The Vraksian Traitor Militia, also referred to as the Vraksian Renegade Militia, is the catch-all term applied to the Renegade military forces of the Apostate Cardinal-Astra Xaphan during the Siege of Vraks.
Xaphan seized control of the Departmento Munitorum Armoury World of Vraks Prime in the Scarus Sector of the Segmentum Obscurus in 809.M41 and ultimately forced the Imperium to fight the grueling 17-year-long Siege of Vraks (813-830.M41) to dislodge him and end his threat to the Emperor's realm.
The Vraksian Traitor Militia was a formidable force, primarily due to its sheer size. Although no exact figures remain available, it was believed that the population of Vraks Prime was some 8,000,000 people and all of them now had to be considered Traitors and manpower for the Apostate Cardinal's army. Quality varied greatly in the militia, from well-trained and well-equipped troops who possessed fanatical morale to an undisciplined mob of half-trained conscripts.
The best Vraksian troops were the Disciples of Xaphan. This elite cadre of troops were the Cardinal's own men, hand-picked by his Ecclesiarchal representatives for their loyalty to him and many had prior military experience. All had sworn oaths of service to the Cardinal himself and in return they had the pick of Vraks Prime's plunder. The Imperium had no idea how many Disciples Xaphan had, but they would form the disciplined core of his Traitor Militia.
After the Disciples of Xaphan in quality, there was the original Vraksian planetary garrison's auxilia. Due to its strategic importance, Vraks Prime had been guarded by a large force of garrison auxilia. These troops were equivalent in quality to a well-trained Planetary Defence Force (PDF), the Imperium's standard reserve forces for the regiments of the Astra Militarum.
These auxilia did not have the training or equipment of regular Imperial Guardsmen, but access to the Departmento Munitorum stores on Vraks rectified any equipment deficiencies and provided vast numbers of heavy vehicles such as Leman Russ main battle tanks, Chimeras and Basilisks. The auxilia's fighting strength had been built around a backbone of veteran Imperial Guardsmen and officers drawn from disbanded regiments. Though now well-equipped, the Imperium believed it unlikely the garrison forces could do more than man a static defensive line.
The Traitor Militia's next group of troops were drawn from the Vraksian labour corps. The Departmento Munitorum maintained a labour corps on Vraks Prime that was large and included many Ogryns. The labour corps was made up of indentured workers who did routine labour like constructing and repairing roads, pouring the ferrocrete for new bunkers, digging out new underground storehouses and transporting goods and equipment to and from the planet's only starport. Most were downtrodden souls with little left to hope for in life other than endless toil and sweat. As such, many had willingly joined the Apostate Cardinal's rebellion and saw fighting for him as a way to escape their miserable lives.
A general dislike for the Departmento's then-Master-Prefect on Vraks had also spurred on their support for the rebellion. Many of the labourers had already received some basic military training as the labour corps had also supplied many troops for the Vraksian militia. Although only poorly trained, Vraks' militia was a truly massive force. One in four labourers either volunteered or were conscripted into the militia. Lacking any sort of heavy weapons, artillery or vehicles, they were a third line force, but their lack of equipment could be easily rectified and once armed from the planet's considerable stores of materiel, with some additional training, they would be capable enough of joining with the auxilia to hold static defensive positions.
The fourth source of manpower for the Vraksian Traitor Militia were the itinerant pilgrims and the Departmento Munitorum's own workforce of administrators and bureaucrats. These were men with no military experience, but once armed they could hold a defensive position. Whilst many of the pilgrims on Vraks saw the Cardinal as their messiah, most had no idea who or even why they were fighting.
Many volunteered for the Vraksian Frateris Militia raised by the Cardinal in the belief that they would be defending the holy Shrine of Saint Leonis the Blind against heretical forces. They had been told that the enemy were the true heretical Renegades and that they must join the Vraksian Militia or see the holy place defiled. These troops were given the lowest priority in weapons and equipment drawn from the Vraksian stores.
