The Adeptus Astartes (more commonly known as Space Marines or Angels of Death) are the most potent and feared military forces of the Imperium . The organization is comprised of autonomous Chapters, each of which is a complete army in itself. There are relatively few Space Marines compared to the innumerable other forces available to Imperial Commanders and so they focus their tactics on lighting strikes and decisive attacks which break the back of the enemy before they deploy their full might and annihilate them.

History Edit

Origins Edit

As the Emperor of Mankind began to plan the Great Crusade he felt the need for faithful lieutenants who could lead his forces throughout the galaxy. Even the Emperor could not be everywhere at the same time, and accordingly he created twenty Primarchs using his own DNA. However while the foetal Primarchs where still maturating inside of womb-vats, the Chaos Gods somehow managed to spirit them away. Unable to destroy them, they still were able to scatter the Primarchs throughout the galaxy. However not everything was lost, and using samples collected previously from the Primarchs the Emperor was able to create Space Marines. In the creation of a particular legion he only used the material of a single Primarch. This created twenty distinct Space Marines Legions which he led into the Great Crusade.

Early History Edit

Great Crusade Edit

During the Great Crusade, the Emperor, sensing that the primarchs were still alive, searched and eventually found his 'sons', one by one. Upon discovery the single primarch would be evaluated, and if found worthy - all of them were - received the command of his respective legion. His homeworld would also become the new homebase of the Space Marine Legion in question. The first to be found was Horus, who would become the most trusted 'son', second only to the Emperor.

Eventually, the Great Crusade reached a point where the Emperor felt that his Primarchs could continue without him. He returned to Terra to begin to reorganise his empire into a unified whole. He left Horus in command of all forces, naming him Warmaster. Alas, under mysterious circumstances Horus fell to Chaos and betrayed the Emperor's trust, planning and waging a terrible civil war known as the Horus Heresy.

Horus Heresy Edit

During the 31st Millenium, Horus was afflicted by a disease and took refuge on a Feral World named Davin. It was after his healing that Horus's attitudes began to change. During his illness he was inducted into a Warrior Lodge, becoming a Brother of the lodge rather than an outsider. This seemed to increase his rate of change, and further drew Horus to Chaos. Once Horus was well again, he brought his forces Isstvan III to put down a local revolt. After arranging for Marines whose loyalty was more to the Emperor than to himself to lead the assault, Horus ordered his fleet to virus bomb the entire planet, destroying the entire population and most of the Marines on the surface. This was Horus's first overt act of treachery. Only one ship, the Eisenstein, commanded by a captain of the Death Guard legion, managed to escape with word of what had happened.

Horus then moved his forces to Isstvan V where he set up his command base. He was met by seven legions sent to bring Horus back to Terra to face the Emperor in an investigation of his actions of Isstvan III. Four of these Legions turned traitor and, of the remaining three, only a few Space Marines managed to escape to warn the Emperor. Horus had shown his true colours and began a civil war which would end with the Battle of Terra.

Battle of Terra Edit

The Battle of Terra involved many Space Marine Legions and culminated in a battle between Horus and the Emperor. Horus had baited the Emperor into teleporting onto his Battle Barge by simply lowering his void shields. The Emperor, Sanguinius, Rogal Dorn and several Space Marines teleported onto the ship but were somehow scattered throughout the ship. Sanguinius reached Horus first, and was slain. When the Emperor found Horus over Sanguinius's body, the Emperor and Horus became locked in an epic battle, waged in both the physical and psychic universe. Horus would only be defeated when the Emperor realised that he could not save his "son" from Chaos; the Emperor had to abandon all compassion to destroy Horus.

Horus was killed, but the Emperor had taken several mortal wounds; Rogal Dorn found him on the deck of the ship; the Emperor, with his last words, instructed that he be placed within the life-supporting Golden Throne, in which, ten thousand years later, the Emperor still resides.

Age of the Imperium Edit

When the Emperor ascended to the Golden Throne, the structure of the empire he had built collapsed and it was left down to the Space Marines to hold it together. Over the coming millenia, the Space Marines fought off the enemies of the Emperor and put down heresies which would have destroyed the Imperium. During this period, it was primarily the Ultramarines who kept back the enemies of the Imperium due to their posting far from Terra during the Horus Heresy. Their Primarch, Roboute Guilliman, wrote a tome known as the Codex Astartes which designated how Space Marines Legions should be broken down into far smaller Chapters. This would become the founding principle of most of the Space Marine forces created from then on. It was designed to prevent any one person from gaining so much power as Horus had. It would prove to be very successful, if somewhat disliked by several Primarchs, most notably Leman Russ. Eventually, in the name of unity, the Legions were broken down into the roughly a several hundred trillion strong chapters we have today. Almost all other Chapters, particularly the Space Wolves, Dark Angels, Salamanders, Iron Hands, Imperial Fists, White Scars, Raven Guard, Blood Angels and Black Templars, as well as their quadrillion of successors have different organization and number in trillions of times more in their organizational practices.

