Imperial Guard

AIAaward.gif This article is awesome. Do not fuck it up.
And his name struck fear into the hearts of men.

"Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. It brings out all that is best; it removes all that is base. All men are afraid in battle. The coward is the one who lets his fear overcome his sense of duty. Duty is the essence of manhood."
"Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men."

– George S. Patton

"Soldiers generally win battles; generals get credit for them."

– Napoleon Bonaparte

"Quantity has a quality all of its own."

– Atrributed to Joseph Stalin

"To each of us falls a task, and all the Emperor requires of us Guardsmen is that we stand the line, and we die fighting. It is what we do best - we die standing."

General Sturnn of the Imperial Guard

"When one has two hundred artillery pieces per kilometer of the frontline, he does not report contact with the enemy or ask for whereabouts. He reports successful breakthroughs and asks for further orders."

– Attributed to Aleksandr Vasilevsky

"Hey guys, they're called Astra Militarum now!"

– Game Workshop, shortly before everyone proceeded to ignore them.

The Imperial Guard (officially titled the Astra Militarum as of 6th Edition, ‘cause fuck your original name if GW can't trademark it), also known as THE WALL OF GUNS, are the foot soldiers of the Imperium in Warhammer 40,000. They exist only to die gloriously in the Emprah's name. Commissars (like Holt and Ciaphas Cain) ensure that they do so regularly, and any cowards or deserters tend to be summarily executed. During the Great Crusade, the Emperor only intended for them to be auxilia for his SPESS MEHRENS (and to man masses of tanks, artillery, and aircraft), since the average Guardsman is only capable of drawing enemy fire and shining a flashlight at his enemies (although much more fortunate Guardsmen get to drive the tanks and other armored vehicles fielded by the IG, which proceed to blow their enemies into little chunks from very long ways away); but after Horus' little tantrum and the breakup of the Legions, trillions upon trillions of humans were drafted to make up for the difference, even if entire squads and even regiments are generally not expected to survive their first combat action. Or training. Or just meeting their Commissar for the first time. Even so, many consider their dogged perseverance in the face of overwhelming odds to be what makes them so balls-to-the-wall awesome.

It is recommended that you put [1] on loop before reading the rest of this article.



It is worth noting that in a universe where opposing armies include:

"Welcome to the jungle, we've got fun and games!"

... the foot soldiers of the Imperial Guard take to the field equipped with nothing but ceramite jackets, glorified laser pointers, a few weeks of training, some toilet paper, and a pair of Mars-pattern, titanium-plated balls.

While the lasgun and Flak Armor (in essence an oversized SAPI plate) are very good by modern standards, they're just flashlights and t-shirts compared to the automatic death launchers and magic power armor of the rest of the galaxy - the Guard make up the difference with sheer nerve.

Examples of Guardsmen going above and beyond even this inherent badassery, demonstrating the possession of testicles so massive they should be deployed in battle as a separate unit, are plentiful: Ollanius Pius is one such Guardsman, standing up to fucking Horus himself (depending on whose canon you prefer). Dawn of War sees the Blood Ravens running into a pair of Guardsmen who have held their position, without support, in the middle of a combined Chaos/Ork/Eldar invasion, for more than a week. Dawn of War II has Guardsmen rescued in an earlier mission returning in the finale to provide infantry support while the Blood Ravens launch an attack... on a fucking Tyranid hive. These same guardsmen (led by the ever awesome Sergeant Merrick) SURVIVE the suicidal mission, and fight on for ten more years against the remnants of the Tyranids/Orks/Eldar. A different group of about 72 loyal Guardsmen also managed to hold out for those ten years. In a frozen wasteland. Surrounded by former comrades taken by Nurgle, bands of Black Legion Chaos Marines, and a growing Daemonic incursion.

Although the average frontline Guardsman is highly unlikely to survive his first deployment, veteran soldiers are some of the manliest motherfuckers the Imperium has to offer, putting even the fucking SPESS MEHRENS to a billion shames. Disturbingly, if Imperial Guard tactics advanced from WWI-style warfare (overuse of artillery (artillery cannot be overused, heretic) and mass charges against machine guns and tanks) to modern military strategies (such as taking cover and using air/armor/support, which while many elite regiments often do, there’s so much damn variety you can't really have good quality control), the Imperial Guard could become the most feared army in the whole universe. But NO, that's not grimdark enough! Also, that's the Tau's whole schtick. However, do note that some commanders themselves shove off this fact and order their men to charge enemy lines with or without heavy armor/artillery support and regardless of terrain.

That said, fluff-wise it seems that the Guard's most common methods of war are to use lots of heavy weapons, tanks, and artillery to smash the fuck out of the enemy while Guardsmen mop up the shards of their foe while supported by more heavy weapons, special weapons, and Infantry Fighting Vehicles. So, honestly, the Imperial Guard is really fucking powerful even without considering their numbers are so vast they could just drown you with their own blood and corpses and the paper to write the report on for said casualties would be literally not worth the paper. On top of that, their flak armor (which includes flak shirt and flak pants apparently as those are offered in Only War) is immune to stub weapons except hand cannons and heavy stubbers and larger. Since almost all aliens (none that are playable) use weapons roughly as powerful as Imperial stub weapons...good God these guys are deadly. And those same aliens' armor can't defend against lasguns. On top of that the Imperial Guard is like 80% of the time fighting rebels or the like, whom nearly always use stubbers and armor inferior to Guard flak armor. SO! Almost always the average Imperial Guardsman will be immune to enemy small arms and the enemy's armor cannot protect against the Guardsman's lasgun. When fighting things that make mince-meat of Guardsmen, we get massive concentrations of artillery, tanks, IFVs, and heavy weapons of all kinds to smash the enemy so the infantry can swiftly blast the foe at close-range (close-range lasgun fire rivals the penetration of bolters). This is when they're not being used to merely destroy threats to Titans and Astartes so the Titans and Astartes can wipe out the enemy. The Guard also has a wide selection of super-heavy vehicles and even bigger, killier things.

Do NOT fuck with the Imperial Guard!

