Uniform & Traditions Edit
The basic uniform of the Tanith 1st consists of a set of black canvas fatigue trousers, sleeveless vests, fleases and blouses and combat boots. There is also an allocated but rarely used steel rimmed helmet, and a woolen hat or forage cap.
As well as their basic combat fatigues, Tanith troops each have their own so called Camo Cloaks, a garment designed for stealth use.
The Camo Cloak is coated with an absorbent material called Cameoline which takes on the colouration of the surroudings giving the wearer a great deal of individual concealment and when used by elite stealth experts can give the wearer near perfect concealment. Along with the straight silver dagger, the cloak is considered to be an extension of the trooper's body, and irreplaceable.
'Straight Silver' Dagger Edit
Each member of the regiment is given a steel silver plated dagger, a combat knife with a black handle that measures up to 30 cm in length and is lightweight for easy use. These blades are used for both stealthwork and also as bayonets in close combat assault situations.
Exclusive to the regiment is the Tanith-brewed liquor Sacra. Usually home brewed, the drink is smooth like ice but also firey and strong, making it easy to drink down but retaining the warmth. The drink can be served cold or heated up, depending usually on the environment or hygienic situation.
Since the fall of Tanith, the production of Sacra has usually been overseen by troopers in improvised brewing conditions. Foremost of these was Bragg, who was renowned for his skills and following his death the few remaining casks of his Sacra became sacred, labelled 'Try Again Finest'. Since then, the likes of Brostin have attempted to recreate the tonic without success.
The Founding in 765.M41 marked the first time Tanith had been called upon to provide Soldiers for the Imperium, taking place shortly after the victory at Balhaut, it came as something of a surprise, but was a challenge eagerly attended to. Three Tanith Regiments were raised for the Imperial Guard: the Tanith 1st, 2nd and 3rd - 6,000 men, along with a small number of vehicles and artillery pieces. The original Three Regiments were all-male and were formed both by recruiting civilians (Such as Dorden, Caffran and Mkendrick), and transferring in ‘volunteers’ from Tanith Militia units (men such as Rawne, Corbec and Larkin). Such a recruitment policy resulted in the Tanith Regiments having a diverse make up, with troopers from all backgrounds, ranging in age from late teens, to late fifties (perhaps even older). Many of the Tanith had lived hard lives of hunting and foresting, but none, including their appointed officers had ever seen combat, or been off world. Therefore the widely experienced Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt, (fresh from Balhaut) was attached in a freelance command position to hold the Regiments together, assisted by various off-world Munitorium staff.
It is unclear whether the Three Regiments were to operate together on the Battlefield (i.e as a Tanith ‘Division’) or as separate entities, and it appears Gaunt was the only Commissar assigned to the Regiments. The Tanith 1st’s original commander was Colonel Torth, with Major Garth serving as his second in command (presumably both were officers assigned from Militia units). It was expected by most newly founded Guard Members that they would never see their home world’s again, some of the Tanith had a hard time reconciling this brutal fact of guard life, and not all appeared to have joined the Guard out of a sense of duty.
When Gaunt arrived on Tanith to oversee the founding, he was not impressed by the appearance of the men, initially describing them as "a scrawny, scruffy mob of soft-voiced woodsmen", and left fearful that he had landed a weak command (his opinion of them rapidly changed after seeing them in combat).
Though the Imperial Navy had set up a system wide picket as a precaution, Tanith was believed to be more than two months from the nearest edge of the Chaos Armies (which were supposedly reeling from the defeat on Balhaut), and only a small fleet (still getting to grips with tactics ordered by a newly appointed Warmaster Macaroth) was provided for security duties. This was to prove a catastrophic mistake.
On the very night of the Founding, a splinter fleet of Chaos ships slipped past the Navy picket and began assaulting Imperial worlds, Six planets were to fall, one of which was Tanith.
Gaunt had only a few hours’ notice, and made a once in a lifetime decision-immediately evacuate as many of the Tanith Regiments as possible, and leave the planet to its inevitable fate. The Regiments were therefore ordered to board the carriers that would take them to the orbiting troop ships, with as much equipment as possible, the final fight of Tanith being left to its populace.
