"In life, war. In death, peace. In life, shame. In death, atonement."
- — Final litany of the Litany of Sacrifice, recited by Krieg Korpsmen when entering battle
The Death Korps of Krieg is the name given to all of the Astra Militarum regiments that originate from the devastated, post-nuclear Death World of Krieg in the Segmentum Tempestus. Krieg was the site of a rebellion against the Imperium of Man over 1,500 standard years ago in the 40th Millennium and was bombarded with nuclear weapons followed by five hundred Terran years of grinding warfare to purge the heretical rebels. After all those years of nuclear destruction and bitter trench warfare, Krieg was reduced to a scorched, radioactive husk of a world composed of dust and mud whose surviving people were forced to retreat into underground hive cities to survive the toxic planetary environment. The Death Korps of Krieg is a siege specialist regiment of the Imperial Guard and the regiments raised on Krieg seek to repent for their former treachery against the Emperor by displaying a disturbing disregard for their own lives in combat. Death Korps troops excel at wars of attrition and defensive combat in particular.
In 433.M40, the once-loyal Imperial world of Krieg declared independence and renounced the glory of the God-Emperor. At that moment, the world was changed forever. Colonel Jurten, commander of the 83rd Krieg Imperial Guard regiment, gathered to him all those still loyal to the Imperium, and struck back against the rebellion, choosing to unleash the horror of atomic bombardment upon those who had forsaken the Emperor. After five hundred standard years of atomic fire, continent-spanning trench warfare, and thunderous artillery barrages, the attempted secession of Krieg was halted, but at great cost: Krieg had become a blasted, irradiated wasteland, barely inhabitable by humans. The remaining population was forced to exist in the subterranean bunkers and tunnels that had spread across the planet during the war, and found that they could not walk upon the surface without protective equipment.
Seeking to atone for the betrayal their world's government had committed, and with no other resources left to offer up in the Imperial Tithe, the people of Krieg set about providing the only thing they had left -- manpower. Hardened by generations of war in an atomic wasteland, the Krieg people were already well-prepared to be sent out into the galaxy as Imperial Guardsmen. Trained amongst the irradiated ruins of long-dead cities, equipped for the most hostile environments, and raised on sermons of self-sacrifice and penitence, the Krieg regiments have commonly been deployed -- often at their own request -- to some of the deadliest warzones, from the toxic ash wastes that surround many hive cities, to brutal wars of attrition and years-long sieges.
The Krieg have gained a reputation for their grim attitude and uncompromising nature. Disdainful of retreat or surrender, and fighting without fear of death, the soldiers of Krieg seem to have no regard for their own lives. Indeed, the prevailing attitude amongst the Krieg is that they are little more than weapons for the Emperor's will, faceless and infinitely replaceable behind their anonymous rebreather masks, and they hold self-sacrifice as the highest of ideals. Few other regiments feel entirely comfortable alongside the Krieg, with morale issues often arising as a result. Commissars assigned to Krieg regiments are not required to maintain order and zeal, as is normally the case, but rather, to ease interaction between Krieg and non-Krieg regiments and curb the self-sacrificial tendencies of their charges.
Given the depleted population of Krieg, it is a wonder that so many Guardsman can be produced, even with the entire world's remaining efforts devoted to that end. Vicious rumours continue to circle around the world's regiments, of unnatural methods used to bolster birth and recruitment rates, producing children artificially to ensure that there are always soldiers to give their lives for the Emperor's wars. To date, no investigations by the Adeptus Mechanicus have presented any evidence of this, but speculation continues nonetheless. It is also believed that the average age of a Krieg infantrymen is believed to be considerably lower than on other worlds; some officials even insinuate that the bulk of these men hide their juvenile traits behind their rebreather masks and that their soldiers haven't even reached maturity.
Before the Fall
Much of the early history of what was once the Hive World of Krieg in the Segmentum Tempestus is shrouded in rumour, allegory and dark myth. Its dreadful history of rebellion and treachery has been obscured and lost by the mists of time. This once-thriving Hive World was a trading and manufacturing centre that was populated by billions. Yet Krieg is now covered in a wilderness of ruined cities that span the poison-choked world. Bloated with wealth and corrupt with indolence, the former rulers of this world -- the Council of Autocrats -- was rife with petty vendetta and vice. This ruling oligarchy became increasingly insular and debauched over time.
Their paranoia over an outside threat that could shatter their dictatorial rule caused them to sink vast resources into strengthening the defences of their hive cities, building private armies and further surrounding their world with an outward facing ring of steel. Worse, the Autocrats grew to resent the influence of the Imperial Administratum on "their" world and in particular the heavy tithes levied on them by the Departmento Munitorum, taking resources they protested were vital to their own defence. The citizens of Krieg were sadly ignorant of these slowly spiraling events and the terrible ruin the misrule of their leaders was about to bring down upon them.
In 433.M40, the end came for Krieg in the form of the High Autocrat of Krieg's largest hive, the Chairman of the Council of Autocrats and the de facto Planetary Governor (a man so hated that his name has been purged from all Imperial records by an Edict of Obliteration). The High Autocrat declared planetary-wide martial law and that Krieg was now independent of the Imperium of Man. He further renounced the Emperor of Mankind as his divine master and political overlord. Krieg was then immediately devoured by a civil war which erupted suddenly and violently, between the heretical rebels who supported the High Autocrat and those citizens of Krieg who remained firm Imperial Loyalists. After the rebels' initial attacks much of Krieg quickly fell to the Heretics, save for Hive Ferrograd, which remained under Loyalist control under the command of the now-infamous Colonel Jurten of the 83rd Krieg Regiment of the Astra Militarum.
In response to the revolt, Colonel Jurten moved quickly to take control of the hive city from its vacillating rulers in a military coup. With the veteran Colonel at its helm, Ferrograd rapidly became the rallying point for the remaining Loyalist factions. But the situation for the Loyalists was dire; the rebel forces numbered in the millions and Ferrograd was soon cut-off and besieged. The Loyalists were on their own; the planetary defences were under the Traitors' control, and those defences were strong enough that a full-scale fleet action would be required to breach them. Colonel Jurten had been informed in no uncertain terms by the Segmentum Command that an Imperial fleet on the scale necessary to invade Krieg would not be forthcoming. His orders were to resist with all means at his disposal, to engage the enemy, to punish their treachery and emerge victorious -- whatever the cost.
So faced with the horrific odds stacked against him, Colonel Jurten came to the fateful decision that Krieg would either belong to the Emperor of Mankind or to no one at all. Within a secret Adeptus Mechanicus storage facility located deep below Hive Ferrograd, Colonel Jurten, with his loyal Mechanicus ally, Archmagos Greel, moved to unlock the facility and to unleash the forbidden and ancient weapons within. While outside the siege ground on, within Ferrograd's walls the defenders laboured on a desperate plan.
On the day of the Feast of the Emperor's Ascension, Jurten unleashed his long-planned counterattack using atomic weapons to enact a great cleansing of the planet's heretical population. The Traitors watched their Augers helplessly as Jurten's ballistic missiles arced high into the planet's stratosphere before detonating in blooms of blinding light, and unleashing tonnes of lethal isotopes which blanketed the entire world in a deadly fallout. For days Krieg was engulfed in a sea of nuclear fire. Krieg's already tainted and marginal ecosystem collapsed, and as a result, untold billions died due to the raging fires blocking out the sun and the nuclear winter that followed. To future generations who would live with the terrible consequences of the atomic attack, Jurten's plan would come to be known as the "Purging." Krieg might have been transformed into a blasted wasteland, but the Purging had evened up the odds. The Loyalists had been well prepared for the attack, while the Traitors suffered terribly.
But the civil war dragged on, regardless. The survivors from Jurten's nuclear purge were forced to exist in underground bunkers or deep in the radioactive chem-wastes of the Hive World, as their descendants do to this day. To the Imperial authorities Krieg was a prize no longer worth saving, its fate a red mark in the ledgers of the Administratum. Krieg became a man-made Death World, trapped in the freezing grip of a radioactive nuclear winter. The bloody war of attrition continued to rage between the surviving Secessionist and Loyalist troops across a planet where every inch of ground was eventually littered with trenches, rusting razorwire and shell craters, in a deadly landscape where drifting fallout ash shrouded the numberless bones of the unburied dead.
