Forces involved

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At present the total imperial forces on Telos number approximately 70 regiments. At any one time only about a third of these are 'in the field' with the remainder either resting, reequipping or acting as garrison troops in a hive city of one of the smaller settlements found around the planet. Despite the guard reinforcements transported to the planet they still make up a significant minority of the total forces present with the majority made up of the PDF regiments raised from the population of Telos itself.

Telos forces

At the beginning of the war on Telos the PDF was raised and run directly by the various Nobel houses that ruled the world’s cities. Each house could instead of pay a certain proportion of their tithes raise and equip military forces. These forces were then to be place at the command of the city and planetary governor to allow them to deal with internal and external threats. In reality PDF units often retained close links to their parent Nobel family and acted as that houses private army. The varying strength of the various noble houses lead to wide variance in the size and capability of the PDF regiments, some could consist of only a few hundred poorly trained and equipped soldiers raised directly from the houses servants whereas others could be tens of thousands strong and equipped to guard level or higher including special units drawn from mercenaries or ex-guardsmen. Large scale organisation between different houses forces was rare and outright enmity between units was common.

During the war on Telos the forces of one of more noble houses were drawn together to form more structured and standardised regiments similar to the guard themselves. Each regiment continued to be under the primary control of a single noble house. Although an improvement on the pre-war structure where was still poor communication between regiments belonging to different houses although as the war continued this improved through necessity. Each PDF regiment was given a reference number although this was not normally used except at the highest level and was named after the house, or in the case of regiments consisting of troops from multiple smaller houses, the most powerful house that controlled them. In general although active in the same war zone regiments run by different houses would remain separate from each other and support would only be provided after long political debates between house leaders. This made combined actions difficult but provided some advantage in that losses from one house would rarely affect other units.

With the arrival of the Imperial Guard on Telos a further reorganisation was needed. The first battles the PDF and Guard fought together were disasters. The lack of a centralised command for the PDF although a strength in certain circumstances horrified the Guard, not used to the understandings and political wrangling that kept the PDF going the guard found that the PDF would not support them and the confusion lead to losses on both sides. After analysing this Lord General Jagger ordered an immediate reorganisation of the PDF forces and that they be placed under his and the guard's command. This action almost lead to a further rebellion and there was some actual fighting between the PDF and the guard units sent to take command. Matters only calmed down when Governor Odinson himself appealed for calm and pass over command of his houses forces. Each PDF regiment was formally inducted into the guard and given a new regimental number and the name of their commanding house was stripped from them although in most cases the officer core was still part of the founding house. Thus at least in principle each new Telos regiment was taken within the Guard command structure and separated from the politicking of the noble houses.

In addition to its own PDF various other forces were drawn from Telos's population. Early in the war many civilians wished to join the fight without joining the PDF and were instead organised by the Ecclesiarchy into huge mobs of Frater Militant. Often poorly equipped and trained but strong in faith these units took part in some of the earliest fighting on the planet. Taking heavy losses the survivors often were inducted into later PDF raisings where their new skills could be put to good use. Later in the war the creation of further Frater was frowned upon as a waste of manpower that could be put to better use in the PDF or in the factories. The Mechanicus on Telos also provided limited military uses, the majority of their forces were used to protect their cities and the various Dark Age relics found throughout the planet but several regiments with of Engineseers went to war alongside the PDF where they acted as sappers removing enemy traps as well as building their own fortifications and caring to the machine spirits of the PDF War machines.

The Telos PDF contained all the types of forces that would be found in a Guard force with the exception of Drop infantry with the conditions on Telos make ineffective. There are also some none standard units such as the naval forces of Aquatica and the native hunter units and described below. Compared to most Guard forces the Telos PDF were more mechanised with a greater proportion of armour and bike and trike mounted troops. Even units listed as Line or siege infantry often contained some units which are vehicle mobile. In addition many PDF units contained a greater mix of troop types including armour and artillery organically linked to the infantry regiments. After the reorganisation this practice was reduced and better match the standard Guard procedure.

Imperial Guard

As described previously in this document the forces making up the Imperial guard contingent on Telos are highly variable. The first wave of troops were made up of dozens of regiments although the majority of these units were far below nominal strength. This led in practice with similar units being merged into larger formations, in some cases Guard units were reinforced by local recruits and although this became more common as the war progressed it was never a popular move. Due to the ad hoc way the first wave was formed some units were recruited that are entirely unsuitable for Telos, such as drop infantry, these units have so far been kept in reserve. By the present day the majority of the first wave of forces have taken casualties to such a level that it is no longer practical for them to take place in combat and they have either been fragmented to provide a solid core to other units are form training units to help new PDF units quickly reach combat readiness.

The units that made up the second wave were much more intact and their total head count much larger. These regiments have been put in the combat using standard Imperial Guard doctrine although as they often share battlefield with the PDF they are often given authority over the local units, a procedure which has angered many PDF units who have often been fighting longer than the new comers. Although originally green troops the warriors of the second wave have now mostly been fighting for several years although this has led to their numbers thinning from the inevitable attrition. The troops of the second wave still remain the strongest arm of the guard forces on Telos.

Lord General Jagger’s original plan for the retaking of Telos involved a third wave of Guard forces arriving 2-4 years after the second wave if needed. However, an increase in the Ork wars of the Tetras subsector has caused sector command to delay this force. Although a third wave is still due to arrive it will not be formed for at least 10 years. It seems that the current forces or Telos will have to win the war by themselves.

