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Great Scouring

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Targetdrone.gif This article is about the Imperial campaign; for the Tau campaign, see Campaign of Scouring.
Great Scouring
Conflict Long War
Date ~015.M31-???.M31
Location Imperium
Outcome Loyalist Victory
-Imperial territory purged
-Traitor remnants flee
Imperium Forces of Chaos
Lord Commander Roboute Guilliman(WIA)
Primarch Lion El'Jonson(WIA)
Primarch Jaghatai Khan(MIA)
Primarch Rogal Dorn(MIA)
Primarch Corvus Corax
Primarch Vulkan
Primarch Leman Russ
First Captain Ezekyle Abaddon
Primarch Lorgar
Primarch Angron
Primarch Magnus
Primarch Fulgrim
Primarch Perturabo
Primarch Mortarion
Primarch Konrad Curze(KIA)
Primarch Alpharius(KIA?)
Dark Angels
Imperial Fists
Blood Angels
Space Wolves
Raven Guard
White Scars
Loyal Imperial Army
Officio Assassinorum
Sons of Horus
Word Bearers
World Eaters
Thousand Sons
Death Guard
Emperor's Children
Night Lords
Iron Warriors
Alpha Legion
Dark Mechanicum
Traitor Titan Legions
Traitor Imperial Army
Extremely heavy Extremely heavy

The Great Scouring was the Imperium's counter-offensive against the rebel armies of Horus, following the defeat of the Horus Heresy in c.M31[1]. Horus's campaign to strike towards Terra to achieve a quick and decisive victory had ultimately been defeated. The rebels were broken and in retreat, and Imperial forces now had the job of reacquiring all the territory they had captured. The Great Scouring saw the first mass galaxy-wide purge carried out by the Imperium as it sought to erase the taint of Horus' treachery from its realm.[1]


Before actually being confined within the Golden Throne, the Emperor had pronounced judgment on the rebels: they were to be driven into the hellish region of the Eye of Terror, which would hold them for all eternity. All records and memory of the Traitor Legions were to be expunged from the Imperial archives. Worlds such as Isstvan V and Davin would be scoured and the Traitors' associated troops were to be destroyed or driven into the Eye. It would be as if the Traitor Legions never existed. Meanwhile since the death of Horus, the Traitor Legions had become splintered and dispersed.[4]

Fighting continued for another seven years before the rebels were wholly destroyed or exiled. The Imperium fought not only the traitors but also Xenos that had taken advantage of the turmoil caused by the Heresy to plunder human worlds. Systems once thought unassailable to the Xenos threat were put under siege. During the campaign, loyalist forces realized the sheer scale of Chaos influence in the Imperium as world after world was discovered to have traitor presence.[3] Many corrupted systems were cleansed and placed under the watch of the Inquisition. Horus's death had not ended the fighting, it had renewed the loyalists against the rebels. Many worlds during the Heresy had refused to commit their forces to either side, or seceded entirely. Such indecision was punished by loyalist and rebel alike. These forces were bled white attacking rebel strongholds. Meanwhile, the Legions destroyed at the Drop Site Massacre were slowly reestablished using what little gene-seed the survivors had managed to escape with.[2]

With the Emperor confined to the Golden Throne and the Imperium leaderless but loosely organized under Roboute Guilliman, the forces of Chaos and all of the enemies of the Imperium swept down on the defenceless worlds which had been ravaged by the fighting during the Heresy. The light of the Great Crusade was gone to be replaced by a dark time in which death was far more prevalent and hope seemed far away. The forces of the Imperium were reorganised and redeployed and gradually the followers of Chaos were forced to flee west to the Eye of Terror. Eventually the Imperium succeeded in stabilising itself, but not without heavy losses of men and machinery.[Needs Citation]

The Ultramarines were a major factor in the success of the Imperium owing to their not taking part in the Siege of Terra due to fighting in the galactic east. Roboute Guilliman was the greatest military strategist alive and rallied the other Space Marine Legions to act as a bulwark against all enemies of the Imperium. The days following the Heresy were to be some of the darkest seen since the Emperor rose to power. Guilliman was said to have been everywhere during this period, rallying forces and reinforcing them with his Ultramarines before moving on to the next battle zone. Never once did the Space Marines take a step back, so strong was their faith in the Imperium and Guilliman's tactics.[Needs Citation]

During the Scouring, great political changes were introduced into the Imperium, primarily overseen by Guilliman. The most significant of these was breaking apart the Space Marine Legions into Chapters as well as dividing the Imperial Army into the Imperial Guard and Imperial Navy. Both of these measures were intended to curb the power that any single man could wield in the Imperium, limiting the damage if another rebellion broke out.[4]

The Great Scouring was followed by the period known as the Age of Rebirth.[1]

Notable events during the Great Scouring


Battles of the Horus Heresy
005-006.M31 Battle of Isstvan IIIFirst Battle of ProsperoWar Within the WebwayBattle of the Somnus CitadelUnrest on CalibanSchism of MarsBattle of DiamatDrop Site MassacreBattle of the Rangda SystemFirst Battle of ParamarManachean WarSignus CampaignTreachery at Advex-MorsSiege of CthoniaBattle for Felweather Keep‎
007-008.M31 Battle of PhallBattle of RavendelveRuin of MaerdanBattle of the Alaxxes NebulaPale Stars CampaignBreaking of the Perfect FortressChondax CampaignSecond Battle of ProsperoFirst Siege of Hydra CordatusBattle of the Furious AbyssBattle of CalthBattle of ArmaturaBetrayal at IthracaDeath of CanopusShadow CrusadeCrusade of IronDoom of BorminaDefence of TyrosDefence of the Three PlanetsBattle of UlixisAmbush at EspandorBattle of Aquila AtollBattle of Drooth IIPercepton CampaignBattle of IydrisThramas CrusadeFall of Baztel IIIBattle of VannaheimSecond Battle of ParamarBattle of Constanix IIMezoan CampaignBattle of BodtBattle of DwellErellian SubjugationSiege of Baal
009-010.M31 Battle of MolechBreaking of AnvillusXana IncursionCarnage of MoroxSangraal CampaignBattle of ArissakBattle of PerditusBattle of SothaDrussen AtrocityScouring of Gilden's StarBattle of NyrconBattle of TallarnCataclysm of IronBattle of NocturneWar of DrakesBattle of PlutoSiege of InwitBurning of Ohmn-MatBitter War
011-014.M31 Reaving of the Xibana ReachesLorin Alpha CampaignSubjugation of TyrinthMalagant ConflictBattle of the Kalium GateBattle of CatallusAxandrian IncidentBattle of the Haddon SystemJarrazr IncursionBattle of TralsakTarren SuppressionBalthor Sigma InterventionBattle of AbsolomScouring of the Ollanz ClusterBattle of ZepathSecond Battle of ZaramundBattle of AnuariBattle of PyrrhanSecond Battle of DavinArgolian MassacresBattle of TrisolianBattle of YarantBattle of KradeBattle of DelugeBattle of Heta-GladiusBattle of the Aragna ChainBattle of KallethBattle of the Diavanos SystemBattle of DesperationBattle of Beta-GarmonWar for AgaropsDefence of RyzaBattle of ThagriaPassage of AngelsThassos IncidentBattle of Zhao-ArkhadSerpent's CoilSiege of BarbarusForicaan CampaignBattle of VezdellBurning of VrexorDawn of DesolationDeath of ChemosBattle of Luth TyreYdursk IncidentFall of TenzebarSolar WarRaid on LunaSiege of TerraGreat Scouring