Ultramarines Honour Company
|Ultramarines Honour Company|
|Strength||around 100 Marines|
|Colours||The same uniform as the Ultramarines|
One little known formation made up exclusively of Ultramarines and their successors. Was introduced for the 13th Black Crusade campaign to provide players a fluffy excuse to use their Ultramarine models in a storyline that involved the Eye of Terror rather than the Eastern Fringe. They have only really been mentioned in the rolls of battle which have been re-used all the way into 6th Edition, though a couple of White Dwarf magazines at the time gave them a little bit of fluff to work with, explaining to us how they operate.
In the immediate aftermath of the Horus Heresy, Roboute Guilliman, decreed that his Legion would stand ready to oppose the Traitors who had fled into the Eye of Terror. The Ultramarines had taken no part in the Battle of Terra, as they had been bogged down for much of the Horus Heresy fighting the Shadow Crusade against the Word Bearers. But Guilliman declared that his Legion would never again find itself unable to respond to the more pressing threat. The solution was to ensure a continuous Ultramarines presence in the vicinity of the Eye of Terror, by maintaining an honour company within the region made up of a rotation of individual squads from different companies.
After the Second Founding split the Ultramarines Legion up into many different Successor Chapters, this company became supplied with squads and officers drawn from all of the Ultramarines' Successors.
13th Black Crusade
Noted actions of the Honour Company include defending an Agri-World from Abaddon's fleet which included Planet Killer. This counter attack gave the Planetary Defence Force the chance to evacuate the civilian population before the planet was destroyed.
Then they deployed themselves to Cadia where they performed boarding actions against a series of space hulks that were being used to transport Chaos Cultists throught the warzone. Three hulks were disabled, leaving 600,000 traitors to freeze in space (which Chaos really should have mutated them against) while a fourth was destroyed using a seismic detonator and killing a further 200,000 (lol).
In a similar manner to the Deathwatch, the Honour Company is made up of elements of many chapters, though in this case; membership is exclusive to descendants of Roboute Guilliman who must contribute whole squads rather than individual space marines.
Strictly speaking, the Honour Company is not a Codex formation and therefore even though it is referred to as a "Company" it would only be a guess to assume that it conforms to the traditional 6 Tactical / 2 Assault / 2 Devastator arrangement of most codex complaint battle companies. However this would make the most sense since each member of the company would be a primogenitor, they would instinctively know how to operate to maximum efficiency under this system.
Despite the fact that the squads themselves are on temporary rotation within the company, for logistical reasons it would have to have a permanently attached set of assets such as fleet vessels and somewhere to berth them; as well as a dedicated staff of serfs, servitors and possibly a Techmarine or techpriest.
It is unusual for an officer not of the Ultramarines Chapter to lead the company, though with that Chapter's resources stretched by Tyranid incursions on the Eastern Fringe such a situation is set to become more common. The current commander is Brother-Captain Echion of the Patriarchs of Ulixis chapter, which is one of the lesser known Ultramarine second founding chapters.
While nothing about this company actually breaches the Codex Astartes, there are a couple of worrying implications surrounding the fact that it exists.
- Despite being made up of elements drawn from several different chapters, in every depiction so far (which is not many) the uniform is almost identical to that of the Ultramarines second company, they bear the Ultramarines chapter iconography and most obviously have even taken the "Ultramarine" name. All of which means that the company officially represents the Ultramarines chapter and whether or not they are actually commanded by the Chapter Master, the Honour Company has unofficially has given them an eleventh company.
- Unlike other small or niche formations such as the Deathwatch (in general) or the Wolfblades, since the Second Founding and the institution of the Astartes Praeses there is no actual requirement for the Honour Company to even exist, as the descendants of Guilliman do indeed have very large presence guarding the Eye of Terror, making a single company a bit redundant and perhaps a show of vanity. If the only purpose is then to ensure that the "Ultramarines" have a presence at the Eye of Terror, then the same problem exists as before about granting them an unofficial eleventh company.....That's not very codex.
- Although they are made up of a rotation of squads from the primogenitors, a legitimate question exists about what happens to the void filled by those squads absences in their parent chapter? Every depiction of the Ultramarines organisation shows them at full strength and never accounts for detached marines in the Honour Company or even the Deathwatch, so this could be implied that once a squad / officer departs to the Eye of Terror, they will just refill the company by training up an extra squad OR by importing a squad / officer from the Genesis Chapter (which is what that chapter's main purpose seems to be)