Ultramarines Tyrannic War Veterans

The Ultramarines have fought the Tyranid swarms since Hive Fleet Behemoth smashed into the realm of Ultramar. To stem the Tyranid tide Chaplain Cassius formed an elite cadre of warriors.

In the 250 years since the arrival of Hive Fleet Behemoth, Ultramar has been the bastion of the Eastern Fringe. Time and time again the Ultramarines have sallied forth to face the Tyranids, sparing others the terror and death that accompanies them.

But the price has been a steep one; during the Battle for Macragge the Ultramarines First Company was utterly wiped out in a heroic last stand beneath the northern polar fortress. The First Company contained the chapter's finest warriors equipped with Terminator armour, a precious and ever-dwindling resource. Such losses of men and material are not easily replaced.

The Ultramarines would never allow such losses, however grievous, to deflect them from their duty and Chapter master Marneus Calgar immediately commanded that a new first Company be recruited. Captain Agemann of the Second Company was honoured with command of the First Company and, together with Calgar, began the long, arduous process of rebuilding it.

The Aftermath of Macragge

The surface of Macragge had been ravaged by the Tyranid attack, though nowhere near as thoroughly as worlds more comprehensively enveloped. Once the remains of the dead aliens had been destroyed or removed for study, the planet was deemed cleansed by both the Inquisition and the Ultramarines. The Ultramarines' dead were taken in gloomy procession from the depths of the northern defence fortress and returned with full honours to the Fortress of Hera, whereupon Marneus Calgar himself carved their names upon the walls of the Temple of Correction.

Over the next century, the Techmarines of the Ultramarines of the Ultramarines ritually repaired the damaged done to the dead warriors' suits of Terminator armour. The attack of the Tyranids had grievously scarred this holy battle gear and great was the labour undertaken by every Techmarine as he sought to restore each suit to its former glory. But armour is not enough for a warrior to fight the foes of Mankind; he must have training, skill, determination and, above all, courage and honour.

The worlds that compromise Ultramar provide no shortage of neophytes, but the initiation process takes many years and even then decades of combat experience are needed to harden them to the rigours of war until they are considered worthy members of the chapter. To accelerate the process Marneus Calgar offered his warriors for secondment to the Deathwatch, the chamber militant of the Ordo Xenos. At any moment on the Eastern Fringe the Ordo Xenos is guaranteed to be fully engaged in rooting out Xenos perfidy, so the Ultramarines assigned to them quickly gained experience.

The Ultramarines under the Ordo Xenos saw regular battle. As they were in the Galactic East, which saw successive assaults from Hive Fleets, the experiences that made veterans of these warriors inevitably came from fighting Tyranids. Under the personal direction of Chaplain Cassius, a new elite emerged. Known as Tyrannic War Veterans, these new squads were a departure for the Ultramarines, a chapter for whom such specialization was almost unheard of. Two factors gave the appropriate weight to the argument for their formation: first, the necessity of having a full strength Veteran company available and second, the chapter's deeply-felt hatred for the Tyranids.

The Conclave of Hera

Perhaps not surprisingly, there was resistance to the recognition of Tyrannic War Veterans within the ranks of the Ultramarines. Though the Master of Sanctity himself urged the formation of such squads, many of its Masters protested that they were unsanctioned by the Codex Astartes and therefore unthinkable. Arguments both for and against the formation of Tyrannic War Veterans squads raged back and forth, but no resolution could be reached. Eventually MArneus Calgar decided that such arguments, while providing much theoretical debate on the origins of the Codex Astartes and the intent of Roboute Guilliman, were ultimately fruitless. In order to break the deadlock, the Chapter Master decreed that all warriors of the Ultramarines could have their say upon the matter at a great Feast of Remembrance, where the chapter honours those who died to defeat the Tyranids of Hive Fleet Behemoth.

