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SPHESS

So the lore for Iron Warriors describes them as brilliant strategists and siegers. But on the other hand they seem to rely quite heavily on throwing themselves at the enemy until their foe runs out of ammunition. Wouldn't it be more effective not to do that?

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"Quantity has a quality all to its own."

I get the feeling that it might be more along the lines that they are willing to sacrifice their men and resources to drown the enemy in bodies, or leave the enemy without enough ammo to keep fighting. But I do imagine that they have decent tactics, but they need to be different from the other Legiones Astartes.

I think of them as the "unstoppable force" to the Imperial Fists "immovable object".

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Holy Terra

At some point, you have to accept that the guy writing the fluff about the strategic and tactical genius of the characters is not himself necessarily a strategic or tactical genius.

That said, both IF and IW are known to employ attrition strategies.

   
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 Manchu wrote:
At some point, you have to accept that the guy writing the fluff about the strategic and tactical genius of the characters is not himself necessarily a strategic or tactical genius.

That said, both IF and IW are known to employ attrition strategies.


Isn't attrition a major player in sieges?

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It does not have to be. For example, Dorn employed the strategy at the Iron Cage. Was its application valid?

   
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 BunkhouseBuster wrote:
"Quantity has a quality all to its own."

Wasn't there some fluff about the Iron Warriors geneseed having the lowest rejection rate when creating new Space Marines, so during the early part of the Crusade their legion was significantly larger than most?

Also, my understanding is that they tended to get stuck with and/or were willing to take on jobs where attrition was called for.

Wasn't there a protracted siege that they could have avoided, but they saw it through until the end and it cost their legion so dearly that they were censured? I can't remember the name of the battle. I think part of the legions character was supposed to be that they would win no matter what the cost.

There is an element of cold calculation to the Iron Warriors and Perturabo, so if they kept getting assigned to sieges and they were able to replenish their numbers faster than other legions I could see how they might be inclined to trade losses for the sake of expediency.

I haven't read much of the Horus Heresy stuff, so I'm just repeating bits that I've picked up here and there from Codices and the like. I've got the new Perturabo book on pre-order. I like the legion but I've never liked the primarch all that much. Maybe the new book will offer more insights.

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one thing to keep in mind is the attrition the Iron Warriors use is seldom their own. typically they'll throw buckets of mortal slaves at the enemy to absorb fire, trip mines etc. so that their REAL troops have an easier time of it. and as far as that's concerned, those mortal slaves are a dirt cheap resource (life is cheap in the 41st M) so to the Iron Warriors mind they're no more wasting resources then a fighter jet in a dog fight today is wasting them by spending chaff to break a missile lock

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 Dakka Flakka Flame wrote:
 BunkhouseBuster wrote:
"Quantity has a quality all to its own."

Wasn't there some fluff about the Iron Warriors geneseed having the lowest rejection rate when creating new Space Marines, so during the early part of the Crusade their legion was significantly larger than most?

Also, my understanding is that they tended to get stuck with and/or were willing to take on jobs where attrition was called for.

Wasn't there a protracted siege that they could have avoided, but they saw it through until the end and it cost their legion so dearly that they were censured? I can't remember the name of the battle. I think part of the legions character was supposed to be that they would win no matter what the cost.

There is an element of cold calculation to the Iron Warriors and Perturabo, so if they kept getting assigned to sieges and they were able to replenish their numbers faster than other legions I could see how they might be inclined to trade losses for the sake of expediency.

I haven't read much of the Horus Heresy stuff, so I'm just repeating bits that I've picked up here and there from Codices and the like. I've got the new Perturabo book on pre-order. I like the legion but I've never liked the primarch all that much. Maybe the new book will offer more insights.
All of that sounds right to me, but I can't confirm it. I haven't truly got into 30K yet, having only read the first Horus Heresy novel (about 5 years ago anyways) and only ever got the Age of Darkness army list book. Aside from anecdotes from players and browsing the Wikis, I don't know for sure.

But yeah, there are mentions in the Age of Darkness book about the Iron Warriors having higher-than-expected casualties in protracted conflicts. Perturabo basically views his troops as ammunition to be used.

