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Baneblade

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2drones.gif This article is about the Imperial Super Heavy Tank, for the Novel by Guy Haley see Baneblade (Novel)

The Baneblade is the primary super-heavy tank used by the Imperial Guard and is one of the largest and oldest tanks used by the Imperium. These massive machines often serve as the command vehicles for entire regiments or spearhead armoured attacks, organized into their own super-heavy companies. Such is the power of a Baneblade that nothing short of another war engine, such as a Titan, would dare to face one in single combat.[3a]

Baneblades in combat.[4]

Contents

History

The Baneblade is among the oldest armoured vehicles still in use by the Imperial Guard, based on rare Standard Template Construct technology dating back to the Dark Age of Technology. It is believed that entire divisions of Baneblades once served the Emperor of Mankind in his Great Crusade, but by the 41st Millennium an Imperial Guard regiment is considered fortunate if it has a single company of Baneblades, and many must make due with only one. The STC data necessary to create an original Baneblade, including the many advanced systems unique to its construction, is a closely-guarded secret limited to Mars - from which most true Baneblades originate - and a few other favoured Forge Worlds. Baneblades constructed on these worlds will be logged and registered with Mars, with their own identity number and name, and all information pertaining to their whereabouts and crew are regularly reported to their place of origination.[1a] As well, due to the nature of such a prime asset, the Adeptus Mechanicus shares responsibility with the Imperial Guard for selecting the crewmembers of a Baneblade.[4c]

Design

Armament

The super-heavy tank's primary weapon is its turret-mounted Baneblade Cannon, a massive ten-metre-long battle cannon capable of launching rocket-assisted shells at targets many kilometers away.[4a] Such is the power of this cannon that its tremendous recoil can rock the massive tank back on its tracks and produces a deafening roar inside the tank in spite of the layers of armour and acoustic dampening material.[3b] The cannon's double-sleeve construction allows for venting ports around its muzzle for exhaust gases to escape, preventing a dangerous build-up which could damage the weapon.[1b] The co-axial Autocannon provides additional firepower but is more often used to fire magnesium ranging rounds for the Baneblade's main cannon.[4j] The first gunner, stationed in the gunnery deck inside the turret, controls both weapons and aims through the secondary scope located next to the primary scopes atop the turret. The first loader is also stationed inside the turret, loading each of the metre-long shells into the breach and manning any pintle-mounted weapons. A small locker within the turret contains up to half a dozen shells while an enclosed shell elevator supplies additional shots from the magazine.[d]

The Baneblade's secondary weapon is its hull-mounted demolisher cannon. Of sturdier construction with a shorter, wider-mouthed barrel, the demolisher also fires rocket-assisted shells and uses the same method as the main cannon to vent exhaust gases. A reinforced mount allows the Baneblade to advance while firing the Demolisher.[1a][4a] Demolisher shells can easily shatter ferrocrete and even liquify soft targets with their shockwaves alone.[4a] The second gunner, located in the tank's forward compartment, is in charge of aiming and firing the demolisher cannon through auger sights while a rail sled from the magazine feeds shells into the weapon.[4d]

The Baneblade's tertiary weapons consist of hull-mounted twin-linked heavy bolters, which can be fired by the driver when necessary, and two side sponsons, each one with a twin-linked heavy bolter and a lascannon. Each of the side-mounted heavy bolters has a limited 90° angle of fire though the lascannons, mounted on turrets atop the sponsons, have a larger range of 270°. The third gunner remotely controls these weapons from his station on the command deck, assisted by the third loader, but indeed any of the Baneblade's many weapons can be remotely aimed and fired from this station. Ammunition for the heavy bolters are supplied by autoloaders which draw from 4,000-round hoppers each. If the autoloaders jam or malfunction, the third loader has to clear out and refill the entire system by means of the sponson access hatch located outside the tank, a dangerous task in the middle of combat. The lascannons draw energy directly from the powerplant, but if their shunts burn out from overuse those too must be replaced, though the cabling for these are located in the lower deck.[4d]

Variations on this standard include some Baneblades with a second set of side sponsons, while others may have them removed in place of even more side armour plating. As a final addition some Baneblades will include a pintle-mounted Heavy Stubber or Storm Bolter and/or a Hunter-Killer Missile.[2a]

