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Okay, this has been bothering me ever since I started 40K, are 1000 man chapters really realalistic? Let me explain. I know the fluff around the horus hersay had space marine legions at unlimited numbers, and the codex astartes put a cap at a 1000 men to prevent one man, or group of men, from gaining too much power. This also put the fate of space marine chapters in the hands of the ADmechs and high lords. Fine, this is all well and good an makes rational sense. After something like the horus hersay, its easy to see why the imperium wanted more control over its marines. But to put a cap at a 1000 is just plain nonsensical. This causes several problems:
- Marines become far to valuable to use in all but the most dire missions. Okay, in the gand scheme of the immperium, this is still true. But in many of the stories a company or two of marines go to a realtivley unimportant battlefield in respect to the enitre immperium. This is so illogical as a smart commander would never commita 1/5th of a chapter piecmeal. That is, only in full chapter strength could they effectivley conduct a campaign. Even doing their job of supporting the hammer of the immperium, the guard, is a task too menial for the marines. Losses also become a problem as 1/1000 hurts alot more than say 1/10000. Thus, even commiting one marine is a major comitment for the chapter and thus dulls their effectivness.
Now perhaps I'm wrong. Perhaps the "movie marines" as they are so called are more realstic vision of fluff marines. I suppose if stories like the Deathwing where one company (100 men) liberate a whole planet is accpeted fluff than perhaps a 1000 is enough. But it seems so much more likley that chpaters of 1000 are too small to be tacticaly and strategicaly efficent. I therfore think that fluff would support chapters in size of 10000 or more. This number at least would account for chapters abilites to fight in sustained campiagns, account for large losses, and increase the influence of chapters that seems to be supported in the fluff. What do you all think?
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I think you're forgetting that these guys are absolutely 1337, these aren't just elite, they're all geneticly engineered super soldiers. They learn by eating, can chew through metal, and spit poison! They're just that good that 100 space marines are worth 10,000 guardsman, at least fluffwise (in game it's more like a 3-1 ratio). Power armor alone makes these guys absolutely vicious, combine this with their considerable training, decent weaponry, genetic upgrades, and the experience these guys tend to gain through the years, and suddently a 100 men cleaning out the surface of a planet seems more feasable. Now, mind you, space marines still are heavily supported by Guard, the Imperial Navy, etc. Also, some of these larger campaigns won't just have 1 space marine company present, dozens are involved in crusades and such.
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9th Black Watch (Imperial Guard) 4000 points
Red Corsairs of Khorne 2000 points
Space Wolves 13th Company 2000 points
Movie marines are closer to the fluff than the standard rules. As for the Deathwing story, are you referring to the reason why the DW use Bone as their colour rather than Black/Green? If so, it was only 1 squad, not the whole company.
Last edited by Corianis; October 18th, 2005 at 07:42.
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Well, personally I think that the Inquisitor scale is more accurate in a space marine's ability compared to a human. But on table-top their abilities are actually what I'd expect for them in that situation. There are many places where fluff and tabetop do not meet, and this is one of them.
Space Marines are the perfect shock-troops. A company of Space Marines rarely lands and engages the enemy in battle in the same way that an Imperial Guard army would. Instead, they fight using "Shock and Awe", but they do it a lot better than the american military could ever dream of. Your standard Codex Astartes attack goes like this:
A small battlegroup of Space Marine strike cruisers and perhaps a battle barge appear at a rebel planet, where they immediately demand unconditional surrender... while their ships take up tactical position against any orbiting ships and facilities. If the enemy refuses, they get no second chance. The Space Marine fleet opens fire on enemy ships and cripples or destroys them. They then use boarding torpedos and thunderhawks to board and take control of orbital defenses. Orbital defences are then used to target against strategic positions on planet, such as defense lasers and air bases. The Space Marine fleet pulls into orbit and uses bombardment cannons, torpedos, weapons batteries, lances, and anything they have to bombard enemy positions. Bombardment cannons are particularly nasty. This initial bombardment normally damages their opposition beyond compare. Telemetric data is compiled and they determine where the enemy commander is. Then they stage a rapid strike using drop pods and thunderhawks to decapitiate the enemy army, making surgical strikes to eliminate key forces and leaders. The whole process, when pitted up against a PDF force, should really only take two weeks.
