Last Chancers: 13th Legion discussion & analysis thread

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Last Chancers: 13th Legion discussion & analysis thread

Post by Connor MacLeod » 2008-02-26 02:30am

Well this is the Gav Thorpe series of novels dealing with the Guard (sort of), and my feelings on the books are mixed. THe writing is good, and I've enjoyed a number of Thorpe's short stories. I think of the Last Chancers novels I've read, I like this one the best. Thorpe is no Abnett, but he does have his own particular style of writing that seems to capture 40K rather well (although I tend to think of it as more of the "propogandized" version of 40K.)

TEchnically hear I'll be covering the books in the "omnibus" collection, whicn includes several short stories. I'll be covering the first short story "Deliverance" in this one, because frankly I'm never sure where to put some of these short stories.


Page 21

- Kage indicates that they only have to worry about Lictors and Hormagaunts vaulting over an eighteen foot wall during a Tyranid assault. eighteen feet (5.5 meters) Assuming a 1 meter running length (basically just jumping over at a short distance) they would need a minimum velocity (From a standing start) of 10 m/s. Given that they can run at at least 60 kph (Warriors of Ultramar) this is not surprising, and probably something of a lower limit. This works out to 36 kph.

Page 26

- hormagaunts clear aforementioned wall with 2-3 feet to spare. From a standing jump. This assumes a velocity closer to 12 m/s - a little over 43 kph.

Page 28 - Tyranid warriors are twice as tall as a man, or at least these ones are. I imagine some variation is possible.

Page 29
'Right, men' 1 tell them, 'stay steady. Follow my lead, stay tight. If you get separated, they'll pick you off, no problem. When you shoot, aim for the flesh. Your lasguns will have about as much effect on their carapace as punching a Leman Russ. Watch your ammo coun­ters too, 'cause tonight's gonna be a long haul and I don't want to face those fraggin' bugs with just my bare hands.
- the Chitinous carapace of Tyranids are highly resistant if not nearly immune to lasgun fire. Kage instructs his men to "aim for the flesh" (which is relatively easier, but still tough.) his is basically consistent with text derived from the Tyranid codexes (the carapace parts are tough enough to require anti-armour firepower to breach, the soft parts are equal to flak, and needing to target weak points to do damage.)

Page 30 - Hive Tyrant 3x taller than a man.

Page 32 -
In the red glare comes this huge tyranid creature, about four metres tall and just as wide. Its some kind of Carnifex, but nothing I've ever seen before. It's got four massive scythe-like arms, but the bony extrusions across its shoulders jut forward, rows of spikes thrust outwards like its some kind of living battering ram. Nestled between its immense shoulders, its head is kind of fused with its chest, a large fang-ringed mouth open in a permanant roar.
Assuming the Carnifex is roughly man shaped, and disregarding the presence of the chitin, the volume of the carnifex would be some 50-100x greater than that of a normal human (1.8 m tall, assume 70 kg)
This would make it massing roughly at least 4-7 tons. Going by Anphelion project (whose dimensions are roughly comparable to the above) the Carnifex would be closer to 8 or 9 tons.


Page 33
Breiden opens up with the lascannon, a bolt of energy powerful enough to cripple battle tanks scoring a wound across the carnifex's armoured skull making thick, ,dark blood dribble down the exoskeleton of its body. The heavy bolter in Franz's squad kicks in, explosive shells rippling across legs as thick as tree trunks in a shower of detonations.

...

Once more its mouth opens for another terrifying roar, but Breiden picks his moment precisely, his aim guided by the Emperor I'm sure, and the next lascannon bolt lands in its mouth, smashing its head to a pulp, scattering fragments of skull across the courtyeard.
Carnifex proves resilient to lascannon and bolter fire at least to the carapace, ,although the "soft" part proves vulernable, as we were told earlier. The lascannon shot is powerful enough to blow up the head. Going by the estimates above (4-9 tons) and the assumption that the roughly humanoid construction corresponds to percentage of body mass (human head making up about 8% in this case) the Carnifex's head owuld be between 320 and 720 kg. Simulating the effect of a grenade (going by the bolter analysis based on Mythbusters, it would probably take 10-12 grenades to simulate this.. which is ~10-12 MJ.. Probably more like 5-10x that given inefficiencies of a beam weapon vs a bomb, going by Mike's own estimates. This is not 100% precise.

What is more liekly is that most of the mass was at least raised to boiling point, if not cauterised (or possibly just vaporized outright) given the uplifting primer (boiling) and various cauteriation refrences I've mentioned previously. Boiling point (which we'll traet as a lower limit) will be 268 kilojoules per kg, assuming human body parameters (temp, specific heat, etc.) Cauteriation (300-400 C) would be closer to 900-1000 kj/kg (And include some vaporization of body moisture, which is likely given all otehr lasgun examples agains torganic targets.)

For boiling point the energy input would be between 86 (320 kg) megajoules and 193 (720 kg) megajoules, minimum. For the cauterization figure above we can infer between 300 and 700 megajoules. While cauterization values can go higher, we know that the head was not totally vaporized or incinerated, which leaves an upper limit of around 600-1500 megajoules - this all disregards inefficiencies, of course.

Regardless this is probably a good example of a lascannon having an energy input in the hundreds of megajoules range easily, consistent with many other examples.


Page 57

- one of the Last Chancers mentions coming from an Agri world, where a single man could farm "fifteen hundred hectares", and had lots of machines.

Page 61 -
One hive ship was still awake, feeder tentacles wrapped around the shattered hull of an Imperial warship, digesting the mineral content, the flesh of the dead crew, leeching off the air contained within to sustain itself.

...

In their wake, a bare rock orbited the star, scoured of every organic particle, stripped of all but the most basic elemets. Nothing was left of the farming world of Langosta III. There were no testaments to the humans who had once lived there. Now all that was left was an airless asteroid, the unmarked dying place of three million people.
The effects of "Tyranoforming" as mentioned elswhere. It basically leaves a world airless dead rock. Removing the atmosphere requires at least 3e26 joules, the oceans require at least e29 joules. It is mentioned elsewhere (IE Warrios of Ultramar) that Tyranoforming can have similar effects to Exterminatus.



Page 68-69

- Typhon sector has 500 billion people in it, according to Colonel Schaeffer. This is less than the population of one hive world as mentioned in the 3rd edition rules, but we can conclude that this may be out further towards the edges of Imperial space.

Going with my earlier estimates of around 5,000-10,000 sectors minimum in the Imperium, this would indicate the Imperium's population is in the quadrillions.

Page 89

- according to KAge, a Tyranid Bio-Titan is 25 meters tall.

Page 90
It was only Craggon and his plasma gun that saved us, incinerating the alien monstrosities as they carved through us.
- plasma gun incinerates Tyranid warriors (3 of them.)

According to Anphelion project, the "winged" Tyranid warriors mass 2,5 tons, which seems reasonable for the regular warriors. The energy to incinerate human tissue is roughly the ame as to vaporize water, about 2-3 MJ per kg. The energy input to incinerate would be at least 5-7 gigajoules per Tyranid.

