Space Marine Fleet
|Fleets of the Galaxy :||Imperial Navy • Space Marine Fleet • Adeptus Mechanicus Fleet • Chaos Fleet • Eldar Fleet • Dark Eldar Fleet • Ork Fleet • Tyranid Fleet • Necron Fleet • Tau Fleet|
Each Space Marine Chapter maintains a fleet of space vessels used for both transport and combat. The exact composition of these fleets can vary greatly between different Chapters, indeed some chapters are entirely fleet-based having no homeworld.
During the Great Crusade Space Marine vessels served alongside other Imperial forces as combined battlefleets. In the wake of the Horus Heresy however, when Roboute Guilliman set about the long and arduous task of preparing the Codex Astartes, the role of space vessels amongst the Adeptus Astartes proved a particular sticking point. For an Imperium still reeling from internecine conflict that almost tore it apart, the division of power was a vitally important consideration. Of the most extreme options on offer, it was ventured by some that the Space Marines should be denied any vessels at all, barring intra-system transports for movement between homeworlds and attendant moons. Corax, amongst others, protested strongly that in fact had the Space Marines been better equipped with fleets of their own his own Legion might not have been so horrendously decimated when trapped on Istvaan V by Horus and the newly revealed traitors. Instead, a compromise was reached which limited the Space Marines to vessels whose primary role was that of transport, delivery and suppression designed to facilitate planetary assault. Only the smallest of vessels would be permitted to act exclusively as gunships, with the larger battlebarges and strike cruisers remaining predominantly as aids to invasion, ensuring the Space Marines would never present a threat to the Imperial Navy proper. Inevitably, the wrangling over interpretation of a ship’s ‘primary role’ leads to some chapters possessing rather more versatile fleets than the Imperial Navy is entirely comfortable with.
Unlike the vessels of the Imperial Navy, a Space Marine ship has a relatively small crew. A Space Marine is far too valuable to waste in manning a gun or watching a surveyor screen, and so only the officers aboard a vessel are likely to be Space Marines, as well as the few Techmarines who oversee the engines and perform other mechanical duties. Almost all the ship’s systems are run and monitored by servitors; half-human cyborgs who are wired into the vessel’s weapons, engines and communications apparatus. There are also a few hundred Chapter Serfs to attend to other duties, such as routine cleaning and maintenance, serving the Space Marines during meal times and other such honoured tasks. These serfs come from the Chapter’s home planet or the enclave they protect, many of them Novitiates or applicants who have failed some part of the recruiting or training process. These serfs are fanatically loyal to their superhuman masters, and indoctrinated into many of the lesser orders of the Chapter’s Cult. Although human, they still benefit from remarkable training and access to superior weaponry than is usually found on a naval vessel, making them a fearsome prospect in a boarding action – even without the support of their genetically modified lords.
Vessels of the Space Marines
Space Marines utilise various different types of vessel, the numbers and composition of these fleets varies depending on the history and role of each Chapter. Indeed, some Fleet-based Chapters have mobile Fortress Monasteries; such as the Imperial Fist's Phalanx or the Dark Angels base The Rock.
- Strike Cruiser - Smaller and very strongly oriented towards planetary assault with large numbers of fighter bays and drop pods as well as a bombardment cannon.
- Gladius Frigate - Similar to the Sword Class Frigate and the standard vessel used by the Space Marines for escort duties.
- Hunter Destroyer - Similar to the Cobra Class Destroyer but mainly used by the Dark Angels even though it is available to all Space Marine forces.
- Nova Frigate - Similar to the Firestorm Class Frigate and controversial as the battle role of the ship impedes on that given to the Imperial Navy, namely space battles and capital ship hunting.
Assault Craft and Landers
- Thunderhawk Gunship - Attack Craft and transport vehicle used in both planetary assault and space-combat roles.
- Stormraven Gunship - A smaller vessel than the Thunderhawk, primarily used by the Grey Knights and Blood Angels.
- Stormtalon Gunship - A small one-man interceptor and ground attack craft.
- Storm Eagle Gunship - An attack craft design
- Nephilim Jetfighter - Atmospheric fighter used by the Unforgiven
- Dark Talon - Atmospheric ground attack aircraft used by the Unforgiven
- Caestus Assault Ram - is the primary assault ram of the Space marines. It is mainly used to board enemy ships, but it can also be used as an orbital dropship to land troops directly in the battlefield.
- Stormbird - An aircraft used during the Great Crusade just before the Horus Heresy and the introduction of the Thunderhawk.
- Wrath Starfighter - An older void fighter that was replaced by the end of the Horus Heresy, though it was once the mainstay of the Legio Astartes fleets.
- Landing Craft - Large orbital-assault vehicles designed to quickly deliver tanks and troops to a planets surface.
- Drop Pod - transports used for orbital insertion and one-way rides.
|Capital Ships||Battleships||Battle Barge|
|Cruisers||Strike Cruiser • Vanguard Cruiser|
|Escorts||Gladius • Nova • Hunter • Rapid Strike vessel|
|Attack Craft||Thunderhawk • Stormraven • Caestus Assault Ram|
- 1:Battlefleet Gothic Resources: Imperial Fleets p22 (accessed 16/06/78)
- 2: http://www.games-workshop.com/gws/catalog/productDetail.jsp?catId=cat440196a&prodId=prod900149a
- 3: http://www.forgeworld.co.uk/Warhammer-40000/Space_Marines/Space_Marine_Aircraft/CAESTUS-ASSAULT-RAM.html
- 4: http://www.games-workshop.com/gws/catalog/productDetail.jsp?catId=cat490039a&prodId=prod1110041
- 5: http://www.games-workshop.com/gws/catalog/productDetail.jsp?catId=cat440176a&prodId=prod1560026&rootCatGameStyle=
- 6: Stormtalon Gunship
- 7: Horus Rising by Dan Abnett
- 8: Prince of Crows (Novella) Chapter VII