- "A weapon the size of a Titan. A near-perfect expression of the Omnissiah's grandeur and, of course, His puissance. Armies are thrown to the wind by its glorious song, and mountains themselves skitter aside at its demand. Nothing stands before a sacred Machine Spirit so mighty without its consent."
- —Tech-priest Garrulon Vyme
The Centurio Ordinatus is a section of the Adeptus Mechanicus' Divisio Militaris, the Mechanicus organisation responsible for the development, maintenance and operation of the mighty Ordinatus war machines. Every individual Ordinatus is a unique construction named after the Imperial world on which it was first employed or built. Each Ordinatus is a unique weapon unto itself, designed for a specific purpose or for a particular battle. This explains why the Ordinatii Tech-priests that operate these massive war machines of the Machine God are configured using special augmetics to aid their intended purpose.
The Centurio Ordinatus is an ancient sub-branch of the Divisio Militaris, able to trace their history back to the Age of Strife before the birth of the Imperium of Man when Mars was an independent human empire ruled by the Tech-priests of the Cult Mechanicum. The Centurio Ordinatus is a highly specialised force, created to deal with siege works or the demands of a specific battle. The immense war engines of the Ordinatus were often created by the individual Forge Worlds to fulfill very particular roles. The Ordinatus classification held the most powerful and arcane mobile weapons platforms in the Mechanicum's arsenal. They were city-burners and fortress breakers without compare, and whether armed with magna-beam lance, matter-cyclone or rad-conflagrator, each was mounted on huge tracked reactor units for mobility and heavily shielded from attack, allowing them to traverse and survive on the most hellish battlefield. Each was a work of deadly artifice and ancient power. Much like the Titans whose firepower they often outstripped, the Ordinatus varied in scale and potency. From the truly colossal, unique and unreplicable relics of the Dark Age of Technology, the Ordinatus Primaris, such as the Mars and Endymion whose power was legendary, even compared to the god machines of the great Legio Titanicus, to the lesser but still gargantuan and deadly Ordinatus Minoris sub-classes. The Minoris were, at the height of the Great Crusade, within the reach of only the most potent Forge Worlds to construct, and only then in the most limited numbers.
During the Horus Heresy when the galaxy was torn apart by strife and civil war, both Loyalist and Traitor forces of the Centurio Ordinatus unleashed all manner of forbidden and experimental weapons upon one another. Such were the gifts that the Renegade Forge World of Xana II offered; no less than three such terrifying weapons of the Ordinatus Ulator pattern, fully battle ready and armed with devastating sonic destructor weapons. These were Titan-killers, slaughterers of armies, each powerful enough to turn the tide of a battle at a stroke, and in potency far beyond any super-heavy tank and dwarfing the firepower of even the mighty Diamatine siege-guns that had fallen into the grasp of the Iron Warriors earlier in the Horus Heresy.
Schism of MarsEdit
During the Horus Heresy, Mars itself, homeworld of the Mechanicum, was riven by civil war. This deadly internecine conflict erupted on Mars between the Loyalist factions of the Mechanicum and the Traitors of the Dark Mechanicum during the opening days of the galaxy-wide conflict and was known as the Schism of Mars. The Traitor Mechanicum armies, commanded by Magos Solomon Abbadon, turned against the Emperor and attempted to overthrow those Mechanicum elements not loyal to the traitorous Fabricator-General Kelbor-Hal. From his mountain citadel of Jericho, Abbadon sent forth his rebel forces to attack the forge-factories and installations of those who remained loyal to the Emperor.
Inevitably, the Imperium retaliated and sent an Imperial expeditionary fleet commanded by the Imperial Fists Legion Champion and First Captain Sigismund, 4 companies of Imperial Fists and a large force of Imperial Army soldiers drawn from multiple regiments to secure the forges of Mars and to annihilate Magos Abbadon's traitorous minions and bring Imperial justice to the rebel lord. This proved impossible, though, since the fortress of Jericho was protected by an ancient alien device discovered during the Great Crusade. The Vortex field generator, thought to be an artefact of the enigmatic C'tan, rendered any attack from orbit impossible. Any ship which approached too close was torn apart or displaced into the Warp. Eventually, an Imperial army fought its way to the foothills of the mountains, a few kilometers from Jericho, where it discovered that the Vortex field did not cover the planet's surface.
