- "What we do is crazy, suicidal, and in some cases downright stupid, but someones gotta do it."
- —Unknown Zephyrus Drop Trooper
Regiments of suicidally brave guardsmen, the Zephyrus Drop Regiments are responsible for securing and holding dangerous objectives that from any other angle would be impossible to approach, let alone attack. Yet, somehow, the Zephyrus Drop Regiments always manage to pull through, no matter the risk, making their name synonymous with dauntless, and in some cases stupid, bravery in the face of danger.
The history of the Zephyrus Drop Regiments span back to the days of the Age of Strife, a fact that the "Flyboys" take no small amount of pride in. During that time Zephyrus was engulfed by a war brought about by the Old Night, although none can recall why exactly the war was started. Due to the fact that Zephyrus' surface was practically uninhabitable due to it's moon's erratic orbit meant that the war was fought for the most within the skies of Zephyrus. Entire fleets of atmospheric fighter planes fought one another in vicious dogfights, while "Drop Troopers" armed and armored with specialized equipment stormed the many hover-cities. Due to the constant demand for specialist arms and ammunition, the Zephyrians created floating war-factories that churned out supplies at a rate that rivals that of Mechanicus manufactorums, and are maintained to this day. As a result, Zephyrus became a largely self-sufficient planet.
Luckily, peace between the warring factions was eventually reached, the old wounds of the war slowly healing. In order to re-invigorate the distraut populace, old war machines and equipment were re-purposed into athletic equipment in order to create aerial competitions, sparking off what would become favored pastimes of the Zephyiran people. Thus, when the Imperium eventually did come across Zephyrus, they found a thriving culture interconnected through friendly competition and a self-reliant economy. Of course, the old sky-faring militaries were still maintained as a peacekeeping force, but upon the Imperium's discovery of their unique style of warfare, the Zephyrus Military would be drafted into the Imperial Army, the beginnings of what would eventually become the Zephyrus Drop Regiments.
The Zephyrus Regiment hails from a Hive-World from the same name, a unique world among the planet's within the Imperium's dominion. Due to it's moon having a erratic, fluctuating orbit around the planet, Zephyrus is constantly wracked with dangerous floods and earthquakes. As a result, the native Zephyrians live in massive floating hive cities, held aloft by massive propellers, enormous gas-filled bags, and in some cases even anti-gravity generators. However, one good thing that came about was the Zephyran's natural love of competition resulted in games of skydiving, gliding, and other aerial sports. Because of this, the Zephyrians are an athletic and energetic people, and the same goes for the Zephyrus Drop Regiment.
The Zephyrus Regiments are mainly characterized by a light-hearted sense of humor and casual attitude underlaid with a strong sense of duty to the Imperium. While many have described them as "carefree", the truth is the Zephyrus Regiments have a long history of being deployed at the brunt of an assault, and thus are generally at peace with the fact that their lifespans are a matter of minutes on the battlefield.
Unfortunately, within the Zephyrus Drop Regiments exist a small minority of drop troopers who live for the adrenaline rush that come's with the drop insertions. Nicknamed "Junkies", these suicidal troopers are generally given a wide berth, although other Troopers will often bet wages on how long a Junky survives the next engagement. Most bets are settled in about a week's time.
The Zephyrus Drop Regiment accepts both men and women into it's ranks, although it should be noted that while the Zephyrians are fun-loving creatures at heart, very rarely do lasting relationships form between troopers, which is seen as all the better for the regiment as a whole.
The organzation of the of Zephyrus Drop Regiments is fairly standard, following the same basic command structure as laid down by the Departmento Munitorium. However, when it comes to unit organzation, the Zephyrus Regiment follows a slight altered structure, as each Platoon is made up of specialized squads, each with a different role:
Making up the brunt of the Zephyrus Drop Regiment's attack force, this ten-man team of Drop Troopers is responsible for securing the drop zone and establishing a beachhead, allowing for the rest of the Drop Troopers to arrive safely. Since this is a high-risk occupation, Insertion Squads are typically armed to the teeth with weaponry, usually "Skinner" Autocarbines and Flashbang Meltas. However, the Insertion Squads are known for their high fatality rates, and thus are nicknamed "the Meatshields" by the rest of the Regiments.
