Most distant from Macragge in Ultramar is the world of Espandor, a planet of extensive forests whose major cities are confined to the westernmost of its two continents. Espandor is a secondary settlement whose people are the descendants of explorers from Macragge and hold considerable pride in their rugged existence. Tradition has it that Espandor was settled during the Age of Strife by traders blown off-course and subsequently stranded by Warp Storms. It is the least-densely populated of all the worlds of Ultramar.
Cleansing of Espandor
In early 745.M41, Hive Fleet Behemoth became the first major Tyranid Hive Fleet encountered and defeated by the Imperium of Man. The ensuing conflict became known as the First Tyrannic War. The Hive Fleet was eventually destroyed in late 745.M41 by the combined might of the Ultramarines and White Scars Chapters and the Imperial Navy. Following the events of the First Tyrannic Wars, Espandor's local militia discovered a remnant of Behemoth in the form of a surviving Tyranid nest located deep within the forest.
The monsters had been stranded in the Realm of Ultramar after the battles against Hive Fleet Behemoth. The insatiable bioforms had been feeding off the citizens of nearby communities and was rapidly growing stronger every day. At the current rate of growth, the Tyranids would reach a critical mass of population and begin the systematic destruction of the planet. Word soon reached Macragge of the Tyranid creatures attacking settlements on the Cardinal World of Espandor. Chapter Master Marneus Calgar took this as a sign from the Emperor and declared before his assembled Astartes that the newly formed Tyrannic War Veterans would indeed become part of the Ultramarines' military structure. This new infestation would be their first trial and, should they prove successful, then all would recognise their usefulness.
During the subsequent Cleansing of Espandor, the Tyrannic War Veterans were organised into three detachments by the Chapter's Reclusiarch Ortan Cassius and together he and First Captain Severus Agemman led them to the site of the most recent Tyranid attack. Having specially modified their Auspexes to detect Tyranid pheromone trails, the Ultramarines were able to track the aliens into the dark depths of the world's primeval forest.
The trail continued for many Terran miles, eventually ending at a great, bio-organic structure enmeshed within the trees that resembled a great insect hive. Hissing Tyranid creatures poured from the hive and attacked the Ultramarines, but with Flamers and disciplined Heavy Bolter fire, the aliens were forced back and the warriors of the Ultramarines pursued them within the blasphemous structure.
Inside was a warren of caves formed from Tyranid biomass, each tunnel a potential hiding place for a Tyranid bioform. With great discipline, the Ultramarines fought downwards through the hive, cleansing and burning everything before them. At the heart of the hive they discovered a wounded Tyranid that obviously still served as some kind of synapse creature that controlled the lesser beasts. Only its crippling injuries prevented the Tyranids from spreading further across the surface of the planet, but the alien monsters that protected it were no less fierce than any other.
The Tyrannic War Veterans fought their way through the creatures and Captain Agemman himself slew the beast. The expertise learned in previous engagements with the Tyranids proved invaluable, as each Astartes knew precisely where to strike their foes to cause maximum damage and understood how the aliens fought. Such was their skill and training that not a single Ultramarines warrior was lost in the battle. With the aliens expunged, the hive and the surrounding area was destroyed by a sustained orbital barrage to ensure that no taint from the aliens survived.
The Incursion of Espandor
In 999.M41, the Ultramarines 4th Company, led by Sergeant Learchus Abantes and Chaplain Judd Clausel, took twenty-five newly recruited Scout Marines on their first engagement to investigate the lost patrol ship, Guilliman's Honour. What was supposed to be a standard operation, soon became so much more, when the 4th Company discovered a large Ork WAAAGH! on the surface of the planet, equipped was an enormous Gargant.
