"I don't care how many there are, FIGHT!"
Stormtroopers (Sturmtruppen) were specialist close assault raiders in the German army during World War I. It is also the English name of the Sturmabteilung, the notorious paramilitary arm of the Nazi party. Their Nazi notoriety, Imperial German connotations, plus a cool name that's historical and thus freely usable, means they show up a lot as fictional specialist units. The association with the Nazis makes fictional units bearing this name more likely to be part of less than benevolent governments with the good guy factions usually calling them Shock Troopers or some variant thereof.
In Warhammer 40,000, Stormtroopers (officially called Tempestus Scions because copyright) are the elite of the Imperial Guard and the core of the Militarum Tempestus; they're the best general-combat infantry that the Imperial Guard can field, and are the toughest, best-equipped, and best-trained soldiers available to an Imperial commander that isn't a SPESS MEHREEN. While most of the Guard is armed with your typical angry flashlight and Flak Armor or Flak Vest, Stormtroopers normally pack Hotshot Lasguns, which fire much more penetrating shots that are capable of piercing most infantry armor with ease, and they are clad in Carapace Armor, which gives them substantially higher survivability on the battlefield.
In earlier editions of the game, they were favored as "Light Marines," since they had fairly similar performance to Space Marines but cost considerably less due to their weaker gear. As of 6th edition, they became a dedicated elite choice, with all the pros and cons that implies. Unless you use their own mini-codex, of course. Then they become troops. In 8th edition, they became Troops even if you didn't.
There is a key difference between true Stormtroopers and many different types of regimental proxies/wannabies, the former originate from Schola Progenium, the latter are simple top-notch regimental soldiers. There is also a line between Stormtroopers analogues and Grenadiers (or Heavy Infantry Regiments): Cadia for example fields Kasrkin, Armageddon fields Steel Legion Stormtroopers, Death Korps of Krieg field Grenadiers (all three of those are armed with hellguns instead of hotshots), but the Harakoni Warhawks are grenadiers by Guard classification, armed with humble lasguns and not expected to meet Stormtroopers standards despite being clad in Carapace Armor. The Inquisition also fields their own branch called the "Inquisitorial Stormtroopers" who form the Inquisition's main offensive force and are basically the 5% of Schola Progenium Stormtroopers deemed pure, faithful and overall good enough to help your average Inquisitor meet the horrors that are part of his job head-on. Regardless of their appearance or gear, they're all incredibly potent if used correctly.
Unfortunately, in terms of actual models, the only stormtroopers you can currently get (besides the Death Korps Grenadiers) are the Tempestus Scions. If you're lucky, GW may have some Kasrkin available for Made-to-Order, but only some of the time, and only in metal. If you want them in plastic, you'll have to resort to kitbashing Scions with conversion bits.
While this sounds all proper and awesome, the average Guardsman in the street can't stand them, referring to them as "glory boys" and resenting the fact that they're a good deal less likely to die, given that they're given better equipment than standard issue cardboard armor with a flashlight. The Kasrkin (and probably Death Korps Grenadiers, since dead men don't care for glory), who are revered and respected amongst Cadia, are a curious exception. This is likely due to the fact that, unlike most stormtroopers, who are raised and trained in the prestigious Schola Progenium, Kasrkin are all trained right on Cadia and experience the same hellish conditions as everyone else, so they also strongly believe that THIS WILL BE DA DAY UF GLOREE. More canonically, it is because Kasrkin have the same equipment as the grunt Guardsmen they serve with except they have a hellgun - and yet in spite of the shitty everything else, they're WAY more badass than the stormtroopers. That is why they are inspiring to the average Guardsmen: Kasrkin show them what normal humans can really do, even the Imperial Guard.
Notable Stormtrooper Regiments
- 9th Ioatan Gorgonnes: The 9th Ioatan Gorgonnes come from the Schola Progenium facility on Vedill I, the same facility that feeds recruits to the Order of the Glowing Chalice. Though they part ways upon finishing their training, they are always reunited on the battlefield. As a result, the 9th Ioatan Gorgonnes are often seen doing missions on behalf of the Ecclesiarchy.
- 22nd Thetoid Gryphonnes: The 22nd Thetoid Gryphonnes are all orphans from the world of Tallix, which has higher than normal gravity. This gives them stronger leg muscles than normal and allows them to perform rapid assaults on any terrain, even with heavy gear. They've also modified their Taurox Primes to sacrifice armor for additional speed.
