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There are few Legions who have paid such a high price for their loyalty and honour as the Salamanders. There are fewer still who have so willingly and so often shed their blood in Mankind 's defence beyond their measure and due.
The Salamanders are such a Legion, and Wh smith driven to near-destruction not once, but time and again, they have each time arisen from the ashes of war, stronger and tempered like the peerless steel blades fashioned in the legendary forges of their homeworld: Beyond the usual secrecy and security that the Emperor chose to surround the Space Marine project with, in order to protect the nascent Legiones Astartes both from hostile action and from potential espionage, the origins and early deployment of several early Legion gene-strains are further occluded beyond the modern record's sight.
These Legion-groups were formed and established largely in separation from the rest, and it is generally thought created to very specific ends. There were none save perhaps a handful of the Emperor's closest and earliest confidants surviving from those lost and bloody days who knew the facts regarding this mystery, and the truth likely died with them.
That this "trefoil" of three proto-Legions was somehow veiled from the rest during their creation and establishment was something known to their fellows, but by edict of the Emperor and His agents, it remained unspoken of openly.
This element of mystery surrounding them can be seen to establish a distance between the three and the others, at least subconsciously in the minds of their fellow Astartes, particular in regards to their earliest intake of Initiates around which dark rumours circledwhich would later blossom into a level of distrust.
This distrust would magnify for very different reasons in regards to what would later become the Space Wolves Legion and Alpha Legion over time, but would be ameliorated in the case of the Salamanders by their later conduct and the influence and person of their gene-sire, the Primarch Vulkan.
However, this was not so in their early days, and it is forgotten now by most that at the outset of the Great Crusadein ca. M30, the reputation being forged by the XVIII Legion was a far more bloody and bellicose one than they would later carry.
In many ways, the pattern of their early fate was set and prefigured by the first major battle for which they became publicly identified; the Assault of the Tempest Galleries in the dying days of the Unification Wars on Ancient Terra. In this, the Legion alone achieved a victory against impossible odds and survived, although barely, taking savage losses which reduced the newly invested Legion's active strength from around 20' to little more than 1' warriors, although in doing so they secured themselves a place of glory and honour in the roll of the Imperium's forces.
The Legion's strength was rapidly rebuilt with new waves of recruits, their victorious reputation seeing them favoured for the procurement of new wargear and supply, often over many of their peers but, regardless, the pause kept them from participating in the initial explosion of Expeditionary Fleets departing Terra during the early years of the Great Crusade.
This meant that for the first few decades of the Great Crusade, Legionaries of the XVIII were assigned across a considerable number of different reinforcement battle groups and specialist units such as Rogue Trader expeditions, and rarely fought together as a Legion.
In particular, they were used to add Astartes might to emergency interdiction taskforces sent in to deal with sudden threats arising "behind the lines" of the advancing Crusade, such as deadly Space Hulks appearing without warning from the Empyreanor in response to xenos corsair raids and rising dangers unexpectedly disturbed by a fresh human colonising presence in a star system.
In many of these cases, the warriors of the Legion would be the only Space Marine contingent taking part in the conflict, forcing them into close co-operation with other human forces often in a command and spearhead roleand inevitably plunged them directly into the heaviest fighting and most hazardous theatres of battle.
Seldom then did the XVIII fight on a battlefield of their own choosing, and while Imperial Compliance actions for the Legion during this time were few and far between, its roll of battle honours was extensive, as was the diversity of its foes and the victories it secured.
For the XVIII this created a paradoxical reputation both as saviour but also a herald of bloody deeds, forlorn hopes and last-ditch holding actions. For an Imperial Army unit to be assigned alongside the XVIII Legion was a sign that the forthcoming battle would be a murderous affair; be it to break a siege, interdict a counter-attack, or hold the line against an alien onslaught in order to protect a civilian population from massacre.
Against the foes of humanity there was no odds the XVIII would not face, no drop of blood it would not shed, no sacrifice it would not make in terms of Legionaries or materiel in order to serve the Great Crusade and protect Mankind.
This kind of asymmetrical battle, it was soon whispered by some of their contemporaries, had become an addiction of sorts to the Legion and their valour less glorious as almost suicidal in temper. Regardless of the truth of this assertion, it was plain that to the XVIII Legion to triumph against the odds was the only victory worth the name.
In the worst instances, such as the legendary Manticore Cataclysm, retreat for the XVIII became often unthinkable even when tactical expediency would dictate otherwise, and the Legion paid in blood for its own untenable standard of valour and service.
Their resultant reputation is known to have won them great favour in certain circles of the Imperial Court and High Command while others, such as Lord Commander Actia of the XIII Legion Ultramarinesbitter after the events of Manticore, is on open record as stating that the XVIII carried the seeds of their own destruction within them, and were no more reliable ultimately than the quixotic V Legion White Scarswhose control would increasingly cause difficulties for the Great Crusade, or the III Legion Emperor's Childrenwho had yet to have their gene-seed deficiences repaired by the finding of their Primarch.
In addition to the influence of the Legion's interrupted development and evolution, attrition would ensure that in these early decades, the XVIII Legion's numbers never fully developed in the manner of others, battlefield losses preventing them from ever reaching the nominal full strength accorded by the Imperial High Command, while its warriors and officers remained distanced from those in other Legions through a combination of circumstances and choice.
Increasingly overmatched in number and superseded by others, by the fourth decade of the Great Crusade, whether the XVIII Legion would ultimately survive was a matter of open debate in some quarters. This world of his growth and maturity would, as with his brethren Primarchs, shape much about him and, by extension, his Legion in later years.
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This is because Why? is the most difficult question to research. Why is the color blue used for boys? Why do . The Salamanders are one of the Loyalist First Founding Chapters of Space Marines. They originally served as the Imperium's XVIII Space Marine Legion during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy and for some time before the return of their Primarch were known as the "Dragon Warriors." Their.
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