OpChan Operators Operational Only War Operation
If I had to summarize the Cielan Drop Raiders up, I would have to admit I was directly inspired by Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore’s Air Cavalry outfit from the movie Apocalypse Now. The man who infamously quoted “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.” In the movie we see Kilgore playing a guitar surrounding a campfire with his men in a war zone, everyone acting as if they were at a barbecue cook out back at home. Then we see them devastating a village from their helicopters in the sky, all the while blaring “Ride of the Valkyries” over loud speakers mounted on the helicopters. Then, after they’ve bombed the enemy into the stone age, they proceed to surf on a beach they’ve just taken, all while the enemy are still firing on them. It’s that kind of wackiness I’m going for with the Cielan Drop Raiders.
CIELAN DROP RAIDER TACTICA
The thing that distinguishes the Drop Raiders from your usual Imperial Guard regiment is how decentralized they are. This is because of their preferred strategy of using air mobile guerilla tactics to gradually wear down an enemy until a larger force can arrive en masse to take advantage of the weakened enemy. They often insert small units of well-equipped guerilla fighters behind enemy lines via aircraft, and those units will proceed to raid any targets of opportunity they are able to in order to cause disruption within enemy ranks and leave the enemy more vulnerable to being attacked by more conventional Imperial Guard forces.
Cielan Raiders gained a lot of their current tactical doctrine by training with Elysian Drop Troop Regiments, since the planets Elysia and Cielan are rather close to each other. But while Elysians orient themselves more towards ship-boarding procedures, Cielan has chosen to refine their planet-based warfare with a strong emphasis on small unit guerilla tactics. Cielan troopers usually issue chameleoline uniforms and flak armor to their guerilla soldiers in order to aid them in camouflage and concealment so that they have an advantage towards ambushing and then escaping. They also make heavy use of explosives, which are distributed liberally throughout the ranks, because of the vast amount of ways a guerilla fighter may employ them to trap or sabotage heavier enemy forces (such as tanks).
The troops on the ground have a dizzying amount of support from aircraft and orbiting spacecraft as well. Cielan guerillas sometimes never fire a shot, instead opting to simply to locate an entrenched enemy and then relay their coordinates for a well-placed airstrike, orbital bombardment, or artillery support if it is available to them. Unlike most other Imperial Guard forces who have a distaste for retreat, the Cielans emphasis on guerilla tactics coupled with rapid air mobility means they make great use of “hit and run” tactics since they are able to rapidly redeploy elsewhere on the battlefield once they have disengaged.
DROP RAIDER SOLDIERS
Between missions, many Imperial Guard commanders believe the Cielans to be more undisciplined than most. This is often theorized to be a side effect of the great amount of autonomy that Cielan commanders give their guerilla fighters in the field, which means the soldiers don’t rely on their officers as much as other Guard regiments do. Cielan regiments aren’t afraid to have a bit of R&R when the situation and time permits for it, or even to break out in wild bouts of revelry upon celebration of a victory. Many soldiers wear their uniforms in a non-standard way, and for some reason a lot of luxuries get shipped to them from their home planet that makes living in a battlefield just a touch more pleasant. This can lead to envy from other Guard regiments, or cozying up to the Cielan in order to join them in their more relaxed atmosphere, or downright resentfulness because of their apparent lack of discipline and order.
Cielan Regiments are often of mixed gender, though men make up the bulk of the combatants. This is perhaps a byproduct of the upbringing on their homeworld, as Cielans are more accepting of outsiders than most even if the feelings aren’t mutual. When they are, though, and a troop from a different Guard regiment can find a way to transfer into the Cielan regiments, he is welcomed as one of their own and quickly taken in to be trained in the Cielan method of doing things. This is because of a Cielan belief, engrained from their history, that you can learn much from how other people do things, and so the Cielan are eager to train others in their ways as much as they are to learn how other people have fought.
Cielan Raiders are often given a bunch of guff by other more renown Imperial Guard regiments because of their origins: Cielan is an Imperial “Garden World” located in the same sector as Holy Terra (a Garden World is the polite name for a “Paradise” or “Pleasure” planet). Cielan’s main attraction is tourism the whole world over. The environment is clean, picturesque, and perfect for a vacation anywhere you go: The warm sandy beaches in the tropics, skiing in the colder more mountainous snowy environments, or even to just do some hiking around a more temperate woods. There are portions of the planet where the weather is nice all year round, to the point where there is no need for air conditioning or heating. Cielan does possess more “built up” areas with cities based largely on the tourist trade: casinos, vast shopping districts, cultural centers hosting more artistic endeavors (such as art galleries, theaters, and concert halls), and even sanctioned “red light” districts.
Cielan’s industrial needs are provided for by an orbiting moon that is utterly rich in minerals. Most Cielan industry is located on this moon that has a hazardous atmosphere, thereby sparing Cielan itself from any major pollution while providing a strong manufacturing base. Being located so close to Holy Terra, Cielan has managed to lure in many technological secrets from those who possess them and still have a taste for more worldly pleasures that Cielan can provide. Thus, Cielan is also a chief manufacturer and exporter of these high tech goods, which they also make a lot of use of for themselves.
