Space Marine Chapter

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The Space Marine Chapter is the largest commonly-used organizational unit of Space Marines, nominally consisting of a thousand Marines, give or take. As of the 41st Millennium, there are approximately one thousand Space Marine Chapters operating in the Imperium of Man.

Origin[edit]

Each Chapter is descended, in one way or another, from the twenty original Space Marine Legions founded to wage the Great Crusade -- in fact, the term "Chapter" began as one of several names for a roughly thousand-strong division of Marines, as a thousand Marines was few enough to be logistically manageable while numerous enough to handle almost any situation, especially with the assistance of their Imperial Army regiments. However, some Legions preferred to operate at full strength all the time, especially the Sons of Horus (judging from the books, the Vengeful Spirit housed the Legion's whole first ten companies) and the Death Guard (operating most of the time as a single force of ~90k+ marines). It says something about the sheer manpower of these armies that that large portions of the Legion were often benched during a campaign.

The Horus Heresy proved that having a quarter of a million Marines and millions of Guardsmen under the command of one corruptible individual was too dangerous, so Roboute Guilliman (who also originally had a quarter of a million of Marines and millions of Guardsmen under his command), with the grudging assistance of the surviving loyalist Primarchs, instituted the Codex Astartes reforms, where the remaining loyalist Legions were divided into Chapters of no more than a thousand Marines. This event was known as the Second Founding, with the creation of the twenty original Legions being retroactively designated the First Founding.

Founding[edit]

The First and Second Foundings were unusual compared to the rest; in both cases, there were plenty of Space Marines to be had, so the founding of new Legions or Chapters was basically a re-organization. By the time of the 41st Millennium, Space Marines are made in much fewer numbers, so founding a new Chapter is not done lightly -- in fact, only twenty-four Foundings have been held since the Second.

First, there has to be sufficient gene-seed. If there isn't enough in storage, more will be made by implanting some into slaves, extracting the progenoids, using them to make two sets of gene-seed, and so on. In a century, one set of gene-seed can be cloned into over a thousand, which is more than enough for a new chapter. Once there is enough gene-seed, a suitable set of Aspirants will go through training to become the first battle-brothers, while a few Veterans from a chapter that already exist will become the first Master and Captains of the Chapter. This is a great honor for those Veterans chosen, and for their Chapter as well.

Organization[edit]

A single Marine is extremely powerful; a full Chapter is overkill for almost any situation save the most dire (though these situations are naturally the ones we hear about). To ensure that enough Marines are committed to a given battle (but no more, since they are too expensive to risk where they aren't needed), all Chapters have some organization scheme for dividing into smaller detachments. The majority of Chapters use the organization laid out in the Codex Astartes to some extent: a company of ten Veteran Squads, four Battle Companies with six Tactical Squads, two Assault Squads, and two Devastator Squads, four Reserve Companies (two with ten Tactical Squads, one with ten Assault Squads, and one with ten Devastator Squads), and a Scout Company.

Tabletop[edit]

In-game, one's choice of Chapter generally has no effect on gameplay -- of course different Chapters have different color schemes, and an army's lore may suggest taking certain units in greater or lesser quantities, but they all basically draw from the same army list. That said, some Chapter Masters and Captains, if chosen, can grant certain special rules to the army they lead, and some Chapters (Space Wolves, Black Templars and successors [prior to 6th edition], Blood Angels and successors, Dark Angels and successors, and Grey Knights) get their own Codices.

This changed with 6th Edition; now, your choice of chapter does affect what "Chapter Tactics" they get. For example, the Red Talons, an Iron Hands successor, has the Iron Hands' version of the Chapter Tactics rule, while Howling Griffons use the Ultramarines'. Some of the special snowflake chapters, like the Red Scorpions or Black Templars, get their own, but for the most part, it's based on whichever First Founding chapter they come from.

