The history of the Aradian Storm Guard begins with the history of Aradia. As far as anyone can tell the world was settled in late M15 but the records are fragmented and incomplete and as such no one is sure of the truth. What the people of Aradia do know is that their early settlements were surrounded by enemies, both hostile wildlife and a long forgotten native Xenos species that they eventually drove into extinction. Upon establishing their first factories they began to church out primitive mechanized battlesuits, later abandoning the project when they were able to produce enough to field armies.
The Imperium later restablished contact sometime in early M31, shortly after the end of the Horus Heresy and ensuing civil war. The first missionaries met with some resistance but in time they accepted the word of the Emperor, but most soliders feel a closer kinship to the Adeptus Machanicus, as their armor contains so many mechanical parts. That has not stopped them from being loyal dedicated soldiers of the Imperium.
Recruitment and Training
There is never a shortage of willing recruits eager to get away from their miserable lives in the heavily polluted cities of Aradia. However not all of them are capable of being soldiers.
The selection process is extensive, roughly 1 in 25 make it through the grueling months of Basic Training(except for the times when conscripts are needed to fill the ranks. In such cases standards are far more lax) During those months they learn how to operate in a team, eating together, sharing quarters and drill sessions. During this time they essentially live in their armor.
Training quality varies somewhat between the various training camps but at the end of it every Aradian Guardsman is ready to fight.
Those who excel are sent on to more advanced training to become Shocktroopers. This is rare though, most riflemen are only sent on to Shocktrooper training after many years of Guard service.
It begins with a mortar(or artillery) barrage to thin the enemy ranks as much as possible before joining in battle. The lancers are sent out to scout the enemy positions and provide foreknowledge to their commanders. If the regiment contains conscripts they become the front line, assigned to do what they can to protect the more valuable riflemen and shock troopers. The Aradian Storm Guard is best described as a meat grinder- a slow advance designed to wear their enemies down with a combination of massed lasgun fire and precision artillery fire. Few enemies especially Chaos cultists, who tend toward crazed human wave attacks, can stand against their patient methodical approach to combat. The cavalry however are considered to be the ultimate expression of an Aradian commander's will, the sledgehammer that shatters an enemy already broken by the Infantry.
Aradian Storm Guard Regiments are operated on a similar fashion to the regulations laid down by the Departmento Munitorum but do differ in certain parts, certain ranks have been renamed(e.g Commandant is equivalent to Colonel) or slightly altered to suit how the Storm Guard fight but their structure and workings would still be recognisable to any other guardsman of another regiment.
- "Miserable lot those footsluggers are, crawling through the mud all day, bathing in their own sweat and eating rations not fit for a dog. No wonder they need us Cavalry to win the battles, though I do admnit they make good cannon fodder"
- —A cavalryman gives his opinion upon veiwing the infantry of the Aradian Storm Guard
The lowest ranking soldiers found in Aradian regiments are conscrips, poorly trained and ill equipped these troops are conscripted into service on worlds that Aradian regiments have recently conquered where they are used to replace any losses that were attained before setting out to attack another world. They are generally only used when the need for troops is high and reinforcments from other regiments is out of the question, they are then given only basic training and sometimes not even a full kit with many conscripts set into battle without flak armour or spare Las Gun charge packs. As conscripts suffer from poor training they are far less effective in carrying out the many formations that most Aradian soldiers have drilled hundreds if not thousands of times, in combat they are known to often break and flee when an enemy force charges them and on some occasions even go rouge. Due to their unreliability and general ineffectivness compared to standard Aradian soliders, conscripts are only used when absolutely neccasarry, different commanders use conscripts in different ways with some using them as cannon fodder and others using them as they would use Riflemen. Conscripts have no set organisation and will sometimes be used in 20 man squads like Riflemen are just put into rough groups of up to several hundred men and sent towards the enemy position.