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 MrVulcanator wrote:
So the lore for Iron Warriors describes them as brilliant strategists and siegers. But on the other hand they seem to rely quite heavily on throwing themselves at the enemy until their foe runs out of ammunition. Wouldn't it be more effective not to do that?

At what point in history are you talking about Iron Warriors strategy?

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I don't recall reading any lore about the Iron Warriors being good tacticians. If anything they seemed unimaginative. What they have is that cold calculation mentioned above in this thread. Unsentimental towards losses while being realistic about the cost in resources. Unswayed by notions of glory, only victory. But this doesn't necessarily translate into "Good Tactics". It depends of the skill of who's in charge of the Iron Warriors (and who's writing the fluff because if the writer of the day just needs an enemy to be defeated of course they're going to end up holding the idiot ball)

Incidentally, the most well known tactical victory of the Iron Warriors (the Iron Cage incident) has them baiting the Imperial Fists into being the ones to throw endless soldiers into a heavily fortified meat grinder. It's a story I particularly love because it's the culmination of a long history of bitterness and rivalry between the two chapters and because it exploited the Imperial Fists stubborn tenaciousness which is usually considered their strength. That is an example of true strategic genius and a template for the Iron Warriors being actually good.
   
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BrianDavion wrote:
one thing to keep in mind is the attrition the Iron Warriors use is seldom their own. typically they'll throw buckets of mortal slaves at the enemy to absorb fire, trip mines etc. so that their REAL troops have an easier time of it. and as far as that's concerned, those mortal slaves are a dirt cheap resource (life is cheap in the 41st M) so to the Iron Warriors mind they're no more wasting resources then a fighter jet in a dog fight today is wasting them by spending chaff to break a missile lock


Even before thr Hersey they employed alot of low grade chaff to grind against the enemy before they took to the assault.
Whilst there stratagy is cold, calculating and yes far more planned and strategic than other chaos forces, it under pins on firepower, and attrition warfare. They are cold even to marine losses. If to weaken a Bastian requires the loss of 5000 flesh and 25 marines, so be it. Humans where just unota of flesh to be spent like shells, ammo, rations and fuel.

They are to be spent.
Though they are also pragmatic. In storm of iron captains consider relying on chaos alone is foolish and rather employ marines, guns and slaves as they do not poof out, change sides or have labayrythian reasons.

And from post above.. Thr iron Warriors are good strategists.
They think In larger terms.
They are different to tactical thinking, they are calculating statatigic thinkers.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2017/05/18 22:35:18


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 jhe90 wrote:
Though they are also pragmatic. In storm of iron captains consider relying on chaos alone is foolish and rather employ marines, guns and slaves as they do not poof out, change sides or have labayrythian reasons.

And from post above.. Thr iron Warriors are good strategists.
They think In larger terms.
They are different to tactical thinking, they are calculating statatigic thinkers.

I need to re-read the Graham McNeill Iron Warrior books. It's been a while.

The Iron Warriors are supposed to be really good a logistics and that's a pretty important part of strategy, but not everything.

I'm not that knowledgeable about military stuff, but there's a difference between tactics and strategy, right? That could be an important distinction to make in this thread. The Iron Warriors might not be the best at battlefield tactics but pretty good when it comes to overall strategy.

I loved reading about The Iron Cage. I remember reading something about Perturabo having a much stronger preference for building things up rather than tearing them down, and one of the things he was particularly bitter about* was that he kept getting assigned to sieges while the Imperial Fists got to have all the fun building forts. The Iron Cage incident and all the other redoubts the Iron Warriors built during the Heresy seem like them giving the Imperium a big middle finger and saying "We'll show you donkey caves what we can really do!"
*Being bitter and angry seem like the defining characteristics of Perturabo from what I've read.

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yeah, Pertabuo is the bitter guy who belives he's being under utilized and sees every good thing that happens to someone else as an insult to him. not gonna lie, there are some days when I have my "Pertuabo moments"

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 Dakka Flakka Flame wrote:
 jhe90 wrote:
Though they are also pragmatic. In storm of iron captains consider relying on chaos alone is foolish and rather employ marines, guns and slaves as they do not poof out, change sides or have labayrythian reasons.

And from post above.. Thr iron Warriors are good strategists.
They think In larger terms.
They are different to tactical thinking, they are calculating statatigic thinkers.