A full accounting of those terrible centuries of civil war will never be known. Jurten finally perished, how, it is not recorded, but the descendants of those that followed him lived on, and became as fearless as they were callous. War would become all that they would ever know -- raised to fight from the cradle to the grave. The warriors that advanced great-coated and vapour-masked through the rad-wastes and blasted cities of Krieg would become known as the Death Korps -- existing only to endure the hellish planetary surface, in order to do their duty and to kill in the Emperor's name. The Loyalists slowly re-took their blasted world in the name of the Emperor over fifteen generations of terrible bloody attrition -- trench-by-trench and tunnel-by-tunnel -- with bayonet, brutality and when needed, atomic fire. After more than 500 standard years of the most nightmarish warfare imaginable and an incalculable price paid in human life and suffering, Krieg belonged to the Death Korps. From this long civil conflict and the unique military culture it engendered was born the tradition of naming Imperial Guard regiments drawn from Krieg as the Death Korps. Krieg was finally returned fully to the Imperial fold in 949.M40.
Engine of War
"The Krieg method of war is a measure of discipline and their sacrifice. It demands respect from all -- friend and foe alike."
Though Krieg was returned to Imperial rule with little fanfare or regard, the Departmento Munitorum took note. Krieg was in arrears, so a new tithe of men for the Astra Militarum was placed upon it. The Munitorum Adepts were surprised when the Krieg authorities offered them not one but twenty regiments for immediate deployment, all formed, trained and equipped, and each commander requested the most hazardous Imperial war zones available. During five centuries of warfare, the people of Krieg had not sat idle, as beneath the blasted exterior of their world entire subterranean cities had been founded, tens of thousands of miles of bunkers and passageways dug, and a vast underworld of industry and manufacture geared specifically to the production of arms and equipment, but most of all to the production of soldiers, soldiers who proved to be as implacable as the factory lines that armed them and as pitiless as their blasted radioactive world. Acting quickly, the Departmento Munitorum's need for soldiers was immediate. These new "Death Korps" regiments were inducted into the Imperial Guard, re-organised and issued with Commissars before being sent straight into combat.
The deployment of the regiments from the Death Korps of Krieg was immediately successful, despite the misgivings of some of the regiments they served alongside. In war zones that mirrored the horrific state of their homeworld, the Death Korps regiments proved superior to other Imperial Guard Militarum Regimentum. On worlds that were radioactive wastes, toxin zones and polluted ash-worlds, Astra Militarum generals quickly capitalised on deploying the Death Korps. Stalemates were broken and advances achieved that otherwise would have required the massive expenditure of Penal Legion troops or the use of valuable elite forces such as the Adeptus Astartes.
When Krieg was taken directly under the authority of the Departmento Munitorum, the maximum tithe levels were enforced. Krieg's sole purpose was to turn out Death Korps soldiers as another world might mine ore or sow wheat. By the direct order of the High Lords of Terra nothing was to be allowed to interfere with this purpose. This has resulted in suspect practises being tolerated -- some, such as the eugenic policies designed to weed out mutations caused by Krieg's damaged, radioactive biosphere and universal conscription are continuations of policies once required during Krieg's centuries of civil war. It should be noted that Krieg raises an unusually large number of Astra Militarum regiments for such a devastated planet. This is attributed to the enforced use of the "Vitae Womb" birthing technique, which Krieg has been granted special dispensation to use as the result of their famous steel, determination and unswerving loyalty to the Emperor. Use of this technique is largely unknown outside of the Adeptus Biologis and is seen as dangerous and abhorrent by many Adeptus Mechanicus Magos Biologis.
As it stands today, Krieg is a true War World: it has no industry or agriculture to offer to the Emperor, only its people -- giving up its descendants to fight in the Astra Militarum. Krieg's tithes are the maximum for the planet's population, raising tens of regiments every year where a comparably-sized world might be expected to tithe one regiment every solar decade. The rate of attrition and destruction among these regiments is likewise disproportionately high, as they are assigned to some of the most hazardous battlefields and dangerous worlds known to Mankind. Proving themselves extremely effective troops, the Death Korps has proved capable of achieving victories against the odds by dint of bloody sacrifice, endurance, aggression and unbreakable loyalty.
But despite their glorious service record, Krieg units are not well-liked by Astra Militarum commanders who find these troops to be morose, taciturn, all too willing to accept high casualties (even amongst their commanders) and difficult to deal with by non-Krieg natives. But in the strife and unending state of war that exists in the grim darkness of the late 41st Millennium, the Imperium of Man has dire need of such men. The use and number of Death Korps regiments is on the rise, as are the resources being devoted to their creation by the Departmento Munitorum.
The Spinward Front
It was never originally planned that regiments of the Death Korps would serve in the Spinward Front, and they are only a very recent arrival. Instead, countless Death Korps regiments, comprising siege infantry, armour, and artillery, were being shipped from their homeworld of Krieg to Vraks Prime in the Scarus Sector, a world dominated by the forces of the Apostate Cardinal-Astra Xaphan. Countless millions of Krieg soldiers had already been shipped to Vraks to wage the early years of a siege campaign planned to last a only a solar decade. However, due to reasons only known to the scribes of the Departmento Munitorum, many of these regiments from Krieg were diverted. Being located only a relatively short distance from Vraks, the Spinward Front received these diverted regiments, and in 816.M41, thirty Krieg regiments arrived on Kalf to receive orders. The majority deployed to Kulth, while others were dispatched to the bastions on Ashen, the Ork-dominated manufactoria of Asterion, the subterranean mines of Virbius, and the hostile duality of Janus, where the nights freeze and the days burn, to reinforce the conflicts already raging on those worlds.
- The Siege of Vraks (813-830.M41) - The Siege of Vraks was an Imperial military campaign fought over the course of 17 standard years to retake the Imperial Armoury World of Vraks Prime from the heretical Forces of Chaos led by the Apostate Cardinal-Astra Xaphan. Vraks was besieged by the forces of the Imperium of Man in 813.M41 by the 88th Siege Army, which was composed exclusively of Death Korps of Krieg regiments. The Krieg Guardsmen acquitted themselves well, fighting in many major engagements throughout the entirety of the campaign. At the conclusion of what became a 17-year-long campaign of attrition that required the deployment of 34 regiments of the Astra Militarum to re-take the planet for the Emperor of Mankind in 830.M41, 14 million Imperial Guardsmen had been slain and Vraks Prime's entire original population of 8 million souls had been consumed in the violence or exterminated after they fell to the corruption of Chaos. The world was then declared Perdita by the Inquisition.
- The Castigation of Derondis (936-946.M41) - The Hive World of Derondis withheld its annual tithes and regiments of Krieg's Death Korps were deployed to act as the honour guard of the Departmento Munitorum investigation team. After the Imperial officials were hanged by the rebellious populace, the Krieg troops redeployed into the towering mountains that overlooked the primary hive city. Several artillery and siege companies began to bombard the city spires and the inhabitants were mercilessly gunned down as they tried to break out from the besieged city. After ten standard years of relentless shelling, the hive was reduced to naught but rubble and dust, two solar years after all signs of life from the hive had already ceased and five solar years after the hive had plaintively issued its unconditional surrender.
- The Dask Campaign (Unknown Date.M41) - The 42nd, 81st, 103rd and 186th Death Korps Infantry Regiments participate in the eradication of a Nurgle-aligned mutant army on the word of Dask in the Segmentum Tempestus. This gruesome war of attrition would see the glorious death of Colonel 186 as he charged at the front of 400 men to retake a strategic hill. Although a success, all four regiments were severely depleted by the time their transport, the Memento Mori, arrived to ship them to another warzone.
