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Raven Guard

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The Raven Guard were the XIX Legion of the original Space Marine Legions. Their Primarch is Corvus Corax . Their homeworld is Deliverance (originally named Lycaeus), a moon which orbits the Hive World Kiavahr.[2b] The Legion was devastated at the outbreak of the Horus Heresy and survived only by the most desperate of measures.

The Raven Guard specialise in guerrilla warfare, moving behind enemy lines with unrivalled stealth, and striking with precise application of force.[2a]

Marine Basic Data Chapter Symbol
Raven guard marine.JPG
- Raven Guard -
Legion Number: XIX
Primarch: Corvus Corax
Chapter Master: Corvin Severax[29]
Homeworld: Deliverance
Fortress-Monastery: Ravenspire
Known Descendants: Black Guard,
Carcharodons,
Dark Eagles, Death Eagles, Death Spectres,
Flame Eagles,
Hawk Lords,
Imperial Talons,
Knights of the Raven,
Raptors, Revilers,
Storm Hawks, Storm Wings
Colours: Black, White
Specialty: Guerrilla warfare and lightning attacks
Battle Cry: Victorus Aut Mortis (Victory or Death)
Ravguardlogo.png
Miniature
Ravenguardmini.jpg


Contents

History

The Great Crusade

Founding

Originally founded as the XIXth Legion, the Legion was used by the Emperor as his hidden hand in its early years during the Unification Wars on Terra. The original recruits of the Legion were firstborn sons drawn from tribes of savage yet technologically adept Xeric warriors of the Asiatic Dustfields, which regularly battled with the much larger Yndonesic Bloc.

In its earliest days, the XIXth Legion was used for infiltration, reconnaissance, and target identification operations. The Legion was covertly used to quickly annihilate any faction which refused to submit to the new Imperium, striking from the shadows without warning. One of the earliest known campaigns by the Legion was the conquest of the central Asiatic region, which was ruled by a tyrant known as Kalagann of Ursh. They won many battle honors on Terra, and later took part in the expansion of the Imperium into the rest of the Sol System, liberating Jupiter's moon of Lysithea from xenos. The battle on Lysithea proved costly for the Legion however, and for many years after veterans of the battle wore Jovian runes in its commemoration.[30]

In the early days of the Great Crusade, the Legion found itself in the shadow of Horus and his Luna Wolves. While Horus valued the XIXth greatly, the Legions forces were largely serving as support troops for the Wolves.[30]

The Legion's Primarch Corax was not reunited with the Legion for nearly two centuries.[30] first meeting between Corax and the Emperor is shrouded in mystery, as the two spent a day and a night in private discussion, with no records kept about the conversation's contents.[2a] At dawn the next day though, Corax agreed to take command of the Legion, on the condition that Kiavahr be conquered and brought into the Imperial fold.[2a]

The Great Crusade was already a century old by the time Corax took command of his Legion, but quickly imposed his style of war he had learned on Deliverance on his new troops. Stealth, swiftness, and guile were impressed on a Legion already renowned for its reconnaissance and rapid-strike capability. In particular, the old ways of the Xeric tribes were purged. Corax also was disheartened by the way his Legion had been used as a repression, counter-insurgency, and occupation force; not unlike what he had fought against himself. He purged the Legion of its old commanders, such as Lord Arkhas Fal. Corax also used factories on Kiavahr to commission several vehicles unique to his forces, most notably the Shadowhawk, a stealth variant of the Thunderhawk as well as the Whispercutter.[30]

Doctrine and Record

During the Great Crusade the Raven Guard, based upon the training Corax had learned on Deliverance, became masters of sabotage, assassination and other covert operations. Planets that were thought impossible to take fell quickly as the Raven Guard applied precise military pressure to its vulnerable sectors.[2a] Such was the Legion's reputation that Warmaster Horus frequently requested their assistance to assure victory, though there was little admiration between the two; unconfirmed reports include the two sides nearly coming to blows on one occasion.[2a]

