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Targetdrone.gif This article is about the Chaos Space Marine Legion. For other uses of Iron Warriors, see Iron Warriors (disambiguation).
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Iron Warriors[1a]

Legion Number IV[1a]
Primarch Perturabo[29a]
Homeworld Olympia[29a]
Current Base Medrengard in the Eye of Terror[29a]
Chaos Affiliation Chaos Undivided[29a]
Colours Silver armour, gold trim, black shoulder pads[29a]
Specialty Siege Warfare[29a]
Battle Cry Iron Within, Iron Without![1f]

The Iron Warriors were the IV Legion of the twenty original Space Marine Legions. Their Primarch is Perturabo. They were one of the nine legions which betrayed the Emperor during the Horus Heresy, becoming Chaos Space Marines.[1a]

Their specialty is siege warfare and the reduction of fortified positions, which made them natural rivals of the Imperial Fists even before the Heresy.[1a][1c] The Iron Warriors are also fierce close-range fighters, witnesses comparing their ferocity to the berserkers of the World Eaters traitor legion or the loyalist Blood Angels.[1d] They make common use of slave-soldiers as cannon fodder to wither the ammunition supplies of the besieged and to locate the positions of enemy gun emplacements.[1f] Like the Iron Hands they used bionics often to replace mutated limbs, as they hated all forms of mutation.[22a]


Unification Wars-era Iron Warrior[20e]


Originally created as the IVth Legion, the Legion was founded atop the wreckage of a recidivist fortress on the Terran Auro Plateau of Sek-Amrak. The warlike gun-tribes in the surrounding areas made up the first of the Legion's Marines. The early IVth Legion proved itself in the Unification Wars, making its domain one of the most stalwart bastions of the Emperor. The Legion's gene-seed showed above average adaptability and a below average resistance rate to Bionics. This allowed the Legion to be one of the largest and the earliest deployed alongside the I Legion and V Legion.[20a]

The Legion continued to distinguish itself in the conquest of the Sol System during the early days of the Great Crusade, winning honours in many battles, most notably in the Mehr Yasht campaign on Venus, where the IVth Legion was commanded by the Emperor himself to defeat the deadly Litho-Gholem armies of the War Witches. In light of their early successes, the Legion was given first access to new equipment being delivered from Mars. The Legion led the 8th Expeditionary Fleet, which distinguished itself in many campaigns. However, the Legion did not adapt their tactics to the new realities of the expanding Crusade, and was called unimaginative by other Space Marine Legions and by Horus himself. Horus however was impressed by their stubbornness and would use the Legion to fight inglorious but vital campaigns of attrition. They soon became known as the workhorse Legion, relied upon for their tenaciousness and following orders to the letter. It was during this time that the Legion began to spread itself out, garrisoning many worlds and fighting many smaller campaigns across the expanding Imperium.[20a]

One of the Legion's most tragic episodes would come in 842.M30 during the liberation of the Forge World of Incaladion: The stubborn IVth Legion used their typical tactics of heavy artillery and armored spearheads, and suffered staggering losses in a protracted siege. Nearly 29,000 Legionaries died over the year long campaign, virtually annihilating the 8th Expeditionary Fleet.[20a]

Meanwhile, the Iron Warriors' Primarch, Perturabo, was raised on Olympia, a mountainous planet divided into warring city-states. Because of the rugged terrain, military supremacy revolved around the construction of stone fortresses and the control of strategic mountain passes. Perturabo had an affinity for cold logic and the use of technology which made him a superb military engineer. By the time the Emperor's Great Crusade reached Olympia, Perturabo was warlord to the Tyrant of Lochos. As was his custom when one of his lost sons was found, the Emperor gave Perturabo rule over his home planet and relocated his Legion's headquarters there.[1a] Upon taking command of his Legion, Perturabo reviewed the war record of his new forces. After heavily analyzing their record, effectiveness, doctrines, and practices, Perturabo found them wanting. His punishment was decimation. By lottery, one in every ten Legionaries was chosen to be beaten to death by his comrades. Such would be Perturabo's reign: brutal and unforgiving.[20a]

Even before they were reunited with their Primarch, the Space Marines of the IV Legion had inherited his military qualities. Perturabo quickly recruited new troops from Olympia and embarked on a campaign against the nearby moon base known as the Rock of Judgement, ruled by the Black Judges. It was a stunning success, though only fragmentary records of it survive in the aftermath of the Horus Heresy.[1a]