- 32nd Thetoid Eagles: The 32nd Thetoid Eagles were known for their secretive nature and brutality in battle, with concerns growing among Segmentum command over their ability to follow orders. When the regiment was deployed to the Xinon System to put down an Alpha Legion cultist uprising, the regiment's command structure and Commissar were killed by a war machine hiding in lava. After securing a drop zone for the 32nd Elysian Drop Troops as originally ordered, the regiment went berserk and put down uprising after uprising. When the Elysians tried to debrief the 32nd Thetoid Eagles, they found that the entire regiment had vanished.
- 33rd Deltic Phoenixes: The 33rd Deltic Phoenixes were formed from children orphaned by Dark Eldar raids on the planet Kaldamor. Despite having their memories wiped, the regiment displays a greater zeal and kill rate against Dark Eldar. The Kabal of the Emerald Talon has vowed revenge against the regiment after being defeated by them on the world of Erendix.
- 34th Betic Centaurs: The 34th Betic Centaurs are based on the volcanic Death World of Makron V, which is often raided by Chaos forces. These raids help produce some of the hardiest and most battle-hardened stormtroopers in the Imperium, as they provide a perfect training opportunity for the Schola Progenium.
- 34th Psian Vipers: The 34th Psian Vipers are known for their tenacity, even by Ordo Tempestus standards. When the regiment was deployed against awakening Necrons on the Agri-World of Murunda II, they got trapped underground when the main entrances collapsed. They didn't consider their escape options until they had destroyed every Necron on the world after several weeks of nonstop fighting.
- 43rd Iotan Dragons: The stormtroopers of the 43rd Iotan Dragons train within simulated darkened labyrinths that give them the ability to fight totally blind. This has made them successful against numerous stealthy enemies, especially Tyranid organisms.
- 50th Kappic Eagles: Despite barely numbering a single company, the 50th Kappic Eagles have become renowned for their bravery and fearlessness in the face of overwhelming odds under the command of Tempestor Prime Salem Whitlock. Whitlock always insists on leading from the front, and his bravery inspires his men to victory after victory.
- 54th Psian Jackals: After Hive Fleet Leviathan ate their original homeworld, the 54th Psian Jackals set up shop on the Maiden World of Mayloc. The Eldar didn't take too kindly to this, and have attacked them multiple times to retake their land. These attacks have turned the 54th Psian Jackals into the best of the best within the Ordo Tempestus for tracking and countering Eldar incursions, and they have been deployed to deal with Eldar from various Craftworlds. They also like to paint skulls on their helmets and other images across their armour to intimidate their enemies.
- 55th Alphic Hydras: Among the most respected of Stormtrooper regiments, and bros with the Ultramarines. In fact, they're so close with the Ultramarines that they've been given extra training grounds across the Ultramar sub-sector. It's even been rumored that the regiment sends its best and youngest Stormtroopers to be initiated into the chapter. The 55th Alphic Hydras first gained recognition after being deployed alongside the Ultramarines 2nd Company and single-handily purging the Agri-World Masali of Orks. The Chaplain assigned to the 2nd Company quickly realized the regiment's value, and they have been deploying alongside the Ultramarines at their request ever since.
- 55th Kappic Eagles: The posterboy Stormtrooper regiment seen on all the box art. They pretty much have no personality beyond being really good at their jobs.
- 62nd Rhoin Cobras: Have a diehard hatred of all forms of foul sorcery. They once had to protect their former Schola Progenium facility on the Jungle World of Skell II from the Thousand Sons. Despite losing half the regiment, the Stormtroopers were successful in saving their former home.
- 68th Deltic Lions: The Stormtroopers of this regiment are known for being extremely hardy and resistant to disease, and they're often deployed to Zone Mortalis battlefields and alongside the Ordo Malleus to fight the forces of Nurgle. Nurgle has taken quite the interest in this regiment, and seeks to test and investigate them with all sorts of Daemons.
