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Title: Index Astartes: Iron Warriors

Benedict Arnold - January 22, 2008 12:34 AM (GMT)
The Iron Warriors were the battering ram of the Great Crusade, hurled at every unbreakable wall or inaccessible citadel that stood between the Emperor and the establishment of the Imperium of Man. The blood and sweat shed during those distant times was wasted when the Iron Warriors turned on their brother Space Marines on Istvaan V and ensured that their once-proud name would be forever synonymous with treachery and heresy.

The Iron Warriors are a Legion of the First Founding, formed when the Imperium was young and the Emperor walked amongst his people. As with the other Legions, they were created after the Primarchs had disappeared. Although the Iron Warriors did not know their Primarch, during those early years they did inherit common characteristics, notably an affinity for technology and a coldly efficient logic, both of which served them well when calculation was needed, but left them lacking in faith. Tragically for the Iron Warriors, they were ultimately to be confronted by a threat against which the only possible defence was unshakeable faith.

On Olympia the Emperor found the Primarch from whom the Iron Warriors had been fashioned - Perturabo. Dark and melancholy, with a mind like a razor, he was warlord to the Tyrant of Lochos and, like his Legion, was a master of siege craft. By a curious twist of fate, Perturabo had been put in the one place where there was nothing for him to learn but the extent of his own superiority.

Olympia was, in those days ten thousand years gone, a rugged and mountainous world, its population concentrated within a multitude of city states. The ready availability of quarried stone and the terrain made the control of strategic passes and high ground the key to military security.

The young Perturabo was discovered climbing the sheer cliffs below the city state of Lochos. Aware that this was no ordinary child, the city guard brought him before the Tyrant of Lochos, Dammekos. Intrigued by the strange, dark child, Dammekos took him into his household as if he were his own family. Perturabo never trusted the Olympians and, although Dammekos took time and troubte to win the trust and affection of the boy, Perturabo did not resoond with any warmth. Many saw him as a cold youth but when one considers that he had been cast alone into a strange world with no clue as to his own origins or the reason. for his unusual abilities, this is perhaps harsh.

When the Great Crusade reached Olympia, Perturabo pledged his loyalty to the ┼mperor and, as was his custom with his Primarchs the Emperor granted Perturabo command of a Space ╠arine Legion and suzerainty of the planet as the Legion's home. The deposed Tyrant of Lochos spent the last few years of his life trying to marshal support to reclaim Olympia. He failed, but created an undercurrent of unrest that was to be harnessed many years later.

There was little time to delay. With the Great Crusade in full swing, Perturabo recruited new Iron Warriors from amongst the Olympians and conducted a lightning campaign against the nearby world of Justice Rock and the heretical Black Judges. The new recruites served well and their triumphant return was clebrated in the Palimodes Fresco, now known only through fragmented holo-recordings.

The Iron Warriors led by Perturabo were devastating siege troops. Expert engineers with cross-training from the Priesthood of Mars, they quickly built on their already impressive reputation. Whilst the Iron Warriors were determined to serve Mankind and their Emperor, their specialisation was an unfortunate one. The nature of siege warfare is long periods of dull, back-breaking labour broken by the most brutal, merciless combat imaginable. Men, even Space Marines, cannot withstand hell indefinitely and combat fatigue began to brutalise the Iron Warriors. The custom existed that once the siege lines were complete the besieged must either surrender or expect no quarter. With each campaign the Iron Warriors came to prefer the latter. Battle was to these Space Marines a release from the tedium of life in the siege trenches.

As the Crusade moved forward, many Iron Warrior citadels were established on liberated worlds guaranteeing a safe line of communications. There is a grim irony that the first and last military use of these citadels was to resupply Horus` forces on their traitorous march on Terra. Tiny numbers of Iron Warriors garrisoned the new fortifications. Where the likes of Russ, Vulkan and Magnus refused to Split their forces, Perturabo obeyed his orders with increasing bitterness. The Iron Warriors were turning into a garrison Legion with tiny deployments all over the Imperium. For example, the infamous Iron Keep on Delgas II was garrisoned by one squad of ten Iron Warriors despite the world having a disgruntled population of almost 130 million. Resentment began to build up throughout the Legion and particularly with Perturabo himself.

