"This is Hell Town, boy. Different rules here. My lads just spent sixteen days in a living nightmare, killed 'em twelve Gorks and eighty-two Morks. They wanna relax. Wanna cut loose. Get outta their faces, or I'll get into yours."
- — Lieutenant Barvio of the Ork Hunters addressing a Mordian Iron Guard Sergeant who had reprimanded his men
The Armageddon Ork Hunters are a specialised unit of Astra Militarum soldiers formed in the wake of the Second War for Armageddon after its end in 943.M41. They were created to conduct xenocidal campaigns throughout the equatorial jungles of the Hive World of Armageddon in an attempt to rid them of the Ork presence that had taken root there. Specialising in guerrilla tactics and jungle warfare, the Ork Hunters fight their feral enemy on their own terms, and have become extremely adept at their savage purpose. Their feral appearance and coarse manner has led to the Ork Hunters being regarded as little better than the Greenskin scum that they hunt and have earned them the enmity of many other Imperial Guard regiments stationed on Armageddon.
Soldiers from the Ork Hunter regiments of Armageddon are savage warriors, and in their short history have already earned a fearsome reputation. Based in the Equatorial Jungle of their home planet, they frequently return to the fortified Cerbera Base with grisly trophies taken from the Orks they have slain -- teeth necklaces, skulls, Stikkbombs and bloodstained armour plates amongst them. In addition to his normal equipment, each Ork Hunter also carries his "scalper," a huge machete-like weapon that can decapitate a xenos with a single blow. The feral appearance and coarse manner of the Ork Hunters has led to them being regarded as only slightly less savage than the Orks they hunt. This is not far from the truth, and on more than one occasion, the Ork Hunters have actually been forced to ally with the Greenskins against the hordes of daemons that now inhabit the region in the wake of the opening of the Great Rift. Should the abominations of Chaos be defeated, any surviving Humans and Orks will invariably turn upon each other once more.
In 998.M41, the Third War for Armageddon began. This was a massive conflict between the Imperium of Man and the largest Ork WAAAGH! ever raised, led by the Greenskin Warlord Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka. The war was fought on the Hive World of Armageddon where Ghazghkull Thraka had launched his first attempt to seize the planet exactly 57 standard years before. In the years following the defeat of the Ghazghkull Thraka during the Second War for Armageddon, the wounded Hive World began the long process of rebuilding its shattered hive cities and defences. The Ork horde had been destroyed, but due to the unique spore-based reproductive system of the Orkoid race, infestations of Greenskins continued to plague Imperial forces. In response to this reality, the head of the ruling military council of Armageddon, General Kurov, conducted several xenocidal campaigns using Imperial Guard troops to destroy such infestations throughout the equatorial jungles of Armageddon and the Ice World of Chosin. The forces involved in these battles suffered extremely high losses and many units were reduced to below a tenth of their operational strength. Rather than disperse these soldiers to other regiments, General Kurov decided to harness the valuable experience the survivors had gained and formed them into a number of specialised Ork hunting regiments. Soldiers from dozens of different planets, and with almost no common culture, were now merged into specialised Greenskin extermination regiments.
The main area of operations for these units was in the depths of Armageddon's equatorial jungles where Orks continued to proliferate despite regular purges. These Feral Orks proved to be extremely adept at fighting within the jungle environment and frustratingly difficult to engage in a decisive battle. The Ork Hunter regiments therefore built Cerbera Base in the middle of the jungle, providing them with a forward staging area and extensive training facilities. The sweltering heat and brutal training regime soon earned the base the nickname of "Hell Town."
Stationed in the centre of the jungle, the Ork Hunters launch missions into the equatorial jungles ("the Green," as the Ork Hunters termed it), fighting between the two continents of Armageddon Prime and Armageddon Secundus. In recent times, the Ork Hunter forces were bolstered considerably by three regiments of Catachan Jungle Fighters. Later on, reports indicated an intense rivalry had developed between the two factions, but as the Feral Orks flooded the mountains and dense jungle, the Ork Hunters needed all the help the other regiments of the Imperial Guard could give them.
