Updated : Aug 28, 2020 in Education


2nd Company Tactical Marine. Chapter Name: Botherhood of Steel; Founding: 23rd “Sentinel” Founding; Founding Chapter: Iron Hands. Looking for fellow Iron Hands brethren. I’m building my IH army and would love to track down the Iron Hands info offered in the Index Astartes III. A further departure from the doctrines of the Codex Astartes is the lack of Chaplains. The Iron Hands suffered terrible losses at the hands of the Traitor Marines.

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Like the other Loyalist Astartes Legions, the Iron Hands would later be divided up after the Inddx Heresy into multiple different Chaptersas required by the Codex Astartesalthough one Chapter of the original Legion remained known as the Iron Hands and is described below. Although unwavering in their faith in the Emperor of Mankind and His dream of human unity as embodied in the Imperium of Manthe Iron Hands also believe that human flesh is weak and easily corruptible, and strive to replace their organic bodies with more “pure” bionic substitutes, thus closely emulating the faith of the Adeptus Mechanicus ‘ Cult of the Machine.

The Iron Hands were born as the X th Legion of Space Marines, engineered by the Emperor of Mankind to bring His light to the long-lost human colony worlds scattered across the stars. Renowned for their pride, cold-hearted brutality and remorselessness in battle, the Iron Hands were among the most powerful and famed Space Marine Legions of the Great Crusade.

They were the hammer that had shattered countless foes in the Emperor’s quest to liberate Mankind from the darkness of Old Night. Their Primarch was Ferrus Manus, a bellicose and uncompromising warlord and peerless weapon-smith, from whom the X th Legion took their name and whose command was to them inviolatable law. Inndex the Horus Heresy first erupted and plunged the newborn Imperium into a galaxy-wide civil war, the Iron Hands Legion was too far from Terra to intervene directly in the climactic battle of the conflict.

Their Primarch Ferrus Manus was enraged by the weakness of those Legions who fell to Chaos, particularly with his closest brother amongst the Primarchs, Fulgrim of the Emperor’s Childrenand by his own inability to face the Traitors. It was during the Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan V that the Asatrtes Hands, the Raven Guard and the Salamanders Legions were ambushed by the Traitors led by the Warmaster Horus, and though the three Loyalist Legions fought with extraordinary valour, Ferrus Manus himself was lost, beheaded by Fulgrim’s Slaaneshi daemonblade which he had uncovered from the xenos world of Laeran.

The Iron Hands were undone by their own hubris and the blade iroh the Traitor both, and paid a heavy price in the brutal slaying of their Primarch and the near-crippling of their strength.

Though left as one of the Shattered Indedthe cold fury of the Iron Hands’ bitter vengeance would afterwards be writ across the stars. While the Traitors declared their Primarch dead upon the blasted wastes of Istvaan V, the current Iron Hands Chapter refuses to accept this, for the Primarch’s body was never recovered.

For over 10, Terran years, the Sons of Ferrus Manus have stoked their burning hatred, drawing strength from this inexhaustible well of rage as they await their lost Primarch’s return. The unique identity of the Iron Hands is forged by their belief that all flesh is inherently weak, for it is subject to mortification, decay and temptation and is thus a weakness that must ultimately be purged if the Chapter’s Astartes are to best serve the Emperor.

This is a belief most probably rooted in the experiences of the Horus Heresy, but the inherent character of the people of the Chapter’s homeworld of Medusawith their stoicism and patient forbearance, also plays a part.

Following the apparent death of their Primarch at Istvaan V, the surviving members of the Legion returned to their homeworld and fanned the coals of hatred that would endure across the millennia. The Iron Hands chose to isolate themselves from many of their fellow Astartes Chapters after the Second Founding and slowly became bitter recluses, wielding their anger as a protective shield against a universe of growing weakness and insanity. It soon came to pass that none were immune from their ire.

The Traitors had renounced their oaths and turned against their brothers, but the Loyalists had allowed it to happen, and the Emperor had fallen. They believe that had the Legions been sufficiently strong and fought on instead of retreating, their Primarch would not have been lost, the Traitors would have been defeated, and the Heresy would have been crushed. The Iron Hands harbour a special hatred for the Successor Chapters of the other two Loyalist ” Shattered Legions ” — the Salamanders and the Raven Guard — that fought with them at Istvaan V, for they believe that if those Legions had been stronger and continued to fight rather than retreating, Ferrus Manus would not have been astartse and the Heresy might have ended there.