- 86th Deltic Dragons: When the Imperium is forced to cooperate with the Tau to deal with an even greater xenos threat, it's the 86th Deltic Dragons that are sent in. The 86th Deltic Dragons often deploy alongside the similarly stoic and determined forces of Sept Kel'shan. The two forces have successfully defended two separate worlds from splinter fleets of Hive Fleet Gorgon, with the 86th Deltic Dragons getting in close to deal with the big targets and bolstering the Tau gunlines in close range firefights. The Ordo Tempestus watches the regiment closely, and forbids Tempestor Prime Prellus from communicating with Tau Commander Shas'O Shi'Y'he.
- 88th Alphic Lions: Bros to the end with the Blood Angels, and specialists in dealing with Warp-based entities.
- 101st Betic Dragons: The 101st Betic Dragons are renowned for their skill in airborne strike assaults. They used those skills to harry and drive some Helbrutes of the Crimson Slaughter into lava on a volcanic Death World, and gave the Destroyers chapter the boost they needed to defeat the Chaos Space Marines.
- 133rd Lambdan Lions: The Schola Progenium and training facilities of the 133rd Lambdan Lions are based on the two moons that orbit the Forge World of Mezoa. Ancient pacts between Mezoa and the Ordo Temepestus see the 133rd Lambdan Lions deployed on behalf of Mezoa's priesthood to recover lost technologies. In exchange, Mezoa augments the gear and vehicles of the regiment, and even teaches them basic Lingua-technis. Despite this, the regiment has little interaction with the Cult Mechanicus and only gives a shit about what their next orders are. Unlike most Stormtrooper regiments, the 133rd Lambdan Lions will engage in long expeditionary campaigns rather than quick strikes as part of their tech recovery missions. Depending on the situation they will also fight in the shadow of Skitarii Legions and the Adeptus Titanicus, although they usually just do the bidding of Mezoa with the approval of the Ordo Tempestus. Occasionally, the Adeptus Mechanicus will go behind the back of the Ordo Tempestus and issue orders without waiting for approval if Imperial bureaucracy really kicks in.
In Dawn of War
Kasrkin are available for the Imperial Guard starting in Winter Assault, and they're one of the better choices the Guard has. They suffer the same problem that almost every unit in Winter Assault has, however, in that they're redundant - they utterly replace Guardsmen by Tier 3 in that game, and in every game of WA that makes it that far, your sole mission objective from then on is to spam Kasrkin endlessly.
In the later games - Dark Crusade and Soulstorm - their numbers were hardcapped, ergo ensuring that you can only use one squad at a time. They were also added in as a main unit in the Inquisition Daemonhunt mod/Ultimate Apocalypse, and made hideously OP after Dark Crusade's infamous moving debuff, as their ridiculous rate of fire meant that, even with 15%, hit chance they were still going to get a decent DPS.
In Dawn of War 2
Stormtroopers are DoW 2's equivalent of DOW's Kasrkin, they appear in all games but only become widely playable during Retribution, where the Guard becomes a playable faction. You only fight alongside them in the original DoW 2 and you get to control two squads of them on one mission during Chaos Rising. They use Hot-Shot lasguns with armor-piercing effects. Stormtroopers can be upgraded with multiple "kits" that lets them be more effective to different targets and fit certain circumstances.
The kits are:
- Assault kit, which increases their fire rate and range, but now actually costs something
and makes them take more damage as well (Outdated as of version 3.18, more info on the Retribution wiki comments). Usually passed up in favour of melta, but still useful for dealing with some elite infantry and commanders.
- Anti-tank kit, which easily makes them the best hunter-killer unit the Imperial Guard have available in the game. Their melta guns and melta bombs allow them to wreck vehicles, fuck up enemy power supplies, and to a lesser extent, tear up enemy commanders and superheavies.
Unlike their original appearance in DoW, stormtroopers this time round actually have a role other than being guardsman squad 2.0. Their weapon options and ability to infiltrate make them ideal for removing high priority targets like enemy vehicles, elite units, or commanders. They can also be used to disrupt power supplies and decap points. Although stormtroopers are a bit tougher and have more dakka than regular guardsmen, their unit size is much smaller (compare 5 troopers to an infantry squad's maximum of 12) and they fare even worse in melee. With the addition of a sergeant and commissar, guardsman infantry squads can reinforce three troopers at a time for a fraction of the cost of a stormtrooper, which makes them a whole lot more resilient in the field when combined with a reinforcement point such as a Chimera.
