Friday, January 21, 2011

First of the First

Ten milennia ago, the Emperor formed the legions of Astartes that would conquer the galaxy in his name.  The first and greatest of these was known as the Dark Angels.  After the dark days of the heresy had subsided, the Imperium found the Dark Angels in seclusion, with newly-coloured armour, and demanding autonomy according to their charters.  Granted such, the 'new' Dark Angels began a mission that the rest of the Imperium must NEVER know about.

The first company is made up entirely of veteran battle brothers, all versed in the art of war and true history of the legion completely.  Their knowledge is both valuable and dangerous, being the strength and spine of the entire Dark Angel's chapter.  The battle brothers are all trained in the use of the Tactical Dreadnought armor, known more commonly as 'Terminator Armor'.  Their standard tactic is the deep strike, teleporting directly into the enemy's ranks where they can wreak untold havoc and massive destruction.  Their faith is unquestionable, they are fearless, and they are the Deathwing.

Brief History of the Deathwing

The Codex Astartes, the holy tome that organizes all space marine chapters, specifically noted that every chapter shall 'maintain a company of veterans, from which the leadership of the chapter shall arise' and that these veterans would be the only ones able to utilize the new, rare, Terminator suits and Land Raider transport tanks.  The Dark Angels took this a step further, and noted that their veteran company, the first, may ONLY wear Terminator armor.  You'll not find a Dark Angel veteran in power armor at this level.  The codex also states that the veteran company 'shall not go to war as one fighting force, but shall be used to bolster and enhance the rest of the chapter's fighting strength.'  The Dark Angels usually do just that, but are well-known to commonly use their veterans as a singular fighting force.  Most Imperial commanders believe this to be folly, but the motivations of the Dark Angels are already mysterious, and the results of battles involving the veteran company alone are difficult to argue with (as victory almost always is).

At some point, in the deep history of the Dark Angels, a legend was formed.  A librarian and a number of his veteran battle brothers decided to take shore leave to their homeworld, a long-protected recruitment world for the Dark Angels.  Descending to the planet in their gunship, named Deathwing, they found that a xenos invasion had subjugated their world.  Knowing they would not survive the battle, the librarian (named Two Heads Talking) and his brothers painted their terminator armor white and executed a full war against the aliens.  When the Dark Angels chapter came back to retrieve them, they found a planet just freed from dominion and the veterans dead around the slain leader of the invaders.  In honor of the unit's actions, resulting in saving an entire Imperial planet from hostile aliens, the entire veteran company of Dark Angels changed their panalopy to white and took the nomicker 'Deathwing'. 

Modern-day Deathwing

Today, the Deathwing are rightly feared throughout the Imperium. Their leader, Master Belial, is a master tactician and a stern warrior.  Not a glory-seeker, Belial has a record for achieving victory with brutal speed and ferocity, only the disappear in an instant, his objective met.  It's not uncommon for Imperial forces to find hundreds of enemy killed, but find the Deathwing forces were there for only minutes.  The Deathwing are not a siege force or defensive garrison.  In fact, the Dark Angels seem to use the Deathwing in situations where a standard battle formation would suffice. 

In addition, the Deathwing are renowned for their use of Dreadnoughts and Land Raiders.  Most Imperial records observe ONLY this equipment ever in Deathwing forces.  Understanding military doctrine, this means that the Deathwing are very limitted mission role forces or that observations of other equipment are rarely seen.  Most commanders hope the Deathwing are more versatile in their force selection, but don't dare to question Master Belial (or any Astartes, for that matter).

Now right now, you're wondering why I've decided to do a history piece on the Deathwing.  Well, it's because the heavenly host of game designers have finally broken free of the heavens and descended, where they delivered unto us all the blessing of a ......
working Deathwing army!!!!

Of all the forces packed tightly away into figure cases waiting in the deep freeze that is my garage for the day they'll actually be used again, this army had the least hope.  But then there was light... Next blog will be pics of that Deathwing army, and of course, the history of how I brought this collection into existance...

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