First War for Armageddon
The First War for Armageddon is the least well known of the three Armageddon Wars, and involved the forces of Chaos and the Imperium. It was the culmination of years of preparation by the Daemon Primarch Angron, favoured of Khorne, to re-unify the World Eaters after their shattering at the hands of Khârn the Betrayer after the Battle of Skalathrax.
The war began within the hated region known as the Eye of Terror. The forces within, being devoted to Chaos, usually fight each other, but occasionally and inexplicably they put aside their rivalries to form an assault on their common enemy, the Imperium. In this case, the unity of the powers of Chaos was triggered by the arrival of the Space Hulk Devourer of Stars around a Daemon World. The Hulk was large enough to carry a huge chaos force to attack Imperial worlds. The capricious currents of the warp drew the invasion force to the Imperial Hive World of Armageddon in 444.M41.
Meanwhile, on Armageddon, a series of strange events culminated in armed rebellion breaking out in half a dozen hives. Armageddon consists of three main landmasses. Most human life is located on the main continent, which is split into two parts, Armageddon Prime and Armageddon Secundus, separated by the thick band of jungle known simply as the Equatorial Jungle. The revolts were quickly put down in Armageddon Secundus, but amongst the more widely scattered hives of Armageddon Prime they proved more difficult to eradicate. As the planetary defense forces seemed capable of dealing with the revolt, no additional units were sent by the Imperium. Armageddon was a very long way from the Eye of Terror, and no one suspected the cause for the revolts was more sinister than simple civil unrest.
Busy containing the rebellion, Imperial forces were caught by surprise when the Devourer of Stars arrived in the Armageddon system.
The Threat Realized
The Devourer of Stars housed an enormous Chaos army led by the Daemon Primarch Angron. Chaos Marines from the World Eaters Legion, cultists, daemonhosts, mutants, beastmen, and hordes of daemonic creatures poured from the space hulk and descended on Armageddon Prime.
The insidious effects of Chaos were quickly felt as nearly half the Planetary Defence Force went over to the invaders. The bloodlust-driven World Eaters descended upon the planets populous with a fury, butchering millions in the first weeks. The few remaining loyal defenders were quickly routed from Armageddon Prime. Falling back through the jungles in the south, the survivors joined up with the units from Armageddon Secundus and prepared to make a last ditch defence along the rivers of the Styx and Chaeron.
Raising the Defenses
The Imperial defence was well organized. Unknown to the forces of Chaos, Logan Grimnar and his Great Company of Space Marines from the Space Wolves chapter had been assigned to this sector of the Imperium, and they moved quickly to help the beleaguered Imperial defenders. They gained valuable time as Angron raised bloody monuments from the wreckage of the dead instead of pressing his advantage. In addition, his power was dependent on a nearby Warp Storm, and when it lulled the defenders gained precious time to organize a counterattack. When his army emerged from the jungles that separated Armageddon Prime from Armageddon Secundus they found the defenders ready and waiting, and reinforced by the Space Wolves. Grimnar's commanding presence and charisma rallied the terrified defenders of Armageddon's.
Huge battles erupted along the entire front. The Space Wolves were outnumbered one thousand to one, but nonetheless Grimnar led the charge. Taking the fight to the Chaos horde, the Great Wolf led an armored assault straight across the River Chaeron into the World Eater horde, inflicting heavy losses on the traitors before withdrawing. The enraged World Eaters pursued the Space Wolves mechanized forces into the jungle, falling into a combined Space Wolf/Steel Legion ambush along the Chaeron and slaughtered. The Space Wolves waded into the river itself and set about the Chaos horde in a mad frenzy, battling for hours and holding the line.
However in the west, the assault along the river Styx was spearheaded by Angron himself and the Cruor Praetoria. The Primarch and his Bloodthirsters smashed through the Imperial lines and led his forces towards Hive Infernus and Hive Helsreach. The Imperial Guard and Space Wolves forces managed to desperately hold the line and bought enough time for the Imperium to unleash the Grey Knights.
It was now that the Imperium unleashed his secret weapon. When Logan Grimnar realized the nature of their foe, he called for the support of the Grey Knights, as only the Chapter Militant of the Inquisition's daemonhunters had the ability to truly defeat a daemonic entity as powerful as Angron.
The Grey Knights dispatched one hundred and nine[3a] Terminator Assault Marines who attacked Angron directly, along with the Cruor Praetoria, his bodyguard of a dozen Bloodthirsters, by teleporting into the center of the daemon army. At the same time, the Space Wolves led a massive Imperial counter-attack. Initially Angron and his escorts decimated the Grey Knights, the Primarch wiping out five Grey Knights Terminators with a single stroke of his Black Blade. However thanks to the psychic might of the young recruit Hyperion, the Black Blade was shattered and the Grey Knights were now at a significant advantage. Soon after, Brother-Captain Taremar Aurellian was killed while personally banishing Angron back to the warp for a hundred years and a day. The loss of their leader, coupled with the surprise assault from the remaining imperial forces, led to the near-complete rout of the Chaos forces on Armageddon.[3b][12b] The other Daemons vanished without Angron, and the remauining cultists, mutants and traitors turned to flee in panic. They were pursued into the Ash Wastes by the Space Marines and Steel Legion, and completely destroyed.[12b] Though the final battle was a major Imperial Victory, only thirteen Grey Knights survived.[3b]
In the years to come, knowledge of the First War for Armageddon was suppressed by the Inquisition, to the point that even the inhabitants of Armageddon itself believe that there have been only two wars for the planet.
