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Caledonian Highlanders  by Alan Munro 
Jungle visitor (and proud Scotsman) Alan Munro writes: “This army’s theme is based on the Highland regiments razed by the British army after that battle of Culloden in 1746 and, in particular, the regiments that served in the Napoleonic War, such as the 42nd Black Watch and the 92nd Gordon Highlanders (quite appropriate, as I live in Inverness, just a few miles from Culloden). 

“I actually have a full 1500-point army of Highlanders as my main 40K army. I have taken them to several Conflicts and have been to the UK GT three times, coming 61st out of 140 in 2006 (and I wear my kilt when I’m there!). I also have a long list of nasty models I have killed in hand-to-hand with my Heroic Senior Officer, including Dark Eldar and Chaos Lords, Hive Tyrants, a Carnifex (single handed!), a Bloodthirster and a Deathwing Grand Master, not to mention unnumbered Space Marines, Chaos Space Marines, Eldar, Tau, Orks, etc. Just proves that a themed army doesn’t have to be a weak army!”

The southern half of the planet Caledonia is flat and fertile, its people loyal citizens of the Imperium. The northern half is wild and mountainous, home to a fiercely independent and headstrong people who for over 1000 years resisted every attempt by the Imperium to defeat them. Every time an attack was launched the Highlanders withdrew to their mountains and then ambushed and destroyed the Imperial forces as they tried to follow them. 

All this changed when a Chaos horde landed on the border between the North and the South. The Chaos forces found themselves under attack from the Imperial armies and the Highlanders, and were rapidly overwhelmed. Following this event, an agreement was reached between the Imperium and the Highlanders. The Highlanders would be able to remain independent from the Imperial governor in return for agreeing not to launch any further attacks against the South, and to provide regiments for the Imperial Guard. And so, the first Caledonian Highlander Regiments were raised.

Highlander regiments normally comprise mixed units, including infantry armour and artillery in the same formation, a throwback to their days as rebels, when groups were required to fight independently of one another and therefore had to include their own support. Highlander regiments also contain the Grenadier Company, made up of the most experienced fighters. This unit is used to spearhead attacks or provide a reserve for counterattacks, as well as its ceremonial role as bodyguards to the regimental commander. Many Highlander regiments have companies attached from the Royal Caledonian (a Loyalist regiment from the South) to provide heavy weapons squads and other specialist support (and to monitor the loyalty of the Highlanders). The Highlanders also seem to have a habit of ‘acquiring’ extra squads, vehicles and even platoons (see “Elite” units). 

Caledonian Highlanders with supporting Royal Caledonians (in red) and support tanks

As former rebels, Caledonian Highlanders are strong-willed and independently minded, often ignoring senior commanders altogether until they have proved their worth. They are, however, one of the most highly skilled and brutally efficient assault regiments in the Imperial Guard and will fight fearlessly for those commanders who have earned their respect.

Caledonian Highlander regiments show a much greater variety of organisation than those from other worlds, as each regiment is influenced by the particular clan area it is recruited from and the personality of its commanding officer. As a result the Doctrines used vary from regiment to regiment and consist of the three ‘core’ doctrines and two extra doctrines chosen from the list below.

Core Doctrines (mandatory selections):

  • Hardened Fighters
  • Iron Discipline (this represents the close bond between the officers and their men)
  • Close Order Drill
Extra Doctrines (select no more than two from this list)
  • Restricted Troops: Priests
  • Restricted Troops: Ogryns
  • Restricted Troops: Rough Riders
  • Die Hards
  • Sharpshooters
See pages 55-56 of Codex: Imperial Guard for details. Any unit which has been given the Hardened Fighters Doctrine will be part of the regiment’s Grenadier Company. As this company is expected to spearhead attacks, it must be mobile, and, therefore, no unit from it can be given a heavy weapon. Special weapons may be taken as normal.

A squad of Caledonian Highlanders, in their distinctive kilts

The Company Command Squad must be led by a Senior or Heroic Senior Officer who must take the Iron Discipline Doctrine. He must also be armed with either a power weapon or power fist. The squad must take the Hardened Fighters Doctrine and may not include a heavy weapon.

No Commissars may be included (Commissars in Caledonian Regiments have a survival rate similar to those in Catachan armies), but some regiments may include Priests (see above). 

Heavy weapon squads may be included as normal, but are Royal Caledonian and must be modelled as such (see “Modelling and Painting”).

Any Hardened Veteran squads will be the remains of other units that have been “acquired” by the regiment. As such, they cannot be given the Hardened Fighters Doctrine. As mentioned above, some regiments may include Ogryns.

As per Codex: Imperial Guard. Up to one platoon may be upgraded to the Grenadier Company. These troops must take the Hardened Fighters Doctrine and may not select any heavy weapons. Some squads or platoons can be made up of Royal Caledonians for extra variety.

Fast Attack
Hellhounds are not common among Caledonian regiments and therefore may not be fielded. Sentinels may be used as normal and, as noted above, some regiments make use of Rough Riders.

Heavy Support
Demolishers and Basilisks may not be chosen, as both are too slow and difficult to deploy in the wild areas of North Caledonia. Leman Russ Battle tanks may be taken as normal. Many Caledonian Highland regiments field some of the more rare armoured vehicles, such as the Leman Russ Exterminator and Griffon self-propelled mortars, more often than normal (see Imperial Armour for details).

Modeling and Painting
The most important modelling consideration when creating a Caledonian Highlander regiment is the kilts. The easiest way to model kilts (and the one that I used) is to get a sheet of 1mm graph paper and colour in a tartan pattern with coloured pencils. Then cut out strips approximately 6mm by 25mm, dip in PVA glue and wrap the strips around the legs of the models. 

As for the models themselves, Cadian or Catachan Guardsman work well, with any pouches scraped off and their legs painted flesh colour. Command Squads should have a bagpiper; bagpipes can be made using blobs of green stuff, short lengths of wire and by cutting and filling in arms. Royal Caledonian squads should be Mordians painted to resemble British Napoleonic uniforms (i.e. red with white cross-belts). 

Caledonian Command Squad, with bagpiper

General Tactics 
This army fights to a large extent like a normal IG army, using large numbers of troops and heavy weapons, backed up by tanks.  Unlike most Guard armies, however, a Caledonian army can mount a capable counterattack on any enemy units that make it though the storm of fire. While not being able to survive a charge into the centre of a Tyranid or Ork horde, a combined charge of a tooled-up Command Squad and massed infantry can be surprisingly effective against single, powerful models (Chaos Lords, Hive Tyrants) or single squads of close combat troops. With a power fist, a Heroic Senior Officer can eat Space Marines for breakfast.

Related Pages
Other Imperial Guard Themed Army Ideas

Posted June 2008. Used with permission.


Fighting Tigers:
Codex <> Tactics <> Gallery <> Allies and Enemies <> Tales of the Tigers

Other Pages:
Main <> What's New <> Site Index <> The Tiger Roars <> Themed Army Ideas
Events and Battle Reports <> Campaigns <> Terrain <> FAQ <> Beyond the Jungle