- "Forget all your preconceptions of war, of battle-lines clashing in the churned ground. Your mission is to attack before the foe even realises that the war has begun, to strike hard at those vital weaknesses that all armies possess, but that no commander will admit to. Under my tutelage you will learn how to seek out such fragilities and smite them with every weapon at your disposal. Master these duties and I will have nothing more to teach, and you will truly be a Space Marine."
Scout Marines are the newest recruits in a Space Marine Chapter. Their duties are to infiltrate the enemy positions or to fight as lightly armed skirmishers ahead of the rest of the Chapter. Operating behind enemy lines, Space Marine Scouts set ambushes for their foes, spy out the enemy's movements, and gather what information they can about their opponent's plans. Sometimes Scouts will covertly attack an enemy camp, capturing a commander for interrogation or alternatively sabotaging equipment and supplies. Striking fast and hard, the Scouts usually accomplish their mission and leave before the enemy has the chance to respond. The 10th Company of a Codex Astartes-compliant Space Marine Chapter consists entirely of Scout Squads. Each Squad consists of a Scout Sergeant and up to nine Space Marine Scouts. There is no theoretical limit of how many Scout Squads there may be in the Company. However in practice there are rarely more than ten. The Squad number in white is shown on the right shoulder plate. Scouts do not show any Company badge, colour or number. The 10th Company does not have a battle standard or a Company Banner. Scouts are essentially Space Marines who wear a lighter version of the standard Space Marine Power Armour similar but not identical to Imperial Guard Carapace Armour. The armour is not as strong a defence as the standard Power Armour but it is far less restrictive to movement and almost completely silent in operation. This makes it an ideal uniform for troops whose primary goal on the battlefield is to avoid detection. Scouts are employed in all kinds of reconnaissance, infiltration and other subterfuge. They are rightly valued for their ability to strike deep behind enemy lines without being seen and for the resultant confusion and terror this can cause.
Scout Marines are physically the same as other Space Marines but in many Chapters the 10th Company has a vital role as a training battalion and new recruits are inducted into the Scout Company before graduating to the Battle and Reserve Companies of the Chapter. In other Chapters the individual Companies have a responsibility for this training and the 10th Company includes many Marines with decades of experience. More lightly armed and armoured than their more experienced Battle-Brothers, Space Marine Scouts chiefly fight as skirmishers, relying on stealth rather than brute force to accomplish missions. Scouts operate independently from the main Space Marine force, their duties including infiltrating enemy positions and clearing the way for the Chapter's advance. Operating deep within hostile territory, Scouts reconnoitre the enemy's movements, set ambushes for the unwary, sabotage supply lines and destroy communications centres in daring commando raids. Striking in silence, the Scouts' goal is to accomplish their mission and vanish before the enemy has the chance to retaliate.
When first inducted into a Space Marine Chapter, a recruit joins the ranks of the 10th Company as a Scout. He is placed under the tutelage of a sergeant who will lead him on the field of battle and instruct him in what it truly means to wage war as one of the Adeptus Astartes. Only once he has proven himself worthy of his Chapter by excelling in the ranks of the 10th Company will a Scout be deemed ready to join the main ranks of Battle-Brothers. A new recruit has much to learn and must endure many long months of gruelling training regimes before he takes to the field of battle. Not only must he master the many biologically-engineered enhancements that are at work within his body, he must also learn the litanies of battle that fortify him and become skilled in wielding his wargear. Not all recruits survive their training, for no quarter can be asked or given when forging humanity's finest warriors, but those that emerge are well prepared for their first taste of battle as a Space Marine Scout. Throughout his service as a Scout, the recruit is instructed by his sergeant, his actions guided, watched over and judged as he strikes the foe with Bolter and blade. The Scout will grow proficient with many other firearms, learning how to snipe the foe with long-range rifles and how to demolish enemy battle tanks with heavy weaponry. Whilst acting as part of an infiltration force, a Scout will become skilled at every aspect of war. He will learn that to be a Space Marine is to be death incarnate, no matter the terrain, the nature of the foe, or the weapons arrayed against him.