Ultramarines traveled from far and wide to attend the Conclave of Hera, Marneus Calgar waiting for as many warriors to arrive as possible before beginning proceedings in the shadow of the great Primarch himself. Each warrior was permitted to speak his mind on the inclusion of the Tyrannic War Veterans within the chapter and many opinions and views were aired before the Chapter Master. Chaplain Cassius and Captain Agemman of the First Company spoke passionately of their value, bringing a surviving warrior of the Scythes of the Emperor before the conclave to speak of what he had seen and learned in battle against the Tyranids. The conclave continued for many months, warriors who had been unable to reach Macragge before its beginning now arriving and speaking their mind on the issue. At last, Lord Calgar decreed that he had heard all he needed and retired to his chambers atop the mighty fortress to ponder the matter.

For many days and nights the Chapter Master of the Ultramarines thought of the widely differing views espoused at the conclave, praying and fasting for guidance from Roboute Guilliman and the Emperor. As dawn broke on the morning of the 40th day, Lord Calgar emerged from his chambers as word reached Macragge of Tyranid creatures attacking settlements on Espandor - monsters stranded in Ultramar after the battles against Behemoth. Calgar took this as a sign and declared before his assembled warriors that the Tyrannic War Veterans would indeed become part of the Ultramarines' military structure. This new infestation would be their first trial and , should they be successful, then all would recognize their usefulness.

The Cleansing of Espandor

Chaplain Cassius quietly entered the Chapel of Sanctity. The figure kneeling in the centre of the stone-flags, dimly lit by flickering candles, seemed not to notice him.

"Sergeant Remas," said Cassius, his voice stern, but not without sympathy. The sergeant looked up and then slowly rose to his feet. He was shorter than the Chaplain, but more solidly built. He wore a black tunic, its cuffs and hems decorated with a fine golden thread. There was a golden scythe embroidered on his left arm, the chapter badge of the Scythes of the Emperor.

Cassius motioned him to a seat at the side of the chapel: noticing that the sergeant limped heavily as he moved across the stone floor.

"Tell me what happened," said Cassius.

For a moment Remas hung his head. As he looked up, light glinted from the three silver studs embedded in his forehead, each inscribed with the figure of a horseman. The shadow of a deep, ragged scar crossed his left cheek. Remas's eyes were sad, but they held the Chaplain's gaze.

As he spoke, the sergeant's voice remained steady, almost completely motionless, but occasionally a nervous shudder shook his right arm.

"There was no warning when the other ship appeared, nothing showed on our surveyors until we were close enough to pick it up visually. It was a strange shape, like a great beast from the deep, a huge spiral armour on its back. It would not respond to our signals and kept moving towards the core planets of the system. We were having problems communicating with our fortress-monastery, so I took the decision to board.

"As soon as the boarding torpedo struck, we dispersed. The inside of the ship was like nothing I had ever seen before. Tubes of dark fluid ran along the walls, bloated creatures like maggots hung from the ceiling and the tunnels twisted like intestines. There was a constant, low pulsing sound and a stench like rotting flesh.

"We had just reached a wider chamber when they struck. There were three of them, each twice as tall as a man. They had bony plates on their back and, through their ribs. I could see ugly, throbbing organs. They had four arms, two with claws large enough to crush a man's head, and their spines ended in huge stingers that dripped black poison.

"Two of them had claws like swords that tore through power armour with ease. I saw one split Harvan in two, carving through his armour as though there was nothing there. The third had a long tube of gristle growing from its arms that groaned and made a noise like tearing flesh as it fired."

Remas paused for a moment. His eyes turned to the shredded banner standing in the corner of the chapel. It was checked and bore the image of a golden horseman. Cassius had been that when the Ultramarines found Remas's drifting ship, the unconscious sergeant was clutching the banner so tightly they had to wait until he woke before he would release it.

"I hope never to see that weapon used again. With one shot it killed three of my men, burning through their armour and spraying them with vile mucus. They died in agony. It was as though a plague rotted their flesh, but it took seconds, not days, to kill them."

