The flagships of the Warboss known only as The Beast, an Attack Moon was a hollowed out planetoid that traveled via transitioning into the Materium from a realm known as "subspace".[1e] Its arrival from subspace could take some time, and nearby planets were wracked with gravity and geological catastrophes,[1a] sometimes even torn apart.[2a]
Once in-system, the Attack Moon would "recharge" by shattering and consuming worlds via powerful tractor beams.[1b] The largest feature of the Ork Moon was an enormous snarling face, which could move and even speak in sync with the will of The Beast.[1b] In truth, the Attack Moon was neither a true sphere or an independently operating vessel. It was simply the end-point for the Ork subspace tunnel dubbed a "Waaagh! Gate" by the greenskins.[1c] This allowed it to employ endless waves of Orks warships and landing craft.[1d] The main weapon of the Attack Moon was a "gravitic whip", a massive gravity weapon that would decimate entire squadrons of Cruisers and crush even Battleships in a single volley.[2a]
Attack Moons were constructed through a complicated process of placing one gravitic nexus into orbit and another on the surface of a planet, which would send the contents of the doomed world into space to be reformed into a massive space vessel.
Ominously for mankind, it appeared that the Orks operated several of these monstrosities[2a], whose technological sophistication dumbfounded even the Adeptus Mechanicus.[2b] Their powerful brute-shields shrugged off anything the Imperium could throw at them,[1f][2c] and caused any active Imperial shields and engines to detonate on contact, meaning only deactivated craft could only penetrate them.[6a] Each attack moon was different in design; some pitch-black, some covered in rusted iron, one rocky and painted with an enormous clan glyph, and some forming enormous mechanical Orkoid faces.[2a] However several weaknesses did become apparent during the battle for Port Sanctus. The Moon's Void Shields dropped after repeated firing of the gravitic whip, allowing for a desperate charge of half of Segmentum Solar's fleet to destroy the moon's gravitic drives with Attack Craft. With its reactors destroyed, an attack moon immediately explodes. If the moon itself could not be destroyed, the Waaagh! gate could be disabled to prevent further Ork reinforcements.
Attack Moons were not purely machines of war, but rather simple experiments as the Orks sought to perfect their gravitic planetoid concept. The perfected method, the "Attack Planet" of Ullanor, was intended to wipe out Terra while the Attack Moons acted as mere beacons for its travel.[6b]
- 1: I Am Slaughter (Novel) by Dan Abnett
- 2: Predator, Prey (Novel) by Rob Sanders
- 3: The Emperor Expects (Novel) by Gav Thorpe, Chapters 17-19
- 4: Throneworld (Novel) by Guy Haley, [Needs Citation]
- 5: The Hunt for Vulkan (Novel), Chapter 9
- 6: The Beast Must Die (Novel)
- 7: The Last Son of Dorn (Novel), Chapter 12