Battlefleet Armageddon is the colossal fleet of Imperial Navy vessels charged with the the protection of the strategic Armageddon Sector within the Segmentum Solar. The Imperial Navy shipyards for the Segmentum are located on Luna, and the Imperial Navy headquarters in the Segmentum is based within Mars' Ring of Iron. Battlefleet Armageddon is currently commanded by Admiral Parol, who fought alongside High Marshal Helbrecht of the Black Templars Space Marine Chapter's Crusade Fleet and other Imperial commanders in orbit above Armageddon during the defence of Armageddon from the Ork WAAAGH! Ghazghkull in the Third War for Armageddon of 998.M41.
Segmentum Solar is one of the five Segmentum Majoris, the great Imperial administrative divisions of the galaxy. The Segmentum Solar is the central hub of the Imperium of Man and the most ancient and densely settled region of human space. Centred on Terra, where the Emperor of Mankind sits upon His Golden Throne, the central Segmentum is protected on four sides by the other Segmentae Majoris. The Battlefleet Armageddon is based in the orbital fleet docks of the so-called Ring of Iron that surrounds the Adeptus Mechanicus' primary Forge World of Mars. The Ring of Iron is the name given to the massive complex of orbital shipyards, manufactoria, refineries and construction facilities that encircle the equator of the Red Planet in the Sol System. The exploratory and expeditionary fleets of the Emperor of Mankind's Great Crusade were constructed in the orbital shipyards of the Ring of Iron during the late 30th and early 31st Millennia.
Segmentum Tempestus is mercifully free from proximity to a festering mass incursion from the Warp, such as the Eye of Terror or the Maelstrom. As such, an incursion is usually carried out by xenos raiders rather than the mass attack of a large Chaos Fleet of deranged Heretics. Each of the five Segmentum battlefleets serves within one of the Segmentae Majoris and is responsible for protecting Imperial merchant shipping within it. Most space battles take place around installations or planets, the majority of which can be defended efficiently by means of sub-stellar spacecraft and planet-based defences. Even so, it is impossible to provide total defence for every Imperial world. The warships of the Imperial Navy are highly mobile and extremely potent weapons, able to gather to meet large threats where necessary.
Imperial space is so vast, with so many star systems and areas of Wilderness Space to be patrolled, that even the many thousands of starships in the battlefleets must be spread thin, with individual ships and squadrons set out on their own assignments. The Imperium cannot maintain permanent fleets ready to respond to invasion or rebellion. Nor would it make sense to do so -- it would take so long for a fleet to get from its base to the war zone that the enemy would surely have moved on by the time it arrived. Instead, temporary battlefleets are gathered together whenever they are needed. Battlefleet Armageddon was one such formation in the wake of the Second War for Armageddon, and is charged with protecting the vital Hive World of Armageddon and the Imperial planets within the surrounding star systems.
Although the dark reaches of space vary far less than the battlefields of the worlds they contain, there are nonetheless local peculiarities, phenomenon and anomalies in almost every region of populated space. The Armageddon Sector is no exception, and coupled with the variety of unique defences, wrecks and astral bodies found, this makes the battlezones throughout the Armageddon System somewhat different to many others. Most inhabited star systems can be divided into six regions or zones from deep space through to the flare region close to the system's sun.
In preparing the Armageddon System for invasion, the Imperial Navy set many deadly traps for the marauding Orks of the region. One of the most common of these were salvos of torpedoes, hard-wired to hone in on any approaching starship. The friend or foe systems of these weapons were disabled when deployed, to avoid any danger of the Orks interfering with the mechanisms and turning the torpedoes to their own devious use. This is not the only way a deadfall occurs; many stray salvoes run low on fuel having missed their intended target. These stray torpedoes finally come to rest with only a small amount of fuel left, just enough to lurk in wait for a suitable, unsuspecting target to pass. These stray torpedoes then activate and use the remainder of their fuel to lock on to the unwary ship.
