"Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. It brings out all that is best; it removes all that is base. All men are afraid in battle. The coward is the one who lets his fear overcome his sense of duty. Duty is the essence of manhood."
"Soldiers generally win battles; generals get credit for them."
- Napoleon Bonaparte
"Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men."
- George S. Patton
"Quantity has a quality all of its own"
- Atrributed to Joseph Stalin
"To each of us falls a task, and all the Emperor requires of us Guardsmen is that we stand the line, and we die fighting. It is what we do best - we die standing."
- General Sturnn of the Imperial Guard
The Imperial Guard (officially titled the Astra Militarum as of 6th edition, cause fuck your original name if GW can't trademark it), are the foot soldiers of the Imperium in Warhammer 40,000. They exist only to die gloriously in the Empra's name. Commissars (like Holt and Ciaphas Cain), ensure they do so regularly, and any cowards or deserters tend to be summarily executed. During the Great Crusade, the Emperor only intended for them to be auxilia for his SPESS MEHRINES (and to man masses of tanks and artillery and air-support), since the average Guardsman is only capable of drawing enemy fire and shining a flashlight at his enemies (much more fortunate Guardsmen get to drive the tanks and other armored vehicles fielded by the IG, which proceed to blow their enemies into little chunks from a very long ways away); but after Horus' little tantrum and the breakup of the Legions, trillions upon trillions of humans were drafted to make up for the difference, even if entire squads and even regiments are generally not expected to survive their first combat action. Or training. Or just meeting their commissar for the first time. Even so, many consider their dogged perseverance in the face of overwhelming odds to be what makes them so balls-to-the-wall awesome.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Play Style
- 3 Notable Figures of the Imperial Guard
- 4 Main Advantages of Fielding an Imperial Guard Army
- 5 Downsides to being a Guardsman Highly fanciful scenarios that most likely will not occur during your glorious service as a Guardsman
- 6 Memorable Quotations
- 7 A Piece of Writing That Explains the Imperial Guard
- 8 The Imperial Guard's Anthems
- 9 Notable Imperial Guard Forces
- 10 Imperial Guard forces featured in Black Library novels
- 11 /tg/ Homebrew Guard Forces
- 12 See Also
- 13 Gallery
It is worth noting that in a universe where the majority of the other armies are:
- Ancient Murdering Robots that destroy the laws of physics with their tech and don't die even if they are nuked
- Genetically engineered killing machines
- The evil twin brothers of the genetically engineered killing machines, with equally evil goatees
- Clad in power armor
- Extremely warlike genetically-engineered fungi able to grow bigger and stronger the more they fight
- Manipulative space elves in possession of hyper-advanced technology and psychic powers who can jump around while making damn accurate shots like Quake players
- The above-mentioned space elves' emo, bondage obsessed cousins who like to meet interesting people, shoot them a little, then torture them for eternity
- Highly-advanced space communists with battle mechs and god-like firepower
- Mutant 10 foot tall space monsters with lots of teeth to devour you that come in such huge swarms that you literally run out of ammo before your guns can chew through half of them
- Daemons with a billion tentacles to rape you with
- Reptilian/insectoid abominations that kill you and mutilate your body because they think its "funny"
- Skaven with a natural entropy field that makes things fall apart just by being nearby
- The guys that built ALL your technology
- Some combination of the above
—The foot soldiers of the Imperial Guard take to the field equipped with nothing more than the 40k equivalent of flak jackets, glorified laser pointers, a copy of the Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer (
if they have not already used it for toilet paper.*BLAM* Note: it is highly recommended that you do not use it as toilet paper, to prevent BLAMing) and a pair of Mars pattern-forged titanium-plated balls. Please note that whilst the lasgun and flak armor (in essence it's an oversized SAPI plate) are very good by modern standards, they're just flashlights and t-shirts compared to the automatic mini-rocket launchers and power armor everyone else uses. This means they have balls of steel (as in Duke Nukem would say, "Holy shit! I thought I had balls of steel!").
Examples of Guardsmen going above and beyond this, demonstrating the possession of testicles so massive they should be deployed in battle as a separate unit, are plentiful; Ollanius Pius is one such Guardsman, standing up to fucking Horus himself (
which unfortunately has been retconned. Several times. *BLAM* HERESY! How dare you profane the memory of such a brave and loyal guardsman!); the original Dawn of War features the Blood Ravens running into a pair of Guardsmen who have held their position, without support, in the middle of a combined Chaos/Ork/Eldar invasion, for more than a week; Dawn of War II has Guardsmen rescued in an earlier mission returning in the finale to provide infantry support while the Blood Ravens launch an attack on a fucking Tyranid hive. These same guardsmen (led by the ever awesome Sergeant Merrick) SURVIVE the suicidal mission and fight on for TEN MORE YEARS against the remnants of the Tyranids/Orks/Eldar, and a group totaling up to 72 still loyal IG in six separate blob-groups on frozen over Aurelia during those same ten years manage to hold out against their late fellows now in Papa Nurgle's arms who are supported by the remnants of the Black Legion in the area, while just outside the new temple to Nurgle.
Although the average front line Guardsman is highly unlikely to survive his first deployment, veteran soldiers are considered to be some of the manliest motherfuckers the Imperium has to offer, putting even the fucking SPESS MEHRENS to a billion shames. One disturbing thing is that if the tactics of the Imperial Guard were improved from WWI style warfare (overuse of artillery and mass charges against machine guns and tanks) and updated to modern style warfare (such as taking cover and using air/armor/support, which many elite regiments often are, theres so much damn variety you can't really have good quality control.) the Imperial Guard could become the most feared army in the Universe but NO that's not grimdark enough! And that's the Tau's tactic. Although, do note that some commanders themselves shove off this fact and do order their men to charge the enemy lines, with or without heavy armor/artillery support and regardless of terrain.
