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Conscript troops
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Old 10 Aug 2006, 17:20   #1 (permalink)
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Default Conscript troops

Are they worth it? I was thinking of putting them into my guard army and was wondering whether I should replace them with a normal squad or a sentinel.

And what tactics should I use with them?

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Old 10 Aug 2006, 18:01   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Conscript troops

Here is a Conscript Tactica a wrote, it may prove useful to have a look through it. Give you a rough idea of what they are and what there uses are.


What is a conscript?

Well a conscript is a civilian who has been drafted into the imperial forces because either:

A. The civilians are so eager to fight and defend their world they join up in an explosion of patriotism.

B. The regular guard regiment or PDF has suffered massive causalities and cannot summon reinforcements so they go and ‘press’ the local populace into service.

C. For example, the planet Cadia has decided to use youth army platoons to bolster their numbers.

It is easy to spot the characters of true heroes in these average everyday humans. As they are not soldiers and the only protection they have against the enemies of the imperium is to fire their lasgun and hopefully strike the enemy. There is a limitless amount of character and conversion opportunities available; conscripts are a very fun, interesting and characterful unit to field on the battlefields of the 41st millennium.

Anyways, that is a short introduction on the conscripts and now I shall give you the low-down on advantages and disadvantages and Varied Tactics for using conscripts in your Imperial Guard army.


1. Massed Numbers, well as you can probably tell from their stats they are not so good but this is where there numbers make up for lack of training. In a standard conscript platoon you can have 20-50 conscripts in a platoon, which are divided into squadrons of 10. But the great thing with conscripts is that you can field them as one massive squad of up to 50 men! So this will give you numerical superiority in any battle easily.

2. Massed lasgun fire, As conscript platoons can be fielded as one big unit then the rate of fire in which they can through out is unbelievable. E.g. a conscript platoon of 50 men can get at Rapid-fire range a maximum of 100 lasgun shots! Which can cause an extensive amount of damage.
3. Special & Heavy Weapons, Conscript platoons have the option to have in every squad of 10 a flamer or a grenade launcher and or 2 conscripts with a heavy bolter, auto-cannon or a missile launcher. I personally would recommend flamers, as you do not need to roll to hit, and in a platoon of 50 conscripts you can have five, whilst with all the other special and heavy weapon choices it means that with the conscript’s low ballistic skill you will rarely hit the intended target.

4. Meat-Shield, Unfortunately this is the fate that most, if not all conscripts shall come to. But this is not a hindrance as at a very low points cost they are a brilliant ‘meat-shield.’ There is a number of possibilities you can use the ‘meat-shield’ tactic for. Example, a platoon of 50 conscripts moving up the left-hand side of a gaming board, now your opponent can either concentrate firing at the conscripts so they do not become a threat, or blast your other precious guard units and then face the dread might of 100 lasgun shots and close combat attacks (if you charge) Another good example is, A platoon of 20 conscripts can be good enough to block line of sight and force a opponent to take a leadership test to shoot whatever is behind your ‘meat-shield’ which of course is if that he fails the leadership test he has to shoot the conscripts, saving your more valuable guard units.


1. Low leadership, Heck they’re only civilians I don’t blame them! Wrong as with conscripts being such a bunch of cowards it takes little for an opponent to make them run, as from experience they will run faster then they can charge! The only way to counter this problem is to add a independent Commissar to the platoon, this way they will not run as the Commissar has a very high leadership value and when you fail the test one conscript gets shot in the back of the head. (Note: Imperial troops fear their Commissars more than their enemy!)

2. Bad ballistic & weapon skill, Well they’re only human so the only way they can hope of killing an enemy is buy massed firepower or massed man power assaults, which can sometimes not work. Why…? Well if you have for example a platoon of 20 conscripts and a squad of Eldar Guardians open fire on the platoon using shuriken catapults. Now the most likely outcome will be that there will be 10 or under conscripts left and that’s barely enough to cause damage and at this point in the game they will now run off the board. Unfortunately the only way to counter this problem is either purchase the sharp-shooters doctrine and or the hardened fighters doctrine which costs an insane amount of points, considering they will spend most of the time getting killed.

3. Bad armour saves, well all they got is flak-armour so almost every warhammer 40,000 races basic weapons will negate their armour save. But surely with so many of them armour saves don’t matter…? Wrong I have seen entire 20 man platoons fall to a well-placed leman Russ battle-cannon shot or a lucky Tau rail gun sub-muntion round. The only way to counter this is by both spending points and doctrines giving them all carapace armour, which in my opinion isn’t worth the points because eventually they will be killed.

4. The Limit, Unfortunately you can only include a single conscript platoon for every regular imperial guard platoon, which sucks because the amount of conscripts you use is judged by the amount of regular Imperial Guard platoons so you will have to use conscripts wisely as yes they have massed numbers but that does not mean they are invincible.

