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The Space Wolves (also Sky Warriors of Russ, Rout or Vlka Fenryka [Wolves of Fenris in Fenrisian]) were the VI Legion of the twenty Space Marine Legions. Their primarch is Leman Russ, and during the Great Crusade they gained a reputation as the Emperor's executioners and instruments of punishment. After the Horus Heresy and the resultant reforms, the legion was divided, its first and only time, into two chapters: the new Space Wolves chapter retained the name of their parent Legion, while the second chapter took on the name of the Wolf Brothers. The latter however suffered from mutation and was disbanded. It is currently unknown if there are any other descendant chapters of the Space Wolves at all.
The Space Wolves are notorious throughout the rest of the Imperium for their ferocity in battle and their defiance of authority, including the dictates of the Codex Astartes that govern the organization and combat doctrines of other Space Marine chapters. They are generally considered the greatest warriors of the loyalist Astartes Chapters.
|Marine||Basic Data||Chapter Symbol|
- 1 Homeworld
- 2 History
- 3 Gene-seed
- 4 Culture
- 5 Organisation
- 6 Equipment
- 7 Recruitment
- 8 Noted Elements of the Space Wolves
- 9 Iconography
- 10 Related Articles
- 11 Sources
Fenris is a death world that lies in the galactic north of Segmentum Solar. It is located relatively close to the Eye of Terror, yet indigenous life remains pure and untainted. It is also the planet where the mighty Space Wolves recruit their ranks and call home.[8j]
It is a relentless world of fire and ice, ravaged by the extremes of climate all year round. For the majority of its year the planet is blanketed by an extreme winter. The temperature of the planet drops so low that even the oceans ice over allowing its native Fenrisians to travel between its many islands without the need of a longship.[8j]
After its long elliptical journey the planet comes dangerously close to its sun. It is the short summer months when the planet is closest that the planet's crust is broken; burning great areas with lava flows, churning the seas, and causing massive tidal waves. It is during these months, referred to as the time of fire and water, that the whole of the planet changes its form. Islands are both destroyed and created in entirety, up heaving homes made during the winter and resulting in the population becoming once again nomadic barbarian tribes.[8j]
These primitives must settle the new lands quickly before supplies and manpower are exhausted otherwise their tribe will not survive the coming winter. This results in bloody war between them for new territories. So it has always been and shall be as it was directed by Leman Russ himself to keep his descendants strong and able. It is because of this life of constant warfare and continual migration that the child-gift is always the axe. Thus upon birth the first test has begun, for the child that does not grasp it is quickly cast into the frozen seas rather than risk him being the downfall of the tribe.[8j]
At the planet's northern pole is a single continent called Asaheim that alone is unaffected by the time of fire and water. This is the only location that a great many of planet's unique creatures can survive. These include snow trolls, shape-shifting doppegangrels, and massive wyrms that burrow the landscape. The deadliest of all these creatures is the Fenrisian wolf, a deadly predator with wits that are as sharp as its teeth. Though lethal on its own these keep to their namesake traveling the icy wastes in packs.[8j]
This remote land also houses the Sky Warriors of Russ and the hall of the gods. The ultimate triumph of Fenrisian culture is to become one of the chosen Sons of Russ and await the final battle at the end of the universe. Although Fenris is the home of the Space Wolves the chapter only houses the island continent. Their fortress, The Fang, lies at Asaheim's largest peak. The peak rises above the clouds and even beyond the atmosphere where the space faring vessels of the Rout are docked.[8j]
The Primarch project was the creation of twenty super humans created by the Emperor while preparing his armies for the reconquest of the galaxy prior to the Great Crusade. However, the experiment never reached its final result due to all twenty infants being scattered among the galaxy by the forces of Chaos. Over time the Emperor was reunited with his creations each having grown to adulthood and gave them leadership of their respective legions as was originally intended.[2a] Leman Russ was one such individual. After being spirited away he found himself on the planet of Fenris. Found young he was raised by some tribesman before being taken in and raised by the court of King Thengir. As he grew so did his legend and eventually Leman Russ found himself the Wolf-King.[8k]
While on his Great Crusade the world of Fenris was one of the first to be found by the Emperor. Upon hearing the legend of the Wolf-King the Emperor left his great ship to meet the man expecting him to be one of his Primarchs. After a one-on-one battle between the two Leman Russ was bested for the first time in his life. Satisfied this was one of his Generals, the Emperor soon gave him leadership of the Space Marine Legion that bore his genes. The planet of Fenris was claimed as their chapter's homeworld. Their massive fortress-monastery was constructed within the mighty mountain ranges of the southern pole continent. Throughout the Great Crusade the Space Wolves won many victories for the Emperor under direction of their Primarch.[8k]
The Lion and the Wolf
Despite their common loyalties to the Imperium Space Marine Chapters do not always get along. Rivalries bound to develop over the millennia surface from domain rivalries and more come to pass dividing those that once stood together. Once such rivalry, ancient in its origin, exists between the Space Wolves and Dark Angels Chapters. While the origin of this rivalry has long since passed into legend there are two widely accepted accounts of its birth.[6c]
1. The first is of the Space Wolves chapter themselves. The chapter claims that it began during the Horus Heresy when the two Chapters were in campaign together. Legend says that Lion El'Jonson, Primarch of the Dark Angels, advanced his legion without coordinating with his allies. Though his action swiftly won the battle a great many of the Space Wolves were slain with their flank left unprotected to the enemy's counter-attack. After the conflict the Wolf challenged the Lion to a duel. The battle lasted until both warriors collapsed from exhaustion swearing vengeance upon one another. Over the years it is said that the two developed a mutual respect for one another, but due to their pride both felt honor-bound to fulfill their vows of vengeance.[6c]
2. During a pacification war, the Dark Angels aided the Space Wolves against a particular planet. This planetary leader had insulted Leman Russ's honor and so he wanted to defeat the leader personally for the insult. The Dark Angels and Space Wolves, both led by their respective Primarchs, assaulted the tower where the leader was. Leman Russ burst into the throne room just in time to see Lion El'Jonson beheading the leader. Angry that the honor was not his, Leman Russ marched up to the Lion and punched him in the jaw. This led to a battle that lasted a week or more, until finally Russ saw how immature their squabble was and started laughing. Lion El'Jonson took this as Russ mocking him and breaking the honour of Single Combat, knocked Russ unconscious before escaping the planet with his legion. The Space Wolves considered this an offence believing El'Jonson to be a coward.
