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"The Rhinos are stubborn, abrasive and charge with a reckless abandon that reduces both fortification and foe to rubble. I like them."
—Inquisitor Lucretia Winters

The Rhinocerotidae Astra, usually abbreviated to Space Rhinos or just the Rhinos, are a Space Marine chapter hailing from Yekna Prime located in Segmentum Ultima. They are best known for their relentless charges and stubborn nature. So long as at least one Rhino remains the frontal assault does not cease. The current chapter master of the Rhinos is Akachi Masego.

Background

Yekna Prime

Yekna Prime is a planet located in the southernmost region of Segmentum Ultima near Pavonis on the outskirts of Pax Ultramar. Its atmosphere is fair and landmass plentiful. In most cases a planet such as this would have long since undergone rapid industrialization. However, on account of its proximity to Pavonis, an affluent mining world, and Pax Ultramar, the Ultramarine territories, Yekna Prime went overlooked. But for three cities the landmass is largely underpopulated. What's more, the planet is distant from Terra and offers few worthwhile resources to the Imperium. As such it was never particularly likely to undergo rapid colonization. There are two consequences. First, the population are a self-sufficient (if not a little backward) people with a long feudal history - ideal for the ranks of a Space Marine chapter like the Rhinos. Second, the expansive grasslands of Yekna Prime go largely unspoiled, the rhinoceroses from which the chapter heraldry was wrought still roaming peacefully. The Rhinos have not taken this rare gift for granted, valuing the peace of their homeworld immensely.

The Three Great Cities

Early in Yekna Prime's history there were many tribes. However, warring saw the smaller tribes absorbed into three. These tribes were the Asubuhi, the Magharibi, and the Usiku. The three great cities of Yekna Prime, Acha, Kiwanja, and Majun were established by these three tribes respectively. However, before a single tribe established dominance the Imperium came. Subsequently, an agreement between the three cities was established that they would cease feuding - the Rhinos are now responsible for enforcing this peace. However, it should be noted that these are the events as recorded, without dates, by the Rhinos themselves. There are few, if any corroborating, dated records within the Imperium that have not, along with the circumstances surrounding the Chapter's founding, been sealed by Inquisitorial mandate. Consequently it is not known when any of this happened.

Candidacy for the Rhinos is established in a competition between these three great cities. The competition consists of gruelling (both physically and mentally) challenges. Those who survive and are subsequently deemed worthy are inducted into the Rhinos.

Fortress-Monastery

The Rhinos' fortress-monastery, Karisimbi, is located far from any Yeknian cities on account of the chapter preferring quiet solitude in the short periods of time between wars. Karisimbi is built into the side of a lone mountain, a labyrinth of wide tunnels and passageways the layout of which only a member of the Chapter would know. Near the peak of Karisimbi lies the Overlook, named on account of its view of the Yeknian grasslands. This is where the war council meet.

Founding

With Yekna Prime being the backwater, underpopulated planet it is there were very few records kept of the Rhinos' founding. What records were kept have since been sealed by the Inquisition. Consequently there can be no confirming which founding birthed the Rhinos or from which Primarch they are descended. When pressed the Rhinos carefully avoid answering how old the chapter is (the predominance of Mk.IV armour implies they are of an early founding) and claim to be descendants of Roboute Guilliman. However, these claims are unsubstantiated and the Ultramarines do not consider the Rhinos to be a successor chapter.

The War Council

It was decided by one of the early Chapter Masters of the Rhinos that the captaincy should meet on a regular basis to best assign Chapter resources - this is especially necessary for the partitioning of the modest chapter fleet. Thus the war council was formed, a quinquennial meeting of the Chapter Master and his ten Captains in solitude at the Overlook. It should be noted that no one from outside the Chapter is permitted to attend this council. Additionally, the labyrinthine nature of Karisimbi in combination with secrecy concerning exactly when the war council is held has protected against infiltration. There have been successful attempts to navigate Karisimbi and reach the Overlook by concerned parties within the Imperium, but never on the right day and time.

Tactics

Rhino Terminator Armour

The Rhinos' Iconic Horned Tactical Dreadnought Armour

The Rhinos are known for their single, unrelenting charge into the lines of the enemy. However, this assault is not organised arbitrarily. There are four, subtle phases which the Rhinos cycle through where possible. Phase 4 is completed within minutes of phase 1 giving the illusion of simultaneity thus masking the inherent logic to their brutally efficient assault.

Phase 1 - Scouting, Initial Assault

The frontal assaults of the Rhinos are as brutal as they are well-planned. In the initial phase of battle the Chapter's Scouts are deployed to survey the enemy position and identify weaknesses in the enemy lines. This intel is then relayed to the Chapter's Terminators who in almost all theatres of war are deployed in the vanguard. As the Terminators charge the weaknesses in the enemy lines the Scouts unleash volley after volley of Sniper round, picking off any flamer weapons which might cause problems for the frontal assault. If there are very few weaknesses in the enemy lines (as in siege warfare) then the Rhinos open up weaknesses using Vindicators and the like prior to deployment of the Chapter's Terminators.