- The Loss of Hieronymous Theta (Unknown Date.M41) - En route onboard the Memento Mori, the Krieg regiments previously engaged in the Dask Campaign were diverted to respond to the emergency assistance request of the world of Hieronymous Theta. A young world, Hieronymous Theta had been preserved for its entire existence from the rampage of war, and was thus ill-prepared when its mutant population emerged from the deeps of its mines to ravage the lower levels of its principal hive city, Hieronymous City. The 42nd, 81st, 103rd and 186th Death Korps Infantry Regiments were still inbound when it was revealed that the world of Hieronymous Theta had, in fact, been established on a dormant Necron Tomb World that was slowly awakening. With four regiments of the best fighters the Imperial Guard had to offer inbound, authorities tasked the Krieg regiments to cordon off the city and destroy the Necron menace that lay below. The cordon was quickly established, trapping millions of civilians inside Hieronymous City, and at the mercy of the Necrons. Convinced that despite the Necron's self-repair protocols the Death Korps could win in a classic war of attrition, the 81st and 42nd regiments ended up suffering heavy losses; although they still succeeded in holding the line against the ever-growing Necron forces. Losses on the security perimeter were filled by local PDF-troops trained and equipped under the orders of Death Korps Watchmasters, whose harsh training regime was the cause of many desertions and subsequent executions. Whilst the Death Korp's commitment could not be questioned, their methods in dealing with their allies gradually envenomed the situation, culminating in the summary execution of Hieronymous Theta's Planetary Governor and General of the Planetary Defence Forces by the 186th Regiment's Colonel for having tried to parlay with the Necrons. Thanks to the insight of Commissar Costellin attached to this same regiment, a daring raid was mounted against the city's main generatorium; as it was believed that the Necrons were using it to aid in the awakening of their own tomb complex. Though the raid was a failure, the attack revealed the location of the Necron central command nexus. The Krieg regiments then converged on it in hope of annihilating the nexus with atomic devices. Penetrating in full force into Hieronymous City for the first time, the Krieg regiments were slowed down by guerilla actions of the local population that had turned Traitoris and had begun to venerate the Necrons as "Iron Gods." It was during parlay with one of these groups that the valiant Commissar Costellin -- who had survived the raid -- was shot. This caused a long enough delay for the Necrons to notice this incursion, and with the loss of nearly all of their heavy artillery forces, the Death Korps regiments withdrew and abandoned the planet to the hands of its new owners. The remains of the 42nd, 81st, 103rd and 186th Regiments were then shipped out to fight the Ork threat on the planet Djangalla.
- The Orphean War (992.M41) - Located on the distant border of the Segmentum Tempestus, the Orpheus Sector is ravaged by an unknown enemy that would only later be identified as the baleful Maynarkh Dynasty of the xenos threat known as the Necrons. Following a 100-day long period of continuous losses during which half of the sector fell into enemy hands, inexplicably, the Necron advance stopped, leaving the Imperial Governor Calibron Laan enough time to amass considerable defences on the capital world of Amarah Prime. Amongst the last to arrive were the 17th and 60th Line Korps of the Death Korps of Krieg under the command of Marshal Karis Venner. With the Death Korps reputation preceding them, both Line Korps were deployed to Amarah Prime itself. In the ensuing Battle of Amarah Prime, the Death Korps were the only forces not only able to repel the Necron assault, but also to lead a successful counterassault that destroyed the principal tomb-complex materialising on the world. Despite this pyrrhic victory, the worlds of the Orpheus Sector had to be abandoned. What remained of the 17th and 60th Line Korps bravely fought in the following Orphean Salvation Campaign to ensure the Necrons did not spill into the neighbouring Eurydice Sector.
- The Defence of Fecundia (992.M41) - When the strategic Forge World Fecundia came under threat by scouting elements of Hive Fleet Kraken, at least one Death Korps regiment was deployed as part of an Imperial task force and took a position in the wasteland. When the Hive Fleet arrived a Death Rider company rode to the rescue of Commissar Ciaphas Cain and his aide Ferik Jurgen, whose Aquila Lander had been shot down. Returning to base, they came across an apparently dead Mycetic Spore and moved to demolish it, but discovered to their cost that the Tyranids inside were merely hibernating. Fortunately for all concerned a Land Speeder piloted by a member of the Reclaimers Space Marine Chapter then arrived to provide air support and directed the Death Riders to link up with an Adeptus Mechanicus crawler.
- The Taros Campaign (998.M41) - The Taros Campaign was an Imperial military campaign fought by the 4621st Imperial Guard Army and elements of the Adeptus Astartes to reclaim the arid Imperial Mining World of Taros from the T'au Empire and its Kroot and human (Gue'vesa) allies of the Taros Planetary Defence Force in 998.M41. Elements from the 19th Krieg Armoured Regiment, under the command of Colonel Weidemark, were to take part later in the campaign as they were unavailable for the initial assault. Despite being part of the 4621st Army, this regiment never actually saw action on Taros. The campaign was ultimately unsuccessful for the Imperial forces due to the high amount of casualties taken and Taros remained in the possession of the T'au, who renamed it T'ros.
- The Third War for Armageddon (998.M41) - On the day of the Feast of the Emperor's Ascension, fifty seven Terran years to the day after his first invasion of the planet, Ghazghkull Thraka returned to the strategically important Hive World of Armageddon at the head of an Ork WAAAGH! of unprecedented size, beginning the Third War for Armageddon. Hades Hive was destroyed utterly by the Ork Warlord's devastating bombardment of captured asteroids. The Death Korps of Krieg sent 5 regiments in support of the Imperial defence against the Greenskin tide. The Imperial forces only saved the beleaguered planet through their sheer stubbornness during its defence and the onset of the Season of Fire, which made military operations nearly impossible for both sides.
- Siege of Hive Tartarus - The regiments from Krieg were deployed to Hive Tartarus, which was beset on all sides by great waves of Orks pouring out of the Rok they had crashed into the surface of Armageddon to the north of the hive city. The regiments of the Death Korps were stationed in a vast network of trenches blocking the Ork advance into Hive Tartarus. They also made excellent progress in their efforts to reach the Rok itself. Having already earned a fearsome reputation with the Orks in the sector, these grim soldiers seemed to be determined to take down the Ork stronghold by themselves. However, without adequate reinforcements by the Adeptus Titanicus, the Death Korps of Krieg's regiments looked to be fighting a futile and costly war. Wearing their dark greatcoats and trademark gas masks, their sinister appearance reflected their uncompromising nature. The Death Korps soldiers did not fear dying and were more than willing to sacrifice their own lives for the greater good of the Korps. The first attack on Tartarus was led by the Ork Blackskull Tribe in overwhelming force. The 14th Jopal Indentured Squadron mounted a fierce resistance but the regiment's allied hive militias were routed and abandoned the Skeletus Factory Complex to the Greenskins. Soon its small arms workshops were producing ammunition for Sluggas and Shootas. The main Ork offensive against Hive Tartarus was then launched by Morfang's Big Mob of Gargants. Breaking through the front of the Astra Militarum position (known as Clain's Stronghold), they stormed into Tartarus pursued by a battlegroup of Titans from the Legio Metalica who engaged them before they could overwhelm the beleaguered defending Jopal Squadrons. Mobs of Morfang's Boyz swarmed over Clain's Stronghold in the Gargants' wake but were pinned down by the mortars and Heavy Bolters of the Death Korps of Krieg. Morfang's Gargants were making short work of the Legio Metalicas Reaver-class Titans but the odds were evened by the fire of the Ordinatus Golgotha from its eyrie on a hive city spire shuttle pad. Three Gargants were destroyed before Morfang withdrew his machines. The Legio Metalica could not pursue and so reinforced the Jopal line. The Death Korps of Krieg regiments counterattacked, unleashing timed mortar barrages that pinned the Orks down while Krieg infantry and armoured units burrowed deep into the Ork lines. Once in place the Death Korps redirected their mortar batteries, herding the Orks together. Well-supplied by Hive Tartarus' munitions factories, the Death Korps regiments fired non-stop. Disjointed and unable to act coherently, Morfang's Boyz were wiped out. Briefly it seemed as though Morfang's Gargants would be trapped as the gap closed, but the Red Wheelz raced to their aid and held long enough for Morfang's machines to escape. With Ork reserves fully committed, the Space Wolves of Harald Deathwolf's Great Company seized the opportunity to lead a breakout from Hemlock Cordon. The vanguard entered Tartarus after a four solar day march, and the siege was declared over.
- Tarsis Ultra (999.M41) - The 993rd Krieg Regiment was sent to aid in the defence of the world of Tarsis Ultra when a splinter fleet of Hive Fleet Leviathan was sighted in the sector. The regiment was under the command of Colonel Trymon Stagler, who met his death in the closing battle. When the order was given to abandon the trenches outside the capital city of Erebus, the 993rd Krieg volunteered to stay behind and give the Imperial forces enough time to pull back into the city.
