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Targetdrone.gif This article is about the Space Marine Chapter. For other uses of Imperial Fists, see Imperial Fists (disambiguation).
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Imperial Fists
Legion Number VII
Primarch Rogal Dorn
Homeworld Terra, formerly Inwit.[38] The Chapter also maintains close ties with a number of other worlds such as Necromunda and Harnish.[87a]
Fortress-Monastery Phalanx
Chapter Master Gregor Dessian[63b]
Colours Yellow armour, Codex Astartes company shoulder pad trims[47]
Specialty Defense[2d]
Siege Warfare
Strength ~1000 marines
Battle Cry "Primarch-Progenitor, to your glory and the glory of him on earth!"

The Imperial Fists were the VII Legion of the original twenty Space Marine Legions. Their Primarch is Rogal Dorn. The Legion remained loyal during the Horus Heresy, after which it was reorganised according to the Codex Astartes and divided into Chapters. The Imperial Fists have maintained an intense rivalry with the Iron Warriors since prior to the Horus Heresy, with whom they share a specialisation in siege warfare. The Imperial Fists are recognised to be among the most loyal Chapters to the Emperor and have been instrumental in holding the Imperium together during the bleakest of times with renowned stubborn resilience.[16a] Because of their service to the Imperium, especially their role in leading the defense of Terra during the Horus Heresy, the Imperial Fists are also known as the "Defenders of Terra." [40]



Imperial Fists MKII Power Armor during the War of Unification displaying then-characteristic colors

The Imperial Fists were formed on Terra as the VIIth Legion. The Legion was one of the few that recruited entirely from their homeworld and were the only formation to have recruited from across all of Terra, including areas where other Legions claimed exclusive "Rights of Tithe." Despite recruiting from such a wide range of locations, VII Legion recruits consistently possessed a taciturn nature and were quick to action but reserved in speaking .[45] The Legion had the benefit of being united with their Primarch shortly after their formation, while their character had yet to take fully shape and as much as 70% of their ranks were still aspirants. As result, the Imperial Fists and Rogal Dorn developed as servants of the Imperium together, forming an unbreakable bond based upon the common desires for self-discipline and total commitment to order found in Dorn's temperament and the gene-seed of the Legion.[2a]

The homeworld of the Imperial Fists is still officially given as Holy Terra.[16f] However, in functional terms, the Chapter has been fleet-based since being united with their Primarch Rogal Dorn, after which the massive starship Phalanx has served as their mobile Fortress-Monastery.[2e] Nonetheless, the Chapter still maintains a presence on Holy Terra, including the Pillar of Bone and Column of Glory. Prior to relocating to Terra, the Imperial Fists homeworld was Inwit,[38] where Rogal Dorn was raised and where the Legion took many of their aspirants and starships from.[39a][39b] The Chapter still emphasizes its historic role as the defenders of Terra and maintains a coded sequence of alerts and signals to coordinate the rapid redeployment of its full forces to reinforce Terra against attack if the contingency arises.[41d]

The Unification Wars

The Imperial Fists participated extensively in the Unification Wars, and are noted to have taken the Cities of the Crystal Sea, conquered the Fortress of the Fifth Circle, and defeated the Wind Caller Clans in the Himalazia at the expense of losing three battalions. During this time, the Legion earned its first battle honour, 'Roma.' In their first decade of existence, they raised six hundred citadels on Terra. Veterans of the Unification Wars commonly displayed the campaign's badge on their power armor. [45]

The Great Crusade


Imperial Fists Heresy-era heraldry and command insignias.

During the Great Crusade, Imperial Fists behaved as crusaders and were driven to conquest. First Captain Sigismund was a prominent voice of crusade ideology, believing that the Great Crusade was an expression of man's infinite desire to master space and that maintaining the Imperium would require perpetual war.[10] The Legion espoused a philosophy of victory that held, "Victory was not enough, to conquer one had not only to defeat one's enemies, but to to hold the fruits of that victory." According to this view, victory therefore required consolidating power over the conquered society after the conclusion of combat operations, usually by way of building fortresses and military installations to compel a compliant social order. As a result, the Imperial Fists were considered to be “the most direct expression of the Emperor’s design of uniting humanity" and were generally regarded to be the "foundation rocks" on which the Imperium was built.[45]

In their capacity as crusaders, the Legion emphasized their military role in the Great Crusade and eschewed the civil responsibilities of governing worlds for recruitment and other purposes. Dorn is famously recorded as saying "I want recruits not vassals." After being granted recruitment rights on Necromunda following a major victory against the Orks, the Legion situated itself as guests rather than masters. This attitude contrasted with the approach of other Primarchs, such as Perturabo of the Iron Warriors, who took every opportunity to garrison worlds, claim their tithes and develop a personal empire.[2a]

During the Great Crusade, the Imperial Fists demonstrated a stern disposition, even in comparison to other Space Marines. Upon first encountering the Imperial Fists, Captain Garro of the Death Guard remarked that "they seem a somber lot," to which Captain Iacton Qruze of the Luna Wolves responded in the affirmative, adding that he had served with a Veteran Imperial Fist for a year-long campaign who never once smiled. The stern character of the Legion earned the Imperial Fists the nick name "the Stone Men."[7]

