The deeds of the Angels of Vengeance are even less well-known than those of the other Unforgiven Chapters, for they shun fame and laurels, instead concentrating on their duties to the exclusion of all else. They are a grim and dour organisation, with all of their companies wearing power armour of jet black.
The Chapter is wont to become embroiled in battles that other forces would have little hope of winning, and emerging bloodied but victorious. The Angels of Vengeance have willingly suffered horrific casualties in the name of victory -- a result of their absolute refusal to retreat in the face of any foe.
The Chapter's very future has been put in jeopardy more than once, beginning with its appalling depletion during the Forgotten Wars. More recently, in the aftermath of the Siege of San Apolis, its losses were so extreme that the Chapter was forced to spend almost a century rebuilding before it could do battle once more.
Though this Chapter's deeds are less well known across the Imperium than those of some others, since it is single-minded in its duties to the point of excluding all else, its Astartes are no less heroic than those of their fellow Unforgiven Chapters.
It is said that all of the so-called Unforgiven -- the Dark Angels and their Successor Chapters -- are secretive and obsessive to the point that many other Imperial forces shun their presence and eschew their aid.
The Angels of Vengeance are known for their unrelenting hatred of any enemies of the Imperium of Man, as they constantly seek out the threats of xenos, Heretics and apostates so that they may do battle. Potential allies are often cowed by these Battle-Brothers' cold-blooded determination and icy single-mindedness.
The Chapter is so utterly dedicated to its duty that its brethren think or speak of little else. This drive extends beyond a simple devotion to duty, into an all-consuming obsession.
The Angels of Vengeance hold little or no regard for the strategies of other forces, relentlessly pursuing their own battle plans regardless of the schemes others might have set in motion.
On numerous occasions, this behaviour has led to a battle being won at the expense of an entire campaign, the Angels of Vengeance caring only that their own immediate objectives are obtained regardless of the wider picture.
The Chapter's attitude might long ago have led to it being entirely ostracised by any of the Imperium's armies beside which it might take to the field. This is not the case however, for the Chapter's total devotion has on numerous occasions led to it achieving stunning victories and achieving objectives others have written off as unobtainable.
The Chapter's all-consuming dedication to its mission translates into a total rejection of the notion of failure. It is true that the Space Marines of the Adeptus Astartes "know no fear," but the Angels of Vengeance are so relentless and stubborn in their approach to battle that they refuse even to re-deploy.
Even in the face of overwhelming odds, the Angels of Vengeance fight on, frequently emerging from the fires of battle having sustained enormous losses, but having earned such victories as lesser warriors could only dream of.
Other Chapters might regard the Angels of Vengeance as tactically inflexible and stubborn, but none can dispute the roll of battle honours it has earned over the millennia.
This Unforgiven Chapter is known to have suffered severe losses on several occasions in the past due to its absolute refusal to accept that any foe is its equal. This stubbornness has put the Chapter's survival in jeopardy on more than one occasion.
- The Forgotten Wars (580.M31-632.M32) - During an unspoken period of their history, referred to as the Forgotten Wars, rumours led the Dark Angels, along with three of their Successor Chapters, the Angels of Vengeance, the Angels of Redemption and the Lions Sable, to embark upon a harrowing campaign to track down multiple Fallen. The clues led them through Segmentum Obscurus, deep into the Gothic Sector, and eventually into the Eye of Terror itself. In hindsight it is easy to see that the Ruinous Powers baited the Dark Angels. Only the Dark Angels' irrepressible resolve allowed them to escape, and they paid a high price in casualties. The Lions Sable were completely annihilated. To cover up their immediate losses after their warriors were thought lost to the Warp, the resources of the recruiting world of the Lions Sable -- the ebon orb of Nachwald -- were usurped to replenish the Angels of Vengeance and the Angels of Retribution. The Dark Angels staged a false plasma explosion aboard the Rock to explain their loss of records, for it was decided by the Inner Circle to destroy all records relating to the event. Of the Forgotten Wars, the Dark Angels do not speak, nor has it entered into the apocryphal tales told to their initiates. They have gone to great lengths to ensure all references to that campaign or to the Lions Sable have been stricken from the records available to the Adeptus Terra. Deep in the dungeons of the Rock are secreted the only remaining accounts, and only those of the Inner Circle ever learn of that heroic sacrifice that must forever go untold.
