The Alpha Legion was the XX Legion of the original twenty Space Marine Legions. They turned against the Emperor during the Horus Heresy, becoming Chaos Space Marines. Even before they turned to Chaos, the Alpha Legion were renowned as the most secretive of all the Legions. The Alpha Legion's most closely guarded secret, unbeknownst to all but a few outside the legion, is that they had two primarchs; Alpharius and his twin Omegon (sometimes referred to collectively as just 'Alpharius Omegon').
The Alpha Legion's veterans are experts in infiltration, covert operations, and manipulating events in their favor without revealing themselves or engaging in open warfare. Alpha Legionaries have been known to disguise themselves as loyalist Space Marines. Their armies also contain numerous Chaos Cultists in addition to regular Chaos Space Marines.
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The last Legion created during the First Founding, work on the XXth Legion was begun only some few decades before the discovery of their Primarch, Alpharius. However other reports exist that the Legion existed in a prototype form long before that. Indeed, Remembrancers seem to give contradictory reports on when exactly the Alpha Legion was formed. Regardless, it seems the Legion was created in total secrecy on the Emperor's order. Information on the Legions own Gene-seed Legion was made top secret. Like the Salamanders and Space Wolves, the XXth Legion was formed and established largely in separation from the rest of the Legiones Astartes, likely for a very specific purpose. The earliest known activities of the legion saw it conduct abductions, targeted strikes, and assassinations to the Imperium's enemies on Terra and beyond. The designation for this mysterious special operations units, taking orders to none of the discovered Primarch at the time, was simply 'Alpha'. For reasons unknown approval to rapidly expand the Alpha Units gene-seed group was denied by the Emperor, limiting the force to only around 1,000-2,000 Legionaries. There is some suspicion that this was done because there was a potential problem or flaw within the Legion's gene-seed that the Emperor was not able to rectify. Others speculate that the Legion was deliberately preserved separately as an isolated unit by the Emperor for special gene-seed augmentation in the future that no other Space Marine Legion would ever undergo.
The Legion all but disappeared from Imperial records in the Great Crusade, but some reports of small Alpha units operating far from the front lines of the Crusade in special missions do exist. These warriors were clearly Astartes, but carried no heraldry and sometimes even operated under the 'False Flag' of another Legion. The operations they undertook were near uniformly assassinations, subterfuge, espionage, sabotage, and recovery of unknown artifacts. They also abducted important individuals from anti-Imperial groups. They made it a policy to never leave any witnesses to their activities. However, rumor still spread across the galaxy of a Ghost Legion. This force became known to bleed enemy forces through black operations and subterfuge before striking from a hundred directions in a mass lightning attack known as The Harrowing.
When Alpharius took command of the Legion, it was young, zealous and completely committed to embracing the primarch's directions. Alpharius believed that secrecy and fluidity brought success, and taught his Legion to apply all such military techniques to both their training and their operations. The Legion's victories in the Great Crusade all feature some form of subterfuge, misdirection or rapid, unexpected movement. Such victories required great skill and dedication to achieve, and the Alpha Legion quickly became an insular and proud formation. It was this martial pride that led to a number of clashes and fights with members of the other legions, particularly against the Imperial Fists, Ultramarines, and Death Guard in several instances.
After Alpharius' disagreements with Roboute Guilliman, the Alpha Legion threw themselves even further into their preferred method of operations, largely cutting themselves off from standard Imperial practices and orchestrating greater and greater victorious examples of their approach to the Crusade, even when more conventional attacks would have been more efficient. The most notorious example of this took place on the world of Tesstra Prime, where the Alpha Legion, instead of taking the opportunity to capture the planetary capital and force the world's surrender, allowed the enemy to dig in and defend it so that they could then expertly take the defending forces apart in a number of different ways. After a week of suffering seemingly random mishaps as well as brutal ambushes, the defenders were forced to capitulate, having taken 90% casualties. When asked why the Legion had not taken the simpler strategy, Alpharius is reported to have replied that they avoided it as "it would have been too easy." This campaign brought him censure from almost all of his brother Primarchs; only Horus, always impressed by Alpharius and his work, praised the Alpha Legion's skill. In the later stages of the Great Crusade, the Alpha Legion withdrew into the empty space on the Imperium's frontiers.