Whether it is the result of critical navigational errors or one of the many engagements between Ork fleets and the Imperial Navy within the Armageddon System, there are now many large wreckage fields slowly orbiting Armageddon's sun. The smashed wreckage often forms trails extending for many thousands of kilometres, gravely endangering navigation within the system. The previous space battles around Armageddon have left many warships broken and shattered, destined to orbit the sun for millennia. However, the burnt out hulks are still considered to be a valuable prize for both sides in the war and their capture was always rewarded by any Admiral's or Warboss' superior. Contrary to the beliefs of many of those who must remain planet-bound, every Imperial Captain knows that space is far from empty. Debris fields like those surrounding Armageddon can prove to be a serious risk to travel within a star system. Whether they are formed from past battles or naturally form from matter in the outer reaches, these fields can prove deadly to an unwary vessel.
Third War for Armageddon
One of the most famous campaigns involving Battlefleet Armageddon was the Third War for Armageddon. Following his defeat during the Second War for Armageddon, the first of two massive conflicts between the Imperium of Man and the Ork Warboss Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka, that took place between 941.M41 and 943.M41 in the Armageddon System, the vile Greenskin Warboss was not idle. Retiring to his stronghold, a network of star systems controlled by his forces in the Golgotha Sector, he carried on with the plan that he believed had been revealed to him by the Ork Gods Gork and Mork years before. If the Imperium made one terrible mistake following the Second War for Armageddon it was to consider that Ghazghkull had been defeated. This was far from the truth. In the decades that followed that conflict, Ghazghkull carried on with his master plan. Having learned all he needed to know about Imperial strategy during his first campaign against the humans, he began practising the tactics that he felt would lead to his enemies' defeat. As he did not want to draw undue attention to himself, these experiments were carried out on a much smaller scale than the first Ork invasion of Armageddon. From 945-959.M41 the Imperium received numerous reports of small raids and attacks against Imperial bases and outposts that were led by Ghazghkull Thraka personally.
In 962.M41, an Imperial military base on the world of Buca III was destroyed by missiles fired from an Ork base hidden within an asteroid. The asteroid entered the star system from deep space and bypassed all the Imperial sensors because of its seemingly inert nature before unleashing its potent missiles at the unsuspecting outpost. In 972.M41, the Imperial Agri-World of Chigon 17 was overrun by a huge force of Orks also allegedly under Warboss Ghazghkull's direct command. Just before the outbreak of the Third War for Armageddon, Ghazghkull allied with another Ork Warlord, Nazdreg Ug Urdgrub, to launch an assault on the Imperial world of Piscina IV. The Orks used a previously unknown form of teleportation technology that let them maneuver their troops directly onto the planet from a Space Hulk located a large distance away from the world. The Imperial garrison was taken completely by surprise and only the presence of Space Marines from the Dark Angels Chapter saved Piscina from being completely overrun by the Greenskins. However, this defeat proved to be of little consequence for Ghazghkull as the completion and testing of his new "tellyporta" by the Ork genius later dubbed "Orkimedes" by the Imperium meant that he was finally ready to unleash his full force against the Imperium once more. After more than fifty standard years, Ghazghkull and his Orks intended to take their revenge on the "humies."
Following a lengthy investigation of the planet's readiness in the wake of the Second War for Armageddon, the Imperium ordered the construction of new defences for Armageddon in 948.M41. In light of the strategic value of Armageddon to the Imperium, extensive works were ordered by the Adeptus Terra to secure the Armageddon System against future xenos attacks. Sector Naval command was transferred to the Armageddon System and the Naval facility of St. Jowen's Dock was rebuilt and expanded to accommodate all classes of Imperial interstellar warship. Three permanently-manned monitoring stations were established in the outer reaches of the star system, named after three of the greatest heroes of the Second War for Armageddon: Mannheim, Dante and Yarrick. Ground-based and orbital defences were rebuilt and heavily reinforced, gravitic minefields were seeded throughout the star system and a substantial increase in the numbers of sublight system defence ships and Monitors was ordered.
