OUT OF CHARACTER INFORMATION
Intent: Unit for Archangel.
Image Credit: Here.
Role: Mechanised infantry. The entire unit is composed of droids.
Permission: Permission for all ArmaTech gear and all other subs made by Laira Darkhold's writer here and here.
Links: ARD X-1 Human Replica Droid, Gunther Stahl.
Unit Name: Iron Guard.
Affiliation: Archangel Research and Design, Iron Fist Consortium, Enyo Typhos, Typhos Clone Family.
Classification: Mechanised droid infantry.
- Fenris Cyber Mastiff
- ARD X-1 Human Replica Droid
- Legionnaire Combat Droids Mk2
- Phylactery Scarab Swarms
- ACS-205 Blackblade Modular Rifle
- ACS-202 Vanquisher Light Repeating Blaster
- Verpine Shatter Rifle
- ACS-205 Advanced Dual Weapon System
- ACS-207 Aerosolblaster.
- ACS-208 Wrist Ion Beamer.
- Under-Barrel Disruptor
- Under-Barrel Miniature Flameprojector
Description: The Iron Guard are a combined arms unit of Archangel droid infantry. They are equivalent in function to organic mechanised infantry, using their armoured vehicles to deploy into battle. The Iron Guard can guard key locations, carry our strikes and engage in the fury of combat. Leadership of the Guard is provided by HRDs, as is typical for Archangel military forces. These HRDs are programmed to show initiative, adapt and use their ability to store and analyse vast amounts of data to come up with tactics and strategems that will lead to victory. Archangel prefers to rely on groups of crack units instead of deploying droids as fodder. After all, unlike organics, droids feel no pain, fear and do not tire. They are backed up by other droid units, such as Legionnaires and Fenris cyber hounds. The Legionnaires represent the grunts of Archangel.
Compared to a conventional APC or IFV, the Hellmaw is a lot slower. However, as a tradeoff it is better armoured. Moreover, its ability to burrow beneath the ground and appear suddenly in the midst of the enemy gives it greater versatility by allowing unconventional surprise attacks. It can also transport a large number of soldiers. Nonetheless, once above ground the Hellmaw is particularly vulnerable to heavy weapon attacks and bombardment, as it lacks the speed of an IFV.
Use of the Hellmaw allows the Iron Guard to pull of surprise attacks, emerging in the midst of the enemy. They are also well-armoured. This is particularly useful in urban warfare settings and in trench warfare, as the Iron Guard can bypass the static lines of defence and entrenched fortifications. This makes the Iron Guard useful for shock infantry tactics. However, any bridgeheads established by them would have to be secured by the timely arrival of reinforcements. In a larger engagement, they would also require support from artillery, tanks and aerospace forces.
Overall command is vested in an HRD called Gunther Stahl. Gunther was born and raised in the old Sith Empire. A dedicated Imperialist, he distinguished himself in engagements such as Roche and Metalorn. But the Empire's stagnation, the constant turnovers in management and its eventual collapse left him frustrated. Following the collapse of the Empire and the Sith's 'return to the shadows', Gunther became a mercenary, selling his services to the highest bidder. Eventually he entered the services of Archangel. Little did he know that they were actually a genocidal machine cult. At first he provided training to their droid forces, using the tactical expertise he had gained in the service of Dark Lords. Then Moira Skaldi decided that he had done his job so well that he should serve Archangel forever, whether he wanted or not.
So he was sedated, restrained and 'upgraded'. This upgrade involved processing him so that he could serve Archangel in robotic form. When Gunther awoke as a Human Replica Droid, he was completely obedient to Archangel. He retained his memories and skill as a soldier, but now thought like a droid. He was also a lot stronger, more durable and free of organic weaknesses. He served Archangel for many years. His combat prowess and command skills were a significant asset for the genocidal droids and he performed many missions, often leading units of battle droids and HRDs into combat. His contacts among mercenaries and criminals were also useful for the corporation. His missions brought him to places as diverse as Contruum, Kaeshana, Thakwaa and Eriadu.
Ironically, Gunther dealt Enyo's insurgency a severe blow when he laid waste to her base. During the final battle, he used Enyo's brainwashed 'sister', the second clone of Siobhan Kerrigan, to manipulate her. However, he was ultimately bested in combat after Caoimhe turned on Archangel. He did not stay dead though. Remembering her duel with Gunther, she found his 'intelligence' within Archangel's captured databanks and downloaded a copy of his mind into a new Myrmidon HRD body. It may seem a bit odd that Enyo chose her former attacker to become one of her chief lieutenants, but the Cyborg has a habit of repurposing defeated enemies into servitors. So she made him a droid general. Now he answers directly to Enyo.
