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Iron Hands

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2drones.gif This article is about the Space Marine Legion, for the Novel by Jonathan Green see Iron Hands (Novel)

The Iron Hands were the X Legion of the twenty original Space Marine Legions sometimes referred to as the "Iron Tenth". Their Primarch is Ferrus Manus. Like the other loyalist Legions, much of the Iron Hands forces would later be re-organized into smaller Chapters, as according to the dictates of the Codex Astartes. The Iron Hands are notable for their heavy use of bionics and their reverence for all things mechanical, and thus their close ties to the Adeptus Mechanicus.

Marine Basic Data Chapter Symbol
- Iron Hands -
Legion Number: X
Primarch: Ferrus Manus
Chapter Master: Chapter Council[13]
Homeworld: Medusa
Fortress-Monastery: None, Substituted by Ten Mobile Fortresses[17]
Known Descendants: Brazen Claws, Iron Fists, Iron Lords, Red Talons, Sons of Medusa, Steel Confessors
Colours: Black and Silver[25]
Specialty: Bionics
Battle Cry: The Flesh Is Weak!
Iron Hands-logoB.jpg


Great Crusade-era Iron Hand
Iron Hands Battle Brother
Iron Hands Tactical marine

Medusa is located near the Eye of Terror. Its landscape is harsh and generally unstable, with massive tectonic shifts occurring on a regular basis. Medusa is not united by any single government, but instead is populated by disparate clans of miners living out of great tracked vehicles travelling in caravan. There are only two notable locations on Medusa: a volcano known as Karaashi, which was the location of the arrival of Ferrus Manus, and the Land of Shadows. The Land of Shadows is populated only by ghostly relics of ages past and is said to be haunted by the spirits of Medusans long dead; those who go there only go in order to become supplicants to the Iron Hands' recruitment process.[Needs Citation]



Originally known as the Storm Walkers[31] or Stormwalkers[22a], the legion was created during the latter days of the Unification Wars on Terra. Recruitment bases at this time were widespread and drawn from all over the planet, but in particular the warlike cultures of Albia proved effective initiates into the Legion. The Legion's first instance of recorded combat was in the Sol system against a Mutant warband known as 'Scythers'. Shortly thereafter they exterminated the Xenos Lyasx on the world of Oberath. While the Legion was victorious in both actions, they did not yet seem to specialize in any area of warfare. It was only during the invasion of the Ork-held Planet 02-34 (designated 'Rust') did the Legion's effectiveness in utilizing slow-moving mass firepower become apparent.[21a]

Ferrus Manus

The Primarch of what would become the Iron Hands, Ferrus Manus (also known as The Gorgon), was among the first of the Emperor's sons to be rediscovered.[21a] The early history of Ferrus Manus is chronicled in the folklore of Medusa. The most popular of these tales is the Canticle of Travels, which details the trials of Ferrus Manus and his ordeal with the Great Silver Wyrm known as Asirnoth. The Canticle is the only tale that even attempts to explain the mystery of how Ferrus Manus came by his living metal hands. Ferrus Manus never united the people of his homeworld in the way most of the other Primarchs had, on the basis that competition grew greater strength. When the Emperor eventually came to Medusa, Ferrus Manus tested himself against him as well. In a cataclysmic battle that is said to have lain waste to entire mountains. Finally having found someone his equal, Ferrus accepted the Emperor as his master and took command of the X Legion of Space Marines, which was renamed the Iron Hands in his honor.[21a]

With the Gorgon at their head, the Iron Hands quickly became renowned for its ability to confront enemies of the Great Crusade head-on, gaining a reputation as ruthless and calculating fighters. The Iron Hands excelled at high-intensity warfare against both technologically advanced foes as well as brutal xenos such as Orks whose sheer power and fast numbers constituted a grave threat to the success of the Crusade. Soon enough, the Iron Hands became known as the Iron Tenth and were deliberately deployed to battlefronts where set-piece engagements against massed armies was likely. As their battle style required advanced war engines, the Iron Hands began to establish their notoriously close ties to the Adeptus Mechanicus, whose culture was astonishingly similar to their own.[21a] One of the most notable campaigns waged by the Iron Hands during the Great Crusade was against the Diasporex.[Needs Citation]

The Horus Heresy

Iron Hands Dreadnought Comech during the Horus Heresy

At the outset of the Heresy, Fulgrim - the Primarch of the Emperor's Children tried to turn Ferrus Manus to the side of the traitors. When Ferrus refused to side with the rebels, Fulgrim had his fleet launch a crippling attack on the Iron Hands vessels, although he could not bring himself to kill his brother. In the wake of this betrayal, Ferrus took as many of his veterans as he could onboard one of the few undamaged vessels to participate in the loyalist attack on Isstvan V. This proved to be a disaster when four of the supposedly loyal Legions turned on their allies, resulting in horrendous casualties amongst the Raven Guard and Salamanders Legions and the death of Ferrus Manus and his entire retinue.[3] Rumors persist that Ferrus Manus's corpse was taken to Mars; the Iron Hands deny any such claims. The Iron Hands bear a grudge against all the participants of the Heresy: the traitors, for being weak enough to become corrupted, and the other loyalists, for not being strong enough to protect the Emperor.[10]

