- "Be swift and silent -- as the breeze that crosses the dunes without stirring a grain of sand."
- — Captain Al'rahem
The Tallarn Desert Raiders is the name of the Militarum Regimentum of the Astra Militarum raised from the Desert World of Tallarn whose soldiers are highly skilled at desert and mobile armoured warfare. The Desert Raiders are mobile guerrilla fighters, evasive and opportunistic. They are especially known for their lightning-quick Sentinel and hard-hitting tank squadrons and are masters of hit-and-run mobile warfare. They love to strike a killing blow at the heart of an enemy formation before returning to their own lines, prepared to pounce once more. The people of Tallarn are extremely resourceful and pragmatic. They are patient, determined and utterly ferocious in pursuit of their enemies. Tallarn are all accomplished riders, and often will use riding mounts to move from battle to battle, dismounting only when they are close to the enemy and wish to employ stealth. Once the enemy is sighted, the Tallarn will stalk them closely, relying on their practiced marksmanship and lightning-quick curved combat knives to achieve victory.
Once a fertile, verdant Agri-world, Tallarn was devastated early in the history of the Imperium. During the dark days of the Horus Heresy in the early 31st Millennium, the warriors of the Iron Warriors Traitor Legion unleashed powerful Virus Bombs upon the world's surface, scouring it of almost all life, and leaving only a few pockets of survivors in subterranean shelters. When the Iron Warriors descended from orbit to claim and fortify this poisoned world as one of their countless citadels, they faced immediate and savage resistance from those who had survived, braving the surface in armoured vehicles that would protect them from the virus-infested air.
What followed, simply dubbed the Battle of Tallarn, remains to this day the single largest tank engagement in the history of the Imperium, with hundreds of millions of vehicles clashing and withdrawing in brutal exchanges over the course of months. In spite of the sheer size of the conflict, the Tallarn people could not hope to face the Traitor Astartes in open battle, and instead quickly mastered guerrilla warfare strategies that allowed them to better elude the retaliation of the Iron Warriors forces, vanishing beneath the sands after each sortie, only to engage in another elsewhere. In time, the Iron Warriors withdrew from the world that had been so costly to them, and the people of Tallarn were given the opportunity to rebuild. To this day, the Tallarn have a particularly fearsome reputation for armoured warfare, and their tank crews are rightly feared.
In the centuries following the Horus Heresy, the poisons and pathogens in the atmosphere diminished entirely, but the world was forever changed. In place of rolling hills, bountiful fields, and broad seas, were dunes of sulphurous sand, sun-scorched plains, and mesas of wind-scoured rock, with what little water remained lingering as vapour in the skies above. Constructing tall vapour traps that could gather this vital moisture, and expanding their subterranean homes with tunnels, caverns, and surface domes, the population was protected from the deadly sandstorms and extreme conditions. Tallarn has remained this way for millennia.
With so little to offer to the Imperium’s tithe collectors, the Tallarn can reasonably give only soldiers, and they do this with pride. Owing to the subterranean tunnels they grow up in, and the barren deserts of their homeworld’s surface, the Tallarn people are skilled in fighting across open ground and in narrow tunnels alike, and Tallarn regiments still favour the hit-and-run tactics mastered by their ancestors during the Horus Heresy, moving swiftly and striking with surprise and precision before retreating to regroup and stage the next attack. For this reason, the most common Tallarn regiments are infantry, Rough Rider cavalry mounted on horses or the reptilian Mukaali, or armoured regiments, all of which focus on some particular element of the favoured strategies of the Tallarn -- stealth, swiftness, and the killing blow. Many Tallarn forces have also come to appreciate the utility of the Sentinel walker due to its effectiveness as a means of crossing even rough terrain swiftly without sacrificing firepower.
Tallarn forces are often somewhat willful and independent, their traditional skills ill-suited to standing in static battle lines or holding fortifications, when they could instead be creeping up upon an enemy and executing them with the edge of a knife or a carefully-placed shot. As a result, they are often employed as vanguard and reconnaissance forces, or as the spearhead of a concerted attack, where their speed and stealth are of the greatest use.
The world of Tallarn was once a verdant Agri-World when it was first discovered by human settlers in the Segmentum Tempestus during the 29th Millennium. In the early years of the 31st Millennium, Tallarn was still a fertile planet bathed in the gentle orange light of its twin suns. The surface of this lush planet was covered in oceans, grassy plains and jungles, and its people prospered. But this all came to a brutal end during the dark days of the Horus Heresy.
Battle of Tallarn
As the Heresy raged across the galaxy, the Chaos Space Marines of the Iron Warriors Traitor Legion struck the planet in a devastating surprise attack. Thousands of virus-bombs rained down on Tallarn and the people ran to their enviro-shelters, deep beneath the surface. As they hid, safe from the devastating bio-infestation, the deadly coils of the Life-eater Virus' DNA mutated as they were programmed to do. Animals, plants, even insects died as the virus did its work, destroying the planet's ecosystem and leaving an empty shell devoid of life. After seven weeks of isolation, the virus had run its course and the remaining people of Tallarn emerged upon the surface. They found a world covered with the acrid slime of plants and corpses not yet decayed -- for the world was completely sterile, without even bacteria to aid the decomposition of its dead. The stench was strong, and more than one person died from it.
