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Iron Hands

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2drones.gif This article is about the Space Marine Legion; for the Novel by Jonathan Green, see Iron Hands (Novel).

The Iron Hands were the X Legion of the twenty original Space Marine Legions, sometimes referred to as the "Iron Tenth". Their Primarch is Ferrus Manus. Like the other loyalist Legions, much of the Iron Hands forces would later, according to the dictates of the Codex Astartes, be re-organized into smaller Chapters. The Iron Hands are notable for their heavy use of bionics and their reverence for all things mechanical, and thus their close ties to the Adeptus Mechanicus.

Marine Basic Data Chapter Symbol
IHProfilePrimaris.jpg
- Iron Hands -
Legion Number: X
Primarch: Ferrus Manus
Chapter Master: Kardan Stronos, elected by the Iron Council[53e]
Homeworld: Medusa
Fortress-Monastery: None, Substituted by Ten Mobile Fortresses[17]
Known Descendants: Brazen Claws, Iron Fists, Iron Lords, Red Talons, Sons of MedusaPlease see:[39], Star Dragons (speculated)[40]
Colours: Black and Silver[25]
Specialty: Bionics
Battle Cry: The Flesh Is Weak!
IHSymbol.jpg
Miniature
IronHandMarine.jpg


Homeworld

Great Crusade-era Iron Hand[21c]

Medusa is located near the Eye of Terror. Its landscape is harsh and generally unstable, with massive tectonic shifts occurring on a regular basis. Medusa is not united by any single government, but instead is populated by disparate clans of miners living out of great tracked vehicles travelling in caravans. There are only two notable locations on Medusa: a volcano known as Karaashi, which was the location of the arrival of Ferrus Manus on the planet, and the Land of Shadows. The Land of Shadows is populated only by ghostly relics of ages past and is said to be haunted by the spirits of Medusans long dead; those who go there only go in order to become supplicants to the Iron Hands' recruitment process.[Needs Citation]

History

Origins

Originally known as the Storm Walkers[31] or Stormwalkers[22a], the legion was created during the latter days of the Unification Wars on Terra. Recruitment bases at this time were spread widely all across the planet, but the warlike cultures of Albia in particular provided effective initiates for the Legion. The Legion's first instance of recorded combat was in the Sol system against a Mutant warband known as Scythers. Shortly thereafter they exterminated the Xenos Lyasx on the world of Oberath. While the Legion was victorious in both actions, they did not yet seem to specialize in any area of warfare. It was only during the invasion of the Ork-held Planet 02-34 (designated 'Rust') that the Legion's effectiveness in utilizing slow-moving mass firepower became apparent.[21a]

Ferrus Manus

The Primarch of what would later officially become the Iron Hands, Ferrus Manus (also known as "The Gorgon"), was among the first of the Emperor's sons to be rediscovered.[21a] The early history of Ferrus Manus is chronicled in the folklore of Medusa. The most popular of these tales is the "Canticle of Travels", which details the trials of Ferrus Manus and his ordeal with the Great Silver Wyrm known as Asirnoth. The Canticle is the only tale that even attempts to explain the mystery of how Ferrus Manus came by his living metal hands. Ferrus Manus never united the people of his homeworld in the way most of the other Primarchs had, on the basis that competition grew greater strength. When the Emperor eventually came to Medusa, Ferrus Manus tested himself against him as well in a cataclysmic battle that is said to have lain waste to entire mountains. Finally having found someone his equal, Ferrus accepted the Emperor as his master and took command of the X Legion of Space Marines, which was renamed the Iron Hands in his honor.[21a]

With the Gorgon at their head, the Iron Hands quickly became renowned for their ability to confront enemies of the Great Crusade head-on, gaining a reputation as ruthless and calculating fighters. They excelled at high-intensity warfare against both technologically advanced foes and brutal xenos such as Orks whose sheer power and vast numbers constituted a grave threat to the success of the Crusade. Soon enough, the Iron Hands became known as the Iron Tenth and were deliberately deployed to battlefronts where set-piece engagements against massed armies were likely. As their battle style required advanced war engines, the Iron Hands began to establish their notoriously close ties with the Adeptus Mechanicus, whose culture was astonishingly similar to their own.[21a] One of the most notable campaigns waged by the Iron Hands during the Great Crusade was that against the Diasporex.[Needs Citation]

