- "Finesse is for the young and foolish."
- —Hauge Voksprik, Commander of the Devout Vanguards
The Devout Vanguards are a Black Templars successor Chapter of the 7th Founding and have fought in some of the Imperiums most brutal wars to date.
They are perfect shock troops, often their mission involves being dropped behind enemy lines to secure a position of strategic importance or to make and hold a bastion for Imperial reinforcements. As such they are specialists in the use of heavy weapons and brutal close quarters combat, having stared down some of the Imperiums most dire foes such as Hive Fleet Behemoth and the 11th Black Crusade.
Originally a fleet based crusading Chapter, the Devout Vanguards were forced to settle on a planet in the far Galactic East after suffering horrendous casualties during the Tyranic Wars. Though these losses have put an end to their crusading they are still potent warriors each and are one of the most battle hardened Chapters around. Their sheer experience and age has led to many nicknames over the years such as "The Grey Ones" and "The Old Guard".
Though grim and fatalistic in the best of times, the Devout Vanguards live up to their name, being truly unbreakable warriors of the Imperium. In their Chapters long and storied history not one of their number has ever fallen to Chaos, and not once have the Devout Vanguards given in to an enemy charge, either fighting to the last or repelling the foe.
As the Chapter has recently settled on Taurus Prime near the edge of the Calipsia Sub-Sector, the Devout Vanguards have joined the Thunder Lances and Equalizers in their mission to hold the Hordes back from the rest of the Imperium.
The Devout Vanguards are a 7th Founding Chapter famed for their iron will and grim demeanor. Once they were zealous and fanatical like the Black Templars they descended from, but eons of hard won battles and close victories has tempered the innate fire they all feel. Thus they are extremely devout in their worship of the Emperor and their distrust of anything touched by the Warp, but they are not as hasty to act as the Black Templars from whence they spawned.
The Outland Crusades
A crusade launched by the Chapter in its younger years, the Devout Vanguards single handedly brought one hundred worlds into the Imperiums fold and wiped out two space faring xenos races. The Outland Crusades also saw the Devout Vanguard pitted against forces from the Black Legion, led by Chaos Lord Barak the Annihilator, who they defeated in a titanic struggle on an unnamed Death World.
The Black War
The Black War was a conflict fought by the Devout Vanguard against Dark Eldar raiders in the Segmentum Tempest, and were largely successful in eradicating six Kabals. However, the Black War will always remind the Chapter not of their victories but of the one Kabal that got away, The Kabal of the Skewering Feather, and its mad Archon, Silinurl Luvt who defeated the former Commander, Vaug Becher, and his command squad through eldritch trickery. Vaug continues life as a Venerable Dreadnought and his counsel has taught the Chapter to hate Dark Eldar with all their being.
1st Tyranic War
The Devout Vanguard stood against Hive Fleet Behomoth in the early days of the war and were nearly killed to a man, however were it not for their efforts the Hive Fleets numbers would have been much more when the final battle was decided at Macragge and the Ultramarines would not have succeeded.
Conquest of Taurus
The Devout Vanguard captured their homeworld in a bloody war against the vile Ghrok. After dispelling the xenos from their world they cleared out a long abandoned Imperial fortress known as The Tiers. This mighty fortress lays carved into the side of a mountain and is large enough to supply the chapter with all its basic needs.
The 40th Millenium
The Devout Vanguards guard much of the Galatic East, their crusading days behind them, they use their battle hardened skills to help hold the barbaric Calipsian Hordes and their Feral Legions at bay. However, at rare times few Phalanxes are seen throughout the Segmentum Ultima.
Being very far from most Forge Worlds the Chapters armory is as worn as the Space Marines who make use of it. Battle scars, dents, pits, and burns cover their wargear. In spite of its appearance Devout Vanguards wargear is still just as efficient as the well maintained armories of better supplied Chapters such as the Ultramarines. Much of the Devout Vanguards wargear is battle tested and is not nearly as prone to malfunction as with other (albeit better looking) examples. This is due in part to the very experienced and rigorous maintenance that their wargear receives, though Devout Vanguards Serfs and Architects rarely take the time to buff out superficial scrapes and scratches.
The Chapters worn wargear is a testament to the kind of fighting the Devout Vanguard often find themselves in, brutal fire fights and holding back violent charges. The Vanguards are often the first men into the most heavily infested areas and the last ones out, taking and holding vital landing zones and bastions alike. They often act as a living barrier against any enemy reinforcements or charges, and as such find themselves in the very thickest theaters of battle.
The Devout Vanguards have a large number of skilled Apothecaries and Chaplains, due to the Chapters faith and high amount of wounds sustained in their field of battle. Chaplains often act in special "Faith Squads" who act as elite Champions, and as the First Champion Sigmund did they hunt down the leadership of the enemies teeming ranks, Relic Blades and Cronziuses in hand. Dreadnaughts are also in relative abundance within this Chapter, as they found a very large cache of fully functional sarcophagi during the excavation of their current Fortress-Monastery, The Tiers.
The Devout Vangaurds also boast a vast armored force, and are experts in the art of armored warfare, the 5th and 3rd Phalanxes are known as the "Heavy Handed" Phalanxes and are almost entirely made up of Predator and Land Raider units.
The Devout Vanguards make heavy use of Predator and Whirlwind Tanks and are expert pilots of each. The Chapter also makes use of Land Speeders for scouting objectives and as emergency fire support. They also make heavy use of Thunderfire Cannons, Tarantulas, Deathstorm Drop Pods, and Storm Raven Gunships.
The Chapter is led by an individual simply known as the Commander, who holds the same office as a Chapter Master. The Commander is often the most experienced and successful combatant in the Chapter and has proven himself worthy of leadership by merit and merit alone. The Commander also holds the office of the Master of Sanctity, and thus is also the leader of the Chapters Chaplinery.