The Iron Warriors had sent their task force to repossess the world for the Dark Gods of Chaos. From underground bunkers the Tallarn forces emerged to do battle with the invaders. Soon, reinforcements from both the Forces of Chaos and the Imperium arrived, rival star fleets bringing vast armies to fight over the worthless remnants of the dead planet, enormous resources squandered fighting over a devastated world of no notable strategic worth. The Battle of Tallarn raged for many solar months and was the largest armoured conflict of the Horus Heresy and the greatest tank battle in human history. Outbreaks of viral infection from isolated surviving pockets of the Life-eater Virus made it almost impossible for infantry to operate outside the protective shelters of their armoured vehicles. The battle was finally decided by the armies of these tanks and more than 10 million of them participated in the battle. The Desert Raiders rarely met the Chaotic invaders in open battle, preferring to strike from the flanks and avoid the strongest elements of the Traitors' battle line. When the fighting finally ended in a victory for the Loyalists of the Imperium of Man, the empty, putrid wastes of Tallarn were littered with the wreckage of more than a million shattered vehicles. To this day, the Tallarn Desert Raiders have a well-deserved reputation as masters of armoured warfare, and their tank crews are amongst the most feared in the galaxy.
The Forces of Chaos were driven from Tallarn at great cost, yet for all the millions that died there the Imperium had gained little from the fight. The planet was destroyed and rendered useless for large-scale habitation, industry or agriculture. The armies of the Imperium might well have given up Tallarn for dead had their commanders realised the extent of the devastation, but once the armies were in motion there was no going back. At the time, the Chaotic attack on the Agri-World made little sense. It seemed insane that even the fickle Chaos Gods should expend such energy fighting over a devastated world of no particular strategic significance. But in the aftermath of the Horus Heresy there were few left to ponder such questions. Amongst the evils of the time, it was just another demonstration of the random destruction of Chaos. None realised that the Traitor Legions had been in pursuit of the Cursus of Algaron, a potent Chaotic artefact buried deep beneath the surface of the planet that was left over from the time known as the Fall of the Eldar. Tallarn would eventually pay a high price for unwittingly housing this artefact when the Forces of Chaos returned millennia later to finish what they had begun in the great conflict called the Cursus War.
Within a thousand years of the Horus Heresy's end, Tallarn evolved into a very different world from the prosperous agricultural planet of former times. Deserts of sulphurous sand stretched from pole to pole and all water disappeared except for a thin residue that remained in the atmosphere. No vegetation remained on the surface exposed to the blistering, wind-blown sands. All that grew was the carefully husbanded crops of the Tallarn themselves, sheltered in their protective horticultural domes deep beneath the planet's surface. The surviving Tallarn now lived in domed towns or in natural caverns hollowed out in the planet's rock. Fierce winds drove the Tallarn into their shelters, corrosive sulphur storms made all travel across the open desert risky, and eventually a system of tunnels for tram systems and pedestrian traffic was built to facilitate travel beneath the communities that lay below the surface. As a consequence, the Tallarn regiments have adapted to fight in these confines as expertly as they fight on the exposed surface of a planet. Above their settlements the Tallarn built hydrological vapour traps to catch water from the thin atmosphere. These tall towers still stand above their domes to this day, and all the water the Tallarn need is caught by these cunning devices and channeled into subterranean holding tanks.
The Spinward Front
Like many other regiments fighting in the Periphery Sub-sector of the Calixis Sector, the Tallarn forces present there are mostly drawn from forces left idle. A considerable number of Tallarn regiments of all kinds had been delivered to the Segmentum Obscurus, and when the call for reinforcement came from the Calixis Sector, they were amongst those sent to fight within the Spinward Front. Thus far, the Tallarn have more than demonstrated their worth to the Imperium, with their particular skills helping to combat Dark Eldar raiders attacking Kalf, participating in vicious tunnel fighting on Virbius, and sabotaging Ork industry during the Scouring of Maesa.
However, because of the slow progress of the forces in the Spinward Front, and the limited resources available, the Tallarn have frequently found themselves engaged in long-term "meat grinder" conflicts against massed foes. Lacking the forces to truly push back against the Ork advance or crush the Severan Dominate, the war has become a brutal defensive conflict, with little to gain and everything to lose. Nonetheless, the tenacity and ruthless effectiveness of the Tallarn forces have earned them a fearsome reputation.
Never has the vaunted mobility of the Tallarns been of more use than now, as growing Warp Storms continue to claw at the worlds of the Imperium. On battlefields throughout the galaxy the armies of the Imperium are stretched to breaking point. Few Militarum Regimentos share the skill of the Tallarn Desert Raiders infantry regiments at fighting across multiple fronts, or the ability of their armoured regiments at rapidly redeploying their forces to outflank and annihilate their enemies.
Fighting alongside the resurrected Primarch Roboute Guilliman's Indomitus Crusade, the Tallarns have also been used as diversionary forces, assaulting lightly fortified moons and orbital platforms within enemy territories. When the foe sends in reinforcements, the Tallarn forces withdraw to strike new targets. These "Siroccos," as the Tallarns call them, are designed to spread thin the armies of the enemy, but so effective are the guerilla warriors at their charge that often their targets are permanently crippled.
Tallarns have never lost their aptitude for mechanised warfare, and field an abundance of armoured regiments. Rather than utilising their vehicles as a slow moving wall of steel -- as some Militarum Regimentos do -- Tallarn Tank Commanders pride themselves on their ability to coordinate lightning-fast spearhead assaults, their squadrons of swift-moving tanks weaving between allied formations to strike unexpectedly at the unprepared foe.