Castellum Jericho, as the citadel was known, boasted walls half a mile thick, which soared into the clouds. The central bastion was constructed from the hardest metal alloys known to humanity and could withstand any amount of pounding by the Imperium's siegemasters. Another solution was needed, and the Loyalist Mechanicum provided the answer. The Ordinatus Mars utilised unique technology to produce a sound wave which resonated across the battlefield. When this sonic wall hit Castellum Jericho, the walls crumbled to dust as they shook themselves apart. The infamous Tower of Steel bent and crumpled like foil, filling the air with the tortured shriek of twisting metal. Thousands of Tech-Guard troops poured through the breach, and Solomon Abbadon was summarily executed for his treacherous crimes.
Post-Heresy Centurio OrdinatusEdit
Following the end of the Horus Heresy, many of these leviathan war engines were lost or simply forgotten. Some remained hidden, deep underground or in remote locations, while others remained hidden in secret armouries lost to the ages. Often the rediscovery of such potent engines of destruction results in conflict as opposing factions vie for control of these immensely powerful living icons of the Machine God which are revered as sacred by the Mechanicus. Those few examples of Ordinatus weapons that still exist are deployed only sparingly, and many of them date back to the Great Crusade and have been meticulously maintained for millennia.
Centurio Ordinatus TodayEdit
These huge engines of destruction are not attached to any specific Titan Legion or Skitarii army. Instead, they fall under the direct control of a division of the Adeptus Mechanicus known as the Centurio Ordinatus. It is the Centurio Ordinatus that decides if these highly specialised machines are to be made available to Imperial military forces, since many of them are ancient indeed and require a large amount of preparation and maintenance to ready them for war. The Ordinatus are amongst the strangest machines to be constructed by the Adeptus Mechanicus. Almost all of them were originally designed and built for a particular battle or campaign, and some of them have never been powered up for conflict since their first and only use.
Other Ordinatus have weapons and capabilities which see more general use, and demand for them is high. Only in the most important Imperial battles or campaigns are the Ordinatus sent to war, and even then only for pre-specified operations. Amongst the enemies of the Imperium, the names of the Ordinatus are spoken with reverent fear, their devastating capabilities displayed on thousands of battlefields since the Emperor's Ascension to the Golden Throne. The Cult Mechanicus reveres the Ordinatus as avatars of the Machine God, creations of such cunning and power they could never be improved upon or made outdated. Thus they have been carefully maintained, and when sent to war they are inscribed with sacred runes, anointed with the most precious oils and unguents, and blessed by the Lord of the Centurio Ordinatus. Their crews are the most highly trained of the Skitarii, warriors who fight with the zealous fanaticism of those who serve a living God.
Technology of the OrdinatiiEdit
The Ordinatii are renowned for their relentless advance towards the enemy, trailing havoc and destruction in their wake. Ordinatii are powered by immense plasma generators, which drive the tracks and energise their weapon systems. These are very volatile, and if the Ordinatus is destroyed they will explode spectacularly in a massive ball of roiling plasma. Ordinatii are protected by a massive energy shield known as a Dispersion Field. Projectiles and energy bolts deflect harmlessly away from this crackling dome of power, leaving the Ordinatus unscathed. Unfortunately, the Dispersion Field requires tremendous amounts of power, and will eventually overload its generators. This means that what starts out as a near impenetrable force field gradually weakens as the battle progresses, letting more and more enemy fire through. The shield also affords the Ordinatus some psychic protection, in much the same way as Void Shields do for Imperial starships. The following weapons are commonly employed by different Ordinatii:
- Hellfire Missile - Hellfire is a common term for a potent acidic/viral compound developed by the Adeptus Mechanicus. It burns through armour and sears flesh, usually leaving the few who survive hideously scarred and crippled. It is a matter of opinion whether or not it is better to die from a Hellfire attack or to survive. Ordinatus Golgotha carries 6 Hellfire Missiles and can only fire 1 or 2 per hour. A Hellfire Missile has multiple warheads, allowing it to completely devastate a wide area. In addition, the extensive scanning equipment aboard Ordinatus Golgotha allows it to fire with unerring accuracy. The Hellfire Missiles can be fired at any point on the battlefield, even at targets that are out of line of sight, with no chance of scattering. Unlike normal indirect barrages, there is no need for friendly troops to spot for the accurate launch of a Hellfire Missile. Enemy units attacked by this horrendous weapon may be panicked by the agonised screams of their comrades, as their flesh burns away and their bones melt.
- Nova Cannons - The Nova Cannon is similar to the Plasma Annihilator of an Imperator-class Titan. However, rather than releasing a burst of raw plasma, the Nova Cannon can focus and control the potent energies with greater precision. This allows the crew to siphon small amounts of plasma into the discharge chamber, producing a rapid burst of fire. Alternatively, the crew can flood the chamber with all the remaining plasma and send out an earth-shattering blast of energy. In addition, the immense energy released by a massive burst produces a beam of plasma which covers a wide area.
