REGIMENT COUNT:.........................830 Recorded
SPECIALISATION:....Infantry Assault, Close-Quarters
"Without a doubt the most disorderly, bloody-minded, indignant, exasperating, slovenly, vicious bastards one could ever have the pleasure of committing to the Emperor's grace."
Commissar Gaston de'Phere, Regimental Commissar of the 115th Dimarian Shieldbreakers, during Waaagh! Gurgor 072-081.M42
The Dimarian Shieldbreakers are Regiments of the Imperial Guard recruited from the Feudal World of Dimari. Whilst lacking some of the sophistication of Regiments sourced from more advanced worlds, Dimarians are known to be stubborn warriors, if ill-disciplined. They are often deployed as light infantry skirmish screens or massed infantry charges.
"Dimarians? Ho-ing great! Someone else can bleed for a change."
Captain Quintara, 6th Chiloan Mountainmen, during the unkown Waaagh! 009.M41
When the Rogue Trader Lady Jaste Astaaen chanced across Dimari during the period of conquest that followed the discovery of the Barus sector in late M35, she was surprised to find a planet with a functioning, albeit primitive, native society. It did not take a grand effort to bring Dimari back into the Imperial fold, and a period of slow enlightenment for the Dimarians followed. Astaaen’s family ruled over the planet from their stronghold of Laedinus, and for the most part, the natives were left in peace, quickly falling into subservience - or so it was thought - to the Imperium.
Two rebellions against Imperial rule, coming in quick succession in 199.M36 and 218.M36, disabused the Astaaen of their success in placating the natives. While both rebellions were quashed with relative ease - the wooden shields and crude weaponry of the Dimarians little match for the shotguns and slug-throwers that Aunust Astaaen’s retinue and mercenaries were equipped with - they showed that certainly the clans most local to the Imperial capital had not taken well to a distant imposition of rule. Moreover, they should that the clans were willing to war; were stubborn and intractable, even in the face of overwhelming odds; and that while the local clans had lost the majority of their strength in the rebellions, others further afield would still pose significant threats in the future if left unchecked.
The answer was a simple, obvious one. In order to rob them of their strength, Aunust enacted a tithe of manpower from each clan, and enforced this law more proactively than previously. At a large training complex just outside of Laedinus, these first recruits were trained in a manner befitting the Imperial Guard, and so the first regiment of the Dimarian Shieldbreakers was formed.
"The Regiments of the Astra Militarum are near-always a reflection of how they conduct themselves before conscription. Dimari is every bit the backwater it's soldiery would have you believe."
Marshall Theor, 11th Army Group, defending Bulara from the Jagged Gauntlet 227.M39
Dimari, a Feudal World, is located in the Mechar System, of the Maya Subsector, in the Barus Sector. Landmass consists of one modestly large continent flanks to the west by thousands of miles of archipelagos; the remainder of the planet is given over to a large, salty ocean. The climate is temperate, but prone to savage storms that batter the coastal archipelago - especially it’s western tip, where the storms are fierce enough that it is barely habitated (and likely would not be, if there was not such fierce competition for limited space elsewhere on the planet). Ruled by descendants of Jaste Astaaen for a millenia, the Astaaen family were eventually deposed as tyrants, and the planet has since been under the rule of those from the Warxes noble house.
The natives tend to live in island clans on the archipelagos and on the coastal areas of the singular continent known as Carnaevii. At the time of the planet’s discovery by the Imperium, the archipelago clans were violent outcasts looked down upon by their continent-dwelling kin; the larger mineral wealth of the continental mainland and increased amount of farmland for exploitation led to a larger, more developed society. With the arrival of the Astaaen, this changed dramatically; the mainland’s mineral wealth was claimed by the Astaaen to offer to the Imperium as a planetary tithe, until the raising of the Shieldbreaker regiments replaced this with a more useful resource. Those natives who lived on the mainland were offered a choice - to integrate into the Astaaen, Imperial culture and be uplifted; or be banished to the wild coastlines and archipelagos to eke out a life among their more familiar kin. Most chose the former, and are largely unrecognisable today. Those who resisted were forcibly deported by the Astaaen to nearby mining worlds of Rorecht and Kinvia, in an act known as the “Dimari Diaspora”.