Armour

Wrapped in layers of Ceramite and Plasteel the Baneblade is among the most well-protected vehicles employed by the Imperial Guard; indeed it can survive countless weapon impacts which would reduce most other tanks to molten slag.[3e] Not even solid slugs fired by the feared Railguns mounted on Tau Hammerhead skimmer-tanks will penetrate the Baneblade's frontal glacis,[3d] though a trio of simultaneous impacts can tear off one of the side compartments and cause spalling fragments within the interior.[3c] The frontal armour is even tough enough to withstand several seconds of fire from a Turbo Laser before the beam melts its way through.[9] Against some weapons though the Baneblade is no match, as even a single shot from the Shadowsword's Volcano Cannon is capable of atomising this massive tank.[4h] When necessary the Baneblade is also equipped with Smoke Launchers to produce a cloud of blinding smoke.[2a]

Command and Control

Many and varied are the ancient technologies which go into producing a true Baneblade, making it more advanced than most other Imperial Guard vehicles. Besides its Searchlight the tank is packed with auspex gear, such as seismic sensors,[4g] with a multitude of augur lenses ringing the tank's outer hull. Targeting arrays and two periscopes atop the tank's turret allow the commander a clearer view of the battlefield thanks to their prodigious height. In addition the commander can look out through any of his gunner's scopes and designate targets for them, assisted by the tank's logic engines in locating an enemy's weak points.[4b] Short- and long-range vox equipment allows for communication anywhere up to orbiting satellites,[4i] while special pulse-laser comms systems allows the Baneblade to share data with other super-heavy tanks to form a logic engine network;[4b] regular vehicles retrofitted with these systems can also join in.[4h] All of the information the Baneblade receives from these many sources are combined and displayed on the three-dimensional map chart located behind the commander's station. Here an accurate map of the tank's surroundings as well as all friendly and enemy contacts are displayed, allowing the commander to plan out his operations.[4b]

Engine

The Baneblade is powered by a massive multi-fuel powerplant, located in the rear of the tank, which produces the enormous amount of energy necessary for the tank to function. Like powerplants found in the Leman Russ or Chimera vehicles it is capable of running on any type of fuel. When the tank is stopped the powerplant is normally left running and ready to go, however it also must undergo full maintenance and service check every six months during which it is completely shut down. The frequency of these stops increases depending on the type of fuel used or the battlefield conditions, and it is quite common to undergo one prior to a major engagement or long patrol. In cases when the powerplant is cold a battery supply allows for limited functionality of the tank's systems: for example the heavy bolters can still be used as normal while the lascannons will be good for only a few shots.[4e]

Interior Layout

The Baneblade is primarily divided into three separate decks. The first is the gunnery deck located in the tank's turret, where the first gunner and first loader are stationed. Entrance into the turret is provided by two hatches on top - one jutting out of the turret's side to form an observation cupola, the other ringed by vision blocks - which as with all hatches on the Baneblade can be opened only through fingerprint scanners. In the center of the turret is the shell elevator and turret ladder well to access the command deck while the rear of the turret is taken up by a secondary command station for use by the tank's commander when necessary.[4d]

The command deck is the next level of the Baneblade and is located in the upper half of the tank's body. This deck forms an irregular octagon with armaglass viewing cupolas set into each facet, while the track units running under the extreme edges of the deck form shelves along either side. Along the front of the tank is the command suite, a high-backed chair with multiple tac-displays in front and the three-dimensional chart display behind it. The commander's station is connected to the comms-suite running along the right-hand side of the deck, forming a continuous L-shape. The comms-suite consists of banks of monitors, logic engines and augur readouts while the comms-operator's chair is set upon rails, allowing the tank's second-in-command to easily move along his post. The gunnery station for the third gunner and loader is located behind and to the left of the command suite, while the tech station for the Baneblade's Tech-adept is in the rear. Here the floor of the command deck steps up, forcing the tech-adept to slide into his seat, which nearly touches the ceiling. The command deck can be accessed by the centrally-located turret ladder well or by an emergency access hatch in the tank's main body located above the tech station.[4d]

