Imperial Guard Regiment
A regiment is the primary organisational unit of the Imperial Guard, and of the Imperial Army ground forces before that. The size and composition of Imperial Guard regiments is not standardised across the Imperium; the number of individual Guardsmen alone can vary enormously between regiments, with some only a few hundred strong at founding-strength, whilst others possess tens of thousands of fighting troops.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Regiment Types
- 2.1 Armoured Regiment
- 2.2 Artillery Regiment
- 2.3 Death World Regiments
- 2.4 Drop Regiment
- 2.5 Heavy Infantry Regiment
- 2.6 Hunter-Killer Regiment
- 2.7 Light Infantry Regiment
- 2.8 Line Infantry Regiment
- 2.9 Mechanised Infantry Regiment
- 2.10 Reconnaissance Regiment
- 2.11 Siege Infantry Regiment
- 2.12 Abhuman Regiment
- 2.13 Sub-Regiment
- 3 Notable Imperial Guard Regiments
- 4 Sources
The root of this non-standardisation is the fact that every world which produces Imperial Guard regiments has its own martial traditions, practices and experiences, all combining together to dictate the manner in which that world's inhabitants choose to wage war. Despite this, it is possible to classify Imperial Guard regiments into different types by the nature of their equipment, training or battlefield role. An important point of similarity between regiments is also present in their organisation; each different regiment type is divided in a fairly similar manner within that classification.
Except in rare circumstances or within certain isolated sectors, true combined arms regiments are not normally raised within the Imperial Guard. Infantry Regiments are unlikely to contain much or any heavy artillery, while tank regiments contain little to no infantry. This was intentionally designed, as it prevents Traitor Regiments from having full arsenals should they turn against the Emperor. Thus success requires that many Regiments work together, and battlefield realities often necessitates interweaving numerous tactical operations and structures. In these scenarios, training of officers and personnel capable of operating outside of their specific Regiment's role is required, and there are several Imperial worlds that specialize in producing such soldiers. These types of personnel are keenly sought by campaign commanders.[13a]
Despite appearing inflexible at first-glance, Imperial Guard Regiments can be highly adaptable on the battlefield if properly led, deployed, and trained. "Combined Arms" forces are able to be organized by comprising several separate Regiments together during campaign should circumstances require it. Regiments preform together which each being a certain core role, with Cadian Shock Troopers for instance often forming infantry "cores" alongside support squadrons of tanks and artillery. Such forces frequently also see the deployment of Abhuman auxiliaries such as Ogryns and Ratlings.[13a]
Should a Regiment survive a campaign, it is unlikely it will return to its homeworld. Instead, it will move to the next war zone. Attrition rates are rectified by amalgamating it with other regiments, and despite a few exceptions new recruits are rarely added to existing regiments. Instead, fresh recruits are put into newly raised forces. While Regiments of the same type and planetary origin are most often merged together to keep it at full strength, it is not unheard of to have two entirely different Regiments merged together. Such was the case when the Valhallan 611th Infantry was merged wth the 1082nd Recon Armoured Division, creating the Voltan Recon Hussars whose infantry clung to the hulls of tanks. Besides doctrinal and training differences, such formations are also plagued by cultural and language barriers. Most commanders consider such regiments inefficient and wasteful but they nonetheless persist in order to quickly field large numbers of soldiers. However it is not always a failure, as was the case when the Catachan CLXXXII merged with the Elysian 90th to create the Prosan 314th. This new regiment proved itself adept at airmobile jungle warfare after being issued Valkyries during the Saikong Justification Wars.
Command and Organization
A regiment is typically commanded by a Colonel and is divided into a number of fighting units notionally called companies, each with a command staff of its own typically under a Captain[4a]. Each company can consist of a number of further sub-units again notionally called platoons typically under a Lieutenant, each platoon in turn being made of a number of individual squads of Guardsmen under a Sergeant. The actual terms used for these fighting units, their numbers and equipment typically varies somewhat between regiments.
