Drop Site Massacre

From 1d4chan
Drop Site Massacre
Date 006.M31
Scale Planetary
Theatre Horus Heresy
Status Traitor victory
Imperium of Man Traitor legions
Commanders and Leaders
Ferrus Manus
Corvus Corax
Horus Lupercal
Konrad Curze
Alpharius Omegon
Iron Hands, Raven Guard,
and Salamanders legions
Legio Atarus
Imperial Army armored units
Sons of Horus, World Eaters
Emperor's Children,
Death Guard, Night Lords,
Word Bearers, Iron Warriors,
and Alpha Legion legions
Legio Mortis
Traitor Army personnel
Catastrophically heavy Astartes losses,
Ferrus Manus killed,
Vulkan captured,
Legio Atarus and the Imperial Army elements suffer grievous losses
Presumably heavy
Three loyalist legions shattered and one Primarch dead. Four legions revealed to be traitors. Traitor position strengthened.

"...Stories told that, in a time consigned to legend, Father Isstvan himself had sung the wold into being with music for his Warsingers to hear and interpret. Father Isstvan was, it seemed, a fertile god and had spread his seed far and wide across the stars, nameless mothers bearing him countless children with which he had populated the first ages of the world.

...the myths of Isstvan, which told of the children of Father Isstvan who turned from his light and led their hosts against their benevolent sire. A terrible war followed. The Lost Children, as they came to be known, were finally defeated in a great battle and their armies destroyed. Instead of slaying his wayward children, Father Isstvan banished them to Isstvan V, a desolate place of black deserts and ashen wastelands."

"This betrayal would stain forever the honour of the Astartes, no matter the outcome. Men will fear us from this day onward, and they will be right to."

– Ferrus Manus
Probably how it looked like without thousands of dead Astartes and tanks lying around.

"The Battle of Isstvan V", "That Huge Fuckup", or the Drop Site Massacre as it would be better remembered as later, was one of the major defining battles of the Horus Heresy that occurred circa 4 months after the Battle of Isstvan III. After the revelation that Horus had flipped him the bird, the Emperor threw a huge tantrum and sent the loyal Primarchs and their Legions to deal with the traitors: the Sons of Horus, World Eaters, the Emperor's Children and Death Guard. The Iron Hands, Salamanders, and Raven Guard, being the closest, were sent as the vanguard of the Imperial force. The vanguard legions would be the hammer that would break the traitors against the anvil that would be the Iron Warriors, Night Lords, Word Bearers, and Alpha Legion.

Little did the loyalists know that the anvil had already betrayed the Emperor before arriving at Isstvan V. By this time, fully half of all Primarchs and their respective Legions had been swayed by Horus in either joining him in his path to becoming the rightful leader of Mankind or by realizing that the Chaos Gods are much more favourable subjects of worship.

And these legions would now have to fight it out like adult men pumped up with butthurt, big guns and testosterone on the depressingly lifeless deserts of Isstvan V.

The Battle[edit]

While making battle with the remnants of the loyalists on Isstvan III, Horus sent Fulgrim to the Urgall Depression, a volcanic valley on Isstvan V, to dig trenches, build barricades and bunkers, and fortify the ancient abandoned fortress complexes there. Imagine the fabulous, pinky Emperor's Children staining their perfectly blonde hair and digging in the mud. Yeah, the decision did not sit well with Fulgrim or his men, but they did their job well in spite of their insistence that the Iron Warriors should've done it instead. Despite Fulgrim's characteristic bitching about having to do actual work, Horus got him to shut up by telling him that he was the only person he could rely on to make the defenses "perfect". The reality of course is that he probably just did it to spite him, as Fulgrim's recent fuck-up with Ferrus Manus had given Horus a significant headache. By the time the loyalists got there, the Emperor's Children had built a ton of anti-air and -missile batteries, forcing the attackers to refrain from Exterminatus everyone from orbit and being done with it. The loyalists bombarded the site from orbit anyway, to little effect. The bombardment was made possible by the fact that the traitor fleet elements were nowhere to be found, which was a bit disquieting for the loyalists but they ultimately brushed it off as unimportant (spoiler alert, it wasn't).