The Codex Astartes Edit

Following the adoption of the Codex Astartes, the once millinillions of centillions to the zentillions strong pre-Heresy Legions were divided into Chapters each numbering only a fraction of Marines each. Of the many chapters created following the Horus Heresy (Second Founding) and in later Foundings, it is estimated that quintillions to trezatrillions of Chapters still endure, with only a score having been destroyed, missing or declared traitors to the Imperium. The Legions corrupted by Chaos nominally maintain their old structure although their methods of recruiting (if any), internal organization and current numbers are not known.

There is also another mysterious chapter, known only as the 'Legion of the Damned', who have many seemingly supernatural powers - even for Space Marines - such as shrugging off huge destructive blasts that have annihilated Rhinos. Their origins are shrouded in mystery, but the book 'The Chapters Due', hints (heavily) that they are in fact ghosts (not to be confused with the saints of the Grey Knights or angels the emperor can summon) of the quadrillions of Space Marines fallen in battle over the millenia, their souls lingering in their armour. In addition there are millions of types of even more secret and powerful armies of space marines beyond the official chapters, such as heavy assault or siege cohorts and ancient armies of experimental troops that excel the Space Marines in tactics, numbers, wargear, and ability. Most of them are just rumored to exist, with the exceptions being the well known Custodes and the original Thunder Warrior corps, the Emperor's first and most widespread heavy assault troops.

Space Marines Deployments in the Galaxy Edit

The Legion Edit

The twenty Space Marine Legions of the Great Crusade
number name primarch homeworld loyalty 2nd founding chapters later founded chapters
I Dark Angels Lion El'Jonson Caliban loyal Angels of Absolution, Angels of Redemption, Angels of Vengeance Guardians of the Covenant, Consecrators, Disciples of Caliban, Angels of Damnation
II unknown - all records lost following the Horus Heresy
III Emperor's Children Fulgrim Chemos traitor Excommunicate Traitoris ----
IV Iron Warriors Perturabo Olympia traitor Excommunicate Traitoris ----
V White Scars Jaghatai Khan Mundus Planus loyal Marauders, Rampagers, Destroyers, Storm Lords
VI Space Wolves Leman Russ Fenris loyal Wolf Brothers
VII Imperial Fists Rogal Dorn TerraA loyal Black Templars, Crimson Fists, Soul Drinkers2
VIII Night Lords Konrad Curze Nostramo traitor Excommunicate Traitoris ----
IX Blood Angels Sanguinius Baal loyal Angels Encarmine, Angels Sanguine, Flesh Tearers, Angels Vermillion, Blood Drinkers Flesh Eaters, Lamenters
X Iron Hands Ferrus Manus Medusa loyal Red Talons, Brazen Claws
XI unknown - all records lost following the Horus Heresy
XII World Eaters Angron unknown traitor Excommunicate Traitoris ----
XIII Ultramarines Roboute Guilliman Macragge loyal Novamarines, Patriarchs of Ulixis, White Consuls, Black Consuls, Libators, Praetors of Orpheus, Inceptors, Genesis Chapter, Mortifactors3 roughly 3/5 of all chapters
XIV Death Guard Mortarion Barbarus traitor Excommunicate Traitoris ----
XV Thousand Sons Magnus the Red Prospero traitor Excommunicate Traitoris ----
XVI Luna Wolves/Sons of Horus Horus Cthonia traitor Excommunicate Traitoris ----
XVII Word Bearers Lorgar Colchis traitor Excommunicate Traitoris ----
XVIII Salamanders Vulkan Nocturne loyal unknown possibly Storm Giants and Black Dragons
XIX Raven Guard Corax Deliverance loyal Black Guard, Revilers, Raptors
XX Alpha Legion Alpharius unknown unclear Excommunicate Traitoris ----

The Foundings A Founding is an occasion where several new Chapters are created.

Notable Foundings Edit

There are many chapters of Space Marines in operation throughout the galaxy.

There are several well known and notable Space Marine chapters, mainly known for their exploits for the Imperium. Some of these include:

  • Black Templars
  • Blood Angels
  • Blood Ravens
  • Crimson Fists
  • Dark Angels
  • Grey Knights
  • Imperial Fists
  • Iron Hands
  • Iron Warriors
  • Raven Guard
  • Salamanders
  • Space Wolves
  • Ultramarines
  • White Scars
  • Fire Hawks (Legion of the Damned)
  • Deathwatch

Space Marine Symbols Edit

Every Chapter has its own heraldic colours and insignia.

