Beasts of Steel
Chaos Space Marines Tanks
When the Traitor Legions rebelled, they took with them vast arsenals of mighty warmachlnes and highly destructive weaponry. Ten thousand years after the defeat of Horus, the Traitors continue to plague the Imperium. and their twisted and defaced armoured vehicles are the equal of any tank the loyalist Chapters can field. Adept Hoare has received clearance to investigate further.
When a Space Marine Chapter goes to war, it does so transported by the sturdiest of armoured carriers, and supported by the mightiest of tanks in Humanity's arsenal. Land Raiders, Predators and Rhinos are all integral components of a Space Marine task force, and the same is true of the Traitor Legions and their own armoured vehicles.
The First Founding Space Marine Legions were not the formations of the Imperium today: they were far larger forces, with many more men, vehicles and ships at their disposal than a post-Heresy Chapter could ever muster. Where a 41st Millennium Chapter can subdue a single world, a First Founding Legion had the manpower and resources to conquer a complete sub-sector.
Entire companies of armoured vehicles supported these massive armies, and when Warmaster Horus' treachery was revealed, nine whole Legions declared for him. placing many thousands of tanks at his disposal.
To look upon a Traitor Marine is to witness the tragic blasphemy of Chaos; a once proud warrior perverted into a hate-fuelled murderer, his armour adorned with vile sigils where once the icons of the blessed Imperium were displayed. The same is true of their vehicles: where once the sanctified engines of the Adeptus Astartes proudly bore the livery of the Emperor's finest, their hulls are now bedecked with grisly trophies and emblazoned with runes painful to behold.
The Traitor Legions launch their genocidal invasions from the Eye of Terror, razing worlds and slaughtering untold numbers of Imperial citizens. These assaults are frequently supported by the armoured might of the Legion, in the form of Land Raiders carrying their lethal cargo of Chaos Terminators, Rhinos transporting squads of Traitor Marines and Predator tanks lending their fearsome anti-armour and anti-personnel firepower to the attack. Across a thousand blasted warzones the forces of Chaos wage their long war against the Imperium. transported and supported by armoured vehicles bearing the dread sigils of their blasphemous patrons.
Although many of the Traitor Legions' armoured vehicles have been in service since the Horus Heresy, many more have been procured or built since that time. All the Legions will loot captured vehicles from their Imperial counterparts, twisting the machine and dedicating it to the Dark Gods. Such vehicles are a source of great bitterness when faced by loyal forces, who will often go to extreme lengths to remove the stain on the original Chapter's honour, and to end the suffering of the vehicle's Machine Spirit.
Some Traitor Legions have the means to manufacture their own armoured vehicles. Although few of the Legions have Techmarines as such, they all employ traitor Tech Priests and artificers who are capable of repairing or even constructing new vehicles. The most common source of newly manufactured vehicles is a captured forge world, whose industrial capacity can be forced to produce a staggering quantity of machines in the short period of time before Imperial retribution arrives.
The Rhino is as ubiquitous a transport vehicle amongst the Traitor Legions as it is amongst those Chapters loyal to the Emperor. When the Traitors rebelled, each Legion had an enormous stock of these transports, and a great many of these ancient vehicles are still in sen/ice 10,000 years after the Horus Heresy.
One particular Rhino, belonging to the World Eaters Legion, was reportedly present at the Siege of the Emperor's Palace, and has been identified on numerous occasions over the millennia since. The vehicle, identified as 'Barbarus' by its nameplate, is covered in iron spikes, each adorned with the severed head of an Imperial warrior. The records of the Ordo Malleus state that Barbarus belonged to the squad of Sergeant Solax of the World Eaters 3rd Assault Company before the Heresy, and this individual is thought to be the beast now known as Kossolax the Foresworn. If this is indeed the case, Sergeant Solax has risen to the command of an entire company of Berzerkers, and Barbarus has served with him and his warband the entire time.
The Liber Proditor Armorum, a treatise written in 812.M39 by Techmarine Suprema Lysol Blane of the Imperial Fists Chapter, contains many startling insights into the Traitor Legions' use of armoured vehicles.
One aspect focused on by the learned Techmarine is the practice employed by several Legions of permanently grafting crew and vehicle together to form a symbiotic combination of man and machine. Though many loyal Chapters utilise permanent linking of crew and vehicle, what Blane was researching was a far more fundamental union. Critics point to the fascination with contrition and self-imposed penance that characterises the Imperial Fists' gene-seed, claiming this as the root of Blane's conclusions. Despite his detractors, Blane's research has proved invaluable in many conflicts against Traitor Legion armour.
Blane was certainly guilty of focusing his efforts into researching the practices of one specific Legion, the Iron Warriors, with whom the Imperial Fists have a long and tragic history of enmity. Blane observed that the crew of the Legion's armoured vehicles, in particular Predator crews were routinely sealed within their vehicle in a manner similar to the 'pilot' of a dreadnought. The Iron Warriors are noted for their inordinate use of cybernetic augmentation, and this is believed by Techmarine Blane to allow the crewman to link to his vehicle in a manner impossible for a wholly organic being. Crew and vehicle become one; the vehicle an extension of the pilot and the pilot the mind of the vehicle.
