Iron Snakes

Iron Snakes
Iron Snakes Heraldry.png
Battle Cry "For Ithaka!"
Founding Second Founding
Successors of Ultramarines (officially)
Successor Chapters None
Chapter Master Seydon
Primarch Roboute Guilliman (officially, implied to actually be Alpharius)
Homeworld Ithaka
Strength 1000
Specialty Infantry, close combat
Allegiance Imperium
Colours Gunmetal armour, White Pauldrons with red trim, Blue Iconography

The Iron Snakes is a Chapter of Ultramarines descent. Their primary mission is to guard the Reef Stars from mostly Dark Eldar and Orks. They are based on the Ocean- and Feral World of Ithaka. Their heraldry kind of looks like the Grey Knights, except less pimp and anti-Daemon stuff. They also seem to be a relatively popular Chapter on the tabletop, probably because of their uncomplicated but still good-looking colour scheme.

There also seems to be some greek inspiration to their theme, as Ithaka, which their home planet is called, was the home of Odysseus in the Odyssey. Combined with the bone-white pauldrons and having a "Damocles Squad", it's fair to say that these guys are about as ancient Greek as the Minotaurs.



The Iron Snakes were created during the Second Founding. They have been stationed in the Reef Stars for thousands of years. While most of the sector is relatively low-tech, the Chapter is very serious about this duty and will go to great lengths to defend the population against any threat, primarily Dark Eldar and less frequently Orks.

The Chapter has fought in several major crusades, including the Sabbat Worlds Crusade, where they only lost eight marines against almost thirty thousand Chaos casualties in a battle, and the Thirteenth Black Crusade.


The Iron Snakes restrict their forces to the one thousand Astartes the Codex Astartes dictates, but they ignore the company structuring, instead basing their organization into a hundred ten-man squads that function somewhat autonomously. This means that the squads contain battle-brothers of all levels of expertise, pairing veterans with novices. If a squad is wiped out to the last man, that squad will be reformed under the same name and with new Astartes from other squads. Each squad also has its own standard-bearer, as well as an special weapons bearer, and apparently all squads also have their own Apothecary, leading to the Chapter having a much higher number of Apothecaries than usual. On the tabletop, they are probably best represented with Red Scorpions chapter tactics, as they have a similar apothecary fetish.

Despite the loose organization, they still have a hierarchy which includes captains. Dreadnoughts and the recruiting and training of neophytes are left to the command staff, though squads are usually assigned to help out training once in a while. Neophytes are combat trained and turned into Astartes right on Ithaka, those who complete the transformation are given their power armor and become full Astartes, so no Scouts and no neophytes in the field.

Though they're as much about teamwork and brotherhood as any Astartes, Iron Snakes also place a value on their troops being able to act alone if necessary, as they recognize any supersoldier worth his power armour should be able to kick some ass on his own. Given this, Iron Snakes will sometimes deploy a new Astartes to solve minor issues to see if he can act reliably independently, or veterans to conduct harassing maneuvers on enemies.

It seems their Chapter Master inherits the name of the previous one (or there are only like, 4 names on Ithaka), as their current Chapter Master is the eighteenth to bear the name Seydon. The current Seydon is an ancient and seasoned Astartes, pretty friendly too. He always wears a hood, so we don't get to see his face beyond the beard and jawline. He's also fucking hueg, noted for being a meter taller than a line Astartes.

For some reason, possibly because everyone in the Reef is so low tech, the Iron Snakes seem to fight with less sophistication than most chapters. The Iron Snakes see fit to fight using ancient Greek phalanx tactics, complete with spear and shield line formations with assistants behind them to carry a half dozen spears and reload the Boltguns. Even more puzzling is that they seem to use these tactics without any real armor support when fighting an Ork Waaagh of all things. Never the less, Iron Snakes do have war machines and do use them from time to time, while they still have a large enough fleet to have an effective presence across the sector, so who can say why they use such primitive tactis.


The Iron Snakes are listed as an Ultramarines successor in the Codex: Space Marines (7th Ed). Dark Imperium by Guy Haley confirms that the Iron Snakes are a Second Founding successor chapter of the Ultramarines. In the novel, Know No Fear, the Ultramarines 6th company led by Captain Saur Damocles wears the emblem of a snake similar to the heraldry of the Iron Snakes. One of the founding squads in the Iron Snakes were also named Damocles Squad. As such, it is possible that Damocles was the first Chapter Master of the Iron Snakes, but this is yet to be confirmed.