This belief defies all facts to the contrary. The Iron Hands’ abhorrence of weakness is not limited to the moral however, asttartes they hold that the body itself, even that of a genetically-enhanced Astartes, is frail and impermanent and subject to sickness and aging.

The Iron Hands are driven to replace the weak biological matter all men are born into with cold, unyielding iron, a practise that begins when a Neophyte is initiated into the Chapter as a full Battle-Brother.

The Initiate’s left hand is removed and replaced with a bionic version ashartes a ritual inspired by a tale of the Primarch when his own hands were encased in living metal following a battle with a great metal serpent.

He appears to come to hate himself, or his biological form at least, like a man forcibly garbed in filth-encrusted rags.

More of his organs and limbs are replaced with bionic augmetics, each inherently superior yands the original. To some outsiders, this is a supreme blasphemy, for many of the organs eventually discarded are those that make a Irno Marine what he is, and which are the direct inheritance of the Emperor and the Primarch.

A few centuries more and the warrior’s biological body might consist of little more than his brain and his major internal organs.

It is said that some Iron Hands, those that survive the rigours of war and their own hate-fuelled self-mutilation, are no more than a brain encased in a ceramite shell. Because of this drive, many of the Chapter’s leaders are entombed within the form of a Dreadnought. Each company is an all-but independent body called a Clan Company, which maintains its own mobile fortress-monastery that trawls the endless wastes of Medusa guarding against weakness in the people and recruiting the strongest into its ranks.

Whatever the cause, the Iron Hands’ resolution and grim determination remain beyond doubt, as many of the Imperium’s enemies have discovered.


The martial handd of the X th Legion is a relatively well-documented one, about which a great deal still survives on record in the present era in marked contrast with some of the others.

Alongside the other proto-Legions created by the Emperor of Mankind during the latter days of the Unification Wars on Ancient Terra in the late 30 th Millennium, they were prepared and armed in preparation for the great work ahead, and their initial outfitting and organisation followed closely to the standard patterns set for the Legiones Astartes at the start of the Great Crusade.

Their recruitment base is noted as being relatively widespread, with elements drawn from all over Ancient Terra, both from areas of the Qavitine Plate cities, and from former enemy blocs such as the Solus Stellax. In particular, the warlike culture and renowned brutality of the population of Old Albia, which supplied substantial numbers of recruits for the X th Legion, had a great deal to do with the Legion’s early character as it also did for the XIV th Legionlending them a fierce pride in a warrior ancestry that predated the Legion’s Founding.

Utilised as part of larger Legion taskforces in the closing stages of the battles on Ancient Terra itself, its first individual battle honours are recorded in the wider Sol System against the mutant “Scythers” of the deep-orbiting Mican Aggregation and in the extermination of the xenos Lyasx enclave hidden beneath the ice of Oberath. In both of these prior engagements, the X th Legion had proved itself a remorseless and fiercely disciplined attacking force, fully capable of operating with remarkable coordination and tightly focused wrath to achieve tactical and strategic aims.

On both occasions, the Legion had defeated a powerful foe with relatively few losses despite very heavy resistance and while operating in environmentally hazardous conditions. Because of the constraints of these two battle environments — the first being a human-made Space Hulkand the second, the airless and frozen caverns of a Dead World — these victories, while notable, did not serve to distinguish them yet in the particular style of warfare to which they would later become most famed.

Instead it would take the Legion’s third large-scale engagements — the invasion of the planet designated or the “Battle of Rust” as it would be commonly known to Imperial military historians — to show the X th Legion’s particular martial gifts for what they were, and would do so with empathic force.

Planetor “Rust” to give its colloquial name, was an arid waste world, rich in pyro-chemical deposits, oxide deserts and the corroded remnants of vast, long-dead cities. In order to exploit these resources, the Orks of the powerful and expanding “Krooked-Klaw” empire of Wardog Kulo, a Greenskins empire which spanned more than sixty inhabited star systems to the galactic northeast of Seraphina, had made Rust a slave-mining colony comprising millions of Orks and a vast, shifting population of short-lived human slaves harvested in inter-stellar raids.

Scouted out by the Rogue Trader Hedrik Zuckermann and identified as a primary target of the early Great Crusade, it was into this alien domain that the combined forces of the Legions, with the Emperor at their head, slammed with devastating force in M30 in what was, at that early stage, the most widespread mass offensive of the era.

