Elysian Drop Troops
The Elysian Drop Troops are Imperial Guard Regiments known for their rapid deployment capabilities, often deploying by rappelling or grav-chutes from Valkyrie Airborne Troop Carriers at high altitudes. These drop regiments are able to strike deep into enemy territory, specialising in ambushing the enemy or capturing important objectives, and can operate for extended periods of time without resupply.
Recruitment & Training
The Elysians come from a verdant world some thirty light years from Armageddon, towards the galactic hub. The Elysia system and surrounding wilderness space is notorious for its marauding Ork warbands and pirates, as a main trade route through the sector passes through Elysia, and the system's many swirling gas clouds and hundreds of asteroid fields provide perfect ambush sites. Through combating this ever-present threat, the Elysians are therefore well trained in ship-to-ship boarding actions, and fighting in concert with orbital support when attacking isolated pirate bases.[8a][9a]
The Elysian drop regiments are completely volunteer and require at least one full tour of duty in the standard Elysian PDF. Upon signing up, troopers are sent to training bases throughout Elysia to be intensely trained in the art of deploying by grav-chute and honing their combat and survival skills.[9a]
The Elysian Drop Troops are amongst the best rapid response troops that the Imperial Guard has to offer. Not only do they have some of the best and most well-cared-for equipment and a high proportion of Tempestus Scions assisting them at any given time, but they have perfected the tactic of attacking by grav chute and the Valkyrie Airborne Assault Carrier. It is common for the elite soldiers of Elysia to appear from the skies en masse above their objective, raining onto the battlefield and sowing devastation and confusion throughout the enemy lines before they have even landed.
However, the Elysian Drop Troops' combat doctrine does not afford them such luxuries as the Leman Russ Battle Tanks or even the ubiquitous Chimera troop transports. Nothing bulkier than the lightweight Sentinel can be deployed by grav-chute. As a result, Elysian Drop Troops specialize in ambushes and attaining and holding objectives, and cannot hold their ground in a protracted fire fight for long. In large-scale conflicts, this dictates a hit-and-run style of warfare whereby the Elysians achieve their goal and then quickly disappear. In smaller engagements the Elysians are experienced and well-equipped enough to operate for long periods of time without fresh supplies.[9a]
Despite their specialized method of warfare Elysian Drop Troop regiments largely follow the organization guidelines as laid down in the Tactica Imperialis.[8b] Each regiment will be made up of a number of Drop Infantry companies, the fighting heart of the regiment. Each company is in turn lead by a command section, a Captain and his retinue of specialists and advisers. Due to the Elysian tradition of company commanders 'leading from the front' this squad will equip themselves with special weapons and equipment, and it is a great honor to be chosen to as the commander's bodyguard. Each company will be composed of five platoons, four infantry and one heavy weapons. The heavy weapons platoon consists of its own command section and heavy weapons squads: two fire support squads with heavy bolters, an anti-tank squad with missile launchers, and a mortar squad. Infantry platoons are also made up of a command section and four infantry squads, each composed of a Sergeant leading nine Guardsmen, one of whom is issued a special weapon. Some platoons will also include special weapons squads, equipped with special weapons and demo charges, while others will also be composed of hardened veterans who have been battle-tested by the rigours of war.[1c][1d][6c]
Typically each Drop Company will have its own motor pool of Valkyries for transporting each individual squad into battle, and include a squadron of Vulture Gunships to provide them with fire support. However not all regiments will be able to equip each company with their own aircraft.[1c]
Around these Drop Infantry companies will be other formations within the regiment. Two complete companies of Storm Troopers from the Militarum Tempestus are permanently attached to the regiment and constitute its elite core, spearheading assaults and performing covert operations. Drop Sentinel companies, composed of a command squadron, several Drop Sentinel squadrons and a Support Sentinel squadron, can be air-dropped along with the infantry and provide them with fire support. In addition to the Valkyrie transports assigned to each drop company the regiment will also include a tactical air wing with additional transport and attack squadrons.[1c][1d][6c]