Regardless of its origin the two Legions (and their subsequent Chapters) have never forgotten their feud and tensions run high between them. Though the Chapters have fought together on many occasions the vows made by their progenitors long ago have resulted in customary duels between them. It has come to pass that each time the Chapters meet two champions are selected from both sides to engage in a (usually) non-lethal duel.
Under Russ' brash leadership the Space Wolves had other incidents with their allied Astartes Legion. This included the Night of the Wolf against the World Eaters and a brief bloody confrontation on Ark Reach Secundus with the Thousand Sons. It was also hinted that the Space Wolves, serving as the Emperor's executioners, may have had something to do with the disappearance of the Two Lost Legions.
Over time each of the twenty Primarchs were reunited with the Emperor and took control of their respective legions. Unarguably the most powerful of them all was Horus.[8k] Horus was indeed the first Primarch found and became the Emperor's most favored son. He would come to lead the whole of His armies as the Emperor returned to Holy Terra for other works. With Horus named Warmaster, the galaxy slowly unified and the Emperor's Imperium began to take shape. During this time all of the Primarchs were tempted by the Chaos Gods and some were slowly twisted by their treacherous ways. Though unknown to them ten of the Primarchs ultimately failed the test of loyalty and were swayed by the promise of ultimate power. The greatest of this triumph by the Gods of Chaos was the turning of the Warmaster Horus. The Emperor however was always sure that Leman Russ would never fall to Chaos.
During the Horus Heresy, the Space Wolves were not present at the Drop Site Massacre nor the Siege of Terra. Space Wolves are known to have been ordered to retrieve Magnus the Red and return him to Terra after the Primarch's violation of the Council of Nikea. After the now-corrupted Horus quietly changed his orders from simply bringing Magnus to Terra to an all-out assault on his legion, Leman Russ had the Space Wolves Legion attacked the Thousand Sons Legion homeworld, Prospero, in an attempt to fulfill their Emperor's charge. Though the planet was devastated in the assault the bulk of the traitor legion escaped and made for the Eye of Terror. The 13th Great Company, led by Jorin Bloodhowl, pursued the traitors and elements of the Wulfenkind would not be seen for the next 10,000 years. After Prospero, the Space Wolves were assailed in space by the Alpha Legion and routed at Yarant and forced to flee to the Alaxxes Nebula, the Wolves were ultimately saved by a force of Dark Angels. Afterwards at least some elements of the legion managed to return to Terra, as Russ was able to meet with Malcador and organize the plot to have the Knights-Errant assassinate Horus.
After the Heresy Leman Russ was infuriated for not being at the Siege of Terra to aid the Emperor. He personally led a force into the Eye of Terror in the hopes of revenge.[8k] Eventually Russ disappeared altogether, pleding to return in the final battle of the "Wolf Time". Leman Russ then vanished and the true whereabouts of the Primarch remains a mystery. Many within the Chapter maintain that Russ has sought out the fabled Tree of Life in a bid to heal the Emperor. Apparently Magnus the Red knows, but the Daemon Primarch and his Thousand Sons are not sharing that information with any outside their traitorous ranks.[2a]
Nonetheless the Space Wolves waited for his return. Every year, his place was laid at the feast table, and every year his great drinking horn was filled, in case he should return. The years slunk past and still he did not come. After seven years, the surviving Wolf Lords gathered and elected Bjorn their leader, awarding him the title Great Wolf. Bjorn gathered all his warriors together in the Hall of the Fang, and announced the first Great Hunt. Russ’ people would seek out their master if it took the rest of time to do it. So did the twelve Great Companies take to their ships and sail forth in separate directions across the Sea of Stars.
