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  1. #1
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    Default Space Wolf Great Company

    For the longest time I've always considered the Space Wolves a Chapter many times greater than others. We know they only split once after the HH and that was it, we also know they didn't take the heavy losses other legions had, so it stands to reason they would have had the numbers. Several times, in codex's and other sources, the Space Wolves have been mentioned as being so large that the inquisition dared not enter their space.

    The Badab war had 4 Chapters going rogue at one and that didn't seem to stop the empire from sending in forces. The current Space Wolf Codex, Warzone Fenris, and the Sanctus Reach Campaign all give some 'official' idea of what a Great Company is. The Warzone Fenris book states under "The Howl of Wolves" special rule "If a WolfClaw Strike Force includes two or more Greatpacks, or two or more of the same Legendary Greatpack, one including a Wolf Lord and the others including a Wolf Guard Battle Leader, then together they form a Great Company."

    This passage says that a Great Company could comprise hundreds of Space Wolves each. In the Space Wolves Codex Ragnar Blackmane is listed as having 188 troops at the Battle for Alaric Prime. The Champions of Fenris Codex lists Logan Grimnar's force comprising of 200 Troops at the same battle. However in the 3rd book of he series, there's a sub-section called 'The Great Companies' that gives a short backstory on the Space Wolves, in there it says "The Forces that came to the aid of the defenders of Alaric Prime comprised elements from the Great Companies of Ragnar Blackmane, Krom Dragongaze and the current Great Wolf Himself,". What caught my eye was the "elements" part, this means that the listed forces are only a part of the overall Great Company. This suggests that the Great Companies of Logan and Ragnar easily 500+ marines if not far greater.

    12 Companies at 200 marines is roughly 2 1/2 regular chapters, certainly nothing to scoff at, but certianly not a force so large as to keep the Inquisition at bay. However 12 Companies of 500 marines on average, and now you're talking about the strength of 6 full Chapters. This would be more in line with a force that could keep the Inquistion out of their space.


    I've seen some debates that there is no way Fenris could support a population large enough to fill those needs, often citing the fact that the Ultramarines have problems keeping their ranks filled. However Ultramar has 3 things working against it that Fenris does not. 1: It's still in recovery from massive Tyranid invasions, this means that a vast number of young fighting age men we killed or maimed. 2: Ultramar is a 'High Society' type planet, which often means lower birth rates. 3: The Ultramarines (like most chapters) draw their recruits from the best their society produces. The Space Wolves do not have these issues, as a society that is less advanced, it most likely has a much higher birth rate. This fact is something very common here on earth, the less developed a society is, the higher it's birth rate (gotta fill that free time with something). But there's also the fact that the Space Wolves don't draw their recruits from the living, thus recruitment does not diminish the breeding stock.

    All this being said, I don't see it being unreasonable to see a Great Company 400-600 marines strong
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  2. #2

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    On the other hand, it is possible that just ~2,200 Space Wolves is enough to keep the Inquisition out of their space, because Space Wolves are batsh*t crazy and badass, and therefore capable of fending off much larger forces (such as the Thousand Sons legion lead by a Daemon Primarch...). They also control a heavily fortified system, with supposedly one of the strongest fortifications in the Galaxy outside the Sol system.

    To my knowledge, the Space Wolves were never a particularly large Legion (the next FW HH book will likely give us the ball-park number just prior to the HH), so after the casualties of Prospero, and fending off the Alpha Legion multiple times, they probably will be quite depleted. In addition, they were then halved to form the Wolf Brothers, so ~2-3,000 seems like a reasonable tally to be by the 41st Millennium.

    I would agree with you, but as you say the Champions of Fenris supplement outright states that Logan Grimnar's Great Company is just over 200 strong, and that his is the largest Great company, so it seems unlikely he has another few hundred Marines floating around somewhere. On the other hand, it may well be that the Space Wolves Chapter as a whole is at their lowest numbers in a long time, as the 41st Millennium seems to have been a particularly brutal millennia on the Imperium as a whole and a lot of huuuge wars have happened. So maybe in the not-so-distant past the Space Wolves were at ~5000 strong, but the many apocalyptic wars of the last millennium have worn them down significantly.

    I think it is worth mentioning that during the Great Crusade, a Great company was considered equivalent to a Chapter, so by that reckoning the 12 Companies of the Space Wolves should be at least ~12,000 Marines strong. (I say at least, because GC Chapters were by standard 10,000 Marines strong).
    Last edited by Haighus; 03-18-2016 at 03:07 PM.
    In the nightmare future of the 41st millennium, there is no time for peace. No respite. No Balance. There is only War.

  3. #3

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    It is certainly not that the Inquisition is unable to enter Space Wolves' space. The Inquisition can requisition any and all resources within the Imperium, and so could certainly raise a sufficient force to destroy a group of Space Marines, whether they are 1,000 or 6,000. It is clearly that no Inquisitor is sufficiently motivated to raise such a force, especially considering that the Space Wolves haven't demonstrated any exceptional traitorous behaviour.

