Tanith First And Onlyl
In 765.M41[Note 1], during the Sabbat Worlds Crusade, the planet Tanith was called on to raise regiments for the Astra Militarum for the first time in its history. Originally, the people of Tanith were tasked to contribute three regiments for the Imperial Guard: the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of Tanith - totalling 6,000 men and a small number of vehicles and artillery pieces, to be commanded by Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt.[1d][2b]
Tanith First And Onlyl
Despite everything, Gaunt also had one thing to give the Tanith hope: the Right of Settlement. When Warmaster Slaydo elevated Gaunt to the rank of Colonel-Commissar, he also granted Gaunt settlement rights to the first planet he won. Despite everything, some of the Tanith saw this as a chance to claim a new home, a New Tanith, for themselves.[2b][2i]
When Ibram Gaunt was sent to Tanith to oversee the founding of these regiments, he was not impressed by the appearance of the men, initially describing them as "a scrawny, scruffy mob of soft-voiced woodsmen". Gaunt's opinion of his new regiment changed quickly after seeing them in combat for the first time on Blackshard. Because of their exceptional stealth and scouting skills, they never got lost even on the most confusing of battlefields, and using camo-cloaks they could move quickly and stealthily through terrain. On Blackshard the regiment's master sniper, Hlaine Larkin, coined the name "Gaunt's Ghosts", referencing both their superlative stealth abilities and the fact that they were dispossessed 'ghosts' of men.[2b]
With Tanith destroyed, the Tanith First-and-Only had no homeworld from which to draw new recruits, but the Ghosts eventually garnered a strong reputation after a number of actions, in particular the Siege of Vervunhive. After the heavy fighting of the siege the Ghosts were reduced to their lowest numbers yet, but received a huge influx of new recruits from Vervunhive who, thanks to Warmaster Macaroth's Act of Consolation, were allowed to join any regiment of the Imperial Guard they desired since their hive had been destroyed.[3d] The cultural divide between the Tanith and Verghastite elements of the regiment became an ongoing problem, with the Tanith resenting the newcomers and the Verghastites resenting that resentment and feeling like second-class Ghosts shut out of the regiment's elite sections.[5a][5g] The introduction of women into the regiment as part of the Vervunhive influx also caused some tension, but this was more quickly resolved as the women proved themselves in combat and the complaints of the anti-women Tanith such as Major Rawne became tired and repetitive.[4x] The greater cultural divide was eventually bridged due to shared combat experiences and the promotion of several Verghastites to platoon command, as well as the first Verghastite making it into the regiment's elite scouting cadre. By the end of the conflict on Aexe Cardinal the regiment was fighting as a cohesive whole.
Following the Siege of Vervunhive the Ghosts went on to win renown through their actions in several warzones, including the shrineworld Hagia where they defended the remains of Saint Sabbat against Chaos forces[4x], Phantine where their infiltration skills were officially recognised by high command for the first time and were instrumental in capturing the cities of Cirenholm and Ouranberg[5x], and Herodor where they fought alongside the reincarnated Saint Sabbat herself as her personal honour guard.
In The Warmaster (Novel) it is stated that the Tanith 1st has twenty companies. However, 'V' is the twenty-first letter of the alphabet, meaning there is at least one letter before V not being used as a company name.
The forest world of Tanith was destroyed shortly after the initial founding of the planet's first three regiments. The only survivors to escape the attack, the Tanith 1st, carry with them the wilderness skills learnt on their homeworld, making them a superb light infantry regiment.
Despite the trauma of losing their entire homeworld, the Tanith very quickly saw their first action on the fields of war. The Tanith were tested on brutal battlefields on Blackshard, Becephalon, Fortis Binary, and other worlds in the Sabbat Worlds Sector.
He impatiently ordered the regiments to begin boarding the troop carriers that would take them to the troop starships waiting to ferry them to their first warzones -- a fortunate move which got enough men off-world before a Chaos Warfleet struck Tanith the same night.
On the regiment's first battlefield on the world of Blackshard, Hlaine Larkin coined the nickname "Gaunt's Ghosts". The term Ghosts had two meanings: the first is that Corbec tells Gaunt that his decision to abandon Tanith "made ghosts of them, hollow echoes." The second is that because of their exceptional stealth and scouting skills, the regiment's troops were ghost-like on the battlefield.