- Siege of Dominus Prime (Unknown Date.M36) - The Dark Angels and Angels of Vengeance both deployed their entire 1st Companies to end the five-year deadlock with the rebel tyrant of Dominus Prime. Official reports detail that nigh on two hundred Terminators cracked open the "unassailable" fortress and massacred every last Traitor within. In truth, the Unforgiven's numbers were substantially higher, and several prisoners were taken back to The Rock for questioning.
- The Red Heresy (290-310.M36) - During the Age of Apostasy, the Red Heresy Plague erupts across the Don'lorth Sector, a foreshadowing of the later battles that would become known as The Plague of Unbelief. It is here that the Cult of the Old Gods rises. Agitators and anarchists stir up the hives into open rebellion. Workers in their untold billions are urged by red-robed priests to cast off their shackles, to reject the corpse-god Emperor. The horrific slaughter of all agents of the Adeptus Administratum and Adeptus Ministorum is enough to draw in vast fleets of Imperial armed forces. Seeking a quick way to end the rebellion, the Silver Skulls Chapter deploys en masse in a desperate attempt to kill the leaders behind the rising cult. The hunt is disastrous -- with Drop Pod assaults ambushed and multiple Thunderhawks brought down en route to their objectives. Only the arrival of Dark Angels Deathwing and Ravenwing forces, along with the 3rd Company of the Angels of Vengeance, staves off certain defeat. However, the Silver Skulls observe the Deathwing forsaking the battle in pursuit of a mysterious robed Space Marine, who turns out to be the notorious Fallen known as Cypher. Before Cypher escapes, an Angels of Vengeance Librarian detects several Fallen ensconced within the red-robed hierarchy of the Red Heresy. The Silver Skulls are left to dig themselves out of their own predicament. They do so, but openly condemn the Dark Angels; another formal protest is filed to the High Lords of Terra.
- Grymm's Landing (Unknown Date.M39) - The Dark Angels recruiting world of Grymm's Landing fell into civil war after the Alpha Legion and Night Lords incited rebellion there. The Angels of Vengeance responded, fighting through wave after wave of Renegades, cultists and madmen. Finally, despite massive casualties, they exterminated every living thing on the surface of Grymm's Landing.
- Siege of San Apolis (Unknown Date.M40) - During this campaign, the Angels of Vengeance's losses were so severe that they were forced to spend almost a Terran century replenishing their ranks and their gene-seed stocks before being able to actively serve the Emperor and do battle effectively once more.
- Massacre at Darkmor (Unknown Date.M42) - Elements of half a dozen Unforgiven Chapters descended upon the Shrine World of Darkmor, including multiple companies from the Angels of Vengeance, the Consecrators and the Guardians of the Covenant. All had followed their Librarians' scryings to the planet, searching for the newly materialised Fallen Cypher. It was not long before they discovered that they were not the hunters, however, but the hunted. The Warp Storms that subsided to allow their armies into Darkmor's orbit returned in force. On the planet's surface, the Unforgiven found the world's vast cathedrals in ruins and its populace slaughtered. Awaiting in ambush were armies of daemons, Chaos Space Marines and Renegades. What followed was the worst single incident of losses suffered by the Unforgiven since the Forgotten Wars. Less than a hundred Space Marines from an original contingent of a thousand managed to escape, and they did so only because they pursued Cypher, who, in his attempt to flee, led them to a secret teleportation device.
Most of the Unforgiven Chapters follow the Dark Angels' pattern of organisation, and are therefore considered partially compliant with the Codex Astartes. This includes possessing elite formations similar to the Deathwing and the Ravenwing, although they are not named as such.
For instance, the Angels of Vengeance use a Terminator-armoured company known as the "Dreadwing" and a mobile "Raptorwing" to carry out the hunt for the Fallen. Though they have performed admirably, they have not garnered the recognition of their Dark Angels counterparts.
With the influx of newly acquired Primaris Space Marines into their ranks, the Successor Chapters of the Unforgiven have taken great advantage of the innate abilities, superior skills and equipment utilised by their Primaris brethren, and have incorporated them into the ranks of their Chapter's Battle and Reserve Companies.
