"I've seen Orks the size of Sentinels, that could punch a man's head clean off. Seen them Tyranids swarming over the ridge at Shatterpeak, all blades and fangs and spittin' acid that turned tanks into metal sludge. I was right in the middle of Kalda City when the firestorm came down, and went toe-to-toe with Chaos worshipers so crazed with their false religion that they'd keep fighting a man even as they burned up like rations on a cookfire. Through all that I learned one thing that always holds true. Don't matter how big, or crazed, or unnatural your enemy is, he can't kill you if you saw his damn head off with your Catachan fang."
- —Corporal "Razorback" Mahoney, Catachan XLI, on the usefulness of his Catachan Fang knife
Catachan Knives are the notorious one-handed melee weapons used exclusively by the elite Catachan Jungle Fighters regiments of the Imperial Guard. These fearsome weapons include: the Catachan Fang, a Combat Knife measuring up to 20 inches of gleaming steel, which is the most common melee weapon in use amongst these regiments and also used for settling disputes between Catachans; the Night Reaper, which is smaller and blackened, effective for night infiltrations and assassinations; and the Devil's Claw, named after the great Catachan Devil predator that hails from their jungle Death World of Catachan and has taken so many Catachan lives over the centuries.
A knife is not only a tool and the weapon of a Catachan warrior but also a mark of his status. The steel alloy used for these knives is only found on the jungle planet of Catachan. A well-honed Catachan blade will not rust and its edge will remain keen even after continuous use. Catachan Knives are highly valued and sought after throughout the Imperium. Many counterfeit copies are sold by roaming Rogue Traders, but the only sure way to get an authentic Catachan Knife is to take it from a Catachan. This is no easy task, as the Catachans place a tremendous value on their knives. It is said that a Catachan would rather give up his right arm than his knife. Indeed, Catachans do not just see their knives as brutally effective weapons, but also as great tools, useful for hacking through foliage, as a climbing aid, a first aid kit and a true lifeline in the deadly environments in which they fight.
Each Catachan learns the craft of making knives from his parents and making one's own knife is considered one of the tests of adulthood on the Death World. While the basic design of the knives remains the same, there are subtle variations between family groups and individuals, depending on the height and preferences of the user.
Each Catachan Jungle Fighter learns the craft of making knives from his parents and making one's own knife is considered one of the tests of adulthood on the jungle Death World. While the basic design of the knives remains the same, there are subtle variants between family groups and individuals, depending on the height and preferences of the user. The following are the most common Catachan Knives found throughout the Catachan Jungle Fighters regiments:
- Catachan Fang - Measuring up to 20 inches of gleaming steel, the Catachan Fang is the most common type of Catachan Knife used by the Catachan regiments. Equally useful for cutting your way through jungle or a deviant Eldar, the Catachan Fang is renowned throughout thousands of star systems. This knife is also used for settling disputes between Catachans. Usually, one knife is placed in the centre of a fighting pit and the combatants must each strive to get hold of the knife. The duel ends when one fighter draws blood, though this can often mean death as well.
- Night Reaper - Smaller than other typical designs, the blackened blade of the Night Reaper is especially suitable for infiltration and night missions when light reflecting from a blade can mean the difference between life and death. The blade itself is triangular, so any wound caused by the Night Reaper is unlikely to clot or heal. Catachans are also known to poison these knives using one of the many animal and plant venoms or toxins native to their inhospitable planet.
- Devil's Claw - Named after the fearsome predator known as the Catachan Devil of the fearsome Catachan jungles, this is the largest type of the traditional knives of Catachan. Anywhere between three and four feet long, the Devil's Claw is closer to a short sword than a knife. It is used mainly on the battlefield in close quarters and it has even achieved a fearsome reputation amongst the Orks, who call it "Da Cutta." The blade itself is hollow and half-filled with mercury to give it greater swinging power. Power Swords wielded by senior members of the Catachan regiments are often identical in design to the Devil's Claw.
- Codex: Catachans (3rd Edition), pp. 9, 17
- Death World (Novel) by Steve Lyons
- The Regimental Standard: Captain Catachan's Jungle Fighting Tips
- Codex: Astra Militarum (8th Edition), pg. 140 (Quote)