See Also[edit]

Forces of the Space Marines
Command: Apothecary - Brother-Captain - Brother-Sergeant - Chaplain - Chapter Master
Command Squad - Honour Guard - Librarian - Techmarine
Troops: Assault Squad - Centurion Squad - Chapter Serf - Devastator Squad
Scout Squad - Tactical Squad - Terminator Squad - Veteran Squad
Transports: Drop Pod - Land Raider - Mastodon Heavy Assault Transport
Razorback Transport - Rhino Transport - Spartan Assault Tank
Vehicles: Bike Squad - Dreadnought - Javelin Attack Speeder - Jetbike
Predator Tank - Sabre Tank Hunter - Sicaran Battle Tank - Vindicator
Ordnance: Hunter - Rapier Armoured Carrier - Stalker - Thunderfire Cannon - Whirlwind
Flyers: Caestus Assault Ram - Land Speeder - Landing Craft - Storm Eagle - Stormbird
Stormhawk - Stormraven - Stormtalon - Thunderhawk - Xiphon Interceptor
Superheavy Tanks Cerberus Heavy Tank Destroyer - Fellblade Super-Heavy Tank - Typhon Heavy Siege Tank
Blood Angels-Only: Baal Predator - Contemptor-Furioso - Death Company - Death Company Chaplain
Death Company Dreadnought - Death Company Terminator - Furioso Dreadnought
Librarian Dreadnought - Sanguinary Guard - Sanguinary Priest
Dark Angels-Only: Contemptor-Mortis - Dark Talon - Darkshroud Land Speeder Vengeance - Deathwing
Deathwing Knights - Interrogator-Chaplain - Land Speeder Vengeance
Mortis Dreadnought - Nephilim Jetfighter - Ravenwing - Watchers in the Dark
Deathwatch-Only: Blackshield - Corvus Blackstar - Deathwatch Chaplain - Deathwatch Dreadnought
Deathwatch Epistolary - Forge Master - Keeper - Kill Team - Watch Captain - Watch Master
Grey Knights-Only: Brotherhood Champion - Dreadknight - Doomglaive Dreadnought - Grand Master
Grey Knight Paladin - Interceptor Squad - Justicar - Purgation Squad - Purifier - Strike Squad
Space Wolves-Only: Blood Claw - Fenrisian Wolf - Iron Priest - Long Fang - Rune Priest - Skyclaw
Stormfang - Stormwolf - Swiftclaw - Thunderwolf Cavalry - Wolf Guard - Wulfen
Auxiliaries: Fallen Angels - Primaris Marines
Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes
First Founding: Blood Angels - Dark Angels - Imperial Fists - Iron Hands - Raven Guard
Salamanders - Space Wolves - Ultramarines - White Scars
Second Founding: Angels of Absolution - Angels Encarmine - Angels of Redemption - Angels of Vengeance
Angels Sanguine - Angels Vermillion - Aurora Chapter - Black Guard - Black Templars
Blood Drinkers - Crimson Fists - Doom Eagles - Excoriators - Fists Exemplar - Flesh Tearers
Genesis Chapter - Iron Snakes - Mortifactors - Novamarines - Red Talons - Raptors
Soul Drinkers - Storm Lords - Wolf Brothers
Third Founding: Executioners - Scythes of the Emperor
Fourth to Eighth Founding: Howling Griffons - Marines Malevolent - Night Swords - Sons of Guilliman
Eighth Founding: Mantis Warriors
Tenth Founding: Astral Claws
Thirteenth Founding: Death Spectres - Exorcists
Twenty-First Founding: Black Dragons - Fire Hawks - Flame Falcons - Lamenters - Minotaurs - Sons of Antaeus
Twenty-Second Founding: Fire Claws/Relictors - Steel Confessors
Twenty-Third Founding: Marines Errant - Star Phantoms
Twenty-Fourth Founding: Celestial Lions - Disciples of Caliban
Twenty-Fifth Founding: Angels of Vigilance - Fire Angels
Twenty-Sixth Founding: Mentors
Ultima Founding: Blades of Vengeance - Knights of the Chalice - Fulminators - Rift Stalkers
Unknown Founding: Astral Knights - Blood Ravens - Blood Swords - Celebrants - Emperor's Spears - Fire Lords
Guardians of the Covenant - Hammers of Dorn - Invaders - Knights of Blood
Rainbow Warriors - Red Scorpions - Sable Swords - Space Sharks - Silver Skulls
Storm Wardens - Valedictors - Vorpal Swords
Unsanctioned Founding: Consecrators - Sons of Medusa
Chambers Millitant: Deathwatch - Grey Knights
Astartes Praeses: Black Consuls - Excoriators - Fire Claws/Relictors
Night Watch - Subjugators - Viper Legion - White Consuls