The people of Tallarn are master craftsmen and their wargear is both practical and ceremonial. Indeed, the weapons of many Tallarn officers are inset with precious gems and metals. These officers are usually selected from amongst Tallarn's tribal leaders and a coloured sash tied around every soldier's waist denotes their rank.
Approximately twenty standard years after the Battle of Tallarn ended, the first Tallarn Desert Raiders Regiments of the Imperial Guard were formed. These regiments specialised in desert fighting, and were highly adept at ambushing enemy forces in the sandy wastes of their Desert World or any other. With little effort on their part, Tallarn can reasonably give only soldiers to the Imperium's tithe collectors, and they do this with pride.
The Tallarn Desert Raiders are organised like most Imperial Guard Regiments, employing combined arms tactics that make use of infantry, artillery and armoured companies. Due to their predilection for moving swiftly and striking suddenly and quickly, the most common Tallarn regiments are infantry. They are also known for including one or more patrol companies referred to as long range reconnaissance or more simply as recon companies. The Desert Raiders also employ specialised Rough Rider squadrons that make use of the alien mounts known locally on Tallarn as the Mukaali. These mounts originate from the deserts of the Imperial world of Goru-Prime, but have since been imported to other Imperial Desert Worlds such as Tallarn. They also utilise armoured regiments, all of which focus on some particular element of the favoured strategies of the Tallarn; stealth, swiftness, and the killing blow. Many Tallarn forces have also come to appreciate the utility of the Sentinel walker due to its effectiveness as a means of crossing even rough terrain swiftly without sacrificing firepower.
Tallarn Squad Composition
The basic Tallarn Desert Raiders tactical unit is the ten-man infantry squad. Squads are led by a Tallarn Sergeant, and usually one Tallarn Guardsman is equipped with a Plasma Gun. Two Tallarn Guardsmen can form a Heavy Weapons Team armed with a Missile Launcher.
- Tallarn Captain and Lieutenant - To command a company or platoon of Tallarn Desert Raiders requires grit, determination, and expertise. To command the respect of the men of Tallarn, an officer must be an expert rider, a consummate swordsman, a skilled marksman, and a fearless warrior. Almost without exception, Tallarn regimental officers are fully prepared, even eager, to confront danger alongside their men, whether this means charging headlong into battle, or infiltrating deep behind enemy lines. The equipment used by these Tallarn officers reflects the skill of Tallarn's artisans, from elaborately carved breastplates to gold-inlaid sword blades and decorative silken capes.
- Tallarn Sergeant - The Tallarn Desert Raiders often undertake daring hit-and-run missions, requiring them to operate behind enemy lines or otherwise far from any external support. For this reason, the Tallarn Sergeants who command Tallarn squads are known for being particularly decisive and adept at operating independently of higher command. While this trait is valued by most Tallarn commanders, it has sometimes caused friction between Tallarn squads and Imperial Guard forces from other regiments.
- Tallarn Guardsman - The Tallarn Desert Raiders are as known for their successful use of guerrilla tactics as for their capacity to operate effectively in the most inhospitable environments imaginable. Matching the ambushes and surprise assaults of enemy forces with hit-and-run attacks of their own, the Tallarn prove themselves invaluable to the Imperial war effort. The Tallarn favour close engagements, especially when operating in poor visibility on a planet's surface or shifting subterranean tunnels.
- Tallarn Rough Rider - The Tallarn regiments are famed for their Rough Riders, and rightfully so. The hit-and-run tactics employed by the Tallarn Desert Raiders are perfectly suited to the use of living mounts. Living steeds are often much more difficult for enemies to detect from afar than vehicles, allowing the Raiders to close on their enemies without being detected, leaving the foe dumbfounded and flat-footed. As is the case with the Rough Riders of other regiments, the Tallarn wield fierce hunting lances: long polearms tipped with explosive charges effective against even the toughest targets. Although the explosive tip is only good for a single attack, the Rough Riders' charge is often enough to break the enemy line. Most Tallarn Desert Raiders prefer to ride the alien beasts of burden known as Mukaali, whenever possible. These huge beasts, while not native to Tallarn, are perfectly adapted to the arid environments of other worlds.
See Also: Imperial Guard Brawler
Regimental Combat Doctrine
Owing to the subterranean tunnels they grow up in, and the barren deserts of their homeworld's surface, the Tallarn people are skilled in fighting across open ground and in narrow tunnels alike. Tallarn regiments still favour the hit-and-run tactics mastered by their ancestors during the Horus Heresy, moving swiftly and striking with surprise and precision before retreating to regroup and stage the next attack. The various types of units that make up the Tallarn regiments all focus on the particular elements of their favoured strategies, with the infantry skilled in ambush, the armoured regiments capable of rapid, mobile strikes, and the Rough Riders being masters of reconnaissance and lightning raids upon supply lines and rear echelon areas. Tallarn forces are often somewhat willful and independent, their traditional skills ill-suited to standing in static battle lines or holding fortifications, when they could instead be creeping up upon an enemy and executing them with the edge of a knife or a carefully-placed sniper shot. As a result, they are often employed as vanguard and reconnaissance forces, or as the spearhead of a concerted attack, where their speed and stealth are of the greatest use.
Tallarns tend to be slow to put their faith in anyone other than themselves and their comrades, and they chafe at the expectations and strictures of more civilised Imperial society. While Tallarns have learned to speak Low Gothic, they generally do not have time in their violent lives to learn how to read or write the universal language of the Imperium.
