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The Iron Warriors were Legion IV of the twenty original Space Marine Legions. Their Primarch is Perturabo. They were one of the nine legions which betrayed the Emperor during the Horus Heresy, becoming Chaos Space Marines. Their specialty is siege warfare and the reduction of fortified positions, which made them natural rivals of the Imperial Fists even before the Heresy. The Iron Warriors are also fierce close-range fighters, witnesses comparing their ferocity to the berserkers of the World Eaters traitor legion or the loyalist Blood Angels. They make common use of slave-soldiers as cannon fodder to wither the ammunition supplies of the besieged and to locate the positions of enemy gun emplacements.
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The Iron Warriors' Primarch, Perturabo, was raised on Olympia, a mountainous planet divided into warring city-states. Because of this rugged terrain, military supremacy revolved around the construction of stone fortresses and the control of strategic mountain passes. Perturabo had an affinity for cold logic and the use of technology which made him a superb military engineer. By the time the Emperor's Great Crusade reached Olympia, Perturabo was the warlord to the Tyrant of Lochos. As was his custom when one of his lost sons was found, the Emperor gave Perturabo rule over his home planet and relocated his Legion's headquarters there.[1a]
Even before they were reunited with their primarch, the Space Marines of the IV Legion had inherited his same military qualities. Perturabo quickly recruited new troops from Olympia and embarked on a campaign against the nearby world of Justice Rock, ruled by the Black Judges. It was a stunning success, though only fragmentary records of it survive in the aftermath of the Heresy.[1a]
The Great Crusade
Quickly recognised as experts in the art of siege warfare, the Iron Warriors were regularly called upon to exercise their skills in cracking open enemy defences. This had an unfortunate effect on the character of their Legion. By their nature, sieges are the most grinding and demoralising type of warfare: long periods of tedium and unspectacular labour, broken by episodes of merciless, close-quarters brutality. The Iron Warriors saw the storming of the breach as an escape from the tedium, and developed into ferocious close quarters fighters. They even came to prefer for enemy strongholds not to surrender, thus justifying the slaughter of everyone within once the fortresses were taken.[1b]
Given their expertise at constructing and manning fortresses, the legion also found itself constantly diminishing in active crusading size as units from it were detached to act as garrison troops watching over worlds in the process of compliance. The most famous of these garrisons was that of the Iron Keep on Delgas II, where one 10-man squad of Iron Warriors watched over a disgruntled population of 130 million.[1b]
It is unknown why the Iron Warriors were so often selected for such assignments, or why Perturabo always accepted such orders without protest, but it is supposed that it began to inflict serious damage to the legion's morale. Even Space Marines need rest, but the Crusade gave them none.[1c]
Worse, their "typecasting" as siege engineers or garrison troops set them apart from their brother Legions and made them feel increasingly marginalised. In particular they were aggrieved by the Imperial Fists, whose primarch, Rogal Dorn, often boasted about the impregnability of the defences they had constructed around the Imperial Palace on Terra. Perturabo was not the only one of the primarchs who found his brother Dorn braggadocios, but Perturabo was unable to let the insults to himself and his Legion pass, and these continued to fester in his heart.[1c]
Likewise, Corax, the primarch of the Raven Guard, made little secret of his contempt for Perturabo and his Legion, dismissing them as stolid attritionists, anathema to Corax's own concept of fluid, hit-and-run warfare.
The Turning Point
This growing disillusionment would eventually translate into a tragic explosion of despair and rage as the Iron Warriors learned that their own homeworld, Olympia, had revolted against Imperial rule. Briefed on the situation by the Warmaster Horus himself, Perturabo drew his legion away from the extermination campaign they were waging upon the Hrud and led them homewards, falling upon the world with no mercy. The planet was battered into submission, with over 5 million of the inhabitants killed. In the aftermath, the legion as a whole seemed aghast at their actions, aware that they had committed an unforgivable atrocity.[1c][1d]
However, before word of their actions could reach the other arms of the Imperium, they once again received orders to move into action. This time it was to move to the Isstvan system. While the Iron Warriors had been engaged in suppressing the rebellion on Olympia, the Galaxy had turned upside down: Horus had rebelled against the Emperor, Fulgrim, Angron, and Mortarion had joined him, and the Space Wolves had slaughtered the Thousand Sons on Prospero. If the Iron Warriors had committed an outrage on Olympia, then their brother Legions seemed determined to outdo them; the Horus Heresy had begun.[1d]
The Horus Heresy
The Iron Warriors were ordered to join the second assault on the traitors' position on Isstvan V, but chose instead to side with Horus, falling upon their former brothers in the Raven Guard and the Iron Hands without mercy.[1d] The fortresses that the Iron Warriors had erected on conquered worlds now served as a supply chain for the Traitors' march to Terra, where Perturabo and a large contingent of the Iron Warriors took a perverse satisfaction in tearing down the defenses of the Imperial Palace.[1d]
After the events at Terra these garrisons would continue to be a thorn in the Imperium's side.[Needs Citation]
One of the planets that came under attack by the Iron Warriors during the Heresy was Tallarn. Before their invasion, the Iron Warriors bombarded the planet with virus bombs, turning the once-verdant world into a barren desert, and wiping out the majority of its population. Yet when the Iron Warriors launched their attack, the resistance they encountered was fierce and unrelenting. The few human survivors, who had hid from the devastation in underground bunkers, now emerged and fought back. Because of the deadly radiation on the surface, infantry combat was virtually impossible for both sides, and the war on Tallarn was primarily a series of armoured clashes. When the battle turned into a protracted conflict, both the Traitors and the Imperium poured war material to their respective allies on Tallarn, neither willing to admit defeat. Over a million armoured vehicles fought across the desert, which stands as the largest tank confrontation in Imperial history. Eventually the Iron Warriors were routed, and the people of Tallarn have since fielded the finest desert warfare experts, and some of the most feared tank warfare specialists, in the Imperial Guard.