Local economy is largely based on exploiting what mining wealth remains, both by the coastal natives and the Imperial city. The varied minerals and ores of Dimari are used widely for the creation of armour and weaponry for the native clans, and household items both for native and Imperial settlers; but while reasonably rich in mineral wealth, Dimari’s mining does not provide valuable enough materials to the modern Imperium to warrant the Administratum stepping in to mechanise the process. Some whisper that the Planetary Governors of the Warxes family have also stepped in on occasion to protect the inhabitants of the world from excessive outside influence, concerned by both diaspora or dilution of the planet’s main export - the men it conscripts into the Shieldbreaker Regiments. Secondary to mining is fishing, the raising of domestic livestock, and using what land is not too wind-swept to cultivate local edible fauna.
One central Imperial city-settlement, Laedinus, exists in the center of Carnaevii. Great families, descended from the original Imperials who colonised the planet, play their political games here in the modest and sole bastion of Imperial presence on the planet. While by no means unknown to the native Dimarians, they largely keep themselves distant from the inlanders, or Sygh-treys in the parlance of the Dimarians (much of what the Imperium knows of the Dimarian native tongue can be traced to the works of Lexilogist Missionary Emmet Grock; few native Dimarians learn to write in low gothic). Some Dimarians seeking better lives, or who over time cleave closer to the Imperial creed, do uproot themselves and travel to Laedinus; should they ever return to their archipelago clans, they are invariably treated coldly as outcasts.
The Clans have no central form of united government, and so it is hard to define an important settlement in conventional terms; each clan is a local entity, and each settlement is of equally ultimate importance, depending on the viewpoint of the clan who rules it. The standings of various clans wax and wane over the years; none have eclipsed the total strength of Clan Carew, who ruled over their empire of one hundred and sixty nine islands at the time of Astaaen rule. For the settlement with the most cultural capital, one could perhaps point to the ruins of Tre war Venydh, where the ancient king Ythur held court in Dimarian myth.
"To offend one clan is to instantly gain friendship with seven others."
Emmet Grock, Missionary and Lexicologist, unknown M36
It did not take long for the first missionaries to bend Dimarian religion to fit the Imperial creed. The belief most prominent was in the warrior-god known as the Duw-Myghtern, Ythur, a legendary king who united the people against the evil practitioners of witchcraft who held the planet in their thrall. To those of the clergy, the analogies were obvious - clearly Ythur is the Emperor, with the nine holy Primarchs as the Marheks, fabled Knight-Companions of Ythur, battling against numerous trials set by the mutated foes of the Great Enemy, led by their arch-commander Mordus and his cabal of witches, now known as the nine demons of the Warp. Those few who have been condemned for more rigorous study of Dimari beliefs claim that it is likely the worship of Duw-Myghtern Ythur is rooted in a real King who united many clans millenia ago, most probably against a coven of psykers and heretics who lived in the sea-carved caves of the archipelago cliffs - a claim violently contested by the Ecclesiarchy.
The rest of Dimarian spirituality tends towards veneration of ancestors, with multiple Tassens revered as guiding spirits of certain disciplines - there is a Tassans for axecraft, a Tassans for husbandry, a Tassans of revelry, so on and so forth. One of the most revered among the Shieldbreakers is Tassans Mihal - the patron or war. Different clans hold different Tassens in esteem, or have different names for the same Tassans - for example Mihal may also be known as Myghal depending on which clan one is from, and Perran of the archipelago mines may also be known as Piranus of the mines to those on the mainland. Ancestor worship extends beyond the Tassens themselves and into more esoteric beliefs; the storms that assail the archipelagos, for example, are know to the clans as the Bockas Dhu; Dimari funeral rites among the clan involve the ashes of the dead being scattered to the sea, and it is said that storms occur when a spirit’s yearning for a return to life grows too great. Veneration for ancestor and prior accomplishments are held in high esteem amongst Dimari society - and perhaps, although cruel to say, responsible for their lack of forward advancement.
