Size and Expendability of the Word Bearers and Iron Warriors

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Size and Expendability of the Word Bearers and Iron Warriors

Post by Moonreaper666 on 16/6/2016, 01:31

Does anyone have any idea how big both Traitor Legions are?

How are they able to maintain their numbers?

Does the way they treat their Astartes as cannon food show that they are both large legions? (Iron Warriors Civil War, Dark Apostle sacrificing one of his Hosts, Attacking Iron Hands 3 Days Straight)

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Re: Size and Expendability of the Word Bearers and Iron Warriors

Post by Farseer Amathar on 16/6/2016, 06:02

Um... I don't think there are exact numbers on the traitor legions.  Math means little, in the warp.  As for the way they tend to be reckless with their subordinates' lives... that's not necessarily meant to show a large force more than it is meant to show the instability or crazed-nature of their commanders.  Sadly, there isn't much in the way of modern Chaos Space Marine numbers.  The closest that we can get on hard-data is Horus Heresy-era numbers, though that often helps show some insight into the traditions that inform how some of them still operate (in far looser or more chaotic fashion).

Hold on... (*spends a few minutes cursing at his computer for the crashing internet that destroyed half of this post that now has to be re-typed*)  Okay, done.  Back to re-answering you... (*facepalms*)  By the way, I've been trying to include links to the articles that I'm quoting, but apparently I cannot make the link as part of the title of the quote, so I've been burying the links inside the quotes.  Hopefully they will take you to the area of the article that I am citing.

Lexicanum: Word Bearers wrote:During the Great Crusade and ensuing Horus Heresy, the Word Bearers Legion, 100,000 strong, was divided into many different Chapters, each bearing a name and icon representing one of the constellations of Colchis.

Lexicanum: Word Bearers wrote:Word Bearers do not worship Chaos Gods individually. Instead, they are venerated and regarded as a Dark Pantheon of Chaos Gods. The sons of Lorgar view those who limit their worship to a single Chaos God with contempt and are partially at odds with the Emperor's Children for their decadence. Word Bearers rely on Daemons as shock troops, meatshields, and as the bulk of their armies. Their elite Chaos Space Marines are used to accomplish vital tasks. The Word Bearers have been known to have a massive cultist base, and have used cultists and insurgents since the Great Crusade. However, unlike the Alpha Legion, the primary use of cultists is as cannon fodder and distractions.

Lexicanum: Word Bearers wrote:From the Dark Council, this evil priesthood enforces a strict regime of worship of the Chaos pantheon upon their fellow Word Bearers and are also highly likely to be found leading the Legion in battle. Each is gifted an army of their own, known as a Host. The numbers vary, with the smallest typical size roughly analogous to that of a Space Marine Company, and the largest exceeding the manpower of a Space Marine Chapter.
The organisational make-up of each Host differs wildly as well, and can change depending on the whims of the Dark Apostle that leads it. Often they will suddenly alter the hierarchy of their Host for reasons known only to themselves. These changes often result in seemingly unwieldy or tactically inflexible formations. The Word Bearers themselves accept these changes without question.
The largest known Host numbered over two thousand Chaos Marines at its peak. The size of this force required that the Dark Apostle be served by two chief lieutenants, his First Acolyte and a champion, entitled as the Coryphaus. The role of the Coryphaus is to be the intermediary between the Dark Apostle and his host. This allows the Dark Apostle to be seen primarily as a spiritual and distant figure. Furthermore, the Coryphaus is essentially in charge of the majority of tactical decisions on the battlefield, freeing the Dark Apostle to commune with the Darker powers, fuel the hatred of the host and ponder strategic matters. Additionally, the Host possessed an Icon Bearer and an elite unit of over two hundred Terminators known as the Anointed.
The most commonly occurring structure is that roughly equating to a Space Marine company, with the Host broken down into units of about twelve warriors. Each is commanded by a champion of the Word Bearers who strives to become as devout a war leader as the Dark Apostle in the hope of one day being chosen to succeed him on the occasion of his death.

Sometimes it's just best to let your sources speak for themselves.  That's about as close of information I can get you to the size of various post-heresy Word Bearer formations.  I hope that helps in some way.  Onto the Iron Warriors.

Lexicanum: Iron Warriors wrote:The Iron Warriors suffered a great deal of dispersion during the Great Crusade, with various units being detached for separate siege and garrison missions.
The strategic command of the Legion were overseen by Grand Battalions, which functioned similarly to a Chapter, but had a larger stockpile of armor, artillery, and logistical support than other legions. The Iron Warriors had a notably high rate of attrition, so the strength of the Grand Battalions fluctuated. Some had as little as 500 Legionaries and others had an excess of 4,000. Severely depleted Grand Battalions were folded into active units. Grand Battalions were commonly divided in Cohorts or Grand Companies. Below these were Line Companies and Armor Centuries. The companies roughly had 100 Legionaries and the centuries had a range of 20 to 50 armor units. In each Grand Battalion there were elements of the Tyranthikos, informally known as the Dominators. These were the Legion's Terminator veterans.
Tactically, Iron Warriors were organised as a number of Grand Companies each commanded by a Warsmith. Originally each Grand Company would have had a similar organisation, totaling around 1,000 Space Marines. At the time of the Heresy, the Legion had at least twelve Companies, although with the widespread deployment of many small detachments of the Legion at the time it is impossible to be sure if this figure of around 12,000 fighting Astartes was their maximum strength.[1] The overall size of the Legion was between 150,000 and 180,000 Marines.