In the wake of the mass devastation of their homeworld's environment, the Tallarn have been forced to adapt to their harsh environment by making exclusive use of main battle tanks and armoured personnel carriers in order to transport their infantry troops across the arid and barren landscape of their Desert World. The Tallarn Desert Raiders are also noted marksmen, employing a unique design of the M36 Pattern Lasgun wholly indigenous to their forces. This desert-adapted weapon has a longer barrel and a mechanism that is more fluid to operate than the standard-issue patterns of the M36 Lasgun normally employed by the Imperial Guard. Due to their preference for hit-and-run warfare, the Tallarn also favour the use of the Plasma Gun and the standard pattern Missile Launcher amongst their infantry units. These special weapons are easily transported and are favoured for their ability to cause severe damage to the enemy despite their simplicity of use and lack of bulk. The following is a list of contents of the standard regimental kit favoured by the Tallarn Desert Raiders:
- M36 Pattern Lasgun - The Lasgun can be produced in a multitude of different styles and patterns and can be found on almost every world of the Imperium. The M36 Pattern is one of the most ubiquitous variants of the Lasgun in use by the Imperial Guard across the galaxy. The Tallarn Desert Raiders make use of a special variant of the M36 Pattern Lasgun unique to their regiments that is specially adapted to desert conditions with a longer barrel to enhance its accuracy and a more fluid operational design intended to prevent sand and grit from interfering with the weapon's delicate mechanisms.
- 4 Charge Packs - Charge Packs are powerful capacitor batteries used almost exclusively by laser weapons to power each shot. A Charge Pack's design and power varies depending on the class of the weapon it is used in. In all cases, it provides shots equal to the weapon's full clip value before it needs to be recharged.
- Mono-Knife - The Mono-Knife is a one-handed melee implement that is one variant of the ubiquitous back-up melee 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-Knife utilised by the Tallarn Desert Raiders is a specially fashioned Combat Knife with a superfine blade only a single molecule thick along the edge that can easily cut through combat armour and never dull. These knives are carried by all members of the Tallarn Desert Raiders for use as both a bayonet and a field tool. These distinctive curved knives, known on Tallarn as the Khalig, come in many shapes and sizes and are preferred by natives of Tallarn over standard-issue pattern Combat Knives or bayonets. For most Tallarn Guardsmen it is their only close combat weapon. Some particularly fine examples are cast with a lion's-head pommel and ornate scabbard. Many of these prized knives are uniquely manufactured and awarded to Tallarn officers and Guardsmen in recognition of a battlefield victory or a heroic action. The size of a Khalig can vary from that of a small belt knife to those the size of a true sword. Tallarn-made Power Swords and Chainswords also mimic the distinctive curved shape of the Khalig which is a distinctive cultural artefact of the Tallarn people.
- 2 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.
- 3 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.
- Tallarn Desert Raider Imperial Guard Uniform - An officer of the Tallarn Desert Raiders wears the general service uniform issued to all of the members of the Imperial Guard regiments raised from Tallarn, regardless of their rank or specific military role within the force. The Tallarn desert smock is a piece of utility clothing made of very hard-wearing natural materials. The desert smock usually hangs to just above the knee in length and often has voluminous sleeves. Some veteran Tallarn armour commanders like the one pictured to the right modify this smock by narrowing the sleeves, because unwieldy pieces of cloth are not practical when working within the narrow confines of an armoured vehicle. The desert smock traditionally has no pockets, and so all items must be carried in the webbing pouches, backpacks or sling-bags issued to all ranks in the regiment. Smocks are manufactured in a wide variety of colours, including desert camouflage patterns. Most are a brown or sandy yellow colour, although there is little standardisation even within the same regiment or company. Some may be brown whilst others are camouflaged.
- Shemagh - The traditional headscarf worn by the people of Tallarn, called the Shemagh in the local Tallarn dialect of Low Gothic, is the distinctive garment of the Tallarn people. They are worn by everyone from that world as a matter of social custom. The Shemagh acts as protection against the worst effects of the twin suns' rays, and in the hottest conditions is sometimes worn after being soaked in water, to help reduce body temperature and prevent sunstroke. The scarf also doubles as a dust mask, wrapped across the face to prevent inhaling dust and sand. Combined with goggles, this provides good protection against the worst effects of sandstorms. Other standard-issue clothing includes a linen undershirt, combat trousers, heavy-weight marching boots and leg bindings. Tallarn Imperial Guardsmen will scavenge replacement equipment when necessary, and on campaign their uniforms often show minor variations.
- Flak Vest & Flak Helmet - Most Tallarn troops are issued No. 38 Mark III plasteel shoulder plates. The right shoulder badge bears the winged skull symbol known as the Imperialis, showing that the regiment is a fully inducted member of the Imperial Guard. The shoulder plates attach via small buckles to the webbing. A front and rear plasteel chest and back plate can also be attached to complete what is actually a suit of Flak Armour. These solid blocks of plasteel are regarded as too heavy and hot to be worn effectively by most men in a Tallarn regiment and are in fact rarely used in actual combat. The protective shoulder plates are often discarded by Tallarn tank crews who find them encumbering within the confines of an armoured vehicle, and who feel they have little need for personal protection since they are already confined within their vehicle's armoured shell.
- Webbing - A Tallarn soldier's webbing and belts are made of leather and are used to hang general equipment, pouches, water canteens, scabbards and holsters. A typical Tallarn tank crewman has little need of extra carrying pouches, as his personal kit will be stowed within his vehicle. The triple pouch cross-belt contains replacement power cells for a standard issue Laspistol. This sidearm is not visible in the picture to the right, as tank officers usually store their sidearms in their tanks.