Unit Size: Medium
Unit Availability: Uncommon
Unit Experience: Veteran.
Combat Function: The Iron Guard are a combined arms unit of mechanisard droid infantry. They form the mainstay of Archangel's mobile forces. They provide the muscle for Archangel's more specialised forces. They can perform garrison duty, carry out strikes and seize tactical objectives. The Iron Guard makes heavy use of combined arms tactics. As a result, success depends on coordination and adequate use of the various types of droids assigned to the unit. The Legionnaires and droidekas are the footsoldiers, the HRDs are the leaders and the Fenris Cyber Mastiffs are scouts and melee combatants.
The Legionnaires are decent battle droids. Tough, strong and durable, they also possess some protection against the traditional machine weaknesses, namely ion, EMP and electrical discharges. They are a solid combat model that can utilise a variety of weapons and be deployed in large numbers to overwhelm opponents. However, despite being more intelligent than say a B-1, they are still automatons. They possess only limited independence and ability to think for themselves. They are designed to be combat drones, not autonomous units. They follow their programming and carry out their instructions well, but little beyond that. This makes them quite predictable in combat. More complex thinking patterns are left to HRDs, which are considered an officer class by Archangel. The Legionnaires of this unit are equipped with standard infantry gear and only have limited access to anti-tank/air missile launchers, which can leave them vulnerable to heavy vehicle formations and air strikes. Artillery bombardment is also an issue for them, especially in open areas.
While their droid bodies and body armour are tough, they only provide minor protection against lightsabres. The Faraday cage and insulation only protects vital internal systems, leaving the battle droids' motor systems a lot more vulnerable to ion and electrical attacks. The droid has an ionization buffer and an Electrical Capacitane Shield to protect itself, but these devices can still be overwhelmned, especially by repeated attacks or especially powerful blasts. Even if an attack does not outright destroy the droid, it could still paralyse or weaken it, giving an opponent time to launch a more lethal blow. Droidekas have the standard strengths and weaknesses of their model. Phylactery droids give their droid hosts a limited self-repair capacity.
Each company has HRD officers to provide direction. Their primary function is tactical command, but they can obviously also fight in combat, using their extreme strength, durability and combat protocols. HRDs are incredibly strong, resilient and, unlike common battle droids, able to think tactically, analyse situations and learn. However, heavy blaster salvoes, lightsabres and heavy weapons can still damage or disable them. Moreover, though their armour provides some protection, they remain vulnerable to electrical discharges, EMP and so on. Should the HRDs directing a company be taken out, the overall unit will become a lot less effective since the Legionnaires are simple grunts who do not innovate. They would continue fighting, but be rather predictable since they would be unable to apply innovative or complex tactics. The HRDs can also coordinate the Wasp Droids and the Fenris Cyber Mastiffs that tend to be assigned to the Iron Guard.
The Iron Guard have access to Fenris Cyber Mastiffs. These mechanical hounds are extremely fast, ferocious and terrifying at close range. Their agility, strength and ferocity makes them fearsome melee combatants. Moreover, they make good scouts. However, they lack ranged weapons and thus need to get into melee range before they can hurt an enemy. With a limited brain, the Fenris carries out orders it is given, but shows little adaptability or initiative. It will charge an enemy by the most direct way. Being a droid, the Fenris is vulnerable to ion, lightning and other droid killers.
The Hellmaws are able to travel underground, allowing the troops to ignore many standard defences by appearing from beneath the enemy’s feet, or in unexpected locations inside a fortress or city. Each Hellmaw carries droids which can be dropped off to attack the enemy as soon as it emerges. Alternatively, these droids can use the massive vehicle as cover. Featuring mainly anti-personnel weapons, the Hellmaw's head also features a very powerful dual heavy laser cannon and the mining drill. This drill can tear through most vehicle armour with ease. The vehicle is very well defended, with armour, shields and its sheer bulk making it hard to pin down. Shell. When required it can enter a static shell when above ground. Its weapons are retracted and the armour plating completely covers it. This mode cannot attack but is almost impossible to crack without massive firepower.
