How well would a space marines weaponry fair against a modern battlefield?

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Re: How well would a space marines weaponry fair against a modern battlefield?

Post by Lord Revan » 2018-06-21 01:54pm

It should be noted that a "standard" (as much as such a thing exist in the Imperium) Space Marine tactical squad tends to have 1 heavy weapon(heavy Bolter, missle launcher or similar) and 1 support weapon (flamer, plasma gun or similar) per 10 man squad. Then you got specialist heavy weapon and close combat squads that are equiped accordingly, so it's not like all Space Marine have is their bolters anymore then all US marines have is their rifles.
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Re: How well would a space marines weaponry fair against a modern battlefield?

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-06-21 04:17pm

It should also be noted that visual depictions are unreliable. For obvious out-of-universe reasons they have to more or less closely echo the game. Lore depicts them changing magazines and such regularly, to the point where they HAVE to be having extra magazines on hand, even though those are rarely depicted on models or in artwork.

Also while bolters are frequently called 'grenade launchers' they're more like antimaterial-rifle-caliber SMG's. They are not usually depicted as having the same effect (an explosion at point of impact and an area-of-effect); usually they're more described as penetrating armour or flesh and then exploding. They do have somewhat of an area of effect against light troops, but it's not as common as one would expect with say a 40mm. Which is reasonable considering the most common Marine pattern is ~.998, IIRC, just under an inch caliber. Heavy bolters may be larger caliber (the lore has never really specified very well regarding this).
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Re: How well would a space marines weaponry fair against a modern battlefield?

Post by Steelinghades » 2018-06-21 05:34pm

Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-06-21 04:17pm
Which is reasonable considering the most common Marine pattern is ~.998, IIRC, just under an inch caliber. Heavy bolters may be larger caliber (the lore has never really specified very well regarding this).
I thought the most common pattern of Bolter was the .75 one and the heavy bolter was the .998 one.

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Re: How well would a space marines weaponry fair against a modern battlefield?

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-06-21 06:08pm

Steelinghades wrote:
2018-06-21 05:34pm
Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-06-21 04:17pm
Which is reasonable considering the most common Marine pattern is ~.998, IIRC, just under an inch caliber. Heavy bolters may be larger caliber (the lore has never really specified very well regarding this).
I thought the most common pattern of Bolter was the .75 one and the heavy bolter was the .998 one.
......maaaaybe. I'm not 100%. I know the line about the Godwyn pattern says it's .998. Lots of other sources are saying it's .75 though. Where they're getting the number from, I can't exactly find.

That said, you can probably find evidence either way. I've found an analysis on B&C that suggests Marine-scale bolters are .998 and human-scale or Sororitas-scale are .75, but of course that's not canonical. The lore rarely states what caliber they are, unfortunately, other than vague comparisons like heavy bolter rounds being 'fist-sized'.
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Re: How well would a space marines weaponry fair against a modern battlefield?

Post by LaCroix » 2018-06-23 05:42pm

This is pretty much a human scale .75 Bolter, just with only a 6 round magazine.



This is what it does to targets:

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Re: How well would a space marines weaponry fair against a modern battlefield?

Post by Sea Skimmer » 2018-06-25 10:45pm

That weapon illustrates well the implosion of ammo capacity your going to get with weapons like that. The bulk is very, very significant even if you can ignore weight and packaging it in magazines instead of a belt box only makes that worse overall. It's go to go somewhere.

But again, if it means one round can stop a target instead of 25, that may not be so bad. However a single 20mm cannon round today isn't far from comparable in size and bulk to a 30 round magazine of 556 either.

Stuff like this is why we are and always will be very vehicle centric with real life militaries. Full on power armor could seriously help weight carrying problems, but the bigger the weapon gets really the less and less that matters because bulk becomes such a problem in it's own right, and at that point so does weight distribution. I'd call this the TOW Hummer problem. Even a vehicle that size only normally carries 7 TOW missiles. A human can carry 1. A Space Marine might be able to hump the weight of 7, or not, but it'd be almost impossible to find a way to strap them on the guy and still retain any mobility even if he could.
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Re: How well would a space marines weaponry fair against a modern battlefield?

Post by Zixinus » 2018-06-26 12:43pm

To be fair, that actually gives some sense to making your typical space marine an actual giant. A giant can handle more bulk. Which is significant considering that they are made into giants from regular-sized people (aside making them one-size that simplifies logistics).
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Re: How well would a space marines weaponry fair against a modern battlefield?

