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Virus bomb

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Virus bombs are potent weapons of mass destruction, and were commonly used to carry out Exterminatus in pre-Heresy times. In this role they have largely been superceded by Cyclonic Torpedoes, however virus bombs are still retained by some Imperial arsenals.

Strategic use

Spoiler!
This page contains spoilers for: Galaxy In Flames (Novel)
Spoiler!
This page contains spoilers for: The Flight of the Eisenstein (Novel)

Virus bombs were used on Isstvan III at the start of the Horus Heresy by Horus to destroy the Space Marines who remained loyal to the Emperor.[1]

Virus bombs were used to execute exterminatus as late as 273.M41 on the Stalinvast hive world.[3]

The Life-Eater Virus, as used on Isstvan III and Stalinvast, is terrifyingly voracious, capable of spreading across the entire surface of a planet in a matter of minutes. The virus can penetrate power armour and rebreathers. The virus quickly rots and breaks down anything of biological origin, reducing it to sludge. Jungles and forests quickly rot into lakes of sludge.

The rapid breakdown of organic matter releases tremendous amounts of flammable gas. The gas eventually ignites, either on its own or with the intentional insertion of an incendiary device, into an apocalyptic, planet-wide firestorm, searing the planet's entire surface to bare rock, as well as burning the atmosphere of all oxygen.[1,2,3]

Tactical use

Virus bombs have also been used on a tactical scale, such as during the Second War for Armageddon. Von Strab had a secret stash of them, put there by his family when the planet was colonized. They wreaked a terrible havoc on the invading Orks but had lost their potency over time and did not have exactly the desired effect. The virus also has a tendency to blow with the winds, and during the Armageddon deployment, it washed back over the defending Imperial Guard, killing as many defenders as attackers.

Recovery

The lifeless rocks left after a viral bombing may still contain valuable non-organic resources after the virus itself has died off. In such situations, the Adeptus Mechanicus may re-terraform the world, rendering it habitable again.[4]

Related articles

Sources