Blane's research proved invaluable at the Battle of Ramisen Point, where an Iron Warriors' armoured salient was defeated utterly by an Imperial Fist counter-attack. The Imperial Fist Devastators were provided with specific firing solutions via Techmarines accompanying each squad, allowing them to target points on the enemy tanks that would cripple the pilots and render them incapable of controlling their vehicles.
Blane's work was to be integrated into the Codex Astartes, but upon reviewing the data the Iron Fathers of the Iron Hands Chapter objected strongly enough that the notion was set aside. Many point out that the Iron Hands share the Iron Warriors' practice of cybernetic enhancement, believing the Chapter was protecting its own interests in suppressing the information. The Iron Hands insisted they wished merely to protect the Adeptus Astartes from the consequences of the information falling into the wrong hands.
The Land Raiders of the Adeptus Astartes are amongst the most awe-inspiring sights on the battlefields of the 41st Millennium. They are mighty behemoths that crush all before them under adamantium tracks, and their Godhammer pattern lascannons are the bane ot enemy vehicles and bunkers. A Land Raider is capable of carrying a squad of Space Marine Terminators within its armoured hold, and the combined assault of the vehicle and passengers is a force few enemies of the Imperium can hope to stand against.
If the Imperium's Land Raiders are objects of such dread, then those employed by the Traitor Legions are the very stuff of nightmares.
In the year 337.M41, Imperial forces recovered a Land Raider belonging to the Word Bearers following the successful defence of Merric's World, in the Segmentum Obscura. The Blood Reavers Chapter captured the crippled vehicle, and were planning on destroying it. However, Inquisitor Le Guinn of the Ordo Malleus had his own agenda, and invoked the rights granted him by the Juris Inquisitorum. The Blood Reavers voiced the strongest of objections, but were overruled by the Inquisitor, whose Xanthite rhetoric swayed his fellow Inquisitors into allowing him custody of the captured vehicle.
Imperial Land Raiders are invested with a sanctified Machine Spirit: a machine intelligence that performs myriad functions and can control the vehicle should the crew be incapacitated. Land Raiders belonging to the Traitor Legions appear to be inhabited by something far more malicious, and Le Guinn was determined to discover its nature. Binding the Land Raider with pentagrammic wards, Le Guinn transferred the vehicle to his transport vessel for the journey back to the Inquisition Fortress world of Nemesis Tessera.
Portions of Le Guinn's diaries survive, and tell an incomplete story of what occurred during the three month journey through the Warp.
Rather than allowing the beast to remain quiescent behind the seals and bindings, Le Guinn commenced his investigation en route. Quite why he took such a risk when the Ordo Malleus oubliette on Nemesis Tessera was undoubtedly the safest place in the region to perform such an examination, is unknown. From his notes, it is obvious Le Guinn was grimly fascinated by the malignant intelligence lurking within the vehicle's armoured core.
The Inquisitor's notes go on to describe his methodical breaching of the hull: a painstaking process that took six days to accomplish and cost the lives of three of his acolytes and his most valued savant. The being occupying the vehicle put up a hideous defence, projecting waves of malevolence at any who approached and straining at the great chains restraining it. At length, Le Guinn gained access to the interior, and his descriptions bare witness to a man pushed to the limits of sanity by his vocation.
What happened next aboard the Inquisitor's vessel is shrouded in mystery, but eleven weeks later the ship emerged from the Warp at the fringes of the Tessera system. Defence pickets attempted to raise the ship, but no response was forthcoming. A team of Inquisitorial troopers boarded the vessel, and discovered all crew and passengers dead. Many had been brutally murdered, but others showed no outward signs of injury other than contorted expressions of anger and delirium.
The investigators recovered the fragments of Le Guinn's diaries, and swiftly came to the conclusion that he had overstepped the bounds within which all Inquisitors must operate. He had attempted to discern the nature of the entity inhabiting the Chaos vehicle, and in so doing had opened himself up to it. The being must surely have been a form of Daemon, and as such was able to possess Le Guinn, driving him to murder his compatriots.
A conclave of Puritan Inquisitors renounced Le Guinn's folly, and concluded that his vessel should be set adrift, declared Perdita. They would not risk freeing the malevolent entity by destroying the ship, and it is assumed that it remains trapped there to this day, screaming with rage, sealed within the hold of the ship doomed to drift upon the tides of deep space for eternity.
The armoured vehicles of the Traitor Legions serve as much as battlefield support as they do physical reminders of the blasphemies of Chaos. They bear the grisly trophies of 10,000 years of marauding, as well as the horrifying gifts of the Ruinous Powers. These beasts of steel and ceramite will continue to reap death and destruction in the name of the Legions exist as a power to rival that of the Imperium.