The Desert Lions is a Loyalist Codex Astartes-compliant Space Marine Chapter. It is a Second Founding Successor Chapter of the Ultramarines Legion. It is known to have fought during the military campaign known as Operation Carthage during the Great Scouring in 31st Millennium, following the defeat of Warmaster Horus and the Traitor Legions, to retake the world of Istvaan V from the Forces of Chaos who had controlled it since the first days of the Horus Heresy. Little else is known about the Chapter in current Imperial records.

Chapter HistoryEdit

The origins of the Desert Lions Chapter can be traced back to the Great Crusade over ten millennia earlier, when they were still a part of the Ultramarines Legion, known as the XIII Legion, before their reunification with their Primarch Roboute Guilliman. The warrior brotherhood of the XIII had, at that time, only in the decades after their initial raising on Terra, begun to display its achievements visually. But rather than take on a particular livery and iconography as a whole, individual companies who had come to prominence in a particularly important Compliance operation or campaign took on additions to their core Legion livery -- which maintained the post-Unification storm grey and gunmetal they had worn since Sedna -- to commemorate their greatest achievements. It is not known from what company or elements within the Ultramarines they originally descended from, or from what actions or campaign in which they earned the cognomen "Desert Lions."

Following the end of the Horus Heresy, Primarch Roboute Guilliman was responsible for the restructuring of the Imperium's military forces. The vast Space Marine Legions would be broken down into numerous, smaller existing formations, known as Chapters. When the Second Founding of the Space Marines was decreed seven years after the death of Horus and the end of his Heresy, most of the old Loyalist Legions divided into fewer than 5 Successor Chapters, but the Ultramarines were divided many times. The "Desert Lions" formed the core group of Astartes for the newly formed Desert Lions Chapter. During the dark years of the Great Scouring, the Desert Lions took part in the vitally important military campaign known as Operation Carthage, to take back the world of Istvaan V, the sight of the treacherous Drop Site Massacre, that saw three Loyalist Legions shattered. They fought alongside a cohort of Battle-automata from the Adeptus Mechanicus' Legio Cybernetica. During this operation, they successfully took the enemy's planetary defences, and routed the Traitor forces.

Notable CampaignsEdit

Robot Maniple

Techmarine Sault Lliamson of the Desert Lions with his Imperial Robot maniple, just prior to Operation Carthage

  • Operation Carthage (Second Pacification of Istvaan V) (Unknown Date.M31) - The Desert Lions were assigned to retake Istvaan V from the Forces of Chaos alongside a cohort of war robots from the Adeptus Mechanicus' Legio Cybernetica. The Chapter had been tasked with the difficult job of reducing the enemies' planetary fortresses. To deal with the problem, the Desert Lions programmed the Legio Cybernetica robots to assault the Chaotic citadels in a seemingly mindless fashion. Though the robots were easily defeated and almost wiped out by the defenders, the automatons also succeeded in providing invaluable intelligence to the Astartes on the nature of the Chaotics' defences, including their firing plans and the various blind spots in the defence. With this information, when the Desert Lions launched their own assault upon the fortresses they were able to quickly reduce the defenders and bring the world back under Imperial control. Only 7 Desert Lions Space Marines were lost during the assault. In gratitude, the Desert Lions inducted all of the surviving robots of the Legio Cybernetica cohort into the Chapter as honourary Battle-Brothers.

Notable Desert LionsEdit

Chapter AppearanceEdit

Chapter ColoursEdit

The Desert Lions' Chapter colours are not listed in current Imperial records.

Chapter BadgeEdit

The Desert Lions' Chapter badge is not listed in current Imperial records.


  • The Horus Heresy - Book Five: Tempest by Alan Bligh, pp. 70, 73
  • Warhammer 40,000 Compendium (1st Edition), pp. 99-100
  • White Dwarf 104 (UK), "Chapter Approved: Imperial Robots", by Mike Brunton

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