463rd Orta, Byzant Janizars – Part 3

With the first week of my project to finish the Byzant Janizars over, I have re-based a number of units and updated the paint scheme on my lascannon support squad. If you want to catch up on what I have written previously about my 30k cults & militia army based on the Byzant Janizars, see part 1 and part 2.

In celebration of completing week one, I have written more fluff on the Byzant Janizar’s actions in the early years of the Horus Heresy, culminating in the war for the Xyphos sub-sector (a campaign we are planning to run once we are allowed to game again).

At the end of the Great Crusade, Byzant Janizar units were scattered throughout the galaxy. Whilst a number of units were actively deployed in expeditionary fleets (most notably in the 63rd and 216th), the majority were garrisoned on newly compliant worlds. The Janizar’s status as one of the Old One Hundred afforded them governship of these worlds and the promise of a life of luxury. This all changed when news spread of Horus’ betrayal. Remembering their final oath to the Emperor, the Ortas gathered once more under the command of Creze Hakan-Sje with the goal of making the traitors pay.

The 216th Expeditionary Fleet was desperate for manpower after the 77th Ultramarine company were summond back to their Chapter. Lord Marshall Horatio Octavian II, commander of the expeditionary fleet, welcomed the influx of Byzant Janizars and immediately took the force on a harrassing campaign against the traitor supply lines.

Recognising that his forces were drastically outmatched on a man to man basis compared to astartes, Horatio and Hakan-Sje agreed that heavy firepower was their only way to even the odds. To that end they re-organised the Byzant Janizars so each infantry Cemaat was supported by a heavy weapon Cemaat. These two squads were expected to work seemlessly, with the infantry Cemaat suppressing the enemy long enough for the support Cemaat to maneuvre to a position where they could bring their heavy weapons to bear. This re-organisation effectively doubled the size of the Orta and taxed their supply chain, but it was remarkably successful in practice.

Lascannon support Cemaati became increasingly popular in the face of the massed astartes armour that was common during the Horus Heresy. The weapon crews usually chose to overcharge their weapons, unleashing a blistering las-beam that was more powerful than the standard shot. Thanks to the deadly nature of warfare during this time these crews would often only get one shot off before the enemy was on them and they figured it was better to make that shot count and ignore the stress overcharging took on the guns.

Exemplary Byzant Janizar campaigns during the Shadow Crusade

007.M31 – On the world of Phendamar, the 463rd Orta co-operated with a Raven Guard execution force in eliminating the traitor Imperial Army high command based there. Janizar recon teams led a masterful hit-and-run campaign on various outposts to draw the enemy into carefully laid Raven Guard ambushes. Few mortal forces could have matched the XIX Legion’s speed and maneuverability, but the Janizar’s abundance of skimmers and experience fighting in the Mediterranean Dust Bowl during the Unification Wars worked in their favour and the two forces formed an exceptional team.

007.M31 – Drogar IV had an abundance of promethium and as such was a vital link in the traitor’s supply chain. Facing a garrisoned Iron Warriors company, the Byzant Janizars underwent a four month campaign to dismantle their defences and destroy the promethium fields. The destruction of the planet’s capital refinery was so massive it could be seen from space and the debris could upset the planet’s climate for a generation. Although several companies of Byzant Janizars died in this action, it was one of countless battles that ultimately tipped the scales in the loyalists’ favour by bleeding the traitors’ supplies and slowing their advance on Terra.

008.M31 – Vicious fighting on Mernt tested the 463rd when they encountered a re-suppling Emperor’s Children armoured spearhead. For seven days the city of Merntagra burned as the two forces traded blows. Leman russes and skuttle-pattern skimmers duelled against predators and land raiders in the cramped manufactora whilst infantry forces slaughtered each other in fierce building-to-building firefights. Despite suffering extremely heavy casualties, the Byzant Janizars used the terrain to their advantage and destroyed the traitor forces, freeing Mernt from its dark compliance and ensuring all its resources were re-directed to the loyalists.