It was an order that came not a moment too soon, the Chaos Armada launched a massive orbital bombardment on Tanith, and deployed ground troops to kill whatever the shelling missed. The forests of Tanith burned under the crippling firepower of the fleet, entire continents left ablaze. It is not clear if Tanith had any functioning planetary defence artillery batteries, but it is likely that the Tanith Militia fought back against the invaders, together with the remnants of the Regiments not evacuated.
Colonel-Commissar Gaunt was still at the Capital Tanith Magna when the ground assault began, and was one of the few to see action in Tanith’s final battle. He was one of the last people to leave the planet before its demise, saved by a youth called Brin Milo, whom he took with him in gratitude. Milo, too young to join the Guard, was the only known civilian to survive the fall of Tanith.
Gaunt’s ruthless retreat salvages 3,500 of the Tanith and the majority of their equipment (though apparently none of their Artillery or Armour, as neither is ever referred to again as being in use by the Regiment), though it is unclear which regiments (or elements of) were actually saved from the fires of Tanith. The remaining men are formed into the Tanith First, soon dubbed the 'First-and-Only' due to them being the only Imperial regiment ever to found from Tanith. The Regiment’s entire Command Staff (not to mention most of their medical teams) including Garth and Torth, is lost with Tanith. Gaunt becomes supreme commander, and makes on the spot promotions to Colm Corbec and Elim Rawne as Colonel (and first officer) and Major (and second officer) respectively to fill the gaps, the newly minted officers appoint their own subordinates, and the regiment is reorganised in time for a combat deployment on Blackshard.
It was the first step in a bloody, costly, decades long journey for Gaunt’s Ghosts, and marked the first chapter in a remarkable story of the Sabbat Worlds Crusade.
Famous Battles Edit
The regiment's first battlefield posting took place at Blackshard in the Sabbat Worlds cluster. Here, their light infantry/recon status meant they were sent in to penetrate enemy lines ahead of the 10th Royal Sloka regiments. Having stealthed into the Chaos held stronghold at the Citadel, the forward parties discovered a ruinous relic which, having held off a bloody assault from the structure's defenders, they mined before fleeing the site. The detonation, which destroyed the enemy's faith and hold, caused the entire Chaos army to commit mass suicide, earning a notable victory at the first attempt for the Ghosts.
On the forest world of Voltemand, the Tanith 1st were once again called upon to use their discreet scouting and stealthing abilities to work and opening for heavier elements. They advanced down the Bokore Valley to the hydro-electric dam, a structure which was seen as the best opening into Voltis City, to infiltrate the sluices and drains and find an insertion point. After a hard fought engagement, in which the Chaos foe drowned many of the attackers by releasing the dam's withheld water supply, a platoon under the command of Sergeant Cluggan successfuly planted charges and destroyed a portion of the dam and opening a gap for a heavy Volpone advance. Despite their efforts and success, the victory was credited to the Volpone for actually taking the city itself, while the regiment suffered 500 casualties in a friendly fire incident involving the Ketzok 5th while withdrawing.
On the Hive-world of Caligula, the Tanith 1st made a significant impact during the assault on Nero hive after their second in command, Colonel Colm Corbec, successfully identified and destroyed by Navy proxy the daemonic source of a warp storm that had stranded their commanding officer, Gaunt, and cut off the assault force from reinforcements. The regiment then took part in the battle which liberated the hive overall, before being withdrawn to oversee supply details.
Fortis Binary Edit
Fortis Binary represented one of the regiment's greatest victories, and perhaps finally validated them as a fighting unit. After being deadlocked in trenches on the manufactory planet for a number of months, the Tanith repelled a Shriven line offensive to such a degree of success that they pushed them back beyond their own lines. However, they were cut off by a sustained curtain bombardment from the main force. After linking up with the Vitrian Dragoon Regiment under Colonel Zoren, Gaunt rallied his men and gathered up it's stragglers. They pushed on deeper in the Shriven emplacements, finding no resistance. Using a maglev train network as an accessway, the two regiments infiltrated the Shriven citadel deep in the mountain ranges and destroyed the bastions' munitions and ruinous psyk weapons before falling back. The blast that followed obliterated the Chaos positions and wiped out it's defenders, ending a long lasting deadlock.