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-06-26 01:08pm

But not that much more bulk. The bigger and more massive the man, the biggwr and more massive the suit of powered armor has to be ro fit him, and to move the extra mass. It isn't likely the armor protection will increase, and the weapons loadout, at the very outside, is likely to increase only marginally.
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Re: How well would a space marines weaponry fair against a modern battlefield?

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-06-26 01:38pm

The size of Space Marines has been a subject of considerable debate... it ranges from "high end of human norm" like six-foot-six or six-eight, something like that, all the way up to silly like nine or ten feet tall. The artwork doesn't really help either since it's famously inconsistent.

In *general* though we can probably assume Marines, out of armour at least, are high end of human norm at a minimum, and are probably between seven and eight feet tall. We can probably assume the armour adds extra height/bulk, but nothing TOO crazy.

Now Primarchs, there's a whole tar-pit right there...
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Re: How well would a space marines weaponry fair against a modern battlefield?

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-06-26 02:08pm

Considering the Primarchs are made from the Emperor's own DNA, and many of them are tainted by Chaos(and one of them has been brought back from the dead to run the Imperium...)...

The effectiveness of Astartes and Traitor Legion powered armor also varies throughout the lore, but, in The Traitor's Hand, a World Eater was inconvenienced by a scratch squad of Valhallans, during the Khornate and Slaneeshi attacks on the 597th's CP, and Cain's chainsword was able to breach the Traitor's breastplate enough for Jurgen to stick his melta in to finish him off.
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Re: How well would a space marines weaponry fair against a modern battlefield?

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-06-26 05:14pm

Point of order. IIRC Jurgen didn't stick the melta into the breastplate, it was just a close range shot. All Cain was doing was distracting the Berzerker.

There's a similar incident in the same engagement, IIRC, where another Berzerker runs into a few full squads of Valhallans, and finds out just how effective las-guns can be in volley-fire mode...

As for the Primarchs: in most discussions of their height/size it's assumed that the traitor Primarchs post-Heresy are at least daemonically influenced if not possessed, so their height is probably variable to a degree. Magnus would be the worst of all; his height was variable even *before* the Heresy, he has a little bit of that mojo the Emperor had that made him look differently to different people.

IIRC, Alpharius/Omegon are canonically the shortest, Corax a close second, and Magnus is (generally) the tallest, not counting that silly horned head-thingy he has. Angron is actually on the shorter end of the scale, funnily enough, IIRC. I want to say the general rule of thumb is that Alpharius/Omegon were Marine-size (perhaps on the large end of that demographic), probably above seven feet tall, and Magnus may have been as much as twelve feet tall but was probably closer to ten-plus. Of course if you're of the 'eight-foot-plus' school of thought when it comes to Space Marines, move the pointer accordingly.
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Re: How well would a space marines weaponry fair against a modern battlefield?

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-06-26 10:58pm

Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-06-26 05:14pm
Point of order. IIRC Jurgen didn't stick the melta into the breastplate, it was just a close range shot. All Cain was doing was distracting the Berzerker.

There's a similar incident in the same engagement, IIRC, where another Berzerker runs into a few full squads of Valhallans, and finds out just how effective las-guns can be in volley-fire mode...
A quick re-read of the novel shows you're correct on both counts. I could've sworn Jurgen fired through the breach Cain's chainsword had made,

Also, the World Eaters Cain, Beije, the Vahallans and the Tallarns encounter later on the mineral dredger, though still able to put up a fight, were badly wounded by the Slaneeshi cultists, before being dispatched by our heroes,* and the opposing cultists were armed with a variety of weapons, mainly stubbers(slugthrowers).

*And the primary sntagonist.
As for the Primarchs: in most discussions of their height/size it's assumed that the traitor Primarchs post-Heresy are at least daemonically influenced if not possessed, so their height is probably variable to a degree. Magnus would be the worst of all; his height was variable even *before* the Heresy, he has a little bit of that mojo the Emperor had that made him look differently to different people.

IIRC, Alpharius/Omegon are canonically the shortest, Corax a close second, and Magnus is (generally) the tallest, not counting that silly horned head-thingy he has. Angron is actually on the shorter end of the scale, funnily enough, IIRC. I want to say the general rule of thumb is that Alpharius/Omegon were Marine-size (perhaps on the large end of that demographic), probably above seven feet tall, and Magnus may have been as much as twelve feet tall but was probably closer to ten-plus. Of course if you're of the 'eight-foot-plus' school of thought when it comes to Space Marines, move the pointer accordingly.
Damn. I always thought Magnus was the shortest, and Angron much taller, for some reason. As for the eight foot plus school of thought, as you said, the lore is all over the place; consequently, Lexacanum has no firm numbers, same with my back issues of White Dwarf.
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Re: How well would a space marines weaponry fair against a modern battlefield?

