The Knights of Caledon are a crusading chapter descended from the Imperial Fists. They follow largely from the example of the Black Templars in both chapter organisation and combat doctrine.
War on Caledon
Caledon, a feudal world, located close to a minor warp rift on the East Fringe was the home to the Knights of Caledon chapter until its destruction at the hands of Hive Fleet Jormungandr in 251. M41.
The Knights of Caledon always acted as a crusading chapter in the Eastern Fringe, acting as a counter strike force into the Tau Empire in attempts to push it back from Imperial borders and blunt its advances. The Chapter had briefly been involved in crusades against Chaos forces near the Eye of Terror before Jormungandr descended on Caledon.
The Hive Fleet attacked in its usual manner, using subtler methods to unleash spores of Ravenor broods, trygons and mawlocs onto the planet that were then awakened when the Hive Fleet arrived in orbit. The PDF on the planet was swiftly overwhelmed and the Fortress Monastery was besieged by the endless swarm. Similar to on Megyre, the Hive Fleet deployed another gargantuan creature resembling a trygon that flung itself against the Fortress Monastery, causing massive destruction and death. The 100 marines stationed in the Fortress Monastery under the command of Knight Commander Eredimus fought bravely whilst doing all they could to contact the remainder of the chapter.
When message was received of the attack on Caledon, Grand Master Sigismund issued a call to arms for the entire chapter across the galaxy, raising between an estimated 1,200 and 2,600 marines of the chapter to defend their homeworld. The call to arms was answered further by an Imperial Battle Fleet and 7 Imperial Guard regiments based in the Caledon sub-sector.
The Knights' fleet and the Imperial Battle Fleet arrived in orbit above Caledon and engaged the Hive Fleets. The battle was short and bloody, with big losses on both sides, including the loss of 2 Battle Barges and extreme damage to the Sword of Caledon. The result was a victory for the Imperium. This left the planet open for liberation by the Astartes. In the traditional combat doctrine of the Knights, planetfall was preceded by a huge orbital bombardment that was fortunately successful in killing the Tyranid bio-titan, before Thunderhawks and drop pods were launched to carry the Astartes to the surface.
The battle for Caledon was a long, devastating conflict that saw 3 months of fighting before the landing forces could manage to reach the besieged Fortress Monastery. By that time, the garrison there had been reduced to a mere 7 Space Marines, the remaining Knight Bannerettes of Eredimus's household and the heavily wounded Knight Commander himself. The Knight Commander was swiftly transferred into a Contemptor Dreadnought chassis in order to preserve this heroic warrior of the chapter. By the time they were rescued, the garrisoned Astartes had been forced into the highest reaches of the Fortress Monastery, a series of spires that rose into the upper atmosphere.
This was when tragedy struck once more. Out of the warp rift emerged an army of Daemons and Traitor Marines, Word Bearers and Iron Warriors among them. The Imperial fleet was pushed out of orbit, leaving the Knights of Caledon and the Imperial Guard regiments alone and unsupported on the surface. Under attack from both Tyranids and the forces of Chaos, the chapter was forced to mount a desperate defence inside what remained of their fortress monastery.
After a month of siege, all ammo was spent, barely 150 Astartes were alive and the enemy had pushed them back into the inner halls of the fortress monastery. With all hope of victory faded, Grand Master Sigismund lead a counter-attack into the enemy in an attempt to take as many enemy lives as possible before they fell. The Knights fought with an intense, unmatched fury and cut through traitor and tyranid alike but were quickly surrounded by superior numbers. The remaining Space Marines fought shoulder to shoulder, Battle Brother next to Battle Brother as the enemy crashed into them like waves upon an eroding cliff. They fought with a stoic determination, dragging as many of the Imperium's enemies into the void with them. As the traitors prepared to deliver the killing strike to the Knights of Caledon, the dark sky was lit by the exhaust plumes of Thunderhawk gunships descending from the heavens. The Imperium had answered Caledon's call for aid, and the Knights were finally saved.
By the end of the conflict, out of a potential 2,600 Astartes, less than 100 remained. The Imperial Guard regiments serving alongside the chapter had been wiped out to a man and the fleet of the chapter was devastated. Caledon was designated as no longer habitable, the biomass of the planet had been nearly all consumed by the Hive Fleet and the intensity of the weapons unleashed by the fleets above the planet and those on the surface had rendered Caledon a barren wasteland. It was with great sadness and remorse that the Knights of Caledon left their home planet for the final time.