Menazoid Epsilon Edit
Oskray Island Edit
On Sapiencia, an ambitious drop-assault on the beach head manufactory island of Oskray floundered after the failure of communications between the disembarked forward elements and Imperial navy, and the battle was only won after a small group of Tanith troops, under the command of then Trooper Dermon Caffran, managed to make their way through the seawall defences and sabotage a number of inland industrial structures, causing the enemy under Sholen Skara to believe they had been breached in force. As a result, the defending force committed mass suicide, and Skara was captured by the unopposed attackers.
The battle undertaken on the deathworld of Monthax goes down in both regimental lore and Crusade Force archives with a degree of mystery. Having bedded down in wait for an arch-enemy assault for almost a week, the Tanith eventually moved on a huge enemy advance with the intention of hitting it from the flank. However, the attack was predicted and the flanking elements were engaged and pinned down, as the jungle areas became overwrought with a sudden rain storm. While most of the regiment were left pinned down under fire and the fierce conditions, a small detachment of men under Gaunt and Corbec separated in search of a missing platoon commanded by Rawne. For reasons classified by the Inquisition, they pulled back and were reinforced by a similarly sized detachment of Volpone Bluebloods. This task force continued beyond the enemy advance and located an ancient structure assaulted by thousands of Chaos troops, and in an action later unexplainable by tacticians, wiped them out to a man without suffering any losses. This success is still a matter of dispute with the Ordo Xenos and Ordo Malleus.
Vervunhive, Verghast Edit
Following the Imperial success at Monthax, the Tanith 1st were in transit to their next destination before being re-routed to Verghast. One of it's major cities, Vervunhive, was under furious assault from it's neighbour Ferrazoica, and the hive's resources provided to the Sabbat Worlds Crusade force gave them priority for protection...
On the holy shrineworld of Hagia the Ghosts fell upon on of their darkest hours. After the Lord Genereal Lugo turned an assured victory into a bloody massacre due to his constant urging for orders to be fulfilled within a predetermined schedule, despite changes in the field, Gaunt, the commanding officer in the field was disgraced. In what was to be presumed his, and ultimately the Ghost's, final mission the regiment was charged with the safe escorting of the holy relics of Saint Sabbat's holy shrinehold offworld, once retrieving them from the rugged mountains to the north. The battles on Hagia were hard fought and bloody, with a large number of troopers being wounded in the initial phase of the "honour guard" mission, and the comradeship of the regiment itself was put to the test as cracks in the relationship between the original Tanith ghosts and newly joined Verghastians. At the action's end the Ghost's had scored a major victory for the crusade and the regiment personally, with significant steps towards the integration of the new Verghastians into the regiment being made, and Gaunt himself regaining his honour, at the loss of that of the incompetent Lord General.
Cirenholm & Ouranberg, Phantine Edit
Phantine was to prove to be a hard campaign for the Ghosts. Dropping into the high altitude city of Cirenholm under a rain of fire from Archenemy attack squadrons, the Ghosts were initially left uncoordinated; though not to the extent of the other Guard regiments acting in the field that day, and undersupplied. Once again proving themselves to be one of the most stealthy and initiative regiments in the Guard, the Ghosts managed to win a victory at Cirenholm not by shear manpower, but by that which many a regular guard officer loathes, the resourcefulness of the common soldier. Later in the campaign the Ghost's found themselves fighting in the world's capital, Ouranberg, where the leader of the archenemy forces on the planet, the so called "Blood Pact", was meant to be stationed, with the actions of a special infiltration team codenamed "Larisal" taking a pivotal role in the eventual victory for Imperial forces on this most vital world. The Tanith garnered much esteem in this campagin in the eyes of the Lord General Van Voytz, but no number of battle honours could make up for those the regiment lost in the warzones of this polluted world.
Aexe Cardinale Edit
Sparshard Mons, Ancreon Sextus Edit
Hinzerhaus, Jago Edit
Regiment Organisation Edit
Original (Post-Founding) Edit
Originally, Gaunt formed up the regiment in an unconventional system of 'squads' which would be led by the most senior officers or NCOs. There would be a platoon, led by a single officer of varying rank, which would consist of between 20-40 men. This defied the standard structure of Imperial regiments since normally they follow the battalion-company-platoon-squad system. Gaunt put this in place solely for the reason that due to the recon and scouting nature of the 1st, they would be far more flexible for more vital and dangerous missions by being easily separable.