At the regimental command level a Colonel supported by an extensive headquarters staff oversees operations and includes other support units, including a signals company, service company, medical company and recon platoon. Commissarial advisers will also accompany the regiment into battle and provide inspiration for the troops as needed.[1c]
Weapons & Equipment
Elysian Drop Troops wear the PT-38 jump suit, a reinforced coverall made of rugged synthi-canvas. Thick quilted pads on the upper arms and legs are filled with a special foam to absorb and distribute the energy of an impact; these "impact pads" provide protection against blunt force trauma such as during a collision or hard landing. A removable thermal liner protects the wearer from sub-zero temperatures when making high-altitude jumps or operating in cold environments while jump gloves and a respirator mask protect against the effects of wind-burn, a condition caused by friction with the air during free-falls. The jumpsuit is also available in a variety of colours and camouflage schemes and includes numerous pockets for additional storage. The standard tall jump boots are designed to provide protection to the ankle during landing.[1b][2a]
Elysian Flak Armour is constructed of cast, lightweight synth-plast, which provides good protection without weighing the trooper down, allowing them to carry extra equipment. Standard-issue armour consists of chest and back plate, with attachment points for the trooper's respirator and grav-chute, and attached shoulder pads. Additional elbow and knee pads are worn by most troopers, providing extra protection on landing and in combat, though some veterans will disregard them after landing to save on weight.[1b][2a]
The type 5 pressure helmet is standard issue to every Elysian trooper, constructed from reinforced plasteel with additional plates on the front of the helmet, making it bulky and uncomfortable but well-armoured. Pressure-equalizing ear protectors, incorporating air lines which draw from dispensers in the grav-chute, equalize pressure in the trooper's inner ear against bursting from the rapid increase in air pressure as they fall. Other equipment built into the helmet include a tinted flash suppression visor, short-range communications receiver,[1b][2a] and data display screens used in relaying data intelligence during descent and combat.[8b] A variation of the type 5 used by vox operators also includes comm-booster equipment.[1b]
Like other regiments, Elysians make use of insignia to denote company markings, campaign badges, regimental badges/symbols and ranks. Regimental insignia is typically applied to the chest plate, while the campaign badge is placed on the knee-pad. The campaign badge will be removed before the regiment's next deployment.[1a]
The guardsman's company number will feature on the right shoulder-pad. Regimental command staff will display the letter "C" instead. Left shoulder-pads for troopers will remain blank, while guardsmen who are considered veterans (8 combat drops) will display a red stripe. Officers are afforded more decorative left shoulder-pads, a winged skull for low-ranking officers such as sergeants and lieutenants, and a laurel wreathed skull for officers ranked Captain and up.[1a]
The back of the helmet is also used to help identify officers using a system of coloured stripes. A white stripe is used for sergeants, yellow for lieutenants, and a yellow stripe trimmed with red for higher-ranked officers.[1a]
One final addition made by guardsmen to their kit is a tally of combat drops, usually in the form of scratch marks to the side of their helmet. It is considered an unofficial badge of seniority, the more combat drops survived, the more senior a guardsman is considered amongst his peers.[1a]
The most important part of an Elysian trooper's gear is his Grav-chute, a complex piece of equipment issued only to Drop Troops and Storm Troopers. The grav-chute only activates at a set altitude and while it slows their final descent the trooper will still hit the ground fairly hard, requiring much training to learn how to roll with the impact and avoid injury. The grav-chute is then quickly detached from the trooper's back plate allowing them freedom of movement. During a typical high-level jump from 10,000 feet it will take the trooper two minutes to reach the ground.[2b]
A respirator mask, covering the lower half of the face not protected by the visor and worn on the chest plate, allows the trooper to breath for high altitude deployments. It is connected to an oxygen tank incorporated into the back plate through underarm air hoses, although this air supply is insufficient for hostile environments.[1b][2a]
