The 8th penal legion, is an Imperial Guard regiment, composed entirely of criminals. Those members of Imperial society, or the Imperial Guard, who have committed crimes against the Imperium, but have been allowed a chance to redeem themselves in the eyes of the God-Emperor.
The men and women of the 8th legion were last deployed to the spinward front, where the legion was used as a line breaker against the renegade Imperial Guard elements. In one such offensive, known as the Battle of Red-oubt, by surviving members, nine tenths of the force was destroyed. The name is agrim reference to the walls of the fortress, which were supposedly painted red by the blood of the many men who died attempting to climb them.
During the Battle of Red-oubt, the advance became bogged down amongst the remains of an earlier armoured push, which had been heavily mined. The more zealous elements of the 8th, charged through the minefield, and were quickly cut down in droves, by both the mines, and a determined defence from the renegades. An attempt by the commissar of the 26th was made to rally the charge, and continue the advance, but he was shot down in the attempt. It was in fact the 26th regiment’s psyker, who led the charge that toppled the bastion. Accounts claim she spoke to the dying commissar, and he bequeathed her his sash, at which point she rallied the soldiers around her, and carried the day with a final charge which broke through the fortresses’ defences.
After the Battle of Red-oubt, the 8th and 26th were amalgamated together, unofficially, under the leadership of the psyker, Listed in munitorum archives as Hera Immalia. The unofficial name for this new formation, was reported as “Hera’s Hussars.” This formation took part in several other major conflicts, before being rotated out, due to the 26th’s heinous casualties. It is presumed that the new formation masqueraded as the 26th, in order to qualify for such a rotation, as a penal legion would not be afforded such.