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 Post subject: The Exterminatus Analysis thread! [with 250% more kill] PostPosted: 2008-08-15 04:14pm
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*note: This is actually a formal essay I'd written up over a year or more ago and have had sitting around on my Hard Drive for some time. I k ept meaning to come back to it and revise it, but really, its too much work and I prefer just ot keep moving forward. So, what I probably will do is use this as a basis, and just revise as I go on. After all I have a lasgun thread and a bolter thread and those probably will be revised.

As such there may or may not be errors in it that I have missed, or things I iknow are wrong but I haven't changed. Feel free to point them out or poke holes in them, and I'll either revise or argue them as I can.

I also have things I have to add yet, which is why I've decided to go with the more "ongoing revision" style analysis. I know there will be alot more added (my other dedicated calc threads can probably be added as well.)

Anyhow, as I said, I know I've done some before. But even so I think it deserves its own thread because it sa big, ,huge, complex and varied topic, and because the effects are so varied. I've also come to some other conclusions. So bear with me.

The Exterminatus is well known, as is what it means and the various methods by which it can be delivered. It can be delivered by cyclonic warheads, by virus bombs, or by other conventional firepower (mass drivers, fusion bombs, lance strikes, ,etc.) The effects and durations have been mentioned before:

BFG, page 78 wrote:
The attacking fleet is escorting Extermiantors, ships capable of laying waste to entire planetary populations or even obliterating all life on a world in a matter of hours.


BFG, page 96 wrote:
All had heard of Exterminatus with fusion torpedoes, virus bombs and mass drivers, but to know the enemy had the ability to destroy an entire planet, not just all life on it, must have been the most chilling thought that any naval crewman had ever faced.


I've done calcs before based on the aforementioned evidence. But it is also my considered opinion that (which I have said before) that those previous calcs were conservative, and likely much higher. On further reflection, they almost certainly ARE much higher. Not only are there examples in other novels to consider (Ciaphas Cain's Caves of ice, multi-teraton ordnance or planetary bombardment missiles in sources like BFG, Rogue Trader, etc.) But there is the fact that the Exterminatus effects themselves point to higher end firepower. The 1e9 megaton figure (from the SD.net planet killers page) is conservative - it merely destroys all "complex" life. But given the evidence (and logic) there is much more to an exterminatus than just destroying all the people and animals.

There is also this from Codex: Daemonhunters:

Codex, daemonhunters, page wrote:
In the most dire circumstances, Inquisitors are empowered to declare Exterminatus upon a world which has been lost to the Ruinous Powers, ending the horror of its inhabitants in a catacylsmic rain of fire from ships in orbit.


- The text describes melta torpedoes, barrage bombs (ordannce) and lance strikes being used to conduct bombardments. Given the implication that orbital strikes are the same as Exterminatus just on a less destrcutive magnitude, we can safely conclude that planets can be subject to brute force Exterminatus (if any doubt existed.)

There is yet one more useful tidbit to go on, and that is from Tactica Imperialis:


Tactica Imperialis, page 66 wrote:
Exterminatus is the last resort in war, ,used by the Imperium when all other options are exhausted. To declare Exterminatus upon a world is to visit total and utter destruction upon it. It is to sign the death warrant of every living creature upon it, and to render its surface a blasted wasteland, inimical to life for millenia.

There are many forms of Exterminatus, and many ways of delivering it. One method uses a biological agent that renders all living matter to a decayed sludge within hours, releasing a staggering amount of oxygen into the atmosphere as it does so. This oxygen is then burnt off, igniting the entire atmosphere and incinerating everrything on the surface. Another method involves the use of cyclonic torpedoes, a category of weapons that use varying means of scouring the world's surface with nucleonic fire, raw plasma, or deadly radiation. Some worlds might be virus bombed - sometimes the viral agents might be keyed to a specific gene code, so as to target aliens, mutated humans, or simply rebels with a predominant hair colour.

Exterminatus may only be orderd by the very highest level of authority, and any who enact it will be answerable to the High Lords of Terra. While raw manpower remains the Imperium's greatest asset, worlds are not so easily replaced, and those who squander such resources seldom remain in power long enough ot make the same mistake a second time.


Some various points of interest (in order of appearance.)

1 - Exterminatus is a "last resort", and visits "total nad utter destruction" on a world. It kills all life and renders the planet's surface "inimical to life for millenia". Note that while this may suggest that Exterminatus is not "permanant" as I have asserted, note that under most cases, the Imperium Is capable of inhabiting even lifeless/barren worlds (hab domes and such.) or worlds that have been destroyed by bombardment (IE Tallarn and the virus bombing.) Indeed, considering that many hive cities are effectively "uninhabitable" without artificial support is proof of this. What this means is that while certain destructive effects (firestorms, grgoundquakes, ejecta, dust loading, and like) probably die down at some point, the planet probably no longer has the ability to sustain life unassisted. And that the planet cannot be "inhabited" until the destructive effects die down.

2 - "Many forms" of Exterminatus and "manyy ways" of delivering it. This probably does indicate that you can have varying levels of "destructiveness" for Exterminatus (naturally). Some more permanant than others. It probably is quite possible to render a planet uninhabitable via Exterminatus without removing the atmosphere or oceans, for example. And planetary disruption is probably extraordinary form of exterminatus (except for Abbadon's Planet Killer, or specialized ordannce, anyhow.)

As a curious note, Virus bombing i sdescribed as a purely biological attack, wheras certain novels and game sources indicate that the "sludge" and firestorm effects arer part of it. This may be an error, or it may simply indicate that different kinds of "virus bombing" exist, just as different kinds of cyclonic torpedoes exist. (makes sense, since ealrier sources and some novels like the Last chancers do feature virus bombs that don't have the firestorm/sludge effects. Hell you could virus bomb in a tactical manner!.)

Note as well that cyclonics are either "nucleonic" (matter ot energy conversion, probably much akin to a conversion beamer.), radiation, or "raw plasma". The last two hint at a more brute-force approach, although even the nucloonic bvit indicates that Exterminatus effects come about from raw firepower (even if the process in generating the energy is technobabble.) In any event, correlations can be drawn one way or another.

3.) "Worlds cannot be easily replaced" and those who "squander such resources" are disciplined. This again indicates that Exterminatus is, for all intents and purposes a "permanant" action, and that any world redeemed from such a tack must have more limited utility than it had before Exterminatus was enacted.


First, I shall go over each individual "effect" beyond the 1e9 megaton threshold, and explain the underlying logic applying each to the Exterimnatus.

Effects

Complete Sterilization

Many of the alien menaces that threaten the Imperium are quite resilient. No matter how many are destroyed, their presence (or taint, if you will) can remain. Spores, microbes, minute traces in ainnumerable forms can survive. (Indeed, according to the 2005 Tau Codex, Tyranids are somewhat resilient to some forms of exterminatus (The Codex indicates the Tyranids either burrow down in case of smaller forms, or largers like Carnifexes may just ride out the attack.) This can mean that the bombardment must be more violent, more thorough, in order to ensure that the taint is completely wiped out. The Tau and Orks seem to be likely canidates for this, given that a number of sources both indicate that spores are employed by both (Orks reproducec by spores, or at least some kinds do, and the tyranids use mycetic spores in their stripping of planets.) Necrons and Chaos, to an extent, also apply, although the reasons for this may be somewhat different (Chaos can arguably infest any form of life, and can also taint inorganic things which may require substantial destruction. The Necrons often have their own facilities kilometers or more beneath teh crust of planets, and their own tech, such as Necrodermis, can have its own invasive, corrupting properties, albeit mainly to inorganic materials. Though C'tan are known to "corrupt" or otherwise influence organic beings as well.) Therefore, it is likely that the firepower required for Exteriminatus is considerably higher (tens of billions of megatons, as per the Planet Killers Page

Additionally, there are Virus bombs. Virus bombs wipe out all life on a planet, no matter how small (the "life eater" virus). As a side effect, they create massive, lethal firestorms (much like a complete serilization will do.) Logically, other weapons ought to be able to achieve similar effects (as per the BFG quote as above.. fusion and mass driver bombardment is brute force, unlike the virus bombs.) A conventional bombardment designed to match the effect of a virus bomb should likewise achieve "complete sterilization" level destruction.

