- "Upon our shoulders rests the weight of a hundred stars. The lives of their peoples lay within our hands. With each passing decade the weight grows. Even As I speak these words our enemies grow more numerous, and close in on all sides, but we must not falter! Even with the dying of hope we shall fight on. For that is our charge. Never surrender, never forgive!"
- — Noriphon Baras
The Bronze Lions are an embattled Space Marine Chapter located within the quarantined Gallican Sector. Created using the Gene-seed of the Silver Lions during the 23rd Founding, the Chapter has an extremely colored history. Their parent Chapter the Silver Lions fell to Chaos, eventually becoming the loathed Sons of the Perverter. This has been a source of shame for the Bronze Lions. On the other hand the Bronze Lions have become renowned for their fortitude and perserverance. since the quarantine was instituted over a millenia ago the Gallican Sector has been under threat with increasing frequency, and all during this time the Bronze Lions fought to defend the Sector without rest, and it could be siad that their efforts are one of the reasons that the Gallican Sector has yet to collapse. However the burden of holding the flagging Gallican Sector together has grown. The Chapter's vehicles, armor, equipment and Battle Brothers have become hardened and scarred. The Adeptus Terra believes that like the rest of the Gallican Sector it is only a matter of time before the Bronze Lions fall. Regardless of this the Bronze Lions Have tirelessly soldiered on, determined to fight to the bitter end.
The Bronze Lions were Founded during the 23rd Founding, and as such were quickly immersed in conflict shortly after their creation. The Imperium had suffered greatly in the period prior to this and found that its military strength had waned considerably, and as a result its many enemies were exploiting this opportunity to rampage across the Emperor's realms. The fact that the Bronze Lions had formed from the Gene-seed of the Silver Lions, and not one of the 1st Founding Chapters instilled within them an immense sense of pride. This was not the result of any kind of disrespect towards the abilities of those vaunted Chapters. So many Chapters shared the direct lineage with those of the 1st Founding, and yet many do not live up to their forebears. The fact that they the Bronze Lions had been birthed from a Chapter that had managed to single itself out in such a way as to gain successors gave the Bronze Lions pride as well as the hope that they would live up to their parent Chapter's legacy.
Almost immediately after the Chapter was deemed combat ready the Bronze Lions were charged by the High Lords of Terra to retake the Beremis System which had fallen prey to treachery. The Planetary Governor of Beremis Prime had seen the weakened state of the Imperium, and callously sought to create a realm all his own. When Imperial retribution became imminent the coward bought the loyalty of warriors that worshiped Dark Forces in order to strengthen his position. However keeping council with those that traffic with Chaos comes with a price, and the Governor and those under him quickly became enthralled to the Ruinous Powers. By the time the Bronze Lions arrived Heresy was already rampant across the planet.
The Bronze Lions began the campaign in earnest. They quickly moved their fleet to take control of the world's planetary defense stations, staging a number of daring boarding actions so that they could acquire the deadly orbital weapons platforms for their own use. They then placed their Serfs in command of these stations with orders to shoot down any spacecraft that attmepted to leave the planet. The Chapter then deployed its brothers via the infamous Steel Rain, and took control of a number of the planet's smaller Hive Cities. They did this in order to deny the rebels access to the troops and resources that these cities produced. The Bronze Lions went from city to city crushing the opposition. Finally they came to the planet's capital Hive City, the seat of the Planetary Governor and the heart of the planet's corruption.
The Governor had heavily fortified his position, and despite successes in capturing the other Hive Cities this would prove to be a daunting task. This was especially true since the Governor had hired a small iron Warriors Warband along with other Chaos mercenaries. Knowing they were in for a long, burtal battle the Bronze Lions girded themselves for the trials to come.