A Scout Squad is armed with a variety of different weapons. Bolters, Sniper Rifles, and Combat Shotguns are all commonly employed but the most favoured armament is a Bolt Pistol and Combat Knife combination. Scout Sergeants invariably carry a Chainsword, which is almost as much a badge of their rank as a weapon. Scout Squads also have access to a number of different heavy weapons and one of the Scouts within the Squad may be armed with a Heavy Bolter, Autocannon or Missile Launcher. These are normally only used if the mission requires it. In most circumstances and missions the Scouts prefer to sacrifice firepower for stealth and speed. The whole Squad will also usually carry grenades of which the most common types are Frag Grenades (wide area, fragmentation blast) or Krak Grenades (tightly focused, armour-piercing blast). Other grenade types are occasionally used on special missions but are generally restricted to officers and squad leaders. Scout Squads are also trained to fight as Bike Squadrons. This provides a highly mobile support for Scout Marines operating behind enemy lines.
Rites and Initiations
Every Chapter of Space Marines must recruit new warriors into its ranks in order to survive. The process varies from Chapter to Chapter, many recruiting from their own homeworlds. These are often feral worlds, breeding tough, harsh new recruits. Whatever the tradition of a particular Chapter, warriors must always be chosen when they are still young, before their bodies become too mature to accept the many bio-implants. Once accepted, the genetic implantation and induction of the Space Marine organs begins. The warrior has taken his first steps to becoming a full fledged Space Marine. During those years, the warrior is known as a Neophyte, or Space Marine Scout -- he is neither fully a Space Marine nor entirely a normal human. The Scout is then placed under the tutelage of a sergeant who will oversee his induction and training and also lead the Scouts in battle. Not yet ready to join a company, the young Scouts live alongside their brothers in the 10th Company halls where they will sleep and train, learning the history of their Chapter. Space Marine Scouts are neither as tough nor as experienced as full Space Marines. Scouts can fight alongside other Space Marines in the main battle-lines, and often do so, during moments of desperation. Only after a Scout has proven himself in combat will his sergeant judge him worthy of the title of Space Marine, and declare him ready to join one of the companies.
A Space Marine Scout has much to learn; not only must he become accustomed to the many biologically engineered enhancements which are at work on his body, but he must learn the litany of battle that will fortify and strengthen him. He will undergo several phases of initiation into the Chapter's own secret cults, and he will get his first chance to fight in battle. This process often runs parallel to the bio-genetic treatments the aspirant must undergo. As the physical transformation proceeds, so a spiritual change occurs. Both are tempered by ongoing experience on the field of battle and the rituals in which the aspirant must participate. The nature of such rites varies enormously from one Chapter to the next. Some are solemn affairs recalling the sacrifice the Emperor made for Humanity. Others are raucous celebrations drawing on the culture of the Neophyte's homeworld. Still more are bloody and barbaric affairs, involving ritual bloodletting, scarification or amputation. All are vital to the arcane workings of the Chapter, and his participation is a prerequisite of the aspirant's acceptance by his would-be brother-in-arms.
Such are the rigours of a Scout's training that many do not survive. Whether he is crippled upon the battlefield, or found spiritually wanting during a particularly exacting ritual, a Scout may find himself cast out, his future with the Chapter curtailed. In some instances, the Neophyte may transgress one of the many articles of Chapter law, and injury at war may prove preferable to the punishment. Many possible fates await those that fall by the wayside in this manner. Most are mind-scrubbed and become Chapter Serfs -- manservants and menials. The less fortunate are transformed into living Servitors -- mindless bio-mechanical automatons who exist only to assist the Chapter's Techmarines in the operation of heavy and frequently dangerous machinery. A very rare few may yet rise to positions of relative power within the Chapter's support network, yet even the highest-ranked factotum is but a lowly, nameless servant in the eyes of his battle-brothers.
The 10th Company
In the majority of Space Marine Chapters it is the responsibility of the 10th Company to train recruits, called Neophytes. As such, the officers and sergeants of the 10th Company are often amongst the most experienced members of the Chapter, often having passed through the ranks of the 1st Company and forgone promotion to a higher office. Though all of the Chapter's Scout Squads come from the 10th Company, it is very rarely fielded as a tactical unit. Instead its squads are detached to other Reserve or Battle Companies for deployment in the field, accompanying the battle-brothers to war and fulfilling the vital role in which they excel. The Codex Astartes places no limit on the number of Scout squads that may comprise the 10th Company, although in practice few Chapters will ever have more than 10 squads at any one time. Most will have significantly fewer, depending on the suitability of aspirants and the Chapter's casualty levels.
