We have all seen the red hooded robots on the tabletop now let’s see their place in the history of Warhammer 40k.
They have some of the best technology in the galaxy. But where does it come from and what purpose does it serve? Let’s take a closer look.
“Skitarii” are armies of specially augmented cybernetic warriors sworn to a specific Forge World and serve alongside the Collegia Titanica and Taghmata Omnissiah as the military forces of the Mechanicum. It is a term equivalent to the Imperial Guard as it generally includes almost all combat personnel and armor that the Mechanicus possesses. Skitarii are also known as Tech-Guard (or Tech Guard) to outsiders, and the singular form of Skitarii is “Skitarius.” The term “Skitarii”, however is often used to reference only the augmented infantry.
Skitarii creation is a closely kept secret of the Adeptus Mechanicus, but what is clear is that involves heavy cybernetic augmentation to those with a fanatical faith in the Omnissiah. While their bodies are more machine than flesh, they are not true Servitors and still retain independent thought. Those with the highest level of augmentation are known as Skitarii Alphas, a high honor in Skitarii culture. Due to their extensive modification Skitarii can excel and survive in almost any atmosphere.
Skitarii are often armed with similar equipment to the Imperial Guard, though this can vary massively based on which Magos, Mechanicus Organization or Forge World has raised and equipped them. There is little standardization or central command of Skitarii across the Mechanicus, as each individual regiment is the personal army of a particular Magos. For example, the Skitarii of the Titan Legion Legio Invicta are gene-bulked humans with weaponized limbs and augmetic armor, whereas a different type of Skitarii investigated the dead world of Tarsis Ultra, and were seen to be wearing something similar in both function and design to Terminator armor.
They are also the bodyguards of the Adeptus Mechanicus Survey teams. They were present at the First Encounter with the Eldar. The Eldar of the Biel-tan craftworld slaughtered the Skitarii present and only one ship was able to escape, though the crew died from lack of food and oxygen.