Initial attempts to take the Hive City were disasterous. The Bronze Lions would begin by hammering supposedly weak spots in the city's defences only to find that once they broke through they were caught in tight quarters with the Iron Warriors' guns pointed right at them. Furthermore the cowardly traitors avoided fighting the Bronze Lions on fair terms. Wherever the Bronze Lions managed to properly engage the enemy in battle they found themselves wasting their Boltshells on hordes of expendable human militia that the Iron Warriors had conscripted for the battle. Only when the Bronze Lions were tired and low on ammo did the Iron Warriors launch a counter-assualt, driving the Bronze Lions backward.
It quickly became clear that a straightforward approach was simply not going to work. The Iron Warriors had been masters of seigecraft for millenia. There was simply no way that the young Chapter was going to beat them at their own game. The Bronze Lions would have to change tactics if they had any hope of succeeding. The first thing that needed to be dealt with was the militia fighting under the Iron Warriors. as before the Bronze Lions broke through the defenses only to be met with a wall fo conscripts, ready to wear away at their resources and stamina. However this time the Lions did not stick with the fight. After offering token resistance the Lions enacted a retreat, pretending to be overwhelmed. The mostly untrained and inexperienced conscripts became emboldened by the sight of their enemies fleeing, and foolishly gave chase. The Bronze Lions lured them out into open ground where the defenses of the Hive City could not aid them and their Iron Warriors masters would not offer assistance. There on open ground the marines turned about and annihilated the enemy forces, having lured them into a killzone where their tanks and Devastators had been perfectly position to wipe their foes out. The Conscripts realized their mistake too late. They tried to make a fighting retreat, but they had only been given the meanest of training and wargear since their master had originally inteneded to simply sacrifice them anyway.
This tactic was repeated again and again until the hordes of expendable soldiers were wiped out. The Iron Warriors caught on to the strategy, and eventually gave orders to make sure their amateur charges did not continue making the same mistake, but by then the damage had been done. The Chaos forces no longer had enough cannon fooder to effectively employ the attritional startegies they had used up til then. With the Iron Warriors' slave horde effectively dealt with the Bronze Lions no needed to deal with the traitor Marines themselves. The battle had only just begun.
Unlike their human foes the bronze Lions knew that a similar tactic would not work. There was no way they were going to be able to lure the experienced Iron Warriors from their highly defensible positions to fight them in the open. The Chaos Marines would have to be painfully dug out of their positions like a barbed arrowhead in flesh. How to go about it though? In a straight confrontation their foes had a definitive advantage. If they tried to use pure brute force the Chapter may win the day only to leave itself in ruins.
The Chapter Master decided to attempt a multi-pronged approach. The Bronze Lions split into three groups. The First group was the largest, and it would serve as a primary distraction force. This force slammed into the Iron Warriors' fortifications giving the appearance that the Chapter had indeed chosen to decide the battle via blood and glory. Shortly after the main force struck a secondary force attacked from a different approach. As with the first group the Iron Warriors were prepared. They had kept just enough forces in reserve so that they could counter a spear thrust from another quarter if it came. However the two groups seemed to encompass what remained of the Bronze Lions forces, so they Iron Warriors never suspected the third group.
The Third group was made up of a single squad. This squad was made up of elite members of the Chapter that the Master had hand picked for the operation. With the Iron Warriors focused on rebuking the first two assualts the remaining defenses were far less secure, and were mostly guarded by normal human defenders. The squad slipped through the defenses killing sentinels as they went. Finally they reached their objective, the generator that powered the powerful Planetary Defense shield that protected the Hive City from orbital bombardment. The squad destroyed the generator with melta charges, and made their escape, cutting down hordes of Cultists on the way to their out.
With the shield down the first to groups pulled back. The Iron Warriors grinned with satisfaction as they watched their rivals retreating only for their smug looks to turn into masks of shock when fire rained down from the sky, leveling their mighty bastions and sending many of the traitors to meet their gods. Immediately following the bombardment the Bronze Lions renewed their assualt against the now disoriented Iron Warriors. The battle was turned in the Bronze Lions favor, but it would still be costly. The Iron Warriors knew they were defeated, but they made sure to force their loyalist brothers to buy every inch with blood. The Chaos Marines were wiped out, and the rebel Governor was brought to justice. The Bronze Lions had succeeded.
