THE PROSPERITAS CRUSADE
Though it can call on elite forces such as those of the Adepta Sororitas and the Adeptus Astartes, the Hammer and Sword of the Imperium are it’s Imperial Guard and Imperial Navy. These are ordinary men and women who fuel the massive war machine of the Imperium, conquering worlds, putting down rebellions and sometimes being called upon to deliver the ultimate sanctions. Without the Imperial Guard and Navy the Imperium would likely fall to pieces, because for all the legends of the might of the Emperors chosen warriors, alone of them the elite forces of the Imperium would be overwhelmed by it’s myriad foes.
Drawn from a billion worlds, across the Imperium, the Noble Regiments of the Imperial Guard are vast in number and range from whole units of technologically superior soldiers, to vast tribes of savages barely capable of maintaining the weaponry they are expected to carry into battle. The Imperium is a vast place, and many of the vast cultures are reflected in the bizarre variety of regiments within the Imperial Guard. To an outsider, in a galaxy of horrors, the Imperial Guard might seem like cannon fodder, but the truth is that many members of the Imperial Guard are the product of the elite of the militaries on their homeworld, the cream of the crop mustered to support the vast might of the Imperium’s fighting forces.
The High Guard, the Void Nobility, the Imperial Navy is a culture unto itself, many of its Officers and Crew are born aboard the vast city-sized Battleships, and the leadership of many vessels is often determined by a combination of merit, breeding and heritage. Every ship has it’s own community, and every Fleet it’s own culture. The Ships of the Imperium are truly deadly things, each carrying enough firepower to utterly destroy anything from a city, to an entire planet.
Coordinating the movement of the Imperial Navy and Guard, the Adeptus Munitorum are responsible for ensuring that logistics and strategies are in place to unify the movements of the Imperial Guard and Navy, with distances as vast as the Galaxy has, this is a near impossible task, and it is testament to the endless work of the Logisticians and Quatermasters of the Munitorum that the lines of supply have not completely collapsed.
A sub-division of the Adeptus Munitorum worth making note of, the Commissariat is responsible for ensuring the moral and loyalty of both the Imperial Guard and the Imperial Navy. Commissars are a breed of fanatical disciplinarians whose loyalty to the Emperor is often seen as unshakable, and the few Military Officers who hold rank and power over both Guard and Navy when it comes to matters of discipline, loyalty and moral.
CRUSADE HIGH COMMAND
The rank of Warmaster is something of a cursed one in the Imperium, it is an ancient rank, giving an individual authority over all of the fighting forces of the Imperium – it is only ever bestowed in times of great need, or to establish a single united leadership for the massive military operations that are an Imperial Crusade. It is a roll that balances political acumen against military leadership, and more often than not most Warmasters die long before they see the end of their Crusade. Such can be said for the Warmaster of the Prosperitas Crusade, of which there have been no fewer than ten individuals to hold that title, all of which have died in battle.
The Prosperitas Crusade began under Warmaster Durovera, a powerful woman, once a Rogue Trader Militant, she is credited with rediscovering the warp pathways into the Prosperitas Sector and the largely untapped wealth that is found there. The entire Crusade is founded on the Imperium’s need for resources, though the reunification of the human inhabitants with the Imperium is a worth goal, it is the resources of the sector that the Imperium needs.
In these years of the late 41st Millenium, the Crusade’s forces are mostly comprised of the Imperial Guard Regiments raised within the Prosperitas Sector’s many worlds, supported by Battlefleet Prosperitas, several companies of elite Stormtroopers, and the Battle Sisters of the Order of His Sanguine Tears. Of the Adeptus Astartes, the Emperor’s Angels of Death, their presence on the battlefields of the Prosperitas Crusade has been limited and rare, a few small elements brought from out-sector to support vital Crusade operations, but there has never been a permanent Astartes presence in the Crusade.
In recent years, the Crusade has been in flux, the disastrous Second Battle of Henlock robbed it of both it’s Warmaster and many of the other obvious contenders for the position many of whom were killed in the fighting there. Since then there have been many political skirmishes for control, worse still the Sector Governor has argued for the Crusades Forces to be directly governed from Duroverum, effectively placing a politician in charge of the military forces of the Crusade.
SALIENTS OF THE PROSPERITAS CRUSADE
While Planetary Defence Forces and Garrisoned Fortress Worlds hold the line, there are four major ‘Salients’ where the Imperium is currently engaged in active military operations against the forces of the Archenemy and the various disparate Xenos and Human worlds of the Rimward Front. Operations in each salient are carried out by ‘Battlegroups’ combined-arms formations of Imperial Navy, Imperial Guard and other Auxiliary and Specialist Forces under the command of the most senior Officers of the Sector.
The Rimward Front is generally considered to be the lower priority of the Crusade and the forces here are comprised of weakened units withdrawn off of the Tenebris Front, and it is considered a good place to bloody junior Officers. The fighting here is mostly against non-compliant and rebel human worlds, the forces of the Archenemy are rarer here, as most cultures are independent of their thrall, but there are a higher number of worlds populated by Xenos, or where humans and Xenos coexist.
The Tenebris Front is where the thickest fighting is, with the enemy forces of the Talons of Tzeentch, Weeping Eye and Creeping Death mounting major offensives against Imperial lines the attrition rate for soldiers fighting in the Salients along this front is dire. The Tenebris Front has received most of the newly arrived forces in sector in recent years, which has compensated for the losses suffered there.
