own platoon markings in addition, to add to their barbaric and fearsome appearance. The taking of scalps, ears and other trophies is common.
ROUGH RIDERSOn many undeveloped frontier worlds, with no properly developed communication system, the Imperium has found that horses provide the most viable form of transport. horses have been bred continuously since the early days of expansion into space for this very reason. Imperial Guard units from frontier worlds which have an equestrian military culture are often used more or less permanently as mounted scouts and foragers. These platoons of horse-mounted Guardsmen are known as Rough Riders.
Rough Rider units are sometimes issued with a nine-foot hunting lance whose head bears a shaped explosive charge. These are used for hunting big game on Feral Worlds - the quarry is driven to bay by troopers acting as beaters, and the officers draw lots to decide who will dispatch it with the lance - but they are also used by the Guard in battle. Rough Rider Lancers have proved particularly effective against riotous mobs and massed hordes of Gretchins and similar opponents; they can sometimes even produce a better result against heavier, power-armoured troops than the standard-issue lasgun of the Imperial Guard.
BEASTMENThe Beastman breed of Abhuman is becoming increasingly common on the frontiers of the Empire, and sometimes whole planetary groups are populated by Beastmen. What they lack in intelligence, Beastmen make up in aggression and determination. They commonly have a simple but fierce devotion to the Imperial cult, fired by a desperate wish to atone for their sin of being born mutants by doing the Emperor's will on the battlefield. For Beastmen, the Emperor is portrayed as vengeful and proud, demanding tribute in the flesh and blood of his enemies. The borderline between this crude form of Emperor worship and the Chaos cult of Khorne is thin, and the Beastmen's limited intellect mean that some inevitably cross over to Chaos.
"Beastman bad. Bad Beastman. Dirty. Emperor no like. Beastman love Emperor. Give blood to Emperor Give beads to Emperor Say sorry."
- Packmaster Grasht, attached to 7 Company, 14th Gratanor Regiment
OGRYNSOgryns are large, powerfully-built Abhumans, thought to be descended from Humans marooned on prison planets long ago. They are valuable troops because of their strength, brutality and childlike devotion to the Imperial cult. However, their limited intellect can make them frighteningly unpredictable and erratic. Ogryn squads must be led by Ogryn leaders, who have received brain- enhancement surgery.
Owing to their size and basic intelligence, Ogryns are normally equipped with weapons that have been designed specifically for them - mainly low-technology weapons and primitive armour. Grenades must be specially made for the Ogryns' large hands, and take the form of large metal cylinders with a ring-pull detonator at one end. Ogryn leaders are often equipped with a weapon they have dubbed the Ripper Gun, a simple but effective drum-fed, large- calibre auto-shotgun firing canister scatter-shot.
RATLINGSHalflings, the smallest Abhuman breed, are known by a variety of names throughout the Imperium, but the name that has passed into common usage within the bulk of the Imperial Guard is Ratlings. They are used mainly as snipers, and are not subject to the otherwise rigid platoon structures. they may operate as independent squads.
PENAL BATTALIONSThe Penal Battalions are drawn from Imperial Guard and planetary defence force troops who have committed capital crimes, and had their sentences commuted to life service. There are a great many capital crimes, so the supply of potential troops for the Penal Battalions is never-ending.
New troops have their heads shaved and tattooed with the unit insignia, and explosive slave-collars are put around their necks. The collars are a disciplinary device rather than a means of turning the troops into Human Bombs - the blast is directed inwards, and will have little effect on anyone standing even a few feet away. The collars are controlled by the Adeptus Mechanicus personnel accompanying the force, and are detonated sparingly, when discipline needs to be enforced without destroying the troops' morale.
Penal Battalions are a part of the regular fighting force of the Imperial Guard, and a commander who regards Penal Battalion troops merely as cannon-fodder and uses them wastefully is liable to end up in a Penal Battalion himself.
"There are those who undervalue the Penal Battalions. But they should consider this: should a man who has wronged the Emperor be allowed to wrong him further?For each man executed is a man who can no longer serve, and to fail in service to the Emperor is the greatest of sins."
- Leman Russ, Meditations on Imperial Command, Book XXI
HUMAN BOMBSThe troops sentenced to service in the Penal Battalions are there for life, and must live under a tremendous burden of guilt; for not only have they committed crimes, but in so doing they have betrayed the Emperor.