The Horus Heresy

At the outset of the Heresy, Fulgrim — the Primarch of the Emperor's Children — tried to turn Ferrus Manus to join the side of the traitors. When Ferrus refused, Fulgrim had his fleet launch a crippling attack on the Iron Hands vessels, although he could not bring himself to kill his brother. In the wake of this betrayal, Ferrus took as many of his veterans as he could onboard one of the few undamaged vessels to participate in the loyalist attack on Isstvan V. This proved to be a disaster when four of the supposedly loyal Legions turned on their allies, resulting in horrendous casualties amongst the Raven Guard and Salamanders Legions and the death of Ferrus Manus and his entire retinue.[3] Rumors persist that Ferrus Manus's corpse was taken to Mars but the Iron Hands deny any such claims. They bear a grudge against all the participants of the Heresy: the traitors, for being weak enough to become corrupted, but also against the other loyalists, for not being strong enough to protect the Emperor.[10] After the massacre, scattered survivors of the Iron Hands under Ulrach Branthan, and later Cadmus Tyro, along with remnants of the Salamanders and Raven Guard began a campaign of vengeance against those that had betrayed them on Isstvan V, organizing aboard the Sisypheum.[18] Meanwhile, additional Iron Hands survivors under Shadrak Meduson continued their own guerrilla war, nearly assassinating Horus, Fulgrim and Mortarion during the Battle of Dwell. Meduson attempted to reforge the Iron Hands and their Raven Guard and Salamanders allies into a new Legion to battle Horus directly, but was undermined by the crazed Cult of the Gorgon which claimed that it had resurrected Ferrus Manus. Ultimately Meduson, driven by vengeance, was slain at the Battle of the Aragna Chain.[35] Meanwhile, another Iron Hands force under Autek Mor was able to destroy the World Eaters-controlled planet of Bodt.[Needs Citation]

Post-Heresy

Following the Horus Heresy, the Iron Hands were in a state of disarray and still reeling fron their near-destruction. While many Imperial factions bayed for blood and rushed to vent their fury upon their betrayers, the Iron Hands gathered their strength on Medusa and convened the Iron Council in a conclave known forever after as The Tempering. It was this gathering that determined the Human race itself – in all contemptible emotion – was to blame for the Heresy, and must be purged of flaws. So it was that the Iron Hands determined their guiding mission. They would exact payment for the wrongs done to them, but with a measured ruthlessness. In their every thought and deed, they would seek out weakness and destroy it, replacing it with machine-like fortitude. Thus began a bloody campaign that continues to this day, fought by the Iron Hands and those amongst their successors shaped by their teachings.[53a]

After the events of the Horus Heresy the remaining members of the Iron Hands Legion were split up into smaller Chapters. It was also decided that no single individual would command the Iron Hands again. All of the surviving Iron Hands were assembled on Medusa for a conclave known as "The Tempering". There it was decided that the Iron Council would oversee the sons of the Gorgon.[22a] Meanwhile the Mechanicum devised a scheme to edit a pre-Imperial document in order to better manipulate the Iron Hands to their will. This document became known as the Canticle of Travels.[37]

The known descendants of the Iron Hands at this time were the Red Talons and the Brazen Claws.[11]

Recent History

  • Moirae Schism (c. M35): A civil conflict which occurred during the Nova Terra Interregnum. During this schism, which affected all branches of the Adeptus Mechanicus and those Imperial factions closely tied to it, the Iron Hands chapter stood at the brink of destroying itself in an internal chapter war. The crisis came to a head when Moirae elements of Clan Dorrvok attempted to seize Chapter Gene-Seed and impose adherence to their creed at a genetic level. In the end, they were stopped by Clan Raukaan.[53f] Ultimately the Great Clan Council of the Iron Hands were able to settle the matter by exiling the Moirae dissidents from the chapter, with both sides swearing never to take up arms against each other. Almost a full third of the chapter split away to become a fleet based divergent branch of the Iron Hands. This branch became known as the Sons of Medusa.[5]
Iron Hands Tactical marine[22]
  • The False Saint] (c. M41): elements of the Third Company lead the assault on the stronghold of the False Saint, the daemon-possessed body of Saint Drusus, on the storm-riddled dead world of Grangold in the Calixis Sector. Though wiped out in battle with the daemonic forces of Tzeentch, their actions allows elements of the Imperial Guard, led by agents of the Inquisition, to banish the False Saint and close the Warp portal the daemon was opening.[16]
  • Thirteenth Black Crusade (999.M41): The Iron Hands commit all ten clans against the forces of the Black Crusade. During this conflict the Iron Hands' Home World, Meusa, is invaded by Chaos forces; these forces are eventually defeated by the combined forces of all the Clan Companies.[6]

Undated

Beliefs and Reputation

Iron Hands Battling Dark Eldar[22]
An Iron Hands Techmarine leads their forces in battle[40a]

The Iron Hands have a reputation for being relatively straightforward and incredibly harsh. In the Battle of Thranx for example the resources of several depleted Clan Companies were pooled for a full-frontal assault using five Land Raiders against a facility bristling with anti-tank defenses that had made a mockery of previous attempts with whole armoured companies; in the retaking of the Contqual Subsector, one-third of the population was summarily executed after a successful campaign simply to demonstrate the price of weakness. [10] They are also known to be on poor terms with the Raven Guard and after the liberation of the Kelldar System from an Ork Waaagh! in 810.M41 refused to sit at the same feasting table as their Raven Guard allies.[19b]