Phase 2 - Securing the Flanks, Soften Hard Targets

Once the initial assault has begun Tactical Squads are deployed via Drop Pod to secure the flank of each assaulting Terminator unit. Generally, these units are equipped with Grav weaponry so that they might soften hard targets for phase 3.

Phase 3 - Continued Assault

Phase 3 occurs almost simultaneously to phase 2. During this phase Assault Squads are deployed via Land Raider or Stormraven to assail what remains of the enemy line in an attempt to keep the enemy spread thin, allowing no quarter.

Phase 4 - Final Assault

Stormravens then deploy any additional Dreadnoughts available to assist with particularly difficult targets. Any additional armoured support moves up to assist. If present, the Iron Tiger begins his assault.

The idea is that pressure is applied to the weakest link of the chain, causing a fracture. Once this fracture occurs the tactical squads further antagonize the break while assault squads assail the stronger positions disallowing any form of reparation.

Organisation

As with codex compliant Chapters the Rhinos are comprised of 1,000 Space Marines divided over 10 Companies. The companies are as follows (approx. numbers included):

  • 1st 'Veteran' Company
    • 40 Terminators, 15 Centurions, 45 Vanguard Veterans, 2 Dreadnoughts
  • 2nd 'Terminator' Company
    • 40 Terminators, 20 Tactical Marines, 40 Assault Marines, 2 Dreadnoughts
  • 3rd 'Assault' Company
    • 70 Assault Marines, 30 Bikers, 1 Dreadnought
  • 4th 'Assault' Company
    • 70 Assault Marines, 30 Bikers, 1 Dreadnought
  • 5th 'Assault' Company
    • 70 Assault Marines, 30 Bikers, 1 Dreadnought
  • 6th 'Assault' Company
    • 70 Assault Marines, 30 Bikers, 1 Dreadnought
  • 7th 'Tactical' Company
    • 80 Tactical Marines, 20 Devastators
  • 8th 'Tactical' Company
    • 80 Tactical Marines, 20 Devastators
  • 9th 'Scout' Company
    • 80 Scouts, 20 Scout Bikers
  • 10th 'Scout' Company
    • 80 Scouts, 20 Scout Bikers

As can be seen, on account of the Rhinos' particular strategic nuances (see Tactics), both the 1st and 2nd company are comprised mainly of terminators and both the 9th and 10th company are comprised of scouts.

As one would expect, the Rhinos are afforded more tactical dreadnought armour than most chapters (approx. 80, 40 per Terminator Company - allowing for the deployment of four Strike Force Ultra formations simultaneously). Consequently, terminator honours are not solely awarded to the chapter's veterans but also those who show promise in the operation of tactical dreadnought armour - aptitude is tested during the 'Terminator Trials' once initiation is complete before indoctrination into another company.

Similarly, the Rhinos require more scouts than most chapters. As a result, initiation into the Rhinos is particularly lengthy and works inversely to the Space Wolves. Rather than allowing the expression of rage on the battlefield to new Initiates, Rhino initiates are forced to be scouts and train in the use of sniper rifles. Thus, rather than finding their calm in the heat of melee, they are forced to harness their lust for close quarters behind the scope of a sniper rifle. This form of indoctrination if usually referred to as 'starting from the back' by members of the chapter (which seems to be missing the point as Rhino scouts are the first to enter the theatre of war and are never too far from the enemy).

Initiates who show the most promise as scouts remain in the 9th and 10th companies. Initiates who show unique promise in ranged combat tend to be promoted to tactical marines, joining the 7th and 8th companies. The majority become assault marines joining the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th companies. Finally, initiates who demonstrate unique aptitude in the use of tactical dreadnought armour during the 'Terminator Trials' are moved into the 2nd company (provided the Captaincy agree to the promotion during the war council) - this is the greatest of honours for a Rhino space marine to receive.

Note: The Rhinos, never being short of near-fatal casualties, are also able to field a significant number of Dreadnoughts.

Chapter Fleet

The Rhinos, preferring close quarter combat, maintain only a small fleet which they use primarily for transportation from warzone to warzone rather than void war. This fleet is composed of one Battle Barge, four Strike Cruisers and five Rapid Strike Vessels. Each Battle Barge/Strike Cruiser houses up to two companies and the Rapid Strike Vessels are assigned by the war council to where they are needed most.

