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Havoc
15-09-2006, 13:58
This has been on me mind for quite awhile now, just how large were the space marine legions, some people think that were around 10,000 strong but I think this number is way to small, especially with the size of the galaxy, thats a total of around 200,000 space marines protecting, patroling and conquering.

In Horus Rising it says there is a total of 4,287 expeditions for the business of the great crusade, then a further 60,000 in secondary expeditions involved in compliance and patroling the areas, then 372 are in resupply and refit, so thats 74,659 crusades in total, so we assume that there are companies of marines in each curade, in Horus Rising it gives us a rough estimate on how many companies are in a legion which is 25, there could be more but in Lokens companie there is 300, so every other companie would have this number so 25 by 300 is 7500 in the 63rd expedition.

Now the legions (Mostly the Iron Warriors) were garrisioned on worlds and were on patrols and to make sure compliance was in order, so a company's worth may be in each expedititon with other legions plus Imperial Army detachments, so I would say there could be around 50 companies in total, so that's around 15,000 marines total in the Sons of Horus when gathered together.

Now this is Horus's legion and his way of war so in the other legions there may be a slight change in how many marines are in a companie, like the ultramarines as they must of had double or tripple the number of the legions as they held the Imperium together appearing near enough everywhere while the others were resupplying and regaining their numbers, in Index Astarties it says their were 23 second foundlings from the Ultras after the imperium was restored to what it was, so thats 24,000 Ultramarines after the heresy was finished, so since they the least damaged legion and fought all across the Imperium I would put the Ultramarines number to about 100,000, what do you people think, is this a rough estimate on how many marines were in the legions or is it just completely wrong.

Griefbringer
15-09-2006, 14:32
I have seen strenghts of around 50,000 marines per legion mentioned for the pre-Heresy period, though the exact number apparently varied a lot between the different legions.

VetSgtNamaan
15-09-2006, 14:51
Well I would say initially each legion was 10000 but as you know the length of time it takes to replace the losses would no doubt be longer than it takes to lose them so I could see as the fighting peaks many legions take on reserve companies so they have replacements already on hand.

Kinda like how some modern militaries have an over abudance of officiers during peace time because one war starts and they start to die you will run out real fast without a ready supply to draw from.

ryng_sting
15-09-2006, 15:30
Not all the legions were of equal size to begin with, and this is before you consider rates of loss and recruitment as the Crusade wore on. The Emperor's Children started out with barely a few hundred but managed to grow to the size of a legion, while the Salamanders fell short of the 10,000 mark - the 'default' size of a legion - even before the Dropsite Massacre. The Ultramarines' size has been clarified a little: after the heresy, half of the total loyalist marines in the field were either Ultramarines or their successors.

And the Ultramarines didn't get through the heresy unscathed. They took heavy losses at the Battle of Calth, with Guilliman's personal fleet almost annihilated in the attack.

Nazguire
16-09-2006, 00:50
I recall reading in the Horus Heresy background that Legions were upwards of 100,000 Marines in strength (which would make more sense if you take into account that the Legions appeared to be everywhere at any one time).

I prefer these larger sizes. 10,000 seems too small for armies that have to be at as many battle zones in force as possible. Realistically even 100,000+ is technically too small but this is GW after all.

Strikerkc
16-09-2006, 00:55
Think of it this way, they cranked out Marines like Guardsmen... do the math ;).

Nazguire
16-09-2006, 01:01
Think of it this way, they cranked out Marines like Guardsmen... do the math ;).

:p Like Guardsmen eh? With no training and only a rudimentary education? No wonder half joined Chaos, the Primarch would have been little more than cave men :D

Also, as an aside to the reasoning that there would have been 100,000+ Space Marines in the Legions pre-Heresy, it would also help to make the 10k war the Chaos Marines have been waging since those days more believable. If it was under 20,000 Marines, most of them would have been killed (as it is known their recruitment methods are....crude at best) and the true threat (rather than what GW makes it out to be currently: the Legions) would be simply the traitor Imperial Guard and Adeptus Mechanicus (or Dark Mechanicus if you like cheesy names).

GodofWarTx
16-09-2006, 02:25
i must prefer the larger numbers of hundreds of thousands, rather than the quite rediculous "10,000" number that was tossed around so much. Considering the epic scale of so many of these battles and a space marines willingness to fight to the death, there would be just mere handfulls of marines left after the battle of terra if the numbers were that low.