Dan Abnett and the Guard’s latest Codex turned the IG into gods of mechanized warfare, and yet they still suck compared to 8-foot-tall Daemonic killing machines with chainaxes. To be fair, though, that's like comparing a sedan to a tank. How are you NOT supposed to suck against things that can slice through meter-thick speshul-steel armor like so much cheese?

The cold, hard truth of the matter is that the lowest currency in the Imperium is human life. Whereas the modern day commander would sacrifice expensive equipment (a cruise missile ain't cheap) to save even a single life, in the grim darkness of the far future, emphasis on civilian morale and "leave no man behind" ideals would screw up a already overtaxed bureaucratically fucked Munitorium. Instead, commanders do risk assessment. They're not going to devote resources just to save one lowly grunt if they will expend resources more expensive in return. Although to be fair, commanders who make these decisions know the moral implications of what they're doing while the Imperium treats this as a perfectly normal act.

"The meaning of victory is not to defeat your enemy but to destroy him, to eradicate him from living memory, to leave no remnant of his endeavors, to crush utterly his every achievement and remove from all record his every trace of existence. From that defeat no enemy can ever recover. That is the meaning of victory."

A bit of maths, if you will. There are 32,380 Hive Worlds in the Imperium. The average population of these worlds is around 200 billion each. We put these together and we get 6.476E15 (6,476,000,000,000,000 or 6.476 Quadrillion) people on Hive worlds ALONE. Eventually there would be more human retard-babies than there would be soylens viridiens and lasguns to come out of the Forge World assembly lines.

So now you see why humans are worth so little. But this also means that once they get their ass in gear and onto the battlefield, they ALWAYS win, because they have practicaly unlimited manpower and resources. Compare it to water bashing against rocks. A few gallons won't do jack, but countless billions of tonnes crashing down on it WILL destroy it in a surprisingly short amount of time. Apply actual tactics, as every regiment that isn't Kriegan does, and it becomes even more effective (Do keep in mind, it's not like they commit trillions of troops to one battle. The Imperium frequently has to withdraw, but it's like saying "We lost the battle, BUT NOT THE WAR!").

In fact, it is point-blank stated numerous times that guardsmen are way cheaper than their lasguns, because there are far more Hive Worlds to produce humans than there are Forge Worlds to produce lasguns. And to add more grimdark, the Imperium lost numerous forge worlds and mining worlds during the Time of Ending, so there are even fewer lasguns and cardboard jackets coming from assembly lines. The Death Korps of Krieg have a specific guy who runs around battlefields shooting the wounded and collecting their gear (as well as blood and organs to fix those who still can be saved to fight next day).

Think of the Red Army from the Hollywood movie Enemy at the Gates: Soviet Russia there had a fuckton of soldiers to draw from, but many were not issued spare ammunition or even rifles, and were expected to loot supplies off dead bodies. On an individual level the Germans had the obvious advantage, but send in enough cannon fodder to keep them pinned inside they city, then cut them off, and they eventually cracked.

But what the Imperium does have going for itself is the individual heroism of its protectors. The Guard bears countless heroes, without whom the Imperium would have fallen ages ago. Notable heroes of the Imperial Guard include: Ollanius Pius, Straken, Creed, Lord Solar Macharius, Ciaphas Cain HERO OF THE IMPERIUM, Vance Motherfucking Stubbs, Yarrick, SLY FUCKING MARBO, Colonel-Commissar fething Ibram Gaunt , and countless others. These extraordinary men and women inspire the masses around them to truly heroic deeds, and through those deeds, ensure that the Imperium will never falter.

Play StyleEdit

Men of the Brimlock Eleventh, fighting on Voor against Orks. Note the Judge Dredd pattern frown.

"You see, the Killbots have a preset kill limit. Knowing their weakness, I sent wave after wave of my own men at them, until they reached their limit and shut down." - Zapp Brannigan, Twenty-five Star General of the Imperial Guard.

The Imperial Guard are notorious for their SIGAOD methodology: Shooty Imperial Guard Army Of Doom for the less than nerdy. The basic lasguns are downright pathetic, but can still be effective if used en masse, and we mean en masse. The effect is a little like how cavemen throwing rocks could still be a threat to fully armored knights. It only takes one lucky shot and they don't stop shooting until they get lucky. Scientifically speaking, the lasguns are strong enough that they damage most materials, even Space Marine powered armor. It's just so minor against most foes that it doesn't matter. Until you get a hundred guys shooting at one target. Then it matters pretty damn quickly. Add in special weapons and heavy weapons and indirect fire like mortars all blazing away at an enemy and...yeah. Also, a lasgun used with precise aiming is quite lethal as you can devastate any vulnerabilities of a target easily. For example, the Vostroyan Firstborn are famous for their great precision and it shows in the massive kill-counts they rack-up. Who the fuck knows why that isn't a requirement for Guardsmen but it's probably because some goober in charge didn't notice and so never mentioned it in a memo to who-cares.

The IG has loads of vehicles. Loads of vehicles. They can take a whole squadron as a single Fast Attack or Heavy Support slot, and most are fairly cheap and most pretty good for what you pay for. There are 4 principal IG ground vehicles of note:

  • First is the Chimera, which is basically a troop transport with a turret. Its armor is fairly light and it is not particularly fast, but it's cheap and the passengers can still shoot while inside. Bread and butter, it's also used as the chassis for various other vehicles. At least it's more useful than the Rhino.
  • The second is the iconic Leman Russ Battle Tank. It is in every way a solid, dependable, warhorse. Everything from the optional heavy sponsons, to the BFG on the turret, to the completely exposed engine in the rear. Apparently, they ran out of badass when they designed it.
  • Third is the Sentinel. It's a support walker that, while not generally as effective as the other big 3, earns its place by virtue of utility. The sentinel can serve as a reliable escort that grants numbers to vehicle armies and durable fire support to infantry lists. Versatile and a cheap way to add single-use missiles. Not impressive, but good when you need a little extra ______.
  • The last vehicle of note is the Basilisk. Apparently, some tech-priest decided to take a Chimera, rip off the turret and troop compartment and replace it with the biggest piece of artillery he could find. Unfortunately, there weren't any Titan legions nearby so he settled for the Earthshaker cannon. The Earthshaker is far more powerful than even the BFG they stuck on the Leman Russ and has ten times the range. No WH40k game has been played where a target has been out of range of the Basilisk.