However, it is likely that the planet having never progressed further than a feudal state of being is down to their clan existence and geographical interests. The coastal archipelago has shaped Dimari culture through all its aspects - food, as an example, is based around what can be sourced on the windy islands. The strong fishing and seafood culinary base of Dimari is complemented by large, sturdy quadrupedal bovids known as Buhes who are farmed for red meat, and root vegetables and low-lying bush fruits that can survive the wild winds. The Pasti is one dish that has mirrored the Shieldbreaker’s transition to space-born warriors: formerly a miner’s dish, those among the Dimari Shieldbreakers with basic cooking knowledge produce these for their comrades, using whatever meat and vegetable substitutes that can be found pressed into a hard pastry wrapping that protects the filling from dirty battlefield hands.
Travel on the archipelago is treacherous; islands range in size but are typically small, thus necessitating a significant amount of sea travel. For those who wish to venture further afield than their own island clans, knowledge or superstition that helps predict the movement of the great storms is a necessity. As such, the Dimari tend to be not well travelled, prefering to contain themselves to their more immediate surroundings. This in turn presents it’s own problems - when everyone focuses on the close by, small amount of land available, who has a right to what traits or islands, and how do they establish this? It is here that the Dimari show their warlike tendencies, shedding blood over the size of land that would hardly be considered a lowborn’s private garden on an Agri world.
Such tendency to small, local and savage conflicts, combined with the need for space to safely farm and fish in quantities enough to provide for one’s community, leads invariably to the culture of the Archipelago clans. There is no central governing council among the archipelago clans; they focus entirely on those close by, and a clan’s worst enemy will always be the nearest possible contender in a geographic sense. Alliances between clans are rare and short-lived, preferring to exist in a state of near-constant tension and conflict.
When clans go to war, they do so wielding a ceremonial axe that each warrior is gifted on their 10th nameday. A one-handed steel axe, the Bool Kas (or more colloquially to the Dimarians, a Skooskyjya) is inscribed with tribal markings and records of victories, and often features a large and deadly spike affixed to the rear of the blade. These weapons will be paired with crude shields and armour crafted from local materials, heavy and unwieldy, or additional close-combat weaponry. Clans do not use elaborate tactics, and battlefields of their native harsh geographical and geological settings tend to reduce battles to chaotic melees rather than disciplined ranks. Warriors are predominantly male; with a high rate of battlefield attrition, females are kept primarily to more traditional, domestic roles in society. This is not to say they are defenceless; they are also presented with a Bool Kas, and while not expected to use it, will defend homes with violence should it ever be a desperate necessity.
Clans are defined by a rigid, patriarchal hierarchy. Each clan will be led by a Myghtern, who will rule with an iron fist. They are not always the largest and most ferocious warriors, but tend to lean in this direction, with conflict being a staple of Dimarian life. Pennsevigyon are the direct successors to the Myghtern, selected through merit rather than through lineage where the two do not overlap. Clans will have permanently appointed Kaptenow, who’s job is to train and lead the warriors of the clan in battle, and appoint Hembrenkysi, a kind of sub-leader, to serve below them leading small units at times of war.
Those who live on the archipelago are naturally untrusting of outsiders - again likely linked back to the fierce competition for space. Those who live inland of the Carnaevii coastline are seen as soft, weak and decadent, and rarely welcomed into coastal or archipelago communities. This welcoming manner is usually just that however; Dimari clans prefer to expend their energy enacting violence against those they can claim resources from, rather than travellers with little to give. For their part, the inland peoples have become more and more subsumed into Laedinus and the Imperial culture, and are not seen as native Dimari any longer.
The tithe enacted on the manpower of the clans tends to be met with a mixture of responses. Some grumble, cursing the interference of far-off Laedinus on their lifestyles, draining the clans often of the youngest and most virile. Some - often those young, fiery warriors - see it as an opportunity to escape an endless cycle of clan-based competition. Some clans see it just as a type of civic duty, others an exalted religious duty to the service of Ythur. A wide range of social classes therefore end up being tithed, from green youth through to clan warlords or heirs.
"Whad'eedo? Well Sir, 'e's from the Tregowan, an' by all rights a bleddy Tevelwas."
