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So i have been wondering a while about this and having asked serveral people that i know about it and getting all different kind of answers i bring it to the LO.
why is all battles with space marines always only consist of one company? I know SM are suppose to be the greatest that the Imperium has but why cut there effectivness by send a 100 men? why not the whole chapter fight as one army. No other army in the Warhammer Universive fight on such a small scale except maybe DE which never really fight anything more than a raiding party and eldar which probably can not field much more. If one today was to take a regiment and face them against say an evil IG regiment (around 3,000 plus support) which side are you going to bet on? Anyone who has the SM codex could look at the company break down would have to admit besides 1st company how are a hundred men going to fight 3,000 dug in, imperial guard force with hundreds of heavy weapons, tanks (which most company really do not have), armor fist squads etc. It does not have to be the IG what about a Tau invasion force? A ork waaagh? The only thing i could see a 100 man squad doing is harassing the enemy. Am i wrong?
P.S. please do not reply by telling me the sm are the coolest and can kill everything just by looking at them.
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Actually if you look at the Chapter breakdown in the rule book, none of the Chapters fight as a single company, most fight as about 4 Companies. You have 2-5 as Battle Companies, these are where most of you marines fight from, many Chapters have specific companies for Devastators, Assault Marines, Scouts, even Terminators and Bikes all have their own companies. Actually if it isn't 2-5th Battle Companies fighting most companies won't fight without support from their chapter.
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There's a whole bunch of reasons. Number one is because sm are the coolest and can kill everything just by looking at them.
The other is that, apart from Companies 2-5 and the Veterans, most of a Chapter is formed of reserves who supplement the main army. So, contrary to some battle reports where the 4th company engages blah-blah-blah, it's actually "elements of the 4th company (who are all tactical marines) the 9th company (who are all assault marines) and the 8th company (who are all devastators). I can never remember the exact designations, but that's probably wrong. For example, all Scouts are (supposedly) in the 10th company. So any army with some Scouts is going to contain "elements of the 10th company."
Official Codex Astartes-following goody-two-shoes Marines deploy in strike forces, contained in strike cruisers, of perhaps a few hundred men, assembled for a specific mission or purpose. These are assigned a Force Commander or Strike Commander, who is usually one of the captains of the involved companies. Other Chapters shirk this. Space Wolves have the famous Great Companies, who pretty much don't care for arithmetic and deploy however the hell they want, and Black Templars organise into huge Crusades that can number thousands (both those chapters exceed the 1000-man limit by a significant margin). The Blood Angels, although now a "codex chapter" once again with Combat Squads and all, used to deploy in separate companies, with each one hundred capable of acting independently of any other.
If you want to know how Marines manage with such small numbers, I'm afraid the only real reason is because they're incredibly awesome. The other reason is that Marines are tactically far more versatile and intelligent (fluffwise, not insulting any IG players out here) than most Guard officers. So, in your example scenario where three thousand Guardsmen have deployed in trenchs and heavy weapons positions and the Marines have to get through, they aren't going to barge up the field shouting "Rah rah emperor rah!" They have drop pods, teleporters, and several units capable of aerial deployment. Each soldier is, and I'm sorry to say exactly what you don't want to hear, worth a hundred Guardsmen not in killing force but in tactical value - they're armoured beyond belief, capable of operating without food or sleep for weeks, can do a forced march for literally months without stopping, and carry the best sidearms in the universe. They aren't going to march towards the Guardsmen in parade formation. They'll initiate a tactical bombardment and then a drop pod assault behind enemy lines to eliminate the command structure. Or they'll lure the Guardsmen into a ravine and pull a 300. Or they'll wait until nightfall and take advantage of Guardsmen's inferior discipline and night vision to ambush them.
Space Marines very rarely face the enemy directly unless they're totally sure of a victory. What often happens is that the Guardsmen engage the main enemy force, and the Space Marines attack specific vital points that severely weaken the enemy's command structure or supply lines or communications or whatever, and then the whole structure of the enemy formation collapses and the Guard walk in to clean up.
There are several Black Library novels demonstrating exactly this situation - it's a common one, heroic stand against impossible odds and that - including one where 100 Space Marines form a pike line against a full-frontal charge of over a million Orks and win by pulling a space-age Spartan phalanx with combat shields and bolters. (Dan Abnett clearly saw 300.)
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i agree with Ze_poodle )
its only fluff-wise that marines are 'invincible' but obviously on tabletop they can get beaten almost instantly, but yes, as Poodle states, they utilize a vast amount of tactics to overcome a superior foe something we dont tend to think about when on the table top, we jst think about bringing a devvie squad with 4 HB's and cutting the guard down lol
but im sure you get what i mean )
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In Grey Hunter (I think that was its name) the Space Wovles sent 11 of their 12 companies to fight. At least 1 company is always left behind so that the chapter never died completely.
Marines are also often there backing up the Imperial Guard. If there are 10 warzones on around the place the marines send a company to each one to fight witht he guard already there.
Things like drop pods or infiltrate to mangle the enemy's command.
It also says how marines work with such small numbers in their codex.
1. Drop Pod Assault, simply land on them and rip them up in cc where nothing will match an astartes.
2. Infiltrate, like what Kayvaan Shrike did. Just keep jumping on them until they starve to death.
3. The armoured spearhead. They just spam tanks and run into enemy lines head on.
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Poodle pretty much got everything.
Space marines arn't used as an army. They're used as special ops, essentially. Logistics raids, decapitation strikes, rearguard actions, and pinpoint operations. That's how they work. ..With the occasional 300-style ass kicking. Urban combat as well.
For a better idea of marine superhumanity, I'd suggest playing a quick game of Inquisitor.. It has the fluff power level just about right.
Marines aren't invincible, but they're very definately on a different level to most basic troops. The same can, however, be said of Necrons and some Eldar though, who might be able to challenge marines in head to head combat (but then these armies also have numerical limitations.)
At the end of the day, though, tanks need fuel, soldiers need food and ammo and officers need orders. The bigger a force is, the more of each it needs.. 100 men can defeat any number of enemies if they can cripple the command and logistics. Numerical superiority sometimes just means having more mouths to feed..
One of the greatest assests too as marines is that THE ENTIRE FORCE of a company can go special ops. With most armies you'll get a few individual commandos (like orks) but with marines, youve got a 100 man special ops squad ALWAYS that can evade the enemy even if they try to force the marines into combat. So when you;ve got 3,000 men sitting there, even moving out hunting the marines down, you have a 0 man opposite force facing them, just a bunch of shadows and ghosts in the dark....unless they are space wolves. Then they just kill everything they see. and they wont even send 100 guys. It'll just be a tac squad.
Note* i was just out running with my dog when i realised....Holy crap. Marines run at like top speeds of what? 60Mph? And have the ability to climb up anything with ridges? Can jump 14 feet high? Any normal trooper would be hard pressed to even catch a glimpse.
Last edited by AlbinoAlien; August 22nd, 2007 at 02:09.
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Remember the scene where Petrok leads the relief force of 50 Marines who all stand in a single file, facing an oncoming horde of Orks numbering in the thousands, and beat them without a single casualty using their Bolters, Sea Lances, and finally swords?
It's interesting to note that 40k is still largely a skirmish game rather than a company level one which is why, in a way, Space Marines will always have an advantage. They were designed, fluffwise, to operate within the 40k rule set. It's very rare for Marines to field an entire company at any one time. The Black Templars and Space Wolves are exceptions mainly because each of their company equivalents (Crusade, Great Company, respectively) is completely self-sufficient, having its own command structure and logistics. They just have to report to central command every once in awhile.