The distinctive Elysian 68 pattern webbing allows the trooper to carry more equipment than typical with non-Drop Guardsmen, a necessity given the type of deployments they are sent on. Grenades, supply pouches, canteens and other small equipment can be clipped to their belt while large pouches and a tactical load-bearing backpack fit onto the back plate and can be worn underneath the grav-chute.[1b][2a] For larger equipment the trooper will jump with a drop canister, a large container which can hold a heavy weapon and its ammunition, rations, medical equipment or other supplies. These canisters are also known as 'coffins', not least because they are large enough to serve this purpose after battle.[1b]
The standard weapon of the Elysian Drop Trooper is the Accatran pattern, mark IV Lasgun, a lightweight 'bullpup' design with the power cell positioned behind the handle to save on weight and space for additional equipment. It uses a standard power pack and operates in the 19 megathule range, allowing for fifty shots, and has a built-in flashlight. However, the weapon is restricted to semi-automatic fire only in order to prevent waste and conserve ammunition. This model of lasgun doesn't feature a bayonet lug so if engaged in close combat, Elysian guardsmen must switch to their standard 40cm combat blade.[1b][2b] A variant known as the Mk IVc includes a single-shot auxiliary grenade launcher firing Krak grenades underneath the main barrel; it is typically issued to officers and NCOs for additional squad support firepower.[1b][2b] A third variant known as the Mk IVe is a sniper weapon with an elongated barrel, flash suppressor and integral low-light scope.[2b]
Many regiments also equip their troopers with assault shotguns for close-range firepower.[1b] A favourite of these is the Accatran pattern, model 34,[2b] although some will use illegal sawed-off shotguns instead, a practice seen in some elite units and overlooked by their officers.[2a] Meanwhile officers and specialists will be equipped with Accatran pattern, Mk II laspistols, which use the same power pack as lasguns, and a range of special weapons include Voss pattern grenade launchers, and Accatran models of Flamers, Plasma Guns and Meltaguns.[2b] Voss pattern Demolition Charges are provided to special teams tasked with destroying hardened targets.[1c] Elysian heavy weapons focus on transportability, as certain weapons such as lascannons are too cumbersome for use by air-mobile troops. Instead, they will use Accatran pattern Heavy Bolters, Missile Launchers and Mortars, which can be easily air-dropped in drop canisters and collected by their crew.[2a]
The Elysians also have specialist equipment available to them in the form of the Lascutter and Long Range Ground Scanner. The Lascutter is a powerful short ranged man portable cutting tool typically used in mining but converted for military use, ideal for use primarily during boarding actions and attacking fixed positions, where guardsmen must quickly cut through doors and bulkheads. Other targets include enemy equipment such as gun emplacements and immobile or stationary vehicles.[2c][6e]
Due to their method of warfare, deep striking into battle and operating behind enemy lines, Elysian regiments cannot rely upon the same sources of tactical information typically available to other regiments. As a result, Elysians make use of man portable Accatran pattern Long Range Ground Scanners. They are similar to scanners issued to officers and squad leaders but larger and more powerful. They are used to monitor enemy movements and positions, as well as providing targeting data to ground forces and air crews.[2d][6f]
The Valkyrie Airborne Assault Carrier is the standard transport of Elysian Drop Troop regiments, used for both high-level drops and low-level insertions. It can carry up to twelve individuals in its hold along with heavier equipment attached to it, and is versatile enough to provide fire support for its disembarking passengers. Also used by the Elysians is the Vendetta gunship, a modified Valkyrie with reduced transport capability but armed with 3 twin-linked lascannons. These are used to hunt down armoured targets. Vulture Gunships provide Elysians with their heaviest form of fire support and escort for Valkyries and Sky Talons. Unlike most other regiments these transports are piloted by the Elysians themselves rather than Imperial Navy pilots. Due to their nature drop regiments do not use the heavy vehicles of other Imperial Guard units and are restricted to whatever their transports can carry. Vehicular support comes in the form of Drop Sentinels, Support Sentinels and Tauros vehicles. Cyclops Demolition Vehicles are also small enough to be transported within a Valkyrie's hold, as are Sentry Guns.[8b][6g]
- 1st Elysian Drop Troops Regiment - Part of Ultima Segmentum's strategic reserve. Saw combat against the Orks of Waaagh! Urgok and Eldar pirates in the Barbarius sector. Deployed to combat Chaos forces around the Eye of Terror.[6b][8c]
- 9th Elysian Drop Troops Regiment - Veridian Prime campaign against Hive Fleet Kraken.[12c]
- 12th Elysian - Fought in Third War for Armageddon.
