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Space Wolves
Legion Number VI[40a]
Primarch Leman Russ[40a]
Homeworld Fenris[8j]
Fortress-Monastery The Fang[8j]
Chapter Master Logan Grimnar[45]
Colours Grey[21]
Specialty Assault, Close Combat[67]
Strength 12 Great Companies[45d]
Battle Cry "For Russ and the Allfather" or a feral howl[11]

The Space Wolves (also Sky Warriors of Russ, Rout or Vlka Fenryka or Wolves of Fenris in Fenrisian) were the VI Legion of the twenty Space Marine Legions. Their primarch is Leman Russ, and during the Great Crusade they gained a reputation as the Emperor's executioners and instruments of punishment.[16] After the Horus Heresy and the resultant reforms, the legion was divided, its first and only time, into two chapters: the new Space Wolves chapter retained the name of their parent Legion, while the second chapter took on the name of the Wolf Brothers. The latter however suffered from mutation and were disbanded.

The Space Wolves are notorious throughout the rest of the Imperium for their ferocity in battle and their defiance of authority, including the dictates of the Codex Astartes that govern the organization and combat doctrines of other Space Marine chapters. They are generally considered the greatest warriors of the loyalist Astartes Chapters.


Fenris is a death world that lies in the galactic north of Segmentum Solar. It is located relatively close to the Eye of Terror. It is also the planet where the mighty Space Wolves recruit their ranks and call home.[8j]

It is a relentless world of fire and ice, ravaged by the extremes of climate all year round. For the majority of its year the planet is blanketed by an extreme winter. The temperature of the planet drops so low that even the oceans ice over allowing its native Fenrisians to travel between its many islands without the need of a longship.[8j]

After its long elliptical journey the planet comes dangerously close to its sun. It is the short summer months when the planet is closest that the planet's crust is broken; burning great areas with lava flows, churning the seas, and causing massive tidal waves. It is during these months, referred to as the time of fire and water, that the whole of the planet changes its form. Islands are both destroyed and created in entirety, up heaving homes made during the winter and resulting in the population becoming once again nomadic barbarian tribes.[8j]

These primitives must settle the new lands quickly before supplies and manpower are exhausted otherwise their tribe will not survive the coming winter. This results in bloody war between them for new territories. So it has always been and shall be as it was directed by Leman Russ himself to keep his descendants strong and able. It is because of this life of constant warfare and continual migration that the child-gift is always the axe. Thus upon birth the first test has begun, for the child that does not grasp it is quickly cast into the frozen seas rather than risk him being the downfall of the tribe.[8j]

At the planet's northern pole is a single continent called Asaheim that alone is unaffected by the time of fire and water. This is the only location that a great many of planet's unique creatures can survive. These include snow trolls, shape-shifting doppegangrels, and massive wyrms that burrow the landscape. The deadliest of all these creatures is the Fenrisian wolf, a deadly predator with wits that are as sharp as its teeth. Though lethal on its own these keep to their namesake traveling the icy wastes in packs.[8j]

The symbol of the Space Wolves during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy[40f]

This remote land also houses the Sky Warriors of Russ and the hall of the gods. The ultimate triumph of Fenrisian culture is to become one of the chosen Sons of Russ and await the final battle at the end of the universe. Although Fenris is the home of the Space Wolves the chapter only houses the island continent. Their fortress, The Fang, lies at Asaheim's largest peak. The peak rises above the clouds and even beyond the atmosphere where the space faring vessels of the Rout are docked.[8j]

VI Legion Space Marine before the discovery of Leman Russ[40d]


Early Days

Before the coming of their Primarch Leman Russ, the Space Wolves were known as the VI Legion and was made up of a diverse range of savage and hyper-violent tribesmen from Terra. Alongside the Salamanders and Alpha Legion, the early Space Wolves were among the "Trefoil" Legions, those given highly specialized and unique Gene-Seed by the Emperor for unknown ends. Like the other Trefoil Legions, the VIth was held back from most of the fighting in the Unification Wars and the conquest of the Sol System. The Emperor kept the Legion in deliberate isolation from the rest of their peers.[40a]

A decade into the Great Crusade, the VI Legion was finally "unleashed" onto the Galaxy by the Emperor. Its first major battle saw all 3,500 Legionaries of the VIth assail the world of Delsvaan as part of the 1st Expeditionary Fleet under the command of the Emperor himself. The VIth operation was led by the Legion's first Master, Enoch Rathvin, who initiated a vicious shock assault on the enemy lines. It was during this battle that the VIth reputation for vicious and brutal assaults was born. The great massacre at Delsvaan's city of Masaanore-Core further solidified this reputation. The early VIth demonstrated a severe lack of discipline and were prone to acts of extreme aggression, as demonstrated by the wanton slaughter of civilians in the Molorian Revolt. As consequence, the Legion instituted a large Disciplinary Corps consisting of Consul-Opsequiari officers.[40a]

Despite their status as a small Legion during this time, they often served alongside other Legions and large Imperial Army forces in major campaigns or were entrusted with smaller, often bloody missions to destroy particular knots of enemy resistance in shock assaults. Over time the Legion developed particular expertise also in·conducting rapidly moving hunter-killer operations, particularly in city-fighting conditions, or in undertaking more generally punitive actions, such as suppressing rebellions by inflicting short, brutal reprisal actions. By the second decade of the Great Crusade, the VIth Legion had already earned its reputation as the Emperor's agents of fear and retribution, becoming known as "The Rout".[40a]

