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Woe Machine

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The scale of the enemy woe machines is almost unimaginable, the sheer cruelty... extraordinary: great flywheels fixed with blades, scissoring jaws, vast wheels designed purely for crushing, insectoid crawlers breathing flame from draconian snouts.

They are the mechanisms of an insane torturer made real and magnified to giant proportions. The Imperial Guard is many things, but in the end, it is only flesh and bone and blood, and these... are fashioned simply to strip and rend and break those mortal substances quite utterly.

- Marshal Blackwood, 757.M41, in his private journal.[1a]
An artist's rendition of a "Woe Machine" encountered by the Imperial Forces on Ashek II.[1b]

"Woe Machine" was the peculiar appellation given to the bizarre war machines created by Heritor Asphodel during the Sabbat Worlds Crusade.

Besides being a brilliant tactician, Asphodel's talent for designing war machines was so great that some Imperial analysts speculated a past connection with an Imperial Forge world or even with the Adeptus Mechanicus (though the latter speculation was hotly denied by Mechanicus adepts).[1a]

Like their creator, these machines were both destructive and terrifying in appearance. They were first encountered on Ashek II, against which the Imperial Guard's infantry forces proved so impotent that Marshal Blackwood transmitted urgent pleas to Warmaster Slaydo for Titan reinforcement. The "duels" between the Imperial Titans and Asphodel's Woe Machines traumatized many of the witnessing Guardsmen far beyond any wounds they had taken.[1a]

These grotesque machines were later encountered during the Battle of Balhaut in 765.M41, when Asphodel unleashed them against the Imperial forces assaulting the Oligarchy citadel. They were powerful enough to drive back even the Silver Guard Space Marines.[1c]

Still later, Asphodel produced several new woe machines from the manufactories of Hive Ferrozoica on Verghast, where the Heritor mobilised the city's entire population to exterminate its neighbour, Vervunhive.[2a][2b]

See also