Once the Insertion Squads have secured the Drop Zone, in come the main bulk of the Zephyrus Drop Regiment's forces, the Blitz Squads. Their objectives are simple, Drop into the drop zone, link up with what is left of the Insertion Squad, and move on from the Drop Zone to secure the main objective. Since they are the rank-and-file of the Zephyrus Regiments, the role of Blitz Squad member often always goes to the new recruits, or "Newbies".
When the main objective needs reinforcement, the Support Squads drop in, riding in Drop Sentinels or acompanied by Skydive-Pattern Sentry Turrets or Cyclopses. As the name implies, the Support Squad's main goal is to provide fire support for the Squads currently on the ground. Packing the heavier arnaments, the Support Squads are by far the most tenatious Drop Trooper Squads, as it is their duty to hold the line against the enemy force.
A three-man team deployed in a Recon Tauros, the Recon Squads are responsible for scouting out a drop zone before the battle even begins. Lightly armed, the Recon Squad oftentimes engages the enemy during the battle, providing light support and even serving as a gettaway transport for retreating troops.
Recruitment and Replenishment
As a drop regiment, most of the Zephyrus' weapons and armor are designed to be light and versatile.
Every Drop Trooper of the Zephyrus Drop Regiment is eqquiped with:
- Z-Pattern Lasrifle - A basic weapon of the Zephyrus Drop Regiment, the Z-Pattern Lasrifle is a light, compact weapon designed to fire at an amazing rate, thus allowing for greater penetration power as well as being perfect for close-to-mid range combat. In addition, a Z-Pattern Lasrifle has a deeper clip than most rifles, and thus does not require being reloaded as often.
- Rigger Knife - Named after the blades used on the Hive World of Zephyrus as a utility tool, a Rigger Knife is a mono-molecular knife the length of a child's forearm, used for everything from severing binding to slitting an enemies' throat. No self-respecting Drop Trooper would ever be found without one on his person.
- Z-Pattern Autopistol - The favored sidearm of the Drop Regiment, the Z-Pattern Autopistol is the Drop Trooper's standard backup weapon. This model of Autopistol also comes with a larger clip, allowing for more shots per reload.
- Z-Pattern Flak Armor - Lightweight and flexible, Z-Pattern Flak armor is designed to withstand crippling g-force, and thus is slightly more durable, not to mention more aerodynamic, than standard Imperial Flak Armor. In addition, Z-Pattern Flak Armor is made with various holsters, pockets, and sheaths, allowing a Drop trooper to more easily carry his equipment on his person.
- Grav-Chute - The staple of any Drop Trooper, a Grav-Chute delivers the wearer safely to the ground on a cushion of anti-gravitonic force, as well as having twin promethium-powered jets attached in order to steer the wearer in mid-air. Drop Troopers have also been known to use their Grav-Chutes while on the ground, boosting themelves into the air with the Cute's promethium jets.
- Z-Pattern Flak Helmet - A full-face helmet that while light can withstand the g-force and air pressure of a high-orbit drop. Also equiped with a buit-in rebreather in case of thin air or toxic environments.
- Various Grenades - A Drop Trooper will typically carry on him everything from krak to frag grenades, but might also carry smoke grenades, as to blind and confuse the enemy, or even melta bombs to destroy enemy vehicles and fortifications.
- Dog Tags - Upon recruitment into the Zephyrus Drop Regiment, each recruit is given a set of Dog Tags. This is essential since the hight casualty rate of Zephyrus regiment means that many will die, and thus can be more easily identified after their deaths.
- Zephyrus Pump-Action Shotgun - By far the most relied upon weapon the Zephyrus Regiment, this Pump-Action Shotgun not only can carry more shells than a standard shotgun, but whose sheer killing power makes it perfect for clearing out enemy infested drop zones. At least one out of every three Drop Troopers carries one, as it has proven time and time again to be the most reliable weapon in the Zephyrus Drop Regiment's arsenal.
- "Skinner" Autocarbine - A small put powerful Autogun, nicknamed the "Skinner" due to the fact that it fires slug rounds at such a blisteringly fast rate than it can tear the skin off of the hands of an untrained wielder. While not efficient in long-range combat, in close quarters this Autocarbine can rip an armored opponent to shreds.