Leman Russ

Space Wolves Great Crusade and Heresy-era color scheme[40g]

The Primarch project was the creation of twenty super humans created by the Emperor while preparing his armies for the reconquest of the galaxy prior to the Great Crusade. However, the experiment never reached its final result due to all twenty infants being scattered among the galaxy by the forces of Chaos. Over time the Emperor was reunited with his creations each having grown to adulthood and gave them leadership of their respective legions as was originally intended.[2a] Leman Russ was one such individual. After being spirited away he found himself on the planet of Fenris. Found young he was raised by some tribesman before being taken in and raised by the court of King Thengir. As he grew so did his legend and eventually Leman Russ found himself the Wolf-King.[8k]

While on his Great Crusade the world of Fenris was one of the first to be found by the Emperor. Upon hearing the legend of the Wolf-King the Emperor left his great ship to meet the man expecting him to be one of his Primarchs. After a one-on-one battle between the two Leman Russ was bested for the first time in his life. Satisfied this was one of his Generals, the Emperor soon gave him leadership of the Space Marine Legion that bore his genes. The planet of Fenris was claimed as their chapter's homeworld Throughout the Great Crusade the Space Wolves won many victories for the Emperor under direction of their Primarch.[8k] During the Wheel of Fire Campaign a third of the legion, including the majority of its remaining Terran recruits, was lost.[42] During the campaign against the Noman Xenos, an STC for a new model of tank was discovered by the Space Wolves. The Mechanicum named the new tank design in honor of Leman Russ.[40b]

The Lion and the Wolf

Despite their common loyalties to the Imperium Space Marine Chapters do not always get along. Rivalries bound to develop over the millennia surface from domain rivalries and more come to pass dividing those that once stood together. Once such rivalry, ancient in its origin, exists between the Space Wolves and Dark Angels Chapters. While the origin of this rivalry has long since passed into legend there are two widely accepted accounts of its birth.[6c]

1. The first is of the Space Wolves chapter themselves. The chapter claims that it began during the Horus Heresy when the two Chapters were waging the Dulan Campaign together. Legend says that Lion El'Jonson, Primarch of the Dark Angels, advanced his legion without coordinating with his allies. Though his action swiftly won the battle a great many of the Space Wolves were slain with their flank left unprotected to the enemy's counter-attack. After the conflict the Wolf challenged the Lion to a duel. The battle lasted until both warriors collapsed from exhaustion swearing vengeance upon one another. Over the years it is said that the two developed a mutual respect for one another, but due to their pride both felt honor-bound to fulfill their vows of vengeance.[6c]

2. During a pacification war, the Dark Angels aided the Space Wolves against a particular planet. This planetary leader had insulted Leman Russ's honor and so he wanted to defeat the leader personally for the insult. The Dark Angels and Space Wolves, both led by their respective Primarchs, assaulted the tower where the leader was. Leman Russ burst into the throne room just in time to see Lion El'Jonson beheading the leader. Angry that the honor was not his, Leman Russ marched up to the Lion and punched him in the jaw. This led to a battle that lasted a week or more, until finally Russ saw how immature their squabble was and started laughing. Lion El'Jonson took this as Russ mocking him and breaking the honour of Single Combat, knocked Russ unconscious before escaping the planet with his legion. The Space Wolves considered this an offence believing El'Jonson to be a coward.[12]

Regardless of its origin the two Legions (and their subsequent Chapters) have never forgotten their feud and tensions run high between them. Though the Chapters have fought together on many occasions the vows made by their progenitors long ago have resulted in customary duels between them. It has come to pass that each time the Chapters meet two champions are selected from both sides to engage in a (usually) non-lethal duel.[12]

The Great Crusade

Under Russ' brash leadership the Space Wolves had other incidents with their allied Astartes Legion. This included the Night of the Wolf against the World Eaters and a brief bloody confrontation on Ark Reach Secundus with the Thousand Sons. It was also hinted that the Space Wolves, serving as the Emperor's executioners, may have had something to do with the disappearance of the Two Lost Legions[16]; according to members of the Adeptus Custodes, they were among the first respondents to an act of betrayal involving the XI Legion.[62]

During the 2nd century of the Great Crusade, the Space Wolves fought a series of secret wars against a variety of cosmic horrors. These included the Enslavers, the psychic kings of Vhallach, and the Lacremara. By the end of the Crusade the Space Wolves had firmly earned their reputation as the Emperor's enforcers and were a mid-sized Legion of around 95,000-100,000. Their many campaigns during the Crusade and issues with their gene-seed had depleted their peak strength of around 130,000.[40b]

Horus Heresy

Leman Russ and the Space Wolves on Prospero[18c]