"Their memory will live on," promised Cassius. He indicated that Remas should continue.

"We killed a dozen of these creatures, may be more, and left their ship crippled. We could find no consoles, no plasma drives, nothing to show how it was controlled, only things like swollen glands and organs that seemed to be part of the ship's structure. We destroyed everything we could and planted demolition charges powerful enough to rupture it from stem to stem. When we pulled away, only myself and Brother Tobias were left alive."

Remas fell silent, but continued to stare intently into Cassius's eyes as though he was looking for something: forgiveness perhaps. Or maybe he hoped that Cassius could deny what had happened. But Cassius had seen the last communications from Scythes' fortress. He had seen the plains burning under a huge pall of smoke as the aliens approached the walls. He had heard the terror in the final message from the Scythes' Astropaths, "The Tyranids are coming!" He knew there was no hope he could give Remas, except a chance for redemption in the wars that were inevitably coming. At last Remas looked down, but when he spoke there was a new firmness to his voice. "The Chapter is not lost. While any of us survive. The Scythes of the Emperor will serve with honour to the last man."

"Indeed they shall," nodded Cassius. "But first I need you to help me."

"Of course, Chaplain," nodded Remas. "Tell me what I must do."

"I want to know about the Tyranids: how they fight, how they react to threats and how we may yet defeat them," said Cassius. "Tell me everything."

Espandor is a sparsely populated world, consisting largely of thick forests and remote agri-complexes. Local militia had discovered a Tyranid nest deep in the forest, cut off and isolated, but growing stronger and larger with each passing day. Several nearby communities had been devastated and the creatures were approaching a critical mass of population. It would only be a matter of time until they were too strong to stop. Cassius gathered the warriors who had fought the Tyranids the most and, together with Captain Agemman, began training them to work together and utilize the specialised weapons found to work best in combination against the threat of the Tyranids.

Upon arrival on Espandor, the Ultramarines found yet more communities had been wiped out by Tyranids. The local planetary defence forces were unable to hunt down the reatures when they unable to hunt down the creatures when they retreated back into the forest for fear of ambush. The Ultramarines made planetfall near Kondor's Reach, one of the largest agri-complexes on Espandor and, thus far, safe heaven for the scared populace. Cassius immediately organized his warriors into three detachments and together he and Captain Agemman led them to the site of the most recent Tyranid attack. With auspexes specially modified to detect Tyranid pheromone trails, the Ultramarines were able to track the aliens into depths of the forest. The trail continued for many miles, eventually ending at a great, bio-organic structure enmeshed within the trees that resembled a great hive. Hissing Tyranid creatures poured from the hive and attacked the Ultramarines, but with flamers and disciplined heavy bolter fire, the aliens were forced back and the warriors of the Ultramarines pursued them within the blasphemous structure.

Inside was a warren of caves formed from gelatinous, slimy material, each tunnel a potential hiding place for a Tyranid creature. With great discipline, the Ultramarines fought downwards through the hive, cleansing and burning everything before them. At the heart of the hive they discovered a wounded creature that obviously still served as some kind of leader-beast. Only its crippling injuries had prevented the Tyranids from spreading further across the surface of the planet, but the alien monsters that protected it were no less fierce than any other. The Ultramarines fought their way through the creatures and Captain Agemman himself slew the beast. The expertise learned in previous engagements with the Tyranids proved invaluable, as each warrior knew precisely where to strike their foes to cause maximum damage and understood how the aliens fought. Such was their skill and training that not a single warrior was lost in the battle. With the aliens expunged, the hive and the surrounding area was destroyed by a sustained orbital barrage to ensure that no taint of the aliens remained.

Upon returning to Macragge, the value of the Tyrannic War Veterans could not be doubted and their incorporation into the Codex Astartes was formally recognized by all the various Masters. Soon, the expertise gained from fighting the Tyranids was included within the training of all Space Marines of the Ultramarines chapter. Those who excelled in this field of warfare are now often seconded to units likely to see action against Tyranids, in order to further hone their skills.