    Regarding the total numbers of the Space Wolves, I'm fairly certain that the Space Wolves Codex two editions specified that Ragnar Blackmane had the largest Great Company barring the Great Wolf's, and it numbered around 200. I remember it in the WD, but I don't have the specific reference to hand.

    On a side note, since when have the SW's controlled an area of space? Also, I can't think of any evidence that the Ultramarines show a preference for recruiting their aspirants from any particular stratum of society; Do you have a source?

  4. #4
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    Older fluff for the Space Wolves have each Great Company being a Chapter unto themselves. Their members ranging from 100 to 1,000 at any given time. However, due to their aggressive tactics, they loose quite a large number of people. During the HH, Space Wolves were listed as one of the smaller legions having between 10,000 and 12,000 marines. The second founding had the ill-fated split with the "Wolf Brothers" certainly drained some numbers and some left with the 13th company into the Eye of Terror (chasing the Thousand Sons). Estimating that the Space Wolves "Chapter" is now 6,000 to 8,000 marines, that is now split up into 12 great companies, that's about 500 to to 666 Marines per Great Company, this number could be significantly lower. Actual number of marines varies from each great company due to whatever it is their doing and the Space Wolves only recruit from Fenris, while a large world, it's only one world. Add on to this that the vehicles and support personal per great company rivals a standard chapter, and you get each great company roughly being as effective as a small Space Marine Chapter. So even at their smallest, the Space Wolves chapter is larger then a standard Space Marine Chapter, at their largest, it is possible (while not likely) for the Space Wolves to reach their Legion size. Navy wise, Space Wolves had fluff that they like to "save" ships lost in conflict, Ragnar Blackmane's flag ship is a Mars Class Battlecruiser and not a standard Strike Cruiser or Battlebarge. The Great Wolf has an Emperor Class Battleship as his flag ship. I'm not too sure how much of this fluff has been retconned or will be. A curious note about the Eye of Terror campaign book, when looking at the forces list of the 13th Black Crusade, it listed 12 Great Companies for the Space Wolves, which would mean their entire chapter (or Legion) was fighting in the conflict.

  5. #5
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    The Inquisition is likely slower to act against the Space Wolves because of their reputation. They're held in high regard by the IG and Navy, unlike many chapters, and Armageddon shows they're quite capable of winning the hearts and minds of imperial citizens when they throw their weight around. Add on the fact they were the Emperor's attack dogs, have fended off multiple chaos incursions, and the rarefied place the First Foundings have amongst Space Marines and any Inquisitor has to know they are staking their entire reputation and history when making an accusation. That'd require some pretty solid evidence to pull off. Or at least very strong circumstantial evidence (like multiple cases of 'feral' Space Wolves being see at the locations of demonic activity, and the chapter reacting in ways other than rage).
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  6. #6
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    Pre HH Fenris was the only world (I am aware of) that the Space Wolves recruited from, they may have been a smaller legion, but the world was able to replenish the losses they suffered as a legion. They also have close ties to a forgeworld, so staying fully armed is not something they have to worry about.
    Yes I misspell stuff, you'll live.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ravingbantha View Post
    Pre HH Fenris was the only world (I am aware of) that the Space Wolves recruited from, they may have been a smaller legion, but the world was able to replenish the losses they suffered as a legion. They also have close ties to a forgeworld, so staying fully armed is not something they have to worry about.
    They would've had a core of older Legionaries from Terra and potential recruitment from other worlds before Fenris was rediscovered, but this would've been increasingly diminished as the GC wore on.
    In the nightmare future of the 41st millennium, there is no time for peace. No respite. No Balance. There is only War.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haighus View Post
    They would've had a core of older Legionaries from Terra and potential recruitment from other worlds before Fenris was rediscovered, but this would've been increasingly diminished as the GC wore on.
    True, which is why I said Fenris was able to replenish the losses and I didn't say it was the source of their entire legion pre-HH.
    Yes I misspell stuff, you'll live.

  9. #9

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    On a side note, since when have the SW's controlled an area of space?
    They control the Fenris system, which has a number of planets within it. In Warzone Fenris they name the planets. I don't have the book with me atm, but there is a Forgeworld (i think??) and at least one other planet that is mentioned, as well as inhabited moons.

    I'd say that counts as controlling an area of space.
    There are no wolves on Fenris. Except that one... and that one.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Manton View Post
    They control the Fenris system, which has a number of planets within it. In Warzone Fenris they name the planets. I don't have the book with me atm, but there is a Forgeworld (i think??) and at least one other planet that is mentioned, as well as inhabited moons.

    I'd say that counts as controlling an area of space.
    A system, even one which includes multiple inhabited worlds, is not an area of space in the sense I meant. The Ultramarines control multiple inhabited systems, which is obviously many times larger.

 

 
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