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J-rock
21-08-2010, 12:43
Hi!

According to current fluff the Ultramarines have three Battle Barges. Each Battle Barge is a large and potent interstellar, warp-capable, warship, with enough fire power to level cities. Consider the resources required to construct one: These things are huge; they are completely sealed from the vacuum they operate in, with multiply redundancies in expectation of damage, they have life-support systems providing food, air, water and sanitation to their crew; they have engines that enable them to make a hole in reality and enter the warp; they have gellar fields so they can survive in the warp; they have plasma drives for intrastellar travel; they have artificial gravity; they have small factories enabling their transportees to remain semi-autonomous; consider the logistics involved in firing all that fire power, connecting all those systems, sustaining all that life. Now consider all the resources necessary not only for regular maintenance but also to repair the inevitable battle damage. That's just a list I can think of off the top of my head, I am sure you can think of more. Let me repeat again, Battle Barges are huge! And the Ultramarines have three of them. Not that I have problem with that, it's what I'd expect most Space Marine chapters to be capable of, let alone one so long-standing and influential as the Ultramarines. No, what I have a problem with is that...

They only have eight (8) whirlwinds! Small armoured tanks that fire missiles with a range of a couple of thousand kilometres at most. They can even make them themselves!

How can we understand this (in my mind, huge) discrepancy from an in-game perspective? Plus do you have any idea why the designers would have come up with these numbers and published them without anyone pointing out how incongruous they were (Games Workshop's long and noble tradition of completely missing the ball numerically notwithstanding).

Thanks.

Hellebore
21-08-2010, 13:31
Probably because the battlebarges are all old ships they have only had to maintain rather than build, whilst the whirlwinds are being destroyed and constructed continuously.

Battlebarges aren't being made very regularly and they don't get destroyed easily either.

Hellebore

Lupe
21-08-2010, 13:36
They've had those battle-barges for ten thousand years. Should they lose one, it would take a couple of millenia to replace.

The whirlwinds are maybe five hundred years old at best. They probably lose one every fifty years or so, and they can replace it in another 50. And they probably don't really need much more than eight anyway. Their strength doesn't come from artillery - whirlwinds are just there for the cases they actually need it, so it doesn't make much sense to mass produce thousands of them and just have them clot up the hangars, gathering rust.

geeksquared
21-08-2010, 13:38
Maybe they have a lot more than 8 tanks but only enough crew to deploy 8 at a time. Like on an aircraft carrier, there are far more planes and helicopters than there are aircrew. They have a variety of aircraft to suit every occasion and assign pilots to planes as needed.

J-rock
21-08-2010, 14:18
Those are all good comments, thanks. Eight still seems a bit small to me though, but maybe that's just my way of looking at it.

It could also be a case of confusion between the table top game and the background. You can get three whirlwinds in 40k and considerably more in Epic. The ability to take that many whirlwinds relatively easily in a small force suggests that the chapter has a much larger stockpile back home. Again, that's just how I look at things.

If I was a Marine commander and I knew that it would take me a 50 years to replace one tank (of which I only had eight) I would want to get my hands on as many of them as possible. I can't see why storage would be a problem, Marines tend to own entire planets. It would be much easier to maintain mothballed equipment and bring them into service when necessary than to lose two whirlwinds and find you've lost 25% of your supply. Anywhere from 50 to 100 seems sensible. Maybe like geeksquarered suggested that's how may they have on active service at any one time?

Lupe
21-08-2010, 14:26
Those are all good comments, thanks. Eight still seems a bit small to me though, but maybe that's just my way of looking at it.


Well, I guess 8 artillery batteries for a self sufficient battle force of roughly 1000 bodies seems like a good figure, considering how effective they are.

The Ultramarines simply have a tradition of being a mobile infantry force, not siege specialists. I suppose some chapters might have more Whirlwinds and Vindicators (probably no more than 20 or 25, though), but that would come at the expense of something else (such as cutting down on the Land Speeders or bikes, or even having less companies at fighting strength available at a given time)


Maybe they have a lot more than 8 tanks but only enough crew to deploy 8 at a time. Like on an aircraft carrier, there are far more planes and helicopters than there are aircrew. They have a variety of aircraft to suit every occasion and assign pilots to planes as needed.