Sarge
16-09-2006, 03:29
:p Like Guardsmen eh? With no training and only a rudimentary education? No wonder half joined Chaos, the Primarch would have been little more than cave men :D

Also, as an aside to the reasoning that there would have been 100,000+ Space Marines in the Legions pre-Heresy, it would also help to make the 10k war the Chaos Marines have been waging since those days more believable. If it was under 20,000 Marines, most of them would have been killed (as it is known their recruitment methods are....crude at best) and the true threat (rather than what GW makes it out to be currently: the Legions) would be simply the traitor Imperial Guard and Adeptus Mechanicus (or Dark Mechanicus if you like cheesy names).

Well Space Marines do recruit from all planets, the more savage, the better. So in fact many Space Marines might have been nothing but cave men at one time, but that was before the grueling training and bio-engineering.

As for size, I see it as this, they have 10,000 active troops patrolling each sector, with reserves and new recruits on each planet they control. So while it may appear they only have 10,000 brothers at any time, they may have a thousand times that, but are do not have the the war marterials at hand to supply them properly. Makes sense to me, how bout you? One active legion per sector, with untold billions of recruits in the process of becoming battle brothers?

After all, every chapter fears one thing above all else, lossing a legion, and the geneseed they contain.

BrainFireBob
16-09-2006, 04:58
10,000 was the Index:Astartes size.

Larger is newer fluff- and weaker, IMHO. It makes the Heresy too ineffectual- for Chaos to have been driven to the Eye, there would have had to be less than 40,000 Chaos Marines left- based on the number of Imperials left, else Chaos would have just kept fighting. Considerably less.

Of course, Chaos can "recycle" marines.

Nazguire
16-09-2006, 06:17
As for size, I see it as this, they have 10,000 active troops patrolling each sector, with reserves and new recruits on each planet they control. So while it may appear they only have 10,000 brothers at any time, they may have a thousand times that, but are do not have the the war marterials at hand to supply them properly. Makes sense to me, how bout you? One active legion per sector, with untold billions of recruits in the process of becoming battle brothers?

After all, every chapter fears one thing above all else, lossing a legion, and the geneseed they contain.

I can't see there being billions of recruits. Otherwise, if the Imperium had that capability, then they wouldn't need Imperial Guardsmen. I can see maybe hundreds of new and upcoming recruits for each individual Legion, along with hundreds of 'scout' Marines (since they didn't have Scouts then: they simply gave you power armour and away you went). Billions, millions or even hundreds of thousands seems way too much.

Brother Othorio
16-09-2006, 16:59
wow.. *wipes tear from eye* i dont think i've seen so many pro-100,000 people in one place at one time before! *remembers several instances of being the only pro-100,000 poster once or twice in previous debates on the subject*

the 10,000 per legion is all well and good if you belong to the 'short heresy' school (wherein Istvan V, Mars & Terra were the only major battles), but for the 'epic' 10-15 year conflict that tore the imperium apart and bled the legions dry you really do need the 100,000 or else its basically a Naked Gun style war

edit: w00t! 500th post :)

2_heads_talking
16-09-2006, 20:31
I thought that the first Horus heresy art book had a small section describing the size of legions; each company was standard-chapter size, and I'm sure the Ultramarines were supposed to have been the largst Chapter with 250 companies (250,000 men)!

Still, I am a firm backer of the original Index Astartes and older fluff; as such I'd also say the chapters were only around ten/twenty thousand strong; the casualties they would have suffered would have kept their numbers low, even with new recruits, while the Imperial Guard (like today) would still have done the majority of the fighting during the Horus Heresy.

Sarge
17-09-2006, 03:00
I can't see there being billions of recruits. Otherwise, if the Imperium had that capability, then they wouldn't need Imperial Guardsmen. I can see maybe hundreds of new and upcoming recruits for each individual Legion, along with hundreds of 'scout' Marines (since they didn't have Scouts then: they simply gave you power armour and away you went). Billions, millions or even hundreds of thousands seems way too much.

Yes, a little exagurated, but 10,000 active brothers, with new recruits and Scouts comming in every day, does sound resonable.

Storm Hunters
17-09-2006, 18:52
but come on, 10,000 is nuthing, even for spacemarins. the idears of hundreds of thoudends sounds much more fun. 10,000 superhuman warriers can not hold a battle secter in warfare, let alone an area of space. THe british army is 100,000 strong, surely a space marin legion would be about that strengths. the fact that 41st millenium chapters are only 1000 strong proves to show how the power of the imperium has wained in the 10000 years since then, especialy if each of the legions sufferd somthing like 80% casulties over the herosy (it was very bloody).