The basic constant from this was that an officer, whether senior or non-commissioned, would have his/her own platoon.
This system was retained from the founding up until the amalgamation with the Belladon 81st and the subsequent new founding of the 81st/1st and the reformation of the Tanith 1st, when Companies with Officers were introduced.
Scouts were assigned to each platoon, which the exception of Mkoll who worked freelance and was able to section other scouts from their platoons when such an act became a necessity on the field e.g on Hagia. The same applied to the regiment's snipers, who each were assigned to a platoon but would be able to break off and form an ad-hoc sharpshooter team with Larkin as team leader. An example of this occurring was on Herodor.
And so forth.
This resulted in the regiment containing more than 200 platoons, not including ad-hoc elite elements, fire teams and auxiliaries. Despite these problems, the 1st were run fairly well and men in what would normally be lower ranks such as Sergeant would have unit command.
On occasion, Gaunt would give command of a task force to non-officer types. Examples of this include the Nero-Calphernia relief convoy on Caligula and the Montorq Forest recon patrol on Aexe Cardinal, when Bragg and Feygor respectively, both troopers, had command.
Reformation (after the 81st/1st) Edit
Following the disbandment on the 81st/1st Regiment on Ancreon Sextus, Gaunt was given back his command role and the unit it's original title. Following the re-organisation undertaken as part of the 81st/1st, Gaunt felt it was best not to break down the new company system and re-place the platoons formation due to the time and upheaval that would be required. As a result he re-organised but retained the Companies system.
This meant that for the first time the Tanith 1st would follow the same structure as other Imperial Regiments, with each company being led by an officer and broken down into smaller platoons within. Much of the regiment's old routines remained, such as assigned snipers being allowed to break off, but Mkoll was this time given command of his own unit of dedicated scouts, including recon specialists from the Belladon section. On top of this, the Belladon's chief scout, Kolosim, had his own company command.
The regiment was therefore better organised but still able to change its parameters in certain situations.
The Companies were now identified by letters rather than numbers, eg:
- A. Gaunt
- B. Rawne
- C. Kolea
- D. Baskevyl
- E. Meryn...
The regiment's reformation inevitably led to a number of enforced promotions as well, due to the criteria of Companies being led by officers and not Sergeants. This meant that Kolea was promoted to Major, Domor and Meryn to Captain and Caffran, Brennan and Derin to Sergeant to fill in the gaps.
Rivalries & Enemies Edit
Ever since their founding, the Tanith have run into rivals among the guard, dangerous enemies with revenge in their hearts and resentful souls.
The Jantine Patricians Edit
The Ghosts's rivalry/enemy status with the Jantine was mainly due to association, since Gaunt himself inflicted their greatest moment of shame when he slayed their commanding officer General Aldo Dercius on Khedd 1173. This carried over when, on Fortis Binary, the Ghosts defied the odds to obliterate the Shriven underground bases in the moutains, alongside the Vitrians. This was a victory that the Jantine felt was there's to win, and so the animosity grew.
On Pyrites, a gang of Jantine troops led by Major Brocchus confronted Gaunt who, due to the intervention of his friend Vaynom Blenner, lured Brocchus and his men into a side street full of Ghosts.
The rivalry continued during the transit through warp space on the vessel Absalom, when the Patricians staged raids on the Tanith billets to hide the agenda with the Vermillion crystal. These actions were repaid, and three ghosts were killed and Major Rawne tortured during the exchange. It eventually came to an end as the Abasalom reached the Menazoid Clasp.
On Menazoid Epsilon, with Draker Flense being used to reach the treasure, the Jantine assault the Tanith forward advance under the guise of suspected Chaos taint, engaging in a brutal battle with Sergeant Blane's rear guard platoon which, despite the Jantine numbers, see's them lose 40% of the regiment in victory. However, as they advance on the remaining Tanith units under Corbec, they are cut down from behind by the Vitrian Dragoons and anhillated.