009.M31 – Badly mauled from three years of fighting behind traitor lines, the 463rd and the rest of the 216th Expeditionary Fleet regroup in the Xyphos sub-sector to re-supply and re-build. This proves fortuitous for the loyalists when a massive traitor fleet arrives to the north-west of the sub-sector intent on laying waste to the whole sub-sector. War had come to Xyphos, and the Byzant Janizars were ready to stand in its defence.

I had fun photographing my units with more scenic backgrounds and expanding on their fluff. By next Sunday I am hoping to finish off the army’s skimmers – come back then for more fluff and pictures of the Janizars!

Jamie

Project February: Finishing the Byzant Janizars

I recently decided that 2021 would be the year of finishing projects and working through the unbuilt and unpainted resin and plastic on my hobby desk.

First up is the Byzant Janizars, an Old One Hundred force that is mentioned in the early black library Horus Heresy books. There is very little fluff to go on for them so I have taken the liberty of creating my own.

It is a fairly long to-do list for a month but with a strict painting routine it should all be doable. With most of the vehicles I have already painted, I am going back over them to add more detail and weathering. Here is what is left to do:

  1. 10 Grenadiers,
  2. An Arvus lighter,
  3. A recon squad and their land speeder cutter,
  4. Three land speeders, magnatised with a variety of loadouts,
  5. A leman russ exterminator,
  6. An Imperial Army medium skimmer and
  7. New bases for some of the army’s units.

I will be posting fluff alongside completed projects so by the end of the month they should be a fully fleshed out force both on and off the tabletop.

I hope you look forward to following along with this project!

Jamie

Dok’s Shop – Militia Land Speeders

Developed by Arkan Land primarily for the Legiones Astartes, land speeders were also used by the fledgling Imperial Army.

Expensive and difficult to maintain, they were reserved for the more prestigious outfits who had the contacts to field them in large numbers. One such force was the Byzant Janizars.

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When the Byzant Dominate was absorbed into the Imperium after the Siege of Byzant Alpha, they gained the support of the Mechanicum and their supply chain. The Emperor gifted several companies of land speeders to the Janizars, thinking they might suit the Janizar’s method of warfare.

He was right.

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The Byzant Janizars adopted these skimmers wholeheartedly, using them as mobile gun platforms to support the infantry’s advance and to help in patrolling the vast expanse of the Mediterranean Dust Bowl. They were equipped with a variety of weapons to suit any opponent, though their preferred load out was plasma weaponry. Although volatile and prone to accidents, the risks were worth it in the mega conflicts of the Horus Heresy. Their goal was to inflict as much damage as possible before the inevitable return of fire. 

The Byzant Janizars were extremely gifted and known for their ability to weave through all but the heaviest incoming fire. It was even rumoured that Janizar pilots were amongst those settled on the newly compliant world of Glavia.

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I was originally planning on running land speeders as ‘count as’ sentinels in my army to fit the theme of only having skimming vehicles. The only problem was it didn’t quite feel right so I put off making any. When I saw the Mournival Events additional units had militia land speeders I immediately went ahead and built the unit up.

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They currently are equipped with plasma guns and cannons but I’m planning on magnetising the weapons so I can equip them a variety of ways. I feel the militia list lacks mobile AP2 options, so these guys are going to be my terminator hunters. They pack a serious punch when they shoot but with only 2 hull points each and Gets Hot they’re prone to blowing themselves up as much as the enemy!

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The conversions themselves weren’t too tricky, its mainly a mix of the land speeder and sentinel kits. The hardest part was cutting away the space marine legs that are attached to the seats on the land speeder and replacing them with the sentinel pilots. The sentinel kit comes with plenty of weapon options and I had some plasma guns left over from the plastic heresy marines. I used the hooded heads from the Wildwood rangers rather than my normal converted Byzant Janizar helmets. In my fluff, they’re wearing some sort of sand scarf to protect them whilst patrolling through the Mediterranean Dust Bowl. Plus I thought their usual high helmets would be a bit impractical on the speeders!

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Overall I’m happy with how they look; they’re a fun fluffy unit that feels right at home amongst the Byzant Janizars.

Jamie

Dicing with Death – the Swamps of Voggo

We played a couple of games using some of our new jungle terrain. It blocks line of sight really well and we are working on a lot more pieces to create a really dense board. The jungle pieces mix nicely with the rest of our terrain which is really handy for mixing and matching and giving us more variety.