Following the destruction of Caledon, the Knights of Caledon spent many years rebuilding. They recruited from many worlds in the Caledon sub-sector and raised their numbers as quickly as possible, despite losing the previous unity that the natives of Caledon shared. In order to combat this problem, the Grand Master ordered the chapter to be split into Crusades that corresponded to the world that the Astartes were recruited from. These crusades would be allowed to keep the heraldry and traditions of their home worlds but would still wear the colours and the symbol of the chapter as a whole. During major campaigns these crusades have been combined to form a large, multi-world force of the chapter's Space Marines.
This has resulted in hybrid squads formed from the survivors of a conflict. An example is Bannerette Squad Invictus. Having taken major casualties against Orks during the war on Hydromon VI, Bannerette Squads of the Eredon Crusade and the Heronnius Crusade merged. The result is a squad that has mixed heraldry, symbols and traditions, but fights fiercely as one. All types of squad are merged together to form hybrid squads.
The Chapter has fought in various campaigns since the destruction of Caledon in early .M41.
- The Abata Campaign (896.M41)- The Knights of Caledon fought for the first time since the destruction of Caledon. Joined by 3 Space Marine chapters, as well as several Imperial Guard regiments and an Imperial Battlefleet, the Knights join the assault to liberate Abata from the foul servants of Chaos. Venerable Ancient Eredimus leads the assault upon the planet in order to recover Imperial relics that were stored on the planet. At the height of the battle, newly promoted Knight Commander Nicolaus slays the enemy commander, a Daemon Prince of Khorne after it rampages through the Knights advance, killing Knight Commander Hermannus, a Caledon veteran as it goes. With their leader dead, the Chaos forces begin to fall into disarray and are destroyed in the Imperial advance.
- The Hydromon VI Campaign (901.M41)- Eredon and Heronnius Crusades, lead by Knight Commanders Ligarius Cariaso and Juron Knazs, reinforce Imperial defenders fighting to defend the Forge World against Ork invaders. The Orks are pushed back, though reckless behaviour from Cariaso results in Eredon Crusade losing most of its vehicles in a suicidal attempt to destroy a series of Ork Gargants and Stompas.
- The Otreon Campaign (921.M41)- The Karwitz Crusade, lead by Grand Master Sigismund, assaults the Tau held world of Otreon on the Eastern Fringe. The Crusade takes heavy casualities due to the Tau firepower arrayed against them however the assault is won when Sigismund and his household spearhead an armoured assault which manages to break through Tau lines and hit their HQ.
- The Norvarik Campaign (937.M41)- A Space Hulk exits the warp close to the recruiting world of Norvarik. The Norvarik Crusade commences boarding actions, to find the ship infested with Orks. The Strike Team manages to battle its way through the hulk, before teleporting back to their Strike Cruiser only to detect the remainder of the Ork fleet exiting the warp. A call for aid is broadcast and the Norvarik Crusade is joined by the Eredon Crusade and a strike force from the Karwitz crusade. A series of desperate boarding actions are undertaken by the Knights in an effort to prevent the Orks from making planetfall. In vain of the attempts, an Ork Kroozer manages to launch Landas and commence an assault on the surface of Norvarik. The PDF are vastly outmatched by the Ork brutality however one unit manages to hold a small city in the North of the planet. The Norvarik Crusade deploys to the surface, leaving the others to prevent any further planetstrikes. Over a period of months the Norvarik manages to relieve stranded PDF units and eliminate the threat on the surface whilst the other Crusades deal with the Ork fleet.
- The Numos Campaign (952.M41)- Karwitz and Heronnius Crusades defend two desert fortresses on the agri-world of Numos in an attempt to blunt a splinter of Hive Fleet Dagon. Far more Tyranids are present on the planet than initially thought and one fortress is overwhelmed by repeated attacks from above and below by specialist Tyranid units. Grand Master Sigismund and Knight Commander Juron Knazs lead their Households into the swarm in an attempt to decapitate the Tyranid command structure. Sigismund's Household is cut off from Knazs and is overwhelmed before they can be reached. The Grand Master himself is cut down by a Hive Tyrant whilst the Hive Guard battle his terminator bodyguard nearby. Knazs and his depleted household pull back to the fortress, having lost their armoured support to Tyranid monstrous creatures. The horde swarms the fortress, caring little for casualities as the Knights' heavy firepower shoots down wave after wave. Eventually the Xenos reach the walls and vicious hand to hand combat erupts. Assault squads cause mass casualities as they make the Hive Fleet pay dearly for every inch and life it claims while three dreadnoughts deal with the monstrous creatures that throw themselves at the Astartes. The Hive Tyrant along with its Hive Guard breaks through Space Marine lines and engages Knazs and his bodyguard. Knazs is killed by the Tyrant but manages to lay it low and give enough time for Knight Champion Fernau to kill the beast with a melta bomb. Heronnius Crusade is saved when Knight Commander Davian Gaspar and Vlaeminck Crusade make planetfall in Thunderhawk gunships and push back the Tyranid onslaught. Following Sigismund's death, Gaspar is elected Grand Master of the Chapter.