RiflemenThe rank and file of any Aradian Infantry Regiment are known as Riflemen, these soldiers make up the majority of all guardsmen from Aradia and are the most common appearing on the battlefield. While they can range from fresh recruits to hardened veterans in terms of combat experiance, all Riflemen are disciplined, drilled and highly trained in how they fight, while they are the "grunts" of Aradian Storm Guard regiments they can be an extremely deadly force when in formation and with a good commander. Riflemen are best described as a single gear in a large clockwork machine, on their own they are near useless due to their team orientated weapons and training but when in a good formation led by a competant commander they collectively become a powerful infantry unit capable of taking on many times their number with minimal casualties. Their greatest strength also opens up a major weakness for them though, if an intelligent enemy commander is able to break up Aradian formations or lead them into terrain which disallows the use of such bulk tactics then they will be picked off quite easy due to their slow firing weapons and lesser amount of training in singular combat. Riflemen in battle are typically formed into squads of 20 men including a sergeant, the squad is larger than usual due to Aradian generals beleiving that 20 soldiers is just large enough to form a basic firing line and carry out Aradian formations (on a much smaller scale) while also retaining the mobility of a small unit.
Battle hardened and equipped with some of the best infantry gear Aradia has to offer, Shock Troopers take up the role of heavy assualt infantry in the Storm Guard. The training of Shock Troopers is long and rigorous with many recruits being transferred back to a standard infantry unit for failing and others even being killed on the program, those who do pass are ussually attached to an Infantry regiment however their does exist Heavy Infantry Regiments made entirely of Shock Troopers. As heavy infantry, Shock Troopers go into battle wearing Carpace Armour giving them extra protection at the cost of mobility, they also commonly make use of Assualt Sheilds to give them further protection aswell as Grenade Launchers, Shotlas Rifles, Las Cutters, Mono Sabres and several grenade types such as Smoke, Krak and Frag and Incindiary. Like all Aradian soldiers, Shock Troopers are well trained in unit cohesian, being able to form sheild walls and charge enemy lines without breaking formation.
CommisarsLike most other outfits, all Aradian Regiments will have several Commisars attached to them inorder to encourage the soldiers to fight and die for the Emperor and to dissuade any actions that would go against the former. They are born on Aradia like all other Aradian soldiers and then trained and promoted on the planets own Schola Progenium Institute, they are tasked with upkeeping the morale and putting an end to any infractions within the Regiments of the Aradian Storm Guard. In battle they are ussually armed with a melee weapon such as Power Sabre or chainsword and then a sidearm such as a Las Pistol or Bolt Pistol, they will typically stand at the back of firing lines and be ready to execute any guardsmen who think they would rather run away then fight and possibley die for the God Emperor. While morale infractions in the Aradian Storm Guard are generally low due to their upbrining and lifestyle their are several regiments Commisars are still needed to continue maintaining and make sure the Regiments faith does not falter, and in the heat of battle even the most well trained and well hardened soldier can lose it and run, Commisars are their to encourage them to do otherwise. Their is ussually a a single commisar for every company of troops in a standard Storm Guard Infantry Regiment with higher ranking Commisars being assigned to units of higher repute such as one of the famous Aradian Storm Rider Regiments.
- "Those cavalry lads? Bunch of pompous nancy boys if you ask me, but the way they kiss their ass back home you'd think they were the best soldiers this side of the bloody Imperium. Its we grunts who do the heavy lifting, who defeat the enemy armies and conquer their planets, those wankers are just there to look good."
- —Private James Kenway of the 69th Aradian Infantry Regiment, stating his fairly standard veiw on the Aradian cavalry forces
LancersCommonly seen in the Aradian Storm Rider Regiments, Lancers use speed and power to charge through enemy lines on their famed Aradia pattern Model 56 "Mech Mounts". The only way for a recruit to get into one of the well respected Aradian cavalry is to have ties to noble families on Aradia and have the right recomendation letters from such family members, if the recruit passes the tough training period that ensuses they are put into a cavalry unit or regiment which brings great prestige to themselves and their family, failing ussually means they are bumped down to an Infantry regiment with no secound chances of being re-promoted to their desired outfit. This has caused something of a rivalry between the infantry and cavalry of the Storm Guard, the infantry tend to see the cavalry as a bunch of rich upstarts while the infantry are often veiwed as mere grunts and cannon fodder. Armed with powerful Las Lances, a backup mono sabre and a las pistol these troops are just as useful at intimidating enemies as they are killing them, also given several Incindiary and Krak Grenades for taking out vehicles and heavy infantry. Their lack of long ranged weapons is off put by their speed and ferocity with their horses capable of surviving large amounts of punishment and even fight (to a limited degree) if their rider is killed, their steeds however do require to be powered and can only run for about 3-5 hours depending on how intensely they are being used before their Charge Packs run out and require recharging or replacement. Lancers are also commonly used as scouts for the main force typically without their lances to increase mobility and to free up their hands to use tools such as Binoculors and Vox Casters. In combat Lancers will ussually ride in formations of 50 to even a 1000 men where their allready powerful charging ability is amplified by the amount of them attacking.