In Last Stand the Stormtroopers are an available command accessory for the Lord-General, allowing him to call down a squad of them at any time in order to assist. While this gives a major reduction in energy expenditure via their passive and offer the only mobility boost available, they are pretty much dead last in terms of utility. You get only a small few of them - they aren't tanky like ogryns, they aren't very good in close quarters like the catachans and they can't take any other weapons like the guardsmen.
Scions/Stormtroopers are difficult to classify in tabletop. Many players eschew them, since the Imperial Guard used to be able to field cheaper
Infiltrators with carapace armor (and better range as part of the bargain) via Veteran Squads, and Veterans had Objective Secured as part of the bargain (but now so do Scions, who can be taken as Troops). On the other hand, Scions Deep Strike by default and come with AP-2 weapons which can put the hurt on just about anything, including Marines.
As of 8th Scions have effectively replaced Veterans as an up-armored, elite Troops choice. Although Veterans can still take heavy weapon teams and heavy flamers (which makes them a better choice for a static gunline) they have lost infiltrate and their old doctrines (carapace armor, camo-cloaks, snare mines), making them worth just about fuck-all to anyone who isn't running a Vanguard.
Where Scions come into their own, however, is as surgical strike units. Suffice to say, Scions are amazing units when used for target elimination - nobody likes taking AP-2 fire from anything (except, you know, TEQ) and they provide easy deep-striking plasma and meltas that the Imperial Guard lacks. Scions are a comparatively mobile and deadly force whose basic guns now have better AP than a goddamn bolter. Access to up to 4x special weapons and BS+3 doesn't hurt either - well, unless you're the enemy. Then it actually does hurt. A lot.
Scions can take a transport such as a Chimera or Taurox Prime, however, Valkries and Vendettas are much more reliable than simply deep striking. In 8th they can also be taken as their own stand-alone regiment and come with interesting stratagems and special rules. For instance, their Warlords can Deny the Witch as if they were a psyker; with Superior Intelligence you can shoot at deep strikers within 12" the instant they arrive; combine the Tactical Auto-Reliquary of Tiberius with Master of Command and your Tempestor Prime becomes a 40 pt Creed; and if your Stormies are in double-tap range then their weapons gets an extra shot whenever you roll 6+ to hit.
A common joke amongst /tg/ is that in order to win, you must spam MOAR STORMTROOPERS.
Tales of Hilarity
Almost every 40K oldfag can tell you a tale of their first (and often most memorable) encounter with Stormtroopers; usually it pans out around the same way: the player (often playing something lighter-armored, like Tyranids, Orks, or Eldar) has fought a lot of Guard units, but hasn't really seen Stormtroopers in action before, and the Storms are usually camping an objective or getting ready to clear an area. The unwitting player moves in to intercept, expecting just another Guardsman squad, and proceeds to learn that Carapace Armor is a thing and it makes its wearer substantially harder to kill than Guardsmen are. The Stormtroopers then immediately return fire and quickly mulch the squad with their BS4 and AP3 Hellguns (AP5 in the previous editions, but with 24" range) weapons, and the young player quickly learns to never take a unit lightly again.
Another humorous tale that is constantly related regarding Stormtroopers is when Inquisitorial Stormtrooper Sergeants, in 3rd edition, were able to, due to a typo in earlier prints of the codex, take Thunder Hammers. This was expensive, but since a standard power weapon was only 10 less, this quickly became a thing wherein a Stormtrooper squad could be an effective charge deterrent, as enemies would assault the squad, the Stormtroopers would armor save most of the damage, and the hits from the Thunder Hammer would screw the attacker's initiative, resulting in the one thing every close-combat squad fears: Losing an assault to a bunch of Squishy humies. This was errata'd away in later editions, though there was an article on Games-Workshop's website condoning the practice back in 2006.
