Imperial Guard

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Imperial Guard

The Imperial Guard (formally known as the Astra Militarum) is the standing army of the Imperium of Man. It is a massive army with trillions of soldiers.


The standard armament of an Imperial Guard infantryman is a lasgun -- a laser-based weapon with firepower rated in the megajoules. Physical protection consists of a flak jacket and helmet capable of handling simple bullets and shell fragments. The Imperial Guard makes heavy use of armored fighting vehicles (such as Leman Russ and Baneblade Tanks and the Chimera APC) and heavy artillery (including Basilisk self-propelled artillery and Bombard heavy mortars) and are generally trained to levels comparable to those of the armies of early twenty-first century Earth. Never the less, in an era of power armored soldiers, beings with superhuman strength and durability, arcanely advanced technology and psionic and daemonic threats, the Imperial Guard often has to rely on sheer overwhelming numbers to win.

Tactics and Methods

The tactics of Imperial Guard forces vary immensely between individual units, some placing more focus on fields including trench warfare or urban combat. Never the less, general Imperial guard tactics place heavy emphasis upon heavy armor and artillery as well as static and well defended firepower. Imperial Guard infantry are often (although far from always) used in human wave attacks against enemy positions during advances.

To maintain order and discipline on the field, the Imperial Guard makes use of specially trained officers known as Commissars to keep order. These personnel have full authority to execute soldiers in the field for offenses including cowardice in the face of the enemy to ensure loyalty, obedience and discipline.

Organization and Recruitment

The Imperium of Man is ultimately a feudal society, in which most worlds have to supply various resources to the Imperium in tithe. These range from food and ore to manufactured goods to soldiers for the guard. The quality of these soldiers varies immensely: some worlds have Imperial Guard regiments that are nothing more than screaming mobs with lasguns, while others produce well-trained, well-disciplined and relatively well equiped fighting forces. Uniforms, equipment and military tradition vary immensely from planet to planet.

Several planets are notable for providing superior Imperial Guard forces, amongs these worlds are...

  • Cadia: Located along the most stable route out of the eye of Terror, Cadia is a heavily fortified world with a highly militirized population.
  • Kreig
  • Catachan: Catachan is a heavily forested planet notable for having a large amount of hostile flora and fauna. Catachan soldiers are very capable at fighting in jungles and forested environments.

Elite Imperial Guard soldiers are known as Stormtroopers; they receive superior equipment including carapace armor and Hellguns and serve as special forces. The Guard also employs human offshoot species loyal to the Emperor, such as Ratlings and Ogryns, to supplement the human baseline forces, as well as psionic humans. For technical assistance, Techpriests from the Adeptus Mechanicus -- as well as their Servitors -- support the Guard as well as preists of the Ecclesiarchyfor religious purposes.

Imperial Guardsmen of Note

  • Commissar Ciaphas Cain
  • Commissar Sebastian Yarrick
  • Commissar Ibram Gaunt
  • Lord Castellan Ursarkar E. Creed

See Also

  • Gue'vesa, Human forces of the Tau Empire
  • Blood Pact, a professional organization of Chaos cultists which is equipped like and prefers to recruit from captured guardsmen.