Sergeant Jhody Roders, 40th Dimarian Shieldbreakers, shortly before summary execution under Art. 3680/35k 763.M41
The organisation of Dimarian Shieldbreaker regiments stands as a reflection of the Dimarians themselves: chaotic and unorganised on the surface, until one sees past the facade of turmoil. Regiments are organised along the same lines as most at a high level, with concessions to change being found at Platoon and Company levels.
Platoons tend to contain more standard infantry squads than is expected among other regiments, with sometimes up to as many as ten under each platoon command. It is also common to see large numbers of conscripts - known as Tus Yowynk - in many platoons. These are less likely to be the get of veteran soldiers as they are simply the impetuous and direct youths for whom basic training is seen as an attempt by some far-off beaurocrat to impose unnecessary knowledge and authority over born fighting men. On the other hand, special weapon squads are rare and heavy weapon squads rarer; some rare platoons might be lucky enough to have both a special weapons and heavy weapons squads attached, but many go without one or the other, and some go without either.
Where platoons are large but unsophisticated, this only rings half true at the company level. Most regiments in more civilised forces tend towards limiting company size to five or six platoons, while Dimarian Shieldbreaker companies will usually only be comprised of two or three platoons; Dimari culture being as hierarchical as it is, the Commissariat assigned to this tricky posting will quickly come to learn the the proud, clan-affiliated Dimari will willingly shed blood over who is more deserving - perceived or realistically - for a posting in line with their previous authority. By offering a wider array of leadership positions and smaller company structures, this helps facilitate a more cohesive and battle-ready force than the more standard alternative. Invariably, most leadership postings seem to be assigned to those who have proven and demonstrated leadership qualities from their prior lives, with the majority of Lieutenants, Captains and Colonels coming from the many Hembrenkysi, Kaptenow, Pennsevigyon and Myghternedh who volunteer from the archipelago clans.
Indeed, the clan culture of Dimari that permeates it’s guardsmen is one of the regiment’s most striking qualities. Fatigues of greys, blues and blacks are most commonly paired with a Losten Kar: a thick woven skirt, bearing clan colours and patterns individual to the soldier’s heritage. Brawls between soldiers from different clans are common; where it is a more immediate offense they tend to be forgiven and forgotten as quickly as the insult was given, but when the result of a specific clan feud, these will often end up in blood, death and the commissar’s office. Depending on their size, a clan will often be responsible for populating entire platoons, and on some occasions companies - Officers need to exhibit a serious force of will, through reputation or brutal authoritarianship, to keep their troops in line.
Commissars are found embedded within each company, spreading among the platoons; despite the Dimarian’s unruly nature requiring regular disciplinary action outside of combat, once on the battlefield they are surprisingly willing to shed blood in the name of the Emperor and need little further encouragement. Ministorum Priests are welcomed as warriors, redoubtable and enthusiastic as the Shieldbreakers; but those who come to understand the Dimarian dialect find the amount of foul language they hear uncouth and off-putting, and Dimarians find the constant religious preaching an irritant when they are exposed to it for extended periods of time. Other regimental attachments are rare to non-existent; Enginseers have little to do, and Psykers are shunned to the point of Dimarians refusing to serve alongside them.
"Bramm an gath. Doesn't matter which way we go anymore. WITH ME, SKOOSKYJYAS!"
Captain Matyn Rown, 88th Dimarian Shieldbreakers, upon being surrounded during the Pacification of Korvakan 546-563.M36
The Dimarian Shieldbreaker regiments are, in the vast majority of cases, lightly armed and lightly armoured. Most infantry squads will contain no weapons other than the standard-issue lasguns they are prescribed with at creation, and few vehicles will be found as part of the regiment. Where larger weaponry or artillery is permanently attached to a regiment of Shieldbreakers, it will more often than not be deployed to position by beasts of burden known as Ohen.
Dimarians, by nature, are more at home with simple and efficient tactics rather than complex military maneuvers. When working in combination with other, more disciplined forces, they tend to work best deployed in one of three fashions. As light skirmishers, their fierce independence and stubborn nature can be assets when screening the flanks of a larger force, or securing difficult terrain ahead of a larger force’s arrival. Alternatively, they are commonly deployed as a mass of line infantry, where their intractable numbers can fix an opponent in place for other forces to move into position.
