"Bravery is stronger than Adamantium. One is the stuff of the soul-forges, the other an illusion of safety created by fools. Adamantium walls cannot keep us out! We have the courage of the Emperor! And in the Emperor's name...ATTACK!! ATTACK!! NO PRISONERS!!"

Chaplain Gonzago, during Operation Carthage (the Second Pacification of Istvaan V)

The Desert Lions is a Loyalist Space Marine Chapter of unknown Founding and heritage. It is known to have fought in the military campaign known as Operation Carthage carried out in the early 31st Millennium, following the defeat of the Warmaster Horus and the Traitor Legions. Operation Carthage sought to retake the world of Istvaan V from the Forces of Chaos who had controlled it since the first days of the Horus Heresy. Little else is known about the Chapter in current Imperial records.

Chapter History

Notable Campaigns

  • Operation Carthage (Second Pacification of Istvaan V) (Unknown Date.M31) - The Desert Lions were assigned to retake Istvaan V from the Forces of Chaos alongside a cohort of Battle-Automata from the Adeptus Mechanicus' Legio Cybernetica. The Chapter had been tasked with the difficult job of reducing the enemies' planetary fortresses. To deal with the problem, the Desert Lions Techmarine Saum Lliamson programmed the Legio Cybernetica robots to assault the Chaotic citadels in a seemingly mindless fashion. Though the robots were easily defeated and almost wiped out by the defenders, the automatons also succeeded in providing invaluable intelligence to the Astartes on the nature of the Chaos forces' defences, including their firing plans and the various blind spots in the fortresses. With this information, when the Desert Lions launched their own assault upon the fortresses, they were able to quickly reduce the defenders and bring the world back under Imperial control. Only 7 Desert Lions Space Marines were lost during the assault. In gratitude, the Desert Lions inducted all of the surviving robots of the Legio Cybernetica cohort into the Chapter as honourary Battle-Brothers. After eliminating the perimeter forts, the robot cohort provided extra support for the advancing Rhinos. Subsequent resistance to Imperial forces proved minimal.

Notable Desert Lions

  • Chaplain Gonzago - Gonzago was a Chaplain of the Desert Lions who took part in Operation Carthage.
  • Techmarine Saul Lliamson - Saul Lliamson was the Techmarine in charge of the inducted Legio Cybernetica Robot cohort. He wrote the manoeuvre routines that proved so successful on Istvaan V.

Chapter Appearance

Chapter Colours

The Desert Lions' Chapter colours are not listed in current Imperial records.

Chapter Badge

The Desert Lions' Chapter badge is not listed in current Imperial records.


In The Horus Heresy: Book Five - Tempest, one of the old cognomina taken up by an Ultramarines Legion constituent Chapter before the arrival of Primarch Roboute Guilliman was the "Desert Lions." It is not stated to which Chapter of the XIII Legion this refers, nor what happened to it during the Horus Heresy or the Second Founding. It is unknown at this time whether it served as the basis for the formation of a full Ultramarines Successor Chapter just as the 22nd "Nemesis" Chapter became the Nemesis, and the 4th Chapter, the "Aurorans," became the Aurora Chapter.


  • Warhammer 40,000 Compendium (1st Edition), pp. 22, 97, 100, 105
  • White Dwarf 104 (UK), "Chapter Approved: Imperial Robots" by Mike Brunton
  • The Horus Heresy: Book Five - Tempest, pg. 70


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