Notable Military Force

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Transcription datum +++ Mon, 2016-02-29 17:01

Iron Warriors Legion; 'The Footsore 242nd'

Chaos Space Marine Warband
Notable Military Force

Forming part of the 4th Grand Battalion, the 242nd Cohort (sometimes termed the 242nd Grand Company) was raised – as with so many others – as an amalgam of other formations ravaged to the point of near-extinction during the Isstvan Campaign. As a result, the Iron Warriors of the 242nd exhibited a dizzying array of specialisms, equipment marques and loadouts; its ranks including combat engineers, recon teams and breachers. By far the greatest numbers were made up of line Legionaries; blank-eyed killers hollowed out by decades of grinding warfare in some of the most backwater worlds of the nascent Imperium.


The potential advantages of this grouping – flexibility, adaptability and lower support requirements – were largely outweighed by the complexity of resupply, inter-muster rivalry and conflicting regimes, protocols and beliefs. The Iron Warriors were a gritty and determined Legion, but the alloy created at Isstvan was sometimes brittle. The more fractious or antagonistic members of the Legion might once have faced punishment or chastisement, but Horus required every Legionary at his disposal; and impressed upon Perturabo such a request.

The 242nd served as a dutiful (if unremarkable) Cohort, with elements serving at some of the major conflicts of the Horus Heresy including the Tallarn, Dheneb and Cygnus campaigns. They were, along with virtually the whole rest of the Legion, also present during the dark days of the Siege of Terra.


Congnomen and sub-groups

The 242nd, as a newly-drafted formation, had no official designation beyond their number. By late in the civil war, some had taken to calling themselves the Immisericordia – roughly transliterated into Low Gothic as Pitiless; though the name 'Footsores' – a faintly derogatory term placed on them by rival Grand Companies – took up wider recognition through the Legion. The term was drawn from the lack of transport vehicles and shuttles issued to the reserve battalion, which meant that they were either frequently overloaded, slow to embark or simply forced to advance on foot.


Some veterans of now-extinct Grand Companies of great heritage chafed against the supercilious taunts of their peers, but the name became firmly associated with the Grand Company after the Dheneb Campaign, where the 242nd were deployed against a stronghold fortified by the Iron Hands. Huge minefields stretched for countless miles around the broken ground, which resulted in ruinous numbers of casualties caused by injuries to the lower limbs.


Taking a perverse pride in the insult, the commanders of the 242nd petitioned the Trident to permit an alteration to their heraldry, adding a tripartite leg element to their quartered bull's head and fish standard, as a symbol of their tenacity.


Legionary Tallisus, pictured during the Rosestone Massacre during the Dheneb campaign


The Cohort struggled to bond and enmesh during the initial campaigns following the Isstvan Massacre, a failing put down to poor leadership and the conflicted spirit of the Legionaries. This was to change during the Battle of Phall, when the Footsores – spread across a number of ships – began to demonstrate the advantages of their bullish, inward-looking behaviour. United by hatred and spitefulness towards the Imperial Fists, the 242nd began to fight in a more cohesive small-unit manner.


While never achieving anything beyond mutters of approval within the Legion, the 242nd's small unit drill became something of an unofficial specialism; with groups detached for duties as wide-ranging as recon, assassination and simple sentry duty. It was during the Siege of Terra that this mode of employ would prove of greater interest to the Legion, as Perturabo himself tasked the 242nd with a dreadfully onerous – some might say monstrous – duty.