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venkelos

Space Marine Battle Barge?

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Has anyone fabricated rules for the mighty craft of the esteemed Astartes? I know no Rogue Trader would EVER get to have one of these, even more than "regular" battleships, but I figure they might be a terrifying end-of-quest opponent, like a group of players, probably with some extra ships and NPC allies, going up against Da'Wurldbreaka! could face. I'm relatively sure there aren't any Astartes Battle Barges in the Expanse, since there are next to know Space Marines, but like everything else in the Imperium, I assume that the Traitor Legions must have fled with their Battle Barges, in addition to their gear, Dark Mechanicus, Traitor Titan Legions, and such. What might one stat like:

I surmise a Battleship, and one equipped with docking bays, for the Thunderhawks, and possibly Chaos fighters, Drop Pod Bays (Space Marines, even if CSMs), some mighty guns, and such. Is there anything else that sets a Battle Barge apart, Astartes or Chaos? Thanks.

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Pretty sure there is a fan made rule sub somewhere. However, they make them way more powerful then they ever should be. Kinda a case of Sm oh cool! that goes around far to much in 40k.

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BuckX posted a fan-made version to Dark Reign a while back.  It predates Battlefleet Koronus, though, so the launch bays and torpedoes are a little wonky.

The original Battlefleet Gothic version had 3 squadrons T-hawks and 6 torps in the prow, STR 8 dorsal bombardment cannon, and STR 12 macrobatteries in the broadside.  It also had VERY heavy armour all round, along with 3 turrets and 3 void shields.  Speed was the same as a Lunar cruiser, though manoeuverability was predictably bad.

In RT terms, probably 2 dorsal & 2 side weapons, armour in the 23-25 range, speed 5 and you lose so hard if it boards you…

Cheers,

- V.

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Hunterindarkness said:

Pretty sure there is a fan made rule sub somewhere. However, they make them way more powerful then they ever should be. Kinda a case of Sm oh cool! that goes around far to much in 40k.
Tis true, and it continues to irk me somewhat. I mean, I guess it's no big deal when you just want to have some fun and experience an epic story a la 300 (which, at the moment being engaged in a DW campaign myself, is quite okay from time to time) - but to me it'd get old after a while, and above all it makes it difficult to reconcile things with the rest of the setting. That being said, in 40k everything is a matter of perspective and interpretation, so I suppose there is room for everyone's vision.

Anyways, perhaps this is of some limited help: http://www.games-workshop.com/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m2350031a_BFG_Imperial_Fleets.pdf

It's the BFG rules and fluff on Imperial warships, including Astartes fleets. According to the article, Marine Battle Barges can indeed be compared to Naval Battleships, yet their weapons have a much shorter range and they have somewhat less powerful engines, which means that any good Navy tactician will  probably elect to overwhelm their more powerful shields with concentrated bombardment from beyond the Marines' own weapons range. Should the Marines somehow get into boarding range, however, things will turn ugly.
Ultimately, Astartes fleets are geared for invading heavily defended worlds, not prolonged fights with naval forces of an equal size - not in the least due to the establishment of certain limitations on Space Marine military capabilities after the Horus Heresy, in fear of a repeat incident.

Now, that's just GW's take on this detail, and as with all things 40k it isn't binding. If you do like the material, however - be it due to its actual contents, or simply because it comes directly from the main studio rather than a freelance writer or a subdivision - there's certainly nothing to be said against running with it. :)

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Well, not being an expert in shipbuilding, I would probably go with a Battleship or Grand Cruiser hull, probably the first, so that it has three port and starboard slots. Each side would have a hanger, for the thunderhawks, a bombardment cannon (like the Stygies, might need a special rule for the placement), and a decent weapon, maybe lances, for hitting power. The prow could have missile tubes, since they can't port/starboard mount, either. I can see the drop pod bay, redundant void shields, and some impressive armor. A bridge that assists in repeling boarders (my Eternal Vigil Bridge), in planetary attacks (Invasion Bridge), or something, I don't know. A rule that makes assaulting aboard a battleship filled with Space Marines would round it out well. Maybe I'll actually stat something out later, in a couple of days.

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Id agree with Venkelos, if you want an epic fight with Chaos ships, throw a Repulsive Grand Cruiser at them, it has 3 port/starboard, 1 prow, 1 dorsal.  It has plenty of room for boradsides or lances all around. And with Armor 19, any normal Maccrocannon not getting threw that unless you  roll high on the Dice.  Furthermore, it can have up to 3 Void Shields.

But keep in mind, that any Chaos Reaver Overlord is going to have a fleet of smaller ships, 2-3 raiders and maybe even a Figate.  Just something to think about.