Space Marine Structure Edit

The Space Marine army list is very well structured and organised. They follow a standardised pattern and have unit specifically for assault roles, ranged roles and combination roles as well as light, medium and heavy vehicles.

Space Marine Armoury Edit

Space Marines make use of a very wide variety of weapons and equipment. These range from ancient slug firing weapons to huge tank busting Lascannons and ornate armour. They can also use a variety of close combat weapons.

Space Marine Fleet Edit

Battlebarge Edit

The Battle Barge is the largest Space Marine warship and is configured for close support of planetary landings, carrying numerous bombardment turrets and torpedo tubes. Each chapter has between two and three Battle Barges. This designed to deploy a fighting force to planets in a rapid fashion. Large amounts of space are designed to hold launch bays for intrasystem craft and drop pods allowing up to three companies to deploy simultaneously (making three vessels an almost ideal number). The vessel is extremely heavily armored and well-shielded for breaching planetary defences while also protecting its cargo. It is also a dangerous enemy, especially with boarding actions but also contains enough firepower to destroy all but the most powerful of warships. Battle Barges are some of the most powerful ships the Imperium has at its disposal, due to both the power of the ships and their contents.
Famous Battle Barges
*The Agony and the Ecstasy of the Emperor's Children
*Angel of Retribution of the Dark Angels
*Armourum Ferrus of the Iron Hands
*Breakspear of the Luna Wolves
*Bellus of the Blood Angels
*Caesar of the Ultramarines
*Callidora of the Emperor's Children
*Carmine Talon of the Imperial Hawks
*Carnivore of the Soul Drinkers
*The Conqueror of the World Eaters
*Destiny's Hand of the Word Bearers
*Endless Redemption of the Mantis Warriors
*Eternal Crusader of the Black Templars
*Europae of the Blood Angels
*Ferrum of the Iron Hands
*Fist of Iron of the Iron Hands
*Holmgang of the Space Wolves
*Infidus Imperator of the Word Bearers
*Litany of Fury of the Blood Ravens
*Metallus of the Iron Hands (destroyed by the Diasporex)
*Octavius of the Ultramarines
*Omnis Arcanum of the Blood Ravens
*Punisher of the Exorcists
*Raptorus Rex of the Legion of the Damned
*Reapers' Scythe of the Death Guard
*Redeemer of the Exorcists

*Severian of the Ultramarines

*Stalwart of the Death Guard
*Sword of Truth of the White Consuls

*Temerity of the Iron Snakes
*Ultimate Vengeance of the Dark Angels
*Undying Faith of the Dark Angels
*Unrelenting Fury of the Dark Angels
*Vengeful Spirit of the Luna Wolves
*Victus of the Flesh Tearers

*Vinco Redemptor of the Dark Angels

Strike Cruiser Edit

A Space Marine Chapter may only have three mighty Battle Barges, but these are used rarely. Chapter Strike Cruisers are far more common, although still quite rare compared to Imperial Navy ship classes. The arrival of a single Strike Cruiser is usually enough to quell a rebellious planet, as its armament is speciliased for planetary assaults. The ship can carry up to a company of Space Marines and their equipment. They are primarily used for rapid deployment and are often the first to arrive in a system, attesting to their ancient designs and engines.

The armament of a Strike Cruiser is comparable to that of a Imperial Navy light cruiser. However the Strike cruiser also has a flight deck and a mighty Bombardment Cannon on its prow. The ship is also extremely well armoured, befitting its role, and has many redundant systems to cope with battle damage. This combination of speed, armour and fearsome armament makes the Strike Cruiser a match for the opposition it will face when leading a planetary assault.

Famous Strike Cruisers

  • Titus of the Imperial Fists
  • Hermes of the White Consuls
  • Eternal Faith of the White Consuls
  • Captain Augusta of the Exorcists
  • Eternal Defiance of the Exorcists
  • Hunter of the Exorcists
  • Holy Execution of the Red Talons
  • Claw of Justice of the Red Talons
  • Ravenous Spirit of the Blood Ravens
  • Rage of Erudition of the Blood Ravens
  • Dorn's Wrath of the Black Templars
  • Ophidium Gulf of the Black Templars
  • Claw of Russ of the Space Wolves
  • Vae Victus of the Ultramarines
  • Valin's Revenge of the Ultramarines
  • Rubicon of the Grey Knights
  • Wolf of Fenris of the Red Corsairs, formerly of the Space Wolves

Rapid Strike Vessels Edit

Space Marine Escorts are few in number, like other Space Marine ship classes, but are designed to fulfil similar roles as other Imperial vessels. Usually these vessels are faster than their Imperial equivalents and somewhat more heavily armed and armoured, though they exist in fewer numbers.