However the taint of Chaos proved to be far from gone. While the planet had been returned to Imperial hands many of the rebels blended into the shadows and slinked a way, fighting a continuing insurgency. The Inquisition stepped in to deal with the remnants and excused the Bronze Lions from having to continue with the rebels, but the Bronze Lions refused. The Chapter remained on Beremis prime for an additional ten Terran years in order to makes sure that the guerillas were dealt with.
The battle at Beremis resulted in the Bronze Lions recieving their first Battle Honor. However it would not be the last. The Bronze Lions would go on to successfuly fight a number of campaigns in the name of the Emperor. While still young the Chapter had managed to defend the planets of Sub-Sector Basiron from the predations of a deadly Ork warfleet. They would be the ones to restore the Emperor's protection to the renegade Forgeworld of Trimashire. They and they alone were responsible for the Xenocide of the foul Kaptrix, and they would prove to be an intrumental part of the Glonos Crusade.
The Chapter quickly fostered a reputation for tenacity and flexibility in the face of tribulation. The Bronze Lions were determined to live up to the example of their progenitors, and to bring glory to their Primarch through their unerring service to the Emperor. The future of the Chapter looked bright. They had garnered enough fame that they were contacted by the Silver Lions. Their parent Chapter wanted to discuss conducting future campaigns with their progeny. The Bronze Lions were overjoyed to recieve such acknowledgement from their forefathers. All that the Bronze Lions now desired was a homeworld, as they had yet to be granted one, and were kept on Crusade by the direction of the Senatorium Imperialis.
However a dark shadow would fall upon the Chapter not long after this. Word reached the Chapter that their progenitors, the Silver Lions had forswown their sacred oaths to the Emperor. This shocked the Bronze Lions. They had never in a million years thought that their kin the Silver Lions were capable of such treachery. At first they did not believe it, for surely it must have been some misunderstanding or lie. However as reports of the Silver Lions, which had remade themselves into the Argent Beasts Warband continued to come in, the Bronze Lions realized the truth, and with it came a crushing shame. They were now the progeny of traitors and oath-breakers. The Chapter had wished to leave immediately to bring their wayward brothers to justice, but at the time they were playing a crucial role in a large military campagin. If they abandonned their post it would have been detrimental to their allies. The Chapter Master resolved that the moment they were free of these obligations they would head toward the Gallican Sector, and force the former Silver Lions to account for their betrayal.
War of Desecration
By the time the Bronze Lions had extricated themselves from the campaign things had grown far worse than before. The Argent Beasts has since then fallen under the influence of a foul Chaos Sorcerer named Galkran Vornost. The wretch had further twisted the Chapter and turned them into the Sons of the Perverter. Now this Warband had built up a massive cult under them, and were laying waste to the Gallican Sector.
The situation was becoming so bad that the Imperium began to muster a large force to enter the Gallican Sector and end the threat once and fo all. when the bronze lions heard of this they immediately met with the force that was mustering, and offered their assistance in ending the despoilment of the Emperor's realms. While their intentions were true they also joined because they wanted to be the ones to personally destroy the Sons of the Perverter. Their honor demanded it.
The Bronze lions were at the forefront of the fighting all during the War of Desecration as it would later be called. The Bronze Lions hunted, and were hunted by the Sons of the Perverter across dozens of worlds. At times their foe was at their mercy, and at times they teetered upon the edge of annihilation. Yet neither force managed to deliver the other a death blow. This would all change on the world of Draalford.
On Draalford it seemed that the Perverter had decided to make his stand. His entire army lay on Draalford, and he had taken great care to entrench himself with a temple on one of the planets mountains. There he wasp erforming a terrible ritual that would come to shape the fate of countless unfortunate souls.