Dan Abnett's work and their latest edition turned them into Gods of Mechanized War and yet, they still suck compared to 8 feet tall Daemonic killing machines with chainaxes. To be fair, though, that's much like comparing a sedan to a tank. I mean, how are you NOT supposed to suck against things that will slice through meter thick steel armor like so much cheese?
It may sound harsh, but the cold, hard truth of the matter is that the lowest currency in the Imperium is human life. For example, in the modern day a commander would be expected to sacrifice expensive equipment (a cruise missile ain't cheap) to save even a single life, because in the grim darkness of the far future, public outreach, civilian morale and "leave no man behind" kind of ideals tend to screw up a already overtaxed bureaucratically fucked Munitorium commanders justifiably believe it isn't worth the trouble . Instead, commanders do risk assessment. They're not going to devote resources just to save one lowly grunt if they're gonna lose a resource more expensive than what they're getting. Although to be fair, commanders who make these decisions know the moral implications of what they're doing while the Imperium treats this as a perfectly normal act.
A bit of maths, if you will. There are 32,380 Hive Worlds in the Imperium. The average population of these worlds is around 200 billion each. We put these together and we get 6.476E15 (6,476,000,000,000,000 or 6.476 Quadrillion) people on Hive worlds ALONE. Eventually there would be more human retard-babies than there would be soylens viridiens and lasguns to come out of the Forge World assembly lines.
So now you see why humans are worth so little. But this also means that once they get their ass in gear and onto the battlefield, they ALWAYS win, because they have all but unlimited manpower and resources. Compare it to water bashing against rocks. Sure, a few gallons won't do jack, but countless billions of tonnes crashing down on it WILL destroy it in a surprisingly short amount of time. Apply actual tactics, as every regiment that isn't Kriegan does, and it becomes even more effective (Do keep in mind, it's not like they commit trillions of troops to one battle. The Imperium frequently has to withdraw, but it's like saying "We lost the battle, BUT NOT THE WAR!").
In fact, it is point-blank stated numerous times that guardsmen are way cheaper than their lasguns. Because, you know, there are far more Hive Worlds to produce humans than there are Forge Worlds to produce lasguns. And to add more grimdark, Imperium lost a lot of forge worlds and mining worlds during the Time of Ending, so there are even fewer lasguns and cardboard jackets coming from assembly lines. The Death Korps of Krieg have a specific guy who runs around battlefields shooting the wounded and collecting their gear (as well as blood and organs to fix those who still can be saved to fight next day).
Think of the Red Army from the Hollywood movie Enemy at the Gates: Soviet Russia there had a fuckton of soldiers to draw from, but many were not issued spare ammunition or even rifles, and were expected to loot supplies off dead bodies. On an individual level the Germans had the obvious advantage, but send in enough cannon fodder to keep them pinned inside they city, then cut them off, and they eventually cracked.
But what the Imperium does have going for itself is the individual heroism of its protectors. The Guard holds countless heroes, without whom the Imperium would have fallen ages ago. Notable heroes of the Imperial Guard include: Ollanius Pius, Straken, Creed, Lord Solar Macharius, Ciaphas Cain HERO OF THE IMPERIUM, Vance Motherfucking Stubbs, Yarrick, SLY FUCKING MARBO, Colonel-Commissar fething Ibram Gaunt , and countless others. These unique men and women inspire the masses around them to truly heroic deeds, and through those deeds, ensure that the Imperium will never falter.
"You see, the Killbots have a preset kill limit. Knowing their weakness, I sent wave after wave of my own men at them, until they reached their limit and shut down." - Zapp Brannigan, Twenty-five Star General of the Imperial Guard.
The Imperial Guard are notorious for their SIGAOD methodology: Shooty Imperial Guard Army Of Doom for the less than nerdy. The basic lasguns are downright pathetic, but can still be effective if used en masse, and we mean en masse. The effect is a little like how cavemen throwing rocks could still be a threat to fully armored knights. It only takes one lucky shot and they don't stop shooting until they get lucky.
The IG has loads of vehicles. Loads of vehicles. They can take a whole squadron as a single Fast Attack or Heavy Support slot, and most are fairly cheap and most pretty good for what you pay for. There are 4 principle IG ground vehicles of note:
- First is the Chimera, which is basically a troop transport with a turret. Its armor is fairly light and it is not particularly fast, but it's cheap and the passengers can still shoot while inside. Bread and butter, it's also used as the chassis for various other vehicles. At least it's more useful than the Rhino.
- The second is the iconic Leman Russ Battle Tank. It is in every way a solid, dependable, warhorse. Everything from the optional heavy sponsons, to the BFG on the turret, to the completely exposed engine in the rear. Apparently, they ran out of badass when they designed it.
- Third is the Sentinel. It's a support walker that, while not generally as effective as the other big 3, earns its place by virtue of utility. The sentinel can serve as a reliable escort that grants numbers to vehicle armies and durable fire support to infantry lists. Versatile and a cheap way to add single use missiles. Not impressive, but good when you need a little extra ______.
- The last vehicle of note is the Basilisk. Apparently, some tech-priest decided to take a Chimera, rip off the turret and troop compartment and replace it with the biggest piece of artillery he could find. Unfortunately, there weren't any Titan legions nearby so he settled for the Earthshaker cannon. The Earthshaker is far more powerful than even the BFG they stuck on the Leman Russ and has ten times the range. No WH40k game has been played where a target has been out of range of the Basilisk.
The four vehicles above are only a small selection of what the Guard has to offer, but they provide pretty reliable workhorses of most builds and strategies. Most other vehicles are specialized variants of the above, being largely situational units.
Let's not forget the Deathstrike Missile, which GW used to give UNLIMITED RANGE. Players have called up GW stores the next town over and told them that they're dropping a Deathstrike in the middle of whatever battle is closest, and they've accepted. The Range is 200" as of 8th edition, but 16 feet is still ridiculous.