The Volpone Bluebloods Edit
Much like the rivalry with the Jantine, the Tanith's rivalry with the Volpone was by proxy because of the mutual hatred between Gaunt and the Blueblood's commander, Lord-General Noches Sturm. This began at Voltemand when, having opened a way into Voltis City via the Bokore valley dam (a task previously failed by the heavy Volpone), Sturm ordered the victorious Tanith shelled as they withdrew, costing them hundreds of lives. After failing in an attempt to court-martial Gaunt, Sturm was in his mind slighted by Gaunt's very presence in the Imperial Guard and in particular the Crusade army. The inter-regiment rivalry flared up again at Monthax, despite having already served together at Nacedon. Here, the respective second in command of the Tanith and the Volpone, Colonel Colm Corbec and then Major Gizhaum Danver De Banzi Haight Gilbear, literally fought after an incident of field discipline. Despite this friction, the two fought together in the following battle.
Their paths did not cross again until Vervunhive when, despite previous cooperative efforts, a two man political sparring match between Gaunt and Sturm took place. After the fall of the shield wall, and the assault on the chambers of Salvador Sondar, Sturm attempted to desert before being caught by Vervun Primary pickets. Here, Gaunt offered Sturm one last request to commit suicide honourably, which the General then used as a ruse to try and kill Gaunt, who promptly cut off his hand and arrested him. With Colonel Gilbear now in command of the Volpone, the two combined their efforts to great success and led the assault on Heritor Asphodel's command spike which won the war for the Imperials. The two regiments have never encountered each other since, with the Volpone now in reserve posting.
Following his capture by the forces of Chaos in transit to his trial, Sturm was taken to Gereon for transcoding. Gaunt and his mission team (the Gereon 12) successfully infiltrated the stronghold and, after a vicious battle, Sturm committed suicide with Gaunt's gun where he had failed to do before.
The Blood Pact EditThe Blood Pact, personal army of Anarch Urlock Gaur and one of the most feared forces opposing the Crusade battle front, first encountered the Tanith on Phantine, and in particular at Cirenholm and Ouranberg where a force of them were led by Saggittar Slaith, complete with a detachment of Loxatl mercenaries, held the sky-cities fervently against the Imperial onslaught.
Based on the layout of the Imperial Guard, their temerity and fearlessness often gave them an advantage over the Ghosts who were sane of mind.
Since their first meeting at Cirenholm, the Tanith have encountered and defeated the Blood Pact at Aexe Cardinale, Herodor, Ancreon Sextus and most recently at Jago, where their assault on the Tanith positions in Hinzerhaus cost the regiment half of their number. Due to the number of times the two sides have faced each other, and the Ghosts's victories each time, a true nemesis status has come into place, with the Archon's forces well aware of Gaunt and his men. At Hinzerhaus, they successfully captured Gaunt and tortured him before he was rescued by Scout-Sergeant Mkoll.
On two occasions, the regiment has had to be rebuilt following an influx of new recruits combining with a huge number of battlefield losses.
Vervunhive: The Act of Consolation Edit
Following the 'death' of Vervunhive, Warmaster Macaroth approved the 'Act of Consolation', legislation that meant the now homeless population could conscript into an Imperial Guard regiment of their choice, following their success in basic training and orientation. A huge number of Vervunhivers joined the Tanith 1st due to their hero status following the death of Heritor Asphodel and the leadership of Gaunt during the brutal siege. As a result, the decimated Ghosts had their numbers doubled by the new volunteers.
The men, and women for the first time in the regiment's history, that joined varied from former Defence Force veterans such as Ban Daur and Haller, to scratch company troops like Soric and his men, and even out hab guerrillas such as Gol Kolea. Those who had command experience or potential were given ranks, while the rest became troopers.
Allowing for some creases, the amalgamation and mix was successful and invited a good deal of friendly rivalry between Verghast and Tanith men, such as Kolea and Varl.
The Belladon: 81st/1st and Gaunt's Return Edit
Following the withdrawl at Sparshard Mons, Gaunt was given temporary command of the battered 81st/1st regiment after the death of Lucien Wilder. This appointment was made permanent and the regiment was re-branded the Tanith 1st, although the Belladon element was retained. Much of the regiment's command structure was maintained by Gaunt, with Major Baskevyl becoming the most senior of their officer cadre.
Like before, much of the mix was well received and commendably accepted, with rivalries and running jokes becoming common.