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For the board game, see Space Hulk (game)

For the video games, see Space Hulk (Video Game) and Space Hulk: Tactics

"...Flotsam of ages past returned to contaminate the holy spheres of Man with all manner of alien foulness. These gigantic craft may bear heretics and deviants of the worst kinds: Genestealers, renegades, pirates, Orks and worse. But, as the lowest sea creature may subsist on the filth and detritus of the ocean bed and yet carry pearls of incomparable worth, so these harbingers of terror carry ancient secrets of worth beyond measure. Where such means are at hand, the hulk must be boarded, cleansed of dread taint of the alien and rendered to the auspices of the Adeptus Mechanicus to allow proper study. Wherein the hulk is found to be in the hands of the brutal Orks, these beasts have been found to swarm in such numbers that victory can only be won with the might of entire Space Marine Chapters. Where such strength is lacking, the hulk must regrettably fall to the guns of the fleet, for to permit their entry to the inner spheres is to permit invasion on a nigh unstoppable scale."

—Excerpt from De Xenos Maleficorum, Inquisitorial tome of the Ordo Xenos
Sin of Damnation

A Blood Angels battle barge approaches the space hulk Sin of Damnation.

A space hulk is the term given by the Imperium of Man to the wreckage of a starship or a mangled twist of various starships and artificial debris found drifting through the vacuum of the Milky Way Galaxy without apparent direction. Many times they are so huge that they have their own atmosphere and gravity. Since the hulks often exit and re-enter the Warp seemingly at random, searching or traveling within them is dangerous in the extreme.

Space hulks have many times been used as a means of transport by certain unsophisticated factions. The Orks, the Genestealers, and even Heretic Astartes Renegades use them occasionally to invade other worlds. As the Warp jump of space hulks is essentially made in a random direction, this gives them the advantage of surprise over Imperial or Asuryani forces. These monstrosities often drop in and out of the Warp, threatening to carry Chaos Space Marines, Orks or Genestealers that have entered stasis who can launch attacks upon the unsuspecting planets of the Imperium.

The Imperial Navy, and all Imperial forces and authorities as a whole, have standard orders to survey such objects and to report their location. The hulks often consist of starships and items of technology millennia old, and the recoverable technology can be of immense value to the Imperium, and especially to the Adeptus Mechanicus. Thus elite Imperial forces are sent aboard to clear out infestations and determine if anything aboard the hulk is valuable enough to merit recovery.

Space Hulk by Zen Master

The space hulk Judgement of Carrion entering the Sub-sector Aurelia.

Depending on the strategic situation (availability of troops, proximity to vital Imperial star systems, safety margins, etc.) Space Marines are usually sent to purge the hulk of any alien or Chaos infestations. The reason for this intense interest is that space hulks have been adrift in the void often for hundreds or even thousands of Terran years, forming an unrecognisable huge mass, in which technological and scientific bounties from the Age of Technology could be stowed that would be of great commercial value.

Many space hulks are known to be breeding grounds for the Tyranid species known to the Imperium as the Genestealers, often being the product of a starship inflicted with a Genestealer infestation where the Genestealers took over and killed the crew. It is even suspected by the Adeptus Mechanicus' Magi that the Tyranid Hive Mind implants Genestealers to lay in stasis on space hulks to purposely serve as unwitting living vanguards for a nearby Tyranid hive fleet intent on finding new worlds to consume. Congruent with the expansive bio-mass consumption of the Tyranids, these Genestealer-infested space hulks are doubly dangerous for the cargo they may contain and the Hive Fleets they could psychically call down upon an inhabited planet.

As a result of the dangers, the mission of boarding and exploring space hulks is normally entrusted to Terminators, an Astartes Chapter's most experienced elite warriors who are heavily armed and protected by Tactical Dreadnought Armour. In some cases this is an impossible task, due to powerful enemy resistance, too few available Imperial troops, the space hulk being too close to vital Imperial star systems, etc. In such cases the bombardment and total destruction of the hulk is the only viable alternative. However, space hulks are huge and durable, and even Nova Cannon blasts are not always powerful enough to destroy one.

