The 416th Expeditionary Fleet and the Katan Cluster
The current VIIth Grand Battalion of the Iron Warriors did not exist until the closing days of the Great Crusade, and its founding was far from auspicious. What would eventually become the VIIth Grand Battalion, tied by blood and fire to Warsmith Agathocles, was initially a group of seperate companies which made up the 416th Expeditionary Fleet of the Imperium. By the command of Perturabo, the Warsmith Suphur Ghamarand led the 416th Expeditionary Fleet struck out to conquer the twelve systems of the Katan Cluster, then held by the Synat Alliance consisting of several xenos species and humans.
Initially, the campaign began with promise. The 416th arrived in secret on the edges of the Cluster and monitored the systems, dispatching listening probes and small strike craft to test the Alliances' defences. After several weeks of monitoring and planning, the Warsmith struck. The first strike came to Katan V, the fifth system of the Katan Cluster. Although not host to a significant concentration of military assets, the three hospitable worlds in the system acted as the bread basket for the region - primarily producing the edible foodstuffs of the xenos races. Calculating that it would drive a wedge between the defenders, and leave the systems with a significantly larger human populace ready for compliance at the end of the campaign, Warshmith Gharamand would begin the cull of the xenos even before the Cluster fell.
The initial strike left Katan V in Imperial hands, but the IV Legion had no use for alien agriculture. Orbital bombardment levelled the world for later renewal and resettlement. From there, Katan IV and IX fell quickly to secondary strikes. An attempted stand at Katan III by the Alliance resulted in a heavy fleet action, but the defenders withdrew before losing their most capable warships. Driving further into the Cluster, fleet combat and boarding actions devastated the Alliance that, by then, threatened to fall apart to internal fracturing. The Warsmith's plan was proceeding as intended, and the early loss of Katan V and its food production was taking its toll on the aliens. Forced to ration their foods and distribute it to their fighting forces, the alien's civilian populations were starving while they watched the humans enjoy a stable supply of their own foods with envy.
Eventually, after fighting through Alliance defences on Katan II in a bloody meat grinder, the Warsmith determined to end the Alliance and claim the Cluster for his Legion. Confident that a concurrent assault on Katan I, their capital system, and Katan XI, where sensors indicated they had concentrated the majority of their remaining spaceborn vessels, would be the end of meaningful resistance, Warsmith Gharamand divided his forces. Disregarding the concerns of his sub-commanders, he deployed his ground troops to the capital world, fourth planet of the Katan I system, and left some vessels in the rear guard, while the majority of the Expeditionary vessels advanced to finish the Alliance fleet.
The Battle of Katan I.IV
Warsmith Gharamand ordered the 93rd, 114th, 173rd, and 201st Line Companies to the Battle of Katan I.IV, supported by the 93rd and 100th Armoured Company, alongside elements of the Imperial Army and the Tagmata Pisara of the Mechanicum. Receiving little orbital support from the rearguard ships, the leadership of the ground forces were experienced and capable commanders, and Gharamdn was confident it would not be needed.
Securing the planned landing zones with little resistance, the Iron Warriors advanced to the major urban areas - rivalling some small Hive cities of the Imperium - expecting fierce resistance from the Alliance. What they were not expecting was to face a resistance primarily led by the human soldiery. Amongst these troops, also fought horrors of alien science - gene wrought human and alien warriors in crude and hulking imitation of the Astartes, clad in primitive armour but possessing a monstrous strength and fortitude. The Iron Warriors fought with the bitter determination of their Legion despite facing mounting casulaties, and slowly pushed into the cities. The initial days of the planets subjugation were a blurr of close-ranged firefights and fierce melee against the defenders, but the Iron Warriors broke into the cities. What they found was infighting. Their advance had broken the morale of the defenders, and some of the aliens had turned upon the humans - even as they had fought to defend each other. Hunger turned to madness as the defenders savaged one and another and the aliens gorged themselves on human flesh. Former allies massacred themselves while fighting and dying en masse to the guns of the Iron Warriors, but through sheer weight of numbers the IV Legion became bogged down. It was then the enemy fleet struck.
Alliance warships, their systems powered down and signatures hidden in the asteroid ring of Katan I.II, revealed themselves. The rearguard ships notified the ground forces, and sent a message to the 416th, but it was too late - reinforcements would be days away at the earliest. Swiftly and inexorably, the Alliance ships advanced and swept the Expeditionary rearguard away. The ground forces on Katan I.IV dug in where they could, tunnelling into the earth beneath the cities and fortifying trenchworks and bunkers where necessary to survive the coming bombardment. For many, it would not be enough. From orbit, laser fire, heavy ordnance, and all manner of radioactive munitions fell upon the planet.
