Adeptus Astartes have used Drop Pods since the time of the Great Crusade. The Drop Pods of the Adeptus Astartes look and work similarly to a ship's Life Pod and can carry either twelve normal Marines, a single Dreadnought or a single Thunderfire Cannon. They are launched from a Strike Cruiser or Battle Barge in low orbit towards the drop zone, usually amidst or near a battlefield. Once launched, they plummet through the atmosphere until retro jets fire to slow their descent. A machine spirit guides the pod to its destination and can receive further commands from the mother ship. Although the Pods become immobile after having landed they can be recovered by the Chapter's Techmarines and reused.[2a][6a] Drop Pods are usually extracted by using far larger vessels that not intended to operate in a war zone. After that they are transported to the ships that deployed them, repaired if needed and used in the next battle, so many Drop Pods have been in service for centuries. Some Space Marine Chapters inscribe records of each drop onto the interior bulkheads of their Drop Pods, so other brothers can read them and take heart in the insuing battles.
There are also cargo-carrying pods that deliver a much needed ammunition to fighting troops even in the heat of battle.
- Corvus Assault Pod: A variant pattern of drop pod used in a similar manner to a Boarding Torpedo; corvus assault pods are used to assault other ships or Space Stations in the void. A variant is also used by Warlord Titans to deliver troops on enemy walls.
- Deathstorm Drop Pods,(also known as Deathwind Drop Pods) are a variant pattern that don't carry troops; instead they have weapon systems installed to rake the enemy with high levels of fire once they have landed and opened. They can be armed with either Whirlwind Launchers or Assault Cannons.
- Kharybdis Assault Claw, a monstrous Drop Pod and transport craft used by the Legiones Astartes during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy.
- Dreadnought Drop Pod, allows a single Dreadnought to be deployed into the battle with minimal delay
- Support Drop Pod are similar in role to Deathwind Drop Pods, carrying automated weaponry instead of troops. Upon landing, the pod opens to a turret-mounted plasma cannon. Unlike the Deathwind it is however capable of sustained operation.
- Legion Palisade Drop Pod were used by the Space Marine Legions and carried powerful Shield Generators that projected energy forcefields. They were deployed to protect other Drop Pods and their contents from enemy fire.
Chaos Space Marines
The Dreadclaw is an ancient Drop Pod variant that can also be used as an assault boat for ship-to-ship combat. Unlike other Drop Pods it is able to take off after landing. Dreadclaws are exclusively used by Chaos Space Marines.[2b] [6b]
- The assassins of the Eversor Temple are deployed in special Drop Pods that prepare them for their missions. These Pods are equipped with neuro-links that feed the details of the mission to the assassin while remote links activate and begin to prepare his body for the task at hand.
- The Battle Sisters of the Adepta Sororitas occasionally deploy via Dominica-pattern Drop Pods, a pattern of Drop Pod that can carry five unaugmented humans, when undertaking special high risk missions such as infiltrations behind enemy lines, chirurgical strikes against high value targets, or disabling the command structure of a renegade Space Marine chapter. Such operations are usually requested by the Ordo Hereticus, with support of the Imperial Navy. Each Order Militant maintains a small number of Drop Pods exclusively for those operations, and their use is reserved to elite troops such as the Celestians and Dominions. This includes a variant of the Deathwind Drop Pod, which will then be armed with weapons favored by the Sororitas, either five twin Heavy Bolters or Multi-Meltas.
- Some Ecclesiarchy vessels such as the Hammer of Thor are also equipped with gigantic Drop Pods able to hold several vehicles and the accompanying infantry, shot directly from Macro cannons. These pods sport numerous searchlights on their exterior hull to illuminate the surroundings after landing.
|Type||Orbital Drop Pod, personnel||Operational Ceiling||N/A|
|Vehicle Name||Drop Pod||Max Speed||12,000kph descent|
|Forge World of Origin||Lucius||Range||Unlimited|
|Known Patterns||IV-XXXVI||Main Armament||None, Automated Whirlwind Launchers/Assault Cannon (Deathstorm)|
|Powerplant||31 x FV-50-75 retro-rocket||Main Ammunition||N/A|
|Weight||14 tonnes||Secondary Ammunition||N/A|
|Height||7.7 m||Hull||70 mm|
- 1: Imperial Armour Volume Two - Space Marines and Forces of the Inquisition, pgs. 143-153
- 2: Imperial Armour Update 2002
- 3: Codex: Space Marines (4th Edition), pg. 21
- 4: Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pg. 69
- 5: Inquisitor Facets of Death (saved archive page, last accessed 25 June 2015)
- 6: Imperial Armour - Apocalypse
- 7: IMPERIAL ARMOUR VOLUME 2 RULES UPDATE (v1.1) REVISED (saved archive page, last accessed 25 June 2015)
- 8: Imperial Armour - Apocalypse II, pg. 31
- 9: Forge World Kharybdis (last accessed 16 February 2016)
- 10: Forge World (last accessed 16 February 2016)
- 11: The Citadel Journal 49, pg. 21
- 12: Imperial Armour Volume Two - Second Edition: War Machines of the Adeptus Astartes, pgs. 158-159
- 13: Daemonifuge, Book 1
- 14: Soul Drinker (Novel) - The Soul Drinkers Omnibus, Chapter One
- 15: Armies of the Imperium, pg. 23
- 16: White Dwarf 133 (UK), pg. 54
- 17: Warhammer Community: Heresy Thursday – Deliver Dreadnoughts and Shield Generators wIth More Drop Pods (Posted on 19/10/2023) (Last accessed on 19/10/2023)
|Modern Space Marine Fleet|
|Cruisers||Strike Cruiser • Vanguard Class|
|Escorts||Gladius Class • Nova Class • Hunter Class • Rapid Strike Vessel|
|Attack Craft||Thunderhawk • Stormraven • Storm Eagle (Fire Raptor) • Storm Talon • Stormhawk • Xiphon • Overlord • Nephilim • Dark Talon • Stormfang • Stormwolf • Corvus Blackstar • Caestus Assault Ram|
|Transports||Thunderhawk Transporter • Landing Craft • Drop Pod|