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Wolfblade670
08-07-2008, 10:05
The idea had been poking at me for awhile now, so now I ask the question: is there any indication of the employment of tactical nuclear weapons on the 40k battlefield? Given how much the Imperium relishes the use of ecsessive force (certainly a subjective term when dealing with aliens and hellspawn) it would make sense. Why waste all those bolter shells on a carnifex when you could launch a nuke up it's ass? I can easily picture a Space Marine assault squad zipping around the battlefield atomizing various enemy critters and/or pieces of the landscape ala "Starship Troopers".

I do remember the Imperium glassing Krieg with nukes during their rebellion, but any other references? I imagine stratigec use of nukes would be out in most cases as the Imperium has access to far more powerul orbital weaponry (though in Krieg's case I can see the point. They didn't want to destroy Krieg, just turn it into a living hell).

Foolish Mortal
08-07-2008, 10:12
There are a couple of references to it in BL novels.

One of the Gaunt's Ghost novels (the one where they are defending the hive city from Hereditor Asphodael (sp?) has a scene where Gaunt is crossing a river & a nuke goes off.

One of the Armageddon novels (not sure which one) has the Orks nuke a titan base.

There may be more, but these are the only ones that spring to (my old & often confused) mind!

Tommygun
08-07-2008, 10:13
I don't see any reason why they would not use them. But if they are committing troops on the ground, they are probable trying to capture or defend a planet with out destroying it.

Vesica
08-07-2008, 10:44
Nukem all and let the Emperor sort em out,

I can see them using them to destroy stratigic positions if they want minimum damage to the larger area.

Jimbobjeff
08-07-2008, 11:30
I'm fairly sure that starship weapons batteries fire small nukes but I couldnt say where I read it.

Archangel_Ruined
08-07-2008, 11:54
A distinction should be made between the general view of nuclear weapons (mushroom clouds, cities vapourised, etc.) and their tactical applications. There are lots of nukes designed for scorched earth, MAD policies, and they're really defensive deterrents, but there are also other weapons systems with greater tactical battlefield applications, such as deep penetrating bunker busting weapons, the subterranean blasts focus damage onto a specific location, eliminating it entirely, or nuclear torpedos capable of sinking an entire fleet battlegroup. Weapons like these don't indiscriminately kill, which means they can actually be used in a warzone you're present in. I haven't read any fluff where weapons of these types are used, I don't think the designers wanted such point and click weapons in the game, but then the 40k universe is big and vague, so if you wanted an elite guard army with tactical nuclear capabilities, or a marine force specialising in removing entrenched opposition I could believe that kind of fluff.

Condottiere
08-07-2008, 11:58
The reason we are hesitant to imagine anyone using tactical nukes, is because of the fear of escalation based on our own experience. The Imperium obviously does not harbour such reservations.

The more interesting question is, do the Xenos use them or their equivalents? A Gretchin with a nuke gives a Waaagh Boss interesting options.

Archangel_Ruined
08-07-2008, 12:05
One hell of a grot bomb, I'll give it that much.

Khaine's Messenger
08-07-2008, 12:31
I'd say it's more a question of taste and uneven distribution of tech than anything else. The Imperium's willing to deploy void missiles at Epic-scale, for example, and that's a pretty esoteric piece of technology. I'd wager the Imperium normally doesn't use atomics due to some strange convention it's developed. On the ground it would seem that atomics are the weapons of madmen and dimestore PDFs.

Minister
08-07-2008, 13:23
I think the main reason for the relative lack of nuclear weapons is that there are ways to get a bigger bang without the fallout. If the Guard are attacking another planet the Imperial Navy will be in orbit, and a couple of broadsides will do rather a lot of damage. Similarly the Deathstrike can launch a selection of non-nuclear ordinance which will do anything a nuke can do without residual damage.

Of course, this doesn't mean that nuclear weapons are not an option, particularly where the environment is in such a mess that chucking a few nukes about is not going to make a difference. Garrisons may be supplied with these if more sophisticated weapons are unavailable, and at least one example of a garison detonating its nuclear stockpile as a final act against attackers has been given (2nd edition Chaos codex, if I recall). Korolis in the Cadian System is noted as a producer of nuclear weapons.

