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Imperial Guard Troops

In this section we will look at the troop choices available to the Imperial Guard army and Imperial Guard Troop Tactics.

Infantry Platoon

Warhammer 40k Imperial Guard Squad

The hart of the Imperial Guard army is the Infantry Platoon. The platoon system means that you can deploy a lot of troops and infantry heavy weapons (points permitting). It is very rare that you need to deploy more than two platoons.

Platoon Command Squad

Warhammer 40k Imperial Guard Command SquadEach Infantry Platoon needs one command squad. Command squads can be configured in different ways. Some people like to configure the command squads with heavy weapons as a small heavy weapons team, and some configure the Command squad as an assault squad. As an assault squad it will not have enough grunt to dent most army's but it could be useful as a counter assault squad if your guards get assaulted.

First Rank fire, 2nd Rank Fire!

This order allows the assigned squad to fire more shots. It only works for lasguns and not heavy weapons. This order will work best when used on large squad. It may be best to use this order with the new 'Combine' Imperial Guard special rule.

Move! Move! MOVE!

This allows the selected squad to roll three dice and select the highest when running in the shooting phase. This means the chance of rolling a 6 is 3:6 or 50%. You will roll a 5 or 6, (2/6+2/6+2/6 = 6/6) every try (statistically speaking). Remember that this move ignores difficult terrain!

This works best on squads that you want out of, or in to trouble. Assault troops come to mind first.


Infantry Squad

Each Infantry Platoon need at least 2 ten man Infantry Squads. This means that you will have at least 40 Imperial Guard on the table.

You can have up to 5 Imperial Guard Infantry Squads per Troops choice, that's 300 regular Imperial Guard. If that's not enough, you can top they up with elite and heavy weapon squads!

Special Rules - Combined Squads

New in this Imperial Guard Codex is the 'Combined Squads' special rule for infantry squads. The combined squads rule allows two or more infantry squads from the same platoon to combine to make a squad of 20 to 50 Imperial Guards. Remember that this enlarged squad will include 2 to 5 Sergeant and up to 5 heavy and special weapons.

The advantage of large squads is that you will need to loose more troops before a leadership test is needed and you should have plenty of attacks back if your opponent does get in to assault. The problem of large squads is that they are difficult to manoeuvre.

Heavy Weapon Squads

Warhammer 40k Imperial Team LasCannon Heavy Weapon Team

You can have up to 4 heavy weapon squads per troop choice, each with three heavy weapons. This means you could have up to 84 heavy weapons, plus any you add to your Infantry Squads and Command squads!

Remember that all the weapons in the heavy weapon squad have to shoot at the same target.

Special Weapon Squad Tactics

Special weapon squads are fairly small (6 man squads) that has three special weapon in it. The codex briefly suggests some tactics for Special weapon squads (page 38). One thing to be aware of is that flamers meltaguns and demolition charges are short range weapon and special weapon squads do not come with frag grenades.

It is usually best to not mix types of weapons in a special weapon squad too much. Short range weapons work well together (flamer, melta's and demolition charges), or medium range weapons work together (plasma guns and grenade launchers), but mixing a short range weapon with medium ranged or long ranged weapons (sniper rifles), does not work well. As always, if you have a special reason to mix types then that may over-ride this advice.

A sniper-rifle special weapons squad costs the same as a rattling 5 man sniper squad but they are not as good. You only get three sniper rifles, their ballistic skill is not as good, and you do not get the special rules. You do get the chance to have more of them without using up valuable elite choice slots.

Conscript Squad Tactics

You can have up to one conscript squad attached to an infantry platoon. As untrained troops the weapon skill and ballistic skill of a conscript trooper is less than the normal imperial guard. The conscript troops do not have heavy weapons or special weapons option and the do not have transport. What they do get is numbers. A conscript squad can have 20 to 50 conscripts in it, and at 4points per model that makes for very cheap cannon fodder.

Imperial Guard Veteran Squad Tactics

Warhammer 40k Imperial Guard Veteran Squad With Priest

Veteran Squad's have moved from an Elite choice to being a troop choice in the 2009 Imperial Guard Codex. This means that you can have an army with your troop choices made completely from Veterans. This in turn means that it is possible to have very small, cheap armies, or to minimise the troop points cost to maximise on heavy support or other 'beardy' army configurations.

Veterans have a better Ballistic score that the regular troops. this means that any special and heavy weapons that use the BS will be hitting on 3's. This will not affect flamer weapons. Note that heavy weapons cost more points that the regular troops heavy weapons, but the special weapons are the same cost. This makes the special weapons good value points wise.

Imperial Guard Veteran squads have much more flexibility with the weapons they take. They can have up to three special weapons, for example. This means that you can adapt them to meet specific roles. If you want Tank busters then arm them with meltaguns and the 'Demolition' doctrine. If you want a squad to cleanse forests and buildings, give them plenty of flamers.


Veterans can have Doctrines. Be careful with these as they came make the squads expensive. Make sure that you will use the skills if you pay the points for them.

Veterans with the "Forward Sentries" get camo-cloaks and defensive grenades. Defensive grenades will reduce the number of attacks an assaulting force has against you. To make best use of this, place your veterans where then will take the blunt of any assault (ie on the front line, but behind cover). Camo-cloaks give the squad the 'Stealth' special rule This improves any cover saves by 1.

Penal Legion Tactics

The Penal Legion cost slightly more than a basic Veteran Squad. The difference is that they have one special rule as standard. They do not get any special or heavy weapons. In my mind, you are better off with regular troops.


The Desperadoes special rule gives each unit a special rule randomly picked from a choice of three.

This special rule is selected before deployment, so I recommend that you do it as soon as possible so you can formulate a strategy (or pick from a pre-devised strategy). The random special rule may influence where you deploy the unit, and the other units in your army.


The Scout special rule makes up in a small way for the lack of transport.


This is different! A convict squad that is stubborn. Historically penal legions are known for running away at the first chance! (The French Foreign Legion is a notable exception - though it has to be noted that the Legionaries are pardoned on entering the Legion and are never allowed to serve on French home soil).