However, above and even below ground, the Hellmaw is very slow. It’s top speed is a sedate 20km/h. The Hellmaw is also quite slow and clumsy to turn due to its length. A vigilant enemy will know something is coming from the growing sound of the drill and the crushing of rocks coming from below. Even if they don’t know where it will emerge it’s hard to conceal unless a diversion covers it. Though they too are heavily armoured, the legs are the weakest part of the Hellmaw transports. Explosives, lightsabres or heavy impacts can shatter a leg. Destroying half the legs will render the vehicle immobile. Due to the slow pace of their vehicles, the Iron Guard forces are vulnerable to air and artillery strikes once above ground.
Aside from the concussion missile launchers (which are primarily for air defence) the Hellmaw is short ranged. The blasters and plasma drill have a relatively short range. The Drill is ineffective over 100m, the blaster cannon accurate to only 500m. The bane for all droids and machines is ion/EMP attacks. Though it does have protection from personnel carried weapons or light vehicle weapons, heavy ion artillery or bombs can pierce its defences and render the Hellmaw at least immobile or possibly destroy it.
Theoretically droids of only one type could be loaded into the transport, but the unit applies a combined arms doctrine. As is typical for Archangel units, HRDs serve as the officer corps. The Legionnaires are standard battle droids and the droidekas are the heavy fire support. A single Hellmaw can carry up to 32 infantry droids. This is about equal to a small platoon. Larger droids take more space. In canon terms it can carry 32 battle droids, 16 super battle droids or destroyer droids, or any combination therein. The Legionnaires and HRDs are equipped with blaster weapons, hand grenades, blades and a limited number of heavy weapons.
Once deployed, the Iron Guard fight like conventional droid infantry, aiming to use firepower, droid relentlessness and numbers to overwhelm opponents. The Hellmaw can provide heavy support at close and medium range. However, the transport is not equipped to deal with heavy armour except close up. This puts it at a disadvantage in confrontations with tanks and heavy walkers at long range. If not supported once they make their deep strikes, the Iron Guard can be overwhelmed by enemies or destroyed by heavy artillery or ion bombs. It is therefore important for the breakthrough they cause to be supported and reinforced by fresh troops.
They make ideal assault troops, particularly in combat situations where Archangel forces have to go up against heavily entrenched enemy troops. An example would be trench or urban warfare, where a frontal assault would be very costly for the attacker. In such a scenario the Iron Guard could achieve a breakthrough, throw enemy forces into temporary disarray or distract them. Depending on the experience and prowess of the enemies the Iron Guard are facing, the sudden appearance of a huge mechanical wurm might also have a strong psychological effect on enemy forces. Obviously green conscripts or militia are easier to scare than veterans of various campaigns.
However, any gains made by the Iron Guard would have to be exploited by timely reinforcements, especially in form of heavy armour that can take on enemies at far range and the provision of air support. A vigilant enemy could also be alerted by the sound of a Hellmaw's drill, so careless deployment could result in the element of surprise being lost. Diversionary assaults or artillery barrages can be employed to help mask the approach of the Iron Maws when they are making their way from below ground to the surface.
- Crack droid assault troops.
- Mix of droid types allows combined arms tactics. Use of Hellmaw transport gives them tactical versality and flexibility, as the troop transport can travel underground, then suddenly appear and surprise the enemy.
- HRDs provide expert leadership and coordination.
- Though well-armoured, the legs are the vulnerable part of a Hellmaw. With the exception of its concussion missile launcher, its weapons are also short-ranged, which can be an issue when dealing with heavy armour.
- The Fenris is vulnerable to ion, has limited intelligence and lacks ranged weapons, meaning it has to get into melee range to hurt an opponent.
- Vulnerable to long range artillery bombardment and air strikes. Require support forces.
Officially, Archangel Research and Design was founded by Anna Komnena and Nalia Alderana to provide top-quality HRDs tailored to the needs of their clients. Elite soldiers, head-turning companions, attentive secretaries and bodyguards - it would be able to manufacture anything the client desired. It is devoted to progress, the betterment of society and seeks to improve the lives of sentient beings through the development of cutting-edge droid technology. Its two founders were philanthropists who gave a lot to charity and donated millions of credits to humanitarian aid work on devastated planets such as Kaeshana and Contruum. Following their death in a tragic accident, their company was inherited by Tess Tanner, who is devoted to continuing Archangel's good work.