With such examples existing in the Imperial records, it is perhaps easy to see why the Alpha Legion sided with Horus when the Warmaster made his pact with Chaos; their martial pride and Alpharius' avoidance of all his brothers apart from Horus seemingly led to their downfall. However, another given reason is that, a scant two years before the Horus Heresy began, Alpharius Omegon was contacted by a Xenos organisation known as the Cabal, which presented the primarch with visions of the Heresy to come and other predictions of the future as well as knowledge about the nature of Chaos. They were shown that the only outcomes of the Heresy were that, if the Emperor won, humanity's existence would be ensured for ten or twenty thousand years of decay before they and the galaxy were consumed by Chaos and that, if Horus won, humanity would perish inside two generations, taking the Chaos powers into oblivion with them, thus saving the rest of the galaxy. The Alpha Legion was asked to take on their greatest challenge; to defect to the side of Horus and ensure the final destruction of Chaos. Alpharius Omegon appeared to accede to this request.
The Horus HeresyIsstvan III, the presumed loyal Alpha Legion was one of the legions sent by the Emperor to destroy Horus at his base on Isstvan V. Assigned to the second wave, the Legion instead turned on the loyalist first wave. It is thought by many that much of the traitors' Isstvan V strategy was planned by Alpharius and the Alpha Legion.
When Raven Guard Commander Branne arrived at Istvaan V to retrieve several of what remained of the Loyalist forces including his Primarch - Corax - the Alpha Legion played a pivotal part in letting Corax escape, going as far as killing the commander of a World Eaters battle barge to prevent it from destroying Branne's vessel.
During the Heresy, the Alpha Legion split off from the main body of Horus's forces early and did not attack Terra, instead embarking upon a series of delaying actions in an attempt to hold Imperial reinforcements in place. They also engaged in smaller actions, defeating a White Scars force on Tallarn and a Space Wolves unit at Yarant. Despite their contributions, however, Horus was defeated.
In the aftermath of the Heresy, the Alpha Legion did not retreat to the Eye of Terror like the other Traitor Legions; instead they moved on into the Galactic East, following new objectives of their own devising. Whether or not being brought to battle with the Ultramarines was one of these objectives is unknown, but it occurred all the same.
On the world of Eskrador, the Alpha Legion was assaulted by Ultramarine forces. Alpharius was reportedly happy with such a development, as it allowed him to demonstrate the superiority of his flexible, multitudinous and unexpected military strategies on the notoriously precise, methodical and perhaps even moribund Ultramarines. However, the Alpha Legion primarch was apparently taken by surprise when Guilliman departed from his own strictures and led a surprise assault by his elite units on the Alpha Legion headquarters. In the resultant personal combat between Alpharius and Guilliman, it is believed that Alpharius was killed. The Alpha Legion responded, not by breaking and fleeing as Guilliman expected, but by turning on the Ultramarine detachment and harrying them so mercilessly that by the time they had returned to the main body of the Ultramarine force their casualties were almost total. The Ultramarines were driven from the planet in the subsequent battle.
Following the battle on Eskrador, the Alpha Legion fractured in order to hide from the Imperium. Small, autonomous warbands were left in imperial space where they set up secret bases in asteroid fields, space hulks and barren worlds. These units launched frequent attacks against military targets that were weakened by the Heresy and still pose a threat to ships, settlements and garrisons. They further spread and coordinate Chaos Cults throughout the galaxy in order to instigate massive revolts against imperial rule. These insurrections are often used to lure imperial forces away from worlds they want to attack, paving the way for large scale assault from the Eye of Terror.
Their role in spreading heretical cults has earned them the loathing of the Inquisition, which has devoted considerable resources in finding and destroying their secret bases. So far, the Alpha Legion has been declared wiped out by the High Lords of Terra no less than three times, in M31, M32 and M39. These claims have always been disproved by the continued assaults of the Legion.
- The destruction of the Crimson Consuls
- The destruction of the Emperor's Swords
- The Achilus Crusade
- The Assault on Zoran
- The Crusade of Fire
- The Scouring of Makenna VII
- The Luxor Uprising
- The Siege of Vraks
- The Orpheus Revolt
- The Ghorvenfal Raid
- The Hunt for Voldorius
- The Tartarus Campaign
- The Zambeque Rebellion
- The 13th Black Crusade
Extensive preparations are made before actually attacking an imperial target, including using spies and corruption to weaken an enemy's resolve. Not only is an enemy attacked from every angle, but every attack is often coordinated to achieve the most destructive results. Many actions are planned to utilise and support local cultist activity. These cults go to considerable effort to spread propaganda, perform sabotage, and carry out acts of unrest and rebellion, providing a distraction and weakening the enemy before the Alpha Legion strikes. Furthermore, the Legion has been known to ally themselves with anti-imperial forces including other Traitor Legions and xenos. On worlds far away from the Eye of Terror, Daemons are less relied upon since they cannot remain stable for long enough to be useful. If the Alpha Legion succeeds in securing the belief of a local Chaos cult they are summoned to add to the variety of their attacks.