The Imperial forces struck down on the heretic like great hammer. Wave upon wave of Guardsmen smashed into the hordes of mutants and cultists. At the forefront of the Assault were the Bronze Lions. The mighty Marines cut down legions of heretics, never wavering regardless of the stakes they faced. The Bronze Lions had let their foe escapre them too many times before. They would not allow their quarry to get away this time.
Yet they would not be the ones to finish Galkran. Near the end of the battle Askerion, the Chief Librarian of the Bronze LIons ordered a retreat. The Chapter's Battle Brothers could hardly believe their ears. They were so close to avenging their dishonor, and yet their Librarian was telling them to give up the chase? Many did not want to heed the orders, but eventually they relented. Askerion was a well trusted and respected member of the Chapter, and knew exactly how much this fight meant to his brothers. He would not have ordered them to yield without good reason.
The Bronze Lions boarded their Thunderhawks and returned to their fleet in orbit. When all the Chapter's battle brothers were aboard the ships the fleet made distance between them and the planet. Askerion had sense unsettling tremors within the Warp, and he was determined to make sure his Chapter did not fall victim to this new devilry. Thus the Chapter watched at a distance as the Imperial Navy bombarded Galkran's position, sending the abomination to his final doom. There was many a sore pride among the Bronze Lions for not being the ones to bring an end to the heretic. However they would see themselves fortunate in the future. Without Askerion's warning they would have suffered a far worse fate.
However the Bronze Lions did not have long to sit idle. Galkran was dead, but in the wake of his demise the Sons of the Perverter and Galkran's cult had scattered. The Bronze Lions would spend the next decade devoted to hunting down these vestiges of the Sorcerer forces, and would deal with them for many centuries beyond.
In the aftermath of Galkran's death the Bronze Lions were greatly honored. During the war they had tirelessly defended the worlds of the Gallican Sector, and hounded the Heretic forces. Numerous planets now owed their existence to the Lions' aid, and already their praises were being sung among those stars. Shortly after the battle of Draalford the High Lords of Terra awarded the Bronze Lions with a world to call their own. A Feral World called Piadras. The planet was located within the Gallican Sector, and the Bronze Lions would inherit the duty that the Silver Lions had cast aside. To stand vigil over the worlds of the Gallican Sector. It was a duty they could not refuse, and yet would have performed unasked. The Chapter felt that they owed the people of Gallican a debt for the suffering their forebearers had inflicted upon them.
Eye of the Storm
For the next thousand years the Bronze lions would perform their duties adimirably. They protected the planets of the Gallican Sector zealously, always being among the first to respond when a world came under attack. They also fought many battles outside the Sector though they always made sure that Gallican was well looked after even when they were abroad. In the wake of the War of Desecration the Bronze Lions were looked at with suspicion by the Inquisition and their fellow Chapters. Many speculated that if the respected Silver Lions fell so far it was only a matter time before their offspring followed a similar path. Thankfully the Bronze Lions proved these suspicions false, and while many still remained wary of the Chapter, others saw the Bronze Lions for the noble, yet unfortunate warriors that they were. Throughout the years the Bronze Lions have continued to hunt their traitorous kin, and directly following the War brought many of these wayward brothers to justice.
Kedious Lane War
Among the more notable conflicts that the Chapter fought during this time was the Kedious Lane War. The Kedious Trade Lane had long been one of the Sector's most stable trade routes. The ruling families of Brafon and Nelios, the two most prominent planets on the route, had long maintained a heated feud, the cause of which neither side remembered. This feud came to a head when Duke Amos Onosus, the reigning Governor of Braphon, attempted to finally end the hostility between the planets by offering his daughters hand in marriage. Darim Nophus Droi of Nelios answered the Duke's gesture by sending his daughters head back to him in a box. From that point onward the Duke lived for revenge and nothing else.
Duke Onosus spent the next century and a half building an army that he could use against House Droi. Recruiting members certain less than reputable Genetors of the Mechanicus, Onosus sought to create genetically superior soldiers through a eugenics program. He also hired former Drill Abbots of the schola Progenium to train his army. The fruits of his labors were the Palings. These purpose bred soldiers were comparable in quality to the Genos of long past, and with strict training the Palings were formed into the Katarina's Legion. Named after the Duke's deceased daughter, Katarina's Legion was a strong disciplined army that was prepared to wage absolute war at the behest of their lord.
