Dark Heresy - Paths of Faith
“Men, we are the first, last and often only line of defence the Imperium has against what is out there. You and that fine piece of Imperial weaponry you hold in your hands is all that is keeping humanity alive. Most of you will probably not live to see your second year in the Guard and most of you will probably never see your homeworlds again, but I can guarantee you that when you do fall, with a prayer to the most high and mighty God-Emperor on your lips, you will have earned the right to call yourself a man!”
The Imperial Guard is the largest military force of the Imperium of Man and also serves as the Imperium’s primary combat force and first line of defence from the myriad threats which threaten the existence of the human race in the late 41st Millennium. It is comprised of countless billions of men and women — hundreds of thousands of different regiments, supported by a vast array of light and heavy armoured vehicles that provide the Guard’s primary offensive punch. They are usually the first Imperial force to respond to a threat if a planet’s Planetary Defence Force (PDF) fails to suppress it. They also garrison major locations of strategic or cultural interest to the Imperium and are often found in defensive roles. The Imperial Guard is often referred to as the “Sledgehammer of the Emperor”; the sheer amount of force that the Imperial Guard can bring to bear on the enemy is devastating, but is not as direct or as precise as their Space Marine allies, who are described as the “Scalpel of the Emperor.” There is no universal uniform or regimental command hierarchy in the Imperial Guard, although it is compulsory for every regiment to have at least one Commissar to maintain the discipline and morale of the men while watching for any signs of corruption or taint in the ranks. However, it is worth noting that a number of worlds copy the uniform used by the regiments of the Cadian Shock Troops, who are viewed as being the most effective of the Imperial Guard’s infantry units. The main tactic of the Imperial Guard is to overwhelm the enemy with their endless numbers, while at the same time hammer them into submission with devastating artillery and crush them with powerful main battle tanks.
The regiment is the building block of the Imperial Guard, and the nature of each regiment defines how it is to fight, how it is to be equipped, and the manner in which it is best employed. Regiments are raised either as part of the tithe that all worlds contribute to the Imperium, or as necessary from worlds within a particular distance of a newly-opened warzone. It is a rare world in the Imperium that has not raised at least one regiment of Imperial Guard, with the overwhelming majority of those being the tithe-exempt Forge Worlds of the Adeptus Mechanicus and the Chapter homeworlds of the Adeptus Astartes, both of which produce their own particular fighting forces.
Though regarded as such by many within the Departmento Munitorum, a regiment of the Imperial Guard is not a uniform mass of warriors, equal in might and utility to every other regiment. On the contrary, regiments vary immensely in size, structure, and purpose, from small, deadly, armoured regiments, to bewilderingly large regiments of siege infantry. In truth, the regiment is a difficult thing to define, but some might classify it thusly: a regiment is the operational unit of the Imperial Guard, a discrete formation of Imperial Guardsmen, all trained and equipped to operate in a single way, and all drawn from a single world and its dominant culture. All other factors are subject to local variation and prevailing logistical doctrine — at times, all the fighting men and women taken from a single world at a single time have been classified as a single regiment, creating units of millions of men, while other periods and places have attempted to define a set number of warriors or an arbitrarily calculated fighting strength to determine a regiment.
Nonetheless, some elements remain consistent. At the top of every regiment in the Imperial Guard is a single officer, commonly given the rank of Colonel, who serves as the frontline commander. Traditional expectations are that a Colonel takes to the field with his men, leading in person, and is often accompanied by advisors such as Imperial Navy liaisons, Adeptus Ministorum preachers, psykers, Tech-priests, and the dreaded Commissars.
Each regiment is typically divided into several companies, each of which is commanded by a Captain or Major. A company normally consists of several hundred warriors, and can serve well as a fighting unit in its own right, with individual companies commonly split off to achieve distinct objectives pertaining to a regiment’s overall mission. Within each company, the unit is further divided. The exact term used varies by type of company, with vehicle companies divided into squadrons, infantry operating in platoons, and artillery operating in batteries. Each platoon, squadron, or battery is typically commanded by a Lieutenant, the most junior of officers, new to the service of the Imperial Guard.
17th Laskin – CO Colonel Pushkev
3 companies under Cpt Yarish active in North Continent Theatre.
Uniform – Grey fatigues, crimson armour
4th Scintillan Armoured Company – CO Colonel Lastur
2 formations attached by squadron to infantry regiments in theatre
Assorted auxillery units