The four vehicles above are only a small selection of what the Guard has to offer, but they provide pretty reliable workhorses of most builds and strategies. Most other vehicles are specialized variants of the above, being largely situational units.

Let's not forget the Deathstrike Missile, which GW used to give UNLIMITED RANGE. Players have called up GW stores the next town over and told them that they're dropping a Deathstrike in the middle of whatever battle is closest, and they've accepted. The Range is 200" as of 8th edition, but 16 feet is still ridiculous.

Also of note is 6th Edition's contribution of flyer units. The IG has the most non-apocalypse flyer units in 40k, and while some of them are absolutely useless for anything but flavor, some of them kick all kinds of ass. Triple twin-linked Lascannon, twin-linked Punisher Gatling cannons, or a flying tank-busting mega-bolter kinds of ass to be specific. Rape from above.

In summary, the Imperial Guard wins by having firepower, cannon fodder, and lots of both, transported in a massive variety of METAL BOXES.

Unfortunately for the Guard, though, the Imperial Navy has a bad habit of taking ships that were designed to launch atmospheric craft in support of the Guard (such as Marauders) and instead sticks void combat attack craft inside (such as Furies) them. The result of this is painfully obvious if you're a Guardsman on the ground. Not to say they don't have air support, but that their air support has a presence that is completely at odds with the number of atmospheric fighters and bombers a ship can carry. The Navy literally fits whatever atmospheric fighters and bombers they can into whatever excess space remains after putting their Furies and Starhawks into hangers designed for holding countless Lightnings, Thunderbolts, Marauders, and Avengers, instead. Grimdark? Yep. Thanks to Roboute Guilliman's reforms, the inability of Guard to fight at maximum efficiency (or make it to their destination in time without borrowing civilian transport ships) is kinda the point - it makes revolt much harder, and he didn't care if countless Imperium worlds would go to shit thanks to this, to exclude the possibility of heresy was much more important. Of course, the reason why a third of the Imperial Army rebelled was due to the Imperium violently conquering their worlds. Fortifying and consolidating conquests post-Heresy would have helped prevent rebellion and Administratum control (it was efficient back then) would have prevented the populace from feeling rebellious because their lives would be great. Damaging the Guard only prevented them from doing their job and really, any rebellious Guard regiments would be (and usually are) quickly annihilated by the loyalists surrounding them. Generally, they steal transports and Chaos forges provide plenty of aircraft for them. Defeating the point of weakening the Imperial Guard and actually making rebel regiments stronger.

Enter the Hydra. The only tank designed to take out aircraft. That is BADASS. Screw the navy. Hell, some regiments have a Leman Russ for every infantry squad! Do that with Thunderbolts or Lightnings in addition to the Russ and... yeah, epic stomp.

Steel Balls, Then and NowEdit

In the ancient days of /tg/ before the Great Purge of 2009, the running meme for the Guard was that they had "steel balls", and it was well-deserved. In 4th edition and most editions prior, the Guard were stuck in the awkward position of being the Imperium's first line of defense, but were also obligated to be objectively worse than everyone at everything. The Guard were like the little brothers to the Space Marines, and when the Marines got a tank, the Guard got a hand-me-down tank that used to be a tractor. This constant relegation, coupled with the Guard's system of shooting anyone who backed down from a fight, gained them a reputation as being patently badass against all odds. Everyone was a bully to them, and yet they stood up tall and spat in every bully's face!

But in 5th edition Robin Cruddace took the helm for writing the Imperial Guard, and since it was his personal army and these were the days of "Spiritual Liege" writing, the Guard have shaped into bullies themselves. Since that time, the Guard have been able to field some of the most devastating weapons the game has to offer, with the largest armored battalions, to create some of the most frustrating meta environments possible. Tanks variants were also introduced that allowed the Leman Russ to escape the thumb of the Space Marines, so the "little brother" stigma came to a close. In fact it's now treated as a major crunch advantage to have access to some of the Guard's armory and design structure, and any competitive list will take the Guard meta into consideration. It's a foregone conclusion that they'll be in the upper tiers of play.

While it is logical that Space Marines would become an auxiliary to the Guard given the lore, and their sheer numbers set victory by attrition to be assured in the long run, the factions that would rival them based on the stories haven't held up well on the table. Orkz, the most militant and numerous combatants in the universe, have spent many long years suffering from poor accuracy and inane tactical pigeon-holes. It was, for example, standard procedure for Ork players to kill tanks by punching them because it's easier to have Orkz run after a moving vehicle than it is to get Tank Bustaz to shoot straight. As for Tyranids, the other race beyond numbers - Cruddace was allowed to write their codex and they paid dearly for it. For the better part of a decade, the bugs have also been using limited options to jury-rig solutions to basic problems that appear in every conventional 40k game.

Over time, people quit talking about how "badass" the Guard were. They aren't really underdogs in lore or crunch, and it's difficult to think of them as "bold" when you watch a Guard player table your army in a single round of shooting. If anything, it's the Orkz and everyone else who are brave as all hell for standing up to the bastards, or too stupid to stop, or both.