Tensions between the two boiled after during the Battle of Gate Forty-Two, where Horus had the Raven Guard launch a bloody frontal assault on enemy defenses that decimated the Legion's numbers despite Corax's warnings that the plan was reckless beforehand. After the battle the Raven Guard was reduced to 80,000 Astartes. Corax removed his forces from Horus' command, bitterly swearing to never serve alongside the Warmaster again.[30]


Notable Operations

The Horus Heresy

Corax leads the Raven Guard against the Dark Mechanicus during the Horus Heresy

The Raven Guard legion was one of the smallest legions during the Great Crusade, numbering 80,000 Astartese as well as an Imperial Army Regiment known as the Therion Cohort attached to the legion's expeditionary force.[12] As a legion they were a fierce enemy for anyone who opposed the Imperium of Man, using time honoured tactics of guerilla warfare which Corax himself had learnt during the Revolution he himself had commanded to free his people from the merciless slavery forced upon them by the Tech Guilds of Kiavahr.[12] Extremely efficient and trained, the Raven Guard would engage in acts of mass sabotage along with infiltration, blink-of-an-eye Strikes, and expert covert operations, all of which they had perfected into what would look like ease to any other warrior.[12]

The Raven Guard were one of seven legions to be sent to the Istvaan system (Others present were the Iron Hands, Salamanders, Alpha Legion, Iron Warriors, Night Lords and Word Bearers) to quell a rebellion lead by the former Warmaster, Horus - Primarch of the Sons of Horus Legion (Formerly the Luna Wolves).[12] Horus and his other three traitor primarchs (Fulgrim, Angron and Mortarion) had entrenched themselves on the planet of Istvaan V, and lay in wait for the Loyalist forces to land and engage.[12] The fighting once joined was fierce and hot-blooded, brother versus brother, and no quarter was given on either side.[12] Mid way into the fighting, Horus and his allies retreated back into their fortifications for no reason that could be grasped by the loyalist factions.[12] The Raven Guard were in the thick of the fighting from the start, though out of their element due to the lack of tactical planning and the close-up-and-personal combat spreading like wildfire across the plains of Istvaan V. They fought both with as much honour and as much skill as any other legion would in the circumstances.[12] When the traitors made a surprise withdrawal back to their fortifications, the Raven Guard used this cease in the fighting to regroup and re-arm.[12] However, when they neared the "loyalist" defences (which were tenfold reinforced by the expert siege engineers of the Iron Warriors legion under their Primarch Perturabo's direction, they were fired upon by the very guns meant to protect them. Hundreds were gunned down in the first few minutes of the betrayal, before they even realised that there were traitors in there midst.[12]

Four of the seven loyalist legions sent to Istvaan V had thrown off the colours and pretences of the Imperium, and set about playing out a totally new preformance (hatched from long before Istvaan).[12] The Iron Warriors, Night Lords, Alpha Legion, and Word Bearers turned on their brethren in a bloody thunderstorm of bolters and blades, decimating their numbers in a multitude of seemingly never ending skirmishes and drudging battles for ground that cost lives for every metre gained or lost.[12] Corax and his legion were reduced from their mighty 80,000 warriors to a meagre 3,000 battle hardened veterans.[12] Himself by now a brooding vengeful demigod, weilding a whip[12] in place of his normal customary left set of talons which were lost in a rage fueled duel with the traitorous primarch Lorgar, which would have ended in Lorgar's death had Konrad Curze, Primarch of the Night Lords (also known as the Night Haunter) Not intervened and shattered it with a swipe of his own claws.[12] Respite came in the form of a single battle barge The "Avenger"[12], captained by Commander Branne Nev, a captain originally stationed on Deliverance as a garrison commander, with him came the battered remains of the Therion Cohort normally serving with the legion under Praefactor Valerius who ironically brought Isstvan V into compliance with Corax the first time. [12]

