Notoriously grim and fatalistic warriors, they seek to atone for their regions past rebellion by dying in glorious battle in service to the Imperium. Death Korps regiments routinely request to fight in Lenehen's deadliest warzones, grinding their enemy down through long battles of attrition and siege warfare.
KriegEditKrieg was previously a prosperous region filled with sprawling cities, specialising in manufacture and trade and led by a council of Autocrats. However, as time passed, the debauched and decadent Autocrats began to become paranoid that an outside threat would take their power away from them, and thus began to increasingly fortify their region from outside threats. Eventually, the Autocrats also began to resent the influence of the Imperium in a land that they considered to be their own.
Finally, in 1922, the High Autocrat declared himself independent from the Imperium and renounced the Emperor as his master. Catacylsmic civil war broke out on Krieg and much of the region quickly fell to the rebels except for the city of Ferrograd, which was under the command of the now-infamous Colonel Thawn of the Krieg 83rd Imperial Guard regiment. Under strict orders to not let Krieg fall, but in the knowledge that no reinforcements on the scale needed to relieve them was available, Jurten decided that Krieg would either belong to the Emperor or to no one. On the day of the Feast of the Emperor's ascension, Jurten unleashed a counter-attack of atomic cleansing in what became known as "the Purging." For days Krieg was engulfed in a sea of nuclear fire, resulting in a total collapse of its ecosystem and subsequent nuclear winter, but the civil war dragged on. The survivors from the Purging would fight on but were forced to exist in underground bunkers or deep in the radioactive chem-wastes, as their descendants do to this day. From the self-annihilation of their homeland, loyalist troops slowly retook their world inch by inch over the course of 50 years.
Life in Krieg is harsh, the atomic wastelands able to quickly kill any who venture onto the surface and as such the residents of Krieg have learned to take solace in underground bunkers to protect them from the radiation. Small bunkers can contain up to a hundred civilians, whilst the larger ones have been converted into factories and manufactorums to provide the equipment for their Imperial Guard regiments.
Imperial Guard RegimentsEditRecruitment starts almost from birth, and the ability to withstand the hardships of living on an atomic-blasted wasteland is enhanced further with brutal training designed to quickly weed out the weak and unworthy. Mental conditioning is a key part of a Krieg recruit's training, their minds purposefully broken and remade stronger, and absolute faith in the Emperor is installed at an early age, amplifying preexisting cultural norms regarding honour and self-sacrifice to create what the Imperial Church calls a "cult of sacrifice." It also emphasises their role as an element in the greater picture, a lone pebble in the avalanche which will crush the enemies of the Emperor; as individuals they do not matter, which is why medals and other awards are unheard-of in Krieg regiments, especially since bravery and heroism is to be expected. Rates of injury and fatality during training are high, and as a final test all recruits are forced to endure the surface of Krieg itself, performing maneuvers and fighting mock battles amidst the nuclear-blasted battlefields that cover their region. Only those who survive this final phase of training become members of the Death Korps.
GrenadiersEditLike most Imperial Guard Regiments, the Death Korps use specialised Stormtrooper squads but unlike the others, Grenadiers are not chosen from training graduates but from the elite of the Death Korps line divisions, usually by their Watchmaster or platoon Commissar. They are also drawn from veterans and survivors of decimated Death Korps squads and platoons. Though the transfer is not a promotion, as Grenadiers still carry the same rank they held before their appointment, but they are regarded as having seniority over rank and file Guardsmen by dint of their experience and veteran status. After serving with a Grenadier squad for a time, Krieg Guardsmen can then be returned to service with the standard infantry as a Watchmaster.
Casualty rates amongst Grenadiers are very high, and although service in the heavy infantry is regarded as a privilege, it is also seen as a duty. A Krieg soldier appointed to a Grenadier squad cannot refuse the honour, and adopts the skull facemask as a symbol of acceptance of his fate. Statistically, eight out of ten Grenadiers are killed in action- the men behind the skull masks have accepted that they are essentially already dead. Many Grenadiers consider themselves already martyred in the Emperor's service and will not falter in their duty, regardless of the odds against them.
- Krieg LXXXIII: The "inspirational founder" of the current Death Korps, the Krieg 83rd Imperial Guard regiment was commanded by Colonel Thawn at the onset of the civil war when he initiated the "Purging" .
- Krieg LIV, LV, LVI, LVIII, LIX: Fought in the Macharian Crusade