|Even if the Imperium is falling apart at the seams, the Imperial|
Guard can still put on a thunderingly good parade.
Anyway, enough with all that. Today, a little bit more fluff as it seems to go down well. This is the battle record from my 9th Battalion army, of a campaign I fought a good few years ago now. It's an 'in character' document, exactly like the Service Records and simply details the achievements of the army in a narrative way, a bit like those old hardcover 'Regimental Histories' books which turn up from time to time in dusty second-hand bookshops.
Anyway, this campaign was fought against Chaos, and was a messy one. 5+ armour and lasguns do not mix well with 3+ armour and boltguns ... but I did win, just. The subtle bias and selective reporting I think speaks volumes about what the Guard really is in the 40K universe. The dark mentions of 'civilian cleansing' show what methods the Imperium needs to resort to to keep itself afloat. Anyway, it was a dashed good campaign.
Fourth Founding, 121/56 Coy. Kaarash Gulley, Edethor Luna, 003.M42/671-756. Captain Justus led the company to its first location south of Kaarash, a principality on the planetary equator and in the desolate centre of the Agris Majoris which cover the majority of the central landmass of Edethor Luna. It was in this valourous action that Captain Justus was slain – though his troops carried the field, albeit at a heavy toll. Following this, the platoon commander Lieutenant Sicculus was promoted and assigned command of the 121st. For three weeks, he led them on a successful but bloody campaign of purging down the Kaarash Gulley, covering 300 miles in the twenty days’ campaigning.
A brief respite followed as the 121st occupied the settlement of Karrash – but this itself was short lived, with the population having succumbed to daemonic influences and rising up against the Imperial presence. If they expected hesitation or sympathy from the Praetorians as fellow Palladians, they were much mistaken. Under the direction of Commissar-Lieutenant van Hyrupp, the company established full defensive locations and received the attack of the heretics. Between the fusillade of defensive fire and subsequent cleansing of the men, women and children, there were no reported survivors.
|Campaign map, cobbled together out of an air traffic control|
screenshot, superimposed on a made-up continent
Under the now highly decorated Capt. Sicculus, the company moved once again, bearing directly south and making for the Karranian Exchange – a vital transport link on the mining world, and a vital strategic objective on the battleground it had become. It was in the action to seize the objective that Capt. Sicculus was killed. His loss was mourned at the highest echelons of command, and even his brief tenure has left a mark on the history of the 121 Coy that will not readily fade.
The 121 Coy had by this point taken three times its original strength in casualties, and with the death of Capt. Sicculus, not one man remained of the original 121 Coy that landed only weeks before. The 121st was withdrawn from the battle line and placed under the command of IIIIIIIIIIIIII. After two weeks in which the Light Infantry unit was augmented with two Basilisk-pattern self-propelled guns and a Leman Russ battle tank, the 121st was led into battle once more, to retake the since-lost settlement of Karrash. Under the revealing light of glorious battle, the craven IIIIIII broke and fled – but the 121st stood firm and bested the enemy, maintaining and defending the glorious reputation of the Palladian Guard. IIIIIII was swiftly recaptured by the Company Commissar and Provost Staff, and subsequently hanged in disgrace.
After this, the men of the 121st swore to redeem themselves through further valourous acts, and under the command of the newly appointed Captain Nero, they so conducted themselves with the glory and fortitude that does – and always has – befitted the men of the Praetorian Regiment. The Karrash Valley, a hotbed of heresy and apostasy, was no match for the laudable Captain Nero. The 121st embarked on a systematic operation to cleanse the civilian population for their own benefit. It is assessed that some two thousand persons were granted redemption in this operation. The company came close to being wiped out in the final engagement of the conflict when retreating heretics surrounded them. Only Capt. Nero and six men survived by defending a burnt-out tank for eight hours, until the arrival of an Astartes contingent. Following the Karrash campaign, Captain Nero was transferred to 2 Bn, Praetorian Regiment for special duties, and command fell to Brevet-Capt. Tiberius for a brief period. However, when relief arrived in the form of Capt. Hacarae, who was to assume permanent command, a mysterious tragedy befell the unfortunate company when both officers disappeared under mysterious circumstances. They were commemorated in absentia and their names added to the Regimental Roll of Honour. With these final tragedies, 121 Coy had buried 329 men over the course of the campaign, including 19 officers and 4 company commanders. The total strength of the company never exceeded 80 men at a time.
The 121st suffered heavily in the campaign, but despite this their service record was exemplary for an inexperienced unit. Before he left, Capt. Nero jokingly applied the sobriquet ‘Gravediggers’ to the Company Log-Book. The name was assumed with pride by the 121st as a reminder of the sacrifices they made on Edethor Luna to defend the Lux Imperatora in those bloody few weeks.
*Out of character note: not really true! When the local resistance were observing the activities of the company during the campaign, the 121st carried out so many massacres and dug so many graves, that it was thought they were a specialist Pioneer Corps 'gravedigging' company, rather than a proper Imperial Guard unit.