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Records show that in early 008.M31 the planet of Voggo declared for the Warmaster and was rewarded with a garrison of veteran Byzant Janizars. The steamy jungles and swamps of this planet housed large raw promethium deposits ripe for mining. Voggo was therefore a strategically important world despite its size and position to the galactic north. It needed to be protected.

Shadow-captain Kraai took his talon to Voggo to distrupt supply lines for the traitors marching on Holy Terra. Their first strike destroyed the astropathic station, rendering the planet unable request help. In a masterful campaign over the next few months the Raven Guard systematically picked apart the Janizar units and forced them into an ever diminishing pocket of control. With no choice left, the commander of the Byzant Janizars decided to force a break out at what he thought was the weakest point in the Raven Guard lines. Little did he know this was all part of their plan…

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Commander Mahzun ordered his less mobile infrantry and artillery to hold the line whilst the core of his infantry attempted the break out. The Janizars raised their guns and shell after shell landed amongst the Raven Guard lines. Despite the blistering fusillade, many of the shots fell wide of their mark, such was the panic of the men and women firing. 

The Raven Guard moved up in response. Whilst the tacical squads took cover behind disused pipes and began targetting the militia infantry, Honoured Brother Yiraka barrelled through the undergrowth, aiming for the ostentatious plumes of Commander Mahzun. Seeing the metallic giant running toward his lines, Mahzun smiled and uttered a single word in the language of Old Byzant:

“Katletmek”

The Ogryd Arco-Flagellanti with him twitched. Stimm pipes and chem neutralisers in their bodies kicked in and these gaints sprung forward with weapons cracking and mouths frothing. Headless of their own safety, their only objective was to kill anything threatening their master. The six giants slammed into the dreadnought and, although Yiraka was able to kill several beasts, he was brought down by the great power mauls of meteoric steel grafted in place of the hands of some Ogryds.

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The Janizar’s sense of victory was short lived as the dreadnought Kynaeus mercilessly gunned down the surviving Ogryds with his kheres. Just then the sky overhead seemed to blacken and, with a sound like thunder, the Raven Guard destroyers arrived.

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Particularly feared on Voggo, these marines had committed several acts of virulent genocide on the workforce of the planet. Before the militia squad could even react to their arrival, the destroyers opened fire. With cold efficiency they unleashed their payload and the Janizars were left a pile of rad-sickened corpses.

Demir Umudu, the Byzant Janizar demolisher, had continued its steady advance, firing shots as it moved that knocked out the Raven Guard javelins and tactical squad. Recognising this vehicle as the real threat, Kraai ordered Kynaeus to take it out. Running forward Kynaeus shoulder barged the tank, flipping it over to expose its weak underside. Gearing up his assault cannons, he shot through the hull until the vehicle exploded in a fireball.

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Watching his army fall to pieces Mahzun realised the breakout was now impossible and the day was lost. Not wanting to die in ignomy and hoping to take out the enemy leader in a last act of defiance, he lifted his ancestral axe and raised it towards Kraai. The Shadow-captain answered and, with a burst of his jetpack, charged into combat. The supernatural speed of Kraai was impossible for Mahzun to counter and he was brutally cut down in short order.

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With that the battle was over. Soon after the traitor grip on this planned collapsed when the governor was assassintated by Kraai’s Mor Deythan. The planet’s supply of promethium would now be helping the loyalist cause…

We played the Noose mission from Book 6 with my militia having to escape whilst Tom’s Raven Guard tried to stop us. This was always going to be tricky as my militia are very static and immobile but it was fun watching them be on the offensive and the Raven Guard on the defensive for a change! End result was a clear victory for the Raven Guard but I’ve learned more lessons about how best to play my militia and have a couple of more fast moving reinforcements inbound.

Jamie

463rd Orta, Byzant Janizars – Part 2

The 463rd Orta fought under Varvarus in the 63rd Expeditionary Fleet by the side of the Luna Wolves. When the Emperor’s Children split off to form their own fleet the 463rd Orta were dispatched with them to provide auxiliary support.