Combat Doctrine

The Tyranid hunters fight with a mix of close combat weapons and long-range firepower that best exemplifies how to defeat the Tyranids. They carry special ammunition for heavy bolters, known as Hellfire shells, which were developed by the Magos Biologis of the Adeptus Mechanicus working in tandem with the Ordo Xenos. These shells are designed to shatter upon impact, shredding their targets with thousands of needles coated with a powerful mutagenic acid - lethal even to Tyranids. Flamers are an important part of their arsenal, as such indiscriminate weapons are deadly to the smaller, but no less dangerous, Tyranid organisms.

But firepower alone will never be enough to halt a Tyranid assault, and each warrior is highly trained to recognize and strike weak points in a Tyranid's body. Every warrior has had his reflexes honed to incredible heights, that he might better fight the Tyranids in close combat. In addition, Tyrannic War Veterans are trained to utilize krak grenades in close combat, something normally only possible when attacking armoured vehicles. They have proved that larger Tyranid creatures, that would be too huge to defeat with conventional close combat weaponry, can be brought down by the careful placement of a grenade somewhere vital.

Tyrannic War Veterans are trained to wrok with other squads of Space Marines to utilize their skills most effectively, driving larger broods of Tyranids towards the guns of Devastators squads or guiding smaller ones onto the blades of Assault squads. Having now fought successfully in several major engagements, it would seem that the Tyrannic War Veterans are now an established part of the Ultramarines chapter.

"The blasphemy of the Tyranids is such that only one solution is acceptable. Extermination."

Chaplain Cassius, Ultramarines Master of Sanctity

Using Tyrannic War Veterans in Warhammer 40,000

Tyrannic War Veterans are an Elite choice that can only be used in Ultramarines armies.

Tyrannic War Veterans
Profile Points WS BS S T W I A Ld Sv
Space Marine

Number/Squad: Sergeant and 4-9 Space Marines.

Weapons: Bolter, frag & krak grenades, purity seals. The Sergeant may replace his bolter with a bolt pistol and close combat weapon at no extra cost.

Options: One Space Marine may replace his bolter with a flamer at +6 points. One Space Marine may replace his bolter with a heavy bolter at +10 points. Every Space Marine in the unit may be given Terminaotr Honours at a cost of +10 points per model.

Characters: The Sergeant may select equipment from the Space Marine Armoury. He already has Terminator Honours included in the profile above.

Transport: A Tyrannic War Veteran squad which numbers six models or less may select a Razorback transport. A Tyrannic War Veteran squad that numbers ten models or less may select a Rhino transport. See the Transport Vehicles entry for their details.


Special Skills: All models in a Tyrannic War Veteran squad have the following skills: Preferred Enemy (Tyranids); Counter-attack. (See the Universal Special Rules section of the Warhammer 40,000 rulebook for details).

Special Ammunition: Early in the Tyrannic Wars, a special round was developed for use against the Tyranids known as a Hellfire round. It consists of thousands of needles full of mutagenic acid encased in a ceramic shell. Tyrannic War Veteran heavy bolters always have Hellfire rounds available. A round is chambered singly and can be used as an alternative to the normal heavy bolter profile as follows:

Range: 36"
Strength: 5
AP: 4
Blast, Heavy 1

Irrespective of the Toughness of the target, a Hellfire round always wounds on a 2+.

Krak Grenades: Tyrannic War Veterans have learnt that even the largest creatures can be killed with a well-placed krak grenade. When in close combat they can therefore choose to use krak grenades as a close combat weapon. Regardless of the number of attacks on a model's profile and modifiers for charging or having two weapons each model may only make one attack with a krak grenade, hitting on a 6+ normally, 3+ if against a Preferred Enemy. Any hits are resolved at Strength 6, ignoring Armour Saves.