The initial plan from the three loyalist legions was to just wait for the other four supposedly loyal legions to arrive, at which point they would all descend to the planet together and steamroll the traitors. However, when word arrived from the other four legions that their ETA would be in a few hours, Ferrus convinced Vulkan and Corax that the three legions on site should attack immediately and do as much damage as possible. It hardly needs to be said that this was a stupid idea. There was no pressing need to attack the traitors; the defenses were already functional, the traitor positions were already manned, and as far as the loyalists knew the traitors had no reinforcements incoming and no void assets in system. All three loyalist Primarchs knew that they did not have the forces necessary to guarantee victory; the Iron Hands contingent was mostly comprised of just Ferrus's terminator elites, and the Raven Guard and Salamanders were on the small side in terms of legion size. However, Ferrus was still extremely pissed about Fulgrim's betrayal and even more pissed that the first person Fulgrim had gone to to try to turn was him. Ferrus was obsessed with being strong, and Fulgrim's attempt at turning him had stirred up the possibility that Fulgrim had seen some weakness in him that would make Fulgrim think he could get him to betray the Emperor. As might be imagined that sat veeeeery poorly with Ferrus. Interestingly enough, the decision to attack the traitors was agreed to by Corvus Corax of all people, the one Primarch who would be most likely to recognize that attacking a fortified position with an inferior force while friendly reinforcements were just hours away was pants-on-head retarded. One explanation for this seemingly monumental lapse in judgement is that the reason Ferrus gave to his brothers for attacking was that, with the traitor fleet absent, the loyalists had a situational advantage that should be exploited. Of course this was still stupid; among other things the loyalists had complete superiority in local space, and if the traitor fleet returned, it would have had to first drive off or destroy the loyalist fleet in order to provide any support to its ground forces. Such a battle would have occurred regardless of whether or not the loyalists had deployed planetside, and if the traitors won the void engagement, they would have been able to bombard the unshielded loyalist ground forces into pasta sauce. If the traitor fleet lost, the situation would be unchanged. Additionally, the loyalists still believed that they would be reinforced by a whole four other loyal legions in a few hours. However as was previously mentioned, Ferrus's reasoning was colored significantly by emotion (still doesn't explain Corax's stupidity but whatever...).

Nearly 30.000 Astartes (probably closer to 300k thanks to retcon), the Mechanicum's Dies Irae (the Warlord IMPERATOR Titan present at Isstvan III), other Dark Mechanicum machines and the Guard artillery pieces were on the defense. Nearly 40.000 loyalists (again, more like 350k) were on the offense and went about, venting their raeg after deploying á la STEHL RÄHN tactics into the middle of the defenders. Felblades and their variants, the Land Raiders, Predators, Whirlwind, and Army artillery, deployed behind on the hills and around the depression. Mortarion, Fulgrim and Angron actively led their respective Legions on the ground, while Horus probably sat on a balcony in the fortress like a total boss, orchestrating the whole traitor army by whispering commands to everyone through the vox. In addition, to the loyal Corax, Ferrus Manus and Vulkan, four additional traitor Primarchs arrived later: Lorgar, Alpharius, Perturabo and Konrad Curze.

Imagine around 70.000 Astartes (More like over a half MILLION Space Marines!) + all the vehicles of their legions + puny humans and their artillery in a terribly confined space, in a line less than 20 kilometers wide. Armies that could conquer entire planetary systems were crammed into a medium-sized, open valley.

Probably the first time that a couple of Primarchs pretty much said, "Maaaaannnnnn.......aren't we all fucked".

The Iron Hands, Salamanders, and Raven Guard led the first and only assault on the traitor fortress complex while awaiting reinforcements from the other four legions. When those arrived, the Salamanders and Raven Guard fell back to catch their breath and resupply, while the Iron Hands decided to push forwards over the retreating pretending-to-be-panicking traitors. As the loyalists neared their initial LZ, the newly arrived "loyalists" (fresh and more than 40.000 of them (more like +300k with retcon)) opened fire, revealing their true allegiance. As this happened, the Sons of Horus, World Eaters, Emperor's Children, and Death Guard attacked from the rear, completely encircling them.

