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Imperial Fists

Submitted By: Date: January 23, 2007, 12:00:00 AM Views: 2255
Summary: History Rogal Dorn Little is known about the home and early life of Rogal Dorn. However, it is believed that he was one of the first Primarchs to rejoin the Emperor, and unlike many of the others, Rogal Dorn was the one to discover the Emperor of Mankind. Dorn presented the mobile space fortress Phalanx to the Emperor, to assist in the Great Crusade. Welcoming Dorn, and quickly recognising the man as one of his twenty genetically engineered sons, the Emperor repaid Dorn by granting him command of the Seventh Space Marine Legion.

The Great Crusade

The Seventh Legion, which came to bear the name Imperial Fists, was extremely successful in the early days of the Great Crusade, acting as a strategic reserve to the Emperor's forces. Able to deploy quickly and reliably, the Legion struck the decisive blow in many campaigns. Its skill in siege warfare was equal to that of the Iron Warriors Legion, and the Legion acted as the Emperor's Praetorian Guard until the creation of the Custodian Guard.

Rogal Dorn, and by extension the Imperial Fists Marines, were regarded as exemplars of the qualities of truth, honour, courage and humility. However, Perturabo of the Iron Warriors saw Dorn and the Fists as arrogant and overly proud. This reached a head during an incident between Dorn and Perturabo, arguing over the honour awarded to the former of supervising the construction of the Emperor's Palace on Terra.

The Horus Heresy

When news of the Horus Heresy reached the Emperor, Dorn was nominated Supreme Commander of the Imperium of Man's forces. The Imperial Fists were one of the three loyal Space Marine Legions involved in the Siege of the Emperor's Palace, putting up a heroic defence that passed into legend.

Dorn was the one to discover the bodies of the Emperor and Horus after their titanic duel, and was the one who bore the body of the Emperor back to Terra, so it could be interred within the Golden Throne. Seeing that he had failed the Emperor, Dorn led his Legion on a crusade against the Traitor forces, until the Legion was recalled to Terra.

The New Imperium

Dorn was initially resistant to the idea for dividing the Space Marine Legions put forward by Roboute Guilliman of the Ultramarines. Three things happened that changed his mind. First was the realisation that although the Imperial Fists could no longer serve the Emperor as they had, they must remain true to the ideals the Emperor had promoted. Second was the Iron Cage incident, in which several hundred Imperial Fists Marines died. Third was the incident in which the Strike-cruiser "Terrible Angel" was fired upon by the Imperial Navy.

Emerging from the Iron Cage incident, the Imperial Fists were split into three Chapters, the Imperial Fists, the Black Templars, and the Crimson Fists. Because the Imperial Fists' fortress-monastery, Phalanx, was spaceborne, the Imperial Fists Chapter was able to rapidly respond to incidents and calls for help across the Imperium. By building such a store of goodwill amongst many of the organisations of the Imperium, the Chapter was able to influence certain events more effectively than the other Space Marine Chapters.

As to Rogal Dorn's fate, it is known that he outlived the remaining Loyalist Primarchs. He fell in battle while attempting to head off a Chaos fleet heading towards Cadia, an attempt that proved successful. The only remains of Rogal Dorn to be found was his hand, the engraved bone of which is kept in stasis aboard Phalanx.


Originally, the Imperial Fists Legion were an inflexible formation, each Company was identical in organisation, while the Company Commanders were unimaginative. Since the Second Founding, this criticism has applied less to the Chapter, and the Imperial Fists are noted as second only to the Ultramarines when it comes to following the Codex Astartes.

The Imperial Fists have outposts on several worlds, but do not set themselves up as rulers or demand tithes from these worlds. The Imperial Fists were always present as esteemed guests, not masters, and Rogal Dorn himself is said to have claimed on the matter "I want recruits, not vassals!"


The homeworld of Rogal Dorn is unknown, although many place his origin at the Ice Hives of the planet Inwit. In official documentation, the homeworld of the Legion, and later the Chapter, is listed as Terra itself, although the Chapter is based primarily aboard the massive mobile space fortress Phalanx.


As a spacefaring Chapter, the Imperial Fists do not rely on one world as a source of recruits, instead operating outposts on several worlds. Inwit, Terra and Necromunda are but a few of the worlds the Imperial Fists draw potential Neophytes from.

Combat Doctrine

Throughout the Great Crusade, the Imperial Fists were used as a strategic reserve, waiting while other forces pinned down the enemy and identified weaknesses. The keystone of the enemy's defence would be shattered by the Imperial Fists, who would then serve as an anvil for the hammers that were the other Space Marine Legions.

Immediately after the Horus Heresy, the Imperial Fists began to fight with a noticeably fiercer approach, often failing to gather intelligence through reconnaissance prior to engaging, and would fight on even when a tactical withdrawal would be prudent. This behaviour became tempered as the Legion adopted the doctrines of the Codex Astartes, the more fanatical of the battle-brothers volunteering to move into the Black Templars Second Founding Chapter.

Throughout their ten thousand year existence, the Imperial Fists have retained their skill as siege warfare masters, but are more than capable of engaging the enemy in any form of combat.


The armour of the Imperial Fists has been constant since their foundation; yellow with black and red decoration. The Chapter's symbol is a black, clenched gauntlet, positioned over a white or yellow field.

A large number of purity seals and devotional marking are worn by members of the Imperial Fists on their power armour, displaying their utter devotion to the Emperor of Mankind.

One notable departure in their appearance is that Imperial Fist veterans wear a red stripe on their helmets, as opposed to the standard white used by the Ultramarines and other Codex Chapters.

Notable Members

Captain Lysander: Promoted to Captain after capturing the Blood of Khaine.
Soul Drinkers contradiction
According to the Black Library novel Soul Drinker (Counter, 2002), there was a fourth Chapter created from the Imperial Fists during the Second Founding. The novel states that the Soul Drinkers Chapter was created from orbital assault divisions of the Imperial Fists Legion.

However, the existence of this Chapter in any context relating to the Second Founding is not mentioned in any of the Codexes associated with the Space Marines (Chambers, 1998; Chambers, 2004; McNeill, Thorpe and Haines, 2005), in particular those published after the novel. At this time, the canonocity of the Soul Drinkers as a Second Founding Chapter is uncertain.

However one could see the defection and then rejection of Chaos by the Soul Drinkers as ample reason for erasure from Imperial knowledge, which is what in essence forms the backbone of Imperial codexes. In fact, in the novels from the Black Library all record of the Soul Drinkers is expunged from the Library of Terra.

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