When the ships of the 416th returned to Katan I.IV, and annihilated the last vestiges of the Alliance Fleet, it was too late. Over three thousand of the Iron Warriors were dead, their allies devastated and the cities and human population of the planet were ash. Warsmith Gharamand was aghast and called a council of his surviving commanders. Revealing that the ship concentrations in Katan XI were a refugee flotilla filled with starving and half-dead aliens preparing to escape the Cluster, as opposed to the remaining warships of the Alliance as believed, the Warsmith was relieved of his command and executed by the surviving leadership of the Iron Warriors ground forces.
In the records of the Imperium of Man, Warsmith Ghamarand was listed as Killed in Action in the Katan Campaign. In his place, command fell to Captain Rhota Agathocles - the most senior surviving commander of the ground forces of the 416th Expeditionary Fleet.
Captain Agathocles led the reorganization of the remaining Iron Warriors elements, and their depleted Imperial Army and Taghmata support units into a force that could continue the compliance. Embarking to the fleet before the ruins of Katan I were fully captured, Agathocles ordered the remainder of the planet be devastated and the fleet move on. Towing the ruined Alliance warships and refugee vessels from Katan XI, Agathocles used the wrecks as space born ordnance to throw at the remaining Alliance worlds. Where further vessels were encountered, Agathocles and the 416th launched savage boarding actions to capture the vessels and hurl them on the defenders' worlds - a mockery of the bombardment they themselves had endured.
After several further weeks on campaign and the destruction of the last holdout bastions, Captain Agathocles reported to Perturabo that the Katan Cluster was brought into compliance, and received new orders to leave a garrison, and embark on other campaigns. These campaigns, deleted from Imperial records, would see the fall of the crocodilian Khrinti Empire alongside Night Lord raiding parties, the defence of the Tiago Expanse with the Ultramarines against a rampaging Ork Waagh!, the fall of the Tyrant of Bures brought about with the Dark Angels and the Luna Wolves, and other actions besides.
Eventually, Perturabo solidified the 416th Expeditionary Force as a single legion fighting force in the VIIth Grand Battalion under the elevated Warsmith Agathocles. It was then, with his new command and title, that Agathocles was ordered to regroup with the 125th Expeditionary Fleet for prosecution of a campaign against the Hrud, in the Sak'trada Deeps.
For many Heretic Astartes warbands borne out of the old Legions, the Dropsite Massacre of Istvaan V represents a clear breaking point in their loyalties from the Imperium to the Dark Gods, there was no such clear change for the VIIth Grand Battalion. They, like much of their legion, had already felt forsaken by the Imperium they were building before that battle. Rather, the VIIth Grand Battalion had been committed to the Legion's cause at the burning of Olympia. By their Lord Perturabo's direction, they had waged genocide against their own world.
Dispatched to tear down the city of Kademmos, the VIIth Grand Battalion had undertaken their mission with limited support from other Iron Warriors units, just the 182nd Line Company, and the 94th Artillery Company. Together, the VIIth and their supporting units tore down the city walls, and marched forward. Although the Iron Warriors were already known for their brooding and paranoid character, their mood darkened as they cleared the city. Growing reports that some units in both the VIIth Grand Battalion and the supporting units were not firing on the populace turned into reports of stand-offs within the city.
Warsmith Agathocles, committed to executing his Primarch's orders but already shaken by the order to burn his world, ordered his forces halt and took to the city in-person to verify the reports. In the central plaza, he met with a unit of the 182nd Line Company who were accused of refusing their orders. After a long debate, where it could not be known if the 182nd were on the verge of standing down or the Warsmith on the verge of turning his back on the Primarch, the whine of falling artillery shells broke the tension and drew the lines of battle.
Unknown to the Warsmith, a similar standoff had erupted in his siege encampment. Concerned that the artillery could shell their commander and forces in the city, the VIIth attempted to disarm the 94th Artillery Company and sieze their weapons. The 94th resisted and firefights erupted in the encampment, while artillery loosed on the Warsmith in the city. Kademmos erupted in bolter fire as the warriors of the VIIth and the 182nd fought each other and amonst themselves. Warsmith Agathocles and his bodyguard, pinned in the enveloping fire of the 182nd units, were relieved by Captain Xenophon and the handful of trustworthy squads he had rallied to his side. Inevitably, Kademmos fell, and the 182nd and the 94th companies were wiped out - their equipment and survivors absorbed into Agathocles' command.