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I actually have some battlebarges statted up on my computer. However, I'm mon my phone right now. I'll look then over and post them here in a few hours when I get off work. 

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If memory serves, that wouldn't be too bad- the "true" Battle Barge is, IIRC, classed as a Battleship hull, so you couldn't build one by RAW. However, the fluff does contain mention of "Ancient Battle Barges", the BfG rules for which basically boil down to "pick a GC or BB hull from the Imperial Navy list or Imperial Navy (Reserve) list*, apply the benefits for an Astartes crew, and use upgrades permissible from the Astartes list". The Repulsive GC is actually a pretty good bet, and the Black Templars canonically use either an Avenger or an Exorcist (or one of the other GCs built to the same hull pattern) as one of theirs (the IN isn't happy about it, but there's nothing they can do).

As for traitor astartes- well it depends when they left Imperial service. The modern Battle Barge thing is a result of the post-Heresy reforms Guilliman set up (which split the Imperial Army into the IG and IN as well, plus removing the Astartes from the direct chain of command), so any of the Traitor Legions won't have them (unless captured since, of course). So they basically use the Ancient Battle Barge rules, but without the more modern IN hulls. More recent renegade forces, like the Astral Claws, or the Red Corsairs may well have brought modern Battle Barges with them.
Of course, there were ships referred to as battle barges before the Heresy, but as far as I can tell it was a colloquial way of referring to a main Line-of-Battle combatant vessel with an Astartes presence.

 

* Which boils down to the Chaos fleet list, minus any ship designed for them after they fled the Imperium after the Heresy.

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I found this, as someone else said, on Dark Reign. I actually have 3 PDFs from Dark Reign relating to homebrew ships (Adeptus Astartes/Chaos/Imperial Navy). Like someone else also said, they were made before BFK was released and they never got updated, so I updated them myself for my own use. I don't claim to have created this ship from scratch, I only claim to have altered it to better suit the current rulesets.
 
That being said, don't judge too harshly! I never played Battlefleet Gothic, so I don't know exactly how off this ship is according to BFG's stats, though I'm assuming the guy who originally made them knew plenty.
 
 
 
BATTLEBARGE-CLASS BATTLESHIP
 
Dimensions: 9.5km Long, 1.8km Abeam
Mass: 50 megatonnes approx.
Crew: 275,000
Accel: 1.8 gravities max sustainable acceleration 
 
     Most Space Marine Chapters control two or three battle barges. They are very brutal vessels, with only one purpose behind their design. As might be expected, a Battlebarge is configured for close support of planetary landings and carries numerous bombardment turrets and torpedo tubes. A considerable amount of hull space is given over to launch bays for intra-system craft and drop pods, observations indicating that up to three companies can deploy simultaneously. The vessel is extremely heavily armored and well shielded, presumably so that it can breach planetary defenses without harm coming to its cargo. Naturally the battle barge would make a frightening opponent in any situation where boarding is involved.
 
Speed: 4
Maneuverability: -10
Armor: 28
Hull Integrity: 130
Detection: +40
Turret Rating: 5
Space: 115
Power: 105
Ship Points: 100
 
Weapon Capacity: 3 Port
                                  3 Starboard
                                  2 Dorsal
                                  2 Prow
 
Special Rules
Add +1 to Void Shields
Double the Strength of Torpedo Tubes.
The ship may carry one extra squadron per bay.
+10 to Ballistics Tests using Bombardment cannons.
Battleship: This ship can use "cruiser only" components.

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BFG stats be damned, the thing is to much and I would never use it. If its gonna be faster then any other ship of its size, it should have worse armor and likely fewer weapons.

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What's wrong with the BFG stats? Superior armor and shielding, but with port/starboard batteries that have only 75% the range of a comparable Navy battleship.

This is bound to be a significant disadvantage in a naval engagement where a Battle Barge would be subjected to a continuous long range barrage until they get close enough to use their own weapons. Such a manoeuver would take even longer considering that the Barge would then have to turn 45° before being able to fire its port/starboard batteries, as the prow bombardment cannon has an even smaller range.

Granted, the maximum speed is 20cm, which surprisingly seems to be more than most Navy battleships, yet the fluff description hints regarding "lower acceleration" (compared to an Emperor-class with a speed of 15cm) hints at a different disadvantage that may just have been left out of the stats due to abstraction. If I remember correctly, the BFG rules do not differentiate between the engine power and mass of the various ship classes as far as acceleration is concerned.

