Death Korps of Krieg

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AIAaward.gif This article is awesome. Do not fuck it up.
Yes, they have faces. But they're ugly, so the gas mask is probably for the best.
Even their Commissars are more badass than your average Commissar. Krieg Commissars aren't used to prevent cowardice, however. Instead, they are used to actually temper the average Krieg soldier's more fanatical inclinations.

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

– Diary of an unknown German soldier at Stalingrad

"In life, war. In death, peace. In life, shame. In death, atonement."

– Final litany of the Litany of Sacrifice, recited by Krieg Korpsmen when entering battle (and 9E, it seems)

The Death Korps of Krieg, the most Grimdark of Grimdark

The Death Korps of Krieg is a series of Imperial Guard regiments which hail from the Death World 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 and vanquish any enemy, just as long as 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 they alone are responsible for about 20% of the grimdarkness in Warhammer 40,000. They have no will to live, no fucks to give, and one hell of a lot of xenos to shiv (with sharpened entrenching tools). This is said to be a relic of the tragic civil war on the original hive world of Krieg, a den of traitors, corruption and strife where rebels rose to power and seceded from the Imperium. However, loyalists Guardsmen decided to light Krieg up like it was nuclear 4th of July instead of letting the heretical rebels take control of the planet, resulting in their homeworld becoming a bitch of a radioactive hellhole (hence the Korps' gas mask fetish). Now the people of Krieg are so sad about their rebellious past they’d literally rather die than continue living their shameful lives.

The greatest source of mundane horror in all of Warhammer, the Death Korps does not need eldritch nonsense or nonsensical alien "biology" for the darkness factor. This is quite simply humanity at its worst and nothing more. Due to them just being so damn cool, they are often a popular choice in the community, especially in regards to memes. This tarnishes their overall "I am willing to die for even a chance at forgiveness" to the god awful shovel wehraboo memes we all know and despise.

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 Generate Children with You is Only Exceeded by My Devotion to Him."

If you think about it, the Death Korps suicidal nut jobs are better equipped than most Guardsmen. They have flak armor like any other, but they have plasteel helmets, their lasguns are much more powerful (albeit at the cost of shots per powerpack), their bayonet skill is outright legendary, their uniform is fully sealed against nuclear, biological, and chemical attack (also protecting them from the mud, rain, and other elements and likely acting as an any environment survival suit issued to the Guard), and they have a backpack full of gear and supplies instead of rushing into battle practically (or literally) naked. Heck, these suicidal guys even have grenadiers wearing carapace armor wielding hellguns despite being sent specifically to get killed doing something useful. Their tank regiments include heavy tank companies and super heavy tanks (like the Mordian Iron Guard, come to think of it). They also have WAAAAAY more artillery and heavy weapons than anyone else. They make the Cadians look under-equipped and poorly trained.

Perhaps maddest of all, is that lore-wise Kriegers are kinda the new kids on the block, only having been serving for just over a thousand years as a regimentum (which is the term for all regiments from a given planet).

Background[edit]

The Civil War[edit]

Some time ago, in 443.M40, Krieg was a pretty sweet planet to live on, until the heretical dickwad of a Planetary Governor (and most of the ruling elite) decided that the Tithe was wack and voted 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 Italian for iron and grad is old Slavic for town - 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. After Jurten and his boys secured the hive and asked for orders, the Sector government told him to hold the planet at all costs and that no help would be coming. 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 in around 943.M40, the loyalists managed to drag Krieg back into the paralysed lap of the Emperor. When the Administratum came with a task force, they annoyedly gave Krieg a year to train up a regiment as a start to paying back the 500 year back log. To their shock, the planet had vast manufactora developed beneath the surface constantly churning out military equipment and supplies and ten whole regiments were waiting deployment and demanding the worst available warzones. Needless to say, the government was pleased and Krieg has been the unofficial favorite child of military bureaucracy since then. 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 practices NBC weapons drills, just like every other day, though everyone gets one crumbly chocolate chip cookie.

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, trained and sent to die for their Emperor. 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 machine-like and quiet, though still capable of anger and annoyance). 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 Kriegers. Aren't hives supposed to be sacred archeotech in and of themselves? Heretical Hives are worth less than the dirt under a Krieger's boot!) That was also more about making a point about why surrendering early is the best option for you. Wait, Hive Cities are protected by void shields capable of shrugging off orbital bombardment. Either the Kriegers had some huge toys or the humble Earthshaker isn't so humble.

