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Imperial Guard Hierarchy
Guardsman is the generic term for any member of the Imperial Guard, regardless of rank,[2a] but is also synonymous with the lowest enlisted rank of Trooper.[4a] There are untold billions upon billions of Guardsmen in service, such that even the Departmento Munitorum has no idea of the true number of Guardsmen in existence.[1a][3a] These are normal men and women of the Imperium, called upon to serve the God-Emperor of Mankind and protect His realm against all threats. That they do so against a galaxy full of eldritch horrors, foul xenos and other nameless terrors is a heroic testament to their courage.[5a]
Recruitment and Training
The recruitment (or conscription) and training of each Guardsman is based entirely on the customs and traditions of their native homeworld, a result of the tithe imposed on each Planetary Governor. Just as there are a million worlds in the Imperium so too are there a million ways one can become a Guardsman; for many it is considered an honour to join the Guard, or at least a way to escape a wretched existence. The result are Guardsmen as wildly different from each other as possibly, from highly-trained professional soldiers to savage gang-fighters and medieval barbarians. If any additional training is required, especially among primitive recruits with little to no knowledge of how to work modern weapons of war, it will be given in transit to their initial deployment.[1a][3a][5a][6a]
Role and Organization
Guardsmen fulfill every conceivable role within the Imperial Guard, from tank crewmen to snipers, vox-operators to medics. As laid out in the Tactica Imperium, the basic organisational unit most Guardsmen will fight under is the squad, a number of which will form into a platoon. Several platoons will make up a company which in turn make up a regiment. While such standards do exist, they are not uniformly followed for any number of reasons, leading to formations of different names, sizes and compositions.[5c]
Medics are Guardsmen trained to give medical treatment to wounded in the field in the heat of combat. They typically operate out of Company Command Squads.[5f] Medics go by many different names, but all are trained in providing first response and frontline medical care to injured Guardsmen. They are also equally combat-capable and will fight shoulder-to-shoulder with their fellow squad-mates.[9a]
Standard Bearers are Guardsmen who due to battlefield gallantry have been rewarded with the honor of holding the Regimental Standard. Typically operating out of Company Command Squads, the Standard Bearer serves as a reminder for the rest of the Company to fight with duty and honor.[5f]
As regiments fight grueling campaigns that last for years on end, eventually they will shrink in size as the number of casualties rises. In many cases an entire company will be reduced to a single squad of the most battle-tested, hardcore Guardsmen blessed with the strength and will to survive the nightmarish battlefields of the 41st Millennium. They are experts in all aspects of warfare, from marksmanship to demolition work, and carry a variety of non-standard weapons and equipment. Some regiments may have whole companies of battle-born killers, having survived the grim realities of warfare relatively unscathed. In many cases however these lone squads of hardened survivors will be attached to other regiments, often newly-formed ones, in the hope that their skills will be assimilated by their new parent unit.[5e]
For some service in the Imperial Guard is a way to absolve them of even the most horrible of crimes.
Storm Troopers are specially-trained Guardsmen used to perform various types of special operations.
Rough Riders are Guardsmen deployed as cavalry troopers.
Conscripts, also known as Whiteshields, are Guardsmen who are quickly conscripted and rushed into service. They typically have little training and only the most basic equipment.[5f]
The only standard piece equipment each Guardsman is guaranteed to receive is the Lasgun, and even then some will go into battle without one. Not even a standard uniform exists within the Guard, each Guardsman equipped according to the traditions and resources available to their parent regiment.[5d]
Several Guard regiments include female troopers, including the Tanith First, the Omicron Rangers, and the Calderon Rifles. However, less than 10% of all Guard soldiers are female, and the vast majority of these serve in all-female regiments, such as the Valhallan 296th Ice Warriors. Mixed-sex regiments, such as the Tanith First and the Valhallan 597th, are a rarity.
- 1: Codex Imperialis
- 2: Codex: Imperial Guard (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex)
- 3: Warhammer 40,000 5th Edition Rulebook
- 4: Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer
- 4a: Pg. 31
- 5: Codex: Imperial Guard (5th Edition)
- 6: Dark Heresy Core Rulebook
- 6a: Pg. 68
- 7: The Art of Warhammer 40,000 pg. 85
- 8: For the Emperor (Novel) - Ciaphas Cain: Hero of the Imperium by Sandy Mitchell: Chapter 3, p. 66, fn. 1
- 9: Only War Core Rulebook
- 9a: Pg. 78
|Command||Company Command Squad • Platoon Command Squad • Regimental Advisors • Commissar • Primaris Psyker • Tech-priest Enginseer • Priest|
|Troops||Infantry Squad • Heavy Weapons Squad • Special Weapons Squad • Armoured Fist Squad • Veteran Squad • Stormtrooper Squad • Penal Legion Troopers • Ogryn Squad • Ratling Squad • Psyker Battle Squad • Rough Rider Squad|