If we're generous and assume that the Tyranids incinerated were gaunts they would be 200 kg apiece. Genestealers 300 kg apiece, and a Lictor-sized Tyranid about a ton. So we can see it won't make a significant difference to teh calc to within an order of magnitude. For the Gaunts it would be between 500-600 MJ per Tyranid, 600-900 MJ for the Genestealer,s and 2-3 GJ for the Lictor.

Realistically, it takes 1-3 GJ to incinerate a human sized body, so the energy input is going to be several times greater. Regardless, we can consider that a plasma cannon has a single or double-digit GJ enegy handling capacity (at least), if not high MJ/low (single) GJ per shot.

Page 99

- Transport ship Pride of Lothus evidently has some heavy weapons, as it fires "plasma drivers" on the surface of the planet. Its sustained bombardments have razed hundreds of square kilometers of junlge.

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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2008-03-20 04:00am

Second installment. Got bored lately.

Page 103

- the Last Chancers transport is capable of carrying 50,000 fighting men and their stores (plus support staff and vehicles like Chimeras, presumably.)

Page 131 -

Orks have "good guns" but lousy armor. Kage goes on to mention that the armor is largely irrelevant, because orks can survive injuries that would kill/cripple a human: They hardly bleed, largely ignore pain, and can be "patched, bolted, and stabpled back together in the crudest fashion and fight at almost full effectiveness."

Note that depending on sources, Orks DO wear armour of a fashion and that it could be very good. In the novel "Rebel Winter" some Orks wore basically large slabs of metal that while crude, protected them against powerful lasgun fire enough to allow the Orks to close (though the metal apparently got hot enough to still burnthe orks - their resilience still allowed them to ignore that.)

Also, earlier sources have credited the orks with employing flak armor.

The end conclusion, like with many things Orkish, is that sometimes they can have some very good and impressive things, and sometimes they just have stuff that is more a danger to them than it is to their enemies.

Page 132

- The Last Chancer's Chimaeras appear to be running on diesel, but Kage mentions "vegetative processors" to allow them to run them off chopped wood. This isn't the only source I can recall mentioning diesel, but it does indicate to us (yet again) that Promethium simply isn't some modern fuel under a different name (as if its utility/energy density didn't tell us this already.)

Also, the "running on trees" bit has shown up in earlier sources, but never ceases to amaze or amuse me.

on the analytical side this tidbit does tell us two things: First, Imperial chimeras (and by extnesion their other vehicles like Russes) are versatile as hell. They can literally run on anything (but we knew this.) The other, is that it it implies performance of a Russ can depend upon (among other things, perhaps) available fuel. Wood has an energy density roughly between 10-20 MJ/kg. This is roughly half to a fourth what normal fossil fuels can achieve, which would preusmably have a comparable reduction in performance (assuming there's not a significant difference in energy efficiencies at least)

This may also help explain variable speeds and performances of Russes in various sources.

PAge 133-134
The Navy may have some strange ideas about strategy and defence, but you hat to hand it to them, they know a hell of a lot about firepower. Their anti-ordnance defence turrets have weapons larger than those carried on Titans, their barrels over ten metres long, dozens of the point-defences studding the hull of a ship the size of a cruiser.
This quote provides numerous individual details about ship weapons. I originally had the quote together, but I broke it up for easier reading/quoteing.


A cruiser can have "dozens" of point defense turrets studding the ship. Taken literally, this may suggest that point defenses can differ in size on some ships (in Warriors of Ultramar for example, a frigate has hundreds of antiship guns) or that some ships may have smaller poitn defense capability than others. Its also worth noting that in temrs of scale the point defense weapons are larger than titan weaposn (which suggests they are at least as powerful if not more so) this suggests at least high kiloton/low megaton range output for poitn defense weapons, and possibly higher (low gigaton perhaps)


PAge 133-134
Their broadsides vary, sometimes they have huge plasma cannons capable of incinerating cities, other times its mass drivers that can pound metal and rock into oblivion.
Plasma cannons are stated to be capable of incinerating "cities". This implies a single plasma cannon ought to generate a fireball capable of engulfing a largge 40K city. Given the scale of some cities (in the Ghosts novels, or Hive Cities like Necron umda nad Armaggeddon, or the 60 km diameter fortress later in the novel) we can safely conclude a yield on such weapons. going by the Nuclear explosions calculator a plasma blast could be well into the single or double digit gigaton range for a single city-vaporizing blast. This would be conservative, since an energy weapon will be less efficient fireball-wise than a nuke (at least several times, likelier more of an orde rof magnitdue difference). If we used the ADC and plugged in the city diameters, we also can get s[/b]ingle or double digit GT minimum for cratering.[/b]

Assuming a cruiser carries dozens if not hundreds of such guns (depending on source) a cruiser can easiyl be carrying single, double, or possibly even triple digit Teraton firepower per broadside per shot, depending on the exact numbers used.

Mass drivers implies that some projectile weapons are at least EM in nature (reinforcing the "railgun" references in BFG), and indicagint the Imperium does indeed have such technology at least on some scale.

PAge 133-134
Short-ranged missile batteris can obliterate a smaller foe in a matter of minutes, while high-energy lasers, which Jamieson tells me are called lances, can shear through three metres of the toughest armour with one devastating shot.
"missile batteries" are noted to be able to obliterate a smaller ship in a "matter of minutes" - this may give us an idea of 40K ship durability (arguably a larger ship shoudl tate at least minutes to destroy,if not longer.) This includes the durability of energy defenses like void shields. Similar cases show up in the novel Ravnoe and the novel Angels of Darkness, the latter also written by Gav Thorpe.

Also of note: Lances here are identified as being laser weapons, whereas other sources specify they might also be fusion (melta?) or plasma based.

PAge 133-134
Most cruisers carry huge torpedoes as well, loaded with multiple warheads charged with volatile plasma bombs, carrying the power to unleash the energy of a small star on the enemy. It makes my humble laspistol look like a spit in an ocean. More like a hundred oceans, actually.

"Enerrgy of a Small Star" could suggest triple digit gigaton to low teratons, depending on how one defines small. It could arguably also be petaton range, although consistency and conservatism would argue against that being likely save for the largest or most nasty torpedoes (the big ones battleships might use on each other)

Interestingly enough, it suggests torpedoes are (or can be) MIRV Warheads, so the "power of a small star" may apply to the individual submunitions, not to the entire warhead itself.

If we were to take KAge's analogy literally, we might infer that there is a 1e21-1e23 difference in firepower between a cruiser's weapons and a laspistol. If we assumed double digit kj for a laspistol the energy intput would be well into the petaton range, for example. Even if the factor were off by a million, it would still mean teraton range firepower. Even in a broad or vague sense, this vould mean high gigaton/low teraton weapons easily, especially the torpedoes, and it all fits with what we know.