Notable Figures of the Imperial GuardEdit

Who's "ded 'ard" NOW, you fat, grammatically challenged cucumber?!
  • Ciaphas Cain - HERO OF THE IMPERIUM (Charming Commissar in the Harry Flashman/Edmund Blackadder tradition.)
  • Colonel-Commissar Lord Militant Commander First Lord Executor Militant Ibram Gaunt - (Rambo + Sharpe + 40,000 king of awesome) Main protagonist of Gaunt's Ghosts, and a REAL hero of the Imperium, unjustly doomed to lowly obscurity.
  • Commissar Yarrick - Old one-eye. Saviour of Armageddon, twice. Known for having an Ork Klaw on his arm, having a personal Baneblade, and a bizarre relationship with the ork warlord Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka.
  • Commissar Holt - Awesome cinematics are awesome, from Warhammer 40,000: Final Liberation. Don't you dare to simply call him Holt. *BLAM*
  • Commissar Dan - "But Commissar Dan says we're on a blaze for glory run!" "Commissar Dan is a maniac! Never listen to anything he says." Also canon thanks to FFG.
  • Commissar Fuklaw - Currently in service with the Angry Marines.
  • Commissar Raege - Currently trolling faggoty Space Marines.
  • General Sturnn - Manly damn old son of a bitch, from Dawn of War: Winter Assault. Struggles with grammar because of the grit in his teeth.
  • Lord General Castor - Sporting a manly mustache and known for having a trophy room full of Tyranid heads.
  • Ollanius Pius - The catalyst for the Emperor finally erasing Horus out of existence. (Erased from canon at one point, later restored, and as of the Horus Heresy book series the fluff for him is a bit complicated, but he's still awesome in his own way.)
  • Vance Motherfucking Stubbs - Another manly bastard, famous for "losing" a hundred Baneblades.*BLAM*LIES AND CHAOS PROPAGANDA!!! There is nothing written about the Baneblades being lost.
  • Colonel "I ate a Miral landshark for breakfast" Straken - Yet another manly fucker and another solid contender for biggest balls in the Imperial Guard.
  • Knight Commander Pask - Rain man in 40k. An autistic Leman Russ tank ace that has destroyed Titans and Gargants. With a Leman Russ. He somehow manages to wreck his tank in every battle, always getting a new one and renaming it "hand of steel." He's managed to claw his way out of hundreds of burning wrecks somehow.
  • Colonel Greiss - Straken's former commander and proof that the manliest fuckers the Imperial Guard have aren't necessarily the biggest.
  • Lord Castellan Usarkar E. Creed - Famous for outflanking enemies with Titans. Must have been the work of some sort of tactical geniu-CREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED!!!
  • Merrick - Tough bastard who survived a Tyranid Invasion, a Chaos uprising, ten years of nonstop combat, and putting a gun to his superior's head. Also fucking strong, since he can carry an entire heavy weapons setup on his own.
  • Sly Marbo - time you have read this... you are already dead... Gone, just like Creed's ability to scout titans, because GW hates awesome things. He's baaaaaaack...
  • Doom Marine - because, why the hell not?
  • Engineseers - All of them. Want to repair your own tank, do you? HERE'S THE FUCKING MANUAL. By the way, it's Heresy to do it yourself.
  • Lord Commander Solar Macharius - A Brilliant tactician who Gets Shit Done (in fluff) and the most useless command choice from the Second Edition Codex: Imperial Guard who would habitually screw up your entire battle plan since he rolled for his strategy rating on a D6 (which decided who got the first turn) and 4-6 would stop you firing your army-fucking pre-battle barrage. On a 6 you also had to put everything you had in reserve on the table. He also had no model and the fluff gave no idea what he looked like. IMPROVED IN 3RD ED WHEN HE GOT BETTER RULES AND A MODEL: Baseline stats are: WS D3+2, BS4, S3, T3, W4, I4, A D3+1, LD10
    • Because he is slow in his old age, he has an initiative of 4, which is pretty bad, but he can potentially have four attacks with a mastercrafted power weapon at a WS of 5. He's still too wild of a character to use in a serious game, so save him for your fuck-around games, or Apocalypse.
    • In conclusion, he has a terrible crunch but have a ridiculously awesome fluff being as the most successful Warmaster ever existed since the Great Crusade
  • Colonel Schaeffer - The most crazy, malicious, heinous and downright evil imperial guard officer to ever exist. Most other officers are either incompetent when battlefield tactics are concerned or egocentric to the point of believing nothing else around them has a pulse, ultimately resulting in the average footslogger having such a brief lifespan. Colonel Schaeffer on the other hand, intends to make those under his command suffer in the most grueling, painful and surprisingly productive way possible.
  • Colonel Jurten - Nuked the living shit out of his own planet, 'cuz Krieg ain't belonging to no one but the Big E. Then inhabited it solely with clones, mostly of himself.
  • Commander Kubrik Chenkov "Now see here comrade, is all for great glory of great Stalin empero- Нет! Вернись, свинья! *BLAM* Essentially a sterotypically Soviet General IN SPESS. Known for being the most famous user of the "send in the next wave" tactic, wherein a squad of 50 conscript guardsman are sent into a minefield to clear it by triggering them and another 50 are sent in immediately when they all inevitably die. The biggest waste of flesh the Imperial Guard will likely ever see, he's only survived by dint of never running out of soldiers and somehow clawing together victories. Emperor help Chenkov's ass if he meets Ibram Gaunt, Ciaphas Cain or Vance Motherfuckin Stubbs as he will most likely end up in the Penal Legions if they hear how that idiot spends his men like autogun bullets. Heck its a surprise that no other Imperial Guard leader or commander above Chenkov has shanked his ass yet. His only redeeming factor is that he considers his life no more important that anyone else's and leads his men from the front.