Also of note is 6th Edition's contribution of flyer units. The IG has the most non-apocalypse flyer units in 40k, and while some of them are absolutely useless for anything but flavor, some of them kick all kinds of ass. Triple twin-linked Lascannon, twin-linked Punisher Gatling cannons, or a flying tank-busting mega-bolter kinds of ass to be specific. Rape from above.
In summary, the Imperial Guard wins by having firepower, cannon fodder, and lots of both, transported in a massive variety of METAL BOXES.
Unfortunately for the Guard, though, the Imperial Navy has a bad habit of taking ships that were designed to launch atmospheric craft in support of the Guard (such as Marauders) and instead sticks void combat attack craft inside (such as Furies). The result of this is painfully obvious if you're a Guardsman on the ground. Not to say they don't have air support, but that their air support has a presence that is completely at odds with the number of atmospheric fighters and bombers a ship can carry. The Navy literally fits whatever atmospheric fighters and bombers they can into whatever excess space remains after putting their Furies and Starhawks into hangers designed for holding countless Lightnings, Thunderbolts, Marauders, and Avengers, instead. Grimdark? No, just uncooperative morons. Enter the Hydra. The only tank designed to take out aircraft. That is BADASS. Screw the navy. Hell, some regiments have a Leman Russ for every infantry squad! Do that with Thunderbolts or Lightnings in addition to the Russ and...yeah, epic-stomp.
Notable Figures of the Imperial Guard
- Ciaphas Cain - HERO OF THE IMPERIUM (Charming Commissar in the Harry Flashman/Edmund Blackadder tradition.)
Colonel-CommissarLord Militant Commander Ibram Gaunt - (Rambo + Sharpe + 40,000 king of awesome) Main protagonist of Gaunt's Ghosts, and a REAL hero of the Imperium, unjustly doomed to lowly obscurity.
- Commissar Yarrick - Old one-eye. Saviour of Armageddon, twice. Known for having an Ork Klaw on his arm, having a personal Baneblade, and a bizarre relationship with the ork warlord Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka.
- Commissar Holt - Awesome cinematics are awesome, from Warhammer 40,000: Final Liberation. Don't you dare to simply call him Holt. *BLAM*
- Commissar Dan - "But Commissar Dan says we're on a blaze for glory run!" "Commissar Dan is a maniac! Never listen to anything he says." Also canon thanks to FFG.
- Commissar Fuklaw - Currently in service with the Angry Marines.
- Commissar Raege - Currently trolling faggoty Space Marines.
- General Sturnn - Manly damn old son of a bitch, from Dawn of War: Winter Assault. Struggles with grammar because of the grit in his teeth.
- Lord General Castor - Sporting a manly mustache and known for having a trophy room full of Tyranid heads.
- Ollanius Pius - The catalyst for the Emperor finally erasing Horus out of existence. (No longer canon, which is BULLSHIT! Though he DOES still exist as a Saint of the IG. No worries, /tg/ is keeping his story alive.)
- Vance Motherfucking Stubbs - Another manly bastard,
famous for "losing" a hundred Baneblades.*BLAM*LIES AND CHAOS PROPAGANDA!!! There is nothing written about the Baneblades being lost.
- Colonel "I ate a Miral landshark for breakfast" Straken - Yet another manly fucker and another solid contender for biggest balls in the Imperial Guard.
- Knight Commander Pask - Rain man in 40k. An autistic Leman Russ tank ace that has destroyed Titans and Gargants. With a Leman Russ. He somehow manages to wreck his tank in every battle, always getting a new one and renaming it "hand of steel." He's managed to claw his way out of hundreds of burning wrecks somehow.
- Colonel Greiss - Straken's former commander and proof that the manliest fuckers the Imperial Guard have aren't necessarily the biggest.
- Lord Castellan Usarkar E. Creed - Famous for outflanking enemies with Titans. Must have been the work of some sort of tactical geniu-CREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED!!!
- Merrick - Tough bastard who survived a Tyranid Invasion, a Chaos uprising, ten years of nonstop combat, and putting a gun to his superior's head. Also fucking strong, since he can carry an entire heavy weapons setup on his own.
- Sly Marbo - ...by time you have read this... you are already dead...
Gone, just like Creed's ability to scout titans, because GW hates awesome things.He's baaaaaaack...
- Doom Marine - because, why the hell not?
- Engineseers - All of them. Want to repair your own tank, do you? HERE'S THE FUCKING MANUAL. By the way, it's Heresy to do it yourself.
- Lord Commander Solar Macharius - A Brilliant tactician who Gets Shit Done (in fluff) and the most useless command choice from the Second Edition Codex: Imperial Guard who would habitually screw up your entire battle plan since he rolled for his strategy rating on a D6 (which decided who got the first turn) and 4-6 would stop you firing your army-fucking pre-battle barrage. On a 6 you also had to put everything you had in reserve on the table. He also had no model and the fluff gave no idea what he looked like. IMPROVED IN 3RD ED WHEN HE GOT BETTER RULES AND A MODEL: Baseline stats are: WS D3+2, BS4, S3, T3, W4, I4, A D3+1, LD10
- Because he is slow in his old age, he has an initiative of 4, which is pretty bad, but he can potentially have four attacks with a mastercrafted power weapon at a WS of 5. He's still too wild of a character to use in a serious game, so save him for your fuck-around games, or Apocalypse.
- In conclusion, he has a terrible crunch but have a ridiculously awesome fluff being as the most successful Warmaster ever existed since the Great Crusade
- Colonel Schaeffer - The most crazy, malicious, heinous and downright evil imperial guard officer to ever exist. Most other officers are either incompetent when battlefield tactics are concerned or egocentric to the point of believing nothing else around them has a pulse, ultimately resulting in the average footslogger having such a brief lifespan. Colonel Schaeffer on the other hand, intends to make those under his command suffer in the most grueling, painful and surprisingly productive way possible.