Over time each of the twenty Primarchs were reunited with the Emperor and took control of their respective legions. Unarguably the most powerful of them all was Horus.[8k] Horus was indeed the first Primarch found and became the Emperor's most favored son. He would come to lead the whole of His armies as the Emperor returned to Holy Terra for other works. With Horus named Warmaster, the galaxy slowly unified and the Emperor's Imperium began to take shape. During this time all of the Primarchs were tempted by the Chaos Gods and some were slowly twisted by their treacherous ways. Though unknown to them ten of the Primarchs ultimately failed the test of loyalty and were swayed by the promise of ultimate power. The greatest of this triumph by the Gods of Chaos was the turning of the Warmaster Horus.[2] The Emperor however was always sure that Leman Russ would never fall to Chaos.[23] As a result, in the aftermath of Horus' betrayal Malcador the Sigillite dispatched a Watch Pack of Space Wolves to each remaining (and supposedly loyal) Primarch to ensure more direct oversight. While the Space Wolves teams sent to oversee the Ultramarines and Imperial Fists were met with bitter cooperation, several such as those dispatched to the Night Lords and Alpha Legion were massacred by those they were meant to watch.[32][33] The team sent to monitor the Blood Angels initially received fair treatment by Sanguinius, but was wiped out by Legionaires overcome by the Red Thirst during the Battle of Signus Prime.[34]

During the Horus Heresy, the Space Wolves were not present at the Drop Site Massacre nor the Siege of Terra. Space Wolves are known to have been ordered to retrieve Magnus the Red and return him to Terra after the Primarch's violation of the Council of Nikea. After the now-corrupted Horus quietly changed his orders from simply bringing Magnus to Terra to an all-out assault on his legion, Leman Russ had the Space Wolves Legion attacked the Thousand Sons Legion homeworld, Prospero, in an attempt to fulfill their Emperor's charge.[16] Though the planet was devastated in the assault the bulk of the traitor legion escaped and made for the Eye of Terror. The 13th Great Company, led by Jorin Bloodhowl, pursued the traitors and elements of the Wulfenkind would not be seen for the next 10,000 years. After Prospero, the Space Wolves were assailed in space by the Alpha Legion and forced to flee to the Alaxxes Nebula,[25] the Wolves were ultimately saved by a force of Dark Angels. Afterwards at least some elements of the legion managed to return to Terra, as Russ was able to meet with Malcador and organize the plot to have the Knights-Errant assassinate Horus.[23]

Russ eventually led the Wolves out from Terra to try and engage Horus. However, though wounding Horus at the Battle of Trisolian, the Space Wolves were badly mauled and Russ fell into a coma.[42] Though they managed to escape Trisolian the leaderless Wolves were besieged by pursuing traitor forces at Yarant. During the battle, Russ awoke only when Corax arrived with the Raven Guard, awake long enough to greet the Ravenlord and give Bjorn the Spear of Russ. In the end, the Space Wolves were able to evacuate Yarant with Corax's aid but Russ remained unconscious.[39] Russ eventually recovered on Deliverance and then the Wolves linked up with Lion El'Jonson and his Dark Angels. Together they besieged the Death Guard Homeworld of Barbarus. Personifying the role of the Emperor's executioners, the resurgent Space Wolves went on a rampage of vengeance against all traitors they could find, purging the world of Vezdell Secundus of a large Alpha Legion force.[66]

After the Heresy Leman Russ was infuriated for not being at the Siege of Terra to aid the Emperor. He personally led a force into the Eye of Terror in the hopes of revenge.[8k] Eventually Russ disappeared altogether, pledging to return in the final battle of the "Wolf Time". Leman Russ then vanished and the true whereabouts of the Primarch remains a mystery. Many within the Chapter maintain that Russ has sought out the fabled Tree of Life in a bid to heal the Emperor.[26] Apparently Magnus the Red knows, but the Daemon Primarch and his Thousand Sons are not sharing that information with any outside their traitorous ranks.[2a]

Nonetheless the Space Wolves waited for his return. Every year, his place was laid at the feast table, and every year his great drinking horn was filled, in case he should return. The years slunk past and still he did not come. After seven years, the surviving Wolf Lords gathered and elected Bjorn their leader, awarding him the title Great Wolf. Bjorn gathered all his warriors together in the Hall of the Fang, and announced the first Great Hunt. Russ’ people would seek out their master if it took the rest of time to do it. So did the twelve Great Companies take to their ships and sail forth in separate directions across the Sea of Stars.[19]

The tale of their deeds is too long to recount in full, save on Allwinter’s Eve, when the Rune Priests gather to chant the sagas. They sought Russ on many worlds and in many places. They fought intense battles against aliens and overcame voidspawn and raging Daemon alike. The Space Wolves hunted in this dimension and the next, but of Russ they found no sign, until eventually they were recalled to Fenris bearing naught but tales of their adventures. Thus the first Great Hunt ended in failure. Since that day there have been many other Great Hunts – on occasion, Russ has appeared to a Great Wolf or Rune Priest in a vision and told him it is time. These are periods of daring deeds and high adventure, when the Chapter takes to the Sea of Stars to seek their lost leader. Though they have never been successful in their goal, each Great Hunt has struck a decisive blow against the enemies of Mankind.[19]

Codex Astartes

Space Wolves shoulder symbol post-heresy

Following the end of the Heresy, a great deal would happen. With the Emperor confined to the Golden Throne the High Lords of Terra found themselves the new leaders of the Emperor's domain. Both the High Lords and surviving Primarchs became paranoid of the possibility of such events repeating themselves. The armies of the Emperor once again scoured the galaxy seeking out all forms of heresy and removing even the slightest chance of rebellion. Even the great Legions were not exempt. Concerned that once again their could be a threat from such a terrible force each Legion was to be divided into smaller Chapters and a new set of regulations was created to govern them.[8k]