- Belicos Pattern Volcano Cannon - An ancient pattern of weapon whose destructive power is omparable to many shipboard cannon and planetary defence lasers, few mobile weapons platforms are capable of mounting the Belicosa simply due to its savage power requirements, as well as the danger of the thermal and radiation overspill of its firing. Only the Ordinatus Minoris and the most powerful Battle Titans, such as the Warlord, are ordained to bear such a weapon by the Mechanicum, and before their power, the strongest fortress walls may be reduced to glowing embers and the most resilient armour to molten slag and vapour.
- Sonic Disruptor - A Sonic Disruptor utilises unique technology that produces sound waves which resonate across the battlefield, crumbling buildings, shattering bones, bursting organs and causing electronic equipment to explode as the wall of sonic energy passes over enemy forces. The frequency of sound used by the Sonic Disrupter ravages those who fall victim to it, from a subsonic rumbling that tears buildings apart to a supersonic squall that pierces eardrums and flays skin from flesh. The Sonic Disrupter scales repeatedly up and down these frequencies, causing a blast of sonic energy that rolls forward like a force wave from a massive conventional explosion. Hiding in cover is of little use, since woods and rubble are just blown apart and walls simply amplify the sonic wave if they are not shattered. Even the weighty armour of a Titan or the reinforced buttresses of a stronghold provide little protection against the wrath of Sonic Disruptors, most of which were first deployed by the Ordinatus Mars. Targets protected by energy fields such as Void Shields will lose one shield to the sonic wave before it passes.
- Ulator Class Sonic Disruptor - A terrifying weapon whose origins lie in the shadows of the Age of Strife, these devices, though inferior copies of the unique armament of the great Primus Ordinatus Mars, still operate on an order of magnitude far beyond anything mounted even on the largest super-heavy tank found in the Imperium's common arsenal. Using a plasma reactor akin to those found on Battle Titans to power a directional sonic transduction generator of staggering force, it emits a varying waveform of destructive sound energy able to shatter the most resilient materials. The annihilating wave-pulse traverses the battlefield wreaking havoc in its path, the particular effect of its design meaning that the larger the target struck, the more damaging the wave's impact.
- Ordinatus Armageddon - Ordinatus Armageddon first shed blood during the massive Chaos invasion of the planet of the same name during the First War for Armageddon. The Krone Banelords, a group of Daemon Engines deployed for the Chaos assault upon Armageddon, were instrumental in the destruction of many cities, but a genius of the Adeptus Mechanicus, Geronimus Undersen, devised an Ordinatus as a defence against the marauding war machines. Undersen mounted a massive starship weapon onto a land bound chassis, giving the Imperial forces an immense war machine powerful enough to destroy even the largest and most heavily armoured foes. This idea was by no means original, and followed the concept behind the famous Squat Titan-killer known as the Cyclops. In the ensuing battle for Tartarus Hive, Ordinatus Armageddon destroyed no less than four Chaos Titans, and two detachments of Daemon Engines. With the heavy firepower of this machine, the Chaos assault waves broke upon the mile-high walls like a tide upon the rocks. Ordinatus Armageddon is feared by all enemies of the Imperium as a war machine capable of destroying all opposition.
- Ordinatus Belecane - The Ordinatus Belacane is an ancient and forbidding device mounted upon a colossal tracked crawler which can project a vast temporal Stasis Field up to a kilometre away. This field can either freeze anything in the path of its beam immobile, making it vulnerable to missile attacks, or age the target by centuries in a second if it is organic. It has not been used in anger for over 500 standard years, and is now regarded as too precious to leave its home planet, the Forge World of Belacane.
- Ordinatus Hervara - The Ordinatus hidden in the caverns of the planet Hervara, located on the Calixis Sector's Spinward Front, is a Sonic Disruptor. Physically, because of its armament, this Ordinatus most closely resembles the architectural style of the renowned Ordinatus Mars. While the whereabouts of that ancient vehicle are uncertain, there are no records of it ever having been in the Calixis Sector. Historical imagery also indicates several critical design variations from the Ordinatus present on Hervara. The origins of the one found buried upon Hervara are unclear. Consequently, its historical record remains unknown. In the event that the Imperial Guard were to recover the vehicle, it is certain that members of the Adeptus Mechanicus would make uncovering its history a priority. Most likely, the Ordinatus was sent to Hervara to be refit after seeing action during long-passed days of the Great Crusade. As there are no known records of activity upon the world from that ancient era, the massive vehicle might even have seen service there. Alternatively, it might be that it was used elsewhere within the Periphery Sub-sector, and transferred to Hervara because of the availability of certain raw materials or technical expertise at the time. Unless some documentation survives within the vehicle’s Machine Spirit (Artificial Intelligence), the weapon's true history is almost certainly lost to time forever.