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 almost 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. That being said, during the siege of Vraks the Kriegers shot their own Commissars who tried to stop their retreat, despite being the most fanatical of the Imperial Guard, they're still only human (p. 72, Imperial Armour 5, Siege of Vraks Part One, for all those who get a hard on for the Death Korps).

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)!

Horses[edit]

Historic IRL version.

Yes, they ride gas mask-wearing horses into battle in the grim darkness of the 41st millennium. These are not any ordinary horses, though. Like Space Marines, they are genhanced with extra organs implanted to deal with harsh environments (giving them 6+ feel no pain), keep them fighting well after any ordinary filly would be blasted to the knacker's. Their hooves are splayed to allow for better footing, and it's way waaaay more muscular than a normal horse. As in, forget armor or cybernetics, this thing can take bullets by virtue of the simple fact that the damn thing's muscles are so thick and dense. They are vat grown and implanted with devices to increase aggression. If that wasn't enough, they also have Eversor-esque combat drug injectors implanted into their bodies for use upon command. They can also be hopped up on other, even more dangerous combat drugs when a battle is about to begin. Imagine if you will the biggest, angriest moose you've ever seen (or look one up if you've never seen one. Also look up how many people they kill per year). Now imagine that it can tank high caliber gunfire and even potentially artillery. Now imagine that someone has just loaded it up with enough bath salts to kill ten men, it's coming straight for you, and it really, reeeaaaally wants you dead. Even more so than the average mama moose. That's a Deathrider mount. These form the backbone of the Krieg Death Rider units, who are lead by a Sergeant known as a "Ridemaster." They are used as scouts and to harass the enemy. In addition to lasguns and grenades, they carry a one-use-only explosive-tipped lance, and can charge "fleet of hoof" if not shooting.

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 exowombs 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 - certainly ones inhabiting a radioactive hellscape. 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 could it?

In all honesty it's almost certainly just an artificial womb. The basic technology itself is something that the Imperium makes use of on a regular basis and Vitae Womb is probably just a specific incarnation of it used to mass produce (biologically speaking) normal humans. House Goliath is a product of such technology. There are no women in the Krieg military, because they also supply kids for their birth rates - they do both so they can recruit and tithe more regiments. Though it might just be cloning, with copious amounts of brainwashing to make sure the problems exhibited by normal clones don't manifest.

Daily Actions of Krieg Guardsmen[edit]

05:00 – Get Up. The Kriegers will rise from their dugout, foxhole/bunker/gun emplacement to start the day.

06:00 - Mandatory Bed Making. The Krieg soldiers spend the next hour making his bed so much he doesn’t have time to rest.

07:00 - Thanks To The Emperor. The Kriegers will give thanks to the emperor, fireworks are fired off daily (and usually out of a basilisk onto some heretics' mustering point) to show how great he is.

08:00 - Morning Rations. Breakfast is for the weak and non-Kriegers. However, rough riders will give their genetically engineered super horses a bag of oats and a nice apple before today's maneuvers begin.

09:00 - Morning Bayonet Charge. Kriegers will launch themselves at enemy positions today before Commissars are even able to give the order (or more importantly, countermand such an order). Shiny medals are given out for bravery much to the confusion of the average Krieger who doesn’t know what a medal is. Or what it's for.

10:00 - Entrenching. Kriegers will fight die and dig trenches for the next hour or so, or get shot while digging trenches, or bash the local heretic's face in with said entrenching tool. Those that have lost theirs can typically find another one buried in the skull of a local heretic.

12:00 - Lunch Time. Faux-Soylens Veridiens ration bars are issued to Kriegers, the Kriegers give thanks for this wonderous meal (which tastes like a wet sock).

13:00 - Mandatory Bed Making. Kriegers spend the next hour making their beds.

14:00 - Afternoon Bayonet Charge. Kriegers will charge enemy positions - most wont be making it back. Those that do, please return the equipment to the local Quartermaster so it can be reissued to other Kriegers.