Tactics For Using Conscripts.

There is a vast array of tactical uses for conscripts (Which is more than just a meat shield!) I shall now explain to you the other various tactics for Conscripts.


In my opinion conscripts can make a pretty lethal assault unit, I shall explain the different ways you can use your conscripts in the assault phase.

Massed Numbers, essential if you are wishing to be charging your conscripts at enemy units it is most likely that they will be shot at and as I know from experience conscripts drop very quickly when succumbed to massed firepower. But how do I stop this…?

Cover, Is very useful in the way that they can be protected against enemy fire by weaving in and out of buildings, trees, jungles and swamps! (Remember, flamers negate cover saves!) The only problem with using cover is that you are slowed down and required to take difficult terrain tests which means you will have to sacrifice one or maybe two extra turns until your men make it!


Yes well there only civilians and yep they will run faster than they can charge and they will most likely keep running! Many opponents use the conscript’s low leadership weakness as an advantage but there is a number of ways to prevent this from occurring.

Independent Commissars, These fearless leaders of the emperors great armies are a must have for any conscript platoon you may field. But why should I use a commissar…? Well the commissar stops your troops running away as he has the highest leadership (10) in the whole imperial guard codex, he also can bring power weapons and power fists to bear which can be very useful or if he is not geared towards close combat and just maintain the leadreship a bolter or storm bolter would make an ideal alternative. The only problem being that independent commissars become independent characters which means in the assault phase if he's at the front he can get picked out of the crowd and slapped.

Command Squads/Platoons, as conscript platoons are not lead by a junior officer and command squad, and also not having the option of vox-casters conscripts can get isolated but you can tackle this problem with using officers. Now any imperial guard model within 12” inches of an officer can use his leadership, which can be useful combined with the iron discipline doctrine, which can make it very effective. Also you can use the company banner which allows any imperial guard model within 12” inches of the standard bearer can re-roll morale checks. The only problem with this being that your command squad well have to stay pretty close to the conscripts which means that you will have to kit them out to deal with assault, being shot at, making them more durable and also to prevent them from running (Officers are not like space marine commanders, they will run for their lives!) which can be prevented with a commissar.


Now conscripts are perfectly capable of pulling a trigger but the only problem is that with little or no training they will miss a lot. But no need to worry, as I shall show you they can become a effective shooting unit.

Massed lasgun fire, you do not necessarily need special and or Heavy weapons to make your conscript platoon an effective shooting unit, just a mother load of lasguns! Now with going with the massed lasgun option you do sacrifice there anti-tank capabilities but I’m sure that you will have a unit that is more effective at anti-tank roles. Now a large amount of conscripts will be needed in order to make this tactic worthwhile, I’m suggesting a minimum of 30 and a maximum of 50. Personally I would go for 50 with a independent commissar (leadership) This unit will be able to fire a maximum of 100 lasgun shots at rapid-fire (without any casualties) and a rock hard morale which means they will never run (summary execution) There are very few enemy units (except big monsters!) that can with-stand a salvo of devastating lasfire which can be a laugh to use as you spend fifteen minutes rolling dice and your opponent removing model after model!

The hot stuff! Hmmm… what’s that smell Ah! Yes the enemy’s models roasting after being burnt to death! Yes the amount of flamers this unit can use is a very useful tactic also. The great thing with the flamers is that you do not need to roll to hit (you can’t miss with a flamethrower!) and also can be devastating against light to medium infantry and can even rarely in some cases toast space marines. In a platoon of 50 conscripts you can possibly utilise 5 flamers, but this is restricted two one for every 10 conscripts so a unit of 20 conscripts can have 2 flamers. The only downside with flamers is that they are short ranged which means you have to get dangerously close.

The other weapons choices, Conscripts can also have grenade launchers, heavy bolters, auto-cannons or missile launchers. In every squad of 10 conscripts you can have a single special weapon and or a single heavy weapon, which means that in a platoon of 50 conscripts you could have 5 grenade launchers and 5 heavy bolters all in one unit! That’s 15 heavy bolter shots! Plus also your heavy weapons can be well protected as your opponent will have to grind down the 'X' number of conscripts you have before reaching the big guns, although saying that an opponent can use blast weapons to remove the heavy weapon crew with a lucky shot! But the only downside is that the weapon choices for conscripts are more expensive in points and also with their terrible ballistic skill it means that you have to have good dice luck to make them hit something other than trees!

Old 10 Aug 2006, 20:45   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Conscript troops

Thank you very much for that tactica Anton.

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Old 13 Aug 2006, 01:48   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Conscript troops

A few things about it is that you can not give Conscripts Carapace Armour, Hardened Fighters and Sharpshooters. Also you can not snipe troops blast weapons.
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