By the time the VIIth Grand Battalion fought the loyalists at Istvaan V, they had already chosen their side. Positioned around the Urgall Depression to face the Salamanders Legion, they butchered them without remose or regret - or even anger. They fought with a numbness of a universe turned on its head. The trauma of Olympia had left many in the VIIth hollow, morose, and resigned to their Legion's loyalties. For many, the shadow of their treachery would weigh on them and, in the rumours of the IVth Legion, border too nearly on regret.
The Horus Heresy
After Istvaan, the VIIth fought in a number of campaigns against the loyalists, but lacked the zeal to distinguish themselves among the traitors. The VIIth fought at Phall but were barely acknowledged in the honour rolls of the Iron Warriors. They fought at Dormire against a loyalist group of the Alpha Legion and in the Valens system against the Ultramarines. They fought on the nine moons of Kallorn against Raven Guard survivors harassing the Warmaster's Fleet, and at Caleb's Rest against the Blood Angels. On, and on, in bloody rebellion they fought.
Although the VIIth was absent from the great battles of Tallarn, and from the Battle of Phall, they did not pass through the Heresy without great losses. Having fought through a number of loyalist forces, and having suffered for it, the 416th Expeditionary Fleet eventually came upon the bastion worlds of the Eridean Conglomerate for resupply and rearmament. Eventually, they fought their way to Terra and back to the bulk of their legion. (To be added)
Retreat to the Eye
The Bachannal Devastation
Old Allies Renewed
The Valens Insurrection
(Ongoing Kill Team Campaign)
The Martyrs Crusades
The Pact of the Standing Stones and the Triumvirate
The 10th Black Crusade and the Conflict of Helica
The Time After the Rift
When the Great Rift tore across the galaxy, the Iron Warriors marched with Abaddon across the devastated Imperium. Having fought at Cadia, and out of the ring of Imperial defences encompassing the Eye of Terror, the VIIth Grand Battalion refused to risk a return to the transdimensional hell that had been their prison for ten thousand years. Now, countless lifetimes after their treachery had condemned them to damnation, they would claim a dominion in realspace, and rule, and fight, and die as they had in the days of the Legion. Abaddon and his forces would spread through the stars, but the VIIth did not care to relive their days of raiding and piracy. They did not care to strip worlds of life and steal away populations as they had been forced to. No - they would gather their armies and carve an empire as they had done long ago.
Their black crusade across the stars followed the edges of the Rift as they sought a domain far from the focus of the Imperium, where they could stake their claim and build the strength to grow. Eventually, after crossing the galaxy and savaging countless worlds, they found a territory that fit their mark - the Llagos Sector. On the edge of the Eastern Fringe, with stars in the Imperium proper and the Imperium Nihilus, the Llagos Sector was well positioned and within striking distance of plentiful enemies with whom the VIIth owed a blood debt. Through dark pacts they could cross the Rift with impunity, while their foes would be confined to only ever half their domain. Far from the Emperor's light, it had also remained under-developed, despite its rich resources and impoverished but significant populations. These would be the metals and fuel for their warmachine, and the willing converts and recruits to the VIIth's armies.
The invasion of the Llagos Sector, when it came, began in fire. (To be added)
Reign of Tyrants
One of the first campaigns beyond the Llagos Sector undertaken by the VIIth Grand Battalion struck at the worlds of Dal'hammar. A system cut off from the Imperium for nearly a century, and subjugated by a cabal of the Thousand Sons, the Iron Warriors detected a distress signal sent out by an Imperial resistance on the primary world. The Thousand Sons were digging for an ancient xenos technology they called a 'psychic nexus'. As xenos and Imperial forces converged on the system, the Iron Warriors sent out a force to investigate. (Ongoing - Warhammer 40k Campaign with Friends)
In the years after they conquered the Llagos Sector, the VIIth Grand Battalion have struck out at the wider Imperium, aiming to throw the forces of the Corpse Emperor off balance and to prevent any gathering of forces that could strike back against their new dominion. When the Heralds of Devastation space marine chapter found their missing flagship, the Inviolate Rage, in the Voltronus system beyond the Eastern Fringe, the Iron Warriors dispatched a strike force to impede their progress and weaken the marshalled Imperial forces. (Ongoing - 12 Months of Hobby Forum Campaign)
Now, after long years of their bloody reign over the Llagos Sector, the VIIth Grand Battalion have built up their defences and await the oncoming Imperial fleet sent to drive them out of their dominion. Many regiments of the Imperial Guard, as well as warriors of the Ultramarines and others besides have sent forces to assault them. What comes of the Llagos Crusade, and the strength of the VIIth Grand Battalion to oppose it, remains to be seen ...
