The History of the 399th Marine Strike Group

Unit: 399th Marine Strike Group

Nickname: ‘Corvus Bellatorum’ (Raven Warriors)

Motto: “Aper Primus Hastis” (First Spears of the Boar)

OIC: SSGT Jim Middleton      |      DOIC: LTJG Zach Flott


Unit (fictional) History

The 399thMSG traces it fictional history back to earliest Roman Legions in Britain during the 1st Century AD. 


A Roman Beginning:

Unit tradition holds that the beginnings of the 399th Corvus Bellatorum MSG can actually be traced right back to the famous legion, the Legio XX founded by Octavian, who was later to be styled Augustus, the first emperor of Rome.


After successful participation in Octavian’s early civil wars, and further heroics during the Dalmatian revolt in 6 AD (when the legion, despite being badly under strength successfully cut through the rebels to safety), was redeployed to serve in the conquest in Britain.


The Valiant and Victorious:

It was during the legions their early days in Britain that the Legio XX achieved some of its most notable successes to date. The legion took a leading role in the initial conquest of the island, and was later stationed at the tribal capital of Camulodunum (modern Colchester) with later detachments of around 1000 men (vexillationes) serving across the British Isles.


But it was during the Boudican rebellion of 60/61 AD which saw the legion gain its most treasured titles and later emblem of the Celtic boar. A small detachment of Legio XX cavalry and legionaries were rushed to confront the rampaging British rebels with the rest of the quickly assembled forces of the Legio XIV and other available auxiliaries by the proconsul Suetonius Paullinus. Paullinus, recognising the scouting potential of the legions cavalry element, and desperate for news on Boudicca’s exact whereabouts, sent the Legio XX to scout ahead of his main force.


A young cavalryman, Aurelius Lucius, when separated from the rest of squadron after his horse had been scared by a wild boar, had the distinction of by sheer luck discovering the whereabouts of the main army and reporting back to the proconsul personally. During the final confrontation, both the cavalry and legionnaires from the Legio XX acquitted themselves so bravely, that the emperor Nero granted the whole legion the honour of Valeria Victrix (The Valiant and Victorious), and after the miraculous intervention of the wild boar, the emblem of the Celtic boar which became the symbol of the legion from then on.


Campaigns in the North:

With its battle tested veterans and newly acquired reputation as a mobile scout force of some skill, the Legio XX Valeria Victrix soon was called into action again to suppress further rebel activity, this time in campaigns which saw the legion quell uprisings from the Brigantes tribe in Northern Britain, the wild Celts of Wales, and finally to the very limits of Roman empire, in the Caledonian highlands against the vicious Picts at the special insistence of the Roman Governor of Britain, Gnaeus Julius Agricola, who had previously commanded the legion from 71-74 AD.

Agricola forms the Valeria Victrix Lanciarii:

It is Agricola who is credited with building upon the tradition started by the legions victorious cavalry continuant in 61 AD, during the intense guerilla warfare with the Picts in the extensive Caledonian forests. With his supplies being continually attacked and isolated roman forces being destroyed, Agricola soon realised that he needed to bring the fight directly to the Picts by deploying small groups of lightly armed legionaries called lanciarii to scout, and if required, make retaliatory attacks against the numerically superior foe.


Operating as open-order skirmishers, often far in advance of the main roman forces, they were armed with light javelins, wore little armour and soon became the favored elite troops of the legion. It was after one successful night infiltration of an enemy encampment that tradition states that Agricola himself was heard to remark that his elite lanciarii had descended upon their enemies ‘like night furies’.


Valeria Victrix Lanciarii Remembered:

The 399th MSG is intensely proud of its ancient heritage and all the brave Roman lanciarii who went before them, and in one form or another over the centuries they have referenced this link to their past.


In recent years, this has taken the form of a small patch which is worn on the left arm of Class Three uniforms, or as a discreet pin badge on dress uniforms. Despite its unofficial nature, the diamond badge depicting Aurelius Lucius fateful boar, sitting above the Roman numerals for the twentieth legion of which he was a part, is rarely been actively prohibited, and also serves as secondary function as a reference to the 399th central place in the 20th Brigade of the SFMC.


The Rise of the Raven Warriors:

During the later part of the Roman occupation of Britain, many of the lanciarii scouts from which it the 399th had begun to call themselves the Corvus Bellatorum “‘Raven Warriors” in reference to their dedication to the mysteries of Mithras and their ability to appear on the battlefield unseen, to surprise their enemies.


It is from these beginnings that the current 399th MSG originates, as a mobile and independent force of light infantrymen, ready to serve where the fighting is most desperate, and their particular skills can best serve the SFMC.


But to this day, Aurelius Lucius fateful boar is not forgotten by the Raven Warriors, who battle cry remains Aper Primus Hastis!