Playing EPIC in 28mm.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Armour vs Infantry

Col Scipio wrote:

What proportion of IG regiments are completely mechanised do you think? A lot of fluff seems to totally discount all-foot regiments, but I suspect that the 'famous' regts with loads of Chimeras would be in the minority.

This erudite query was brought on by this post here, which is about the reinforcements sent to Devos IV in the form of Army Group 3422 (3422AG).  So whilst Col Scipio’s question is about the Imperial Guard generally, it also provokes the question of what is going on with 3422AG (?) So this is the question I’m going to address first.

Comptroller Bellormus is the Departmento Munitorium’s senior official in charge of the Devos IV campaign.  Obviously the Military Officer in charge believes that he is total command.  But without DM support, he’s going to be out of food, ammunition and Battle Casualty Replacements in short order. 

Infantry without vehicles.

Fortunately for the Devos IV campaign, Comptroller Bellormus and his team are competent, conscientious and above all, lucky.  Ordo Heretics involvement early on encouraged participation from the ecclesiasty, Legio Astorum and Black Templars.  This in turn has ensured that the DM itself has continued to resource the campaign, responding favourably to demands issued by Comptroller Bellormus’ team.

At some point, an armoured formation of two Corps became available at just the right the point and was assigned to the Devos IV campaign.  Additional armour was at the top of the demand list for 72Ag as it chased the PLA eastwards across the prairie.  The arrival of another Army Group, even one lacking in Infantry, could in no way be described as unwelcome; however it does pose the Imperial Guard a number of issues as described in the other post. 

Where did the two Tank Corps come from and are they typical ?  They would have been spearhead formations for larger armies assigned to other campaigns and then not deployed for some reason.  Possibilities include either we won, we lost, the commander fell out of favour, Devos IV being bumped up the priority list or the campaign they were raised for slumped down the priority list for some reason.

Steering this back to Col Scipio’s original question; it is pretty clear from my piles of iggy codices[1] that as a part of the settlement following the dissolution of the Imperial Army and the formation of the Imperial Guard, attempts were made to specialise larger units to discourage formation or unit commanders from unilateral action.  However, as has been seen elsewhere, all arms task forces are what is needed. 

What these smaller all arms task forces are drawn from is one of the Imperial Guard’s regiments.  Let’s deal with infantry regiments first.  The IA books give us the Cadian 266th[2] and Tallarn 17th[3], both of which tell us that iggy infantry regiments will have their own organic armour.  And the Kreig 19th and Tallarn 12th, which illustrate armoured regiments having organic infantry assets.  The composition of the 4621 AG formed for the Taros campaign is reasonably balanced all arms force.  A lot of the early fluff makes a great deal of vast infantry formations with a relative paucity of supporting armour and artillery and certainly very little in the way of specialisation.  A cynic might offer that this is because in the 1980s there were relatively few vehicle models and back then, when I and my ilk were in short trousers, didn’t have the money to build ourselves tank companies.

A whole load of AFVs with out foot soldiers (a WiP picture from years ago)

And of course, with the Krieg regiments in the 88th Army, IA shows us a number of regiments who do conform to the single arms blurb of the main GW fluff.  In this instance it works as the DKK are being deployed as descrete Corps in the 88th Army, so infantry regiments in which the only people with transport are Grenadiers and Death Riders, armoured regiments with nowt but tanks and artillery regiments with nothing but, well artillery.   But again, it seems that even the inscrutable DKK are capable of adapting to circumstance and changing their MO to suit the situation, hence the all arms natures of 19 Armd Regt[4] and the formations described in the Fall of Orpheus[5].

So do I have direct answer to Col Scipio’s not unreasonable question ?  One could stall with an “It’s a huge universe/ army, so anything could be found in there somewhere.” But the question was about the normal, the usual, the mundane.   So harking back to the description of the Cadian 8th in my first Iggy Codex, I might suggest that where a Napoleonic era British Infantry Battalion would have a Grenadier Company and a Light Company, perhaps a ‘typical’ Iggy Infantry regiment might have a Light Role Battalion, a Grenadier Battalion and a Mechanised Battalion alongside however many Line Battalions it might have. 

Of course we should accept that the real answer about the level of resourcing is directly related to the economic state of the place where the unit was raised or the resources on hand when the unit is reconstituted at a DM hub. 

[1] We should remember, especially now with the event of “The Fall of Cadia” that the Cadian Shock Troops first appeared in the Codex Eye of Terror. The Catachans appeared in their own codex shortly afterwards.  And then the Armoured Battle Group list and then FW got in on the act with the Airborne list.  Iggy players have always had choices that the fluff would seem indicate were not the norm.
[2] And the Cadian 144th from IA show a fully equipped Mechanised Infantry Regiment.
[3] A Regiment on a scale for interplanetary war: 10507 Officers and Men.
[4] I understand that the reprint of IA1 does not have the DKK 19 Armd Regt in it.  The single most useful page in the whole book.
[5] And the Assault Brigade list.  Bwaa  haa haa haa !


  1. Awesome stuff, man - Luckily you have the forces to field it both ways! Really dig seeing 'em all ranked up like that as well. I do miss working on guardsmen!

  2. Thanks for what is perhaps the most thorough answer to an idle query I've ever read. Very grateful for the time you put into this.

    The CA aspect, and the way it was forbidden in the old army was a really nice touch. I suspect that the principle was originally intended at the 4*+ level - armies being kept apart from transport fleets, limiting mutinies to a single planet at worst. At lower levels, it might be enforced by more zealous commanders, but as in all armies, as one gets closer to the front line, pragmatism takes over and you'd start to see CA task groups at the battalion level.

    As you highlighted, the 'real' reason was probably that someone wrote that lovely bit of fluff, but when it came to flogging armies in the codex, they needed to sell tanks as well as infantry. A realistic regiment of 1,000 ordinary guardsmen might look a bit boring.

    Printed off and stuck in my fluff book.

  3. I know that the original fluff was based around stopping commanders from being able to rebel properly by having single arms regiments, ie artillery, infantry or armour, but it does make things hard to write fluff for, especially on a smaller scale. I would imagine though that most regiments would be single arms regiments but would be fielded as part of a combined arms army group.

  4. I have it on very good authority that whilst 2/24th Cadian Regt of Foot are organised and equipped as Light Infantry, the 1st Battalion (despite its historical moniker) is in fact mechanised.

    Fun fact: my autocorrect changed Regt to 'Regret'.