|Commissars are cool, right? Yes. Seriously, just say yes, even if you don't have a boltgun pointed right at your face.|
- skeletal robots with super-ancient technology that borders on necromantic magic, and near-broken 4+ reanimation protocol
- genetically engineered superhumans with full-body armor and an attitude that borders on annoying
- corrupted versions of above genetically engineered superhumans with full-body armor AND spikes, satanic symbols and heavy metal
- beautiful girls in similar full-body armor and an obsession with faith (plus white hair)
- hard-to-kill green-skinned, super-strong brutes that spread like a plague while shouting "WAAAGH!"
- manipulative and selfish space elves with severely undercosted manbarbies...er...Wraithknights, broken Wave Serpents, Battle Focus and overpowered technology, abilities and psyhic powers
- above-mentioned space elves' emo, sadistic cousins who torture and enslave victims unlucky not to die from their pirate raids
- space elves that dressed as clowns and wear masks because they think it's funny (well, they do it for their laughing god, after all)
- highly advanced Gundam and mecha wannabes and space communists with superior firepower, ignores cover, markerlights and suits in a crisis
- ravenous, insectoid swarms with lots of teeth and claws to eat you, and are scarier than the Zerg or the Queen of Blades (Kerrigan, say hello to Hive Fleet Leviathan)
- Daemons from Hell...uh, the Warp, with all sorts of disgusting shapes and sizes that either turn you into zombies (Nurgle), let you die from the ultimate pleasure (Slaneesh - trust me, the reality is much worse than it sounds), mutilated just so you can spill your blood (Blood for the blood god! Harriers for the Cup! Khorne flakes!) or deceived into some annoying complex and complicated scheme just so some guy up there can smirk and say, "just as planned" (Tzeeentch)
- Khorne flakes and pop Khorne because they think they're so badass they deserve a codex of their own
- Giant robots that make the mechas from the above space communists blue with envy (except that they are already blue)
- red-robed cyborg freaks who like to keep and hoard all the good technological stuff for themselves
Honestly, if a Khorne Berzerker charges at me yelling "Blood for the blood god!", I'll respond with "Corpses for the corpse god!" and shoot him in the head.
Anyway, yeah, against this multitude of horrifying foes, the Imperial Guard meet them with nothing other than flak armor, flashlights...uh, lasguns and...balls of steel. Do how do they keep the enemies of the Imperium at bay? By sacrificing...ahem...I mean, fielding billions of men, supported by legions of heavy armor and thundering artillery. Oh, and don't forget, honest human intolerance backed by a sufficient number of guns. Just keep sending wave and wave of infantry, hurling their poor conscript corspes at the wall of a fortress until it falls. Really. And for some reason, they think fixing a bayonet to their lasguns and charging a giant foe is more effective than just shooting at it. Oh well.
|The price of victory is often paid in Cadian blood. That's a great novel, by the way.|
The Imperial Guard first came to being during the Horus Heresy, especially since the awesome Ollanius Pius who stood up to Horus and convinced the Emperor to finally destroy his treacherous son with his sacrifice. The elite Space Marines and Primarchs were limited in numbers, so to support them, the Imperium of Mankind needed vast regiments of soldiers in the form of Imperial Army, the precursor to the Imperial Guard. The more planets they conquered and brought back to the fold of the Imperium, the more soldiers they needed, so the Imperial Army kept growing and growing. They were self-contained and autonomous, possessing control of their own warships, and thus formed a fully fledged arm of humanity's war machine. While half of the Space Marines sided with the Warmaster when Horus decided to betray the Emperor, the majority of the Imperial Army thankfully remained loyal to the Imperium. Unfortunately, that meant more cannon fodder for Horus and the Traitor Space Marines as they schemed and conspired to destroy entire worlds (just look at Molech! All those loyal Guardsmen dead, and for what?! Horus's obsession with something, and House Devine's fault! Bloody hell, Imperial Knights shouldn't fall to Chaos!).
Anyway, after that, the Imperial Army ceased to exist so that such treachery wouldn't happen again, though it was the Adeptus Astartes's fault (but somehow we mortal humans have to shoulder the blame with them). The fleet and army were permanently separated, so now we have the Imperial Navy and the Imperial Guard. Yay. Thanks to this, commissars were introduced to ensure loyalty, and ti's thanks to this system we have the badasses Ciaphas Cain, Sebastian Yarrick, Ibram Gaunt, all legends in their own right. Though Ciaphas is still the most awesome of the three, this writer being biased toward his favorite Warhammer 40K character. Anyway, the Imperial Guard were now a codependent organization where operations, structure and command were brutally compartmentalized. No wonder everything's so inefficient in the future. Damned bureaucracy and red tape.
Chain of command descends from the High Lords of Terra, the highest of the highest, to the Lord Commander Militant, and then Segmentum Command, who in turn are responsible for their own designated regions in the Imperium. In practice, this renders such centralized command elements little more than out of touch figureheads.
So in reality, the command falls to the officer of highest rank in any given theater of war, particularly the generals. Or they can be lord marshal or high chenzin because those sound cooler...not. These officers are supported by a cadre of loyal personnel, who then have localized high command. Each officer has different style of commands and fight differently, so better pray your officer is a competent one if you go to war under him. The Draconian Armored Defense Force is pretty okay. I hope.