DragoonsThe elite of the Aradian cavalry forces and one of the more prestigous ranks a soldier can attain is the Dragoons. After a Lancer has distinguished himself in battle they may be promoted and put into one of the elite Dragoon units, usually assigned to a Storm Rider Regiment and sometimes even Infantry Regiments to provide support. Riding the more advanced Model 69 Mech Mount, designed to be faster and more agile than the Model 56 but is also less sturdy and runs out of power at a quicker rate, ussually lasting 2-4 hours meaning Dragoons will either have to ride back to base for their charge pack to be replaced or continue the fight on foot. Dragoons will typically operate in squads of 25 riders but units of up to 250 have been documented in battle, these units are ussually used in harrassing enemy infantry in quick hit and run attacks where they use their mounts speed and agility to a great extent. Dragoons ride into battle armed with powerful, but slow firing Las Locks, a pair of backup Las Pistols, a Mono Sabre for close combat and several Krak, Incindiary, Smoke and Frag Grenades. Underneith their distinctive red coat Dragoons wear a thin layer of Flak Armour capable of resisting only light shrapnel and melee attacks meaning they must use the speed and agility of their mounts to avoid being shot due to their lack of good armour. This is why they are committed last in most battles.
The Aradian Storm Guard are capable soldiers but also somewhat vain. The extra rivets and plates within their armors are decorative as well as protective. Most armors contain smokestacks, these too are not without purpose. They serve both as a reminder of tradition and general aesthetic as well as the heat sink for a heater built into the armor as the amount of smoke and dust pumped into the atmosphere has slowly altered the climate of Aradia, a once temperate world has been growing colder over the Millenia. The face covering masks serve both as extra protection and as a way to intimidate their enemies who will not see anything but an impenetrable mask of hatred.
The weaponry and equipment used by Aradian Storm Guard soldiers is all constructed in the large factories on their homeworld, Aradia. Their arms are often called to be out dated and even non efficiant by some, but with proper formation and training the Aradian's have turned these often shunned upon weapons into a tool as deadly as any other. Standard equipment varies quite a bit between different regiment types, a standard infantry soldier won't carry the same gear as the a man belonging to one of the prestigous Storm Rider Regiments.
Standard Rifleman Gear
- Aradia Pattern Mk48 Lasgun: The standard issue infantry weapon used by Aradian Regiments, the Aradia Pattern boasts a much higher damage output and range than most other Las Rifle models but also depletes its power pack after 10 shots. The Aradia Pattern also has a much slower rate of fire than usual models, only being able to fire a shot every 5 secounds inorder to avoid overheating. It also has an alternate overcharge firing mode in which the weapon fires a much more powerful shot but will use up the entire chargepack after only a single blast, this alternate mode is used mainly in firing line formations where the long reload is off set by several rows of men firing their weapons into the enemy.
- 10 Lasgun Power Packs: Extremely powerful batteries used to power up Imperial lasguns, in this case the Aradia Pattern Lasgun. A soldier carries 10 of these giving him 100 shots before he runs out of ammunition.
- Combat Knife: One of the most simple tools in the kit of a Storm Guard is his combat knife, this bladed weapon is most commonly used as a field tool and bayonet by Storm Guard infantry and sometimes even as a last resort weapon should a soldier find himself cornered and without his rifle.
- Storm Guard Uniform: Worn underneith the flak armour and when not in battle, the standard Storm Guard uniform is ussually red in colour, it provides no protection apart from resisting the elements and is manufactured in large quantaties on Aradia.