Post by Bedlam » 2018-06-27 01:24pm

This might become a thread by itself but I thought I recalled Vulcan being the largest, and probably tallest of the Primarchs. Although I'm willing to admit that Manus's variability might mean he was taller at times, just not most of the time.

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Re: How well would a space marines weaponry fair against a modern battlefield?

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-06-27 04:02pm

Bedlam wrote:
2018-06-27 01:24pm
This might become a thread by itself but I thought I recalled Vulcan being the largest, and probably tallest of the Primarchs. Although I'm willing to admit that Manus's variability might mean he was taller at times, just not most of the time.
Oh yeah you're right, Vulkan was definitely the *consistent* tallest. Forgot about him, which is dumb because I just read Old Earth.

Cinnabar, most of the discussion about Primarch height isn't on Lex-- it's on various boards and (where I personally saw it) Reddit r/40Klore.
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Re: How well would a space marines weaponry fair against a modern battlefield?

Post by Lord Revan » 2018-06-27 06:23pm

The impression I got from reading the Horus Heresy books was that all Primarchs have variable height to a degree (like the God-Emperor) but Magnus is the only who does it so often that you'd notice it, while with others it would be "funny I remember that he was taller" or "odd I don't remember him being quite THAT tall" when met by someone who is not part of the Legion (the marines themselves just seem shrug and go "so what that's what primarchs are like".
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Re: How well would a space marines weaponry fair against a modern battlefield?

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-06-27 09:39pm

Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-06-27 04:02pm
Bedlam wrote:
2018-06-27 01:24pm
This might become a thread by itself but I thought I recalled Vulcan being the largest, and probably tallest of the Primarchs. Although I'm willing to admit that Manus's variability might mean he was taller at times, just not most of the time.
Oh yeah you're right, Vulkan was definitely the *consistent* tallest. Forgot about him, which is dumb because I just read Old Earth.

Cinnabar, most of the discussion about Primarch height isn't on Lex-- it's on various boards and (where I personally saw it) Reddit r/40Klore.
That explains why I haven't seen it. Probably where all the discussion concerning the height of Astartes is as well.

Haven't read Old Earth, but I have read the first novel of the Salamanders trilogy.

So, about how tall is Girlyman, I mean Guilliman?
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Re: How well would a space marines weaponry fair against a modern battlefield?

Post by Lord Revan » 2018-06-27 09:43pm

U.P. Cinnabar wrote:
2018-06-27 09:39pm
Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-06-27 04:02pm
Bedlam wrote:
2018-06-27 01:24pm
This might become a thread by itself but I thought I recalled Vulcan being the largest, and probably tallest of the Primarchs. Although I'm willing to admit that Manus's variability might mean he was taller at times, just not most of the time.
Oh yeah you're right, Vulkan was definitely the *consistent* tallest. Forgot about him, which is dumb because I just read Old Earth.

Cinnabar, most of the discussion about Primarch height isn't on Lex-- it's on various boards and (where I personally saw it) Reddit r/40Klore.
That explains why I haven't seen it. Probably where all the discussion concerning the height of Astartes is as well.

Haven't read Old Earth, but I have read the first novel of the Salamanders trilogy.

So, about how tall is Girlyman, I mean Guilliman?
Average for a Primarch from what I've read (like he's in pretty much everything)
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Re: How well would a space marines weaponry fair against a modern battlefield?

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-06-27 09:46pm

A) That's because he's the Imperial Champion and, now Imperial Regent.
B) The Smurfs were the very first chapter mentioned in White Dwarf/40K/Rogue Trader way back in the late 80s, early 90s.
C) The Games Workshop staff are still frothing Ultramarine fanboys, almost three decades on.
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Re: How well would a space marines weaponry fair against a modern battlefield?

Post by bilateralrope » 2018-06-28 01:22am

U.P. Cinnabar wrote:
2018-06-26 10:58pm
Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-06-26 05:14pm
Point of order. IIRC Jurgen didn't stick the melta into the breastplate, it was just a close range shot. All Cain was doing was distracting the Berzerker.

There's a similar incident in the same engagement, IIRC, where another Berzerker runs into a few full squads of Valhallans, and finds out just how effective las-guns can be in volley-fire mode...
A quick re-read of the novel shows you're correct on both counts. I could've sworn Jurgen fired through the breach Cain's chainsword had made,
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Re: How well would a space marines weaponry fair against a modern battlefield?

