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I was just flicking through Lexicanum and saw in the spacehulk entry, it said "only 50 survived". This made me think to myself... No it doesn't, it says 950 died, that's not the same thing. This got me thinking about various discussions I had (and overheard by others) last year when it was re-released.
The main thing most people have a problem with is the part in the book where it says 950 Blood Angels died. Most people see this number and are "WTF? 950 is the whole damn chapter, they can't have lost that many." Because of this most people just treat it as a stand alone story that has nothing to do with the rest of the 40k fluff. What happens in Space Hulk stays in Space Hulk.
But I was looking at the numbers and thought it might not be as nuts as it sounds. Most people say a codex chapter has about 1000 marines in it but this isn't true, it's just a generalization. The codex astartes acutely says to maintain 10 companies of 100 brothers each but this doesn't count all the brothers that don't get included in the standard companies.
In the BA codex aside from the 10 companies it lists Dante, the 10 captains of the companies, 14 chaplains, 22 sangunary priests, 30 sangunary guard, 36 techmarines, 25 librarians (30 if you include the acolytum) and 56 unassigned neophytes. This gives us a total chapter strength of about 1199 marines, not including death company, no way of knowing how many DC there are at any given time.
In the vanilla codex you can find the Ultramarines chapter organisation, it lists the first 9 companies and their 9 sergeants, Calgar and 27 honour guard, 27 Techmarines, 12 Apothacaries, 24 Librarians (plus 3 acolytum) We also have the 10 company Chaplains, the sergeant of the 10th company and it doesn't say but we can guess about 100-120 scouts. Giving us a total of about 1114-1134 Ultramarines.
On top of this, a chapter works out how many new recruits it needs based on it's average losses, then takes about a hundred times the amount needed because of how many will fail and die. Because the recruiting methods are a bit random a chapters numbers can sway a bit over the years. Even the Ultramarines (school hall monitors of the Spacemarines) numbers sway like this from time to time.
If we assume the Blood Angels had below average losses for a hundred years and unusually rich pickings in the new recruits, it's easy to imagine they reached 13 or 1400. Suddenly, losing 950 battle brothers doesn't seem like quite the death sentence it used to.
What do you think?
You forgot the not techmarine members of the armoury. They exist, they're the ones in the tanks.
That said, losing 950 marines assaulting a Space Hulk was one of the sloppiest pieces of writing we've seen in years. The Crimson Fists needed to blow up their entire Chapter with veiled references to the Inquisition and the Officio Assassinorium to come near that. Heck, Behemoth personally showed up on Macragge to punch the Ultramarines in the balls while forcing them to work outside their SM Users' Manual and they didn't kill 950 marines.
That said recovery from only 50 marines can be done in a century or two if you really want to, the BAs are no Celestial Lions.
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Yeah, it is just silly and because of that most people I know just write it of as a stand alone story independant from the rest of the 40k universe. I do think it's silly but don't think it should just be written off like it never happened.That said, losing 950 marines assaulting a Space Hulk was one of the sloppiest pieces of writing we've seen in years.The only thing I can think of that might be an explination is the part in the book where they talk about "These arn't the same xenos we faced 650 years ago but they are the same kind, good enough" To me this sounded like they were unfamiler with Genestealers, the story doesn't give a date for these events, I'm thinking it was thousands of years ago and the Genestealers were a new threat, the Blood Angels just didn't know how to deal with them.Heck, Behemoth personally showed up on Macragge to punch the Ultramarines in the balls while forcing them to work outside their SM Users' Manual and they didn't kill 950 marines.
I know... It's a bit weak, but it's the only explination I can think of the makes any sense of the story.
Death companies are formed from the chapter's normal strength on the eve of battle, and are essentially lost at that point.
The chapter's full strength is potentially far greater than 1000 - the crew of the listed vehicles alone account for many hundreds of marines - more than 200 just to crew the thunderhawks - to say nothing of their starships.
The Blood Angels are not very strict as far as compliance to the Codex Astartes is concerned, so they may have had far more than a Codex chapter would at the time of the incident. I still find it hard to swallow the idea that they lost 950 marines in a single battle, especially since Blood Angels are my favorite, but if they were already significantly larger than a standard Codex chapter at the time then it would explain how they managed to survive.
I wouldn't be surprised if GW themselves just retconned it anyways, it has happened before.
There is a sway when brothers go nuts on the eve of battle and can't be replaced right away meaning that as the DC go up the normal companies go down but there are usally additional DC units kept on ice as an auxilary force awaiting their chance to find an honourable death.I could be wrong but arn't the vheicle crews drawn from the companies that are deploying the vheicles, they don't constitute additional Marines. As for the starships, they are crewed by normal humans, several thousand chapter serfs are kept by a chapter to staff the non-combat rolls of the army.The chapter's full strength is potentially far greater than 1000 - the crew of the listed vehicles alone account for many hundreds of marines - more than 200 just to crew the thunderhawks - to say nothing of their starships.
I have no idea how common or rare this might be...? That's why I said "No way of knowing" in my first post. They might have had dozens of them at the time or only a hand full.
I never saw the precursor to this thread and im not familiar with the text in question but does it actually mention 950 MARINES dead? For example if for some reason a genestealer brood got onto a strike crusier or similar, they could slaughter the human serf crew very easily, accounting for the 950.
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The story in the book (the back story for the game) picks up about 600 years later with the cleansing of another Genestealer infested spacehulk. In the story they reference the events that happened years before.