The most feared opponent of a Battle Barge would probably be the Retribution-class battleship, as it is one of the few Imperial Navy battleships that can match its 20cm speed and thus, in theory, can stay out of the Marines' smaller range indefinitively whilst discharging its superior weapons arsenal (in range, amount, and firepower). To top it off, it also has comparable armour (except for the slightly weaker prow) and an even stronger shield.
Its only disadvantage is the lack of fighters or bombers, but in case the Marines attempt to close in with their Thunderhawks the Retribution would bring its 4 turrets (also more than the Battle Barge) to bear.

The Overlord-class battlecruiser also seems a dangerous opponent. Somewhat smaller than the Retribution, yet just as fast and with weapons of equally long range.

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The issue is superior  speed, armor, shielding and turrents. Its too good and yet another exsample of 40k's Sm porn. If you have a ship that fast, it should give up portection, if its that well protected its speed should suffer. What weapons it has, has little to do with the glaring issues.

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Hmmh, I usually only see the most glaring SM porn when I look outside of GW studio material, so I'd be surprised if this wouldn't somehow work out in BFG…

What are you comparing the Battle Barge against, exactly? As I said, the Retribution-class battleship is better in every regard except for speed. Against most other battleships, I would assume that the mixture of high speed and good protection is there to allow a Battle Barge to at least have a chance at engaging an enemy of equal point value, with a huge reliance on luck (possibly augmented by tactics). In essence, are the armour and shields strong enough to allow the Marines to get closer without being blown up first? I do think that the short range of their weapons is a significant disadvantage, and what is supposed to be balanced by the advantages the Barge offers.

If the ship were slower, there'd be a good chance that enemy capital ships would simply outrun it or keep their distance, all the while pounding at it with their longer-range armaments. If the armour and/or shields were lower, it'd blow up before it could get in range. The designers likely aimed for both sides having a chance in combat.

Obviously, I'd have to actually test it before being sure, but that's how I assume it is supposed to work from comparing the stats. :)

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The Battleships I have seen have less protection. The Barge is not a battleship, except it is in more or less every way. The Idea that it needs speed and all that protection..means it is not meant to be a battleship. If you want heavily protected, you do not have speed, if you want speed you need to give up protection.

Its steams from this idea Sm stuff has to be better, can''t have battleships without making SM battleships that are faster, better armored, have better protection and oh yeah bombarment cannons and  endless supplies of Sm. It hurts my head, if the BB is meant to be a fast strike craft, its too big, it to well armored and it would fail if designed  with a fair and balanced rule set.

You can't be good at everything, except if you're a SM.

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Discounting the fact they really do have the best tech (they get first pick of pretty much everything) and the best chance to find the best tech (because they ARE the best at everything, ever.  Except Navigating, as far as I can tell, which is kind of odd to me.  Perhaps the gene-splicing that has to be done to make someone the Emperor's grandson isn't compatible with the Navigator gene?), but more importantly…   It's a "pick two" of speed, power, and defense.  They just happen to have chose speed and defense, where every other ship in the game finds attack power a bit more important.  Probably because they DON'T prefer to closing to boarding range immediately, whereas…  can you imagine a Space Marine Chapter Master who DIDN'T choose to board when the option was given?  "We're in boarding range?  Nah let's trade macrobattery fire a bit longer and give them another chance to blow up our Plasma Drives, I'm not certain my thousand Space Marines can take on thousands of conscripted crew wielding large crowbars and Poor-quality laspistols."

The ship is designed to get the fights fast, get the Space Marines in, and let them do their job.  It does that admirably.  Any weapons mounted on the barge itself are either for planetary bombardment or to fire drop-pods with Battle-Brothers in them.

Bonus points if it's the Blood Angels boarding your ship.  Hope you have time to turn that chainsword on yourself before the Angels close to melee…

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Hunterindarkness said:

The Battleships I have seen have less protection. The Barge is not a battleship, except it is in more or less every way. The Idea that it needs speed and all that protection..means it is not meant to be a battleship. If you want heavily protected, you do not have speed, if you want speed you need to give up protection.

You are correct in that it isn't a Battleship - else it would be called that way, and would have more impressive firepower. The Space Marine Battle Barge is basically a heavily armed and armoured transport, its chief purpose to ferry a Space Marine strike force to their destination and support their landing by taking out orbital defences or pushing through a blockade. Its stats reflect this purpose. It still is at a disadvantage in a classic naval "duel" where a Navy vessel would bombard it from out of the Marines' own weapons range.

I agree that there should be more Navy battleships that have a clear advantage beyond the weapons range, but at least the Retribution-class has …

[click for visual stat comparison]

+ better shields
+ more turrets
+ weapons batteries with superior range
+ additional dorsal lance battery
+ torpedoes with more firepower

All that whilst keeping equal speed and maneuverability, and actually having a lower point cost than the Battle Barge. Its only disadvantages in a direct comparison are the missing bombardment cannon and that it does not have any attack craft itself. That being said, since battleships rarely travel alone, I would assume that another ship could "pitch in" for this purpose, especially given the difference in point costs.