This last bit, hwoever, is just illustrative as a curiosity or supportting evideence really, it is not meant to be a serious, stand-alone calc by itself. The torpedo calc itself is much more straightforward and useful in that regard.

Page 134

- Kage is certain that the bridge and gun decks have ocular sensors capable of optical magnification to magnify distant battles. Given other shot stories we've seen (like in Let the Galaxy burn) this is probably true to some level, though automated means of gunnery aren't unknown either.

Page 134
I can't see the ship clearly, it's defended by what we call holo-fields, which twist and bend light so you can't see the exact location and sends augurs and surveyors haywire.
description of eldar holofields. This implies both active and passive defensive measures (hiding the ship as well as messing around with the targeting computers, the latter of which would suggest some sort tof active measure.)

Page 135

- Kage notes that Navla armsman have heavier armor than the Last Chancers, designed to protect them in short range ship-to-ship combat. This suggests that Naval armsmen (the navla equivalent of the Imperial Guard - NavSec are the storm trooper analogues) wear armour much more durable and protective than flak. Whether this is carapace or not is debatable, however.

Page 137

- Naval armsman with an assault shotgun, sends a dozen shots into approaching (dark) eldar in the space of "a few seconds." This is 12 shots in 2-3 seconds (or a rate of fire of around 4-6 shots a second, and an ammo capacity of at least twelve shots (drum magazine.)

This performance would match the capabilites of known modern automatic shotguns, such as this
or this design. Other shotguns like the USAS-12 are supposed to be select fire/fully automatic as well.

Page 143

- Comms transceivers on Chimaeras good for fifteen kilometers communications range (for last Chancers at least.)

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Post by andrewgpaul » 2008-03-20 01:35pm

Connor MacLeod wrote:Page 135

- Kage notes that Navla armsman have heavier armor than the Last Chancers, designed to protect them in short range ship-to-ship combat. This suggests that Naval armsmen (the navla equivalent of the Imperial Guard - NavSec are the storm trooper analogues) wear armour much more durable and protective than flak. Whether this is carapace or not is debatable, however.
The game used to define an armour type between flak and carapace; Mesh armour. It was apparently a 'smart' material; flexible normally, but stiffened when struck, to spread the impact. The major users were Eldar Guardians (at least, they were the only troop type to use it in-game as standard equipment), but it was commonplace in the Imperium, too (in-game, mostly used by various Imperial characters - Assassins, Inquisitors, Navigators, etc). Perhaps that's what the Armsmen wear.
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Post by Lancer » 2008-03-20 02:59pm

Mesh was a great deal lighter and more flexible than Flak, but far more complex to manufacture (moreso than Carapace armor), so I doubt that line Armsmen are equipped with mesh. More likely it's just a light version of carapace armor.

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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2008-04-08 02:44am

Mesh armour has been used by Imperial groups outside of the Inquisition. The Vitriian dragoons were noted to be wearing a kind of "Mesh" (which was also identified with flak.)

Given the similarities of the descriptions, mesh seems to be retconned as a slightly more complex version of flak (some sourcecs also seem to ascribe Mesh-like properties to flak.) Incidentally, the Dark Heresy novel lists Guard Flak as being comparable to Mesh.

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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2008-04-08 02:45am

Next entry..

Page 150-151
"Ansidium ninety!" he tells us with a grin. "There's millions of tons of ansidium ore beneath the rock."

...

"It produces a catalyst agent used in plasma reactors," he says, pulling a plasma pistol from its holster among his snow-covered saddlebags. "It's one of the most stable ignition elements for plasma weapons, for a start. They say a plasma gun made with Kragmeer ansidium has only a forty-five per cent malfunction rate."
This is both curious and interesting, as with third edition onwards, heating concerns are the real danger with plasma weapon malfunctions - more specifically, its the containment field to hold the plasma that is the difficult part to create and maintain in the weapon, and when the plasma containment destabilizes, teh weapon can dangerously overheat (which neccessitates the dangerous emergency venting as a safety measure). In other words, igniting the plasma is easy, containing it is hard. Duration of use and Presumably output settings also factor into the heating risk.

Of course, we rarely see plasma weapons fail in "observed" cases, so the "malfunction rate" is laregely a moot point anyhow.


Page 161
But of course the Colonel has looked at everything and pointed out a good kilometrre of defilade further along the valley, where units on the eastern slope wouldn't be able to target the valley floor. All the orks would have to do would be rush the gauntlet of fire for the first kilometre and then they'd be in the defilade and in cover. Once they were cleare of that they'd be out of range.
The troops are on the western side of the valley. Note that this implies weaponry of kilometer/multi-kilometer ranges, which may include lasguns.

Page 162

- Kage notes that the primary trenches on the left flank need to be extended so they overlap the secondary by a few hundred meters. This would imply (roughly) a distance between the first set of trenches and the second.


Page 163
At the mouth of the valley, about two kilometres to the south, the ork horde is spilling towards us. There seems to be little organisation or formation, just a solid mass of green-skinned devils marching solidly through the snow. Among the horde are a few tanks, battlewagons we call them. Its hard to make out any details at this range; its just a dark mass against the snow.

More than a kilometre away, I make out the shapes of Dreadnoughts among the mobs of ork warriors. These giant walking war engines are twice to three times the height of a man, amred with a wild variety of heavy guns and close combat blades, saws, and fists.
The Ork host and their gear. Neither side is firing, so they may not be in "lethal" range yet (note that the novel Rebel Winter notes that orks require engagement at shorter ranges because they're so damn tough. In the novel, the engagement range is implied to be effectively half.)


Page 164 -
The detachment in the primary trenches open fire with their heaviest weapons at about eight hundred metres, the crack of autocannons reverberating off the valley sides. I can see the sporadic flash of fire from the gun pits dug into the trenchlines, about three hundred metres further down the slope from where I am. The orks respond by starrting a low chant, which slowly rises in volume as they advance, until it drowns out the fire of heavy bolters and laser cannons.
The implied range (at least against orks) of the heavy weaponry and such. This might suggest that against other (man-type) targets they can reach out to at least a mile (Heavy bolters, autocannons, lascannon, etc.)

Page 166 - Lasguns open fire as the Orks start to reach the first trench (from the second.), including Kage with his laspistol (Kage notes that "at this range" he can't miss even with a pistol.) The Last Chancers are on the right flank of the second trench, with 500 other penal legion troops on the left moving towards the orks at them. As established before, the range is at least 300 metres for lasweapons, (at least 600 meters against other foes).


Page 167 - the orks are still fifty metres from the secondary trenches at this point. This reinforces the idea that a laspistol's range is more than 50 meters.

Page 179

- Traditionally, Imperial Guard regiments serve a maximum of ten years before being dischraged. At which point, they may either return home, or join Explorator fleets to colonize/conquer a new world.