The regiment took heavy losses in its early actions, including the loss of three hundred Guardsmen during a friendly fire "incident" at Voltis Watergate. Heavy casualties were also incurred during the effort to recapture the Mechanicum's Forge World of Fortis Binary, so much so that by the time of the Ghosts' deployment on Monthax, they numbered only 1,500 Guardsmen. The casualties taken at Monthax and later the hive world of Verghast were replaced by recruits taken from the destroyed Vervunhive, at which time female soldiers first joined the Tanith.
After Tanith was destroyed by the attack of the Chaos warfleet, the Tanith First-and-Only had no homeworld from which to draw new recruits to replace losses. Instead, new Ghosts were adopted into the regiment as the crusade progressed. At the end of the siege of Vervunhive, the megacity was left in ruins and the disillusioned citizens of Verghast were given the opportunity to join the Imperial Guard under the Act of Consolation. This resulted in an influx of Verghastite soldiers into the Tanith First, which brought the first females into the regiment.
The tenth standard year of the Sabbat Worlds Crusade was the first time the Tanith had been called upon by the Imperium to levy Imperial Guard regiments to support the crusade. The majority of the troops who joined the Imperial Guard were militia, although some former criminals were present, and it can be assumed that other non-military members of the population were included.
Gaunt survived, being one of the last members of the regiment to make it off-planet, and he reorganised the survivors into a single infantry regiment, the Tanith 1st, also known as the First-and-Only and more colloquially known as Gaunt's Ghosts. It is known that "Mad" Hlaine Larkin was the first to coin the term.
The casualties taken at Monthax and later Verghast were replaced by recruits taken from the destroyed Vervunhive, at which time female soldiers first joined the Tanith. The soldiers from Vervunhive use a different pin, adorned with the axe rake that Vervunhivers used in mining before their hive city was destroyed.
Unlike the other two elements of the Ghosts, the Belladon are not united by a shared loss of their home. They also claim a long and proud martial history, unlike the first-generation Tanith and Verghastite troops.
The regiment's first battlefield posting took place at Blackshard in the Sabbat Worlds cluster. Here, their light infantry/recon status meant they were sent in to penetrate enemy lines ahead of the 10th Royal Sloka regiment. Having stealthed into the Chaos held stronghold at the Citadel, the forward parties discovered a ruinous relic which, having held off a bloody assault from the structure's defenders, they mined before fleeing the site. The detonation, which destroyed the enemy's faith and hold, caused the entire Chaos army to commit mass suicide, earning a notable victory at the first attempt for the Ghosts.
After a brief stopover on Pyrites, the First were deployed to the Chaos-held world of Menazoid Epsilon as part of the liberation force, their stated objective being Shrine Target Primaris. Whilst the attackers of Shrine Targets Secundus and Tertius were annihilated by surprise attacks from defensive grids, the Tanith received enough warning to destroy the disguised towers and survive to make their assault on the target proper. Although they were attacked in the rear by the Jantine Patricians, who had been told that the Tanith had turned traitor, the regiment was saved from certain destruction first by Sergeant Blane's rearguard platoon (which was wiped out in the process) and then by the intervention of the Vitrian Dragoons, who caught the Patricians unawares.
This meant that for the first time the Tanith 1st would follow the same structure as other Imperial Guard regiments, with each company being led by an officer and broken down into smaller platoons within. Much of the regiment's old routines remained, such as assigned snipers being allowed to break off, but Mkoll was this time given command of his own unit of dedicated scouts, including recon specialists from the Belladon section. On top of this, the Belladon's chief scout, Kolosim, had his own company command. The regiment was therefore better organised but still able to change its parameters in certain situations.
The Blood Pact, personal army of Anarch Urlock Gaur and one of the most feared forces opposing the Crusade battle front, first encountered the Tanith on Phantine, and in particular at Cirenholm and Ouranberg where a force of them were led by Saggittar Slaith, complete with a detachment of Loxatl mercenaries, held the sky-cities fervently against the Imperial onslaught.
Since their first meeting at Cirenholm, the Tanith have encountered and defeated the Blood Pact at Aexe Cardinale, Herodor, Ancreon Sextus and Jago, where their assault on the Tanith positions in Hinzerhaus cost the regiment half of their number. Due to the number of times the two sides have faced each other, and the Ghosts's victories each time, a true nemesis status has come into place, with the Archon's forces well aware of Gaunt and his men. At Hinzerhaus, they successfully captured Gaunt and tortured him before he was rescued by Scout-Sergeant Mkoll.