The Skitarii are the warriors of the Adeptus Mechanicus. They generally have more advanced weaponry and equipment than their Imperial Guard equivalents, due to the technological expertise of their Techpriest masters. Bionics are quite common and devices such as weapon links and sensory feeds are also common amongst them.
"Skitarii" is the Mechanicus's official term for all military forces under its command (except for the Collegia Titanica, though the Legions may possess their own Skitarii forces). It is a term equivalent to the Imperial Guard as it generally includes almost all combat personnel and armour that the Mechanicus possesses. Skitarii are also known as Tech-Guard (or Tech Guard) to outsiders, and the singular form of Skitarii is "Skitarius." The term "Skitarii", however is often used to reference only the augmented infantry.
Skitarii are often armed with similar equipment to the Imperial Guard, though this can vary massively based on which Magos, Mechanicus Organisation or Forge World has raised and equipped them. There is little standardisation or central command of Skitarii across the Mechanicus, as each individual regiment is the personal army of a particular Magos. For example, the Skitarii of the Titan Legion Legio Invicta are gene-bulked humans with weaponised limbs and augmetic armour, whereas a different type of Skitarii investigated the dead world of Tarsis Ultra, and were seen to be wearing something similar in both function and design to Terminator armour.
They are also the bodyguards of the Adeptus Mechanicus Survey teams. They were present at the First Encounter with the Eldar. The Eldar of the Biel-tan craftworld slaughtered the Skitarii present and only one ship was able to escape, though the crew died from lack of food and oxygen.[Needs Citation]
Skitarii can also be divided into several types, based on their battlefield role:
- Hyspasists: These are the basic tech-guard infantry, and are armed with lasguns. They are more augmented than the normal Imperial Guardsman, and may have received emotional-suppression surgery.
- Sagitarii: These are the heavy weapon operatives. These only include dedicated heavy weapons squads, as heavy weapons attached to Hyspasist squads are still called Hyspasists.
- Balisteria: These are the artillery units. The range of artillery goes from Thudd guns to the massive Ordinatus pieces. This includes both the vehicle/machine, as well as the crews manning them.
- Cataphractii: These are the armour units. The range of armour goes from small transports to heavy walkers and superheavy tanks such as Baneblades.
- Praetorians: These are the elite of the Skitarii. They are super-enhanced (bionically/cybernetically/chemically/genetically etc) humans who are augmented with a huge array of cybernetics and heavy weapons. They are, essentially, a sort of counterpart to Obliterators. However, many old sources also suggest that Praetorians are instead an elite Skitarii type following the fashion of Imperial Guard stormtrooper units, but with slightly more augmentations, putting them somewhere "between" storm troopers and Space Marines. All of these are completely plausible, and based on the preferences of the Magi who build them.[*]
- Tribunes: These are the Skitarii officers. Though all skitarii bow to the authority of Adeptus Mechanicus Magi and Archmagi, these are all personnel of high ranking roles. The skitarii have low-level leadership roles, and these are filled by the tribunes.
- Master of Skitarii: The commander of a Skitarii brigade.
*In Andy Chambers's Deus ex Mechanicus (Short Story), Praetorians are in fact servitors, rather than living humans. They move on tank treads and are armed with powerful weaponry, such as plasma cannons.
- 1: Warhammer 40,000 4th Edition Rulebook, pg. 122
- 2: The Heraclitus Effect (Short Story) by Graham McNeill
- 3: Deus ex Mechanicus (Short Story) by Andy Chambers
- 4: Titanicus by Dan Abnett, [Needs Citation]
- 5: Citadel Journal, Issue 21 (1997), "Adeptus Mechanicus Detachments: Skitarii Tech-Guard of the Forge Worlds"
- 6: Horus Heresy Collected Visions, pg. 41
- 7: Know No Fear (Novel), by Dan Abnett, Absolute//Overwhelm, Part 2, pg. 128
|Command||Magos Prime • Magos Dominus|
|Troops||Tech-Priest Auxillia • Electro-priest • Myrmidon Destructor • Myrmidon Secutor • Skitarii|
• Thallax • Ursarax • Combat Servitor • Tech-Thrall
|Battle-Automata||Castellan • Colossus • Cataphract • Crusader • Conqueror • Vorax • Thanatar|
|Vehicles||Krios • Triaros • Land Raider • Rhino • Chimera • Ordinatus|
|Titans||Emperor • Warlord • Reaver • Warhound • Knight|
|Aircraft||Avenger • Lightning • Storm Eagle|