Lexicanum: Iron Warriors wrote:Their current organisation is completely non-standard, particularly after their civil war fragmented the legion. A Grand Company will often be divided into component detachments led by lesser champions. A tendency towards operating in multiples of three has been noted.[1] While their Primarch remains in his fortress at Medrengard , the Iron Warriors are now almost exclusively led by Warsmiths who command Grand Companies.[1f] A Warsmith is a high-ranking leader within the Iron Warriors Legion with control of a Grand Company, seemingly similar to a Chapter Master with several companies lead by Chaos Champions still called Captains. The Iron Warriors are known to pursue their recruitment programs aggressively, notably capturing a sizable source of pure gene-seed from the facility on Hydra Cordatus and using it to hot-house new Iron Warriors using a chaotic techno-organic method. These new Iron Warriors are selected periodically by Warsmiths for their Grand Company and subjected to various ordeals until they prove themselves worthy.

Lexicanum: Grand Company wrote:A Grand Company is a combat unit within the Iron Warriors Legion. Similar to a Chapter, a Grand Company will be under the authority of a Warsmith and be composed of several regular Companies lead by Captains. The number of companies that will be part of the Grand Company will vary, depending on both the number of Chaos Space Marines in the Grand Company, and if the Grand Company has been able to absorb any other Grand Companies (usually by virtue of killing a rival Warsmith).  At least three companies have been observed operating as a single Grand Company.

Particularly in the case of the Iron Warriors, I seem to remember that most new recruits to the Chaos Space Marines tend to be from either renegade Space Marines, or through some sort of the theft of loyalist geneseed.  Occasionally Chaos Space Marine Warbands (or Legions, before more recent lore that they were all shattered into warbands) will contract out Fabius Bile to genetically engineer or clone new Chaos Space Marines, though the price of this is often steep and I'm not entirely sure that is still part of the lore.  I almost forgot that some more powerful warriors of Chaos will be occasionally resurrected, though this too often requires large sacrifices in order to do, so is usually reserved for Chaos Lords or Lieutenants.  Eliphas the Inheritor is an example of this (the ability to resurrect based on popularity alone - like many superhero comic book characters).

I hope this answers your questions and was helpful.  If I missed anything please point it out and I will tell you if I have any knowledge on that.
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Re: Size and Expendability of the Word Bearers and Iron Warriors

Post by Moonreaper666 on 16/6/2016, 07:08

600.M34 Iron Warriors Civil War (Dispute of Iron)

For over a HUNDRED YEARS Perturabo instigated war in his Daemon World to rid himself of the weak and unworthy

Cultists, Marines and EVEN TITANS participated in the bloody civil war. ENTIRE Warbands were destroyed!

First of, HOLY FUCK! The first time I read this on Lexicanum it blown my mind.

Second, its definitely a good thing the Forces of Chaos are almost never united.

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Re: Size and Expendability of the Word Bearers and Iron Warriors

Post by Farseer Amathar on 16/6/2016, 07:38

Oh.  I thought you were referencing expendable in reference to Chaos' habit of just 'rushing the line' in a lot of stories.  Chaos tends to be played as rather dumb and tactically inefficient in many of the stories (thought not all) that I have read.

Yeah, that's something I have yet to read and it's been put on my slate of things to look up, soon.  Thank you for pointing that out to me.  From what I know of Perturabo, he was a very... well hard person.  He enacted decimation on his own units (the old Roman practice of forcing armies to kill every 1 in 10 of their own in order to ensure loyalty to each other, strength and to cement the punishments for failure, thus hopefully increasing morale or drive of under-performing units) as one of his first acts of taking control of his Space Marines during the Great Crusade.  In terms of Perturabo, he probably thinks that his Iron Warriors are even stronger with fewer numbers, because the weak would only drag them down or something twisted like that.  As I said, relaying back to how 'crazed' most chaos commanders are portrayed.

I don't know.  I'm kind of an old 40k Fan by this point and I've got some issues with Chaos' portrayal... sometimes.  I hate that Big E (my nickname for the Emperor) is portrayed as -always- winning, though that can often be written off as imperial propaganda.  That most of the times, our main characters or major defeated chaos will always see the light and beg for death or forgiveness before being killed.  In some ways I think Chaos was more threatening when they still operated as legions, because then you always had a major threat from one of nine (ten?) different sources.  I also think that Chaos is portrayed best, in relation to the Imperium, when you really play up the fact that any time Chaos rears its head, there will be permanent losses to an Imperium in which rebuilding is almost a dream.  But all to often, Big E is good and he vanquishes those silly Chaos because Chaos always fails and (to mis-quote Darth Helmet) Evil is dumb.  But those are mostly just separate issues.  The funny thing is, the more I love something (such as 40k) the more likely I am to be annoyed by things with it.  Doesn't detract from the love, though.
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