Notable space hulks

Spacehulk 2

Terminators of the Blood Angels Chapter fighting Genestealers aboard the space hulk Sin of Damnation

  • Alveus Alpha Alpha Sextus - The Alveus Alpha Alpha Sextus was the space hulk that first bore the Orks to the Hive World of Armageddon during the Second War for Armageddon.
  • Brokenback - The Brokenback was the space hulk that housed the Renegade Soul Drinkers Chapter for a time.
  • Cauldron Born - The Cauldron Born is a former space hulk and the current fortress-ship and home of the Renegade Blood Gorgons Chapter of Chaos Space Marines. The Cauldron Born is an artefact of Blood Gorgons biological experimentation, including the use of pseudo-surgery and daemonology. It is said that the hull of the floating fortress has been grafted with the flesh of a Daemon Prince and that organic matter has been cultivated to merge with the ship's engines, spawning a Daemonic Spirit that inhabits the vessel's circuitry.
  • Da Iron Worm - The Iron Worm was an Ork-crewed space hulk that ravaged the Uhulis Sector in the middle of the 32nd Millennium. Historical records show that the Iron Worm is responsible for the destruction of Battlegroup Azazel, the sacking of the Forge World of Temaxia and the ravaging of the Fortress Worlds of Armstrong and Velgagrad. The Iron Worm constituted a severe menace for the entire Ul-Seraph Cluster before its course was altered by the eruption of a powerful Warp Storm which transported the space hulk deep into the Dark Marches region of the Segmentum Tempestus, amongst the worlds that used to form the Orpheus Sector, never to be seen again. It is generally believed that the Iron Worm was obliterated when they somehow disturbed the slumber of the powerful Necrons of he Manark Dynasty.
  • Da Kollosus - The Kollosus was an Ork-crewed space hulk that was used by Kaptin Krashkrooz as a base of operations for pirate activity in the Gothic Sector at the time of the Gothic War. At the behest of Lord Admiral Ravensburg, Battlefleet Gothic, under the command of Admiral Spire and Captain Abridal, confronted the xenos menace and managed to severely damage this edifice of Orkish ingenuity. When faced with defeat, Krashkrooz attempted to take revenge on the Imperials assaulting him. He detonated a Cyclonic Torpedo, possibly a relic dating from the days of the Great Crusade, utterly annihilating his own space hulk and ending the Ork threat to the Gothic Sector for a time, though most of the Imperial vessels successfully avoided the detonation.
Death of integrity

A Blood Drinkers Terminator purging the xenos aboard the Death of Integrity

  • Death of Integrity - In 887.M39, Death of Integrity was seen near the world of Vol Secundus. A call for immediate Adeptus Astartes assistance was issued, with the 1st Companies of both the Blood Drinkers and the Novamarines Chapters responding. Exhibiting a tremendous amount of co-operation, the two Chapters deployed nearly 200 Terminators aboard the derelict space hulk. Over the span of two months, the task force thoroughly purged the space hulk of a rampant Genestealer infestation. Though the battle was costly in terms of materiel damage and loss of life, the ultimate prize was stunning. Deep within the space hulk's ruins was a remarkably well-preserved Standard Template Construct (STC) database which contained data on a host of lost technologies. The Adeptus Mechanicus gladly accepted this priceless artefact and repaid both Chapters with a newly commissioned Strike Cruiser.
  • Devourer of Stars - The Devourer of Stars was used by the Daemon Prince Angron and his World Eaters Traitor Legion during the First War for Armageddon to invade that world.
  • Fury - The Fury was a space hulk that started out as a particularly ambitious project of the Adeptus Mechanicus. The Adepts of Mars planned to transform a small planet into a space-faring vessel by using the planet's own molten core as an energy source. Plucking the planet from the Eye of Terror, the Adeptus Mechanicus outfitted it with a Geller Field-generator, engines and a Warp-Drive. However the planet became lost in the Warp and over the millennia transformed into a space hulk. Its original Mechanicus crew still eked out a pitiful existence in its core until towards the end of the 37th Millennium, the Fury drew the attention of the Space Marines of the Viridian Consuls, then part of the fateful Abyssal Crusade. Settling on the Fury, the Viridian Consuls were corrupted by the touch of Chaos and became the warband of Heretic Astartes known as The Broken which claimed the Fury as their home. The Renegade Astartes continuously battled the Mechancius Adepts left on the Hulk, but were not powerful enough to fully vanquish them. In the late 41st Millennium, the Fury emerged from the Warp on the borders of the Realm of Ultramar near the world of Iax where it was boarded by the Ultramarines and their allies in the Mechanicus and Inquisition who ultimately purged the Fury of its Chaos taint. Reluctantly restored to its original owners in the Mechanicus, the fate of the Fury remains mysterious. Both the Adeptus Mechanicus and the Ordo Hereticus have blocked any inquiries into the space hulk's ultimate fate.
  • Forsaken Doom - The Forsaken Doom was a Genestealer-infested space hulk that threatened the nearby Forge World of Gorgonum. Gorgonum's ruler, Fabricator General Weyldran Lyrzek, requested aid from Ordo Xenos Inquisitor Jost von Marburg. Marburg in turn secured the assistance of a complement of 1st Company Veteran Terminators of the Blood Angels Chapter under the command of Captain Ubaldo. Ubaldo's Terminators, operating from the Blood Angels fleet vessel Blood Crusader, proceeded to clear the hulk of its Genestealer population.
  • Inculcate Evil - The Inculcate Evil was a space hulk captured near the Charos System in the 36th Millennium. The hull of an Emperor-class Battleship, named the Divine Right by Captain Jacobus, who believed visions from the Emperor had led him to the hulk, was recovered from the Inculcate Evil's mass and received extensive refit at Cypra Mundi, later serving with Battlefleet Gothic.
  • Judgement of Carrion - The Judgement of Carrion was a space hulk that appeared in the Aurelian Sub-sector in the late 41st Millennium. The Hulk was boarded by the Astartes of the Blood Ravens Chapter during the Second Aurelian Crusade, in search of the traitor within their own ranks.
  • The Labyrinth - Space hulk used as a fortress-monastery and ritual centre by the Chaos Space Marine warband known as the Sons of Malice.
Mortis Thule