- Aradian Pattern Flak Armour: A common type of armour used by most Imperial Guard regiments with the Aradians being no exception, Aradian Flak Armour differs in its apperance from the standard cadian type flak armour but is still made up of the same layers of absorbent impact resistant material and provides roughly the same level of protection.
- Aradian Pattern Flak Helmet: Designed to protect the cranial area from injury and death from low level projectiles such as shrapnel, the Aradian Pattern Flak Helmet also incorporates a gas mask to protect the soldier from chemical attacks that would otherwise kill the soldier or greatly inhibit his fighting ability.
- 2 Frag Grenades: Simple yet effective anti personnel device that sets off an explosive charge a few secounds after being thrown to kill lightly armoured enemy infantry by either the explosion itself of the shrapnel fragments it sends out after exploding.
- 2 Krak Grenades: Using powerful concentrated explosives, Krak grenades are great for taking down heavy infantry, vehicles and enemy bunkers. They do not have as much of an explosion radius as Frag Grenades however making them far less effective against large amounts of enemy infantry.
- Imperial Infantry's Uplifting Primer: A text given to all Imperial Guard soldiers no matter what regiment or outfit, this book covers topics from how to maintain a las gun to fighting an Ork in hand to hand combat.
- Dog Tags: A simple but effective Identification device worn by all soldiers no matter what rank of the Storm Guard.
- 2 Weeks Rations: Made in the form of a tasteless green biscuit, these rations contain all the nutrience and proteins needed to sustain a human being while also being incredibly cheap to produce.
- Bedroll: A single person "bag" allowing the user to sleep in relative comfort.
- Basic Tookit: A set of rudimentary tools mainly used for taking apart basic objects such as the soldiers Las Gun so that it may be cleaned and repaired.
- Grooming Kit: A simple set of utensils used for maintaining sanitaton and general cleanliness.
- Rechargable Lamp-Kit: A sturdy hand sized illumination device used to light up an area of several metres for about 5 hours before it requires recharging.
- Entrenching Tool: A small fold out shovel and one of the most used items in a Rifleman's inventory. Used to dig trenches and foxholes, this is an invaluable tool during defensive operations where fortifications are a necessity.
- Aradia Pattern Mk23 Las Lance: Used exclusively by Storm Guard Lancers, the Aradia Pattern Las Lance is a unique and effective weapon with melee and ranged capabilities. The 3m length of the Las Lance gives the weilder the advantage of range over oppenents in melee combat and its mono bladed tip is capable of punching through the heaviest of armours, what gives the weapon its name however is its powerful laser projected out the end of the spear at the press of a button on the lances shaft. While capable of killing most lightly armoured enemies in a single shot. The Las Lance is not without cons however, weighing at a hefty 20kg the weapon can often prove to be unweildy and slow when used by a soldier untrained in its usage and its inbuilt lasgun runs out of charge after only a single shot and requires replacement or recharging to fire again.
- Aradia Pattern Mono Sabre: Weilded mainly by Officers, Commisars, Cavalry and other elite ranks of the Storm Guard, the Mono Sabre is a one handed, single edged bladed weapon used primarily for slashing and cutting attacks. Its blade is no thicker then a single molecule making it effective against even heavily armoured enemies but will dull fairly quickly and requires regular sharpening after every battle in which the weapon is used. Due to it being a one handed weapon, the Mono Sabre can be weilded alongside another weapon, ussually some kind of pistol allowing the weilder to attack at both range and melee effectively.
- Aradia Pattern Mk32 Laspistol: Standard issue for Officers, Cavalry, Commisars and even some Infantry unts, the Aradia Pattern Laspistol is much like its rifle counterpart in that it boasts a powerful shot but has a slower rate of fire and runs out of charge quicker. The Aradia Pattern can fire a shot every 5 secounds to prevent overheating and requires recharging after 8 shots, a dial on the side of the weapon shows the weildier how many shots are left until a new chargepack needs to be inserted into the weapon. Like the rifle version it also has an overcharge shot firemode, allowing it to fire a much more powerful blast but will waste the entire charge pack in a single shot.
