Battle of Molech
Molech was one of the planets that the Warmaster Horus assaulted during his drive towards Terra. Horus became alerted to the planets significance when he regained a memory erased by the Emperor, that of Molech having a gateway to the Warp that his Father had used to obtain power. Desiring such power for himself, Horus set a course to Molech.[2c] The Knight World was a major seat of Imperial power as the Emperor had left behind substantial forces to protect its unknown Warp Gate. A detachment of Blood Angels and Ultramarines, Three Titan Legions over a hundred Imperial Army regiments, an Imperial Armada Battlefleet of sixty ships, and Knight Houses stood ready to face the Warmaster's onslaught, which included the Sons of Horus and Death Guard Legions.
After smashing aside the world's defending Battlefleet by capturing Molech's Orbital Defense Platforms and using them to fire on loyalist ships, Horus launched a full-scale invasion of Molech. Cities were obliterated under orbital bombardments or the wreckage of Battlefleet Molech being redirected into the atmosphere, creating global tsunamis. After disabling Molech's air defenses the Warmaster launched his initial ground assault. Horus himself landed at the island of Damesk, walking the Fulgurine Path that was said to have been the same route as the Emperor when he first set foot upon Molech. Horus led a massive amphibious landing from Damesk to the beaches of Avadon, defeating House Devine-led resistance in a bloody battle for both sides. However during the battle Horus was badly wounded by a Knight piloted by Raeven Devine, saved only thanks to the intervention of the Ruinous Powers. Refugees swarmed from Avadon, desperate to avoid the traitor forces. The loyalist Legio Fortidus sacrificed itself to buy enough times for the refugees to flee.
With Avadon cleared, the rest of the traitor armies followed in their wake. These consisted not only of the Sons of Horus and Death Guard but also four Titan Legion's. Mortarion himself landed at Ophir and advanced towards Molech's capital of Lupercalia. The traitors also fielded Daemonic allies. The Daemonically resurrected Ignatius Grulgor was unleashed upon Molech, destroying thousands of kilometers of previously impassable forest with Life Eater Virus fused within him. Beasts fleeing Grulgor smashed into the lines of loyalist forces along the primary loyalist defensive network, the Perceptor Line, giving cover for traitor forces to advance. After overunning the Perceptor Line the traitors next targeted Molech's Western Marches, overunning jungle and farmland flooded from tsunami's caused by the destruction of Battlefleet Molech. The loyalists led by House Indra and House Kaushik managed to offer some resistance at the plateau city of Leosta, but were ultimately overwhelmed by Traitor Titans led by the Legio Crucius, Legio Vulpa, and Legio Vulcanum. Meanwhile, the Death Guard overran the city of Imperratum.
Soon even House Devine's Dawn Citadel had fallen. The Space Marines fought valiantly, but were annihilated by the sheer number of traitor Astartes. The Blood Angels garrison on the planet was overwhelmed by an assault led by the Red Angel, who unleashed the Red Thirst in many Battle-Brothers. Soon only a small force of Ultramarines remained and they were forced to wage a guerrilla war. It was only thanks to the efforts of the Imperator Titan Paragon of Terra that a total Imperial rout was avoided.[2c] It was at this point that the Death Guard and Sons of Horus linked up, with Horus greeting Mortarion in preparation for a final push on Lupercalia. However, he still had a final card left to play before doing so.
Over the following months, the insidious whispers of Slaanesh spread through the fatigued ranks of House Devine. This effort was strengthened by the Daemonic powers of Fulgrim, who had been assigned corrupting Devine by Horus himself. Devine's officers had become lethargic and interested only in their sports, using their mighty machines to hunt down the wild animals of Molech. Soon, they began to meet in secret cabals, committing depraved rites and ceremonies within the heart of the Loyalist camp. The Knights of House Devine betrayed the Loyalists when Horus launched a massive ground offensive against the loyalist forces centered around the city of Lupercalia. Horus used the captured Star Fort Var Zerba to launch a devastating orbital bombardment on the Iron Fist Mountains, annihilating the impenetrable fortress-keeps of the Legio Crucius. Meanwhile, the traitors of Devine destroyed the Paragon of Terra and the Loyalists found themselves trapped between the advancing enemy forces and the Renegade Knights attacking from behind. This allowed the the Forces of Chaos to punch through the Imperial lines, blocking any routes of escape. Of the entire Imperial host only one in a hundred survived the campaign aboard the refugee ship Molech's Enlightenment.. Horus deliberately let the ship go so they could spread word of the terror he would bring to all followers of the Emperor.[2c]
Ultimately Horus' attempt to gain the powers of the Emperor was apparently successful, he stepped through the gate and emerged saying he had gotten exactly what he wanted. Molech was left to the Death Guard and Emperor's Children in the aftermath of his victory.[2a] After the battle aboard of his flagship the Vengeful Spirit, a battle between the Sons of Horus and several escaped captives of the Knights-Errant broke out. Horus confronted Garviel Loken once more, but after Horus killed Iacton Qruze the Knights-Errant managed to escaped aboard the stealthship, the Tarnhelm.[2b]
Order of Battle[2c]
- Imperial Army — 100 Army Regiments, PDF Divisions, and Militia totaling 58 million troops. Commanded by Lord General Tyana Kourion
- The Northern Oceanic Theatre was commanded by Marshal Eodraki Hakon
- The Kushite Eastings were commanded by Commander Abdi Kheda
- The Western Marches were commanded by Colonel Oskur van Valkenberg
- The Southern Steppes were commanded by Captain Corwen Mallbek
- Known Regiments in these forces included the Molech Firescions, Arcadii Volunteers, Belgar Devsmires, Forlorn Spartaks, Kapikulu Iron Brigade, and Karnatic Lancers
- Battlefleet Molech — 60 Ships, including 8 Battleship, supported by at least 4 Orbital Defense Platforms. Commanded by Lord Admiral Brython Semper
- Space Marine — 500 Battle-Brothers
- Mechanicum Forces - Under the Command of Magos Bellona Modwen
- Knight Houses — Under the commander of Imperial Commander Cyprian Devine
- Sons of Horus — Bulk of Legion
- Death Guard — Bulk of Legion
- Traitor Titan Legions
- Traitor Imperial Army under Holst Lithonan
- Dark Mechanicum — corrupted Skitarii and war engines
- House Devine (Defects later in the battle)
- 1: White Dwarf 190 (UK), pgs. 27-30
- 2: Vengeful Spirit (Novel)
- 3: Adeptus Titanicus: Doom of Molech, pgs. 6-10
- 4: Horusheresy.com galactic timeline (last accessed 2/6/2022)