Because of this, Cielan has attracted a downright startling amount of wealthy visitors from all over the sector, even from Holy Terra. All manner of powerful, wealthy, influential people have made homes on Cielan: nobles of major houses, planetary governors, Imperial Guard commanders, high ranking members of the Ecclesiarchy, rogue traders, chartist Captains, and just the downright filthy rich. This much power and influence all gathered onto one planet has been a major boon to Cielan.
All Cielan citizens are brought up to complement the pleasant atmosphere around them. Physical exercise is a priority all throughout a growing child’s schooling years so that even the local populace are as pleasant to look at as the vibrant environment that surrounds them. Cosmetic surgery is also widely available and subsidized by the planetary government. Entire populations are brought up to become artists, musicians, actors, or to produce other forms of entertainment so that they are all just fun to be around.
It’s because of the overly-pampered nature that nearly the entire populace experiences is why those who were born and raised on Cielan are looked down upon as being too “soft” compared to the rest of the Imperium, where many of had to toil in harsh conditions just to eke out a living. Some have become jealous or even resentful of those who have lived on Cielan, and refuse to believe any genuine accomplishment the people of Cielan have managed wasn’t in some way influenced by high-born wealth and prestige. It’s for this reason, and the fact that Cielan is indeed just a nicer place to live than the vast majority of the rest of the galaxy is why Cielans are loathe to ever leave their world. If they must, they usually seek a way to return home eventually.
Because of Cielan’s reputation as a decadent pleasure planet, it would often be the target of pirate raids. This necessitated building a strong planetary defense force (PDF), fully funded, backed, and trained by the wealthy nobles and military officers made their homes on the planet. While nothing remarkable at first, things would seriously change the day that Cielan caught the attention of the Dark Eldar.
The depraved Dark Eldar spied upon the paradise world and fell in love with what they saw. They begun to stage light raids into the planet, most of them successful because the PDF trained in standard Imperial Guard doctrine was too large and unwieldy to be able to catch the lightning-quick raids of the Dark Eldar. With each successful raid the Dark Eldar took more slaves, riches, and desired objects with them to their home world – which prompted even larger and more bolder raids back into Cielan. Eventually, it became a downright invasion of the entire planet, with the Dark Eldar claiming to whatever they could get their hands on and taking whatever they could carry back with them – and laying waste to the rest. The Cielan PDF was gradually bled dry from the raids, demoralized, and hardly able to defend itself let alone the planet they were charged with protecting. They desperately sent out a cry for help.
Help arrived in the form of an entire chapter of Space Marines landing upon the planet and wasting no time in harrying and putting a stop to multiple Dark Eldar raids. The Cielan PDF was in awe of the Space Marines ability to make such a difference across an entire planet with only 1,000 Marines. This gave the Cielan forces the opportunity to watch and study how the Space Marines fought with the ability to rapidly strike wherever they were needed. The Cielan PDF volunteered to fight alongside the Marines whenever the Marines allowed them to, and heeded Marine advice in how to properly defend against such a quick enemy as the Dark Eldar. The Space Marines, when time and situation permitted, sometimes sent instructors to drill the PDF in proper rapid-response measures, and to raise civilian militia to be able to fight for themselves should a Dark Eldar raiding party come for them.
As helpful as the Space Marine chapter was, though, a planet is a large thing to defend for only 1,000 men – even the legendary Space Marines. But more help came in the form of multiple Elysian Drop Trooper Regiments who had the Imperium Navy assets capable of such a fast response, and the means with which to fight the Dark Eldar. Elysian airborne tactics were fast and swift enough to catch up to the Eldar raiding parties, and to finally put them on the defensive. Gradually, the Cielan PDF adopted the Elysian methods of warfare, coupled with instruction from Space Marine scouts, to develop their own way of fighting a war with the Dark Eldar.
Gradually, Dark Eldar raids began to cost them more than they were able to plunder from the planet, so with that realization, the constant raids and piracy gradually died down and came to an end when it was no longer worth it to invade a planet that had the means and capabilities to take more from the Dark Eldar than the Dark Eldar could take from Cielan. Cielan’s PDF had permanently changed into a force that favored the rapid-strike capabilities that the Space Marines, Elysians, and even the Dark Eldar had shown them. With the wholehearted backing of Cielan’s rich noble populace, and influence of those ranking Imperium officials who made Cielan their home, Cielan began to produce the vast fleets of aircraft and spacecraft that would be the mainstay of their forces from then on.
The Cielan Drop Raiders were born. Like their Dark Eldar adversaries, they learned the value in gradually bleeding an opponent dry before closing in for the kill. When deployed to distant battlefront by Imperium mandate, they still prefer their own guerrilla tactics to most other methods, leaving the large sweeping advances to other Imperial Guard regiments more suited to that kind of conventional strategy.