The Great Crusade

Pre-Heresy Iron Warrior Space Marine[1b]

Quickly recognised as experts in the art of siege warfare, the Iron Warriors were regularly called upon to exercise their skills in cracking open enemy defences. This had an unfortunate effect on the character of their Legion. By their nature, sieges are the most grinding and demoralising type of warfare: long periods of tedium and unspectacular labour, broken by episodes of merciless, close-quarters brutality. The Iron Warriors saw the storming of the breach as an escape from the tedium, and developed into ferocious close quarters fighters. They even came to prefer for enemy strongholds not to surrender, thus justifying the slaughter of everyone within once the fortresses were taken.[1b] It became the Legion's curse (one of many) that these episodes of brutality eclipsed their superb affinity for the application of logic and mathematics to military problems in the eyes of their fellow Space Marines and the Imperium as a whole.[14d] Even in its earliest days before officially being dubbed the Iron Warriors, the Legion was known for its thankless and brutal siege operations which led to the informal slang as the Corpse Grinders. However the use of this term was frowned down upon by Imperial authorities, and could even result in punishment.[75]

Heresy-era symbol

Given their expertise at constructing and manning fortresses, the Legion also found itself constantly diminishing in active crusading size as units were detached from it to act as garrison troops watching over worlds in the process of compliance. The most famous of these garrisons was that of the Iron Keep on Delgas II, where a single ten-marine squad of Iron Warriors watched over a disgruntled population of 130 million.[1b] It is unknown why the Iron Warriors were so often selected for such assignments, or why Perturabo always accepted such orders without protest, but it is supposed that it began to inflict serious damage to the Legion's morale. Even Space Marines need rest, but the Crusade gave them none.[1c] A particularly brutal battle of the Great Crusade for the Iron Warriors was the thankless Sak'trada Deeps Campaign against the Hrud, which resulted in heavy casualties on a strategically far-off and worthless system.[25]

Worse, their "typecasting" as siege engineers or garrison troops set them apart from their brother Legions and made them feel increasingly marginalized. In particular they were aggrieved by the Imperial Fists, whose Primarch, Rogal Dorn, often boasted about the impregnability of the defences they had constructed around the Imperial Palace on Terra. Perturabo was not the only one of the Primarchs who found his brother Dorn boastful and arrogant, but Perturabo was unable to let the insults to himself and his Legion pass, and these continued to fester in his heart.[1c] Likewise, Corax, the Primarch of the Raven Guard, made little secret of his contempt for Perturabo and his Legion, dismissing them as stolid attritionists, anathema to Corax's own concept of fluid, hit-and-run warfare.[19]

The Iron Warriors did little to improve relations with the rest of the Imperium's armed forces. They maintained a cold and rude relationship with their fellow Space Marine Legions, while to the Imperial Army they became known as the Corpse Grinders for the high casualties their forces experienced under Iron Warriors command. Imperial Army regiments began to mutiny rather than be placed under Iron Warriors command or continue with their bloody attacks. Horus remedied the situation by ensuring that only criminals and slaves would be transferred to Perturabo.[20a]

The Turning Point

The growing disillusionment that began to show itself during bitter and pointless battles such as the Sak'trada Deeps Campaign would eventually translate into a tragic explosion of despair and rage as the Iron Warriors learned that their own homeworld, Olympia, had revolted against Imperial rule. Enraged, Perturabo drew his Legion away from the extermination campaign they were waging upon the Hrud and led them homewards, falling upon the world with no mercy. The planet was battered into submission, and he gave orders that the cities were to enact decimation, killing one in every ten of their own or face extermination and enslavement. Cities burned, and over five million inhabitants were killed. Some Iron Warriors refused to take part in the genocide, and they too were struck down.[25a] In the aftermath, the legion as a whole seemed aghast at their actions, aware that they had committed an unforgivable atrocity.[1c][1d]

However, before word of their actions could reach the other arms of the Imperium, the Iron Warriors once again received orders to move into action. This time it was to move to the Isstvan system. While the Iron Warriors had been engaged in suppressing the rebellion on Olympia, the Galaxy had turned upside down: Horus had rebelled against the Emperor, Fulgrim, Angron and Mortarion had joined him, and the Space Wolves had slaughtered the Thousand Sons on Prospero. If the Iron Warriors had committed an outrage on Olympia, then their brother Legions seemed determined to outdo them; the Horus Heresy had begun.[1d] Horus promised Perturabo not only forgiveness for his genocide on Olympia but even commended him for it. So Perturabo soon swore a secret oath of loyalty to the Warmaster.[1c]

