Dark Angels: The First Legion’s Secret Hunt for the Fallen

Dark Angels Symbol

The Dark Angels: Shadowed Knights of the Imperium

Amongst the legendary warriors of the Adeptus Astartes, the Dark Angels stand apart. The First Legion, the original Space Marines created by the Emperor himself, the Dark Angels have a history as long and storied as the Imperium itself.

Yet for all their heroic deeds and sacrifices, the Sons of the Lion are forever haunted by the ghosts of their past, relentlessly pursuing a secret mission that has defined their Chapter for over ten thousand years.

Born amidst the chaos and destruction of the Horus Heresy, the Dark Angels of the 41st Millennium are a Chapter shaped by tragedy and betrayal. When the Arch-Traitor Horus plunged the galaxy into civil war, the Dark Angels were too distant to directly aid the loyalist defenders of Terra.

In the aftermath, their primarch Lion El’Jonson returned to the Dark Angels homeworld of Caliban, only to find that his once-trusted mentor and brother Luther had rebelled, leading many of the Dark Angels garrison into the service of Chaos.

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The Fallen of Caliban

In the cataclysmic confrontation that followed, Caliban itself was destroyed, the traitors scattered to the winds, and the Lion lost. These Fallen Angels would become the secret shame of the Dark Angels, their existence hidden from the Imperium at large as the Chapter bent its every effort to hunting them down and forcing them to repent.

The Inner Circle, comprising the highest ranks of the Chapter, would carry this burden through the ages, passing the knowledge of the Fallen and the secret mission to capture them to each new Supreme Grand Master.

Yet for all the weight of their hidden purpose, the Dark Angels remain one of the most formidable fighting forces in the Imperium. Equipped with rare and devastating plasma weaponry and counting many Terran veterans among their original ranks, the Dark Angels quickly earned a reputation for excellence across all forms of warfare.

But it is for their two specialist companies that the Chapter is best known: the Deathwing and the Ravenwing.

The 1st Company, known as the Deathwing, is an entire brotherhood of veterans clad in bone-white Terminator armor – towering figures of adamantium and ceramite who teleport into the heart of battle to crush the enemy with storm bolters and power fists.

Meanwhile, the Ravenwing are the eyes and ears of the Chapter, a 2nd Company composed of lightning-fast assault bikes and land speeders, striking from the shadows before fading away like phantoms.

Together, these two elite formations form the backbone of the Dark Angels’ endless hunt for the Fallen.

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Notable Battles and Campaigns

Throughout their long history, the Dark Angels have fought in countless battles and campaigns across the galaxy. Some of their most famous exploits include:

  • The Siege of Rynn’s World: When the Crimson Fists Chapter was nearly annihilated by an Ork invasion, the Dark Angels led a coalition of Space Marine Chapters to retake the beleaguered world and avenge their fallen brothers.
  • The Piscina Campaign: On the water world of Piscina IV, the Dark Angels 3rd and 5th Companies fought a grueling campaign against the Orks of WAAAGH! Ghazghkull, ultimately slaying the Warboss and halting the greenskin advance.
  • The Siege of Vraks: During the infamous 17-year campaign to retake the rebellious Armoury World of Vraks Prime, the Dark Angels committed several companies to the fight, their expertise in siegecraft and Zone Mortalis operations proving invaluable.
  • The Pandorax Campaign: As Abaddon the Despoiler sought to seize the world of Pythos and an ancient Warp weapon hidden there, the Dark Angels led a combined force of Space Marines, Grey Knights, and Imperial Guard to thwart the Warmaster’s plans.

The Lions Roar

In the modern age, the Dark Angels have been further strengthened by the miraculous return of their primarch, Lion El’Jonson, during the Imperium’s darkest hour.

With the enemy baying at the gates and worlds falling to the forces of Chaos, the Lion appeared from nowhere to lead his sons once more, wielding his fabled blade and unleashing ten millennia of repressed fury upon the traitors and heretics.

Reinvigorated by their gene-sire’s return, the Dark Angels have since fought at the forefront of the Imperium’s wars, from the monster-haunted ruins of Caliban to the killing fields of Armageddon.

For the aspiring Dark Angels collector, the tale of the Lion and Luther is only the beginning.

With a range of renowned special characters to choose from, such as Supreme Grand Master Azrael, Captain Sammael of the Ravenwing, and Interrogator-Chaplain Asmodai, and an array of unique units like the plasma-equipped Hellblasters and the Deathwing Knights.

Dark Angels army offers both flexibility and flavor. Whether fielding a few squads in a small scale Combat Patrol or massing for a mighty Strike Force, the Dark Angels have strong options for every play style.

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Notable Characters

In addition to their primarch Lion El’Jonson, the Dark Angels have been blessed with many legendary heroes throughout their history, including:

  • Supreme Grand Master Azrael: The current Chapter Master of the Dark Angels, Azrael is a brilliant strategist and a peerless warrior, as comfortable directing the flow of a battle from orbit as he is fighting blade-to-blade with the most terrible foes of Mankind.
  • Ezekiel, Grand Master of Librarians: Keeper of the Book of Salvation and Holder of the Keys, Ezekiel is the Chief Librarian of the Dark Angels, a powerful psyker who has used his abilities to uncover Fallen activity and guide the Chapter’s hunt.
  • Asmodai, Master Interrogator-Chaplain: The most feared member of the Dark Angels Inner Circle, Asmodai is charged with extracting confessions from captured Fallen Angels, a task he undertakes with grim relish and unshakeable determination.
  • Belial, Grand Master of the Deathwing: Clad in ancient Terminator armor and wielding the terrifying Sword of Silence, Belial leads the Deathwing company to victory in the Chapter’s greatest battles, crushing the enemies of the Emperor beneath an avalanche of ceramite.
  • Sammael, Grand Master of the Ravenwing: The greatest biker in the Chapter and perhaps the Imperium, Sammael leads the hunt for the Fallen, his jet-black Land Speeder Sableclaw racing ahead of his Ravenwing Black Knights to run the enemy to ground.