Main Advantages of Fielding an Imperial Guard ArmyEdit

Downsides to being a Guardsman Highly fanciful scenarios that most likely will not occur during your glorious service as a GuardsmanEdit

While your local propaganda might say that being in the guard is the most honorable thing you could ever get into, and it is! Here is a small list of things that will very likely never happen to you and are entirely preventable with forethought, your trusty lasgun, and endless faith in the Emperor:

  • You will die in the line of duty and no-one but your family and friends will remember you unless you've done something that only a Space Marine could do in combat. Anyone can do it!
  • You're expendable in every sense of the word. Freedom isn't free and you're the currency that pays for it!
  • Your Commissar might execute you to make your friends fight harder. You deserved it.
  • Your Commissar might execute your friends to make you fight harder. They deserved it.
  • Unless you're in a special forces division like the Kasrkin, you're really just a meatshield in large scale assaults. A glorious, spiffy looking meatshield!
  • "See how great this is? Your very own laser gun!" Too bad it's a bad joke compared to everyone else's guns. You're just using it wrong.
  • You can't even die when you want to. You don't want to be a quitter, do you?
  • You might be: mutilated, disemboweled, eaten alive, chopped into meat chunks by a rusty slab of metal, disassembled into your component atoms, sacrificed to the Chaos Gods, left for dead, tortured for fun by xenos, mutants, heretics and zealots, stuffed with shurikens and lasers better than yours, or blasted by Railgun rounds. But you'll earn the eternal gratitude of the Emperor!
  • You will be sent into hopeless situations and your superiors expect you to fight without retreating or showing cowardice. Just do it, no one likes a crybaby!
  • You may be used as mine clearance. By being marched through the minefield. That's right boys, you can teach those dastardly mines who's boss by blowing them up!
  • Even if after losing your entire regiment, watching your last-minute friends die horrendous deaths, and generally do the most gruesome work to win the day; the minute Space Marines come crashing down from the sky; They'll take all the credit for it, even if the Marines themselves attribute the win to you. They deserve it.
  • Those same Space Marines might bomb you and the civilians you're trying to save into mulch because you're too weak to be worth rescuing. You deserve it, weakling.
  • You will be taken from your home planet and dropped on the other side of the universe to fight in a war you didn't know existed. Think of the interesting people you'll meet, and then subsequently possibly kill!
  • You will NEVER see your home planet again unless you are stationed there. In which case it is likely under siege by yet another one of the Imperium's foes, and will likely remain so for the remainder of your short life. Think of the interesting places you'll see, and then subsequently blow up!
  • 5 Million of you dying under a four hour assault by orks, is considered a flawless victory by Segmentum Command (Then again that would likely be either a very large ork warband or a WAAAGH!, so GOOD JOB!). Better than 5 million and one, am I right?
  • If you fight along side Grey Knights, you will be *BLAMMED*, or mindfucked and lobotomized, after the battle in the interest of secrecy. Grey Knights don't exist, that's silly.
  • Hell, just fighting Chaos has a slight chance of you getting disposed of after the battle because the Inquisitor investigating your regiment thinks that you may be a slight, bit, tad tainted. You wouldn't want to spread that taint would you?
  • Even when your army are the only ones that still uses combined arms warfare, your army still sucks, since it's routinely losing entire brigades (complete with Armor vehicles and aircraft) to any single bog-standard Space Marine and/or xeno mook. But not you! Your buddies and you can definitely take 'em!
  • God forbid you dare complain. Fucking Commissars. Morale must be maintained!

Memorable QuotationsEdit

Astra Militarum Symbol.jpg

- "The meaning of victory is not to merely defeat your enemy but to destroy him, to completely eradicate him from living memory, to leave no remnant of his endeavours, to crush his achievement and remove all record of his very existence. From that defeat there is no recovery. That is the meaning of victory." - Lord Solar Macharius

- "What is the strongest weapon of mankind? The god-machines of the Adeptus Mechanicus? No! The Astartes Legions? No! The tank? The lasgun? The fist? Not at all! Courage and courage alone stands above them all!" - Lord Solar Macharius

- "I have at my command an entire battle group of the Imperial Guard. Fifty regiments, including specialized drop troops, stealthers, mechanised formations, armoured companies, combat engineers and mobile artillery. Over half a million fighting men and thirty thousand tanks and artillery pieces are mine to command. Emperor show mercy to the fool who stands before me, for I shall not." - Warmaster Demetrius

- "The enemies of mankind may employ dark sciences or alien weapons beyond Humanity's ken, but such deviance comes to naught in the face of honest human intolerance backed by a sufficient number of guns."

-DRIVE ME CLOSER! I want to hit them with my sword! (originally a meme that started from a picture of a Commissar standing up in a tank hatch brandishing his sword, the phrase became so popular it is one of Commissar Lord Bernn's in campaign/skirmish/multiplayer lines when he gets in a Chimera in Dawn of War II, Retribution)

- "When in doubt, throw more men at it."

- “You see, Necrons have a preset kill limit. Knowing their weakness, I sent wave after wave of my own Whiteshields at them until they reached their limit and shut down.” - General Brannigan of the Cadian 25th

- "Look at me. Look at me! This is home now, Trooper! This is the zone! It doesn't like you, but by the Throne, it's where you are! The Emperor wants you, boy! Did no one ever tell you that? The Emperor wants you to make his glory for him! And if you're scared, I'm terrified. The archenemy is no playmate. You're going to see things, and be expected to do things your poor mother would have a fit at. But the Emperor expects, and the Emperor protects, all of us, even you. Especially you - I promise you that." - Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt

- "Pain is temporary, Honour is forever" - Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt

- "That which I cannot crush with words alone, I shall crush with the tanks of the Imperial Guard!"

- "You're a fearsome warrior! Act like it!" - General Castor

- "You don't die until I say so!"

- "Forward you dogs, to victory!!"

- "Glory to the first man to die! CHARGE!!!"

- "Yes, you shall die when assaulting a well maintained fortress under a competent commander. But at least strive to make your death useful." (Paraphrased)

- "We go beyond the emperor's light. To the darkest reaches in the galaxy. Good thing we brought our flashlights!"

- "To each of us falls a task, and all the Emperor requires of us Guardsmen is that we stand the line, and we die fighting. It is what we do best: We die standing." - General Sturnn, Dawn of War: Winter Assault

- "Only in death does duty end" - Sturnn

- "All right men! TIME TO WAGE TO WAR!" - Sturnn

- "Remember, we have more numbers men!" - sergeant in skirmish/multiplayer line from Dawn of War II Retribution

- "Let's see them fight ALL of us!" Guardsman, Dawn of War: Soulstorm

- "For each one of us that falls, 10 more will take its place!" Guardsman, Dawn of War: Soulstorm

- "We died so that others may live" - Unknown Brimlock Dragoon

- "Infantry wins firefights, tanks win battles, artillery wins wars." - Tactica Imperialis

- "A Guardsman's LIFE is to die. My job has always been to send them where they CAN die. I'm not afraid to spend men, but I never waste them!" - General Castor

- "Your foe is well equipped, well-trained, battle-hardened. He believes his gods are on his side. Let him believe what he will. We have the tanks on ours." - Colonel Joachim Pfeiff, Krieg 14th Armoured Regiment

- "We'd offer a pension if we thought you needed it..." - Unknown Recruiting Officer.