The Ork Hunters have learned to fight the enemy on their own terms, and have become extremely good at their mission. Soldiers from the Ork Hunter regiments are savage warriors and in their short history have already earned themselves a fearsome reputation. Many Imperial Guard regiments were posted to Cerbera Base to learn from the Ork Hunters' instructor sergeants. It is well-known that the uncouth and savage nature of the Ork Hunters rankles with many of the more traditional Imperial Guard regiments, and the "Battle at Hell Town" marked the start of the enmity between the Ork Hunters and the Pyran Dragoons.
Battle at Hell Town
When the Pyran Dragoons arrived at Cerbera base to receive training in the hunting of Feral Orks still inhabiting the planet, the haughty Dragoons soon found themselves in conflict with the uncouth Armageddon Ork Hunters. The two regiments could not have been more diametrically opposed in their approach to warfare and arguments between officers of the two opposing regiments were quite common. The situation further eroded when Colonel Pertinax, the commander of Cerbera base, ordered the Dragoons to maintain perimeter positions that the Pyrans viewed as suicidally weak, and so they disobeyed the Ork Hunter commander and abandoned their positions. This withdrawal led to a massive Ork assault that the Ork Hunters were barely able to push back. It was said after the Battle of Hell Town that the argument between Pertinax and Dragoon Colonel Tannley-Drake could be clearly heard over the whole fortified camp until, finally, the Pyran challenged his counterpart to a duel. Accounts differ as to the outcome of the duel, but the Pyran Dragoons have always maintained that their colonel nobly scored first blood against the Ork Hunter, allowing the entire regiment to honourably retire to Hive Infernus for further orders. In the aftermath of this honour duel, the two regiments have remained bitter rivals.
Regimental Combat Doctrine
Armageddon Ork Hunters have adapted and trained so extensively that they have become masters of jungle warfare. Although they are not born to the jungle, and hence will never be the equal of soldiers such as the infamous Catachans, they have become highly skilled nonetheless. They are the only survivors of apocalyptic combat between their previous regiments and the Orks of the equatorial jungle, and every one of them is as skilled as they are tough. The Ork Hunters' training included a broad array of new techniques to learn and master such as demolition, escape and evasion, survival and intelligence work. The trainee soldiers of the Ork Hunters are expected to become experts in all the weapons and tactics used in the hunting of Orks and jungle warfare. Imperial Guardsmen who survive the training are rewarded with the badge of the Ork Hunters, a small metal pin with an Ork skull emblem. This became the Ork Hunters' regimental symbol and the source of their unofficial name, the "Skull-Takers."
When the Ork Hunters were created, the psychological effect such constant contact, and close-quarters warfare, with the Orks would have upon the troops subjected to it was not calculated by Kurov in his haste to combat the Orks in the jungles of Armageddon. Many of the Ork Hunter squads do not return to their base for weeks on end, and survive purely by utilising the resources of the jungle around them, immersing themselves in their war against the Orks. Occasionally, a squad of the Ork Hunters will return to Cerbera Base laden with grisly trophies of the many Orks that they have culled on their forays. These trophies often take the form of Ork tooth necklaces, skulls, scalps, and more mundane items like Ork glyphs and Stikkbombz.
A worrying trend in the Ork Hunters' combat doctrine has been noted in recent times. It seems the Ork Hunters are not only adopting the Orkoid manner of war, but also many of their superstitions, codes of conduct and icons. At best, these soldiers have found that to destroy their enemy beyond doubt, they must understand them and adopt their combat doctrines. At worst, they are degenerating into the savage beasts they have given their lives to fight, a vile slight upon the honour of the Emperor's warriors.
