- "We ain’t much on paper. A single regiment, a dozen companies, a few detachments of support. Bits and bobs. Not much on paper. But you take a million men and you throw them into the fight. And you keep ’em fighting ’til for every ten you started with you got only one man left. ’Til just the toughest, just the smartest, just the bleedin’ luckiest are still breathing. And then you send them out again. And of the ten men who thought they were tough, nine find they weren’t tough enough; of the ten who thought they were smart, nine find they weren’t smart enough; the ten who thought they were lucky find their luck runs out. Imagine who you’ve got left after that. And then you send them out again ’til you’ve only got one in ten of those still kicking. That’s us. That’s the Brimlock Eleventh. We ain’t much on paper, that’s true. But that’s the only place we ain’t."
- — Trooper Rit ‘Mouse’ Chaffey Brimlock 11th Imperial Guard regiment, Ellinor Crusade
The Brimlock Dragoons are the regiments of the Imperial Guard that hail from the Imperial world of Brimlock. Regiments drawn from this world are known to have a preference for operating as mechanised infantry, deploying in Armoured Fist squadrons. Multiple Brimlock Dragoons regiments fought in the Damocles Gulf Crusade, the first military conflict fought between the Imperium of Man and the rapidly expanding Tau Empire in the Lithesh Sector of the Ultima Segmentum in the galaxy's Eastern Fringes during the late 41st Millennium.
The Civilised World of Brimlock is a world defined by heavy industry and manufacturing located in the Ultima Segmentum. This world is at a late Industrial Revolution-era level of technology, with the rich living well and the millions of workers manning semi-automated production lines. Some of these workers are literally born and die there. The poorest of Brimlock's populace live in slums known as "rookeries." Some workers work on the outside of large dirigibles which float over the planet's hive cities. Brimlock is a planet that is particularly famous for producing ornate rifles and other high-quality military equipment.
Brimlock is the administrative and military centre of its star system. The other planets in the Brimlock System are "tribute worlds" which fall under the control of Brimlock's Planetary Governor. The tribute worlds provide material and a tithe of men to fight in the Brimlock Auxilia. One of these planets was renamed Marguerite by the Brimlocks after they conquered it in honour of the patron Imperial Saint of Brimlock, St. Marguerite ("Blessed Marguerite" is a common oath on Brimlock, alongside "God-Emperor"). The inhabitants of Marguerite are commonly known as "margoes." Some within the Brimlock System consider this term purely descriptive, but most use it to be mildly derogatory.
As a highly populated planet, Brimlock is able to provide several million men to the Imperial Guard each standard year. These men are volunteers, driven by poverty or a sense of adventure, though Brimlock could choose to conscript men in times of crisis. These troops are organised into regiments normally between five and ten thousand men each. Due to Brimlock's high manufacturing capacity, all regiments begin as Armoured Fist units, fully equipped with Chimeras and other armoured transport vehicles. Over the course of a regiment's existence, these may be destroyed or break down, leaving the regiment to go into battle on foot as regular infantrymen.
The Brimlock Auxilia are troops drawn from the tribute worlds and vary in terms of troop type and combat ability. The troops drawn from Marguerite are very similar to Ancient Terra's Ghurkhas. However, instead of carrying a kukri (a Nepalese knife with an inwardly curved edge, used as both a tool and as a weapon), they use a heavy chopping blade that curves inwards called a falcata (actually of pre-Romanii Iberian origin from Ancient Terra). Marguerite Auxilia are nicknamed "fell-cutters" after this blade and, in contrast to the low opinion that most Brimlockers have of margoes, the "fell-cutters" have a fearsome and savage reputation amongst the regular Brimlock regiments.
Brimlock provides regiments of armour, artillery and sappers (nicknamed "beards" due to their tendency to have profuse facial hair). Brimlock also provides regiments of Rough Riders known as "Horse Dragoons" (but typically referred to as simply "Dragoons"). These specially mounted horse cavalry squadrons can fight as regular infantry but prefer to fight as cavalry troops. They are typically equipped with Autopistols and explosive lances. The Horse Dragoons wear gold and silver ceremonial armour and are nicknamed "tin bellies" by the regular infantry. Brimlock cavalrymen are typically highly religious and are devout followers of the doctrines of the Imperial Cult. They are also highly disciplined and consider themselves an elite unit.