- Aradia Pattern Mk3 Las Cutter: While its primary usage is to cut through doors and bulkheads, the Las Cutter can be used as a devastating short ranged weapon capable of killing even heavily armoured enemies such as Chaos Space Marines. The Storm Guard make use of the Las Cutter for both its industrial and combat capabilities with Shock Troopers making good use of it for its close quarters effectiveness. It runs on a powerful Powerpack that allows the weapon to run for 30 secounds to a whole minute depending on the setting, while its combat use is limited to point blank, a soldier will be able to use it to kill targets many times his strength and size in only a matter of secounds with the weapon often being nicknamed "The Equalizer".
- Aradia Pattern Mk7 Las Lock: A powerful single shot las weapon of archaic design, Las Lock's are primarly used by Dragoons, Sniper Units and sometimes officers who fancy themselves one of these weapons. These weapons have much more power than standard Aradia Pattern Lasgun, even on its overcharge mode, but deplete their charge pack after only a single shot. They are also quite accurate and when equipped with a scope they become a viable weapon for long range sniping, however it is also known to be a very heavy weapon and in the hands of a soldier untrained in its use it can prove to be unweildy and clumsy, especially in close quarters combat.
- Aradia Pattern Mk9 Gatling Las: A common weapon mounted onto vehicles and used by Storm Guard heavy weapon teams, the Gatling Las boasts a high rate of fire and good damage at the cost of accuracy. As its name suggests, the Gatling Las makes use of 8 barrels that rotate automatically as the weapon is fire, this is what gives the weapon its incredible fire rate but also requires constance maintence lest the rotating mechanisms jam up during battle. The Gatling Las is fed power from a large and heavy Powerpack inserted into the back of the gun, while only a few of these can be carried by the team due to their weight, each one provides 800 shots or 400 if the Gatling Las is fired on its overcharge mode. Like many Aradian weapons and tactics, the Gatling Las proves most useful against "horde" like enemies such as Orks or Tyranids but isn't nearly as effective against more heavily armoured foes such as Chaos Space Marines.
- Aradia Pattern Mk36 Infantry Mortar: A muzzle loaded short ranged artillery peice capable of being carried and fired by a heavy weapons team, the mortar's indirect firing arc make it highly useful for bombarding enemy troops behind cover or destroying fortified positions. The Mk36 is capable of being loaded with several different ammo types from tank destroying Krak shells to deadly poison gas rounds. Mortars form a key component of the Aradian warmachine, being used to cover the main assualt force or to bring down enemy fortifications during seige warfare.
- the Ladyhawkes are something of an experiment, the first all female Storm Guard regiment. Led by Commandant Guinevere O'Toole, they are more than willing to stand and fight and so prove themselves just as valuable as the men of the Storm Guard.
69th- widely considered to be the elite of the Storm Guard, they have a long storied history of victory against impossible odds. Most famously at the Siege of Junal.
Who says a woman's place is in the kitchen? My girls and I, we're fighting to prove them wrong. We're fighting to prove that a warrior's heart beats in every Aradian and that every one of us will hold our ground and never retreat. - Commandant Guinevere O'Toole.
- "Standing in lines, out in the fucken' open? I give these goose-stepping bastards and their metal horses one week. "
- —Pvt. Hish Vandren of the Nemiraian 44th during the Siege of Junal, in which the Aradian Storm Guard's venerable 69th Regiment struck the killing blow against the heretical armies.
- "My opinion? My opinion is that they are imperial guardsmen. More bodies to choke the enemies guns and more artillery to weaken their spirit. I care not what world they call home, only that they serve their purpose."
- —Eulitus Ephrain, Chapter Master of the Wings of Salvaxes
- "Looks good, but plate the stocks with bronze, add some more rivets and see if you can't get it to spit some steam out the side. The Aradians love that shit."
- "Poor bastards, they've got nuthin but their own two feet and miles to go before they reach the enemy. Their commanders really must be sadistic bastards forcing them to slog on like that, despite the fact we've been assigned to assist them."
- —A member of the 91st Ozue Mechanized Infantry Regiment expressing his pity from the interior of a Chimera.
"Those... Metal things are so pointless. They offer the operator no protection. And why do they fight AFTER the operator has died?!"
--Private Brooker of the 1st-and-Last Saurian survivors.