Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer
The Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer is the standard book carried by ALL Imperial Guardsmen. The book, like the steel balls, is standard issue to all recruits. Failure to present it upon request may result in getting shot. There is even a page with a small white square on it, and if said square is in any way defiled or marked then the owner would be immediately and thoroughly executed. Good luck trying to actually own a real life copy, it is more expensive than a Leman Russ, just for a used copy. Although, you could get lucky and find The Imperial Infantryman's Handbook for almost half that price at Barnes and Noble - it includes the Imperial Munitorum Manual as well as the Uplifting Primer in a single book. It also has a nifty little section of pink pages in the back titled The Benedictions of the Emperor, Inspiration Source and Uplifting Creeds for all Infantryman.
This Book basically tells the infantryman that his weapons are the best in the universe and WILL kill most things with ONE shot (possible but unlikely). It also tells such helpful things like Eldar Shurikens being unable to penetrate Flak armor (total lie and hilarious considering nearly just about any kind of weapon can penetrate flak armor, excepting stubber apparently, which at and below rifle caliber ping off like rain from all parts, so you can pretend you're a space marine), Orks being small and stupid (bigger lie, at least at the small part and much to the Imperial Guard's dismay there are highly intelligent Orks too), the Tau are herbivorous animals that are scared by loud noises and possibly incapable of mathematics and science (wait until the reader sees the sheer amount of loud dakka the Tau possess) or most hilariously, Genestealers being slow, sluggish, and having blunt-tipped claws (sic). To which every Terminator marine in the galaxy either promptly laughed his ass off or suffered a rage aneurysm from the sheer stupidity of that statement.
For an experienced Guard veteran, the only comfort that the primer provides is in cleaning up after a visit to the restroom and MSTing when the Commissar isn't around. (Seriously, it's canon according to the "15 Hours" novel.)
Although it could be argued that is the whole purpose of the primer. Freedom of print is relatively spotty in the God-Emperor's realm but all the stuff about how Xenos are puny and weak could be just to keep the inevitable civilian reader from crapping himself in fear. If people believe soldiering is glorious they will be eager to join up but if most people knew the truth about the Imperium's enemies they'd never join. Few regiments of the IG are without a veteran cadre that would be quick to explain to the FNGs (Frakking New Guys) that Orks are actually quite clever and agile plus larger than humans, Eldar shurikens will reduce you to lunch meat regardless of your flak vest, genestealers will get all up in your grill and rip you apart before you can blink and that whilst theoretically a Lasgun can kill anything in the galaxy in one shot, it's better to be thorough and shoot it a few dozen more times with the rest of the squad joining in the fun. As such, the Primer is there to encourage people to join and boost their morale. In the Imperium's eyes, they only need to last until they get attacked by the enemy. The "weak" get culled and the "strong" survive.
There's also this one page that has a blank square and the caption "KEEP THIS SPACE CLEAR. DO NOT DEFACE. ON PAIN OF DEATH." Every single book, sans
misprints forgeries, has a smudge inside the square.
Table of Contents
- Principles and Regulations. The rules are very stacked against the lowly trooper. "WRONGS TO SOLDIER, REDRESS OF: Any soldier who thinks himself wronged by an officer and who tries to incite proceedings against them will be punished by a flogging from the officer in question, in front of the rest of the platoon. Officers are to be obeyed at all times, without question or reservation." (While this sounds stupendously harsh, remember the scale of the IG as a whole. Enforcing mindless obedience and severely limiting individual initiative to superiors is the only way to keep a modicum of control for said superiors.)
- Issued Arms, Attire, Apparatus and Equipment. The instructions on how to use this stuff is useful.
- Imperial Guard Organization, Structure, Basic Battlefield Policy. This section is actually quite useful for understanding the logistics behind any IG operation.
- Imperial Guard Armour and Tank Recognition, Affiliated and Enemy Variants. It's good to be able to recognize friendly tanks from enemies, but the abilities of enemy vehicles are severely understated.
- Know Your Foe. This section is where almost all the memetic stuff comes from. See the "severely understated" line above, then multiply by about 27.
- Elementary Battlefield Medical Instruction. The writer really did their research here. There is also a gratuitous section reminding the trooper that any sign of cowardice (in a medical context it's likely referring to PTSD or Shell Shock) is to be reported to a Commissar at once so the usual treatment can be administered. Whether *BLAMMING* or simple notice for the Commissar to pull the soldier out of the line for some basic therapy and R&R is up to the reader/Commissar in question.
Actual Contents of Value
Despite much of the above (and a lot of what the above lists is not exaggeration), the Primer actually has a great deal of genuinely useful information in it. Included useful segments include:
- How to take care of your weapon and equipment. Sure, it's only a flashlight, but it still beats trying to go at basically anything that can come up in front (or behind) of the Guard hand-to-hand with a knife.