- 13th Elysian Drop Troops "Helldivers" - Fought in the Spinward Front.[9a]
- 15th Elysian Drop Troops Regiment - Yarant II Campaign.[12c]
- 16th Elysian Drop Troops Regiment - Participated in the 13th Black Crusade.
- 22nd Elysian Drop Troops Regiment - Yarant III Campaign.[12a] Skopios Incident - Cathalin Crusade. Fought in the Volcanus region of Armageddon during the Third War for Armageddon.
- 23rd Elysian Drop Troops Regiment - Took part in the assault of Fort Moros and were awarded a Regimental citation for their actions.[1a] Taros Campaign, wiped out in the battle for Hydro-Processing Plant 23-20 by Tau forces during Operation Comet.[1e]
- 32nd Elysian Drop Troops - Ordered to the Xinon system to put down Chaos cultist uprisings instigated by the Alpha Legion.
- 41st Elysian Drop Troops 'Angel Guard' - Participated in the 13th Black Crusade.
- 46th Elysian Drop Troops Airborne - Participated in the Battle of Tytus.
- 64th Elysian Drop Troops Regiment - Ill-fated Fifth Ymgarl Insertion. The regiment's tactical wing badge is the lightning symbol. One of the Valkyries was named "Aces-High" by its crew, although its official number was "B1".[12b] Also consists Vulture Gunships (one of which was named "Strike Eagle" by its crew, though its official number was "C2") in this engagement.[12c]
- 72nd Elysian Storm Troopers - Part of the Imperial counterattack to liberate Tanakreg from the Word Bearers.[10b]
- 89th Elysian Drop Troops Regiment - Fought the Orks on Elysia during an Ork assault.
- 90th Elysian Drop Troops Regiment - Combined with the 182nd Catachan to form the 314th Prosan. Excelled in airmobile jungle warfare.[15a]
- 99th Elysian Drop Troops Regiment - Campaigned against Hive Fleet Kraken on Moloch, Hamman's World and Moran; survivors amalgamated into Detachment D-99 and seconded to Inquisition forces by Inquisitor-Lord Varius. Subsequently served on Beta Anphelion IV.[2c][8c]
- 101st Elysian Drop Troops Regiment - Participated in the 13th Black Crusade.
- 110th Elysian Drop Troops Regiment - Defeated the Ocanan XV traitor guard.[5a]
- 133rd Elysians - Part of the Imperial counterattack to liberate Tanakreg from the Word Bearers.[10b]
- 156th Elysian Drop Troops Regiment - Participated in the 13th Black Crusade.
- 158th Elysian Drop Troops Regiment - Participated in the 13th Black Crusade. Reinforced the defenders of St Josmane's Hope but were nearly wiped in the fighting before St Josmane's Hope itself was destroyed to prevent it's capture.[8c] Saw combat against Chaos rebels on Rysgah and the Blood Disciples on Ophel Minoris.
- 181st Elysian Drop Troops Regiment - Assisted the Raven Guard in their raid against the Orks on Kastorel-Novem. All but destroyed in the attack. Many survivors absorbed by the 73rd Harakoni Warhawks regiment.[6c][6d]
- 234th Elysian Drop Troops - During the 12th Black Crusade, led a suicidal boarding action that resulted in the destruction of the Hades class heavy crusier Injustice. The regiment is posthumously awarded commendations.[15b]
- 226th Elysian Drop Troops - Enroute to the Yarant system when they were diverted by General Myndoras Odon's request for aid in the defense of Betalis III.[8d]
- 227th Elysian Drop Troops - Remains absorbed by the 13th Elysians after the failed invasion of Avitohol.[9b]
- 352nd Elysian Drop Troops - Part of a massive deployment of airborne regiments that included the 998th Harakoni Warhawks, 142nd Etharic Seraphs, and Militarum Tempestus regiments the 12th Thetoid Condors and 1st Zetic Harriers, to Extremis Six after the massacre of its population by Lucius the Eternal, warbands of Emperor's Children and the Traitor Titan Legion Riotous Host. Unconfirmed reports also indicate the airborne regiments may have encountered the Daemon Primarch Fulgrim, described as a giant serpent bodied creature that annihilated anything they could send against it.
