Secret Orders of the Dark Angels

The Lexicanum loremasters return, and they’ve been delving into the shadowed past of the Unforgiven to find out more about the six orders of the Hexagrammaton, used by the Dark Angels during the Great Crusade. Here’s what they’ve uncovered.


In bygone days, the Dark Angels fielded six rare formations. Some remain in use to this day, while some have gone unused for millennia. Come and learn about the secrets orders of the Unforgiven.

Throughout the Great Crusade and down through the centuries, the scions of the First Legion have taken to the battlefield in many different ways, based on the ancient knightly traditions of Caliban. They fielded six specialised formations called ‘Wings’ during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy. Four are lost to the mists of time, while some soldier on with the hunt for the Fallen.

The Survivors: The following orders are used by the Chapter to this day.

The Deathwing is unique among the Space Marines Chapters in that the entire Dark Angels First Company fights exclusively in Terminator armour. The company’s armour is a bone-white colour rather than the dark green of the majority of the Chapter, or the black of the original Legion. This alteration of the colour scheme applies only to the Dark Angels, not to their Successor Chapters. The Deathwing’s insignia is a variation of winged sword worn by the rest of the Chapter – the blade of the sword is depicted as being broken in the Deathwing iconography. The Deathwing are notoriously stubborn and resistant, refusing to buckle under extreme pressure from enemy advances even when it would be more advantageous to retreat.

The Deathwing is not solely a tactical formation. Promotion to the Deathwing also means that an individual is made privy to many of the Chapter’s dark secrets. The most closely guarded of these secrets is that of the betrayal of Luther and the Fallen, and the subsequent loss of their Primarch, Lion El’Jonson.

The Deathwing itself contains multiple specialised sub-formations, such as Deathwing Command Squads and the dreaded Deathwing Knights who comprise the elite of this already veteran Company.

The Ravenwing is a highly specialised formation emphasizing speed and manoeuvrability over heavy firepower. To this end, all of the Dark Angels in the company ride into battle on Bikes, in Land Speeders, or piloting specialised vehicles such as the Land Speeder Vengeance or the Darkshroud.

In the skies, the Ravenwing employs Dark Talons and Nephilim Jetfighters. The Ravenwing’s hidden role within the Chapter is that of mobile hunters, eternally prowling for their traitorous quarry, the Fallen. Instead of the usual dark green panoply of the rest of the Chapter, the Ravenwing’s armour and vehicles are painted jet-black, echoing the original colours of the Dark Angels Legion. The Ravenwing also contains several sub-formations. These include Ravenwing Command Squads and Ravenwing Black Knights, the latter containing the most hardened veterans of the Ravenwing, with access to the Second Company’s Inner Circle.

The origin of the Ravenwing dates back to pre-Imperial times, originating from a mounted cavalry section of The Order, who rode black horses and “could survive alone in the deadly forests of Caliban, heroic figures in matte-black armour and winged helms.” While its title is from Caliban, its role originated in the way the Emperor organised the first Space Marines.


The Lost: The following four orders are no longer fielded by the Chapter, unseen since the times of the Horus Heresy.

The concept behind the Ironwing was developed by the Emperor during the Unification Wars, for the purpose of exterminating threats to mankind too dire to be allowed to endanger the coming Great Crusade. Ironwing units were equipped with heavily armoured vehicles, such as Land Raiders and Dreadnoughts, for their missions required the shock application of brute force.

The speciality of Dreadwing was total warfare using the most sinister of weapons. The elected lieutenant, bearing the title of Dreadbringer, commanded Destroyer squads supported by other types of units to bring total annihilation of a foe on a specific battlefield. The Dreadwing also utilised mass armoured assaults of Land Raiders, Spartan Assault Tanks, Mastodons, and Fellblades with advanced weaponry. Their hallmark was the use of dark, sinister, and shunned munitions such as phosphex, rad and vortex weapons.

A formation used in the Great Crusade, consisting exclusively of Breacher Squads with boarding shields. The Stormwing specialised in spaceborne boarding operations.

The Firewing was one of the six wings of the Hexagrammaton during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy. Its purpose is not known, completely lost to the mists of time. There are, however, intriguing heraldic links between the Firewing and the sigil of the Consecrators, a Successor Chapter of the Dark Angels.


Thanks, guys! Looks like the Dark Angels have even more secrets than we ever knew. If you’re looking to learn more about the mysterious orders of the Dark Angels, Angels of Caliban features the Dreadwing in action while The Horus Heresy Book Six: Retribution features rules for fielding an Ironwing army in your games in the 31st Millennium. If you’re more interested in battling in the Dark Millennium, you can pre-order the Dark Angels codex now or get yours in stores tomorrow.

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