However, the Emperor in his mercy has ordained that Penal Battalion troops should have the opportunity to repent and atone for their crimes - hence, the Human Bombs.
Any Penal Legion trooper may volunteer for service as a Human Bomb. In addition to his normal equipment, he is fitted with an explosive harness. The moment he dons the harness, he is absolved by the Emperor and the burden of his guilt is lifted. He also has a chance of freedom, for some of the harnesses are rigged not to explode - if he survives the battle, he is absolved and free.
|WD 110||Ogryns: (by Ivan Weeds and Graeme Davis, excerpted from
OGRYNS IN THE IMPERIUMOgryns are among the largest and most powerful of the Abhuman breeds yet discovered - only the Minotaurs, a strain of giant Beastman, can match them for sheer destructive power. The bulk of Ogryn worlds were originally prison planets, and when these worlds were brought back within the Imperium after the Age of Strife, the harsh planetary conditions were found to have wrought a particular pattern of changes upon the inhabitants.
Obviously, those planets which are selected for use as prison worlds have no better use to the Imperium; they are generally barren, and lacking in native food species. They are harsh environments, and those who survive there must be unusually resilient.
EVOLUTION AND PHYSIOLOGYOgryns evolved on planets with harsh environments, little food, and some hostile life-forms of animal and lower intelligence. The physical traits displayed by Ogryns are a direct response to environmental demands.
Firstly, their size and strength. Ogryns are generally half as tall again as the average Human. They are more heavily built, even in proportional terms, with a muscle mass to height ratio almost twice that of a Human. Their bones are heavy, and their skin is thick, with few sensory nerves.
This build is largely a response to hostile native life-forms; the Ogryn has become large enough to fight most native predators and win, using the improvised and primitive weapons which are the only defence available on a prison planet. It also suits the Ogryn for a predatory role, relying on size and strength to overcome prey.
Secondly, their digestive system. In response to the generally barren nature of their home planets, Ogryns have developed a digestive system which is capable of deriving nutrition from almost any organic substance. Their capacity for eating - far in excess of that of a normal Human - derives from the need to eat everything available when food is found, and store it against the long fast until more food is discovered.
Finally, their intelligence. On their home planets, the constant struggle to survive and find food leaves no time for any other activity, and the Ogryn brain has undergone a degree of atrophy. They are often thought of as stupid by normal Humans, and indeed their intelligence and reasoning capacity is lower. However, their brains are attuned to survival - fighting and eating - to such a perfect degree that, on their own terms, there are few races in the known galaxy that can match them.
APPEARANCEThe basic appearance of an Ogryn is that of an oversized and coarsely-formed Human. They stand 2.5-3 metres tall, and are very heavily built by Human standards. Limbs are short and heavy, and hands are large and clumsy-looking.
Ogryns have large heads - the thick bone of the skull often makes them look disproportionately large by Human standards - with heavy, prominent jaws. It is common for the lower canine teeth to grow into protruding tusks. Fighting is natural to Ogryns, and even the friendly altercations they have among themselves can lead to minor injuries. Ogryns are almost always heavily scarred, and broken teeth are common.
There is some variation on the basic Ogryn physique, according to homeworld. Ogryns from the planet Skraag (Imperial designation Beta-Entebes III) tend to be taller and rangier than other Ogryns, with a distinct yellow-brown tinge to their skin owing to the high concentration of volcanic sulphur dust in the atmosphere; they are also renowned for their highly distinctive smell. On the other hand, Ogryns from Ugglob (Imperial designation Dranno IV) are shorter and stockier, with larger heads. The high humidity of this planet's atmosphere has led to Ugglob Ogryns developing an astonishing range of warts and other fungal disorders.
The majority of Ogryns cultivate an appearance which is in keeping with the mediaeval level of technology of their homeworlds; skins, coarse cloth and chain mail armour are common, as is the practice of body-painting, tattooing, and ritual scarring. Hair varies in coarseness and colour, and many Ogryns are completely bald. Those who are chosen to lead Ogryn squads in the Imperial Guard often adopt military styles, with short hair, heavy boots and fatigue-style trousers. Some will have their unit badge tattooed onto their chests, along with victory and devotional symbols, such as Imperial eagles, skulls and crude copies of other Imperial insignia. Like other Imperial Guard troops, Ogryns are enthusiastic collectors of battle badges, but lacking helmets they often attach them directly to the thick bone of their skulls.