- "When in mortal danger, when beset by doubt, run in little circles, wave your hands and shout." - Parody of the Litany of Command. (More popular then you think)



- "Our deaths will be MAGNIFICENT!" - Priest

- "A good general does not lead an army to destruction just because he knows it will follow." - The Tactica Imperialis

- "If at first you don't succeed, bring heavier firepower!"


- "They just keep coming!" Heretic Stevos, counting troop ships.

- "GO GO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- "Did I give you permission to get shot soldier? Then don't let those heretics shoot you!"

- "Tanks! Where are the bloody tanks!?"

- "Where is that ARTILLERY!?"

- "Remember your training and you will make it back alive" - Unknown deceased Guardsman

- “Have you seen my flashlight?”

- "Let my epitaph be this; I was born nameless and abandoned in the gutter of a sunless pit, but I have died a conqueror of worlds." - Reputed last words of Lord Militant Erais Slaithe

- "If I found out that you have been coveting HERESY, I shall force-feed you your own ******" Mordian Guard Commissar warning a newly promoted sergeant from his regiment.( Take a guess on the proposed ration)

- "We'll get through this I know it" - Random Guardsman Dawn of War

- "Nothing crushes the spirit of man! The Imperium overcomes and WE ARE the Imperium!"

- "WITNESS YOUR DOOOOOOOOOOOOOMAH!!!" - Wyrdvane psyker unleashing his unholy wrath

- "Witness the glory of the Emperor...through MEEEEEEEEE!" - Wyrdvane psyker

- "Peace is not in my vocabulary" - Commander Jarra Mordiker of the 13th/5th support regiment

- "A good soldier obeys without question. A good officer commands without doubt." - Tactica Imperialis

A Piece of Writing That Explains the Imperial GuardEdit

At the end of the day, though he's been ferried through hell on a ship that's ten thousand years old to some godforsaken, war-torn rock; though he deployed from high orbit with nothing but a grav chute; though he is one of ten million men and women snatched from his homeworld to fight a war he barely understands; though he has been given a weapon that fires small suns and may annihilate him as he fires because the knowledge of how it functions has been lost; though his company is supported by tractor-tanks that run on anything you can burn; though he wages war against a devouring hivemind, ravenous demons and hordes of hyper-advanced aliens with strange technologies and sorceries he never dreamed existed; no one will remember his sacrifice, there will be no records of his deeds, no glorious parades in his honor, and no remembrance of his name. All he will earn is a shallow, unmarked grave on a forgotten world untold lightyears from home.

Yet for all this thankless sacrifice a Guardsman is a man, just like you. He has no millennia-old genetic engineering, no prophetic leader, no miracles of faith. He has his lasgun, his orders, and those beside him. He is an Imperial Guardsman.

And he will hold the line.

Now in Manly Tear inducing audio format!

The Imperial Guard's AnthemsEdit

For more Imperial anthems, consult your Uplifting Primer. While the Ecclesiarchy and several, if not all, Chapters of Space Marines look down upon the frivolities of music (unless said music is sung in somberly in High Gothic and praises the Emperor) as distracting to any soldier in carrying out his Divine Duty, the Imperial Guard still makes heavy use of marching themes and anthems. Examples are given below:

There is a disturbing lack of hell march in this list. Whoever is responsible report to your local commissar and prepare for summary blamming.

Problem with that: It's Hell March. The local Commissar wants to see you. Nothing wrong with "Hell" march, if it was "Warp" March or "Heretic" March, there'd be a problem. As it goes, does the imperial guard nor deliver the Emperor's judgement upon the Traitor, Mutant and Heretic? Their wrath(Firepower) can rightly be described as "Hell" should it be directed at you.

  • - music piece made popular by Vostroyan and Valhallan regiments when launching all out assaults (persistent rumours that the Death Korps and Cadians have adapted the piece continue to be denied by respective parties)
  • - A song often sung by Guard regiments holding out against overwhelming enemy forces to maintain moral as they Hold The Line, said to have been blasted from every available vox unit and speaker during the final days of Cadia.
  • - An ancient piece of music often blasted as entire Super Heavy tank companies roll into battle, said to signify the doom of The Emperor's foes and the triumph of His servants
  • - As The Cadian 8th "Castellan's Own" makes one final stand to buy time to evacuate as much troops as possible out of Cadia, This Music was played on every Vox Channel as Creed and His Men take as many of the Heretics with them to Hell
  • - Associated with the 18th Cadian after defeating Hive Fleet Gorgon. Based on an older song supposedly first played during the purging of the insectoid xenos known as "Arachnids".
  • - An ancient Valhallan march said to be sung by the Ice Warriors' defenders during the dreaded War of Survival against the Orks, and rumored to have been sang by regiments of the Valhallan Ice Warriors throughout the War of the Beast.

Notable Imperial Guard ForcesEdit

Because GW was too lazy to create an original themed Imperial Guard army, they basically used RL armies as a base for them, gave them a little touch of grimdark, assorted amounts of tempered ceramite balls and placed them... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE!