- Colonel Jurten - Nuked the living shit out of his own planet, 'cuz Krieg ain't belonging to no one but the Big E. Then inhabited it solely with clones, mostly of himself.
- Commander Kubrik Chenkov "Now see here comrade, is all for great glory of great Stalin empero- Нет! Вернись, свинья! *BLAM* What happens when a soviet commander gets transplanted into 40k. Known for being the most famous user of the "send in the next wave" tactic, wherein a squad of 50 conscript guardsman are sent into a minefield to clear it by triggering them and another 50 are sent in immediately when they all inevitably die. The biggest waste of flesh the Imperial Guard will likely ever see, he's only survived by dint of never running out of soldiers, if he were to ever run out of men, he'd be executed as an incompetent. Emperor help Chenkov's ass if he meets Ibram Gaunt, Ciaphas Cain or Vance Motherfuckin Stubbs as he will most likely end up in the Penal Legions if they hear how much that idiot wastes his men like autogun bullets. Heck its a surprise that no other Imperial Guard leader or commander above Chenkov has shanked his ass yet.
Main Advantages of Fielding an Imperial Guard Army
- Shit loads of men to throw around the battlefield
- LEMAN RUSSES
- Titans acting as scouts.
- Reasonable prices for vehicles.
- Tank Squadrons.
- The first and best Flak Tank.
- Loyal soldiers that can and will hold the line to the bitter end.
- Commissar Yarrick
- Cool looking models and plenty of variety to choose from.
- Standard issue adamantium balls.
- YOU COULD NOT POSSIBLY FORGET THAT YOUR GUYS FIELD THE BEST TANKS OF THE GAME, RIGHT?
- VANQUISHERS, FUCK YOU BLUE SKINNED PANZIES
- Did we forget to mention that all units have standard issue balls of steel? Except for Yarrick. He has adamantium balls. And that guy in the cardboard box.
He has Power Balls.(No one has ever been able to confirm what kind of balls he has (EXCEPT FOR YO MAMA! OOOOOH!) no one fucks with Sly is any form of the word and lives to tell the tale)
Downsides to being a Guardsman Highly fanciful scenarios that most likely will not occur during your glorious service as a Guardsman
While your local propaganda might say that being in the guard is the most honorable thing you could ever get into, and it is! Here is a small list of things that will very likely never happen to you and are entirely preventable with forethought, your trusty lasgun, and endless faith in the Emperor:
- You will die in the line of duty and no-one but your family and friends will remember you unless you've done something that only a Space Marine could do in combat. Anyone can do it!
- You're expendable in every sense of the word. Freedom isn't free and you're the currency that pays for it!
- Your Commissar might execute you to make your friends fight harder. You deserved it.
- Your Commissar might execute your friends to make you fight harder. They deserved it.
- Unless you're in a special forces division like the Kasrkin, you're really just a meatshield in large scale assaults. A glorious, spiffy looking meatshield!
- "See how great this is? Your very own laser gun!"
- You can't even die when you want to. You don't want to be a quitter, do you?
- You might be: mutilated, disemboweled, eaten alive, chopped into meat chunks by a rusty slab of metal, disassembled into your component atoms, sacrificed to the Chaos Gods, left for dead, tortured for fun by xenos, mutants, heretics and zealots, stuffed with shurikens and lasers better than yours, or blasted by Railgun rounds. But you'll earn the eternal gratitude of the Emperor!
- You will be sent into hopeless situations and your superiors expect you to fight without retreating or showing cowardice. Just do it, no one likes a crybaby!
- You may be used as mine clearance. By being marched through the minefield. That's right boys, you can teach those dastardly mines who's boss by blowing them up!
- Even if after losing your entire regiment, watching your last-minute friends die horrendous deaths, and generally do the most gruesome work to win the day; the minute Space Marines come crashing down from the sky; They'll take all the credit for it, even if the Marines themselves attribute the win to you. They deserve it.
- Those same Space Marines might bomb you and the civilians you're trying to save into mulch because you're too weak to be worth rescuing. You deserve it, weakling.
- You will be taken from your home planet and dropped on the other side of the universe to fight in a war you didn't know existed. Think of the interesting people you'll meet, and then subsequently possibly kill!
- You will NEVER see your home planet again unless you are stationed there. In which case it is likely under siege by yet another one of the Imperium's foes, and will likely remain so for the remainder of your short life. Think of the interesting places you'll see, and then subsequently blow up!
- 5 Million of you dying under a four hour assault by orks, is considered a flawless victory by Segmentum Command (Then again that would likely be either a very large ork warband or a WAAAGH!, so GOOD JOB!). Better than 5 million and one, am I right?
- If you fight along side Grey Knights, you will be *BLAMMED*, or mindfucked and lobotomized, after the battle in the interest of secrecy. Grey Knights don't exist, that's silly.
- Hell, just fighting Chaos has a slight chance of you getting disposed off after the battle because the Inquisitor investigating your regiment thinks that you may be a slight, bit, tad tainted. You wouldn't want to spread that taint would you?
- Even when your army are the only ones that still uses combined arms warfare, your army still sucks, since it's routinely losing entire brigades (complete with Armor vehicles and aircraft) to any single bog-standard Space Marine and/or xeno mook. But not you! Your buddies and you can definitely take 'em!
- God forbid you dare complain. Fucking Commissars. Morale must be maintained!
- ""The meaning of victory is not to merely defeat your enemy but to destroy him, to completely eradicate him from living memory, to leave no remnant of his endeavours, to crush his achievement and remove all record of his very existence. From that defeat there is no recovery. That is the meaning of victory." - Lord Solar Macharius
- "The enemies of mankind may employ dark sciences or alien weapons beyond Humanity's ken, but such deviance comes to naught in the face of honest human intolerance backed by a sufficient number of guns."