This might also be a good explanation. They might actually have more of them stashed on Macraggae, but at fighting strength they can only deploy 8 of them at any given time thanks to a sum of factors. Chief of which is that when you have a (rather loose, but still well detemined) limit on how much you're allowed to recruit, you want most of the men to be ready to take on any role, and not invest time and resources training a lot of men to use a weapon that is only occasionally useful.

Post
21-08-2010, 16:43
All well funded military forces have mothballed reserves. And a why would a whirlwind take 50 years to construct? Forge Worlds turn out IG artillery by the million, unless the Marines are building the things themselves, it wouldn't be hard to order new ones.

Eh, it took the governor of a feral world little more than a decade to make a Luna class cruiser, although it is noted for it's simplicity of design. Making a Battle Barge at a forge world would take roughly that amount of time, I'd imagine. They might even have reserve ships, the Navy certainly has entire reserve fleets.

Lupe
21-08-2010, 17:17
All well funded military forces have mothballed reserves. And a why would a whirlwind take 50 years to construct? Forge Worlds turn out IG artillery by the million, unless the Marines are building the things themselves, it wouldn't be hard to order new ones.

Eh, it took the governor of a feral world little more than a decade to make a Luna class cruiser, although it is noted for it's simplicity of design. Making a Battle Barge at a forge world would take roughly that amount of time, I'd imagine. They might even have reserve ships, the Navy certainly has entire reserve fleets.

Well, I'm somewhat exaggerating, of course, to illustrate the difference in both the rate at which assets are lost and replaced.

However, I do like to believe that everything Astartes related does get manufactured by the finest artificiers of the sector. The IG supplies are mass produced by a rather large gang of enginseers and their servitors. It makes less sense in real life. Hence it's perfect for the Imperium of Man.

As for the Luna cruiser? Well, the difference between building a block of flats from prefabs and building a gothic cathedral from readily available blocks of marble.

mrln68
21-08-2010, 17:45
Making a Battle Barge at a forge world would take roughly that amount of time, I'd imagine. They might even have reserve ships, the Navy certainly has entire reserve fleets.

Never played much BFG - but if I had to guess...they don't know how to build a new barge, and the AdMech are ****** who won't design a new ship instead.

As far as the 8 Whirlwinds goes...which source are you going off from? It changes every edition. The current Codex shows 9 under the Armoury...these might not represent those in the field, just those in reserves. Why do I say that? Because in other lists it has say 14 Rhinos in the Armoury listing, but 18 in just the first company. Pretty sure the two are separate. In terms of the numbers though - the Rhino is fairly modular and the Whirlwind is fairly limited. If they can do a weapons swap on a normal Rhino (or an Annihilator or other Rhino based vehicle) fairly fast - it might just reflect the number of Whirlwinds that are maintained in that configuration. Others are reconfigured en route to the next war zone if they will be needed.

bp.
21-08-2010, 18:48
Probably because the battlebarges are all old ships they have only had to maintain rather than build, whilst the whirlwinds are being destroyed and constructed continuously.

Battlebarges aren't being made very regularly and they don't get destroyed easily either.

Hellebore
Says it all.

hs5ias
21-08-2010, 18:55
You are quite right, it doesn't make sense.

And that is about all that can be said.

GW has never and will never bother to come up with even vaguely plausible and consistent numbers for the background. It really doesn't matter in any case, since 40K works by plot. There are enough space marines on hand to win the battle, but only just, so the battle will be more exciting and the victory more glorious. I have my own private schema of marine numbers and equipment, that I won't go into here, which is colossally at variance with the published ones. Trying to rationally justify the existing numbers is an exercise in futility. Don't worry about it, just play the game.

Jonman
21-08-2010, 19:11
My problem: Orbital bombardment's are smaller and less powerful than turbo lasers and baneblade cannons, if it levels cities then it should be an apocalypse barrage, not a punt large blast. :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:

Col. Tartleton
21-08-2010, 21:19
Lances should be the next thing up from Volcano Cannons. Think of the Laser Destroyer, Now think of the Shadowsword, now think of the Orbital Strike Lance.

