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Space Marine Dreadnought

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Targetdrone.gif This article is about the Space Marine Dreadnoughts. For other uses of Dreadnought, see Dreadnought (disambiguation).
Ultramarines Castraferrum Pattern Dreadnought[3a]

The Space Marine Dreadnought is a massive war-machine piloted by an honoured Space Marine hero whose body has been ravaged in battle. The most commonly used pattern as of M41 is the Castraferrum Pattern[14a] (or MkIV[2a] and MkV[2d]), but many variants exist.[14a] Dreadnoughts are also known as the Old Ones in the Space Marines Chapters.[15]


a Redemptor Dreadnought with its Sarcophagus exposed

A Space Marine Dreadnought is a large, walking tank which carries both powerful guns and lethal close combat weaponry, armoured to withstand all but the most powerful of enemy firepower and often relied on by Space Marine forces to tear an opening in enemy defenses. Each Dreadnought contains a living being, permanently interfaced with the machine through a form of Mind Impulse Unit. Dreadnoughts are surprisingly agile, able to walk and balance with the ease of a living creature. It is said that old proto-Dreadnoughts of the Unification wars could be piloted by non-Adeptus Astartes warriors, but later only Space Marines could be interred in them.[2d]

The pilots within Dreadnoughts are Marines who have suffered mortal wounds in battle, maimed and crippled beyond recovery - instead of being mercifully killed, the greatest heroes are instead given what is considered the honour of continuing to serve the Emperor past their normal life. Once interred within the Dreadnought, the Marine cannot leave the metal womb and is destined for a life of endless battle until destroyed. Some are so ancient their memories may extend back to the founding of their chapter and its earliest history. For this reason they are revered not just as powerful warriors but also as ageless forebears and living embodiments of battles fought long ago. If a dreadnought is destroyed, the Space Marines will fight to retrieve the armoured shell so that the occupant can be returned to the chapter's mausoleum for his long-deserved final rest.[5]

Dreadnought machines themselves are ancient, the oldest dating back tens of thousands of years to the Age of Strife. Because the art of constructing them has been almost lost, Dreadnoughts are revered as rare machines, though the most revered specialists still dare to construct 'new' Dreadnoughts.[2a]

Dreadnoughts are armoured with ceramite and adamantium, their muscles are formed of electro-fibre bundles and magna-coils.[1] They are usually armed with weapons to suit a particular role, such as destroying other heavy armoured vehicles.[Needs Citation]

Although a Dreadnought can be damaged and disabled, it can survive unless the actual armoured tomb containing the occupant's form is destroyed.[2a] When not fighting, the Chapter's Techmarines will allow the fallen heroes to sleep away the centuries[3a][9], sealed in stasis vaults[2a], until once more they are called to battle.[3a][9] Usually Dreadnoughts waked from their slumber only in time of great need or when their advice is needed for some special missions.[2a]

All Dreadnoughts contains speakers and the warrior within can communicate with other Space Marines. The synthesized, crackling voice emanates from within the machine, making a conversation with a Dreadnought in eerie experience. Also traditionally every Dreadnought bear a scroll with the inscribed name of the hero on it. When the new warrior is interred as a pilot, Dreadnought will take a new name.[2a]

Some of the oldest patterns of Dreadnought were the Lucifer Pattern and Contemptor Pattern.[17]

Castaferrum Pattern

The most commonly used Dreadnought today is the Castaferrum Pattern, specifically the Mk.IV and Mk.V types. The Castaferrum is the most used today because it uses an adaptable thermic reactor instead of the little-understood atomantic arc reactors of the Contemptor Pattern. The Castaferrum is very different from other types, being shorter than the Contemptor Pattern. The Castaferrum was introduced to meet a range of tactical challenges such as direct assault, boarding, tunnel fights, and subterranean combat. Its low profile allows the Castaferrum to excel in all of these roles.[15]


Dreadnoughts can be armed with a wide range of weaponry, both ranged and close combat. These include either one or two Dreadnought Close Combat Weapons, usually in the form of power claws, or twin-linked versions of autocannons, lascannons, heavy bolters or individual multi-meltas, plasma cannons, or assault cannons. Built into the combat weapons is often either a storm bolter or heavy flamer and one entire arm may be replaced with a missile launcher[5]

The variant with a Heavy Bolter and a Missile Launcher is named the "Firewind" configuration.[14b]

Technical Information

Vehicle Name: Castaferrum Pattern Dreadnought[2c] Main Armament: Twin-Linked Autocannons, Lascannons, Heavy Bolters
individual Assault Cannon, Multi-melta, Plasma Cannon, Missile Launcher
Forge World of Origin: Mars Secondary Armament: Dreadnought Close Combat Weapon, Storm Bolter/Heavy Flamer
Known Patterns: I-XXVI Traverse: 360°
Crew: Interred Space Marine Elevation: From -90° to +90°
Powerplant: Thermic reactor Main Ammunition: Variable
Weight: 12 tonnes Secondary Ammunition: Variable
Length: 2.2m
Width: 3.4m Armour
Height: 3.7m
Ground Clearance: N/A Superstructure: 75mm
Fording Depth: Hull: 75mm
Max Speed - on road 10kph Gun Mantlet N/A
Max Speed - off road: 5kph Vehicle Designation: 8681-756-0115-035
Transport Capacity: N/A Firing Ports: N/A
Access Points: N/A Turret: N/A


A Dreadnought of the Space Wolves.

Chapter-specific Variants

A Blood Angels Dreadnought

Variants belonging to non-Chapters

Notable Dreadnoughts

Pre-Heresy Emperor's Children Contemptor Dreadnought

See main article — List of Named Dreadnoughts


Related Articles

See Also



Space Marine Vehicles
Light Vehicles
Walkers & Dreadnoughts
Armored Personnel Carriers RhinoRazorbackDamoclesRhino PrimarisRhino AdvancerImpulsor
Battle Tanks Predator (AnnihilatorDestructorBaal) • Land Raider (PhobosCrusaderRedeemerAchillesPrometheusTerminus UltraAresExcelsiorWrath of MjalnarAngel InfernusSolemnus AggressorAnvilarum) • Vindicator Laser DestroyerRepulsorRepulsor ExecutionerGladiatorAstraeus
Artillery WhirlwindVindicatorStalkerHunterWhirlwind HyperiosLand Raider Helios
Aircraft StormtalonThunderhawk GunshipThunderhawk TransportShadowhawkStormravenStorm EagleFire RaptorStormhawkCaestus Assault RamXiphonDark TalonNephilimStormfangStormwolfCorvus BlackstarOverlord
Air-Dropped/Deployed Drop PodHammerfall BunkerFirestrike Servo-Turret
Rare/Retired Contemptor DreadnoughtDeredeo DreadnoughtLeviathan DreadnoughtArquitorCerberusDeimos RhinoDeimos PredatorFalchionFellbladeJavelinJetbikeKratosLand Raider ProteusLand Raider AchillesMastodonSabreSicaranSpartanTyphonWhirlwind ScorpiusStormbirdDreadclawKharybdis Assault Claw