To back up these Traitor forces, Xaphan had his own men, former Ecclesiarchy agents and preachers who moved through the ranks tracking the Apostate Cardinal's heretical religious gospel and reinforcing the militia's loyalty. Individuals from the PDF garrison auxilia, many former Imperial Guard sergeants, had been promoted to become the Vraksian Militia's Enforcers. These were the men who would enforce discipline and loyalty much like the Astra Militarum's own Commissars. In combat the Enforcers would stay behind the front lines and shoot any man who fled his post.
Added to the Traitors' ranks were the dangerously insane and psychopathic, as well as those individuals who had shown signs of developing psychic abilities. Unprotected psykers were always easy prey for Warp entities and there were several hundred such men and women in Vraks Prime's deepest underground dungeons waiting for transportation to Terra on the next Black Ship to arrive. The Cardinal believed these rogue psykers to be his own children, and claimed that they relayed messages to him from the Ruinous Powers.
The Vraksian Traitor Militia had a structure similar to that of most Astra Militarum armies throughout the Imperium. Manning the forward trenches were countless disorganised platoons of militiamen, armed with heavy weaponry at key points in the defensive lines. Supporting them were artillery in the form of Basilisk batteries, Bombards, Manticores, Medusa, and Griffon mortars.
Having access to the vast Astra Militarum stores maintained on the Armoury World of Vraks, the Traitor Militia had access to a plethora of weapons and armoured vehicles. Mothballed tanks and endless underground supply depots left the Vraksians in a very good position to fight the impending war. The average Vraksian militiaman was not especially well armed, relying on the less popular Autogun in many cases, instead of the standard Lasgun of active Imperial Guard regiments.
In addition to an Autogun or Autopistol, many militiamen were armed with crude melee weapons fashioned by sharpening tools from scrap metal. Some labour corpsmen relied on mining picks and rock drills for close quarters combat, the sort frequently experienced during the trench warfare common during the siege. These same militia generally had to fashion their own armour, crude and cumbersome as it was.
Despite the inferior materials and decrease in the efficiency of the force that resulted, this makeshift armour offered protection on par with the Flak Armour issued to many Imperial troopers across the sector. More well equipped militia had access to every weapon an Imperial soldier might have, from plasma weapons, mortars, demolition charges, and the Flamers commonly used to storm trenches during a counterattack.
The Cardinal's Champions and the Disciples of Xaphan had access to many of the more exotic items, including Plasma Pistols, sniper weapons, Power Weapons, and Power Fists as well. One universal item carried by each Renegade was a rebreather, whether unsophisticated or complex. In the harsh, sulfurous atmosphere of Vraks Prime, those without breathing equipment were guaranteed to suffer a lingering death.
Supporting the eight million or so soldiers in the Vraksian militia, rows upon rows of artillery batteries had been meticulously placed to rain death on any advancing force. A common armoured unit used to defend the siege included the Leman Russ Tank, generally deployed to repel infantry assaults against the Vraksian defensive lines. Another preferred choice among many Traitor Militia commanders was the Malcador Assault Tank, used to spearhead many assaults into No Man's Land. Although of a more antiquated design, these sizeable war machines were more than able of raking infantry formations, disabling enemy armour, and laying down a curtain of explosive fire upon the Imperial attackers.
Traitor Forces of Vraks Order of Battle
Vraksian Traitor Militia
- Disciples of Xaphan (estimated at 50,000 troops)
- Garrison Auxilia (estimated at 10,000 troops)
- Labour Corps (formerly of the Departmento Munitorum, estimated at 1.5 million)
- Planetary Defence Forces (estimated at 500,000 troops)
- Militia (estimated at 1.5 million troops)
- Frateris Militia (former Pilgrims) (estimated at 250,000 troops)
- Other Vraksian Renegades (estimated at 1 million irregular troops)
Chaos Space Marines (11 Traitor Legion Warbands)
- World Eaters Warbands
- Death Guard Warbands
- Iron Warriors warbands
- Alpha Legion Warband
- The Faithless (Warband of Arkos the Faithless)
- Black Legion Warband
- Non-Aligned Warband
Other Renegade Forces
- Other Heretical Forces (Estimated at 500,000 troops)
- Traitor Fleet Assets
- Imperial Armour Volume 5 - The Siege of Vraks - Part One
- Imperial Armour Volume 6 - The Siege of Vraks - Part Two, pg. 26