Regiment Recruitment and Training
Recruitment for members of the regiments of the Death Korps of Krieg is similar to many other Imperial worlds throughout the Imperium and conscription depends on varying circumstances. Though their harsh training methods, combat doctrines and regimental organisation are not in themselves unique amongst the units of the Imperial Guard, the Death Korps regiments are both unorthodox and extreme in their application. Tested, selected and relentlessly trained almost from birth for their appointed role as Imperial Guardsmen, the rates of fatality and injury during training are high amongst Death Korps recruits. To ensure that only the toughest and best make it into the new regiment, training is brutal and quickly weeds out the weak and unworthy, for fear and weakness are not tolerated. The minds and characters of the young prospective Guardsmen are purposefully broken and remade stronger, just as their bodies are trained to withstand hardship and endure suffering that would kill other men -- a task already begun by the mere fact of living a life on blighted Krieg.
Amongst the wreckage of the old radiation-blasted battlefields the training regiments march, dig trenches, clear minefields and fight mock battles against other cadets. Only those that endure are judged fit enough to take their place as members of the Death Korps. For this reason the regiment is able to maintain its famous standard of discipline and selflessness in combat. Gas masks are conventionally viewed as a second skin, as soldiers are trained to permanently operate with them if required. Fear of failing the Imperium and one's comrades, and a ceaseless devotion to duty, honour and the Emperor are instilled in new recruits to make certain that they will stand their ground in combat under any situation. Mental conditioning is the key part of their training so Death Korps troops are prepared for the myriad horrors to be found on the Imperial battlefield and beyond.
Regimental Combat Doctrine
"In the Emperor's service, the Death Korps will pay any price."
- — Lord Marshall Arnim Kagori
During its great civil war, in order for Krieg's society to survive, it could not afford to sustain its weakest members. No sacrifice was considered too high a price to pay in the Emperor's service. This "Cult of Sacrifice" mindset continues to this day and it permeates every aspect of the Death Korps' combat doctrine and organisation. The character and tactical doctrine of the Krieg soldier was created by war. Having been raised only to fight, and having known nothing but constant battle, generations of fighting men came to see death in the name of the Emperor as their ultimate goal. This attitude remains even today, for Krieg Guardsmen are always willing to die as a sacrifice to the God-Emperor.
For Krieg commanders, battles are won by the merciless application of overwhelming force. Their combat doctrine dictates that any battle where their capacity to fight and willingness to die exceeds that of their enemy is a battle already won -- everything else is merely a matter of time and attrition. The Death Korps' faith in the God-Emperor is instilled in every soldier from an early age. These established patterns of worship serve to amplify the culture of willing sacrifice and militancy among the Krieg.
The soldiers of Krieg are most famous for never flinching, even in the face of sudden death, and they see their deaths in war as a collective penance for the heresy of their ancestors so many years before. They are a dedicated trench and siege warfare force and perform best during wars of attrition. The Death Korps of Krieg regiments routinely volunteer for tours of service in the most dangerous warzones in the Imperium which means they have earned a fierce reputation across the galaxy. They excel in trench and siege warfare but have taken part in various different combat actions across many campaigns such as the Taros Campaign, the Third War for Armageddon, the Atria Wilderness Campaign and the Vorenz III Campaign to name but a few.
They can be counted on over most other Imperial regiments to hold their ground and when advancing prefer a massive offensive over an extended front with a rolling barrage of artillery support. Many Krieg regiments are adept raiders of entrenched positions should a massed offensive be impractical or require the softening up of enemy positions before any such offensive can take place. The fact that the Death Korps of Krieg are known for unconditional loyalty and ruthlessness in prosecuting their wars mainly comes from the atomic purging that the 33rd Krieg Infantry under the command of Colonel Jurten inflicted on their own planet during the Krieg Civil War, an event that the Death Korps of Krieg in general and the 33rd Krieg Infantry Regiment in particular are deeply proud of.
Regiments are raised on Krieg with great frequency. The form and composition of these regiments will differ according to the edicts of the Departmento Munitorum and the strategic needs of the moment. Krieg supplies the manpower and the Departmento Munitorum organises that manpower in various different types of regiments. Infantry regiments, mechanised infantry and armoured regiments are all known, but by far the most common use of Krieg's manpower is as siege regiments. The Death Korps' philosophy of total war reaches its ultimate expression within these regiments. But what makes Death Korps of Krieg regiments distinct is not their wargear, but their mentality. Regardless of their assigned role, they retain the Death Korps' strengths of discipline, endurance, expertise in trench warfare and most notably their tolerance for high attrition rates and environmentally hazardous warzones.
Krieg regiments operate under the standard and recognisable Astra Militarum command structure laid down by the Departmento Munitorum, with some minor local variation in insignia and designation, one example being that infantry Sergeants are known by the title "Watchmaster," whilst Sergeants of the Death Rider companies are known as "Ridemasters."
- Death Korps Officer - Death Korps Officers, right up to the level of regimental command, typically lead and fight from the front -- this is not so much a conscious decision as a simple expression of the Death Korps mentality, as every Krieg Guardsman expects to fight and die for his Emperor. To this end, officers commonly equip themselves for the front line with grenades, powerful sidearms and either a Chainsword or Power Sword. Command squads wear their squad insignia (a "C" for command) on their right shoulder. Officer's helmets typically bear an ornate Imperial Aquila. Unlike many other Imperial Guard regiments that draw their troops from worlds with a long-standing militarised culture (such as the Mordians or Jantines for example), Krieg itself has no standing aristocracy or hereditary officer class. Instead its officers are drawn from the body of the rank and file. This means that the majority of the Death Korps officer cadre has been promoted through the ranks through a mixture of ability, seniority and often, by dint of simple survival. As veterans of the Death Korps' way of war, they have no regard for high casualties, which has led to morale problems where senior Krieg officers have been placed in charge of non-Krieg regiments in a wider theatre of war. It is also a noticeable feature of Krieg officer battledress that Krieg regiments do not issue medals or decorations as Krieg soldiers view such rewards as insignificant. Bravery is expected and commonplace, therefore Death Korps Guardsmen are not recognised with special rewards. It is also noteworthy that up to regimental command-level, Death Korps officers often favour the expediency of a numeral designation instead of their own name; as such the officers are referred to as Major Alpha (1st Company) or Major Gamma (3rd Company) and even Colonel 186 for the commander of the 186th Regiment.
- Death Korps Commissar - Commissars are present in Death Korps regiments as mandated by Departmento Munitorum regulations, being the only non-Krieg natives to serve in the Death Korps. Due to the relatively low rates of infraction and morale problems among Death Korps regiments they more often find themselves employed in reining in any excessive "zeal" on the part of the troops, and act as tactical advisors rather than enforcers of discipline. Commissars assigned to a Death Korps regiment are often well placed to become a voice of restraint for Death Korps officers, reinforcing the wider strategic goals of the war-zone over the short-term victories through expenditure of men and materiel that might be needed later. In theatres of war where Death Korps regiments must fight alongside other Imperial formations, Commissars attached to Death Korps staff also find it prudent to act as the liaison between regimental commands where needed, as well as keeping a sharp eye that any acrimony between the Death Korps and other Imperial Guardsmen deployed to the same areas does not become a problem.
- Death Korps Grenadier - Death Korps Grenadiers form a strong and sizable elite force within the larger Death Korps. Grenadiers are chosen from the ranks of infantry squads, usually by their Watchmaster or a Commissar and recommended for appointment as a Grenadier. They are also drawn from veterans and survivors of decimated squads and platoons. This is not a promotion, as Grenadiers still carry the same rank, but they are regarded as having a seniority over rank and file Guardsmen by dint of their experience and veteran status. After serving with a Grenadier squad for a time, Krieg Guardsmen can then be returned to the infantry as a Watchmaster. Casualty rates amongst grenadiers are very high, and although service in the heavy infantry is regarded as a privilege, it is also seen as a duty. A Krieg soldier appointed to a Grenadier squad cannot refuse, and adopts the skull facemask as a symbol of accepting his fate. Statistically, eight out of ten Grenadiers are killed in action. The men behind the skull masks have accepted that they are essentially already dead.