Wolfblade670
08-07-2008, 13:31
Well yes, but I'm not really talking so much about orbital bombardment as micro-nuclear warheads. Something you'd stick in a shoulder fired rocket launcher to fry large baddies or hardened targets. I can see this sorta thing primarily used by Marines, as they don't have to worry about rads, blast, or flash due to their armor, and it suits their "go in, smash it, get out" MO.

baphomael
08-07-2008, 13:57
Atomic weaponry *is* used, but on the scale of the Imperium its rather limited. In the face of other examples of Imperial technology, they are a bit superfluous. Yet, as with any technology in the Imperium it depends entirely on individual sectors, plaents, warzones, regiments etc. It all comes down to what resources are available on a world, what STC equipment the AdMech have available and what equipment a fighting force is able to bring to a conflict. The Macharius, for example, was only created because a forgeworld didnt have access to Baneblades (being superfluous to worlds with access to baneblades). Nevertheless, it still finds use because of the varying levels of technology, manufacturing and supply logistics found throughout the Imperium.

Thus, nukes are used, but probably because other weaponry isnt available. Dont have a vortex missile, orbital strike or Ordinatus battery available? Just have to settle for second best then.


EDIT: by-the-by, arn't Deathstrike missiles nuclear?

TheOverlord
08-07-2008, 14:45
Don't they use tactical nuclear warheads on their battleships? I could be wrong though, but pretty sure nuclear weaponry are a widespread commodity in the 41st millenium.

Champsguy
08-07-2008, 15:20
So we're talking about something like a Davy Crockett nuclear bazooka, right?

The US developed these back in the 50s, as a deterrent against a Russian invasion of Europe. Basically the thing has a range of a mile or two, and a kill zone of about half a mile. The radiation sticks around for two or three days. So you can set up on a hill, shoot into the distance, and kill a huge amount of stuff (and theoretically, you'd be out of the kill distance).

I think the majority of IG forces are too hidebound to use something like this. The Imperium fears rebellion more than anything else. It is preferable to sacrifice 50 million men than risk having a stockpile of tactical nuclear weapons fall into the hands of some traitor. The Imperium's forces aren't equipped to be as lethal and efficient as can be -- they are equipped to be easy to control.

jimbobodoll
08-07-2008, 16:05
Why not just use your imagination and think outside the box when it comes to this? My first thought on the matter would be something like Krak Missiles being a catch-all term for differing missile weapons having the same effect. Perhaps Smurfs and Death Korps of Krieg use mini Nukes as their krak missiles? Seems possible no? Why not a small nuclear payload on Terminator cyclone missile launchers?

DarkMatter2
08-07-2008, 16:11
I'm pretty sure that massive nuclear bombardment is one of the Imperium's methods of Exterminatus.

malika
08-07-2008, 16:24
Radiation is kind of annoying when you plan on populating that part on which you just threw a nuclear bomb. ;)

MrBigMr
08-07-2008, 16:28
I think nukes are like dynamite in modern day. Sure, it works, but there's plenty of better and safer stuff around. I'm a little diappointed the Imperium doesn't use nukes to irradiate planets as Exterminatus, something they did in Starship Troopers to make the surface inhospitable to the bugs while the humans were safe in their power armours.

In one comic a troll bought plutonium rounds for his revolver from the Russian mafia to use them against a gorgon that had taken over the old castle of the trolls. The idea was the if the bullet itself doesn't kill the monster, the plutonium in its system will kill it fast. So far there's no cure for radioactivity. Even 'Nids can't just shrug it off.

zoodog
08-07-2008, 17:06
I thought melta bombs were small fusion charges, but I don't have the book with me ATM

I thought this had been sort of covered before and it has Nuclear weapons in 40k (http://warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=111253&highlight=nuclear+weapons)

Deus Mechanicus
08-07-2008, 17:35
Could a Space Marine in power/terminator/artificer armour survice a nuclear blast?

Wolfblade670
08-07-2008, 18:38
As I said before, I am not talking about orbital bombardment. I am talking about small yield warheads fired from man portable weapons.


So we're talking about something like a Davy Crockett nuclear bazooka, right?


Bingo.

I agree with you that in most cases giving that kind of firepower to IG wouldn't be very savy. But to me that sort of thing seems very consistent with Marine tactics as they wouldn't have to worry about the after effects due to their armor.