The "tens of billions of megatons" figure I cite from Mike's Planetkiller page is a lower limit, bear in mind. In the research I did in "caves of ice" regarding sterilization, I discovered that boiling and/or vaporization of oceans can be a known side-effect of planetary sterilization, so it could be much higher (and if vaporization occurs, it probably will be.)

Virus-bomb effects

Draco, page 90 wrote:
For such was exterminatus: the total destruction of all life on the surface of a planet by means of virus bombs delivered frrom orbit.

The life-eater virus, spreading at amazing speed, would attack anything whatever that breathed or grew or crawled or flew as well as anything of biological origin: food, clothes, wood, feathers, bone. The life-eater was voracious. The jungles of Stalinvast would swiftly rot into sludge that would form shallow festering inland seas and lakes, where rot continued to feed so that the very air burned planet-wide, searing the whole surface to ashes and bare rock.

In the cities all protein would eat itself and ooze in a tide into the underbelly, rot eating rot, until the firegas detonated, leaving the cities like mounds of dead, blasted coral.


Draco", ,page 159 wrote:
Stalinvast would long have been a scorched husk, its jungles rotted utterly by the life-eater, than cremated by firegas, only the plasteel skeletons of its empty cities hovering above the barren desolation, dead reefs above a dried-out sea. Many cities would most likely have collapsed into tangled, fused ruins when the firegas exploded planet-wide. There would not be an atom of oxygen left in the now poisonous atmosphere; that too would have burned.


The last mentions destruction of the atmosphere ("burning off" level damage") but that may be unusual here (just as cyclonic bombardment can vary, arguably.)

Ultramarines Omnibus, page 367 wrote:
Uriel nodded, determined that Chordelis would not suffer the horrible fate of Barbarus Prime. By now there was nothing left of that world but a dead hunk of rock, its people, wildlife, and very ecosystem devoured by these monstrous aliens.


Ultramarines Omnibus, page 377]
Even at maximum magnification, the planet before them barely filled the viewing bay, reflected light from the distant sun rippling across its heaving, fiery surface. Firestorms were raging across the dead planet as flammable gasses released from oceans of decaying organic matter enveloped it, scouring the surface to bare, lifeless rock.

The tyranids themselves could do no more thoruough a job.[/quote]

Uriel compares the destruction described above by the Tyranids to Barbarus prime to what the Virus bombs do. Again, comparable to complete sterilization, minimum. Note that "ecosystem" can include water and soil (and probably atmosphere - all things the Tyranids are known to strip from a planet.) which reinforces my earlier assessment.

Note that the "firegas" triggered firestorms are implied to be "oxygen" based in Tactica Imperialis. This may or may not be so, but it does seem likely that this type of Virus bombing is much more than simple biological attacks - a sort of "technobabble" process that destroys the organic matter and creates the incendiary/explosive "gas" from it.

[quote="Ultramarines Omnibus, page 378-379]
The life-eater virus was quick to act and utterly lethal in its effects. Perhaps some had an inkling of what was being done to their world, but most would probably have succumbed without realising the magnitude of the betrayal visited upon them. The atmosphere would be saturated with mutagenic toxins that attacked the biological glue that held organic matter together, breaking it down with horrifying rapidity. Within hours there would be othing left alive and the virus would be forced to turn on itself in an unthinking act of viral self-cannibalism. The planet's surface would be covered by a thick layer of decayed sludge, wearthed in vast clouds of toxic waste matter. All it would take was a single shot from orbit to ignite the fumes and firestorms of apocalyptic magnitude would sweep the entire surface of the planet bare.[/quote]

- Again, suggestive of at LEAST sterilization level energies.

Depth and Durability of Constructions

Along with complete sterilization, it is known that many Imperium worlds are heavily built up city worlds (forge worlds and hive worlds in particular) much like coruscant (or the continetnal fortresses of Terra.) Many of those worlds may also extend hundreds or thousands of meters underground (shelters and defense installations, mines, other facilities, ,etc. Such as in Necropolis, Execution Hour, Caves of Ice, SHadow Point, etc.) In addition, the construction methods and materials available to the Imperium (to build those shelters, hive cities, etc.) are considerably greater than our own, ,and many facilities (Government capitols, hive cities, Arbites precints, etc.) may have their own forcefield defenses (Execution Hour, NightBringer, Necropolis, etc.) Much like with the Star Wars Base Delta Zero attack can require that signifigantly more firepower be applied to such destruction.

In terms of facilities, Mike's Base Delta Zero Page covers this idea. In that page, Mike mentions that the destruction of hardened facilities in modern nuclear attack simulations use a 2000 psi overpressure to ensure target destruction. The energy input figure he comes up with is 2e25 joules for this. This is only a bit below the "complete sterilization" figure above, and is (as Mike notes) quite conservative given its basis on "modern" material sand construction techniques. It could easily be an order of magnitude greater, much as it would be for Star Wars BDZ.

Additionally, there is the consideration of reaching mines or shelters. As the classical "BDZ" (the 1 hour/1 meter melting depth) calcs have traditonally indicated, reaching deeper into the planet naturally increases the energy requirement (even irerespective of melting or vaporization.) extending 100 meters down increases the energy figure by 100x, and over a kilometer depth by a factor of 1000x. Considering that some sources indicate planets like Cyrene are reduced to a molten state, this is a valid consideration. (Cyrene as a calc will be considered later.) Some may argue that "crust melting" may not be an accurate figure, and this has some merit, but there are a number of considerations to bear in mind. First, in terms of an extinction-level event, indirect effects (heating of the atmosphere by hypervelocity ejecta, for example) and inefficiencies can lead to "melting" of the crust even if the beams themselves do not do it. Asteroid impacts have shown that a substantial degree of melting (and vaporization) also occur with such events. Beam weapons such as lances are even more likely to result in this. Cyrene also indicates "melting" is a valid benchmark, as do other examples where energy weapons are mentioned in bombardment roles (Plasma weapons in execution hour, Plasma weapons melting a hive city in annihilation squad, etc.)

And as mentioned before, some Tyranids are known to bury underground to escape Exterminatus, so more extensive bombardment may be required to root them out. Tyranid infestations in the process of draining a planet of its biomass may also invade deep into a planet's crust. And as mentioned before, the Necrons tend to inhabit tombs buried many kilometers beneath a planet.

Even mundane Imperium structures like hive cities can reach kilometers beneath a planet (Kill Team), and many kinds of facilities (defence stations, mines, bunkers,etc.) can extend many hundreds of meters below ground regardless.

Exterminatus via conventional bombardment has been used on a number of occasions: The most obvious example is Cyrene, of course, but it has also been mentioned with regard to 56-Izar (Xenos). The planet attacked in Fire Warrior too was bombarded by conventional weaponry as well. The sterilization of the planet in Caves of Ice can technically be termed exterminatus even if it was not directly labeled so, and involved conventional bombardment as well. This meshes very well with the Battlefleet Gothic references to mass drivers and fusion bombs being used to conduct Exterminatus (alongside Virus bombs.)