15:00 - TV Break. Kriegers will stop for an hour and put on famous Krieger game shows such as “the price of a mile” the weakest link (in our fortifications) family fortunes Krieg edition (which when your name is alpha 62487 and these are my clone brethren is remarkably popular) hole in the wall (of guns) and total wipeout (much to a Krieger's disappointment ISN'T a show about 100% fatalities), also casualty Krieg edition is popular.

16:00 - Thanks To The Emperor (Again). Kriegers spend the next hour or so giving thanks to the emperor for entrenching tools, gas masks and that Mechanicus-issued tin of beans they had last week.

17:00 - Evening Bayonet Charge. Those Kriegers that didn’t die this afternoon will be given another opportunity to redeem themselves, by charging through no man's land into the enemy's most fortified position/gun emplacement.

18:00 - Evening Rations. A larger, more substantial meal of two ration bars is given to Kriegers. Those that complain about the taste of said ration bar shall be served an extra helping of death.

19:00 - Cocaine Break. Kriegers will take their Mechanicus-issued “performance enhancers” which can be bought from the local quartermaster and used for everything from teething for younger Kriegers to hunger suppressants.

20:00 - More bed making. The Kriegers unmake and remake their beds again to show how hardcore they are and disciplined. Those who got their arms blown off earlier by ordnance will try to make their beds with their teeth.

21:00 - Last Chance (for Martyrdom). The Kriegers who didn't die in today's siege/meat grinder will be given another chance to die for the Emperor. As Commissars and officers decide who's going to have the honor of this evening's kamikaze mission, dozens put up their hands and yell out “ME ME ME ME ME!” as if it was free money.

22:00 - Free Time. Those Kriegers who didn't die in today's kamikaze missions are now utterly depressed, the one guy in 500 who will try again tomorrow with another 500, gasmask wearing madmen, better luck next time.

23:00 - Home Time. Kriegers will retire to their dugouts/foxholes/bunkers/trenches. Others will pay a visit to their gene-donor's foxhole to ask for advice on being blown to smithereens by older, wiser, more experienced soldiers, who will in turn ask the ranking officers (grandparents) on what is best to do in said situations. It's usually at this point when young Kriegers ask their gene donors for permission to go to a major bayonet charge this weekend, at which point parents will say “If you're going to fight in my bunker, you charge by my rules, no bayonet charges after 8pm”.

00:00 - Prep. Young Kriegers spend the next hour or so making their beds and or disassembling their Lucius pattern lasguns, some Kriegers work up the courage to ask out other Kriegers if they’d like to share a ration bar in a newly bombed out hole made by artillery fire (some Kriegers find this more intimidating than charging today's gun emplacement).

1:00 - Rest. The Kriegers are ordered to go to bed by some very tired Commissars, so the Kriegers obey and put younger Kriegers to sleep while older Kriegers lock up their bunkers and give thanks for such a homey rockcrete bunker over their heads

Vraks, and Forge World Stupidity[edit]

The Death Korps doing their best to recrate the mine at Messines

Now, for all that the soldiers of Krieg are supposed to be some of the hardest bastards in the Imperium and willing to sacrifice their lives in an instant if that's what is asked of them, there comes a point where going any further with that characterization crosses the line between "grimly awesome" and "over-the-top caricature". There's really nothing wrong with this since 40k originally started out as a parody setting, just so long as the writers meet one simple condition:

It has to be intentional.

When Imperial Armour released their Vraks trilogy, it was supposed to be an example of how dark and gritty siege warfare could become, and therefore a textbook example of how the Death Korps operates. Prior to this, they were written as pragmatic, capable, dedicated, and utterly ruthless soldiers who combined the tactical sense you'd expect from a professional soldier who had been trained from birth with a willingness to sustain whatever amount of casualties are required to achieve their objectives on the battlefield; meeting their deaths without the slightest hesitation, and making sure that the Emperor's foes paid as high a price for those deaths as they could arrange.