- Micro-Bead - A micro-bead or comm-bead is a short-range radio wave communication device worn in the ear, good for communications out to about one kilometre (depending on weather conditions and the intervening terrain). Each fits discreetly in the ear, with higher craftsmanship models being nearly undetectable in casual inspection.
- Magnoculars - Magnoculars are powerful vision aids that magnify distant objects. More advanced, high-quality magnoculars can also do such things as give range read-outs, detect heat sources, calculate target location positioning, and take pict-captures of a view for later analysis.
- Poor Weather Gear
- Basic Toolkit
- Mess Kit
- Water Canteen - The standard issue canteen is vital in arid climates.
- 4 week's Rations
- 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.
- Wind Goggles - A Tallarn officer like Captain Suhara depicted above carries equipment which has much in common with all Tallarn-based Imperial Guardsmen, regardless of rank. The goggles carried by Tallarn Guardsmen are of tinted plexiglass and leather construction and are standard issue to all Desert Raiders, regardless of rank. They provide protection against wind-blown sand and dust, most toxic gases and the dazzling effects of strong sunlight. They are not photo-chromatic, and offer only minimal protection against sudden flashes such as Photon Grenade explosions.
Badges and Insignia
A Desert Raiders' officer like that depicted above bears the cloth badges of his regiment on his upper left arm. "Tallarn 17" is a common shoulder strip sewn onto all the men's smocks in the 17th Tallarn Desert Raiders Regiment, though it would bear the designation of any of the other Tallarn Regiments. Underneath this is the regimental arm patch, in this case a red lion rampant on a white background. This patch is issued to all men in the Tallarn Regiments once their training is complete and they become full members of their regiment, in this case the 17th Tallarn Desert Raiders, the "Desert Lions." Given the badge's size and colour many choose not to sew it onto their smock to aid camouflage, and simply keep the badge amongst their personal kit instead. Imperial Guardsmen are often very superstitious and many men carry personal good-luck totems, blessed by the regiment's Ecclesiarchy Priests, to help protect them from misfortune or injury in battle. These small items vary widely, from the skins of animals native to their homeworld, to pendants or other jewelry, to scrolls bearing passages from the Fede Imperialis. This officer wears the Imperial Aquila badge on the right sleeve, pledging his allegiance to the Emperor of Mankind, in the belief that the Emperor will protect him in battle.
On his left breast a highly-decorated officer of the Tallarn Desert Raiders displays his medals. On the above example is the Honorifica Imperialis Armorum, commonly referred to as the "Tank Battle Badge." It is awarded for outstanding gallantry in the face of the enemy whilst serving as part of a crew in an armoured vehicle, and is rarely awarded. The officer also bears the Medallion Crimson for being wounded in the line of duty. Within the 17th Tallarn Desert Raiders Regiment, it is traditional that any member of the regiment who has served for over five years is awarded a silk sash, regardless of rank. Worn around the waist, under the belt, it is the mark of a Veteran campaigner. Men who wear the sash are viewed as senior to men of the same rank who do not bear it. The sash is usually made of the best quality material available and can be in any colour, depending on the availability of cloth.
Notable Tallarn Regiments
Notable Infantry Regiments
- Tallarn Desert Raiders 3rd Regiment, the "Desert Tigers" - Fought throughout the Macharian Crusade (392-399.M41) alongside the 4th and 5th Tallarn Regiments. Subsequently it was all but destroyed fighting under the command of the Imperial Warmaster Solon. On the planet of Kallastin the regiment took part in a hard but successful war against mutant human rebels, receiving a commendation from the Inquisition.
- Tallarn Desert Raiders 4th Regiment - Fought throughout the Macharian Crusade alongside the Tallarn 3rd and 5th Regiments.
- Tallarn Desert Raiders 5th Regiment - Fought throughout the Macharian Crusade alongside the Tallarn 3rd and 4th Regiments.
- Tallarn Desert Raiders 11th Regiment, the "Dune Scorpions" - The Tallarn 11th, together with the Tallarn 220th Armoured and the Tallarn 31st Rough Riders, were dispatched to the Calixis Sector alongside many other Tallarn regiments, only months after the first call for reinforcements on the Spinward Front. However, due to the vagaries of Warp travel, these three regiments have only arrived in the last few months, their transit delayed by disruptive Warp activity that saw them separated from their transport group and delayed by several standard years. Believed lost to the Warp, when the three Tallarn regiments emerged at the edge of the Kalf System, there was more than a little astonishment, particularly as the Tallarn themselves had experienced a journey only eight days longer than expected. With reinforcements desperately needed, these regiments were immediately deployed to the front lines, and the 11th Desert Raiders, known colloquially as the "Dune Scorpions," have since found themselves in a series of warzones, most recently serving as part of the infiltration mission deployed to Maesa. Particularly known for their proficiency with ambush tactics, the Dune Scorpions have claimed as many kills with their razor-sharp curved daggers as with precise shots from their Lasrifles, seldom allowing their foes to see who is attacking them. Their commander, Colonel Fiora Javed, is a calm and careful woman, unwilling to act rashly or strike without considering the terrain, the enemy, and a variety of other factors. Her caution is not due to fear, as her men are quick to point out to anyone who dares imply cowardice, but the result of a keen tactical mind, unclouded by vainglory or hubris, and their victories are a testament to the value of such an approach.