The Codex Astartes was a code developed by the Primarch of the Ultramarines, Roboute Guilliman. This tome would contain everything a member of the Astartes would need to know to function. From recruitment to organization to tactics and beyond, the Codex Astartes became a sacred text to the majority of the Chapters.[17] The Space Wolves Legion never fully accepted the new doctrine. Rather they hold sacred the teachings of their Primarch. One of the most significant changes within the new Codex was the newly founded Chapters. Where the Legions could number more than 10,000 strong the Chapters would be limited to about a thousand. Each original Legion would be divided as many times as needed into Successor Chapters. This division would come to be called the Second Founding. The remaining thousand bodies in the original Legion would survive as a new Chapter of the same name, while their newly created Chapters would claim their founders origins and be known as their Founding Chapter. Beyond this however the chapters would operate independently, and come to develop their own namesake, culture, and customs.[14k]

One of the few ideals the Codex implemented that the Space Wolves Legion actually accepted was the succession of Chapters. However, the Space Wolves Legion was never very large. This, combined with the genetic instability of the legion gene-seed and grievous losses to their gene-seed in the Battle of the Fang of M32 led to the Legion only founding one successor Chapter, the ill-fated Wolfbrothers.[6a] Recently however in the Ultima Founding the Space Wolves have received their first stable Successor Chapters, which include the Icefangs,[61] Mooneaters[56] and the Wolfspear.[54] These successors are bound with their parent chapter by the psychic powers of Fenris and cultural ties.[53b]

Recent History

A Space Wolf kills an Ork[11a]





Space Wolves Space Marine[11]



Main article: Canis Helix

The gene-seed of the Space Wolves gifts the chapter's members with enhanced, animalistic abilities, including hyper-acute senses of hearing and smell, and a ferocity in battle that is almost unrivalled by any other Space Marine.[8f] The gene-seed also induces physical changes in the Wolves more extreme than those of other genetically-modified humans, such as elongated canines, shaggy hair that becomes grey, then pure white as the Wolf ages, and sometimes pale yellow eyes.[8f][8g]

The primary flaw in the Wolves gene-seed is the Curse of the Wulfen, which risks transforming the Marine into a feral beast that cannot be controlled. This risk presents itself when Aspirant's are first implanted with the gene-seed before their Test of Morkai, but even those who manage to control the instability are never entirely free of it. The struggle against the Wulfen can last throughout the Space Wolf's life.[8f]

With the coming of Primaris Space Marines, it was thought that the ill-effects of the Canis Helix might be mitigated. However after extensive trials by Wolf Priests, it was found that even Primaris scions of Russ will so suffer the Curse of the Wulfen.[49]

Successor Chapters

Some time after the Horus Heresy, the Space Wolves' geneseed suffered some sort of mutation that means it only works on humans native to Fenris. This was the primary reason why the Space Wolves had no successor chapters for a time. Their first and only successor chapter, the Wolf Brothers, suffered unmanageable genetic degradation and was disbanded by the Inquisition.

Recently however in the Ultima Founding the Space Wolves have received their first stable successor chapters, in the Icefangs,[61] Mooneaters[56] and the Wolfspear.[54] They have confirmed multiple successors within the Ultima Founding, and these display both the effects of the Canis Helix and the ability of their Librarians to control the tempestous powers of Fenris. The returned Roboute Guilliman has tried to better integrate these successors within the wider Imperium, but just as with the Space Wolves they remain culturally distinct and fiercely independent.[53b]

Some of these new Ultima Chapters have their origins amongst the Space Wolves Greyshields, who fought in Lord Commander Guilliman's Indomitus Crusade Fleet Primus. Though they served beside many differing genetic lineages, the Space Wolves Greyshields quickly gravitated towards each other and formed hunting packs. They instinctively trusted their fellow Space Wolves as brothers and those Greyshields who shared a similar disposition found further common ground. These groupings of similar Greyshields, would later form the nucleus of new Space Wolves Successor Chapters. Thus many of the Fleet's psychically inclined Greyshields formed the esoteric Icefangs, while the grim-faced huntsmen Greyshields, who preyed from the shadows, formed the Wolfspear Chapter.[61]


The Space Wolves[8]

Though undeniably loyal to the Emperor, the Space Wolves are known for their fiercely anti-authoritarian behaviour. They strongly resist the central command structure of the Imperium, and refuse to follow the dictates of the Codex Astartes, which lays the structure and tactics to be used by all Space Marines. They hold a particular disdain for the Inquisition, in part due to the organizations purge of Imperial citizens that survived the First War for Armageddon.[15] This culture was in stark contrast to the Space Wolves during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy, where they were known as the Sanction of the Emperor, unquestionably carrying out his orders regardless of what it might be. After the Battle of the Alaxxes Nebula during the Heresy, Leman Russ decided upon forging his own path for the Wolves.[28]

Of all the Adeptus Astartes, the Wolves of Fenris regard themselves as the Imperium's ultimate weapon, and are proud of it. Where other Chapters, such as the Ultramarines, were made to build empires, the Wolves were made to murder them, and to destroy anyone who opposes the Emperor's will, including other Astartes.[14c] Their unorthodox behavior and organisation as well as their single minded dedication to tear the enemy, any enemy, apart like a wolf pack brings down a deadly prey reflects this original purpose.[9]

