- "Despite the horrific casualties and many wounds that they suffered during the battle, the Greatswords fought on resolutely and, by battle's end, their white Reikguard uniforms had been drenched in blood."
- —The Carroburg Greatswords, during the Siege of Carroburg.[1a]
Empire Greatswords form an elite core of heavily-armored infantry who are promoted from the ranks of the Imperial army for their exceptional skill, bravery, and courage on the battlefield. The Elector Counts always have a regiment of these troops with them at all times, for they act both as a bodyguard regiment and as a reserve force of elite warriors that has the potential to turn the tide of many battles.[1a]
A regiment of Greatswords are amongst one of the greatest and most expensive asset within any Imperial army. These men are decked-out with extremely expensive Dwarf-forged Full Plate Armour, and are armed with massive two-handed swords called Zweihanders, weapons so powerful that they have the potential to cleave a fully-armoured Knight in two. Due to their expensive equipment and years of irreplaceable training, Empire Generals are very hesitant to send these troops into battle. It is only when the entire battle hangs in the balance will these mighty warriors be sent in their droves towards the enemy ranks.[1a]
However, due to upholding their duties, most Greatsword regiments are generally used as guards and garrison troops for important castles and fortresses belonging to the Elector Count, and would follow him on many state affairs. On some occasions, the Elector Count would select a champion to lead his Greatswords into battle. Such an honour is reserved for only the greatest warrior within the regiment.[1a]
A soldier who is promoted to the ranks of the Greatswords is required to swear an oath to never step backwards in the face of the enemy. Every Greatsword regiment upholds this sacred oath, lest they suffer dire punishment not only to their honour but also from their own Elector Count. Fortunately, instances of Greatswords retreating are very rare, and accounts of Greatswords fighting against impossible odds, even to the last man, are far more common. As a result of their unshakeable courage and devotion, Greatsword troops are often rewarded with double the pay of regular Imperial soldiers, fed the best foods available, and quartered in the most luxurious barracks within the castle walls. Greatswords who possess even more courage and heroism than their own comrades are bestowed the greatest honour any Imperial soldier can hope to obtain: knighthood. Such an occasion is extremely rare, however. A knighted Greatsword will possess his own estate and be allowed to join one of the famous Knightly Orders should he wish.[1a]
- Dieter Schaeffer leads a unit of Greatswords in red livery with enamelled black plate.
- Franz Vogel was the sergeant of a Greatsword regiment from Averland, who ended up leading survivors from an Imperial army. When he returned home, he found his village had been overcome by Chaos and joined the Witch Hunter Magnus Gault on his quest to destroy it. He fought against the forces of Tzeentch, Nurgle, and the Skaven.
- The Carroburg Greatswords fight in their own livery of red and white with black lacquered armour. These men used to wear the white and red colours of Reikland, but during the Age of Three Emperors, these men fought valiantly against the armies of the Elector Count of Middenheim, until the Middenlander were forced back from the siege of Carroburg. In the aftermath, Imperial witnesses state that the Greatswords' uniforms were so drenched with blood that they didn't bother cleaning them and instead changed their colour scheme to red and black to commemorate this heroic victory.
- The Pale Blades are a renowned regiment of Greatswords, considered second only to the Carroburg Greatswords themselves.
- One regiment in Averland is said to have an Ogre in its ranks fighting in oversized half plate with a great sword.
- Wolfram's Guard are the personal bodyguard of the Elector Count of Ostermark.
- Ulrich leads a regiment of Pious Greatswords that are foot templars of Morr. They march into battle in red robes and cowls and their banner depicts the reaper with a scythe and hourglass. Ulrich himself wears black robes marking him as an ordained priest of Morr.
- The Griffon Legion are elite bodyguards funded and equipped by the Emperor's own coffers. They are not to be confused with the famed Gryphon Legion of Kislev.