When the full extent of Prime-Hive Danasck's descent into worship of the Ruinous powers was exposed, Lord Inquisitor Constantine Fleuroux retreated to the relative safety of Hive Chosin on the scorched and barren southern Continent.
Isolated and largely untainted by the heretical decadence that had swept through the central hive cluster like a cancer, Hive Chosin was a smog covered blister some twenty three miles square; dedicated to excavating the precious ores and petrochemicals buried deep under the wastes. It was also probably the only loyal imperial hive remaining on the surface of Danskanvel.
Acting swiftly Fleuroux gathered his own forces and PDF units stationed at Chosin, and organised a purge of the Hive to weed out the brotherhood cells that were already infiltrating the gangs and guild houses of Chosin's Lower hive.
As the central cluster was ripped apart by civil war. PDF units split between loyalist and traitor; debauched cultists boiling up through the hives in an orgy of bloodletting and violence, Fleuroux concentrated on turning the southern continent into a fortress. As far as he was concerned; the central cluster was lost.
The inhabitants dammed even if only by association.
The rot had set too deep.
All the remaining loyalists could do was buy time for the southern continent to prepare.
The PDF units stationed at Chosin could barely defend the hives vital facilities in the event of an attack and the imperial relief force, although inbound; was two months distant and had been stripped back to a minimum following raids by pirate elder in the Paraxis system that demanded the bulk of its armour and air-mobile units.
What Fleuroux needed was an army. Quickly intimidating the council of noble houses into submission. Fleuroux issued a decree stating that each of the seven noble house, and each of the sixteen houses ordinary were to furnish the munutorium agents with fully two thirds of their men of fighting age for induction into a series of new conscript regiments with which Fleuroux could take the war to the brotherhood on the mainland.
Over the next eight weeks squads of arbites and press gangs of local enforcers and PDF roamed the hive enforcing the decree in the most brutal fashion. Many of the more independently minded inhabitants of Chosin resisted, and open rebellion broke out in several of the lower wards. However, by the time the imperial navy arrived; scattering the brotherhoods so-called trade arks to the warp, Fleuroux had nearly a quarter of a million men assembled In great holding fields hastily built with flakboard and razorwire.
The next problem was equipping this vast force. Manufactorums and workhorses all across the hive were put to work so that each man might be furnished with a basic battledress, bedroll, Boots and mess kit. Ancient stores of weapons were unearthed from locked silos deep within the hive core.
The forces deploying from orbit were petitioned for armaments. And small arms of every type and pattern were issued to the militia regiments in the rush to equip them.
Although the munotorium made every effort to standardise patterns across companies and regiments, as inevitable attrition took place in combat, and units were slowly decimated and folded into one another a patchwork of small arms and support weapons were held by each unit, making effective supply of ammunition almost impossible late in the campaign.
An interesting aside to this is that only a tiny minority of the militiamen received the expensive triplex pattern Lasgun; but by the closing stages of the conflict they could be seen in almost every squad. As the troopers actively sought out and scavenged these rare and sought after rifles over all the other patterns.
Commissars from the fleet and regiments were brought in to provide training and discipline to the newly formed units. Many of these commissars were raw cadets given emergency promotion or previously deskbound members of the commiserate, more used to a cogitator or a dataslate than a bolt pistol and chainsword.
A few were hard bitten veterans, come from the more disciplined off-world regiments less in need of a commissar than their militia brethren.
It was their job to whip into shape a polyglot mixture of fervent volunteers and press-ganged reluctants, hard bitten underline gangers and hard working habbers, stevdores. Riggers. Miners and men from all walks of hive life.
The 17th regiment originally consisted of three thousand men organised into ten companies A through J. The men were all recruited from house Antrim, one of the largest houses ordinary with many holdings in the Prometheum fields of the lower steppes.
The 17th first saw action during the brotherhood of sins aborted invasion of the southern continent. Despite taking heavy casualties they held the junction township of Dar-es-Angkora for five days under sustained attack from massed cult levies and captured pdf armour; gaining invaluable experience for the coming assault on the mainland.
The 17th were in action for the whole of the sarissa landings, losing nearly one third of their strength at the landing site. And another five hundred souls in the series of rearguard actions the brotherhood fought on the inland railroad to theuniskraal. At the time of the battle for spire kop, after which the 17th was removed from the imperial rosters as an effective fighting unit; the regiment had been reduced to two understrengh companies. Each less than a hundred strong, the long and bloody path to Dansksval's central cluster had cost the 17th more than two and a half thousand ccasualties and had left the few remaining survivors as hard bitten a group of soldiers as any in the annals of the imperial guard.