Page 194

- orbital bombardment (fusion torpedoes and shells.) The shells cause mud to vaporize and the metal walls of the citadel to run molten "like lava flows". No way to calc it, but it can't be too terribly high without harming the nearby troops (IE no gigaton range attacks)

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Post by Imperial Overlord » 2008-04-08 06:38am

Dark Heresy expands on armour, making it clear that their are varying grades of flak and carapace. Mesh is fairly exotic and extremely lightweight. It is likely that the troops in question were wearing a heavier form of flak than the Last Chancers or light carapace.
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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2008-04-17 03:37am

Tanks and orbital bombardment and plasma reactors, mainly, t his time around.

Page 199
"As I had predicted, the turret turns with a slow grinding and the huge Demolisher cannon, wide enough for a man to crawl inside, tilts upwards."

...

... and the heavy bolter in the hull opens up with a flash from its muzzle. In the searchlight beam I see the survivors being kicked from their feet by the attack, blood spraying from exit wounds as the explosive bolts punch through skin, muscle, and bone as if they were paper.

Depicted here: The muzzle diameter of a demolisher. assuming Kage isn't execptionally broad or bulky across the shoulders, this would suggest a diameter of around 25-30 cm at least... which would easily translate into a 10-12" bore.

Also depicts the effects of sponson mounted heavy bolters.



PAge 213
.. pulling a complex looking device from beneath his cape. He squats down and opens up a shutter in the fist-sized box, holding it up to his eye. His fingers travel back and forth along a row of knobs down the side of what is evidently a range-finder or something, making small adjustments. Pulling the box away from his face, Striden looks down and I see a series of numbers and letters displayted on a digi-panel.

...

... pressing a stud on the bottom of the gadget and holding it up above his head.

...

"I'm ground observation officer for the battleship Emperor's Benevolence. She'll be opening fire shortly."


Imperila warships (at least battleships) have officers dedicated to providing targeting data for accurate orbital bombardments.




Page 213

- the battleship launches ten missiles/torpedoes (indicative of at least ten heavy missile/torpedo tubes.)


Page 214 -

Kage assumes the plasma torpedo detonations have incinerated the troops, although the tanks are intact (though getting tossed around badly.. thirty meters into the air.)

Page 214

- shelling bombardment lasts for about two minutes, battleship (Kage things) was "more than 100 kilometres up in the air"

Page 215

- the terrain between the Chancer's locations and the fortress has been torn up and demolished for an approximate 12 km diameter. There are "hundreds" of craters (at a rough guess.)

Page 216

- Kage estimates there were 10,000 troops and 100 tanks, and now there is "nothing" (evidently the tanks were thoroughly shattered, and the troops incinerated.) Shell holes are fifty meters in diameter. The troops WERE caught at the center of the fireball explosion of the plasma torpedoes and reduced to ash, though the tanks survived mostly intact (although burning.)

Its worth noting this probably qualifies as something of a "precision" bombardment by Imperium standards (contrasted with other examples, such as STorm of Iron -though its possible that there is a differencec in capability over timeframe - CSM's generally use Heresy-era gear, whereas the Imperium stuff will get (occasional) upgrades and refinements from the AdMech and such. And the methods used in "Storm of Iron" (Beacons) and used here (some sort of telemetry or target guidance beam that provided coordinates) isn't that much different.

Its also worth noting this gives us an indication of just how dramatically Imperial warship firepower can be scaled. We know from other examples that emgaton range bombardments are used to support ground combat, but this may possibly be less than that. Possibly sub-kiloton even (at least sustained firepower)


Page 217
- the fotress is powered by three plasma reactors. Every system, defense screen, sited energy wepaon (including the defence lasers, presumably), as well as "many" of the major bombardment turrets, are linked into that power system.

Page- 224

- Rebel fortress has its own factories and manufactories, which have allowed it to fend off determined attack for years now. Its an indication of how self-reliant Imperium bases can be.

[/b]Page 225[/b]

- plasma reactors are a "self fuelling" process according to Kage, and once you start them up, you don't shut them down. This tends to suggest that they're not a conventinoal reactor (like a nuclear reactor), but rather something exotic (possibly tapping another sourcec of energy.. sort of like Naquadah reactors)

Page 226


"A plasma reactor is, in essence, a miniature star captured inside graviometric and electromagnetic force walls. If you remove the Machine God's blessing from those shields, the star goes into a chain reaction, resulting ultimately in detonation. Three plasma reactors fuelling each other's chain reactions will create an explosion roughly sixty kilometres in every direction."

"Nothing but ash will be left," adds the Colonel. "And at the heart, not even the ash will survive."


Description of plasma reactors. This makes them sound vaguely fusion like, though as Kage notes, they're "self-fuelling" which a conventional reactor isn't. The "star" reference could pehaps refer to power output (although obviously here, the yield is fairly limited.. ie no petaton range outputs or "mass extinction" scale yields) A 120 km fireball would roughly be in the low triple digit gigatons range (say 100-200 gigatons)

Page 232 - the City-fortress has its own dedicated computer networks throughout the entire city (and they're all connected.)

Page 233

- the bulk of a plasma reactor is the "wards and heligrams" desigend to ensur the blessing (IE the shielding) remains intact.

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Post by The Spartan » 2008-04-17 08:09am

Connor MacLeod wrote:Depicted here: The muzzle diameter of a demolisher. assuming Kage isn't execptionally broad or bulky across the shoulders, this would suggest a diameter of around 25-30 cm at least... which would easily translate into a 10-12" bore.
You sure you don't want to bump that estimate up? I've seen pictures of guys that have are sticking out of the muzzle of a battleships main guns, the old 16 inchers and these were not big dudes who had crawled inside. I can't use myself to judge because my shoulders are too broad, nor have I done any scaling, but I would think the number would be closer to 18" minimum.

Actually, now that I think about it, the scene in Aliens where Bishop crawls into and the down the pipe that leads to the landing zone might be a good place to get an idea of the scale. Anyone up to it?
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Post by The Spartan » 2008-04-18 08:08am

Actually, you know what? I take that back. 12 inch diameter is a reasonably good starting point. I was thinking about it and I have a little under 38" waist. If we were to assume a perfectly circular cross section (which is obviously not the case but we'll just go with it) I would have a diameter of 12". On someone who's not built like me and a bit closer to average build they would, of course be smaller and their shoulders might be closer to that 12" estimate you gave.

That said I would still be interested in seeing a scaling of the scene in Aliens I mentioned above.
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Post by Cykeisme » 2008-04-20 09:13pm

I may be missing something, but why is ground combat so prominent in Warhammer 40k when they have space warships with power generation and firepower roughly a magnitude within the Star Wars range?

In SW, land warfare is justified by the presence of theatre and planetary shielding. There are void shields that cover buildings or single facilities in 40k, but this doesn't seem sufficient justify massive deployment of ground forces.

I've seen datasheets about huge ground-based lasers powered by entire planetary power grids, capable of slicing apart capital ships in space, and of course anti-ship torpedoes like those in Storm of Iron.
Is it solely the presence of these that necessitates warships to stand-off while ground forces siege the enemy?
If I'm not mistaken there are instances where planets devoid of such defenses are still attacked with ground forces, though.