-DRIVE ME CLOSER! I want to hit them with my sword! (originally a meme that started from a picture of a Commissar standing up in a tank hatch brandishing his sword, the phrase became so popular it is one of Commissar Lord Bernn's in campaign/skirmish/multiplayer lines when he gets in a Chimera in Dawn of War II, Retribution)
- "When in doubt, throw more men at it."
- "Look at me. Look at me! This is home now, Trooper! This is the zone! It doesn't like you, but by the Throne, it's where you are! The Emperor wants you, boy! Did no one ever tell you that? The Emperor wants you to make his glory for him! And if you're scared, I'm terrified. The archenemy is no playmate. You're going to see things, and be expected to do things your poor mother would have a fit at. But the Emperor expects, and the Emperor protects, all of us, even you. Especially you - I promise you that." - Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt
- "That which I cannot crush with words alone, I shall crush with the tanks of the Imperial Guard!"
- "You're a fearsome warrior! Act like it!" - General Castor
- "Yes, you shall die when assaulting a well maintained fortress under a competent commander. But at least strive to make your death useful." (Paraphrased)
- "To each of us falls a task, and all the Emperor requires of us Guardsmen is that we stand the line, and we die fighting. It is what we do best: We die standing." - General Sturnn, Dawn of War: Winter Assault
- "All right men! TIME TO WAGE TO WAR!" - Sturnn
- "Remember, we have more numbers men!" - sergeant in skirmish/multiplayer line from Dawn of War II Retribution
- "Let's see them fight ALL of us!" Guardsman, Dawn of War: Soulstorm
- "We did so that others may live" - Unkown Brimlock Dragoon
- "Infantry wins firefights, tanks win battles, artillery wins wars." - Tactica Imperialis
- "A Guardsman's LIFE is to die. My job has always been to send them where they CAN die. I'm not afraid to spend men, but I never waste them!" - General Castor
- "Your foe is well equipped, well-trained, battle-hardened. He believes his gods are on his side. Let him believe what he will. We have the tanks on ours." - Colonel Joachim Pfeiff, Krieg 14th Armoured Regiment
- "We'd offer a pension if we thought you needed it..." - Unknown Recruiting Officer.
- "When in mortal danger, when beset by doubt, run in little circles, wave your hands and shout." - Parody of the Litany of Command. (More popular then you think)
- "LET ME PREACH HIS NAME!" - Priest
- "A good general does not lead an army to destruction just because he knows it will follow." - The Tactica Imperialis
- "If at first you don't succeed, bring heavier firepower!"
- "THERE WILL BE NO COWARDICE IN THE EMPEROR'S SERVICE, GUARDSMAN!"- Unknown Inquisitors
- "They just keep coming!" Heretic Stevos, counting troop ships.
- "GO GO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- "Did I give you permission to get shot soldier? Then don't let those heretics shoot you!"
- "Tanks! Where are the bloody tanks!?"
- "Remember your training and you will make it back alive" - Unknown deceased Guardsman
A Piece of Writing That Explains the Imperial Guard
At the end of the day, though he's been ferried through hell on a ship that's ten thousand years old to some godforsaken, war-torn rock; though he deployed from high orbit with nothing but a grav chute; though he is one of ten million men and women snatched from his homeworld to fight a war he barely understands; though he has been given a weapon that fires small suns and may annihilate him as he fires because the knowledge of how it functions has been lost; though his company is supported by tractor-tanks that run on anything you can burn; though he wages war against a devouring hivemind, ravenous demons and hordes of hyper-advanced aliens with strange technologies and sorceries he never dreamed existed; no one will remember his sacrifice, there will be no records of his deeds, no glorious parades in his honor, and no remembrance of his name. All he will earn is a shallow, unmarked grave on a forgotten world untold lightyears from home.
Yet for all this thankless sacrifice a Guardsman is a man, just like you. He has no millennia-old genetic engineering, no prophetic leader, no miracles of faith. He has his lasgun, his orders, and those beside him. He is an Imperial Guardsman.
The Imperial Guard's Anthems
For more Imperial anthems, consult your Uplifting Primer. While the Ecclesiarchy and several, if not all, Chapters of Space Marines look down upon the frivolities of music (unless said music is sung in somberly in High Gothic and praises the Emperor) as distracting to any soldier in carrying out his Divine Duty, the Imperial Guard still makes heavy use of marching themes and anthems. Examples are given below:
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AwIWi6r0p4 - A well known march of the Imperial Guard known galaxy wide, it was first used by the Imperial Army during the Great Crusade. Its origins are thought to be much older, and it is rumored to have originated in the 2nd millennium.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmX1NlxYt_k - Imperial Guard in a nutshell
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0bcRCCg01I - Baleeted no longer
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWBoMWZJkeI - (none of that faggy 'mercan shite)(It's pronounced 'Murican)
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxapTnODhCs - A marching song that most Training worlds use to this day.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJNz2QgSNsk - Standard cadence song sung by veteran units.
- https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=n7hHlh2IusY - Commonly sung by Trench and siege regiments, thought to be about an ancient civil war
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XCNshTP3ig - Sung at the Funeral of Fallen Death Korps soldiers.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjvKZHJeayg - Rumored to be used by Praetorian Guard Regiments.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRIAw6LkqlE - Again, a rumored anthem.