- Tallarn Desert Raiders 12th Regiment - Fought in the Cursus War on Tallarn in the 40th Millennium. When the Tallarn uncovered a mysterious Chaotic artefact during the construction of an arterial tunnel on their homeworld, they unearthed the Cursus of Alganar, a legendary mythical Gateway of the Gods that actually served as a potent Warp Gate into the Immaterium and the Realm of Chaos. This discovery forced the Eldar to act, and they attacked the Tallarn in full force. Before the Cursus could be sealed, the gateway opened and the Cursus poured the indescribable minions of Chaos from its Warp portal. The human commander called a truce and worked in concert with the Eldar forces to turn back and defeat the gibbering horde of daemons. The Eldar departed in peace, and the people of both races exchanged promises of friendship, a true rarity in normal interactions between Mankind and other races.
- Tallarn Desert Raiders 16th Regiment - Fought the Eldar on the Desert World of Holon Prime (762-765.M35). Having great difficulty dealing with the speed and flexibility of the Eldar forces, a Tallarn commander devised an ingenious idea to overcome this disadvantage. He ordered his regiment's Chimeras to have their armour stripped down, giving his Desert Raiders a highly mobile transport to carry them across the vast dunes of Holon Prime. The advent of this newly-designed vehicle was instrumental in the defeat of the Eldar forces. Since this engagement the Tallarn 16th Regiment's First Patrol Company has been known as the 'Gravediggers'.
- Tallarn Desert Raiders 17th Regiment - Fought during the Taros Campaign (998.M41). The Tallarn 17th Regiment had the honour of being the first Imperial troops on the ground, following the destruction of the planet's orbital defence facilities by the Raptors Space Marine Chapter. The regiment was completely destroyed during their retreat from the Tarosian capital city of Tarokeen. Many of the survivors from the regiment had been scattered by the defending Tau forces and were captured. They were condemned to forced labour by working the mines of Taros. The few survivors of the regiment that managed to escape aboard the evacuation ships were eventually reassigned to the Tallarn 331st Regiment. The Taros Campaign ultimately ended in failure for the Imperium and a great victory for the Tau Empire.
- Tallarn Desert Raiders 35th Regiment - The Tallarn 35th is a veteran unit that is part of a reconnaissance regiment assigned to the world of Hervara, located in the Spinward Front, the Imperial warzone centered in the sub-sector of the Calixis Sector known as the Periphery. At the time of their deployment, they were initially well supported by a company of Sentinels and a full company of Rough Riders mounted upon Mukaali. After a year of deployment without support, the mounts for these forces -- both reptilian and mechanical -- have suffered serious losses. In spite of this, the Desert Raiders have shown no tendency to restrict their activities. Of the three Imperial Guard regiments on Hervara, they have had the greatest success against the natives, while also suffering the most severe losses.
- Tallarn Desert Raiders 54th Regiment - The Tallarn 54th fought alongside the Steel Confessors Space Marine Chapter. This Chapter is known for being utterly intolerant of physical or mental weaknesses in others. An incident occurred when the Chapter actually destroyed the Tallarn 54th, for its “failure to achieve objectives.”
- Tallarn Desert Raiders 82nd Regiment - The Tallarn 82nd Regiment lost about half their number when they engaged a force of Orks. The remaining survivors were rolled into the Tallarn 892nd Regiment.
- Tallarn Desert Raiders 89th Regiment - Fought in the Annukani Campaign in the 39th Millennium. Also, one of its infantry companies took part in the Taros Campaign (998.M41). The campaign ended in failure, as the regiment was destroyed by Tau forces during its retreat from Tarokeen alongside other Imperial forces. Those few scattered survivors were captured by the Tau and forced to work the mines they had taken over on Taros. The few survivors that managed to escape aboard the evacuation ships were reassigned to the Tallarn 331st Regiment, a relatively new regiment which also participated in the Taros Campaign, emerging relatively unscathed.
- Tallarn Desert Raiders 95th Regiment - The Tallarn Desert Raiders 95th Regiment was the armoured component of Battlegroup "Desert Fox" that defeated the separatists of the world of Lorthax and was ultimately incorporated as part of the 1st Tallarn Raiding Regiment.
- Tallarn Desert Raiders 96th Regiment - The Tallarn 96th Regiment fought during an Imperial campaign on the Forge World of Demaris Tertiary, assisting Imperial forces against a massive Ork WAAAGH!
- Tallarn Desert Raiders 331st Regiment - Fought in the Taros Campaign in 998.M41. This newly formed regiment managed to emerge relatively unscathed from the failed campaign against the Tau. After the conflict the 331st received survivors from both the Tallarn 17th and 89th Tallarn Regiments as replacements for their losses.
- Tallarn Desert Raiders 441st Regiment - Fought in the Fall of Medusa V Campaign in 999.M41. The 441st Regiment was stationed along the heavily fortified trenchline known as the Mortise Line. Along with the Tallarn 442nd Regiment, the 441st was sent into the desert beyond their line to investigate strange reports of unidentified creatures who turned out to be a WAAAGH! of Orks.
- Tallarn Desert Raiders 442nd Regiment - Fought in the Medusa V Campaign in 999.M41. The 442nd Regiment was station along the heavily fortified trenchline known as the Mortise Line. Along with the Tallarn 441st Regiment, the 442nd was sent into the desert beyond their line to investigate strange reports of unidentified creatures that were falling from the sky in ever increasing numbers, who turned out to be an invading WAAAGH! of Orks.
- Tallarn Desert Raiders 892nd Regiment - The Tallarn 892nd was created from the remnants of two decimated Tallarn units (the 82nd "Shantani of the Dust," and the 351st "Derv'sh Blades of the Imperium").