Ork Hunter Firesweep Teams
The Ork Hunters of Armageddon have developed many different types of tactics since the Second Armageddon War in an effort to rid the jungles of Armageddon Secundus of the many Feral Orks that infest the region. Lethal toxins have been developed and tested, as well as many traps designed purely to wipe out as many Orks as possible. At the forefront of the Ork Hunters' continuing war against their primitive enemy, though, are the elite Firesweep Teams, squads of the regiment's most skilled warriors. These Ork Hunters have been battle-hardened by years of fighting in the jungles. Armed with Flamer weapons, they can clear huge areas of the jungle of all Ork infestation within hours and in pitched battle their bravery gives them a keen advantage over any Ork hoping to hide within the dense undergrowth. A Firesweep Team consists of an Ork Hunter Sergeant and two to four Ork Hunter Veterans.
Armageddon Ork Hunters very rarely have a chance to return to Cerbera base and replenish their ammunition, their patrols often lasting weeks on end. As a result, the Armageddon Ork Hunters commonly use captured Ork weaponry. Some of the strongest Ork Hunters have even been known to wield the crude axes of the Orks in close combat. Various Imperial reports have postulated that the Armageddon Ork Hunters actually prefer Ork weapons for the sheer noise and chaos they can cause when an ambush is sprung.
- Shoota - A Shoota is ballistic weapon utilised by the Orks that is chosen not for its efficiency but for the amount of noise it makes and the amount of damage it can do. The best Shootas are deafening and deadly in equal measure. Like the Slugga, Shootas are not very accurate. Like their Ork counterparts, this suits the Ork Hunters just fine since they seem less interested in accuracy than in causing damage and raising a ruckus. The noise of a Shoota gives the Ork Hunters a morale boast and can cause their Greenskin enemies to lose their morale and retreat from the overpowering noise of dozens of Shootas.
- Slugga - Sluggas are large calibre sidearms that are the equivalent of a Space Marine Bolt Pistol. Like the Shoota, Sluggas are not very accurate. As far as the Ork Hunter wielding it is concerned, the effectiveness of a Slugga is of little importance, as long as it is big and makes a loud noise when it fires.
- Choppa - Choppas are a general term given to any Ork close combat weapon, typically heavy swords and axes. There is little finesse to a Choppa, as most are little more than sharpened pieces of scrap metal which have been roughly shaped into something resembling a sword or axe.
- Scalper - In addition to their normal wargear, every Ork Hunter also carries his "Scalper," a huge machete-like weapon that can be used to decapitate an Ork with one blow.
- Flak Vest - The most common type of armour in the galaxy is Flak Armour, as it is standard issue to the countless millions of Imperial Guardsmen. Many layers of ablative and impact absorbent material go into making each suit, enough to deflect or negate most low-level attacks such as small arms, shrapnel, and proximity blasts. Solid hits from high impact weapons can generally negate it, but given that it is relatively lightweight, cheap to produce, and dependable in most combat situations, many veterans keep using it even when offered better. Deployed in the steaming hot tropical Equatorial Jungle, most Ork Hunter warriors eschew the use of standard Imperial Guard Flak Armour, preferring to rely on their own mobility and instincts for protection in such dense, hostile terrain. The use of armour would also leave them at greater risk of dehydration, which in an alien jungle can be as deadly a killer as any living enemy.
- 3 Frag Grenades - Frag Grenades use a combustible charge and special fillers of shrapnel fragments to fill a given circumfrence with deadly shrapnel, making this grenade a potent anti-personnel weapon. Imperial Frag Grenades are roughly the size of a clenched fist and covered with a heavily notched shell, both to increase the shrapnel produced and provide a more secure grip for throwing.
- 2 Smoke Grenades - Smoke Grenade explosives release a dense smoke which only obscures basic eyesight and optical based systems. They do not block detection systems that use heat or other spectral bands outside of normal human eyesight, but are much more widely available and easier to construct.
- Imperial Guard Jungle Fighter Uniform
- Camouflage Paint
- Poor Weather Gear
- Basic Toolkit
- Mess Kit & Water Canteen
- 2 weeks' Rations
- Stummer - The reverse of the automated alarm device known as a Screamer, Stummers generate sound waves to cancel out ambient sounds and noises made by moving personnel in a small area.