Doctrine and Organization

During the Great Crusade, the Imperial Fists were employed as a strategic reserve to reinforce fledgling campaigns or to achieve breakthroughs. The Legion rapidly redeployed between battlefields and developed special expertise in siege warfare and mass shock assaults. Offensively, the Imperial Fists employed assault formations, surgically applying force where and when it was required to shatter enemy defenses, often deciding the outcome of campaigns. Defensively, the Legion was commonly tasked to defend strategic positions and defeat enemy breakthroughs.[2a][45] [2d] Regarding the Legion's prowess in defending sieges, Horus once remarked to Dorn that "if I ever laid assault to a bastion possessed by you... then the war would last for all eternity, the best in attack matched by the best in defence."[10] The Legion also possessed special skills in urban warfare and space operations, including fleet and void warfare.[2a] [45]

The Legion was organized to support its crusade posture. The Imperial Fists maintained a fleet of 1,500 warships, a force quantitatively and qualitatively superior to any other legion. The Legion command and control structure featured theater marshals in charge of all forces taking part in their area of responsibility, fleet masters, and siege masters. Ad hoc commands of castellan and seneschals controlled formations called crusades or households, respectively -- each comprised of two battalions. Infantry unit configuration tended towards the two extremes of assault load outs or long-range heavy weapons. To replenish combat losses, the Legion often recruited from conquered populations en mass. Recorded examples include recruiting every man who could carry a spear from the hunter-tribesmen of Tiberna, taking half of the members of the tech-brat gangs of Sevan, and the recruitment of every youth older than 10,000 ship cycles from the Nedoran ship clans.[45]

The size of the Legion was recorded as 98,356 just prior to the outbreak of the Horus Heresy, though this figure is not thought to be precise.[45]

Heresy-era Imperial Fist[45]

Campaigns and Actions

The Legion was instrumental in extending control over the Sol System in the early phases of the Great Crusade, performing key roles in the Unheard War, the War of the Consus Drift, and the Araneus Wars. During the Unheard war, the Emperor ordered the Bell of Lost Souls tolled for the first time in honor of 50 Imperial Fists who sacrificed themselves to defeat a psy-plague in the Azurite Stations. On the Plains of Kenneatar, the Legion's 5th Battalion broke the lines of the Tyrancy with an arrowhead formation of 50 war machines. The Imperial Fists are noted to have conquered Galabaz, a subterranean city buried in surrounding mountains. During operations on Ophelia VII, 10,000 Imperial Fists accompanied the Emperor and 100 custodes. At Askanisa, the Imperial Fists and the Luna Wolves formed the Emperor's vanguard to break the Shrouded Dynasties.[45]

The Imperial Fists were so effective in their role during the Great Crusade that the Legion accumulated a record second only to that of the Luna Wolves.[10] As a proud testament to their accomplishments, battle honours were displayed for kilometres in a gallery aboard the Phalanx.[7] However, in the course of accumulating honours, the Imperial Fists' developed hostile relationships with other Legions. Most notably, the Imperial Fists maintained a bitter rivalry with the Iron Warriors, which was largely the result of both Legions sharing similar combat specializations.[30] Less known was the strong mutual hatred between the Imperial Fists and Alpha Legion, who clashed on more than one occasion prior to the Horus Heresy, though the nature of these clashes is unknown.[31] The Imperial Fists are also known to have participated in the Compliance Nine Forty-Three alongside the Emperor's Children, where Rogal Dorn allowed Primarch Fulgrim the honour of breaking the ork stronghold and at Thysson's Sound alongside the World Eaters, where Angron chose to pursue the enemy while the seventh legion remained to protect his supply lines.[85]

The Imperial Fists operated closely alongside the Emperor of Mankind during the Great Crusade. The Legion served as the Emperor's personal Praetorians and fought directly alongside him more than any other legion. The Emperor bestowed the name "Imperial Fists" upon the VII Legion early in the Great Crusade, a reference to when many saw the lands conquered by them it was as if "the hand of the Emperor had descended and gripped with an unbreakable fist." The Emperor also granted them the right to wear the Laurels of Victory as part of their heraldry.[45] After the successful conclusion of the Ullanor Crusade, the Emperor returned to Terra, ordering the Imperial Fists with him where they were tasked to fortify the Imperial Palace.[10]

Notable Battles of the Great Crusade

The Horus Heresy

The Imperial Fists battle the Iron Warriors during the Battle at the Phall system[36]

Dorn Responds

Rogal Dorn and the Imperial Fists were the first loyalists to learn of the Horus Heresy other than those attacked on Isstvan III. While attempting to reach Terra as ordered by the Emperor after Ullanor, the Legion responded to a distress call from the Eisenstein. Rogal Dorn discovered Death Guard Captain Nathaniel Garro and remembrancer Mersadie Oliton, who carried news of the events which had transpired on Isstvan III. In response, Dorn ordered the bulk of the Imperial Fists to the Isstvaan system while he and the Legion’s veteran companies returned to Terra to inform the Emperor of Horus' treachery. Significantly, each deployment faced difficulties from the Warp Storms that had enveloped the galaxy, which made navigation nearly impossible. [7]

On Terra, Dorn assumed command of the Imperium’s armed forces.[12a, 14a] There, the Imperial Fists oversaw the fortification of the Imperial Palace, as previously ordered before the Heresy, and other duties relating to its defense, such as counter-intelligence.[13] They nonetheless also fought scattered battles throughout the Galaxy, such as against the Iron Warriors in the First Siege of Hydra Cordatus

Dorn immediately organised the Imperium’s response to Isstvan III. After making contact as best as possible with the other Legions, which the Warp storms hampered, Dorn ordered that Horus be confronted on Isstvan V where his forces were entrenching themselves. Discussing the reasoning of this strategy with Malcador The Sigillite, he stated that “...kill the head and the body will die.” Notably, Dorn elected to keep his veteran companies on Terra while apparently assuming the bulk of the Legion which had been ordered to the Isstvan system would join the assault on their own initiative if they were able to navigate there successfully.[14a]


