40K Lore: Imperial Victories Against The Tyranids

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Today Loremasters we take a look at some of the Imperium’s greatest victories against the Tyranid Threat.

After last week’s series on the defeats of the Tyranids, rumors have been going around the blast crater that serves as our offices that the Tyranid Threat can only be defeated by cooperating with Xenos, Heretics, and Heretical Xenos. In the interests of assuring the Imperial Public that this is hardly the case, it’s time that we look back on some of the Imperium’s greatest victories against the so-called “Great Devourer.” So gird your loins and prepare to learn about the heroic derring-do of the Astra Militarum and the Adeptus Astartes.

I expect you’ll all be repeating a patriotic affirmation of loyalty to the Emperor as well, just to dispel any remaining shadows of doubt that may be lingering in your heart. For the first such example of the Imperium at its finest, let us look to none other than the Imperium’s Finest, the sword and shield of humanity, the Adeptus Astartes. Now I’m sure many of you know of the Emperor’s Scythes–aptly named for their ability to hew down the foes of the Emperor like so much chaff before their threshing blades. And they faced the Great Devourer on their homeworld of Sotha.

In the last decade of M41, reports began to reach Sotha of unrest and rebellion spreading along the Eastern Fringe. Chapter Master Thorcyra sent Captain Cassios and the Scythes’ Fifth Company to crush any uprising before it could begin before himself heading north into the Saphir Cluster. After a year, garbled communications reached Sotha from the Fifth of a widespread xenos incursion into the galaxy – this turned out to be the Tyranids of Hive Fleet Kraken.

A general recall was issued, summoning every single battle-brother of the Chapter back to Sotha to aid in the defence of their home world. Secretly, the best and the brightest of the youth of Sotha were evacuated, as it was already suspected that it was too late to halt the alien menace and new recruits would soon be required to replace losses and rebuild the Chapter.

Among the planets overwhelmed by the locust-tide of Tyranid hive fleet Kraken was the chapter’s homeworld Sotha. Even for a well-defended Chapter planet, there was little hope against such vast numbers and relentless hunger, and in the end the Chapter brethren were killed in the last stand on the planet. All brethren were presumed destroyed, but a small number had escaped in order to preserve their chapter and gene-seed. Sotha, along with so many other planets in the inexorable advance of the Kraken, was reduced to the state of an asteroid by the Tyranid swarms.

Two hundred Marines broke through the Tyranid assault. With much of the region overwhelmed by the Tyranids, there was nowhere to escape. The last of the Scythes eventually landed on the death world of Miral. Somewhere on the surface of this planet, a huge rocky outcrop called the Giant’s Coffin rose from the jungle. The surviving forces of the Scythes prepared to make this their final stronghold. The Giant’s Coffin was a tremendous natural citadel whose steep cliffs would slow the invaders and the rocky promontories would provide excellent firing positions for heavy weapons. Although the defenses of the Scythes were strong they were still overwhelmed. Their Chapter Master Thorcyra met his end on Miral and the Scythes were forced to withdraw. The fate of Miral is unknown, although little more than a Company of the Scythes of the Emperor escaped with their lives.

Now this may seem like a defeat, but the important lesson here is that the might of an entire Hive Fleet was not enough to wipe out an entire Chapter of Space Marines. Their might remains–though they are not in a state of battle readiness and possess only three of the mighty terminator armoured suits they are still extant. Thus, since the will of the Hive Fleet Kraken was thwarted, victory against the devourer must be declared.

But for a much clearer example of an Imperial Victory let us turn to the true saviours of humanity, the Adpetus Mechanicus. It is their reason that is the guiding principle for the technology of the Imperium, and through their vision and mastery of lore that humanity will pluck itself up out of the darkness left by the great Heresy and we will once ore know the Light of the Emperor. With that in mind, let us cast our gaze to the planet Gryphonne IV.

Gryphonne IV was a major Forge World threatened and eventually turned into a Dead World by Hive Fleet Leviathan. Before its destruction it was the Home of the Legio Gryphonicus, fearsomely disciplined Skitarii legions, Gryphonne IV could boast the finest defences of any world in the galactic south of the Galaxy. Gryphonne IV was also responsible for designing many of the Imperial Guard‘s vehicles, for example Chimera, variant, armed with an Autocannon, with a twin-linked Heavy Bolters and pattern of the Leman Russ Vanquisher. Gryphonne IV was a light in a dark Galaxy.

Surely a world that was home to such advanced technology and home to many Titans could never fall to the likes of some space-faring insects.

