"It is the way of Slaanesh, who is my lord and guardian. My god. Look what he has made of me, captain, and see what your Emperor has made of you."
The Punishers are an amalgam of warbands of Chaos Space Marines of unknown origin and Founding who have dedicated themselves to the Chaos God Slaanesh. They played a major part in unleashing the twin Punisher Wars upon the Imperium. Little else is known about them in Imperial records.
- First Punisher War (825.M41) - The infamous Chaos Space Marine warband known as the Punishers led a massive Chaos invasion of the Kargad System. The Dark Hunters Chapter participated in the defence of their homeworld of Phobian, but were woefully outnumbered by the Forces of Chaos. The Punishers landed a quarter of a million Chaos Cultists in the first wave upon Phobian, with mighty Emperor-class Battleships to provide support. Their numbers severely depleted, the Dark Hunters were forced to pull back and made their final stand at Mors Angnar, their fortress-monastery, cradled in the rugged peaks and glaciers of the Argahast Range known as the Silverspears. The Punishers eventually surrounded Mors Angnar and fought their way within. The Dark Hunters were forced to make their final stand within the Chapter's Reclusiam, their numbers reduced to only two hundred Battle-Brothers. As the Dark Hunters faced certain annihilation, they were saved by their fellow Adeptus Astartes brethren. It took the help of six other Chapters, including the Brazen Fists, Dark Sons, Doomsayers, Shadowhawks and two others unnamed, to finally extirpate the Punishers from the system. Though the Dark Hunters emerged victorious, it was a pyrrhic victory at best. Their numbers had been greatly reduced and many of their ancient vehicles and transports had been destroyed. But the Dark Hunters would persevere, and go on to rebuild their numbers, though it would take many standard centuries to replace the lost Battle-Brothers.
- Second Punisher War (982.M41) - Jonah Kerne, Captain of the Dark Hunters 3rd Company led his Space Marines to the world of Ras Hanem during the Second Punisher War against the warband of Chaos Space Marines known as the Punishers. Kerne was able to hold the Forces of Chaos at bay while being assisted by the local garrisons of the Imperial Guard and the Planetary Defence Forces. The Dark Hunters even went so far as to form a temporary alliance with the Eldar of the Kaelor Craftworld, helping those xenos find an ancient artefact precious to their race in exchange for their aid in defeating the Forces of Chaos. Despite the deceptions and cunning of the Eldar, Kerne stayed true to his word and gave the artefact to the Eldar Farseer, thus committing an act of heresy. The remaining Imperial and Eldar forces were able to hold the Punishers long enough for the remainder of the Dark Hunters Chapter to arrive with Astartes allies drawn from other Chapters. When the war on Ras Hanem had concluded in the Emperor's favour, Jonah was taken by his Chapter back to their homeworld of Phobian. There, he was taken into custody by the Inquisition to answer for his crime.
The Punishers wear bone-coloured Power Armour with black skeleton imagery painted on the surface of the armour. The trim is brass.
The Punishers do not have their own warband iconography. Instead, they opt to wear the usual blasphemous iconography and fetishes of Chaos.
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition), pg. 21
- Legends of the Space Marines (Anthology) edited by Christian Dunn, "The Last Detail" by Paul Kearney
- Dark Hunters: Umbra Sumus (Novel) by Paul Kearney