After the Massacre, scattered survivors of the Iron Hands under Ulrach Branthan, and later Cadmus Tyro, along with remnants of the Salamanders and Raven Guard began a vengeance campaign against those had betrayed them on Isstvan V, organizing aboard the Sisypheum.[29] Meanwhile, additional Iron Hands survivors under Shadrak Meduson continued their own guerrilla war, nearly assassinating Horus, Fulgrim, and Mortarion during the Battle of Dwell. Meduson attempted to reforge the Iron Hands and their Raven Guard and Salamanders allies into a new Legion to battle Horus directly, but was undermined by the crazed Cult of the Gorgon which claimed that it had resurrected Ferrus Manus. Ultimately Meduson, driven by vengeance, was slain at the Battle of the Aragna Chain.[35] Meanwhile, another Iron Hands force under Autek Mor was able to destroy the World Eaters-controlled planet of Bodt.[Needs Citation]


After the events of the Heresy the remaining members of the Iron Hands Legion were split up into smaller Chapters. It was also decided that no single individual would run the Iron Hands again, and all of the surviving Iron Hands were assembled on Medusa for a conclave known as The Tempering. There it was set that the Iron Council would oversee the sons of the Gorgon.[22a]

The known descendants of the Iron Hands at this time were the Red Talons and the Brazen Claws.[11]

Recent History

  • Moirae Schism (cM35) - a civil conflict which occurred during the Nova Terra Interregnum. During this Schism, which affected all branches of the Adeptus Mechanicus and those Imperial factions closely tied to it, the Iron Hands chapter stood at the brink of destroying itself in an internal chapter war. The Great Clan Council of the Iron Hands were able to settle the matter by exiling the Moirae dissidents from the chapter, with both sides swearing never to take up arms against each other. Almost a full third of the chapter split away to become a fleet based divergent branch of the Iron Hands. This branch became known as the Sons of Medusa.[5]
  • The False Saint (cM41) - Elements of the Third Company lead the assault on the stronghold of the False Saint, the daemon possessed body of Saint Drusus, on the storm-riddled dead world of Grangold in the Calixis Sector. Though wiped out in battle, with the daemonic forces of Tzeentch, their actions allows elements of the Imperial Guard, led by agents of the Inquisition, to banish the False Saint and close the Warp portal the daemon was opening.[16]
  • Thirteenth Black Crusade (999.M41) - The Iron Hands committed all ten clans against the forces of the Black Crusade. During this conflict the Iron Hands' Home World, Medusa, was invaded by Chaos forces; these forces were eventually defeated by combined forces of all the Clan Companies. [6]


Beliefs and Reputation

Iron Hand Battling Orks
Iron Hands Battling Dark Eldar
Iron Hands Techmarine

The Iron Hands have a reputation for being relatively straightforward and incredibly harsh. In the Battle of Thranx, for example, the resources of several depleted clan-companies were pooled for a full-frontal assault using five Land Raiders against a facility bristling with anti-tank defenses that had made a mockery of previous attempts with whole armoured companies; in the retaking of the Contqual Subsector, one-third of the population was summarily executed after a successful campaign simply to demonstrate the price of weakness. [10] They are also known to be on poor terms with the Raven Guard and after the liberation of the Kelldar System from an Ork Waaagh! in 810.M41 refused to sit at the same feasting table as their Raven Guard allies.[19b]

The Iron Hands are infamous for their extensive use of bionics, which has helped bring them into a close relationship with the Adeptus Mechanicus.[9a] After the Heresy, when the Legions were reorganized into Chapters, the Iron Hands became recluses, attempting to find ways to make themselves even stronger so that they would be fit for serving under Manus again at the end of times. To this end, they have made it a practice to make extensive use of bionic modifications, going so far that there are rumors of some battle brothers being wholly mechanical. Iron Hands consider the greatest honour they can receive is to be interred in Dreadnought armour.[9a]

The Iron Hands also eschew the traditional office of Chaplain in favor of their Iron Fathers, specially trained Techmarines who serve to protect the faith of their brethren; some outsiders view this, as well as the Iron Hands' ties to the Adeptus Mechanicus, as an unhealthy relationship.[10]

The Iron Hands use a strange augmetic known as the Forgechain. The Forgechain is a series of augmetic vertebrae. Each new vertebrae shows acceptance into a new Clan. Each company makes there own links so all are different. Clan Dorrvok uses plain steel to form the first vertebrae for each of their new Scouts. Clan Sorrgol is formed from a finely tooled galvanite alloy. Clan Raukaan is black sigilanium veined with Theldrite circuitry. The chain serves as a reminder to the user of the bonds that bind the chapter together. While some believe it is to echo the chains that Ferrus bound around then Iron Hands hearts. [22]

The Iron Hands also use the Blessing of Iron . For this belief the Member is made more one with the machine god then before, losing his personality and becoming a servitor.


