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I think the description that you put forth sounds closer to my idea of the Death Guard, especially after their descriptions in Galaxy in Flames and Flight of the Eisenstein.

The Iron Warriors are experts in siege warfare, which is different from trench warfare. I am not really certain if the Iron Warriors have any historic analogue, but Perturabo could be compared alongside Roman general Lucius Flavius Silva who, in late 72-early 73 AD, laid siege to and captured the impenetrable fortress Masada. The big similarity between the two being that both fell out of favor with their Emperor and had their accomplishments removed from the respective archives of the empire they had served.

While I am not saying that Perturabo is an exact allegory of Silva, it is the most apt comparison of which I am aware and it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility to have Perturabo written as an amalgam of Roman generals as they were noted for their innovative siege methodology and feats of engineering.
 
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