Space hulk Mortis Thule

  • Mortis Thule - Known by many names, the Mortis Thule -- Death From Beyond the Horizon -- was the largest space hulk known to exist within the Jericho Reach, and was very possibly the most dangerous. Though each hulk is unique, Mortis Thule stands out not only for its enormous size but also for its long history in the Reach, dating back to before the arrival of the Imperial Expeditionary Fleets of the Great Crusade. Most hulks either fall apart given time (or sufficient massed firepower), or disappear back into the Warp never to be seen again. The Mortis Thule seems older than many such space hulks encountered before; its curious longevity and increasing mass are possibly tied to that other mysterious artefact of the Reach, the Warp Gate.
  • Red Polyphemus - The Red Polyphemus was a space hulk that appeared during the Manachean War, one of the early campaigns of the Horus Heresy and that diverted much of Port Maw's strength before the attack of the Traitors on the Manachean Commonwealth in the Ultima Segmentum. It is commonly believed that this particular space hulk was diverted in the Warp by the will of the Chaos Gods to aid their mortal followers.
  • Revenant Rex - The Revenant Rex was the space hulk that was destroyed by the Crimson Consuls Chapter, at the cost of their entire 1st Company and the Battle Barge Incarnadine Ecliptic.
  • Sin of Damnation - The Sin of Damnation was the space hulk assaulted by the Blood Angels Space Marines in 996.M40. This campaign ultimately proved disastrous, with the Blood Angels facing an unending tide of Genestealers and finally retreating with only fifty brothers surviving of their entire chapter. The Blood Angels made a second attempt to claim the hulk when it was rediscovered in 589.M41. Under the command of 1st Company Captain Michaelus Raphael, eighty Blood Angels Terminators slaughtered over 40,000 Genestealers and captured the hulk.
  • Spawn of Damnation - The Spawn of Damnation, a conglomeration of wrecked starships approximately 5 kilometers in diameter, was first sighted in 447.M36 in the Spinward Drift. In 781.M41, it briefly appeared in the Viridia System, long enough for the Genestealers aboard to seed their taint into the system's human population. In 928.M41, the Genestealer cult led an uprising against the Imperial governor, which was quelled by a detachment from the Reclaimers Chapter and their Imperial Guard liaison officer Commissar Ciaphas Cain. With additional Imperial Guard regiments arriving to assist the cleansing, and seeking a more interesting fight, the Reclaimers chose to track the Spawn of Damnation down and secure it for the Imperium, finally locating it in the Serendipita System. Over the local government's objections the Reclaimers and Cain boarded the hulk to recover Archeotech but came under heavy Genestealer attack, with many Terminators slain and Cain and his aide Ferik Jurgen becoming separated from the group. After traveling through the hulk for several solar hours, Cain discovered there were also Orks aboard and provoked them into attacking the Genestealers, which ultimately allowed the Reclaimers to capture the hulk. The Chapter and the Adeptus Mechanicus spent the next thirty years mining it for technology, and finally landed a volunteer expeditionary force aboard before it returned to the Warp in 958.M41. The Reclaimers tried to resume tracking it, but unfortunately lost its trail.