Ogryns have scant regard for hygiene by normal Human standards, and the phrase 'downwind of an Ogryn' is widely used to describe atmospheric contamination and other malodours. Most Ogryns are infested with parasites of various types and sizes, and certain species are actively cultivated as pets and emergency food stores. Some of these parasites are very large - the Scorathian Armpit Louse, for example, is the size of a Terran rat, and is bred and traded among the Ugglob Ogryns and others with whom they come into contact. Races and fights involving these creatures are a common off-duty pursuit, with up to a day's rations being bet on the outcome.
The Ogryns have been known to produce mutants - although some argue that they are mutants to begin with. On the basis of Imperial studies to date, the probability and extent of mutation appears to be almost exactly the same as that for normal Humans. It is rare in the extreme for an Ogryn to develop psychic powers.
OGRYNS AND THE IMPERIAL CULTWhile the finer points of the Imperial cult probably escape most Ogryns, their devotion to the Emperor is beyond question. Ogryns in the Imperial Guard, in particular, have an almost childlike faith in the Emperor, perceiving him as an all-knowing, omnipresent force who watches their every move on the battlefield, handing down orders personally through the chain of command. The highest praise to an Ogryn is to tell him that the Emperor is pleased with him. Coupled with their natural love of fighting and contempt for pain and danger, this faith in the Emperor makes Imperial Guard Ogryns capable of apparently insane acts of bravery.
During the wars of the Horns Heresy, Ogryns served to great effect in the Imperial Guard forces of both sides. From the records that are still available, it seems that those who fought for Horus had been told that they were fighting for the Emperor, and that the Loyalists were in fact traitors.
Ogryns are particularly impressed by the Commissars of the Imperial Guard, whom they regard as being in constant touch with the Emperor himself. An Ogryn will always show a Commissar the utmost respect, enquiring endlessly about what the Emperor thought of various things the Ogryn has done and even offering the Commissar his own ration to gain favour.
While the Commissars normally confine their attention to the Human officers of an imperial Guard force, there have been occasions, in forces with a particularly strong Ogryn presence, when an Ogryn platoon has had a Commissar of its own. The presence of a Commissar will inspire Ogryns to outstanding acts of reckless courage and self-sacrifice - after all, as they reason, if they have a Commissar with them, then the Emperor must be watching them even harder than usual.
Some Imperial Guard Commissars have made a speciality of dealing with Ogryns, and have come to understand their psychology and motivations as much as any normal Human ever can. These so-called Ogryn Commissars' are sometimes regarded with disdain and suspicion by their fellows, who are suspicious of the Ogryn outlooks and mannerisms that they have acquired from their close contact with these huge Abhumans.
OGRYNS IN IMPERIAL SERVICELike other Abhuman breeds, Ogryns have been taken into the service of the Imperium, finding niches where their natural talents and tendencies may be put to the best use. In the case of Ogryns, this is almost exclusively in the Imperial Guard.
The Imperial Guard
Ogryns generally prove to have an ideal temperament for service in the Imperial Guard. They keep to themselves for the most part, although they have a great respect for officers - and particularly Commissars - whom they see as close to the beloved Emperor. Ogryns have little in common with the other strains of Abhuman, but will co-operate with all other parts of the Imperial Guard. They can respect Beastmen for their ferocity and Squats for their hardiness, although they are never shy to point out their own superiority in both departments. Ogryns have mixed feelings about Ratlings; sniping is the lowest and most worthless form of warfare to the Ogryn mind, but on the other hand it can pay to keep on good terms with the supply and quartermaster staff, where many Ratlings serve.
Each Ogryn squad has a Sergeant-Ogryn leader, who has been subjected to Adeptus Mechanicus brain-enhancement biochem, or BONE treatment (Biochemical Ogryn Neural Enhancement). Ogryn leaders are known as BONEheads, a title which they bear with considerable pride. BONEheads are able to be educated to a limited degree in small-unit tactics and the operation of equipment such as communicators and weapons like the ripper gun.
Within the Guard, Ogryns are restricted to their own squads, and do not normally rise above the rank of Sergeant. Even with BONE treatment, their minds are not suited to command of a force larger than a squad. Ogryns are sometimes modified into Servitors by the Adeptus Mechanicus, for tasks where their size is an advantage.