 

gatherer818 said:

Discounting the fact they really do have the best tech (they get first pick of pretty much everything) and the best chance to find the best tech (because they ARE the best at everything, ever.  Except Navigating, as far as I can tell, which is kind of odd to me.

Well … not in GW's version of the setting. There, the best tech is in possession of the Adeptus Mechanicus, which services the entire Imperium, meaning that there are a number of powerful agencies or individuals who sport comparable equipment, in particular the Inquisition.

I know that a number of licensed/outsourced products have chosen to portray it differently, which used to irritate me to no end, and here I have to agree with Hunterindarkness in that this focus just seems a bit "out of line" with the rest of the setting to me. Sure, it works as long as you look only at the Space Marines, but tends to break apart as soon as you start perceiving the Imperium as a whole. GW envisioned their setting as having some sort of balance and not turning around the Astartes alone, and a whole lot of links in the fluff depend on the Space Marines being inferior, vulnerable or subordinate somewhere. You could of course always just discard those links, like FFG did in some cases, but to me that'd be a waste of some good potential for storytelling, not to mention crossover-compatibility!

Alas, with the franchise not having a proper canon policy, we're all left to choose for ourselves which vision to follow. I for one tend to see GW's fluff as being more balanced. Although the aforementioned SM focus exists there as well, it is usually much more tamed in an attempt to make them "fit in" with the rest of their stuff rather than pushing everyone else into 2nd or 3rd row.

As for the navigating, I do recall that Marine ships are crewed by Chapter serfs, with Marines acting as commanding officers, if they're on board at all - but given a Battle Barge's role as armed transport, I could see perhaps the Marine commanding the detachment in its holds also being placed in temporary command of the ship and its human captain, for as long as they operate as one battle group?
And the Navigators are special, anyways. They're almost as far away from normal humans as the Space Marines are. Just even more creepy. :P

You're spot on about the boarding, though. ;)

 

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I don't think it would be all that fun to deal with in a RT game, Astartes battle barges really just are big dumb bricks (even moreso than typical Imperial vessals) covered in guns, lighter bays and drop pod tubes. They're not really designed to be effective ships they're designed to be semi-mobile fortresses and troop delivery systems. If you're close enough to it to fight it you'll get beat to death one way or another and if you do the smart thing and run away from it then you will get away because it'll never catch up with you.

I could see it working as a plot device though to put a ticking clock on something, like say a battle barge containing a recently gone chaos chapter is bearing down on your position while you're on some planet trying to find something and you have to leave before it arrives and murders you. I haven't seen the stats for chaos space marines but I have seen some monsters from the Deathwatch monster manual and those things would destroy a RT party.

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Actually, looking back at the numbers, the single-company simultaneous deployment (in the case of a Strike Cruiser) isn't massively impressive, considering… If they're deploying as pure infantry, you can fit 30 marines into 1 Thunderhawk, so assuming (as seems more than reasonable from the available tokens for BfG) that a Thunderhawk squadron is roughly the same size as a squadron of Shark assault boats, you can fit all 100 battle brothers (plus every dreadnought conceivably assigned to the company) into a single squadron, with half the birds empty and acting as dedicated escorts.

Since even a Strike Cruiser has a launch capacity of 2 squadrons (a modern Battle Barge has launch capacity of 3), they can easily loft a squadron of Thunderhawks carrying the troops, plus a squadron of Thunderhawk Transporters carrying the armour support (each T-hawk Transporter can carry 2 Rhino chassis vehicles, or one Land Raider variant).
Come to think of it, the Transporter variant should have the same (or a similar) capacity for infantry transport, meaning that that second squadron can be pure escorts…

All of that is purely considering reusable SSTO attack craft (although that does have the advantage of allowing a simultaneous dust-off of an entire company or 3), and more specifically limiting it to those launchable over a 30 minute period or less*. If the deployment does not require much in the way of maneuver from the trajectory they were launched on (or a quick recovery is not a priority, or there's a real danger of significant losses to AAA fire), a single Storm Drop Pod Bay can launch 20 10-man pods over the course of 1 hour. That's 2 companies of infantry (minus armour and dreadnought support) launched over 2 Turns from one component. I would assume a Battle Barge, at least, has more than one such component (or equivalent) fitted.
(In fact, if it were my design, I'd always try to have at least 1 more drop pod bay fitted than technically needed for the planned number of simultaneously dropped companies, simply to provide decoy pods (probably fitted with Deathwind launchers for immediate fire support/area denial on landing), and of course, support for any dreadnoughts that needed landing at the same time.)