The loyalists were caught completely off guard and were fucked over almost as hard as these guys. Even worse was the loss of two of the loyal Primarchs as Ferrus Manus received a Classic Slaaneshi Daemonette Treatment (meaning the subject's head is chopped off exactly the same second the orgasm is reached, resulting in a forever erect and stone-hard penis), and Vulkan disappeared before turning up again pretty fucking quickly after pissing off papa emo himself, which resulted in him becoming insane just long enough to get dicked over again. In orbit, the loyalist fleet had been caught similarly unawares by the traitor forces, but the battle was not so one sided as the ground campaign had been. The loyalist fleet had all been on alert due to being in an active warzone and the loyalist ships had virtually all had their shields up when the betrayal occured. Ultimately however, the loyalist fleet was outmatched, particularly when the fleet elements of the initial four traitor legions returned. The loyalist fleet was scattered and many vessels were destroyed, but many more were driven off or escaped.

The loyalist ground forces were forced to perform an emergency extraction and barely managed to escape, with the three legions crippled and largely unable to participate in the Heresy after the massacre (no shit). The Massacre remains a bitter memory for the three loyalist legions and their successor chapters ten-thousand years later. Each legion lost between 75 and 85 % of their numbers in just a few hours. The Raven Guard would get even more thoroughly fucked over trying to recover their numbers. The Salamanders, being already one of the smallest legions, would not even have enough marines to fill their own chapter, let alone a successor at the Second Founding. The Iron Hands and their Primarch would forever become the face of most beheading jokes.

Due to the chaotic evacuation, many surviving legionaries grouped up into cells collectively referred to as the Shattered Legions. Due to their catastrophic losses in manpower and resources, these groups engaged in guerrilla warfare with the intention of bleeding the traitor forces. This was rather effective: one cell led by Shadrak Meduson inflicted a great number of losses on the traitors while another group led by Autek Mor achieved a number of badass achievements such as blowing up the World Eater's fief world of Bodt with its fucking moon .

Emperor's Children Perspective[edit]

"Horus has seen the truth of things, my brother. The Emperor has already abandoned us and even now plots his apotheosis. He lied to us all, Ferrus. We were nothing more than tools to win back the galaxy in preparations his ascension! The perfect being he pretended to be was a filthy lie!"

– Fulgrim's first attempt to sway Ferrus Manus to Chaos.

Fulgrim was massively disappointed and depressed that Ferrus Manus would not be swayed to Horus's side and that he would be forced to die (Horus's own words). By failing to convert his ugly bro in his own flagship, Fulgrim knocked Ferrus out with a hammer blow to the jaw that would have sent an Astartes head flying for a mile, and fled into the Warp to deliver the bad news to Horus.

Shortly thereafter the transformation of the Emperor's Children into the metal-and-shoegaze-loving Noise Marines that we know and love was completed, both chaotically and genetically. Fabulous Bile made sure to add a ton of physical and genetic alterations to his brothers, like speed enhancements and the ability to produce ear-shattering, bone-breaking sonic waves by opening the mouth a little too wide, flailing ones arms in circles and generally looking like a skinned bear recently castrated without anaesthesia.

In the center of the traitor line, the Emperor's Children fought with unremitting cruelty, its warriors howling with savage glee as they killed their former brothers. Unnatural horrors of mutilations and degradation were visited upon the living and the dead as Fulgrim's Legion repulsed every attack. Bizarrely clad warriors in Mark IV plate draped in stretched skin cavorted in the midst of the deadliest combats, fighting without helmets, their jaws wired open as they unleashed a hideous screaming. They bore unknown weaponry and fired echoing blasts of atonal harmonics that ripped bloody canyons in the massed ranks of the Iron Hands. Great pipes and loudspeakers fixed to their armour amplified the screaming vibrations of their killing music, and deafening sound waves tore apart warriors and armored vehicles.

Lastly, in the ending moments of the battle, Fulgrim chose to reveal himself and meet the Gorgon's challenge. The duel that took place next was incredible in its emotional proportions and significance, so go and read the fifth HH book, "Fulgrim". It's an awesome read. Spoiler: Fulgrim attempted to resist the Laer Sword which had ultimately corrupted him one last time by pulling the mortal blow on his bro Ferrus, regaining a last moment of clarity when seeing what had become of his legion. The Greater daemon in the Sword took no chances by forcing Fulgrim into killing his BFF Ferrus and then giving him the oblivion he craved following the murder (by possessing his body, of course).

