Caestus Assault Ram
The Caestus Assault Ram is one of several assault rams found throughout the Imperium of Man and the most common one used by Space Marine Chapters. Smaller in size compared to a Thunderhawk or Boarding Torpedo, the Caestus and other assault rams are designed to participate in close range boarding actions in space. This Attack Craft's compact and heavily-armoured frame can not only survive but is intended to directly collide with another space craft in order to deliver its cargo.
Caestus has been in Imperium service as ship-to-ship boarding vessel since the Great Crusade. Going through the time of Horus Heresy and all of the wars that followed this dim and ancient period, it is still used in the Space Marines armies in 41st Millennium.[3a]
The Caestus' chief advantages over other boarding methods is its incredible speed and durability, thanks to extra armouring and additional short-fire rocket-motors and afterburners, although it has less range and versatility. Operated from a blast shielded cockpit, the Caestus' principle armament is a Magna-Melta supported by two wing-mounted Firefury Missile Launchers, while its twin heavily-armoured prows can together carry an entire Space Marine squad. In order to properly fulfill its assault ram role the Caestus' forward superstructure is further buttressed by a near-unique inertial and recoil compensation system. This 'misericorde' (or 'Misericordia')[3a] system consists of multiple retractable inertia suppression clamps which connect with a Space Marine's Terminator Armour or Power Armour, locking them in place and protecting them from any impact short of one which could destroy the entire craft.
While it was originally constructed only for boarding operations, the rediscoveries of Arkhan Land has allowed the Caestus to be fitted with anti-gravitic plating for participation in groundside operations. Common upgrades for the craft include a Teleport Homer and Frag Assault Launchers.
In its typical role of assault ram the Caestus uses its Mega-Melta to weaken an enemy spacecraft's hull armour, allowing for the armoured prows to more easily penetrate and disgorge their passengers, who exit through the forward assault ramps. However since the addition of grav coils the craft can also participate in orbital insertions and provide ground support; acting as a heavy battle skimmer its' massive melta weapon can be devastating against enemy tanks and bunkers. However most Chapters still maintain Thunderhawks and Drop Pods for these missions, reserving their assault rams for space operations or only the most dangerous drop zones. Fleet-bound chapters in particular make heavy use of the Caestus for combating the likes of asteroid bases and Space Hulks.
Despite the damage that Caestus Assault Rams sustains in the run of operations, the reverence that Space Marines hold to this holy devices is such that Caestus' always recovered from the battle lines, even if it is a guts of an enemy vessel or fortress.[3a]
|Type||Assault Ram||Operational Ceiling||N/A|
|Vehicle Name||Caestus[3b]||Max Speed||1,800 kph approx.|
|Forge World of Origin||Mars||Range||22,000 km in atmosphere|
|Known Patterns||I-XI||Main Armament||Dual-mounted Haephestus pattern Magna-Melta|
|Crew||Pilot, Gunner||Secondary Armament||2x Firefury Missile Launchers|
|Powerplant||3 x RX-98-25 combination rocket/afterburning turbofans||Main Ammunition||24 rounds|
|Weight||85 tonnes||Secondary Ammunition||N/A|
|Wingspan||12.5 m||Superstructure||60 mm|
|Height||6.5 m||Hull||60 mm|
Known Named Caestus Assault Rams
- Amaranth Fang — of the Salamanders[3c]
- Gore Dagger — of the Space Wolves[3c]
- Secutor Crimson — of the Red Hunters[3c]
- Spectre of Death — of the Star Phantoms[3c]
- 1: Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War - Part Two, pg. 143
- 2: Imperial Armour - Apocalypse Second Edition, pg. 31
- 3: Imperial Armour Volume Two (Second Edition)
|Modern Vessels of the Space Marine Fleet|
|Capital Ships||Battleships||Battle Barge|
|Cruisers||Strike Cruiser • Vanguard|
|Escorts||Gladius • Nova • Hunter • Rapid Strike vessel|
|Attack Craft||Thunderhawk • Stormraven • Storm Talon • Storm Eagle • Caestus Assault Ram • Fire Raptor|
• Nephilim • Stormhawk • Dark Talon • Stormfang • Stormwolf • Corvus Blackstar • Overlord
|Transports||Drop Pod • Landing Craft|