- Grapnel - Grapnels use a small launcher or gas-gun to fire a hooked or magnetic grapnel, connected to the launcher with a coiled 100 metre length of thin but strong line. Once the grapnel attaches to the desired spot such as a rooftop, a Guardsman can manually climb the line or activate a powered winch. Common sets can hold 150 kilograms, while the best can support 200 kilograms.
- Blanket & Sleep Bag
- Rechargeable Lamp-Pack - Sturdy and reliable, glow-globes illuminate many an Imperial paveway and cathedral. Most portable ones are roughly the size of a clenched fist and can shine strong, yellowish light a dozen or so metres in width, lasting roughly five hours before their power pack needs recharging or replacing.
- Dog Tags
- Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer - A staple piece of gear that Guardsmen are required to have on them at all times—this piece of kit is never to fall into the hands of the enemies of the Imperium. It details everything a Guardsman needs to know: principles and regulations of the Imperial Guard, issued arms, attire, apparatus and equipment, basic battlefield policy and Imperial Guard organisation and structure, elementary battlefield medical instructions, and a detailed guide on the foes of the Imperium. No Guardsman should ever be found without possession of a copy of the Uplifting Primer -- the punishment is severe. Though they are issued it, it is very doubtful whether any Ork Hunter actually maintains a copy on his person.
Notable Armageddon Ork Hunter Regiments
- 3rd Armageddon Ork Hunters, "Pikers" - One of the Ork Hunters regiments raised in the wake of the Third Ward for Armageddon.
Notable Armageddon Ork Hunters
- Colonel Pertinax - Pertinax was the commanding officer of Hell Town when the Pyran Dragoons arrived to receive training in the hunting of Feral Orks still inhabiting the planet. The two regiments could not be more diametrically opposed in their approach to warfare and arguments between officers of the two opposing regiments were quite common. The situation further eroded, when Colonel Pertinax ordered the Dragoons to maintain perimeter positions that the Pyran's viewed as suicidally weak. It was said after the Battle of Hell Town that the argument between Pertinax and Dragoon Colonel Tannley-Drake could be clearly heard over the whole fortified camp until, finally, the Pyran challenged his counterpart to a duel. Accounts differ as to the outcome of the duel, but the Pyran Dragoons have always maintained that their Colonel nobly scored first blood against the Ork Hunter, allowing the entire regiment to honourably retire to Infernus Hive for further orders.
- Corporal Ondy Scalber, "Good-Eye," - Corporal Ondy Scalber was a soldier of the Jopall Indentured Squadrons who quickly found himself assigned to the Armageddon Ork Hunters as a "skinbait" -- an uninformed, inexperienced trooper assigned to the Ork Hunters to undergo the arduous training in learning the field craft of jungle warfare and the art of Ork hunting. In the process, Scalber earned his place amongst his Ork Hunter comrades, earning the nickname "Good-Eye" -- for being able to detect carefully concealed Orks in the jungle -- and quickly discovered that there were all sorts of ways to die and live, out in 'the Green.'
- Codex: Astra Militarum (8th Edition), pg. 26
- Chapter Approved: Third Book of the Astronomican (2001), "Armageddon Ork Hunters," pp. 19-21
- White Dwarf 246 (UK), "Chapter Approved: Armageddon Ork Hunters," pp. 62-65
- Conquest of Armageddon (Novel) by Jonathan Green
- Words of Blood (Anthology), "Ork Hunter" by Dan Abnett
- Third War for Armageddon Worldwide Campaign - Forces Disposition, Imperial Forces: Armageddon Ork Hunters
- [http://web.archive.org/web/20021005160336/http://www.armageddon3.com/English/Campaign/Troops/OrkHuntersStory.html A Tale of the Armageddon War - Ork Hunters by Dan Abnett