- Death Korps Engineer - Like Grenadiers, Death Korps Engineers are infantrymen who support Krieg campaigns in a specialist role. The Engineer Korps provides expert knowledge, specialising in subterranean warfare, digging shafts, tunnels and saps to undermine the enemy's strong points and launch surprise raids behind enemy lines. Krieg Engineer squads carry a lot of technical equipment as well as the standard equipment that is used by those of their profession. As well as soldiers, they are miners, digging forward from the frontlines with deep shafts to bypass enemy defences, set large explosive mines below positions or dig sap trenches. Saps are shallow tunnels which are dug to just below the surface, allowing a squad to blow an entrance to the surface and quickly assault an enemy position without crossing no-man's land. Engineers are also trained and authorised to use chemical weaponry. If required, they carry small gas canister grenades, which are used during assaults to shroud the enemy in highly corrosive gas. These are weapons of last resort, but have helped to give Krieg regiments their ruthless reputation.
- Death Korps Watchmaster - A Death Korps Watchmaster is the equivalent of a non-commissioned officer with the rank of Sergeant in other Imperial Guard regiments. Infantry platoons form the bulk of the Death Korps siege regiments' manpower. Each siege regiment consists of five companies, which are broken down into ten infantry platoons and one heavy weapons platoon. Each company is led by a Death Korps Captain who is assisted by one Veteran Watchmaster. Each platoon consists of a command squad and up to six infantry squads. These squads are led by the Watchmasters who act as squad leaders. The Watchmaster is assisted by an appointed senior guardsman, usually the longest serving guardsman in the squad. Like their fellow guardsman, Watchmasters have been indoctrinated since birth in the martial traditions of the Korps. They are highly proficient with all the basic weapons of the Imperial Guard and most especially with the bayonet, and favour the bayonet charge in battle. They fearlessly lead their squads across "no-man's land" to storm enemy trenches and defences. Having no fear of death himself, a Watchmaster demands and expects nothing less from their men.
- Death Korps Guardsman - Each Death Korps soldier is fully trained to the standards expected for combat-readiness set down by the Departmento Munitorum, with particular emphasis placed on hazardous-environment survival and endurance, and physical and mental resilience. Proficient in the use of all basic Imperial Guard weaponry types as well as the use of grenades and explosives, a Death Korps soldier is also proficient in rapid and skilled construction of trench works and defences. They are also exemplary hand-to-hand combatants, with bayonet-drill being practiced from childhood. Accuracy is secondary in Death Korps weapons training to fire discipline, with the ability to maintain continuous fire en masse as part of an infantry formation considered to be of paramount importance. Death Korps Guardsmen have a tendency to be highly insular, unemotional and often taciturn to the point of silence outside of their duties. They also display a high degree of fatalism and an unusual morbidity of habit, such as carrying relics, ossuaries of bone or other memento-mori about their persons as a form of religious observance to honour those who have fallen in the service of the God-Emperor.
- Death Rider - Superficially similar to the standard Rough Rider cavalry units found among numerous other Imperial Guard regiments from worlds where riding mounts are commonplace, the Death Riders of Krieg are one of the most justly famous of the unique formations found within the Krieg forces. The Death Riders of Krieg are also a direct result of Krieg's centuries-long civil war. Their most singular aspect is the nature of the Death Rider mounts -- the legendary Krieg Steed -- that is a highly adaptable form of the original Terran horse. This animal is now the product of extreme genetic engineering; tailored for strength, endurance and aggression, with numerous additional bio-sculpted organs that allow them to survive on the most polluted and toxic battlefields unscathed. Vat-grown on Krieg under the auspices of the Adeptus Mechanicus, the animals are further augmented with sub-dermal organic armour, osmotic lungs, and a fully integrated drug injection system rigged with a potent mixture of stimulants, pain-blockers and other palliatives. The end result is that the Krieg Steed is capable of incredible levels of endurance and environmental tolerance. The Death Riders form a special cadre within the Krieg regiments, and their inductees are chosen not only on the grounds of aptitude but also for independent thought and initiative. Many future Death Korps officers are drawn from the ranks of their survivors. Death Riders are equipped with a variety of sidearms and sabre-blades, in addition to the signature explosive-tipped lance found in similar units.
- Death Korps Quartermaster - Death Korps regiments feature a most unusual and unique position -- that of the Quartermasters. These individuals have replaced the battlefield medics found in most Imperial Guard regiments. Their role has its roots in Krieg's own war-torn past. In that merciless civil conflict the recovery of arms and wargear of the fallen was of paramount importance, and field medicine and battlefield triage was a luxury that could be seldom afforded for the more seriously wounded. So it was that in Krieg's civil war a soldier that could not be readily brought back to the fray or at least retreat under his own power was considered a liability and to such unfortunates the "blessings of the Emperor's Peace" was given -- an honourable field execution. This onerous task, along with the recovery of a soldier's equipment was the responsibility of the Quartermaster cadre and remains so to the present day. Quartermasters are chosen from the ranks of the Death Korps by selection during training, particularly for their faith in the God-Emperor as well as their mental aptitude and occasionally from individuals who have survived against the odds. These individuals are then given additional training in field medicine, basic tech-lore, and extensive indoctrination in the specific beliefs of Krieg's sect of the Imperial Cult.
The Death Korps are similar to the Armageddon Steel Legion in the appearance of their uniform and equipment, but they make use of darker colors, and their masks usually have a skull motif. Of all the regiments of the Imperial Guard, they are the most grim and fatalistic, both in appearance and in spirit due to the 500 standard years of civil war in a nuclear wasteland that the inhabitants of their homeworld inflicted on themselves. Uniform cut and design is almost consistent throughout the entire Death Korps but colours can vary from regiment to regiment and the officer ranks tend to have slightly more ornate uniforms than the rank and file. Spiked helmets are famously worn by the troops of the Death Korps of Krieg; however this is in truth rarely the case in the field, but many Krieg troops maintain the tradition either with improvised spikes or, less commonly, older patterns of the spiked helmet that have survived and been passed down through families.
The citizens of Krieg are gloomy but hard-working folk, and this is reflected in the weapons and equipment used by the Death Korps, which tends to be very utilitarian compared to that of other, flashier Imperial Guard regiments. Ultimately, however, the Death Korps' wargear stands up well in any fight and helps the troops of these regiments accomplish their mission.
- Lucius Pattern Lasgun - The standard issue Lasgun in service with the regiments of Krieg is the Lucius Pattern Lasgun. Sometimes known as a Hellgun, this "hot-shot" weapon's power pack operates at a higher charge than many other more common patterns of the Lasgun used by other Imperial Guard regiments. This gives the weapon more penetrating power, but drains the power pack after only 25 shots. The weapon is single shot only and has a slower recharge rate than many other Lasguns, however it has been judged by Krieg commanders that the additional stopping power of the Lucius Pattern more than makes up for this. The barrel of the weapon is fitted with distinctive heat sink rings to help dissipate the enormous additional heat this high-powered Lasweapon generates after sustained fire. The weapon's furniture (the stock and foregrip) are typically made of synthetic wood, although metal variants are known.
- 6 Lasgun Charge Packs - Charge packs are powerful batteries used almost exclusively by Imperial laser weapons. The charge pack varies depending on the class of the weapon. In all cases, it provides shots equal to the weapon's full clip value.
- Flak Armour - The most common type of armour used by Imperial Guard forces is Flak Armour, and it is standard-issue combat gear to the countless millions of Imperial Guardsmen who fight on the Emperor's behalf across the galaxy. 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 something better.
- Mono Knife - The Mono Knife, a one-handed melee implement, is the ubiquitous back-up weapon for warriors all across the Imperium, be they lowly hive scum or the elite soldiers of a Planetary Governor. Some, such as the Catachan Fighting Knife, are designed for a specific purpose, whilst others are more generic in nature. The Mono Knives utilised by the Death Korps of Krieg are specially fashioned blades with superfine edges that can easily cut through armour and never lose their edge. These knives are carried by all members of the Death Korps as both a bayonet and a field tool.
- Death Korps of Krieg Imperial Guard Uniform
- Respirator - A simple breathing mask that covers the nose and mouth or entire face, these offer much better protection than filtration plugs and are used by the troops of the Death Korps in toxic environments or during attacks by chemical or even biological weapons.
- 4 Empty Sandbags
- M39 Entrenching Tool
- 4 Frag Grenades - Frag Grenades use a combustible charge and special fillers of shrapnel fragments which make them potent anti-personnel weapons. 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 Photon Flash Grenades - Photon Flash Grenades detonate like a small star, blinding anyone nearby and bright enough to overload primitive vision protection systems. Anyone within 15 metres of a photon flash grenade when it detonates will be temporarily blinded.