Descendants of the Lion

As a First Founding Chapter, the Dark Angels have sired many Successor Chapters who share their gene-seed and their secret hunt for the Fallen.

Known collectively as the Unforgiven, these Chapters maintain close ties to the Dark Angels and each other, regularly sharing information and coordinating their efforts to bring the Fallen to justice.

Some of the most renowned Unforgiven Chapters include the Angels of Vengeance, the Angels of Redemption, and the Angels of Absolution.

While each has its own traditions and heraldry, they all share the Dark Angels’ core values of secrecy, persistence, and an unswerving dedication to the Emperor and the Lion.

With the return of Lion El’Jonson, many believe a new era has dawned for the Dark Angels and their Successors. United in purpose and with their gene-sire to lead them, the Sons of the Lion stand ready to play a pivotal role in the Imperium’s future, ever watchful for signs of their ancient enemy.

For the Unforgiven, the hunt continues, and it will not end until every last Fallen Angel has been brought to justice and the Dark Angels’ honor is finally restored.

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The Rock: Fortress-Monastery of the Dark Angels

At the heart of the Dark Angels Chapter is their mighty fortress-monastery, a massive, self-sustaining asteroid base known simply as The Rock.

Claimed by the Dark Angels in the aftermath of the Horus Heresy, The Rock is actually all that remains of Caliban, the Chapter’s lost homeworld.

The surface of The Rock is riddled with gun emplacements, defense batteries, and launch bays, while deep within its labyrinthine tunnels and catacombs lie the Dark Angels’ most closely guarded secrets – the Fallen in their dismal cells, ancient relics from the time of the Great Crusade, and the Lion himself, slumbering away the millennia in a hidden chamber at the very heart of the fortress.

It is from The Rock that the Dark Angels launch their endless patrols and far-flung campaigns, the asteroid towed by colossal engines to the furthest reaches of the Imperium.

Beneath the protective aegis of its potent void shields and the watchful eyes of the 10th Company, The Rock serves as a bulwark against the enemies of Mankind, a final redoubt should all else fail.

Heirs to the Hexagrammaton: The Dark Angels and the Horus Heresy

During the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras, the Dark Angels Legion was organized into specialized formations known as the Hexagrammaton, each with its own unique weaponry, tactical doctrines, and heraldry.

These included the Deathwing, the Ravenwing, the Dreadwing, the Firewing, the Ironwing, and the Stormwing.

In the aftermath of the Heresy and the splitting of the Legions into Chapters during the Second Founding, many of these formations were preserved in modified form. The Deathwing and Ravenwing evolved into their current elite 1st and 2nd Companies, respectively, while the other Wings were largely folded into the Dark Angels’ Battle Companies or formed the basis for new Successor Chapters.

Yet the legacy of the Hexagrammaton lives on.



Many Dark Angels vehicles and wargear trace their origins back to this bygone age, from the plasma-armed Land Speeder Vengeance to the arcane Terranic greatswords and maces wielded by the Deathwing Knights.

Even the Chapter’s organization, with its secretive Inner Circle and parallel chains of command, harkens back to the intricate structure and layers of oaths that bound the original Legion.

To study the Dark Angels is to delve deep into the history of the Imperium, to a time when the Emperor still walked among His people and the galaxy trembled before the might of His Space Marine Legions.

The First Legion, first into the light of the Emperor’s grace, first to taste the bitterness of betrayal, the Dark Angels carry the weight of the past into an uncertain future, ever striving to live up to the glory of their Crusade-era forebears.

Deep Dive

If you are looking for a complete deep dive we recommend the Warhammer 40 Wiki!

To delve deeper into the lore of the First Legion, one needs look no further than the many tales penned about them. Omnibus collections like Legends of the Dark Angels and Legacy of Caliban contain sweeping sagas and short stories covering pivotal events, while novels such as The Lion: Son of the Forest provide insight into the primarch himself.

On the tabletop, Codex Supplement: Dark Angels expands upon the core Space Marines rules, packed with additional background and Dark Angels-specific units and rules.

On Warhammer 40k battlefields, the Dark Angels are a force of legend.

Marching in their iconic deep green, bone white, and midnight black, the descendants of Caliban bring the Emperor’s wrath to the heretic, the traitor, and the alien in equal measure.

For the Dark Angels, such wars are but a means to an end – a way to cover their tracks as they scour the stars for signs of the Fallen, ever watchful for any hint that might lead them closer to the one secret they must never reveal. They are the Unforgiven, cursed by their past and driven to absolve their hidden sins, no matter the cost.

Where the Lion and the Inner Circle lead, the Dark Angels follow, determined to write a glorious new chapter in their troubled history.

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