As suits their aggressive style, the Angels of Vengeance have reported great success in fielding Inceptor Squads alongside their Assault Squads, creating a one-two punch that can quickly collapse an enemy flank.
Several Battle-Brothers of the Angels of Vengeance Chapter have stood a vigil of the Long Watch with the Deathwatch in the Jericho Reach, and done so in such a manner as to earn great honour for their Chapter and all of the Unforgiven.
Although there are many Unforgiven recruiting worlds -- the full number of which is known only to the Supreme Grand Master of the Dark Angels -- the majority of them are Feudal Worlds, much like Caliban was. Over time some recruiting worlds have been lost -- either permanently, such as Grymmport, or for a short period, like the Plainsworld -- but new sites are constantly added.
Upon some of these recruitment worlds, the Dark Angels have built fortress-monasteries -- large, well-defended complexes where hopeful Initiates can compete for the honour of being selected. Other planets have smaller outposts, ranging from a Fortress of Redemption to a mere statue, in front of which ceremonies might take place. The most feral of these planets have nothing but legends of visitors from the sky appearing at regular intervals.
At need, some established recruiting worlds have been given over to Successor Chapters, or vice versa, and much work is done to ensure that any records held by the Adeptus Administratum are soon lost.
For instance, Nachtwald was originally the main homeworld of the Lions Sable, but after their destruction it passed into the control of the Angels of Vengeance, and has since been used primarily by the Angels of Absolution.
Notable Angels of Vengeance
- Deathwatch Watch Captain Nhemas - A Deathwatch Watch Captain by the name of Brother Nhemas has served three consecutive vigils in the Jericho Reach. Nhemas has led numerous assaults against the servants of the Ruinous Powers. On one occasion he took to the field to lead a Kill-team deep into the star systems surrounding the Hadex Anomaly, penetrating further in that region of madness and corruption than any others ever have and returned. When the small force emerged, well within the time-frame defined by its mission parameters, debriefing at Watch Fortress Erioch revealed the startling account of what had transpired during the mission. Something about the Hadex Anomaly caused such distortion in the passage of time that to the Kill-team, the mission had lasted for several Terran years. The Battle-Brothers were ragged and haggard, their armour dented and patched and they bore all manner of ad hoc weaponry. What horrors the Battle-Brothers faced deep within the Hadex Anomaly may never be fully described, but it is recorded that it was only by Nhemas' utter refusal to concede defeat that the mission was ultimately a success.
- Anmael's Reach - During the Jericho Reach's Age of Shadow, many great heroes served the Deathwatch and performed deeds that would have been the basis of legend, had there been any to witness their vigil. One such warrior was Anmael, a Battle-Brother seconded from the Angels of Vengeance. The stubborn drive of his Chapter led him across the Reach in pursuit of countless inhuman foes. Of his last mission, only the Watch Commander and the Chamber of Vigilance know the details, but he was survived by the ornately worked Storm Bolter he bore from his Chapter's vaults. It is said that the Anmael's Reach will suffer no wielder less determined than its first, but its fierce Machine Spirit bolsters the worthy.
The Angels of Vengeance primarily wear black power armour which is reminiscent of the original colours worn by their progenitors, the Dark Angels Legion, during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras.
A white squad tactical specialty symbol -- battleline, close support, fire support or Veteran -- is placed on the right shoulder pauldron. The dark red Low Gothic numeral centred on the squad specialty symbol indicates squad number.
Like their progenitors, the Angels of Vengeance utilise the same heraldry unique to the Chapters of the Unforgiven that indicates company designation, which is painted on the right knee guard.
The Angels of Vengeance's Chapter badge is a stylised white skull wearing a red hood and surrounded by a pair of stylised angelic wings, centred on a field of black.
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Dark Angels (8th Edition), pp. 11, 18, 21, 23, 37, 39, 45
- Codex: Angels of Death (2nd Edition), pg. 33
- Codex: Dark Angels (4th Edition), pg. 74
- Codex: Dark Angels (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), pg. 29
- Dataslate: Cypher - Lord of the Fallen (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 15-17, 20-23, 28-29
- Deathwatch: Honour the Chapter (RPG), pp. 106, 124
- How to Paint Space Marines (2004)