- 2 Smoke Grenades - Smoke grenades 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.
- Poor Weather Gear
- Basic Toolkit
- Mess Kit & Water Canteen
- 2 week's Rations
- 1 box of Screamers (per Squad) - A Screamer is an automated proximity alarm that alerts its users to incoming dangers by setting off a horrendous noise. If its sensors detect an intruder, it sounds its alarm, which can be heard anywhere out to one kilometre. Doors, walls, and other barriers may reduce the alarm's sonic range.
- Blanket & Sleeping 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.
- Grooming Kit
- Dog Tags
- Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer - A standard-issue Imperial text that covers a vast variety of topics, this book is possessed by all members of the Imperial Guard as part of their standard-issue equipment. The Primer is a basic guide that 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 for the punishment is severe.
Death Korps units prefer to use Meltaguns and Heavy Bolters as heavy weapons, but also have access to Mortars, Heavy Stubbers, Lascannons, Autocannons and Flamers. As with most Imperial Guardsmen, the Death Korps infantry's standard-issue individual weapon is the Lasgun and many also carry an additional Laspistol. The multi-purpose Combat Knife carried by all members of the Death Korps is a bayonet but also a field tool.
Notable Death Korps Regiments
- 83rd Death Korps Infantry Regiment - The "inspirational founder" of the modern Death Korps, Krieg's 83rd Imperial Guard regiment was commanded by the legendary Colonel Jurten at the onset of the planet's civil war when he initiated the "Purging," the nuclear armageddon unleashed upon his homeworld that turned Krieg into a ravaged Death World, which later served to shape the character of its people forever.
- 42nd Death Korps Infantry Regiment - Operating alongside its fellow regiments of the 81st, 103rd and 186th during the Dask Campaign, the 42nd was badly mauled on Hieronymous Theta trying to uphold a security cordon around the northern reaches of the planet’s capital of Hieronymous City. Suffering the loss of more than 1800 men, the already depleted regiment nevertheless victoriously held the line before being ordered to pull out. They were then redeployed to the world of Djangalla to fight against the Ork threat there.
- 81st Death Korps Infantry Regiment - The 81st Infantry Regiment formed part of a quadrumvirate of regiments drawn from the Death Korps to fight during the Campaign on Dask and that was then deployed on Hieronymous Theta against an awakening Necron menace. Deployed at the East of Hieronymous City, the 81st Infantry Regiment would be the first regiment to suffer a real attack, although it successfully held the line against the advancing Necrons.
- 103rd Death Korps Infantry Regiment - Having successfully participated in the Dask Campaign alongside the 186th regiment, the 103rd Death Korps Infantry Regiment was deployed on Hieronymous Theta where it formed the southern part of the military cordon established by the Death Korps regiment intended to seal in the Necrons within Hieronymous City. Never suffering any real attack in their sector, the 103rd despatched man of its heavier guns to other parts of the line which it subsequently lost when the Necrons counterattacked. As for the other regiments of the Death Korps on Hieronymous Theta, the 103rd Death Korp Infantry Regiment was pulled out to preserve its strength against the Orks on Djangalla.
- 127th Death Korps Infantry Regiment - The Death Korps 127th Infantry Regiment was assigned to the reconquest of the world of Baran in 224.M41. The Exodites of this former Eldar Maiden World had been overrun 300 standard years earlier by the Orks of WAAAGH! Arbuttz. The 127th was granted the right of conquest of this world as they were the sole regiment assigned there.
- 134th Death Korps Heavy Infantry Regiment - A highly decorated and experienced regiment, the 134th was originally assigned to the Chemarium Blockade force before being diverted to participate in the Orphean War. Under guidance of the Inquisition, the 134th destroyed several stasis-tombs that had not yet fully awakened within the Thamyris system. In preparation of its new duties, the regiment was brought back to full strength with survivors from other regiments of the Death Korps, the inquisitorial Conclave of Eurydice having formally petitioned for the 134th Heavy Infantry Regiment to be permanently assigned to the Ordo Xenos’ tactical reserve.
- 138th Death Korps Mechanised Infantry Regiment - Commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Heinrich Voorscht, the Death Korps of Krieg 138th continues to fight in the Spinward Front, the Imperial warzone centered in the sub-sector of the Calixis Sector in the Segmentum Obscurus known as the Periphery. They are currently engaged on the world of Hervara against the Orks and the Secessionist forces of the Severan Dominate.
- 186th Death Korps Infantry Regiment - Despatched alongside the 42nd, 81st and 103rd Death Korps Infantry Regiments to the outer rim of the Segmentum Tempestus to participate in the Dask Campaign against Nurgle-aligned cultist and mutants, the 186th was rerouted to the civilised world of Hieronymous Theta to assist local authorities in quelling a mutant uprising and civil unrest. Initially scheduled as a limited deployment, the attack of Hieronymous City -- the world’s principal Hive City -- by swarms of metallic beetles and the discovery of unusual xenos artefact within its mines soon led to the conclusion that a dormant Necron Tomb World had begun its awakening. This unprecedented opportunity to strike out at a still largely dormant Necron world was swiftly taken by the Krieg Regiments, which cordoned Hieronymous City in hope of confining the Necron threat to the city's limits and destroy it under their heavy guns. However, despite inflicting what was believed to be heavy casualties on the Necron War Host and a daring raid to destroy Hieronymous City’s generatoria -- which the Necrons used to power their reawakening -- the already depleted Krieg Regiments had to be withdrawn, relinquishing the planet and its population to the Necrons. With the remnants of the other Krieg regiments and reinforcements from Krieg, the 186th Regiment would go on to fight the emerging Ork menace on the nearby world of Djangalla. It is unclear if the 186th Infantry Regiment still operates as a distinct unit or as been merged with the survivors of the 42nd, 81st and 103rd to form a new regiment. However several incidents such as the execution of Hieronymous Theta’s planetary governor by the 186th regiment’s commanding officer, the loss of the regimental commissar due to unclear circumstances, the punishing regime inflicted on local PDF recruits and use of lethal violence against rioting civilians have tarnished the regiment’s reputation.
- 993rd Death Korps Infantry Regiment - Commanded by Colonel Trymon Stagler, the 993rd Death Korps Infantry Regiment was deployed to Tarsis Ultra in 998.M41 to take part in the defence of this Imperial world from the encroachment of a tendril of Hive Fleet Leviathan.
- 3rd Death Korps Siege Regiment - The Death Korps 3rd, 5th and 15th Siege Regiments were assigned to the 1st Line Korps, 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, which was assembled to take part in the notorious campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. Eventually, the 3rd Siege Regiment was withdrawn with the rest of the remaining units of the 1st Line Korps in 828.M41.
- 5th Death Korps Siege Regiment
- 15th Death Korps Siege Regiment
- 17th/221st Death Korps Siege Regiment - The 17th/221st Death Korps Siege Regiment was constituted in the wake of the Orphean War in 996.M41 and resulted from the fusion of two depleted regiments. The new regiment was assigned to the defence of the chill world of Decapolis Terminus which was being stripped of its resources and evacuated in the cadre of the major realignment of Imperial positions in this region of space that has become known as the Orphean Salvation Campaign. For more than a year, the regiment repelled both Necron spearheads and incursion of chaos-aligned warbands from the Chemarium-system. Such were the regiments efforts in securing these valuable resources that it was given the rare honour of forming the final rear-guard before the remaining population of Decapolis was given over to the Emperor’s mercy.
- 19th Death Korps Siege Regiment - The Death Korps 19th Siege Regiment was also assigned to the 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, which was assembled to take part in the notorious campaign known as the Siege of Vraks, but was subsequently destroyed during the intense fighting.
- 101st Death Korps Siege Regiment - The Death Korps' 101st Siege Regiment was assigned to the 11th Assault Korps of the 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, taking part in the notorious campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. The 101st Siege Regiment remained with the 11th Assault Korps throughout the campaign on Vraks Prime and was eventually withdrawn when the planet was neutralised in 830.M41.
- 143rd Death Korps Siege Regiment - The Death Korps 143rd, along with the 149th and 150th Siege Regiments, were assigned to the 12th Line Korps of the 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, taking part in the infamous campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. The 143rd Siege Regiment was the first Death Korps of Krieg regiment to land on Vraks. The 149th and 150th Siege Regiments were finally withdrawn when the Chaotic forces on the planet were neutralised in 830.M41.