As is common to all Imperial Guard regiments, Brimlock regimental numbers are always recycled. When a new regiment is raised, it is given the number and the colours of a previous regiment that has been retired (or in most cases, annihilated). The regiment takes the colours with it on campaign until it finally loses so many men that the regiment is consolidated into another or dissolved entirely. When Brimlock regiments are consolidated, the lowest regimental number is retained and the higher number is retired. As lower numbers are also given out first to new regiments, low regiment numbers such as the Brimlock 1st are constantly used. At the point that a regiment is dissolved, the regiment's colours are returned to Brimlock in the company of a few of the most decorated officers and men of the regiment (known as a colour-guard).
Once a regiment leaves Brimlock, only the members of the colour-guard ever come back. It is a high honour in a Brimlock regiment to be part of the colour-guard and competition to become part of this esteemed formation can be intense. Its men are feted or promoted after their return to their homeworld and either become the core of a new regiment or, if they are too old or injured, they become magisters (teachers) at the officer schola. Along with experience, military strategy and knowledge of different foes, the colour-guard also bring more mundane items with them. One of these is tanna, a Valhallan beverage which was brought back to Brimlock by a returning colour-guard. Tanna is now a popular drink on Brimlock and their regiments spread it to wherever in the galaxy they are assigned. Brimlock troopers also use tanna to stain helmets and uniforms as improvised camouflage.
While the Brimlock regiments vary their strategy to the tactical demands of the campaign, they prefer to operate from fixed, defensible bases. A typical Brimlock campaign will begin with the landing of one or more Deployable Outpost Vehicle (DOV) from orbit at a suitable location. These vehicles will then be deployed into a standard pattern fort in about a day, providing the regiments deploying from orbit with a secure headquarters and base of operations. Once that is done, they will proceed to carry out the overall campaign objectives.
Notable Dragoon Regiments
- Brimlock 4th Dragoons - The Brimlock 4th participated in the Damocles Gulf Crusade in 742.M41. They also participated during this campaign in the action known as Operation Hydra.
- Brimlock 8th Dragoons - The Brimlock 8th was assigned to the 4621st Imperial Army, XI Corps during the Taros Campaign, to reclaim the Imperial desert Mining World of Taros from the Tau Empire and its Kroot and human (Gue'vesa) allies of the Taros Planetary Defence Force in 998.M41. The XI Corps was to assemble after the X Corps had departed and act as a second wave for the invasion. The 8th Dragoons was selected because of the reegiment's experience in fighting the Tau in the Damocles Gulf. The 8th was wiped out when its transport convoy was attacked and destroyed by a Tau battlegroup led by the Lar'shi'vre-class Cruiser Io'Tar.
- Brimlock 17th Dragoons - The Brimlock 17th participated in the Damocles Gulf Crusade. Around 750.M41 on the world of Sy'l'Kell, an armoured column of the 17th was ambushed in transit to the front lines from their landing zone by a small force of three Kroot kindred of a mercenary Kroot Carnivore Squad. Scores of Imperial Guardsmen were killed in the opening moments of the ambush. The column was continuously harried by the kroot warriors until it finally linked up with a detachment of Space Marines from the Scythes of the Emperor Chapter. By this time they had lost 30 Dragoons, 2 scout vehicles and their Commissar was severely wounded. Augmented by additional Imperial forces, the Kroot withdrew, and the Scythes Astartes pursued them to enact their fiery wrath upon the perfidious xenos. Unfortunately, they were led into a cunning trap, as the Kroot were now augmented by Tau armoured vehicels which proceeded to decimate the column. The Imperials -- mortal and Astartes alike -- died to a man.
- Brimlock 19th Dragoons - The Brimlock 19th participated in the Damocles Gulf Crusade. Following the conclusion of this campaign, they were left behind in Tau space after the Imperial Crusade forces withdrew to redeploy against the new threat posed by the Tyranid Hive Fleet Behemoth. According to Tau propaganda, the regiment had supposedly surrendered after all of their Commissars had been killed in combat (allegedly) and was allowed to settle a world under the control of the Tau. Private Jeakim Slovaz, listed as 'Missing In Action' during the Damocles Crusade, continued to broadcast this propaganda decades after the conflict and was eventually declared Excommunicate Traitoris by the Imperial High Command.
The Brimlock Rough Riders known as the "Horse Dragoons" are based on the seventeenth century's English Civil War's New Model Army cavalry rather than the reckless and aristocratic British cavalry of the same name who fought in the Napoleonic and Crimean Wars of the nineteenth century.
- Codex: Imperial Guard (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex), pg. 31
- Imperial Armour Volume Three - The Taros Campaign
- White Dwarf 263 (UK), pg. 24
- White Dwarf 261 (UK), pg. 75
- Imperial Glory (Novel) by Richard Williams