Using a small fleet he had acquired by taking control of Merchant vessels the Duke and his army set off to strike at Nelios. Duke Onosus knew that he would not be forgiven for his act of revenge, and that the Imperium would seek retribution. Thus as he made his way down the Kedious Trade Lane he conquered the planets he encountered. There was a duel purpose for this act. The first was to claim needed resource to bolster his army. The Second was to wipe out Darin Droi's supporters on these planets. As the Duke drew closer to his rival Darin Droi prepared for battle as well. He readied his army, and with the knowledge that his foe would be using his specially bred warriors, had his own Genetors create genetically engineered warbeasts.
The battle at Nelion was horrible. Darin Droi unleashed his beasts, which slaughtered almost as many civilians and allies as they did the enemy. The Duke for his part was Hell bent on vengeance, pushing his army on and not concerning himself with collateral damage. Eventually Droi's army was defeated by the highly disciplined, and well prepared forces of Katarina's Legion. Duke Onosus brought his rival aboard the bridge of his ship to watch as he subjected Nelion to a Nuclear barrage. Droi watched his planet and people go up in flames, and then was subsequently beheaded.
Then Sector Governor Hector Palinius then asked for the Bronze Lions to deal with the issue. A good portion of the Gallican Sectors military forces had been called away on crusade at the time, and Palinius was worried that if he sent more Guard and Navy forces to deal with the wayward Duke then the rest of the Sector would be more vulnerable to attack. Thus it was left to the Bronze Lions to bring the issue to an end.
The Bronze Lions began cautiously. Instead of striking directly at the Duke and the Legion they began with a series of naval skirmishes. They would strike at more isolated elements of Onosus; fleet, destroying the ships, and then pulling back before reinforcements could arrive. At first Onosus did not know who was attacking his forces since the attacks were swift and left no survivors. The Bronze Lions were revealed after a brief confrontation with a larger battlegroup that managed to send word before being destroyed. The Duke attempted to save his ships, but little by little the Bronze Lions destroyed all but the Duke's personal vessel, which fled back to Braphon.
With the Legion's method of transit between stars destroyed the Bronze Lions began their purge of the enemy forces. Assaulting the garrisoned forces on each world they took the army apart piece-meal. The Bronze Lions were impressed with the Palings. Though they were the product of one man's harmful vendetta the Palings fought fiercely, and with great dedication. It brought the Lions no pleasure to destroy them, for the sins they answered for were not theirs, but their master's. However destroy them they did. Planet after planet saw the Bronze Lions fight Katarina's Legion, and time and again they were triumphant. Finally only Braphon remained.
On Braphon Duke Onosus had dug himself in deep, prepared to make one last stand. Master Adilos of the Bronxe Lions made contact, offering to allow the Duke to surrender. However the Duke was unwilling. He told Adilos that he had already gone too far, and that it was best if the bad blood was finally settled once and for all. Thus the Bronze Lions invaded Braphon.
Fighting erupted all across the planet. The Bronze Lions were formidable foes, however Onosus had long been recognized as a birlliant military commander. He was also well loved by his people, and the Bronze Lions often found the citizenry of Braphon rising against them. Still they fought on. Finally they stormed Onosus' fortress. When confronted Onosus claimed that he chose to resist because he had wanted to bring an end to the bad blood that the feud had created, which could only happen if he was brought to justice as the one who burtchered Nelios, and that he wanted to hurt the Imperium which had stood aside and allowed the feud to go so far. Adilos personally executed him. House Onosus was deposed as the ruling family of Braphon, but at Adilos' request was not wiped out.
Not long after this rumors began to accumulate about strange mutants on various world throughout the Gallican Sector. These unusual mutants shared common characteristics, and yet could not have been Abhumans since they were too dispersed to have a common origin. Over a considerable amount of time sightings and reports of these strange creatures continued to come into the Gallican Conclave and the Sector Governor.