The Horus Heresy

Heresy-era Iron Warriors Space Marine[20f]

The Iron Warriors were ordered to join the second assault on the Traitors' position on Isstvan V, but instead declared their true allegiance to Horus and fell upon their former brothers of the Raven Guard and the Iron Hands without mercy during the Drop Site Massacre.[1d] Following the Massacre on Isstvan V, the next major action of the Iron Warriors was the ambush of the Imperial Fists fleet at Phall.[13]

Following the action at Phall and the reduction of Hydra Cordatus, the Legion under Perturabo's personal command would journey with Fulgrim to the Crone World of Iydris, pursuing an ancient weapon known as the Angel Exterminatus. However the entire affair was a ploy by Fulgrim to achieve daemonhood.[14]

After this incident Perturabo and his Iron Warriors found themselves trapped by the singularity in the heart of the Eye of Terror. In a desperate gamble, their fleet dove straight into the heart of the Eye of Terror, and were transported far across the Warp to the Tallarn System. Once arriving at Tallarn, Perturabo was made aware of the Black Oculus (also known as the Cursus of Alganar) hidden beneath the planet, and he immediately drew up plans to acquire it.[23]

The intended hit-and-seize raid turned into a protracted conflict, as both the Traitors and the Imperium poured war material to their respective allies on Tallarn, neither willing to admit defeat. Over a million armored vehicles fought across the desert, which is reckoned as the largest tank confrontation in Imperial history, until eventually the Iron Warriors were forced to retreat without the Cursus.[5] So great were their losses that Perturabo had to launch a mass recruitment program to replenish their strength in the aftermath.[79]

After Tallarn, the Iron Warriors were assigned to guard worlds to the rear of Horus' front that since the death of the Ruinstorm were now threatened by the advance of the Ultramarines. Many of these worlds served as the Traitor's chief supply line. Overextended, under-supplied, and engaging in thankless bitter sieges against the forces of Roboute Guilliman, the Iron Warriors took heavy losses and found themselves in a situation similar to that of the Great Crusade.[26] This situation was interrupted when Perturabo received orders to find Angron and muster at Ullanor in preparation for the Siege of Terra. Despite having to abandon large amounts of warriors and worlds they bitterly bled for for many years, Perturabo dutifully obeyed. Though many Iron Warriors were lost in the ensuing redeployments, Perturabo succeeded in arriving at Ullanor with Angron and his World Eaters.[26] During the Siege of Terra Perturabo became the face of Horus' war to the loyalists, engaging in the ultimate siege against his rival brother Rogal Dorn. The Iron Warriors led the assault against the Lion's Gate Spaceport and Gorgon Bar during the battle.[52] Hopwever the setback at the Saturnine Wall, Perturabo began to despair over the state of his allies. All save he and the Iron Warriors had by now fully fallen to Chaos, and with his warriors marched all kinds of Warp abominations. Perturabo realized that the war was no longer one of Legion vs. Legion and the ultimate test against his brother Rogal was now tainted. The final straw for Perturabo came after Horus informed Perturabo that he was to disperse his Iron Warriors amongst the various warzones and that his position was to be taken over by Mortarion and the Death Guard. Finally having had enough, Perturabo ordered the Iron Warriors to evacuate Terra and withdrew to the Iron Blood.[70]

In the end, Horus was defeated by the Emperor, and the bulk of the Iron Warriors retreated into the Eye of Terror, while the rest sought to defend their scattered empire across Imperial space. Jointly assault by both the Imperial Fists and the Ultramarines, Olympia itself held out for two years. Eventually, the Iron Warriors triggered their own missile stockpiles when defeat was near, transforming the planet into a barren wasteland that, like the other Traitor Legion homeworlds, was declared perdita. After the events at Terra the remaining garrisons of Iron Warriors dispersed across the galaxy, digging into the Empire of Iron and continuing to be a thorn in the Imperium's side.[1d][72]