Burning Off the Atmosphere

Bruning off the atmosphere is a very energy-intensive event. Any planet having an atmosphere gnerally has a large escape velocity for its objects (such as the 11 km/s escape velocity for earth.) Just as a planet's mass must overcome said escape velocity for the planet's mass to be scattered (destroyed), the atmosphere as well must achieve escape velocity for the atmosphere to be depleted.

Attacks known to do this are Cyclonic warheads. The Tyranid Codex states:

[quote="Codex Tyranids, 2005, Page 27 wrote:
Following Exterminatus by way of Damnatus-pattern, mass-yield cyclonic sturation, the surface of the world was reduced to drifting ash, the atmosphere entirely seared away.


The effects of cyclonic warheads will be discussed separately. The atmosphere of a planet, because it is diffuse, can't be directly attacked by many forms of attack (and others, such as nukes, won't completely effect it. And there are always inefficiencies.) Beam weapons such as lasers or particle beams will easily punch through it without heating much of it. This means generally that planets are heated up by area effects indirectly (either nukes, or nuclear fireballs created by beams or kinetic impactors.) The energy requirement for evacuating the atmosphere of an Earthlike planet (~5.1e18 kg) is roughly 3e26 joules. as a minimum. I say "minimum" because, as I mentioned, atmosphere is diffuse and direct bombardment cannot really heat it up all that well. Heating it indirectly is going to be rather inefficient, and will probably lead to other matter (IE water vapor) saturating the atmosphere (thus needing that much more mass to be evacuated.) The 'minimum" is most likely to apply in technobabble attacks or airbursting detonations (nukes or certain kinds of "plasma" weapons.)

Boiling Off or Vaporising Oceans

There is yet another level of destructive effect to consider. That of boiling (or more accurately, vaporising) the oceans of a habitable planet.

Cetain forms of attack such as cyclonic torpedoes have been known to do this:

Quote:
Akliamor (Eldar-Empire Relics, Destroyed):
White Dwarf #236, The World of the Bloodied Sword, by Gavin Thorpe
"We departed the world's surface and watched from the stars as the akliamor began to activate. It happened slowly to begin with, I remember some of the children standing at the windows, competing to see who could spot the first few blossoms of explosions. Then a chain reaction began to build, as the dark matter at the centre of each weapon was released and began to accumulate. We watched a cloud of death spreading across the face of our ancient home. My vision was clouded with tears and the weeping of our kin weighed heavily on our hearts. Fields were stripped bare, the rocks crumbled to dust, the seas boiled into the air, creating massive electrical storms across the skies, all living things were scattered to the howling winds. We sang the Hymn of Lamentation as we watched Taqamathi dying before our eyes. It did not take long. A final eruption of power shattered the world's skin, causing great volcanoes to spring into life belching rock and dust into the already polluted atmosphere. Cracks and rents ripped across her once beautiful continents. Where the forests of Lietha once spread as far as the eye could see, there was no only rivers and lakes of lava and fire; the Gardens of Maegan were an ash-strewen desert; the majestic Zamua valleys were filled with boiling mud slides and fountaining geysers. At that final moment Taqamathi again retained something of beauty; the savage and powerful beauty of the universe unleashed and returning to its natural form, for Taqamathi had always been tamed to our will and now she was retuning to her wild origins. Satisfied that nothing could ever live on Taqamathi..."
(quote originally provided by NecronLord)

Quote:
"What are cyclonic torpedoes?"
"Planet Killers," answered Uriel. "They will burn the atmosphere of Pavolnis away in a storm of fire, scouring the surface bare until there is nothing left alive. The seas will boil to vapour and your world will become a barren rock, wreathed in the ashes of your people."


- Ultramarines Omnibus, page 232

To my knowledge, no other form of attack (save the Planetkiller) actually does this to a planet, but this does not neccesarily mean Imperium warships would be incapable of it via conventional bombardment. It is known that the Tyranids frequently consume not just the organic matter of a planet, but also the components essential to it, such as the atmosphere or the oceans. On more than one occasion (those enacted by Inquisitor Kryptmann himself are the most notable) the Imperium has been known to preemptively conduct Exterimnatus on planets to deny those resources to the Tyranids (Again Ultramarines omnibus and the Tyranids Codex.)

An earthlike planet generally has a large quantity of water (Earth's surface is 70% ocean, massing some 1.4e21 kilograms). Boiling off and/or vaporising that much water requires approximately 3.9e27 joules of energy. (a bit more than an order of magnitude more than estimated for blowing off the atmosphere.)

There IS another dimension to this level of destruction, with regards to "blowing off the atmosphere". Vaporisation of so much water can, under some circumstances, lead to the atmosphere being saturated with the superheated vapor. While this will heat the atmosphere, it will also make it effectively heavier as wel, meaning that the energy requirement to "blow off the atmosphere" could also increase.

Under most circumstances, the above is most likely to occur by "direct fire" attacks like energy beams or impactors and ground/subsurface detonations. Airburst explosions (espeically high altitude ones) and the like could possibly result in much less energy being injected than attacks that directly strike or strike close to the surface of the planet. (heat from ineffieicnies and bombardment of other partts of the planet could also lead to some vaporisation, but due to the properties of water and the sheer amount involved, oceans would make very good heat sinks as well.) In any case, evacuating the entire oceans of the planet (in the form of vapor) requires around 8.47e28 joules of energy, at least.

Side-note: Tyranoforming

The issue of Exterminatus removing or destroying the atmosphere of a planet deserves further elaboration. As many 40Kers no doubt already know, Tyranids attack habitable planets and consume all the biological matter and materials on the planet. This not only includes all the plant and animal life, but can include the biosphere, the oceans, and the atmosphere as well. While not directly "biological", they are elements vital to life (our bodies are 75% water, after all. And air can be useful for things other than construction materials.)

In addition, certain other elements seem to be consumed from a world as well. This probably includes iron and silicates, because Tyranid carapaces are frequently described as "stony" or "ceramic" like, and some metallic elements like iron ARE essential biological components. a certain amount of destruction of such materials is bound to be expected as well.

Quotes specifically pertaining to the concept:

Codex Tyranids 2001, page 41]
As resistance is overcome more and more of the planet's surface is stripped bare by continuous harvesting until the hive fleet concludes its actions by draining the planet's atmosphere and seas.[/quote]

- Reference to removal of atmosphere and oceans.

[quote="Codex Tyranids 2001, page 42 wrote:
The world was almost drained now, within a few revolutions the last of its biomass would be consumed and the hive ships would cluster in tighter. They would strip away its atmosphere and drink its oceans, covering their mile-long bodies with frozen sheaths of oxygen and hydorgen, nitrogen and chlorine in preparation for the journey ahead. When all was done, when Tethris had been reduced to an infertile ball of rock, the hive fleet would move on and begin tis hunt again, ,searching for a new prey-world to feed upon.


- again, oceans and atmosphere removed, along with other elemtns.

Codex, Tyranids 2005, page 6 wrote:
In ancient surveys, these particular planets had been loged as supporting life, but more recent Explorator scans and expeditions reported them to be barren airless rocks.

...

As time passed, the Technomagi found that even worlds that were known to have thriving ecosystems had been transformed into barren planetoids.

...

...almost a year had passed and at first he could not equate the dead, ,barren planet he found to ocean-bound Tyran.