The Alpha Legion does not fight like any other Chaos Space Marine Legion or warband. They prefer to avoid direct combat, using subterfuge, sabotage, brainwashing, and meticulous multi-year plans to destroy their enemies as opposed to a simple attack. The very identities of Alpha Legion Marines is the subject of mystery. Their supposed identities are frequently aliases which are shared by cell members, meaning the name and identity of one Alpha Legion marine could refer to many. Genetic face-changing technology is utilized to change the appearance of Legionaries to confound Imperial authorities as to their real identity. Due to this habit of shared aliases, members of the Alpha Legion often refer to themselves as part of a greater collective identity. When they do show themselves, Alpha Legion Marines prefer to let their cultists and underlings absorb most of the combat while they wait for the decisive moment to strike or make their escape.
Unlike most of the other Chaos Space Marine Legions, the Alpha Legion rarely operates within the Eye of Terror. As a result, they have not been subjected to the time distortion that the Warp has given to other Traitor Marines, leading many in the Inquisition to debate how the Legion, now ten thousand years since the Heresy, is still active. According to Inquisitor Kravin, the Alpha Legion acquires new recruits, genetically modifies them, then trains them for missions all within Imperial territory itself.
All Space Marine legions set arduous tasks and trials for potential recruits, but prior to the Horus Heresy the Alpha Legion set these initiation tests for squads, not individuals. Squads succeeded as a group or not at all - foolhardy heroics were frowned upon. The overall plan was paramount and more valuable than any one Space Marine.
The first batch of Alpha Legionaries were notably tall and strong even for members of the Astartes, physical attributes which suited Alpharius' focus on misdirection. For the Primarch put into place a directive that, as far as possible, all Alpha Legion marines had to attempt to look alike; and the visage they patterned themselves on was that of Alpharius and Omegon. As a result, all Alpha Legionaries were at the very least shaven headed, with many going so far as to have cosmetic surgical alteration. Their height also made it easier for them to be confused with the Primarch, although the twins were still the tallest in the Legion. When asked by non-Legion members, all Legionaries gave their names as "Alpharius", even when more than one was present.
This was an extension of the Legion's philosophy that they were a body of one that could strike in many places at once. This complete solidarity with each other expressed itself in other ways. Decisions within the Legion were made in a fairly open and reasonably democratic way, with all ranks - including the Alpha Legions' non-Astartes operatives - allowed to interject and comment freely during planning sessions. This freedom was allowed not just on military matters - the Alpha Legion internally discussed matters of philosophy and galactic policy that would have been forbidden or frowned upon in other Imperial institutions. Later recruits for the Legion were selected by the Primarch primarily based on high intelligence and personal initiative.
The Legion also made a habit of recruiting non-Astartes specialists in every theatre and campaign they entered, commonly members of the Imperial armed forces, though almost any human could be approached by the Legion for his knowledge or skills. These operatives often remained in their original position, ready to respond to Alpha Legion commands. Compromised operatives were not discarded if it could be avoided, and Alpha Legionaries would go to great lengths to retain them or hide their existence, lengths that included the fatal silencing of other Imperials. Operatives were tattooed with a small hydra symbol.
Whilst known to have possessed Terminator and 'stealth' squads (who appear to have worn blackened or dulled armour), the majority of the Legion appears to have armed and equipped themselves in a similar fashion unless tactically imprudent. The Alpha Legion were known to operate behind enemy lines and even mingle with enemy civilian populations. In such situations they were apparently able to pass unnoticed with a combination of appropriate dress and psyker mind-clouding.