The first sign of the coming conflagration was a series of Ork attacks on the star systems surrounding Armageddon and other Imperial worlds nearby. First, the nearby world of Minerva suffered from the depredations of Ork pirates, then the Agri-World of Ruis was likewise assailed by Greenskins. Over a period of months, in spite of the heroic efforts of the Imperial Navy, the number of Imperial merchant starships reaching Armageddon was cut in half. Someone seemed to understand that the Imperial forces in the sector were bound by the need to guard the Armageddon System and were not free to patrol the rest of the sector as freely as they normally would. Almost immediately, the Ork pirate raids grew into assaults on Imperial outposts and then into attacks against lightly-held Imperial colonies. Soon, the first full-scale planetary invasions began. Two dozen Imperial worlds came under attack from Orks in as many hours and the Astropaths of Armageddon received constant reports of yet more Ork invasions and atrocities. Every consultation of the Emperor's Tarot prophesied enormous amounts of bloodshed to come and the sign of the Beast Resurgent. Rumours spread that Ghazghkull was returning to have his vengeance and soon even the most obstinate Administratum Adept could no longer deny that an Ork WAAAGH! of gargantuan proportions was engulfing the entire Armageddon Sector of the Segmentum Solar. After the Imperial Navy's Task Force Trajan was presumed lost battling the Orks in the Desdena System, General Kurov sent an astropathic call for assistance to nearby Imperial Guard regiments and Space Marine Chapters to come to the defence of Armageddon once more.
On the day of the Feast of the Emperor's Ascension in 998.M41, 57 standard years to the day after the first Ork invasion of Armageddon, Augur psychic probes registered a massive disruption in the Warp as an Ork fleet emerged back into realspace and Ghazghkull's Greenskin horde descended on Armageddon once more. An alert from the Imperial monitor station Dante was cut off in mid-transmission as the Ork starships swept past in their hundreds upon ramshackle hundreds.
The monitor station's final Vox reports indicated that an Ork fleet was moving into the Armageddon System, comprising 50 Ork Kill Kroozers and over 300 Escort vessels, accompanied by at least four Space Hulks. The Imperial forces of Armageddon were placed on full alert and seven Imperial Navy Cruiser squadrons, led by the Apocalypse-class Battleships His Will and Triumph, departed Saint Jowen's Dock in geostationary orbit of Armageddon within 24 hours of the first reports of the Ork invasion. The Imperial fleet, under the command of Admiral Parol, entered battle five standard days later, catching the lead elements of the Ork fleet in an ambush around the high-gravity world of Pelucidar.
Sixty Ork attack ships were blasted out of the vacuum by Imperial fire in the initial engagement, without the loss of a single Imperial starship. Then Admiral Parol's vessels were engaged by heavy squadrons of Ork Kill Kroozers and swarms of Fighta-Bommerz racing ahead of the main body of the Ork fleet. The Imperial starships fought valiantly, their weapon batteries pounding the crude Ork vessels into scrap, ravening Lance beams incinerating wave after wave of the Fighta-Bommerz.
Nevertheless, the Ork fleet outnumbered the Imperial Navy's defenders of Armageddon by six-to-one and the Imperial starships were gradually pushed back. The Orks made suicidal runs against the Imperial gunners with unbridled ferocity, losing a dozen of their ships in exchange for a single Imperial vessel. At the height of the engagement, Admiral Parol received comm-bursts from the Yarrick and Mannheim monitor stations warning that three more entire Ork fleets were entering the edges of the star system. At the exact same moment, the Triumph was hit by the combined firepower of five Ork Kill Kroozers and crippled by this heavy fire and massed Ork teleport boarding attacks. Realising that his duty lay in preserving the Imperial fleet for what would be a protracted conflict, Admiral Parol reluctantly gave the order for a general retreat.
The doomed Imperial monitor stations were overwhelmed by the Orks a few hours later. By their last count, the combined Ork fleets entering the Armageddon System numbered in excess of 2,000 starships and at least twelve Space Hulks, the largest number of Space Hulks ever to assail a world of the Imperium in its 10,000 standard year history. Admiral Parol, his command reduced to just five squadrons of Cruisers and a single Battleship, could do little more than mount hit-and-run attacks against the massive Ork armadas as they moved in-system. Imperial reinforcements would later arrive and then Parol hoped that the Orks' command of space could be challenged with more of a chance for success.
As they waited, Parol's Escorts and Light Cruisers harried the Orks as best they were able, distracting and drawing off their foes into traps and gravitic minefields. To their dismay, the Imperial Navy vessels encountered dozens of crude asteroid fortresses, or "Roks," in the normally vulnerable rear of the Ork fleets. These incredibly heavily armed weapon platforms proved difficult to assault directly, but the very presence of such large numbers of Roks seemed to indicate a complexity of strategic planning among the Orks that had not yet been seen by the Imperium's defenders.