That said, the XIII was the Orphanage for Lost and Troubled Space Marines during the heresy, what with their adoption of warriors from the Lost legions and the Iron Warriors. That's lead some to suspect that the Iron Snakes are Alpha legion loyalist remnants, what with their focus on army compartmentalization and versatility, common deployment individual astartes to serve as operatives and sabotage behind enemy lines, the serpent in their heraldry, and that their chapter master is a larger than the average astartes, conceals his face, and has been known to swap identities.


Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes
First Founding (M29): Blood Angels - Dark Angels - Imperial Fists - Iron Hands - Raven Guard
Salamanders - Space Wolves - Ultramarines - White Scars
Second Founding (021.M31): Angels of Absolution - Angels Encarmine - Angels Porphyr - Angels of Redemption
Angels Sanguine - Angels of Vengeance - Angels Vermillion - Aurora Chapter - Black Consuls
Black Guard - Black Templars - Blood Drinkers - Brazen Claws - Crimson Fists - Destroyers
Doom Eagles - Eagle Warriors - Excoriators - Fists Exemplar - Flesh Tearers
Genesis Chapter - Inceptors - Iron Snakes - Libators - Lions Sable - Marauders - Mortifactors
Nemesis - Novamarines - Obsidian Glaives - Patriarchs of Ulixis - Praetors of Orpheus
Rampagers - Raptors - Red Talons - Revilers - Silver Eagles - Silver Skulls - Soul Drinkers
Storm Lords - White Consuls - Wolf Brothers
Third to Twelfth Founding
Astral Claws - Angels Revenant - Charnel Guard - Dark Paladins - Executioners
Flesh Eaters - Halo Brethren - Howling Griffons - Iron Knights - Mantis Warriors
Marines Malevolent - Night Swords - Sable Swords (initial)
Scythes of the Emperor - Space Sharks - Sons of Guilliman
Thirteenth Founding (M35): Death Spectres - Exorcists
Fourteenth to Twentieth Founding: Angels of Fire - Avenging Sons - Celebrants
Twenty-First Founding
Black Dragons - Blood Gorgons - Fire Hawks
Flame Falcons - Lamenters - Minotaurs - Sons of Antaeus
Twenty-Second to
Twenty-Sixth Founding (M35-M41):
Angels of Vigilance - Celestial Lions - Dark Hunters - Disciples of Caliban - Emperor's Spears
Fire Angels - Imperial Harbingers - Iron Lords - Knights of the Raven - Marines Errant
Mentors - Fire Claws/Relictors - Star Phantoms - Subjugators
Ultima Founding
Angels of Defiance - Blades of Vengeance - Castellans of the Rift - Fulminators
Knights Cerulean - Knights of the Chalice - Knights of Thunder - Necropolis Hawks
Nemesors - Praetors of Ultramar - Rift Stalkers - Silver Drakes - Silver Templars
Sons of the Phoenix - Storm Reapers - Umbral Knights - Unnumbered Sons
Valiant Blades - Void Tridents - Wolfspear
Unknown Founding: Absolvers - Accipiters - Adulators - Angel Guard - Angels Eradicant - Astral Knights
Blood Ravens - Blood Swords - Brothers Penitent - Crimson Castellans - Crimson Consuls
Crimson Scythes - Dark Hands - Dark Sons - Death Eagles - Fire Lords - Guardians of the Covenant
Graven Spectres - Hammers of Dorn - Harbingers - Hawk Lords - Invaders - Iron Talons
Jade Dragons - Knights of Blood - Knights Unyielding - Marines Exemplar - The Nameless
Night Watch - Rainbow Warriors - Reclaimers - Red Hunters - Red Scorpions - Red Seraphs
Sable Swords (refounded) - Solar Hawks - Sons of Orar - Star Dragons - Stormwatchers
Storm Giants - Storm Wardens - Valedictors - Viper Legion - Vorpal Swords (and the Judged)
Unsanctioned Founding: Consecrators - Sons of Medusa - Steel Confessors
Others: Adeptus Custodes - Astartes Praeses - Deathwatch - Grey Knights