In 433.M40, the Autarch of the planet Krieg in Segmentum Tempestus declared himself independent from the Imperium and renounced the Emperor as his divine master. Krieg was then locked in civil war. Much of Krieg quickly fell to the rebels except for Hive Ferrograd which came under the command of the now infamous Colonel Jurten of the Krieg 83rd Imperial Guard. Under strict orders to not let Krieg fall but with the promise that no fleet on the scale that was needed to invade a planet was available Jurten decided that Krieg would either belong to the Emperor or to no one. On the day of the feast of the Emperors Ascension Jurten unleashed a counter attack of atomic cleansing that was to turn into a great purging. For days Krieg was engulfed in a sea of nuclear fire. Krieg’s ecosystem collapsed and the planet was engulfed in a nuclear winter. But the civil war dragged on. The survivors from Jurten’s purging were forced to exist in underground bunkers or deep in the radioactive chem-wastes, as their descendants do to this day. From the self-annihilation of their home world, loyalist troops slowly retook their world inch by inch over 500 years. From this the Death Korps were born. Krieg was finally returned to the Imperial rule in 949.M40.
It should be noted that Krieg raises an unusually large number of regiments for a devastated planet. This is attributed to the use of cloning technology, which Krieg has been granted special dispensation to use as the result of their famous steel, determination and unswerving loyalty to the Emperor. Use of this technology is generally prohibited throughout the Imperium by the Adeptus Mechanicus, the custodians of the Imperium’s technological lore. This may explain why Death Korp troops are rarely seen without their characteristic gas masks.
They are most famous for never flinching, even in the face of sudden death and they see their deaths in war as penance for the heresy of their ancestors years before. They are a dedicated trench and siege warfare force and perform best in wars of attrition. The Death Korps of Krieg regiments routinely volunteer for tours of service in the most dangerous warzones in the Imperium which means they have earned a fierce reputation across the galaxy. They excel in trench and siege warfare but have taken part in various different actions across many campaigns.
They can be counted on over most other Imperial regiments to hold their ground and when advancing prefer a massive offensive over an extended front with a rolling barrage artillery support. Many Krieg regiments are adept raiders of entrenched positions should a massed offensive be impractical or require the softening up of enemy positions before any such offensive can take place. The fact that the Death Korps of Krieg are known for unconditional loyalty and ruthlessness in prosecuting their wars mainly comes from the atomic purging that the 33rd Krieg Infantry under the command of Colonel Jurten inflicted on their own planet during the civil war, a fact that the Death Korps of Krieg in general 33rd Krieg Infantry in particular are very proud of.
- Information from Lexicanum