- "They are the elite of the elite. Coupled with their supreme loyalty, they are an unstoppable force of destruction and fear."
- — Darth Trayus
Initially intended to replace the Crimson Empire's Shock Troopers as the primary enforcers of Darth Trayus's rule, it was instead decided to make the Sith Vanguard under Trayus's direct command elite individuals independent from the Crimson Empire's army, retaining their initial purpose. While technically not part of the Crimson Empire's armed forces, the Sith Vanguard often acted alongside the Corps and army, both on and away from the battlefront. Sith Vanguard soldiers quickly became feared individuals within the Crimson Empire's ranks, and had their loyalty to Trayus not been unquestionable, it would have been safe to suspect possible treason down the line.
The original Sith Vanguard design began back in 3949 BBY, when Darth Revan formed his empire. Darth Trayus, in 16 ABY, discovered thousands of Sith troopers leftover from Revan's rule, frozen in carbonite and perfectly preserved, in a cave on Morazis. He unfroze the army, and claimed it for his own, even securing the Dark Jedi general as a loyalist to his cause.
Trayus had suspected treason from the beginning, and had secretly worked a way to secure his troopers as his own. Utilizing a method that Darth Sadis used for his Shadowtroopers, Trayus wiped the Sith troopers' memories clean and molded them according to his will. The result was a trooper whose loyalty to Trayus was unquestionable. Doubled with the army Trayus had discovered in Udine, cyrogenically frozen for dozens of years, Trayus had accumulating a fighting force ranked over 10,000 soldiers, ready to fight and, if necessary, die for him.
The Sith Vanguard would soon become the symbol for Darth Trayus's own personal enforcers, and the cornerstone for his new empire.
Sith Vanguard soldiers were the most competent of Trayus's forces, specially trained in the concept of rule by fear. In their role as a special operations force, they could strike silently and without warning.
On average, a Sith Vanguard soldier was more intelligent than a standard shock trooper, with a broader range of combat skills. Each soldier in the Vanguard had training in demolitions and martial arts, which the Crimson Empire's shock troopers generally lacked.
Their loyalty was virtually unshakable, and they were immune to bribery or negotiation. It was said that Sith Vanguard were the only part of Trayus's military force that he trusted implicitly.
Trayus made every effort possible to ensure that his Vanguard had topnotch armor, weaponry, and other equipment. Whether it came directly from his own funds, from the Crimson Empire's coffers, or as a result of utilizing "excess" income taken from conquered worlds, he found a way to ensure that his Vanguard had access to among the best equipment possible.
Vanguard armor was very similar to stormtrooper armor, but was slightly lighter, providing almost the same level of personal protection with less reduction in mobility.
Like stormtrooper armor, Sith Vanguard armor gave every member of the Vanguard an intimidating sort of anonymity. In contrast to the stormtroopers, however, standard Sith Vanguard soldiers were dressed in solid black outfits, with red faceplates, gloves, and boots, and yellow trim.
Vanguard Commandos were elite Sith Vanguard soldiers. They wore dark gray colored armor and were traditionally issued blaster carbines. During the Sith-Cylon War, the Sith Brotherhood deployed commandos to various worlds, in preparation for the primary strike forces to arrive.
Vanguard Elite Gunners wore dark gray colored battle suits. They were often armed with disruptor rifles which were capable of penetrating personal deflector shields.
Vanguard Heavy Troopers were extremely rare heavy weapons specialists employed by the Sith Brotherhood. They wore black armor with crimson outlines, an inspiration drawn from Darth Trayus's armor when he was Mandalore, and they were armed with repeaters. Heavy troopers were only stationed in areas of great importance to the Sith war machine, which would seem to imply that their rank was higher than that of standard Sith Vanguard soldiers, veteran Vanguard Commandos, or even Vanguard Elite Gunners.
Vanguard Grenaders were known to use grenades. They tended to use a better selection of grenades, mostly fragmentation or concussion types. They always wielded blaster pistols. Sometimes they used more powerful grenades, like a thermal detonator or an adhesive grenade.
Vanguard Wranglers used tame beasts in combat. They were employed in battles where a significant strength was represented by aggressive beasts and sithspawns.
Sith Vanguard equipment was similar to stormtrooper gear. They carried a comlink set to their own encoding, and were armed with both a blaster rifle and a blaster pistol. Vanguard soldiers also carried a vibroblade of their own choice as standard equipment.
For ground operations, Sith Vanguard soldiers used standard military speeder bikes painted with their unit's colors. Landing operations were carried out with specialty Vanguard Landers. These craft were originally developed for the Cylon Imperium, but never saw widespread use. Trayus acquired large numbers of them, and their association with the Sith Vanguard caused them to share the same namesake.
For space combat, soldiers in the Sith Vanguard used modified TIE Hunters, commissioned under the table from Sienar Fleet Systems. Pilots in the Vanguard forces had similar uniforms to Vanguard Commandos.