Creze Hakan-Sje is the Corbaci, or commander, of the 463rd Orta. Whilst anyone can now join the Janizars, the upper echelons of the officer class are reserved for those from the Old Families. These were the original families to give up their firstborns, and have continued to do so for the past thousand years. Hakan-Sje was destined for greatness and thrived in the harsh conditions of the Janizars. His family used whatever connections they could to secure Hakan-Sje a favourable position and he proved extremely competent in command. He was sent to the officer college Ajema-Algikje along with another aspiring commander, Vavarus. The two formed a close bond of brotherhood which turned sour when Vavarus was chosen over Hakan-Sje to lead those Janizars sent to Horus’ fleet. IMG_0278

Beside him hovers Tawil, Hakan-Sje’s firstborn. Janizars are not allowed family of any sort, so when it turned out he had an illegitimate son it threatened to end his career. In a show of loyalty to the Janizars, Hakan-Sje had his son lobotomised and turned into a true-Nephilim, a complex biological and mechanical process which almost bankrupted his family. Hakan-Sje claims this fulfils his family’s oath as his firstborn now serves in the 463rd, albeit as his familiar. He carries the Creze ancestral axe, wielded by the family for a hundred years.

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The Orta of the Byzant Janizars are organised into squads, or Cemaati. Their preferred 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 Cemaat is led by a veteran, called a Boluk-Bashi, who has fought and survived at the front line for many years.

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Pictured here is Cemaat Uch-Bir, led by the Boluk-Bashi Gaius Tutku. The son of one of the few noble families from Urartu to survive the Battle of Mount Ararat , Gaius Tutku was handed over to the Janizars after failing the Astartes recruitment program. He survived his first engagement, against the Orks on Chern-VI, and worked his way up to Boluk-Bashi and commanding his own Cemaat. He is a very bitter man who rarely smiles but under him Uch-Bir has gained a fearsome reputation.

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Due to the aggressive combat doctrine favoured by the Janizars, most troopers bear scars and other wounds from their time in the tercioes. A large number have had limbs blown off and so sport bionic replacements, or are forced to wear bionic rebreathers to replace collapsed lungs or facial injuries. This, combined with basic psycho-indoctrination, means that the Janizars have a higher tolerance for pain than a standard soldier of the Imperial Army.

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Each Cemaat is supported by squads armed with heavy weaponry. Their role is to suppress the enemy so the tercioes can advance safely and to take out heavier elements which might threaten the Cemaati. Janizars favour more portable heavy weapons, such as missile launchers rather than static fire bases of lascannons. Thanks to Creze Hakan-Sje’s connections the 463rd is supplied with rare anti-matter warheads that are adept at destroying vehicles.

Pictured here is Cemaat Uch-Iki led by Oda-Bashi Rasha-Fare, a female officer with an expert eye at tank hunting. Traditionally the Byzant Janizars took the firstborn of conquered nobles regardless of gender and the old families still fulfil this ancestral oaths. The requirements of the Great Crusade mean that any person can be accepted into the Janizars and the Orta continue to accept both male and female recruits. IMG_0254

 So I now have the minimum requirements to field the Byzant Janizars as an allied detachment, which I will be doing in a game on Sunday. In the works are: a land speeder squad (sentinels), a unit of arco-flagellants (ogryns) and a squad of grenadiers as my secondary compulsory troops choice.

I’ve enjoyed filling out the fluff a bit more for them. Not a huge amount has been written so I feel I can take some liberties. If games workshop introduce more stuff about them, it would be fairly easy to change these guys to being an entirely homemade militia army.

Jamie

463rd Orta, Byzant Janizars – Part 1

‘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. Despite being a small empire, it had a formidable army, and waged several successful wars throughout its long existence. These wars won the Byzant Dominate prisoners, young children offered to the empire by defeated monarchs and tyrants as terms for peace. These children were raised by the Byzanters, indoctrinated into their cult and eventually joined the ranks of the emperor’s bodyguard: the Byzant Janizars.

Given the best equipment and training the Dominate could muster, these corps, or Orta, occupied a privileged position in Byzant culture and politics. Over time they had gained a reputation as king makers, famed for naming a new emperor and demanding vast sums from them; if they did not pay then the emperor was killed and a new ‘volunteer’ rose to the purple.

