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

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