- General Syckava - Commander of the 23rd Elysian Drop Troops Regiment.[1f]
- Brigadier-General Ishmael Havorn. - Commander of the 133rd Elysian Drop Troops Regiment.[10a]
- Colonel Boerl - Commander of the Elysian 72nd Stormtroopers and Brigadier-General Ishmael Havorn's second in command. Killed in action on Tanakreg.[10a][10c]
- Colonel Johanna van Meer - Commander of the 13th Elysian Drop Troops Regiment.[9b]
- Colonel Prinz - Commander of the 22nd Elysian regiment. Promoted to Warmaster after the success of the 22nd during the Cathalin Crusade.
- Colonel Vandegrahst.
- Major Durra - Commander of Detachment D-99.
- Captain Gerek - Commander of Dagger Force (A Company, 181st Regiment). Leads from his command Tauros.[6a]
- Captain Thanstadt - Commander of Shield Force, (181st Regiment).[6a]
- Captain Xhyst - Commander of Sword Force, (181st Regiment).[6a]
- Captain Isarta - Commander of the 226th Elysian strike force sent to Betalis III.[8d]
- Veteran Sergeant Zachariah - Member of the 158th Elysian Drop Troops. In service for over 36 years. Led a veteran special weapons squad before the majority were killed in combat on Ophel Minoris.
- 873.M38 - Skopios Incident
- 145.M41 - 12th Black Crusade[15b]
- 894.M41 - Betalis Campaign[8c]
- 934.M41 - Liberated the Stranthium Orbital Space Docks from Ork Kaptin Blacklaw and his Freebooterz.[5c]
- ???.M41 - Invasion of Tanakreg
- 956.M41 - Kieldar Rebellion[5d]
- 992.M41 - Hive Fleet Kraken
- 992.M41 - Raid on Kastorel-Novem
- 997.M41 - Elysian and Harakoni regiments sent to investigate Antorro system after all contact lost. Reports indicate presence of the Space Hulk Agony of the Damned.[5e]
- 998.M41 - Taros Campaign
- 998.M41 - Third War for Armageddon
- 999.M41 - War Zone Damocles[15c]
- 999.M41 - 13th Black Crusade
- 999.M41 - The Cacophony of Extremis Six
- 1: Imperial Armour: Volume 3 - The Taros Campaign
- 2: Imperial Armour: Volume 4 - The Anphelion Project
- 3: Armageddon Website (Saved archive page, dated December 2000, last accessed 10 September 2015)
- 4: Chapter Approved 2003, pg. 28
- 5: Codex: Imperial Guard (5th Edition)
- 6: Imperial Armour Volume Eight - Raid on Kastorel-Novem
- 7: Fantasy Flight Games (Saved archive page, dated July 2012, last accessed 10 September 2015)
- 8: Imperial Armour Volume Eleven - The Doom of Mymeara
- 9: Only War Core Rulebook
- 10: Dark Apostle (Novel) by Anthony Reynolds
- 11: The Thirteenth Black Crusade by Andy Hoare, pg. 91
- 12: Imperial Armour Volume One - Imperial Guard and Imperial Navy
- 13: Imperial Armour Volume Two - Second Edition: War Machines of the Adeptus Astartes, pg. 18
- 14: Codex: Blood Angels (7th Edition) - A Chronicle of Heroes
- 15: Codex: Astra Militarum (6th Edition)
- 16: The Mouth of Chaos (Short Story) by Chris Dows
- 17: Monolith (Short Story) by Chris Dows
- 18: White Dwarf 251 (US) (2000) - The Final Days of Armageddon
- 19: White Dwarf 248 (US) (2000) - Historical Actions of the Imperial Guard
- 20: Codex: Militarum Tempestus (6th Edition), pg. 30
- 21: Gathering Storm: Fracture of Biel-Tan, pg. 84
- 22: Codex: Imperial Guard (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex), pg. 64
- 23: Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Retribution