The tale of their deeds is too long to recount in full, save on Allwinter’s Eve, when the Rune Priests gather to chant the sagas. They sought Russ on many worlds and in many places. They fought intense battles against aliens and overcame voidspawn and raging Daemon alike. The Space Wolves hunted in this dimension and the next, but of Russ they found no sign, until eventually they were recalled to Fenris bearing naught but tales of their adventures. Thus the first Great Hunt ended in failure. Since that day there have been many other Great Hunts – on occasion, Russ has appeared to a Great Wolf or Rune Priest in a vision and told him it is time. These are periods of daring deeds and high adventure, when the Chapter takes to the Sea of Stars to seek their lost leader. Though they have never been successful in their goal, each Great Hunt has struck a decisive blow against the enemies of Mankind.
Following the end of the Heresy, a great deal would happen. With the Emperor confined to the Golden Throne the High Lords of Terra found themselves the new leaders of the Emperor's domain. Both the High Lords and surviving Primarchs became paranoid of the possibility of such events repeating themselves. The armies of the Emperor once again scoured the galaxy seeking out all forms of heresy and removing even the slightest chance of rebellion. Even the great Legions were not exempt. Concerned that once again their could be a threat from such a terrible force each Legion was to be divided into smaller Chapters and a new set of regulations was created to govern them.[8k]
The Codex Astartes was a code developed by the Primarch of the Ultramarines, Roboute Guilliman. This tome would contain everything a member of the Astartes would need to know to function. From recruitment to organization to tactics and beyond, the Codex Astartes became a sacred text to the majority of the Chapters. The Space Wolves Legion never fully accepted the new doctrine. Rather they hold sacred the teachings of their Primarch.
One of the most significant changes within the new Codex was the newly founded Chapters. Where the Legions could number more than 10,000 strong the Chapters would be limited to about a thousand. Each original Legion would be divided as many times as needed into Successor Chapters. This division would come to be called the Second Founding. The remaining thousand bodies in the original Legion would survive as a new Chapter of the same name, while their newly created Chapters would claim their founders origins and be known as their Founding Chapter. Beyond this however the chapters would operate independently, and come to develop their own namesake, culture, and customs.[14k] One of the few ideals the Codex implemented that the Space Wolves Legion actually accepted was the succession of Chapters. However, the Space Wolves Legion was never very large. This, combined with the genetic instability of the legion gene-seed, led to the Legion only founding one successor Chapter, the ill-fated Wolfbrothers.[6a]
- M32 - Battle of the Fang
- M36 - The Skarath Crusade - The Space Wolves were the first to use the Predator Annihilator against Chaos forces.[10a]
- 444.M41 - First War for Armageddon - Logan Grimnar led 300 Space Wolves alongside 100 Grey Knights against Angron and a diabolic horde of Khorne.
- 445.M41 - The Months of Shame - In the aftermath of the Armageddon conflict the Space Wolves move to protect Imperial Guard and civilians from Armageddon from Inquisitorial purges, leading to a first a "Cold War" and eventually a direct clash between the two powers. At the conflicts peak, Fenris itself is besieged.
- 499.M41 - The Palacia Heresy
- 612.M41 - The War of the Wolf. Logan Grimnar battles the Black Legion in search of a missing member of the lost Wolf Brothers.
- 741.M41 - The Vara Rebellion
- 777.M41 - The Achilus Crusade
- 786.M41 - The Scouring of Gnosis
- 830.M41 - The Scrapspire Incursion
- 837.M41 - Honour's End- Flesh Tearers and Space Wolves cross swords.[8d]
- 886.M41 - The Fenris Incident. The Ecclesiarchy arrives at Fenris to investigate a claim of their worship of pagan gods. The Space Wolves orbital defenses fire upon the Ecclesiarchy vessel, chasing it away. Almost a year later, an Ecclesiarchy fleet and three Orders of the Adepta Sororitas attempt to land on Fenris by force. A three-week war erupts before the Ecclesiarchy decides to withdraw.[8i]
- 894.M41 - The Betalis Campaign. The Space Wolves battle alongside Cadian Imperial Guard to push the Eldar off the Mining World of Betalis III.
- 897.M41 - The Space Wolves engage Hive Fleet Colossus on the world of Thressiax.[8i]
- 926.M41 - The Third Purging of Lastrati. Five Companies of Space Wolves are deployed to battle the Red Corsairs in the Lastrati System, but are eventually forced to withdraw.
- 933.M41 - The Battle of Midgardia. The Space Wolves battle Trazyn the Infinite after he invades the world of Midgardia
- 962.M41 - The War of Infamy against the Tau Empire
- 966.M41 - The Battle of Kvariam Alpha. The Space Wolves engage the Tau Empire in an underwater battle on the Ocean World of Kvariam Alpha.[8i]
- 998.M41 - The Red Waaagh!, the Space Wolves under Logan Grimnar arrive to aid Alaric Prime from Ork invasion.
- 999.M41 - Third War for Armageddon - The Space Wolves fielded 5 Great Companies in the defence of Armageddon.
- 999.M41 - The Ormantep Raid. Many suspect the 13th Great Company to be behind the miraculous and mysterious defeat of Black Legion forces assailing the Mining World of Ormantep
- 999.M41 - Thirteenth Black Crusade - The Space Wolves committed 12 Great Companies against this Black Crusade.
- ???.M41 - The Crusade of Fire
- ???.M41 - The Battle of Issajur
- Deployed Land Raider Helios against Orks on Centius Prime.