Notable Armoured Regiments
- Tallarn 3rd Armoured Regiment - The 3rd Armoured fought during the Taros Campaign (998.M41). The 3rd Regiment was effectively destroyed during that action, having lost all of their combat vehicles and much of their equipment during the retreat from the Tarosian capital of Tarokeen. The Tallarn 3rd Armoured Regiment would be reconstituted in the aftermath with the survivors of their regiment and the 12th Tallarn Armoured Regiment. The Taros Campaign ultimately ended in failure for the Imperium.
- Tallarn 9th Heavy Tank Regiment, the "Blue Devils" - The 9th Heavy Tank Regiment is known for using primarily Baneblade super heavy tanks. They paint their vehicles in desert yellow with a sky-blue camouflage. The commanders of this regiment are known for riding in the turret, exposing themselves to obtain a panoramic view of the battlefield, waving their curved chainswords to inspire their men to greater acts of courage.
- Tallarn 12th Armoured Regiment - The 12th Armoured fought during the Taros Campaign (998.M41). The 12th Armoured was effectively destroyed during that action, having lost all of their combat vehicles and much of their equipment during the retreat from the Tarosian capital of Tarokeen. The survivors of the 12th Tallarn Armoured Regiment would be reconstituted into the Tallarn 3rd Armoured Regiment. The Taros Campaign ultimately ended in failure for the Imperium.
- Tallarn 220th Armoured Regiment - The 220th Tallarn Armoured Regiment is one of three Tallarn regiments, along with the 11th Desert Raiders and the Tallarn 31st Rough Riders, sent to reinforce the Spinward Front of the Calixis Sector. Due to the vagaries of the Warp, this regiment only recently arrived at that front after having been considered lost.
- Tallarn 668th Armoured Regiment - The 668th Armoured Regiment was the armoured component of Battlegroup "Desert Fox" that defeated the separatists of the world of Lorthax and was ultimately incorporated as part of the 1st Tallarn Raiding Regiment.
Notable Artillery Regiments
- Tallarn 212th Artillery Regiment - The Tallarn 212th Artillery Regiment was the armoured component of Battlegroup "Desert Fox" that defeated the separatists of the world of Lorthax and was ultimately incorporated as part of the 1st Tallarn Raiding Regiment.
Notable Rough Riders Regiments
- Tallarn 31st Rough Riders - The 31st Tallarn Rough Riders is one of three Tallarn regiments, along with the 11th Desert Raiders and the Tallarn 220th Armoured, sent to reinforce the Spinward Front of the Calixis Sector. Due to the vagaries of the Warp, this regiment only recently arrived at that front after having been considered lost.
Notable Tallarn Battlegroups
- Battlegroup "Desert Fox" - Battlegroup "Desert Fox" was a composite unit based around the infantry of the Tallarn 95th, the tanks of the Tallarn 668th Armoured, and the mobile guns of the Tallarn 212th Artillery. The formation was constituted to wage war in the arid sulphur wastes of Lorthax against a large army of separatists, where it would spearhead Operation UMBRAGE. Due to an administrative error, however, the column was issued without any source of fuel and had no choice but to dismount all of its vehicle crews and start the attack as light infantry. Reverting to the desert fighting traditions of Tallarn, Battlegroup "Desert Fox" infiltrated the enemy lines and launched an entirely unanticipated attack that proved so successful it pushed twelve Terran miles into enemy territory and wiped out the entire separatist high command. Following this great victory, the three regiments were reconstituted as the 1st Tallarn Raiding Regiment, and their vehicles were assigned to other units.
Notable Tallarn Desert Raiders
- Prince Iban (Turk) Salid - Prince Salid was the commanding officer of a battalion of the Tallarn 892nd Regiment, and the former commanding officer of the Tallarn 82nd Regiment.
- General Barim-Abas - Current regimental commander of the 17th Tallarn Regiment, General Barim-Abas deployed as a part of the 4621st Imperial Guard Army, fighting alongside elements of the Adeptus Astartes to reclaim the Imperial desert Mining World of Taros during the Taros Campaign from the encroaching Tau Empire and its Kroot and human (Gue'vesa) allies of the Taros Planetary Defence Force in 998.M41.
- General Hasso Ras-Aziz - Current regimental commander of the Tallarn 3rd Armoured Regiment, General Ras-Aziz deployed as a part of the 4621st Imperial Guard Army, fighting alongside elements of the Adeptus Astartes to reclaim the Imperial desert Mining World of Taros during the Taros Campaign from the encroaching Tau Empire and its Kroot and human (Gue'vesa) allies of the Taros Planetary Defence Force in 998.M41. General Ras-Aziz was the senior commander of the Tallarn regiments deployed on Taros.
- Colonel Ahsa-Bilad - Ahsa-Bilad is the current regimental commander of the Tallarn 12th Armoured Regiment. His regiment was deployed as a part of the 4621st Imperial Guard Army, fighting alongside elements of the Adeptus Astartes to reclaim the Imperial desert Mining World of Taros during the Taros Campaign from the encroaching Tau Empire and its Kroot and human (Gue'vesa) allies of the Taros Planetary Defence Force in 998.M41.
