- "'Go down to the bottom of the hill,' the captain told us. So we did, and the general told us to go up to the top of the hill and await further orders. Then the captain told us we were wanted at the bottom."
- —Holger Kass, 1st Bögenhafen Halberdiers.[2a]
The armies of the Old World are made up of Soldiers, rank-and-file professional fighters who are trained to fight in large groups.[1a][2a] Although they possess some amount of individual skill, their real strength on the battlefield lies in their numbers. Thus, individualism is not encouraged amongst soldiers.[2a]
By decree of Magnus the Pious, every province and city-state in the Empire of Man must maintain a State Army at its own expense.[1a][2a] Together, these regional forces make up the Imperial Army, the force that mans the Empire's fortresses, patrols the Empire's borders, and repels the Empire's invaders.[1a] Imperial soldiers may be archers, crossbowmen, handgunners, halberdiers, spearmen, or swordsmen.[2a] Imperial Dwarfs and Halflings in the army are usually segregated into separate units.[1a] In addition, Imperial forces are often supplemented with militia troops that are little better than recruits,[2a] and more professional mercenaries.[1a][2a]
Although they have very little free time much of the year, many soldiers get extended periods of leave outside of campaign season. Amongst civilians, Imperial soldiers are known for their fatalistic outlook.[2a]
Most rank-and-file Imperial soldiers are drawn from the peasant or burgher classes. The higher ranks, on the other hand, are dominated by the aristocracy. It is not unknown for a lowborn to rise to a command position through merit or valour, but this is unusual, given the bigotry of the Empire's ruling class.[1a]