Commanding officer: Commandant-Colonele Alfons Tolede
Unit type: Varied, but predominantly infantry
Whilst a number of veteran units such as the Urslavik 33rd and the Goodwood Light Gun Battalions provided an experienced core to the 216th Expeditionary Fleet, these units were understrength after fighting on the frontline for so long. To bulk out the new Expeditionary Fleet, millions of troops were needed. And quickly. It was to the penal world of Kelsig that fleet command would turn…
A prison world, the majority of the population were ‘Plöners’ (the local word for prisoner, slave or corpse depending on the context) serving a life sentence of hard labour manufacturing arms for the Great Crusade. When the call went out, Plöners were given a choice – stay, work and die, or serve in the Imperial Army for 20 years and earn the chance to settle on a newly compliant world. The response was unsurprising, with fully a third of the planet’s population volunteering for service.
High command did not consider the lack of military experience for the Plöners press ganged into the Imperial Army much of an issue. For them, the Plöners’ numbers would make up for any shortfall in skill, and the survivors would gain enough experience on the job.
In the end, around a quarter of the initial fighting strength of the fleet was made up of Plöners. Although initially casualties were high, eventually the Plöners became a force to be reckoned with for the various foes they faced.
Equipment & Fighting Style
Plöner brigades were armed in a variety of ways, with infantry, armoured and cavalry units all seeing action. The only common characteristic was their continual lack of supply – being former criminals the Fleet Logistics Corps constantly viewed them as the lowest priority. As such they took to arming and armouring themselves wherever possible. This resulted in units having a mismatched appearance, with soldiers creating crude armour out of metal shards, plasteel and anything else they could get their hands on.
Common to all Plöners is their distinctive rebreathers. Kelsig is a harsh world with an acidic air that corrodes the lungs given long enough exposure. Although not provided with any breathing equipment, Plöners had become adept at building their own to help them live longer than a few weeks. Although ramshackle in appearance, they proved surprisingly effective, so much so that other units were seen wearing Plöner masks.
- The Liberation of Adura
- ’Endaran Xenocides