Chapters without a Scout Company
Though counter to the dictates of the Codex Astartes, a small number of Chapters maintain training doctrines unique to themselves. Some attach individual Scout squads to specific battle or reserve companies on a permanent basis. The Black Templars Chapter diverges from standard doctrine, in that they do not use a specialised company to train their recruits, rather, their Neophytes are individually "apprenticed" to a fully-fledged Battle Brother, or Initiate. They fight alongside their mentors until deemed ready by him to progress to the rank of battle-brother. Another notable exception to the practice is the Space Wolves, who place their successful Neophytes together into units called Blood Claws. Space Wolves do use Scout Marines, but they are experienced, veteran warriors who prefer solitude to service in a Pack and are known as Wolf Scouts, rather than young, inexperienced recruits. In this way, the Space Wolves maintain their own traditions, which are entirely at odds with the word of the Codex Astartes.
Tactics and Training
The tactics utilised by Space Marine Scouts provide a very practical method of gaining experience in the ways of war. A Space Marine must be fully versed in every conceivable aspect of warfare, even those he will not ultimately practice as a warrior. Thus, Scouts learn the art of subterfuge, approaching the foe unseen and striking before his presence is detected. Such tactics are rarely practiced by the Reserve and Battle Companies, as the Codex Astartes dictates a very direct form of warfare. Scouts usually perform reconnaissance missions in advance of the main force of Space Marines, gathering information, hunting down and terrorising enemy formations and relaying intelligence back to their leaders.
As a Space Marine whose training is not yet complete, a Scout Marines does not have access to much of the more formidable weaponry that their more experienced Battle-Brothers can utilise. Space Marine Scouts are issued all manner of specialised equipment. In many cases these items are crafted by the Chapter's Techmarines for specific roles or missions, and enable the Scout to carry out his mission with increased efficiency. Designated Heavy Weapons Scouts can carry Missile Launchers or Heavy Bolters; unlike Tactical Marines, however, Scouts with Heavy Bolters have access to Hellfire Bolts, which are ideal for killing Tyranid bio-monstrosities or other large creatures. Scout Sergeants usually carry Bolt Pistols and Chainswords, but they can carry larger firearms (such as Bolters or Sniper Rifles) like their far less experienced squadmates. However, Sergeants are also given access to wargear such as Power Weapons, Plasma Pistols, and even Power Fists in certain rare instances. Listed below are the most commonly used items by Scout Marines:
- Scout Armour - Scout Armour, also sometimes referred to as Infiltrator Armour, is the standard type of combat armour worn by Space Marine Scouts before they become full Initiates of their Chapter and have earned the right to wear a suit of true Power Armour. Scout Armour is comprised of overlapping plates of ceramite which can easily stop a kinetic round or a low-power directed energy bolt, while the fabric fatigues which cover the non-vital regions of the Scout Marine's body are composed of a type of ballistic nylon thread which provides a lesser level of protection without reducing the Scout Marine's manoeuvrability. While Scout Armour doesn't offer the same protection as true Power Armour, it is still easily capable of blocking or deflecting bullets, las-bolts, and shrapnel. Scout Armour is much quieter and less cumbersome than Astartes Power Armour with all of its mechanised and Cogitator-aided systems. Scout Armour is thus an ideal form of protection for Scout Marines, who are responsible for undertaking their Chapter's infiltration and sniper duties where silence is paramount.
- Carbon/Titanium Weave Fatigues - A Scout's fatigues are woven from a carbon/titanium composite that is capable of turning the most powerful of small arms fire.
- "Catspaw" Morphic Tread Combat Boots - Specialised footwear utilised by Space Marine Scouts that help enable them to step quietly on all forms of terrain, thus, not giving away their position when operating behind enemy lines.
- Tight-Beam Squad Comm-Link - A specialised comm-link worn by all Scouts, enabling them to transmit encrypted data to the other members of the squad without the risk of enemy signals interception. The squad's leader has a long-range link, with which he can communicate with other units.
- Optical Image Enhancement Array - Space Marine Scout Snipers are issued a powerful enhancement array for their Sniper Rifles, which is linked with their rifle's scope to allow them to literally see down the barrel of their gun.
- "Stalker Pattern" Bolt Pistol - The Bolt Pistols used by Space Wolves Wolf Scouts are a modified version of the common Godwyn pattern in use by Astartes across the Imperium. Fitted with a suppressor unit to dampen its sound and muzzle flash, and an optical sight to augment the user’s aim, the Stalker pattern Bolt Pistol is intended for the sort of covert operations performed by Scouts.