Don't get me wrong, I love 40k like nobody's business, but I'm just wondering.
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Post by Jaevric » 2008-04-20 09:45pm

"Nuke the site from orbit, it's the only way to be sure" is great if you aren't worried about living there afterwards.

If you want to take the area intact--and there are plenty of reasons it might be deemed necessary to do so, such as the presence of an Imperial shrine or an important manufacturing facility--then you need to knock out the defenses and clear the enemy with a minimum of collateral damage. That means the poor infantry bastards get thrown into the meat grinder.

The Imperium does use orbital strikes when appropriate--in Wolf's Honor, warships in orbit targeted enemy troop concentrations when they were out in the open streets and killed them. Engaging in an open field or in an area that doesn't have a lot of cover when the enemy has control of local space is probably suicidal in general.

The issue is that warships are relatively rare and take a long time to build, so if a planetary site has the ability to engage an orbiting vessel, the Imperium would rather throw away thousands (or tens or hundreds of thousands) of Guardsmen than a single starship.

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Post by Cykeisme » 2008-04-20 11:44pm

Jaevric wrote:The issue is that warships are relatively rare and take a long time to build, so if a planetary site has the ability to engage an orbiting vessel, the Imperium would rather throw away thousands (or tens or hundreds of thousands) of Guardsmen than a single starship.
Ah, okay.
I suppose this is also the case for the other powers as well?

If space is contested by opposing fleets, I guess the ships will be too busy dancing away from each other and/or smashing each other to pieces, so they won't be able to get into a proper stable position to provide orbital support to the gropos, yeah?
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Post by Bob the Gunslinger » 2008-04-21 12:40am

They seem to use heavy orbital bombardment only when they've pretty much written off a planet. See Eisenhorn or Caves of Ice for an example.

The Imperium will use orbital support, even if only sparingly, when they are not contesting the skies and need to preserve nothing in the target area, such as in the Last Chancers Omnibus, Execution Hour, and Duty Calls.

In the vast majority of the books, orbital support is either busy doing something else or non-existent, although there are some exceptions where it seems like it would have been pretty useful.

Besides, the Black Library only brings us the most notable of situations in these novels, so orbital support may be more common in the Imperium and we just aren't seeing it because those battles are boring. Kind of like the overabundance of (supposedly rare) Inquisitors in BL novels.
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Post by NecronLord » 2008-04-21 02:20am

Cykeisme wrote:I may be missing something, but why is ground combat so prominent in Warhammer 40k when they have space warships with power generation and firepower roughly a magnitude within the Star Wars range?

In SW, land warfare is justified by the presence of theatre and planetary shielding. There are void shields that cover buildings or single facilities in 40k, but this doesn't seem sufficient justify massive deployment of ground forces.
Not really. A ground-deployed IRBM style nuke is justified by such shielding...

Of course, there are other reasons for ground combat, but still.
I've seen datasheets about huge ground-based lasers powered by entire planetary power grids, capable of slicing apart capital ships in space, and of course anti-ship torpedoes like those in Storm of Iron.
Is it solely the presence of these that necessitates warships to stand-off while ground forces siege the enemy?
If I'm not mistaken there are instances where planets devoid of such defenses are still attacked with ground forces, though.

Don't get me wrong, I love 40k like nobody's business, but I'm just wondering.
A lot of forces can simply deploy soldiers direct - Eldar, Dark Eldar, Chaos, Necrons - to the ground, they don't actually need to fight in orbit at all.
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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2008-04-21 03:47am

There's alot of reasons for ground troops. One of the biggest ones is that orbital bombardments aren't very precise the way they can be in Star Wars (see Storm of Iron) - they can be precise to an extent, but you can also risk collateral damage that way. (Though when they do bombard, they can be fairly nasty.. upwards of megaton range bombardments even in the midst of a battle... cf. The battle for Ultramar.)

Besides, you can't rely on orbital bombardments to clear out bases, forts, cities, or whatnot that you might want to keep (They can't always rebuild it either, thus compounding the problem) so the only way to reclaim it is to send troops in and do it the hard way.

Also, severre bombardments can carry some nasty climate/ecological effects, especially at the teraton range and above. Given that planets are considerd an irreplacable resource, you wouldn't fuck around with orbital bombardments more than you need to (Which is why Exterminatus is so tightly regulated and severely punished as well - cf Kryptmann and how he was treated after he exterminated hundreds of worlds.)

Then, of course, certain enemies (like the Orks or Tyranids, especially the Tyranids) are pretty resistant to conventional bombardment. Hell they're fairly resistant even to some kinds of Exterminatus, and as I already said, you only get rid of worlds when you have no other choice.

Of course, there are also some worlds that orbital bombardments would not only be useless against, but probably dangerous. I recall Amberley commenting on the dangers of conducting Exterminatus on Chaso-tainted worlds or worlds in the Eye of Terror or similar places.. it went somewhere along the lines of "we dont want to give them ideas."

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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2008-04-21 03:54am

The Spartan wrote:Actually, you know what? I take that back. 12 inch diameter is a reasonably good starting point. I was thinking about it and I have a little under 38" waist. If we were to assume a perfectly circular cross section (which is obviously not the case but we'll just go with it) I would have a diameter of 12". On someone who's not built like me and a bit closer to average build they would, of course be smaller and their shoulders might be closer to that 12" estimate you gave.

That said I would still be interested in seeing a scaling of the scene in Aliens I mentioned above.
Well as I said its a lower limit with what I am using, so it could be larger. Hell, we know that on the higher end of things some normal humans can get downright huge (Bragg, the Volpone, a couple humans mentioned in other books like the Space Wolf novels...)

so, it could be larger, but then it would probably be somewhere closer to an 18" shell than the 10-12" shell. I'm merely being consevative.

Besides, a 10-12" shell IIRC is easily a good 200-400 kg already, and that's positively huge to be flinging around a battlefield - most artillery shells aren't even that large. Though this does match up with Wolf's Honour's 600 kg basilisk shells.

And that's hardly the upper limit.. there's artillery they have that can hurl 2-3 ton shells (with nuclear-scale payloads).. and the Deathstrikes..

I may have to do some calcs on this later, but I'm feeling a bit lazy atm. And I recall, there is the bit in the 2nd edition IG codex where the Demolisher's cannon recoil could flip the tank over if it were not careful (it lifts the front end of the tank off the gorund normally.)

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Post by Cykeisme » 2008-04-21 08:02pm

A combination of needing to capture facilities or resources you simply don't want to erase from existence once the conflict is resolved, and occassionally massive surface defenses that may threaten valuable warships.. plus orbital bombardment is as deadly, but isn't as precise as in Star Wars, thus is less tactically flexible.. yup, got it.
Connor MacLeod wrote:so, it could be larger, but then it would probably be somewhere closer to an 18" shell than the 10-12" shell. I'm merely being consevative.
Besides, a 10-12" shell IIRC is easily a good 200-400 kg already, and that's positively huge to be flinging around a battlefield - most artillery shells aren't even that large. Though this does match up with Wolf's Honour's 600 kg basilisk shells.
I think you can push the upper limit for the mass of a demolisher cannon shell up significantly when you take into account it has a very limited range. Unlike an artillery gun or even a direct-firing field gun or tank cannon, it lobs its shell a relatively a short distance, which implies a low velocity.