Main article: Schism of Mars

At the same time, Mars entered into open revolt, endangering the Imperium’s access to war material. In response, Dorn ordered First Captain Sigismund and Captain Camba-Diaz to command four veteran companies to secure the forges of Mondus Occulum and Mondus Gamma, which together produced the majority of Astartes weapons and armour.[14a] The Astartes force was accompanied by number of Imperial Army units, including thirteen companies of Saturnine Hoplites and four regiments of Jovian Grenadiers, also under the command of the Imperial Fists captains.[14c] The operation was met with overwhelming resistance by traitor forces belonging to the Adeptus Mechanicus. The two companies under the command of Comba-Diaz were outnumbered one hundred to one and Sigismund’s force of the same size was met by two full Titan Legions. Facing annihilation, the Imperial Fists withdrew from Mars, abandoning the forges but successfully evacuating at least 12,000 suits of MK4 Power Armour and twice as many weapons.[14b] The four veteran companies involved in the operation suffered heavy casualties and were reduced to half strength.[12b]

Phall System

Months later, the bulk of the Imperial Fists forces were continuing their attempt to overcome the warp storms and navigate to the Isstvan system as ordered. The force had been completely out of contact with the Imperium since their departure and was unaware of any further developments concerning Horus' treachery, including that the remaining loyalists on Isstvan III had been crushed uterly. The fleet regained communication with the Imperium when it received urgent orders to return to Terra while being engaged by a large Iron Warriors force during the Battle at the Phall system. Both sides suffered serious losses but in a testament to their discipline the Imperial Fists fleet successfully disengaged and set course for Terra as ordered.[12c]


As part of the initial defence of the Segmentum Solar, Rogal Dorn diverted the 9th and 14th Battalions of the Imperial Fists, the Space Wolves 13th Great Company, several Terran cohorts of the Imperial Army and even three sodalities of the Legio Custodes to Cthonia. In command of the battle group was Lord-castellan Evander Garrius. The surface garrison was quickly overwhelmed and forced to retreat into the underworld to fight a guerilla campaign. In the aftermath of the Battle of Beta-Garmon, a powerful fleet of the Sons of Horus led by Vheren Ashurhaddon and supported by elements of Word Bearers, Alpha Legion, Cthonian Headhunters regiments and Dark Mechanicum from Voss, would invade Cthonia in order to reclaim it from the loyalists, beginning thus a second siege. Although the loyalist forces were well prepared for the traitor attack, the massive traitor fleet was able to beat the loyalists in orbit and began the assault on the surface of the world. Supported by Thousand Sons and Shattered Legions forces, Garrius and his Imperial Fists would inflict heavy casualties on the traitor Astartes, however, the traitors in turn managed to cause several losses to the Loyalists, such as the destruction of the majority of their Titan reserves. With the traitors gaining ground, Garrius prepared to meet them for a final battle at Traitor's Gate Hive, but as the two sides were fighting against each other, a large fleet of the Dark Angels led by Marduk Sedras arrived at the planet's orbit and ordered all sides to stop fighting and leave the planet unless they wanted to face annihilation. After both sides made no attempt to heed the order, the Dark Angels began bombarding the planet. Garrius in rage, retaliated by targeting the Dark Angels' fleet with the surface defence guns, but did little damage to the capital ships. Later on, the Dreadwing under orders of Marduk, planted Vortex Bombs on certain locations of the planet and set them off. As Cthonia was being destroyed, the remaining forces on the planet began their evacuation and carried their leaders out of the dying planet. [92]

Defence of Terra

Imperial Fists defend the Imperial Palace from the forces of Chaos.

As the traitors inched closer to Terra, it fell to Rogal Dorn and the Imperial Fists to oversee the defenses of the Sol System. In the subsequent Solar War, the Fists attempted to contain Horus' advance, seemingly defeating the Alpha Legion during the Battle of Pluto in the process. However ultimately, they failed to prevent Horus from attacking Terra itself.[53]

During the Defence of Terra, the Legion made indispensable contributions to the defense of the Imperial Palace alongside the White Scars and the Blood Angels.[2b] During the battle, the Legion made a massive move to reinforce the Palace from the great Sky Fortress at a critical juncture of the battle. [12d] It is also known that Dorn had the honour of accompanying the Emperor aboard Horus' Battle Barge and that he discovered the bodies of the Emperor, Horus and Sanguinius after the final drama had run its course. [2b]

Horus Heresy Aftermath

Dorn's Vengeance

Rogal Dorn's grief was immense in the aftermath of the Horus Heresy. Until that point, Dorn had been true, noble and enduring, but now he became an avenging son dressed in the black of mourning. Whereas other Legions, such as the Ultramarines, dedicated themselves to rebuilding the Imperium, the Imperial Fists launched a crusade against the Traitor Legions, hunting them down and levelling fortress after fortress. Yet the Legion was still cognisant of its broader role as it lent itself to direct calls for assistance by Imperial worlds and institutions more so than other Legions during this period. Nonetheless, Dorn was absent from the highest councils of the Imperium until he returned to Terra upon being summoned by Roboute Guilliman to be presented with the Codex Astartes.[2c]

