- "The enemy have been sighted. I am going to engage. In the name of the Emperor: Ravenwing - Attack! Attack! ATTACK!"
- — Grand Master Gideon
The Ravenwing is the name of the 2nd Company of the Dark Angels Chapter of Space Marines and is also usually used as the name for the 2nd Company of all of the Dark Angels' Successor Chapters, who are collectively known as the Unforgiven. The Ravenwing Company is a highly specialised unit that is intended to make use of mobility and speed to defeat the enemy rather than heavy firepower. Originally the Ravenwing was the portion of the Dark Angels Chapter and the Unforgiven Chapters that was tasked with hunting down the remaining Fallen Angels, the Dark Angels who turned to Chaos during the Horus Heresy and betrayed both the Emperor and the Dark Angels' Primarch Lion El'Jonson.
The Ravenwing originated as the heavy cavalry unit of the feudal knights known as The Order on the Dark Angels' homeworld of Caliban before the Great Crusade. The Order hunted the potent Chaos-mutated Great Beasts that terrorised the deep forests of that ancient Death World. This cavalry unit of The Order wore black plate armour with distinctive winged helms and was so skilled in battle that its members could survive the deep forests of Caliban alone.
Only the Chapter's senior officers were aware of the Ravenwing's primary role in hunting down and capturing the Fallen Angels of the original Dark Angels Legion. The members of the 2nd Company are granted only limited knowledge to the secrets of the Dark Angels. They know more than the Astartes of the Dark Angels' other companies, but far less than the elite 1st Company of the Deathwing and the Chapter's Inner Circle. Those Battle-Brothers selected for service in the 2nd Company must not only possess an affinity for fast attack vehicles, but also a mental fortitude exceptional even for an Astartes. Only the most stoic of Space Marines are chosen to join the ranks of the Ravenwing, for those that they hunt are Traitors and debased Heretics who seek to undermine their faith in the Emperor, the Lion and the Imperium itself. For this reason, the members of the Ravenwing are constantly monitored by the Chapter's Chaplains for any signs of spiritual turmoil or corruption that could be caused by contact with these malignant Heretics.
The 2nd Company is led by the current Master of the Ravenwing Company, Captain Sammael. He has led this elite company into battle for over a century, inheriting his current role from the previous Master of the Ravenwing, Gideon, as he lay dying. He succeeded Gideon as the Master of the Ravenwing, a decision later ratified by the unanimous assent of the company's Astartes and the Chapter's Grand Masters. Sammael is privileged to ride into battle on one of the last known examples of an Imperial Jetbike, a lost piece of Imperial anti-gravitic technology dating back to the time of the Great Crusade. This nigh-extinct form of archeotech is highly prized, as it has not been seen in the service of the Imperium for millennia.
Hunt for the Fallen
When a member of the Dark Angels or of one of the other Unforgiven Chapters receives the honour of being promoted into the Ravenwing Company, they learn the secret truth of the Chapter. The Dark Angels' Primarch Lion El'Jonson was betrayed at the end of the Horus Heresy by his second-in-command Luther, who slew the Lion in single combat on the Dark Angels' lost homeworld of Caliban before he and those other Dark Angels who had been corrupted by Chaos were transported into the Warp by the will of the Ruinous Powers. These Traitor Marines are known today as the Fallen Angels, and the Dark Angels and all of their Unforgiven kin are sworn to bring every one of the Fallen to repentance or death before they can receive the Emperor's forgiveness. The Ravenwing Company was originally created to serve as highly mobile hunters in the pursuit of the Fallem Angels and this is still their most important, if highly secret role within all of the Unforgiven Chapters.
Like the Deathwing, the Ravenwing does not conform to the ideal of Space Marine Chapter organisation as laid out in the Codex Astartes, though the other Dark Angels and Unforgiven Chapters' companies are considered to be Codex-compliant. The Ravenwing Company is mostly composed of Bike Squads and squadrons of assault Land Speeders. These vehicles are then divided into two groups; one serves as an attack squadron and the other as fire support.
Bike Squads form over half of the 2nd Company's bulk and they are the centre of any Ravenwing attack. The Space Marine Assault Bikes lay down a torrent of fire from twin-linked Bolters and accelerate into combat should a vulnerable target reveal itself. It is Ravenwing doctrine to avoid becoming bogged down such that their speed is negated and the enemy's superior numbers can be brought to bear. Thus, the Ravenwing Bikers might charge into a foe, but unless they break them immediately, the bikers are likely to streak off, leaving their foe bewildered, unsure of which direction the next attack will come from. Equipped with Teleport Homers, Ravenwing bikes often drive deep into the heart of their quarry before summoning the heavy assault troops of the Deathwing. The Ravenwing ride down any of the foe who attempt to flee, mercilessly allowing none to escape the ensuing massacre. The standard Attack Bike augments the more lightly armed Ravenwing bikes, lending its heavier firepower where needed. The Attack Bike is ideal for getting into position to support the Ravenwing's assaults, clearing the path ahead of the onrushing bikes with its Heavy Bolter. Some Attack Bikes are outfitted with a multi-melta: these are tasked with hunting down and destroying enemy armour which would otherwise endanger their brethren.