We know that it has a short range, which means a low velocity, and yet the momentum of the shell being fired lifts the front end of a seventy-ton tank off the ground. Can we concur that the shell masses quite a good bit?
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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2008-04-29 01:30am

Page 238 - compact stub gun wielded by Colonel Schaeffer pulps the head of a Typhon Guardsman. This may or may not be powerful, depending on the kind of ammo used and whether or not the guardsman wore a helmet or not.

Page 239
"Fractrix pattern assault laser," he says with a smile, running a garled hand along its length. Its the first time he's looked happy since I met him. "Five shots per second, twin power pack capable of fifteen seconds' continuous fire. Multiple target designation range-finder. I used to be overseer on one of the manufacturing lines," he adds, glancing at me.

"Reliability?" I ask, knowing that there's always a catch, otherwise everyone would have them.

"Oh, its very reliable," he assures me. "The only drawback is that the focus prism needs to be changed every one thousand shots, and that requires a tech-adept. Not practical for extended battle conditions, but perfect for our task."
This is one of several instances where "assault lasers" or "assault lasguns" have been mentioned (another was in Honour Guard that I can immediately recall offhand.) I presume that these lasguns are similar in role and capability to "assault rifles" in real life - (some evidence tends to suggest most lasguns would be more appropraitely "battle rifles" than assault rifles, and this might tend to support the idea.)

the "five shots a second" rate of fire is faster than the 220 RPM given in the uplifting primer for a lasgun, but not dramatically so. Also, while I origianlyl believed that 220 RPM (or this ROF) was too slow for a weapon, I've given that some reconsideration. Laser weapons do not neccearily NEED high rates of fire to be effective - a sustained beam could be swept/strafed across a target to simulate "multiple" hits (or ac utting effect, ,as we've observed in some novels). Also, the rates of fire given would be roughly consistent with human reaction times - so it would offer a balance between engaging multiple targets and accuracy. Hell, for all intents and purposes, "full auto" for a lasgunw ould probably be a sustained beam anyhow, as previously discussed. Besides, we know from many many sources that lasgun beams are noticable or visible to the human eye, which tends to put some limits on rate of fire anyhow.

At five shots a second for fifteen seconds, the ammo capacity is 75 "shots". Its not certtain whether that divides between two power packs or is apiece, but I'm betting the latter (since you can't raelly get "half shots" from a power pack, probably.) Either that or the ROF is higher. OR, it may vary depending on setting. The "twin pack" cpaacity is also an interesting feature, as it gives the weapon not only a large ammoa capacity but greater versatility (two diff kinds of ammo packs, such as a hotshot and a regular powerpack.

The last interesting tidbit is the scope - its a fairly sophsiticated one (as described below) and more sophisticated than one might expect to see in some Guard regiments, nevermind a PDF base.

Page 240
"You must disengage the safety link before the optical array is powered up," he tells me, pointing towards a fingernail-sized stud just above the trigger guard. I give it a push and the assault laser gives a little hum as the power cells warm up. Sighting again, I look back towards the others. In the small circle of the gunsight, each is surrounded by a thin blue light glow, outlining their silhouette.

"It can detect heat patterns as well," Gudmanz tells me proudly. "You might not be able to see the person, but you will be able to see their outline."

I grin to myself, swinging the laser so that it is pointing at the Colonel. One squeeze of the trigger and a storm of las-bolts will tear him into little pieces.
First, the sophistication of the optical scope is demonstrated, ,as well as its infrared capability (as we know from 3rd edition, lasguns can carry "infra sights", though this seems a bit more sophisticated, but possibly of the same category. But not on the scope of an actual targeter, or the targeting auspex used by Kasrkin in the Eisenhorn novels.)

Secondly, a "storm of bolts" from a single trigger squeeze is stated to be capable of "tearing" Schaeffer to pieces. This would suggest that a single lasgun burst (multiple shots) can boil/cauterize most of the flesh of the human body (as well as blow it apart, bolter style). Assuming a roughly 80 kg humanoid for Schaeffer, boiling would suggest at least around 20 megajoules of energy per salvo, while cauterization could go up to 70-80 MJ or more, depending on exact temp (my usual 300C temp is assumed here).

Page 241
I fire the assault laser from the hip, spraying dozens of red energy bolts into the Typhons by the gateway, pitching men off their feet, scouring burn marks along the walls.

...

Loron and Lorii open up with their bolters, the explosive rounds detonating in a ripple of fiery blossoms, blowing fist-sized holes in the Typhon's chests and tearing off limbs. I see a Guardsman's head blown apart by a direct hit from the Colonel's bolt pistol.

...

Striden brings up his shotgun, the half-random blast shredding the remaining Guardsman, scattering a mist of blood across the passageway. And then, suddenly as it started, the fight is over. A few seconds of concentrated bloodshed and the job's done.
First - bolter rounds blow "fist sized" holes in people and blow off limbs, though Schaffer's pistol blows a guy's head apart. This suggests different kinds of ammo being used (or different qualities.)

Second - we have a shotgun blast apparetnly tearing someone apart ("shredding them")

Third - Kage's lasgun fires "dozens" of energy bolts in "a few seconds" of concentrated bloodshed. Assuming 2-3 seconds and at least 2 dozen shots, that's between 8-12 shots/sec. This isn't neccesarily inconsistent with the "five shots/sec" rate of fire stated above, since that could have been a different mode (semi-auto?). Though on the other hand, if one stretches the definition of "few" to say, 5 seconds or so, then it would fall into the "five shots a second" estimate (but it doesnt work if there are more than 2 dozen shots, either.) On the balance, a higher ROF seems more likely and thsu the reconciliation should probably be towards different firing modes.

Page 242 -
In the laser's sight, his head and shoulders are brought into sharp focus as he leands round the corner for another shot, and I squeeze the trigger gently. Half a dozen red bolts flash into his upper body, a couple of them punching straight through and dissipating further down the tunnel.
First: Another instancec of Kage's lasgun sight in operation.

Second, we see that Kage fires and fires off "half a dozen" shots, which (again) is not five shots/sec unless we assume its approximate and he took a full second to pull the trigger. Otherwise, it suggests more like 6 shots per trigger pull (which could happen several times a second, and be consistent with the earlier "dozens of shots in a few seconds" rate of fire.)