They are trained in the use of grenades, but the normal grenade types are too small for their large, clumsy hands. Instead, they are issued with a specially-designed Ogryn frag grenade, which takes the form of a metal cylinder six to eight inchçs long and two to three inches in diameter, with a ring-pull arming mechanism at one end.
BONEheads may be issued with the Fragmentation Autogun (Ogryn), universally known as the Ripper Gun. This is a drum-fed, large-bore automatic shotgun firing heavy shot. Its limited range is no great disadvantage given the Ogryn preference for close assaults, and at short ranges its effects are devastating.
Armour varies widely. In general, the supply of advanced armour types in Ogryn sizes is limited, and most Imperial Guard Ogryns wear primitive armour brought with them from their homeworld. This is a mixture of chain, plate, and the hides of exceptionally resilient homeworld creatures, such as the Armidiliian Plate Lizard. Limited supplies of Ogryn-sized flak and mesh armour are available to some Imperial Guard Regiments, and this is generally issued only to BONEheads.
On the whole, Ogryns show a preference for armour which leaves the arms free to deliver 'a good, solid belt'.
In addition to their standards, Ogryns often mark successful battles or individual kills with tattoos, usually based on the symbols of their homeworld tribe. These may be simple stripes of colour, or small skulls, usually on the face or arms.
Service Outside the Imperial Guard
On some Imperial worlds, Ogryns are drafted into the Adeptus Arbites, since their strength, ferocity and imposing bulk make them effective on a psychological level as well as in actual conflict. Often in such cases the mere presence of Ogryns can prevent trouble or bring it swiftly to an end.
Planetary governors and other dignitaries sometimes employ Ogryns as bodyguards, having found that a squad of these huge Abhumans at one's shoulder can add a certain amount of authority to one's commands. Certain Inquisitors, too, will travel with Ogryn servants; these individuals will normally have received BONE treatment.
RENEGADE OGRYNSIt is known, but rare, for Ogryns to take the field against the Imperium. The use of Ogryns by Imperial Guard units serving Horns has already been mentioned, and on rare occasions Ogryns will serve with pirate or rebel forces. Once Ogryns have been recruited into the Imperial Guard, however, their basic training and indoctrination fills them with a simple but unshakeable faith in the Emperor, and revolt is practically unknown.
|WD 110||'Eavy Metal: Quick Methods for Painting Imperial Guard Squads|
|WD 111||Rough Riders and Whiteshields: (by Graeme Davis, excerpted
from WD 111)
The Imperial Guard draws on many different worlds and many different cultures for its troops: some are feral worlds, knowing only the axe and spear; others fight their wars with lasgun and bolter. This diversity brings a wide range of customs and rituals into the Guard and various unusual types of warrior. Among these are the Rough Riders, horse-mounted Guardsmen armed with powerful explosive lances, and Whiteshields, young inexperienced warriors courageously trying to prove their valour.
ROUGH RIDERSThere are many worlds in the Imperium where the horse is still widely used. Not all of these are feral or mediaeval worlds. Some, like Avar III, have a privileged class which spends a great deal of time on horseback, whiling away their leisured hours with equestrian sports and hunting. Others, like New Klondike, have rough terrain and low native fuel resources, which make the horse a more practical form of transport than a motorised vehicle.
Even among the feral and mediaeval worlds, there is an enormous range of cultural types which may give rise to elite cavalry forces. There are the outriders of nomadic herding cultures, as on Dolgan IV and Temujin's World; there are mounted raiders such as the Horse Lodges of Cochise and the kozaki of Novgorod; and there are formalised horse-warrior aristocracies such as the Holy Orders of Avalon and the badokai of Epsilon Tokugawa III.
Common to all these planets with diverse cultures and customs is their equestrian elite, a warrior class that has accumulated generations of experience and tactical wisdom in the use of cavalry on the battlefield. These horse-warriors are always subject to close inspection by the Imperium, and they are frequently drafted by the Imperial Guard when a regiment is raised from their homeworld. On the more advanced worlds, cavalry units are always incorporated into the Planetary Defence Force and it is from this that the Guard recruits. On some of the more primitive worlds, the Guard recruits directly from tribes and clans of horse-warriors - legends and great epics are born at these times, and tales of undying heroes joining the Star Riders to battle on the Fields of the Night are commonplace.