- 149th Death Korps Siege Regiment
- 150th Death Korps Siege Regiment
- 158th Death Korps Siege Regiment - The Death Korps 158th Siege Regiment was assigned to the 12th Line Korps, 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, taking part in the infamous campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. The 158th Siege Regiment was eventually disbanded during the fighting on Vraks, due to sustaining a high number of casualties, which rendered it incapable of being a cohesive and effective unit.
- 179th Death Korps Siege Regiment - The Death Korps 179th Siege Regiment was assigned to the 12th Line Korps, 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, taking part in the infamous campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. The 179th Siege Regiment withdrew from the fighting on Vraks in 828.M41, along with the rest of the remaining units of the 8th Assault Korps.
- 261st Death Korps Siege Regiment - The Death Korps 261st Siege Regiment was assigned to the 30th Line Korps, 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, taking part in the infamous campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. In 830.M41, under the command of Colonel Tyborc, the 261st Siege Regiment was assigned the suicidal mission of taking the main gates of the citadel of Vraks of the Apostate Cardinal Xaphan in the first assault. Attacking at three points along the walls after a massive artillery barrage, the 261st sent wave after wave of infantry companies. At the lower gates, remnants of five companies from the first attack wave succeeded in reaching the walls, only to be broken by a counter-attack of Chaos Space Marines and a number of Daemon Engines. Ultimately, the 261st Siege Regiment was destroyed in the fighting and the survivors were folded into three other Death Korps regiments of the 30th Line Korps (the 262nd, 263rd and 269th Siege Regiments). Colonel Tyborc was promoted to an esteemed position on the 88th Siege Army Staff and the assault was continued, carried out by the 269th Siege Regiment.
- 262nd Death Korps Siege Regiment - The Death Korps 262nd, 263rd and 269th Siege Regiments were assigned to the 30th Line Korps, 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, during the infamous campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. The regiments served with the 30th Line Korps throughout the intense fighting on Vraks and were finally withdrawn from the planet when the Forces of Chaos occupying it were neutralised in 830.M41.
- 263th Death Korps Siege Regiment
- 269th Death Korps Siege Regiment
- 268th Death Korps Siege Regiment - The Death Korps 268th Siege Regiment was assigned to the 30th Line Korps, 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, during the infamous campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. In 830.M41, the 269th Siege Regiment took over the final assault on the Citadel of Vraks after the first wave was decimated in two days of intense fighting. The 268th Siege Regiment was assigned to attack the Undercroft, hoping to gain access to the gates through the catacombs beneath the citadel. Over eight days of fighting saw the regiment utterly destroyed, with only negligible gains.
- 291st Death Korps Siege Regiment - The Death Korps 291st, 308th, 309th and 310th Siege Regiments were assigned to the 34th Line Korps, 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, during the infamous campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. The regiments were with the 34th Line Korps throughout the intense fighting on Vraks and were finally withdrawn from the planet when the enemy was neutralised in 830.M41.
- 308th Death Korps Siege Regiment
- 309th Death Korps Siege Regiment
- 310th Death Korps Siege Regiment
- 468th Death Korps Siege Regiment - The Death Korps 468th, 469th and 470th Siege Regiments were assigned to the 46th Line Korps, 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, during the infamous campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. The 46th Line Korps was rotated into the fighting and attached to the 88th Siege Army late in the campaign.
- 469th Death Korps Siege Regiment
- 470th Death Korps Siege Regiment
- 616th Death Korps Siege Regiment - Originally consisting of over thirty thousand warriors, the 616th Siege Regiment is a newly-raised regiment originally intended as reinforcement for the Siege of Vraks, but that was diverted to the Spinward Front. Since its arrival, this regiment has found itself engaged in some of the heaviest fighting, such as besieging Mek-Boss Dregrukk’s Stompa manufactoria on Asterion, or battles amongst the defenders on Kulth. Like many Krieg regiments, individual troopers tend to have little in the way of personal identity, often stripped of their sense of self during training, even removing their names in favour of a simple designation. This attitude often spreads even to the officers, with many simply known by the designation of their platoon, company or regiment. This is the case within the 616th, with its commanding officer known only as Colonel Six-Sixteen. Regarded by his peers in other regiments as being little more than a mouthpiece for the orders issued by more senior commanders, Colonel Six-Sixteen is a quiet, unassuming figure, seldom seen without his greatcoat and rebreather, whose leadership abilities are effective, if unimaginative. The nature of Krieg regiments is such that little more is necessary. For the most part, interregimental communications are handled by the 616th’s current senior Commissar, Anton Kraevan.
Siege Artillery Regiments
- 3rd Siege Artillery Regiment - The Death Korps 3rd, 4th and 8th Siege Artillery Regiments were assigned to the 19th Bombardment Korps, 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, during the infamous campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. They were withdrawn from Vraks along with the rest of the remaining units of the 19th Bombardment Korps in 828.M41.
- 4th Siege Artillery Regiment
- 8th Siege Artillery Regiment
- 19th Siege Artillery Regiment - The Death Korps 19th, 22nd and 23rd Siege Artillery Regiments were assigned to the 21st Bombardment Korps, 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, during the infamous campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. The regiments remained with the 21st Bombardment Korps throughout the fighting on Vraks Prime and were finally withdrawn when the enemy forces occupying the planet were neutralised in 830.M41.
- 22nd Siege Artillery Regiment
- 23rd Siege Artillery Regiment
- 231st Siege Artillery Regiment - The Death Korps 231st Siege Artillery Regiment was assigned to the 8th Assault Korps, 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, during the infamous campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. The 231st remained with the 8th Assault Korps throughout the intense fighting on Vraks until it was finally withdrawn when the enemy forces occupying the planet were neutralised in 830.M41.
- 497th Siege Artillery Regiment - The Death Korps 497th Siege Artillery Regiment was assigned to the 11th Assault Korps, 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, during the infamous campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. The 497th remained with the 11th Assault Korps throughout the fighting on Vraks and was finally withdrawn when the enemy forces occupying the planet were neutralised in 830.M41.
- 23rd Mechanised Regiment - The Death Korps 23rd Mechanised Regiment took part in the Cleansing of Radnar Hive.
Armoured & Tank Regiments
- 1st Armoured Regiment - The Death Korps 1st Armoured Regiment took part in the Atria Wilderness Campaign.
- 2nd Armoured Regiment - The Death Korps 2nd Armoured Regiment took part in the notable Third War for Armageddon Imperial campaign against the massive Ork Waaagh! of Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka.
- 11th Armoured Regiment - The 11th Armoured Regiment fought on Arcantis Quintus during the Orphean War and suffered heavy losses at the Battle of Hath Parallel.
- 18th Armoured Regiment - The Death Korps 18th Armoured Regiment took part in the Barbarius Campaign. This regiment in known to contain Mars Pattern Chimeras armed with Multi-Lasers.
- 19th Armoured Regiment - The Death Korps 19th Armoured Regiment took part in the Taros Campaign on the Imperial desert Mining World of Taros against the Tau Empire and its Kroot and human (Gue'vesa) allies of the Taros Planetary Defence Force in 998.M41. The 19th was assigned to the 4621st Imperial Army, XI Corps. The XI Corps was ordered to assemble after the X Corps had departed and to act as the second wave for the invasion, in the event the campaign on Taros had collapsed before the 19th Armoured Regiment arrived.
- 21st Armoured Regiment - The Death Korps 21st Armoured Regiment took part in the Vorenz III Campaign with a Thunderer Siege Tank in the command squadron of the 3rd Company.
- 22nd Armoured Regiment - The Death Korps 22nd Armoured Regiment contains several companies comprised primarily of Leman Russ Battle Tanks.
- 28th Armoured Regiment - The Death Korps 28th Armoured Regiment was a part of the Galan V Expedition Force.
- 47th Armoured Regiment - The Death Korps 47th Armoured Regiment was part of the 3rd Armoured Korps of the Orphean Salvation taskforce and thus fought in the Orphean War. The regiment was entirely destroyed while counterattacking Necron Phalanxes on the world of Kaelogeddon in the Arcantis Cluster. The regiment's brave sacrifice during the Battle of the Outhal Depression allowed for the Imperial forces to encircle and defeat the Necron advance, the regiment’s tanks even having to break formation and charge right into the Necron Phalanxes to evade aerial assaults, many tank crews detonating their fuel and ammunition reserves in a last act of spite against their aggressors.