Due to the sheer size of many regiments, the Colonel (or other ranking officer) in command of a regiment is often advised by a regimental staff. Drawn from the regiment itself and other Administratum departments, this body of officers and enlisted personnel help the Colonel in coordinating and documenting the regiment and all of its activities. Members of the Commissariat, Adeptus Ministorum and Adeptus Mechanicus attached to the regiment are not considered part of a regimental staff but work alongside it.[3a] Often the staff is subdivided into several sections, each with its own designated duties, which may include the following:
- Operations - This section is responsible for issuing field orders, preparing battle plans, and compiling data on the regiment's situation. In many cases it is the most senior section of the staff and commanded by the regiment's second-in-command.[3a]
- Intelligence - Responsible for collecting, analyzing and disseminating information about enemy forces, primarily reporting to the Operations section and the regiment's commanding officer in the form of daily intelligence reports. Often this section will include attached liaison teams, such as from the Imperial Navy for aerial reconnaissance or the Orders Dialogous to assist in interrogating captured Xenos. If the regimental headquarters has dedicated reconnaissance units attached to it, they are commanded directly by the Intelligence section to conduct specific scouting missions.[3a]
- Communications/Signals - Oversees all communications between the regimental headquarters and its sub-units, between sub-units within the regiment, and between the regiment and High Command. This section also maintains communications with other non-Imperial Guard units operating in the theater, and is responsible for eavesdropping on the enemy's communications which is then passed along to the Intelligence section. If the regimental headquarters includes a dedicated Communications company it reports directly to Communications/Signals, while a member of the Adeptus Mechanics specializing in communications technology may also be attached to this section.[3a]
- Transportation/Supply - This section is responsible for planning and coordinating the non-combat transportation of the regiment and its resupply by the Departmento Munitorum. During combat it is responsible for regulating the regiment's rear echelon, such as maintaining traffic flow and providing security for supply depots and lines of communication, and is supplied troops by the Operations section to accomplish this mission. Often this section is commanded by a Departmento Munitorum senior official and is in direct contact with any Departmento Munitorum supply columns assigned to transport material from rear stockpiles to the regiment's supply depots.[3a]
- Statistics/Administration The Statistics and Administration section deals with all personnel matters and record-keeping within the regiment. This includes maintaining tables of organisation and equipment and replacing combat losses, as well as keeping a record of the history of the regiment itself. It is often commanded by a senior official of the Administratum and staffed by Ordinates and Scribes.[3a]
Other non-combat units often attached to regimental headquarters may include a Medical company, which reports to the regiment's Surgeon Captain. The medical company is responsible for supplying Medics to a regiment's sub-units and maintains an aid-station to treat the wounded in the field. It is also responsible for transporting serious cases to a field-hospice in the rear staffed by members of the Orders Hospitaller.[3a]
The hammer of the Imperial Guard, Armoured Regiments are made up entirely of fighting vehicles, and can be expected to field very high numbers of Leman Russ Battle Tanks or variants. Typically bereft of organic infantry, but many contain their own artillery and flak tanks. Some Armoured Regiments may also possess Super-Heavy Tank units.[3x]
Regiments made up entirely of artillery pieces are known as Artillery Regiments. Such regiments can deploy a mixture of destructive weapons types or may specialise in a particular brand of long-range ordnance. Some such regiments contain small numbers of infantry and are likely to contain large amounts of transportation and anti-air vehicles. Since Artillery Regiments are not intended for direct frontline combat, they are generally much smaller then other Imperial Guard regiments. For this reason, Artillery Regiments are often attached as auxiliary units to larger regiments or are placed under the direct control of the local Commanding Imperial Officer.
Death World Regiments
Raised from Death Worlds, these forces are made up of hardy survivors and are known for their extreme adaptability. They often specialize in guerrilla warfare, reconnaissance, hunting, as well as combat on highly inhospitable worlds. Perhaps the most infamous Death World Regiments are the Catachan Jungle Fighters.[13b]
Some regiments exist within the Imperial Guard who specialise in arriving on the battlefield from the skies. Such regiments are termed Drop or Drop Troop Regiments. Lightly armed and equipped (although not as light as Light Infantry), Drop Troop Regiments typically attack from behind enemy lines, or are dropped right on top of enemy defences. All personnel in a Drop Regiment will be able to be equipped with grav-chutes, although this is not their only method of attack. Such regiments will also feature a large amount of airborne vehicles such as the Valkyrie troop carrier or Vulture gunship.
With no tanks or other heavily armoured vehicles to land in an assault, the highly mobile drop regiments are often tasked with forming the initial beachhead in an assault or capturing and holding an important location until the armoured reinforcements can arrive to relieve them. This means that the casualty rate amongst Drop Regiments tends to be higher than that of "regular" Imperial Guard units, as the regiments are ill equipped for a protracted fight with a superior force.
Regiments of Drop Troops often make use of specially adapted equipment such as Drop Sentinels, Cyclops Demolition Vehicles and Sentry Guns. These machines are often dropped into combat via Grav-chutes alongside the Troopers or deployed from the holds of Valkyries.[3x]
Heavy Infantry Regiment
Similar in style to Infantry Regiments, Heavy Infantry Regiments are marked out by the personal equipment of their Guardsmen. Almost all troopers in a Heavy Infantry Regiment will be equipped with heavy armour, such as carapace armour or a more exotic design unique to their world of origin. Similarly, weapons issued will be of a 'heavier' nature with a preponderance of plasma or similar high-end energy weaponry issued to specialists and teams. It has been known for all troopers in a Heavy Infantry Regiment to be armed with hellguns instead of the standard Guard weapon, the lasgun.