Upon escaping the tailing forces of World Eater's picket ships, "Avenger"[12] broke real-space into the warp, and headed for Terra.[12] Upon arriving Corax headed for the Imperial Palace, which was being fortified by Rogal Dorn and his Imperial Fists in preperation for the coming Siege (Siege of Terra), upon which after much argument with Dorn and Malcador the Imperial Regent, The Emperor himself boomed in a psychic voice for the arguing to cease and pulled Corax into a vision of extreme light, and showed him the secrets he had been asking for - The gene forging tech used to create the Primarch's by the Emperor himself.[12] After navigating the treacherous and dangerous contraption which was the ever shape-shifting maze on Luna, by using his advanced logic, and the skill of his sons to out-think its logic engine and freeze it in place, he retrieved the gene tech and returned to Deliverance under the watchful eye of the Adeptus Custodes (who were charged by Malcador to keep an eye on its safety).[12]

At first the Astartese created by the gene tech were a marvel, a splice of primarch and Astartese, but not in an imbalanced degree so as to cause malfunction, a perfect meld.[12] These new warriors were faster, stronger, and more intelligent than any of the older warriors of the Legion, and within a few weeks more aspirants had been successfully implanted with stable gene-seed than ever before (the new gene seed also meant that warriors matured into their new forms rapidly compared to standard Astartese).[12] The new warriors would be placed under the command of Captain Branne Nev under the moniker "Raptors", and would be used against a Word Bearer fortress as their first deployment, which would see them successfully slaughter veteran Word Bearers with the ease of much older warriors. Raptors would take injuries that would have killed even an Astartese, and still remain fighting due to their enhanced bodies.[12] Word of this reached the ears of Omegon, twin primarch of the Alpha Legion, whom had been laying dormant on Kiavahr below stirring up a rebellion amongst the tech guilds, and he sprung into action.[12]

The rebellion and even the Alpha Legionnaires supporting it were a distraction, while the Raven Guard were caught off guard, Omegon and several Alpha Legion operatives managed to covertly spike the gene tech with a daemon blood poison (while managing to keep the pure technology for themselves) using the Raven Guard gene-seed to produce deformed monsters.[12] The battle finally began as the first Raven Guard recruits to recieve the secretly spiked gene seed were implanted, and by the time it raged into the gene labs of Ravendelve, only to be met by deformed warriors created by the spiked gene seed's effects.[12] While deformed, these astartese still fought with otherworldly strength, overpowering even the Alpha Legion Astartese.[12] By the time the battle was over, Agents had been found amidst the legion, explaining how news reached the traitors about the gene tech, and thus the loss of such a boon to the crippled legion, gene screening was to be implemented to find and destroy the agents with the stolen faces of Raven Guard Legionnaires.[12] Without the gene tech the Raven Guard Legion remained a small legion, though their continued work with small cells of warriors allowed them to remain no less of a fighting force, though fewer in number then before. [12] When Roboute Guilliman announced his "Codex Astartes" which would split the legions into organised chapters, Corax was circumstantially forced to adapt to the new rules, Abliet still retaining his legions overall structure, but in smaller chapters of 1,000 Astartese, As is how the Raven Guard chapter is to this day.[12]

Horus Heresy Aftermath

The Raven Guard chapter birthed in the Second Founding from the Raven Guard legion remained a successful fighting force, even with diminished numbers (1,000 Astartes from the 3,000 survivors of the Drop Site Massacre).[4a] The hunt for Kernax Voldorius alongside the White Scars[11b], 4th Company's deployment of several Raven Guard warriors to aid the Ultramarines in their capture of Adaric Vaanes, and the defence of Ultramar[9], and many other campaigns have been successfully won by these masters of shadow.

