The 597th began as the amalgamation of the survivors of two distinct regiments, the 301st and the 296th regiments, both of which had suffered over fifty percent losses after fighting against Tyranids on Corania.[1a]
Although it was standard practice for the Departmento Munitorum to group surviving elements into a new regiment before sending them reinforcements, the initial differences between the 301st and 296th were almost guaranteed to cause friction, so much that the combination was speculated to have been a clerical error, or simply bureaucratic stupidity.[1a]
The 301st were specialised planetary assault shock troops, while the 296th were rear echelon, HQ security units and one of Valhalla's few all-female regiments. To make matters worse, Regina Kasteen, the 296th's senior surviving officer, was promoted to the new unit's colonelcy by virtue of a mere three days' seniority over her opposite number in the 301st, Ruput Broklaw, who became her executive officer.[1a]
Combined with a lost sense of identity, the unification of the regiment did not go smoothly until the arrival of Commissar Cain, which coincided with a riot breaking out in the mess hall that left several troopers and naval provosts dead.[1a]
Cain's approach was to force the men and women of the two former units to integrate. On his order, the men and women were formed into mixed squads and fire teams, forcing them to train together and depend on each other. He instituted generous incentives for the new teams that performed best during exercises, which remained a proud tradition of the regiment for years afterwards (for instance, the extra ale ration for the most disciplined squad came to be known as "Cain's Round").[1b]
With the agreement of the Departmento Munitorum, Cain proposed that the new regiment's designation be the 597th (301 + 296), allowing the troopers to feel that their old regimental traditions and identities were not being erased, merely redefined. This compromise was accepted by most.[1b]
The fragile morale of the new regiment was also boosted when Cain interceded with the captain of the troop ship on behalf of the five troopers found guilty of committing murder during the riot. Instead of execution, Cain ordered that they be held until they could be transferred to a Penal Legion, or, failing that, a particularly dangerous mission.[1b]
Cain's efforts succeeded in creating an effective fighting force of the 597th before its maiden deployment to Gravalax. By the time of its later deployments, to Simia Orichalcae and Adumbria, the regiment had integrated so successfully that Cain often had to deal with the opposite kind of disciplinary problems - the kind arising from lovers' quarrels, jealousy, and the occasional pregnancy.[2b]
Battles and Important Events
- 539.931.M41: shortly after its formation, the regiment earns its first battle honours, successfully preventing the Tau from annexing an Imperial world during the Gravalax Incident.
- 932.M41: the regiment is deployed to Simia Orichalcae to defend a vital promethium refinery from an incoming Ork Waaagh!.
- 933.M41: The 597th is deployed to Periremunda to fight against a Tyranid invasion.
- 937.M41: The 597th is deployed to Adumbria, alongside the Tallarn 229th and a Valhallan artillery regiment, to repel the Chaos warband known as the Ravagers.
- 938.M41: The 597th is deployed to Lentonia to help in mopping up a recently quashed civil insurrection, only to combat a later outbreak of the Plague of Unbelief.
- 941.M41: The 597th is deployed to Nusquam Fundamentibus, to repel a resurgent Ork warband.
- Colonel Regina Kasteen: Commanding Officer, former (surviving) ranking officer of the all-female 296th.
- Major Ruput Broklaw: Former (surviving) ranking officer of the 301st, now regimental Executive Officer.
- Lieutenant Jenit Sulla: Former quartermaster general of the 296th, promoted to a platoon leadership, and would eventually become a high ranking Imperial Officer and author herself.
- Commissar Ciaphas Cain: Hero Commissar assigned to the 597th. Unofficial, but honorary Valhallan warrior.
- Gunner Ferik Jurgen: Commissar Cain's adjutant. Though originally a member of the Valhallan 12th Field Artillery, Jurgen accompanied Cain during his assignment to the 597th.
- Captain Shambas: Scout commander and Sentinel pilot.
- Captain Detoi.
- Sergeant Lustig: Veteran Sergeant of the 301st
- Sergeant Penlan: nicknamed "Jinxie" by the regiment for being extremely accident prone in every situation except combat.
- Sergeant Grifen.
- Corporal Mari Magot: Distinguished trooper and one of several regimental unarmed combat champions; possibly Sergeant Grifen's lover.
- Trooper Vorhees.
- Trooper Janny Drere.
- 1: For the Emperor (Novel) by Sandy Mitchell
- 2: Caves of Ice (Novel) by Sandy Mitchell
- 3: The Traitor's Hand (Novel) by Sandy Mitchell
- 4: Duty Calls (Novel) by Sandy Mitchell