Instead, we were shown a teeming mass of "soldiers" who amounted to little better than shambler zombies with guns; utterly incompetent and suicidal to the point where they were more concerned with killing themselves than the enemies of the Imperium. The most sterling example of this has to be walking over minefields to clear them, something that could easily be accomplished with far less cost in men and materiel by using vehicles with dozer blades as mine rollers. They literally have to be convinced that there are better ways to fight the Emperor's foes than marching into the teeth of enemy fire until they run out of ammunition by their damn Commissariat; political officers whose entire job revolves around two things:

1. Inspiring soldiers through sheer hammy charisma.

2. Discouraging cowardice through the not-insignificant accomplishment of successfully being more terrifying than any enemy a Guardsmen might be facing at the moment. In a universe where said enemies might be the Legions of Hell, an endless swarm of alien horrors from beyond the stars, a race of sentient bioweapons whose extreme bloodlust is matched only by their uncountable numbers or genetically-engineered superhumans whose entire schtick revolves around being the most nightmarish motherfuckers in existence.

The sheer wastefulness of the Idiot Korps' tactics is so great that it becomes impossible to take any of the books seriously, and the setting is left poorer for it. If the Death Korps actually fought like they're described in Vraks then in all likelihood the Imperium would have long since discarded them as a useful fighting force due to how needlessly and exorbitantly wasteful they are of lives and materiel, and we would like to remind you that the Imperium measures the casualties of war in planets, not men.

Now to be fair, part of this characterization is likely caused by taking the cultural memory of WWI-- the idea of men mindlessly charging into Machine Gun emplacements across a no-man's land ripped apart by artillery and chemical weapons-- and porting it into 40k. Viewed this way much of the above make sense: Death Korp Tactics are wasteful because in popular memory that's all World War I was-- lions lead by donkeys who charged bravely if mindlessly into certain death. The problem comes when you try to get into the head of an entire culture whose goal is doing just that: this leads to the Death Korps being stupid and fighting stupidly. In the end when Forge World tried to portray a WWI-style mud and blood conflict, they fumbled because turning an already pretty grimdark conflict up to the 40k required 11 on the old grimdark dial was bound to push it into grimderp territory if handled poorly... and it was.

TL;DR: In essence, the Vraks trilogy wanted to recreate the muddy hell holes of WWI in 40k, and in the process turned the Death Korps from something much like the Red Army during WWII into a poorly-researched/malicious portrayal of the Red Army during WWII. (Or a slightly better researched/malicious portrayal of the Iranian army during the Iran-Iraq war.)

Thankfully, they're generally portrayed in lore usually as being unafraid of death but not willing to waste their lives (so they can kill more of the Emperor's enemies). In fact, with their heavy tanks and numerous grenadiers and their engineers, the Death Korps seems more like a mashup of various real life successful ways the trenches in WWII were ultimately defeated. Their machines and units imply the Death Korps is more of a "line breaking specialists" army than a "dig trench and sit there forever" army, with their trenches used more like forward bases and mustering points for their breaching attacks than as their main method of defeating the enemy.

Tabletop[edit]

A battery of field artillery is worth a thousand muskets lasguns

3rd edition[edit]

Despite being mostly associated with FW, the Death Korps actually got their first set of rules in the Imperial Guard 3.5 codex being one of the pre-made regiments found in the book. They came with 6 doctrines and had Iron Discipline (ignores being under half strength modifiers for moral and pinning tests if using an officers Ld) , Die-hards (ignore negative modifiers for being outnumbered in combat) and Hardened fighters (+1WS). The Death Korps also got access to Rough Riders, Strom Trooper squads and Heavy Weapons platoons (yes 3rd ed guard had limited access to Heavy weapon teams), though they lacked any specialised organisation or special equipment. Obviously a very moral focused army they could be quite hard to shift and would be more willing than most other Guard armies to throw down the gauntlet, and their access to storm troopers and rough riders meant they could back this aggression up quiet well.

4th-5th edition and Vraks[edit]

