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A Terminator Squad is an elite tactical formation of the Adeptus Astartes. Clad in Tactical Dreadnought Armour and wielding the most ferocious weapons their Chapter can provide, these elite veterans quickly overwhelm all who stand before them. On the attack, Terminators are as relentless as they are unstoppable. They stamp forward through their foes' heaviest fire while mowing the enemy down with hails of bolts and powerful blasts from heavy weapons, which they wield as easily as an Imperial Guardsman totes his Lasgun. In defence they are equally imposing, the charges of the enemy crashing against them like ocean waves against a looming cliff. In return, the Terminators cut down more victims with each passing moment, until eventually they stand unbowed amid mountains of enemy dead. To stand before the Terminators of the Adeptus Astartes is to stare into the eyes of death.
The Terminator Squads utilised by the Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes in the 41st Millennium, can trace their early origins to the ancient Legion Terminator Squad, an elite formation of the ancient Space Marine Legions that saw action during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras in the late 30th and early 31st Millennia. These elite cadres were formed from proven Space Marine Veterans who had earned the right to wear Tactical Dreadnought Armour, usually the venerable Cataphractii Pattern Terminator Armour, and served as their Legion's greatest infantry assets, as each Astartes was essentially transformed into a walking tank.
In the modern 41st Millennium, the elite warriors of the Space Marine Chapter arrayed in their Terminator Armour are near invincible and utterly indomitable. They undertake the missions that that even their power-armoured brethren cannot. Whether it be an unsupported strike into the heart of an enemy fortress, or hunting super-heavy war engines on foot, these heroic 1st Company Veterans are equal to the task. The Terminators’ armour provides such potent protection that, aside from horrendous levels of punishment from incoming enemy fire, it can even withstand the extreme pressures of teleportation. Rumours abound of Terminators crushed beneath fallen buildings, or even trodden on by enemy Titans, only to rise once more with guns blazing.
Typical Terminator Squads are equipped with an array of ranged weaponry and crackling Power Fists. These armaments allow them to mow down their foes with overwhelming volleys of missiles, bolts, assault cannon rounds and roaring flames, before punching to death anything fortunate enough to have survived. Terminator Assault Squads, meanwhile, take an even less subtle route and forgo ranged combat altogether. Instead, they carve their way into the enemy with Lightning Claws and Thunder Hammers, deflecting enemy fire with their towering Storm Shields. This combination is especially effective in the close confines of boarding actions or tunnel-fighting, where a single Terminator Assault Squad can slaughter many times their number of foes without taking a single casualty.
- Deathwing - The Deathwing are the elite 1st Company of the Dark Angels Space Marine Chapter. While most other Chapters allow their 1st Company squads to take to the field in a variety of configurations as befits the tactical situation, the entire 1st Company of the Dark Angels Chapter consists of dedicated squads of Terminator Armour-clad veterans. This specialty formation is also found amongst those Space Marine Chapters who are Successors of the original Ist Legion, which are collectively known as the Unforgiven. The Deathwing's mission takes precedence over all others, even though they may be called upon to fight a wide range of foes. Members of the Deathwing are indoctrinated into the outermost tiers of the Unforgiven's Inner Circle, and party to the some of the terrible secrets surrounding the existence and nature of the Fallen.
- Wolf Guard - The Wolf Guard are the most elite Veterans of the Space Wolves Space Marine Chapter, comparable to a Codex Astartes-compliant Chapter's Sternguard Veterans. They are the bravest warriors of each of the Chapter's Great Companies, hand-selected by their Great Company's Wolf Lord to serve as his chosen protectors and the vanguard of his forces. Each Battle-Brother that serves in this elite unit has earned their place by some exceptional feat of arms that marked them out amongst their brethren, for a Wolf Guard is chosen based on his heroic deeds, rather than his age or time served with the Chapter. Therefore, the Wolf Guard maintains a mix of hot-blooded young warriors and stalwart veterans amongst its ranks.
- Firedrakes - The Firedrakes are those elite Astartes of the Salamanders Space Marine Chapter's 1st Company, chosen not simply for their martial skill, but also because of their mental resilience, discipline and self-sacrifice. Created during the Great Crusade by their Primarch Vulkan, the Firedrakes were so-named for the greatest of the salamander saurids said to originate beneath the stones of Mount Deathfire. They were the finest and most experienced warriors of the XVIIIth Legion. Following the sundering of the Space Marine Legions into smaller autonomous units known as Chapters, and the subsequent Second Founding, the Firedrakes also managed to survive, for Vulkan made certain that their legacy was maintained.