Ravenwing Black Knights
Mounted on powerful, heavily-customised Mark IV Assault Bikes, the Ravenwing Black Knights of the Chapter's 2nd Company, the Ravenwing, are heavily-armed shock cavalry. Those who survive in the Ravenwing long enough learn to take the doctrines of mobile warfare to the next level of mastery. If they can pass the Seven Rites of the Raven, they will be inducted into the Black Knights, the Inner Circle of the 2nd Company. There, they will learn the real reason behind their hunt for Heretics and the truth about their Chapter's history. Ravenwing Black Knights ride to battle atop Mark IV Raven Pattern Space Marine Assault Bikes, powerful machines outfitted with deadly Plasma Talons. To signify their exalted status, Black Knights carry Corvus Hammers, which are patterned after an ancient Calibanite weapon used to hunt the Great Beasts. The Black Knights' riding skills are supreme, and they can drive at top speed through almost any impediments to close on their foes. During this approach, their Plasma Talons tear gaping holes in the enemy lines before they literally ride over their prey, cracking armour and sundering flesh with their Corvus Hammers as they go. Against more formidable opponents, those Black Knights trained in the use of the Ravenwing Grenade Launcher fire a salvo of specialised rad and stasis shells, which can make even the most potent of enemies more vulnerable to a sustained assault. A Ravenwing Black Knight is a vengeful killer who will not rest until he has run his prey to ground. If his Plasma Talons do not kill the foe, the razor-sharp bill of his Corvus Hammer surely will. Ravenwing Black Knights are often led into battle by a veteran Astartes and longtime member of the Black Knights known as a Ravenwing Huntmaster.
Ravenwing Command Squads
Ravenwing Command Squads usually consist of experienced Ravenwing Black Knights who form a swift and highly-mobile bodyguard around a mounted Chapter officer, or execute other specialised missions on their own. These squads usually include several other Chapter specialists -- an Apothecary to tend to the wounded and recover the fallen's gene-seed on far-flung scouting missions, a Standard Bearer, and the Ravenwing Company Champion wielding a deadly blade of Calibanite origin. When a Ravenwing Command Squad rides to battle, they form a rallying point for one of the most fearsome fast strike forces in the galaxy. Beneath the fluttering shadow of their standard, the black-armoured Astartes of the Ravenwing bring death to the enemies of the Emperor.
Ravenwing Land Speeders
Most often, Land Speeders form highly mobile support for the ground-bound bike elements of the Ravenwing or larger Dark Angels strike forces. While part of the Ravenwing closes with the enemy, it is the Land Speeders that ensure that the bike-mounted spearhead can reach its quarry. To do this requires vehicles and pilots as mobile and quick-witted as the bike formations themselves. The Ravenwing advocate a fluid style of attack, and all its members must be ready to switch from well-rehearsed set-piece attacks to improvised breakthroughs or rapid pursuit of fleeing foes. In the Ravenwing's unconventional composition, a single Land Speeder makes up part of the standard Attack Squadron, while others (up to five) are grouped into Support Squadrons that can be split as needed. This unusual doctrine has been developed because the Ravenwing use Land Speeders to perform a variety of battlefield roles, due to their versatile weapons loadout. The Dark Angels can equip their Land Speeders for light probing reconnaissance, advanced scouting, tank-hunting, seek and destroy missions, and so on as required by tactical demands.
- Ravenwing Master-Crafted Land Speeder - The Ravenwing Master-Crafted Land Speeder is a unique variant of the Land Speeder used only by Master (Captain) Sammael of the Dark Angels' Ravenwing. The Master of the Ravenwing's Land Speeder is heavily armed with twin Heavy Bolters and twin-linked Assault Cannons. In addition, this specialised pattern of Land Speeder is equipped with superior targeting equipment and a protective Void Shield generator.
- Land Speeder Vengeance - The Land Speeder Vengeance is a variant of the standard Land Speeder and is used only by the Dark Angels and their Unforgiven Successor Chapters and is the deadliest weapon available in the Ravenwing's arsenal, a larger variant of the standard Land Speeder that is armed with the devastating Plasma Storm Battery, with which it lays down a blistering barrage to support the Dark Angels' attack. The Land Speeder Vengeance couples a larger chassis and four powerful gravitic lifter-engines with a ferocious heavy weapon load-out, providing the Ravenwing with a highly mobile and deadly support battery to aid them in their hunt for the Fallen.