So, in fact, technically even a Strike Cruiser has the capacity to deploy (a minimum of) 5 companies of astartes infantry simultaneously (admittedly, only with 2 companies' worth of vehicles, assuming they even carry 2 squadrons of Thunderhawk Transporters). They may not carry 5 companies of astartes, but they have the capacity to deploy that many…

 

Meh, I guess either people didn't run the numbers as thoroughly, or they allowed for an actual dedicated escort flight rather than going balls-to-the-wall on troop lift (which would be more sensible than the numbers I discussed above, actually. I stand by them as a theoretical max for a "simultaneous"/single Turn deployment though).

 

 

*You could, of course theoretically triple this by stacking launches for a mass drop, or simply launch and deploy directly for 3 Strategic Turns. I'd favour stacking launches, but using the first launch as escort cover (and I wouldn't pack the bays to the absolute max with combat craft, even including the Transporter variant as combatants, as they have almost the same weapons fit as a standard Thunderhawk. I'd want at least 1 squadron of dedicated Support craft, even though Thunderhawks and Thunderhawk Transporters can double[/triple/quadruple] as that reasonably well).

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Alasseo said:

Actually, looking back at the numbers, the single-company simultaneous deployment (in the case of a Strike Cruiser) isn't massively impressive, considering… If they're deploying as pure infantry, you can fit 30 marines into 1 Thunderhawk, so assuming (as seems more than reasonable from the available tokens for BfG) that a Thunderhawk squadron is roughly the same size as a squadron of Shark assault boats, you can fit all 100 battle brothers (plus every dreadnought conceivably assigned to the company) into a single squadron, with half the birds empty and acting as dedicated escorts.

Since even a Strike Cruiser has a launch capacity of 2 squadrons (a modern Battle Barge has launch capacity of 3), they can easily loft a squadron of Thunderhawks carrying the troops, plus a squadron of Thunderhawk Transporters carrying the armour support (each T-hawk Transporter can carry 2 Rhino chassis vehicles, or one Land Raider variant).
Come to think of it, the Transporter variant should have the same (or a similar) capacity for infantry transport, meaning that that second squadron can be pure escorts…

All of that is purely considering reusable SSTO attack craft (although that does have the advantage of allowing a simultaneous dust-off of an entire company or 3), and more specifically limiting it to those launchable over a 30 minute period or less*. If the deployment does not require much in the way of maneuver from the trajectory they were launched on (or a quick recovery is not a priority, or there's a real danger of significant losses to AAA fire), a single Storm Drop Pod Bay can launch 20 10-man pods over the course of 1 hour. That's 2 companies of infantry (minus armour and dreadnought support) launched over 2 Turns from one component. I would assume a Battle Barge, at least, has more than one such component (or equivalent) fitted.
(In fact, if it were my design, I'd always try to have at least 1 more drop pod bay fitted than technically needed for the planned number of simultaneously dropped companies, simply to provide decoy pods (probably fitted with Deathwind launchers for immediate fire support/area denial on landing), and of course, support for any dreadnoughts that needed landing at the same time.)

So, in fact, technically even a Strike Cruiser has the capacity to deploy (a minimum of) 5 companies of astartes infantry simultaneously (admittedly, only with 2 companies' worth of vehicles, assuming they even carry 2 squadrons of Thunderhawk Transporters). They may not carry 5 companies of astartes, but they have the capacity to deploy that many…

 

Meh, I guess either people didn't run the numbers as thoroughly, or they allowed for an actual dedicated escort flight rather than going balls-to-the-wall on troop lift (which would be more sensible than the numbers I discussed above, actually. I stand by them as a theoretical max for a "simultaneous"/single Turn deployment though).

 

 

*You could, of course theoretically triple this by stacking launches for a mass drop, or simply launch and deploy directly for 3 Strategic Turns. I'd favour stacking launches, but using the first launch as escort cover (and I wouldn't pack the bays to the absolute max with combat craft, even including the Transporter variant as combatants, as they have almost the same weapons fit as a standard Thunderhawk. I'd want at least 1 squadron of dedicated Support craft, even though Thunderhawks and Thunderhawk Transporters can double[/triple/quadruple] as that reasonably well).

Umm… Per BFG; The Battle Barge only carries three companies and the Strike cruiser only One. This explains why the fluff mentions that the Strike cruiser may deploy it's entire compliment in just over twenty minutes! (The above mentioned Storm drop pod ;) ) Also; I remember somewhere, (Might have been Tactica Aeronautica) that a Squdron of Thunderhawks consisted of 3 ships. (Remember, Thunderhawks are actually pretty BIG). This would fit with the Strike Cruiser carrying two squadrons: One of Thunderhawk Gunships and the other Transports. This would still allow the above mentioned Rapid Insertion/Extraction techniques! The Battle Barge per BFG only sports a Single Launch bay (Though it would be full sized and thus support three squadrons).