The lower deck is accessed through a kidney-shaped slot in the front-left of the command deck, and is notable for allowing an average person to almost stand up straight. The lower deck is broken up into compartments connected by a narrow gangway running along the left-hand side of the tank. The forward compartment sits forward of the command deck and consists of the driver's and second gunner's stations, which can also be accessed by a hatch in the hull of the tank. Here the driver views the outside world through their main auspex scope as well as numerous smaller screens and augur lenses and drives the tank, while the second gunner does likewise for the Demolisher cannon.[4f] Next is the magazine, the most heavily-armoured part of the Baneblade, where ammunition for the tank's ballistic weapons is stored. Here the second loader feeds shells to the turret-mounted cannon through the centrally-placed shell elevator and for the Demolisher via rail sled. Towards the rear the gangway turns into a small alcove from which the tank's tech-adept can access the powerplant, while all along its length are lockers for the crew, a trio of enclosed bunk beds and the "wall of honour" where the tank's glorious history is recorded.[4d]

Technical Specifications

A Lucius pattern Baneblade
Technical Specifications vde
Vehicle Name: Baneblade Main Armament: Baneblade Cannon, Demolisher Cannon
Forge World of Origin: Lucius Secondary Armament: Autocannon, 2 Lascannons, 6 Heavy Bolters
Known Patterns: I-IV Traverse: 360° and 6°
Crew: Commander, Driver, 3 Gunners, 3 Loaders, Comms-Operator, Engineer Elevation: From -2° to 28°
Powerplant: LC503 V18 P4 Multi-Fuel Main Ammunition: 22 rounds and 18 rounds
Weight: 319 tonnes Secondary Ammunition: 300 rounds and 4000 rounds
Length: 13.5m Armour
Width: 8.4m
Height: 6.3m Superstructure: 210mm
Ground Clearance: 1.2m Hull: 190mm
Max Speed - on road 25kph Gun Mantlet 180mm
Max Speed - off road: 18kph Vehicle Designation: 0427-658-0435-BB018
Transport Capacity: None Firing Ports: N/A
Access Points: N/A Turret: 220mm


Mars Pattern Baneblade
Technical Specifications vde
Vehicle Name: Baneblade Main Armament: Baneblade Cannon, Demolisher Cannon
Forge World of Origin: Mars Secondary Armament: Autocannon, 2 Lascannons, 6 Heavy Bolters
Known Patterns: I-X Traverse: 360° and 6°
Crew: Commander, Driver, 3 Gunners, 3 Loaders, Comms-Operator, Engineer Elevation: From -2° to 28°
Powerplant: MR507 V18 P4 Multi-Fuel Main Ammunition: 22 rounds and 18 rounds
Weight: 316 tonnes Secondary Ammunition: 300 rounds and 4000 rounds
Length: 13.5m Armour
Width: 8.4m
Height: 6.3m Superstructure: 200mm
Ground Clearance: 1.2m Hull: 180mm
Max Speed - on road 25kph Gun Mantlet 180mm
Max Speed - off road: 18kph Vehicle Designation: 0427-658-0430-BB010
Transport Capacity: None Firing Ports: N/A
Access Points: N/A Turret: 220mm


Variants

A number of different super-heavy tanks are based on the Baneblade's chassis.

'Counterfeit' Baneblades

The monopoly Mars and a select few Forge Worlds have on the Baneblade's STC data, combined with the never-ending need for these behemoth machines, has led to the development of 'counterfeit' Baneblades. Officially categorized by the Adeptus Mechanicus as second-generation Baneblades, these are produced by Forge Worlds eager to secure large military contracts but who do not have the complete STC data necessary to produce a true Baneblade. Such Baneblades might use normal Battle Cannon ammunition in place of special rocket-assist rounds, or have a normal Battle Cannon in place of the Demolisher. They might also have inferior armour bracing or engine performance or less advanced comms arrays and logic engines.[1a]

Notable Individual Baneblades

De Arethusa (Baneblade)
Arethusa
Steel Might

Regiments known to contain Baneblades

Images

A Baneblade of the 1st Kronus Regiment.[5]

Sources


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