The Death Korps was first seen in the way we know them today at the end of 4th edition when Imperial Armour V - The Siege of Vraks pt 1 was released, giving the Death Korps models and more rules. They kept the same doctrines from the Imperial Guard Codex but gained some unique units such as the Death Riders and Grenadiers as well as a selection of unique equipment. Due to their inspiration, the Death Korps army list favoured immobile artillery over the standard Basalisks and Leman Russ Tanks of the other guard regiments and had more restrictions on the number of tanks they could take, while having no access to the basilisks. Though to make up for this they could take a a fairly bit of field artillery and cheap big guns allowing you to rattle you opponents teeth loose with the constant barrage you could unleash. The Death Korps were further added to when Imperial Armour VI and VII where released which introduced the Death Korps engineers and gave the Death Korps a tank army in the form of the Armoured Battlegroup, which let the Death Korps take Leman Russ tanks as troops and Gorgon Assault Vehicles and troop transports for Infantry Platoons. The rules did need updating halfway through the series as Vraks books 1+2 where released when the 3.5 Imperial guard codex was still in use, and Vraks book 3 released a few months after the 5th edition Imperial guard codex released so had to quickly include some re-worked version of their old 3.5 rules and clarifications that let them use orders from the new guard codex (these rules were on page 128 in a box tucked away under the rules for the Atlas Recovery Tank). Still at least Krieg was up to date, and was in a fairly decent position for an army that had all its rules released over the course of 3 edition.

6th-7th edition and Orpheous[edit]

When 6th edition launched it brought with it quite a few updates to armies and introduced more specialised rules for sub-factions, which left the Death Korps rules slightly outdated. Luckily Forge World produced a PDF containing updated rules for the Death Korps Siege Regiment, which gave all Death Korps infantry +1WS and made them immune to Fear, in addition to not taking Morale checks for suffering 25% shooting casualties. Iron Discipline also returned giving Death Korps units that were falling back but within 6” of a Krieg officer the ability to regroup, regardless if they had been reduced to 25% strength. Both of these rules obviously makes the Death Korps a great army at attritional warfare as they will usually never retreat and can't be shifted from an objective unless they are killed to the last man.

The Death Korps Siege regiment was the same as earlier incarnations where the armies bread and butter was massed artillery and infantry assault, with access to a bunch of cheap field and heavy artillery batteries that allowed cover the table with more pie plates than a stage after an eating competition. The draw back is the Siege Regiment had no access to chimeras or Basilisks, which makes it a far more static force that relies on wiping out opponents at range and taking objectives with units of marching infantry. Later in 7th edition Vraks 2.0 was released which contained the updated rules to the original Siege regiment army and added unique orders and warlord traits to the army. The Death Korps also got a second army in the Fall of Orpheous book with the Assault Battalion army, which was a more aggressive force that gave the Death Korps access to Basalisks, their own variant of the Chimera and Tank Commanders, as well as making Grenadiers troop choices. The pay off was the loss of the cheap artillery and most big guns were placed in the Heavy support slot, rather than being spread out over the Elite and Heavy Support slots, meaning the army relied more on shock tactics and getting into your opponents lines with all those Grenadiers and their fancy Storm Chimeras.

8th edition[edit]

After the overhaul of the game system the Death Korps rules were transferred to the new Imperial Armour indexes, which gave them their units and new rules. Cult of Sacrifice became the new rule for the Death Korps which was simply "all models with this rule ignore models lost during the shooting phase when calculating moral," and all Death Korps infantry gained +1WS which made them over all the best Guard regiment with great moral and better fighting than all the others. Oddly the new Death Korps army was a mix of the Siege Regiment and Assault Battalion, and meant the Death Korps could take both immobile earthshaker guns and Basilisks in the same army. The Death Korps also go access to a few regular guard units and could take Psykers in the same army as them. It was a weird transitional phase for Krieg.

9th edition[edit]

The good news? They're now available in plastic. The bad news? All the special rules that made them unique are gone, thus robbing them of all their individuality.

With the shit show that is the Imperial Armour compendium, how did the Death Korps fair? Not well as they have been more or less shoved through the bland machine with the decade of development that the Imperial Armours gave them being more or less undone. Firstly they lost +1WS and are back to being a bog standard regiment with the exact same stuff as the regular guard and Cult of Sacrifice is now a regimental doctrine, and a pretty shit one at that. It allows the Death Korps to ignore ALL modifiers in combat attrition tests, so the unit will still fail the moral test, but won't be affected by some obscure rule that means 2 more guys will run away. It also allows any Death Korps model that has died to make a shooting attack or melee attack on a 4+, which isn't great considering most attacks will be with the S3 Lasgun or fists and you still need to roll to hit and wound giving a Krieger with lasgun a 12.5% chance of actually wounding a GEQ (not including armour saves). It's even worse for tanks since they will be stuck shooting at their BS6+, making the rule practically useless. On top of all of this Krieg has lost most of it's own unique and core units. Grenadiers, Centaurs, Earthshaker batteries, named characters. All squatted and turned to legends. These rules changes and absolute gutting of the army has led to general moaning and complaining from the community, and while it hasn't been released yet the nebulous 9th edition Imperial Guard codex is likely to include Krieg as a standard regiment, practically undoing most of the uniqueness of Krieg to make it another Guard regiment like it was in 3rd, because time is a flat circle at Games Workshop HQ.

