Warmaster Macaroth was the successor of the Warmaster Slaydo, both Lord Commanders of the Imperial Sabbat Worlds Crusade. This Crusade was a massive effort by the Imperium of Man to retake the Sabbat Worlds Sector in the Segmentum Pacificus from the Forces of Chaos in the late 41st Millennium.
Macaroth first distinguished himself as a young Imperial Guard commander at the end of the first decade of the Sabbat Worlds Crusade during the assault on the Chaos-held world of Balhaut in 765.M41. During the assault, intense levels of combat occurred at the city of Balopolis, where Imperial Guard forces found themselves in a fierce fire fight with Magister Sholen Skara's Kith forces. Within a span of 58 hours, three successive Imperial commanders were either severely wounded or killed. Hearing of the plight faced by the Guard at Balopolis, the Warmaster sent an immediate despatch to promote Macaroth to the brevet rank of Marshal, in order that a commander so young could garner the necessary respect from the men under his command at that Emperor-forsaken hour.
In truth the Warmaster may have believed the Battle of Balopolis a lost cause, as by hour 65 of the battle the overall situation seemed hopeless. Fortunately for the forces on the ground, the ferocious enemy resistance in Balopolis ultimately began to falter. Macaroth had succeeded, against all odds, in rallying his fractured forces to drive an Imperial offensive into the central wards of the city. Trusting his own wit and instincts, a trademark aptly demonstrated in his later career, Macaroth made his command decisions only as the situation dictated, eschewing standard Imperial tactical practice. By the ninth day of the battle, Macaroth's forces had managed to punch through the banks of chlorine gas released by the enemy and stormed the last of the central wards. By day's end, Macaroth had successfully turned an expected rout into a much needed Imperial victory. The young Marshal had unequivocally established his credentials as an Imperial commander to be taken seriously in the Crusade. When Slaydo received word of Marshal Macaroth's success at Balopolis the Warmaster was reported to have been "struck mute with great admiration."
In his final assault on the Palace of the Oligarchy on Balhaut to drive the Forces of Chaos from the world, the Warmaster encountered Archon Nadzybar and his elite bodyguard on the Western Palisade. The Warmaster and the vile Archon soon joined in furious single combat. For nearly ten minutes the two traded vicious blows, but the final outcome was never in doubt, as the Archon was dealt a mortal blow and fell back dead. Unfortunately, Slaydo was mortally wounded as well. As he lay dying, Slaydo appointed the young Marshal Macaroth to be his successor as the Crusade's new Warmaster, ignoring the claims of more senior and experienced Imperial officers to the position. This appointment by the dying Warmaster brooked no argument from the Lords Militant of the Crusade, but Cybon, Hechtor Dravere and others were incensed by Slaydo's decision, regarding the newly-appointed Warmaster as too young and too junior for the command.
A period of bitter political infighting soon ensued, but Macaroth managed to cling to his rightful position as the newly appointed senior commander of the Crusade. By refusing to be cowed by the other general officers, Macaroth displayed early on that he possessed the talent required to outmanoeuvre his rivals politically and that he also had the ideal temperament and qualities for the role of Warmaster, as Slaydo had foreseen. In the decade following the Balhaut campaign, Warmaster Macaroth became regarded as one of the foremost Imperial military commanders of his time, standing upon the shoulders of his noble predecessor and using the solid gains of the early days of the Crusade as a springboard towards further Imperial victories. Perhaps this is what Slaydo had recognised in the young commander when deciding that he would make a suitable successor. Macaroth continued to display, from the very beginning of his command,a keen grasp of military tactics, an intuitive intellect, decisive instincts, and, perhaps most importantly, a willingness to take risks, especially with his extraordinary prosecution of the Cabal Salient campaign at the end of 765.M41. From that moment on, the new Warmaster prosecuted the Sabbat Worlds Crusade to its inevitable conclusion and a final Imperial victory.
- Gaunt's Ghosts (Novel Series) by Dan Abnett
- Sabbat Worlds Crusade (Background Book) by Dan Abnett