- Ordinatus Golgotha - After the infamous Ork Warlord Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka was defeated on the Hive World of Armageddon during the Second War for Armageddon, he fled to the stars. His nemesis, Commissar Yarrick, tracked him down to the Squat world of Golgotha. Despite the assistance of Yarrick, the Squats were defeated by Ghazghkull's horde and Yarrick was captured. In an attempt to humiliate his arch-foe, Ghazghkull did not kill Yarrick, but imprisoned him instead. However, the resourceful Yarrick managed to escape and return to Golgotha with a punitive force of Titans and Skitarri. The early battles went badly for the Imperium, as the sheer size of the Ork WAAAAGH! overwhelmed them time and time again. In an attempt to smash the massive Ork mobs, Ordinatus Golgotha was constructed in the recaptured strongholds of the Squats. Golgotha's terrifying Hellfire Missiles devastated the Orks, slaying thousands over the course of a week. The Orks were routed from the Squat homeworld and since then, Ordinatus Golgotha has always been in the forefront of any battle against enemies who have a strong numerical advantage.
- Ordinatus Mars - This Ordinatus was created at the outset of the Horus Heresy during the Mechanicum civil war known as the Schism of Mars by Loyalist Mechanicus forces to overcome the problem of assaulting the Dark Mechanicus forge-city known as the Castellum Jericho. This formidable citadel boasted walls half a mile thick and was protected by a mysterious archeotech device known as a Vortex Field Generator. The central bastion was constructed from the hardest metal alloys known to humanity and could withstand any amount of pounding by the Imperium's formost siegemasters. The Ordinatus Mars utilised the unique technology known as a Sonic Disruptor to produce sound waves which resonated across the battlefield, crumbling the walls of the formidable citadel to dust as they were shook apart.
- Ordinatus Endymion
- Ordinatii Minoris - Ordinatii Minoris are massive crawler units, each the length of three Leman Russ Tanks. They possess two wide track units, one at the front and one at the rear, and between these is supported the mass of the war machine. Upon their backs are mounted massive artillery pieces originally developed to be borne by the colossal war machines of the Titan Legions.
- Ordinatus Priam - This huge tunneling Ordinatus was assembled during the Siege of Priam, a city overrun by the Traitor Legions during the Horus Heresy. This immense creation was designed to tunnel through the planet's crust and then navigate through the white-hot molten rock of the mantle underneath. This rendered it undetectable to Priam's defences and allowed four companies of elite Imperial Army troops to storm the city's Generatum Vulcanis, breaking the siege. However, Ordinatus Priam was irrevocably damaged during the attack, as parts of its heat shielding gave way.
- Ordinatus Sagittar - The Mechanicum Ordinatus Sagittar is a massively destructive war engine, as rare as it is potent. Similar in design to the Ordinatus Ulator, the Sagittar differs in its primary weapon being a Volcano Cannon of prodigious power. In the time of the Great Crusade the Ordinatus macro engines were rarer than even the Battle Titans of the Legio Titanica, and only a handful of Forge Worlds had the resources or indeed the doctrinal blessing and religious authority to produce or maintain such embodiments of the Omnissiah's divine wrath. Such was the sacredness of these machines above all others, that an entire sub-cult of the Mechanicum was devoted to their worship and propitiation.
- Ordinatus Ulator - A rare and truly arcane weapon system of staggering power, the Mechanicum Ordinatus Ulator is of the smaller classes of Ordinatus, but nevertheless is one of the most potent war machines at the Imperium's disposal. In the time of the Great Crusade, Ordinatus macro engines were rarer than even the Battle Titans of the Legio Titanica, and only a handful of Forge Worlds had the resources, or indeed the doctrinal blessing and religious authority, to produce or maintain such embodiments of the Omnissiah's divine wrath. Such was the sacredness of these machines above all others that an entire sub-cult of the Mechanicum was devoted to their worship and propitiation. An Ordinatus Ulator carries a trio of Volkite Culverins as its secondary armaments, but its primary weapon is the Ulator class Sonic Destructor. A terrifying weapon whose origins lie in the shadows of the Age of Strife, the Sonic Destructor can generate a wave of annihilation that wreaks havoc across a battlefield. Three of these deadly Ordinatus platforms were given over the Warmaster Horus at the behest of the renegade Forge World of Xana. These Ordinatus, named Mithrax, Nepothax and Ashurax after Ancient Terran deities long dead of worship, were first to be demonstrated before the Warmaster's chosen emissary at the Forge World's own proving grounds on the moon of Xana-Tisiphone, then afterwards, their ceremonial handover would act as a symbolic sealing of Xana's loyalty to Horus.
