Third Founding (Presumed)
Blood Angels (Suspected)
Black and maroon
The Charnel Guard is a Loyalist Space Marine Chapter of unknown Founding and origin. This reclusive, fleet-based Chapter, whose chronicle threads through many dark passages of the Imperium's history, is believed by some sources to be an unacknowledged offshoot of the Blood Angels. This Chapter is known to seal themselves away in vast stasis crypts when not on campaign, and the Chapter's armoury holds countless examples of weapons rarely seen in the late 41st Millennium. Evidence for this can be seen in the number of ancient war relics it is known to possess, such as a Fellblade super-heavy tank and at least two other super-heavy tanks of similar provenance. In particular, this Chapter is is known to possess a sizable fleet of Fire Raptor gunships, a specialised variant of the Storm Eagle. This Chapter is most notable for being a part of the Maelstrom Warders, an alliance of Space Marine Chapters dedicated to the defence of the volatile and dangerous region of the Ultima Segmentum of the galaxy known as the Maelstrom Zone from the Chaos Renegades of the nearby Warp rift of the same name.
- The Pentarchy of Blood (860-940.M33) - During the War of the False Primarch, a dark and bloody episode of the Imperium's history, now largely lost to myth and purged from the record, which plunged the Segmentum Pacificus into anarchy, the Pentarchy of Blood was convened by the High Lords of Terra to enact their judgement. Five Chapters; the Charnel Guard, the Carcharodons, the Death Eagles, the Flesh Eaters and the Red Talons are used to systematically destroy eleven Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes judged Traitoris Perdita and lay waste to their home worlds, finally drawing the eight decade conflict to a close.
- Great Malagantine Purge (770-791.M38) - The Great Malagantine Purge was an Imperial military operation carried out by 5 Space Marine Chapters collectively termed the Manus Irae ("Hands of Wrath" in High Gothic) who unleashed the Emperor of Mankind's wrath upon the heretical Malagant Sector in the Segmentum Tempestus. The details of this operation have been kept secret from the Imperial Adepta, including the Inquisition, with the records of the campaign sealed deep within the Celarno Vaults on Terra. What is recorded in fragmentary Imperial records is that the Manus Irae were charged by the High Lords of Terra of that era to "spare none and set a bloody, fearful example to the realm of Mankind." The death toll unleashed by the Manus Irae during the course of this 21-year long campaign is believed to have been enormous and to have reached hundreds of billions of lives. Whole worlds were put to the sword by the Astartes or were wiped clean of all life by Exterminatus orders that unleashed a hideous, flesh-dissolving virus upon their inhabitants. The Black Fragments of Cardinal Bloch the Reviled, one of the few remaining heretical sources which contain information concerning the Purge of Malagant, explains that the Manus Irae consisted of 5 Chapters, but listed only three by name, including the Fire Hawks, Silver Skulls and the Charnel Guard.
- Angevin Crusade (322-384.M39) - Praetor Golgenna Angevin, a powerful noble from the Terran Court is raised to the rank of Lord Militant and granted a writ from the High Lords to persecute the Angevin Crusade to liberate and dominate the area of space designated as the Calyx Expanse. His Crusade forces were drawn principally from the Segmentum Solar and numbered over 17 million levied troops divided into four battle groups and a strategic reserve, re-enforced by Titans drawn from the Legio Venator and Legio Magna, as well as the Charnel Guard, Black Templars, Tigers Argent, and Sons of Medusa Chapters of Adeptus Astartes and a significant naval deployment from the Battlefleets Solar and Obscurus. A score of Rogue Trader and Explorator fleets ranged ahead of the main forces identifying targets and providing active reconnaissance in this dangerous region of space. Swelling the Imperial forces' already vast ranks were tens of thousands of "pauper warriors" of the Frateris Militia whipped up into a frenzy of holy zeal by the Ecclesiarchy and innumerable petty hangers-on, opportunists and logistical transports, with supply trains leading back whole sectors away from the front. With their final victory achieved in 384.M39, the Angevin Crusade officially ended, giving rise to the birth of the Imperium's Calixis Sector.
- Assault on Keziah's Moon (Unknown Date.M41) - When the Charnel Guard took part in the orbital assault of Keziah's Moon in the Bittershard System, each of their Storm Eagle attack waves was accompanied by a rare Fire Raptor gunship to provide additional fire support, the largest deployment of these vehicles observed in at least the last three millennia. Several different variations of this formation have been observed by the Charnel Guard.
- Maelstrom Warders (587.M41) - In direct response to the numerous dire predations from the Maelstrom an Edict Imperialis was pronounced by the High Lords of Terra and the order was given to permanently base several Space Marine Chapters in the Maelstrom Zone in order to protect the Imperium's interests and pacify the region. The Astral Claws Chapter, in recognition of their past glorious service to the Imperium, was given the high honour of commanding the newly formed Maelstrom Warders task force. This force also included the fleet-based Charnel Guard and Lamenters Chapters, who were specifically charged to patrol the Maelstrom's outer regions, and was also to incorporate the Mantis Warriors who were already based in the nearby Endymion Cluster within its command.
- Scourge Campaign (640-651.M41) - The Scourge Campaign was one of the largest Imperial operations conducted in the Maelstrom Zone, in which the Maelstrom Warders carried out a series of major combat operations, striking deep into the heart of the Maelstrom itself and taking the battle to the Renegade servants of Chaos, the first Imperial force in centuries to do so. Despite the Space Marines' numerous successes, their efforts were suddenly curtailed when the Charnel Guard Chapter was abruptly withdrawn from the Maelstrom Zone entirely. By direct intervention of the Adeptus Terra, the Chapter's ties to the Warders were severed and they were dispatched on the Thanatos Crusade into the Veiled Region at the edge of the Segmentum Tempestus.
The Charnel Guard's Chapter colours are known to be primarily black and maroon.
The Charnel Guard's Chapter badge is a black-coloured stylised fleur-de-lis cross, adorned with lily petal flourishes at the arm-ends, outlined in white. A maroon-coloured, diamond-shaped lozenge is centred on the cross with a fanged skull in its center.
- Imperial Armour Volume Two, Second Edition - War Machines of the Adeptus Astartes, pg. 17
- Imperial Armour Volume Two, Second Edition - War Machines of the Adeptus Astartes, pp. 107, 135
- Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part One, pp. 13–14, 68-69
- Dark Heresy Apocrypha: Dark Heresy Timeline