In the end, Horus was defeated by the Emperor, and the bulk of the Traitor Legions retreated into the Eye of Terror, while the rest sought to defend their garrison at Olympia. Under a joint assault from both the Imperial Fists and Ultramarines, Olympia held out for two years. Eventually, the Iron Warriors triggered their own missile stockpiles when defeat was near, transforming the planet into a barren wasteland.[1d]
Perturabo soon devised and enacted the one real victory for the Iron Warriors in the immediate aftermath of the Horus Heresy. He crafted a trap on Sebastus IV, designed to ensnare Rogal Dorn and the Imperial Fists, with whom Perturabo and his warriors harboured a bitter rivalry. The trap was known as the Eternal Fortress, a keep centred within twenty square miles of bunkers, towers, minefields, trenches, tank traps and redoubts. Upon hearing of this, Rogal Dorn publicly declared that he "would dig Perturabo out of his hole and bring him back to Terra in an iron cage". As a result of this statement, the ensuing battle has become known as the Iron Cage.
Rogal Dorn expected an honourable battle, but this was not to be. Beginning by isolating the four Companies of the Imperial Fists that landed from their orbital support, Perturabo began to carefully divide his enemy and destroy them piecemeal. Some Imperial Fists managed to penetrate the defences and reach the center of the Eternal Fortress, only to find there was no central keep - simply an open space watched by yet more defenses. The fortress was a decoy of no real value. By the sixth day of the siege, Imperial Fists Space Marines were fighting individually, without support, using the bodies of their own battle brothers for cover.
The siege of the Eternal Fortress (later referred as the "Iron Cage Incident") lasted for a further three weeks. Relief came in the form of Roboute Guilliman and a force of Ultramarines. The sacrifice of over four hundred loyalist Marines' gene-seed paved the way for Perturabo's ascension to Daemon Prince.
The Iron Warriors left on garrison duty defended their outposts in a decade-long campaign against Imperial forces. 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.
Notable Engagements Post-Heresy
- The Iron Cage
- The Scouring of Makenna VII
- The Siege of Hydra Cordatus
- The Siege of Vraks
- The Sabbat Worlds Crusade
- The Siege of Castellax
- The Battle for the Endeavour of Will
- The Invasion of Ultramar
- The 13th Black Crusade
Even before being reunited with their primarch, Perturabo, the Iron Warriors were known for an affinity with technology and the clinical application of logic to military problems. This affinity was channeled by Perturabo, a skilled practitioner of siegecraft, into the mastery of that form of warfare. These abilities were increased by cross-training with the Adeptus Mechanicus. Their Warsmiths could match skills with Magi and it is said that Perturabo could beat any and all in the art of machine engineering. Their methodical attitude made them merciless men in battle and siege. After the siege works were built there was a choice given to the besiegers; either they throw down their arms then and there or the Iron Warriors would show no mercy. Just like many other legions they soon gained the reputation of brutality during siege, not to mention their merciless manner after the siege took place.
The Iron Warriors suffered a great deal of dispersion during the Great Crusade, with various units being detached for separate siege and garrison missions.
The Iron Warriors were organised as a number of Grand Companies each commanded by a Warsmith. Originally each Grand Company would have had a similar organisation, totalling around 1,000 Space Marines. 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 if this figure of around 12,000 fighting Astartes was their maximum strength.
After the events of the Heresy the Iron Warriors were finally set loose upon the galaxy. They gave up any remaining pretense of mercy, becoming a feared enemy of the Imperium. Whole worlds surrendered to the Iron Warriors, some not even offering resistance. Over the last ten thousand years, the Iron Warriors have captured weapons of war from all theatres giving them a wide variety of vehicles, guns and artillery.