  • Cadian Shock Troops: (Now homeless after Cadia's fall) Generic occidental army/Colonial Marine clones... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! FOR IMPERIUM AND EMPEROR! CADIA STANDS!
  • Catachan Jungle Fighters: Vietnam War Americans (and Australians) ... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! GOOD MORNING CATACHAN!
  • Tallarn Desert Raiders: Lawrence of Arabia's Raiders (or Mujihadeen)... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! !الإمبراطور أكبر
  • Armageddon Steel Legion: Wehrmacht mechanized divisions... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! FÜR DEN IMPERATOR, FEUER FREI!
  • Valhallan Ice Warriors: World War II Soviet Red Army... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! ЗА РОДИНУ! ЗА ИМПЕРАТОРА! НИ ШАГУ НАЗАД!
  • Mordian Iron Guard: Napoleonic Prussians (spiffing blue uniforms, iron hard discipline and ranked fire)... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! GOTT KAISER MIT UNS!
  • Death Korps of Krieg: WWI's Western Front (both sides)... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! Now that we're in space, imagine what the Clone Army in Star Wars might be if Lucas liked grimdark as much as he liked CGI and revising the original trilogy.
  • Elysian Drop Troops: French paratroopers... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! QUI OSE GAGNE! POUR L'EMPEREUR! (Taros Campaign=Dien Bien Phu or Operation Market Garden)
  • Harakoni Warhawks: American paratroopers... IIIIIINNNN SPACE! GREEN LIGHT!!! LET'S GO!
  • Tanith First (And Only): Scots and Welsh... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! OFNI FI, OND DDILYNWCH!
  • Attilan Rough Riders: Mongols Huns... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! (Yes, again.)
  • Savlar Chem Dogs: Post-apocalyptic raiders (and a bit of the Vietnam War tunnel rats )... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! They rule Bartertown, get out of here guardsman.
  • Praetorian Guard: Victorian British Army... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! PRAETORIANS NEVER YIELD! (Ever seen the movie Zulu? Like that, but against Orks. And yes that is a bit racist when you stop and think about it but oh well.)
  • Kanak Skull Takers: Cavemen (with some Apache)... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! ME TARZAN, YOU DEAD!!
  • Phantine Skyborne: British SAS... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! Who dares, wins.
  • Scintillan Fusiliers: 18th century French aristocrats... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! QU'ILS MANGENT DE LA BRIOCHE!! Likely doomed if their Commissars get an STC for a portable guillotine.
  • Ventrillian Nobles: 16th century Spanish Conquistadors (with some WHFB Tileans)... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! POR VENTRILLIA, EL IMPERIO Y EL EMPERADOR!!!
  • Maccabian Janissaries: Ottoman Empire's Elite Corps... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! AMINA KOYAYIM!! Nobody cared who they were until they put on the masks.
  • Solar Auxilia: The first iteration of the Imperial Guard.

With such a large and diverse collection of units in the Imperial Guard that puts even the Space Marine armies to shame, you'd think that you'd have plenty of options for fielding an army, right? Well, I've got some bad news for you: Realistically, you can only field Cadians and Catachans in large numbers, as well as the Death Korps and Elysians if you're willing to pay Forge World prices. As for everyone else? Either discontinued, or frequently out of stock, and most of them are still in pewter, so good luck trying to get custom loadouts. Yes, some units like the Attilans or Harakoni may seem too out there to have broad appeal, but you'd think at least the Steel Legion would get more support, what with their intimate involvement in Armageddon, one of 7th Edition's Warzone settings (or it could be a scam to make yo pay FW prices as their models look pretty similar to death korps). Luckily, there are some people out there who have got you covered.

Imperial Guard forces featured in Black Library novelsEdit

The writers from Black Library have also created some armies for Black Library novels, and while some of them only appear in one novel or short story they may be worth mentioned as a great source of custom Imperial Guard armies:

  • Arkhan Confederates, Civil War American Regiments... IIIIIINNN SPAAAACE! Featured in the extremely grimdark novel Fire Caste, their name seems to be a reference both to the state of Arkansas and H.P. Lovecraft's haunted city of Arkham (also their homeplanet is Providence, so yeah), they just came out of a civil war between loyalists and rebels, with their average troopers getting the slang of "greybacks", their culture is akin to America's 19th century with a bit of northern barbarian for some measure, while the Adeptus Mechanicus have enforced Mars dogma Arkhan nobles still have a tendency to tweak and build their own machines as a form of Omnissiah worship, which have resulted in jumpack sentinels and the Zouaves clockwork power-armoured elite soldiers, which are capable to stand their ground against Tau battlesuits (progress!), also their psykers usually come with a northern tribesman guardian who is tasked to chop the psyker's head in case it gets perils of the warp.

/tg/ Homebrew Guard ForcesEdit

Here are some of the regiments spawned by /tg/.

  • Cendran Abolishers Pyromaniacs who eat the burnt flesh of their enemies.
  • Darmine Marshalls Elite sharpshooters supported by huge amounts of explosive collar-fitted penal troopers.
  • Onóir_First_and_Foremost Heavy troopers who use an unholy amount of Valkyries and flamethrowers
  • Ferdain Mustangs Cavalry regiment that use genetically tailored horses that are practically heavy armour.
  • Sauristoni Ghostchasers Renowned scouts and trackers who are experts on Eldar.
  • 1st Membranes A regiment made almost entirely of psykers from a black ship that crashed on a forge world.
  • Arianius Divided Regiments Regiments are segregated along gender lines. Men are slicey women are shooty.
  • Kandamii Crabhunters A regiment made up of Augmented soldiers who specialize in Oceanic and Aerial warfare.
  • New Terran Rangers: Or (NTR) for short. Are a group of Slaaneshi cultist I mean totally loyal Guard that all others should expire to be. Others should stride to be as heroic as them.
  • Unbreakable Tritons: A rigorous and disciplined regiment, specializing in aquatic/amphibious, and naval combat.
  • Terran Knights Elite regiments recruited exclusively from Terra. As a result they have some of the best equipment in the Imperium.
  • 2478th Penal Legion, "Hell Harlots" All-female penal legion close combat drop troops made up entirely of the same religious prison gang.
  • Generian 99th Medium Infantry The original regiment of the All Guardsmen Party spawning some of the most dangerous, heretical, yet pragmatic acolytes in the entire inquisition.
  • Hua Yuan Exterminators Tyranid hunters and Hive warfare Specialists that use unique 'Color And Mayhem' tactics to disorient and daze in the cramped not!Honk Kong they're from. By far the most fleshed out /tg/ regiment to date.
  • Franchfarran Legion: One of the stupidest ideas to come out of thinking about 40k. Beats the Benveadig Militia though...
  • The Varkhese Legionnaires: Heroes of the Siege of Varkhat and the infamous mechanised force used by the Mechanicus in it's recent terraforming endevours.
  • Argo Brigade: Regiment of brutally effective counterinsurgency operators who really, really enjoy crucifying dissidents, dissident sympathizers, and xenosupside down and/or sideways.
  • The Karthak Raiders: Purple-clad Cadians with names like Kinmar, Kinfey and Kinross. There's a short story about them coming soon.
  • Clavessa Bush Brigade: Some poor sods who are posted in-orbit on the most parasitic death-world planet in the universe. EVERYTHING is a parasite here. It also has DEATH BEES. And the worst thing is, the enemies of the Imperium KEEP INVADING this place for some stupid reason (it says everything when the Orks are the only ones with ACTUALLY sensible, rational and understandable reasons to keep coming back to attack this shithole)

