The Tyrant's Legion was the human auxilia Planetary Defence Forces that Lufgt Huron, the rogue Chapter Master of the Renegade Astral Claws Space Marine Chapter, reforged under his command to his own specification when he first assumed the mantle of "Tyrant of Badab" in 718.M41.
The Tyrant's Legion were a highly effective force, allowing the Secessionist cause to defend the Maelstrom Zone territory to which they had laid claim, and provided the Tyrant with what was effectively a shadowy parallel to the Imperial Guard, loyal only to Huron and the Astral Claws who to the human conscripts in its ranks were no less than living gods touched by the Emperor.
As the Badab War raged (901.M41-912.M41), the role of the Tyrant's Legion proved vital, enabling the Secessionists to hold ground, a task for which Space Marine were generally unsuited in temperament, not to mention number. But as mere mortal men and women forced to take the battlefield against the the superhuman warriors of the Adeptus Astartes, they were to pay a heavy price for their loyalties; their lives spent in the tens of thousands before the war's end in a cause both lost and damned.
In 718.M41, a failed coup on the Hive World of Badab Primaris led to an abortive civil war, and the Astral Claws Chapter stepped in and brutally crushed the conflict. In the aftermath, the elements behind the coup were brought forth to Chapter Master Lufgt Huron for judgement. Mindful of the lesson of Cygnax, the Chapter Master personally took matters into his own hands, swiftly reimposing order once more. This time he employed the Astral Claws much more brutally as they executed much of the planet's ruling class as well as purging those they perceived as morally recidivist. Taking upon himself the mantle of planetary ruler, Lufgt Huron stylised himself the 'Tyrant of Badab', claiming the inhabited worlds in proximity to the hospitable region of the void around the Badab System as his Chapter's fiefdom.
Within decades of first assuming the mantle of 'Tyrant', Lufgt Huron began to reorganise and re-forge the Planetary Defence Forces of the systems under his command to his own specifications. This human Auxilia of conscripted men and women would come to be known as the Tyrant's Legion. Huron's concept of the Tyrant's Legion was far from an original one, but had more in common with the armies of Terra during the bygone era of the Great Crusade. A throwback to the days of using a combined force of human conscripts and soldiers directly commanded by and tactically integrated with contingents of Space Marines. Though these ad hoc formations are quite common during the present era during wartime, particularly during lengthy crusades or in isolated warzones bereft of help. The Tyrant sought to formalise this arrangement. By doing so Lufgt Huron willingly broke a long standing tenet that had been largely upheld for millennia since the dark days of the Horus Heresy. This tenet had been enshrined to prevent any one Space Marine commander from wielding absolute power in the Imperium's affairs again.
The Tyrant's Legion served to specific strategic purposes, the first of which was territorial occupation and defence. This would enable the Legion's human Auxilia to garrison and impose command on the often perilous and far flung worlds of the Maelstrom Zone, and the Tyrant's Legion would allow a force directly under Huron's control to be in place on every world under the sovereignty of the Tyrant. Most importantly, this force was wholly loyal to Huron alone. They were neither as fractured or near sighted as the scattered network of unequal planetary defence armies that had existed previously in the Maelstrom Zone's Imperial worlds, and were not beholden to the whims of faceless autocrats who could countermand or redeploy a standing Imperial Guard regiment on a whim. Secondly, the Tyrant's Legion also served at first to hide Huron's true intentions for the expansion of his Chapter.
Repeatedly denied the reinforcements he had requested to aid him and the Maelstrom Warders in carrying out their tasks, in his arrogance and pride, the Tyrant sought to expand his forces into a force equal to a Space Marine Legion of old. To outside scrutiny, the Tyrant placed Astral Claws detachments within the Tyrant' Legion's ranks before the outbreak of the war as trainers - tasked with the purging and improvement of the mediocre and often corrupt PDF armies of the Badab Sector. But in reality, the Legion's Tribunes were in all cases pass off as the force's commanders. This perfidy succeeded in hiding the true numbers of the Tyrant's growing Chapter numbers from prying eyes and enabled the Astral Claws to disperse these hidden forces all across Huron's domain, hidden within the Tyrant's Legion. The perfidy of the Tyrant and the Astral Claws rapidly became apparent when the Badab War engulfed the Maelstrom Zone, as did the identity of the true commanders of the Tyrant's Legion who willingly followed their master without falter, taking up arms against any who would challenge the Tyrant's domains.