The Wolves are almost as renowned for their passion for eating, drinking, and storytelling, when not engaged in battle. In contrast to the monastic habits of other Chapters, they enjoy boisterous feasting, eating enormous amounts of meat and guzzling Mjød, a liquor so potent that it would eat through the guts of a normal human.[16a] To many outsiders, therefore, the Space Wolves appear barbarous and lacking in self-control. But in reality it takes a great deal of discipline and focus to be as dangerous and capable of anything as the Space Wolves are. Their original, unique and effective organisation seems not to hinder them at all but instead allow them the operational freedom to be potentially the most dangerous loyalist chapter.[16] The Space Wolves apply great attention to planning, coordination of their packs movement in battle, the encirclement of the prey and the cleanliness of the kill.[14b]

“The wolves like to wrap themselves in a cloak of mystery and solemn, supernatural power, but such nonsense was the superstitious talk of barbarians, inherited from the Fenrisians they drew their strength from. The truly abnormal thing about the wolves was the sharpness of their perception. They had taught themselves to notice everything about their surroundings, and use every scrap of information at their disposal. Their reputation helped. No one expected brutes who looked like ritual-obsessed , bestial clansmen to be underpinned by peerless combat intelligence.”
“It is what made them such efficient weapons.”
-Kasper Ansbach Hawser (Skjald of Tra, 000.M31)[16b]



During the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy the Space Wolves were a Legion with Leman Russ as its King and supreme commander. Like today, the Legion consisted of the thirteen Great Company's. Russ in turn ruled through a council of Wolf Lords, Wolf Guard, Rune Priests, and other advisers known as the Einherjar.[38] Each Great Compand was led by a Jarl, under whom served many Thegin or "Claw Leader". These in turned were divided up into many packs, each of which was kept in line by a Huscarl.[65]

The Space Wolves by the Battle of Prospero consisted of 95,000-130,000 Space Marines. These were drawn from Thirteen Great Companies, each of which nominally consisted of 10,000 Marines:[40c][65]

  • 1st Great Company (Onn) — Known as the Breakers of Rings. Consisted of at least 3,000 Terminators. Commanded by the Jarl Gunnar Gunnhilt.
  • 2nd Great Company (Twa) — Known as the Thread Cutters. Consisted of at least 800 Veterans and 60 Dreadnoughts. Commanded by Jarl Holmi Longganger.
  • 3rd Great Company (Tra) — Known as the Eagle's Keepers. Consisted of at least 9,800 Space Marines in Assault Squad and support armor roles. Commanded by Jarl Ogvai Ogvai Helmschrot.
  • 4th Great Company (For) — Known as the Blood-worm's Masters. Consisted of at least 8,600 Space Marines in Breacher Squads with self-propelled artillery. Commanded by Jarl Lufven Close-Handed
  • 5th Great Company (Fyf) — Known as the Blood-Ice Storm. Consisted of at least 10,000 Space Marines in mixed roles with light support armor. Commanded by Jarl Amlodhi Skarssen Skarssensson.
  • 6th Great Company (Sesc) — Commanded by Jarl Skunnr.
  • 7th Great Company (Sepp) — Known as the Wight-Flame's Wielders. Consisted of at least 5,200 Space Marines in Destroyer squads and immolation units. Commanded by Jarl Hvarl Red-Blade
  • 8th Great Company (For-twa) — Known as the Slaughter-Fire Heralds. Consisted of at least 9,500 Space Marines in Reconnaissance roles. Commanded by Jarl Baldr Vidunsson.
  • 9th Great Company (Tra-Tra) — Known as the Serpents of the Battle-Moon. Consisted of at least 7,900 Space Marines in support, heavy weapons, and Rapier units. Commanded by Jarl Sturgard Joriksson.
  • 10th Great Company (Dekk) — Commanded by Hemtal
  • 11th Great Company (Elva) — Known as the Sea-Flame's Bearers. Consisted of at least 9,200 Space Marines, primarily veterans drawn from Terra before the discovery of Leman Russ. Commanded by Jarl Varald Helsdawn.
  • 12th Great Company (Tolv) — Known as the Shield-Gnawers. Consisted of at least 8,700 Space Marines in close assault roles. Commanded by Jarl Jaurmag.
  • 13th Great Company (Dekk-Tra) — Known as the Corpse-Renders. Consisted of at least 600 Space Marines, primarily light assault infantry. Commanded by Jarl Jorin Bloodhowl.


The Great Annulus of the Space Wolves, representing the Great Companies[13]

In the 41st Millennium the Space Wolves have a unique structure that is notably different from a standard Codex Chapter. Rather than 10 companies of 100 marines, the Space Wolves consist of 12 Great Companies of varying strengths. Each Great Company is based in The Fang, the Space Wolves Fortress-monastery and is led by a Wolf Lord who answers only to the Great Wolf.[8e]

Each Great Company is a fully self-contained army, with all the troops, vehicles, and equipment necessary to make war, as well as the spacecraft necessary to transport itself. They each have their own forges and customs. The size of each Great Company is unknown, but the Space Wolves Legion is said to be one of the smaller Legions, due to the Curse of the Wulfen genetic instability within the Chapter gene-seed.[6a] As each Great Company serves as an independent army, they maintain a much greater number of troops as opposed to codex companies.[8e]