Codex Astartes Crisis

Main article: Codex Crisis

Dorn initially rejected the Codex Astartes and enmity developed between him and Guilliman. Dorn called Guilliman a coward, citing his lack of participation in the defense of the Imperial Palace. Guilliman accused Dorn of being a traitor for refusing the Codex. This enmity quickly involved other Space Marine Legions and a rift developed, Leman Russ of the Space Wolves stood by the Imperial Fists, while Jaghatai Khan of the White Scars and Corax of the Raven Guard supported the Ultramarines. A second civil war appeared likely when the Imperial Fists strike cruiser Terrible Angel was fired upon by the Imperial Navy in connection with Codex crisis.[15a] However, Dorn ultimately relented after spending seven days meditating in the pain glove. There, he concluded that the Legion could no longer serve the Emperor who had been and must serve the Emperor who was, which involved accepting the new order of which the Codex was a part.[2c]

The Iron Cage

Main article: The Iron Cage

It was Dorn's decision that the Legion would symbolically enter into the pain glove together and emerge according to the Codex Astartes. This opportunity presented itself in the battle that became known as The Iron Cage. The Imperial Fists had largely dismantled the Iron Warriors empire in their campaigns immediately after the Heresy. Upon discovering the Eternal Fortress, a twenty square mile fortress constructed by the Iron Warriors, Dorn, fuelled by his enmity towards Perturabo, committed the entire Legion to its assault.[2c]

Perturabo and his Legion were masters of defence and siege in their own rite and had designed the Eternal Fortress as a trap to ensnare the Imperial Fists. Ceding further advantage to the Iron Warriors, Dorn led the assault without his customary care in planning and preparation. What ensued was a near massacre. The Imperial Fists’ formations were broken, reduced to fighting with combat knives battle-brother by battle-brother in half flooded trenches with their ammunition expended.[2c]

Yet, the Imperial Fists endured and the Iron Warriors were unable to finish them, lacking the faith to make the ultimate sacrifice that victory demanded. The Ultramarines then intervened, driving off the traitors.[2c]


Cleansed by their sacrifice at the Iron Cage, the Imperial Fists immediately began their reorganisation[2c] with the fully hardened, veteran force that remained.[2d] For the next two decades, the newly formed Chapter went into retreat in order to master the tenets of the Codex Astartes. Despite the death of Rogal Dorn during the 1st Black Crusade, the Chapter has since assumed a place alongside the Ultramarines as exemplars of the Codex.[2c] As part of their reorganisation, the Imperial Fists participated in the Second Founding, christening the Soul Drinkers, Black Templars, and Crimson Fists. The Legion’s most fanatical battle-brothers composed the Black Templars while the more level headed members founded the Crimson Fists.[2d]

Secretly, Dorn established a contingency for his successors. Dubbed the "Last Wall Protocol", it called for the Imperial Fists Successor Chapter's to reunify into a Legion once more should Terra come under dire threat. The protocol was enacted 1,500 years later during the War of the Beast.[52]

War of the Beast

The Imperial Fists suffered greatly during the conflict against Orks that became known as the War of the Beast. Nearly the entire chapter was annihilated by the Orks on the world of Ardamantua[50b] just during the war against the Xenorace Chromes[50a] The only known survivor was the badly injured Captain Koorland. In the aftermath of the debacle, Koorland enacted Rogal Dorn's secret "Last Wall Protocol", which called for all of the Imperial Fists successors to meet in the Phall System and combine as a Legion once more should Terra come under dire threat. This saw the Black Templars, Fists Exemplar, Crimson Fists, Iron Knights, and Excoriators all rendezvoused at Phall.[52] The Fists and their successors would take the lead in the campaign, saving Terra from an Attack Moon, recovering the Primarch Vulkan, attacking the Beast's capital of Ullanor, and founding the Deathwatch.

During the second invasion of Ullanor, Koorland was killed by The Beast and with him the Imperial Fists became extinct.[54] They would have remained so had Fists Exemplar Chapter Master Maximus Thane not rebuilt the Chapter by having each of the Imperial Fists Second Founding Successors contribute a portion of their strength. Thane became the new Chapter Master of the resurgent Imperial Fists, which was swiftly rebuilt. The destruction and subsequent rebuilding of the Fists was kept from the larger Imperium.[55] Thane oversaw the final invasion of Ullanor in which The Beast-class Orks were all slain.[56] In the aftermath of the war, Thane declared that the Fists would no longer remain sentinel on Terra but instead embark on the Phalanx in a Crusade against mankinds enemies.[56]

Shortly after in what became known as the Beheading, the High Lords of Terra were all slain on the orders of Drakan Vangorich, Grand Master of the Officio Assassinorum. Thane, now Lord Commander of the Imperium and fed up with the High Lords himself, allowed Vangorich to rule in his stead while he swept the remnants of The Beast's forces from the Imperium.[56] A century later Vangorich had become too unstable the rogue Master of Assassins was slain by a Space Marine strike force of 400 Marines under Thane drawn from the Imperial Fists, Halo Brethren and Sable Swords. Only a single Space Marine, Chapter Master Thane, survived the campaign[21] and he led the Fists in a series of campaigns to put down the rebellions that sprung up after Vangorich's death.[Needs Citation]