The Inquisition launched an investigation into these happenings and found that the creatures did not develop in the normal fashion of mutants and Abhumans. Normal, seemingly untainted humans were spontaneously transforming into the monsters, and across multiple planets. In addition the creatures showed other disturbing qualities. The creatures seemed to instinctually seek each other out, organize and most importantly they had a strange, corrupting effect on the environment and people that they had proximity with. This was quickly becoming a concern for the Inquisition. However light would soon be shed upon the matter.
During the extermination of the monsters by the Bronze Lions, one of their Librarians noted the effects that they had on everything around them. He was surprised to see that he had read of similar effects before. After consulting the records of the Chapter's Librarius he confirmed his suspicions. The effect that the creatures had on their environment was the same as the effect that Galkran the Perverter and many of his minions had. The Librarian quickly identified those that were afflicted by this strange aura as a new generation of the Unclean. He gave his findings to the Chapter Master who in turn reached out to the Inquisition. Finally this new horror had some light shed upon it.
After launching a comprehensive inquest into the nature of this new threat the truth was slowly revealed. These monsters were the result of a hereditary curse that was present within the bloodlines of various peoples on a number of the worlds planets. These bloodlines could be traced back to refugees from Draalford, which had been spared Exterminatus due to the the incompetence and bleeding heart of the Imperial Commander in charge of the battle. Thanks to that single act of mercy this curse had been spreading across the Sector for the past Millennium. The Perverter had left a final blight upon the Sector. The curse was dubbed the Perverter's Blight, and the monsters it created the Blightspawn. It was impossible to determine exactly who did and did not possess the Blight in their blood. The situation looked dark, and would only get darker.
Holding Up the Sky
The infestation of Blightspawn increased at a startling rate as time went on. Many of these infestations became large enough to threaten Imperial rule across countless worlds. The situation was becoming very grave, very fast. Things finally came to a head when Blight Spawn appeared in worlds bordering the Gallican Sector in its adjacent sectors. Startled by the idea that this plague was spreading the High Lords of Terra issued a decree. The Gallican Sector would be quarantined in order to stem the spread of the Perverter's Blight, and furthermore any Imperial citezen originating in the Gallican Sector, or whose parentage could be traced back to the Sector would be exiled back to Gallican. The Adeptus Terra moved quickly to enforce the decree and within a short period of time a great many people including Adepts and members of the Inquisition were forced to go into the Gallican Sector, trapped and isolated from the rest of the Imperium.
The Bronze Lions saw how perilous the situation had become. They also felt responsible since it was their parent Chapter, as well as their failure to eliminate Galkran before his plan had come to fruition that resulted in this tragedy. The Bronze Lions were always dedicated to protecting the Sector, and making up for the pain their parent Chapter had caused, but now it was even more so. The Bronze Lions threw themselves into the task of securing the Gallican Sector with characteristic zeal.
However as the Sector suffered from lack of outside resources and reinforcements things grew increasingly difficult. Furthermore the Sector began to destabilize as a result of the ever increasing Blightspawn epidemic. To make matters worse other forces that in previous times were manageable became bold. Smelling wounded prey pirates, Orks and Dark Eldar took advantage of the Sector's weakened state in order to burn and pillage as they pleased. Desperate or treacherous planets began to secede from the Sector in the hopes that they could survive better on their own, or because their underhanded leaders saw a chance to claim greater power for themselves.
With the entire Sector in dire straight the Bronze Lions took it upon themselves to give aid whenever possible, moving their forces across countless warzones, and fighting without rest to keep their home sector afloat amidst ever greater strife. The attrition that the Lions suffered began to wear upon them as well, and as a result the Chapter was forced to make reforms to their organization and Combat Doctrine in order to better survive and make use of their abilities. Thus it has been that the Bronze Lions have fought ceaselessly for a thousand years to keep the Sector alive. However even their stout hearts grow dark. Their efforts to stem the tide are growing ever more futile as darkness and despair tighten their grip on the Gallican Sector.