Each Great Company is made of a number of packs that function much like a Space Marine squad. However, their tactical usage varies greatly. Each squad is unique in that it rarely, if ever, will receive reinforcements, making the higher-level squads smaller in number compared to the lowest Blood Claw pack. Many Blood Claw packs start with as many as fifteen marines. However, losses take their toll, and by the time a Blood Claw squad reaches the level of Grey Hunter, normally only 9 or 10 are left. This promotion is arguably the most important the Space Wolf will ever receive because it also welcomes him into the folds of the Brotherhood.[17a] As they age, further losses limit the squad sizes of Long Fangs down to just 5 or less. Even further a pack of Long Fangs will slowly diminish until only one remains - the Lone Wolf.[8e]

Special cases may be made in certain or even dire circumstances to this process. In some situations reinforcements may be sent to current campaigns as reinforcements. Likewise, if a Wolf Lord deems an individual worthy and the rest of his pack is not he may elevate a Wolf from Blood Claw to Grey Hunter. Normally he will not act in such manner without consulting both his first sergeant and the current members of the unit he wishes to transfer his prospect to.[17a]

Apart from this, a Wolf may find himself under direction of a Wolf Guard or a member of the Great Wolf's household. Some find themselves inducted into the Chapter Priesthood, Scouts, Calvaries, or should terrible wounds take their toll they may find themselves encased within mighty Dreadnought armour.[8]

One of the 12 Great Companies is that of the Great Wolf, the Space Wolves' Chapter Master. When the former Great Wolf dies the new chieftain is selected from the other eleven remaining Wolf Lords. Upon selection the new Great Wolf, not his Great Company, immediately takes on the ancient badge of Leman Russ — the Wolf That Stalks Between Stars. With the new role the Great Wolf's Company is also expanded to include the household of the Chapter's Priesthood, Wolf Scouts, and Dreadnoughts.[8e]

Since the introduction of Primaris Space Marines, the Space Wolves under Logan Grimnar have begun to reorganize themselves to accommodate these new warriors. Many of their Fenrisian titles take up roles dictated in the revised Codex Astartes. For example Grey Hunters now take up the role of Suppressors and Wolf Scouts serve as Eliminators. In this way Grimnar has blended the ancient customs of Fenris with the recent changes sweeping the Adeptus Astartes.[53b]

Great Companies

The current Great Companies and their Wolf Lords as of the creation of the Great Rift are as follows:


*Personal Badge of the Great Wolf - The Wolf that Stalks the Stars*

Great Companies
Company of the Great Wolf
(The Champions of Fenris)
Bran Redmaw's Company
(The Bloodmaws)
Engir Krakendoom's Company
(The Seawolves)
Erik Morkai's Company
(The Sons of Morkai)

Badge of the Night Runner[1b][8e]

Great Wolf Logan Grimnar


Badge of the Bloodied Hunter

Wolf Lord Bran Redmaw


Badge of the Sea Wolf

Wolf Lord Engir Krakendoom


Badge of Morkai

Wolf Lord Erik Morkai

Gunnar Red Moon's Company
(Red Moons)
Harald Deathwolf's Company
(The Deathwolves)
Bjorn Stormwolf's Company
(The Stormwolves)
Egil Iron Wolf's Company
(The Ironwolves)

Badge of The Wolf of the Red Moon

Wolf Lord Gunnar Red Moon


Badge of the Great Devourer

Wolf Lord Harald Deathwolf


Badge of the Thunderwolf

Wolf Lord Bjorn Stormwolf


Badge of the Iron Wolf

Wolf Lord Vorek Gnarlfist

Krom Dragongaze's Company
(The Drakeslayers)
Ragnar Blackmane's Company
(The Blackmanes)
Sven Bloodhowl's Company
(The Firehowlers)
Kjarl Grimblood's Company
(The Grimbloods)

Badge of the Sun Wolf

Wolf Lord Krom Dragongaze


Badge of the Blackmane

Wolf Lord Ragnar Blackmane


Badge of the Fire Breather

Wolf Lord Sven Bloodhowl


Badge of the Fire Wolf

Wolf Lord Kjarl Grimblood

The Thirteenth Company

Main article: 13th Great Company
[Needs Citation]

On the Grand Annulus, the spot of the 13th Company has long been vacant. During the Horus Heresy the space had its last owner, belonging to Wolf Lord Jorin Bloodhowl's Great Company. It has come to represent all units of the Chapter who have fallen in battle, been corrupted by Chaos, or otherwise left service. The stone space today is a slab of pure black obsidian and has been the only unchanging face on it throughout the annals of time.[8e]

Great Company Forces

Each Great Company operates its own army, consisting of:[45d]:

Troop Types

In a typical Codex Chapter, a Neophyte begins his service as a Scout, and, after completing his training and physical transformation into a Space Marine, is assigned to Fire Support Squads, Close Support Squads, and finally a Battleline Squad.[45b] By contrast, the Space Wolves' approach reflects the warrior culture of Fenris from which all the Wolves are descended.