Third another Guardsmen is hit by lasgun fire - several shots seem to overpenetrate and dissipate down the tunnel. Assuming a 2-3 cm diameter hole (roughly "finger sized" as established in v in this novel (see later), the short story in the Ghosts omnibus, and the first Dawn of War novel, and a 20-25 cm torso thickness. This yields an approximate flesh volume affected (well a tunnel vaporized along the path of the beam) of between 50 and 140 grams (.05 to .14 kg) As we know from several sources (most notably the 3rd edition codex, the Dawn of war novel, Ghostmaker and Eye of Terror novels) a lasgun beam will basically vaporize water along its path, and this would include human flesh. It takes 2.5 MJ per kg to vaporize the human water body content (roughly), so the energy output of the shots would be at least 120-350 kilojoules. This ignores the fact that the shots overpenetrated, as well as the fact that the trrooper was probably wearing body armor. And, of course, it ignores inefficiencies.

Page 242

- bolter shell impact severs a Guardsman's leg at the knee. Kage uses his laser's sights to pick off Typhons through the smoke and haze disruptions from multiple detonations (Frag grenades.)

Page 243
I pull off my helmet and look at it, still a bit dazed from the hit. There's a charred gouge just where my right ear would be, almost burnt through. I poke at it with my finger and I'm shocked when my fingertip passes straight through. The las-bolt had been within the thickness of a piece of parchment from actually getting through!"
A finger-sized hole was burnt through Kage's helmet. This indicates that some armor can in theory stop a lasbolt (though this isnt surprising, since the uplifting primer says so as well.) Logically if the helmets can, the body armor can be designed to similar quality.

Note that this doesnt indicate settings for the weapon either,or quality (This would imply a very low quality hlemet, perhaps due to the fact its PDF issue and not Guard issue.)

Page 245

- Kage uses the (armoured?) body of a dead Typhon Guardsman as a shield against sustained (several seconds) lasgun fire from other guardsmen. No bolts penetrate, although they visibly shake the body and make Kage wince. Kage returns fire (one -handed) With the dead guardsman's rifle for five seconds. The body "after" the attack is described as being "now-ragged", and Kage has killed one Guardsman.


Page 246 - melta bombs - circular discs, four centimeters thick, split into two halves aroudn its edge.

Page 247

- most of the melta-blast is directed towards the target, but there is a slight backwash.

Page 250

- Rebel Fortress-city has a population of 3.5 million, 700,000 of which are fully trained Guardsman (PDF?). Out of a population of "billions". If we assume the ratio of city dwellers to guardsman remains consistent to the planetary scale, about 1/5 of the population is guardsmen (about 400 million.) Assuming these planets were like a hive city and there were 1000 such cities on the planet, there would be ~700 million such troops.


Page 250

- frag grenade launchers fire fist-sized projectiles. Those would be rather large for grenades launcher ammo, I think.

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Post by andrewgpaul » 2008-04-29 07:02pm

On your comment "The last interesting tidbit is the scope - its a fairly sophsiticated one (as described below) and more sophisticated than one might expect to see in some Guard regiments, nevermind a PDF base. ", PDF forces aren't necessarily equipped to a poorer level than an Imperial Guard regiment; they can issue all sorts of wierd and wonderful bits of kit, and not have to worry about supply chains stretching back across half the galaxy. I always figured that was the reason 'stealer cult armies in 2nd edition could get Land Speeders, multi-meltas and plasma cannon while regulr Guard armies couldn't. :)
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Last Entry for the LAst Chancers. Enjoy!


Page 251 -
I've heard of short-life viruses," Striden points out, "we had a few warheads on the Emperor's Benevolence. They're only deadly for a few seconds. A base the size of Coritanorum might have something like that.
Talk about virus warheads, or at least something else. These actually seem biological rather than the "turn organic matter to sludge and trigger a firestorm" type "virus bombs", and they're also quite rapid.

Additionally, we learn that important warships (at least battleships) and bases seem to carry at least some biological/virus warheads of their own - tactical and/or strategic.


Page 252 - Coritanorum's stockpile of virus warheads was used up in getting the Last Chancers to their locale. This seems to suggest a more "tactical" rather than "strategic" type of warhead.


Page 254
Without even thinking, I pull the trigger of the bolter and a moment later the Guardsman's lower back explodes, his legs crumpling under him, his spine shattered.
Page 255

- bolter fire "punches" Typhon guardsmen off their feet, which suggests considerable momentum (as great as or greater than an antimaterial rifle round.) Assuming equal to a .50 BMG (around 40-50 kg*m/s worth of momentum) and a roughly 50-60 gram round, the probable velocity of the round might end up around Mach 2 or Mach 3.

Page 256

- Inquisitor comments that one of the Last Chancers killed by las fire to the chest probably died from internal bleeding (his wound was scorched, presumably cauterized, however.)

Page 258

- It is revealed that the base's plasma reactors must be destroyed to prevent the Tyranids from capturing the base and assimilating its information and the information of its corrupted personnel (and learning all the secrets of the Typhon Sector's Imperial forces.)

This gives us an indication of one of the means the Tyranids acquire information about their opponents. It also syas something about their ability to comprehend that data. Rather than being a mindless or nearly-mindless ravening horde like most "bio-engineered" enemies, the Tyranids actually appear to be quite sophisticated (capable of recognizing and comprehending the Imperial data they acquire.)

Page 259

- again reiteration of the 500 billion people in the Sector. Assuming tens or hundreds of thousands of sectors, the total population of the Imperium would range well into the single or double-digit quadrillions, at a minimum. (I say "minimum" because some Hives can have half a trillion folk, easily, and not even the oldest ones like Necromunda)

Page 259
"People can be replaced," the Colonel says grimly, giving each of us a stern look. "Habitable planets can not. Worlds stripped by the tyranids can never be recovered or repopulated."
Indication of both the scope of destructiveness of the Tyranids (Tyranoforming), as well as the essential rules of survival for the Imperium of man. (IE "people are ultimately expendable.")

It also gives us an indication that the Imperium cannot (at least not easily or totally) "terraform" a world or rehabilitate it, presumably the same being true of worlds exposed to most forms of Exterminatus as well. Places like Valhalla and Tallarn reinforce this fact, of course.

PAge 260
Loron glances back and smiles, but when he steps out into the main corridor his head explodes, splashing blood across Lorii who's right next to him.

She gives a strangled scream, the droplets of blood on her face so dark against her alabaster skin, her searing blue eyes looking like they'll pop out of their sockets. I grab her and pull her back as more las-bolts slam into the wall nearby
Evidently a las-bolt blows off the guy's head. Again it should suggest at least a megajoule of energgy (boiling point for water level energies) if not several megajoules (cauterization level energies)

Page 260

- Lorii is wielding each bolter (hers and her dead brother's) single-handedly, firing both as she goes. (not neccesarily accurately.) Given what happens with Kage's bolter a few pages later, either Lorii is using a different (lower-recoil) model, or she's quite fucking strong.

Page 262

- the recoil of Kage's bolter, fired single-handed, is enouhg to "almost wrench off" his arm. Assumign the recoil were comparable to a very powerful handgun (.50 magnum, or a .454 casull... say around 8-10 kg*m/s) with the mass for the shell specified above (50-60 grams) you might get a muzzle velocity of around 125-200 m/s at least. Even assuming something nastier (liek the S&W model 500, which is around 13-14 kg*m/s IIRC), you will get a muzzle velocity less than 300 m/s.. so the intiial velocity would definitely be subsonic.