The Final Twist
Although they had won, the victorious soldiers of Armageddon were doomed. They had gained knowledge of the existence of Chaos, and been exposed to its corruption. The Inquisition had all of the people who fought on the planet, except for the Space Marines, sterilized and placed in work camps. Armageddon was re-colonized by people from other regions of space with no knowledge of the war. The Inquisition and Grey Knights went on to purge Imperial Navy and Adeptus Mechanicus ships orbiting the planet and Grey Knights Strike Cruisers destroyed Imperial Guard troop transports that were departing.[3c] Three entire nearby worlds were put to the sword to silence the populous when they had heard of the exploits of Stormtroopers that were at the battle of Helsreach Hive. The purges claimed several billion souls. Logan Grimnar battled long and hard to prevent this and even attempted to have his fleet escort ships of survivors away from the Inquisition, but after an attack by the Ordo Malleus and Grey Knights he failed and has never forgiven the Inquisition for doing what he saw as a betrayal of the people who had fought honorably for their homes and for the Imperium. Moreover the worlds that came into contact with the survivors escorted by the Space Wolves where also put to Exterminatus, resulting the destruction of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica station Ralas Meridian, the worlds of Jendara Quintus and Tybuilt, and the Adeptus Mechanicus outpost of Priam Novus.[3d]
Order of battle
- World Eaters (including 50,000 Berserkers)
- Khornate Daemons ("countless number")[12a]
- Daemonhost covens[12a]
- Dark Mechanicum
- The Lost and the Damned
- Chaos Cults (mostly natives)[12a]
- Mutants and Beastmen (mostly invaders)[12a]
- Jakob's Kin (17 cohorts)[12a]
- The Unsanctified (2 cohorts)[12a]
- The Children of Garnacea (31 cohorts)[12a]
- Kith of Nihil (4 cohorts)[12a]
- Tuskgor's Tribe (12 Cohorts)[12a]
- The Mentes III Migration (10 cohorts)[12a]
- Syrcnsk's Reavers (18 cohorts)[12a]
- Stigmatus Covenant (11 cohorts)[12a]
- Other groups (est. 55-65 cohorts)[12a]
- Traitor Guard
- Astra Militarum
- Loyalist Armageddon PDF
- Space Marines
- Adeptus Mechanicus
In a conversation with Chapter Master Gabriel Seth of the Flesh Tearers, Inquisitor Nerosa reveals the possible presence of a Traitor Titan Legion Imperator Titan buried under the surface as the reason for the Orks continued assault of the planet. She believed that the Khornate corruption of such a powerful warmachine had drawn, subconsciously, the Orks to Armageddon over and over again. Seth argues that traitor Titans haven't walked on Armageddon in thousands and thousands of years, not since Armageddon was re-colonized. Chances are that the Inquisitor muddy up the facts of the First War so that no one was aware of how recently it had been. However, both Seth and Nerosa are aware that not only did a recolonization occur but a complete terraforming of the geography occurred. Nerosa believed that while the Mechanicus were reworking the geography of the world, they missed such a terrible threat and simply buried it. No reference is ever made to Titans being part of Angron's army and although the Imperator in question turned out to be of the Legio Annihilator, both Seth and Nerosa are fully aware that at one point thousands of years ago, Traitor Titans fought on Armageddon. It is possible that the First War of Armageddon was not the first time Chaos had invaded, and that other Inquisitorial cover ups have occurred.
- 1: White Dwarf 151 (UK) - The Chaos Wars: The First Battle for Armageddon
- 2:Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex), pg. 8
- 3: The Emperor's Gift (Novel)
- 4: Codex: Grey Knights (5th Edition), pg. 13
- 5: Codex: Space Wolves (5th Edition), pgs. 20-22
- 6: Blood in the Machine, Track 3
- 7: Codex: Cult Mechanicus (7th Edition) — Temples of the Omnissiah
- 8: Codex Supplement: Traitor Legions, pg. 16
- 9: Armageddon Site (saved archive page, dated October 2003, last accessed 29 June 2017)
- 10: Imperator: Wrath of the Omnissiah (Novel), Chapter 7
- 11: Legion of the Damned (Novel), Chapter 20
- 12: White Dwarf 279 (UK)
- 13: Codex: Khorne Daemonkin (7th Edition) — Slaughter Without End - The First War For Armageddon
- 14: Codex: Astra Militarum (8th Edition) — Heroes beyond Number - The First War For Armageddon