The 4th Company funnelled the Orks towards the capitol city, Herapolis, where the Imperial forces were concentrated and would be able to slaughter the greenskins wholesale. Though this plan was in accordance with the Codex Astartes, however, the city of Corinth lay in the Orks' path, and some of the Company's Neophyte Scouts pointed out that its people would be slaughtered unless the Ultramarines came to their aid. The Ultramarines defended the city long enough to demolish the bridges leading into it, allowing the people and the local units of the Planetary Defence Force to evacuate to Herapolis and join the main defense. Ultramarines Master of the Fleet, Lord Admiral Lazlo Tiberius, and his Strike Cruiser Vae Victus struck the surprised Orks from orbit with a devastating orbital barrage. While the forces on the ground fought a brutal, bitter and bloody close assault. Despite the overwhelming odds, the Ultramarines and the local forces made a good accounting, and defeated the Orks.
Invasion of Ultramar
In late 999.M41, the Realm of Ultramar suffered a massive incursion by the Forces of Chaos, led by the Chaos warband known as the Bloodborn. Following the destruction of his Grand Company on the Daemon World of Medrengard by the banished Captain Uriel Ventris and Sergeant Pasanius Lysane, Warsmith Honsou of the Iron Warriors Traitor Legion sought his revenge by gathering a large force to destroy all that Ventris held dear.
The bitter Warsmith managed to gather a force over 17,000 strong, and began his invasion of the Realm of Ultramar in earnest. When the Bloodborn were dispersed among the several planets of Ultramar, the bulk of the corsair fleet, led by Corsair Queen Kaarja Salombar, led the invasion of the Cardinal World of Espandor, where they quickly overran most of the major cities and drove the populace into the countryside. The Corsair Queen made the city of Corinth her primary base of operations for the invasion of Espandor, slaughtering many of the city's inhabitants.
The Ultramarines 2nd Company, led by their valiant commander, Captain Cato Sicarius, were deployed to the beleaguered planet in response. Sicarius conducted a brilliant hit-and-run campaign, attacking the outlying elements of the pirate forces, but decided that the best way to bring the campaign to a swift end was, as he had done on Black Reach, to locate and kill the enemy commander.
Drawing the Corsair Queen out, the 2nd launched a bold attack on Corinth. Confronting the Chaos Lord at last, Sicarius was able to slay her, decapitating her head and holding his gory prize aloft for all the corsairs to see, causing their morale to plummet. The 2nd Company made short work of the remaining pirates and were able to rout the Forces of Chaos from the planet.
The Plague Wars
In 109.M42, the Plague Wars came to Espandor when it was assaulted by the servants of the Plague God Nurgle. Among the defenders in this difficult time was the 30th Prandium Regiment of the Ultramar Auxilia, the elite Planetary Defence Forces of Ultramar. When Roboute Guilliman returned to lead the defence of Ultramar after the end of his Indomitus Crusade in 111.M42, he began his counterattack, known as the "Spear of Espandor" campaign, in the Espandor System, as Espandor had become the main supply line for the Death Guard invasion from the Scourge Stars.
The resurrected Primarch retook each of the lost worlds in the system and destroyed the Plague Engines that were raising the endless tide of Plague Zombies on each of its worlds. After a ferocious battle in which the Ultramarines Chapter found itself fighting side-by-side with their Primaris Astartes brethren for the first time, the forces of Nurgle were routed from Espandor.
Guilliman decisively ended the battle by slaying the Great Unclean One Qaramas with the Emperor's Sword and destroying the last Plague Engine in the system. The Espandor System had been cleansed of the taint of the Plague God and the forces of Nurgle were cut off from their base in the Scourge Stars. This marked the first major milestone on Guilliman's eventual ejection of the Forces of Chaos from his home realm.
- Herapolis - Capital city of Espandor.
- Corinth - A major city named for the planet of the same name, where the Ultramarines Chapter won a great victory against WAAAGH! Skargor deep within the Ork empire of Charadon, during the Corinthian Crusade (fought between 698.M41 and 705.M41).
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pg. 31
- Codex: Ultramarines (2nd Edition), pg. 15
- Defenders of Ultramar (Graphic Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Dark Imperium (Novel) by Guy Haley, Chs. 5, 21
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (8th Edition), pp. 158-159