|This article is about the Adeptus Mechanicus troops; for the novel by Rob Sanders, see Adeptus Mechanicus: Skitarius (Novel)|
The military forces of the Skitarii are known as the Legiones Skitarii.
"Skitarii" are armies of specially augmented cybernetic warriors sworn to a specific Forge World and serve alongside the Collegia Titanica and Taghmata Omnissiah as the military forces of the Mechanicum. 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 creation is a closely kept secret of the Adeptus Mechanicus, but what is clear is that involves heavy cybernetic augmentation to those with a fanatical faith in the Omnissiah. While their bodies are more machine than flesh, they are not true Servitors and still retain independent thought. Those with the highest level of augmentation are known as Skitarii Alphas, a high honor in Skitarii culture. Due to their extensive modification Skitarii can excel and survive in almost any atmosphere.[9b]
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]
Each Forge World of the Mechanicus operates a Legion of Skitarii. This is in turn divided into a number of Macroclades, which in turn are broken down into 4 Cohorts, each consisting of 3 Maniples. The vast majority of Skitarii troops are not brought into battle by aircraft or armoured personnel carriers, rather they simply march into battle without stopping even if they have to start the journey months in advance.[9a]
Types of Skitarii
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.
- Skitarii Vanguard: Radiation weapon-equipped infantry
- Skitarii Rangers: Hunter-Killers
- Sicarian Infiltrators: Scouts
- Sicarian Ruststalkers: Assassins
- Protector: Used as bodyguards by Mechanicum Tech-Priests.
- Secutarii Axiarch: Skitarii officers used by the Collegia Titanica's Titan Guard
- Secutarii Hoplites: Skitarii warriors used by the Collegia Titanica's Titan Guard
- Secutarii Peltasts: Skitarii warriors used by the Collegia Titanica's Titan Guard
- 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.[*]
- Skitarii Alpha: Squad Commanders
- 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.
The Skitarii 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.
Due to their substantial bionic enhancements, Skitarii are capable of marching for periods far beyond standard humans. Skitarii Rangers can hunt for decades on end. Thus most Skitarii forego the use of armored transports, finding them redundant.[9c]
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.
- Adeptus Mechanicus: Skitarius (Novel), by Rob Sanders
- Adeptus Mechanicus: Vanguard (Short Story), by Peter Fehervari
- Adeptus Mechanicus: The Zheng Cipher (Short Story), by Josh Reynolds
- 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: The Citadel Journal 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
- 8: Games Workshop
- 9: Codex: Skitarii (7th Edition)
- 10: Mechanicum (Novel), [Needs Citation]
- 11: The Horus Heresy Book Three - Extermination pgs. 200-205
- 12: Codex: Cult Mechanicus (7th Edition) - The Cult Mechanicus