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echelons of the 216th, the truth was soon revealed when a number of units, including the entire 3rd Army Group, were withdrawn from its roster and reassigned to the 63rd Expeditionary Fleet.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.

The table below shows a number of key units in each of the army groups that made up the 216th Expeditionary Fleet (noting that the Highland Plöners were so numerous that they appeared in all six army groups):

UnitDesignationStatus
1st Army Group
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)
Highland PlönersImperialis Auxilia(active)
2nd Army Group
Ultramar Auxilia Imperialis Auxilia (withdrawn 998.M30)
Urslavik 33rd Imperialis Auxilia (active)
Light Gun Bn, 2nd Goodwoods Imperialis Auxilia (deployed 999.M30)
Highland PlönersImperialis Auxilia(active)

3rd Army Group

(withdrawn 956.M30)

4th Army Group

71st Peace Makers

Imperialis Auxilia

(disbanded)

Highland Plöners

Imperialis Auxilia

(active)

5th Army Group

17th Launcefield Rievers

Imperialis Auxilia

(active)

1/7th Battalion “Governor’s Own”

Imperialis Auxilia

(deployed 999.M30)

Dunamere Bombardiers

Imperialis Auxilia (active)
Highland PlönersImperialis Auxilia(active)

6th Army Group

53rd Calth Infantry

Imperialis Auxilia

(withdrawn 998.M30)

166th Heavy Tank Regiment

Imperialis Auxilia(active)
Highland PlönersImperialis Auxilia(active)

2nd Naval Assault Group

4th Independent Cohort Solar Auxilia

(active)

22nd Warjumpers Imperialis Axilia

(active)

Tactical Air Force
28th Fighter Wing “the Bluebirds”
7401st Bomber Wing
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.

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.

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