The Iron Grenadiers are a faction from the military-themed line of action figures and toys known as G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero.
They are a private army owned and maintained by the arms dealer Destro. The Grenadiers are composed of Destro's castle guards, personal bodyguards, and mercenaries. Unlike Cobra’s troops, the Grenadiers tend to be well-motivated financially since each have a share in Destro’s weapons sales.
The group first appeared as part of the Battle Force 2000 sub-line in the 1988 series of the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero toy line and also made appearances in the animated series and comics.
The Iron Grenadiers are led by Destro. Following the storyline in the comic book series at the time, the file cards indicate that Destro had, at some point, left Cobra and formed his own army. He begins having dreams of world domination, as did Cobra Commander.
To lead his army, Destro enlisted Voltar first and later General Mayhem to act as field commander. The Grenadiers are organized according to their specialties.
- Iron Grenadiers – The basic infantrymen sent into hot spots to cause conflict and sell weapons. They have been described as "used car salesmen with machine guns."
- Ferrets – Operators of the D.E.M.O.N. tanks.
- Nullifiers – Pilots of the A.G.P. (Anti-Gravity Pod) flight vehicle. Nullifiers are trained and conditioned to be big and bulky.
- Annihilators – Elite troopers. These troops use special helicopter backpacks and serve as Destro's personal guard.
- T.A.R.G.A.T.s (Trans-Atmospheric Rapid Global Assault Troopers) – Soldiers in this unit are sent into near sub-orbit and then deployed to battlefields.
- Wild Boars – Operators of the Razorback assault vehicle.
- Undertows – Underwater combat specialists, trained and equipped to function in polluted waters near industrial and military sites. They appear in the cartoon without the barracudas (the barracudas were only ever included with the figures).
- Iron Anvils – Paratroops who wear heavy armor and are dropped from low-flying planes.
- Alexander McCullen – Destro's long-lost son in the Devil's Due Publishing continuity. He posed as Destro when the real one was bed-ridden with an illness.
- Darklon – A distant cousin of the Destro clan and ruler of Darklonia. He briefly led the Iron Grenadiers when Destro retired from frontline conflict. Thought killed when Cobra Commander expanded operations into Eastern Europe and launched a missile that destroyed Darklon's castle, but in reality he escaped the blast and was alive and well until captured by the G.I Joe team in the continued G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero comic, issue #171 by IDW publishing.
- Metal-Head – Anti-tank specialist.
- General Mayhem – A former Spetsnaz general who went AWOL. Returned as General Mayhem and Destro's new general. His plans may seem chaotic and unorganized, but they usually come together to ensure victory. As hinted at in the 2012 Fun Publications G.I. Joe vs Cobra #5 comic; and by G.I. Joe Club staff member and comic writer David S. Lane, General Mayhem was originally former Oktober Guard leader, General Iron Bear, who defected to Destro after the Soviet Union collapsed into the "New Russia."
- Mistress Armada – A former member of the British Army who sided with the Iron Grenadiers upon befriending Alexander McCullen in the Devil's Due Publishing continuity.
- "Rowdy" Roddy Piper – A fellow Destro Clan member who serves as a trainer for the Iron Grenadiers. He is modeled after the professional wrestler Roddy Piper.
- Sergent Major – Alastair Thomas Duncan, Destro's right-hand man.
- Voltar – A former mercenary general capable of turning defeat into victory. Destro recruited him after rescuing him from prison.
The Iron Grenadier was first released as an action figure in 1988, as the handpicked bodyguards of Destro's new elite troopers. Destro was also re-released this year, this time clad in a gold battle mask with cape and ceremonial sword. Other figures released in 1988 as part of the Iron Grenadiers, were Voltar, and the Ferret and Nullifier vehicle drivers.
- A.G.P. - The A.G.P. (Anti-Gravity Pod) was first released in 1988, packaged with the Nullifier figure. It featured 106mm recoilless cannons, pivoting VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) capability, and six "STUNG" (Silent Titanium Under-Radar Negative Gravity) missiles.
- D.E.M.O.N. - The D.E.M.O.N. (Dual Elevating Multi-Ordinance Neutralizer) was first released in 1988, packaged with the Ferret figure. The main body of the tank elevated in attack mode, in order to better view the battlefield. It was armed with several triple-barrel lasers, and six anti-aircraft missiles.
- Despoiler - Destro's Despoiler was released in 1988, packaged with the Iron Grenadier version of Destro. It served as Destro's personal aircraft, used to survey the progress of his Iron Grenadiers on the battleground.
- Dominator - Destro's Dominator was first released in 1990. It transformed from a helicopter to a tank, with its movable chopper blades and retractable tank treads, and featured a multi-shot rapid fire 3.5mm missile pod, and heavy armor plating.
- Evader - Darklon's Evader was released in 1989, and came packaged with the Darklon figure. It featured a canopy-mounted 9mm machine gun, two "Pursurer" roof-mounter stinger-type missiles, and lo-ride tires.
- Razorback - Destro's Razorback was first released in 1989, packaged with the Wild Boar figure. It featured an adjustable battle attack mode, eight "Short-Blast" surface-to-surface missiles, a 205mm dual-pulsating anti-armor cannon, and a radar antenna.
- Iron Mech - The Iron Mech was a special Iron Grenadier mechsuit released at the 2005 G.I. Joe convention. It featured electronic lights and sounds, as well as a double-barreled spring launched missile launcher.
- Russian Truck - This cargo truck was released at the 2012 G.I. Joe convention. It featured three different removable cargo covers that had markings of Clan Destro's Iron Grenadiers, Cobra Command, or the Oktober Guard, allowing fans to pick and choose whatever side was the owner of the vehicle.