Surprisingly, the Orks did not turn aside to capture the orbital Saint Jowen's Dock. Instead they bombarded it for six days as the Ork fleets moved past, enlivened by repeated attacks from Imperial assault boat squadrons. Ork warriors succeeded in establishing themselves throughout the lower sections of the dock and though the facility remained under Imperial control, it was rendered virtually useless as a dock for warships by damage from the bombardment and constant Ork raids. Only the arrival of two Inquisitorial Ordo Xenos' Deathwatch Space Marine Kill-teams later in the campaign succeeded in driving the Orks back to the isotope storage pits at the base of the orbital station.
Six weeks after entering the Armageddon System, the vast Ork armada went into battle with the Imperial space stations and weapons platforms in high orbit above the world. Those who had hoped that the powerful orbital defences of Armageddon would keep the Orks at bay were soon proved to be hopelessly in error. The orbital battle raged for three full days and two terrible nights, but by the dawn of the third day, the skies of Armageddon were filled with the trails of Ork landing pods and the incandescent streaks of their Attack Craft carving runnels through the clouds. Hive Hades, still a ruin following the previous conflict, was the first to fall. In an act of vengeance, Ghazghkull chose not to fight again at Hades. Instead, the entire hive city and its inhabitants were smashed asunder by the colossal impact of giant asteroids dropped from the Orks' orbiting Space Hulks. This act of wanton destruction was but a premonition of the monstrous bloodshed that was to come.
As the battles of the Third War for Armageddon raged furiously on Armageddon's surface, Ghazghkull unleashed another of his surprises. Dozens of the great Ork Roks encountered by Admiral Parol's starships began to descend from orbit. Slowed by powerful gravitic force fields, retro boosters and modified Ork Traktor Kannons, the Ork Roks made landings in the planet's verdant Equatorial Jungles and across its two main continents of Armageddon Prime and Secundus. Many were lost to ground fire or "Orky accidents" but each one that survived became a new bastion for the Orks, a rallying-point and a new citadel. As well as their huge guns and missile batteries, the Roks contained giant teleport arrays created by Orkimedes that were similar to those Ghazghkull has used during the Piscina Campaign. These were employed to teleport down Ork reinforcements from their orbiting fleet, including Gargants and heavy artillery, in a seemingly endless stream of Greenskins. The campaign to come would rank as among the greatest conflicts ever fought by the Imperium of Man, though it would be won on the ground and the Imperial naval forces of Battlefleet Armageddon would henceforward play only a supporting role.
Notable Vessels of Battlefleet Armageddon
- His Will (Apocalypse-class Battleship)
- Triumph (Apocalypse-class Battleship)
- Inomine Veritas (Emperor-class Battleship)
- Gryphonne Probatii (Emperor-class Battleship)
- Green Lake (Oberon-class Battleship)
- Ex Cathedra (Armageddon-class Battlecruiser)
- Hammer of Light (Armageddon-class Battlecruiser)
- Thunderchild (Armageddon-class Battlecruiser)
- Renown (Lunar-class Cruiser)
- Sceptre of Haggia (Lunar-class Cruiser)
Battlefleet Armageddon Squadron Dispositions
- First-Line Cruiser Squadron (6)
- Second-Line Cruiser Squadrons (9)
- Light Cruiser Squadrons (17)
- Escort Squadrons (21)
Aerial Strike Wings Assets
- Bomber Strike Wings (54)
- Interceptor Strike Wings (81)
- Battlefleet Gothic Magazine 12, "Battlefleet Armageddon - Scenarios, Sub-Plots, Battlezones, Sector Maps, Fleet Lists," pp. 4-19
- Battlefleet Gothic Magazine 14, "Battlelfeet Armageddon - Battlezones, Scenarios, Sub-Plots, Battlefleet Armageddon, The Armageddon Sector," pp. 4-19
- Codex: Armageddon (3rd Edition), pg. 2
- Codex: Orks (4th Edition), pg. 24
- Epic: Armageddon (Rulebook), pp. 64-66, 70, 100
- White Dwarf 140 (US), "Space Fleet: Additional Background, Rules, Data Cards and Counters", pp. 46-75
- White Dwarf 139 (US), "Space Fleet: Rules Expansion", pp. 8-36