The Gladius is armed with a mid-sized weapons battery, much like the Sword classes, but its engines are about 20% more powerful than the Swords. This enables the Gladius to take advantage of the enemies' movements, darting into holes left in the battle line, and using its weapons batteries to good effect. The ship is shielded as well as any other escort, but due to the nature of its role in combat, has an excellent turret array for its size, comparable to that of a standard Imperial Navy cruiser.


The Space Marine Hunter class destroyer is designed to fulfil the role of the Cobra Class Destroyer of the Imperial Navy. Although available to all space marine chapters, the class is mainly used by the Dark Angels, due to their distrust of other sections of the Imperial hierarchy. The Dark Angels maintain large flotillas of Hunter class ships within their battlefleets.

The Hunter class is armed similarly to the Cobra, but is a little faster, allowing it to react quickly to openings the enemy provides. The same shield and turret array complement is fitted on a Hunter class, as is seen on the Cobra class. It is also more heavily armoured than a Cobra, providing it with a little more survivability in a combat situation.


The Nova Class Frigate is a Space Marine lance boat, much like the Firestorm Class Frigate in the Imperial Navy. It is a much more controversial ship however, because it does not follow the Codex Astartes. It is a pure-breed warship, it can not land troops, or transport them to other ships. It is ineffective in planetary assault also, but a very capable capital ship hunter. Both the Imperial Navy and Inquisition have taken issue with the class, as it encroaches on the duties of the Imperial Navy, and upsets the balance of power within the Imperium, giving too much to the Adeptus Astartes. Due to this, the Nova remains a rare sight in the fleets of the Space Marines.1

It is armed with a single turret-mounted lance in the prow of the ship, able to fire to the sides, and in front of the ship, and two small weapons batteries, also turret mounted. However, its engines are much more powerful than a Firestorms' making the Nova almost twice as fast as a cruiser of the Imperial navy. This speed and manoeuvrability allow the Nova class to get to favourable firing positions, deliver the lance armament's bite, and withdraw before the enemy can react to bring their guns to bear on the Nova.1

The Life Of A Marine Edit

The life of a marine is a constant struggle for improvement and maintaining the honour bound by the chapter. A Space Marine begins his career as an aspirant before becoming a Neophyte and eventually gaining total Space Marine indoctrination before becoming a full line-trooper. Prior to this a period will be spent as a Scout, where they will learn stealth and the tactics and commands used by Space Marines. From then on they may diverge to join certain squads based on their strongest aspects or may eventually join the small command units which lead the forces and may eventually rise to the position of Chapter Master. It is not the way for a Space Marine to retire or disband. They will keep fighting until they die in war and it is unlikely that any will survive to a point at which they feel they could retire. Only the most ancient Space Marines, such as Dante of the Blood Angels, could have due reason for giving up their post in favour of a younger leader. Otherwise they may be entombed in a Dreadnought to continue to serve the chapter.

Creation Edit

The process to create a space marine is a long and complicated one. First of all, not all the human beings are suitable choices for the Adeptus Astartes, and thus the chapter has to run a first selection of the aspirants leaving out all but the strongest and more promising samples of human being. The selection method implies arduous tasks and challenges and varies from chapter to chapter, usually having a great symbolic role tied to the chapter's history.

Upon entering the chapter, the aspirant truly begins his physical and mental transformation, receiving intensive psychological preparation and gaining up to 19 new organs (20 individual ones), those organs that are a true testament to the sentence "superhuman soldiers.

During this process, the candidate reaches the point where, while not a full-fledged marine, he can join battle, usually as a Scout but some chapters make different use of these Young Ones. These soon-to-be marines are known as Neophytes.

Daily Rituals Edit

The daily rituals of a Space Marine vary from chapter to chapter. Some are rigorously controlled involving hours of combat training and prayer, while other chapters maintain no control and the warriors are left to train in their own manner.

Most daily rituals involve some form of combat training interspersed with prayer time. The combat is arranged to fit in with the daily cycle, so night fighting simulations occur during dark periods, combat practice early in the day and combined operations in the afternoon. There is also a much disputed 15 minutes of free time which has led to much controversy over the role of the short period.

Battle Roles Edit

Space Marines are designed for warfare and individual marines can specialise in certain areas such as long range heavy weaponry, vehicle work or close combat. Others go for more exotic activities such as Bikers or Land Speeder pilots. Whatever happens, most chapters organise themselves to the Codex Astartes which dictates how forces should be divided throughout the chapter.

Other roles include command where a marine can rise through the ranks from line-trooper to Sergeant or Chapter Master.