The bond between a rider and his mount is not easily broken, and the horse-warriors are not recruited merely for their courage or skill at arms. The Guard does not overlook their specialised skills, and riders are always accompanied by their mounts when they are drafted into a regiment. After retraining with the weapons and tactics of the Imperium, these horse-warriors are formed into mounted platoons, universally known as Rough Riders.
TRAININGDuring the long period of transit to their regiment's posting, Rough Riders are trained in the use of Imperial Guard weapons and tactics, just like their infantry counterparts. They are also trained in the use of the Imperial Guard hunting lance with its shaped-explosive head, and in advanced cavalry techniques. Imperial Guard transit ships are large enough to provide extensive training areas even for mounted units, as well as the stabling and accommodation needed for the horses and their riders.
It is not only the riders who learn new skills - their mounts are given biochem treatment and extensive training to prepare them for modem battlefield conditions. Once they arrive at the combat zone, months or years after leaving the familiar terrain of their homeworld, Rough Rider horses will not panic under fire, or shy away from unusual sights and smells such as Orks and Dreadnoughts.
Over the cratered terrain of a battlefield that has suffered a heavy bombardment, horses have often proved superior to motorbikes or armoured vehicles. A platoon of skilled Rough Riders can be an effective assault and skirmishing force, able to move rapidly over the broken ground, and equally able to climb steep slopes as to gallop along narrow ravines. And when they finally confront the enemy, Rough Riders can charge into the opposing lines with their explosive lances, quickly changing to lasguns and laspistols after the initial onslaught.
CUSTOMS AND RITUALSLike other members of the Imperial Guard, Rough Riders retain many of the customs of their homeworlds. The use of tattoos, ritual scarring, unofficial uniforms and tribal symbols is widespread amongst the Riders, and many platoons retain the pennants of their old tribe or unit, flying them from their lances below an official Guard banner.
The horses of the Rough Riders are freeze-marked on the rump with Imperial Guard insignia: the freezing brand painlessly destroys the pigmentation of the hair and leaves a permanent mark in the shape of a stylised eagle surrounding the head of a horse. Many horses also retain the brands and markings they carried before recruitment to the Guard; among some of the Riders drawn from more barbaric cultures it is even the custom to ritually scar or tattoo the mount along with its rider, leaving raised welts or colourful markings to commemorate the platoon's most heroic actions.
In many regiments, the officers of the Rough Riders are drawn from a long-established ruling elite. Despite their recruitment into the Guard and their official ranks, these nobles are regarded by both themselves and the other troops of the regiment as natural leaders, able to command the service and respect of their homeworld inferiors beyond the call of duty. It is common for these noble Riders to pass their leisure time in the hunt, using infantrymen as beaters to flush out the exotic wildlife of the planets on which they are stationed. Their training and the use of explosive lances hardly makes for a fair competition between hunter and hunted, and it is usually considered poor sportsmanship to arm the lance unless the prey is especially large and ferocious.
Other customs are upheld even on the battlefield, and the Guard may condone unusual tactics by Rough Rider platoons if the skills of their homeworlds are shown to be effective against the Imperium's foes. The most common Rough Rider tactic is to charge the enemy with explsoive lances, switching to lasguns or laspistols once the platoon have made their initial breakthrough. Some Rough Riders, especially those who were accustomed to fighting with cavalry sabres, prefer to arm themselves with chainswords, slashing fiercely to either side as they contact the enemy. Other units tend to standoff, firing at their opponents with lasguns, often galloping past and making themselves hard targets to hit. Whatever their tactics, the mobility and speed of Rough Riders always make them a potent force on the battlefield, able to spearhead an attack as easily as run a flanking manoeuvre, thus keeping enemy commanders on their toes watching for unexpected attacks by the mounted Guardsmen.
WHITESHIELDSWhen the youngsters come of age - the precise age varies according to the regiment's homeworld culture - they began their training as Guardsmen. During their training period they are officially designated as probitors; in practice, they are given names from the regiment's homeworld culture, such as Cadets, Probationers or Gun Babies. But by far the most common name for probitors, especially in regiments from feral or mediaeval homeworlds, is Whiteshields. On these worlds, the young warriors carry shields with no markings - not until they have proved themselves in battle can they claim the right to display the tribe's colours or the heraldry of their fathers. This practice has been continued in the Guard, and all probitors have blank insignia: they show neither regimental, company nor platoon symbols until they earn the right on the battlefield.
