Today we delve into the darkest, dreaded bane of all Xenos, the Deathwatch of the Adeptus Astartes:
Lore via our sister-site: Lexicanum
The Deathwatch are a unique and specially trained Space Marine Chapter that dedicates its every hour to xenos hunting. They are the Chamber Militant of the Ordo Xenos, charged with protecting it in its search of information, containment, and ultimate destruction of all xeno species.
Rather than following the standard Codex Astartes organization, the Space Marines themselves are drawn from many different chapters. These chapters have sworn sacred oaths to raise a unit of Space Marines specifically for this task. The warriors are then gathered together to fight where and when they are needed.
Giant fortresses orbit desolate worlds at the edge of the galaxy, keeping constant vigil over possible xenos forces. There are also several secret bases spread throughout the Imperium, which provide a launch site for their crusades.
The warriors who fight are given the honour of painting their armour black (to show their service to the Emperor), while leaving one shoulder pad with the original insignia of the Chapter from which the marine came. Although the armour is painted black, it is never all painted black as this action would dishonour the armour’s Machine Spirit. They also are equipped with a new shoulder pad with the symbol of Deathwatch onto their other side. Once in the employ of the Deathwatch, there is no set length of time for service, rather it is as long as the commander deems necessary. Each Space Marine may serve a discrete amount of time, or for the duration of a mission, which may be a number of years. Once the mission is complete, the Space Marine is allowed to return to his chapter, under an oath of silence, as their duty has been fulfilled.
The orders of the Deathwatch are not merely the cleansing of xenos cultures. They also include the recovery and study of alien devices and artifacts. Sometimes it is necessary to use a weapon against the enemy who created it, although this is not taken lightly. The Deathwatch are constantly vigilant for sabotage, or to advise if it is truly safe to use a weapon of xenos origin. The Adeptus Mechanicus are always on the lookout for alien technology; the C’tan Phase Sword, used by the Callidus assassin was recovered from a Necron tomb world and successfully integrated into the arsenal of the Imperium.
Usually, a Deathwatch team is led by an Inquisitor, but in extreme circumstances, a Deathwatch Captain or Librarian may take command of the unit. Their word is law, and can requisition anything they desire to complete their objective. They are the best armed and trained units in the Imperium. They might be deployed in areas where conventional methods are insufficient or if the troops available are not properly equipped or trained for the task. The presence of a Deathwatch team is always welcomed, even though they are feared by all those who know of them.
Centuries ago, a Conclave of Ordo Xenos Inquisitor Lords, known as the Apocryphon Conclave of Orphite IV – convened with the purpose of formulating a galaxy-wide strategy to combat the many xenos civilizations assailing mankind. Foreseeing an age where mankind would eventually consume the Imperium itself, the conclave sat and debated for many years. Some advocated the annihilation of all xenos, some that certain less-violent civilizations should be “tolerated”. However a strategy was eventually formed and the Conclave requested an audience with many assembled Chapter Masters of the Adeptus Astartes. After hearing the Inquisitor’s pleas, the Chapter Masters deliberated for one night before giving their verdict: they and the Inquisitors would together take a solemn oath and form a new Chapter, one drawn entirely from Battle Brothers from existing chapters. The alliance dubbed it the ‘Deathwatch’, for it would stand guard against the doom foretold by the conclave.
The Deathwatch takes reports of sightings of Harpies very seriously as they are the vanguards of the Tyranid Hive fleets.
- ???.M41 – The Crusade of Fire
- 240.M41 – The destruction of the Saruthi
- 745.M41 – The First Tyrannic War
- 777.M41 – The Achilus Crusade
- 993.M41 – The Second Tyrannic War
- 999.M41 – The Third Tyrannic War
- 999.M41 – The Third War for Armageddon
Deathwatch ranks and positions
- Deathwatch Black Shield
- Deathwatch Champion
- Deathwatch Chaplain
- Deathwatch Dreadnought
- Deathwatch Epistolary
- Deathwatch Forge Master
- Deathwatch Keeper
- Deathwatch Kill-marine
- Deathwatch Watch Captain
- Deathwatch First Company Veteran
Deathwatch members have access to a range of specialist equipment such as the Stalker Boltgun and variant bolter ammunition such as Inferno Bolts, Kraken Penetrator Rounds, Metal Storm Frag Shells and Stalker Silenced Shells.
The Deathwatch operates its own fleet, and most notable of these ships are Kill-ships, specialized bombardment craft to enact Exterminatus upon worlds lost to the Imperium. The Deathwatch often deploys from Inquisitorial Black Ships for planetary strike operations.
~ How many of you want to add a Deathwatch unit in your collection?