Tyranids leaving habitable planets (including "ocecan bound Tyran" airless and "barren".


Codex Tyranids, 2005, page 20 wrote:
His plan was that a band of worlds should be evacuated across the path of Leviathan's main advance, with many of them razed to the ground in order to deny the hive fleet any further raw materials for its ships. This would slow is advance long enough for Battlefleets Solar and Tempestus to muster. Any worlds already under invasion within the bounds of this cordon were to undergo Exterminatus just at the poitn when the Tyranids descended to feed upon the doomed populace. Kryptman theorised that in this manner the swarms would expend great resource to claim a world, only to have every living thing upon it reduced to ash by barrages of cyclonic torpedoes and virus bombs.


The description of Kryptmann's "Biomass Denial" tactics. Note mention of the use of Virus bombs as well as Cyclonics. Given that Cyclonics can be brute force (See Tactica Imperials) as well as the fact that brute forcee attacks can apparently emulate Virus bombing (Battlefleet gothic), its quite likely that brute force attacks can achieve similar destructive capability (although it may be more complicated.)

Codex Tyranids, 2005, page 26 wrote:
To summarise, our strategy in this regard has been the doctrine of 'Biomass Denial'. A Tyranid hive fleet must expend a staggering amount of energy in taking one of our worlds provided our forcecs are able to mount an effective defence. Frequently, we have been able to draw the hive fleet into committing ever increasing reserves of energy into taking the world, at which point, we attempt to withdraw the bulk of our forces, ,and deny the hivefleet its price, by way of enacting Exterminatus upon the target world. This has the effect of critically draining the hive fleet's resourcecs, as it has no biomass with which to replenish the energy expended in taking the world."


Again, "Biomass denial" via Exterminatus. One can infer, potentially, that fleets of vessels were capable of simialr effects via brute-force bombardment (within an order of magnitude, for example.)

Lastly, we have this link here concerning Tyranoforming, which again confrims the "removal of atmosphere and oceans" bit as well.

Bombardments and Side Effects

Its worth noting that none of the above are neccesarily mutually exclusive. Inefficiencies will creep in, as energy is radiated back into space or into other targets (such as deeper into the ground, or into oceans, or the air.) as a starship attempts to blast hive cities or underground facilities into destsruction. It is therefore possible that in the process, that the air may be heated to many thousands of degrees or burned off, oceans vaporised/boiled away, ,or the crust substantially motlen/vaporised as mere side effects of something as simple as destroying cities (Indeed, in most cases, you cannot effectively burning off the atmosphere directly with most attacks.) As noted in the "sterilization" research from the Caves of Ice calcs, you can easily cause boiling or vaporization of most or all of the planet's oceans in the process of sterilizing the planet (depending on method of Exterminatus conducted) so those can hardly be treated as "mutually exclusive" in all cases. And as I mentioned with the "burning off the atmosphere" entry, air can be hard to remove directly, and doing it indirectly can complicate the removal (and thus increase the yield.)

A good example of course is the bombardment of fortified structures (as above) and its relation to complete sterilization or crust melting. All involve energies substantially higher than 1e9 megatons (well into the e25 joule level of destructtion - many billions or even tens of billions of megatons). And given the conservative nature of the "destruction of hardened targetS" example above, compared to advanced tehc, its quite possible that the feat of destrtoying cities or shelters would also burn off the atmosphere. So then you can argue that the energy input logically extends well into the E26 joule range simply by concluding that 40K materials/construction tech are at least several times better than what we have already! And that doesn't even include the shielding.)

It is therefore quite likely that multiple effects (ocean boiling/vaporization, crustal melting/vaporization/pulverization, destruction of shielded structures, and sterilization, for example) are going to be occuring simultaneously, and thus teh energy requirements add up. (Another example would be ocean/crustal vaporization and removal of atmosphere.)


Timeframe

We know from Battlefleet Gothic that the Exterminatus can be exectued (By a single ship) in a matter of "hours". This means at least 2 hours, but less than a full day (fewer than 24 hours.)

It can be noted that while many effects or results could arguably be the same frfom the various kinds of bombardment (IE mass driver. lance, and fusion bombardment could yield effects similar to virus bombs or cyclonic warheads) the other factors (timeframes, or number of ships) can differ (A cyclonic warhead, for example, could blow off the atmosphere or boil off the oceans of a planet much more quickly than conventional bombardment could.) From the viewpoint of "brute force" attacks, this can also make sense (complete sterilization takes less energy than blowing off the atmosphere or vaporising the ocean, so naturally the timeframe ought to be less.)


Vehicles of Destruction

As per Battlefleet Gothic, the vessels capable of Exterminatus are referred to as "Exterimnators" - these included Abbadon's Planetkiller, the Blackstone Fortresses, and any capital ship modified to carry a prow-mounted "armageddon weapon." In-game, this is clearly meant to suggest that the capability to exterminate planets is not a standard capability for ships, but this can be considered silly for several reasons:

1.) A number of game and literary sources (novels and game books alike, such as Codex: Daemonhunters) indicate that conventional weapony (lances and torpedoes) on a ship are quite capable of bombarding and damaging a planet, up to and including Exterminatus level-destruction.

2.) Even ignoring the above, we know from the self-same Battlefleet Gothic source that exterminatus can be conducted by fusion and mass-driver bombardment. Either is quite evideently a brute-force attack, and would indirectly indicate (plasma warheads are at least the equal of a fusion warhead) or directly (the acceleration of mass-driver projectiles would necessitate the firing ship provide the power) that the "exterminator" carry the requisite firepower even if it DIDN'T carry the armageddon weapon (Hell, a Nova cannon IS for all intents and purposes a glorified mass driver... and a prow mounted weapon at that...)

Note that "capital ship" refers to both cruisers of all classes, as well as battlecruisers and battleships. This means that a single cruiser (even a light cruiser!) should be capable of rendering a planet totally uninhhabiable (read: at least sterilized, if not having the atmosphere and/or oceans boiled off) in a matter of hours. A battlecruiser (or battleship) could do likewise, but since they are bigger (and more powerful) they arguably should be capable of doing it much more quickly.

Another possibility not covered in Battlefleet Gothic but mentioned by other sources: groups of ships can work together to perform Exterminatus on a planet. This has a benefit of reducing the timeframe to accomplish the feat drastically (most useful for brute-force attacks by a starship's armaments.)

Abbadon's Planet Killer

Abbadon's Planet Killer deserves a special, unique mention, both because it qualifes as an "exterimnator" ship and because of the sheer magnitude of its destructive capability. The Planet Killer's firepower has already been well established previously (by me), and need not be repeated here. I will, however, add one thing. Given the recent analysis performed by myself regarding sterilization here, my calcs for atmospheric removal were probably conservative.

While the attack by the Planet Killer almost always results in the destruction of the planet, it should be noted that for the most part this is not due to the "brute force" application of firepower, unlike the other effects. The manner of destruction (the factors causing it), the duration and effects, all mitigate against this (although at least one incident could arguably be brute force.)

Because it is so fearsome, and because its capabilities are considered (and have been stated) to be well beyond what the Imperium is capable of, it is worth noting that the Planet Killer represents the upper-end firepower of all IoM and Chaos warships. Likely the same for Tau or Eldar ships, but probably not for Necrons.

The BlackStone Fortresses/Talismans of Vaul

While it is not their original purposes, the Blackstone Fortresses captured by Abbadon and created by the Eldar Smith-god Vaul to combat the C'tan are also capable of exterimnatus-level destruction.