In most regiments, recruitment to the Whiteshields represents the first phase of the youngsters' passage into adulthood, and is accompanied by appropriate rituals from the regiment's home culture. Whiteshields continue to perform menial and support duties, but combat training takes up an increasing proportion of their time, until they are judged to be 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 in the Guard.
Regiments of the Imperial Guard are generally posted to combat zones immense distances from their homeworlds, and it is rarely practical to recruit from the homeworld to make up for combat losses. The Guard therefore uses various other methods of bringing regiments up to strength, depending on the circumstances: amalgamating depleted regiments into a single fighting force is common practice, especially when the regiments are being constantly transported to new battle zones. Regiments that are left to garrison a world they have conquered, on the other hand, recruit from local sources - the most common method (and by far the safest on hostile planets) is to draft the sons of the regiment into the Guard when they come of age.
The children fathered by members of an Imperial Guard regiment are usually brought up completely within the regiment itself. It acts as a kind of extended family, infusing the youngsters with the culture of the homeworld they have never seen, and assigns them menial and support duties which would otherwise eat into the regiment's fighting strength.
RITES OF PASSAGEIt is often observed that Whiteshields work faster, train harder and fight more fiercely than most experienced Guardsmen. For a Whiteshield, passing from probitor to true Guardsman is far more than a simple promotion: it is their entry into adulthood - this gives them the status and respect due a Guardsman and, most important, the right to bear the regimental insignia and the ritual markings of a warrior.
When a Whiteshield takes to the battlefield, he is driven by a desire to prove his courage and skills that borders on the fanatical. Whiteshields are fearless in the face of enemies that older, and wiser, Guardsmen treat with caution. For a Whiteshield, failure to win his colours is a terrible blow - showing cowardice is unforgivable, and an honourable death is certainly to be preferred to the dishonour and ridicule heaped upon the weak-hearted.
Whiteshields serve alongside the other squads in their regiment, distinguished only by their bravery and the white badges and helmet stripes on their uniforms. Each Whiteshield squad has an experienced sergeant to guide it through training and in its first battles. The squads are usually put into a normal platoon to learn from the example of the troopers around them - occasionally a company will form up a platoon solely of Whiteshield squads, trusting that their courage will compensate for lack of experience.
Every man in the regiment who could stand was in the assembly ball. Yarren stood at rigid attention in front of the dais, along with the other two survivors of the WhiteshieIds. His body felt like one huge bullet-bole, and he was dizzy from loss of blood, but elation forced everything else to the back of his mind. He hardly heard Colonel Tarvit's words.
"...Because of Probitor Yarren's courage and quick thinking and the dedication of the Whiteshields following his example, the 0rk spearhead was destroyed. It is my judgement that the Whiteshields have proved themselves worthy of full Guard status. I order that the survivors be assigned to One Platoon to replace losses, and the others buried with full regimental honours. Does any man here know of any reason why this order should not be carried out?
"Then let it be done. The Colonel's orderly came forward and removed the blank white badges from the chests of the three Whiteshields. Yarren found himself holding his breath as the Regimental colours were affixed to his flak tunic.
"When they are judged to be fit, these three men shall receive the scars they won today And Guardsman Yarren shall be inducted Into the High Eagle Lodge, under my own Patronage.
The ball resounded with cheering as the three were led away to the med-bay. Yarren thought of the rituals of full manhood that awaited him, and of the mysteries of the High Eagle Lodge most respected of the regiment's warrior lodges. He had proved himself today.
But now be was tired. More tired than be bad ever been.
Only those who distinguish 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. Many only accept those who have drawn blood or killed an enemy, sometimes requiring the young warrior to collect a trophy to prove his claims: an opponent's back banner or weapon perhaps, or a more gruesome and bloody memento taken from the body of a fallen enemy.
At the end of his training, after he has shown his skill, a Whiteshield is ceremonially awarded his colours: his blank, white badge is replaced with the regimental number and the colours of his platoon; he takes the shoulder motif of his company, and the helmet markings of the squad to which he is assigned. More important than this, however, are the unofficial rituals in which the new Guardsmen is welcomed by his fellows into the regiment. These rituals are taken from the regiment's homeworld culture and vary widely throughout the Guard; tattoos and ritual scars are common and receiving these marks without a cry of pain is as much a test of the youngster's courage as his bravery on the battlefield.