- Flashbang Melta Gun -This Melta Gun is slightly smaller than the standard version, allowing it to be used more efficiently in tight situations. While prized for it's crowd-clearing abillity, the Flashbang Melta Gun is mosly used to deal with enemy armor, due to the Zephyrus Drop Regiment's lack of anti-armor weapons.
- Heavenfire-Pattern Hellpistol - A powerful las-weapon capable of burning a hole clean through plasteel, this Hellpistol is favored amongst the officers of the Zephyrus Drop Regiment. It's only drawback is that it require a belt-mounted power source to which a cable feeds the weapon energy, which can be easily severed during combat.
- Skydive-Pattern Sentry Guns - While similar to the standard Tarantula Sentry Gun, The Skydive Pattern is equipped with it's own built-in Grav-Chute, so it can be deployed alongside Drop Troops to provide much-needed fire support. These Sentry Guns are typically armed with anything from twin-linked Heavy Bolters or Lascannons, to Multi-Meltas or twin-linked Assault Cannons.
Z-Pattern Valkyrie Troop Transport
The staple vehicle of the Zephyrus Drop Regiments, this Valkyrie model is modified in order to fly faster and achieve higher altitudes than the standard Valkyrie, making it more maneuverable as to escape dangerous arial "hot zones" more easily. The main purpose of the Valkyrie is to transport Drop Troopers to their designated drop zone, as well as provide air support via it's Multi-Lasers, Hellstrike Missles, and door-mounted Heavy Bolters.
Z-Pattern Valkyrie Sky Talon
Similar to the standard Zephyrus Valkyrie, only instead of Drop Troopers the Sky Talon instead delivers ground vehicles, such as Drop Sentinels or Taros, by dropping them from a low altitude.
Equiped with a modified engine and modified canopy in order to fit inside of a Sky Talon, Drop Sentinels are also fitted with Grav-Chutes, in order to make a soft landing when dropped. Mostly used as fire support, Drop Sentinels are typically armed with either a Heavy Bolter, Heavy Flamer, or a Multi-Melta.
As the name implies, this Tauros model is primarily used as a reconnaissance vehicle by the Zephyrus Drop Regiments, although it can an often has provided light support to Drop Troops. Lightly armored but equipped with a powerful engine, the Recon Tauros is deployed at the edge of a battlefield, in order to scout out potential drop zones.
A Recon Tauros is typically fitted with a homing beacon and smoke launchers, as well as either a Flamer or Tauros Grenade Launcher, in case of contact with enemy forces.
Skydive-Pattern Cyclops Demolition Vehicle
Identical to the average Cyclops, this small unmanned tank, like most Skydive-Pattern machines, is equipped with a built in Grav-Chute. It is used to destroy enemy emplacements and fortifications that otherwise cannot be approached by the Drop Troopers. Remote-controlled by a Drop Trooper, the Cyclops can blow a hole through a wall of solid rockcrete upon detonation.
- "I swear, the day I hear that we didn't loose sixteen guys securing a drop location will be the day the Emperor gets of the Golden Throne and starts dancing."
- — Sergeant Caleb Harn, 15th Zephyrus Regiment, 8th Insertion Squad
The Zephyrus Drop Regiments most common method of attack is simple, deploy Drop Troopers over the designated drop zone, which is either near or directly on top of an enemy emplacement or stronghold. This is easier siad then done, as the Regiment must first position it's Valkyrie's in the right area without being shot down, then deploy it's Insetion Squads to secure the drop zone. Once said drop zone is secured, the Blitz Squads a deployed to reinforce what's left of the Insertion Squad, which then proceded on foot to capture their objective. If the Drop Troopers on the ground are still in need of reinforcement, then the support Squads are sent in to provide addition backup. If all goes well, then the objective will be captured, albeit with quite a few casualties.
The Zephyrus Regiments are also known for their flanking attacks, dropping Troopers behind enemy lines in order to attack them from behind. This manuver is usually used when the Zephyrus Regiments are working in concert with other forces of the Imperium. When doing so, the Drop Troopers take up a support role, taking out enemy defences and hold points in order to give their allies a quicker road to victory.
The Zephyrus 702nd a.k.a "The Backstabbers"
- "The blade that gets shoved up the enemies' arse."