- Ordinatus Urkallac
- Ordinatus Volcanis Ultor - A massive artillery piece manned by Volcanis Ultor's class of Tech-priests, this Ordinatus was used with the intent to destroy the attacking forces of Grey Knights Space Marines before they could manage to breach the Heretics' defense lines. The battle would have been over in moments if the Ordinatus, stationed in the wasteland surrounding the primary Hive City, could home in on the landing enemy forces and send pinpoint salvoes of multiple warheads on top of them. Fortunately, this Ordinatus was destroyed by the wreckage of the Grey Knights Strike Cruiser Rubicon after it was destroyed by the Chaos warships defending the planet from space. The Rubicon crashed into the Heretics' defense lines, and the massive wreckage ripped apart the Ordinatus' immense cannon barrel and its titanic ammunition loader systems.
- Ordinatii Diamat - The Eradicant and Obliteratus were potent siege-guns stolen from the Mechanicum on Diamat by the Ist Legion during the opening days of the Horus Heresy in order to deny them to the Traitor Legions of Warmaster Horus. The gargantuan mobile artillery pieces were subsequently entrusted to Perturabo before the Dropsite Massacre -- given as a gift from one Primarch to another -- the pride-foolish Lion El'Jonson thinking to buy the loyalties of his brother to be chosen as the next Warmaster after Horus was defeated. The Lion had unknowingly handed over the mighty siege-guns to the traitor Iron Warriors Legion, who later go on to make good use of them against the Imperial Palace during the Siege of Terra. The mighty Ordinatii were as long as a Titan was tall, their enormous barrels comprised of a single macrocannon gaping darkness and death from where its great pulleys and derricks allowed them to rest. The massive machines bristled with automated emplacements -- quad-lasers, flak batteries and mega-bolters silent and ready to roar to the siege gun's defence. Fat, tracked ordnance compartments two stories high stretched for hundreds of meters, trailing the main gun carriages like the segmentations of a death world decamillipede. Fully armoured and protected by void shield generators, their weaponry could level a small fortress with ease from miles away. Each mobile-artillery piece also boasted an MIU interface chamber -- a neural link between weapon and gunner which resulted in unparalleled accuracy, data-streaming, response-calibration and rate of ire -- not unlike that expected of a Titan's gunnery moderati -- to be one with the weapon. Utilising a unique, if somewhat suicidal, strategy devised by the disgraced Warsmith Idriss Krendl, known as Ironfire, the Iron Warriors were able to attack a fortification during a full-scale bombardment rather than following it. With such a redoubtable force, they were able to utilise the eye of the storm as their protection, striking at the strategic heart of an enemy exposed, an enemy in confusion, while all else about them was turned to ash and screams. With their powerful siege-guns, the Iron Warriors possessed the advantages mind-linked artillery could bring. The Techmarine gunners of each Ordinatus was able to monitor the attacking force's position from the signature of their battle plate, and time the impact of their artillery to clear a path before them of walls, structures, emplacements and enemy forces. It was a feat of transhuman timing and calculation -- a daring technique that was utilised with brutal effect against the defending forces of the Imperial Palace during the epic final battle of the Heresy. Following the conclusion of this epic conflict, and the routing of the Traitor Legions, history does not record what became of this pair of Ordinatii.
- Black Industries - Guide to the Calixis Sector (PDF), pg. 24
- Dark Heresy: The Lathe Worlds (RPG), pg. 12
- Epic Warhammer 40,000 Armies Book (3rd Edition), pg. 24
- Only War: Final Testamanet (RPG), pp. 13, 16, 20, 31-37, 39, 47, 49, 57, 69-70, 83 , 88, 94, 96-119, 134, 136, 141-143
- The Horus Heresy - Book Six: Retribution by Alan Bligh, pp. 30, 62, 65-69, 71, 74, 80-81, 276-277
- White Dwarf 191 (UK), "Ordinatus: Imperium" by Gav Thorpe, pp. 49-53
- Ironfire (E-Short) by Rob Sanders
- Dark Apostle (Novel) by Anthony Reynolds, pp. 129, 185
- Grey Knights (Novel) by Ben Counter, pp. 67, 76, 87-88
- Helsreach (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Iron Hands (Novel) by Jonathan Green
- Forge World - Mechanicum Ordinatus Ulator
- Forge World - Mechanicum Ordinatus Sagittar