Leading the individual Phalanxes (identical to a Codex Company) are the Legates. Legates are Battle-Brothers who have proven themselves to be both peerless warriors and unshakable leaders to their fellow Space Marines.
After the Legates most of the Devout Vanguards follow basic Codex regulations on specific unit types, though they have large numbers of Dreadnoughts and Devastators to fit their preferred methods of combat.
The Devout Vanguards have a very large number of Chaplains, with a force of five for each Phalanx. The Devout Vanguards inordinate number of Chaplains keeps their ranks thoroughly inspired and righteously enraged.
The Chapters Apothicarion is famously skilled, due to the Chapters vast amount of wounded sustained in even the most routine battles. Thus the Apothicarion is also quite large, though no where near that found in Chapters such as the Red Scorpions, with only three Apothecaries to a Phalanx.
The Chapters Tech Marines are known as Architects and are famed as some of the best combat engineers in the Imperium, capable of nearly reconstructing a Land Raider even in a hail of enemy fire. They are some of the most stalwart of their brothers because of this and often armed with close quarters weapons such as inferno pistols or more common Astartes pattern shotguns. They are also excellent at erecting static defenses and setting up gun formations.
Instead of a Scout Company, the Devout Vanguards instead place their initiates on the front lines. These "Grenadiers" are armed with Astartes Pattern Shotguns and ample grenades and are often put under the charge of a full fledged Battle-Brother. Most Grenadiers have yet to have their zealous ways tempered by experience and thus they are overly eager to fight the enemies of the Emperor and often get themselves killed before they can become true Space Marines. (thankfully they are often in abundance) If a Grenadier survives his first tour of duty which can be anywhere from a Terran week to a Terran year and preforms admirably, he is given the honor of a Black Carapace and becomes a true Devout Vanguard.
Grim, dauntless, and wholly reverent, the Devout Vanguard are as tough as steel and about as sociable. Though not devoid of brotherhood or passion, they are also not ones for fervent bloodlust or reckless charges, no the Devout Vanguard stand to crush their foes beneath their boots and hails of holy bolt fire, to grind the enemies of man to dust with their warrior will. As a Chapter, the Devout Vanguard seem haggard and invariably grim, only righteous rage and hate breaking the facade of fatalistic platitudes.
The Devout Vanguard are mostly solitary, only venturing from their fleets and The Tiers when called upon to crush and destroy in the name of the Emperor, Rogal Dorn, and Sigmund. In their own halls however, outsiders are surprised to find that the Chapter partakes in much feasting and drinking, brothers often joke with one another and challenge one another to friendly contests of strength and endurance. Thus the bonds of brotherhood between those the Vanguards consider their allies is one that is unbreakable, and to earn a Vanguards respect is to earn oneself a staunch defender who will never abandon them even, in the most dire of times.
The Devout Vanguard have a vast and mighty fleet, each warship being capable of extended orbital bombardment as is a favored tactic of the Chapter.
Due to the often experienced nature of the Devout Vanguards and their unbreakable faith for the Emperor and love for His Imperium, the Devout Vanguards serve adamantly in the Deathwatch. Their skill as heavy weapons specialists and Apothecaries make them indispensable additions to a Kill-Team. However, their grim personalities and deep disdain for psykers sometimes make it very hard for them to work well with a Kill-Team. (though they do not hate psykers nearly with the same zeal their Black Templars brothers do)
The Crusader is a mysterious Devout Vanguards Chaplain that left the Chapter as penance for the sin of being the last surviving battle brother after the Battle of Phobon against the vile Tyranid menace. The entire six company valiantly fought against the Great Devourer and in the end denied the filthy xenos the world and the bodies of their battle brothers in holy exterminatus. The Crusader was the last surviving member of the 6th Company, saved by his Grenadier charges who would die of their wounds promptly after they were brought to the waiting fleet. Wracked with grief and guilt, The Crusader left the Chapter and is believed to have been on his own personal crusade against the Tyrainds and Chaos.
The Crusaders whereabouts are currently unknown, however sightings of this mighty Space Marine have been reported across various battlefields of the 41st Millienum, from the Battle of Macragge, to the Fall of Manden. Reports of The Crusader are ones of legend, said to carve his way through Tyranid hordes single handedly, and crush Chaos Lords with the hateful contempt that is trademark of a true Son of Sigismund. It is said he seeks death on the battlefield but no matter how suicidal his charge, or mighty his foe, The Crusader always emerges alive.
The most recent sighting of The Crusader was by the Grey Knights during The Purge of Gallos, during which the black armored Space Marine saved the life of the Brother Captain present and slew a Keeper of Secrets in single combat.
The Crusader is also believed to have a connection to the Legion of the Damned, thought it may be mere coincidence that he has been sighted alongside the Legion in three separate battles, as he too is known to make use of the Emperor's Tarrot to guide him to his foes.
The Crusader is clad in black Terminator armor and skull shaped helmet of his rank, and bears a powerful pair of Storm Bolters. However, his trademark weapon is a custom made Eviscerator Chainsword, this massive two handed weapon is used frequently by the Crusader, and has drunk deep of both heretic and xenos blood.
- "If they take something. They will hold it. Let the enemy crash upon their defence like waves on a cliff. They will be so preoccupied with our cousins they will not notice the hawks that swoop from behind."
- —Idria Salaman, Obsidian Blades 2nd Captain.
- "They made their bones fighting the Business Grots. Truly the war between genetically engineered, cyborg giants in armored deathsuits armed with rocket bullets versus tiny ork rogue traders with their gutter-Gothic language must have been one for the ages."