Sarge
17-09-2006, 21:30
No, because they are typically reinforced with other legions, or with IG battalions. They are practically the special forces of the Imperium, and therefore shouldn't command an entire battle by themselves.

Nazguire
18-09-2006, 06:53
No, because they are typically reinforced with other legions, or with IG battalions. They are practically the special forces of the Imperium, and therefore shouldn't command an entire battle by themselves.

Pre-Heresy, it seemed that the Space Marines took a much larger role when it came to warfare than they do now. It seems they were more of a combination of special forces and main fighting unit. Yes, the Imperial Army would have done most of the fighting (due to its huge size) but the Space Marines would have done much, much more then they would have now. It was only at the end of the Heresy were they rendered down to their much smaller Chapter sizes, and thus given their far more specialised roles.

La'mour Le Breton
18-09-2006, 11:00
from reading the horus heresy novels, i was shocked by how small the luna wolves legion seemed. it seemed like they only had like 10-20 companies, which is alot, but i thought there were like huge amouts, like the 100,000. but i dont think they had 100,000. they didn't need that many. when marines got killed, the time it took to make a new one was really short, so i dont think their were like 100,000 in each legion. maybe 50,000 tops for the ultramarines, but i like the 10,000 number better. plus you have to remember, space marines were alot tougher back then. If there were 100,000 that would be 20 legions(origonaly) so 2 million marines, way too many if you ask me

Lord Dante
18-09-2006, 11:52
10000 for me - which means roughly 100k of marines total.

thats more then enough for me.

SpinO
18-09-2006, 14:11
I haven't read any of the Horus Heresy books, but I know that the Emperor's Children had 30 Great Companies at the beginning of the heresy. How many marines there is in a great company, I do not know however.

Mechanicus
18-09-2006, 15:53
Hmm... Well, HH vol. 2 says that:


There was no limit on the size of the Space Marine Legions, and most of them could muster 100,000 combatants. The Ultramarines Legion was by far the largest, and it's primarch, Roboute Guilliman, could call upon the services of over 250,000 Space Marines.

Chainsworded Codpiece
18-09-2006, 16:34
Hmm... Well, HH vol. 2 says that:

<snip>

Staggeringly awesome. Yet we know from background that the Imperial Army nee Guard have always outnumbered the Marines by massive amounts.

So, in M41, billions serve in the Guard.

In M30/31, billions must have been fielded at once.

Yyyyyyyess! Yes,yes, yes! {I'm turning into Beavis}

Havoc
18-09-2006, 20:15
I would go with the number in the HH.V2 as well, 250,000 Ultrasmurfs charging at you with Imperial Army detachments, Titans, super heavy tanks, and flyers would be a damn scary thing to look at, and nigh unsttoplable, how the hell the Word Bearers managed to keep them at bay that long is amazing enough.

Sarge
19-09-2006, 00:43
Pre-Heresy, it seemed that the Space Marines took a much larger role when it came to warfare than they do now. It seems they were more of a combination of special forces and main fighting unit. Yes, the Imperial Army would have done most of the fighting (due to its huge size) but the Space Marines would have done much, much more then they would have now. It was only at the end of the Heresy were they rendered down to their much smaller Chapter sizes, and thus given their far more specialised roles.

Pre-Heresy, the Space Marines also created their own Imperial Guard units to fight beside them. That went out of practice with the large chapter sizes.

Sergeant Tanthius
19-09-2006, 12:41
Pre-Heresy, the Space Marines also created their own Imperial Guard units to fight beside them. That went out of practice with the large chapter sizes.

Ultras still do that...It shows how much influence the SMurfs have. They have a little "Empire" remember? They are self functionable unlike anywhere else. If the Imperium dies there is always Ultramar...


I would go with the number in the HH.V2 as well, 250,000 Ultrasmurfs charging at you with Imperial Army detachments, Titans, super heavy tanks, and flyers would be a damn scary thing to look at, and nigh unsttoplable, how the hell the Word Bearers managed to keep them at bay that long is amazing enough.

Because half of the things that you listed turned around and attacked the SMurfs then. Legion on Legion the Word Bearers will just die...But yes, before the heresy the SMurfs in battle will cause something that can only be described by your screen name...

Brother Othorio
19-09-2006, 18:49
Ultras still do that...It shows how much influence the SMurfs have.

not really no, they maintain planetary defence forces on all of the fiefs (as one would assume all dominion chapters do), and they choose to 'tithe' portions of them to the Departmento Munitorum despite not being required to.. however i've never come across any mention of them actually fighting alongaside the non-tithed (or tithed ones for that matter) anywhere other than in the defence of Ultramar