In practice the effects of the Blackstone fortresses may seem less destructive than what the Planetkiller can achieve. This may seem contradictory, but remember that the Blackstones are not really meant for brute-force exterimination attacks. Its danger (to ships or other targets) comes from its largely technoabble ablities, especially in groups (because of its connection to the warp - they WERE designed to fight the C'Tan, after all.) the sheer amount of energy they generate can be considered more of a side effect than anything. (and note that they still have tremendous firepower, especially given their ability to bypass void shields and the warp-based anture of the damage mechanism..) Brute force attack by raw energy (or force) is more of a secondary element (unlike 40K weapons batteries or lances.)

Special note: Cyclonic torpedoes

Cyclonics deserve their special place because they are in many ways the "upper end" of the Imperium's destructive capability with regard to Exterminatus. It has previously been conjectured that they are technobabble weapons, working on some sort tof exotic, "chain reaction" much like a phaser. However, ,given the abilities to "burn off" the atmosphere or "vaporise" a planet, (as well as the fact some sourcecs do indicate they are brute force weapons or may accompany brute force weapons during bombardment, such as the Last Chancers omnibus) they can likely be considered "brute force" weapons with "technobabble/chain reaction" energy generation mechanisms ( That is, the way the effects are generated are technobabble, but they still are "brute force", at least in terms of their effects on the planet. They may or may not be effective against other targets.)

I am aware that some examples of Cyclonic bombardment seem to result in the destruction of a planet. I will not address those, because I know little of them. We do know from Tactica Imperialis (as described above) that there are many forms of Cyclonic bombardment, and that they are quite brute force (particularily evinced by plasma bombardment.) Brute forcee methods like plasma and radiation probably require multiple bombardments (like Ariadne V and Tethris, mentioned in the Tyranids codex. Ariadne V was the one that had its atmosphere strtipped off by "Damnatus-pattern mass yield cyclonic saturation." Tethris was destroyed by cyclonic torpedoes launched by a Cobra-class destroyer squadron, with 1/3 of the torpedoes being intercepted, the rest striking. The bombardment cremated the entire Tyranid invasion force. Neither example is specifically described as "Nucleonic", although the "nucleonic" cyclonic warhead unleashed in Tactica Imperialis only required a single cloaked vessel delivering a single torpedo (to wipe out the entire Tyranid invasion force.) This is different from the other two examples, so we can safely conclude that nucleonic bombardment was not used in either case (probably brute force.) Another possible factor against nucleonic warheads is their implied rarity - the "process" (according to tactica Imperialis) ws supposedly only known to the Techpriests on Mars, which implies very specialized knowledge. So the "brute force" methods may be more common.

In Ariadne V's case, it woudl require at least e26-e27 joules. Tethris had been "nearly drained' (including atmosphere and oceans) by the Tyranids, and this implies over 1e21 kg of biological matter. To vaporize/incinerate that much mass requires around 3e27 joules. If this is brute force bombardment, this could very well imply a squadron of Cobras could carry a fraction of that firepower as standard in its ordnance: We dont know how MANY torpedoes were launched, but ti seems likely that they used the Cobras own torpedo tubes to do it, which implies that the cyclonic warheads could not have been much larger than regular plasma torpedoes (although they may have sacrificed propulsion or guidance for greater payloads, given that a planet is not that hard a target to hit from orbit and accuracy isn't an issue where Exterminatus is concerned.) We also have no idea HOW many torpedoes were launched, but even assuming they emptied their entire torpedo loadout in cyclonics (assume thousands) that's still many tens or hundreds of teratons of firepower "per torpedo".

In any case, planetary destruction is well beyond the ability of the vast majority of Exterminatus (including hard bombardment) except in extraordinary cases (volatile planet, like the Night Lords bombardment or the destruction of Caliban by the Dark Angels), since we know the Planet Killer's effects were considered so horrifying. It may also be that other factors play a role in cyclonic bombardment as well (maybe there is somethign volatile on planets destroyed by cyclonic bombardment that the attack triggers inadvertantly.) A distinct possibility is that the "planet destroying" cyclonic torpedo was a very large/powerful nucleonic warhead (single missile, and if it converted enough of the planet's mass ot pure energy it could very well blow it up.) Given what we know, I'm inclined to believe that nucleonic warheads can blow up planets, especially given the implied rarity of the nucleonic warheads (a planet-shattering nucleonic cyclonic torpedo would probably be even rarer or harder to build.)

Numbers
I'm sure that everyone is very bored by this point by all of the above, so I'll just finish up by covering just what the numbers mean in terms of capital ship firepower.

From above, we have approximately four effects, with associated energy ranges:

Complete Sterilization - 4e25 joules

(I know that the "sterilization" bit was a bit broader than that 2e25 to 8e25+ joules, but I decided to approximate an average.)

Burning off the Atmosphere - 3e26 joules

Vaporising the Oceans - 3.9e27 joules

Burning off Ocean Vapor + Atmosphere - 8.5e28 joules

We also have timeframes of between Two and twenty four hours Two hours will be the upper limit, twenty four the lower limit.

Complete Sterilization

24 hours - 4.63e20 watts

2 hours - 5.56e21 Watts

Burning Off the Atmosphere

24 hours - 3.47e21 watts

2 hours - 4.17e22 watts

Vaporising the Oceans

24 hours - 4.52e22 watts

2 hours - 5.42e23 watts

boiling off atmosphere and ocean

24 hours - 9.84e23 watts

2 hours - 1.18e25 watts

Okay, so we have the sustained firepower rates now. As mentioned before, if you wanted to be conservative this would represent battleship firepower (since we know a Battleship can be an exterminator) but in reality this probably represnts what a cruiser can do. (and even a cruiser or heavy cruiser is probably somewhat consevative). A battlecruiser and Battleship, therefore, are arguably much more powerful (at least an order of magnitude, if not two.)

On the other hand, Abbadon's planetkiller is STILL more powerful than an individual 40K warship (upper limit.)

Hopefully, I'll try working to refine some more concrete firepower distributions, but it is worth noting that based on this, its safe to say that 40K battleships are probably in the "high teraton-low petaton" sustained firepower range.



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Is it possible that these "exterminator" ships simply focus most of their firepower into one huge weapons battery on their nose?
It seems that virus bombs and cyclonic torpedos have similar firestorm effects (once the diseased gas is ignited). Is the explosive power of a cyclonic torpedo far beyond that of a normal plasma torpedo?



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hmm i guess the accepted 40k firepower is a bit lower here. somebody at that other place calced a single round from a nova cannon at 21PT.



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DrStrangelove wrote:
hmm i guess the accepted 40k firepower is a bit lower here. somebody at that other place calced a single round from a nova cannon at 21PT.


What other place, and can you link to the calc ?



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aggg, trying to remember clearly, but as for exterminatus being permanent, I swear I read a short story where a planet's background was that it had been through exterminatus roughly a thousand years after the Horus Heresy, was recolonized only to be become an over grown jungle deathworld in modern 40k. But for the life of me, I can not remember where I read it, though it could be a fan fic describing a marine home world... agg, anyone else read this, or have I lost it again?



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Well, I seem to get the impression that Space Marine Battlebarges are heavily optimised for exterminatus, especially when Inquisitor Ario Barzano suggested requesting for only one from Maccrage for an Exterminatus that will obviously be quite much stronger than using mere virus bombs.



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Fingolfin_Noldor wrote:
Well, I seem to get the impression that Space Marine Battlebarges are heavily optimised for exterminatus, especially when Inquisitor Ario Barzano suggested requesting for only one from Maccrage for an Exterminatus that will obviously be quite much stronger than using mere virus bombs.