Known Vessels

  • Radi Hasira - Battle Barge, Chapter Flagship, meaning "Thundering Wrath"
  • Ivor Kifo - Strike Cruiser, meaning "Ivory Death"
  • Kupenya Pembe - Strike Cruiser, meaning "Penetrating Horn"
  • Chuma Ngozi - Strike Cruiser, meaning "Iron Skin"
  • Yasiyopimika Malipo - Strike Cruiser, meaning "Unceasing Charge"

Timeline

M34

  • 973.M34 - First documented sighting of Space Marines bearing Rhinoceros heraldry, leading Imperial scholars of the 41st Millenium to assume that the Rhinos were probably founded some time during the 34th Millenium, perhaps alongside the Mantis Warriors during the 8th Founding[1]. As yet, this sighting is unconfirmed to be the Rhinos themselves.

M39

  • 311.M39 - First documented and confirmed sighting of the Rhinos fighting against the forces of Chaos in the 11th Black Crusade. The Rhinos sustained heavy losses, records indicating upwards of 70% of the chapter were lost.
  • 335.M39 - The Rhinos return to Yekna Prime and remain there for unspecified length of time as the chapter is reforged.

M41

  • 743.M41 - The Rhinos join the Damocles Gulf Crusade, besieging Tau outposts on the periphery of the main crusade force. Despite a string of successes, the Rhinos accumulate few accolades and are largely excluded from records due to their peripheral involvement.
  • 961.M41 - The Rhinos purge the homeworld of the Dust Lords, destroying the 3rd, 4th, 6th, 8th, and 10th Companies.
  • 979.M41 - The Rhinos are dispatched alongside the Swordfish and Angels Mortiferous to hunt down and destroy the remaining Dust Lords who are believed to be hiding in the Ghoul Stars.
  • 990.M41 - The Ouroborean Predation.
    • The Rhinos, Angels Mortiferous, and Swordfish struggle in the increasingly nebulous campaign against the Dust Lords.
    • All three chapters sustain heavy losses at the hands of a Chaos alliance of Dust Lords, Traitor Guard, and Daemons which refer to themselves as the 'Ouroborean'. The members of the Ouroborean seem to anticipate every decision made by the Imperial forces.
    • Inquisitor Lucretia Winters and a contingent of Imperial Guard arrive in support of the Imperial Forces. However, the reinforcements have already sustained heavy losses in transit to the isolated Imperial alliance. It becomes clear that the Ouroborean are consistently able to predict the movements of the Imperial alliance.
    • The Imperial Forces are hounded out of the Ghoul Stars. The toll for all four chapters peaks, each losing approximately a full half of their committed resources. The Imperial Forces are only able to escape with assistance from a small fleet of Space Marines who claim to be the 'true' Dust Lords.
  • 998.M41 - The survivors of the Ouroborean Predation are recalled and slowly begin to limp back towards Terra. However, all ships have sustained heavy damage and outgoing communications are impossible.
  • ~999.M41 - The Rhinos are declared missing in action and presumed destroyed following the emergence of the Cicatrix Maledictum.

M42

Note: This section will be updated as details on Warhammer 40,000 8th edition emerge.

  •  ???.M42 - At the behest of Roboute Guilliman, the Rhinos are proposed to be one of the first chapters consisting entirely of Primaris Space Marines.
  •  ???.M42 - The Yeknian Schism.
    • The Rhinos finally return from the Ouroborean Predation, having been fortunate enough to avoid being trapped in the Imperium Nihilus.
    • Tensions rise as the Rhinos discover they have been replaced by Primaris Space Marines.
    • A handful of skirmishes break out and the small contingent of Primaris Space Marines on Yekna Prime is forced to leave by the Rhinos. The the location and allegiance of the ousted Primaris Rhinos is not yet known.
    • The Imperium, unwilling to declare a loyal Space Marine chapter Excommunicate Traitoris due to the strain of the 13th Black Crusade, reprimand the Rhinos and forbid further Primaris reinforcement for their actions.

Notable Members

Chapter Master Akachi Masego

The reign of Rhino chapter masters tends to be brief - a symptom of their tactical preference. That being said, the current chapter master, Akachi Masego, has reigned for a surprisingly long time. Not for lack of recklessness. In battle Akachi Masego leads from the front in his modified, horned tactical dreadnought armour wielding two unique, master-crafted power swords named Gore and Aegis. The impact of his wrathful charge has broken the lines of lesser races on multiple occasion. But leading from the front has left its mark on Akachi. His body is heavily scarred, his right arm is prosthetic and he only has one eye. It is by the Emperor's divine grace Akachi has lasted this long. But not even the Emperor's divine protection lasts forever - soon he is likely to fall.

