The Sanguinary Guard are the most elite Veteran Astartes of the Blood Angels Space Marine Chapter and all of their Successor Chapters whose lineage can be traced back to the dark days of the Horus Heresy. They are essentially the Blood Angels' version of a Chapter Honour Guard. They fight with the weapons traditional to their honoured position -- wrist-mounted Angelus Pattern Bolters and master-crafted Power Weapons in the form of a polearm known as a Glaive Encarmine.
The lineage of the Sanguinary Guard can be traced back to the bygone era of the Great Crusade when they acted as the elite bodyguard of the Primarch Sanguinius, fighting alongside the Great Angel through the most terrible of battles on such worlds as Dalos, Blindhope, Signus Prime and countless others. They served with the Primarch until he perished in the assault on the Warmaster Horus' Battle Barge Vengeful Spirit during the final hours of the Battle of Terra. Only a lone member of the Sanguinary Guard survived that final confrontation. Sanguinius' prescient vision of his own fate led him to insist that his Herald Azkaellon remain on Terra so that should he fall, the Sanguinary Guard would not be extinguished. Once reconstituted by Azkaellon, they would go on to serve as a beacon of hope for the Blood Angels and the wider Imperium in the dark days ahead. Though he yearned to fight at his Primarch's side one final time, with a heavy heart Azkaellon acceded to Sanguinius' wishes. For he knew that he could not jeopardise the sacred duty entrusted to him. Following his Primarch's final orders, the Sanguinary Guard managed to survive when the Blood Angels' Primarch did not, for Azkaellon made certain that their legacy was maintained, not just in the Blood Angels, but in every Successor Chapter that arose from the dissolution of the Blood Angels Legion during the Second Founding.
The deeds of each Sanguinary Guard are recorded with reverent diligence. At high feast days, those rare occasions when the entire Chapter is gathered together, the Sanguinary Guard's deeds are recounted, delivered with gusto and pride by battle-steeped Veterans to attentive Scout Marines and Aspirants. They speak of Blind Erephon, who claimed he fought better without his eyes than he ever did with them, and who sealed the seven daemon-gates of Derios IV. Of Andrastor, who stood alone against the Tyranid swarm on Cripple Ridge. Of Saronath, whose coming was so terrible it set WAAAGH! Rokchewa to flight, and of Sepharan, who entered the gates of hell itself to battle for his Chapter's soul. Of these warriors they tell, and of countless others, past and present. To join the ranks of the Sanguinary Guard is therefore no mere battlefield assignment, nor even an honour. It is to enter a brotherhood of mortals-become-gods, to continue a legend already ten thousand years old.
The Sanguinary Guards, unlike other Chapter's Veterans who serve in the Honour Guard, do not select wargear according to their expertise. Instead they fight with the weapons traditional to their position.
- Artificer Power Armour - Members of the Sanguinary Guard wear golden Artificer Armour which is a relic of the Chapter, one of a handful of surviving suits from the times of the Great Crusade, whose secrets of manufacture have long since been lost. These few revered relics are a tangible reminder of the very greatest days of not only the Blood Angels, but of the Imperium of Man as a whole.
- Death Mask - The Death Masks worn by the Astartes of the Sanguinary Guard are highly ornate masks modelled on the fear-inspiring features of Sanguinius himself. Golden energy dances across the Death Mask to form a horrifying halo, terrifying their enemies who have to face the fearsome aspect of the Great Angel.
- Winged Jump Pack - A modified version of the standard Astartes Jump Pack that is designed to emulate Sanguinius' own angelic wings, a mutant genetic trait spawned by the Primarch's early exposure to the energies of Chaos while still within his gestation capsule.
- Angelus Bolt Guns - The Angelus Pattern Bolter is a variation on the ubiquitous Space Marine weapon, used exclusively by the Blood Angels and their Successors. Its magazine is loaded with very rare and potent Bloodshard Shells, whose razor-filament payloads make a mockery of most armour.
- Glaive Encarmine - These potent master-crafted Power Weapons carried by each member of the Sanguinary Guard crackle with energy, and allow their masters to cleave their foes easily in twain with their terrifying power.
- Codex: Blood Angels (5th Edition), pp. 50, 80, 85