The Byzant Dominate, like the Achaemenid Empire, was incorporated by the Emperor in the early days of Unification. The Byzant emperor, Sul-Tac, was determined to resist the Emperor’s diplomatic envoys, believing him to be safe in his capital fortress, Byzant-Alpha. When the massed ranks of raging Thunder Warriors arrived at the fortress gates, the general of the Byzant Janizars, Madhvian, saw an opportunity for political advancement. He feared the enhanced warriors, whose reputation for the brutal massacre of any opposition preceded them. With the Janizars, Madhvian stormed Sul-Tac’s chambers and killed him along with his family. He then opened the gates of Byzant-Alpha, presented the head of Sul-Tac as a gift, and named the Emperor as the new Byzant emperor.

Upon hearing this, the Emperor accepted their declaration, becoming the ruler of Byzant and thus acquiring the empire without bloodshed. For their treachery against their former ruler though, the Emperor had the Ortas swear an oath of loyalty, that the Emperor was the last and only ruler they would ever follow and fight for. In order to seal this oath, whilst punishing them, the Emperor ordered the Janizars decimated. He also obliterated Madhvian with his psychic might.

The Janizars took their oath to heart, and fought in some of the bloodiest campaigns during Unification. The Janizars were allowed to take the noble children of defeated empires (often those preliminarily rejected from the Astartes project) and raise them in their tradition. With the influx of recruits the Byzant Janizars more than tripled in size, and several new Orta were raised, sent to fight alongside the legions in the great crusade. Thanks to their noble birth and early loyalty, they were attached to some of the more noble expedition fleets, most notably a large contingent fighting with Horus under Lord Commander Varvarus.’

This is the fluff I wrote to give a bit of a back story to the Byzant Janizars. I always liked the idea of the Byzant Janizars after reading a fan-made campaign pack about the Macharian Crusade. In it they were described as one of the Emperor’s household, so I reasoned they were likely to have been in the Great Crusade. Even though some sided with Horus in the books, surely there were some loyalist units as well? In the supplement it said how the Byzant Janizars were one of the few regiments to use a-grav vehicles so I was planning on continuing that theme, with land speeders as sentinels and eventually converting up some skimmer leman russes (note I won’t actually count them as skimmers, I just think it’ll look cool!!!)

Anyway, I eventually worked out the bits I wanted after struggling for a while, especially with regards to the distinctive Janissary hat. I settled on the mix of kits you see below, and am pretty happy with the result. Here is the first test model I made:

Their hats are greenstuffed on and I eventually shaved off the gems on their head and replaced them with aquillas to make them look more futuristic.

I was really happy with how he looked so started converting up the rest of the squad. This is the first militia squad, and needs to be bumped up to 20 men strong. I think the squad as a whole looks quite impressive!

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I also wanted to take advantage of being able to choose your warlord trait in the cults & militia list and being able to increase the AP of a weapon in your army. AP2 rocket launchers should be pretty handy at being able to destroy enemy vehicles. I still need to paint up one more rocket launcher to make the squad legal size.

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Finally I quickly painted up a force commander to use in smaller games so I could use the army as an allied detachment for my Emperor’s Children. He will eventually be the commander of the second militia squad but he works as my HQ for now. IMG_8903His pose is based of the Vostroyan command squad on the old Warhammer 40k Battle Missions book as I loved their static poses observing the battlefield rather than being stuck in the middle of the fighting.

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I have also finished the first of my land speeders which will be count as sentinels. The fluff reason behind this is that their empire was based on the edge of the Mediterranean Dust Bowl and so skimmer tech proved more useful at being able to patrol their territory than conventional walkers/vehicles. Its armed with an autocannon and I wanted it to look burdened with extra supplies and comms to show their use as logistics support for the infantry as well.

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I’m really happy with how they’re coming along and how they look as a whole. Next on the list is the force commander and finishing these squads off. Then I’m looking forward to playing some games with these guys as an allied detachment. If you guys have any comments or ideas let us know.

Thanks for reading.

Jamie