Warhammer 40k Wiki
Warhammer 40k Wiki

Fleet-based military forces are those that operate across the Milky Way Galaxy without a fixed base or homeworld, and which normally operate on a highly-mobile basis from a fleet of faster-than-light capable starships.

Such armies include the forces of the Tyranids, almost the entire surviving, uncorrupted Aeldari species who now operate from their great Asuryani craftworlds and many of the Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes.

Many Fleet-based Chapters of Space Marines not only maintain large Chapter fleets but also massive flagships that serve as a mobile fortress-monastery and are known as Chapter barques. Such massive vessels include the Eternal Crusader of the Black Templars or the Omnis Arcanum of the Blood Ravens.

Some Chapters even have access to larger mobile fortresses that serve as their primary base of operations, like The Rock of the Dark Angels, the Phalanx of the Imperial Fists or the Raptorus Rex of the Fire Hawks.

Several Chapters who turned Renegade at some point but were judged to have been misled into treachery and granted forgiveness by the High Lords of Terra following a penitent crusade, like the Mantis Warriors and the Lamenters, are now Fleet-Based Crusade Chapters following the forfeiture of their Chapter homeworld as the price for their transgression.

Fleet-based Space Marine Chapters

A number of Space Marine Chapters have no homeworld. These nomadic warrior-orders traverse the stars aboard an armada of battle barges, strike cruisers and blade-like escort craft with the power to lay sectors to waste and conquer countless worlds.

For fleet-based Chapters, their vessels serve the roles of a fortress-monastery. Starships will house the Chapter's Armoury, Librarius, Reclusiam and Apothecarion as well as barracks, training cages, practice ranges and strategiums.

Some may keep these vital functions aboard a mighty flagship; others spread them across a number of vessels to reduce risk of catastrophic and irreplaceable loss.

There are many reasons as to why a Chapter might be fleet-based. Some are orphaned, their homeworld lost in cataclysmic battle, such as the mysterious Dark Angels.

Others have never had a homeworld, such as the Black Templars, who have been on the hunt for the enemy since their very inception.

Some Chapters have temporarily forfeited the right to a homeworld in penance, such as the Mantis Warriors, who sided with the traitorous Astral Claws Chapter in the murderous Badab War.

Every fleet-based Chapter recruits in different ways, depending on circumstance. The Imperial Fists maintain a number of recruiting worlds to which they periodically return to claim fresh aspirants.

Others appear to have no regimen of any description, simply taking recruits wherever they find them; they are unheeding of all but the most vigorous of protests from planetary or other Imperial authorities, and often only if these are made by fellow Space Marine Chapters.

Notable Fleet-based Space Marine Chapters

See Also


  • Codex Adeptus Astartes - Space Marines (8th Edition), pp. 30, 36, 53
  • Codex: Black Templars (4th Edition), pp. 2-19
  • Codex: Space Marines (9th Edition), pg. 12
  • Codex: Space Marines (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), pg. 115
  • Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 40-45, 47
  • Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pp. 8, 24
  • Codex Supplement: Angels of Death (8th Edition), pg. 30
  • Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 38-39
  • Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pp. 54-56, 107
  • Deathwatch: Honour the Chapter (RPG), pp. 9-11, 130
  • Deathwatch: Rites of Battle (RPG), pp. 44-51
  • Imperial Armour Volume Two, Second Edition - War Machines of the Adeptus Astartes, pp. 17, 107, 135
  • Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War - Part Two, pp. 84-93, 99, 109, 104
  • Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part One, pg. 14
  • Index Astartes II, "Righteous Zeal - Black Templars Space Marine Chapter", by Graham McNeill, "Emperor's Fist - The Imperial Fists Space Marine Chapter", pp. 12-17
  • Blood Ravens: The Dawn of War (Omnibus) by C.S. Goto, Chapter One
  • Death of Antagonis (Novel) by David Annandale
  • The Last Days of Ector (Novella) by Guy Haley