- https://youtu.be/4p4XfQeuXZk - This is sung by extremely hardcore and grim regiments, is rumored to have originated from Krieg.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gS1lBID2Mtw - Popular parade piece for the Phantine Air Corps
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4n_QBxBs0QQ - Sung at the funerals of the nameless heroes
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCGB81DBzOc - Rumored to be used by the Men of Tanith
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9Tye_bzl9U - Sung by many of the Imperial armored regiments
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91kdwxFsthI - National Anthem of the Valhallan Ice Warriors
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZujhoHZBsg - National Anthem of the Death Korps of Krieg
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9fSEdZIM08 - March of the Death Korps of Krieg
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIVSpY8xY9I - March of the Praetorian Lifeguard (This video is unavailable.)
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1Qkzj5bStU - sang by Cadian Regiments, also popular with Imperial Navy Pilots
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5W1NCmV_OM - Planetary Anthem of Cadia
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NWEmnRbkRw - Regimental march of the Kronus 1st "Liberators"
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2G5rfPISIwo - Heard being sung by Praetorian Hussars returning from deployment in the Crimean sector
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yo6KdeCvESw - Sung by the guardsmen of the Armageddon Steel Legion
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXH3QJrx98U - Another favorite of the Steel Legion
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUQCmDfKFac - Often sung by Veteran Guardsmen of Cadia during planetary deployment between outbreaks of combat.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWgsdexkv18 - Elysian Drop Troops are sometimes required to memorize the lyrics as part of their training.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzTisgf8p8E - The Elysians also love singing that while they are maintaining their FAMAS Accatran Lasgun
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26cr_rBQu74&list=UUlvMzsGbi7LACFNRPTLhJjw&index=10 - A traditional folk/drinking song of the Vostroyan Light Armor and Mounted regiments.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLV4_xaYynY - Traditional Catachan folk song. Catachan Guardsmen are sometimes heard either humming, warbling or whistling this song while on Guard duty.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V92OBNsQgxU - This is song is inevitably played over loudspeakers whenever there are two or more Valkyries entering the battlefield.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVcD1gW-cQE - This song begun to resurface throughout Valhallan Armored Regiments after a few joint missions with Knight Commander Pask's Cadian 423rd Armoured Regiment.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAOOhfQI13s - another anthem for Cadian Shock Troops.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1uGm_dIqBI - Quite popular among Vostroyan artillery regiments.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZpbCLdg-r8 - Heard from a regiment of Storm Troopers surfacing from an extensive period hiding behind enemy lines on an Ork-controlled world.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnaF4_LTovk - A list of Commonly sung Krieg songs.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uTnl78HLDQ- Common song by the Elysian drop troops commemorating famous battles.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eji8eWwOu3g- Sung by many Kreig units that found themselves in city warfare.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLTpKs2ylP4- A common tune by Valhallan snipers between warzones.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrJAwCBbnuc- Often sung by storm troopers during risky and/or frontal assaults on enemy forward positions or leading massive charges.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNv-uAUqr9k - Played after a particularly heavy victory, one where the casualties mount to more than 90%
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkxHiQO6vjw - Popular piece played by Elysians,Phantines and Harakoni on any available vox systems while commencing an orbit or air-borne mass scale invasion, specifically on enemy fortresses and the like during limited orbital bombardments.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKT7qxk9-pw - A campfire song often heard from Drookian Fen Guard encampments.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7J__ZdvsZaE - Commonly sung by Valhallan Armoured Regiments as they drive into battle.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkrTf729Gzk - A fight song of various Cadian regiments heard while on long marches, or before an offensive push.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L740ESYghT0&index=40 - A song of Armoured Regiments of the Armageddon Steel Legion.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JKar_hChU4 - Another Krieg March song.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ift85e38H3M - Schola Progenium's unofficial anthem.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_AXybK015o- The Anthem of the Krieg Armoured Regiments.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umzRoqtWvrA- Sometimes heard while the Drookian Fen Guard are on the march.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YsMCqgZPKE- Heard when the Drookian Fen Guard are in battle.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhqWHIq-aZw- Undisputed Anthem of the Imperial Guard.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6MgTQ-56P0- Ballad of the Imperial Guardsman
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRhg2zvalXc- A favoured marching hymn of particularly devout Guardsmen Regiments.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=je6tcrVEzW8 - A traditional song used by Imperial Guard regiments of all types raised from the Nippon Sector of the Ultima Segmentum.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLBy2IZVgKI - An ancient march used by Imperial Guard regiments across the galaxy, and rumored to date back to ancient times.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6K6-JomneA - A popular theme originally used for propaganda pieces, but since adapted for victory marches.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjIVkl34Vig - A litany often sung by Kasrkins and various veterans of campaigns against the forces of Chaos, said to greatly aid in the banishment of daemons and other forces of the Arch Enemy.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLtNE6MMGR4&t=0m9s - This piece first resurfaced during the Siege of Terra, and has since become a staple march for the Imperial Guard, especially in Cadia.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iOJ99eb-j8 - This piece is usually played when Vostroyans are on the march.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7VLTqGCOC8&t=0m8s - This ancient piece initially resurfaced in a loyalist propaganda video during the Horus Heresy, and has become a standard march among the Mordian Iron Guard.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AB0k4Itneg - March of the Maccabian Janissaries. Or you know, the original one, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ulg1ahV552g or if you are interested in some visuals https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZr1ibaFE_4
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PxlJLUqFzY - Valhallan Ice Warriors, especially those under Commander Kubrik Chenkov, march to this tune.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6EIv9GULJU - Initially intended as a titan legions' march, this intimidating piece quickly spread to the few baneblade companies still active, and was then expanded into the appropriately named litany of war that the entire army, from the general down, is supposed to chant prior to making contact with the enemy. Only the most badass forces of the Imperial Guard know of its existence.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBa5tf4BZ10 - Lord General Castor personally commissioned this music so that he and his men sound more glorious than other guard armies marching to war.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNv1ImIa1-4 - This is often played in recruitment ads alongside an imperial guard training montage.(seriously though, try exercising to the sound of this; the running to war and urging to never stop gave me so much gains and confidence that I seduced an elda- I mean, assert human Dominance over inferior xenos!)