Recent Events


Imperial Fists sternguard veteran of 1st Company conducting a combat action in the name of the Emperor.
  • Unknown (but before the 544.M32) - Malla Vajjl compliance. Imperial Fists fought with Orks there.[50c]
  • 955.M41: The Siege of Fort Mork. The 4th and 9th Companies laid siege to the Ork mega-stronghold named Fort Mork. The Imperial Fists were badly outnumbered but faced down three days of Orks hurling themselves at their siege lines, defeating the xenos with precision bolter fire and a dozen thunderfire cannons.[40]
  • 968.M41: 5th and 9th Companies are deployed to Khai-Zhan to suppress the Khai-Zhan Uprising alongside four Cadian regiments. The Imperial Fists force is decisive in countering the Night Lords taking part in the uprising and lays siege to the heavily fortified citadel the Palace of Peace.[22]
  • 970.M41 - As part of his censure for Taladorn, Lysander is temporarily stripped of the First Captaincy and assigned to 3rd Company, which he is ordered to rebuild. As part of this penance, Lysander is ordered to undertake the Crusade of Thunder against the Orks. Following the Campaign, Tor Garadon is promoted to 3rd Captain and Lysander returns to First Captain. [41a]
  • 975.M41: The 3rd Company is dispatched by Vorn Hagan to reclaim 18 worlds along the Eye of Terror which have risen up in heresy. After the battle the Imperial Fists become so impressed with the Cadian allies that they begin to train some.[41c]
  • 981.M41: Captain Taelos undertakes a warrior pilgrimage, taking him to the worlds of Maelstrom, Choria, Fell Heart and Golgotha.[17b]
  • 997.M41: The Defence of Miral II. A battle group led by Captain Lysander intercepts Hive Fleet Leviathan on the planet of Miral where defensive fortifications are established. Although severely outnumbered, the battle group drives off the Tyranid swarm on the seventh day, one day after the defence was expected to fail.[17c]
  • 998.M41: 2nd Company engages outlying elements of Waaagh! Dethzarka. 6th and 9th companies dispatched in support.[16b]
  • 999.M41: The Siege of Hydra Cordatus. 3rd Company is lured into a trap on the surface of Hydra Cordatus by the Iron Warriors and is nearly destroyed in the ensuing siege. No more than thirty Battle-Brothers survive.[27a][40] Captain Tor Garadon, now Captain of the 2nd Company, is tasked to rebuild the 3rd Company once more just as Lysander had decades earlier. He is aided by those veterans who fought alongside him during the 3rd Company's Crusade of Thunder that was instrumental to its last reconstitution.[41a]
  • 999.M41: At least five companies take part defending against the 13th Black Crusade, smashing into traitor Astartes at Cadia. The 1st, 2nd, and elements of the 3rd companies are instrumental in defending strategic locations on Cadia and 2nd Company wins battle honours for defeating a horde of mutants numbering 10,000. [19]
  • 999.M41: The Battle of the Phalanx. At present, the 3rd Company is defending Phalanx from a Daemonic boarding action led by Iron Warriors Warsmith Shon'tu and the Daemon Be'lakor. Shon'tu and Be'lakor are seeking to outdo Abaddon's 13th Black Crusade by infesting the massive starship while on station in the Sol System and using it to bombard the Imperial Palace. Captain Tor Garadon is commanding 3rd Company's defense of Phalanx. His forces have inflicted extreme casualties on the attackers and maneuvered Phalanx into the warp in order to protect Holy Terra should they fail in repelling the assault. The Legion of the Damned have arrived to assist Garadon's forces as the battle grows desperate. Ultimately the Fists prevailed and the Phalanx set course for Cadia.


  • The Tunis Action: The planet Tunis is attacked by the Evil Sunz Orks and issues a distress call. Scouts from the 10th Company are first to respond, followed by 1st company, defeating the Ork force.[18]
  • The Scouring of Vernalis: Task Force Gauntlet liberates the planet of Vernalis from Chaos. The Task Force is composed of elements of the 10th, 5th, and 1st companies and defeats a warband of Roaring Blades and Emperor's Children under the command of Arch Traitor Sybaris.[6c]
  • The Jorgurd Cluster: The Alpha Legion inspired rebellion at Klebendor III is crushed and the heretic's leader Ialo Vex and his inner circle are captured. The Alpha Legion forces are pursued to a remote base hidden in the asteroid belt at the Rathnorn system where they are destroyed.[28]
  • Battle of Naeuysk Gorge: Fourteen Rhinos are lost to a Night Lords Ambush. The Imperial Fists counter-attack the following morning, successfully pushing back the Chaos Space Marines and reclaim the lost vehicles. A casualty rate of nearly 85% is incurred.[29]


The Imperial Fists gene-seed possesses two unique characteristics that are expressed in physiological and the behavioral terms. Physiologically, the Chapter has lost two of the organs particular to Space Marines: the Betcher's Gland, which allows the Marine to produce acidic spittle, and the Sus-an Membrane, which allows the Marine to enter a state of suspended animation.[3a] Behaviorally, the Imperial Fists are given to an obsession with conquering pain by force of will and discipline.[3a] The Chapter's obsession with willpower and discipline is sometimes characterized as further involving a deep-seated drive towards self-sacrifice or penance. [8] This trait is often simplified as merely involving a stubborn disposition.[16a]

The Chapter considers the behavioral characteristics of its geneseed to be both a strength and a weakness. On the one hand, such tendencies engender stubborn conduct on the battlefield and ensure battle-brothers are more likely to fight on despite terrible injuries. On the other hand, Imperial Fists may subconsciously invite such injuries and difficulty, which can imperial battle planning and lead to unnecessary risks of personnel and material. Along these lines, the Imperial Fists are noted to be reluctant to accept the possibility of defeat when retreating would be the wisest course of action. The Chapter consciously attempts to minimize the liabilities of these behavioral traits while maximizing the benefits. [3a]


Doctrine and Organization

A member of the 3rd Company displays scrimshaw honors on his right pauldron.