- "Raven Pattern" Shotgun - Raven Guard scouts are among the best recon the Astartes has to offer, forging ahead of the Chapter, identifying targets for quick strikes and disrupting enemy logistics. For this reason, Raven Guard serving in the Jericho Reach Deathwatch are commonly deployed to strike missions in the Canis Salient, using their stealth to operate behind enemy lines and strike high value Tau targets. During a recent strike mission, shotgun fire gave away a scout’s position and compromised the entire mission. In response, Deathwatch Forge Master Harl Greyweaver used an ancient technique incorporating flash and sound suppressors into the scout’s weapon muzzle (a long black cylinder attached to the weapon’s barrel) making it completely silent when fired, without reducing damage or the ability to make use of variant forms of ammo. This modification was met with such great success that Greyweaver is willing to provide his time and skill to any Raven Guard who has proven himself worthy of the upgrade.
- Astartes M40/A1 Pattern Sniper Rifle - The Codex Astartes states that a Space Marine must be schooled in every aspect of war, and this includes the use of weapon he may not necessarily go on to use as a fully-fledged Space Marine. The Sniper Rifle is such a weapon, and its use fits the tactical role of the Scout. The rifle fires a small dart made from a deadly neuro-toxin chemical. The liquid chemical is frozen into a dart or sliver within the gun before it is fired. Unerring accuracy is afforded by a low power beam of invisible laser-light which drives and guides the chemical dart to its target. If the target is armoured, the beam automatically pulses when the rifle is fired, punching a tiny hole which allows the toxic dart to penetrate.
Space Marines rarely use any form of camouflage, for their entire combat doctrine states that they are best deployed as shock troops, their very presence filling the enemy with terror. There are instances when a Chapter may utilise patterns approved by the Codex Astartes, and in most cases this is in relation to the role of Scouts. As ever, Scouts must be well versed in every aspect of war, and so an understanding of concealment and the use of camouflage is essential. These camouflage schemes may be applied to the armoured sections and fatigues of the Scout kit as well as on capes worn over the armour if the mission demands it. Furthermore, the Scouts are experts at covert warfare and will take account of the local environmental conditions when preparing for a mission.
The Codex Astartes states that the members of the 10th Company do not ordinarily wear company insignia, except for ceremonial occasions. Some Chapters forgo this restriction however, while others have entirely unique traditions regarding the marks worn by their Scouts. Scout squads in the White Scars Chapter for example, are permitted to wear the lightning flash of their Chapter badge, but Chapter lore states that this may not include the horizontal bar behind the flash worn by full battle-brothers.
There are generally three types of Scout Squads in a Chapter's Scout Company:
- Assault Scout Squad: The Assault Scout Squad is composed of four Scout Marines armed with Combat Knives and Bolt Pistols, lead by a Sergeant armed with a Chainsword and Bolt Pistol.
- Tactical Scout Squad:The Tactical Scout Squad is composed of three Scout Marines armed with Bolters, a single Scout armed with a Heavy Bolter and a Sergeant armed with Bolt Pistol and Combat Knife.
- Sniping Scout Squad: The Sniping Scout Squad is composed of three Scout Marines armed with Sniper Rifles, a single Scout armed with a Heavy Bolter and a Sergeant armed with a Chainsword.
Notable Scout Formations & Scout Marines
- Crimson Fists Scout Company - More than any other force, the 10th Company of the Crimson Fists represents the very future of the Chapter. The Crimson Fists suffered horrendous losses in the early stages of the invasion of their homeworld of Rynn's World by Ork WAAAGH! Snagrod in 989.M41. All but the equivalent of a single company were lost during the destruction of the Chapter's fortress-monastery, and the Crimson Fists have been forced to concentrate upon rebuilding their shattered numbers ever since. The Chapter's 10th Company now stands at full strength. The Crimson Fists will not accelerate their training and thus compromise the quality of their intake: too much is at stake to do so.