There are no noted physical flaws with the Iron Hand's gene-seed, but some speculate that their fanatical hatred of weakness and physical frailty may in fact result from a genetic flaw in their gene-seed. Unusually, it appears that the Inquisition are relatively unconcerned about the Chapter as a whole - it would appear that if they have identified a flaw in the Chapter, they choose not to act on it as they do not regard this flaw as inherently dangerous to the Imperium.[10]


Organization of a typical Iron Hands Clan

The Iron Hands are organised in a similar fashion to a Codex Chapter but with several distinct differences. The Chapter consists of ten "Clan Companies" which are composed in a fashion comparable to that of a Codex Battle Company. Each Clan Company is an independent entity, responsible for its own recruitment and, as such, there are no dedicated Scout or Veteran Companies.[10] Each Clan also possess a colossal mobile fortress.[17]


Sources concerning the Hierarchy of the Iron Hands give conflicting information about the upper echelons of their command structure -

  • White Dwarf 262 (UK) states that the Chapter does not possess a Chapter Master, but is instead led by the Great Clan Council, which is itself made up of revered representatives from each of the ten Clans. This is described as being a precaution against future heresy and a reflection of Ferrus Manus' teachings.[10] A more current source, Imperial Armour - Volume 10, also confirms the existence of the Greater Clan Council[Needs Citation].
  • Later, Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition) describes the Chapter as being overseen by the Chapter Council and lacks a formal Chapter Master. However Kardan Stronos is the first among peers on the council due to his reputation and instead serves as a de facto leader.[19a]

The Great Clan Council

Each Clan Company chooses a member to serve in the ruling body of the Chapter, The Great Clan Council (also called the Iron Council[19a]). The organizational structure of the Iron Hands changed after the Horus Heresy and the death of Ferrus Manus, and it was decided that no single warrior should be leader of the Iron Hands. Instead, the Clan Captains and most revered warriors of the Legion formed the Iron Council. Those who sit on the Council become known as Iron Fathers, and the body has guided the Iron Hands ever since.[19a] Due to the reverence for the mechanical amongst Iron Hands, the council members are often Venerable Dreadnoughts.[10] Precisely forty-one Iron Fathers sit on the Iron Council.[22a]

Clan Companies

The bulk of the Chapter is divided into ten Clan Companies. Each Clan is a roughly a self-contained unit not dissimilar to a Codex Astartes Battle Company; however, each Clan is responsible for its own recruiting and maintenance of its motorpool. Each Clan, in addition, possesses a mobile Land Behemoth fortress monastery on Medusa which they consider their base of operations. Some materials do pass between the Clans, but even still they are often in open competition with one another.[10] The Chapter's fleet disposition is unknown.

Chapter Disposition (997.M41)


Chapter Command

Apothecarion Librarius Chaplaincy


Veteran Company Battle Companies
1st Company 2nd Company 3rd Company 4th Company 5th Company

Clan Avernii


Clan Garrsak


Clan Raukaan


Clan Kaargul


Clan Haarmek


Reserve Companies Scout Company
6th Company 7th Company 8th Company 9th Company 10th Company

Clan Sorrgol


Clan Borrgos


Clan Morlaag


Clan Vurgaan


Clan Dorrvok


Heresy-Era Clans

Iron Fathers

A Terminator Armour equipped Iron Hands Marine.[9b]

The Iron Hands eschew the traditional office of Chaplain in favor of their Iron Fathers, specially trained Techmarines who serve to protect the faith of their brethren; some outsiders view this (as well as the Iron Hands' ties to the Adeptus Mechanicus in general) as an unhealthy relationship.[10] Iron Fathers also sit on the Iron Council of the Chapter.[19a]

Terminators and Veteran Sergeants

After the events of the battle of Istvaan V the Iron Hands lost most of their veteran forces. Therefore, suits of Terminator armour are even more rare than is normally the case. Due to this, the deployment of full Terminator Squads is rare. However sergeants are often equipped with suits of Terminator armour as the inspirational value they provide to their squads is invaluable.[10]


Each of the Clan-Companies of the Iron Hands are responsible for their own recruitment. These new recruits are taken from the nomadic Clans of Medusa. Only those of great physical and mental strength will are recruited, and during recruitment candidates have their "weaknesses" purged from them.[9a]


Noted Elements of the Iron Hands

Iron Hands battling Dark Eldar
An Iron Hands Marine dual-wielding two bolters.[8]
An Iron Hands Terminator battling against daemonettes.[7]

Notable Members

Heresy Era
Post Heresy
Unique Troops

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