The Ravenwing Darkshroud is perhaps one of the strangest archaic relics deployed on the field of battle by the Chapters of the Unforgiven. The Darkshroud is a powerful icon of the Chapter and the Dark Angels will protect it with their lives. This archeotech vehicle consists of a Land Speeder Vengeance mounted with an ancient stone statue known as a Stone Guardian, or the Ten Brothers of The Order as ten such idols exist. These statues were some of the few barren remnants found amongst the ruins of the Tower of Angels following the catastrophic destruction of Caliban. Locked in stasis displays deep in the Reclusiam of The Rock for years, it was not until the desperation of the Vendetta Campaign that the Dark Angels at last felt compelled to unleash their arcane power upon the battlefield. Each statue was mounted upon the chassis of a Land Speeder Vengeance, with great cables siphoning off its strange energy and amplifying it, and a power field of unknown quality which ripples outwards from these grim reliquaries and absorbs most forms of electromagnetic energy. In battle, the Darkshroud is used in support of the Ravenwing, its otherworldly veil serving to partially obscure and protect the company's bikes and light vehicles as they streak towards the foe. Even the blazing beam of a Lascannon can be swallowed within that gloaming field of eldritch power, dissipating harmlessly while the Ravenwing speed onwards.
Nephilim Jetfighters are sleek Dark Angels aircraft deployed from the fighter bays of The Rock or any of the Dark Angels' Strike Cruisers. Although sometimes given the task of escorting Thunderhawks to their drop sites, the main role for the Nephilim is as an interceptor to establish air superiority over the battlefield, allowing their brethren to concentrate on ground targets with little concern for aerial assault. The Nephilim Jetfighters have only been used by the Dark Angels since the late 40th Millennium, when the Standard Template Construct for the improved engines was discovered while hunting a suspected Fallen, Baelor the Imposter, in the Nephilim Sector. Designated the Lionheart engine, the technology was used to modify older designs, though many features were left in place to appease the Machine Spirits. The end product was a more agile fighter with improved speed, even while carrying more powerful armaments. With a twin-linked Lascannon mounted in its nose, the Nephilim is ideally suited to bringing down aerial targets. It has proven itself on innumerable occasions.
Ravenwing Dark Talon
The Ravenwing Dark Talon is perhaps the deadliest weapon in the Ravenwing's arsenal, and it plays a pivotal role in the 2nd Company's eternal hunt for the Fallen. A strange and ominous-looking craft, this atmospheric fighter is topped with sepulchre-like spires and half-covered in a gothic facade. Flying low, the Dark Talon follows the contours of surrounding terrain. Utilising its ground-facing boost jets, the Dark Talon can literally hang in the air, hovering above its victims like some black bird of prey. The Dark Talon attacks in two ways; it is armed to provide direct air support to allies on the ground with an underslung racked Hurricane Bolter under each of its blunt wings. The Dark Talon also carries a single bomb. It is able to accelerate on bombing runs, delivering its strange payload to their marked quarry. This archaic holdover from the Age of Technology is an archaic weapon known as a Stasis Bomb, the blast from which causes a degree of heat damage but, more importantly, momentarily halts the flow of time. This unnatural disruption to the time stream causes gut-wrenching disorientation and slows the reaction times of those caught within the proximity of the blast. Situated in the nose of the aircraft is the Dark Talon's most awe-inspiring weapon. The Rift Cannon, sometimes referred to as the Stained Glass Cannon, is a weapon developed at the zenith of Mankind's technological achievements and his hubris long before the Emperor first reigned upon Terra. When fired, it emits a beam of Warp energy that emerges with a cascade of scintillating colours that explode into a blossom of oblivion as a small rift into the Immaterium is opened at the beam's point of contact. In addition to its mighty arsenal, the Dark Talon carries a stasis-crypt holding cell where the Dark Angels' captives are loaded so that they might be ferried up to the orbital fleet and, ultimately, to the dungeons of The Rock and the attentions of the awaiting Interrogator-Chaplains.
Mark IV Raven Pattern Assault Bike
The Mark IV Raven Pattern Assault Bike is used exclusively by the Space Marines of the Dark Angels Chapter's Ravenwing (2nd) Company. Ravenwing Black Knights ride to battle atop Mark IV Raven Pattern Space Marine Assault Bikes, powerful machines outfitted with deadly Plasma Talons. On their approach to close with their foes, their plasma talons tear holes in the enemy lines before they ride over their quarry. To signify their exalted status, Black Knights carry Corvus Hammers, which are patterned after an ancient Calibanite weapon used to hunt the Great Beasts of that lost world. When Black Knights close with the enemy upon their Assault Bikes they crack armour and sunder the flesh of their enemies with their hammers as they go. Against more formidable opponents, those Black Knights trained in the use of the Ravenwing Grenade Launcher fire a salvo of specialised rad and stasis shells, which can make even the hardest of enemy units more vulnerable to a sustained assault.
The company icon of the Ravenwing Company is a single angelic wing with its talons gripping a sword.
The Ravenwing Company's Astartes do not use the same dark green colour scheme for their armour and vehicles as the rest of the Chapter. Much like their counterparts in the Deathwing Company, the Ravenwing's members wear the original deep black Power Armour colour used by the Dark Angels Legion during the Great Crusade before the Horus Heresy.
- Codex: Dark Angels (6th Edition), pp. 14, 16, 20-21, 23-25, 31, 35, 46-51
- Codex: Dark Angels (4th Edition)
- Codex: Dark Angels (3rd Edition)
- Codex: Angels of Death (2nd Edition)
- Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pp. 48-49
- Descent of Angels (Novel) by Mitchel Scanlon