At last the Whiteshield emerges from his training as a full member of the Guard, wearing his scars and tattoos with as much pride as the uniform of his regiment, ready to return to the battlefield with his new experience and, perhaps, a little more caution.
|WD 113||The Pacification of Flotis III: D Company of 7th Mordion Imperial Guard Regiment|
|Sentinel: Imperial Guard Walker|
|WD 115||Commissar Training Squads: (by Nigel Stillman and Sean
Masterson, excerpted from WD 115)
The Schola Progenium teach and train orphans of Imperial Officials until they are ready to become Cadet Commissars. As such, their training continues on the galaxy's battlegrounds where they are formed into special squads. Fighting alongside Imperial Guard units, they are completely devoted servants of the Emperor whose loyalty and bravery know no bounds.
It is the duty of the Commissars in the Imperial Guard to maintain the highest standards of discipline and inspire the troops by their own example. They have the power of absolution in order to restore the morale of the troops at critical moments on the battlefield. Commissars are both feared and respected. They do not often need to exercise their powers because their presence among the troops is enough to instil devotion and confidence.
It is important that Commissars remain aloof from ordinary troops in the Imperial Guard. Commissars need to exercise authority over ordinary officers, often in front of the officer's own unit. The Commissar must be seen as representative of the Emperor and thus a superior authority to any officer. Furthermore, a Commissar is required to deal with troops from many different tribal and racial origins, so cannot be associated with any particular group himself. Consequently, the origins and recruitment of Commissars is of vital importance to their efficient exercise of discipline.
Devotion to the Imperial cause, sound judgement, unshakable resolve and honour are the qualities required in a Commissar. Personnel selected to become Cadet Commissars are drawn from schools run by Missionaries of the Ministorum. There are many such schools throughout the Imperium, known as Schola Progenium. Here, orphans of Imperial Officials who gave their lives in the service of the Emperor are educated by the Missionaries. They soon learn to regard the Emperor as their spiritual father and build a strong personal devotion to the Imperial cause. Their sole ambition is to serve the Imperium and Humanity in some way, and the special qualities of their education make them well suited for service in the Imperial Guard or the Inquisition as Cadet Commissars.
CADET COMMISSARSThe Commissar-General of an Imperial Guard Regiment selects the most promising recruits from those recommended to him by the schools of the 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.
For a Cadet Commissar to learn how to function according to his vocation, he must understand the nature of the troops for whose morale and spiritual welfare he is accountable. "You cannot teach in theory what has to be practised in a storm of energy beams, was how Commissar-General Obin Heethe summed up the need for Cadet Commissars to live, fight and if necessary die alongside the troops they were supposed to inspire. For this reason, Cadet Commissars use the same standard weapon as Imperial Guardsmen, the lasgun. This training forms the basis of much of the respect accorded to Commissars by Guardsmen, for they know that only those Cadets who have shown bravery and devotion in the face of enemy fire are selected.
For an experienced Commissar, there is no greater recognition of his service to the Emperor than to be deemed worthy of instructing a new generation of Commissars.
Commissar Training SquadThe Commissar-General is the senior Commissar of the regiment with the longest service and most extensive campaign experience. He assigns Commissars to Imperial Guard officers according to his judgement of the battlefield situation or the character of the Imperial Guard Officers in question. Cadet Commissars are allocated to Commissar Training Squads by the Commissar-General of an Imperial Guard regiment. These squad members are identified by a blue uniform trim and Cadet badge.
The Commissar-General assigns one of his Commissars to take the regiment's Cadets and form a tactical unit in its own right, known as the Commissar Training Squad. The unit is made up of one Commissar and nine Cadet Commissars. The Commissar Training Squad accompanies Imperial Guard forces into battle and takes part in some of the fiercest fighting.
The training of a Cadet Commissar 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 is deemed worthy of it by his actions. This provides great inspiration to the other Cadets on the battlefield. The new Commissar can then be allocated Commissarial duties in his own right. Commissar Training Squads are highly motivated fighting units, respected by all other troops in the Imperial Guard. Any Imperial Guard force accompanied by such squads will consider itself fortunate and probably destined for victory.
When a Commissar decides that a Cadet has failed in his duty, but has not shown cowardice or insubordination, the Cadet is relieved of his position and duties. Commissar Cadets who fail their training can often get a commission 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.
Commissar Yarrick and Warlord Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka