The 'Ash Legion'

Shown below are extracts from Interrogator-Chaplain Zuriel's preliminary report on the local planetary defence force:

:: Report begins ::

We have recently made contact with elements from the local Planetary Defence Force: the Antioch Guard (known locally as the 'Ash Legion'). I have taken the time to report our initial appraisal of the capabilities of this unit.

Origins

Records show that the Ash Legion has only been listed as an Imperial unit for 235 years. Prior to this its composition, armament and capability can only be speculated upon.

In theory its commander is the Planetary Governor, but in reality the command lies with the second-in-command General Amyntas. The loyalty of this officer is of no question, having volunteered for this unit after serving for many years with the 721st Steel Legion [see Imperial File ref: 1EH//MN10/E83].

The main role of the Ash Legion has been that of a bodyguard to the Imperial Governor and protector of the Administration. Secondary role has been general population control, effectively the world's police force. It has fought off two zeno-type incursions. The first, in 221.M41, successfully defeated a small slave-raiding force of Tyranids. The second 432-446.M41 was a protracted campaign against an isolated Ork warbands thought to have landed with the intention exploiting mineral reserves. Since these major actions several minor rebellions have been suppressed (usually bloodily). The 18th, 71st, 182nd and 234th battalions fought with distinction on [xxxxx] during the recent Cadian campaigns. These hardened battalions are still off-planet.

However the Legion is very fragmented. Garrisons and outposts of less than platoon strength are common. The smaller outposts and most numerous are in the northern Ash Deserts and these are very unpopular postings. Larger garrisons are situated in the main population centres of the southern hemisphere. There are also 21 battalions on the system sister planet Antioch Minor.

Organisation

Information on this has been difficult to obtain, but the Ash Legion contains a theoretical standing strength of 2.2 million, with an immediate reserve pool of Veterans and Militia Volunteers of 7.3 million. In a real planetary emergency, total call-up strength amounts to 2.3 billion of all troop types including raw conscripts.

Unusually, the force is organised into battalions (approx 323) of greatly varying strengths rather than a series of individual regiments. These battalions [some 4-6,000 strong] are brigaded together with smaller specialist support units to form independent commands. Though officially classified as light infantry most [infantry] are mounted in 8-wheeled armoured vehicles of a unique pattern ideally suited to the rather arid terrain on the Antioch-system planets.

Included in the official lists are 37 artillery battalions; 43 armoured battalions (with Leman Russ tanks); 6 super-heavy tank battalions (with Baneblade-pattern tanks) and 16 air defence battalions.

There are also many more specialised units as well: Engineers, Assault Volunteers and the more well known Rangers.

The Penal Reform Battalions [3], are of a very poor fighting quality and have suspect loyalty. They are either garrisoned out of harms way on the desolate desert moons of Dorias, NVIII and Krasmia, or broken into company-sized units and attached to army groups to act as forced labour on defensive structures, for mine clearance, or bio hazzard cleansing etc.

Battle Readiness

As is usual with most large shambling Imperial Guard units, the Ash Legion contains units ranging from poor to excellent. The Ranger units are generally the elite corps of the Legion. Most line battalions are of good fighting stock and well equipped. The problem lies with the armoured elements, the fighting quality of some is poor. This is due to a lack of experience and a cultural tradition where the best troops post to the Rangers. For this reason most armoured units are used as a reserve rather than a spearhead — and even here they will need strong leadership.

Conclusion

The Ash Legion is a loyal, reliable, rugged outfit with the Ranger battalions good enough to stand by troops of the Index Astartes in any battle situation. Other infantry units are steady and of proven worth. The armoured battalions should be treated with caution — being jittery and of poor resolve.

This completes the preliminary assessment of the Ash Legion.

:: Report ends ::

Detailed force composition of known units will be detailed in the +TACTICA REPORTS+ Section when information is available.

Until the Sword is reforged.

Imperium Approved: Honoro Legio Dark Angels.

Isiah signature

Chronicler Isiah, the 4th Battle Company, Dark Angels.