+ inload: The Agrellan campaign; Ultramarines during the Nova Terra Interregnum +

+ The Agrellan campaign +

+ Warfare on a very different scale today. I dug out my Epic Ultramarines and took them into the pict-booths to help illustrate the Agrellan Campaign. +


+ The Ultramarines during the Nova Terra Interregnum + 

Five Millennia of warfare had seen the Ultramarines maintaining their tradition of benevolent tyranny over the Ultramar region. Their close adherence to their Primarch's Codex Astartes waned to a low under the auspices of Master Maxellus, with the Chapter Master encouraging personal initiative; a desire to emulate the great Primarch's initiative rather than follow his dictates by rote. This attitude was to set the terms for the Ultramarines for the centuries leading into the events of the Nova Terra Interregnum, and while it resulted in some of the greatest victories a Chapter had ever won; it also led to some of the Ultramarines' most bloody and infamous defeats.

The outbreak of the Nova Terra Interegnum saw the Ultramarines recovering from a series of thankless and punishing wars with ork warbands of the Lion Star Cluster and the Inheritors of Orison; a xenos-influenced cult of multi-limbed hybrid organisms. This culminated in the infamous void battle that saw the Battlebarge Endless Duty boarded and scuttled by the Inheritors, resulting in the loss of a number of their highest-ranking officers, including the Chapter Master, Master of Sanctity and Chief Librarian Nastase.

Understrength and demoralised, the Ultramarines entered M35 politically isolated, their influence on their Successors largely squandered, and sorely in need of inspiration. The newly-appointed Chapter Master Ollonius embarked on an aggressive recruitment drive, and seized on the Codex Astartes as his symbol. As a result, as the events of the Nova Terra Interregnum unfolded, the Ultramarines were operating at their most martially pragmatic – encouraging casualty minimisation, withdrawal and redeployment over the individual but costly heroics of the previous centuries.

The outbreak of the Nova Terra Interregnum was met by a stony-faced Ollonius. Caught between a personal desire to interfere in distant galactic events and stand by his appointed duty to Ultramar, his political philosophies left him only one route: that of local warden. It was a bitter pill for the revolutionary Chapter Master, whose desire to re-introduce the flexibility of the Codex Astartes to the Ultramarines left him and his storied Chapter sidelined for much of the period.


+ Fifth Company during the Agrellan Conflict +

As the Chapter rebuilt, the Ultramarines were restricted to garrisoning the Ultramar region itself; humiliatingly being forced to rely on their brother Chapters to patrol and fulfil oaths of service as ancient as the Imperium itself.

Following three decades of accelerated recruitment and deliberately defensive warfare, the Ultramarines were finally able to shoulder their duties once more, and begin the long road of building back their standing amongst their Astartes' peers. Chapter Master Ollonius knew the value of morale, and was glad to be able to commit two crusading Companies to the Alien Wars. Their first challenge was on Agrellan; an agri-world that had been invaded by orks.

+ Captain Vangral Callistes, accompanied by a command squad of veterans (white helms, centre), leads the Company's six Tactical Squads into battle. Carrying a variety of small arms and transported by dedicated Deimos-pattern Rhinos, these Tactical detachments are at the heart of battle. A Hunter anti-aircraft vehicle has been deployed alongside for defensive purposes. +

+ The units bear Codex-standard variant Tactical markings; a clear indication of the 'back-to-basics' philosophy of their survival-minded Chapter Master. +

+ The remainder of the transport pool. Sufficient Rhinos are available for all the Company's Tactical units, as well as the attached scout units shown here. During the Nova Terra Interregnum, the Ultramarines used a huge variety of field markings; varying not just from Company to Company, but from engagement to engagement. While never confirmed, rumours swirled that the practice was deliberately evasive; allowing the Ultramarines to maintain plausible deniability when involving themselves in border disputes between those loyal to Nova Terra and Ancient Terra. +

+ The Company's two assault squads are led into battle by the Company Chaplain (second squad from left), an Office that had become both hugely influential and starkly changed during the period. While the Chapter was experiencing a renewed interest in the secular practicalities of the Codex Astartes, the recruitment drive had simultaneously brought in a massive proportion of Initiates and Reservists who had been brought up in the increasingly religious atmosphere of the time. +

+ Many Ultramarines felt lost, humiliated or aggrieved by their forced indolence during the period, and turned to the Chapter Cult for spiritual guidance. Their preconceptions of a deified Emperor, in concert with a conciliatory chaplaincy aimed at preserving order, meant that many Ultramarines became fervently and openly religious. +

+ The company's Fire Support: A Whirlwind detachment supported by a the Company's Devastator complement – itself reinforced by a Dreadnought, Hunter and Rhino Transports. +

+ The Chapter armoury had not spent the decades idle. With a reduced amount of repair and maintenance necessary, the Forgelord and his Techmarines had been able to requisition and reconstruct a number of new armoured vehicles, including the Vindicator squadron above. +

+ During the Agrellan Campaign, it was common for the Ultramarines to make the most of their large vehicle pool and deploy Predator tanks en masse in dedicated Armoured Companies. +

+ With few separate Companies committed to different warzones, the Chapter's vehicle pool also allowed the massed use of Land Raiders; something unthinkable in preceding centuries. Such focussed power proved to be critical at numerous points in the Agrellan Campaign. +


+ AGRELLAN 222.M35 +
+ Legio Praesagius walks, supported by local Guard regiments +

1 comment:

RSF_Angel said...

Ever since the 3rd-ed slim codex that showed the ultramarines chapter shot from Warhammer world, with a breakdown of chapter compilation, I've been struck that we know of no Codex Astartes constraints on armoured vehicle numbers.

There may be practical limits to what a chapter can manufacture themselves or negotiate from the mechanicus- but IIRC rhino hulls are supposed to be manufactured by chapter forges. The vehicle drivers and techmarines are never included in the 1000 battlebrothers, and command staff are similarly excluded.

There is no logical reason (beyond constant heavy losses of materiel) why a chapter would not invest in armoured fighting vehicles to the point that battle companies were backed up by predator tank companies and numerous whirlwind rocket batteries.

Maybe there are non-logical reasons, like theological interpretations of the codex astartes, desire for personal glory and hand to hand combat, honour and so forth.

At any rate, I'm happy to see an Astartes force that reflects my musings somewhat. I'm really interested to see where this goes. I enjoyed the Nastase cameao/easter egg and I'm always interested in cultural shifts within the Space Marines.

The models are looking good and that one 28mm scanner stuck on a epic rhino is pure genius.