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.
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echelons of the 216th, the truth was soon revealed when a number of units, including the entire 3rd Army Group, were withdrawn from its roster and reassigned to the 63rd Expeditionary Fleet.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.
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
|77th Company, Ultramarines Legion||Astartes||(withdrawn 998.M30)|
|1212th Piscaian Auxilia “the Double Dozen”||Solar Auxilia||(active)|
|463rd Orta, Byzant Janizars||Imperialis Auxilia, Old One Hundred||(active)|
|9th Saoghal Siege Regiment||Imperialis Auxilia||(active)|
|44th Bn, Highland Plöners||Imperialis Auxilia||(active)|
2nd Army Group – The Rooks
|Ultramar Auxilia||Imperialis Auxilia||(withdrawn 998.M30)|
|Urslavik 33rd||Imperialis Auxilia||(active)|
|Light Gun Bn, 2nd Goodwoods||Imperialis Auxilia||(active)|
|371st Armoured Division, Highland Plöners||Imperialis Auxilia||(active)|
3rd Army Group – The Triples
|4th Cohort, Armaturan Auxilia||Solar Auxilia|
4th Army Group – The Fighting Fours
71st Peace Makers
175th Launcefield Rievers
|28th Regiment of Foot, Highland Plöners||Imperialis Auxilia||(active)|
5th Army Group – Xyphos’ Own
|Dunamere Bombardiers||Imperialis Auxilia||(active)|
|91st Division, Highland Plöners||Imperialis Auxilia||(active)|
|Imperialis Auxilia||(deployed 999.M30)|
1/7th Battalion “Governor’s Own”
|Imperialis Auxilia||(deployed 999.M30)|
|Sethurisian Scalpers||Imperialis Auxilia||(deployed 999.M30)|
|The Hephaiston Armoured Corps||Imperialis Auxilia||(deployed 999.M30)|
6th Army Group – Blazor’s Bloodhounds
53rd Calth Infantry
166th Heavy Tank Regiment
|82nd Bn, Highland Plöners||Imperialis Auxilia||(active)|
2nd Naval Assault Group – Hell on Wings
|22nd Warjumpers||Imperialis Auxilia||(active)|
|4th Independent Cohort||Solar Auxilia||(active)|
Tactical Air Force
|28th Fighter Wing “the Bluebirds”|
|7401st Bomber Wing|
- Siege of Kircholm
- Llewis’ Martyrdom
- Battle of Tuff Skraggagrad
- Folly’ Relay
- Liberation of Sailfer