Post-Heresy Iron Warriors shoulderpad symbol
Iron warriors' Chaos Space Marine

Perturabo soon devised and enacted the one real victory for the Iron Warriors in the immediate aftermath of the Horus Heresy. He crafted a trap on Sebastus IV, designed to ensnare Rogal Dorn and the Imperial Fists, with whom Perturabo and his warriors harboured a bitter rivalry. This trap was known as the Eternal Fortress, a keep centered within twenty square miles of bunkers, towers, minefields, trenches, tank traps and redoubts. Upon hearing of this, Rogal Dorn publicly declared that he "would dig Perturabo out of his hole and bring him back to Terra in an iron cage". As a result of this statement, the ensuing battle has become known as the Iron Cage or "Iron Cage Incident".[1d]

Rogal Dorn expected an honourable battle, but this was not to be. Beginning by isolating the four Companies of the Imperial Fists that landed from their orbital support, Perturabo began to carefully divide his enemy and destroy them piecemeal. Some Imperial Fists managed to penetrate the defences and reach the center of the Eternal Fortress, only to find there was no central keep - simply an open space watched by yet more defenses. The fortress was a decoy of no real value. By the sixth day of the siege, Imperial Fists Space Marines were fighting individually, without support, using the bodies of their own battle brothers for cover.[1d]

The siege of the Eternal Fortress lasted for a further three weeks. Relief came only in the form of Roboute Guilliman and a force of Ultramarines. The sacrifice of over four hundred loyalist Marines' gene-seed paved the way for Perturabo's ascension to Daemon Prince. Following this, the Iron Warriors retreated into the Eye of Terror and Perturabo crowned the world of Medrengard as the new home of the Legion.[1e] Since then, Perturabo has remained on Medrengard while his Legion both continues the Long War while warbands periodically battle one another.[1d] Their grudge against the Sons of Dorn has, however, endured the long millennia, and even now, the Iron Warriors take great pleasure in tearing down the defences of the Imperial Fists.[74b]

A major crisis hit the Iron Warriors when in 600.M34 a civil war shattered the Legion into various warbands.[23]

The Iron Warriors pay homage to the Chaos Gods as a pantheon, though few of them are especially devoted. Their primary loyalty is to Perturabo, who they view as having saved from from being sacrificed in the galactic ambitions of the Emperor.[74a]

In the aftermath of the 13th Black Crusade, the Iron Warriors have expanded into the Imperium Nihilus, raising enormous, hideous citadels in their wake; monuments of their own malice, cruelty, and ego. These are often jagged towers, surrounded by living razor wire and daemon-haunted trenches. They hold a particular reputation as Warp-Masons and martial engineers as a result of this.[74b]

Notable Engagements Post-Heresy

A Post-Heresy Iron Warrior[8]



They have an efficiency about them that makes their corruption all the darker. It lies deep indeed to leave the surface undisturbed. Discipline without, but in their hearts is a deviance I am glad I cannot imagine.

Reclusiarch Lycaon of the Imperial Fists.[21]


Pre-Heresy Iron Warrior Space Marine [20d]

Even before being reunited with their Primarch Perturabo the Iron Warriors were known for an affinity with technology and the clinical application of logic to military problems. This affinity was channeled by Perturabo, a skilled practitioner of siegecraft, into the mastery of that form of warfare. These abilities were increased by cross-training with the Mechanicum. The Iron Warriors' Warsmiths could match skills with Magi and it is said that Perturabo could beat any and all in the art of machine engineering. Their methodical attitude made them merciless men in battle and siege. After the siege works were built there was a choice given to the besiegers; either to throw down their arms then and there or the Iron Warriors would show no mercy. Just like many other Legions they soon gained the reputation of brutality during siege, not to mention their merciless manner after the siege had taken place.[20b]

A number of warrior societies within the Legion also existed during this time, most notably the Dodekatheon, Apolakron, Kheledakos, and Lyssatra. It also maintained a special unit known as the Stor-Bezashk, which commanded mighty siege weapons unseen outside of the Adeptus Mechanicus' Ordo Reductor itself.[20b] The Iron Warriors suffered a great deal of dispersion during the Great Crusade, with various units being detached for separate siege and garrison missions.[1b]