The Tyrants of Llagos
(To be added)
Warsmith Agathocles, the Ascended
(To be added)
Warsmith Xenophon, the Maul
(To be added)
Tyrant Tullaris, the Iron Wight
(To be added)
'The Argastrahk' - First Company
(To be added)
Second Line Company
(To be added)
Third Line Company
The Third Line Company is under the personal command of Warsmith Xenophon, and the second largest of the individual fighting elements of the VIIth Grand Battalion. Having fought under his command since the Horus Heresy, the Third is as much a weapon in the hands of Warsmith Xenophon as it is an extension of his will.
Fourth Line Company
The Fourth Line Company of the VIIth Grand Battalion is the personal command of Warsmith Tullaris and the largest of the extant companies operating in the VIIth.
Fifth Line Company
The Fifth Line Company boasts the highest concentration of armoured assets from the VIIth Grand Battalion, having become an amalgamation of surviving, and acquired armour and vehicles through the long centuries of warfare and fluctuating size of the VIIth. Their long focus on armoured warfare has been refined over the years, and they often form a leading element to any major offensive. (To add)
Sixth Line Company
The Sixth Line Company (To add)
Seventh Line Company
The Seventh Line Company was reconstituted by the VIIth just prior to the 10th Black Crusade. This refounding, following shortly after the swearing of the Pact of the Standing Stones and the forced incorporation of a rival warband, reversed the slide of the Grand Battalion into a loose band of disparate raiders. Originally, the Seventh Line Company was disbanded after the company suffered staggering casulties at the Iron Cage. (To add)
Eighth Line Company
The Eighth Line Company is a newly reconstituted element of the old VIIth. The Eighth consists almost entirely of two types of space marines: those mongrel newborn space marines created through a bastardization of malefic ritual and ancient science, and newly traitorous firstborn space marines who turned from the Imperium in the dark days after the Great Rift tore the galaxy asunder. Those few marines who do not fit into these two archetypes, are generally veterans of long service to the Triumvirate who act as much as their enforcers as informants, testing the marines of the Eighth until they prove themselves or break. Many in the VIIth Grand Battalion look down on those in Eighth Company as lesser shadows of the veterans of the long war and whisper that the company is full of the weakling sons of Dorn and Guilliman. Previously in service during the days of the Great Crusade, the Eighth was broken up to reinforce the other Line Companies after vicious casualties were suffered by the Iron Warriors during the Siege of Terra and at the Iron Cage, alongside the Seventh Line Company.
Jandri Helots Armies
(To be added)
Numerean Irregular Militia
The Numerean Militia are frequently deployed alongside the VIIth Grand Battalion as fodder and support troops. They have filled this role since the populace of Numer were enslaved by an Iron Warriors invasion in M34. Thousands of years later, the descendants of those captives have embraced the anarchic violence of their masters and forgotten the cause of the damnation.
Llagos Helot Armies
The Iron Warriors have forced a number of worlds and populations into armed servitude, ready to exact the will of the VIIth when the Iron Warriors themselves are unable or unwilling to do so. Of these forces marshalled for resisting Imperial forces as they attempt to retake the Llagos Sector, a number of them revolve around obscure links to their worlds of origin, and often, to the strange mythos of those worlds.
The 32nd 'Crowborn' Foot Rifles, for example, a force often stationed throughout the Benkar Cluster and garrisoning less vital deployments, owing to their weaker constitutions (a result of generations of genetic damage from radioactive exposure) and poor training, based much of their milita culture around myths of the Great Crow who soared the stars in a veil of purest night. It was said that the Crowborn tracked the migrations of the Great Crow by the worlds upon which abhuman breeds more closely resembled avian mutations. Previously subjected to fierce persecution by the Inquisition, this creed has since grown rampant in areas of the region where mutation and abhuman populations are more concentrated.
Continuing the combat doctrine of their legion, the VIIth Grand Battalion are masters of siege warfare and regularly employ armoured assaults to punch through enemy defensive lines. Barring an armoured assault, the VIIth Grand Battalion is used to mass-theatre warfare and attrition fighting through long years of endless warfare and uncountable casulaties. With masses of fodder troops and penal soldiery, and the numbers of their Legion forces at an all time strength, the VIIth are prepared to force a terrible resistance against any who would dislodge them from their holdings.
Unlike many of their legion, the Iron Warriors of the VIIth Grand Battalion have also shown a particular willingness for fighting in limited number and confined spaces - whether that be in ship-to-ship boarding actions, or the fighting of elite sapper troops tunneling beneath fortified enemy lines. Arising from the personal methods of Warsmith Agathocles dating back to the Katan Compliance, the forces of the VIIth are equally as deadly from afar, as up close.
(To be added)
"Iron Within, Iron Without!"
Edited by Llagos_Tyrant, 06 October 2020 - 12:16 AM.