- 76th Armoured Regiment - The Death Korps 76th Armoured Regiment was a notable Armoured Regiment that contained a Leman Russ Vanquisher called Loyalty utilised by Commissar Konstantin Garrick.
- 7th Tank Regiment - The Death Korps 7th Tank Regiment was assigned to the 8th Assault Korps, 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, during the infamous campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. The 7th Tank Regiment was withdrawn from Vraks along with the rest of the remaining units of the 8th Assault Korps in 828.M41.
- 11th Tank Regiment - The Death Korps 11th Tank Regiment was assigned to the 8th Assault Korps, 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, during the infamous campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. The 11th Tank Regiment was transferred to the 11th Assault Korps when the rest of the 8th Assault Korps was transferred from the Vraks warzone in 828.M41.
- 14th Tank Regiment - The Death Korps 14th Tank Regiment was assigned to the 8th Assault Korps, 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, during the infamous campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. The 14th Tank Regiment was withdrawn from Vraks along with the rest of the remaining units of the 8th Assault Korps in 828.M41.
- 61st Tank Regiment - The Death Korps 61st and 66th Tank Regiments were assigned to the 11th Assault Korps, 88th Siege Army in 812.M41, during the infamous campaign known as the Siege of Vraks. These two regiments remained with the 11th Assault Korps throughout the fighting on Vraks Prime, until they were eventually withdrawn from the planet when it was neutralised in 830.M41.
- 66th Tank Regiment
- 111th Tank Regiment - The 111th Tank Regiment was attached to the 60th Line Korps under the overall command of Marshal Karis Venner, and fought in the Orphean War.
Heavy Tank Companies & Regiments
- 1st Heavy Tank Company - The Death Korps 1st Heavy Tank Company, known as the "Emperor's Loyal Shield," fought in the Cleansing of Radnar.
- 13th Heavy Tank Company - The Death Korps 13th Heavy Tank Company took part in the Galan V Expedition when it was attached to the Death Korps 28th Armoured Regiment.
- 14th Heavy Tank Regiment - The 14th Heavy Tank Regiment was attached to the 60th Line Korps of Marshal Venner during the Orphean War and was part of the Korps’ Assault Brigade during the Battle of Amarah.
Notable Guardsmen of the Death Korps of Krieg
- Marshal Amim Kagori - Marshal Amim Kagori was a well-respected officer within the Death Korps of Krieg when he was called upon to resolve the disastrous downturn the Siege of Vraks had taken following the arrival of Chaos Space Marines warbands and, perhaps more importantly, Chaos Titans of the Legio Vulcanum. With the 88th Siege Army in full disarray and being forced to retreat on all fronts, Marshal Kagori was chosen by Segmentum Command to replace Lord Commander Zuelkhe. To prosecute the war, Kagori petitioned the Legio Astorum for help, which, alongside the new regiments of the 34th Line Korps, would turn the tides on Vraks. Taking the name of the "Kagori Offensive", the Imperial counter-attack reconquered their lost ground in a matter of months. With additional support from the Imperial Navy and the Adeptus Astartes of the Red Scorpions Chapter, Marshal Kagori would succeed where his predecessor had failed, eventually breaking through the citadel's inner defence lines. However, as reports of unnatural phenomena multiplied, Marshal Kagori was forced to relinquish command of the 88th Siege Army to Lord Inquisitor Hector Rex of the Ordo Malleus. With typical bravery, Amim Kagori petitioned the Lord Inquisitor for a battlefield command on Vraks, which he was quickly granted. His demotion to battlefield command would prove a boon for the Death Korps as the Marshal’s actions on Vraks would see him remembered as one of the greatest Imperial heroes of this campaign.
- Marshal Karis Venner, the Thrice-Martyred, the Castigator of Valtine - Marshal Venner was a legendary figure within the Death Korps, a senior officer of single determination which for many embodied the Death Korps' bloody determination and readiness to sacrifice all for the greater cause. Marshal Venner has the led 17th Line Korps for an unprecedented eleven years, during which he has always led from the front; personally leading the Korps’ assault brigades on the field of battle. Much of his trachea and lungs has been replaced by augmetics after Venner was heavily burned by an enemy Flamer during the Siege of Duraka Landing. Despite his wounds, Venner dragged his broken and bloodied figure back to Krieg lines and was saved. This was the first time he was officially listed as a casualty only to reappear almost miraculously, owing him the surname of the "Thrice-Martyred". During one particular campaign, Venner's command had been cut-off and was declared killed in action, only to be rediscovered three days later at the head of a ragged group of survivors, surrounded by the corpses of their enemy. This legend has made him very popular within those regiments that have served under him, but not so much within non-Krieg regiments that have been placed under his authority. Appointed Commander-in-chief of both the 17th and 60th Line Korps during the Orphean War, Marshal Venner distinguished himself at the Battle of Amarah Prime, where the Death Korps was one of a few Imperial formations not only able to resist, but also vanquish, their Necron foe.
- Colonel Tyborc - Colonel Tyborc's combat record perhaps best illustrates how promotions can affect a man's career within the Death Korps. More often than not, these promotions are earned on the front lines and by the simple fact of surviving where others have not. Tyborc's career truly begins in 814.M41 as simple Commander of the 261st Siege Regiment’s 9th Company, 30th Line Korps, during the Siege of Vraks. Tasked with the capture of an enemy stronghold, designated as Fort A-453, Commander Tyborc devised a complex plan which would let his troops advance in the wake of a well-coordinated artillery barrages, leaving the enemy little to no time to man his positions. Personally leading the assault, Tyborc succeeded in taking the enemy trenchline, upon which he sent a runner to the Krieg lines to ask for reinforcements. When the enemy decided to shell their own lines to bury the Kriegsmen within alive, the courageous Commander broke into the fort's underground shelters, leading a ragtag group of survivors from different platoons in a desperate three-day-long struggle before allied troops could reinforce their position. Severely injured and still carrying an empty Flamer taken from some fallen enemy, Commander Tyborc's victory opened the way for the 88th Siege Army's breakthrough of the Citadel's outer defence line. Having gained much honour at the Battle of Fort A-453 as it was soon called, the valiant Commander would continue to serve on Vraks. By the time of the final assault on Vraks' Citadel, Tyborc had risen to the rank of commanding officer of the 261st Siege Regiment. Having been selected to conduct an attack on the Citadel itself, Tyborc mercilessly assaulted the enemy until his regiment was no more. While the survivors were folded into other regiments, Colonel Tyborc himself was elevated into an esteemed position in the 88th Siege Army Command Staff.
As with many Imperial Guard regiments, the Death Korps is based upon a real-world military from human history, similar in uniform, appearance and style to the Imperial German Army of World War I and the Wehrmacht of World War II.
- Codex: Astra Militarum (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), "Regiments of Distinction - Death Korps of Krieg"
- Codex: Imperial Guard (5th Edition), pp. 21, 23, 27
- Codex: Imperial Guard (4th Edition), pg. 61
- Codex: Imperial Guard (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex), pg. 28
- Epic: Swordwind Campaign
- Imperial Armour Volume One (Second Edition) - Imperial Guard, pp. 84, 114, 258
- Imperial Armour Volume Three - The Taros Campaign
- Imperial Armour Volume Five - The Siege of Vraks - Part One, pp. 12-35, 38-41, 44-53, 66-101, 125, 128, 130-144, 181, 187-189
- Imperial Armour Volume Six - The Siege of Vraks - Part Two, pp. 7, 14, 18-27, 34-48, 54-56, 58-59, 61-71, 75, 77-79, 83, 85, 93-111, 114
- Imperial Armour Volume Seven - The Siege of Vraks - Part Three, pp. 8-11, 16-19, 21, 26-28, 40-43, 44-45, 51, 53, 83-87, 110-111, 125-136, 208
- Imperial Armour Volume Twelve - The Fall of Orpheus, pg. 168-170, 183, 197, 225
- Only War: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 46-47
- Only War: Final Testament (RPG), pg. 15
- The Greater Good (Novel), by Sandy Mitchell
- Dead Men Walking (Novel) by Steve Lyons
- Third War for Armageddon Worldwide Campaign - Forces Disposition, Imperial Forces: Death Korps of Krieg