Recent Events

Timeline

Raven Guard Space Marine

Homeworld

The Raven Guard homeworld is Deliverance, a moon which their Fortress Monastery "Raven Spire" is built on.[12] Deliverance was once known as Lycaeus, where 10,000 years previous to current events, Corvus Corax (soon to be Primarch of the Raven Guard Legion) lead a revolution to free his fellow slaves, and eventually the whole moon from the Slavery enforced on them by the Tech Guilds of the planet below, Kiavahr.[12] Kiavahr was converted into a forge world by the Adeptus Mechanicus upon the Emperor's arrival, due to Corax's wishes that the Tech Guilds no longer held sway, this meant that the Legion also recieved a vital supply line for materials.[12]

Gene-seed

The degeneration of the Raven Guard gene-seed means several of the unique organs of the Space Marines no longer work properly or no longer grow. Raven Guard do not have the Mucranoid or Betcher's Gland. The Melanchromic Organ has a unique mutation that causes the skin of the Space Marine to grow paler.[3] Eventually each Marine's skin becomes pure white while their hair and eyes darken, becoming black as coal. The main issues could have come from Corax's experimentation with the Raven Guard Gene-Seed to try and create stronger and faster-maturing astartes (although the Alpha Legion is primarily to blame for causing his project's failure), it is never fully stated what is the actual cause.[12]

Shadowmasters

The Shadowmasters or Mor Deythan were a unit of Raven Guard during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy. They were ordinary battle-brothers who had their primarch's ability to Shadow-walk. It was a quirk of the gene-seed in a few Deliverancian born Raven Guard that had more than just the standard gene code. One unique trait about the Shadowmasters is that they were completely unknown to their own legion. The marines were selected for testing "Thermal Technology" which was considered "highly temperamental. Corax and select apothecaries are the only marines in the legion that knew of the group at the time of the Horus Heresy. The Mor Deythan acted as an elite stealth team and saboteurs and communicated through Stalk-Argot while working in concert with the rest of the legion. The Shadowmasters performed flanking maneuvers and sabotaged columns of rogue Skitarii on Constinax. [20]

Culture and combat doctrine

Raven Guard
The Raven Guard are known for hitting weak points in enemy defences hard and they perform lightning strikes upon locations of tactical importance to cripple their enemy. The Raven Guard disdain the notion of recklessly charging into enemy ranks. This differentiates their tactics from those of the Blood Angels. The Raven Guard rely heavily on their Scouts for pinpointing enemy positions and to scout for good drop sites. Because of their hit and run tactics they also make extensive use of Assault Squads. The Tactical Squads of the Raven Guard are often deployed via Thunderhawks or Drop Pods. The favorite weapons of the Raven Guard Commanders are the Lightning Claws and it is a common sight that their command squads also come equipped with these weapons in addition to their Jump Packs.

Raven Guard Captains are fiercely independent, and it's incredibly rare for the chapter to fight as a whole. Individual companies are completely autonomous and are quick to lend their aid to Imperial commanders across the galaxy, with or without the sanction of their Chapter Master. Such behaviour has led to some to question the Raven Guard's soundness, but most recognise that such fluidity of command proves the presence of formidable discipline, not its absence.[4a]

Due to their specialised combat style, the Raven Guard makes less use of heavier vehicles and tanks (such as the Land Raider and Predator) than most chapters.[3]

The right shoulder guard trim denotes the type of Space Marine. Green is for tactical squads, red is for assault squads and yellow is for devastators. The left kneepad displays the company number[5]

Traditions

Corvia

All Raven Guard during their initiation or as a form of meditation or spirit quest hunt the tiny ravens native to the forests of Kiavahr. It takes months of training and practice for recruits to sneak up on the small and alert birds, grab them in their bare hands and snap their necks. The skulls of these birds are worn as small totems hanging from a marine's belt on small chains. These totems are known as Corvia and represent a warrior's honor. If a battle-brother falls, one of his surviving comrades will recover his Corvia and carry it, and thus the fallen warrior's honor, into battle until he can return to Kiavahr and bury the small skulls in the soil of the Chapter's homeworld. [27]

Treatment of the Dead

Upon death, where practical, the body of the Raven Guard will be stripped of it's equipment and trappings (including the Corvia), harvested of it's gene-seed and left for the local carrion birds to feed upon [21b]

"Wraith-Slipping"

Described as being a combination of mental discipline and martial art, the process of "wraith-slipping" is to take advantage of one's surroundings to conceal one's presence. This is not a psychic power but rather a collection of disciplines and techniques that the Raven Guard use to conceal their visual and aural presence despite their use of power armour. It is a technique that is described both prior to the outbreak of civil war in the Horus Heresy[28a] and up to the 41st Millennium[24a].


