The Apostasy Gambit
The Imperial Guard is the largest military force of the Imperium of Man and also serves as the Imperium’s primary combat force and first line of defence from the myriad threats which threaten the existence of the human race in the late 41st Millennium.
It is comprised of countless billions of men and women — hundreds of thousands of different regiments, supported by a vast array of light and heavy armoured vehicles that provide the Guard’s primary offensive punch. They are usually the first Imperial force to respond to a threat if a planet’s Planetary Defence Force (PDF) fails to suppress it. They also garrison major locations of strategic or cultural interest to the Imperium and are often found in defensive roles.
The Imperial Guard is often referred to as the “Sledgehammer of the Emperor”; the sheer amount of force that the Imperial Guard can bring to bear on the enemy is devastating, but is not as direct or as precise as their Space Marine allies, who are described as the “Scalpel of the Emperor.”
There is no universal uniform or regimental command hierarchy in the Imperial Guard, although it is compulsory for every regiment to have at least one Commissar to maintain the discipline and morale of the men while watching for any signs of corruption or taint in the ranks. However, it is worth noting that a number of worlds copy the uniform used by the regiments of the Cadian Shock Troops, who are viewed as being the most effective of the Imperial Guard’s infantry units. The main tactic of the Imperial Guard is to overwhelm the enemy with their endless numbers, while at the same time hammer them into submission with devastating artillery and crush them with powerful main battle tanks.
The Imperial Guard is a colossal organisation, dwarfing every other military force in the Imperium for sheer manpower, and matched only by the Imperial Navy in logistical complexity and universal significance. It has been claimed that for every star visible from the surface of Terra, there are a hundred million Imperial Guardsmen waging war on some distant world in the Emperor’s name, though nobody could possibly know how many Imperial Guardsmen there truly are at any one moment, so vast are their numbers and so quickly do those numbers change. However, what is certain is that every one of these brave souls, and more besides, are required to fight and die for the Imperium in order to try to preserve it.
The military organisation of the Imperial Guard is a simple, hierarchical chain of command to which blind adhesion is required, especially from the lower ranks. Independent thinking and action is at best frowned upon, and at worst sanctioned by death. This one-way immutable decision structure is the only method that has proven efficient in coordinating the gargantuan resources necessary for the correct deployment of the Imperial Guard in a given war zone.