“Battles are won by slaughter and maneuver. The greater the general, the more he contributes in maneuver, the less he demands in slaughter. These terrifying bastards embrace both.”Brigadier-Marshall Solar Jureidh Ma’Atholl on the 463rd Orta’s ambush at Folly’s Relay.
Commanding officer: Corbaçi Creze Hakan-Sje
Unit type: Old One Hundred, Skimmer-mechanised Infantry
The Byzant Dominate was a small empire in pre-unification Terra situated next to the Achaemenid Empire, on the eastern edge of the Mediterranean Dust Bowl. Sandwiched between great empires the Byzant Dominate was necessarily small but survived due to the immense natural barriers of the Graekik peninsula and its formidable army; the Byzant Janizars.
When the Emperor came to the capital at the head of his Thunder Warriors the Janizars opened the gates and gifted the head of the last Caesar in surrender. The Emperor accepted their gift and absorbed the Dominate into the fledgling Imperium. The Emperor could not let the betrayal of their former ruler go unpunished and, psychically forcing all the Janizars to kneel he made them all swear that he would be the last and only ruler they would ever fight for. To seal this oath he instantaneously killed one tenth of the Janizars and to remind them of their oath he ordered their helmets stamped with the aquilla. This came to be known as The Final Oath, and each new recruit swears the same words.
Having fought for the Emperor throughout the Unification Wars, the Byzant Janizers were classed as one of the Old One-Hundred. This status recognised their years of service in some of the most brutal and bloody battles fighting against the proto-dreadnoughts of Albia, the hate-engines of the Nordafrik conclaves and the Ursh nightmare-crawlers. Additionally, it meant the Byzant Janizars’ bespoke arms and armour (both of which were of superior quality to similar patterns) were protected, never to be rolled out to the wider Imperial Army, or co-opted by the Mechanicum.
As members of the Old One Hundred, their reputation preceded them and they fought amongst most legions throughout the Great Crusade. Though most divisions, or Orta, were attached to the 63rd Expeditionary Fleet, a significant number including the 463rd were re-assigned to the 216th Expeditionary Fleet under the command of Captain Cato Valerianus. Initially 3 only regiments strong, by the time the Great Crusade was officially launched the Janizars were 15 Orta strong thanks to an influx of recruits during the Unification Wars. Each Orta is an entirely self-contained and self-sustaining unit of war containing a mix of different regiment types, or Leva. The Leva are broken down into companies, Cemaati with each Cemaati containing around 600 soldiers.
Equipment & Fighting Style
Their preferred infantry tactic is called a tercio, where they advance in an aggressive column aimed at punching through the enemy’s line and routing them. Life is short in the Cemaati as such tactics usually result in heavy casualties. To ensure they can always fight the Orta are constantly replenished by recruits shipped from the many households who have sworn to provide their firstborns and those who ‘volunteer’ from planets on which the Janizars fight. Each soldier is expected to advance and fight aggressively as atonement for their previous sins. Injuries are common and most soldiers have some sort of bionics as proof of their tenacity. Sergeants, or Boluk-Bashi, are expected to lead from the front and will inevitably be a veteran of many years.
The Byzant Janizars have access to bespoke equipment, stockpiled during the Unification Wars. One such peculiarity of the Janizars’s equipment is their vehicles; all of which are skimmers. This developed from their empire stretching into the Mediterranean Dust Bowl, where traditional tanks and artillery were useless. Tracks would sink in the rad-dunes and unseen sand-mires would cause artillery platforms to disappear after one round of firing. To overcome this difficulty the Byzant Dominate forged an alliance with neighbouring Boeotia. The Dominate would provide Boeotia with slaves for its vast manufactoria and the Boeotians would design and build skimming battle tanks for the Byzants. The most famous examples are the Wepwe-pattern Basilisk carriage, the Ferik-pattern Battle Tank and the skuttle-speeder medium tank. Hovering just above the ground ensured the artillery could fire repeatedly from the same position whilst allowing them to redeploy quickly to react to the fast paced nature of war on the dust plains.
Another anachronism of a bygone era, and only tolerated due to the Janizars’ status in the Old One Hundred, was the Ogryd-class Arco-flagellantii. The creation of barely sanctioned gene crafting these cloned giants had their arms replaced with neuro-flails, electro-whips and psycho-sickles and were pumped full of stimms and drugs like slaugt and frenzon. Completely docile until their trigger word is uttered, the Byzant aristocracy keep them as pets and status symbols. On the field of battle the Orta’s aristocratic officers gather all their beasts together into a makeshift unit and let them run amok amongst the enemy. Few survive the battle as the stimms overload their bodies but the slaughter they bring about is always worth their sacrifice.
- Fog’s Hope – During the Unification Wars, the Byzant Janizars defeated a Hy Brasil Cohors Deletiones intent on subjugating the Mediterranean Dust Bowl. The first warning of the invasion was the distinctive low hum of the mebra-jets accompanied by the sharp crack of their deadly psionic-dream bombs. Following these came the columns of infantry and mighty, tracked battle tanks. Rallying to face this new threat, the Byzant holdfasts were put on high alert and dispatched several Land Speeder cemaati to disrupt the infantry column whilst the Janizar skuttle-speeders attempted to stop the mebra-jet rampage. The Janizars were able to draw the enemy infantry into deadly ambushes amongst the red-dunes that saw equal deaths caused by the terrain as much as the Janizar’s deadly shooting. Whole companies were consumed by the desert as Land Speeders cut down those fleeing with white hot plasma. The Hy Brasilian king was forced to sue for peace, with the Byzant Janizars making the same demand as always: firstborn children that could be brought up in the Byzant Janizars way and turned into loyal soldiers of the Dominate.
- Siege of Varga-Hive – A textbook example of what the Imperial Army can achieve when working together efficiently, the Byzant Janizars and the Saoghal Siege Regiment were deployed to Varga to counter a recent rebellion that had seen the planetary governor overthrown in a bloody coup. With the Saoghal regiments firing on the hive’s colossal walls, Byzant Janizars mounted in their Dune-skiffs dispatched any force attempting to flee. As soon as the Saoghal’s Medusa carriages breached the wall, the 463rd Orta immediately re-directed their attack and swarmed into the breach. Thanks to their co-ordination, the rebel governor was removed swiftly and with minimal Imperial casualties. Varga was once more brought into compliance.
- The Grashna Cleansing – An infamous campaign during the early years of the 216th Fleet’s history, the 463rd fought alongside the Ultramarines 77th Company against Waaagh Gitz on Grashna. This campaign saw the largest gathering of Ogryd-class Arco Flagellantii, with 214 beasts unleashed against the heart of the Ork forces whilst the Janizar infantry held off the waves of boyz. Only four Flagellantii survived the battle, but Gitz and his entire cadre of nobz had been slaughtered. Waaagh Gitz would fall to infighting without Gitz’ brutal leadership and was subsequently destroyed following attacks from the Byzant Janizars, 2nd Goodwoods and several detachments of Highland Plöners.
- Pascha IV
- Fall of Damochan