- The "First Aid" section. Sure, a direct hit from most weapons in 40k will kill a Guardsman outright or make him wish he was dead. Nevertheless, ensuring every grunt knows the basics of how to bind a wound or move a casualty without harming him further gives those that are still alive better chances to
survivedie gloriously for the God-Emperor of Mankind in another engagement.
- Numerous prayers and hymnals to the God-Emperor of Mankind, and how to placate your gear's Machine Spirit.
- Not Included: The Litany of Stealth (which is an inside joke.)
- Numerous bits of insight on tactics, weapon analysis, and how to keep oneself sane in a given war. Included are segments from the Tactica Imperium, information on how to set frag grenades as booby-traps, how to operate, maintain, and modify lasguns, and numerous bits of information explaining why it's so important that the Imperium of Man send millions to die all across the Segmentum Solar (tactical importance of the current campaign in terms that the grunts can understand, so they fight with more clarity of purpose).
- Believe it or not, the Primer does give a nifty example about positioning like taking cover and planning an ambush; granted while the thought of ambushing a group of Eldar and using a a pile of masonry/scenery to protect yourself from anything heavier than Autogun fire is both dubious and questionable at best, it does poke holes in the rather retarded notion that the Guard are a bunch of brainless lemmings who run into death without a second thought.
- Why the Commissar is there to help you and not simply execute your ass to be a dick (mileage may vary).
- Helpful suggestions on how to impress the aforementioned Commissar with suicidally-brave acts of heroism.
- Crazy as some of the punishments sound, others are pretty valid and about what you'd see in a real-world military out on the field.
- Guardsmen are explicitly forbidden, on penalty of death, to do any looting, murdering, arsoning, or general dickery when dealing with human insurrections. Like speed limits it's probably not always followed, but it gives a nice debunking to the idea of the Guard gunning down the whole population of a planet the second a few of them get angry and leave the Imperium.
- How to procure food and water in a survival situation.
- Why the ruinous powers are bad, how to recognize when someone is under their sway... FOR OFFICERS EYES ONLY. ARE YOU AN OFFICER? NO!? *BLAM!* and why you should put your faith in the Emprah.
- Correct ways to conduct fieldcraft and trench warfare.
- The proper use on how to take cover and use said cover in a fight. (*GASP* THEY USE COVER!?)
- Information on demolition and sabotage tactics.
- Why the dreaded space communists are bad and eat babies, even though the eating babies is a lie HERESY!*BLAM*
- Why the Eldar are untrustworthy fucks, though the Imperium is no better HERETICS LIKE YOURSELF ARE NOT WORTHY OF THE TRUTH! *BLAM!*.
- Why leading by example is important (I.E. how to grow the Guardsman standard-issue stainless steel balls. It's a lot like a Chia-pet.)
- Jokes and mocking of the enemy. (The infamous "Litany of Stealth".)
- Why humanity is the rightful heir to the universe, and thus how purging xenos and heretics is doing the Emperor's work.
- A death notice to be filled out by the trooper's commander and/or Commissar, to speed up informing the next of kin to the trooper's inevitable and almost certainly horrible demise.
- Grimdark as the whole thing is, once you get past the rules and numerous punishable-by-death infractions, it's a surprisingly hopeful book, with reminders that soldier can attain glory, respect, and above all, the Emperor's favor. When up to your knees in cockney roid-raging Shreks and zerg-rushing lizard aliens eating your friends, it's nice to be reminded that you're fighting for your family, your Emperor, and your people, and that you can weather the storm. You probably won't, but you can.
- The Regimental Standard. A spiritual successor of sorts to the Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer from Games-Workshop that's updated weekly and free-to-read (because it's also product placement for Warhammer 40k products), that presents itself as an in-universe weekly magazine for the front trooper, not unlike military newspapers like the US-American The Stars and Stripes. Still funny enough on its own merits to be worth reading anyway. (Like, for example, an entire unit of artillery crew getting drugged up, strapping bayonets to their Basilisks and charging some Orks.) The main comedic value stems from the holes it indirectly pokes into the whole ludicrous grimdarkness of the 40k universe, a lot of dark humour and how GW pokes fun at itself, thanks to the new management.
- Quite wonderful. Absolute first thing I saw was "How to Eat Your Boots!"
...to the parts that are of better use as bog roll. (Except for that last sentence, that's actually a good idea if you ever get there). Not that this is unhelpful mind, just that it's more worthless than a screen door on a submarine against orks. (Also, real life bayonet instructions pretty much always say that you should aim for the stomach, not the throat or chest. But then again real life bayonet drill does not take into account aliens built like angry barrels who just won't die).