Death Korps of Krieg

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Yes, they have faces.
Even their Commissars are more badass than your average Commissar. Though a Commissar isn't even necessary for the Kriegers for morale.

"Animals flee this hell; the hardest stones cannot bear it for long; only men endure."

– Diary of an unknown German soldier at Stalingrad

The Death Korps of Krieg, the most Grimdark of Grimdark

The Death Korps of Krieg is an Imperial Guard unit which hails from the planet of Krieg. They like trenches and gas masks and are known for their iron discipline and suicidal tolerance for casualties. In fact they will take any objective/vanquish any enemy as long they have enough men to throw in the meat grinder. Hell, Krieg means WAR in German (as you have gathered, the Imperium does not do 'subtle'). That's how badass they are. What's the difference between them and other Guard units, you ask? These motherfuckers don't even give a shit. They're some sort of badass human lemmings, and they are so grimdark that that they alone are responsible for about 20% of the grimdarkness in Warhammer 40,000. They have no will to live. This is said to be from the tragedies of the civil war on Krieg. Long story short, the original hive world of Krieg was a den of traders, corruption and strife. Rebels rose. A lot of blood was shed, and I mean A LOT. Instead of letting the heretical rebels take control of the planet, loyalists Guardsmen decided to light Krieg up like it was nuclear 4th of July, resulting in Krieg becoming a bitch of a radioactive hellhole (hence the Korps hardon for gas masks). Now the people of Krieg are so sad about their rebellious past they’d literally rather die than continue living their shameful lives.

As the most popular (Fluffwise) regiment, Forge World has models for them that cost (approximately) the souls of three firstborn children (each), but you knew that already. Thankfully, Anvil Industry comes to the rescue with their Regiments range, allowing anyone to build very authentic-looking Kriegers, complete with their signature death masks, unique lasguns and wheeled heavy weapons.

Also it needs to be said that in current non-jokey 40k canon there is an in universe romance novel about Kriegers titled "My Wish to Produce Children with you is Exceeded Only by my Love for Him."


The Civil War[edit]

Some time ago Krieg was a pretty sweet planet to live on, until the heretical dickwad of a Planetary Governor (and most of the ruling elite) decided to detach from the Imperium. Needless to say the loyal citizens wouldn't let the rebel scum get away with that and a bloody civil war broke out. The loyalists were severely outnumbered, and only managed to seize control of a single hive called Ferrograd (ferro is Latin for iron - GW being subtle), due to the fact that a loyal Krieg Imperial Guard regiment under the command of a Colonel Jurten was there, waiting to depart. While getting some turnips out of the basement Jurten tripped over some nukes and decided to even the odds by blowing the world back to the Stone Age. Afterwards, after just 500 years of continual terrible war, the loyalists managed to lay Krieg back into the paralysed lap of the Emperor. Today the citizens of Krieg celebrate the day their hero Colonel Jurten destroyed their planet's ecosystem on "Jurten Day", when everybody digs out entrenchments and practice NBC weapons drills, just like every other day.

The Death Korps[edit]

You don't know hell until you have lived through Vraks
The inhabitants of Krieg are mad sorry for their disgraceful past and try to make up for it by being the baddest motherfuckers since the Empra himself. In fact they've been so successful in producing hardass guardsmen that the Adeptus Mechanicus Biologis gave them some Vitae Wombs (IVF/clone tubes) so that they can produce even more top notch cannon fodder, which is important, because Krieg is a radioactive shithole, and most of them are sterile. So sterile that most Kriegers are born of complex gene-cloning and subsequent growth-vats. Their society is absolutely militarized. Children are being born only to be filled with the guilt of their ancestors (just like real Germans), trained and sent to die for their Emperor (or some other people, just like real Germans). Contrary to other less brainwashed LOYAL units they're truly happy to do so and would die with a smile on their lips for the glory of the Emperor, if they'd ever smile. Seriously, those guys are stone cold. You'd rather chat with a necron than a Krieg trooper. They don't even have names. They're just called Trooper #1337 or Major Alpha and such (although some of the higher-ranked survivors get names, like Colonel Tyborc, hero of Vraks) both to underscore what expendable clones they are and because they don't give a flying fuck about anything other than marching, dying gloriously and shooting heretics in the head (fluff dependent; McNeill and Mitchell portray them as stoic to the point of being cold but still personal whereas Steve Lyons depicted them as described as near drone-like automata). As such gung-ho individuals they technically don't even have the need for Commissars to maintain morale, since their deserting rate is practically zero and the officers (and probably even the regular troopers) will happily execute their soldiers themselves if need occurs. Commissars that are sent their way are usually sent in to say "Captain, I know you want to charge in and stab those Orks in the face with bayonets, but if you do that maybe one in ten is getting out of there alive. The Emperor needs you alive and we are going to goddamn wait until a situation comes where we can have enough survivors for the next battle and if you order a charge, it's blamming time for you." If a Commissar is the voice of reason in your ear, you know your priorities are interesting.
If you thought Warhammer 40k just couldn't get any grimdarker, have a beer with one of these fine gentlemen.

If one thing is even more serious business for Kriegers than dying, it's killing heretics with extreme prejudice, even by Imperial standards. As mentioned in the Codex: Stronghold Assault, once there was a Hive City that hadn't paid its tithe, and got a visit from the Death Korps for it. After five years of constant bombardment, the city surrendered unconditionally, but the Kriegers wouldn't just stop bombarding over such a small thing. After three more years, there was nobody left alive in the ruins anymore. The Death Korps still wouldn't leave until two years later - when they had eventually shot the entire mountain-sized Hive to rubble! ( That seems unusually wasteful for Krieger's. Aren't hives supposed to be sacred archeotech in and of themselves? Heretical Hives are worth less than the dirt under a Kriegers boot!)