The Chapter retains its previous special ability in siege warfare, urban warfare, and defense, although aggressive rather than defensive operations are preferred.[2d] The martial reputation of the Chapter has focused primarily on siege warfare; "the Imperial Fists are renowned siege masters par-excellence." The Chapter is noted for "grimly defending fortifications against innumerable foes, or storming valiantly against bastions."[26] The Imperial Fists also place great value in marksmanship and are renowned for their accuracy with ranged weapons, especially boltguns. Battle-brothers spend a disproportionate amount of time in Devastator Companies in order to perfect the art of the long-range kill.[40] While a practitioner of the Codex Astartes, the Chapter also maintains its own martial tradition, known as the Rites of Battle, as codified by the scholar Rhetoricus in The Book of Five Spheres as an addendum to the Codex Astartes.[18]

The force structure of the Imperial Fists supports its predilection for siege warfare and high risk operations. The Chapter maintains more siege-related weaponry than any other Chapter, including a small army of thunderfire cannons, Vindicators, and Centurions. [40] The Chapter also maintains a reserve of initiates far deeper than any other Chapter to replace its combat losses, which at times have included entire companies or more being destroyed at a time. It is a point of pride for the Imperial Fists that the Chapter can not be fully defeated so long as one battle-brother remains on Phalanx to begin the process of reconstituting even the most grievous attrition. [41d]

The Imperial Fists also maintain a Chapter Council composed of the Chapter's captains. The full purpose of the Council is not clear, but includes settling disputes between members of the Chapter and serving as a court in which the Chapter Master can hear the cases of the disputants and render his judgement, including punishment for offenses.[41e]

Heresy-Era Organization

During the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy the Fists were largely compliant with the Principia Bellicosa template of organization, maintaining roughly 100,000 warriors. It consisted of Companies grouped into Flexible Battalions, with the largest such standing formations being dubbed Crusades or Households. Company-level Captains were functionally the most senior position, though in truth many officers had additional authority based upon the level of favor and responsibility placed upon them by Rogal Dorn. Theatre-specific commands included Marshals, Fleet Masters, and Siege Masters. Lords Castellan were senior masters of defense appointed to garrison and hold Sectors of space, while Lords Seneschal were responsible for developing crusading strategies of whole spheres of the galaxy.[81]

During this time, the Legion was blessed with the most cutting-edge Imperial equipment and often chosen for testing new designs such as the Assault Cannon. Being the strongest proponents for Tactical Dreadnought Armour, the Imperial Fists also commanded a significant number of Terminator Squads alongside larger complements of heavy tanks and Dreadnoughts. The last great facet of the Legion was its large fleet, which numbered over 1,500 warships. This naval might was the greatest of any other Astartes Legion[81]

Chapter Disposition

Current organization.[63b]

Chapter Command

Gregor Dessian, Chapter Master

Armoury Apothecarion Fleet Command Librarius Chaplaincy

Master of the Forge
Atornus Geis

Chief Apothecary

Master of the Fleet/Lord Phalanx
Mirac Chalosa

Chief Librarian
Xeros Darsway

Master of Sanctity

Veteran Company Battle Companies
1st Company 2nd Company 3rd Company 4th Company 5th Company

"The Emperor's Shield"

"The Scions of Redemption"

"The Sentinels of Terra"

"Victors of Brax"

"The Heralds of Truth"

Captain Darnath Lysander
The Emperor's Wrath

Captain Zandar Chiros
Master of Rituals

Captain Tor Garadon
Bastion of Defiance

Captain Alars Lydoro
Master Armourer

Captain Dravastis Fane
Keeper of the Archive

Reserve Companies Scout Company
6th Company 7th Company 8th Company 9th Company 10th Company

"The Siege Hammers"

"Guardians of the Phalanx"

"Dorn's Huscarls"

"The Wardens"

"The Eyes of Dorn"