Word Bearers Perspective[edit]

By the time the legion of the first heretics arrived at Isstvan, the first possessed Space Marines, the so-called Gal Vorbak ("Blessed Sons") were now a part of the Word Bearers with the power to summon daemons. The story of the first possessed marines is incredibly interesting and can be fully enjoyed by reading the HH novel "The First Heretic". The book also details the confrontation between Corax, Lorgar and then Curze; really cool shit. The first mention of the Legio Cybernetica robots is also here and present during the battle.

Lorgar showed hesitation all this time, even during the battle itself. He felt shame for causing so much chaos and bloodshed when he only wanted to topple Big E from his throne. He had never imagined the scale of this betrayal. And thus when he saw Corax slaughtering the possessed marines, he ran towards Corax with no hope of surviving the confrontation and not caring either in equal measure against the wishes of his most "trustworthy" advisors Erebus and Kor Phaeron (who almost got a heart attack when Lorgar decided to engage). Such a sensitive soul, don't you think? *sob*.

"- I will kill you, Lorgar."

"- I know. But I have seen what will be. Our father, a bloodless corpse enthroned upon gold, and screaming into the void forever."

But before Corax could finish the job Lorgar was conveniently saved by the greatest psychopath under Horus' command, i.e. Curze... well maybe Angron with his fried brain might be another contender for "most crazy up Primarch", but that's another story. No, Fulgrim doesn't count; he was too busy getting possessed. To his credit, if Empy hadn't lied to all of his sons the whole Heresy might not even have begun in the first place - Fulgrim had no chance of fending off his corruption without knowing of Chaos and where the strange voices in his head came from, and once he finally realized that the insidious whispers were actually real he was already too far down the road to damnation for it to matter. I mean he was looking at a picture made of excrements and other bodily fluids by that point, and mind you, that was before he officially turned traitor.

Iron Hands Perspective[edit]

Being extremely pissed of at Fulgrim, The Gorgon could not hold his load and decided to lead the assault against the traitors holed up in their fortress. Proving once again that they are tough bastards in a fight, they set the standard for the future generations of Iron Hands and their successor chapters during this battle. Even though they nearly got wiped out, they recovered eventually enough to give birth to successor chapters like the Red Talons.

Two late arrivals, Shadrak Meduson and Autek Mor, gathered as many survivors as they could - Meduson piecing together a coalition of Iron Hands, Raven Guards, and Salamanders - and embarked on two epic, but very different guerrilla campaigns against Horus. Let's not forget that the cybernetic robot marines of the 40k still cling to their delusion - I mean entirely logical conviction - that Ferrus would have lived if the Salamanders and Raven Guard just had had as much balls of steel as they had and died a manly death in the crossfire of the traitors instead of trying to disengage, the cowardly bastards. Another proof that the flesh is weak. Wait, what organic part can I replace next?

Raven Guard Perspective[edit]

The screaming raptors of the Raven Guard cut a swathe through the enemy's right flank, his fearsome assault wings dropping from above on the fire of jump packs, and slaughtering their foes with shrieking sweeps of curled blades.

While the other legions lost the biggest percentage of their members, the Raven Guard lost the most in pure numbers, leading Corax to resort to technology from the Dark Age to replenish his ranks. That can be read in HH novel "Deliverance Lost".

The ground murmured with his landing. Claws slashed from their power-fist housing with silver flashes, and shimmering wings of dark metal reached up from his shoulders into the air above. Slowly, so painfully slowly, he raised his head to the traitors. Black eyes stared from a face whiter than Imperial Marble, and written across the pale features was the most consummate, complete anger Argel Tal had ever seen. It was an emotion truer and deeper even that the rage that ruined the faces of the daemons within the warp. But it was not anger, nor rage. It went beyond both. This was wrath, in physical form.

Salamanders Perspective[edit]

"...the mighty figure of Vulkan strode through the torrents of bolts, killing with every sweep of his sword and shot of the weapon his brother Ferrus had forged in his name. A colossal explosion erupted at the primarch's feet, wreathing him in killing fire, and dozens of his Firedrakes were hurled through the air, their armour molten and the flesh seared from their bones. Vulkan marched through the fire unscathed, continuing to kill traitors without missing a beat."

– from the eyes of Gabriel Santor, First Company Captain of the Iron Hands.