Their current organisation is completely non-standard. A Grand Company will often be divided into component detachments led by lesser champions. A tendency towards operating in multiples of three has been noted. While their Primarch remains in his fortress at Medrengard , the Iron Warriors are now almost exclusively led by Warsmiths who command Grand Companies.[1f] A Warsmith is a high-ranking leader within the Iron Warriors Legion with control of a Grand Company, seemingly similar to a Chapter Master with several companies lead by Chaos Champions still called Captains. The Iron Warriors are known to pursue their recruitment programs aggressively, notably capturing a sizable source of pure gene-seed from the facility on Hydra Cordatus and using it to hot-house new Iron Warriors using a chaotic techno-organic method. These new Iron Warriors are selected periodically by Warsmiths for their Grand Company and subjected to various ordeals until they prove themselves worthy.
Traitor Titans are known to work with the Iron Warriors so much that some believe that they are in fact now part of the Legion.
The first Obliterators witnessed amongst Chaos forces were amongst the Iron Warriors and, on rare occasions, Iron Warriors have manifested the ability to 'morph' weapons, although with nothing like the versatility of true Obliterators.
The Iron Warriors are unparalleled masters of siege warfare as well as building defensive fortifications and fortresses. Right after they set up their fortifications and before the initial bombardment, they will commonly send infiltration units ahead of the main force to disable the enemy's defenses and set up ambushes and flank attacks while the main force charges the fortifications.
From the time before the Horus Heresy, the Unbreakable Litany has been a meditative chant and battle-cry for the Iron Warriors, used by Perturabo himself.[17c]
From Iron, cometh Strength. From Strength, cometh Will. From Will, cometh Faith. From Faith, cometh Honour. From Honour, cometh Iron. This is the Unbreakable Litany, and may it forever be so 
Noted Elements of the Iron Warriors
- Iron Blood - Battle Barge - Flagship during the Horus Heresy
- Stonebreaker - Battle Barge[2b]
- Indomitable - Ramilies-class star fort[11d]
- Ferrous Malice - Grand Cruiser
- Warbreed - Battle Barge[11f][11d]
- Perturabo, Primarch[Needs Citation]
- Forrix, Captain, 1st Company
- Barabas Dantioch, Warsmith, 51st Expeditionary Fleet, Loyalist
- Barban Falk, Warsmith of the 126th Grand Battalion, later known as "The Warsmith"[17a][17b]
- Toramino, Warsmith of the 235th Grand Battalion, Master of the Stor-bezashk[17a]
- Harkor, Warsmith of the 23rd Grand Battalion[17a]
- Perturabo, Daemon Primarch[Needs Citation]
- "The Warsmith", Unnamed Warsmith who ascended to Daemonhood on Hydra Cordatus[2a]
- Berossus, Warsmith (dec)
- Andraaz, Warsmith
- Toramino, Warsmith
- Ferrous Ironclaw, Warsmith
- Kolvax, Warsmith of Forgefane (dec) 
- Koros, Warsmith
- Shon'tu, Warsmith
- Zhorisch, Warsmith
- Chengrel, Warlord and Chaos Dreadnought
- Manneus Drath, ruler of Brigannion Four
- Cadaras Grendel, Master of Arms to Lord Berossus
- The Newborn, a mutated clone of Ultramarines Captain Uriel Ventris
- The Slaughterman, damned conductor of the Omphalos Daemonium
- Vhostok Pistonhand - Warpsmith
Known Fortress Worlds
- Brigannion Four - Continually disputed by other Chaos Space Marine warbands
- Medrengard - Post-Heresy Legion homeworld[1d]
- Malodrax - Laid to waste by the Imperial Fists
- Forgefane - Consumed by Hive Fleet Leviathan
- Burjan's World - Located in the Mitre Gulf
- Castellax - Overrun by Orks
- 1: Index Astartes I, "Bitter and Twisted: The Iron Warriors Space Marine Legion" by Pete Haines (originally published White Dwarf #256 (UK))
- 2: Storm Of Iron (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- 3: Dead Sky, Black Sun (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- 4: White Dwarf 362 (UK) - Liber Apocalyptica : Tyranids article, p. 46
- 5: The Iron Within (Short Story) by Rob Sanders
- 6: The Sabbat Worlds Crusade (Background Book) by Dan Abnett, pg. 87
- 7: Codex: Imperial Guard (5th Edition), pg. 17
- 8: Deathwatch: First Founding pg.94
- 9: Codex: Tyranids (5th Edition) pg.28-31
- 10: Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition) pg.91
- 11: The Chapter's Due (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- 12: Endeavour of Will (Novella) by Ben Counter
- 13: Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition) pg.23
- 14: The Masters, Bidding (Short Story) by Matthew Farrer
- 15: The Long War (Short Story) by Andy Hoare
- 16: The Crimson Fist (Novella) by John French - Shadows of Treachery (Anthology), "The day of the Battle of Phall", pgs. 84-85, 91
- 17: Angel Exterminatus (Novel) by Graham McNeill,
- 18: The Skull Harvest (Short Story) by Graham McNeill, pg. 19, 51
- 19: Raven's Flight (Audio Book) by Gav Thorpe
|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