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Gehenna Prime is one of the seventeen planetoids in the Gehenna system - and apparently the only one that was terraformed and colonised during mankind's first expansion to the stars. In comparison to many other worlds of the Imperium it is considered to be an unspoilt wilderness of plains and mountains. Its capital and largest Hive city is Kravaster. The Governor of Gehenna Prime during the Ork invasion (see below) was called Suvik.
The planet is slightly larger than Terra and its rotation is faster. As a consequence there is increased vulcanism and a belt of volcanoes some of which are active while others are only semi-active known as the Graildark mountains. This belt stretches around the equator of Gehenna Prime. Adjacent to the Graildark mountains are jungle highlands and chains of extinct volcanoes that gradually turn into broad plains north and south of the equator.
It is over these plains that the Hives of the human population sprawl. The largest of these Hive cities is Kravaster in the North. Surrounding them are carefully cultivated and armourglass and plasteel protected croplands.
Hive Kravaster is the biggest city on Gehenna Prime and is to the North of the Graildark mountains. It is also the place where the Imperium's planetary overlord, Governor Suvik, had his palace during the Ork invasion. This palace was in Balthuzar spire. The city's main space port is Voskil Central.
Due to the Coriolis storms brewing in the Graildark mountains and then sweeping down onto the plains with surprising force the weather on Gehenna Prime can become so dangerous that all creatures in the mountains are in mortal danger if they do not find shelter from the storms. On the plains itself the force of these storms is somewhat diminished but they can still be lethal. The powerful lightning strikes occuring during these weather periods can wreak havoc on the electrical systems.
The importance of Gehenna Prime to the Imperium lies in its equatorial crystal mines which are needed in Phase crystal systems. The crystals are used to build lasers and powerstacks for the weapons and engines of the Adeptus Mechanicus.
The planet's mountains are riddled with a labyrinth of mine shafts that have to twist again and again around the active lava tubes. The volcanoes and seismic upheavals make large scale strip-mining impossible. The work conditions are such that the miners have to use coldsuits and breathing masks when creeping through the shaking tunnels on their search for the crystals.
The mined crystals can be seeded and artificially grown in orbital factories.
Note 3: No dates are given for either Waaagh! Hargluk nor the Genestealer infestation uncovered by Inquisitor Kruger. Codex: Space Wolves (2nd Edition), pg. 47 established that the Ninth Great Hunt "led to the destruction of the Genestealer infested worlds of the Gehenna systems" but did not specify a year for this event. Codex: Space Wolves (7th Edition) (Wulfen edition) sets the Ninth Great Hunt in the year 671.M34.[7b] Not to mention that Games Workshop not only used both the plural ("Gehenna systems) and the singular ("Gehenna system[7a]) but that (see Note 2 at the very top of the article) it could also be possible that the Space Wolves' action did not even take place in the "Gehenna system" which Gehenna Prime belongs to but in the putative Gehenna system where the Blood Angels campaign took place. The latter theory does not seem too far-fetched when one considers that there certainly was a Tyranid splinter fleet which attacked the Gehenna where the Blood Angels were fighting the Necrons; and where there are Tyranids, Genestealer infestations are often not far. In addition the main source for the history of Gehenna Prime does not mention any other inhabited worlds among the 17 planetoids of the corresponding "Gehenna system" whereas the Space Wolves are supposed to have destroyed multiple Genestealer infested worlds.,[7a] There does not not seem to be a definitive answer to this conundrum of which Gehenna is which and in which system, as it is quite possible that it is just another one of those cases where Games Workshop simply used the same names for different places and persons for unknown reasons. The sources being as they are and there not being a mention of Gehenna Prime in the sources mentioning the Space Wolves this event for the time being (i.e. until another source is more specific) will not be included here.
The Ork invasion
When the Gehenna system fell victim to Waaagh! Hargluk the Orks arrived on three different Space Hulks that plowed through the system's defences of fighters and orbital monitors in a matter of days. When the Orks attacked Gehenna Prime thousands of them were killed in their landing crafts by ground-based missile batteries and defence lasers. Thousands more however managed to survive and established a landing zone in the western districts of Hive Kravaster.