An Iron Grenadier appeared in G.I. Joe #69 of the comics series published by Marvel Comics. During that time, Destro had broken his ties with Cobra. After months out of the spotlight, Destro resurfaced in Sierra Gordo, where he supplied weapons to the local government and the rebels. To mark a new beginning in his life, he adopted a new uniform and fashioned his own aide-de-camp sergeant major into the first of the Grenadiers.
The Grenadiers appeared as an army in issue #73–76 where they participated in the Cobra Civil War as a wild card. Destro's personal ride, a D.E.M.O.N. tank, battled a group of Dreadnoks riding the Thunder Machine. The result was a stalemate of sorts. Their objective in the civil war was to retrieve the Baroness and they managed to achieve their goal without any losses. Some of the storyline featured Grenadiers in their downtime.
Later on, when Destro’s schemes started to affect Cobra, the then Cobra Commander (Fred VII in disguise) retaliated by assaulting Castle Destro. (issue #87) The attack backfired. Although outnumbered, the Grenadiers were able to prove their mettle. A clever plan by Destro allowed him to hold hostage Fred VII and Doctor Mindbender and essentially take over Cobra. For a time, Darklon leads the Iron Grenadiers.
Grenadiers, out of uniform, are the adversaries of several Joes in issue #23 of the Special Missions spin-off series. Three issues later, the group kills three members of the Oktober Guard. Darklon also works with Cobra Commander to destroy a G.I. Joe stealth fighter base.
A division of Cobra troops once pretended to be Grenadiers as a way to publicly frame them for the crimes the troops were committing. For example, several raid an American military weapons depot; this specific mission ends with the deaths of all Grenadiers sent. The Grenadiers also come into conflict with other Cobra forces, the Dreadnoks, partly because they found the bikers laughable.[volume & issue needed]
The ties between Cobra and Destro were severed once more when the original Cobra Commander returns. One of the Commander's first acts is to throw Voltar into Cobar Island's land-locked freighter, along with several others the Commanders considers disloyal. The freighter is then buried under a volcano, Voltar was one of several characters to die from food poisoning while attempting to dig out. Rather than confront the Commander, Destro kept his distance. The Grenadiers are featured in issue 105, along with the reformed Guard and several members of the Joe team.
Once again, the Grenadiers defend Destro's castle from Cobra Commander's forces. The Iron Grenadiers are not seen again for the remainder of the Marvel series. In issue #146, Cobra Commander, as a way to test Destro's recent brainwashing, insinuates that Darklon could be a threat to Cobra. Destro casually launches a missile that destroys Castle Darklon, and it appears Darklon is killed in the process.
The Grenadiers resurfaced in the G.I. Joe series published by Devil's Due Publishing, where they continued to be in service of Destro. The Grenadiers have gained a new second in command, Mistress Armada. This is partly due to that the Destro (at that time) they know is actually an impersonator and needs a talented person to lead the troops.
Grenadier forces later assist Destro in rescuing the kidnapped Baroness, who had been taken by a consoritum of criminal interests who oppose Cobra Commander. One of the Grenadiers had betrayed the group. Destro tortures the man for all relevant information, then kills him with two bullets. The other Grenadiers work with the Joes as Flint had also been taken prisoner. Most of the rescue team is captured, including two Iron Grenadier officers in civilian clothes. All prisoners are soon safely rescued.
The Iron Grenadiers team with Cobra Forces to battle the Coil. Destro and the Iron Grenadiers also try to create tension in the Sierra Gordo region using a fake team of mercenaries. Duke and another squad of Joes uncover the plot and Destro is arrested.
During the World War 3 storyline, Iron Grenadier forces again fall under the control of Destro's son Alexander, and as such, under Cobra Commander. Destro himself works with American allies to sabotage Grenadier forces.
The Iron Grenadiers first appeared in the DiC Entertainment G.I. Joe mini-series "Operation: Dragonfire." Unlike the comics and the toyline, the Grenadiers were not treated as a separate faction from Cobra, but as part of Cobra’s organization. The name Iron Grenadiers is not even used. One character from the Grenadiers to achieve a level of popularity and attention was Metal-Head, who acted as comic relief in the series.
The Iron Grenadiers appear in G.I. Joe: Renegades as soldiers for James McCullen's company M.A.R.S. Industries. All were wearing a perfected model of an exo-armor made for sale to Cobra Industries. They are beaten by the Joes and Doctor Mindbender's new Mecha-Vipers (which are ironically a fusion of Doctor Mindbender's Bio-Vipers and the Mecha suits used by the Grenadiers). The Iron Grenadiers also appeared in "Castle Destro" as one of the line of defenses in Destro's castle.
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- "G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero" #69
- "G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero" #73–76
- "G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero" #87
- G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #88 (July 1989)
- "G.I. Joe Special Missions" #23 (Nov. 1989)
- "G.I. Joe Special Missions" #26
- "G.I. Joe Special Missions" #28, (Mid-November 1989)
- G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #82 (January 1989)
- G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #98
- "G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero" Vol1 #105 (October 1990)
- "G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero" #116
- G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #146 (March 1994)
- "G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero" #2–4 (2001)
- "G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero" #17–19 (2003)
- "G.I. Joe: Frontline" #16 (October 2003)
- "G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero" #25
- "G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero' #29–30
- "G.I. Joe: America's Elite" #30–36
- Iron Grenadiers at JMM's G.I. Joe Comics Home Page
- Iron Grenadiers at The Inner Sanctum fansite
- Iron Grenadiers at YOJOE.com