I need to re-read the Graham McNeill Iron Warrior books. It's been a while.

The Iron Warriors are supposed to be really good a logistics and that's a pretty important part of strategy, but not everything.

I'm not that knowledgeable about military stuff, but there's a difference between tactics and strategy, right? That could be an important distinction to make in this thread. The Iron Warriors might not be the best at battlefield tactics but pretty good when it comes to overall strategy.

I loved reading about The Iron Cage. I remember reading something about Perturabo having a much stronger preference for building things up rather than tearing them down, and one of the things he was particularly bitter about* was that he kept getting assigned to sieges while the Imperial Fists got to have all the fun building forts. The Iron Cage incident and all the other redoubts the Iron Warriors built during the Heresy seem like them giving the Imperium a big middle finger and saying "We'll show you donkey caves what we can really do!"
*Being bitter and angry seem like the defining characteristics of Perturabo from what I've read.


Agree with this, I should re-read Angel Exterminatus. I remember that the IW commanders had a simulation table where they practised attacking and defending basically any structure or fortress known to man. Honestly to me the IW's just struck me as similar to the Ultramarines, being large, practical, and liking plans for everything, not neccesarily better tactically then other legions.
Also, the IW's are one of the legions whose style was really changed by their primarch, so I'd say that pre-Pert IWs are different to Crusade/Heresy and 40k IW's.

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Mudrat wrote:
 Dakka Flakka Flame wrote:
 jhe90 wrote:
Though they are also pragmatic. In storm of iron captains consider relying on chaos alone is foolish and rather employ marines, guns and slaves as they do not poof out, change sides or have labayrythian reasons.

And from post above.. Thr iron Warriors are good strategists.
They think In larger terms.
They are different to tactical thinking, they are calculating statatigic thinkers.

I need to re-read the Graham McNeill Iron Warrior books. It's been a while.

The Iron Warriors are supposed to be really good a logistics and that's a pretty important part of strategy, but not everything.

I'm not that knowledgeable about military stuff, but there's a difference between tactics and strategy, right? That could be an important distinction to make in this thread. The Iron Warriors might not be the best at battlefield tactics but pretty good when it comes to overall strategy.

I loved reading about The Iron Cage. I remember reading something about Perturabo having a much stronger preference for building things up rather than tearing them down, and one of the things he was particularly bitter about* was that he kept getting assigned to sieges while the Imperial Fists got to have all the fun building forts. The Iron Cage incident and all the other redoubts the Iron Warriors built during the Heresy seem like them giving the Imperium a big middle finger and saying "We'll show you donkey caves what we can really do!"
*Being bitter and angry seem like the defining characteristics of Perturabo from what I've read.


Agree with this, I should re-read Angel Exterminatus. I remember that the IW commanders had a simulation table where they practised attacking and defending basically any structure or fortress known to man. Honestly to me the IW's just struck me as similar to the Ultramarines, being large, practical, and liking plans for everything, not neccesarily better tactically then other legions.
Also, the IW's are one of the legions whose style was really changed by their primarch, so I'd say that pre-Pert IWs are different to Crusade/Heresy and 40k IW's.


I remember that scene, I loved it, you basicly had the iron warriors sitting there playing... 40k

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Sort of off-topic, but I miss the bit of lore where there were Iron Warrior Khorne Berserkers. From what I remember, the day to day business of sieges was drudgery for the Iron Warriors, and some became somewhat unhinged and absolutely lived for the moments of storming the breach/going over the top. After the Heresy those guys were unsurprisingly drawn to Khorne. I think I read that in an old White Dwarf. My small Iron Warriors force back then had a single unit of Khorne Berserkers and a Basilisk.

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 Dakka Flakka Flame wrote:
Sort of off-topic, but I miss the bit of lore where there were Iron Warrior Khorne Berserkers. From what I remember, the day to day business of sieges was drudgery for the Iron Warriors, and some became somewhat unhinged and absolutely lived for the moments of storming the breach/going over the top. After the Heresy those guys were unsurprisingly drawn to Khorne. I think I read that in an old White Dwarf. My small Iron Warriors force back then had a single unit of Khorne Berserkers and a Basilisk.


yeah I have some iron warriors bezkerers too so I hope the 8th edition legion rules allow it again

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Perturabo never seemed like either a good tactician or stragegian to me.