The Ork landing zone was attacked on the following day by an Imperial Guard Regiment stationed further south from Hive Kravaster in the Graildark mountains, the 72nd Sarum. The Imperial soldiers were driven back by a huge force of Gargants under the command of ork warlord Hargluk himself. The Imperials suffered heavy losses and the regiment's 432nd Rough Rider company, 3rd and 16th Super Heavy Tank companies were overrun in less than an hour and destroyed, along with the 23rd and 26th Tactical company|26th Tactical companies]]. Other companies were repulsed by Gargant Big-mobs and had to retreat to the core of Hive Kravaster.
Faced with the results of this battle Governor Suvik who was in his palace in the Hive was left with no illusions regarding the seriousness of the situation. He sent an astropathic communication requesting Imperial reinforcements while his Planetary Defence Forces dug in and fortified the approaches to the core of Hive Kravaster.
During the next three days the Orks ferried down the remainder of their troops and war machines from orbit before moving out of the landing zone and attacking the core of Hive Kravaster with all the forces at their disposal. For Warlord Hargluk it was clear that destroying the capital of the planet would mean that the rest of Gehenna Prime would be easier to conquer.
When the Orks tried to storm Kravaster with their Gargants, tanks, bikes and foot troops vicious street fighting erupted as the Immperial defenders fought like cornered beasts: PDF troopers had to be driven back barricade by barricade, arcade by arcade and street corner by street corner, Hive Gangs attacked the Orks from ventilator shafts and sewers and the survivors of the 72nd Sarum held onto the main concourse that led towards the city's Balthuzar spire where the palace was. Three Super Heavy Tank companies with their support troops dug in around the Hive's Basilica Adeptorum and managed to destroy two Great Gargants of the Gargant Big-mob spearheading the Aliens' attack. This success turned the tide and the Orks were driven back without being able to conquer Kravaster.
Denied victory Warboss Hargluk then laid siege to Kravaster but Imperial reinforcements in the form of Imperial Guard troops who had guarded the crystal mines in the mountains managed to filter in and harried the Greenskins' landing zone and settlements that the Xenos beasts had set up in the outer sectors of the Hive. It was Colonel Tahal under whose inspired command hit and run attacks by armoured companies against the Orks were conducted day and night. In the meantime additional regiments of the Planetary Defence Forces had arrived from other Hive cities and pushed against the siege ring the Orks had set up around Kravaster.
Governor Suvik gave the order to simultaneously attack the Ork from both inside and outside the Greenskins' perimeter and on the 27th day of the siege the Imperial artillery opened up on the Aliens. Colonel Tahal at first managed to gain ground with his armmoured forces against the Orks but when his tanks entered the ruins of the Hive's outer sectors stiff resistance from Goff warriors and Gargants stopped him. The Imperial counterattack from inside Kravaster met with even less success as the troops leaving were greeted by heavy fire from Hargluk's Mega-Gargants as soon as they left their trenches. In order to not senselessly sacrifice his scant defence troops Governor Suvik called off the attack.
To Suvik's dismay he soon received reports that - in addition to not being able to break out of the city - a big part of the Ork forces laying siege to the city including three Mega-Gargants had actually broken off from the main body of the Greenskin army and were now pursuing the armoured troops of Colonel Tahal. And while Hargluk had left enough Ork troops to keep Kravaster sealed up tight and to pound the Hive spires and raid its defensive positions the Greenskin pursuit force managed to drive Tahal into the highlands and further and futher south. If they managed to back the Colonel against the mountains of the equator that would have meant the end for him and his men. On their way south the Orks looted and destroyed any Hive they came across, destroying any human resistance with their Mega-Gargants and forcing civilians to flee for their lives.
On the 40th day of the Ork invasion Imperial reinforcements arrived in the skies over Gehenna Prime in the form of Blood Angels Space Marines. The Space Marines smashed trough the Ork defences with their Drop pods and Thunderhawk drop ships and managed to seize Kravaster's main space port, Voskil Central, from the Greenskins and to link up with the human defenders of the Hive. When the Orks counterattacked already the first kilometre-long transport barge of the Legio Metalica Titan legion landed at the spaceport and out stepped the Imperator Titan Casus Belli. The Emperor Titan immediately faced the Ork onslaught and Gargant Big-mob and the Casus Belli managed to destroy its Boss Gargant. Then a full Knight Household and more Titans emerged from the transport barge to drive the Orks off who suffered heavy losses.