It would be the same as a Defense Laser.

I agree. 10" Blast.

MajorWesJanson
23-08-2010, 00:56
To be fair, Lances are probably adjustable, and so for precision strikes they narrow it down to reduce collateral damage to nearby friendlies. Nearly all artillery in the game is firing danger close as it is. Plinking away from targets in orbit is less precise than using tanks or even Titans.

MagosHereticus
25-08-2010, 12:24
i have an issue with the severely limited numbers of thunderhawks that chapters are suppose to possess, assuming that it is the standard transport of the astrates i would have assumed that every rapid strike vessel would have at least two for marine deployment and extraction as well as drop pod retrieval, and on strike cruisers i would assume a fleet of thunderhawks would be present (a minimum of 6) and on battle barges even more so (probably 9 or more)

TrooperTino
25-08-2010, 12:28
If epic would be more popular I am sure there would be higher numbers in use than 8.
Yes I think 8 is way to few... they should have several hundreds in the stores with only a few in use at a time.

Gorbad Ironclaw
25-08-2010, 13:08
(Games Workshop's long and noble tradition of completely missing the ball numerically notwithstanding)

There you go, you wrote the answer yourself.
GW troop numbers work best if you multiply them by 10 or 100 so just assume that 8 really means anything between 80 and 800 (It works for the actual marines too. They make much more sense if there are closer to 100.000 per chapter than 1000.)


Oh, and I doubt a Whirlwind would have a range of thousands of kilometers. It's not an ICBM launcher, at best it would have a range of maybe a couple of hundred kilometers but my guess would be something more like 40-60km. But that should be plenty for what the marines need it to do anyway.

Mike_the_magi
25-08-2010, 18:30
GW troop numbers work best if you multiply them by 10 or 100 so just assume that 8 really means anything between 80 and 800 (It works for the actual marines too. They make much more sense if there are closer to 100.000 per chapter than 1000.)


Yeah, I tend to think that way with Marines too. After all, a company of Marines is meant to be able to do silly things like conquer planets, and even for genetically engineered supersoldiers I find only 100 of them taking a well defended planet a bit of a tall order, esspiecially as planets are big places. Thats about one to conquer western Europe. 1000 or 10,000 is closer in my mind.

Anyway.... back to the topic. 8 seems a little thin, its about two batteries of artillery there, so I would be inclined to believe that they are the ones sat in storage in the armoury or used for training purposes. I think about 4 would be alocated per company so that they have their own artillery.

Hrw-Amen
25-08-2010, 19:24
I agree 8 does appear to be a little limited, so perhaps as has been stated that is the number in reserve or just in the armoury at the time of writing.

I think with all tanks/transports, be they Rhinos, Thunderhawks or whatever, the numbers quoted for marine chapters do not make that much sence. Even the number of marines. By the time you factor in all the support like drivers, pilots, techmarines and countless others there are a good number over a 1000 per chapter even for strict ones. Not to mention all the other non marine chapter staff that need transporting around and to and from ships. I realise that they probably do have all sorts of other transports but it is a bit low. I think it is just that GW has not really thought it through that well.

Lupe
25-08-2010, 19:37
Well, considering the Damocles Crusade, Armageddon, the Tyrannic Wars and whatever else the Ultramarines might be up to during the timeframe the Codex depicts, it is certainly possible that this is just what they happen to have at the time.

J-rock
25-08-2010, 21:33
Oh, and I doubt a Whirlwind would have a range of thousands of kilometers. It's not an ICBM launcher, at best it would have a range of maybe a couple of hundred kilometers but my guess would be something more like 40-60km. But that should be plenty for what the marines need it to do anyway.

Sure, that is a more reasonable range given the size of the missiles (from a contemporary perspective). It was late, I was tired and I started to believe the hype.


GW troop numbers work best if you multiply them by 10 or 100 so just assume that 8 really means anything between 80 and 800 (It works for the actual marines too. They make much more sense if there are closer to 100.000 per chapter than 1000.)


