Death of Canopus
The Death of Canopus was a battle of the Horus Heresy.
Some 2,000 Blood Angels had been stationed on the world of Canopus since the Great Crusade, but this garrison was ignorant to the Battle of Isstvan III and eruption of the Heresy. They finally had outside contact with the Imperium once more in 008.M31 when war-barques of the Iron Hands arrived. Embittered by the Drop Site Massacre and deploying in a hostile formation with weapons ready, the Iron Hands quickly landed upon Canopus arrayed for war. They were met by Praetor Amranthus flanked by the Ofanim to parlay, but their attempts at diplomacy were rebuffed and met by warning shots. The Iron Hands demanded that the Blood Angels surrender their world, despite being ordered by Sanguinius to hold it at all costs.
Made paranoid by Horus' treachery, Iron Father Karrak saw the Blood Angels' overtures as another traitor trick. After a brief respite to wait for his foes' surrender that ultimately never came, Karrak struck with a force of 1,000 Space Marines led by 100 Terminators. However just as he was about to begin his offensive, waves of gunships in sea-green burst from the skies and devastated the Iron Hands while leaving the Blood Angels be. Sons of Horus Reavers burst from Storm Eagles, yet the Iron Hands did not relent. Led by Chieftain Ishker Sekuhar, the Sons of Horus had arrogantly attacked without warning and this drew suspicion from the Blood Angels. Wary of these new "allies", Amranthus ordered the Blood Angels aid the Iron Hands and opened fire on the Sons of Horus. The Ofanim sought out the greatest champions of the enemy ranks, eliminating them in single combat. This combined with the onslaught of the Blood Angels and Iron Hands simultaneously broke the Sons of Horus.
This was but a small victory, however, for while the loyalists had fought the Space Marines on the surface, the Sons of Horus had driven the Iron Hands from orbit and were now landing three Space Marine companies alongside thousands of auxiliaries. Yet even still the Iron Hands were distrustful of the Blood Angels, and moved alone into the wasteland rather than seek shelter in their allies reinforced refinery. For his part, Sekuhar turned to besiege the Blood Angels and a bitter stalemate erupted. Meanwhile, the Iron Hands wrought grim vengeance against the Traitors, raiding the Sons of Horus wherever they could. But despite these efforts, the loyalists were vastly outnumbered and their cause seemed doomed.
After several days of bombardment, the traitor guns fell silent to allow for a massive assault by the Sons of Horus. They battled along the walls of the Blood Angels fortifications for an hour, but the Ofanim were able to push back any breach that was made in their lines. The Iron Hands suddenly arrived, using the moment to overrun the traitor artillery and silencing their guns. The traitor command post directing the attack also soon fell silent in the face of a massed attack by Morlock Terminators. Sekuhar himself lost an arm to these foes and had to be carried from the field by his own bodyguards, his fall signalling a general traitor withdrawal.
In the aftermath of the battle, Amranthus met with Karrak once more. The Iron Father declared that they would honour Ferrus Manus by joining with the Blood Angels and slaying the traitors together. But while these new allies reaped a terrible toll on the traitors, they were still too outnumbered and after a year's fighting only some 100 defenders remained while Amranthus was badly wounded. Rather than face gradual annihilation, Karrak offered some 14 nuclear warheads for a final stand. As Amranthus ascended upon the walls one last time, the Sons of Horus threw themselves at the loyalists in a vicious assault. Sekuhar, his missing arm now replaced by a bionic claw, led the assault personally alongside Terminators. This force overran the gatehouse within an hour and Amranthus was finally slain when his head was lopped off by Sekuhar himself.
In the labyrinthine passageways of the vast refinery, the loyalists fought their final battle. A lone Ofanim held one intersection for 20 minutes, killing three Sons of Horus champions before being slain by a Dreadnought. The Morlocks managed to briefly recapture the gatehouse, but were quickly annihilated by three Vindicator tanks. The Sons of Horus were able to capture 9 of the warheads undetonated, and 3 more were destroyed by pinpoint airstrikes. In a final sacrifice, Karrak led the last of his Morlocks and a cadre of Crimson Paladins into combat on the enemy centre. Of the 30 warriors he led into combat, only 2 remained standing as he reached Sekuhar. After a vicious duel, Karrak was struck down by Sekuhar but as he lay dying laughed as the final warhead detonated, annihilating all in the refinery. The Battle of Canopus ended with the mutual annihilation of both sides, with only a few scattered bands of the Sons of Horus being able to escape the blast and return to their warships.
- 1: Warhammer Community: Unstoppable Iron Hands Meet Immovable Blood Angels in the Final Exemplary Battles Download for Warhammer: The Horus Heresy (posted 17/1/2023) The Death of Canopus PDF, pgs. 2-6 (last accessed 19/1/2023)