A third task that the feudal guardsmen relish is as a large close-assault force. All Dimarians carry a ceremonial weapon from their homeworld, a one handed steel axe known as a Bool Kas. Many Bool Kas also feature a large and deadly spike affixed to the rear of the blade. These weapons are put to brutal use in the melee of close combat, whom the sturdy and robust Dimarians have proved themselves adept at. Many choose to supplement their lethality by affixing daggers or metal spike to the butt of their lasguns, allowing them for use as impromptu club-like pickaxe in combat, and others will wear rings of alloyed metals under their regulation flak armour, which offers additional protection when tackling enemies face-to-face.
Where ranged weapons more powerful than the standard issue lasgun are required (or permitted), flamethrowers are most commonly seen: mobile and capable of taking down infantry in cover when skirmishing for position, warding off enemy assaults allowing Dimarians to gain the initiative when fighting on the line, and softening entrenched positions on the way to hand-to-hand combat. Moreover, they are simple and easy to maintain compared to the more archaic and specialised plasma guns or meltaguns, and do not require the precision and forethought needed for effective deployment of a grenade launcher. Mortars are favoured as a method of light artillery support, primarily for their ability to fire over friendly troops rather than around them; a stark advantage, considering the often unruly Shieldbreaker advances. Light and easily portable, they allow Dimarians to maintain pressure and suppression on an enemy while other squads advance to melee, at which point the mortar team will often pack up and rush to join.
"Find me that Dimarian. He puts half my own staff to shame."
Lord General Irio Rusan Vaygoth, Commander of 3rd Army Group, on hearing of the Orcan Expeditions 081.M42
Marshall Lorrigan Skale - formerly the Colonel of the famous Dimarian 18th "Crossaxes", Skale was already Myghtern of the mighty Clan Skale and reknowned as a vicious warrior before he relinquished his seat to submit himself to the Imperial tithe. He is one of the few Dimarians to have risen above the ranks of regimental command, having been identified and requested by Lord General Vaygoth after Skale’s rearguard prevented a catastrophic collapse of Imperial forces during the recent Orcan Expeditions. Skale currently serves on the General Staff under Lord General Vaygoth, assisting Lord Marshall Alexander Voss in the vanguard of Battlegroup Vor, while the 18th have been requisitioned by Inquisitor Jasten Felixar of the Ordo Xenos to lead more excursions to Orcan I, II and III.
Major Jory Splann - serving in the 429th Shieldbreakers in M38, Major Splann’s regiment was part of an army tackling a rampaging ork Waagh! on the far-off planet of Corpingnon. The fledgling and lightly supported Imperial force was thrown together hastily, and after a number of defeats, were in full retreat from the planet. In an effort to turn back the onrushing tide of Greenskins from the one spaceport still transporting Imperial troops off planet, Major Splann rallied his handful of remaining men and charged into the centre of the Orks, distracting them long enough to allow the Imperials to retreat in good order. When a larger force arrived to recapture the planet, Splann’s Bool Kas and the 429th Regimental Banner were recovered from where the bodies of his men and him lay in a city plaza, intermingled with hundreds of dead Orks. Splann’s Bool Kas has now been affixed to the banner pole of the 429th, and has been proudly carried in battles into the 42nd Millenia.
Colonel Amandry Thark - Amandry Thark leads the 71st Dimarian Shieldbreakers as part of the 4th Barus Army against the Ork Warlord Skargutz Urgul, the Black Skar Boyz and their Feral Ork allies on the feral world of Obol. Proving to be an unconventional commander (by the Dimarian's loose standards), he led the 71st in their nightime raid on the camp of Skargutz's lieutenant, the Wyrdboy Garak dag Krull. Thark showed remarkable restraint in luring the Orks into the fire of his disciplined gunline, but lost both an arm and a leg battling Garak dag Krull before the Wyrdboy was gunned down. Considered too valuable as one of the few Dimarians to impose something resembling conventional battle tactics on a Shieldbreaker regiment, Thark was saved and given cybernetic limbs to sustain him; thus marking the Colonel as a fearsome warlord among his own regiment, but an outcast to Dimarians outside of the 71st.
Edited by Harlan Skorus, 10 June 2020 - 09:27 AM.