Before the quarantine the Chapter strictly adhered to the Codex Astartes as is only befitting a Chapter that can trace their lineage back to Roboute Guilliman. However after the Chapter began to feel the weight of attrition that resulted from non-stop combat without outside support, they opted to change the layout of the Chapter in order to better deal with the rigors of their situation.
The most notable difference between the Bronze Lions and a normal Codex Chapter is that they do not possess 10 Companies. Instead of the four Battle Companies, four Reserve Companies, Scout Company and Veteran Company the Bronze Lions field only their four Battle Companies. The remaining companies have been dissolved and the personnel that would normally be in them are distributed amongst the four Companies.
Even more daunting for those of Codex Chapters to understand is that the Companies are not uniform in either composition or size. In theory each of the Comapnies should have 150 Battle Brothers plus whatever specialists, Scouts and Veterans that are assigned to it, but in practice each Company varies widely in size. Marines are constantly being reassigned between the Companies based upon the needs of the Chapter. A Company that is in a particularly large, or brutal warzone will often be significantly larger than the other Companies. Meanwhile a Comapny that is assigned to a warzone of lesser importance may not even have standard Codex numbers assigned to it. Companies are identified by the names of their serving Captains, not by numbers.
The Bronze Lions maintain all of the standard Codex squads, ranks and designations. However the Chapter discourages too much specialization in any particular form of combat. Bronze Lions Marines keep their skills sharp in the roles of Tactical, Assault and Devastator combat at all times. This is because just as reassignment between Companies is common, so is transfer between squads. Bronze Lions are expected to use whatever method of warfare their Company requires at them at any point in time. A Marine blasting away with a Heavy Bolter as part of a Devastator Squad in one battle may bear a Jump Pack in an Assault squad the next. The Captain decides what squads his Marines are assigned to, and the role of that squad according to the resource on hand and the strategic needs of the current battle. However it goes without saying that often a Marine is better at one set of skills than another, and both the Captains and the Sergeants take the time to learn the strengths and weaknesses of the Brothers under their command. Captains will usually assign a Battle Brother to a role that best makes use of his skills unless it runs counter to the Company's needs.
The Bronze Lions do possess a few unique ranks. As stated above the size of each Company varies based on the combat situation they are in. At times a Company may be considerably larger than the norm. In these cases there are times when a Captain needs to divide a significant portion of the Company from the rest in order to Accomplish some task, or make better use of these troops. In such a case the Captain will promote one of his more prominent Sergeants to the rank of Battlemaster. The Battlemaster is then given a number of troops to command and an objective. The rank is temporary, and lasts only as long as the Captain has need of it. In certain cases a Battlemaster may maintain his position for a considerable length of time, such as during an extended campaign. In some cases should a Captain die in battle the Battlemaster takes command of the Company until the Chapter Master assigns a new Captain, though at times the Battlemaster may become the new Captain if he proves himself competent enough.
There is also a part of the Chapter known as the Brazen Fangs. The Brazen Fangs act as sort of a mix between the Chapter's 1st Company and their Honour Guard. To be promoted to their ranks is considered an honor without compare, and each Brazen Fang is afforded great respect among their Brothers. The Brazen Fangs are not a true replacement for the 1st Company, as there are those within the Battle Companies that have earned Veteran Status and are even granted the right to wear Terminator Armor. To be a Brazen Fang is to be considered truly exemplary among the Marines of the Chapter. There are few Brazen Fangs at any one point in time, with more than twenty being practically unheard of. Furthermore given how thinly the Chapter has its force stretched it is uncommon to have more than two or three present on any particular battlefield, only a single one being present more often than not. However the skills required to be a Brazen Fang makes each of them the equivalent of a Veteran Squad in combat. They often act as special operatives and advisors to Captains, though ultimately they only answer to the Chapter Master.