The passage of years and the carnage of the Heresy have long destroyed any possibility of proving why the Iron Warriors were treated with such casual disdain. Having finally found the truth of his existence, Perturabo was initially fanatically devoted to the Emperor and was ready to embrace missions that the other Primarchs avoided. The Iron Warriors' indisputable success then led to them being 'typecast' to the extent that they became an automatic choice for a siege or garrison mission. But all troops need time for rest and reorganisation if they are to be at their best. Clearly some authority chose to keep the Iron Warriors in action despite the harm it was doing. The Emperor may have been deliberately testing Perturabo's faith but, given that Horus, as Warmaster, had control over the precise conduct of many campaigns, it is more likely that he was responsible. When the Heresy began, it was clear that Horus had already established 'understandings' with other Legions. In hindsight, it is perfectly conceivable that Horus was working to demoralise and derange the Iron Warriors to make them more malleable.

It is widely claimed that Perturabo was envious of Rogal Dorn. Given Dorn's well-attested vanity, one can imagine how frequent reference to the perfection of the defences of the Emperor's palace on Terra might have antagonised his brother Primarch. Dorn had this effect on a great many people but Perturabo brooded on it and let each boast become a open wound that a cunning manipulator could pull and prod to elicit a response.

It is undoubtedly true that the other Primarchs kept Perturabo at a distance. This may be attributable to his technical genius that was far in advance of any of the others. Perturabo could match wits with Adeptus Mechanicus Magi on anything from warp drives to macro cannons. This was reflected in the way his deeds are recorded in the legends passed down from those times. In one famous story describing the occasion when Leman Russ and Jaghatai Khan routed the Orks of Overdog Mashogg, Perturabo features only as the 'comrade' who calculated the optimum way to bypass Mashogg's low orbit defences.

Benedict Arnold - January 22, 2008 12:37 AM (GMT)
Horus Heresy
In the midst of the cleansing of the Hrud Warrens on Gugann matters were brought to a head. It was Horus who broke the news to Perturabo that Olympia was in rebellion. Dammekos had died and the population, incited by demagogues, had taken up arms. Perturabo was by this time tired of repeatedly having to prove his worth and now, after all his battles, the thought of being the only Legion unable to hold its own home world appalled him. Horus made the most of the opportunity.

Before his departure, Horus presented Perturabo with the hammer Forgebreaker. It is possible that the weapon acted as a conduit through which the forces of Chaos could manipulate the Iron Warrior Primarch. Alternatively, a mark of respect from such a leader as Horus could have signalled the sealing of a pact between the two.

Perturabo and the Iron Warriors suppressed the rebellion on the streets of one city state after another. No one was spared. It was the principle of surrender or no quarter, and the Iron Warriors had grown accustomed to granting no quarter. Perturabo watched on as unmoved and cold as the fortifications in which he taken such pride were overcome. By the time the massacre was over, Olympia had been culled into slavery with almost 5 million civilians dead.

As the pyres burned through the long Olympian night, the Iron Warriors slowly realised the extent of what they had done. One moment they were humanity's heroes assaulting the Hrud and the next they were committing genocide. Perturabo was like a man emerging from a drunken stupor who finds blood on his hands, only dimly aware of how it got there, but is aware of an oppressive feeling of shame nonetheless. He knew that the Emperor could never forgive him his crime.

It was in this doomed mood that the Iron Warriors received news and orders. The news would have been shattering under normal circumstances, but when heard in ruins that were thick with the stench of the dead, it was apocalyptic. Russ' Space Wolves had attacked Magnus' Thousand Sons on Prospero. Horus had turned renegade along with his own Sons of Horus. Angron's World Eaters and Mortarion's Death Guard were also with him. Fulgrim and the Emperors Children had tried to reason with Horus, but had been seduced into joining him instead. Now the universe exceeded the Iron Warriors in madness. Confused bewilderment gave way to the realisation that, with the entire Imperium in flames, their excesses were irrelevant.

According to the accompanying orders they had received, the Iron Warriors were to join six other Legions to face Horus on Istvaan V.

The events on Istvaan V are part of the Heresy legend. The Iron Warriors joined with the Night Lords, Word Bearers and Alpha Legion to destroy the three Legions in the task force who remained loyal.

After Istvaan, the Iron Warriors were let loose. Finally freed from doomed missions, they were possessed with a terrible energy. On a dozen worlds, an Iron Warrior Warsmith replaced the true governor and tithes were paid under the shadow of fortified battlements.

A strong contingent of the Legion accompanied Perturabo to Terra where he supervised the siege of the Emperor's Palace. Here his skills were invaluable and the Iron Warriors found a sublime pleasure in tearing the edifices of the Imperium down. The end was near for the defenders when the Emperor confronted Horus on his battle barge and defeated him. Like many of Horus' followers, the Iron Warriors fled to the Eye of Terror, securing a new home world where they could brood on the turn of events and plot vengeance.