Setting the future pattern for attacks upon widely spread Ork territories, the Seraphin Offensive utilised the forces of eleven entire Space Marine Legions and hundreds of Imperial Army battle groups to assault scores of Ork-held worlds as simultaneously as the vagaries of Warp transit would allow, keeping the xenos forces fragmented and isolated so that they could be destroyed in detail. The task of taking the strategic world of Rust and the liberation of the enslaved human population there thought to number almost a billion by some estimates was entrusted to the X th Legion, supported by two secondary battle groups, one comprised of the Urshan Velites of the Imperial Army and one comprising the Halgentine Covenant of the Legio Cybernetica.

Having already measured themselves against the savage threat of the Ork race in lesser battles previously, the massed forces of the X th Legion, under the generalship of their Lord Commander Amadeus DuCaine, formulated a plan of attack which owed much to the feared and pitiless battlecraft of Old Albia; a tactic known as the Hammer and the Storm. After forcing a landing via the brute power of their warships from orbit, DuCaine ordered the Urshan soldiery to make planetfall in full strength.

He had them form up in a triangular deployment zone, many kilometres on each side of the wasteland plain between the three largest Ork settlement-fortresses in the corroded cityscapes and dig in. In this they had successfully “raised the storm”; the Orks, bestirred in their millions by the attack from above and, ever-warlike, poured from their warrens to attack the invaders.

An Iron Hands Astartes displaying the extensive bionic replacements common in the Chapter. Within only a few solar hours the plain was a bloodbath of shot and shell, mangled machinery and bomb craters swollen with broken bodies, both human and Ork.

Despite pleas for reinforcements or to be allowed to retreat, DuCaine waited until he was sure the bulk of the Ork forces were fully committed — swarming like a tide of black ants in numbers large enough to be visible from orbit like a spreading stain — before answering with the might of his Legion.

The Space Marines would be the hammer to the Urshans storm. Using gunships and assault landers to blast through the hurricane of flak and wings of Ork aircraft which vulture-swept the skies above the battle, the X th Legion tore open a hole into the bloated body of the Ork horde and deployed its full armoured might into a single massed spearhead, comprised mainly of heavy MalcadorMauler and Land Raider tanks. In the shadow of these armoured giants, the Legion’s squads and Dreadnoughts formed in close and disciplined ranks.

Moving forward as a single, slow-moving mass, lashing out a relentless torrent of firepower, the Legion went in unison like some immense harvesting machine through a field of ripe grain, destroying everything in its path.

Index Astartes: Brotherhood of Steel

It rushed forward perpendicular to the half-overrun Imperial defence lines, the Legio Cybernetica and the Legion’s own rapid-moving skimmer and Jetbike squadrons spreading out in its wake to terminate any pockets of survivors and guard the hammer’s flanks and rear.

On and on the Orks indxe to fight and to die. In response, the X th Legion re-armed and re-formed, meeting them in open counter-attack, unleashing their pent-up bloodlust and rage on the enemy until the wasteland plain was choked with bodies and broken war machines. After days of near-continuous fighting, the waves of alien assault grew fewer and fewer between, until they guttered and stopped at last.

The Orks of Rust had not lost the will to fight, but had simply run out of blood and machinery to spend.

At the end of the battle, the X th Legion had suffered less than a fifth of its number in fatalities; a far lower figure than might have been expected if it had been forced to attack the ancient warren-tunnelled cityscapes and take them one-by-one in gruelling attrition. The Urshan had also suffered heavy losses in the battle’s opening stages, but afterwards they had been employed principally only in guarding the landing zones and supply lines while the X th Legion fought, and many had ultimately been spared, leading to Rust being hailed as a great triumph also on account of how little had been sacrificed to attain it.


Having gained much renown on Rust, the X th Legion went on to practice the Hammer and Storm tactic again successfully elsewhere against the Orks during the Seraphina Offensive, and from it gained a reputation for remorseless, highly-coordinated warfare and a particular fame for successfully prosecuting “set-piece” battles incorporating close armoured-vehicle support soon followed the Legion.

This emulation was not universal however, and some Legions ignored the X th Legion’s success simply because they ill-suited either their temperament or fighting style some also had already evidenced a lack of discipline of the kind that the X th Legion had displayed in order to carry it off. Very quickly, with its victories and developing tactics, the X th Legion was forging an identity for itself in battle, and the name “the Storm Walkers” or “Stormwalkers” had been coined for them by the Urshan who had come to view them with an almost superstitious awe.