- Saw action against the forces of the Draxian Incursion on Medes 841.
- Saw action against Chaos at Hesperida. Forces included elements of Ragnar Blackmane's Great Company.
- Ragnar Blackmane's Great Company was despatched to aid the Imperial Guard forces fighting Chaos at Corinthus V.
- Fielded Vindicator's during the Magdelon Confrontation.
- Fielded all but one company to Garm to recover the Spear of Russ. After securing the temple, they tried to recover the Spear of Russ, but it was lost to the warp in order to close a portal being formed by marines of the Thousand Sons.
The gene-seed of the Space Wolves gifts the chapter's members with enhanced, animalistic abilities, including hyper-acute senses of hearing and smell, and a ferocity in battle that is almost unrivalled by any other Space Marine.[8f]
The gene-seed also induces physical changes in the Wolves more extreme than those of other genetically-modified humans, such as elongated canines, shaggy hair that becomes grey, then pure white as the Wolf ages, and sometimes pale yellow eyes.[8f][8g]
The primary flaw in the Wolves gene-seed is the Curse of the Wulfen, which risks transforming the Marine into a feral beast that cannot be controlled. This risk presents itself when Aspirant's are first implanted with the gene-seed before their Test of Morkai, but even those who manage to control the instability are never entirely free of it. The struggle against the Wulfen can last throughout the Space Wolf's life.[8f]
Though undeniably loyal to the Emperor, the Space Wolves are known for their fiercely anti-authoritarian behaviour. They strongly resist the central command structure of the Imperium, and refuse to follow the dictates of the Codex Astartes, which lays the structure and tactics to be used by all Space Marines. They hold a particular disdain for the Inquisition, in part due to the organizations purge of Imperial citizens that survived the First War for Armageddon.
Of all the Adeptus Astartes, the Wolves of Fenris regard themselves as the Imperium's ultimate weapon, and are proud of it. Where other Chapters, such as the Ultramarines, were made to build empires, the Wolves were made to murder them, and to destroy anyone who opposes the Emperor's will, including other Astartes.[14c] Their unorthodox behavior and organisation as well as their single minded dedication to tear the enemy, any enemy, apart like a wolf pack brings down a deadly prey reflects this original purpose.
The Wolves are almost as renowned for their passion for eating, drinking, and storytelling, when not engaged in battle. In contrast to the monastic habits of other Chapters, they enjoy boisterous feasting, eating enormous amounts of meat and guzzling Mjød, a liquor so potent that it would eat through the guts of a normal human.[16a] To many outsiders, therefore, the Space Wolves appear barbarous and lacking in self-control. But in reality it takes a great deal of discipline and focus to be as dangerous and capable of anything as the Space Wolves are. Their original, unique and effective organisation seems not to hinder them at all but instead allow them the operational freedom to be potentially the most dangerous loyalist chapter. The Space Wolves apply great attention to planning, coordination of their packs movement in battle, the encirclement of the prey and the cleanliness of the kill.[14b]
The Space Wolves have a unique structure that is notably different from a standard Codex Chapter. Rather than 10 companies of 100 marines, the Space Wolves consist of 12 Great Companies of varying strengths. Each Great Company is based in The Fang, the Space Wolves Fortress-monastery and is led by a Wolf Lord, who answers only to the Great Wolf.[8e]
Each Great Company is a fully self-contained army, with all the troops, vehicles and equipment necessary to make war, as well as the spacecraft necessary to transport itself. They each have their own forges and customs. The size of each Great Company is unknown but the Space Wolves Legion is said to be one of the smaller Legions, due to the Curse of the Wulfen genetic instability within the Chapter gene-seed.[6a] As each Great Company serves as an independent army, they maintain a much greater number of troops as opposed to codex companies.[8e]
Each Great Company is made of a number of packs that function much like a Space Marine squad. However, their tactical usage varies greatly. Each squad is unique in that it rarely, if ever, will receive reinforcements, making the higher-level squads smaller in number compared to the lowest Blood Claw pack. Many Blood Claw packs start with as many as fifteen marines. However, losses take their toll, and by the time a Blood Claw squad reaches the level of Grey Hunter, normally only 9 or 10 are left. This promotion is arguably the most important the Space Wolf will ever receive because it also welcomes him into the folds of the Brotherhood.[17a] As they age, further losses limit the squad sizes of Long Fangs down to just 5 or less. Even further a pack of Long Fangs will slowly diminish until only one remains - the Lone Wolf.[8e]
Special cases may be made in certain or even dire circumstances to this process. In some situations reinforcements may be sent to current campaigns as reinforcements. Likewise, if a Wolf Lord deems an individual worthy and the rest of his pack is not he may elevate a Wolf from Blood Claw to Grey Hunter. Normally he will not act in such manner without consulting both his first sergeant and the current members of the unit he wishes to transfer his prospect to.[17a]
Apart from this, a Wolf may find himself under direction of a Wolf Guard or a member of the Great Wolf's household. Some find themselves inducted into the Chapter Priesthood, Scouts, Calvaries, or should terrible wounds take their toll they may find themselves encased within mighty Dreadnought armour.