The rest of the Iron Warriors defended their small empire based on Olympia, but there was no refuge from the retribution of the loyalist Legions. The Imperial Fists supported the Ultramarines in a decade-long campaign to liberate the subjugated worlds. They discovered the Iron Warriors to be like a barbed hook that, once embedded into a victim, could only be removed with great risk of injuring the patient further. The Olympia garrison held out for two years, eventually triggering their missile stockpiles when defeat was unavoidable. They left a blasted wasteland that, like the other Traitor Legion home worlds, was declared Perdita.

Benedict Arnold - January 22, 2008 12:39 AM (GMT)
The Iron Cage
The one real triumph in the period following the Heresy was the reason for Perturabo s ascension to the rank of Daemon Prince. The Iron Warriors had been close to breaching the defences of the Imperial Palace but had been thwarted by Horus` death. Afterwards their empire was dismantled by the Imperial Fists by virtue of overwhelming superiority of numbers. On Sebastus IV, therefore, Perturabo set a trap for their Pnmarch by building the self-styled 'Eternal Fortress'. Upon hearing of the fortress, Rogal Dorn publicly declared that the Imperial Fists would dig Perturabo out of his hole and bring him back to Terra in an Iron Cage. Roboute Guilliman pleaded with Dorn to let him help but just as Perturabo planned, Dorn was arrogant enough to undertake the mission alone Rogal Dorn expected honourable battle but that was not Perturabo s agenda at all. The Eternal Fortress was a sophisticated trap. At its centre was a keep sitting in the middle of twenty square miles of bunkers, towers, minefields, trenches, razorwire, tank traps and redoubts. Radiating out from the keep in the shape of an eight-pointed star were underground tunnels that connected the surface fortifications. All the entrances to the underground network were concealed and the keep itself was a decoy of no real value. Most fortifications are limited by the need to protect something. The Eternal Fortress was twenty square miles of killing ground.

Perturabo and the Iron Warriors waited below the surface for the first shots of the Imperial Fists orbital barrage. As soon as it commenced they replied with a number of remote weapons silos located well away from the Fortress. The Imperial Fists countered precipitately with Ihunderhawk-borne troops attacking the silos and a full combat drop of the rest of the Legion. As soon as the attacks on the silos were under way, the missile stockpiles were detonated. Thousands of tons of debris was hurled into Sebastus atmosphere making communication between ground troops and fleet virtually impossible.

The detonation was the signal for the Iron Warriors fleet to attack The Traitor fleet was no stronger than that of the Imperial Fists but the loyalist 1 hunderhawks were on the planet's surface. Also the Chaos ships had many Iron Warriors amongst their complements eager to man the assault boats. The Imperial Fists fleet tried to hold but was forced inexorably out of position. After a few hours the only targets being engaged on the planet were coordinates pre-planned by Perturabo.

L ndcr fire from space, the Imperial Fists proceeded with their assault in parade ground formation on a four-company front Perturabo watched them from an observation tower and carefully began to destroy them. F'irsl the minefields did their work then, when the Imperial Fists reached the first expanse of fortifications, the Iron Warriors manned their trenches and opened fire. While the trenches held the loyalists attention, squads of Iron Warriors with krak grenades and mcita bombs emerged from hidden bunkers and attacked the tanks halted by the fortifications. The Imperial Fists turned back to fend off this threat and for a time were pinned down amidst the tank traps. Once more they rallied and swept forward to overrun the Iron Warrior trenches only to find them empty. So it continued Perturabo dissected the Imperial Fists tank by tank, squad by squad. Rogal Dorn remained convinced that victory was in sight and pushed his men on. Perturabo pulled back some of his defenders and called upon others to hold - a stratagem that fractured the Imperial Fists, first into companies then into squads. By day six of the battle, each Marine fought virtually alone, and Dorn s troops w-ere reduced to burrowing into the mud and piling up the dead bodies of their brethren for cover. Still Perturabo remained patient, he allowed Dorn to rampage around the trenches calling his name and demanding personal combat, content that the sight of their Pnmarch s impotence would demoralise the Imperial Fists.

The siege of the Eternal Fortress was to last for three more weeks. The Imperial Fists had burrowed into the killing zone and were unable to escape. Although his captains called for a breakout, Rogal Dorn would not give the order. He refused to believe the evidence of his eves and continued to call for one last charge or for Perturabo to face him. Unable to abandon their Pnmarch, the Imperial Fists prepared to die with him.

If Perturabo had a failing it was that he had grown to eniov tormenting his enemies too much. He could have finished off the Imperial Fists at any time but chose not to. Fortunately for Rogal Dorn, Roboute Guilliman put the Impcnum before pride and had brought the Ultramarines to the rescue. The powerful Ultramarine fleet forced the Iron Warriors back while their hunderhawks plunged through the dust clouds to evacuate the Imperial Fists. Perturabo had no desire to fight two Chapters and concentrated on preventing the Imperial Fists evacuating their dead and wounded.