Close Support


  • Grey Hunters are comparable to Tactical Squad marines in other chapters and comprise the majority of any Great Company. These are Blood Claws who have survived the trials on the field of battle, combat experience having made them less impulsive and thus less suited as a force of pure assault. In addition to their combat duties, the Grey Hunters' role is to watch over the Blood Claws, reining in the worst of their reckless behaviour, and marking out those likely for advancement. Grey Hunters also take on the role of Suppressors when need be.[53b]
  • Intercessor Squads from new Primaris Space Marine forces.[45b]
  • Infiltrator Squads from new Primaris Space Marine forces.[45d]

Fire Support


  • Wolf Scouts are Space Wolves whose entire pack has been lost or that have left their pack for other reasons. As natural loners, they are ideally suited to work alone behind enemy lines for long periods of time. Space Wolf Scouts are not assigned to any of the Great Companies. They instead answer directly to the Great Wolf and are under his sole command unless assigned to a Wolf Lord and his company on an as-needed basis.[8c] Wolf Scouts also take on the role of Eliminators if need be.
  • Lone Wolf: Space Wolves do not reinforce their packs when casualties occur and for this reason many squads operate at a reduced strength. Even the most experienced packs will sometimes suffer such a great loss that only one survivor remains from the pack. These survivors are known as Lone Wolves.[8c]


Like everything having to do with the Space Wolves, this hierarchy is not rigid; the Wolves value bravery and combat prowess rather than seniority, and believe in advancing each warrior according to his merits. For instance, Ragnar Blackmane, the youngest Wolf Lord in the chapter's history, was elevated to Berek Thunderfist's Wolf Guard straight from the Blood Claws, bypassing the rank of Grey Hunter altogether. By the same token, Lukas the Trickster is a far more skilled warrior than many Wolf Guards, yet he has never made it out of the Blood Claws, being universally despised by all the Wolf Lords for his irreverent behaviour.

During the Great Crusade and Heresy other types of Space Wolves battlefield roles existed, such as Deathsworn, Black Cull, Hunters, Grey Slayers, and Grey Stalkers.

Command Ranks

  • Great Wolf: The Chapter Master of the Space Wolves, the Great Wolf is chosen from among the Wolf Lords, and leads his own Great Company. The current Great Wolf is Logan Grimnar who has held the position for the past 700 years.
  • Wolf Lord: each Great Company has a commander (equivalent to a Captain in other chapters), chosen from that company’s Wolf Guard. It is his duty to organise his Great Company, which adopts that Lord's name and sigil, and often changes its battle tactics to reflect his personality and temperament.
  • Battle Leaders are the Space Wolves equivalent to a Space Marine Lieutenant. Typically two of these officers exist in every Great Company, serving directly underneath a Wolf Lord.[45c]
  • Wolf Priests combine the roles of Chaplain and Apothecary within the chapter. They are selected from any part of the chapter but usually from the Long Fangs or Wolf Guard due to the greater wisdom of these marines. Instead of using codex medical equipment, Wolf Priests using healing potions and balms, using knowledge passed down from one Wolf Priest to the next. They are also responsible for the selection of new Aspirants to the chapter, observing the frequent skirmishes among the human inhabitants of Fenris and selecting worthy young men to undergo the trials.
  • Rune Priests are the Wolves' equivalent to the Librarians of other chapters. It is their duty to keep the knowledge of the chapter’s history, reciting the great sagas of old. In battle they wield formidable psychic powers, rooted in the shamanistic traditions of Fenris.[Needs Citation]
  • Iron Priests are the Wolves' equivalent of the Techmarines of other chapters. They are required to keep the equipment of their Great Company in working order and maintain the machine spirits of its vehicles and weaponry, including the Dreadnoughts in the depths of the Fang, which they must rouse from their deep slumbers if they are needed in battle.[Needs Citation]
  • Consul-Opsequiari - Heresy-era rank. Disciplinary Officers.[40d]


Dreadnoughts amongst the Space Wolves are referred to as the Sons of Ymir, at least during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy era. During this time sub-formations of Space Wolves Dreadnoughts existed, such as the Eldthursar and Hrimthursar.[40e]

Amongst the number of Dreadnoughts in the Space Wolves chapter, some are extremely ancient, carrying warriors, such as Bjorn the Fell-Handed, who walked beneath the same sky as the Emperor himself, and who stood beside Leman Russ in battle. There is also the savage Murderfang. These dreadnoughts are revered and so respected is their skill in battle that on rare occasions, a Dreadnought may be called upon to lead an army into battle. The troops following in his footsteps will chant his name, remembering the many sagas they have heard of his exploits. This is a fearsome scene to behold for any enemy.[Needs Citation]

In the Age of the Dark Imperium the Space Wolves operate Wulfen Dreadnoughts and Redemptor Dreadnoughts alongside their older suits.[45d]


The Space Wolves recruit their new initiates from the native humans of Fenris. Wolf Priests venture abroad from the Fang from time to time to walk amongst the inhabitants of the feral world, challenging the locals' champions to bouts of eating, drinking, or wrestling. Invariably, of course, the gene-enhanced Wolf Priest will emerge victorious, and with them they will take their prize: the best of the champion tribesmen to bring back to the Fang, where they undergo many grueling trials. Some, however, forego the match against the Wolf Priest if they have already proved their prowess in battle.

The Wolf Priests keep a watchful eye on the battles and hunts of the Fenrisian tribesmen. Should someone display extreme heroism, prowess, or martial feats the Wolf Priest will descend to collect the warrior, and deliver him from death by giving him the chance to serve the chapter. Recruits are given to the bowels of The Fang in an area known as the Gates of Morkai, where his soul is scoured for any signs of impurity.