One of the 12 Great Companies is that of the Great Wolf, the Space Wolves' Chapter Master. When the former Great Wolf dies the new chieftain is selected from the other eleven remaining Wolf Lords. Upon selection the new Great Wolf, not his Great Company, immediately takes on the ancient badge of Leman Russ - the Wolf That Stalks Between Stars. With the new role the Great Wolf's Company is also expanded to include the household of the Chapter's Priesthood, Wolf Scouts, and Dreadnoughts.[8e]
Company of the Great Wolf
|Company of the Great Wolf|
*Personal Badge of the Great Wolf - The Wolf that Stalks the Stars*
Master of the Space Wolves
(Including Bjorn the Fell-Handed)
|Bran Redmaw's Company (The Bloodmaws)||Engir Krakendoom's Company (The Seawolves)||Erik Morkai's Company (The Sons of Morkai)||Gunnar Red Moon's Company (Red Moons)|
Badge of the Bloodied Hunter
Badge of the Sea Wolf
Badge of Morkai
Badge of The Wolf of the Red Moon
|Harald Deathwolf's Company (The Deathwolves)||Bjorn Stormwolf's Company (The Stormwolves)||Egil Iron Wolf's Company (The Ironwolves)||Krom Dragongaze's Company (The Drakeslayers)|
Badge of the Great Devourer
Badge of the Thunderwolf
Badge of the Iron Wolf
Badge of the Sun Wolf
|Ragnar Blackmane's Company (The Blackmanes)||Sven Bloodhowl's Company (The Firehowlers)||Kjarl Grimblood's Company (The Grimbloods)||13th Company (The Wulfen)|
Badge of the Blackmane
Badge of the Fire Breather
Badge of the Fire Wolf
Obsidian Stone Slab
The Thirteenth Company
On the Grand Annulus, the spot of the 13th Company has long been vacant. During the Horus Heresy the space had its last owner, belonging to Wolf Lord Jorin Bloodhowl's Great Company. It has come to represent all units of the Chapter who have fallen in battle, been corrupted by Chaos, or otherwise left service. The stone space today is a slab of pure black obsidian and has been the only unchanging face on it throughout the annals of time.[8e]
In a typical Codex Chapter, a Neophyte begins his service as a Scout, and, after completing his training and physical transformation into a Space Marine, is assigned to Devastator, Assault, and finally a Tactical Squad.[Needs Citation] By contrast, the Space Wolves' approach reflects the warrior culture of Fenris from which all the Wolves are descended.
- Blood Claws are Neophyte Space Wolves who have just finished their most basic training and initiation rites, including drinking from the Cup of Wulfen and surviving the Test of Morkai. They receive armament similar to Assault Squads in other chapters – a chainsword and bolt pistol, but they do not normally use jump packs. Instead of being assigned to a single Company, Blood Claws are instead assigned to any one of the Great Companies. Their role is to charge headlong into battle, expending their youthful enthusiasm for battle on the enemy and hopefully learning the lessons of war that will enable them to survive.[Needs Citation]
- Skyclaws are reckless trouble makers from the Blood Claw packs, who demonstrate a reckless joy for engaging in close combat, and are "rewarded" with jump packs to aid in their eagerness to charge straight into the line of battle.[8b]
- Grey Hunters are comparable to Tactical Squad marines in other chapters and comprise the majority of any Great Company. These are Blood Claws who have survived the trials on the field of battle, combat experience having made them less impulsive and thus less suited as a force of pure assault. In addition to their combat duties, the Grey Hunters' role is to watch over the Blood Claws, reining in the worst of their reckless behaviour, and marking out those likely for advancement.[Needs Citation]
- Long Fangs are the oldest and most experienced Space Wolf warriors, having survived terms of service as both Blood Claws and Grey Hunters. They are analogous to Devastator Squads in other chapters, as they are the only Space Wolves entrusted with the use of the chapter's heavy, long-ranged weaponry.[Needs Citation]
- Wolf Guards are the personal retinue and bodyguard of the Wolf Lord commanding the Great Company, roughly equivalent to the Veterans or Command Squad units used by other chapters. Wolf Guards are often the most senior and experienced Space Wolves in the chapter, though a younger Wolf may win elevation to the Wolf Guard by performing an act of exceptional valour. Wolf Guards are often granted Terminator Honours, though they make less use of them than the Veterans of other chapters.[Needs Citation]
- Wolf Scouts are Space Wolves whose entire pack has been lost or that have left their pack for other reasons. As natural loners, they are ideally suited to work alone behind enemy lines for long periods of time. Space Wolf Scouts are not assigned to any of the Great Companies. They instead answer directly to the Great Wolf and are under his sole command unless assigned to a Wolf Lord and his company on an as-needed basis.[Needs Citation]
- Lone Wolf: Space Wolves do not reinforce their packs when casualties occur and for this reason many squads operate at a reduced strength. Even the most experienced packs will sometimes suffer such a great loss that only one survivor remains from the pack. These survivors are known as Lone Wolves.[8c]
Like everything having to do with the Space Wolves, this hierarchy is not rigid; the Wolves value bravery and combat prowess rather than seniority, and believe in advancing each warrior according to his merits. For instance, Ragnar Blackmane, the youngest Wolf Lord in the chapter's history, was elevated to Berek Thunderfist's Wolf Guard straight from the Blood Claws, bypassing the rank of Grey Hunter altogether. By the same token, Lukas the Trickster is a far more skilled warrior than many Wolf Guards, yet he has never made it out of the Blood Claws, being universally despised by all the Wolf Lords for his irreverent behaviour.