That I understand too, and while I certainly inflate GW troop sizes for things like Imperial Guard regiments (even though that brings with it its own logistical improbabilities), I like the idea of a Marine Chapter having own a couple of thousand Marines. I think it's cool.

I like the idea of a small, elite group defeating the odds and achieving the near impossible. I enjoy thinking about and playing 40k because fun. If I wanted something realistic I'd go somewhere else.


There you go, you wrote the answer yourself.


So why do I want to discuss this? Because I enjoy the story and setting that is 40k. I use suspension of disbelief to take me there, but when I get there I want the world to make sense, at least from it's own perspective. When I read about Marines conquering planets, I don't interpret it to mean that it takes only one Chapter to take control of a planet. But that one Chapter can cause so much precisely applied damage in such a short space of time that they effectively hamstring that planet's defensive capabilities and render any sort of organised counter-attack impossible. They 'conquer' the planet in that they overcome its military capability and leave it open wide to capture by regular Imperial forces. At least, that's how I imagine it.

However, when I read these ridiculous numbers, there's a disconnect between how I perceive the setting and the information given to me. My head goes, "that doesn't make sense" and poof! suspension of disbelief is gone. That's why I like to talk about it. To see what cool ways people have come up with to reconcile the 40k we know and love and its seemingly ill thought out numbers.

sycopat
25-08-2010, 21:48
I like to think that marines have quite large stockpiles of tanks and armour, however as a rapid deployment infantry force they only maintain eight active whirlwind crews at a time. They have more whirlwinds if they need to reassign some more battle brothers to whirlwind crews for a specific campaign, and more battle brothers trained to operate the whirlwinds than the 16 odd eight whirlwinds needs.

However, under normal circumstances they maintain eight active crews, because that's all they need.

Keroro
26-08-2010, 11:01
Why would the favoured servants of the Emperor want or need weapons that fire from long range? Would they not want to get in close and see the fear in the eyes of the filthy xenos? The Emperor requires that his enemies feel proper terror when the SMs go in - that's best accomplished up close and personal.

For me the question would be: when would the Ultras ever need eight whirlwinds? If the Imperium needs artillery then they'll get the IG in, but it's not what the SM are there for.

Now, if it was one of the chapters that undertakes more siege warfare then I'd imagine that they would have more. The Iron Hands spring to mind if I recall correctly - they'd have plenty of arty I should think.

MajorWesJanson
26-08-2010, 11:48
i have an issue with the severely limited numbers of thunderhawks that chapters are suppose to possess, assuming that it is the standard transport of the astrates i would have assumed that every rapid strike vessel would have at least two for marine deployment and extraction as well as drop pod retrieval, and on strike cruisers i would assume a fleet of thunderhawks would be present (a minimum of 6) and on battle barges even more so (probably 9 or more)

Hunt for Voldorius has a White Scars Strike cruiser with about a company (6 Tac squads on bikes, 3 assault squads, and 2 dev squads) embarked, with 8 rhinos, 3 predators, and a vindicator, plus 10 Thunderhawks (6 transport and 4 normal from the sounds of it)

totgeboren
26-08-2010, 23:07
As has been pointed out, multiplying everything by 10 tends to give a somewhat more reasonable setting, though I just ignore them altogether. I read them, but I choose not to reflect on the numbers.
When I read "8 whirlwinds" I don't think "They got 8 whirlwinds", I read, "They have a small amount of artillery compared to other forms of fighting vehicles."

I do this with just about all the numbers GW give. Just quickly swap the number you read for some fitting sentence that makes the context work.

ThirdUltra
28-08-2010, 04:30
The whirlwinds are just light artillery and they are distributed between the main 4 battle companies (typically, but the 1st could have use for them as well). Astartes doctrine does not call for the use of heavy artillery like the IG.

Having just 8 whirlwinds only means that that's what they feel is needed to support their frontline battle companies for the time being. They could assuredly have more, but as someone else already posted, it would take bodies from other areas where they would be needed elsewhere. That tricky little thing about the Codex Astartes kind of rears its head here.

As for the Battle Barges, well.....yeah, the Ultramarines only have 3 and are probably considered relics in and of themselves, however, considering they rule a 7-star system empire with fleet manufacturing capabilites and orbital hangars, etc. It probably would not be too difficult to produce another if needed.

