Lord Commander of the Imperial Army, Bellipotent of the Unification Wars, War-sage of Terra
Gifted planner and commander
died in 938.M30
This page details people, events, and organisations from the /tg/ Heresy, a fan re-working of the Warhammer 40,000 Universe. See the /tg/ Heresy Timeline and Galaxy pages for more information on the Alternate Universe.
The death of a mentor always calls to mind the question of their legacy. What was the result of their life's work? In the case of Gufarnus Altmakar, I know that he went to the grave believing that his ambitions for a united humanity were unfulfilled. But - now that he cannot reprimand me - I will differ with the Lord Commander. His work on the War Council helped to set in motion an event of unparalleled significance for the history of the human species. If his successors carry out their duties with even half of Altmakar's dedication, the whole Galaxy will be man's within a century.
- Antoine Antonelle, speaking at the funeral of Gufarnus Altmakar
Gufarnus Altmakar was a Terran-born commander who served the Emperor of Mankind in the Unification Wars and Great Crusade. He held a seat on the exalted War Council and was the nominal head of the Imperial Army, though in practice the formations of this vast force were subservient to the warlords of the Space Marine Legions.
Altmakar's origins are uncertain, but it is believed that he was born around 740.M30 and came into the service of the Emperor as a youth. From his appearance and lifespan, it is likely that Altmakar was the subject of genetic modification by the Emperor's savants, though unlike the men of the 'Old Hundred' he does not appear to have been enhanced for combat purposes. The Lord Commander first came to prominence during the Pacification of the Merican Hives. Although later histories generally regard the first deployment of the Sacred Band under Hektor Cincinnatus as the seminal event of that campaign, the great majority of the fighting in Merica was undertaken by Thunder Warriors and Imperial Army troopers. Whatever Altmakar's prior service to the Emperor, it was enough for him to be granted operational control over the whole Western Theatre of the campaign, an immense warzone stretching from the once-frozen north of Merica down to the isthmus connecting Nord and Sud Merica. Despite the difficulties of coordinating his forces over such vast distances - and making space for the Space Marines to shine - Altmakar acquitted himself so well that he was called on to transfer forces to the more troubled Eastern Theatre mid-campaign.
In recognition of Altmakar's qualities, the Emperor pronounced him as the chief of the Imperial Army. This post largely excluded the Lord Commander from field posts for the remainder of the Unification Wars, though he would be called on to help direct the elephantine struggle against Nathaniel Dume's Pan-Pacific Empire. Altmakar's only regret from that war was his suggestion that the Second Legion undertake the attack on the Dalvan Redoubt. Similarly, once the Great Crusade began, Altmakar's principal responsibility was organising the recruitment and deployment of Imperial Army forces rather than directing them in battle. These duties often saw him away from the Solar System, especially as newly compliant worlds began to levy troops for the crusade. The task of supervising the new levies was far more than any one man could manage, but Altmakar made a point of inspecting worlds with a great marital history and large population, such as Carlisar. His vigor and attention to detail left a lasting legacy, and Altmakar was long remembered as the Father of the Army.
He also played an important role in the development of Roman Albrecht. The Primarch of the Steel Marshals came to Terra as an outstanding duelist and individual warrior, but his grasp on the finer points of organisation left something to be desired. Gufarnus patiently, if gruffly, explained the Terran model of warfare to Roman, supplementing his instruction with excursions to the battlefields of the Great Crusade. Although the greatness of the Primarchs is mainly a testament to the Emperor's genius, Altmakar's tutelage certainly played a role in polishing the Roman Albrecht into an outstanding leader of men.
Like many of the other Terran Adepts who sat on the War Council, Gufarnus Altmakar did not live to see the horrors of the Hektor Heresy. He suffered a series of incapacitating strokes in 937.M30 and died the next year. His post as the commander of the Imperial Army was left empty and the army would be completely subordinate to the Primarchs until it was disbanded in the Imperial Reformation. However, the first Lord Commander of the Imperial Guard, Jeanne d'Orléans, insisted on honouring Altmakar as the father of the army. Even thousands of years after his death, Altmakar's likeness and mission is preserved in the academies and barracks of the Imperial Guard.
Perhaps it is unfair to weigh up on Altmakar's character, for most who remembered him only met the man when he was an old soldier weathered in body and mind by long years of campaigning. But certainly, as an old man he was rough and tough on his charges and often continued to treat the new generation as his pupils long after they had done enough to be his equals. Hektor Cincinnatus, in particular, drew Altmakar's ire as the Great Crusade rolled on, though in some ways it is to the credit of the Lord Commander that he was prepared to look a Primarch in the eye and trade shouted reprimands. Some of the Adeptus Astartes did forge personal ties with Altmakar. He was especially close to Antoine Antonelle of the Fifth Legion, perhaps because the soft-spoken Marine was always willing to treat Altmakar as a superior. Although he rarely spoke to Roman Albrecht after the Primarch took up command of his Legion, Altmakar carefully followed news of his pupil's exploits in the Great Crusade.