- Canon Conflict - In the short story In the Belly of the Beast by William King, a squad of neophytes is inducted into the chapter as Scouts, rather than Blood Claws.
- Great Wolf: The Chapter Master of the Space Wolves, the Great Wolf is chosen from among the Wolf Lords, and leads his own Great Company. The current Great Wolf is Logan Grimnar who has held the position for the past 700 years.
- Wolf Lord: each Great Company has a commander (equivalent to a Captain in other chapters), chosen from that company’s Wolf Guard. It is his duty to organise his Great Company, which adopts that Lord's name and sigil, and often changes its battle tactics to reflect his personality and temperament.
- Wolf Priests combine the roles of Chaplain and Apothecary within the chapter. They are selected from any part of the chapter but usually from the Long Fangs or Wolf Guard due to the greater wisdom of these marines. Instead of using codex medical equipment, Wolf Priests using healing potions and balms, using knowledge passed down from one Wolf Priest to the next. They are also responsible for the selection of new Aspirants to the chapter, observing the frequent skirmishes among the human inhabitants of Fenris and selecting worthy young men to undergo the trials.
- Rune Priests are the Wolves' equivalent to the Librarians of other chapters. It is their duty to keep the knowledge of the chapter’s history, reciting the great sagas of old. In battle they wield formidable psychic powers, rooted in the shamanistic traditions of Fenris.[Needs Citation]
- Iron Priests are the Wolves' equivalent of the Techmarines of other chapters. They are required to keep the equipment of their Great Company in working order and maintain the machine spirits of its vehicles and weaponry, including the Dreadnoughts in the depths of the Fang, which they must rouse from their deep slumbers if they are needed in battle.[Needs Citation]
Amongst the number of Dreadnoughts in the Space Wolves chapter, some are extremely ancient, carrying warriors, such as Bjorn the Fell-Handed, who walked beneath the same sky as the Emperor himself, and who stood beside Leman Russ in battle. There is also the savage Murderfang. These dreadnoughts are revered and so respected is their skill in battle that on rare occasions, a Dreadnought may be called upon to lead an army into battle. The troops following in his footsteps will chant his name, remembering the many sagas they have heard of his exploits. This is a fearsome scene to behold for any enemy.[Needs Citation]
As well as the usual Space Marine Vehicles deployed by the Chapter, the Space Wolves keep a number of Leman Russ Exterminators in their arsenal - in honour of Leman Russ. They use these in battle rarely but to devastating effect, the tanks' fearsome array of weaponry enhanced further by the skills of the marines inside.[Needs Citation]
The Space Wolves maintain an abnormally large fleet for Space Marine standards, consisting of:
- 8 Battle Barges
- 30+ Strike Cruisers
- 20+ Hunter Class Destroyer Squadrons
- 20+ Gladius and Nova Class Frigate Squadrons
- 2 Ramilies Class Star Forts
- Stormfang, Stormwolf, and Thunderhawk aircraft
Space Wolves Equipment is similar to that of Codex chapters. In some ways it is more primitive – for instance, Iron Priests do not have access to a full Servo-harness or Thunderfire Cannons.[Needs Citation] Similarly, some of the equipment associated with the Imperial cult such as the Chaplain's Rosarius or the Apothecary's Reductor have their own unique variants among the Space Wolves, such as the Wolf Amulet and the Fang of Morkai.[8x]
The Space Wolves recruit their new initiates from the native humans of Fenris. Wolf Priests venture abroad from the Fang from time to time to walk amongst the inhabitants of the feral world, challenging the locals' champions to bouts of eating, drinking, or wrestling. Invariably, of course, the gene-enhanced Wolf Priest will emerge victorious, and with them they will take their prize: the best of the champion tribesmen to bring back to the Fang, where they undergo many grueling trials. Some, however, forego the match against the Wolf Priest if they have already proved their prowess in battle.
The Wolf Priests keep a watchful eye on the battles and hunts of the Fenrisian tribesmen. Should someone display extreme heroism, prowess, or martial feats the Wolf Priest will descend to collect the warrior, and deliver him from death by giving him the chance to serve the chapter.
