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Warhammer 40k Astra Militarum Imperial Guard Infantry Squad

Infantry Squad

The core of the Imperial Guard forces in Warhammer 40k is the Infantry Squad they are both cheap and effective. Whilst not as good as most other troops they can make up for it with sheers numbers of both soldiers and special/heavy weapons. The orders system also makes them perform over and above the points cost. With enough flashlight (lasgun) shots they can cause considerable damage to most targets with sheer volume of fire. Of course this can also be enhanced with a few choice special and heavy weapons. The sergeant can also take a number of melee and pistol options.

Led by an indominable Sergeant, Infantry Squads form the backbone of any Imperial Guard force.

Cadian Infantry Squad with Mortar and Flamer hold the Temple of Skulls

Cadian Infantry Squad with Mortar and Flamer hold the Temple of Skulls

Sergeant's mess

The squad Sergeant can wield either a chainsword or power sword. The chainsword is free points wise and grants an extra attack, Imperial Guardsmen lack the strength and combat prowess to make the power sword tell except in Catachan detachment builds where strength is boosted to 4. My choice is the chainsword, Guardsmen in general don't excel at melee so this isn't where you want to be if you can help it, the chainsword helps and its free.

Range wise the sergeant can swop his las-pistol (or alternatively of course keep it) for a bolt pistol, bolt gun or plasma pistol. The bolt gun is a good choice giving the Sergeant the same range as his squad for minimal cost and more shots over the bolt pistol within the same range. The plasma pistol can add some oomph to the unit but the plasma gun is often a better choice.

Special Weapons

One lucky Guardsman in every infantry squad can take a special weapon, the options are

  • Sniper rifle - Cheap, cheerful better with Ratling Snipers leave it in the armoury.
  • Flamer - Flaming death good for squads on attack duties also equally useful against melee horde armies such as Orks
  • Grenade Launcher - Cheap often outperformed by a lasgun and the first rank fire, second rank fire order occasionally useful for the Krak generally the plasma gun is a better choice
  • Melta Gun - Up-close tank buster take this if your squads getting in close to tough targets
  • Plasma Gun - Long ranged plasma death my go to special weapon for a squad on defence duties

Heavy Weapons

Two lucky Guardsmen may form a heavy weapon's team with a choice of

  • Mortar - Good for a defensive squad can also fire without LOS so can bunker down on objectives or out of line and sight and still add to the fray. Since Chapter Approved 2019 quite an expensive choice.
  • Autocannon - Good all rounder but given how cheap Imperial Guard weapons are its often best to specialise at what you want to do i.e. destroy tanks or gun down infantry.
  • Heavy Bolter - occasionally useful generally give it a miss as nearly all your vehicles come equipped with these.
  • Missile launcher - more viable since Chapter Approved 2019 not quite as good as the Lascannon nor the Mortar but can cover both making it more tactically flexible.
  • Lascannon - Go to armour buster if that's what you want , this is what you need! Also useful when long range armour penetration is needed.

Astra Militarum Infantry

To Vox or not to Vox

A unit with a Vox-caster can receive orders from a friendly officer within 18" who is also within 3" of a unit with a Vox-caster. In a power level game this is effectively "free" so sure take one. In a points based game however the cost of Vox-casters soon starts to add up, soon you could have had an additional Platoon Commander or even a Company Commander. In a points based game having more officers is often a better idea.

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Each <Regiment> gives a different bonus in Battle forged armies (and why wouldn't you force be battle forged?). Below are the bonuses infantry receive.

  • Cadian - Reroll 1's to hit when stationary, grants rerolls to hit when ordered to take aim. One of the best should always be considered.
  • Catachan - +1 strength and +1 leadership if near an officer. Situational and requires an army built to utilise it. Go to for armies that intend to get up close and personal.
  • Valhallan - Half number of models lost to morale. Ok but there is better (see Cadian above).
  • Vostroyan - Additional 6" range for heavy and rapid fire weapons with a 24" or longer range. Good but requires good knowledge of enemies ranges to utilise to full advantage also increases rapid fire range accordingly.
  • Armageddon - Rapid fire out to 18". Good requires good use to play rapid fire cat and mouse with the enemy.
  • Tallarn - Advance and still shoot any weapons except heavy weapons. Useful but as advancing is random can be difficult to use effectively.
  • Mordian - Hit on 5 or 6's on overwatch and +1 leadership if all models in base to base contact. Useful but limited scope other bonuses come into use much more often.

9th Edition

So how has the infantry squad fared in 9th?

Utility wise they are still as invaluable as ever with objective secured and move, move, move they can easily move onto and contest objectives. Firepower wise they have dropped in efficiency 9th armies have got tougher with higher toughness and improved saves there isn't much strength 3 las-guns with no AP can inflict much damage on.

Survivability has suffered however not due to add reduction in defence but due to the sheer boost in firepower 9th edition army have got. They still function as a move blocker and objective holding units but don't expect much from either firepower or combat with them.

With free upgrades such as plasma gun, sergeant power sword and plasma pistol plus a free heavy weapon Guardsmen squads have gotten more interesting and slightly more deadly. cascading orders is also a big boost.

© 2018 Gordon D Easingwood


Gordon D Easingwood (author) from Wakefield, United Kingdom on September 27, 2021:

Yes also new heads in too. They have added all the special weapons and sergeant upgrades into the boxset.

Guardsman on June 13, 2021:

And just got an update to the boxset with all the special weapons in

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