A small contingent of marines from the local Cerberus chapter have also made land fall on Telos and have aided the forces of Vaga in their battles so far. However, the Marines have remained outside of the Guard command structure and pick their own targets.

Imperial Navy

There are limited Navy forces remaining in system at present. With the defeat of the chaos held system ships most of the fleet left so that only a paid of destroyers and a handful of escorts remain in system. This and the fact that atmospheric craft find the conditions on Telos taxing mean that little aerospace support is provided to the ground forces. Sporadic orbital barrages have been organised for major assaults but they are inaccurate and often cause more damage to the loyalists than the traitors.

Enemy forces

In the same way as the Imperial forces have been forced to adapt to the situation on Telos so to have their enemies changed over time. Early in the war the Telos PDF were fighting their corrupted equals, the enemy forces were equipped and training in the same way as they were the PDF from those cities that had fallen to the Dark Gods. On several occasions near the start of the war enemy units surrendered if provided with evidence of their own leaders corruption before being executed for fear of them being tainted. However, as the war continued the true loyalty of the enemy forces became more and more clear.

The forces originating from the City of Babel have over time devolved into three clear groups an effete officer class, a small practical force and a large slave horde. The officers are rarely seen on the battlefield itself, although in the few occasions they have been directly attacked are a deceptive threat, and prefer to direct the battles from afar. They spent much of their time being amused by the slaves and prisoners and it is though that several of the major assaults by their forces have only occurred due to them running out of play things rather than actual strategic necessity. The practical cast take up the NCO position in the Babel army often leading large squads of slaves; they are well trained and equipped and appear to be the veteran remainder of the original PDF forces. Some are even thought to be off world mercenaries or recruits that have come to the planet either in secret or by sorcerous means. These forces also run the majority of Babel's fighting vehicles and seem to contain a number of corrupted Mechanicus among them. By far the largest part of the Babel army consists of the Slave groups; poorly equipped and trained they are often driven towards the enemy to act as a human shield for the more important units. Many of these poor wretches are heavily mutilated or mutated and in some cases are the pitiful remains of guard or PDF units captured by the enemy. Despite their disabilities these forces should not be underestimated as when worked into a frenzy can be fearless and their corruption can in cases lend then strange powers such as in-human strength and toughness.

The forces raised from the city of Shogun have remained much more organised than those from Bebel. However, they appear to have fragmented into numerous war bands ranging in size from Squads to Regiments averaging company size. Each war band is led by a champion of some sort often favoured by one of the dark gods. These various bands seem to have a distinct highrachy and act together as a single army, there is some evidence that some form of ritual combat is used to keep order in the ranks, however, unlike most chaos armies this appears to be organised so that the army does not fall apart in civil war. Each war band varies significantly in its training and equipment as well as its way of making war. This allows the army to be highly adaptable although it minimises the number of each type of troop available at any one time.

One of the largest and most powerful of these war bands are the troops known as the Dead. These have been identified as an Imperial Guard regiment fallen to chaos although the fall occurred many years ago and several sectors away, the regiment was thought all slain in the scourging of Baldor. The Dead have changed little in appearance since their fall and apart from some subtle chaos iconography they can easily be mistaken for loyalists, a factor which lead to many loyalist casualties early in the war. The Dead appear to be organised into roughly company sized detachments each apparently controlled by a corrupted Commissar, all female. The most notable part of the Dead is their apparent immortality, although they die as easily as any other traitor they appear to have some way of resurrecting themselves, any captured or kill dissolve at sun rise and return to the enemy army later that day. The inquisition is currently investigating how to permanently destroy the Dead.

In addition to the human traitors a number of off world mercenaries have aided the chaos forces including a small number of corrupted Xenos and a few squads of chaos space marines. The majority of these act as warlords in the Shogun forces although some have been seen among the Babel forces as well. Although demonic forces have been seen amoung the enemy their number have thankfully been few, however, as loyalist forces have been driven closer to their home cities their numbers have increased.

Other forces

In addition to the Loyalist's and the Traitor's there are two other military groups on Telos, the native human population and the wild Orks.

The native human population are the degenerate survivors of the original colonisation of the planet at some point in the Dark Age of technology. They have regressed to a point where their highest technology is the internal combustion engine and have separated into many nomadic tribes. Since the light of the imperium shone on Telos some have converted to the worship of the Emperor and have worked alongside the new colonists but others have fought the imperial forces and have been put down. With the coming of the civil war on Telos the natives have likewise split, some fight alongside the loyalist forces either joining the PDF directly or acting as guides and scouts for the guard. Others have fallen to chaos and have joined the traitors carrying out much the same role in their armies. The majority have either remained neutral trying to avoid the fighting or sell themselves as mercenaries to either side. Still more act as bandits ambushing small units from either side and stealing from them.

The Ork's have been on Telos for as long as anyone can remember, they were purged when the Imperium reclaimed the planet and regular sweeps kept their numbers down until the civil war. Since then small bands have attacked imperial and presumably chaos supply lines as well as ambushing isolated patrols, although the overall damage has been minimal it has been steadily growing over the past decade. There have also been some occasions where it appears the traitor forces have been aided by Mercenary Orks.