Near the end of 997.M41, Inquisitor Kryptman noticed that many worlds were falling silent–a pattern of silence which meant the approach of a Hive Fleet of terrifying size. In response to this, the Inquisitor ordered the evacuation of worlds throughout an area now known as Kryptman’s Cordon. Gryphonne IV – A Forge World located within Kryptman’s cordon but the Adeptus Mechanicus refused to abandon their planet, one of the principle forge worlds in the galaxy, to Exterminatus. And rightly so. Fo how could such a world ever fall?

Alone in an abandoned system, they prepared for war. The planet was the home of the Legio Gryphonicus, fearsomely disciplined Skitarii legions, and could boast to have the finest defences of any world in the galactic south of the galaxy. However, within days, the planet was overrun by Leviathan; its Skitarii overwhelmed by hordes of Gaunts and the Legio Gryphonicus torn asunder by Tyrannofexes and Hierophants.

Wait…that can’t be right. Surely there must be some mistake.

The Tyranid assault on Gryphonne IV began in 066998.M41. When the Tyranid warriors reached the planets surface, a battle of truly epic scales erupted between the alien swarms and Adeptus Mechanicus defenders from the Legio Gryphonicus and Skitarii Legions. The heavy weapons and Titans of the Mechanicum took a heavy toll on the invaders, but for each Bio-Titan that fell, one Imperial titan was lost. Despite the resolve of the Tech-priests and the toll their machines reap on the Tyranids, the Tyranid invasion gathers pace. Slowly but surely, the Imperial defenders are overwhelmed and the mighty titans of the War Gryphons brought down one by one through sheer attrition. Within days, the world was scoured.

However not all of Gryphonne IV’s forces were destroyed in the invasion. When it was determined the Forge World could not stop the Tyranids, a handful of Tech-Priests extracted vital blueprints, that would allow them to remake their lost Skitarii Legions, and then fought their way clear of Gryphonne IV, with a few battered cohorts. They have since vowed to continue the Omnissiah‘s work and scour the Imperium looking for a suitable place to build a new Forge World. Some of Legio Gryphonicus’ Titans also managed to escape and later took part in the effort to defend Cadia during the Thirteenth Black Crusade. Fortress World was destroyed in that conflict, but the final fate of the Legio’s Titans is unknown.

Ah, here is the victory–the Tyranid failed to utterly destroy the world. Well–they utterly destroyed one of the preeminent Forge Worlds of the Galaxy and doubtless hampered our ability to fight them at full strength, but, the Tech-Priests escaped with vital knowledge–knowledge which is doubtless going to prove all-powerful. So if one thing can be learned from these tales of heroic victories it’s that the Imperium cannot be defeated, and that the Tyranids are nothing to be afraid of. Or to despair over at night. Or to fret about in the shadowy corners of a closed in building during the day.

Any declaration to the contrary is clearly treason. And must be rooted out.

Editor’s note: our Loremaster has requested a sabbatical to reevaluate the lore, stating that the Lexicanum must have been tampered with. If you are aware of any such tampering, please inform your nearest Commissar or Arbites Office. A reward is being offered.

  • Heinz Fiction

    The Imperium should build a wall around the galaxy and make the Tyranids pay for it…

    • vlad78

      There’s already a wall, it’s called the cicatrix maledictum and chaos paid for it.

      • ToLiveIsToDie

        That’s not a wall, that’s a psychic nom stream that ‘nids haven’t adapted to eat yet.

    • el_tigre

      Damn man, probably the funniest tyranid comment I’ll read this decade and only 11 people will see this article.

  • Marco Marantz

    The lore often doesnt make any sense….a handful of space marines (ok, even a chapter of 1000) versus billions of nids…and yet the marines win? Marines could never hold off a hive fleet without A LOT of imperial guard and navy support.

    • Fredddy

      My biggest problem with the 40k fluff is this- with the big legions disbanded, marines should be an elite special forces-like army. They’re there just to solve some key problems, to strike the right target at the right place, not just to kill everyone with that 60 bolter rounds and two greanades they have.

    • NNextremNN

      It weren’t just Marines even Chapter Worlds have huge planetary defence forces they are just not important and rarely named. Also they are dead because their faith in the emperor was not strong enough so why mention them at all?

      You have to remember that all 40K stories are stories and not documentaries. So they are not really complete or entirely “true”.

  • John John Slade

    Great story. I just hope that GW gonna make another story about Tyranids againts Chaos. I already read previous one but i hope they gonna making new story….

  • bobrunnicles

    You know what would have made this article hilarious? If you opened up the page “40K Lore: Imperial Victories Against The Tyranids” and it was blank lol 🙂