  • Battlefleet Gothic Armada, pg. 62
  • Battlefleet Gothic Rulebook, pp. 106, 108
  • Citadel Journal 1, "Unseen Enemy: New Set Up Rules - Mission One: Supply Lines," pp. 16-21
  • Citadel Journal 3, "The Silent Voyager: Campaign - Emperor's Children vs. Space Wolves," pp. 10-18
  • Citadel Journal 7, "The Designer's Cut: Alternate Rules (Space Hulk)," by Richard Halliwell, pp. 4-11
  • Citadel Journal 25, "Covert Operations: Imperial Guard in Space Hulk," pp. 22-27
  • Citadel Journal 28, "Superior Firepower Space Marine Weapon Variants (Space Hulk)," pp. 30-33
  • Citadel Journal 34, "Space Hulk Campaign System," pp. 58-63
  • Citadel Journal 36, "Talons of Death: Four Mission Mini-Campaign (Space Hulk)," pp. 64-71
  • Deathwatch: The Achillus Assault (RPG), pp. 61-66
  • Imperial Armour Volume Twelve : The Fall of Orpheus, pg.17
  • Space Hulk: Rulebook (3rd Edition) (RPG), by Richard Halliwell
  • Space Hulk: Mission Book (3rd Edition) (RPG)
  • Space Hulk: Rulebook (2nd Edition) (RPG)
  • White Dwarf 113 (US), "Space Hulk: 1st Ed. Preview," pp. 34-39
  • White Dwarf 115 (US), "Command Units: Space Marines (Space Hulk)," pp. 20-31
  • White Dwarf 117 (US), "Close Assault: Terminator Close Combat Weapons & Army List," pp. 65-69
  • White Dwarf 120 (US), "Rules for Assault, Tactical and Devastator Squads (Space Hulk)," pp. 53-65
  • White Dwarf 121 (US), "Traitor Terminators: Part 1 - Chaos Terminators," pp. 27-33
  • White Dwarf 122 (US), "Traitor Terminators: Part 2 - Chaos Terminators," pp. 26-35
  • White Dwarf 133 (US), "Genestealer Invasion: Campaign Missions," by Dean H. Bass, pp. 36-38
  • White Dwarf 134 (US), "Space Crusade: New Rules," pp. 4-11
  • White Dwarf 137 (US), "The Last Stand: Space Hulk Campaign," pp. 42-50
  • White Dwarf 142 (US), "Space Hulk - Questions and Answers: Part One," by Simon Forrest, pp. 12-19
  • White Dwarf 144 (US), "Space Hulk - Questions and Answers: Part Two," by Dean Bass
  • White Dwarf 145 (US), "Renegade: A Five-Part Campaign for Space Crusade," pp. 10-25
  • White Dwarf 147 (US), "Space Hulk: Wolf Lair," pp. 56-66
  • White Dwarf 149 (US), "Strike Deep: Campaign - Uses Rules from Space Hulk, Deathwing and Genestealer," pp. 45-61
  • White Dwarf 158 (US), "Return to Kalidus: Campaign for The Wolf Guard," pp. 30-35
  • White Dwarf 195 (US), "Bringer of Sorrow: Campaign," pp. 29-35
  • White Dwarf 196 (US), "Space Hulk: Preview," pp. 9-14
  • White Dwarf 197 (US), "Space Hulk: Defilement of Honour," by Dean Bass, pp. 81-87
  • White Dwarf 200 (US), "Fangs of Fenris: Space Wolves Campaign," pp. 85-91
  • White Dwarf 201 (US), "Duty and Honor: Ultramarine Campaign," pp. 49-55
  • White Dwarf 203 (US), "The Fate of the Sword of Halcyon: Scenario - Blood Angels vs. Genestealers," pp. 33-43
  • The Bleeding Chalice (Novel) by Ben Counter
  • Calgar's Fury (Novel) by Paul Kearney
  • Duty Calls (Novel) by Sandy Mitchell
  • The Emperor's Finest (Novel) by Sandy Mitchell
  • Soul Drinker (Novel) by Ben Counter
  • The Horus Heresy - Book Four: Conquest (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pg.37-40
  • Victories of the Space Marines (Anthology) edited by Christian Dunn, "The Long Games at Carcharias" by Rob Sanders
  • Dawn of War II - Chaos Rising (PC Game)
  • Battlefleet Gothic: Armada (PC Game)
  • Space Hulk: Tactics (PC Game)