And then you have the Warmaster, dudes who lead star-spanning crusades or defend entire Imperial segmentums. Someone like Macharius who unfortunately, isn't as trollish as Lord Castellan Usarkar Creed.
Then you have the annoying bureaucracy of war in the form of the Departmento Munitorum, the military arm of the Adeptus Administratum, which the less said, the better. Think logistics. You need lasguns? Send them a note and they'll ship crates of lasguns to you...if they didn't mix up your orders with some other Imperial Guard regiment's demands for...say, lifeboats, which is little use to you in a desert. Ouch. And then you have tithes where every world within the Imperium must give one tenth of its total military force to fight for the Imperial Guard. The rest can be your Planetary Defense Force, who are often underrated by the Imperial Guard, but they actually aren't that bad. Just ask Ciaphas Cain, he really had good luck with awesome Planetary Defense Forces on Prosperity Wells in Perlia, and throughout his adventures he meets decent ones.
The Imperial Guard armies are often composed of a mixture of distinct regiments, so you have artillery, armor, infantry or specialists. Yay. And you even have the Schola Progenium who train the commissars. Oh well. They also have the Adeptus Ministorum that provides religious support. Just don't confess the wrong things or the priest will call a commissar to shoot you for heresy. They also have very close ties with the Adeptus Mechanicus because they need the cyborgs for their tanks and artillery, and even their lasguns! Not only that, the Tech-Priest Enginseers attached to armored armies are attached from the Mechanicus. Without the cogboys, the Imperial Guard will fall apart. There's also abhumans and the Scholastica Psykana, which is awesome.
|For Cadia! Hell, yeah! Cadians, tonight we dine in Warp!|
Anyway, we mustn't forget the Regiments of Distinction.
|Madness? THIS! IS! CADIA!|
The most awesome Imperial Guard regiment ever, and the standard which other Imperial Guard follows. The most widely used regiment too. Thanks to them being right in the Eye of Terror, they have to guard the Cadian Gate from Chaos, so they've been at war for thousands of years. So even Cadian children can strip and reassemble a lasgun. Awesome. Um, basically the Mobile Infantry from Starship troopers, or the generic infantry army from a thousand sci-fi movies.
|Hail America...uh, I mean Catachans. This is a Death World, not Vietnam...right?|
Cliched, American soldiers from the Vietnam War era who always come to conflict with "clean, organized, disciplined" Imperial Guard armies for their lack of adherence to protocol, uniform dress and military codes. Well, screw them, they're proud of coming from the death world of Catachan, and will probably slit the throat of any commissar who threatens to execute their officer for heresy. Also notable for always vanishing and dying after Inquisitors sequesters them for some stuff.
|Yeah, courtesy to David Nash and Fantasy Flight Games (not Games Workshop? What blasphemy!). Tallarns are well known for their armored warfare!|
Guerilla warfare dudes who specialize in fighting in deserts, they're Arab versions of the Imperial Guard, with lots of tanks. Pretty cool guys too, if you played Warhammer 40K: Final Liberation (just watch the cutscenes). Had a good laugh when one of them, Alem Mahat, began worshipping Ciaphas Cain as a prophet of the Emperor.
Fancily dressed Russian soldiers in space, and apparently only firstborn sons make up the army.
|Death Korps of Krieg. They are all humans. Yes, seriously.|
The grimdark of grimdark. Looking like terrifying Germans from WWI, these masked killers go around killing the enemies of mankind with ruthless efficiency, not caring for their lives. Well, apparently their planet Krieg betrayed the Emperor once, and now they want to make up for it by losing the fear of death and never retreat or surrender. To be honest, I hate them ever since I read Dead Men Walking because they're just so...argh...well, what do you expect, I'm a Ciaphas Cain fan.
|Ciaphas Cain, the most awesome Commissar ever in the Imperium of Man. I'm not kidding.|
My favorite regiment next to Cadians, and my very own Draconian Armored Defense Force. Why? Because Ciaphas Cain has been attached to this iceworlder army almost all his life! They specialize in killing Orks and fighting in ice worlds, the Anarctic counterparts to the Tallarn's desert warfare. Also reminds me of the Soviet army.
Armageddon Steel Legion
Thanks to Commissar Yarrick, they are awesome. They are mechanized assault infantry, and often ride along in Chimeras. They, like the Valhallans, specialize in killing Orks, particularly after that damned Warboss Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka invaded their world twice.
Mordian Iron Guard
Uh, Napoleon? They like their cool uniforms, and are known for discipline and unwavering obedience to orders.
|Ibram Gaunt. Not as awesome as Ciaphas Cain but still a badass in his own right.|
Scottish wannabes with the awesome Ibram Gaunt who has lots of books and novels written about their amazing exploits (still not as awesome as Ciaphas Cain, though). They specialize in scouting and infilitration, plus sniping! I don't think they have tanks.
Elysian Drop Troops
Hell yeah, the British paratroopers! Jump aboard Valkyrie and Vendetta assault carriers, then jump down with parachutes...or in Warhammer 40K, it's grav-chute. Anyway, they specialize in boarding operations, in fact they scuttled a Chaos Hades-class heavy cruiser called Injustice during the twelfth Black Crusade.
Well, that's all folks! Have fun playing with the Imperial Guard! We're not Adeptus Astartes losers who need to steal the credit and hog the glory! We're the Imperial Guad who lay the foundations and sacrifice a ton so that the Imperium can survive! FOR THE EMPEROR!