Tyrant's Legion Organisation
Organisationally and in terms of equipment, the Tyrant's Legion was based fundamentally on the existing pattern of Planetary Defence Coda approved by the Departmento Munitorum and largely standardised across the Imperium, the Coda itself a strong echo of the established structures and strictures of the Imperial Guard.
These forces were referred to as Defence Auxilia, abiding by ancient local custom on Badab, and were traditionally formed around a core of professional troops drawn from the household armsmen of Badab's ruling elites supplemented in times of crisis by conscript militia from the general population. The following is a list of forces found within a typical Tyrant's Legion Defence Auxilia unit:
- Legion Auxilia Command Detachment - Drawn from the military aristocracy and civil powers of the worlds of the Maelstrom Zone, the human Auxilia's tactical command and the day-to-day administration was left in the hands of the perfect commanders and Tribunes (the latter being the traditional title given to the Colonels of the local Badab Sector defence forces). Although they lacked the erudition in warfare and strategic schooling of true Imperial Guard officers, they were both valiant and proud, accustomed to leading their men from the front and fighting at the thick of the fray. Thanks to their connections and rank they were better equipped than most of the Legion, although in the eyes of their Space Marine masters they were no more than overseers, hardly less disposable than the conscripts they commanded.
- Legion Auxilia - Conscripts drafted from among the able bodied men and women of the worlds at the heart of the Tyrant's domain. They were subjected to perfunctory military training and heavily indoctrinated, believing without question that it was they who fought for the Emperor not against his forces. All that was required of them was that they could stand their ground and obey without question, and failure to do either often proved fatal. The Tyrant's human auxiliaries were trained to follow the orders of their prefects without question, and the slightest infraction of discipline was punishable by death. Although their equipment was patterned after the Imperial Guard, it was often substandard or reclaimed from the dead, although this mattered little when face with the might of the Loyalist Space Marines.
- Auxilia Armsmen Cadre - A core of professional troops within the conscripted Legion Auxilia. Most of these came from the standing private armies of the sector nobility who were forced to contribute to the Secessionist cause or face destruction, along with Commercia enforcer cadres, mercenary companies and Maelstrom fleet Armsmen. Although as the war dragged on, underhive criminal gangs and worse were also drafted on pain of death.
Irregular Astartes and Support Forces
Legion Space Marines
The Astral Claws Space Marines represented both the hidden power and ultimate masters of the Tyrant's Legion forces. Huron's ultimate aim with the creation of the Legion was to supplement the fighting power of the Astral Claws Chapter.
Huron devoted roughly a third of his Astartes to deployment in the Legion, the rest continued to fight as a regular Space Marine Chapter. The deployment of individual Space Marines was often fluid between the two. The following is a list of Astral Claws forces often employed within the ranks of the Tyrant's Legion:
- Legion Centurions - The Centurions were Veteran Astral Claws chosen to both command and if need be punish the human Auxilia of the Tyrant's Legion. They were selected for their might of arms and utter devotion to Huron's cause. They were objects of religious awe and genuine terror by those they commanded, and also served as the eyes and ears of the Tyrant across his fledgling pocket empire.
- Corpse-Takers - Appearing only in the final days of the Badab War, the Apothecary Vivisectors, or 'Corpse Takers' to give them the fearful nickname they were known by the human Auxilia of the Tyrant's Legion. They were specially-tasked Apothecaries who specialised in harvesting gene-seed from fallen Space Marines -- from both friend and enemy alike. In the case of the enemy, regardless of whether their subject was living or dead. With this gene-seed, Huron intended to secure the Astral Claws continued increase in numbers and eventual victory. When this final betrayal of their fellow Astartes by the Astral Claws was revealed, it proved to be one blasphemy too much and guaranteed the bitter hatred and enmity of any Loyalist Astartes the Astral Claws fought in open battle. It also ensured that no prisoners were taken on either side.