As per the Other poster's comment about SM always having superior tech: Battlebarges and Strike cruiser were designed and built during the great Crusade with the same engine designs of the ships of the time (Which are now what is typically considered the Chaos fleet.) An astute player will note that these ships are also typically faster than a comparable Imperial ship of the line. Also, The Battle Barge is very vulnerable to long-range lance fire once it's shields are down! Having played them in BFG I can tell you that they must be carefully managed to get close enough to an enemy to bring their Bombardment cannons and boarding parties to bear. In a running gunfight with another Battleship the Battlebarge typically gets pasted!

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Radwraith said:

Umm… Per BFG; The Battle Barge only carries three companies and the Strike cruiser only One. This explains why the fluff mentions that the Strike cruiser may deploy it's entire compliment in just over twenty minutes! (The above mentioned Storm drop pod ;) ) Also; I remember somewhere, (Might have been Tactica Aeronautica) that a Squdron of Thunderhawks consisted of 3 ships. (Remember, Thunderhawks are actually pretty BIG). This would fit with the Strike Cruiser carrying two squadrons: One of Thunderhawk Gunships and the other Transports. This would still allow the above mentioned Rapid Insertion/Extraction techniques! The Battle Barge per BFG only sports a Single Launch bay (Though it would be full sized and thus support three squadrons).

As per the Other poster's comment about SM always having superior tech: Battlebarges and Strike cruiser were designed and built during the great Crusade with the same engine designs of the ships of the time (Which are now what is typically considered the Chaos fleet.) An astute player will note that these ships are also typically faster than a comparable Imperial ship of the line. Also, The Battle Barge is very vulnerable to long-range lance fire once it's shields are down! Having played them in BFG I can tell you that they must be carefully managed to get close enough to an enemy to bring their Bombardment cannons and boarding parties to bear. In a running gunfight with another Battleship the Battlebarge typically gets pasted!

I'm pretty sure I mentioned the actual complements, but yeah, it does bear repeating. (There's probably plenty of extra space aboard the ships to carry more than the 3 and 1 companies fluff dictates, but it apparently isn't used for such in canon. Except possibly by Space Wolves and/or Black Templars, with their potentially larger, non-Codex formations).

And Thunderhawks… actually aren't all that big, compared to Starhawk Bombers and Shark Assault boats. Stormbirds were, but they were being phased out during the Great Crusade. A Thunderhawk is comparable in length to a Marauder bomber (which is of course Aeronautica), although it is chunkier (the Thunderhawk Transporter is, iirc, half-again the length). Per BfK, anything Aeronautica can be assumed to be roughly half the size of a void craft for the same role. If Sharks are bigger than Starhawks and have a smaller squadron size on that basis, then they're bigger than Thunderhawks.

There's no reason, of course that Thunderhawk squadrons couldn't be limited to 3 birds per squadron for some other reason, but it certainly isn't due to size limitations.

Also remember that per BfK (and even in BfG, particularly directly after release), the Launch Capacity of a particular bay was not the sum total of attack craft it could support, just the most it could launch at once. (Later revisions of the BfG rules limited the maximum squadrons of attack craft in play to a fleet's total Launch Capacity, justifying it as the max number of C3 links the fleet could support). Per BfK, a Launch Bay can fit up to 3 squadrons of small craft per point of Launch Capacity.

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Alasseo said:

Radwraith said:

 

Umm… Per BFG; The Battle Barge only carries three companies and the Strike cruiser only One. This explains why the fluff mentions that the Strike cruiser may deploy it's entire compliment in just over twenty minutes! (The above mentioned Storm drop pod ;) ) Also; I remember somewhere, (Might have been Tactica Aeronautica) that a Squdron of Thunderhawks consisted of 3 ships. (Remember, Thunderhawks are actually pretty BIG). This would fit with the Strike Cruiser carrying two squadrons: One of Thunderhawk Gunships and the other Transports. This would still allow the above mentioned Rapid Insertion/Extraction techniques! The Battle Barge per BFG only sports a Single Launch bay (Though it would be full sized and thus support three squadrons).

As per the Other poster's comment about SM always having superior tech: Battlebarges and Strike cruiser were designed and built during the great Crusade with the same engine designs of the ships of the time (Which are now what is typically considered the Chaos fleet.) An astute player will note that these ships are also typically faster than a comparable Imperial ship of the line. Also, The Battle Barge is very vulnerable to long-range lance fire once it's shields are down! Having played them in BFG I can tell you that they must be carefully managed to get close enough to an enemy to bring their Bombardment cannons and boarding parties to bear. In a running gunfight with another Battleship the Battlebarge typically gets pasted!

