"By the Emperor! Those men do war honour!"
The Pyran Dragoons are the elite Astra Militarum regiments that hail from the Civilised World of Pyran that is located in the Armageddon Sub-sector of the Segmentum Solar. Considered haughty, conceited and proud, the Pyran Dragoons are noticeably intolerant of those who are ignorant of the nuances of their stringent, caste-based society. The Dragoons' regiments have gained a reputation for an extreme refusal to collaborate with other Imperial Guard formations.
The Civilised World of Pyran has a stringent and divisive caste-based society, developed and refined over millennia after the initial Imperial colonisation of the planet in the 34th Millennium. At the very apex of this elitist world is the ruling Imperial Governor, chosen directly by the Adeptus Terra from one of the leaders of the Imperial Greater Noble Houses. The people of Pyran are intrinsically bound by their traditions in a way few off-worlders comprehend and the social and political standing of any one of the noble houses rests almost solely on the social graces of its members, as well as their military achievements within the Dragoons.
Though Imperial histories often grow vague with the passage of time, the Pyran Dragoons have a keen affinity for their past deeds, particularly as they are the only regiment in the entire Armageddon Sub-sector that is recorded as having achieved a Right of Conquest. The long and distinguished history of the Pyran Dragoons is the main source of the immense pride that all the noble houses of Pyran, Greater and Lesser, deem essential to their very existence. Originally founded in the 34th Millennium as the Tyler Grenadiers to counter a sharp rise in Chaos raider activity that followed the Sinto Uprising in the Justicar Sub-sector, the regiment was transported to the recently colonised world of Pyran as the war swept past the Hive World of Armageddon. Though the Tyler regiment was battered and severely under strength due to its past engagements, the Grenadiers were successful in bringing the Chaos raiders to combat in an ambush outside the planet's only town. The devastating trap they laid for the raiders of hidden vehicles and ranked Guardsmen tore into the flanks of the raiders as they landed. Though the fighting caused many losses on both sides, the Grenadiers were able to break the back of the Chaos army, forcing them to withdraw from Imperial space entirely. The colonel of the Tyler Grenadiers declared a Right of Conquest on the last planet his regiment had fought upon and his Guardsmen settled on what became Pyran.
The officers of the Pyran Dragoons are drawn from the highest ranks of the Pyran noble houses. Officially, each commission for officership must be earned on the field of battle, but as military service within the Dragoons grants a tremendous boon to any man's social standing, in practice many nobles are able to simply purchase their way in. Once their commission is gained, almost all officers become very jealous of their rank and constantly vie with one another to gain the notice of their superiors. Though duelling between officers is outlawed by decree within the regiment, duels are all too common as the Pyran nobles seek to correct imagined slights, remove rivals or simply look to discredit another, rival noble house by any method possible.
The Pyran officers' strict adherence to the edicts and traditions of their houses has often led them to be intolerant of any who are ignorant of the nuances of their society. The regiment has gained a reputation for an extreme lack of collaboration with other Imperial Guard formations, with formal challenges to duels often being made by Pyran officers after a counterpart in another regiment has unintentionally infringed some long-standing tradition of the Dragoons.
The Guardsmen of the regiment are drawn from the Pyran Lower Houses and, despite the constant berating they receive from their officers, they are all too aware of the long and proud history of the Pyran Dragoons and view themselves as being somewhat superior to any other regiment that treats its Guardsmen as mere "ground-pounders." They are confident in their own sense of worth to the Imperium.
Very occasionally, a Pyran Guardsman, through bravery and success, will distinguish himself on the battlefield and, depending on the current standing of his noble house, may gain the attention of his commanding officer. On a whim, he may be raised above the rank of Guardsman and be granted a commission to the rank of Lieutenant. Whilst this will grant a tremendous boost to his house, officers raised from common Guardsmen are treated with extreme contempt by those who have purchased their rank as a consequence of their birthright and he will be barred from the many social functions that officers usually take for granted. During times of war, such a Pyran officer will even be denied access to tactical meetings and will be barely tolerated by his fellow officers. The Guardsmen they lead into battle are also prone to receive their new officer poorly, preferring to be led by a man from one of the Greater Houses as the standing of their own officer greatly influences their own social position and prestige amongst other Pyran Guardsmen. It is not entirely unknown for these newly promoted officers to soon meet with "accidents" when they lead their men into combat for the first time.
- Third War for Armageddon (998.M41) - During the Third War for Armageddon the Pyran Dragoons were stationed at Cerbera Base to receive training in the hunting of Feral Orks still inhabiting the planet. The haughty Dragoons soon found themselves in conflict with the uncouth Armageddon Ork Hunters. The two regiments could not have been more diametrically opposed in their approach to warfare and arguments between officers of the two opposing regiments were quite common. The situation further eroded when Colonel Pertinax, the commander of Cerbera Base (also known as Hell Town), ordered the Dragoons to maintain perimeter positions that the Pyrans viewed as suicidally weak, and so, they disobeyed the Ork Hunter commander, and abandoned their positions. This withdrawal abetted a massive Ork assault that the Ork Hunters were barely able to push back. It was said after the Battle of Hell Town that the argument between Pertinax and Dragoon Colonel Tannley-Drake could be clearly heard over the whole fortified camp until, finally, the Pyran challenged his counterpart to a duel. Accounts differ as to the outcome of the duel, but the Pyran Dragoons have always maintained that their colonel nobly scored first blood against the Ork Hunter, allowing the entire regiment to honourably retire to Infernus Hive for further orders. In the aftermath of this honour duel, the two regiments have remained bitter rivals ever since.
Notable Pyran Dragoons
- Colonel Tannley-Drake - The overall commander of the Pyran Dragoons regiment stationed at Cerbera Base, Colonel Tannley-Drake came to blows in an honour-duel with the base commander, Colonel Pertinax, of the Armageddon Ork Hunters, over a matter of opinion in regards to the Dragoons purposely disobeying the base commander and abandoning their positions before a major Greenskin assault. Though accounts vary, supposedly the Dragoons commander nobly scored first blood, allowing the Dragoons to save face and honourably withdraw to Infernus Hive.
The Pyran Dragoons' distinctive look is based upon the elaborate uniforms worn by Great Britain's Life Guards, the senior regiment of the British Army. Just before the Restoration of King Charles II to the English and Scottish thrones in 1660, a Royal Mounted Bodyguard was formed in Holland from 80 Royalists who had gone into exile with Charles after the Battle of Worcester in 1651. Membership was originally restricted to the British gentry and nobility, and accordingly they had no non-commissioned officers; their corporals were commissioned, and ranked as lieutenants in the rest of the army. This state of affairs persisted until 1756.
- White Dwarf 264 (UK), pp. 62-65
- Third War for Armageddon Worldwide Campaign - Forces Disposition, Imperial Forces: Pyran Dragoons