Facts/Notes[edit]

  • Due to the Krieger ideology of repentance to the Emperor, dying is considered the greatest honor for an average Krieger, and dying while achieving a great victory is a Krieger's wet dream. The Death Korps of Krieg's version of Heaven (or at the very least an equivalent concept) is to achieve a great victory for the Imperium while sustaining 100% casualties. They would be the perfect soldier for the Normandy Landings or Stalingrad. They will attempt to achieve a glorious victory while drowning the enemy with their corpses.
  • The 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, in keeping with their German WWI inspiration, (the standard-issue Mauser rifle was the model 1898). More powerful per shot than most lasguns, but it might blow up if you fire it too quickly.
  • The Death Korps of Krieg resemble old World War I soldiers, with most people thinking they are German because of their name and the stahlhelm-style helmets. However, the overall design of the Korps is actually a mix between various armies from WWI and even the 19th century; the helmet is a stahlhelm-Adrian hybrid, the uniform is mostly French, the gas mask looks like British-American models, the grenadiers' armour plates are undoubtedly German and the Death Riders and officers are French cuirassiers from the Napoleonic Wars with the same WWI flavour. Meanwhile their tanks, while the same Russes as everyone else in the Guard, have the trench-rails of WWII French tanks.
  • I bet they allow the use of hardcore cocaine. And they won't take it because it doesn't help in killing heretics or dying fast enough.
  • They have cool looking "Grenadiers" for, well, grenadiering?
  • They don't desert, ever (they're not all that into sweet things anyway).
  • They're German-French-British-Russian, so of course they're gonna win (after taking a stupidly high amount of casualties).
  • "Kill confirmed" is the only thing they ever say in combat ever.
  • They don't fly aerial vehicles, they just crash them into enemy AA guns. 50/50 chance of them still surviving. They fly CAS and bomber aircraft into the most suicidal of missions, and once irreparably damaged, suicide-bomb them into enemy AA to clear the way for other air units.
  • Krieger pickup lines are notoriously bad, so bad they make the Mechanicus look like Barry White! Notable lines include "Contributing to a cloning vat of fetuses with you would be an appropriate use of our genetic material", "Corporal, share this additional synthesized Mechanicus issued ration bar with me at sixteen hundred hours", "Would you like to go for some recaf with me? I used water from a shell hole and it was warm three hours ago”, (so far so good), “I have fixed my bayonet, I shall now CHAAAAAAAAARGE!” (Ew), "I found this bombed-out fox-hole near our position, it's an acceptable location to swap reproductive fluid", and "My gene donors are away on a suicidal bayonet charge this weekend, I've got the whole barracks to myself, and I just picked up a mixslate of the most rousing Krieg anthems" (hint: apart from Nazi-type marches, it sounds like lasguns firing, orders being yelled, screams of the wounded, explosions, and marching boots...suuuper romantic).
  • Rejection in Krieg is common, because most Kriegers are male, look like each other and fucking in the Emperor’s service on Krieg is not only blasphemous, it will likely result in your willy melting off from radiation sickness. Common excuses include "I'm washing my bald, scarred, irradiated scalp", "I'd love to but I have a Tyranid invasion to stop", "The offer is tempting, but I've just been ordered to charge that dugout, gonna be busy all day", "I can't go to the military parade with you, I'm dying for the Empra tomorrow", and "I like you as a squad mate, you’re like a brother-in-arms to me".
  • If Krieg and Cadia swapped places Abaddon would have stayed in the Eye of Terror (but the Imperial casualties would have increased by an order of magnitude).
  • A romantic evening to a Krieger usually involves barbed wire, grey dugout positions, landmines, a searchlight, filthy latrines, an emplaced heavy machine gun, trench foot, and some sensual stick bombs.
  • Their response to Necrons fucking vaporizing them is to continue firing, but also make sure to drop their weapon when they are hit so as to preserve as much of their equipment as possible.
  • Kill or be Killed, either way, Krieg is redeemed. One millimetre at a time. (or, they will redeemed...once the pencil pushers of the Administratum and Munitorum decide they are "redeemed".)
  • A Krieg Death Corps trooper and a Catachan Jungle Fighter got into a fight to see who was the most badass type of guardsman ever. Except no they didn't, because a true Krieger always has more important shit to get done. That and a true Catachan is too busy wrestling jungle scorpions to go fight a doormat.
  • They are highly popular with the Commissariat as they do not retreat. They hold the line.
  • Fans do their heavy-WWI inspiration one better by portraying them as being highly eager to use sharpened entrenching tools/shovels in close-combat, though this has technically never really appeared in canon (the use of shovels in melee, that is. Their suicidal eagerness to get into melee is definitely canon as shit).
  • Will kill their commander if they are ordered to retreat more than a few times. Unless they have a reason, that is THEY NEVER HAVE A REASON TO RETREAT, AVE IMPERATOR!!!!!!!'
    • Jokes aside, even the one time they broke was against literally the single worst batch of chemical weapons in Warhammer history (which is really saying something) on Vraks by the The Purge. It literally took a rolling blackout of super-heavy tank melting gas fired by the single most life hating unit of beings to ever exist to drive them off. By one trench line exactly. (And even then they weren't so much driven off as melted where they stood.) Even then, this isn't really "breaking" - they're strategically repositioning so they can die for the Emperor in a more useful way than being turned into poisonous slag.
  • They look down on other regiments that aren't as suicidally fanatical and/or disciplined as they are, because of this they get along with the Mordian Iron Guard as they also share their fatalistic devotion to duty, and absolutely despise the Jopall Indentured Guard as they are the complete opposite of what the Korps believes a soldier should be (however, they also openly praise Jopallian marksmanship).
  • Did I mention that the greatest victory for a Krieger unit involves 100% casualties?