 

 

I'm pretty sure I mentioned the actual complements, but yeah, it does bear repeating. (There's probably plenty of extra space aboard the ships to carry more than the 3 and 1 companies fluff dictates, but it apparently isn't used for such in canon. Except possibly by Space Wolves and/or Black Templars, with their potentially larger, non-Codex formations).

And Thunderhawks… actually aren't all that big, compared to Starhawk Bombers and Shark Assault boats. Stormbirds were, but they were being phased out during the Great Crusade. A Thunderhawk is comparable in length to a Marauder bomber (which is of course Aeronautica), although it is chunkier (the Thunderhawk Transporter is, iirc, half-again the length). Per BfK, anything Aeronautica can be assumed to be roughly half the size of a void craft for the same role. If Sharks are bigger than Starhawks and have a smaller squadron size on that basis, then they're bigger than Thunderhawks.

There's no reason, of course that Thunderhawk squadrons couldn't be limited to 3 birds per squadron for some other reason, but it certainly isn't due to size limitations.

Also remember that per BfK (and even in BfG, particularly directly after release), the Launch Capacity of a particular bay was not the sum total of attack craft it could support, just the most it could launch at once. (Later revisions of the BfG rules limited the maximum squadrons of attack craft in play to a fleet's total Launch Capacity, justifying it as the max number of C3 links the fleet could support). Per BfK, a Launch Bay can fit up to 3 squadrons of small craft per point of Launch Capacity.

The Thunderhawk is listed as a Spacecraft in DW and is Size Massive Just like the Starhawk Bomber and Shark Assault bomber in BfK. This makes them (Very) approximately the same size. I've never really thought of the Thunderhawk as Aeronautica anyway!

As to the size of the Battlebarge I would contend that their is not a lot of unused space! Instead; I would instead suggest that a lot of that space is used for bigger engines and Lots of extra armor!

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When I first read the BFG stats and fluff, I too thought it was weird that Marine ships have such small troop carrying capacity, given the general size of starships in 40k. Yet over time, I came to realise that it could well have to do with a simple strategic decision meant to ensure the survival of the Chapter.


 


Think about it: A Chapter has ten companies. Losing one hurts a lot. Losing three hurts a lot more. Losing more than three … well. Hence, it is tactically sound for a Space Marine Chapter to disperse its companies on many ships rather than risking to lose a large number of them to a single vessel being blown up. Battle Barges are very risky and perhaps "unwise" already, but I suppose at some point they just have to balance their resources, and whilst some planets may be so well defended that Strike Cruisers are not enough to safely deliver their cargo of Marines through the defense perimeter, they just can't afford to give every company their own Battle Barge.


 


In this sense, perhaps Battle Barges are constructed with the thought in mind that they're not even supposed to ever carry more than three companies, hence they couldn't support more. Instead, more space is committed to structural reinforcement, backup generators and other redundant systems all meant to improve the ship's survivability, not to mention huge engines and massive reserves of fuel, consumables, spare parts and ammunition to prolong independent operation.


 


I also really like that idea of decoy drop pods. :)

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Lynata said:

When I first read the BFG stats and fluff, I too thought it was weird that Marine ships have such small troop carrying capacity, given the general size of starships in 40k. Yet over time, I came to realise that it could well have to do with a simple strategic decision meant to ensure the survival of the Chapter.
 
Think about it: A Chapter has ten companies. Losing one hurts a lot. Losing three hurts a lot more. Losing more than three … well. Hence, it is tactically sound for a Space Marine Chapter to disperse its companies on many ships rather than risking to lose a large number of them to a single vessel being blown up. Battle Barges are very risky and perhaps "unwise" already, but I suppose at some point they just have to balance their resources, and whilst some planets may be so well defended that Strike Cruisers are not enough to safely deliver their cargo of Marines through the defense perimeter, they just can't afford to give every company their own Battle Barge.
 
In this sense, perhaps Battle Barges are constructed with the thought in mind that they're not even supposed to ever carry more than three companies, hence they couldn't support more. Instead, more space is committed to structural reinforcement, backup generators and other redundant systems all meant to improve the ship's survivability, not to mention huge engines and massive reserves of fuel, consumables, spare parts and ammunition to prolong independent operation.
 
