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Warhammer 40K: Gloriana Battleships – Chariots of the Primarchs

4 Minute Read
Feb 26 2024

Today Admirals, we delve into the Imperium’s world shattering terrors of deep space: Gloriana-class Battlebarges, flagships of the Primarchs.

The Gloriana Class

The Gloriana Class Battleship was an ancient and powerful Battleship design used by the Legiones Astartes during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy. Officially classified as a type of command Battle Barge, the vessels were around 20 kilometers in length, though their size and appearance varied greatly. These massive ships were frequently used as flagships for Imperial fleets and even Primarchs. The Gloriana Class vessels are the largest known Imperial warships after the Phalanx and Furious Abyss-class vessels. The largest known Gloriana-class vessels were the Vengeful Spirit, Conqueror, Hrafnkel, and Iron Blood.

As of M41, the design appears to have fallen out of use.

The Greatest of the Great


The Iron Blood

The Iron Blood was a Gloriana Class Battleship of the Iron Warriors, and the personal flagship of its primarch, Perturabo. Built in the shipyards of Olympia, it was one of the mightiest capital ships in the galaxy, capable of single-handedly annihilating fleets and entire planets.

One of the oddities of the Iron Blood was its lack of viewports, even on the bridge. Perturabo, who had a hand in its design, scorned the need for them, decreeing that visual contact with the enemy added nothing to the cold logic of a battle which could be directed through auspex scans and tactical displays. Ironically, he could not resist the urge to watch the progress of the Battle at the Phall system with his own eyes, and so resorted to looking out an open launch bay, protected from the vacuum by the seals of his power armour.


The Vengeful Spirit

The Vengeful Spirit was a Gloriana Class Battleship that served as the flagship of the Warmaster Horus during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy.


From the strategium, and later Lupercal’s Court, upon the command deck, Horus would coordinate the military and diplomatic efforts of the 63rd Expeditionary Fleet, and countless thousands of personnel lived and worked on board. Additionally because it was so old the core of the ship was a rotting, empty labyrinth of filth and rats. Over time, it became less of a warship and more of a temple to the dark gods of Chaos whom Horus came to revere. The final battle between Horus and the Emperor took place on the twisted bridge of the ship where humanity’s bright future was shattered beyond repair.

Following the Heresy, Abaddon the Despoiler claimed the Vengeful Spirit as his own flagship and it still forms the heart of the Black Legion‘s fleet to this day.


The Conqueror

The Conqueror was a Gloriana Class Battleship of the World Eaters during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy. 


Prior to the discovery of Angron, the ship served the Legion under the name Adamant Resolve. Upon being reunited with their Primarch it quickly became Angron’s personal flagship during the later Crusade and subsequent Horus Heresy. The Conqueror was heavily modified to better fit his methods of war. Its most notable modification was an array of the Ursus Claw system, giant harpoons designed to spear enemy vessels from afar and drag them into close range so that boarding actions could be conducted. During the Heresy, the Conqueror was commanded by flag-captain Lotara Sarrin.

Following the Battle of Terra, the Conqueror fled into the Eye of Terror. After this point it began to appear sporadically at the head of small raiding flotillas, and after the Battle of Skalathrax faded into obscurity. It was reported destroyed by the Imperium in M35, but this proved to be incorrect as it was spotted again in 435.M37 raiding Segmentum Obscurus. It has changed hands several times as World Eaters Chaos Lords have claimed and lost the vessel. The Conqueror reappeared prominently for the first time since the Heresy during the Gothic War at the command of Heinrich Bale. It escaped destruction once again in the war, subsequently reappearing at the forefront of the fleet of Kosolax the Foresworn during the 13th Black Crusade.



Hrafnkel was a Gloriana Class Battleship and flagship of the Space Wolves fleet during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy.  The ship’s namesake was the mythological Fenrisian King Hrafnkel, who turned his back on the old gods and instead looked to his sons for strength in battle.

During the Heresy, the ship took part in the Burning of Prospero and the Battle of the Alaxxes Nebula.


See the Full Listing of the Primarch’s Flagships


~The strongest are strongest alone.

Author: Larry Vela
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