The combined forces of the Legio Metalica, Blood Angels and troops of Governor Suvik proceeded to break the siege around Hive Kravaster in the following days. The Orks retreated to the highlands and linked up with the Mega-Garagants and other troops who had been pursuing Colonel Tahal and his forces. Tahal managed to circle the Orks and pulled his tank crews back to Kravaster.
work in progress
Note 4: From the information available about the Genestealer infestation it could be assumed that the Imperium in the end managed to defeat the Orks, as in Warhammer 40,000: Wargear (2nd Edition) on pg. 60 it is written that: "[...] The Space Marine Chapter [the Blood Angels] was almost worshipped here [on Gehenna Prime] since the time they had helped drive off the Ork invasion". Of course there is also a theoretical possibility that this refers to an so far unknown Ork invasion other than Waaagh! Hargluk.
The Genestealer infestation
work in progress
Note 5: Taking into account the previous Note 4 (see above) this Genestealer infestation could have happened after the Ork invasion of Gehenna Prime by Waaagh! Hargluk. This is however only an interpretation of circumstantial evidence as it is not explicitly stated when which events took place. As to the Space Wolves' "destruction of the Genestealer infested world of the Gehenna systems" please see the Note 2 at the beginning of the section "History".
- The Administratum's reference for the Gehenna system is 314/889/01A.
- The Adeptus Mechanicus' cross reference files for the equatorial crystal mines/ Phase crystal systems is X21/23.19/.
Gehenna Prime (Specialist Games version)
to be done
Note 1: There is also world called Gehenna Prime detailed in an article with the title "Storm over Gehenna" published (amongst other formats) in Fanatic Magazine #03 and also online as a pdf-file. As the Fanatic Magazine regularly included articles submitted by hobbyists that may be in contradiction to established background (as is the case here) the information contained in these sources always takes a backseat when compared to official, "proper" publications. For information on this "second" Gehenna Prime that probably has nothing to do with the "real" Gehenna Prime (apart from them both being invaded by Orks but in the universe of Warhammer 40,000 this does not constitute a unique feature) jump to the section entitled "Gehenna Prime (Specialist Games version)".
Note 2: Attention should also be paid to the fact that the so-called Gehenna Campaign of 955.M41 took place on a planet called Gehenna (and not Gehenna Prime which this article is about) which featured the "dusty wastes of Gehenna" (again no such geographical mention for Gehenna Prime), therefore it is entirely possible that these are two different places altogether. In addition official sources also mention a Forge World called Gehenna[6a],[6b] which might or might again not be the place where the aforementioned Gehenna Campaign took place but certainly does not seem to be identical with Gehenna Prime as the latter is no Forge World. Intriguingly just looking at the geographical description as provided in the Specialist Games article "Storm over Gehenna" (see Note 1) it could possibly be thought that the Gehenna Campaign could well have rather taken place on this incarnation of the planet as it features "a general environment similar to Mars shortly after terraforming (that is to say vast expanses of mineral rich deserts with isolated patches of vegetation [...]" and "ancient ruins on the planets [sic] southern continent" (in Games Workshop lines this is often a plot line for Necrons). But this is complete speculation as the source for the Gehenna Campaign does not actually mention the word "Prime" and the Specialist Games article makes no reference to Blood Angels, Necrons or Tyranids.
Gehenna is a small valley in Jerusalem. As a Biblical term it has been interpreted as analogous to the concept of Hades, Hell or Purgatory. In the Hebrew Bible, Gehenna was initially where some of the kings of Judah sacrificed their children by fire. Thereafter, it was deemed to be cursed.
- 1: Warhammer 40,000: Wargear (2nd Edition), pgs. 60-61
- 2: White Dwarf 179 (UK) - Inferno battle report[Needs Citation]
- 3: Codex: Space Wolves (2nd Edition), pg. 47
- 4: Titan Legions (Epic), The Fires of Gehenna scenarios booklet, pgs. 2-3
- 5: Codex: Blood Angels (5th Edition), pg. 16
- 6: Imperial Armour - Imperial Vehicles for Warhammer 40,000
- 7: Codex: Space Wolves (7th Edition) - Wulfen edition
- 8: Specialist Games: Storm over Gehenna - A Campaign for Epic by Dave Candlish (saved archive page, dated 28 March 2007, last accessed 16 February 2020)