- Colonel Izraell Honor Castillian - Colonel Castillian is the current commanding officer of the 96th Tallan Desert Raiders. During the Imperial campaign on the Forge World of Demaris Tertiary, he was taken prisoner by one of Warboss Gorgutz's Nobz, Skyva. As he was being dragged away into a cage, Castillian managed to grab a dropped Plasma Pistol and fire it, killing two Ork Nobz. Unfortunately, the weapon shorted out before he could utilise it against Skyva. Eventually, Castillian escaped captivity after playing an instrumental role in destroying the Greenskin forces on Demaris Tertiary.
- Colonel Nisri Dakar - Dakar was the commanding officer of the Tallarn 829nd Regiment and the former commanding officer of the Tallarn 351st Regiment.
- Colonel Fiora Javed - Colonel Javed is the current commanding officer of the 11th Tallarn Desert Raiders, the "Desert Scorpions." A calm and careful woman, she is unwilling to act rashly or strike without considering the terrain, the enemy, and a variety of other factors. Her caution is not due to fear, as her men are quick to point out to anyone who dares imply cowardice, but the result of a keen tactical mind, unclouded by vainglory or hubris, and their regiment's victories are a testament to the value of such an approach.
- Major Laurein Al-Fastra - Major Al-Fastra commands the 35th Tallarn Desert Raiders, a veteran unit that is part of a reconnaissance regiment assigned to the world of Hervara, located in the Spinward Front, the Imperial warzone centered in the sub-sector of the Calixis Sector known as the Periphery. At the time of their deployment against the Orks and Secessionists present on that planet, they were initially well supported by a company of Sentinels and a full company of Rough Riders mounted upon Mukaali. After a year of deployment without support, the mounts for these forces -- both reptilian and mechanical -- have suffered serious losses. In spite of this, the Al-Fastra and the Desert Raiders have shown no tendency to restrict their activities. Of the three Imperial Guard regiments on Hervara, they have had the greatest success against the natives, while also suffering the most severe losses.
- Captain Al'rahem - Al'rahem is a famous Captain who serves with the Tallarn 3rd Regiment, the "Desert Tigers." This esteemed regiment has a long and honoured history amongst the annals of the Tallarn Desert Raiders. Captain Al'rahem has a natural affinity for tactical command, never faltering in the heat of combat. His calm demeanor and use of initiative is the envy of many an aspiring general. Stalking his prey from afar before awaiting the most opportune moment to strike, Al'rahem leads his warriors in well-planned attacks.
The Tallarn Desert Raiders are loosely based on the mujahedeen ("strugglers" or "people doing jihad"), a term first used by the West to describe the mountainous sect of hillmen in Afghanistan who fought against British control, known to the British as "Sitana Fanatics." The Afghan mujahedeen are arguably the best-known mujahedeen outside the Islamic world. Various loosely-aligned Afghan opposition groups initially rebelled against the government of the pro-Soviet Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA) following the Soviet Union's invasion of that nation in 1979 and came to call themselves the mujahedeen after the former Afghan resistance to the British occupation. These mujahedeen forces caused serious casualties to the Soviet forces, and made the Afghan-Soviet War very costly for the Soviet Union with assistance from the United States, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. In 1989, the Soviet Union withdrew its forces from Afghanistan largely as a result of the mujahedeen's highly effective guerrilla campaign. Other possible inspirations for the Tallarn Desert Raiders were most likely the armies of the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire during World War I, as seen in the movie "Lawrence of Arabia", and the Fremen of Arakis, from Frank Herbert's novel "Dune". In addition, their specialisation in mounted and mechanised warfare in the desert bears a resemblance to the Jordanian Army's predecessor, the Arab Legion, led by Lieutenant-General Sir John Bagot Glubb, from World War II. Like the Tallarn, a large segment of their forces consisted of mechanised and mounted soldiers with emphasis on mobility.
- Codex: Astra Militarum (8th Edition), pg. 25
- Codex: Astra Militarum (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), "Regiments of Distinction - Tallarn Desert Raiders"
- Codex: Imperial Guard (5th Edition), pg. 17
- Codex: Imperial Guard (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex), pp. 22, 25, 30, 46, 58
- Codex: Imperial Guard (3rd Edition, 1st Codex), pg. 19
- Codex: Imperial Guard (2nd Edition), pp. 15-16, 37
- Desert Raiders (Novel) by Lucien Soulban, pp.14, 15, 16, 18
- Imperial Armour: Volume One - Imperial Guard & Imperial Navy, pp. 34, 39, 58, 76, 85, 109, 115
- Imperial Armour: Volume Three - Taros Campaign, pg. 38-39, 45, 55-60, 64, 66-71, 86-91, 120, 128-129, 140, 142, 146, 148-149, 223-224, 228-229, 232, 256-263, 280, 298, 303, 307
- Medusa V World Wide Campaign
- Only War: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 54-55
- Only War: Final Testament (RPG), pp. 11, 14-15, 50, 58, 62, 75, 101, 104, 121, 130-132
- Only War: Hammer of the Emperor (RPG), pg. 54
- White Dwarf 227 (UK), "Chapter Approved Imperial Guard, Special Characters - Al'Rahem of Tallarn: Captain," pp. 73-80
- White Dwarf 195 (UK), "That's an Order!: Imperial Guard - Captain Al'rahem of Tallarn," pp. 77-79
- White Dwarf 185 (UK), "Tallarn Desert Raiders: Imperial Guard," pp. 41-44
- Blood and Thunder (Graphic Novel) by Dan Abnett
- Desert Raiders (Novel) by Lucien Soulban, pp. 14-16, 18
- The Traitor's Hand (Novel) by Sandy Mitchell
- Games Workshop Catalogue - Tallarn Desert Raiders