Captain Hector Antaros
Master of Vigilance

Captain Orpheus Taelos
Bearer of the Grail

Captain Aeneas Strom
Wielder of Terra's Flame

Captain Miklos Kaheron
Master of Devastation

Captain Metrios Carr
Master of Reconnaissance

Company Descriptions
  • The 1st Company, known as the Emperor's Shield. This acts as the Veteran Company of the Fists and favours large amounts of Terminators. In recent years, however, they have displayed tactical flexibility under the leadership of Darnath Lysander, embracing lighter and nimbler patterns of armour. The 1st under the command of a Veteran Sergeant also serves as the guardians of the Chapter's relics aboard the Phalanx. Many Veteran Sergeants of the 1st abandon their own name upon attaining this lauded duty, adopting instead the name of their duelling arenas foremost battle honour. Should the Sergeant leave his duty, he will leave that name behind.[63c]
  • The 2nd Company, known as the Scions of Redemption. It is said that the 2nd led to the Chapter's near-annihilation during the War of the Beast. As such as they are the custodians of the Chapter's collective guilt and fight to ever make amends for this failure. Even new Primaris recruits bear this burden. Members of the 2nd often mortify their flesh in spirit of the Pain Glove. This has led to the 2nd to adopt methodical tactics in their determination to not invoke further dishonour. Thus do they advance in a mechanical manner more similar to the forces of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Despite their status, service in the 2nd is not considered dishonourable or shameful, as the Fists believe that there is no nobler cause than to bear the collective sins of ones' brothers.[63d]
  • The 3rd Company, known as the Sentinels of Terra. The 3rd is a legendary Company renowned for its tenacity. Despite enduring horrific casualties in the final years of the 41st Millennium, the 3rd has risen anew. The 3rd is unusually flexible for the standards of the Imperial Fists in a manner similar to the Ultramarines. Their aggressive and attritive nature of battle has seen its ranks reinforced more than any other, and transfer to the 3rd is a near-universal experience for any member of the Reserve Company. As part of their initiation, new Battle Brothers transferred to the 3rd must spar with one of its Sergeants in the Phalanx. The 3rd maintains a special undying hatred for the Iron Warriors and their Warsmith Shon'tu for his actions against them.[63e]
  • The 4th Company, originally known as the Reductors,[64] they have since become known as the Victors of Brax after their recent famous victory. The 4th lacks speed, instead using sheer intractable mass and act as siegebreakers.[63f]
  • The 5th Company, known as the Heralds of Truth. The 5th is responsible for preserving the Scriptum Ascenda. Alongside members of the Librarius and Reclusiam, only the 5th is permitted access to this archive. As Keeper of the Archives, the Captain of the 5th holds a unique strategic and doctrinal voice on the Chapter Council. On campaign, the 5th deploy with grim procession and bear banners and relics from the earliest days of the Legion. The 5th is also given the sacred duty of ensuring that those liberated by the Fists are educated on the Chapter and its history.[63g]
  • The 6th Company, known as the Siege Hammers. Specializing in siege warfare, the 6th was originally formed by Rogal Dorn himself from veterans of the Iron Cage. The 6th instils its siege knowledge into every Battle-Brother that passes through its ranks while those who remain become siege specialists often aiding other Company's in their campaigns. The 6th draws heavily from the Chapter Armoury and often supplements its infantry-borne heavy weapons with Thunderfire Cannons, Dreadnoughts, and artillery tanks.[63h]
  • The 7th Company, known as the Guardians of the Phalanx. As their title suggests, the 7th is charged with the protection and management of the Phalanx. When its Captain assumes his role, it is said his primary heart is ritually removed and replaced with an augmetic device crafted from the station's own components. This heavy apparatus puts an ever-present pressure on the Captain's chest, reminding him of his new duty. The 7th oversees the Auric Auxilia, which acts as the primary defence force of the Phalanx. In battle the 7th seems to resemble the 6th in tactics, but favours the mass use of Land Speeders, Repulsors, and Land Raiders to adopt a more flexible stance.
  • The 8th Company, known as Dorn's Huscarls. The 8th got much of its identity after the War of the Beast when it was rebuilt by the former Black Templar Helbrant Alderic, who emphasized the hotblooded close-assault tactics of his Chapter. The 8th became thick with Black Templars, causing then Chapter Master Maximus Thane to censure Alderic and break up the 8th. Put into other company's, the former warriors of the 8th went on to display extraordinary discipline. It was as if by allowing their aggression to run unfettered, they had purged that part of themselves. Thus was Alderic restored and it was decided that all fresh recruits from the Scout Company would go through the 8th to purge themselves of aggression. This tradition continues to this day, and the 8th still specializes in close support and assault tactics.[63j]
  • The 9th Company, known as the Wardens. The 9th acts as the Fists senior Reserve Company, giving all battle-brothers a vital grounding in the art of siege-breaking. It also unofficially serves as a fifth Battle Company, more often forming a strike forces core than dividing its brothers across many warzones. Its forces prioritize combat from static positions, obliterating defences from fortified vantage points. When there are no fortifications to assail, the 9th will often use Tanks and Artillery from the Chapter Armoury. Renowned for their patience, the 9th often works alongside the 6th Company, which has a similar but complimentary fighting style. Under its Captain Kaheron the 9th is known for its strict discipline and frequent usage of the Pain Glove.[63k]
  • The 10th Company, known as the Eyes of Dorn. As is usually the case for Astartes Chapters, the 10th acts as the Fists' Scout and Vanguard Space Marine Company. They act as the Fists' official reconnaissance force, an honour which their name Eyes of Dorn reflects. However, the 10th rarely has access to heavier weapons, as the Fists maintain that one must earn the right to access the Armoury fully, and the warriors of the 10th are often untested neophytes. When deployed with other companies, the 10th will often act as outriders mounted on bikes and land speeders.[63l]

Disposition and Culture

The culture of the Imperial Fists articulates their genetically predisposed obsession with will power and pain into a coherent set of practices concerned with achieving uncompromising self-discipline and maintaining complete order. [2x] The Chapter remains noted for its stern attitude and appears to outsiders as sombre, cheerless warriors, though those who know them better, such as the Blood Angels recognize their inner passion. Imperial Fists customarily avoid wresting on the laurels of past accomplishments and instead find purpose in the performance of additional great deeds.[45]

In the aftermath of the Siege of Terra, the final battle of the Heresy had a lasting effect on the Imperial Fists and their entire culture became defined by the struggle. Companies were named by their position in the Imperial Palace (i.e. "Daylight Wall Company",[50a] other variants also included - 'Exultant' and 'Bhab' parts of the Wall[87c]) and many Battle Brothers became known by their "wall names" (such as Slaughter).[50a]

The Junker Model of Behaviour

The basic structure of Chapter culture is derived from the "Junker model of behaviour" belonging to the "ancient Prussic code" of Terra. The model demands dedication to meticulous detail in both military operations and individual conduct. In military operations, fastidious attention to detail is a hallmark of the Chapter's superlative planning and preparations. Similarly, every detail of an individual battle-brother's conduct is structured by the quest for flawless discipline and the obsession with punishment as penance for the smallest inadequacy, failure or infraction. [3a] In each case, the Chapter's genetically programmed obsession with willpower and order are the guiding principles.

