The 216th Expeditionary Fleet

The Heroes of Trastev
This pict, taken by Iterator Jumäl for an Imperial propaganda reel, shows the breadth of  Imperial Army units that fought in the 216th Expeditionary Fleet.
L-R: 33rd Urslavik; 11th Launcefold Rievers; Light Gun Bn, 2nd Goodwoods; 71st Peacemakers, 1212th Cohort, Solar Auxilia; 554th Furé Regiment; 463rd Orta, Byzant Janizars; Dunamrte Bombardiers; Highland Plöners.

The 216th was originally created to fill a gap between the advances of the 63rd and 12th expeditionary fleets. Formed around a core of veteran Imperial Army units taken from these fleets, it was surplused with a mass recruitment drive of nearby worlds. The world of Kelsig alone raised millions of souls for this fleet.

There was some debate in the War Council about the command up of this fleet, with initially chapter masters from the Dark Angels, Sons of Horus and Emperor’s Children being considered. However each of these turned down command, viewing the 216th as nothing more than a tertiary compliance fleet with little chance for glory. Eventually, with the intervention of Guilliman himself and the promise for the support of some ten million Ultramar Auxiliaries, Captain Cato Valerianus and the 77th Company were assigned to the fleet.

Having achieved its goal of solidifing imperial space between the 63rd and 12th in remarkable time, the 216th began operating as a frontline fleet, and brought a number of key worlds into compliance. This action was not looked on favourably by the fleetmasters of the 63rd fleet, who saw these actions as encroaching on its territory.

A light gun troop of the 2nd Goodwoods advances through no-man’s land on Sowis IV. Pivotal to the conflict, the timely arrival of their artillery pieces during the Battle for Creek River helped turn the tide of the wider war.

In 956.M30 the fleet was given new orders, to bring compliance to the southern expanse of the galaxy. Although initially seen as a mark of honour in the command echelons of the 216th, the truth was soon revealed when a number of units, including the entire 3rd Army Group, were withdrawn from its roster and reassigned to the 63rd Expeditionary Fleet.

Another blow to the fleet would come in 998.M30 when the Ultramarines contingent were ordered to re-join the rest of the 7th Chapter in their war against the Khrave on the Eastern Fringe.

Men of the Bal’Marbh advance through the nightmare battlefields of Kasper’s Hope. This campaign took two years to fully eradicate both human rebels and their alien overlords. Few other units could have won such a war of attrition.

No astartes unit could be found to take over command of the fleet, so it was granted to Horation Octavian II, who was promoted to Lord Marshall as a result. He increased the size of the fleet again, press ganging local worlds and raising a number of divisions.

At the outbreak of the Horus Heresy, the 216th Expeditionary Fleet was stationed in the Archadian system in the Xyphos Sub-Sector, re-arming after a protracted campaign against the Orks on Adura. This proved fortuitous when a large Emperor’s Children fleet arrived at the edge of the Sub-Sector, set on bringing it under Horus’ heel.

Lord Marshall Horatio Octavian II commander of the 1212th Solar Auxilia ‘The Double Dozen’

The firstborn son of Archadia’s planetary governor, Horatio II followed in his father’s footsteps by joining the Auxiliary. A gifted commander, he rose through the ranks of the 1212th Cohort quickly. Eventually he became Lord Marshall, and assumed command of the 216th Expeditionary Fleet after Chapter Master Cato Decius Valerianus and the 7th Company were recalled to face a new wave Khrave invasion.

Particularly gifted to armoured warfare, the 1212th was equipped as a fully mechanised fighting force at his insistence. This was to prove fruitful during the Horus Heresy as it allowed the Cohort to fight against astartes on a more equal footing. Despite this, the opening months took a heavy toll and the 1212th were reinforcing and refitting on Hephaiston when the 3rd legion fleet entered the sub-sector.

Determined to prove himself in light of his father’s achievements, Horatio has been undone by his reckless desire to engage the heart of his enemy where others would seek to destroy their enemy from afar.

The table below shows a number of key units in each of the army groups that made up the 216th Expeditionary Fleet. As the Highland Plöners were so numerous, units of them appeared in all of army groups (and indeed practically every division)

1st Army Group – The Old Stubborns

UnitDesignationStatus
77th Company, Ultramarines LegionAstartes(withdrawn 998.M30)
1212th Piscaian Auxilia “the Double Dozen”Solar Auxilia(active)
463rd Orta, Byzant JanizarsImperialis Auxilia, Old One Hundred(active)
9th Saoghal Siege RegimentImperialis Auxilia(active)
44th Bn, Highland PlönersImperialis Auxilia(active)
The most recent insignia of the 1st Army Group, here displayed on a Land Speeder of the Byzant Janizars’ 144th Reconnaissance Company. This was adopted after the 216th Expeditionary Fleet’s new orders in 956.M30. The yellow square represents the light of Terra with the blue border being uncharted space into which the fleet was now headed.

2nd Army Group – The Rooks

UnitDesignationStatus
Ultramar AuxiliaImperialis Auxilia(withdrawn 998.M30)
Urslavik 33rdImperialis Auxilia(active)
Light Gun Bn, 2nd GoodwoodsImperialis Auxilia(active)
371st Armoured Division, Highland PlönersImperialis Auxilia(active)

3rd Army Group – The Triples

UnitDesignationStatus
4th Cohort, Armaturan AuxiliaSolar Auxilia

(withdrawn 956.M30)

Imperialis Auxilia

(withdrawn 956.M30)

Imperialis Auxilia

(withdrawn 956.M30)

4th Army Group – The Fighting Fours

UnitDesignationStatus

71st Peace Makers

Imperialis Auxilia(disbanded)

175th Launcefield Rievers

Imperialis Auxilia(active)
28th Regiment of Foot, Highland PlönersImperialis Auxilia(active)

5th Army Group – Xyphos’ Own

UnitDesignationStatus
Dunamere BombardiersImperialis Auxilia(active)
91st Division, Highland PlönersImperialis Auxilia(active)

Aduran Infantry

Imperialis Auxilia(deployed 999.M30)

1/7th Battalion “Governor’s Own”

Imperialis Auxilia(deployed 999.M30)
Sethurisian ScalpersImperialis Auxilia(deployed 999.M30)
The Hephaiston Armoured CorpsImperialis Auxilia(deployed 999.M30)

6th Army Group – Blazor’s Bloodhounds

UnitDesignationStatus

53rd Calth Infantry

Imperialis Auxilia

(withdrawn 998.M30)

166th Heavy Tank Regiment

Imperialis Auxilia(active)
82nd Bn, Highland PlönersImperialis Auxilia(active)

2nd Naval Assault Group – Hell on Wings

UnitDesignationStatus
22nd WarjumpersImperialis Auxilia(active)
4th Independent CohortSolar Auxilia(active)

Tactical Air Force

UnitDesignationStatus
28th Fighter Wing “the Bluebirds”
7401st Bomber Wing

Key Conflicts

  • Siege of Kircholm
  • Llewis’ Martyrdom
  • Battle of Tuff Skraggagrad
  • Folly’ Relay
  • Liberation of Sailfer
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