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRmES6IJk_o - A song sometimes sang by PDF Regiments, preferably when a Commissar is absent.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXSk-WVLS2A - This piece is often used to signify the both the domineering, incalculable might of the Imperial Guard, as well as to mark planetfall.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geB2bIV9_v4 - At the gates of Cadia
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FW310pS8aNY - This march is favored by more oriental-themed guard regiments. Anyone who mentions to them that it sounds like the music of Blueberries are reminded that humanity invented oriental music first, that the Tau have committed massive copyright infringement and owe the Imperium trillions in royalties, and are then executed.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3KlpFBIb00 - This piece is often played in imperial triumphs and victory marches. Those seem to be happening less and less these days.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeNrhMix2Sw - A Popular music piece among the Harakoni Warhawks and Elysian Drop Troops, usually played on Vultures,valkryies' and other rapid insertion/deployment or Attack aircraft on the eve of a shock-and-awe offensive. Also (although originating from Harakoni-adjacent cadets)used from time to time by Imperial Navy.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yeyDfVjq6sw&t=12s - A Vostroyan ditty that has since become popular among cavalry regiments.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMDPwBikzps - Musical piece last heard and recorded by the orbital satellites around Cadia before the eye of terror completely devoured it. Apparently found playing from numerous vox casters around the fortress cities while the 8th made their last stand. Now an unofficial anthem of vengeance by Surviving Cadian regiments
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrNUnUMSQk4 - Vostroyan parade march.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G136GODWKhc - An immensely popular Vostroyan campaign march, also used as a litany of battle against heretics and chaos, and a variant was created for victory parades https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWBh8Q_VOHM
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BhGWO01pIs - ancient anthem that came from the Death Korps of Krieg, of all places; they don't sing it anymore
There is a disturbing lack of hell march in this list. Whoever is responsible report to your local commissar and prepare for summary blamming.
Problem with that: It's Hell March. The local Commissar wants to see you. Nothing wrong with "Hell" march, if it was "Warp" March or "Heretic" March, there'd be a problem. As it goes, does the imperial guard nor deliver the Emperor's judgement upon the Traitor, Mutant and Heretic? Their wrath(Firepower) can rightly be described as "Hell" should it be directed at you.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HUWUtTZvK4 - music piece made popular by Vostroyan and Valhallan regiments when launching all out assaults (persistent rumours that the Death Korps and Cadians have adapted the piece continue to be denied by respective parties)
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUOPvtVZwo8 - Originally used by the Frateris Templar, the song was forgotten until it's resurgence to Cadia's defenders during the 13th Black Crusade.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nFKPVfDrgU - Cadian version of popular Vostroyan/ Valhallan music piece played when launching all out assaults on enemy bases.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHICh8PoDu8 - A traditional Catachan folk song, notably sung by bands of Jungle Fighters during particularly intense firefights, and reportedly based off of an older Catachan folktale.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRhg2zvalXc - A song often sung by Guard regiments holding out against overwhelming enemy forces to maintain moral as they Hold The Line, said to have been blasted from every available vox unit and speaker during the final days of Cadia.
- https://youtu.be/hrG0AwUJQDQ A common marching theme for the Arkhan Confederates, said to date back to late M1
Notable Imperial Guard Forces
Because GW was too lazy to create an original themed Imperial Guard army, they basically used RL armies as a base for them, gave them a little touch of grimdark, assorted amounts of tempered ceramite balls and placed them... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE!
- Cadian Shock Troops: (now homeless) Generic occidental army/Colonial Marine clones... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! FOR IMPERIUM AND EMPEROR! CADIA WILL BE AVENGED!
- Catachan Jungle Fighters: Vietnam War Americans (and Australians) ... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! GOOD MORNING CATACHAN!
- Tallarn Desert Raiders: Lawrence of Arabia's Raiders (or Mujihadeen)... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! !الإمبراطور أكبر
- Armageddon Steel Legion: Wehrmacht mechanized divisions... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! FÜR DEN IMPERATOR, FEUER FREI!
- Valhallan Ice Warriors: World War II Red Army... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! ЗА РОДИНУ! ЗА ИМПЕРАТОРА! НИ ШАГУ НАЗАД!
- Mordian Iron Guard: Napoleonic Prussians (spiffing blue uniforms, iron hard discipline and ranked fire)... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! GOTT KAISER MIT UNS!
- Death Korps of Krieg: WWI's Western Front (both sides)... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! Now that we're in space, imagine what the Clone Army in Star Wars might be if Lucas liked grimdark as much as he liked CGI and revising the original trilogy.
- Vostroyan Firstborn: Cossacks... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! YOU WILL NOT MAKE SUBJECTS OF IMPERIAL SONS, FUCK YOUR MOTHER!
- Elysian Drop Troops: French paratroopers... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! QUI OSE GAGNE! POUR L'EMPEREUR! (Taros Campaign=Dien Bien Phu or Operation Market Garden)
- Harakoni Warhawks: American paratroopers... IIIIIINNNN SPACE! GREEN LIGHT!!! LET'S GO!
- Tanith First (And Only): Scots and Welsh... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! OFNI FI, OND DDILYNWCH!
- Attilan Rough Riders:
MongolsHuns... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! (Yes, again.)
- Savlar Chem Dogs: Post-apocalyptic raiders (and a bit of the Vietnam War tunnel rats )... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! They rule Bartertown, get out of here guardsman.
- Drookian Fen Guard: Anglo-Scottish border reivers... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! A GOT NAE PANTS ON UNDER MA KILT SO A KIN DRAPE MA BALLS ON YER FACE YE WHILE YE CHOKE ON YER OWN BLOOD, YE NINNY LITTLE WANKER!!