Most battle barges carry cyclonic torpedoes as standard, which means you only need one to commit Exterminatus. Marines also operate as a rapid response force, so asking for a battle barge from a nearby chapter is often the quickest and easiest way of quickly getting an Exterminatus capable task force on site.



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Azazal wrote:
aggg, trying to remember clearly, but as for exterminatus being permanent, I swear I read a short story where a planet's background was that it had been through exterminatus roughly a thousand years after the Horus Heresy, was recolonized only to be become an over grown jungle deathworld in modern 40k. But for the life of me, I can not remember where I read it, though it could be a fan fic describing a marine home world... agg, anyone else read this, or have I lost it again?


In Dark Apostle the Adeptus Mechanicus were able to completely terraform a Necron tomb world into a relatively normal planet (capable of supporting a permanent population of millions) within the space of a thousand years or so. So recolonization of planets where life has been completely extinguished is possible, although it naturally occurring is rather unlikely.



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Lone_Prodigy wrote:
Azazal wrote:
aggg, trying to remember clearly, but as for exterminatus being permanent, I swear I read a short story where a planet's background was that it had been through exterminatus roughly a thousand years after the Horus Heresy, was recolonized only to be become an over grown jungle deathworld in modern 40k. But for the life of me, I can not remember where I read it, though it could be a fan fic describing a marine home world... agg, anyone else read this, or have I lost it again?


In Dark Apostle the Adeptus Mechanicus were able to completely terraform a Necron tomb world into a relatively normal planet (capable of supporting a permanent population of millions) within the space of a thousand years or so. So recolonization of planets where life has been completely extinguished is possible, although it naturally occurring is rather unlikely.



Thank you, it was Dark Apostle that I was thinking of



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white_rabbit wrote:
DrStrangelove wrote:
hmm i guess the accepted 40k firepower is a bit lower here. somebody at that other place calced a single round from a nova cannon at 21PT.


What other place, and can you link to the calc ?


I could have sworn that Connor did it, and that the 21 PTs was the measure of KE from a direct hit.



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Falkenhayn wrote:
white_rabbit wrote:
DrStrangelove wrote:
hmm i guess the accepted 40k firepower is a bit lower here. somebody at that other place calced a single round from a nova cannon at 21PT.


What other place, and can you link to the calc ?


I could have sworn that Connor did it, and that the 21 PTs was the measure of KE from a direct hit.


Found it, he did it here: link

Connor MacLeod wrote:
Example: Going by a 50x150 meter shell made of iron (assume 30% solid, its supposed to be packed with explosive o funknown type and density) fired at ~90%of c yields a shell mass of around 770,000 tons and and a KE of 9e25 joules, putting Nova cannons well into the petaton range (~21 petatons roughly here.) In the literature, Nova Cannons are implied to "charge up" for firing just after loading, implying that the gun is charged in a matter of seconds at most.

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I think I'm going to group most of these together into two posts rather than make many individual ones. Sorry if this annoys people

Lone_Prodigy wrote:
Is it possible that these "exterminator" ships simply focus most of their firepower into one huge weapons battery on their nose?


For lance or mass driver bombardment? Could be. We don't actually know how much energy they may or may not use. They have to divert at least some for manuvering engines, at least. Torpedoes or missiels amy need some power (at least for the initial launch) but probably not neareyl as much as the other weapons.

Quote:
It seems that virus bombs and cyclonic torpedos have similar firestorm effects (once the diseased gas is ignited). Is the explosive power of a cyclonic torpedo far beyond that of a normal plasma torpedo?


Depends on the kind of virus bomb and the kind of cyclonic warhead. some virus weapons don't include the firestorm effect (more biowarfare), while some cyclonics can do some pretty hefty damage (boiling off the oceans and atmosphere is going to guarantee damage to the surface, for example.)

Certain kinds of Cylconics and Virus bombs seem to usually be the "less thorough but quicker" means of bombarding a planet - they're basically "fire and forget." Whereas other methods (starship bombardment, munitions including more "brute force" cyclonic weapons.) probably are more thorough but also require more time and effort. This is the classic "soft" vs "hard" Exterminatus, although the variations can encompass alot more than just those two distinctions (They're perhaps just the broadest ones. For example, the "Cave sof Ice" bombardment could qualify as a "soft" exterminatus given it didnt totally wipe out the planet and was delivered fairly rapidly, even though it did do some fairly deep penetration..)

Azazal wrote:
aggg, trying to remember clearly, but as for exterminatus being permanent, I swear I read a short story where a planet's background was that it had been through exterminatus roughly a thousand years after the Horus Heresy, was recolonized only to be become an over grown jungle deathworld in modern 40k. But for the life of me, I can not remember where I read it, though it could be a fan fic describing a marine home world... agg, anyone else read this, or have I lost it again?


I initially thought Exterminatus was basically "do it until the planet is useless to anyone" until I read some other sources. There are definite sources that indicate some forms of Exterimanatus "merely" leave the planet uninhabitable for long periods of time (centuries, IIRC), although in may ways that's nasty itself - its far in excess of many forms of asteroid mass extinction (the K-T impact, for example.)

Mind you, there's still the fact that rampant exterminatus of habitable worlds is frowned upon and quite openly punishable, even if an Inquisitor declares it (Kryptman is a prime example.) so even with the "milder" forms of Exterminatus would seem to be considered rather extreme.

DrStrangelove wrote:
hmm i guess the accepted 40k firepower is a bit lower here. somebody at that other place calced a single round from a nova cannon at 21PT.


That's probably going to depend on the ship mounting the nova cannon, and it ssize. Nova cannons are mounted on ships from cruisers to the battleships, and that allows for quite a bit of variation in nova cannon firepower. Even within a specific size class (IE heavy cruisers) you can get different grades of nova cannon because of differencecs in how the internal volume is used or weapons arrangement. Its no different in them having different classes of torpedo and whatnot.



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Lone_Prodigy wrote:
In Dark Apostle the Adeptus Mechanicus were able to completely terraform a Necron tomb world into a relatively normal planet (capable of supporting a permanent population of millions) within the space of a thousand years or so. So recolonization of planets where life has been completely extinguished is possible, although it naturally occurring is rather unlikely.


There are hints the Imperium has at least some limited forms of terraforming, but it seems that they lost a great deal of that technology long ago. Hive Worlds, planets like Tallarn, Stalinvast, Valhalla, and others, all point to the Imperium not having at best very limited forms of terraforming at best (or if they do, its either highly restricted or insanely expensive.)

And, like I said, there's still the fact that Imperial agents can be punished for declaring Exterminatus without good reason. Kryptman (as mentioned before) is an example of this. (IF they could just Exterminatus a world and then terraform/repopulate it later, then Kryptman wouldn't have needed to be so reviled.)


Imperial Overlord wrote:

Most battle barges carry cyclonic torpedoes as standard, which means you only need one to commit Exterminatus. Marines also operate as a rapid response force, so asking for a battle barge from a nearby chapter is often the quickest and easiest way of quickly getting an Exterminatus capable task force on site.


Not just that. Inquisitorial warships do, and I believe AdMech ships do (makes sense sinc ethey make the frigging things) but I do believe Navy ships do as well (Cobra destroyers have been outfitted with exterminatus weapons on at least two occasions, but largger battleships have been mentioned to carry cyclonics and virus weapons as wlel.. the last chanceers and Dawn of War novels come to mind there.)

More than that, some planets carry some (limited?) form of weaponry akin to exterminatus devices - Krieg, Armageddon, and the planet from the first 13th LEgion novel all are eaxmples.