- —Unknown Commissar
The 702nd Drop Regiment has earned a reputation as the force that devastates the enemy from behind, the them their title, "The Backstabbers". Because of this, the 702nd is deployed at the rear of the enemy assault, charged with a simple mission: wreak havoc. The 702nd goes about this duty with gusto, flanking pockets of enemy soldiers, taking strongpoints and ouposts by suprise, and generally being a constant pain for the opposing force to deal with.
The Zephyrus 215th a.k.a "The Linebreakers"
- "First ones in, last ones out."
- —Motto of the 215th
The most infamous of the Zephyrus Drop Regiment's, the 215th is known for being deployed directly on top of an enemy force, as to rain death upon a concentrated enemy force. Because of this, the 215th forgoes the standard tactics of the Zephyrus regiments in favor of a more "all-out" assault, which has earned them a higher casualty rate than any other Zephyrus Regiment. While considered to be completely psychopathic (even by their fellow Regiments), none can deny that while the 215th have their faults, they suceed in their assingned task no matter the cost, which sometimes can turn the tide of a battle.
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Anglorum Execitus Guard
The line infantry has called upon the Zephyrus many a time mostly to assist in defensive locations that are nearly taken over or in rare cases where they are called in to help assault a position. The Execitus guard regiment's most common regiment to require the Drop regiment's are the 212th Red Coat Artillery brigade who are joined with the 213th Red Coat light infantry regiment and the 662nd Green coat regiment of the foot.
The two regiment's are on the opposites of technology but do work together.
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The Nemiraian 606th and 780th served alongside the Zephyrus 22nd during the Seige of Tu'Lar, a hive world that was plunged into rebellion by a rouge psyker claiming to be the Emperor reborn. During a vital battle against the dissadents, the 780th drop regiment refused to support the 22nd, claiming that they had 'Prime Directives' from command. The 22nd was all but wiped out, and an officer of the regiment discovered that the Nemiraians were embroiled in a conspiracy to mire the Imperial forces besieging the primary hive. Though accused of heresy, the Nemiraian 780th and 606th were mysteriously acquitted of all charges and transferred from the siege to another nearby deployment. Though no one is certain as to the motives of the Nemriaians, it is noted that Baggage Arms Co. made a small fortune deploying arms to Imperial forces in the drawn out conflict.
- "I bet two weeks wages that he dies within the next day or so."
- —A Drop Trooper, making a bet on how long a Junky will last
- "Throne dammit, they have anti-aircraft guns!"
- —A Valkyrie Pilot, dealing with the everyday stresses of his job
- "They're a rowdy bunch, to be sure. But at the very least they won't complain when you tell them that their next mission will most likely be the end of them."
- —A Commissar of the Zephyrus Drop Regiments
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- "To be straight, these shinies are good for nothing but distracting the enemy long enough for us to stab their lines and tear 'em a new one."
- —Private Brooker of the 1st-and-last Saurian 'survivors'
- "Bunch of adrenaline junkies and wannabe storm troopers. In short, your typical drop regiment jar-heads."
- —Private Hulo Briggs of the Nemiraian 606th[src]
- "Anyone who spends a shit ton on jet packs, guns and jumping from planes is awesome in my book. I'm not even going to rip them off, they are that amazing."
- "Them Zephyrus boys are right crazy! If the Emperor had intended for man to fly, He'd given 'em wings!"
- —Sargent Polk of the 16th Solomon Guard
- "When they make a tank learn to fly then they will have my regards, until then the Zephyrus are all just another set light infantry regiments we need to go save after they dropped themselves into another desperate situation. A procedure which costs men and fuel more than I feel this Regiment should be expending to allow such men another go at death."
- —Commissar Olferious Arntovious of the 91st Ozue Mechanized Infantry
- "Brave, Foolish, and light-hearted, the Zephyrus as long as they can hold out in the situations they seem to get themselves into, hold my deepest respect...but for some reason I always feel like we've arrived too late whenever our regiment finally joins them in battle."
- —Colonel Vladimir Zhukov XVII of the 91st Ozue Mechanized Infantry Regiment.
- "Hot damn! you see that armor they wear? Looks tactical as hell."
- "These guys are pretty cool, but wait 'till they hear about ORBITAL Insertion."
- —A Lancer of the 301st Sarcan Drop Regiment making friends
- "Bloody hell! Maybe you give us more'n 10 seconds warning next time? Ye nearly fell right into our line of fire."
- —Surprised Centurion of the 304th Hadrian Armored Legion