Once they have passed all of their preliminary trials, they are administered the Test of Morkai, where the initiate is given the first strand of the Canis Helix gene, and thrown out into the wilds outside the Fang. If they overcome the deadly side effects of their chapter's geneseed, and make it back to the Fang alive, they are accepted into the ranks of the Space Wolves with open arms, and the remaining procedures are undergone to turn the recruit into a full fledged warrior of the Emperor.[8h]
Noted Elements of the Space Wolves
Relics and Artifacts
- Hrafnkel - Flagship (Heresy Era)[18a]
- Allfather's Honour - Battle Barge
- Gylfarheim - Battle Barge[15d]
- Herald of Morkai - Battle Barge
- Holmgang - Battle Barge
- Spear of Russ - Battle Barge
- Ragnarok - Battleship (Heresy Era)
- Seawolf - Strike Cruiser
- Wolf of Fenris - Strike Cruiser[8i]
- Wolfborn - Strike Cruiser
- Frostborn - Hunter Class Destroyer[15b]
- Runefyre - Gladius Class Frigate, boarded by Daemons[15a]
- Veregelt - Destroyer-class vessel, destroyed[15c]
Notable Space Wolves
- Amlodhi Skarssen Skarssensson - Wolf Lord of the 5th Great Company
- Bjorn the Fell-Handed - Dreadnought; was previously Great Wolf and a Wolf Guard to Leman Russ
- Bror Tyrfingr - Member of the Knights-Errant
- Egil - Wolf Guard, member of the pack sent to watch over Primarch Alpharius of the Alpha Legion KIA 
- Engal - Wolf Guard, member of the pack sent to watch over Primarch Alpharius of the Alpha Legion KIA 
- Freyr - Long Fang during the Horus Heresy[Needs Citation]
- Grivnir - Wolf Guard, member of the pack sent to watch over Primarch Alpharius of the Alpha Legion KIA 
- Gunnar Gunnhilt - Wolf Lord of the 1st Great Company
- Gunnir - Wolf Guard, member of the pack sent to watch over Primarch Alpharius of the Alpha Legion KIA 
- Helgist - Wolf Guard, member of the pack sent to watch over Primarch Alpharius of the Alpha Legion KIA 
- Holdar - Wolf Guard, member of the pack sent to watch over Primarch Alpharius of the Alpha Legion KIA 
- Jorin Bloodhowl - Wolf Lord of the Thirteenth Company[Needs Citation]
- Ogvai Ogvai Helmschrot - Wolf Lord of the 3rd Great Company
- Ohthere Wyrdmake - Rune Priest of the 5th Great Company, his soul was obliterated by Ahriman during the Battle of Prospero[18b]
- Skalagrim - Wolf Guard, member of the pack sent to watch over Primarch Alpharius of the Alpha Legion KIA 
- Torbjorn - company champion of "For" and leader of the pack sent to watch over Primarch Alpharius of the Alpha Legion KIA 
- Ulvurul Heoroth - Rune Priest of the 3rd Great Company
- Bran Redmaw - Wolf Lord
- Bjorn Stormwolf - Wolf Lord
- Egil Iron Wolf - Wolf Lord
- Engir Krakendoom - Wolf Lord
- Erik Morkai - Wolf Lord
- Gunnar Red Moon - Wolf Lord
- Harald Deathwolf - Wolf Lord
- Kjarl Grimblood - Wolf Lord
- Krom Dragongaze - Wolf Lord
- Ragnar Blackmane - Wolf Lord; succeeded Berek Thunderfist
- Sven Bloodhowl - Wolf Lord
- Alrik Doom-Seeker - Wolf Guard
- Ancient Warclaw - Dreadnought of the Bran Redmaw’s Great Company
- Arjac Rockfist - The Man-Mountain, Anvil of Fenris. Wolf Guard, Before becoming a Space Wolf he was a blackmsith of the Bear Claw tribe. He has risen to become the personal champion of Logan Grimnar[8a]
- Arn Ironjaw - Wolf Guard, see also his quote
- Bulveye the Berserker - Lone Wolf
- Canis Wolfborn - Thunderwolf riding Wolf Guard to Harald Deathwolf [8a]
- Gnaerold Ghostwolf - Rune Priest
- Gnyrll Bluetooth - Commander of the Wolf of Fenris[Needs Citation]
- Gymir the Ice-Fisted - Dreadnought[Needs Citation]
- Haegr the Mountain - former member of the Wolfblade and comrade of Ragnar Blackmane[Needs Citation]
- Hagrik Wyrdfang - Wolf Guard
- Heimdall Wyrdstorm - was once a Rune Priest, before his injuries in battle had him interred within a Dreadnought
- Helgan Umberclaw - Dreadnought
- Horthgar Frostskull - Dreadnought
- Ingvarr Thunderbrow - Wolf Guard
- Kvarl Cogfang - Iron Priest
- Kvarl Hammerfist - Wolf Guard
- Leifvar Twice-Slain - Wolf Guard
- Lukas the Trickster - The Strifeson, The Laughing One, The Jackalwolf. Veteran who has never risen from the ranks of the Blood Claws[8a]
- Njal Stormcaller - Rune Priest
- Murderfang - Dreadnought
- Olaf Silvermane - Lone Wolf
- Ranek Icewalker- Wolf Priest[Needs Citation]
- Ranulf Ironfang - Wolf Guard
- Sigvald Deathgranter
- Skvald Warbringer - Dreadnought
- Svane Vulfbad - former Wolf Lord who fell to Chaos
- Svard Bloodfang - Dreadnought
- Torfin Daggerfist - Wolf Guard
- Torin The Wayfarer - a member of the Wolfblade, the only one to voluntarily become a member[Needs Citation]
- Torvald - Rune Priest, member of the Thirteenth Company[Needs Citation]
- Torvald Fellhammer - Lone Wolf
- Ulrik the Slayer - Wolf Priest
Symbols and Colours
The Space Wolves wear blue-grey coloured armour with other colours as highlights, notably red, yellow, black and white, and often adorned with tokens taken from wolves, such as furs and teeth.