As for if Terminator armor can survive a nuclear impact, it depends. If the marine in question is at ground zero, then no. Nothing can survive that kind of heat and concussion. If he was away from the impact sight, probably. It would be less of an issue of the armor surviving (those suits were designed to survive fusion reactors) than the marine inside of it (who may very well be turned to paste from the kinetic force). It all really depends of the yield of the warhead and how close the marine was to the impact site.

Keichi246
08-07-2008, 19:22
Sure! Everyone has 'em...

Problem is - for the battles that you are re-enacting in 40k - even a "tactical" nuke would probably wipe the board clean if it was detonated on the table. I mean - the "hard kill" (aka Dead Right There) on a Davy Crockett at absolute minimum settings was still over 500 feet - and that is very close to the minimum yield you CAN have on a fissile reaction. Anything larger and you might as well not bother caculating. (or to put it the way an old printing of Harpoon did: "To simulate the effects of strategic nuclear weapons on the fleet, feel free to douse the map with lighter fluid and set it on fire." :D )

I mean - how long is a turn - and how "large" is a board in real terms? Considering that infantry can "run" across the board in 4-6 turns, with full combat gear... That places the maximum size of the board at what - a couple of hundred yards at most? Drop even the smallest nuke anywhere near the board - and only the hardiest of specimens will survive - and even those will be likely be rendered combat ineffective for a while.

No - the 40k universe has nukes; they just don't use them in the battles you actually play out in 40k...

Killgore
08-07-2008, 19:36
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bIM4h0s1mM

Tactical Nuke in action

I'd imagin the Imperium would use such a weapon against a foe holding non important territory


it would be good fun to play on a gaming board that is modeled to repersent the aftermath of a nearby nuclear blast, with radioactive hot spots, lots of dangerous terrain etc

zoodog
08-07-2008, 22:09
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bIM4h0s1mM

Tactical Nuke in action


Well that hardly does anything :D

So it might take the paint off and knock them over. Marines are way tougher then a bus.

And to say nothing survives at ground zero is applying to much real world physics too a pseudo fantasy world, who knows? Flamers might consider it a refreshing molecular sauna.

Drogmir
08-07-2008, 22:19
The idea had been poking at me for awhile now, so now I ask the question: is there any indication of the employment of tactical nuclear weapons on the 40k battlefield? Given how much the Imperium relishes the use of ecsessive force (certainly a subjective term when dealing with aliens and hellspawn) it would make sense. Why waste all those bolter shells on a carnifex when you could launch a nuke up it's ass? I can easily picture a Space Marine assault squad zipping around the battlefield atomizing various enemy critters and/or pieces of the landscape ala "Starship Troopers".

I do remember the Imperium glassing Krieg with nukes during their rebellion, but any other references? I imagine stratigec use of nukes would be out in most cases as the Imperium has access to far more powerul orbital weaponry (though in Krieg's case I can see the point. They didn't want to destroy Krieg, just turn it into a living hell).

Just so we get the fluff right, Krieg was essentially a fortress world. To break the rebellion the Imperium would need a fleet to break it and the amount of resources wasted wasn't enough to get back a net gain. So they simply told the last Imperial loyal stronghold to just win "at any cost"

Turns out their last city was sitting on top of an out of commissioned Nuke Storage. With the help of Local Tech Priest they got this stock up and running. The Commander decided that if the Imperium couldn't have Krieg, then no one could. He pretty much nuked all of the other cities and the loyalists went on a 500 year war for the planet.

Eventually they won and Krieg returned to the Imperium.

So the lesson here is that, no one has a story of the Imperium actively nuking things because it would render the planet useless and a exterminatus would be easier. But at one point the Imperium apparently did stock up on nukes.

And also your story seems to be Halo 3 inspired or something (Glassing Planets with Nukes?), and is mostly inaccurate. The Imperium itself did absolutely nothing to the planet. It was all about the remaining Loyalist Imperial Guard left on the planet and the nuke storage they had.

Wolfblade670
08-07-2008, 22:31
"Glassing" is a generic term for nuclear attack, it originated from the tests carried out in the desert where the extreme heat created by the blast melted and fused the desert sand into silicate glass. I haven't even played Halo 3. Thank you for clearing up the details on the Kriegan Heresy though.