Bionics

The Iron Hands are infamous for their extensive use of bionics, which has helped bring them into a close relationship with the Adeptus Mechanicus.[9a] After the Horus Heresy, when the Legions were reorganized into Chapters, the Iron Hands became recluses, attempting to find ways to make themselves even stronger so that they would be fit for serving under Ferrus Manus again at the end of times. To this end, they have made it a practice to make extensive use of bionic modifications, going so far that there are rumours of some battle brothers being wholly mechanical. Iron Hands consider the greatest honour they can receive is to be interred in Dreadnought armour.[9a] It is in the so-called Blessing of Iron ritual that the Iron Hands replace parts of their bodies with Bionics.[Needs Citation]

The Iron Hands also eschew the traditional office of Chaplain in favor of their Iron Fathers, specially trained Techmarines who serve to protect the faith of their brethren; some outsiders view this, as well as the Iron Hands' ties to the Adeptus Mechanicus, as an unhealthy relationship.[10]

Forgechain

While many Iron Hands use skull-studs to denote long service in the same manner as other Chapters, in recent years some have begun using a strange augmetic known as the Forgechain. The Forgechain is a series of augmetic vertebrae. Each new vertebrae shows acceptance into a another Clan. Each company makes its own links so all links in the chain are different. Clan Dorrvok for example uses plain steel to form the first vertebrae for each of their new Scouts. Clan Sorrgol's is formed from a finely tooled galvanite alloy. Clan Raukaan is black Sigilanium veined with Theldrite circuitry. The chain serves as a reminder to the wearer of the bonds that bind the chapter together. Some believe it is to echo the chains that Ferrus bound around the Iron Hands' hearts. [22]

Possible Tech-Heresy

Adeptus Mechanicus Mech-wright Calymn Auros reported possible Iron Hands tech-heresy that he had found in the Jericho Reach. Calymn Auros wrote he had witnessed "terrifying biomechanical behemoths fusing man and machine into living weapons" that fought alongside the Iron Hands against the Stigmartus hordes in the Acheros Salient and sported their heraldry on their hulls. He claimed to have examined the burnt-out wreckage of another of these weapon-studded behemoths and he was convinced it was "animated by the essence of an Iron Hands Battle-Brother who had entirely shed every cell of his biological heritage, little more than pure hate and rage remaining to drive him ever onwards". Auros also claimed to have shared his findings with Inquisitor Calistair. Archmagos Zynth received the report but his reaction consisted only in ordering to send out mono-task servitors and a Secutor to the Cellebos Warzone and retrieve Calymn for adjustment as he believed him corrupted.[13]

Geneseed

There are no noted physical flaws with the Iron Hand's gene-seed, but some speculate that their fanatical hatred of weakness and physical frailty may in fact result from a genetic flaw in their gene-seed. Unusually, it appears that the Inquisition is relatively unconcerned about the Chapter as a whole - it would appear that if they have identified a actual flaw in the Chapter, they choose not to act on it as they do not regard this flaw as inherently dangerous to the Imperium.[10]

The ritual of taking in the Gene-Seed of the Iron Hands is known as the Taking of the Soulsteel. During the ritual, Neophytes purge themselves of fear, pain, and anger and repress mortal weakness with mantras of cold logic.[53e]

Organization

Organization of a typical Iron Hands Clan[12]

The Iron Hands are organised in a similar fashion to a Codex Chapter but with several distinct differences: The Chapter consists of ten "Clan Companies" based on the Clans of Medusa[40a] which are composed in a fashion comparable to that of a Codex Battle Company. Each Clan Company is an independent entity, responsible for its own recruitment and, as such. Each Clan also possesses a colossal mobile fortress, a Land Behemoth.[17]

The Great Clan Council

Each Clan Company chooses a member to serve in the ruling body of the Chapter, Great Clan Council (also called the Iron Council.[19a]) The organizational structure of the Iron Hands changed after the Horus Heresy and the death of Ferrus Manus and it was decided that no single warrior should be leader of the Iron Hands. Instead, the Clan Captains and most revered warriors of the Legion formed the Iron Council. Those who sit on the Council are known as Iron Fathers, and the body has guided the Iron Hands ever since.[19a] Due to the reverence for the mechanical amongst Iron Hands, the council members are often Venerable Dreadnoughts.[10] Precisely forty-one Iron Fathers sit on the Iron Council.[22a]

The Iron Council elects the Chapter Master of the Iron Hands, as unlike in most other Chapters the holder does not bear the title for life.[53e]