First-Captain Ekene Folami

Chief among the Rhino captaincy and one of the oldest living Rhinos, Ekene Folami is the right hand of Akachi Masego and captain of the Rhinos' first company. In battle Ekene dons his horned tactical dreadnought armour wielding a chainfist and lightning claw. Like Akachi Masego, Ekene Folami has undergone substantial amounts of prosthesis. Notably Ekene's arms are both bionic, having lost them to the Djin Blade of an Archon of the Severed (to whom he subsequently delivered a fatal headbutt).

Relationships

Allies

Angels Mortiferous

Allies of convenience at best, the Rhinos are not too fond of their compatriots. The Angels Mortiferous' pleasure in the heat of melee is antithetical to the Rhinos' chapter culture. The Rhinos seek to temper their wrath, their charges being as cold and calculated as they are direct and brutal. The Angels Mortiferous appear to revel in their wrath, something that seriously unnerves even the most hardened of Rhino veterans.

Inquisition

In what has become a strangely rare occurrence, the Rhinos, despite a tenebrous founding involving the Inquisition, actually foster a good relationship with the Inquisition. This is especially the case for the Ordo Xenos on account of the Rhinos' efforts against the threat without. Consequently, the Rhinos are frequently called upon to contribute to the Deathwatch. In fact, the Chapter's Chief Librarian and now Second-Captain both served in the Deatchwatch 1st Company together.

Enemies

Dust Lords

The Rhinos are responsible for the somewhat brutal purging of the traitorous Dust Lords homeworld as well as their 3rd, 4th, 6th, 8th, and 10th Companies. Recently the Rhinos have been dispatched alongside the Angels Mortiferous to hunt down and purge what remains of the Dust Lords who are said to be at large on the fringe of the Ghoul Stars.

Eldar

As a consequence of its proximity to both Iyanden and Alaitoc the Rhinos have engaged the Eldar of both Craftworlds on multiple occasion with mixed outcomes - the preferred tactic of charging headlong into the enemy does not work as effectively against Eldar as they would hope, a fact which frustrates the Rhinos greatly.

Dark Eldar

To the Rhinos engaging the Dark Eldar is as frustrating as engaging their Craftworld kin for similar reasons - easy, direct combat is infrequent at best.

Tau Empire

The Rhinos have regularly assisted in the war effort against Tau expansion.

Quotes

Other users are welcome to leave quotes about The Rhinos chapter by characters of their own devising.

By

"We are as reckless in battle as we are peaceful in seclusion, true. That recklessness makes us a blunt tool of the Emperor's will, true. But we show a ferocity that rivals the Space Wolves and tenacity that rivals the Salamanders - do not underestimate us."
—Akachi Masego, Chapter Master
"I have been the instrument of the Emperor's will for such a long time now that I barely remember losing my arms. In fact, the only part of that encounter I do remember is how soft the skull of an Eldar is."
—Ekene Folami, Captain of the 1st Company

About

"Aside from their damned predictability, our Rhino brethren are powerful close quarters combatants, and I know I would rather not be on the receiving end of one of their deadly charges."
—Lophess Ovair, Obsidian Blades 1st Captain
"Ha! Another charge! Excellent, awaken the Maulerfiends, we will see how quickly these loyalist bitches can run in the other direction!"
—Krethnan Bloodlord, Draugar Lord of the Eighth Storm[src]
"Tactically they are a blunt instrument, they are suitable to make use of in the Omnissiah's name. However, let them not lay claim to any spoils of the war before we have, Only the Great Shalmanzar could navigate their fortress without the aid of scouting devices."
—Archmagos Hammond of Forgeworld Jovia
"Why bother engaging in a war of attrition with the fortified outposts of our former masters with these horned fools around? Let them run headlong into the fortifications whilst we... requisition... anything of value."
—Shas'el Sa'cea Por Or'es, Quartermaster of the Lur'tae'mont Separatists
"Their ways are not our ways, but even among the fearless Astartes the Rhinos possess courage in great abundance."
—Whitney Saltinstall, Chapter Master of the Sinopia Mongooses
"I wouldn't try to make a charging headbutt with a horned helmet. But then I don't have an Astartes tree stump sized neck."
Douchard Bagge
"The Rhino temperament is... unique. I have spoken to Chapter Master Masego on the eve of battle in the past, at which time he appears to be as calm as the ocean deeps. But this calm hides a destructive, tempestuous wrath that only his enemies have faced - usually right before he gores them with his sword."
—Einar Pisc, Chapter Master of the Swordfish
"Rhinos, huh? Nope, I'm not saying anything. It's too easy. "
—Calios Kottel, Lord of the Void Sirens
"The Rhinos live up to their namesake - thick skinned, short-sighted, and always ready to charge. I admire their warrior spirit and would proudly call them rafiq."
— Raqīb Sallah Faisal, Sable Lions Chapter, 5th Kárdake, 1st Tactical Squad

Gallery

References

  1. http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Founding

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