Trivia[edit]

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

They also seem to be much more heavily focused on the machines, tactics, and special units that ultimately overcame trench warfare. Such as focused artillery barrages to cover for a large number of very heavily armored soldiers to get close and seize trenches and then be reinforced by normal troops. Tanks, lots and lots of tanks especially really damn huge ones, and so on. Which makes sense; they’re sent to win wars not stagnate them.

Modeling Options[edit]

As the most popular (Fluffwise) regiment, Forge World has models for them that cost more than the average Kriegsman's life, but then again that's not really a high bar. 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.

Really worth looking at the Les Grognard set and German WWI set from Wargames Atlantic for cheap alternatives, for more on them look here[[1]]

If you are really wanting those FW style models, but you don’t want to sell your kidneys then certain Slavic and Asian countries will have you covered in the recast black market, for the correct amount of Vodka and Rice of course.

Finally, as of July 2021, plastic multipart Krieg models have been confirmed to be releasing in the not too distant future by the Warhammer Community team. Meaning that soon you'll be able to get your Krieg guardsmen without having to sell your organs to Forgeworld! Because you'll be selling them to GW directly, that is. Still, the suffering's over!

Recent leaks have which were 90% suggest more Imperial Guard is coming with their codex in 2022. It's speculated we are going to have Cadians, Catachans, and Kriegers as the main frontliners of the codex.

Gallery[edit]

See Also[edit]

Regiments of the Imperial Guard
Armageddon Ork Hunters - Armageddon Steel Legion - Athonian Tunnel Rats
Attilan Rough Riders - Brontian Longknives - Cadian Shock Troops
Catachan Jungle Fighters - Death Korps of Krieg - Dieprian Mountain Men
Drookian Fen Guard - Elysian Drop Troops - Gilead Gravediggers
Harakoni Warhawks - Indigan Praefects - Kanak Skull Takers
Jopall Indentured Guard - Last Chancers - Maccabian Janissaries
Mordant Acid Dogs - Mordian Iron Guard - Phantine Air Corps
Phantine Skyborne - Praetorian Guard - Roane Deepers
Savlar Chem Dogs - Scintillan Fusiliers - Tallarn Desert Raiders
Tanith First (And Only) - Terrax Guard - Valhallan Ice Warriors
Vostroyan Firstborn - Ventrillian Nobles