I suspect most big ships can do at least some form of "soft" exterminatus (most big navy ships, all big space marine vessels, etc.) and they can all do a "hard" exterminatus (via raw firepower) if need be. More specialized delivery systems (some stealthed craft delivering a single Cyclonic warhead like in Tactica Imperialis) are on a "case by case" basis.



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Some extra stuff I forgot to add

3rd edition core rules, page 115 wrote:
Dead worlds:

These worlds have minimal, even non-existent, life traces. This results from ecological catastrophe, devastating interecine war, Imperial or alien intervention or no attributable cause.

Cross-reference, Istvaan III, Naogeddon, PRandium Truan IX, Zhoros


This includes planets (like Istvaan III) that had been hit by exterminatus. "minimal, even nonexistent" life traces suggests near or at "sterilization" l evels (no life could possibly reinhabit the p lanet.) It may or may even include removal of essetnail qualities like oceans or atmosphere.

It is interesting to note as well that "warfare" is deemed one cause of mass extinction. This may indicate that the scale of warfare in the Imperium can reach the levels that it globally damages, even threatens life on all planets in some cases (either due to prolonged warfare, extensive use of orbital bombardment and other forms of bobmardment without limtiation, employment of WMD, etc.) IT doesn't give a timeframe either, so no hard calcs are possible, but we can note that no wars we have ever encountered could even come close to threatenin to wipe out most or all life on the planet (much of human life, perhaps, but thats it.)

Codex Imperial guard, 2nd edition, page 15 wrote:
note: Can also be read IIRC here
In a devastating surprise attack, the Iron Warriors Chaos Space Marines struck the planet. Thousands of virus bombs rained down on Tallarn and the people ran to the enviro-shelters deep beneath the surface. As they hid, safe from the devastating bio-infestation, the deadly coils of DNA mutated as they were programmed to do. Animals, plants, even insects died as the virus did its work, destroying the planet's eco-system and leaving an empty shell.
After seven weeks of isolation the virus had run its course and the remaining people of Tallarn emerged upon the surface. They found a world covered with the acrid slime of plants and corpses not yet decayed – for the world was completely sterile, without even bacteria to aid the decomposition of its dead.
The Iron Warriors sent their task-force to repossess the world for the Dark Gods of Chaos. From underground bunkers the Tallarn forces emerged to do battle with the invaders. Soon, reinforcements from both sides arrived, rival space fleets bringing vast armies to fight over the worthless remnants of the dead planet

The effects of Virus-bombing on Tallarn. Note that the Imperium here makes extensive use of sub-surface shelters as a protection against svere assaults. This means that for more thorough examples of Exterminatus (the "Hard" variety, which I'll discuss later), they are bound to melt substantial portions of a planet's crust to kill the populace. (Which is confirmed with incidents like Cyrene, but also the bombardment of Cadia by the blackStone Fortress in the 13th Black Crusade.)
This idea is repeated often elsewhere (the Death Korps of Krieg fucked up their planet and also neede subsurface dwellings, which would likewise require deep penetration bombardment to eradicate) And we know certain kinds of Tyranid can burrow to escape certain forms of Exterminatus as well.
The likely depth, given the depth of certain facilities (like orbital defenses) is likely hundreds of meters at least, possibly several thousand.
Anyhow, more on Tallarn..
Quote:
Within a thousand years of the Horus Heresy Tallarn evolved into a very different world from the prosperous planet of former times. Deserts of sulphurous sand stretched from pole to pole and all water disappeared except for a thin residue in the atmosphere. No vegetation remained on the surface exposed to the blistering, wind-blown sands. All that grew was the carefully husbanded crops of the Tallarn themselves, sheltered in their protective horticultural domes.
The surviving Tallarn now lived in domed towns or in natural caverns hollowed out in the planet's rock. Fierce winds drove the Tallarn into their shelters, corrosive sulphur storms made all travel risky, and eventually a system of tunnels was built to facilitate travel beneath the surface.
Above their settlements the Tallarn built vapour traps to catch water from the thin atmosphere. These tall towers still stand above their domes to this day, and all the water they use is caught by these cunning devices and channelled into subterranean holding tanks.
.

Tallarn as it stands after the Heresy, and the results of the bombardment. The planet still seems to have moisture of some kind, and an atmosphere (of a sort), but its defintely not breathable, and nothing living can survive, ,even 10,000 years later. (But people apparently can still operate on the surface.)


Iron hands, pages 398-399 wrote:
With a roar like a hundred atomic warheads detonating, the Ajax's cyclonic torpedoes entered Crucible's atmosphere and exploded. In seconds the entire moon was swallowed up beneath a planet-razing firestorm as the very atmosphere caught fire, exploding into flame. An apocalyptic roar broke across Crucible, a sound so loud it was as though the sky itself was breaking - which it was.

A terrible chain reaction had been set into motion and nothing could now stop it. A tide of destruction swept over the moon's surface, a hundred times more devastating than anything initiated by the destruction of any of the Araken artefacts.

No other sound could be heard as the apocalyptic firestorm raged across Crucible, sweeping away all before it, not the screams of the melting Chaos host as the air in their lungs caught fire, not the roar of the Titan transproters as they were incinerated, nor the frustrated bellowing of the possessed Imperator.

The nuclear fires enveloped the Iscariot-Titan, its void shields burning out in a few seconds. Its adamantium armour held out just long enough for the Imperator to suffer agonising pain on a deific level, as only a god can, before it too was uterrly destroyed, its immortal body melting under the unimaginably fierece heat. Its reactor core exploded with the force of a small sun going nova.

The [i]Corruptor of Colchis fired its plasma drives again, as the atmosphere of the moon beneath it became a sea of molten fire, desperately trying to pull clear while it still could. But even the mighty seven-kilometre long vessel that had fought the Long War for ten thousand years could not escape the satellite-wide inferno. Void shields failed, engines caught fire and the plasma drives detonated. The warp-thing dwelling at the heart of the [i]Corruptor[/i[ within the sarcophagus of the ancient Word Bearer's battleship screamed its frustrations to the warp with the soul-searing death-scream of a billion devoured souls.

The wrath of the Emperor and the Omnissiah was terrible indeed. As Crucible died, one lone hull-battered strike cruiser powered away from the dying moon. Silhouetted against the bakcdrop of the sea of molten fire enveloping the Mechanicus outpost world, ,the ship set course for the borders of the Araken system and was weallowed by the eternal darkness of the void.


One of the novel-based examples of Exterminatus I've pulled from other sources. I may have to add others, but this works well enough for now. Its pretty consistent with other examples we know of cyclonic torpedo bombardment.

Battle for Macragge wrote:
An Adeptus Mechanicus Explorator station at Tyran identified a collection of worlds in the Eastern Fringe that had been stripped bare of their biomass and atmosphere.


Tyranoforming has been discussed elsewhere, but I include this largely because it reinforces the whole "water/atmosphere" removal bit.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-08-21 03:33pm
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Connor MacLeod wrote:

Imperial Overlord wrote:

Most battle barges carry cyclonic torpedoes as standard, which means you only need one to commit Exterminatus. Marines also operate as a rapid response force, so asking for a battle barge from a nearby chapter is often the quickest and easiest way of quickly getting an Exterminatus capable task force on site.


Not just that. Inquisitorial warships do, and I believe AdMech ships do (makes sense sinc ethey make the frigging things) but I do believe Navy ships do as well (Cobra destroyers have been outfitted with exterminatus weapons on at least two occasions, but largger battleships have been mentioned to carry cyclonics and virus weapons as wlel.. the last chanceers and Dawn of War novels come to mind there.)