- Grey Knights - Grey Knight Terminator Squads are the mainstay of the Chapter. Heavily armoured warriors armed with storm bolters and a variety of Nemesis force weapons, these formidable warriors are always at the forefront of any Grey Knights attack. These are also the first weapons a battle-brother must master when he completes his initial training, learning to move in the bulk of Terminator armour with speed and grace, while wielding his Nemesis force weapon like an extension of his arm. That the standard troops of the Grey Knights utilise the finest weapons and armour of the Imperium is a testament to their elite status and the perilous nature of the foes they face. In battle Terminators excel in shock assaults and cracking open enemy defences, their armour proof against most attacks while their complement of heavy weapons proves deadly at close range.
- Deathwatch - Deathwatch 1st Company Veteran is one of the most heroic, brave and trusted Battle-Brothers in the entirety of the Deathwatch, having proved his mettle in hundreds of conflicts from squad-level raids to full-blown Imperial Crusades. Entrusted with many precious mysteries hidden from other Battle-Brothers, and holy artefacts of incomparable value, these Veteran warriors bear the honour of the Deathwatch before all others, guiding their junior Battle-Brothers in times of doubt and confusion. Chapter legends are littered with examples of a handful of 1st Company Veterans expunging a stain on the Chapter's honour despite the risks, or selflessly sacrificing themselves in the cause of victory. Most importantly, only 1st Company Veterans can take on the role of serving as Terminators.
- 4-9 Terminators
- 1 Terminator Sergeant
- Terminator Armour
- Storm Bolter
- Power Fist (Terminators Only)
- Power Sword (Terminator Sergeant Only)
- Pair Lightning Claws (Terminator Assault Squad Only)
- Heavy Flamer
- Assault Cannon
- Cyclone Missile Launcher
- Thunder Hammer (Terminator Assault Squad Only)
- Storm Shield (Terminator Assault Squad Only)
- The unit may select a Land Raider, Land Raider Crusader or Land Raider Redeemer as a dedicated transport.
- Chapter Approved 2003 - Third Book of the Astronomican, "Dark Angels Update", p. 100
- Citadel Journal 37, "Tacticus Dark Angels", pp. 78-85
- Codex: Dark Angels (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 3, 10-11, 13-15, 29, 33-34, 36, 40, 42, 52-54, 65, 93 , 109-111m 113-115, 117-120, 142-145, 150-154, 173, 177-178, 190-191, 193-194, 196-200, 213, 215-217, 255-263, 303-306, 312-313, 322
- Codex: Dark Angels (6th Edition), pp. 12, 14, 16, 19-21, 23, 26, 30, 40, 43-45, 56, 62, 64, 66-67, 78-81, 99
- Codex: Dark Angels (4th Edition), pg. 16
- Codex: Dark Angels (3rd Edition), pp. 10, 12-13,
- Codex: Angels of Death (2nd Edition), pp. 30, 37, 40, 73
- Codex: Grey Knights (7th Edition), pp. 27-28, 66-67, 154-156
- Codex: Grey Knights (5th Edition), pg. 27
- Codex: Space Marines (7th Edition), pp. 97, 334-337
- Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition), pp.
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pp.
- Codex: Space Marines (4th Edition), pp.
- Codex: Space Wolves (7th Edition), pp. 12, 33-34, 37, 39, 42-43, 71-74, 76-78, 80-81, 111-112, 156-162, 174-175
- Codex: Space Wolves (5th Edition), pp. 30, 34, 72-74, 85-86, 90
- Codex: Space Wolves (3rd Edition), pg. 8
- Codex: Space Wolves (2nd Edition), pp. 13, 36, 46
- Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 45-46, 48
- Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pg. 50-53
- Deathwatch: Rites of Battle (RPG), pp. 130-132
- Deathwing: Rules & Mission (1st Edition)
- Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War - Part Two, pp. 32-33, 75-76
- Space Hulk: Campaigns (1st Edition)
- Space Hulk: Death Angel - Deathwing Space Marine Pack (CCG)
- Space Hulk: Mission Book (2nd Edition)
- Space Hulk: Rulebook (2nd Edition)
- The Horus Heresy - Book One: Betrayal by Alan Bligh, pg. 196
- The Horus Heresy - Book Two: Massacre by Alan Bligh, pp. 121, 249
- Warhammer 40,000: Index Astartes - Tactical Dreadnought Armour (Digital Edition)
- Warhammer: Monthly (Promotional), "Deathwing"
- White Dwarf 303 (US), "Index Astartes: Deep Strike", pg. 18
- White Dwarf 161 (US), "Deathwing Terminators", pp. 4-7
- White Dwarf 137 (US), "The Last Stand: Space Hulk Campaign", pp. 42-50
- White Dwarf 133 (US), "Space Hulk: Genestealer Invasion"
- White Dwarf 112 (US), "Terminator: Space Marine Tactical Dreadnought Armour"
- Fallen Angel (Novel) by Mike Lee
- Angels of Darkness (Novel) by Gav Thorpe
- Deathwing (Anthology), "Deathwing" (Short Story) by Bryan Ansell & William King
- Firedrake (Novel) by Nick Kyme