THE STORY OF DREADNOUGHT IRONCLAW

                                                          

Dreadnought "IRONCLAW"

 

Ironclaw & Brother Severus of Tarentus:

The Battle of Macragge

(White Dwarf no.255)

 

Brother Severus arrived on Macragge as one of sixteen aspirants who had triumphed in competitive games between Quintarn, Tarentus and Masali. These games are held between the triple worlds each seven years to determine which youths should have the honour of attempting to join the Ultramarines Chapter on Macragge. The games that Severus participated in were noted as particularly spirited and hard-fought on this occasion, with over a third of the participants killed or seriously injured.

The young Severus was accepted by the Ultramarines and successfully completed his training in 356.M41. According to records, Brother Severus's early career in the Scout Company was unremarkable, but once he came to full status as a Brother Marine he was frequently commended for his wisdom and far-sightedness. He received his Marksman Honour while a member of the 6th Company in 358.M41 in combat against Eldar pirates, and an Imperial Laurel in the following year after being wounded in the cleansing of Copul IV. In 362.M41 Brother Severus was promoted to Sergeant in the 3rd Company, commanding a squad through the Siege of Belios and the first Balur Crusade.

When Sergeant Severus and his squad broke through a dangerous Ork encirclement on Balur he was inducted into the prestigious 1st Company, receiving his Terminator honours in 367.M41. The promising career of Brother Sergeant Severus was cut tragically short in 371.M41 when he was critically injured during the Battle of Corinth. Ultramarine Apothecaries used his mortal remains to replace those of Brother Commodius in the Dreadnought Ironclaw which was also damaged on Corinth. Severus adapted well to the transition into the amniotic tomb of a Dreadnought body, retaining all of his former wisdom and battlecraft.

Severus' list of battle honours over the succeeding three centuries grew too long to be listed, culminating in his eventual return to Corinth on 698.M41 during the seven year Corinthian Crusade. In 745.M41 Brother Severus participated In the Joran retaliation against the alien Tau Empire, but the expedition proved ill-starred and the 3rd Company's Captain, Ardias, was killed shortly before the whole force was withdrawn. Urgent new orders sent the company back to Macragge to defend it from the advance of Hive Fleet Behemoth.

Of the great battle in space over the beleaguered world little can be said here, but the masterful defence by Marneus Calgar, Lord of the Ultramarines, can be read of in other places. In the aftermath it fell to the 3rd Company, under the newly elected Captain Fabian, to recapture the northern Polar defence fortress on Macragge itself. Tyranid swarms had penetrated the orbital defences and overrun the sprawling complex of laser silos and bastions. The first landings by the company barely held their ground against he swarms of creatures which emerged from the shattered bunkers and tunnels to oppose them, only being driven back by the combined fire of Devastator squads and Thunderhawk gunships. Captain Fabian summoned three dreadnoughts; Severus's Ironclaw, Maximus's Victory and Dicloetian's Agrippa to assist his troops in clearing the forbidding underground tunnels.

The twisting, intersecting passages were already subtly altered by the aliens' presence, dripping mucus and resounding with horrifying shrieks and screams. The dead lay everywhere, contorted and mangled by the violence of heir passing. More than once, Tyranids hid among the dead before ripping into the advancing Ultramarines from ambush.

Casualties mounted and the Space Marines were forced to 'se flamers to burn their way forward. The Dreadnoughts were moved ever closer to the front of the advance as quads peeled off to guard intersections. Agrippa was leading when a flank attack broke across the company like a wave of razor-fanged destruction. In seconds, two squads 'ere overrun and hacked down by a dozen Tyranids. Agrippa's assault cannon painted the walls with Tyranid ichor as they rushed forward, and Maximus was reduced to trampling them underfoot when his power fist was torn away.But the veteran Dreadnought still held the perimeter against the bio-engineered monstrosities until Severus arrived to crush the survivors.

With his searchlight piercing the darkness, Severus now led the advance of the 3rd Company into Silo 8, the cavernous housing of a giant, ship-killing laser battery. As the last squads cleared the entrance, a nightmarish horde of Tyranid creatures spilled out I the shadows on all sides. A hail of obscene projectiles cut through the Space Marine lines, corroding through armour and flesh wherever they hick. Lithe killing beasts tore into the Ultramarine lines with horrifying ferocity, their scythe-like talons lashing against chainswords and armour as bolters chattered frenziedly. Once again it was Severus that held the line, throwing the creatures back with his steel-strength and crushing power fist. The surviving Ultramarines rallied around the giant fighting machine as it blasted through the aliens' ranks, and the next wave of monstrosities swept down upon them.

A fearsome Hive Tyrant, as massive as a Dreadnought itself, thundered into the Ultramarines with a shriek of fury. Three Brother Marines fell to a single of sweep of its claws before Severus charged into the beast. A terrible struggle ensued as the blessed servos and ancient fibre-bundles of Ironclaw were pitted against the preternatural strength of the alien monster's steely sinews. The Tyrant sent Severus reeling with one mighty blow of its claw, but the old Dreadnought recovered and sparks flew as its fist crashed into the creature's carapace. Foul ichor sprayed from the gouting wounds, temporarily blinding Severus' sensors. The beast caught the Dreadnought a terrible blow, tearing through its leg to leave it sprawling helplessly. At this moment Captain Fabian leapt into the fray, knocking aside the creature's claw and evading its scything return swing before blasting it in the head with his plasma pistol until it reared and screamed a final howl of death agony.

With the loss of the Tyrant and the guidance of the hive mind, the Tyranids fell into confusion. The Ultramarine bolter fire cut down the survivors mercilessly as they turned to flee. The 3rd Company was saved and went on to cleanse the polar fortress in its entirety. After the battle, Ironclaw was restored and Severus continues to serve with the 3rd Company to this day. Among the long list of honorifics he has accumulated, the Battle of Macragge remains the proudest, including as it does a share in the first ever accredited kill of a Tyranid Hive Tyrant in close combat.