8

So, as many of you will know, the purpose of the Ravenwing is to hunt down the traitorous Dark Angels that betrayed the Legion in the depths of the Horus Heresy. The Dark Angel successor chapters (Angels of Absolution, Angels of Redemption etc) broadly share this purpose and AFAIK they also maintain a Ravenwing company (although, possibly with a different name).

My question is, are there any other specific formations in Warhammer 40k lore that have a similar purpose as the Ravenwing (discounting the Grey Knights)?

Edit: Other than the Ravenwing, the only formation I can think of would be the White Scars "Huntmaster" type thing they have going on hunting down those who have damaged the chapter as in "The Hunt for Voldorius".

  • 2
    A complicated question. I will need a bit of time to craft a decent answer... – Thaddeus Howze Jun 4 '13 at 17:51
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Not really. The Fallen are unique as far as renegade marines go. They're individually powerful and escaped during a time when it was difficult to marshall the Imperium's might to track them down. Further, the Dark Angels are so shamed by their existence that they refuse to publicly organize attempts to capture the Fallen. All of this complicates matters a good deal, which results in the highly specialized role of the Ravenwing. Many chapters have similar mobile strike companies (White Scars), but not renegade hunters disguised as a mobile strike company. :D

Most of the time, renegade marines trigger an extreme response from loyalist chapters and the greater forces of the Imperium. Post-heresy rebellions are responded to with overwhelming force whenever possible. Consider that when the Soul Drinkers went rogue, the Imperial Fists, their successor chapters and several other chapters responded to their pursuit and capture with their strongest units. You could almost call it an instant crusade that the loyalists do not abandon until the renegades are brought down.

Purging a traitor in the 40th millenium is a lot more direct than the clandestine hunt necessitating the Ravenwing. As a result, no other chapter maintains a standing unit analogous to the Ravenwing.

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Yes, there are several "non-codex compliant" Space Marine Chapters in addition to the Dark Angels/Ravenwing relationship. The majority of Space Marine Chapters follow the dictates of the Codex Astartes, a sacred tome written by the Ultramarines Primarch Roboute Guilliman. The Codex Astartes details the proper organisational structure and mobilisation methods for a Space Marine Chapter.

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  • The Codex has been adopted by the vast majority of Space Marine Chapters as their organisational blueprint. Consequently, most Space Marine Chapters are considered "Codex Chapters" or "Codex-compliant Chapters" due to their adherence to the Codex Astartes. In many of these non-codex compliant chapters, these groups are all avenging or attempting to correct Space Marines who have fallen from grace during the Horus Heresy. They may also be handling mutation or genetic aberration issues.

Notable Chapters that do not follow the Codex Astartes include the:

  • Black Templars, Blood Angels, Dark Angels, Iron Hands, Space Wolves, Deathwatch and the Grey Knights.

  • Black Templars - The Black Templars are the best-known example of a Crusading Chapter in the whole Imperium; their doctrines, traditions, and organisation reflect their particular approach to prosecuting the Imperium’s wars. The Chapter is divided into a variable number of self-contained and highly mobile forces known as Crusades, each commanded by a Marshal, whose only superior is the High Marshal of the Chapter himself. Under most circumstances, the Chapter is divided into no more than three separate Crusade forces, though during especially calamitous times the number has risen to several times more.

  • Blood Angels - The Blood Angels and their Successor Chapters still suffer from the psychic imprint left by Sanguinius' death (or by the daemonic "wound" caused on Signus Prime). This can cause them to go insane prior to or during battle and feel the rage that Sanguinius himself felt during the Battle of Terra. Rather than let these marines go mad, they instead form the Black Company and are sent out into battles from which no return is expected, no quarter is given.

  • Dark Angels - The Dark Angels' terrible secret is this: during the Horus Heresy, some of the brethren were turned to the side of Chaos. The Renegades were defeated in a battle that destroyed the Dark Angels’ Legion homeworld, Caliban, but many of the Traitor Dark Angels survived to be cast through space and time by the direct intervention of the Chaos Gods. All but the highest members of the Chapter's Inner Circle are oblivious to the true purpose of the Ravenwing, which is to hunt down and capture every last member of the Fallen. Only with the blood or full repentance of the Fallen do the Dark Angels believe that their sins against the Emperor during the Heresy may finally be washed away.

  • Iron Hands - The Iron Hands would later be divided up after the Horus Heresy into multiple different Chapters, as required by the Codex Astartes, although one Chapter of the original Legion remained known as the Iron Hands and is described below. Although unwavering in their faith in the Emperor of Mankind and his dream of human unity as embodied in the Imperium of Man, the Iron Hands also believe that human flesh is weak and easily corruptible, and strive to replace their organic bodies with more "pure" bionic substitutes, thus closely emulating the faith of the Adeptus Mechanicus' Cult of the Machine.

  • Space Wolves - the Space Wolves are renowned for their anti-authoritarian ways and their embrace of their homeworld Fenris' savage barbarian culture as well as their extreme deviation from the Codex Astartes in the Chapter's organisation. After the Horus Heresy and the resultant Second Founding reforms of the Adeptus Astartes, the Space Wolves Legion was divided into two Chapters: the new Space Wolves Chapter, which was not compliant with the dictates of the Codex Astartes and retained the name of its parent Legion, and the second Chapter which took the name of the Wolf Brothers. The Wolf Brothers suffered from rampant mutation of their gene-seed not long after their Founding and were later disbanded.

  • I believe the OP was asking not about non-standard chapters, but about other chapters keeping a non-standard company with the same purpose as the Ravenwing, i.e. hunting down traitors (and if I understood correctly, specifically traitors to that particular chapter). – Andres F. Jun 5 '13 at 2:49
  • In many of these non-codex compliant chapters, these groups are all avenging or attempting to correct Space Marines who have fallen from grace during the Horus Heresy. They may also be handling mutation or genetic aberration issues. – Thaddeus Howze Jun 5 '13 at 3:17
  • I was speaking a bit more generally about chapters having a company or formation with a specific purpose or target above that of a normal company. Other than the Ravenwing, the only formation I can think of would be the White Scars "Huntmaster" type thing they have going on hunting down those who have damaged the chapter like in "The Hunt for Voldorius". That is an epic answer though @Thaddeus. – Kobunite Jun 5 '13 at 8:36

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