A Veteran is a trooper of the Astra Militarum who has survived multiple battles and has become a skilled and efficient warrior for the Emperor of Mankind. Veterans are sometimes assembled into what is known as a Veteran Squad to be placed within less experienced platoons or companies. Imperial Guard regiments are often called upon to fight gruelling wars of attrition lasting standard years or even solar decades.
As time passes, each company will shrink in size as casualties take their inevitable toll. Those that survive are the hardiest troopers in the Astra Militarum. Their battlefield training has been honed in the fires of war, forging them into warriors who have learnt how to fight and kill with lethal efficiency. Veterans are the battle-hardened elites of the Astra Militarum, the first squad in an assault and the last in a retreat.
Astra Militarum Veterans are natural born survivors. They have escaped ambushes, negotiated mine fields, fought a myriad of foes and lived to tell the tale. Their continued existence, despite the dangers they face, is testament to both their skill at war and their natural survival instinct. In extremely rare cases an entire company may endure the grim wars of a campaign and emerge largely unscathed, their practised skill, peerless cunning and supernatural luck allowing them to avoid heavy casualties. Legendary reputations follow such companies of Veterans, and each new engagement brings them greater renown amongst the rank-and-file troopers. But in the vast majority of cases, only a single squad of combat-hardened Veterans will survive the slaughter of their company. Such squads are attached to larger regiments where it is hoped they will assimilate quickly and their skills may rub off onto less-experienced shoulders. These Veterans may not be from the same regiment or even the same homeworld, and so may introduce brand new combat-tactics and an entirely different war-ethic to their foster regiment.
Although Veteran Squads technically remain part of the same rigid command structure, these grizzled survivors function best when allowed a certain amount of free rein. They provide valuable battlefield experience and may employ unconventional but effective tactics that are not taught by the Tactica Imperium.
Veterans excel in all aspects of warfare, from close-range firefights to heavy demolitions work. Veterans are all inevitably deadeye shots and such warriors are usually kept together to bolster the line, their superior marksmanship making the difference between defeat and victory.
Many Veterans carry weapons and wargear not commonly issued to the massed ranks of the Imperial Guardsmen. An extra plasma blast here or a gout from a Heavy Flamer there can make the difference between life and death. Veteran Squads acquire these non-standard armaments from a variety of sources. Some are "borrowed" from Departmento Munitorum stores, whilst others are battlefield trophies prized out of the cold, dead hands of a fallen enemy. Some squads have in their number a Veteran Heavy Weapons Team. These are the last survivors of Heavy Weapons Squads, who have ample experience in operating their devastating weaponry.
With few exceptions, new recruits are not added to existing regiments. Under-strength formations are instead simply merged together to concentrate the number of Veterans. Where possible, the formations joined are from the same homeworld, as was the case when the Cadian 12th and 78th were merged after the Fall of Ice Hive Magnox.
Sometimes, however, two very different regiments are combined, such as when the Catachan CLXXXII was merged with the Elysian 90th. As this took place on the Departmento Munitorum Armoury World of Prosan, the composite regiment was designated the Prosan 314th. The new regiment became expert in airmobile jungle warfare after being issued Valkyries during the Saikong Justification Wars.
- 1 Veteran Sergeant
- 9 Veteran Guardsmen
- Flak Armour
- Frag Grenades
- Chainsword, Power Sword or Power Fist (Optional melee weapon)
- Bolt Pistol, Bolter or Plasma Pistol (Optional replacement for Laspistol)
- Flak Armour
- Frag Grenades
- Shotgun or Autogun (Optional replacement for any Veteran's Lasgun)
- Vox-caster (Can be taken by 1 Veteran)
- Heavy Flamer (Optional replacement for 1 Veteran's Lasgun)
- Mortar, Autocannon, Heavy Bolter, Missile Launcher, Lascannon (2 Veterans can form a Veteran Heavy Weapons Team by sharing one of these heavy weapons)
- Sniper Rifle, Flamer, Grenade Launcher, Meltagun, or Plasma Gun (3 Veterans can replace their Lasguns with one of these special weapons)
- Codex: Astra Militarum (8th Edition), pp. 41, 97
- Codex: Astra Militarum (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), "Veterans," "Troops - Veterans"