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Made in de
Pyromaniac Hellhound Pilot

Since it recently came up when creating fluff: How much does the typical Guardsman/Colonel know about Xenos tech/weapons/ammunition?

Lets say a standard regiment gets deployed somewhere to find out what happened with some research station and find the crew dead. On the ground the find lots of shards/splinters (Drukhari)/ shuriken (CWE), bug skeletons (Tyranids) or spots of equipment that where disintegrated by Gauss weaponry (Necrons).

Is it common knowledge what that implies? Is it taught in the uplifting primer?

Do IG commanders have a rough idea what kind of Technology the bigger allen factions have? In a sense of knowing that Necrons can sometimes phase through walls, T'au have flyers with anti-Titan weaponry, Ork tech won't work for them or is this knowledge that has to be rather in the field?

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2021/05/20 11:26:12

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Longtime Dakkanaut

No it's not common knowledge for a fresh regiment to have unless they come from a world that has had regular experience fighting certain aliens before. At most they have misleading information from the primer which portrays all the aliens as weak and with ineffective weapons against the supposed superiority of humanity. If they have had time to talk with veterans that have encountered such aliens before they might get bits passed on verbally but that's subject to hearsay, rumor, and speculation (assuming it's not clamped down upon by the Commissars).

Thus it will be a big shock to a naive fresh regiment to find out that they are individually outclassed by a galaxy of foes.
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Warning From Magnus? Not Listening!

I mean if you see a dead 'Nid, you see a dead 'Nid. "Know Your Enemy" is part of basic training for a Guardsman so they would have a rough idea of what they were looking at.
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Dakka Veteran


Blessed be the ignorant, for they know not how to stray.

Some officers and specialists may have access to xenological knowledge, but otherwise mankind is one large, hidebound teeming hord of ignoramii. Including their military.

Made in gb
Wise Ethereal with Bodyguard

Sector command probably would, and provide just enough info to the lower ranks (read, nowhere near enough to be actually useful) to avoid a total debacle.

Please excuse any spelling errors. I use a tablet frequently and software keyboards are a pain!

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Made in gb
Warning From Magnus? Not Listening!

I see it not so much as they give no intel on enemy combatants, rather command just gives the same orders.
"The Aeldari are fast but physically weak. Sustained mass Lasgun fire will bring them down."
"The Orks are tough but dim-witted. Sustained mass Lasgun fire will bring them down."
etc. into infinity.
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Regular Dakkanaut

I think they'd know quite a bit about tamer ork tech. Shootas, bombs, kannons and the like. When it gets to tellyportin things, zzap guns, or shokk attack guns, i think they wouldn't know too much, even admech rush to study mek tek cause they don't know too much.

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Made in gb
Decrepit Dakkanaut


Lower ranks likely know very little when fresh drafted and that might extend a reasonable way up the command chain since many of the lower level commanders would be part of the recruits from their home system.

It would be up to things like Commissars and much higher central ranks who likely know and are trained to identify things such as Xenos tech and Chaos tech. At least to a level whereby they can identify it as non-human.

It's one thing to be ignorant and xenophobic, but if you don't even know anything of the xenos to know what's xenos from what's just a different Imperial worlds tech/designs then your xenophobia is going to have problems.

After that knowledge of such things would grow within a unit as fights on different battlefields and also communicates with other, more experienced regiments (which might be previous foundings from their world or entirely different regiments).

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Regular Dakkanaut

Probably depends and varies from regiment to regiment.

If your regiment was from a world that was brutalized by orks, like Armageddon, officers probably have a pretty good idea what ork 'tech' can do and what it looks like, so they know the difference between mega armored nobz and killa kanz.

Likewise, if your regiment has been deployed against a foe before, there's probably a tradition of keeping informed about them, especially if you're a fighting regiment that ends up getting shuffled around a lot versus a garrison regiment or a regiment that's only been deployed to one theatre (like Tanith and the Sabbat Crusade).

After that, it's a crapshoot. Ciaphas Cain could identify necrons and specific units of orks and specific bioforms of tyranids/GSCs, but had absolutely no reference for Tau Crisis Suits and instead called them dreadnoughts.

I imagine most regiments have someone in them that could at least identify the most common xenos (of which Necrons are not), but for their specific tricks, those would fall under "foul xenos witchcraft." There's a reason where every other report of a well fortified position falling to Tyranids is because the imperials forget that the Trygon is a thing that exists.
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Deadly Dire Avenger

I would imagine the level of knowledge varies wildly. The Imperium by and large seems to believe in the blessing of ignorance and that the less the lower orders know about the evils of the galaxy the better (least they be corrupted). Outside senior officers and specialists (e.g. military intelligence) I imagine they tell guardsmen very little until they decide they need to know it (e.g. deployment to a warzone against that foe) and even then they only tell them the bear minimum they can get away with. I doubt a newly trained guardsmen from a backwater world knows what a tyranid is or can tell the difference between a drukhari or a craftworlder.

But this ignorance wouldn't be universal. Veterans will have learnt things the hard way and will pass that knowledge on to new recruits. Planets with a history of fighting certain enemies will likely train their raised regiments extensively from their own past experience. Just because the political higher ups in the wider Imperium would prefer their people to be ignorant doesn't mean individual worlds/regiments don't learn from experience and pass that knowledge on as their primary concern is training effective soldiers.
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Utilizing Careful Highlighting


If you want to write it in your fluff a good way would be that they character involved had faced said foe before and recognised the signs. It could add to suspense if they knew but most the grunts had no idea.
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