Page 263 - again mention tha tthe Typhon Sector is home to fifty planets. With the "five hundred billion" mentioned before, this leads to an average population of 10 billion per planet. With millions of worlds in the Imperium, the average popuilation would be in the tens of quadrillions eaisly.

If we assume 50 planets per sector as "average" and at least a million worlds, that's 20,000 sectors minimum. If we go with the 30-40 million worlds I estimated later (Based on Dark hEresy and the Space Wolf novels) you get between 600,000 and 800,000 sectors. With "billions" of worlds (Dark HEresy) the number of sectors shoots up to around 40 million sectors (at least).


Page 264

- bolter shells pitch men over handrails, again re-affirming the momentum. (he's not blown apart, after all)

Page 266

- Schaeffer's bolt pistol sends a Typhon Guardsman thrown half a dozen meters through the air by a single impact. His (Schaeffer's) arm below the elbow is a charred, cauterized mess from a plasma blast. Cauterization of the entire arm would probably entail at least 2-3 Megajoules (2-3 kg for the arm, assuming 300C cauterization), likely twice that if the arm was vaporized/cremated (likely)

Given the ability to throw a man-sized mass a considerable distance (3x body height) the bolter round must pack considerable momentum. I think its safe to say that explosive effect is not relevant here, since it would blow apart (or put a large hole in) the target, as the analysis thread for bolter firepower indicates.


Page 267

- Kage and the Inquisitor (oriel) both mention that the Typhon Sector has 50 planets (again)

Page 267

- the city is almost fifty kilometers across here. This meshes with City sizes we learn of in the Ghosts novels (such as Ghostmaker), so "cities" in the Imperium can be effing huge

Page 268

- the Last Chancer's shuttle survives the detonation of the reactors (at least 60 km or so away, but less than 100-150 km or so..).. assuming a 120 km diameter fireball and a rough distance of 100 km distance (just at the edge of the atmosphere) the shuttle would probablly absorb at least several terajoules of enegy (if not several kilotons) assuming it was the size/mass of Eisenhorn's 80-meter gun-cutter (which is reasonable, given the size of Imperial space fighters.)

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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2008-05-10 04:49am

andrewgpaul wrote:On your comment "The last interesting tidbit is the scope - its a fairly sophsiticated one (as described below) and more sophisticated than one might expect to see in some Guard regiments, nevermind a PDF base. ", PDF forces aren't necessarily equipped to a poorer level than an Imperial Guard regiment; they can issue all sorts of wierd and wonderful bits of kit, and not have to worry about supply chains stretching back across half the galaxy. I always figured that was the reason 'stealer cult armies in 2nd edition could get Land Speeders, multi-meltas and plasma cannon while regulr Guard armies couldn't. :)
Could be, but we learn this fucker was made on a forge world and shipped to the planet (the rogue techpriest recognized it and informed Kage of its capabilities.) PDFs are usually equipped according to whatever the planets' tech and resource base allow (which as you say allows for more variety.)

Guard regiments though CAN and usualyl are equipped by forge worlds to some degree, so I feel the poitn still stands. Also, the weapon can't be THAT rare, since Forge Worlds can produce alot of stuff and it can reach pride wide spread - the odds of running across a rare or unusual weapon in an out of the way location, even restricted to a sector level, has to be damn great.

And there's still the fact the 3rd edition suggests such scopes aren't unusual for the guard too.

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Post by Cykeisme » 2008-05-15 07:17pm

I found pictures of a Vindicator model with a Demolisher shell carried externally.. it's huge.

http://us.games-workshop.com/games/40k/ ... ator/2.htm

Is that shell a standard part of the kit? Does anyone have it?
A picture of that shell standing upright next to a model of a man or an Astartes would be nice.
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Post by Raxmei » 2008-05-15 09:22pm

Cykeisme wrote:I think you can push the upper limit for the mass of a demolisher cannon shell up significantly when you take into account it has a very limited range. Unlike an artillery gun or even a direct-firing field gun or tank cannon, it lobs its shell a relatively a short distance, which implies a low velocity.

We know that it has a short range, which means a low velocity, and yet the momentum of the shell being fired lifts the front end of a seventy-ton tank off the ground. Can we concur that the shell masses quite a good bit?
The Demolisher cannon appears to draw inspiration from the large caliber mortars used by Churchill AVREs and Sturmtigers. The latter had a caliber of 380mm. Description of the Demolisher's role also roughly matches that of the Sturmtiger.
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Post by Falkenhayn » 2008-05-15 11:35pm

Connor MacLeod wrote:
Page 239
"Fractrix pattern assault laser," he says with a smile, running a garled hand along its length. Its the first time he's looked happy since I met him. "Five shots per second, twin power pack capable of fifteen seconds' continuous fire. Multiple target designation range-finder. I used to be overseer on one of the manufacturing lines," he adds, glancing at me.

"Reliability?" I ask, knowing that there's always a catch, otherwise everyone would have them.

"Oh, its very reliable," he assures me. "The only drawback is that the focus prism needs to be changed every one thousand shots, and that requires a tech-adept. Not practical for extended battle conditions, but perfect for our task."
This is one of several instances where "assault lasers" or "assault lasguns" have been mentioned (another was in Honour Guard that I can immediately recall offhand.) I presume that these lasguns are similar in role and capability to "assault rifles" in real life - (some evidence tends to suggest most lasguns would be more appropraitely "battle rifles" than assault rifles, and this might tend to support the idea.)
The language that the IoM uses is needlessly complex when it comes to the term "assault". Tunnel fighting regiments of the Imperial Guard preferred Triplex-Pattern lasguns because they had an overcharge setting, allowing overpowered single shot capability. The Minerva-Aegis pattern las is also an "assault" weapon, but in a more familiar way in that it has a fully automatic capability. The Stormfront pattern's performance is largely indistinguishable from a "normal" lasgun, except that it's bladed and balanced for close quarters.

Likewise, the Sollex Pattern fires extremely powerful single shots as a default, very much a G3/M14 analogue, while the Roth Pattern exchanges higher damage for longer range and increased accuracy, with a bullpup layout. Very much a "Designated Marksman"'s weapon, and it's often issued to light infantry for that reason.

In any case, Munitorum standard Laspacks, which "typically" provide 60 shots, fit in all these weapons, where the Roth fires all 60, while the Sollex gets 18. Most of the las weapons that appear in Dark Heresy get between 40 and 50 shots per magazine, though this may just be a Calixis sector thing.

What it does tell us is that local forces know lasweapons and laspacks rather intimately (a great big "duh", but worth saying), and can produce pretty dramatic variations in performance from the same power supply without sacrificing reliability. Like if the Red Army could supply AK-47s, AN-94s and SVDs soley off of AK47 magazines.

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