But what might have come of this independent progression, however, will never be known, as in a short span of years after the sundering of the Krooked Klaw empire, news came that the X th Legion’s Primarch had been found on a cold, merciless world named Medusa. At the dawn of the Imperium of Manbefore the Great Crusade had begun, the 20 gene-children of the Emperor of Mankindthe Primarchswere scattered across the known galaxy through the Warp in a mysterious accident due to the intervention of the Ruinous Powers of Chaos.

Index Astartes – Warhammer 40k – Lexicanum

The gestation capsules of all 20 Primarchs were stolen from the Emperor’s secret gene-laboratory deep beneath the Himalazian Himalayan Mountains on Terra and were flung across thousands of light years, all eventually coming to rest on backwater human colony planets.

It was this first touch of Chaos before the Primarchs had even been born that may have corrupted so many of them and laid the foundation for the agonising tragedy of the Horus Heresy that was to come. One of these infant Primarchs turned up on the dark, geologically unstable Feral World of Medusa in the Segmentum Obscurus very near to the Eye of Terrorhis gestation capsule burning a trail through the cloud-dominated sky as it impacted the highest mountain on the world, Karaashi, the Ice Pinnacle.

The impact shattered the mountain top, burying Ferrus deep in the ice in a tremendous explosion of steam. The land shook under the impact which could be felt all over the world.

Mountains were toppled and great chasms were formed as the planet rumbled under the coming of the Primarch. Medusa rumbled with such ferocity that the Medusans later said that many of the world’s mountains simply shook themselves to pieces. Years later that special infant, named Ferrus Manus by the Medusans literally “iron handed” in the ancient High Gothic tonguewalked unscathed and already fully grown from the uninhabited mountain ranges of the far northern wastes where the Ice Pinnacle lay.

The Gorgon’s Forge (Iron Hands WIP)

The legends of the roaming clans, taught from father to son throughout the ages, revolve around the early exploits of Ferrus, who came to be regarded as a great warrior amongst the nomadic clans of Medusa.

No one could match his ibdex of arm, try as he might to find a worthy opponent. Inde sought out every physical challenge that he could, always returning victorious. According to one oft-recounted myth, Ferrus once challenged a storm giant to a competition of strength. The giant lifted a mountain between his hands and set it back down a mile away.

The giant’s laugh died when Ferrus lifted the entire mountain range on his back, carrying it to a neighbouring island. The poor, humbled giant was never seen again. Ferrus travelled the length and breadth of Medusa, becoming well-known by all the clans and coming to know the land itself as no one ever had. He travelled areas that any other man would have found inaccessible.


He climbed the highest mountains, he swam the deepest oceans, always pushing his levels of endurance and strength to levels unfathomable to mortal men. His strength and fury made him renowned and feared amongst the people of the clans who valued such astagtes highly in their harsh environment. Ferrus was eventually adopted by the Medusan clans as one of their own. He never interfered in the various clans’ conflicts, believing that such competition was healthy for his people and should be allowed to thrive.

Because of ironn impartiality, Ferrus was ultimately accepted universally as an honourary member of every Medusan clan, and great often exaggerated legends like wstartes one above were told of his deeds. Much about the formative years of Ferrus Manus on Medusa remains unknown, not so much through any deliberate veil of secrecy perhaps, but because what was later retold by the Medusans themselves was filtered through the barbaric folk-memory of their culture, while the Gorgon himself was taciturn on the matter to any save the Emperor.

There have been many who have studied the formative situations of the Primarchs who have ineex parallels handa the conditions in which Vulkan found himself on Nocturne and Ferrus Manus encountered on Medusa; both were found on savage, barren worlds riven by hostile conditions and both were home to primitive cultures, long cut off from axtartes rest of Mankind during the Age of Strife.

But beyond these surface features, the two worlds and, in particular, those who dwelled upon them could not have been more different. If what can be gleaned from the Medusan folk tales holds true, it was not into the clan-ranges he first fell in blaze of light that sundered the grey, shrouding skies of the planet, but in the northern polar regions, shattering Karaashi, the Pinnacle of Black Ice.

This locale was one of many places the Medusans considered the accursed abodes of the malign shades inded the dead and slumbering iron-skinned monsters of legend. This set the scene for the Primarch’s entrance into mythic history, and the Medusan legends teach inddx him wandering the northern realms, casting down hulking storm giants, performing superhuman feats of cunning and strength, and slaying monsters and murderous machine-creatures left relic beneath the black ice of Medusa from bygone ages of war and slaughter.