The strategic command of the Legion was overseen by Grand Battalions, which functioned similarly to a Chapter, but had a larger stockpile of armor, artillery, and logistical support than other Legions. The Iron Warriors had a notably high rate of attrition, so the strength of the Grand Battalions fluctuated: Some had as little as 500 Legionaries and others had an excess of 4,000. Severely depleted Grand Battalions were folded together into active units. Grand Battalions were commonly divided into Cohorts or Grand Companies. Below these were Line Companies and Armor Centuries. The companies roughly had 100 Legionaries and the centuries had a range of 20 to 50 armor units. In each Grand Battalion there were elements of the Tyranthikos, informally known as the Dominators - these were the Legion's Terminator veterans.[20a]

Tactically, Iron Warriors were organised as a number of Grand Companies each commanded by a Warsmith. Originally each Grand Company would have had a similar organisation, totaling around 1,000 Space Marines. At the time of the Horus Heresy, the Legion had at least twelve Companies, although with the widespread deployment of many small detachments of the Legion at the time it is impossible to be sure if this figure of around 12,000 fighting Astartes was their maximum strength.[1f] The overall size of the Legion was between 150,000 and 180,000 Marines.[20c]


Iron Warriors in action[1f]

Their current organisation is completely non-standard, particularly after their civil war fragmented the Legion.[23] A Grand Company will often be divided into component detachments led by lesser champions. A tendency towards operating in multiples of three has been noted.[1f] While their Primarch remains in his fortress at Medrengard, the Iron Warriors are now almost exclusively led by Warsmiths who command Grand Companies.[1f] A Warsmith is a high-ranking leader within the Iron Warriors Legion with control of a Grand Company, seemingly similar to a Chapter Master with several companies lead by Chaos Champions still called Captains. The Iron Warriors are known to pursue their recruitment programs aggressively, notably capturing a sizable source of pure gene-seed from the facility on Hydra Cordatus and using it to hot-house new Iron Warriors using a chaotic techno-organic method.[9] These new Iron Warriors are selected periodically by Warsmiths for their Grand Companies and subjected to various ordeals until they prove themselves worthy.[1e]

The first Obliterators witnessed amongst Chaos forces were amongst the Iron Warriors and, on rare occasions, Iron Warriors have manifested the ability to 'morph' weapons, although with nothing like the versatility of true Obliterators.[1f] Iron Warriors hate mutations so they cut off and replace all mutated limbs with cybernetics.[22a] Many of these cybernetics are, in turn, daemonically infused to the point of resembling the mutated Obliterators.[74b]

Iron Warriors Chaos Space Marines[74b]


The Iron Warriors are unparalleled masters of siege warfare as well as of building defensive fortifications and fortresses.[1c][1e][1f] They frequently set up field fortifications after making an initial landing[1d] Right after they set up their field fortifications and before the initial bombardment, the Iron Warriors will commonly send infiltration units ahead of the main force to disable the enemy's defenses and set up ambushes and conduct flank attacks while the main force charges the fortifications. Their attacks are slow and methodical, and once the enemy is at their mercy they will destroy them at their leisure.[1d] Wherever possible, they make frequent use of the Traitor Titan Legions, so much so some Imperial analysts believe the Titans to be part of the Legion itself.[1e]

The Iron Warriors are expert sappers and engineers and have aquired a variety of siege engines over the years, including Termites, Dreadclaws, a large assortment of Imperial-made artillery, and Leviathans. These are used sparingly and are maintained and guarded by the 1st Company. Additionally, they use a large number of Corvus Assault Pods which allow them to make use of any Titans and use them as mobile siege towers.[1e]

Many who face the Iron Warriors have believed that, due to their emphasis on long-ranged bombardments and gruelling sieges, that the Legion can be overwhelmed with a swift assault. The Iron Warriors are thoroughly experienced in brutal, close-quarters combat from their lengthy sieges, and are just as capable of crushing their enemies in hammer-blows of personal combat as they are from exhaustive bombardment.[74a]

Unbreakable Litany

From the time before the Horus Heresy, the Unbreakable Litany has been a meditative chant and battle-cry for the Iron Warriors, used by Perturabo himself:[14c]

"From Iron, cometh Strength. From Strength, cometh Will. From Will, cometh Faith. From Faith, cometh Honour. From Honour, cometh Iron. This is the Unbreakable Litany, and may it forever be so"[16]

Noted Elements of the Iron Warriors

Iron Warriors in battle[28]
Iron Warrior[29a]

Iron Warriors Armoury

Main article: Iron Warriors Armoury


Notable Members

Heresy Era
Post Heresy

Known Fortress Worlds

Unique Units

One of the first Iron Warriors picture from the Index Astartes[1b]

See also