Organisation

The Raven Guard are a Codex Chapter who generally adhere to the Codex Astartes in their Organisation.[7]

Headquarters

The current headquarters staff as of 999.M41 are as follows:

Headquarters
Chapter Master Reclusium Librarius
Ravguardlogo.png


Armoury Apothecarion Fleet Command Support Personel
  • Chapter Serfs
  • Administrative Personel

Company Disposition

Like all Codex chapters, the Raven Guard are divided into ten Companies. Each Company is led by a hero of the Raven Guard who bears the title Shadow Captain[6] and who - in addition to his Company command - is in charge of a particular aspect of the Chapter's logistics. The current Company commanders are as follows:

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


Shadow Captain Kayvaan Shrike

  • 6 Tactical Squads
  • 2 Assault Squads
  • 2 Devastator Squads
  • Dreadnoughts
  • Shadow Captain Aethon Shaan[10a]
  • 6 Tactical Squads
  • 2 Assault Squads
  • 2 Devastator Squads
  • Dreadnoughts
  • Shadow Captain Corvane Valar[9]
  • 6 Tactical Squads
  • 2 Assault Squads
  • 2 Devastator Squads
  • Dreadnoughts
Reserve Companies Scout Company
6th Company 7th Company 8th Company 9th Company 10th Company
  • Shadow Captain
  • 10 Tactical Squads
  • Dreadnoughts
  • Shadow Captain
  • 10 Tactical Squads
  • Dreadnoughts
  • Shadow Captain
  • 10 Devastator Squads
  • Dreadnoughts

Master of the Recruits

Recruitment

Raven Guard Veteran assault marine

Owing to the instability of the Raven Guard gene-seed and the experiments of Corax, much of the chapter's genetic stock has been irreparably damaged. Now, much of their genetic material comes from supplies held on Terra. This means the cycle of recruitment for the Raven Guard is much slower than other Chapters and fewer Raven Guard candidates for the Chapter prove able to survive their training and genetic modification. This means the chapter is constantly short-handed.

The Raven Guard's chapter planet Deliverance is said to lack the population resources available on other chapter's homeworlds. By the time of the Horus Heresy only a few thousand marines in the Raven Guard's number were recruited from Deliverance, the rest made up of the original Terran forces inducted before the Great Crusade.[1]


Equipment

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The Chapter makes wide use of the "beaked" and older marks of Power Armour (Mk. IV-VI). After their near-destruction at Isstvan V, the Raven Guard techmarines created ad hoc suits using salvaged parts and components from other suits or vehicles.[12g] When battle barge Avenger returned to Deliverance, Raven Guard received shipment of 2 000 suits of Mk. VI Power Armour. [12h] At that time, the Mark VI, designed as Corvus suit, was the newest and most advanced version. Because this mark of Power Armour carries name of primarch Corax it is natural that the Raven Guard feel bond to this mark of armour. The Raven Guard's chapter planet and base of operations has the production capacity of a small forge world, ensuring that the Raven Guard rarely lacks for the material to prosecute its campaigns.[4b] Raven Guard's Power Armour utilises enhanced cooling systems that which helps to blend in better with the background. By this means Raven Guard's warriors are hard to be detected by thermal or infrared devices.[11a]

Noted Elements of the Raven Guard

Relics and Artefacts

Main article: Raven Guard Armoury

Chapter Fleet

Notable Members

Heresy Era

Post-Heresy

Related Articles

Trivia

While stated in the background that all Raven Guard have black hair, there is at least one instance where Games Workshop showed a miniature with a different hair colour (accessed 2011/09/08). If this is a mistake or deliberate is unknown.

Sources

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