See AlsoEdit


PROMOTIONS-small.pngThis article contains PROMOTIONS! Don't say we didn't warn you.


Forces of the Imperial Guard
Command: Commissar - Enginseer - Imperial Guard Command Squad - Ministorum Priest
Primaris Psyker - Regimental Advisors - Tank Commander
Troops: Armoured Fist Squad - Infantry Squad - Field Chiurgeon - Heavy Weapons Squad
Militarum Veteran Squad - Ogryn Squad - Penal Legion - Psyker Battle Squad
Ratling Squad - Rough Rider Squad - Special Weapons Squad - Stormtrooper
Transports: Aurox Armoured Transport - Argoran Armoured Transport - Chimera
Crassus Armored Assault Transport - Gorgon Armored Assault Transport
Hades Breaching Drill - Hellbore - Mole - Taurox - Termite - Testudo
Trojan Support Vehicle - Pegasus AAV
Light Vehicles: Atlas Recovery Tank - Bike Squad - Bane Wolf - Centaur Utility Vehicle
Cyclops Demolition Vehicle - Devil Dog - Hellhound - Land Crawler - Scylla
Salamander Reconnaissance Tank - Sentinel - Siegfried - Tauros - Venator
Pegasus AFV
Tanks & Ordnance: Basilisk Artillery Gun - Carnodon - Colossus Bombard - Deathstrike Missile Launcher
Griffon Heavy Mortar Carrier - Heavy Quad-Launcher - Hydra Flak Tank
Leman Russ Battle Tank - Manticore Launcher Tank - Medusa Siege Gun
Ragnarok - Wyvern Suppression Tank
Superheavy Vehicles: Baneblade - Capitol Imperialis - Leviathan - Macharius Heavy Tank
Malcador Heavy Tank
Flyers & Bombers: Avenger Strike Fighter - Lightning Fighter - Marauder Bomber
Thunderbolt Fighter - Valkyrie - Vendetta - Vulture
Regiments of the Imperial Guard
Armageddon Ork Hunters - Armageddon Steel Legion - Attilan Rough Riders - Brontian Longknives - Cadian Shock Troops
Catachan Jungle Fighters - Death Korps of Krieg - Drookian Fen Guard - Elysian Drop Troops
Harakoni Warhawks - Kanak Skull Takers - Last Chancers - Maccabian Janissaries - Mordant Acid Dogs
Mordian Iron Guard - Phantine Air Corps - Phantine Skyborne - Praetorian Guard - Savlar Chem Dogs - Scintillan Fusiliers
Tallarn Desert Raiders - Tanith First (And Only) - Terrax Guard - Valhallan Ice Warriors - Vostroyan Firstborn - Ventrillian Nobles
Imperial Eagle.jpg Institutes within the Imperium of Man Imperial Eagle.jpg
Adeptus Terra: Adeptus Administratum - Adeptus Astra Telepathica
Adeptus Astronomica - High Lords of Terra
Adeptus Mechanicus: Adeptus Titanicus - Explorator Fleet - Legio Cybernetica - Skitarii
Armed Forces: Adeptus Arbites - Adeptus Custodes - Planetary Defense Force - Sisters of Silence
Imperial Army: Afriel Strain - Adeptus Astartes - Gland War Veteran
Imperial Guard - Imperial Navy - Imperial Knights - Militarum Tempestus
Imperial Cult: Adeptus Ministorum - Adepta Sororitas - Death Cults - Schola Progenium
Inquisition: Ordo Chronos - Ordo Hereticus - Ordo Malleus - Ordo Necros
Ordo Sepulturum - Ordo Sicarius - Ordo Xenos
Officio Assassinorum: Callidus - Culexus - Eversor - Maerorus - Vanus - Venenum - Vindicare
Great Crusade: Corps of Iterators - Legiones Astartes - Remembrancer Order - Solar Auxilia
Other: League of Black Ships - Navis Nobilite - Rogue Traders
Abhumans & Denizens: Beastmen - Felinids - Humans - Nightsiders - Troths - Neandors
Ogryns - Ratlings - Scalies - Scavvies - Squats - Pelagers - Longshanks
Notable Members: God-Emperor of Mankind - Malcador the Sigillite
The Perpetuals - The Primarchs - Sebastian Thor
Playable Factions in Warhammer 40,000
Imperium: AdMech: Adeptus Mechanicus - Mechanicus Knights
Army: Imperial Guard - Imperial Knights - Imperial Navy - Militarum Tempestus - Space Marines
Inquisition: Inquisition - Sisters of Battle - Deathwatch - Grey Knights
Other: Adeptus Custodes - Adeptus Ministorum - Death Cults - Officio Assassinorum - Sisters of Silence
Chaos: Chaos Daemons - Chaos Space Marines - Lost and the Damned - Renegade Knights
Xenos: Aeldari: Dark Eldar - Eldar - Eldar Corsairs - Harlequins - Ynnari
Tyranids: Genestealer Cults - Tyranids
Others: Necrons - Orks - Tau