A surprising degree of bio and cybernetic enhancements also appear to be common among Kriegers, which while taking away from their raw awesomeness, should give you idea of how high the esteem in which the Imperium holds the Death Korps.

The Munitorium has a hard on for these guys because unlike guardsmen from other places they always obey orders to the letter, even especially when it means dying in droves. Most Kriegers never retreat, they fight to the death every time. Once when a Commissar ordered a retreat, an unknown Krieger shot the Commissar for cowardice. Seriously, these guys don't fuck around. The only thing that does happen once in a while that could be potentially seen as approaching a retreat is a regiment/army being reassigned if the high-ups conclude the objectives have been met or are simply no longer attainable and dying elsewhere serves the Emperor better.

Now these suicidal, violent siege specialists are ordered to fight in the most dangerous battles. The Death Korps of Krieg may want to die, but death is a bitch to them. When they do die though, they are easily replaced. Join the Death Korps of Krieg now (rebreather, lasgun and no will to live included)!

Vitae Womb[edit]

It is stated that the Kriegers make use of "Vitae Womb" technology to keep up the annual crop of 50 million suicidally fanatical gas mask mooks specifically given to them by the Adeptus Mechanicus. What that means is a matter of debate, ranging from substitute uteri to drugs which increase fertility and accelerate pregnancy. What is not disputed is that it keeps population production up well beyond what can usually be achieved by human uteri. At least take comfort in the fact that it, in all likelihood, can't be as bad as a certain Warsmith's pet project.

Or couldn't it?


  • Death Korps of Krieg kill.
  • They seriously do not fuck around.
  • They have cuirassiers that ride horses with fucking rebreathers. Yep...
  • The lasgun model they use is called the "Lucius" Pattern No.98. (This is keeping with their German WW1 inspiration, the Mauser rifle that was standard issue was the model 1898)
  • Death Korps of Krieg resemble the old WW1 soldiers. Because of their name and the stahlhelm-style of their neck-protection, most people think they are German. However, the overall design of the DKoK is actually a mix between various armies from WW1 and even 19th century; their helmet is a stahlhelm-Adrian hybrid, their uniform is mostly French, their gas mask looks like British-American models, the grenadiers' armour plates are undoubtely German and the Death Riders and officer are French cuirassiers from the Napoleonic wars with the same WW1 flavour.
  • I bet they allow the use of hardcore cocaine.
  • They have cool looking "Grenadiers" for, well, grenadiring?
  • They don't desert, ever (they are not into sweet things anyway).
  • They're German-French, of course they're gonna win (after taking a stupidly high amount of casualties).
  • Only the female Kriegsmen ever take off their clothes.
  • They don't use condoms.
  • "Kill confirmed" is the only thing they ever say in combat.
  • They don't fly aerial vehicles, they just crash them into enemy AA guns. 50\50 chance of them still surviving.
  • They get all the ladies(if they use them is up for debate).
  • A Krieger's idea of courting involves finding a suitable female (or male) in the trench who doesn't look like all the other suicidal gas mask wearing nutbars in brown who hasn't been blown to smithereens...yet.
  • Krieger pickup lines are notoriously bad, so bad they make the Mechanicus look like Barry White! Notable lines include "I wish to have a cloning vat of fetuses with you", "Would you like to share this additional synthesized Mechanicus issued ration bar with me in sixteen hundred hours?", "Would you like to go for some recaff with me?" (so far so good), "I found this lovely little bombed out fox-hole near our position, its very romantic" (sure if you love on armageddon!), and "My gene donors (the parents) are away on deployment this weekend, I've got the whole barracks to myself, and I just picked up a mixtape of the most romantic Krieger music" (hint: it sounds like guns firing, orders being screamed, explosions, and boots marching...very romantic).
  • Rejection in Krieg is common and common excuses include "I'm washing my scalp" (Kriegers are bald), "I'd love to but I have a Tyranid invasion to stop", "I'd love to but I've just been ordered to charge that dugout, gonna be busy all day", "I can't go to the dance with you I'm dying for the emperor tomorrow", and "I like you as a friend".
  • A romantic evening to a Krieger usually involves barbed wire, grey dug out positions, landmines, a search light, latrines, an emplaced heavy machine gun, and some stick bombs.


The Death Korps are very clearly based off of German and French WWI soldiers, all the way down to their trenchcoats, gasmasks, helmets, their riders, love of big guns and of course, affinity for trench warfare. Just like the good ol' Somme Ypres Marne Verdun Passchendaele, eh?

See Also[edit]

Regiments of the Imperial Guard
Armageddon Ork Hunters - Armageddon Steel Legion - Attilan Rough Riders - Brontian Longknives - Cadian Shock Troops
Catachan Jungle Fighters - Death Korps of Krieg - Drookian Fen Guard - Elysian Drop Troops
Harakoni Warhawks - Kanak Skull Takers - Last Chancers - Maccabian Janissaries - Mordian Iron Guard
Phantine Air Corps - Phantine Skyborne - Praetorian Guard - Savlar Chem Dogs - Scintillan Fusiliers
Tallarn Desert Raiders - Tanith First (And Only) - Terrax Guard - Valhallan Ice Warriors - Vostroyan Firstborn