Yes, the Navy, Inquisition, and Ad Mech are all capable of cyclonic torpedo attacks. It's the fact that all Marine battle barges carry them and they operate as a rapid response force that gets them tapped for the job so quickly. Need cyclonics in a hurry? Call the nearest Marine Librarian and get a take out order.

Cyclonics have an additional advantage over the "orbital bombard them until their civilization is molten ruins" attack plan in that it exposes the ship to retalitory fire for a much shorter period of time, which matters if they world has good surface to space weaponry. No one wants to lose their battleship when its just started to melt a polar ice cap with its massed laser broadside.

As for Kreig, they wrecked their planet with something like 500 years of atomic warfare. Not technically Exterminatus, but I'm sure the distinction was lost on the dead. I don't think anyone doubts nuclear weapons production are beyond the capabilities of the Imperium's more developed world.



The Excellent Prismatic Spray. For when you absolutely, positively must kill a motherfucker. Accept no substitutions. Contact a magician of the later Aeons for details. Some conditions may apply.

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-08-21 03:50pm
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Battle For The Abyss mentions that the Word Bearers were going to fire Cyclonics at Calth's fault lines. They were fully confident that this would tear the planet apart.

In the new short story compilation Planetkill, the Administratum is supervising the evacuation of a planet that has been strip mined. The last step includes huge cargo ships vaporising and harvesting the world's oceans. The Mantle was tapped out as well, and mines dug to the world's core, which was also extracted.

The population, apart from those able to work or be conscripted, was left behind. The world was then declared "Orbis Non Contegnum". Adepts speculated that it would take a few decades for reserve food stocks and any residual ecosystems to collapse. Also, it takes the one of these operations about 3k years to completely "mine out" a planet, though its the ocean extraction that really does people in.



Many thanks! These darned computers always screw me up. I calculated my first death-toll using a hand-cranked adding machine (we actually calculated the average mortality in each city block individually). Ah, those were the days.
-Stuart
"Mix'em up. I'm tired of States' Rights."
-Gen. George Thomas, Union Army of the Cumberland

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-08-26 12:57am
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Last current update I've been saving... its more calcable (though the sterilization bit I've covered before.) I could probalby mention Cyreen under here too, ,but..

Codex, Imperial Guard (2nd ed) page 12 wrote:
The planet's main land masses were distributed more or less evenly, ,one centred at the northern pole and the other at the south. The equatorial regions themselves were dominated by a huge warm ocean eleven thousand miles wide.

Approximately ten thousand years ago Valhalla was struck by a comet of immense size and weight. The planet's defence lasers poured shot after shot into the comet. This did nothing more than break off several smaller fragments of what proved to be virtually solid iron. A mile-wide fragment struck the nothern continent causing massive earthquakes and destruction, but the main comet body landed in the sea.

At first the confusion and devastation made it hard to gauge the full effect of the strike. The boiling seas, clouds of vapour and pall of dust cut off the light. Temperatures plunged to freezing over the whole planet. Even more significantly, the impact had knocked the whole world from its orbit. For ten years Valhalla spun eccentrically until it fi8nally settled some fifteen million miles further from its sun.

...

Valhalla had become a frozen world of ice. The survivors of the disaster found themselves pushed further and further towards the equatorial oceans as glaciers engulfed the polar continents. Eventually there was no more land left, and they were forced to live upon the ice itself. Though 99% of all life had been destroyed the people struggled through, building their cities deep inside the ice, beneath the glaciers and upon the frozen ocean. What little life remained they carefully cultivated, growing nutrient slimes and algaes in vats heated by thermal stills.


This passage, in my mind, tends to confirm some of the lower limits as to what an Exterminatus (of the "hard" variety at least) is meant to accomplish in reagrds to bombardment) The bit about "changing the position of the planet" isn't really quantifiable, and the cometary impact itself isn't (we dont know its size, beyond that it wasn't an actual comet, but something probably artificial.) In any case we dont know how much of the above (otehr than the coment not being stopped or being "defensive") is true, and the "planet shifting" isnt a directly observed phenomenon (so we dont know how/if it did it - actually moving the planet by the impact would require mass-scattering energies at least, and that can be ruled out by the fact the planet is still there. Thus, it can be surmised that it was just someone's "theory" to explain how the planet's mass shifted.)

We do know, however, that the planet is earthlike, and the boiling/vaporizing of the "seas' (oceans) as well as associated dust loading and other effects ARE calcable events, and they could have been witnessed/observed/analyzed more directly than the shifting of the planet's axis.

It does tell us as well that they must have had some subterranean "survival" shelters like others (Tallarns, Krieg) did, and it sets a lower limit on what energy output is needed for an extermnmatus event (the e26-e27 joule range - boiling/vaporizing a planet's oceans.). This then, sets a more likely accurate lower limit on what an Exterminatus bombardment can do (and meshes with other examples, such as Caves of Ice, Cyrene, etc.)


Space Hulk 1st edition page 1 wrote:
The Emperor of human space has recently become aware of the Stealer's activities and is taking immediate steps to isolate and stamp out the attack - but at a terrible price - the Emperor's Inquisitors ruthlessly sterilize tainted planets, wiping out their populations to the last man, woman, and child.

Though thus far 100% effective at stopping the spread of the Stealers beyond the infected planets, this solution is not without its drawbacks. In addition to the obvious loss of life and resources, if news of the scorched earth policy spreads, local governments may naturally become reticent about telling the Imperium they have been infiltrated.


It is mentioned here that the only reliable means of halting the genestealers is to sterilize a tainted planet. As mentioned in the "caves of ice" bombardment calcs, we can attach a very specific output to this level of firepower tens or hundreds of billions of megatons minimum, enough to boil/vaporize a planet's oceans and the like.

Of further interest is that such attacks also deprive the Imperium of access to the planet's resources (in addition to the loss of life.) As we know from BDZ estimates, resource destruction encompasses an energy input far in excecss of mere "extinction event" phenomena, and reinforces the extreme energies indicated by "sterilization".

We can also apply this figure to the BFG exterminatus calc (Capital ship being able to Exterimantus a planet in a matter of hours. From the bombardment calc mentioned before, we can figure on between e26 and e27 joules of energy for "sterilization", roughly. A light cruiser will be the smallest vessel qualifying as a capital ship. Therefore, for a light cruiser to "sterilize" a planet in a matter of "hours (2-23 hours). The sustained firepower for a light cruiser performing an exterminatus to sterilize a planet will fall somewhere between e21-e22 watts (nearly a day) and e23-e24 watts (2 hours). Or somewhere between (roughly) single digit and triple digit TT/sec.

Oh, and as an adjucnt to the above bit on genestealers.

Rogue Trader: Compilation

Page 86
Quote:
once the fourth generation (of Genestealers) is born, virtually the only way to stop the infection is to sterilize the entire planet, killing every living thing on it.


If we ever wanted to be clear about what "sterilizing" a planet against Genestealers meant, we get further confirmation here.



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Last edited by Connor MacLeod on 2008-08-26 02:34am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-08-26 12:59am
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Imperial Overlord wrote:
As for Kreig, they wrecked their planet with something like 500 years of atomic warfare. Not technically Exterminatus, but I'm sure the distinction was lost on the dead. I don't think anyone doubts nuclear weapons production are beyond the capabilities of the Imperium's more developed world.


Actually its mentioned in IA5. They used dozens of ICBM like missiles and inflicted at least a partial extinction event on the planet, or something like that.



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