Clan Companies

The bulk of the Chapter is divided into ten Clan Companies. The Clan Companies are based off of the historic Clans of Medusa, which are in a state of constant war with one another as well as the harsh elements of their world. Though Ferrus Manus long ago united Medusa under his rule, the Iron Hands make no effort to end the fighting between the clans. They view the constant warfare as weeding out the weak and shaping strong recruits for the Chapter. Each of the ten current Clan Companies continues to utilize the symbols and traditions associated with their corresponding Clan on Medusa.[40a] As should be of little surprise, the Iron Hands have a reputation for aloofness among the people of Medusa. Indeed, they wish to forget the fragile, contemptible flesh that once they were. This has never been more true than with the energies of the Great Rift blazing down. Deliberate contact between the Chapter and the clans who supply its recruits are few and fleeting outside of tithing season. Even when Dark Eldar raiders make planetfall in search of slaves, the Chapter seldom intervenes, reasoning that the attacks will serve to temper the Medusans to greatness.[53c]

Each Clan is a self-contained unit not dissimilar to a Codex Astartes Battle Company; however, each Clan is responsible for its own recruiting and maintenance of its motorpool. Each Clan, in addition, possesses a mobile Land Behemoth fortress monastery on Medusa which they consider their base of operations. Some materials is traded between the Clans, but still they are often in open competition with one another.[10] They are known to compete politically and even sometimes come to blows. The Clan system developed as a reaction to the Drop Site Massacre during the Horus Heresy when large numbers of Iron Hands Captains were slain, creating confusion among the collective Iron Hands ranks.[37] The Chapter's fleet disposition is unknown.[Needs Citation]

Clans in the Iron Hands are more than simple companies, they are each distinct not only culturally but also in how they wage war and view their service to the Emperor: Clan Garrsak for instance values collective unity while Clan Vurgaan hordes captured enemy weaponry.[37]

While Clan Companies are fixed, their place within the Codex Astartes and Iron Hands organization is not. For instance, had it not been for the efforts of Iron Father Feirros on the Iron Council Clan Raukaan would have lost its status as the 3rd Company and may have instead been "demoted" to a Reserve Company.[53c]

Chapter Disposition (post-Great Rift)

Headquarters[53b]
Chapter Command
Apothecarion Librarius Chaplaincy
Clan Companies[53b]
Veteran Company Battle Companies
1st Company 2nd Company 3rd Company 4th Company 5th Company

Clan Avernii "The Forge-Born"

IH1.jpg

Clan Garrsak "The Tempered Wardens"

IH2.jpg

Clan Raukaan "The Firehearts"

IH3.jpg

Clan Kaargul "The Watchers of Karaashi"

IH4.jpg

Clan Haarmek "The Relic Guard"

IH5.jpg
Reserve Companies Scout Company
6th Company 7th Company 8th Company 9th Company 10th Company

Clan Sorrgol "The Watchkeepers"

IH6.jpg

Clan Borrgos "The Will of the Omnissiah"

IH7.jpg

Clan Morlaag "The Fist of Manus"

IH8.jpg

Clan Vurgaan "The Brothers of Iburaani"

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Clan Dorrvok "The Crucible"

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Heresy-Era Clans

Iron Fathers

A Terminator Armour equipped Iron Hands Marine.[9b]

The traditional Chaplains' role of other Chapters is fulfilled by Iron Fathers, specially trained Techmarines who serve to protect the faith of their brethren.[10] Iron Fathers also sit on the Iron Council of the Chapter.[19a]

Terminators and Veteran Sergeants

After the events of the Battle of Isstvan V the Iron Hands lost most of their veteran forces. Therefore, suits of Terminator armour are even more rare than normally is the case. Due to this the deployment of full Terminator Squads is also rare. However, sergeants are often equipped with suits of Terminator armour as the inspirational value they provide to their squads is invaluable.[10]

Recruitment

Each of the Clan Companies of the Iron Hands is responsible for their own recruitment. These new recruits are taken from the nomadic Clans of Medusa. Only those of great physical and mental strength are recruited and during the recruitment candidates have their weaknesses purged from them.[9a]

Equipment

Noted Elements of the Iron Hands

Iron Hands battling Eldar[22]
Iron Hand battling Orks[22]

Relics

Vessels

Vehicles

Most notable Members

Heresy Era

Post Heresy

Unique Troops

The Iron Hands possess a number of unique ranks and troop types:

Notes on Hierarchy

The exact commander of the Iron Hands has been fairly convoluted throughout publication history.

  • Later, Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition) describes the Chapter as being overseen by the Chapter Council and lacking a formal Chapter Master. However, Kardan Stronos is the first among peers on the council due to his reputation and instead serves as a de facto leader.[19a]

Related Articles

Sources