"Look not behind you, brother. Know in your heart that your kin are there, offering their fire and their prayers. Look instead to your foe as you scream from the skies upon jets of white fire. Take but one instant to savour the fear in his eyes as he looks skywards, and there, in the keen edge of your blade, he sees his doom, delivered by your hand."
- — Extract from the Apocrypha of Eons, Verse I, Chapter VI
A Deathwatch Assault Marine is a specialist in the brutal art of close quarters combat who serves the Astartes of the Deathwatch. A Deathwatch Assault Marines carries a range of weaponry, usually a lethal combination of a pistol and a melee weapon, the most common being the iconic Bolt Pistol and Chainsword. Many choose to take to the battlefield equipped with a Jump Pack, allowing them to close rapidly on their foes, often descending from above in a devastating charge.
A Deathwatch Assault Marine is likely to be a warrior who has mastered all of the methods of war, and discovered that he is most skilled at close combat. To serve as an Assault Marine is to go quite literally face-to-face with the most terrible of humanity’s foes, and to have pitted wits against the vilest of beasts countless times, and won.
An Assault Marine is a master of his chosen weapons combination, and he practices endlessly in their use. Many Assault Marines hone their skills in long duels with their brethren, perfectly willing to risk injury so that their abilities might be honed to perfection. As a result of their training, many Assault Marines suffer more scars than a veteran of centuries of warfare, and they bear them proudly as a sign of their calling. To succeed as an Assault Marine, the Battle-Brother must display a unique balance of patience and impetuousness. He must be a master at judging the exact moment of his charge, allowing his brothers to cover his advance and weaken his target with their fire. Yet, when the moment to charge comes, he must have the courage to commit entirely, to show not a hint of fear or hesitation, for once locked in the lethal dance of close combat, only one combatant will walk away. Some might say that the Assault Marine is hot-headed, and in some instances this may be true. In reality, all are warriors of the utmost skill, schooled in every nuance of every possible style of combat, and able to defeat any foe the galaxy has to offer.
When serving in a Deathwatch Kill-team, it is the task of the Assault Marine to close with and engage the enemy in an overwhelming charge. Many of the alien foes the Deathwatch must face are ravening beasts sporting multiple, diamond-hard claws, whipping tentacles, slavering maws or carrying all manner of deadly close combat weaponry. In addition, many are protected by such tough armour (technological or biological) that they can only be defeated in the deadly whirl of close combat. Ranged weapons may be all but useless against such foes, or the environs in which they lurk may preclude the use of ranged weaponry. In any given mission the number of Deathwatch Battle-Brothers deployed as Assault Marines depends largely upon the mission itself, and the nature of the enemy. When fighting in the cramped environment of a boarding action, or undertaking an exploration of an ancient alien tomb complex for example, several may be assigned. Even in missions where fewer are likely to be required, it is common for at least one Assault Marine to be deployed, for all too often it is close combat that determines the ultimate victory.
Assault Marines can be equipped with a variety of equipment. Some may carry the weapons in which they most excel, while others carry specialised wargear unique to the mission at hand. Most carry a pistol, either a Bolt Pistol or a Plasma Pistol, and complement it with a bladed weapon such as a Chainsword or Power Sword. However, the Armouries of the Deathwatch contain many more powerful weapons, such as Power Fists, Lightning Claws, and all manner of similarly devastating arms, and the Assault Marine is adept in the use of them all. Some choose not to carry a pistol and a blade, and instead forego one weapon in favour of a Combat Shield or a Storm Shield. These are particularly useful against foes that are able to unleash powerful attacks in close combat, allowing the brother to deflect a strike with his shield while delivering a lethal counter-attack with his other weapon. Some Assault Marines arm themselves instead with a mighty, double-handed weapon, allowing them to put all of their strength into a single blow, which is capable of decapitating even the greatest of foes.
In addition to their primary weapons, most Deathwatch Assault Marines carry a variety of other wargear, mostly in the form of specialised types of grenade. These are unleashed as the Assault Marine charges or descends upon the screaming jets of his Jump Pack, disrupting enemy formations and sowing death and confusion in their ranks, laying them wide open to the Assault Marine’s charge. Those Assault Marines who have truly proven themselves throughout multiple actions may be granted access to some of the most devastating and venerated melee weapons in the arsenal of a Watch Fortress. Many of these are unique and ancient, often crafted by the hand of the most revered of weapons smiths. It is a great honour to be allowed to carry such weapons in combat, and every enemy slain by their blade is recorded on a roll of honour, along with the name of the wielder. Thus, the legacy of the Assault Marine’s deeds will live on, long after he himself has returned to his parent Chapter or fallen in service to the Deathwatch, defending Mankind against the myriad horrors of the galaxy.
Assault Squad Wargear
- Plasma Pistol
- Storm Shield
- Power Weapon or Lightning Claw
- Power Fist
- Thunder Hammer or pair of Lightning Claws
- Melta Bombs
- Combat Shield
Notable Deathwatch Assault Marines
- Deathwatch Assault Marine Caleb Solm - During a routine inspection of the Deathwatch Watch Station on Ormasim, Sergeant Solm established his place in the annals of Watch Fortress Erioch. The sergeant was operating independently, completing the routine tasks of retrieving the Station's archives, testing the defensive systems, and resupplying emergency supplies. During his stay, the entire planet was unexpectedly subject to a flare of the Hadex Anomaly. A force of more than five hundred daemons attacked the Watch Station. Isolated and unable to call for reinforcements, Sergeant Solm held off the attackers for five standard years. Near the end of his resistance effort, the station's reserves had been so depleted that the Battle-Brother was limited to nothing but unpowered melee weapons against the forces of the Immaterium. Ultimately, the daemons left the world when the Warp flare retracted, but the Watch Station remained securely held. Sergeant Solm was able to report in to the Watch Fortress in short order after his assignment and provided a detailed report to the Ordo Malleus. Upon the completion of his report, Sergeant Solm immediately returned to complete his survey of Watch Stations in the Jericho Reach.
- Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 72-74
- Deathwatch: Honour the Chapter (RPG), pg. 35