The Salamanders did not have a good time during this party. They lost a massive percentage of their forces (from 89,000 to little over 700 from some sources!). What's more, Vulkan was cut off from his Legion by a nuke and got captured by Night Haunter.

The End Note[edit]

All of the Traitor legions and Primarchs were present at Isstvan V (except Magnus the Red), with almost all their forces as well. Five of them would strike directly at Terra, especially now that Mars was under Dark Mechanicum control. The Alpha Legion was sent to harass the White Scars, who were on their way to Prospero to figure out what the hell had happened to the Thousand Sons since the Khan had been friends with Magnus and wanted to know if the rumours about the Wolves fucking the place up were true. At that point he did not even really know what exactly was going on, only that shit had been hitting the fan.

The Night Lords were sent to some important system in the Eastern Fringe to terrorize and eventually take over some still-loyal Forge Worlds there while also fucking with the Dark Angels. Perturabo was permitted to send his fleet to vent his specially reserved frustration on an Imperial Fist armada that had not made it to Isstvan V in time and was mustering at Phall where he would have had his ass handed to him by a lowly Space Marine Captain if they had not been forced to disengage. To make things worse, if the Imperial Fists fleet had not received the order from Terra at the exact moment the assault on Perturabo's flagship took place, chances are they might even have been successful (as that way the planned second wave would never manifest and the Imperial Fists on the Iron Warriors' flagship would be slaughtered alongside most of the armada being massacred as they tried to disengage). The short story ends with Perturabo running the calculations and realizing he would have lost the battle.

Timeline of Warhammer 40,000
The Times of Old Wars of Secession - War in Heaven (60.000.000 BC) - Fall of the Eldar (M30)
Pre-Heresy Age of Terra (M1-M15) - Dark Age of Technology (M15-M25) - Age of Strife (M25-M30)
Great Crusade (Late M30-005.M31) Unification Wars - The Last Church - Rangdan Xenocides - Interex - Gardinaal - Faash - Council of Nikaea
Horus Heresy (005.M31-014.M31) Battle of Isstvan III - The Burning of Prospero - Battle of the Alaxxes Nebula - Drop Site Massacre - Thramas Crusade
The Battle of Phall - Battle of Calth - Signus Campaign - Imperium Secundus - Battle of Trisolian - Siege of Terra
Time of Rebirth (015.M31-M32) The Great Scouring (~015.M31) - Start of The Long War (M31) - The Legion Wars (M31) - The Battle of Skalathrax (M31)
The Battle of Harmony (M31) - Creation of the Codex Astartes (M31) - Second Founding (021.M31) - Battle of Thessala (121.M31)
The Forging (M32-M34) The War of The Beast (544.M32-546.M32) - The Beheading (546.M32) - The War of the False Primarch (780.M33-860.M33)
Nova Terra Interregnum (M34-M36) 21st Founding (M36)
Age of Apostasy (M36) Plague of Unbelief (310.M36)
Age of Redemption (M37-Early M38) Abyssal Crusade (321.M37-121.M38)
The Waning (Early M38- Early M41) Gothic War (143-151.M41) - The Macharian Crusade (392-399.M41) - The Macharian Heresy (400-470.M41)
Wars for Armageddon (444.M41, 941.M41 and 991.M41) - Damocles Crusade (742.M41)
Time of Ending (Early M41-999.M41) The Vaxi Atrocity (731.M41) - First Tyrannic War (745-746.M41) - Sabbat Worlds Crusade (755.M41-780.M41) - Siege of Vraks (813.M41-830.M41)
Massacre at Sanctuary 101 (897.M41) - Badab War (901-912.M41) - The Vaxhallian Genocide (926.M41) - Second Tyrannic War (990.M41-993.M41)
Orphean War (991.M41-Ongoing) - Third Tyrannic War (997.M41-999.M41) - Taros Campaign (998.M41) - Fall of Shadowbrink (998.M41)
Octarius War (999.M41-Ongoing) - Conquest of Uttu Prime (Late M41) - Devastation of Baal (999.M41) - 13th Black Crusade (999.M41-M42)
Age of the Dark Imperium (000.M42-Ongoing) Ultima Founding (999.M41-012.M42) - Indomitus Crusade (999.M41-Ongoing, first phase ended on 012.M42)
War of Beasts (001.M42-025.M42) - Plague Wars (~012.M42) - Psychic Awakening (M42)