The Nemean Gulf
Fleet Arm Mostoller
“You will know the Crusade is over, Major, when you look out of your office window to see me turning backflips on the parade deck. Until then, leave is cancelled, allowances suspended, and the mess bar is closed. Try to concentrate – we are at war, after all.” – Admiral Sarina Khan
Commanded by the recently-promoted Admiral Sarina Khan, the combined forces assaulting the far Spinwards-Rimwards territories of the Nemea Gulf in Subsector Secundus are fighting a battle on two fronts. The forces of the Archenemy to their front are constantly striving to seize key terrain in the systems around Mawson’s Wake and Caudica Secundus, while the Greenskin menace to their Corewards flank threatens their supply lines and rear echelon. Lady-Admiral Khan is a brilliant but eccentric commander, favouring lightning-fast decisions and reversals of strategy to confuse the enemy. Her detractors say that she was promoted too early – she was a Commodore only three years ago – and that she delegates too much to her subordinates. Her loyal generals and Navy Captains revel in the freedom she gives them to carry out her missions in whatever way they see fit, and believe it makes Fleet Arm Mostoller one of the most flexible and aggressive in the Sector if contained to ‘lesser’ operations.
The Rimward Marches
“You’ll take the initiative when I tell you to and not one minute before. Get those cruisers back into formation!” – Lord-General Militant Ruprecht Janus
Under the dogmatic, perfectionist leadership of Lord-General Militant Ruprecht Janus, Battlegroup Diomedes was originally formed with the purpose of conducting a lightning-fast strike onto the Spinwards flank of the Talons of Tzeentch, disrupting their advance on Henlock. However, following the death of the Warmaster, General Janus was unwilling to advance further without explicit orders from his higher command, and became bogged down in a series of bloody and attritional ground campaigns on minor asteroids and agri-worlds between Helaerus and Caracas. The Battlegroup is heavy on Imperial Guard forces, and excels at planetary warfare. However, the relationship between Janus and his subordinate Navy Captains is strained; he refuses to give them the freedom to act independently, requiring that every minor engagement and routine transport mission is fought to his precise and exacting specifications, and delivering harsh punishments to those found wanting. General Ruprecht’s mother, Heta Janus, was a famous war hero under the previous Warmaster, who died while personally leading a suicide charge on an enemy General’s command vehicle.
The Strayvian Gateway
“No, Colonel, I want to hear what the Corporal leading the squad saw, not what you think she saw. Shut up and let me talk to the expert.” – Admiral Ridea Holz
The Hesperidus battlegroup had its origins in the rapid-strike and reconnaissance units raised from the isolated worlds of Subsector Tertius. Its transition to fight as a heavy line formation alongside its sister Battlegroup Geryon has been a painful one. Many of the subordinate unit commanders in Hesperidus believe they should still be fighting in Tertius, conducting more of the depth assaults and surprise sallies which made their reputation under the previous Warmaster. Hesperidus is commanded by Admiral Ridea Holz, a shadowy figure with a rumoured background in Navy Intelligence. She favours deception and surgical strikes on key Archenemy command nodes, and has an utterly ruthless dedication to safeguarding the secrecy of her plans and information security of her Battlegroup. In person, Admiral Holz is reportedly polite, charming and humble, but the lack of publicly available information on her previous career – coupled with a tendency for her political rivals to suffer embarrassing or lethal accidents – makes her brother and sister commanders extremely nervous in her company. For the last year, Hesperidus’ centre of gravity has been the territory surrounding Strayvia; Holz sees the planet as a key tactical node, the “gateway to Subsector Primus”, to be defended at all costs.
The Polarnus Nebula
Fleet Arm Geryon
“Ops, give me an update on the latest round of village levelling.” – Captain-General Brianna Twine
“Do it right, do it once. Reinforce success. If in any doubt, follow up with a Marauder bombing run; let none survive.” – Group-Captain Albinus Beaumont
“The Iron Regiments”, “First to Fight”, “Semper Paratus” – the forces of Fleet Arm Geryon have a proud and ancient history as the oldest continuously serving military formation in the Sector. Due to a peculiarity of Crusade history, Geryon is led jointly by two commanders, one overseeing the ground forces of the Imperial Guard and the other in charge of the battlegroup’s voidships. The Fleet Arm is currently arrayed in defensive posture around Polarnus Station, having reinforced a number of key planets across the Subsector with its armoured cavalry divisions and heavy battlecruisers. It is large, powerful and slow, at both the tactical and operational level – its Fleet component is full of heavy cruisers and battleships, lacking the fast frigates and light cruisers necessary to respond swiftly to changing events; its Guard regiments are primarily armoured units, relying on stopping power over subtlety.
The land component of Geryon is led by Captain-General Brianna Twine, an aggressive, idealistic commander from old aristocratic stock. She earned her stars as the commander of a Leman Russ tank regiment, and has all the carefree arrogance typical of a senior cavalry officer. She firmly believes that Fleet Arm Geryon will prove the saviour of the Sector, and sees herself as a clear successor to the deceased Warmaster. Privately, she is rumoured to be chafing at the Fleet Arm’s recent focus on defensive operations, and itching to take her forces on an assault.
The ships of Fleet Arm Geryon, meanwhile, are commanded by Group-Captain Albinus Beaumont, a pragmatic, cautious and experienced Navy fighter wing officer and ex-flying ace. Beaumont is more interested in keeping good operational communications with High Command than scrabbling for political influence, and has said himself he intends to retire as soon as the demands of the Crusade will permit. Beaumont has none of Twine’s aristocratic origins or family connections – indeed, he is that rare creature, a Navy officer commissioned from the ranks. As a result, he is often overruled in strategy and policy discussions, and lacks the rank to protest it.