Honour Duels

As part of their Junker tradition, the Imperial Fists practice Honour Duels, a ritual imparted to the Chapter by a handful of Terran battle-brothers.[2x][33a] Honour Duels serve to settle disputes between members of the Chapter. The duel itself consists in two battle-brothers being stripped to the torso, dawning protective eye-wear and having their feet locked into blocks at a fixed range. A third battle brother acts as a judge, presiding over the duel wearing a black robe and helmet to conceal his identity. Salutes between the contestants and judge commence the duel and the two battle brothers engage each other with tungsten epees, ending at first blood drawn from the face. The ritual distributes honour to both battle brothers: the bested Marine accepts responsibility for the dispute and apologises, thereby honouring the victor, while the resulting scars of a loss are looked positively upon by other members of the Chapter, thereby conferring honour upon the loser. [3a][3b][6d]

Main article: Scrimshaw

The Imperial Fists are known to practice Scrimshaw using bones from the hands of their dead. After battle, Space Marines who distinguished themselves in the recent combat are awarded the skeletal hands of fallen battle-brothers,[3d] the individual bones of which are adorned with carvings, designs, and otherwise ornamented. Scrimshaw is undertaken solemnly by Marines of the Chapter and seen as an opportunity to practice mental discipline, focus, and attention to detail. Finished scrimshaws are worn as jewellery and ornamentation, particularly by officers.[3a]

Pain and Punishment

The Imperial Fists have developed particular cultural practices which tend to their obsession with conquering pain and penance. Chief among them is punishment that makes use of a device called the pain glove, which is both imposed by superior officers and self-inflicted. The pain glove encases the whole body and stimulates pain neurons, causing excruciating pain without inflicting any physical damage. The function of the pain glove goes beyond simple punishment in the sense of negative-reinforcement and includes positive spiritual value. Marines endure the extreme pain of the device by disciplining themselves to meditate on the glory of Rogal Dorn, thereby perfecting their spiritual communion with their Primarch.[6a]

So central is pain to the culture of the Imperial Fists that the Chapter seems to have developed a philosophy on the subject. As recited by anonymous Chaplain, "Pain is...a lesson that the universe teaches us. Pain is the preserver from injury. Pain perpetuates our lives. It is the healing, purifying scalpel of our souls. Pain is the wine of communion with heroes. It is the quicksilver panacea for weakness - the quintessence of a dedicated existence. Pain is the philosophic vitriol which transmutes mere moral into immortal. It is the Sublime, the golden astral fire!"[3a]

Other Details

Veteran Sergeants of the Imperial Fists wear black helmets and bear the name Sternhelms.[41c]


A recently recruited Imperial Fist scout.

The Imperial Fists take their potential recruits from many worlds, among which are Terra, Jupiter's moons, Necromunda, Pharos, and Inwit.[63a] On each of these worlds they maintain a Chapter keep. However they have no special rights as to where they recruit their neophytes[3x] and they are known to rarely recruit from the Blackfort prison.[89] The Chapter also conducts ad-hoc recruitment as needed, which can involve intervening in ongoing conflicts to recruit the most talented warriors taking part in the fighting.[6x] Once recruits are selected, their criminal record is examined, and they undergo a battery of tests: musculature, psychological profile ("Psychosis level"), psychic level, eye reflexes, intelligence, the ability to shoot, pain resistance, dexterity. Recruits spend months aboard The Phalanx[63a] where they learn proper Imperial Gothic through a hypnocasque before undergoing their initiation in the "tunnel of terror." In the latter, they face extreme heat, cold, empty space, etc. The severity increases along the way. If the initiate passes, then begins the indoctrination, training and the actual surgery that transform them into Space Marines. To celebrate the introduction of the Preomnor implant, cadets eat poisonous plants, venomous animals, etc. For the Omophagea, they consume meat (some of the meat they eat is human flesh) and must divine from the meat a few details about the actual animal. After the initiation ceremony, the cadet's family is informed that their child has become a Space Marine.[3x]

Aspirants that fail to join the ranks of the Fists but survive the process are often recruited into the Auric Auxilia.[63a]


In all, the Imperial Fists has created dozens of successor Chapters, more than any other Chapter other than the Ultramarines.[40] Originally, the Imperial Fists Legion only sired two Second Founding chapters, although some versions of the Codex Astartes states that three or more were created. As the Legion was heavily depleted by the Horus Heresy, the legion could only be divided three or four times. However, Later foundings involved Imperial more Fists successors than early foundings because of the proliferation of viable gene-seed stocks.[33b]

Unlike other Legions, the gene-seed from the Imperial Fists stayed strong and pure, creating a basis for future foundings. Also unlike other Legions and their Successors, the Imperial Fists and their successors are quite different from each other. When it was split, the views of the individual Space Marines chosen as founders and leaders determined the chapter they succeeded into; the Imperial Fists retained those Marines most loyal to the Primarch; those that were unable to accept the constraints of the Codex became the Black Templars; and those who embraced the Codex became the Crimson Fists and Fists Exemplar. Subsequent Foundings of Imperial Fists Successors were created according to one of those viewpoints, depending on how they were created, sometimes trough officers seconded from their Progenitor, until the Succesor Chapters developed their own experienced leadership.[33b]

It is noted that the Imperial Fists successor Chapters form a particularly tightly knit brotherhood of Space Marines, three of which are known to participate in the Feast of Blades, including the Imperial Fists. [16x]

Noted Elements of the Imperial Fists

Relics and Artifacts

Notable Vessels

Named Vehicles

Notable Members

Heresy Era
Unique Troops

Related Videos


An Imperial Fists Force. Foreground: Terminator Veteran Squad, led by First Captain Darnath Lysander, and Dreadnought; Background: Tactical Squad, Devastator Squad.

See also