- Legion Retaliator Squads - Retaliator Squads were special units of Astartes created to exert the Astral Claws' control directly where needed, and they were drawn initially from the Astral Claws Reserve Assault Company which had long specialised in close-quarters assaults and space-borne boarding actions. Retaliator Squads were given leave to sow terror and enforce loyalty amongst the Chapter's Auxilia by bloody example. With the advent of the Tyrant's Legion, these Retaliator Squads were expanded, forming a feared spearhead strike force, freeing the Chapter's assault reserve to fulfill its tactical duties in the wider conflict.
- Legion Space Marine Cohort - These specialty units were drawn from the expanding Chapter who hid its illegally increasing numbers amongst the sector's human defence corps in the guise of training and field command. Huron deployed and organised these Cohorts along the lines of the Space Marine Legions of old, with reconquering the Maelstrom in the name of the Emperor as his long-term goal. Even after that dream was to wither and he was to set himself and his Chapter against the Imperium, the Cohort deployments persisted as the brutal and irresistible killing hand of the Tyrant's Legion forces.
- Retaliators - The Retaliators were hand-picked Space Marines assault troops, selected for their brutality and unquestioning obedience to Huron who served as line breakers in battle and as the bloody hand of the Tyrant's will inside his own realm, conducting punitive extermination missions against political "dissidents" when needed.
- Legion Iron Hunter Squads - Having a long tradition of maintaining highly adept Biker units in its Battle Companies stretching back for millennia, Huron employed rapidly moving Astartes Bike Squadrons known as Iron Hunters. They were utilised principally in harrowing and running down a broken or scattered foe, and to counter-assault against flanking attacks or breakthroughs by numerically superior enemies in the field. As the secret expansion of the Chapter got underway, Huron increased the number of Iron Hunter Squads at his disposal, deploying them to the Tyrant's Legion in sizable numbers and providing the Legion's often unwieldy ranks with a hard-hitting and rapid moving strike force.
- Renegade Marauder Squads - One unthinkable act employed by the cunning political operator and master strategist Lufgt Huron was to employ his enemies against themselves, garnering agents and mercenaries among the marauders and Renegades of the outer Maelstrom Zone, some of which came to obey him through greed and fear. Viewed by the Tyrant as no more than dispensable pawns to be ultimately disposed of, he conceded they had their uses, and particularly in the Badab War's later stages when the Tyrant's forces were running out of allies and options, they were co-opted into service in battle.
Tyrant's Legion Training and Equipment
The innovation instituted into the Tyrant's Legion by Huron was to raise the temporary forces of the ruling nobility's household armsmen to permanent activity, and instill in them a bloody-handed regime of discipline where simple obedience to orders was favoured over any other military merit. Although most lacked the wider training or skill of frontline Imperial Guardsmen (particularly in the latter stages of the Badab War, where conscripts received little or no training prior to being sent into combat), they were given basic psycho-indoctrination to ensure their loyalty, and they fought and died well enough to serve the Tyrant's purposes. Although in a war where they faced the might of the Space Marine forces arrayed against them, it would ultimately be the Angels of Death who would decide matters.
The Legion Auxilia were relatively well provided for in small arms and munitions, as well as basic artillery and tank designs, although they lacked anything like the full breadth and scope of weapons and machine available to the Imperial Guard, what they did possess however they were often able to field in abundance. The equipping of the auxilia forces was dependant on two factors: what could be locally produced in the manufactora of the Badab Sector and prioritisation of resources amongst the Secessionist cause. The human Auxilia suffered because of the hubris and disregard of their masters; to the Astral Claws the lives of the human Auxilia were eminently disposable.
As such, more valuable and resource intensive technology was denied to them as a matter of course as being considered wasteful, and as a result, such wargear as plasma weaponry and lascannons were mostly reserved for the Astartes forces. The only exceptions being the Tyrant's Legion's officer class and their retainers (who often had to rely on family connections to supply them) and heavy armour.
Tyrant's Legion Combat Doctrine
During the early years of the conflict, the integration of the Astral Claws into the Tyrant's Legion helped to serve as a force multiplier for the Astral Claws, who used them aggressively as an ablative shield to preserve their Astartes forces and soak up enemy firepower, while in defence the Legion bitterly resisted the Loyalist forces arrayed against them, able to blunt even the murderous force of Space Marine assaults on occasion. This integration of Astartes and human Auxilia forces often took their foes by surprise.
- Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War Part One, pp. 173-175