Once they have passed all of their preliminary trials, they are administered the Test of Morkai, where the initiate is given the first strand of the Canis Helix gene, and thrown out into the wilds outside the Fang. If they overcome the deadly side effects of their chapter's geneseed, and make it back to the Fang alive, they are accepted into the ranks of the Space Wolves with open arms, and the remaining procedures are undergone to turn the recruit into a full fledged warrior of the Emperor.[8h]

Notably, Primaris Space Marines do not follow the same recruitment ritual as other Space Wolves. While they undertake the Test of Morkai, they do not drink from the Cup of Wulfen.[45]


Symbols and Colours

The Space Wolves wear blue-grey coloured armour with other colours as highlights, notably red, yellow, black and white, and often adorned with tokens taken from wolves, such as furs and teeth.

Great Company Badges

The current badges of the 12 Great Companies, as shown on the Grand Annulus[6b]
Modern Space Wolves heraldry[40f]

The Space Wolves have a rather different system of markings than that used by more Codex adherent Chapters. Rather than using the company markings as laid down in the Codex Astartes, the Space Wolves use a number of different wolf symbols to denote the different Great Companies that make up the chapter. These are normally a stylised wolf emblem denoting some aspect of the native Fenrisian mythology. These are chosen by a new Wolf Lord upon his election from the ranks of the Wolf Guard, and are adopted by all of the Space Wolves within the Great Company as a mark of fealty. They are also woven onto the various Great Company banners, The symbol remains with the Great Company until the Wolf Lord falls in battle, whereupon a new Wolf Lord is chosen, and so the badge changes.

Even these marks bow down to the Space Wolves' reputation for nonconformity, and hence lack of any formal uniform system. There is never only one way to represent a Great Company badge, and within a Great Company it is likely to find a number of variants of the badge being used at the same time. Indeed, there are currently three different stylisations of the Blackmane Wolf emblem (currently used by Ragnar Blackmane's Great Company) in Imperial records. Indeed, over the centuries many hundreds of different styles of badges have been recorded by Imperial scribes.

The one badge that does not change is the household of the Great Wolf. The household uses "The Wolf That Stalks Between Stars", the badge of Leman Russ himself, as its emblem. This badge is perhaps unique within the Space Wolves, as there are no recorded variants of it, a testament to the respect that the Space Wolves have for their Primarch. It is this badge that represents the Space Wolves as a chapter, and is woven on the Chapter's banner.

Also, many of the Space Wolves most honoured and treasured relics carry this symbol, having been in the possession or service of the Chapter (and hence the Imperium) since the days when Russ walked among the stars. Many of the Chapter's most sacred Banners have a rendition of this symbol on them, a tangible link to the time when Russ walked among them. Whilst many of these are treasured in their own right, perhaps the most treasured of all is the Dreadnought Bjorn the Fell-Handed, who fought alongside Russ during the Great Crusade. He carries the mark on his Dreadnought armour to show this perhaps unique distinction.

Honour Badges

The Space Wolves have a long, varied, and altogether proud warrior heritage. They especially appreciate acts of bravery, courage and skill among their own comrades, and proudly display badges that denote these acts. These badges are normally painted or carved onto the armour and weapons of the Space Wolf.

As with most Space Wolf displays, there is no formal system of awards, it only matters that those the Space Wolf fights with understand the significance of the symbol. However, some symbols have acquired a special significance to the Space Wolves over time, and the Sergeant and Veteran badges are good examples of this. There are also some more general symbolism which is used in the honour badges; badges with bones tend to signify wounds suffered in battle, knife and claw symbols represent ferocity and bravery in battle and wolf tails signify great courage in battle.

Army Badge

It is quite common for Space Wolves of different Great Companies to find themselves fighting alongside one another in the same task force. In order to aid identification, and to provide a greater amount of task force cohesion on the battlefield, an army marking is usually applied to the Space Wolf's armour, as well as to the vehicles of the task force. As with all badges, there are some that are preferred over others. Of particular note is that used by the current task force of Ragnar Blackmane; A fanged skull superimposed on two crossed bones, mounted on a black lozenge. This particular badge has appeared many times in the past, and therefore probably has some special significance to the Space Wolves.

Noted Elements of the Space Wolves

Equipment, Relics and Artifacts

Main article: Space Wolves Armoury

Space Wolves Equipment is similar to that of Codex chapters. In some ways it is more primitive – for instance, Iron Priests do not have access to a full Servo-harness or Thunderfire Cannons.[Needs Citation] Similarly, some of the equipment associated with the Imperial cult such as the Chaplain's Rosarius or the Apothecary's Reductor have their own unique variants among the Space Wolves, such as the Wolf Amulet and the Fang of Morkai.[8x]


The Space Wolves maintain an abnormally large fleet for Space Marine standards, numbering over a hundred vessels.[19][51] The fleet was at one point noted to consist of:[19]

Known Vessels

Heresy Era


As well as the usual Space Marine Vehicles deployed by the Chapter, the Space Wolves keep a number of Leman Russ Exterminators in their arsenal - in honour of Leman Russ. They use these in battle rarely but to devastating effect, the tanks' fearsome array of weaponry enhanced further by the skills of the marines inside.[Needs Citation]

Known Vehicles

Notable Space Wolves

Heresy Era


Chapter Command
Other Members

Further images

See also