Rogal Dorn was a broken man. It was nineteen years before he and the Imperial Fists could once again go to war. They left over 400 Marines at the Eternal F'ortress and every refugee carried horrific wounds.

The gene-seed captured was sacrificed to the Dark Cods in return for Perturabo`s elevation to Daemon Prince. One insult had been avenged, and since then the Iron Warriors have lived only to settle accounts with the corpse on the Golden Throne.

Benedict Arnold - January 22, 2008 12:41 AM (GMT)
Combat Doctrine
The Iron Warriors follow a simple method. They commence battle with a sustained bombardment utilising every gun at their disposal. The basis of this is a complex fire plan in which every weapon is directed with utmost care at the optimum target for maximum effect. Where possible, the Iron Warriors will coordinate with Traitor Titan Legions to add to their own considerable firepower. The bombardment can last for weeks as the Iron Warriors rarely seem to be short of ammunition. They handle their weaponry well, with formations moving forward to fire and then redeploying before any reprisal. Often their entire force will move laterally to bring their fire against enemy weak points, with the result that counter-attacks flounder helplessly in the teeth of the Iron Warriors' weapons.

Where possible, field fortifications will be used to reinforce the line. Iron Warrior doctrine includes extensive use of fortifications to tie opponents down with the absolute minimum number of troops. This in turn keeps the bulk of the Iron Warriors troops fresh and available for assaults.

When a breach has been forced in the enemy defences it will initially be probed by veterans and infiltrated, then the gap will be prised open with firepower until a storming force can be unleashed.

These storming forces are based around fast moving heavy armour which can move instantly from relentless barrage to lightning-fast advance. Breaches are then widened until the defences are shattered. For the key moments in battle when a position absolutely must be taken, the Iron Warriors adopt an ice-cold ferocity that is comparable to the Blood Angels or World Eaters but only when the moment is right and never for longer than necessary.

Once they have an opponent at their mercy, the Iron Warriors are content to surround them and destroy them at their leisure, always preferring to let shell and laser beam do their work for them.

The Iron Warriors are expert sappers, engineers and miners and have acquired a formidable siege train of specialist equipment over the centuries. This includes Termite tunnellers, a Leviathan transport, Dreadclaw assault boats adapted for planetary landings and a large assortment of

Imperial-built artillery. These are used very sparingly and are maintained and guarded by the 1st Company. Additionally they have a number of Corvus assault pods which allow them to make use of any supporting Titans as siege towers. The Iron Warriors are so frequently supported by Titans that some Imperial experts have asserted that they are part of the same formation. This is not widely accepted, but the theory is a reflection of the Legion's predilection for heavy barrages.

Benedict Arnold - January 22, 2008 12:42 AM (GMT)
The Iron Warriors are organised as a number of Grand Companies each commanded by a Warsmith. Originally each Grand Company would have had a similar organisation totalling approximately a thousand Space Marines, but now they vary in size enormously. The Warsmiths themselves are all extremely gifted in combat engineering, many maintaining a large contingent of slave-mechanicians to perform the more menial work.

It is uncertain how many Grand Companies there are at any given time. At the time of the Heresy, the Legion had at least twelve Companies, although with the widespread deployment of many small detachments of the Legion at the time it is impossible to be sure.

Benedict Arnold - January 22, 2008 12:43 AM (GMT)
The Iron Warriors believe that the Emperor used them to fight the bloodiest battles of his Crusade and then let the other, more favoured Primarchs take all the glory. They also believe that Rogal Dorn turned Olympia against them so that they would be disgraced and discarded after they had served their purpose. They will have vengeance on both.

They see themselves as titans of old who are loose in the universe, doing whatever they like, knowing that no natural or man-made law can stop them. They honour the Chaos gods as a pantheon but are not truly devout themselves. Their greatest loyalty is to Perturabo who they believe saved them from being sacrificed by the false emperor.

Benedict Arnold - January 22, 2008 12:45 AM (GMT)
The Iron Warriors are a first founding Legion and bear the gene-seed of Perturabo. Since turning to Chaos they are subject to varying degrees of mutation and have been known to replace mutated limbs with cybernetic ones.

They have a marked tendency toward suspicion and paranoia but are also extremely intelligent with naturally well-developed problem solving abilities.

Benedict Arnold - January 22, 2008 12:46 AM (GMT)
Monotone chant of "Iron Within, Iron Withoutö!

Benedict Arnold - January 22, 2008 12:48 AM (GMT)
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