The Imperial Marine is the ultimate in Imperial force projection, the marine is highly motivated and trained, equipped with the latest weaponry and led by the finest leaders- this has earned the Marines a fearsome reputation. Unfortunately they are rare and often squandered on dubious political adventures, we serve at the grace of the Emperor but on the frontier that can get a little twisted.Brigadier Frost, Ruie garrison 1105
The Imperial Marines (IM) were formed as an extension of the Navy and as that Navy transitioned to space the Marines went with them. The Marine mission hasn’t changed all that much over the years but its primary combat roles are still very similar to what they have always been- boarding enemy ships and establishing planetary beachheads.
IM forces are the spearhead designed to land from orbit in a blaze of shock and awe firepower, overwhelming planetary defenders after a prelanding strike of smart munitions has taken out the command and control infrastructure. Marines will then establish a foothold on the surface paving the way for follow-up Imperial Army (IA) forces to pacify the planet.
The basic building block of this activity is the IM Lift Platoon (Heavy). The platoons job is to deliver Marines safely to the surface and then support them in prosecuting their mission. The “heavy” designation comes from the addition of a Trepida main battle tank as the command and fire support vehicle, its heavy fusion gun and advanced electronics suite makes it perfect for the dual role. Both vehicles are capable of orbital insertion with the Astrin APC carrying up to nine marines in medium configuration or seven in heavy.
The Marine Heavy Squad is the most basic of Marine formations and represents the ultimate in infantry firepower and technology. Built around the powered Mk18 Battledress each Marine carries the equivalent of a platoon of lower tech infantry. The FGMP-15 is the most powerful man portable weapon every fielded and coupled with the advanced targeting systems make it lethal to almost any target. The Mk18 has an advanced chameleon surface making it invisible through all spectrums to everything but the most advanced targeting.
Each marine also carries a shoulder mounted laser that doubles as a point defence weapon and a target designator. Grav packs are added to enable sub orbital flight in the form of short range jumps up to thirty kilometres long and one thousand meters high on standard gravity worlds. The Mk18 is capable of interfacing with a wide variety of weaponry and depending on the mission Marines will of deploy missile launchers, guass weapons and a variety of both launched and thrown grenades.
All marines no matter what their actual job is are trained as riflemen first so every marine is capable of fighting in a Mk18 suit. There are several variants of the basic suit including a hostile environment, heavy weapons, hull breacher and recon. Recently there has been some research in the use of AI automated Marines but the results have been less than impressive. Marines will use drones and robots extensively in support roles but the step to a fully automated Marine is not currently an option.
Not every mission calls for the firepower of a Heavy Squad so most of the time Marines are in various combinations of Mk5 Combat Armour and carrying conventional guass weapons. There are times when a squad my replace the support gunner with a Mk18 Battledress or a company may have a Heavy Squad as support but the cheaper and more prolific Mk5 armour serves for most missions.
There are three Protective Postures (PP) that give some versatility in deploying marines, a good example is Marines deployed on garrison duty or embassy guard will tend to spend most of their time at PP1. Moving to higher levels of protection is easy and requires access to the additional plates and attachments but can usually be done in a couple of minutes.