- Emperor's Scythes Scout Company - The Scythes of the Emperor Chapter is but a shadow of its former glory, their homeworld of Sotha destroyed by the ravenous Tyranids of Hive Fleet Kraken during the Second Tyrannic War in 992.M41. The Chapter was forced to break with its past tradition and now operates with only 2 full companies. The survivors of Sotha were amalgamated to form one company referred to only as the "Battle Company," while all new recruits to the Chapter which the Scythes actively seek from any suitable worlds they pass (often in fact those worlds that they have saved from destruction by Tyranid splinter Hive Fleets), are now inducted into the Chapter's other company, the Scout Company. For many Scythes Veterans, these Neophytes personify everything that they detest about the changes their new Chapter Master is forcing upon them and their disdain for those changes, alongside their resentment at having to train the new recruits instead of fighting as one of the Veterans of the remaining Battle Company. This has fostered a bitterness towards the Scout Marines of the Chapter that many Veterans are unable to completely conceal. With the news of the Kraken's defeat, Chapter Master Thrasius and many of his lieutenants disappeared, departing their flagship, The Heart of Sotha, abruptly and returning just as suddenly. What Thrasius did while away is unknown, but upon his return over 300 Neophytes had already had their gene-seed organs implanted and begun the Chapter's training regimen. These recruits were those who had been gathered from the many planets on which the Scythes had fought, but the source of the gene-seed was another matter. Rumours persist in the Chapter that perhaps the gene-seed had been secretly rescued from Sotha before the Tyranids attacked. Others believe that the gene-seed might have been stolen, pillaged from other Chapters in similar dire straits during the Tyranid invasion. Still others hold that perhaps the gene-seed was bargained for, or that it was the payment by the Inquisition's Ordo Xenos for seconding over 40 of the surviving Scythes to the Deathwatch. But the truth of the matter remains unknown.
- Scout Sergeant Torias Telion - Torias Telion is a Sergeant assigned to the Ultramarines Chapter's 10th Scout Company. Telion is an incomparable instructor of new Ultramarines recruits. Telion has served under the command of three successive Chapter Masters and has trod more battlefields across the width and breadth of the galaxy than most senior Captains within the Chapter. No less than four currently serving Ultramarines Captains attribute their skills and success within the Chapter's hierarchy to the peerless tutelage of this esteemed warrior when they were Neophytes. Despite having earned the honour of serving within the Chapter's Honour Guard several times over, as well as having earned the Iron Skull, the Imperial Laurel and a dozen Marksman's Honour badges, Telion has elected to remain with the Novice Scout Marines of the 10th Company. Telion is most famous for his unparalleled skill as a marksman and sniper amongst the ranks of the Astartes. Indeed, the Ultramarines have seconded Telion to other Space Marines Chapters allied with his own, where his expert guidance and teachings enable other Astartes to achieve a unique level of knowledge and skills that will help them spread the light of the Emperor to the darkest corners of the galaxy.
- Brother Kohl Leibhen - Prior to his secondment to the Deathwatch, Brother Leibhen distinguished himself among the Raptors as a particularly talented Scout. Even once he completed his time as an Initiate, he frequently chose to work in close concert with members of the Chapter’s 10th Company. Over his first standard century of service, he engaged in scouting expeditions behind enemy lines as part of dozens of missions, frequently serving the role of Sergeant in command of the various Scout Squads in times of need. Since his arrival at Watch Fortress Erioch in the Jericho Reach, Brother Leibhen has primarily served as a member of a Kill-team but has volunteered for numerous scouting missions. His abilities to infiltrate deep behind enemy lines have been particularly useful within the Tyranid-infested worlds of the Orpheus Salient. On three separate occasions, the Battle-Brother has engaged in extended scouting missions on worlds under Tyranid assault while using Scout Armour. Reports of his findings are prized by the members of the Adeptus Mechanicus' Ordo Biologis who focus on the Tyranid threat.
- Codex: Blood Angels (7th Edition), pp. 12, 121-122
- Codex: Dark Angels (7th Edition), pp. 93-94, 246-248
- Codex: Space Marines (7th Edition), pp. 27, 41, 43, 45, 55-56, 69, 101-102, 126, 176, 260-262, 304-306
- Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 85, 167
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pp. 16, 66-67, 75, 100, 102, 134
- Codex: Space Marines (3rd Edition), pg. 11
- Codex: Space Wolves (5th Edition), pp. 27, 88
- Codex: Space Wolves (3rd Edition), pg. 9, 32
- Codex: Space Wolves (2nd Edition), pp. 14, 46
- Codex: Ultramarines (2nd Edition)
- Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pp. 59, 98
- White Dwarf Magazine 312 (UK), "Silent Menace - Space Marine Scouts," by Andy Hoare, "Search and Destroy," and "Behind Enemy Lines - Tactica Scouts," pp. 44-55
- White Dwarf Magazine 305 (UK), "Behind Enemy Lines" by Matt Ward and "Silent Menace" by Andy Hoare
- White Dwarf Magazine 301 (UK), "Space Marine Heroes" by Graham McNeill