However, let's look at the Red Scorpions.....they have 10! A gift awarded after the Badab War from the losing chapters involved in that conflict. Yet, the Red Scorpions can still maintain these along with their other fleet assets....

MajorWesJanson
28-08-2010, 05:07
However, let's look at the Red Scorpions.....they have 10! A gift awarded after the Badab War from the losing chapters involved in that conflict. Yet, the Red Scorpions can still maintain these along with their other fleet assets....

10 Battle Barges? Wow, they seem to have completely won the Badab War if those were their spoils. That's one per company, not counting Strike Cruisers, Fast Strike vessels and escorts.

Hrw-Amen
28-08-2010, 11:08
I guess with things like artillery that some of the chapters will have PDF forces attached to the planets they occupy as well. For example there are pictures of the Ultramarines home planet pdf fighting alongside them in the apocalyse book. So for things like heavy artillery if they really needed it I guess they would bring some of them along to whatever fight they were getting involved in. I know not all chapters will have this capability, but it could explain why the Ultramarines would have so few. I assume that these pdf forces would have all manner of other transport and armour as per any other army or IG type force.

Leftenant Gashrog
28-08-2010, 11:10
However, let's look at the Red Scorpions.....they have 10! A gift awarded after the Badab War from the losing chapters involved in that conflict. Yet, the Red Scorpions can still maintain these along with their other fleet assets....

Er, whats your source for that?

If true its some rubbish fanboyism from FW/GW.. The Rebels would have likely only had about 10 Battle Barges and theres no way the Red Scorpions - who were only involved in the conflict for a year early in the war before being reassigned (by comparison the Minotaurs were brought in at the same time as the Red Scorpions and subsequently broke the Lamenters 2 years after the Red Scorpions had left) - would merit the lions share of the spoils.

PS: I agree that 8 Whirlwinds is awfully small, but then I'm an EPIC player and thats only two squadrons..

Malice313
28-08-2010, 11:24
If you want massed batteries of artillery to pound a fortifications to rubble- get the Imperial Guard. Siege is what happens when Space Marines fail.

I don't think that 8 Whirlwinds are all they field because that's all they can get, rather its all the ones they haven't mothballed yet.

AndrewGPaul
28-08-2010, 15:33
Er, whats your source for that?

If true its some rubbish fanboyism from FW/GW..

Disagree with it if you must, but calling it "fanboyism" when it comes from the official source is a bit daft.

Having said that, I don't know where it's from. Not the original GW material on the Badab War, because that's a single 20-year-old column of text. Could be IA 4 or 6, but I'm too lazy to go and look.

ThirdUltra
29-08-2010, 04:55
It is from FW....however, how can it be Fanboyism if it's comming from the company who created it...?

Ya' know....a little light reading with some of FW's books may go a long way here.

As for the whirwind issue.....they structure their battle companies all the time due to task-force needs or mission needs. Sometimes they may have more, sometimes less....but their TO&E is in flux all the time.

AndrewGPaul
29-08-2010, 10:01
It is from FW....however, how can it be Fanboyism if it's comming from the company who created it...?

Which book is it in?

Leftenant Gashrog
29-08-2010, 11:53
.however, how can it be Fanboyism if it's comming from the company who created it...?


Because GW has a long history of lack of oversight, leaving the various designers to police their own fanboyish tendencies. For a good 40k example see the cheesyness of the 3.5 Iron Warrior rules by Iron Warrior player Pete Haines, tho Fantasy has been afflicted with over a decade of Codex Creep resulting from letting a single person write the whole rulebook for the army he plays.

Malice313
29-08-2010, 12:46
Because GW has a long history of lack of oversight, leaving the various designers to police their own fanboyish tendencies. For a good 40k example see the cheesyness of the 3.5 Iron Warrior rules by Iron Warrior player Pete Haines, tho Fantasy has been afflicted with over a decade of Codex Creep resulting from letting a single person write the whole rulebook for the army he plays.

I think the epitome of this in 40k was Gav Thorpes Death Company army list.