Even less is known about the internal organisation of the Alpha Legion since the Heresy than was known before. On occasions there have been successful assassinations of members of the Legion thought to be high-ranking officers, but their removal has had little visible effect on Alpha Legion operations. It is believed that since the Heresy the Alpha Legion operates as independent cells hidden throughout the Imperium, coordinating various Cultist activity to subvert Imperial rule. While these cells operate independently of one another and destroying one will not effect the effort of their overall mission, the Legion still loosely coordinates its actions across the Galaxy. Who is coordinating these efforts and how they are doing so is largely a mystery to the Imperium, but many believe they achieve this through "Operatives". These figures are apparently human, but have undergone limited psycho-hypnotic therapy to make them absolutely loyal to the Legion. These operatives, fully infiltrated into Imperial society, act as the link between Alpha Legion cells and Cultists, and are their primary method of galaxy-wide communication.[1a]
The Legion's symbol, the hydra, is a multi-headed mythical beast which could keep fighting even if one of its heads was cut off. This legend seems to reflect the Alpha Legion's command structure, as well as echoing its doctrine of multiple attacks.
Alpharius believed in planning and co-ordination, he always sought alternatives and multiple solutions to any given problem, with different elements working together for the end result. These doctrines, thoroughly embraced by the Legion as a whole, have apparently been continued by the traitors and have proved effective, especially in the disparate and secretive way they now operate.
Noted Elements of the Alpha Legion
- Alpha - Battle Barge
- Beta - Battle Barge
- Anarchy's Heart - Despoiler Class Battleship
- Upsilon - Strike Cruiser[12a]
- Lambda - Strike Cruiser[12b]
- Zeta - Strike Cruiser[12b]
Notable Members of the Alpha Legion
- Alpharius - Primarch.
- Omegon - Leader of the Effrit Stealth Squad / Primarch.
- Armillus Dynat - Harrowmaster
- Exodus - Assassin
- Ingo Pech - First Captain.
- Mathias Herzog - Captain of the 2nd Company.
- Sheed Ranko - Captain of the Lernaean Terminator Squad. Killed during the Tenebrae Mission.[12c]
- Arkos - Lord 
- Bale - Lord (dec.) 
- Firaeveus Carron - Lord (pres. dec.) 
- Sindri Myr - Sorcerer, Daemon Prince (dec.) 
- Kernax Voldorius - Daemon Prince (dec.) 
- Dynat Mal - Lord (dec.)
- Phocron - Lord 
- Jaghathra Vrax - Lord (dec.)
- Roek Ghulclaw - Cell leader
The Alpha Legion will feature alongside a demon ally in the upcoming short film The Lord Inquisitor. This chaos force will serve as a direct adversary to a small group of Grey Knights led by Inquisitor Torquemada Coteaz
This marks the first fan project to receive full endorsement by Games Workshop. In contrast to other fan projects such as Inquisitor (film), The Lord Inquisitor is a fully animated CGI film comparable, but already seemingly greater in quality than the professionally produced Ultramarines - A Warhammer 40,000 Movie. The project is managed by Erasmus Brosdau - a digital artist employed at Crytek - and the script is currently being written by famed Black Library author Aaron Dembski-Bowden. Little is known about the plot, however, a trailer and a teaser has been released.
|Loyalist||I - Dark Angels · V - White Scars
VI- Space Wolves · VII- Imperial Fists
IX- Blood Angels · X- Iron Hands
XIII- Ultramarines · XVIII- Salamanders
XIX- Raven Guard
|Traitor||III- Emperor's Children · IV- Iron Warriors|
VIII- Night Lords · XII- World Eaters
XIV- Death Guard · XV- Thousand Sons
XVI- Luna Wolves/Sons of Horus · XVII- Word Bearers
XX- Alpha Legion
- 1:Index Astartes IV[Needs Citation]
- 1a: p. 60
- 2:Legion by Dan Abnett [Needs Citation]
- 3:Inquisitor (game)
- 4:Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War
- 5:Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War - Soulstorm
- 6:Imperial Armour Volume Five - The Siege of Vraks - Part One[Needs Citation]
- 7:Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pp.42/43
- 8: Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 1st Codex), p.32
- 9: Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex), p.40
- 10: Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition), pp. 20-21
- 11: The Face of Treachery (Short Story) by Gav Thorpe[Needs Citation]
- 12: The Serpent Beneath (Novella) by Rob Sanders - The Primarchs (Anthology):
- 13: Deathwatch: First Founding pg.78
- 14: Apocalypse pg.171
- 15: WD277 pg.61
- 17: We Are One (Short Story) by John French
- 18: Black Crusade: The Tome of Fate pg.32
- 19: The Horus Heresy Book Three pg.79-85