Great Company Badges
The Space Wolves have a rather different system of markings than that used by more Codex adherent Chapters. Rather than using the company markings as laid down in the Codex Astartes, the Space Wolves use a number of different wolf symbols to denote the different Great Companies that make up the chapter. These are normally a stylised wolf emblem denoting some aspect of the native Fenrisian mythology. These are chosen by a new Wolf Lord upon his election from the ranks of the Wolf Guard, and are adopted by all of the Space Wolves within the Great Company as a mark of fealty. They are also woven onto the various Great Company banners, The symbol remains with the Great Company until the Wolf Lord falls in battle, whereupon a new Wolf Lord is chosen, and so the badge changes.
Even these marks bow down to the Space Wolves' reputation for nonconformity, and hence lack of any formal uniform system. There is never only one way to represent a Great Company badge, and within a Great Company it is likely to find a number of variants of the badge being used at the same time. Indeed, there are currently three different stylisations of the Blackmane Wolf emblem (currently used by Ragnar Blackmane's Great Company) in Imperial records. Indeed, over the centuries many hundreds of different styles of badges have been recorded by Imperial scribes.
The one badge that does not change is the household of the Great Wolf. The household uses "The Wolf That Stalks Between Stars", the badge of Leman Russ himself, as its emblem. This badge is perhaps unique within the Space Wolves, as there are no recorded variants of it, a testament to the respect that the Space Wolves have for their Primarch. It is this badge that represents the Space Wolves as a chapter, and is woven on the Chapter's banner.
Also, many of the Space Wolves most honoured and treasured relics carry this symbol, having been in the possession or service of the Chapter (and hence the Imperium) since the days when Russ walked among the stars. Many of the Chapter's most sacred Banners have a rendition of this symbol on them, a tangible link to the time when Russ walked among them. Whilst many of these are treasured in their own right, perhaps the most treasured of all is the Dreadnought Bjorn the Fell-Handed, who fought alongside Russ during the Great Crusade. He carries the mark on his Dreadnought armour to show this perhaps unique distinction.
The Space Wolves have a long, varied, and altogether proud warrior heritage. They especially appreciate acts of bravery, courage and skill among their own comrades, and proudly display badges that denote these acts. These badges are normally painted or carved onto the armour and weapons of the Space Wolf.
As with most Space Wolf displays, there is no formal system of awards, it only matters that those the Space Wolf fights with understand the significance of the symbol. However, some symbols have acquired a special significance to the Space Wolves over time, and the Sergeant and Veteran badges are good examples of this. There are also some more general symbolism which is used in the honour badges; badges with bones tend to signify wounds suffered in battle, knife and claw symbols represent ferocity and bravery in battle and wolf tails signify great courage in battle.
It is quite common for Space Wolves of different Great Companies to find themselves fighting alongside one another in the same task force. In order to aid identification, and to provide a greater amount of task force cohesion on the battlefield, an army marking is usually applied to the Space Wolf's armour, as well as to the vehicles of the task force. As with all badges, there are some that are preferred over others. Of particular note is that used by the current task force of Ragnar Blackmane; A fanged skull superimposed on two crossed bones, mounted on a black lozenge. This particular badge has appeared many times in the past, and therefore probably has some special significance to the Space Wolves.
|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
Codices and Rulebooks
- 1: Codex: Armageddon, p. 32
- 2: Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition)
- 2a: p. 12
- 3: Codex: Chaos Space Marines (6th Edition)
- 3a: p. 25
- 4: Codex: Eye of Terror, p. 16
- 5: Codex: Space Marines (4th Edition), [Needs Citation]
- 6: Codex: Space Wolves (2nd Edition)
- 7: Codex: Space Wolves (3rd Edition) [Needs Citation]
- 8: Codex: Space Wolves (5th Edition)
- 9: Deathwatch Core Rulebook
- 9a: p. 339
- 10: Imperial Armour Volume Two - Space Marines and Forces of the Inquisition
- 11: Index Astartes Volume II [Needs Citation]
- 12: Warhammer 40,000: Compilation, Leman Russ [Needs Citation]
- 13: Codex: Space Wolves (7th Edition) - Companies of the Fang
- 14: Battle of the Fang (Novel) by Chris Wraight
- 15: The Emperor's Gift (Novel)
- 16: Prospero Burns by Dan Abnett
- 17: Space Wolf (Novel Series) - Grey Hunter (Novel) by William King
- 18: A Thousand Sons (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- 19: Codex: Space Wolves (7th Edition) - The Disappearance of Russ
- 20: Hunter's Moon by Guy Haley, pgs. 139-151
- 21: How to Paint Space Marines, pg. 78
- 22: White Dwarf 56 (2015), "Reader's Model of the Week"
- 23: Vengeful Spirit (Novel) - Chapter 6
- 24: White Dwarf 277, p. 59
- 25: Wolf's Claw (Audio Drama)
- 26: The Space Wolf Omnibus pg.193-194
- 27: Strategy Cards for Planetary Empires expansion game, card "Cityfight - Major Stratagem", (saved archive page, dated February 2011, last accessed 7 October 2015)