Military Intelligence

Tau examine a collection of Imperial documents

Warhammer 40K blog

One of a variety of documents obtained from the Gue’la military forces on Ky’coer (Media III).

To our Ethereal Leaders—The assimilation of the world of Ky’coer [known to the Imperium as Media III) is proceeding successfully.

Although the majority of the world’s planetary defense force (PDF) has been demobilized, those Gue’la deemed sufficiently indoctrinated into the Greater Good are being recruited into a new Gue’vesa [allied] cadre that will support our fire warrriors as our campaign in the Sculptor System continues.

As part of this work, the Earth Caste has been examining a number of Gue’la military documents, in hopes of obtaining some understanding of the tactical doctrine and protocols of Imperial forces.

What follows is an analysis of a number of documents, most of little military value but still potentially useful in improving our understanding of Gue’la culture and cognitive proccessing:

A Monogram on the Tattoos of His Most Divine Emperor’s Navy

Warhammer 40K blogThis document is fascinating in that it reveals an astonishing cultural phenomenon of the Gue’la: whether inspired by superstition or a perverse sense of aesthetic, it appears that Imperial naval personnel ritualistically engage in self-mutilation.

The specifics of this practice are unclear, but it appears to involve the injection of permanent colored dyes into an intermediate layer of the skin.

A study of the “tattoos” explained in the document no doubt will leave the Earth Caste with more questions than answers. For example: While there is some symbolic rationale for displaying the Imperial Aquila as a sign of loyalty to the Gue’la emperor, it is inexplicable why naval personal would want to display artwork of aquatic animals, primitive weapons, skeletons, and what appears to be tangled electronic cable.

The Earth Caste has made great strides in understanding the linguistic, cultural, and political nuances of the Gue’la. But it may be necessary to coordinate with our Gue’vesa [human allies] to draw any accurate conclusions about such primitive artwork.

There is obviously some symbolic significance to the aquatic animals represented. It may be a reference to an ancient time, when the term “navy” referred to vessels that traversed the oceans of the Gue’la home world. Why events of millennia ago still resonate with the Gue’la psyche is a mystery.

Less mysterious is the use of skeletal symbols. There is a culturally unhealthy fixation with symbols of death, perhaps reflecting the barbaric and fatalistic worship of their “God-Emperor,” who for reasons still not clear is viewed by many Gue’la as both alive and dead simultaneously.

The Imperial Infantryman’s Uplifting Primer

Warhammer 40K blogThis instructional booklet—ostensibly printed as an instructional aid for Imperial troops on the battlefield—is an astonishingly primitive display of propaganda and blatantly inaccurate. So much of the document is obviously implausible that disgruntled guardsmen deem it useful only as “toilet paper.”

While it is logical to extol the efficiency of the guardsmen’s equipment, some passages are ludicrous. For example, one passage on fighting in sub-zero temperatures recommends removing one’s gloves, firing one’s weapon, and then putting on one’s gloves to avoid frostbite. How a Gue’la soldier could engage in battle successfully with such advice is incomprehensible.

An addendum reveals the repressive and illogical religious beliefs of the Gue’la, as this section includes a variety of prayers and inspirational thoughts regarding the Gue’la emperor. Almost farcical is a section of “religious rituals” designed to placate  the “spirits” of various Gue’la machinery, as if technological devices are somehow linked to a universal machine spirit.

Medical Treatment Documents

Warhammer 40K blogThe Casualty Categorization Diagnosis Chart and Standard Primer Upon Casualty Categorization for Priority Treatment offer additional fascinating—and disturbing—glimpses into the medical and cultural thinking of the Gue’la.

For one, it appears that Gue’la military personnel do not recognize the existence of psychological trauma or acknowledge that such trauma can debilitate the common soldier on the battlefield.

Although our fire warriors are highly conditioned to withstand the horrors of war, it has always been accepted by the medical community that some individuals are psychologically vulnerable to the violence and incidents of death on the battlefield—and can be overwhelmed psychologically and left in a near-catatonic state.

Warhammer 40K blogThe response of the Gue’la appears to be based on ideology, not scientific research, and the Gue’la response to traumatized soldiers is barbaric: These victims in need of medical treatment are labeled as cowards and subject to severe physical punishment or even execution.

This irrational response is best illustrated by the following notation in the Standard Primer: “Any Imperial personnel considered to have inflicted injury upon his or herself to be excused from Active Duty, shall be flogged, flayed then executed.” [note highlighted word]

One reference to a medical condition is not fully clear: It is known that some Gue’la exhibit scientifically unexplainable mental capabilities, what our Gue’vesa refer to as “psychic powers.” These “psykers” are occasionally encountered on the battlefield and are clearly incorporated into the military hierarchy. Yet, at the same time, the Gue’la appear to fear, persecute, and even execute such individuals.

We have little understanding of this contradictory attitude toward these clearly mutated members of the Gue’la. So it is bewildering to find that these medical documents specifically call for extreme measures against those that are victimized by a “psychic attack.”

Example: In the Diagnosis Chart, it reads: “If casualty of psychic attack … administer Emperor’s Mercy.” [Reference to summary execution.]


While superficially—and perhaps sincerely—written as a guide to assist Gue’la warriors in their duties on the battlefield, the sheer amount of inaccurate information, blatant propaganda, and bad advice (clearly influenced by cultural and political biases) suggests that the Gue’la empire is strangling under the weight of a rigid bureaucracy, blind religious intolerance, and a degeneration in technological understanding.

This finding is consistent with the conclusions of Aun’el Mor’Tau, whose comprehensive study of the Gue’la determined that the Imperium is the remnant of a technologically advanced culture that has undergone significant periods of stagnation and decline over the millennia.

These details should be very useful in allowing our Earth Caste to continue their work of convincing surrounding Imperial worlds that their futures are better served by incorporation into the Tau Empire.

Analysis #: TY-847-j3n7
Submitted: 6 927 736.M41
Author: , Kais’la Bra’yz, Earth Caste
Office of Military Cognitive Reflection
Location: Ky’coer [Media III], Sculptor System

Artwork of medical documents courtesy of Light-Tricks, an artist whose work can be see at the

The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our adventures in the sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.