He seemed to win battles and campaigns purely by having more and better supplies, troops, and technology than his opponents, and throwing the kitchen sink at them. None of his knowledge seemed instinctive or original either, like Curze, or Corax, or Alpharius, but more simply a case of mastering existing conventional strategy through study like Guilliman. He took credit for victories that had very little to with him personally.

When he was put in a situation where he didn't have an overwhelming advantage and the support of others, he always seemed to falter. His homeworld entered rebellion, which took him by surprise. He screwed himself over by using unnecessary and disproportionate force, which forced him into rebellion. One which he ended up on the losing side of in the Horus Heresy (and in which he failed to break Dorn's defences). He was tricked and almost killed by Fulgrim during the Heresy, escaping only due to luck.

About his only kind-of victory as an independent force came during the Iron Cage incident, and that was less due to his great cunning, and more to do with Dorn's masochism and desire to be punished making him willingly walk into a trap. And he still failed to wipe them out, so even with everything on his side, he failed.

I've always thought Perturabo's bitterness came not from being overlooked despite being a genius, but from secretly knowing he was unremarkable as far as his brothers went. And his inability to accept this is what sent him insane. His reputation of martial genius was a product of his own arrogance and insecurity rather than anything else.

The lore states he was a great architect and engineer, which I'm sure he was, but he wanted recognition in military fields so he could gain the respect of his 'father' and brothers, and for me that's where he was lacking. His genius was not in the field he was created for, and although far in advance of most individuals, amongst his peers, his martial skill was nothing special. And he couldn't come to terms with that.
   
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Hierophant wrote:

He seemed to win battles and campaigns purely by having more and better supplies, troops, and technology than his opponents, and throwing the kitchen sink at them.

That's Horus exactly. He threw his armies into a wood-chipper because he always had the superior position and never had to do anything else. You want over-hyped startegist primarch, it's Horus.

"'players must agree how they are going to select their armies, and if any restrictions apply to the number and type of models they can use."

This is an actual rule in the actual rulebook. Quit whining about how you can imagine someone's army touching you in a bad place and play by the actual rules.


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Both the IW and IF behave like idiots with their Astartes, throwing a precious resource only numbering around ~150,000 in both of their Legions and wasting them with abandon. Astartes are not meant to be fed into woodchippers, that's what normal humans and servitors exist for (who are also so numerous they are theoretically inexhaustible). Rather they're meant to act as speartips, smashing the enemy's defenses in a lightning attack and pulling out before they get bogged down in pointless attrition warfare.

Unfrotunately GW seems to treat space marines just like the USN did in WWII

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Holy Terra

It's a pity that the HH series has ultimately resulted in the Primarchs being discussed at the level of gak memes. Perturabo's faults included vanity, envy, and cruelty - but not a lack of skill as a general.

A general who effectively minimizes his chances of failure through careful planning and overwhelming force has demonstrated real skill. The best of all generals eliminate most of their enemies' options before ever allowing themselves to be engaged on the battlefield.

Those who find themselves committed to reckless adventures fall into two categories, the larger portion being failures and the rarer by far being romanticized as glorious heroes although they have often only scraped by because of chance. Still, they say it's better to be lucky than good. It's also true that being able to make the best of any situation is a strength. Even so, a commander whose talents are purely tactical is better suited to subordinate rank.

   
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 Manchu wrote:
It's a pity that the HH series has ultimately resulted in the Primarchs being discussed at the level of gak memes. Perturabo's faults included vanity, envy, and cruelty - but not a lack of skill as a general.

A general who effectively minimizes his chances of failure through careful planning and overwhelming force has demonstrated real skill. The best of all generals eliminate most of their enemies' options before ever allowing themselves to be engaged on the battlefield.

Those who find themselves committed to reckless adventures fall into two categories, the larger portion being failures and the rarer by far being romanticized as glorious heroes although they have often only scraped by because of chance. Still, they say it's better to be lucky than good. It's also true that being able to make the best of any situation is a strength. Even so, a commander whose talents are purely tactical is better suited to subordinate rank.


Well Washintgon on all accounts was a pretty horrible tactical commander but survived the war entirely on mad luck.

