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The Death Korps of Krieg is an Astra Militarum faction in the Warhammer 40k universe that stands from the rest for it almost fanatical determination and commitment to throwing unwashed masses at any the problem of the imperium may face. These Krieg 40k soldiers embody the essence of sacrifice and stoicism like none other, now let’s dive into why that is.

A Toxic Home World

Imagine a world, not like our beautiful and verdant Earth, but a toxic, desolate wasteland, stripped of its natural resources following civil war and nuclear cataclysm. This is Krieg, the homeland of the Death Korps. Once a thriving planet, Krieg fell into a catastrophic civil war that lasted for generations, with the Planetary Governor turning from the Imperial faith to declare himself an independent autocrat. As a last-ditch effort to regain control, loyalist forces, the forebears of the Death Korps, deployed atomic weapons that completely devastated the planet. 

The horrors of this apocalyptic event shaped the people of Krieg in profound ways, necessitating brutal survival to cope with the hard conditions of their life. Eventually they reclaimed their world from the traitors who instigated the civil war, but this came at a heavy price to their planet and society at large.

As a result the Krieg 40k Death Korps have a culture steeped in self-sacrifice and absolute loyalty, reflected in their “Cult of Sacrifice” Regimental Doctrine, a core tenant of the regiment which heavily instills the belief that the greatest honor a soldier of the can achieve in this mortal life is to die in service of the Emperor. Every aspect of their society, from childhood onwards, reinforces this belief, instilling in them an almost fanatical ability to push past fear and to hold the line where others would falter. 

Overall, this has culminated in the forging of a faction that is grim, relentless, and unfaltering, to the point of being a meme (beware the Krieg armed with a shovel)

“The scorching fires of war burn away the weak and the incapable. From the ashes of a tormented past, the Death Korps of Krieg stands unbroken. Their scars are a testament of their will. To truly understand them, one must look at the brutal cauldron that forged them – Krieg. Therein lies their story.”

Major Conflicts

The Siege of Vraks 

Declared as a rebellious world by the High Lords of Terra, Vraks was to be made an example of. The Death Korps, renowned for their specialty in siege warfare, were drafted for the brutal task. They launched relentless, bloody attacks for over 17 years, indefatigable in their determination to claim victory for the Imperium. Their tireless siege strategies, backed by countless artillery salvos, eventually crumbled the planet’s defiance, helping to re-establish the Imperium’s rule. 

“Above all, they stride forth surrounded by a belt of martyrdom. The Krieg are the human steel upon an anvil of pain”, Anonymous Imperial Commissar

The Third War for Armageddon 

When hordes of Orks threatened the planet’s stability, the Death Korps were among the first to answer the call for aid. While the war resulted in a brutal stalemate, the Death Korps stood out as one of the few factions to hold their ground and repel the Ork onslaught. 

“Their resolve is their greatest weapon. With it, they felled the greenskin beasts by scores. Even in the shadow of rumbling mega-gargants, they never wavered.”, Captain Aethon, Salamanders Chapter

The Purging of Mordant Prime 

Ordered to literally bleed their enemies dry, the Korps suffered severe casualties while laying siege to the forces of Chaos on the planet’s surface. Despite these challenges, the Korps’ uncompromising tactics and ruthless endurance turned the tide of the conflict, earning the grudging respect of their adversaries.

“They are the bulwark against the terror. They are worthy rivals.” – Echoes of a Thousand Suns, Chaos Lords Testament

The devotion to duty and unrelenting determination of the Death Korps have cemented their reputation as the relentless hammer of the Astra Militarum.

Miniature Styles

The Death Korps of Krieg miniatures are recognized by their distinctive, skull-like facemasks, a powerful symbol of their willingness to sacrifice themselves without hesitation. 

Their insignia consists of a skull wearing a German Stahlhelm, surrounded by laurel wreaths. The skull signifies their disregard for their own lives in the pursuit of victory, while the Stahlhelm and the laurel wreaths give nods to the Germanic tribes of ancient Europe and their value for valor and glory in battle. 

The colours used in their markings, predominantly greys and blacks, also emphasize their grim nature and their origins from a war-scorched home world. The heavy use of greyscale intends to reflect the bleakness and sterility of Krieg, implying the lack of anything flourishing or vibrant. 

Some Death Korps units bear additional markings on their suits, denoting their specializations. These are usually stenciled in a minimalist, utilitarian style, reflecting the regiment’s disdain for needless flamboyancy – each marking is there for a reason, just like each soldier in their ranks. 

Krieg 40k Miniatures

If you’re inspired by the ever-gritty aesthetic of the Death Korps or any other Astra Militarum factions and fancy bringing other world war themes to life in your miniatures, we might have just what you need.

Dungeon Forge offers an expanding library of proxy wargaming miniatures, expertly designed for quality 3D printing. With an array of finely-detailed units primed for your masterful painting, you can build your army and emulate whichever theme you so choose.  So, why not head over and raise a platoon of your own? A world of gritty, grimdark tabletop warfare is at your fingertips.

Dive deeper into the Astra Militarum factions you know and love, or explore something new. Over on Games Workshop, you’ll find a plethora of richly detailed models, expansions and supplemental material covering everything Warhammer 40k has to offer. For a more in-depth discussion on lore, tactics and army building, forums such as Bolter and Chainsword hosts a dedicated and knowledgeable community. 

Maybe you’re looking for inspiration for your next conversion project? Why not check out Warhammer Instructions on Reddit – a treasure trove of assembly guides to help you customize your regiment. 

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Evan Gale
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Warhammer 40k LoreAstra Militarum: Death Korps Of Krieg
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