Hunter-killer regiments use light vehicles with heavy weapons to destroy priority targets. Hunter-killer units often develop a hero mentality, and are often regarded as glory-seeking mavericks by others.
Light Infantry Regiment
A regiment formed up with no organic fighting or transport vehicles is known as a Light Infantry Regiment. These regiments display tendencies towards battlefield infiltration and reconnaissance, display skill at moving through all manner of difficult terrain and often possess highly effective sniper cadres. They tend to be somewhat deficient in heavy weapons options.
Line Infantry Regiment
A 'standard' Imperial Guard regiment will feature a predominance of fighting Guardsmen, as well as a number of organic fighting and transport vehicles. Despite being percieved as the most common of regiment types, the variation between Infantry regiments of different worlds will be marked.
Mechanised Infantry Regiment
A regiment where all infantry units possess their own organic transportation. Mechanised regiments feature a preponderance of the Chimera vehicle, but may also feature other transport vehicles, including designs unique to their homeworld. Mechanised formations can often be found providing support for armoured units, and may possess armour of their own, amongst other variations of fighting vehicle.
Reconnaissance Regiments operate ahead of other army commanders, using autonomy and personal initiative. This often breeds a strong sense of recklessness and daring, leading them to typically be considered ill-disciplined.
Siege Infantry Regiment
Regiments specifically trained for siege warfare often contain more artillery, both heavy and light, then standard Imperial Guard Regiments. Siege regiments often are larger and more well equipped then other types of regiments as they are expected to stay and fight in a warzone for at least several years if not decades if the war is particularly brutal. Due to the high casualties such regiments will inevitably take, siege specialised forces often have large contingents of conscripts so that the regiment's pool of manpower always remains high. Siege regiments often work in concert with Light Infantry or Armoured Regiments so that a breach in enemy lines can quickly be reinforced and if possible, pushed forward deeper. More well equipped siege regiments often have a large number of super-heavy and heavy tanks. 
Abhuman-populated worlds raise their own regiments of Imperial Guard, although very few in number. Because of the specific levels of competence and/or skills possessed by Abhumans, these regiments are normally raised only to be immediately split up into small units, which are then parcelled out and attached to other Imperial Guard regiments.
Some Regiments may contain separate formations within them, known as Sub-Regiments. The Ventrillian Nobles, for instance, are known to look down upon the non-Ventrillia members of their Regiments and place these Guardsmen in Sub-Regiments known as the Ventrillian Ignobles.
Notable Imperial Guard Regiments
Some of the most famed Imperial Guard Regiments include:
- The Cadian Shock Troopers
- The Catachan Jungle Fighters
- The Death Korps of Krieg
- The Armageddon Steel Legion
- The Elysian Drop Troops
- The Tallarn Desert Raiders
- The Mordian Iron Guard
- The Valhallan Ice Warriors
- The Vostroyan Firstborn
- The Tanith First and Only
- The Attilan Rough Riders
- The Praetorian Guard
- The Harakoni Warhawks
- The Savlar Chem Dogs
- The Mordant Acid Dogs
- The Brontian Longknives
- The Drookian Fen Guard
- The Kanak Skull Takers
- The Maccabian Janissaries
- The Brimlock Dragoons
- The Terrax Guard
- The Scintillan Fusiliers
- The Pyran Dragoons
- The Noctan Strike Forces
- The Jopall Indentured Squadrons
- The Kaledon Hunters
- The Lucifer Blacks
- 1: Warhammer 40,000 5th Edition Rulebook, pg. 138
- 2: Codex: Imperial Guard (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex), [Needs Citation]
- 3: Imperial Armour Volume Three - The Taros Campaign
- 4: First and Only (Novel) by Dan Abnett, [Needs Citation]
- 4a: Part 5, Chapter 15
- 5: The Traitor's Hand (Novel) by Sandy Mitchell, [Needs Citation]
- 6: Imperial Armour Volume Five - The Siege of Vraks - Part One, [Needs Citation]
- 7: Codex: Imperial Guard (5th Edition), pg. 12
- 8: The Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer, pg. 13
- 9: Only War: Core Rulebook, pgs. 64-65
- 10: Codex: Astra Militarum (8th Edition) (E-Book) - Company organisation
- 11: Codex: Imperial Guard (2nd Edition), pg. 67
- 12: Regimental Standard: Welcome to the Ventrillian Ignobles! (posted on 11/04/2018) (last accessed on 02/02/2023)
- 13: Codex: Astra Militarum (9th Edition)