|Forces of the Militarum Tempestus|
|Command:||Tempestor Prime - Lord Commissar |
Commissar - Tempestus Command Squad
|Vehicles:||Taurox - Taurox Prime - Chimera|
|Flyers:||Valkyrie - Vendetta|
|Allies:||Imperial Guard - Inquisition|
|Forces of the Inquisition|
|Command:||Inquisitor (Ordo Malleus Inquisitor - Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor |
Ordo Xenos Inquisitor)
|Retinue:||Acolyte - Arco-flagellant - Astropath - Banisher - Cherubim |
Chiurgeon - Crusaders - Daemonhost - Death Cult Assassin
Jokaero - Hierophant - Mystic - Sanctioned Psyker
Sage (Autosavant - Lexmechanic - Sister Dialogous)
Servo-skull - Servitor - Sister Hospitaler - Pariah - Penitent
Ministorum Priest - Militarum Veteran Squad - Warp-Seer
|Auxiliaries:||Inquisitorial Stormtroopers - Deathwatch - Grey Knights |
Sisters of Battle - Callidus Assassin - Culexus Assassin
Eversor Assassin - Vindicare Assassin
|Vehicles:||Chimera - Land Raider (Land Raider Crusader |
Land Raider Redeemer) - Razorback - Rhino
|Special Vehicles:||Throne of Judgement|
|Spacecraft:||Aquila Lander - Gun-Cutter - Inquisitorial Black Ship|
In Star Wars Stormtroopers are the iconic white armored soldiers of the Galactic Empire. They were formed out of the remaining clones of the Grand Army of the Republic when it was dissolved into the Empire. The increase in numbers needed to hold territory instead of just take it combined with a clone rebellion and exhaustion of the original Jango Fett DNA has seen the Empire transition away from a force exclusively made up of clones. As a result, rather than be children of a single clone daddy, Stormtroopers are made up of recruited humans as well as clones of newer templates created by Spaarti cloning, a process that produced much faster results than the Kaminoan cloning used by the original clones at the cost of lower quality. Their fancy armor isn't very good against blasters, even within the films.
Clones? Skill Level?
Lucas has waffled on if Stormtroopers are cloned or not. The original films had large groups of uneven height stand next to each other and in his early notes for Expanded Universe material, he stated there were female Stormtroopers at other duty stations. Later on he made edits in the special edition and other rereleases, plus a gag in the prequels that the Stromtrooper hitting his head was inherited from Jango, that implied they were. Stormtroopers are also said to be elite soldiers with peerless marksmanship ("Only Imperial Stormtroopers are so precise."). Despite this, their poor showing during the Death Star escape (people often forget they were intentionally letting them get away to track them) and the Battle of Endor (for which there is no excuse) and minimal appearance of "normal" Imperial soldiers (The Holiday Special and SOLO: A Star Wars story are the only places in live action where they're anything but background details, though don't mention the first one to George Lucas and the second is actively ignored by anyone who cares due to Disney canon reset skub) have resulted in the expanded universe and most RPGs showing them as disposable mooks. These were eventually rectified by establishing that while Vader's personal 501st Legion, the only ones Kenobi was familiar with (besides his own unit from the Clone Wars, the 212 under Cody, and other GAR units who obviously are better than conscript masses due to combat experience), were indeed cloned elites and the only unit to fully retain the Jango Fett template due to them being fanatically loyal, the majority of Stormtroopers in the galaxy are merely recruited humans with much lower standards or cloned from younger, inferior, clone daddies. The Commando Clones were also brought into the 501 and the rest of the Fett clones either retired early due to accelerated aging, defected to Mandalore through Kal Skirata or gave training to others like Cody and then retired after a few years of that. The 501st had their moment of glory at Hoth as the main infantry force accompanying Vader, but even then between the loss of several AT-ATs to Luke, Wedge and the other Rogue Squadron pilots and to the ice breaking under some of the others and the accelerated aging reducing performance, it was a tactical win but a strategic failure as many rebels managed to escape. The 501st Legion Fett clones were then retired in the next year before Endor due to the aging problems with clones and degradation in the original DNA sample, which helps explain their losses there. Thrawn later rebuilt the 501st with elite recruits and this version of the unit continues for more than a century with the best of the best being placed there, transferring from Thrawn to the Imperial Remnant at Bastion and serving until the end of Legends history.
Another phenomena in the expanded universe is attempts to explain the poor accuracy with gear issues. These range from poor vision in helmets to defective components in blasters. These two could be used together, saying that the armor was designed for a very limited size range (a literal bunch of clones) and fit poorly on recruited soldiers. This is especially so when it's outright canon that early generation clone armor was made by non-humans and did indeed impede movement. However it is also worth pointing out that in the real world 90% of the shots a soldier takes will miss anyway.