- Praetorian Guard: Victorian British Army... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! PRAETORIANS NEVER YIELD! (Ever seen the movie Zulu? Like that, but against Orks.)
- Kanak Skull Takers: Cavemen (with some Apache)... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! ME TARZAN, YOU DEAD!!
- Phantine Air Corps: Battle of Britain RAF... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! FLIP OVER ON HIS BETTY HARPER AND CATCH HIS CAN IN THE VERTI!!
- Phantine Skyborne: British SAS... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! Who dares, wins.
- Scintillan Fusiliers: 18th century French aristocrats... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! QU'ILS MANGENT DU GÂTEAU!! Likely doomed if their Commissars get an STC for a portable guillotine.
- Maccabian Janissaries: Ottoman Empire's Elite Corps... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! Nobody cared who they were until they put on the masks.
With such a large and diverse collection of units in the Imperial Guard that puts even the Space Marine armies to shame, you'd think that you'd have plenty of options for fielding an army, right? Well, I've got some bad news for you: Realistically, you can only field Cadians and Catachans in large numbers, as well as the Death Korps and Elysians if you're willing to pay Forge World prices. As for everyone else? Either discontinued, or frequently out of stock, and most of them are still in pewter, so good luck trying to get custom loadouts. Yes, some units like the Attilans or Harakoni may seem too out there to have broad appeal, but you'd think at least the Steel Legion would get more support, what with their intimate involvement in Armageddon, one of 7th Edition's Warzone settings (or it could be a scam to make yo pay FW prices as their models look pretty similar to death korps). Luckily, there are some people out there who have got you covered.
Imperial Guard forces featured in Black Library novels
The writers from Black Library have also created some armies for Black Library novels, and while some of them only appear in one novel or short story they may be worth mentioned as a great source of custom Imperial Guard armies:
- Arkhan Confederates, Civil War American Regiments... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! Featured in the extremely grimdark novel Fire Caste, their name seems to be a reference both to the state of Arkansas and H.P. Lovecraft's haunted city of Arkham (also their homeplanet is Providence, so yeah), they just came out of a civil war between loyalists and rebels, with their average troopers getting the slang of "greybacks", their culture is akin to America's 19th century with a bit of northern barbarian for some measure, while the Adeptus Mechanicus have enforced Mars dogma Arkhan nobles still have a tendency to tweak and build their own machines as a form of Omnissiah worship, which have resulted in jumpack sentinels and the Zouaves clockwork power-armoured elite soldiers, which are capable to stand their ground against Tau battlesuits (progress!), also their psykers usually come with a northern tribesman guardian who is tasked to chop the psyker's head in case it gets perils of the warp.
Here are some of the regiments spawned by /tg/.
- Cendran Abolishers Pyromaniacs who eat the burnt flesh of their enemies.
- Darmine Marshalls Elite sharpshooters supported by huge amounts of explosive collar-fitted penal troopers.
- Onóir_First_and_Foremost Heavy troopers who use an unholy amount of Valkyries and flamethrowers
- Ferdain Mustangs Cavalry regiment that use genetically tailored horses that are practically heavy armour.
- Sauristoni Ghostchasers Renowned scouts and trackers who are experts on Eldar.
- 1st Membranes A regiment made almost entirely of psykers from a black ship that crashed on a forge world.
- Arianius Divided Regiments Regiments are segregated along gender lines. Men are slicey women are shooty.
- Kandamii Crabhunters A regiment made up of Augmented soldiers who specialize in Oceanic and Aerial warfare.
- Terran Knights Elite regiments recruited exclusively from Terra. As a result they have some of the best equipment in the Imperium.
- 2478th Penal Legion, "Hell Harlots" All-female penal legion close combat drop troops made up entirely of the same religious prison gang.
- Generian 99th Medium Infantry The original regiment of the All Guardsmen Party spawning some of the most dangerous, heretical, yet pragmatic acolytes in the entire inquisition.
- Hua Yuan Exterminators Tyranid hunters and Hive warfare Specialists that use unique 'Color And Mayhem' tactics to disorient and daze in the cramped not!Honk Kong they're from. By far the most fleshed out /tg/ regiment to date.
- Franchfarran Legion: One of the stupidest ideas to come out of thinking about 40k. Beats the Benveadig Militia though...
- The Varkhese Legionnaires: Heroes of the Siege of Varkhat and the infamous mechanised force used by the Mechanicus in it's recent terraforming endevours.
- Argo Brigade: Regiment of brutally effective counterinsurgency operators who really, really enjoy crucifying dissidents, dissident sympathizers, and xenosupside down and/or sideways.
- The Karthak Raiders: Purple-clad Cadians with names like Kinmar, Kinfey and Kinross. There's a short story about them coming soon.
- Leman Russ Battle Tank
- Tactics/Imperial Guard
- Only War - The official Tabletop RPG of the Guard!
-  - The Imperial Guard before they became the Astra Militarum of today, The awesome looking SOLAR AUXILIA! Thank the Emperor for Forge World.
- Regulations of the Imperial Guard Things The Imperial Guard Is No Longer Allowed To Do.
What the Jokaero should have been.
|This article contains PROMOTIONS! Don't say we didn't warn you.|
|Playable Factions in Warhammer 40,000|
|Imperium:||Adeptus Custodes - Adeptus Mechanicus - Imperial Guard - Imperial Knights - Space Marines|
|Officio Assassinorum - Inquisition - Deathwatch - Grey Knights - Sisters of Battle|
|Sisters of Silence - Squats - Militarum Tempestus|
|Chaos:||Chaos Daemons - Chaos Space Marines - Lost and the Damned - Renegade Knights|
|Xenos:||Dark Eldar - Eldar - Eldar Corsairs - Harlequins - Ynnari|
|Genestealer Cults - Tyranids|
|Necrons - Orks - Tau|