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I'm not sure if you're offering that as an example of why you agree or disagree.

   
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 Manchu wrote:
I'm not sure if you're offering that as an example of why you agree or disagree.

A bit of a disagreement, as figures like Washington don't really scrape by so much as they defy logic. Some generals seem to be just be especially lucky and can achieve anything.

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I believe that started off as great tacticians, taking pride in their art of war. But as the Crusade waged on and they got pigeon holed for one style of combat they became bitter about it and decided to wage war in a different way. According to the IA article

The Iron Warriors led by Perturabo were devastating siege troops. Expert engineers with cross-training from the Priesthood of Mars, they quickly built on their already impressive reputation. Whilst the Iron Warriors were determined to serve Mankind and their Emperor, their specialisation was an unfortunate one. The nature of siege warfare is long periods of dull, back-breaking labour broken by the most brutal, merciless combat imaginable. Men, even Space Marines, cannot withstand hell indefinitely and combat fatigue began to brutalise the Iron Warriors. The custom existed that once the siege lines were complete the besieged must either surrender or expect no quarter. With each campaign the Iron Warriors came to prefer the latter. Battle was to these Space Marines a release from the tedium of life in the siege trenches.

   
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Hierophant wrote:
Perturabo never seemed like either a good tactician or stragegian to me.

He seemed to win battles and campaigns purely by having more and better supplies, troops, and technology than his opponents, and throwing the kitchen sink at them.


This is the model of a good strategist. Logistics are 50% of a war, having them where you need them at the right point is another 40% of the job. In other words, campaigns are largely fought on the basis of what you have available, and where you can put it.

The reason the Iron Warriors are called siege specialists is because their strength was in the precise application of force; never using more than was necessary to take a fortified position. They'd sit down, calculate the shells, the men, the amount of force required to break down the walls, the optimum number of troops to take a point at a specific speed with a certain number of casualties, and so on. They'd identify the appropriate architectural weakpoints in the enemy position, and apply the relevant tactical countermeasure.

To Perturabo and his sons, war is nothing more than a pure, exact science. It's very similar to Guilliman's approach, only more coldly calculating with lives.

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 DarknessEternal wrote:
Hierophant wrote:

He seemed to win battles and campaigns purely by having more and better supplies, troops, and technology than his opponents, and throwing the kitchen sink at them.

That's Horus exactly. He threw his armies into a wood-chipper because he always had the superior position and never had to do anything else. You want over-hyped startegist primarch, it's Horus.



i say that's top level strategy. Stack the odds in your favour, or wait til they are stacked, then decimate. Instead of, like the World Eaters, through endless bodies into the mix regardless of situation, or the Alpha Legion, who used shadow warfare, which is great in its own right, but sometimes needlessly complex and subversive when a simple shock and awe were all that's required.

I wouldn't necessarily say the Iron Warriors were great strategists but they were efficient strategists. Bombard the enemy with artillery until they surrender, die, or are soft enough for a brutal assault. Use cheap cannon fodder to soak up bullets, then send in the shock troops when they can't fight back.

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Is it great strategy or is just having everything written in your favour? It feels a lot like the second to me.

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pm713 wrote:
Is it great strategy or is just having everything written in your favour? It feels a lot like the second to me.



Well given that its fiction with a pre-determined outcome they can't pull a shocker and have Perturabo die in some random siege. It requires being written so they can win. But they are great strategists. A bad strategist dives in headfirst regardless of whether he is in a position to win or not. Why attack a fortress when all you have is a heavy bolter? Its suicide. Attack a weakly defended fortress with multiple artillery batteries and shock assault troops, using orbital bombardment to land troops on the group and set up siege positions? Its not great strategy, its basic strategy.

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This is an awesome thread! It really is highlighting one of the coolest aspects of the Legiones Astartes - that each one of the Legions and Primarchs have similarities with a few of the others, but everything they do they handle in their unique way. Their personalities, their strategies, even the literary themes present in their backstory and development, each is distinct from the others, yet similar at the same time, inherently tied together as brothers born for a common cause.

These are the kinds of things that make 40K awesome as a setting, and makes the significance of the Horus Heresy all the more interesting and tragic as the fallout affects the narrative to this day.

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