Where Stormtroopers do excel consistently is in fights against equally nameless foes. All RPGs stats and asymmetrical video games show Stormtroopers are flat out better than the typical Rebel soldier, B1 droid or Hutt thug. This isn't so curbstompingly better that Stormtroopers would win with 2-1 odds without better tactics (which they'd have in narrative but isn't represented mechanically) but they do have better stats. Officially they're just worse than any hero. If you watch the original Star Wars movie (whether remastered or not), the Stormtroopers whenever fighting non-plot armored people absolutely curbstomp. Like in the first scene of the movie when they go through a single-file door into a heavily defended and narrow corridor and yet slaughter the absolute fuck out of the Rebels. In fact, the only time we see them faring badly in firefights in the movies is on the Death Star in the first movie (when there was a beacon on the Falcon and so their misses were likely due to orders to let the heroes escape), against Luke on Cloud City in The Empire Strikes Back (he's a freaking Force-sensitive with some training and combat experience, oh and also the son of the literal Chosen One of the setting, so that isn't a fair measurement), and we don't really see anything in Return of the Jedi due to Ewok shenanigans. When the Millennium Falcon was escaping Tatooine where the troopers were arguably trying to damage the ship's engines and not actively trying to shoot Han Solo. With the Imperial Remnant they show competence fighting at the Yuuzhan Vong War and continue service until the end of the known timeline, even fighting on both sides of the last known war and one company takes part in the last battle known, witnessing the extinction of the Sith.
Within the Disney canon, Rogue One also indicates another factor in which Force Adept Chirrut Imwe walks out of cover (after a Rebel Soldier gets wasted by Stormtroopers for being exposed from cover for a second) and walks through a hail of blaster fire sedately while chanting a matra to the Force. This indicates that the Force is to some degree actively intervening for force sensitive individuals by making shots run astray, though even this is not a 100% fool proof solution as he was eventually gunned down.
Since the Empire is large and includes every biome known to man and several fictional ones (and the Star Wars franchise is built on toy sales), the Stormtrooper Corps has specialized units for nearly everything imaginable. On top of this, there have also been many attempts to create even more elite versions of normal Stormtroopers.
- Cold assault stormtrooper: More commonly known as snowtroopers, this is a normal group of Stormtroopers outfited with cold weather gear. It is most infamous for its actions on Hoth, but the equipment has also seen many other frozen battlefields. One of the two non-standard variants seen on film.
- Dark Trooper: A series of battle droids (and cybernetically augmented soldiers depending on iteration) and Power Armor for a next generation Stormtrooper. Discontinued after Kyle Katarn blew up their mobile production facility, taking the project notes and designer with it, in Dark Forces. Brought back, all Disneyfied in season 2 of The Mandalorian to the sound of questionable dubstep.
- Jump Trooper: AKA Rocket Trooper, Sky Trooper and Air Assault Trooper. Stormtroopers with jetpacks. Originally only suitable for short jumps, by the New Republic era technology has evolved enough for them to progress into power armor that can fly indefinitely.
- Scout trooper (Storm Commando): Scout troopers have a distinct helmet that allows for greater visibility as well as lighter leg and shoulder armor for greater mobility. Serving as a combination of scout (duh) and marksman, they typically use Speederbikes and long ranged rifles. Scout troopers are the only type of Stormtrooper known to regularly make use of camouflage (though the ones at Endor did not). One of the two variants shown on film.
- Wetland assault stormtrooper: More commonly known as swamptroopers, this branch wears green colored gear optimized for swamps. Would be obscure if not for the fact that they show up in both Jedi Outcast and Galaxies.
- Zero-G assault stormtrooper: More commonly known as spacetroopers, this branch wears Power Armor designed for boarding and capturing disabled ships. They are first mentioned in Star Wars RPG materials by West End Games, but are most famous for their appearance in the climax of Heir to the Empire, the first book of the Thrawn trilogy. There is a pair of Stormtroopers with an unusual backpack (possibly a jetpack) that are very briefly seen in the original movie, but they look nothing like future deceptions of spacetroopers, fanoned as that configuration being more for guys patrolling out of atmosphere but in gravity. They also appear in the computer game X-Wing: Alliance.
- Like a billion other variants in Legends. No joke, just look at the Wookiepedia page.