In this combat role, Space Marines should be taken seriously. A detatchment of marines is capable of conquering a planet, but not without their powerful battle barges and strike cruisers.
It needs to be remembered, however, that Space Marines in all but the rarest occasions fight alongside the Imperial Guard, and often have the backup of the Imperial Navy, the Adeptus Sororitas, the Skitarii, the Legio Titanicus, and any local PDF forces. In these circumstances the Space Marines are nothing more than an elite commando force that is intended to rapidly deploy to back up the real Imperial fighting forces, and to tear out the enemy core. As far as I know, the only Space Marines who regularly operate independently are borderline heretic chapters like the Relictors, the Unforgiven, and chapters that are so unstable its unsafe to put any other Imperial forces alongside them such as the Flesh Eaters.
Mmm. We've had this debate before. The conclusion we reached was that the 1000-man limit can be explained in one of three ways:
1. Marines function less like an army and more like SAS, working only on specific types of missions where numbers are irrelevant due to terrain or confined spaces and the advantage is gained via singular skill. Examples: boarding a space hulk, urban warfare, Kill-Teams.
2. Marines are so insanely powerful that one thousand of them is sufficient to destroy an entire world by itself, without any real aid.
3. That the 1000 limit is in fact unrealistic and not sufficient, and is one of the reasons why the Imperium has not dominated the entire galaxy.
Out of those, the first is my personal favourite, and the one I'll rant on about right...now. I always thought Space Marines harkened back to their namesake in their function. The original (real-life) "marines" (not USMC) were small, skilled groups of soldiers who boarded enemy ships during naval warfare and either scuttled them or commandeered them. Since ships have notoriously little open space, numbers were less of a problem. The term was later applied to those soldiers that make amphibious incursions into land from the sea, which involved similar tactics.
So, it was more efficient to send in a small team of great guys than a large team of good guys. Now, that compared to 40k Space Marines gives you some more insight. Marines were not intended to fight on an open battlefield in conventional warfare. They were, and always have been, strike troops. They drop in, kill everything after taking it by surprise - power armour and a bolter can help a lot in a confined corridor, more than flak armour and a lasgun - and then secure the area and wait for reinforcements to arrive.
Now, that got somewhat warped over time, and GW has pushed the idea of Marines as "space knights" more than futuristic paramiltary forces. So, often Games Workshop will say "The Xth Company of (insert name here) made landfall on planet Y and purged the world of heretics" rather than "Chapter X made landfall on planet Y and secured vital power and communications stations, using the relays to give co-ordinates to Guard units who launched a devastating offensive on all fronts, thus capturing the world."
The second option is what will happen. The first is what people like to think happens, which is that a hundred or so Marines take down entire hordes alone, which is rather misleading.
Yeah a chapter might only have 1000 men, but as was stated these fellows devote their entire superhuman lives to fighting, and they are damn good at what they do. Like samurai or european knights, they don't necessarily need a lot of men to get the job done. If you wanna drown the enemy in blood, that's what the Imperial guard is for.
Plus, each chaper may only have 1000 marines, but there are a whole lotta chapters out there as well.
The only "official" estimation for the actual number of Marine chapters is "a thousand thousand." So, approximately one million Marines spread around the galaxy - considering that a single medium-sized Imperial star system has upwards of two billion Guard just in PDF's, it's not that huge at all.
beside the battle borthers themselves a CHapter would typically have 25-30'000 support personnel/thralls
No they didn't..Originally Posted by thedrifter777
Some legions were as low as 30,000 marines during the heresy. I'd imagine the total numbers were probably no more than they are today. About 1,000,000 loyalist marines.
Also, in the fluff.. a squad of space marines can turn the tide of a war. This had to be toned down in game, of course, otherwise it would be no fun. 1,000 marines is, in itself, an awe inspiring force.