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-06-28 08:09am

And, other things. They were my weapon of choice before I switched exclusively to BFG.

I misremembered the first fight with the World Eater.
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Re: How well would a space marines weaponry fair against a modern battlefield?

Post by Bedlam » 2018-06-28 02:10pm

U.P. Cinnabar wrote:
2018-06-27 09:46pm
B) The Smurfs were the very first chapter mentioned in White Dwarf/40K/Rogue Trader way back in the late 80s, early 90s.
Actually in the Rogue Traider book the first chapter is the Crimson Fists which appear on the cover, The Chapter of the Dark Brotherhood appear on page 10. The Blood Angels, Silver Skulls and Dark Angels appear on age 12. Then Leman Russ appears on age 27 although he wasn't born until 26th December 32,016 altough he did appearently found the Space Wolves on the planet Lucan.


The ultramarines only get a mention on page 156 and that only has their name symbol and colour.

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Re: How well would a space marines weaponry fair against a modern battlefield?

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-06-28 02:18pm

And, from there, they become the most overhyped chapter in the Astartes. More now , probably, since Girlyman woke up and took over.

Thanks for the correction, Bedlam.
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Re: How well would a space marines weaponry fair against a modern battlefield?

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-06-28 04:36pm

As far as 'hype' goes, the Space Wolves get a lot of boosting. The Dark Angels have appeared on a few Codex covers and have a host of fancy toys. Blood Angels aren't crazy popular, but they have their devotees thanks to some nifty characters, particularly since their codex got updated thoroughly a few years ago... god probably more like ten years ago now, I remember reading about it in a White Dwarf I picked up in a mall game store when I was moving down here. Oh yeah, Black Templars are pretty big. Those are probably the top non-Ultra Chapters. Raven Guard, White Scars, Imperial Fists, Crimson Fists, and the rest get their share of appreciators too.

Really the Ultra-wank was mostly a 4th and 5th (6th?) edition thing, and waned sharply for a while there thanks to the anti-Ward backlash. It's only just started becoming a thing again because Guilliman is a really good HQ character on tabletop, and it's hard to justify him leading any other Chapter, IIRC he gives the Ultramarines special buffs. I still think they fucked the pooch with the Primaris Marines, but other than that.
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Re: How well would a space marines weaponry fair against a modern battlefield?

Post by Feil » 2018-06-29 09:56pm

Should note that we do have visual representations in 'blueprint' style of bolter ammunition, and it's cased like a .50AE - short and stubby, flush with the projectile. They'd take up space like 12ga shotgun shells, not the 20mm rounds shown in the video above.

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Re: How well would a space marines weaponry fair against a modern battlefield?

Post by Flanker_33 » 2018-06-30 11:32am

Speaking of the Space Marines' armour, size and protection, they wouldn't be freed from the same restrictions that tanks suffer from : bigger = more surface to protect = more metal = more weight.

Let's compare some early Cold War MBTs since these have similar tech levels : the T-54, M48 Patton and Centurion Mk.III. The T-54 is smaller, much lighter than the M48 Patton, but has a bigger and heavier weapon and much thicker armor (in fact, when the British got a T-54 driven by Hungarian rebels in their embassy in 1956, NATO observations showed that it would have a significant advantage in protection and firepower compared to the M48). It can pull it while weighing 15 tons less because it's much smaller ; the M48 is taller by a whole meter, while being longer and wider. Meanwhile, the Centurion has protection levels comparable to the T-54's while being bigger, but it is by far the heavist tank of the three.

This would be the same for Space Marines. Assuming they all have the same weapons, it would be better for them to be 6'8" than 9', since they could enjoy better protection for a lighter weight, not to mention another obvious advantage : they'd be a smaller target on the battlefield.

And to come back to the original question, I think that a fight between a modern regular military of a developed country, be it the US Army, the Russian Army, the PLA or anyone else, against Space Marines, would be quite balanced. The SM's would be a great infantry and would be impervious to most real life small arms, but would still be vulnerable to tank guns, missiles, autocannons, grenades... but that's not the most important thing. In fact, in a modern military, infantry is not the most important thing ; even tanks aren't. The most important source of firepower, the weapon that wins battles, and which inflicted the most casualties in all regular wars since the Secession War is artillery. And I don't see a Space Marine force, no matter what their tank support is, walking fine and dandy from a barrage of thermobaric or AT submunition rocket artillery, or after being heavily shelled by 203mm howitzers.

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