I also really like that idea of decoy drop pods. :)

Additionally; The full effect of the Bombardment Cannon outside of Naval engagements is not adequately addressed in RT. I remember in some fluff (I believe it was one of the novels) that the Bombardment cannon is noted as Hyper accurate in a Naval gunfire support roll as well as sporting variable yield warheads! In game terms this would apply when using the support rules from Deathwatch: Rites of battle… The Bombardment cannon would always have the same accuracy as a torpedo strike without the vulnerability to interception. Additionally, The warhead could be set to strike with the Yield of a torpedo or a Lance Strike (Although this would need to be set prior to firing!). The only Drawback would be that the weapon could only fired once per RT turn (30 minutes). That is a very LONG time if your unit is in danger of being overwhelmed! The reason I mention this is that the Naval support of the Space Marines is probably a BIG reason they are not more commonly overrun! (A pinpoint accurate Lancestrike can do a lot of damage to a relieving army before they even get close to engaging the Astartes!) This would also explain why the Imperium even bothers mounting Bombardment cannons on anything since they are inferior to most Naval weapons in every other respect!

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Radwraith said:

The Thunderhawk is listed as a Spacecraft in DW and is Size Massive Just like the Starhawk Bomber and Shark Assault bomber in BfK. This makes them (Very) approximately the same size. I've never really thought of the Thunderhawk as Aeronautica anyway!

As to the size of the Battlebarge I would contend that their is not a lot of unused space! Instead; I would instead suggest that a lot of that space is used for bigger engines and Lots of extra armor!

 

I stand corrected- per Imperial Armour Vol I, p230: a Marauder is 19.2m long (with a wingspan of 24.6m), while the Thunderhawk is 26.6m long with a wingspan of 25.65m  and the Thunderhawk Transporter is 28.8m long with the same wingspan (Imperial Armour vol II, pp156-157). I haven't found lengths and actual sizes for the Starhawk or the Shark, but I'm looking (not with much hope of success, I'll admit. They're not designed for atmosphere at all, AFAIK, so I suspect no-one has bothered to put a concrete size to them. I do recall the Shark is supposed to be bigger than the Starhawk, but by how much I don't know).

And there's plenty of unused capacity, if only for infantry: Astartes vessels are relatively under-officered for their size, especially compared to IN ships, and normally only the senior officers are Marines. I'd remember that Marines assigned to the Fleet arguably* don't count against the Codex's notional 1000 battle brother limit, so one could add an extra layer of "company" and "field" grade "officers" to the ship's troops without straining the officer's quarters, or the Codex's limits, and so have effectively an extra couple hundred Marines if you needed them.
I know, there's no evidence that any chapter has done that, and it is purely speculation on a possibility on my part, but I'd still say the capacity is there, whether or not it's used.

 

And the whole concept of the decoy pods goes back to the codification of the power armoured space marine concept- Heinlein's MI from Starship Troopers (not the films, obviously), although there, admittedly, the majority of decoys were produced by the ablative outer layers of the MI drop capsules, although I'm pretty sure there were dedicated decoy capsules mentioned a couple of times.

I'm not sure I'd call the Bombardment cannon inferior to other naval weapons in most respects- not in BfG, anyway (I haven't had much of a chance to play with them in RT). They were basically weapons batteries that treated armour like lances- if it weren't for the range, I'd've happily traded half the weapons in my IN fleet for them, even at strength 1 or 2.

 

*On the grounds that if you actually count how many space marines the Ultramarines chapter (whose Primarch wrote the Codex, after all) has, you reach 1000 well before you start to estimate officers assigned to the Chapter Fleet, and the Uriel Ventris series (among others, I believe) establishes that the majority of Fleet astartes are not simply drawn from Battle or Reserve companies.

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Alasseo said:

*On the grounds that if you actually count how many space marines the Ultramarines chapter (whose Primarch wrote the Codex, after all) has, you reach 1000 well before you start to estimate officers assigned to the Chapter Fleet, and the Uriel Ventris series (among others, I believe) establishes that the majority of Fleet astartes are not simply drawn from Battle or Reserve companies.
Ouphhh, this is a topic all by itself, and every second book - especially the novels - will tell you something different. I've always run with the simplistic and easy-to-memorise GW fluff about the 1k Marines just being the 10 squads in 10 companies, and anything else is just part of the supernumaries / headquarters staff (the various codices even gave explicit listings of what this means), whereas drivers and pilots for the Battle Company-led strike forces tend to get pulled from the Reserve Companies, usually the Tactical Squads. It all works out this way, at least for me.

Never heard of "Fleet Astartes" before (except the Master of the Fleet - and even this is just a part-time job for the Captain of the 4th Company), but at the same time I won't discount the possibility that each capital ship may have its own Astartes CO. As every so often with 40k, such details boil down to a matter of interpretation. complice

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