"I find your military code revolting, your devotion to the Emperor insufficient and your combat morale non-existent, but the accuracy of your marksmen, sir, is the finest I have seen this side of the Galaxy!"
- — Captain Kotski of the Death Korps of Krieg addressing Marshall Traeg of the 96th Jopall Indentured Squadron
The Jopall Indentured Squadrons are Imperial Guard regiments that hail from the once-peaceful Agri-World of Jopall. On their homeworld, the Jopall owe their government money as soon as they are born. Taking up valuable resources throughout their childhood, they incur a debt that they cannot repay until adolescence. Most citizens of Jopall spend the majority of their adult lives working off the debts they incur during the first part of their lives. There are ways around this punishing system, however; the citizen can either borrow money from the local lord, or they can work off the debt to the government by joining the Jopall Indentured Squadrons. This system explains why the Jopall are never short of recruits.
The Jopall Indentured Squadrons are equally well-known for their marksmanship as they are for their greed. The question of recompense is often raised by the officers of the Indentured Squadrons, and every Ork life they take is tallied somewhere around the soldier's person, to be raised at a later date. Excellent snipers, during the third Imperial campaign to defend the Hive World of Armageddon from invaders in 998.M41 the Jopall were stationed in the upper reaches of Hive Tartarus. The excellent marksmanship skills of the Jopall Indentured Squadrons were able to substantially thin out the numbers of the secondary Ork troops laying siege to the outer reaches of that hive city.
The Indentured Squadrons favour a defensive stance where resources are committed only at the last moment. This made them extremely unpopular with fanatically committed regiments such as the Death Korps of Krieg around the perimeters of Hive Tartarus during the Third War for Armageddon. Despite their diametrically opposed doctrine, their two styles of warfare complemented rather than detracted from each other, despite the resentment that rapidly grew between the two Imperial Guard factions. The Death Korps were disgusted by the very idea that a soldier should fight to work off debts rather than serving out of a sense of pure duty to the Emperor. They found the relaxed attitude towards command hierarchy in the Indentured Squadrons to be appalling and inefficient. However, it is just this fact that makes the Jopall so unique.
Individuality is a trait that is openly encouraged in the Indentured Squadrons, and the ingenuity and commitment of the soldiers is rewarded by a small financial recompense. Noted for their unscrupulous tactics, the Jopall familiarised themselves with Hive Tartarus to an exceptional degree, assimilating many of their soldiers into the Hive Militia and utilising the resources of the hive against the Ork invaders. As a result of this, squads of Jopall soldiers poisoned the Orks' water supplies with toxic waste, snipers harried the Ork lines around the clock from the hive spires surrounding Tartarus, and the tunnels riddling the outskirts of Tartarus were collapsed, instantly forming an intricate network of trenches from which the Death Korps were reported to have been operating. This spontaneous and uncoordinated activity was looked upon with contempt by many of the more traditional officers, but the results were undeniably valuable to the war effort.
One instance in particular highlights both the potential of the infamous Jopall guile and also the tremendous strain that it can put on Imperial resources. A small squad of low-ranking Jopall officers managed to isolate a tribe of Orks who had somehow obtained several Imperial vehicles. These troop transports were painted with crossed axes and hung with skulls, but unlike the rusting, smoking heaps the Orks normally employ, these were well-maintained and comparatively clean, hinting at the presence of a somewhat technically-oriented Ork leader. Masquerading as liaisons from Von Strab's Personal Guard, the Jopall officers negotiated the unauthorised transfer of three Imperial Basilisks and a substantial amount of artillery shells with a high-ranking Ork mechanic. The Mek, as it called itself, was allegedly frothing at the mouth with excitement, and after thoroughly checking the Basilisks it paid the Jopall cadre substantially for the artillery pieces.
However, the Basilisk's undercarriages were each strung with thin lines of plastic explosive covered in dust and grime. As soon as the cadre of Jopall officers were safely ensconced in the spires of Tartarus, observing the Mek proudly parading his newly bolstered artillery battalion to the Greenskin Warlord Morbad himself via a satellite camera, the remote devices each officer carried detonated the plastic explosives. This triggered an explosion just destructive enough to detonate the Basilisk's ammunition, causing a chain reaction that consumed a full sixth of the Orks' artillery. Despite this success, Armageddon High Command deemed the voluntary loss of three Imperial Basilisks unforgivable, and the officers were summarily stripped of their rank. However, the soldiers in question now number among the most popular of their entire company.
Notable Jopall Indentured Squadrons
- 17th Jopall Indentured Squadron - The 17th Jopall Indentured Squadron fought in the 13th Black Crusade in 999.M41 against the Forces of Chaos, commanded by Abaddon the Despoiler, the Warmaster of Chaos Undivided and leader of the Black Legion Traitor Legion.
- The 13th Black Crusade (Background Book)
- Words of Blood (Anthology), "Ork Hunter," by Dan Abnett
- Third War for Armageddon Worldwide Campaign - Forces Disposition, Imperial Forces: Jopall Indentured Squadrons