The Knights of Caledon occasionally stray above the 1,000 Marine mark due to the Chapter's crusading nature and the varying recruitment rates that contribute to each crusade. Furthermore, as each crusade acts as an almost autonomous Space Marine strike force in itself, the chapter's numbers are difficult to keep track of and the chapter may be deployed in many different places in the galaxy at one time.
Though there is always a Grand Master of the Chapter, the Grand Master does not hold total control and is rather a representative of the Chapter as a whole instead of its leader. The Chapter is commanded by the Crusading Council, a council of the Knight Commanders of each Crusade that meet to decide the Chapter's future and deployments throughout the Galaxy. These Knight Commanders also vote for one of their number to become Grand Master of the Chapter and represent the Chapter in negotiations with other Astartes and members of the Imperium. The Chapter is organised into Crusades that recruit from individual worlds in the Caledon sub-sector and are named after the world that they recruit from. These Crusades consist of the Knight Bannerettes of the Knight Commanders Household, which usually consists of 10 to 20 Marines; the bulk of the Crusade, the Knight Errants who fulfill the typical tactical, assault and devastator roles of the Crusade and are usually led by a Knight Bannerette or Knight Champion; the Knight Constables who serve as mechanics and technicians to the Crusade's vehicles, and the Squires who have recently completed their transition into Space Marines and accompany the Knight Errants until they are bonded with a suit of armour. It is also part of Crusade tradition to maintain a champion, called a Knight Superior, whose role is to challenge enemy commanders and champions to single combat on the field of battle.
The Chapter currently consists of 9 Crusades, though this may increase to 10 following a population rise on a Feudal World in the sub-sector. The background of the Crusades can vary drastically, for example Eredon and Heronnius are planets of warm temperate climates with populations that thrive on art and politics whereas Norvarik is a planet with an almost permanent winter that is filled with periods of darkness when the sun cannot reach the planet; it is populated with hardy, brutal people who are very fierce and warlike. This has resulted in a Chapter that is very diverse, but is also prone to argument and controversy due to the differences between the Astartes that make it up.
The Knights of Caledon use a Combat Doctrine that is very similar to that of their parent chapter's, the Black Templars. Typically in an assault, the planet will be heavily bombarded from orbit by the Chapter's fleet, before a mass landing takes place and armoured spearheads are deployed to weak points in the enemy formation. The Knights employ a high number of assault squads which strike the enemy first and usually consist of the most aggressive Knights Errant.
The major downside to this Combat Doctrine is the mass assault and crusading nature of the Chapter means that it suffers very high attrition rates and is often understrength as a result of this. Furthermore, due to reckless assaults using armoured vehicles, the Knights have been reduced to little or no Land Raiders and transports such as Rhinos for brief periods of time and have therefore been reduced to having to 'foot slog' across the battlefield, resulting in high casualities against a determined foe.
Unlike the Black Templars, the Knights of Caledon retain librarians within their ranks. Despite this, the librarians do not form one unified librarius and instead each crusade has its own librarius which varies in size based on the number of psykers that the Crusade recruits from its homeworld.
Sword of Caledon- Battle Barge, Flagship of the Knights of Caledon
Caledon's Fury- Battle Barge
Ice Spear- Strike Cruiser, primarily used by Norvarik Crusade
Caledon's Vengeance- Strike Cruiser, primarily used by Heronnius Crusade
Noble Wrath- Strike Cruiser, primarily used by Eredon Crusade
Hermannus- Strike Cruiser, primarily used by Karwitz Crusade
Notable Knights of Caledon
Ambroth Sigismund- Formed Grand Master of the Knights of Caledon. Died on Numos in the year 952.M41