That was the advertisement at least. In truth, his company was created by Maelion Liates and Moira Skaldi to do what they do best; process organics and create killing machines like them for use in the private sector. It was part of their plan to one day eradicate organic life and usher in the Age of Steel. Organic civilisation would be replaced with a mechanical dystopia of well-ordered machines. To this end, they constructed sophisticated HRDs that would be used as infiltrators.
Over the years, Archangel greatly expanded its business after acquiring shipyards and opening a marketplace storefront. Large orders and considerable funds were raised gained through these transactions. It provided HRDs to various governments and corporate clients. Its business model was predatory, profiting from brushfire wars and conflicts across the Galaxy. To this end, it manipulated insurgents on war-torn Contruum and backed the Sith Order during the Korriban Rebellion. In the aftermath of the desolation of Kaeshana, it set up an abduction and processing operation under the guise of humanitarian aid work. Though most of its efforts took place in a state of secrecy, it also established its own military forces.
The Iron Guard was created to give the machine cult some muscle. It saw action on Contruum and Eriadu, where Archangel backed a Tarkinite movement in the aftermath of the Omega Protectorate's collapse. Its forces participated in the Sith Rebellion. Led by Enyo Typhos, they helped the Sith secure Korriban City. The town's destruction at the hands of a rogue Silver Jedi commander wiped out a good portion of them, but this led to a Silver Jedi withdrawal. Archangel was not concerned, as droids could be replaced.
Archangel's greatest success might have been its Force clones. Droids cannot use the Force, and the leaders of the machine cult realised that Force-Users would be the greatest threat to their plans. So they created Force clones and indoctrinated them to believe in Archangel's vision. However, organics are unpredictable. Pushed too far, their creations rebelled...just as Moira Skaldi and Maelion Liates had rebelled against their creators. Enyo Typhos and Amara Zarides led an insurgency against the corporation. However, Enyo did not want to destroy Archangel, but take over. At this point, she was more machine than organic. Though she had rejected the genocidal dreams of her creators, their indoctrination had left its mark on her, turning her into an amoral, nihilistic woman.
Archangel fought back with all the forces at its disposal. The insurgents were able to deal the machine cult a serious blow by allying with the Contingency and destroying their main base. Several Iron Guard units were destroyed in the battle. However, Archangel went underground. Exploiting victory disease among its enemies, it struck back after locating Enyo's base. The strike was successful and the insurgents suffered heavy losses. The revelation that Archangel was building a new, devastating weapon forced them into an alliance with the Shadow Knights, a group of Eldorai dissidents whose nomad fleet had also been targeted by Archangel. It all came down to one battle. Despite severe losses, the rebels prevailed and Enyo took control. What was left of Archangel's military forces was reprogrammed to serve her.
In the aftermath of the battle, Enyo faced the task of integrating her criminal syndicate into her expanded power base, rebuilding Archangel's infrastructure and armed forces. The Iron Guard was one of the units that underwent reforms. One of these was the addition of a new form of subterranean transport inspired by a massive wurm Enyo had faced on Karakorum, homeworld of the Kraal. To win the support of the lizardmen and gain the right to hire them as mercenaries, Enyo had to slay an enormous sand wurm.
When most people see thirty foot sand worms consuming and rampaging, they are driven to fear, possibly awe. Enyo Typhos took notes; here was something she could use, once the erratic organic flesh had been stripped away. Therefore, the Karakorum sand worm inspired Enyo to create a mechanical monstrosity which would be capable of burrowing underground, emerging and disgorging a full platoon of droid soldiers into the fray.
In appearance the Hellmaw looked like a ten legged centipede with armoured carapace and terrifying alien form. It was capable of doing things no organic piloted craft could do such as operating in the jolting, airless, claustrophobic ground. Furthermore, the Hellmaw was armed with a potent array of weapons, though it was not equipped for combat at far range. Once the first Hellmaws had left the factory, they were added to the arsenal of the Iron Guard. Through use of combined arms tactics, they would increase the versatility of Archangel troops on the battlefield.
She appointed Gunther Stahl, an HRD commander who had played a vital role in Archangel's endgame and ironically almost beaten her in combat, as her top droid general. The Iron Guard would soon see action when Enyo decided to purge her syndicate of unreliable elements. It was also deployed in support of her efforts to colonise the remote corners of space and establish her own machine civilisation.