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BodhiTree
18-10-2006, 16:24
Hi there. :)

I was working on my DIY Chapter fluff, and I've determined a bunch of things about their character. Such as they're new and rebuilding, so they've specialized themselves as assault specialists to stay relevant. They can actually field the entire Chapter with jump packs. Also, since they're new, they have no Terminator suits, and thus can't teleport.

So, I thought it would be neat if they had a unique tactic for boarding actions, and perhaps it being so unconventional would make for a surprising tactic. Is it feasible for Thunderhawk Gunships to deploy Assault Marines very close to enemy ships in space? If so, then could the Marines use their packs as thrusters, latch onto the enemy hull (perhaps even have magnetic boots, I'm sure that's not beyond SM technology), and make use of melta-bombs and las-cutters?

I think it's possible. The Space Sharks can use their packs under water, how come I can't use mine in space? Now if enemy hulls are way thicker than I know, perhaps it is impossible to board the ship by blowing a hole open in the hull. But it would be an effective tactic if it was possible, I mean, anyone on the other side would get sucked into space. I guess I'm also theorizing this on the assumption that sealed power-armour is space friendly.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Zander
18-10-2006, 16:49
To the best of my knowledge, marine jump packs use turbine technology for thrust. Turbines obviously do not work in space. They would need some kind of fueled rocket boosters for space walks I'd imagine.

LordXaras
18-10-2006, 16:55
I believe this was discussed in part on the B&C, and they concluded that most - if not all - Space Marine wargear would function in space, though it might sometimes require certain adjustments.

Flame Boy
18-10-2006, 16:56
It might work, but I assume the armour for spacecraft would be incredibly thick, so they may need specialised equipment. I think normal Melta bombs would be ideal for ripping through bulkheads like a Terminator with a chainfist would, but the outer hulls of starships would be extremely tough. I suppose your marines would be trained to find weakpoints, like armoured windows and blow them out, though.

I think the biggest problem is that if they spend to long in the void, they are likely to get killed by the weapons fire between fighters, turrets, other ships and so on. A boarding torpedo, on the other hand, just smashes through the armour and carries on into the ship's hull, so in theory after the initial contact, it might be a bit safer.

Oh, anyway, I just read a short story ("Leviathan" in the crucible of war anthology) that documents marines using magnetic clamps on their boots to remain rooted to the deck in a section of spae hulk that has no gravity. Your marines would be able to land on the hull of the ship fine when they get there.

CELS
18-10-2006, 17:04
I'm with Flameboy. We're talking about armour that can shrug off hits from torpedoes the size of skyscrapers. Naturally, Space Marines would look for weak points in the armour, but I imagine we're still talking about meter-thick armour. They'd need more than plain meltabombs.

However, it would certainly be cool if the Space Marines started making their way to the outside of the enemy ship's bridge, and worked to break the glass of the observation window :)

PS: Did you ever wonder why nukes aren't more popular for boarding actions?

Khaine's Messenger
18-10-2006, 17:04
Also, since they're new, they have no Terminator suits, and thus can't teleport.

Er...you can teleport anything you want. Terminators are preferred because of some of their built-in gizmos, but even if you don't have them, the process does not become impossible. And then there's boarding torpedos....


Is it feasible for Thunderhawk Gunships to deploy Assault Marines very close to enemy ships in space?

That has the potential for making a poorly manned chapter even more poorly manned very quickly, since just about everything in space combat moves faster than jump-pack equipped marines.


Now if enemy hulls are way thicker than I know, perhaps it is impossible to board the ship by blowing a hole open in the hull.

Actually if you believe Fire Warrior, there are a lot of decks, emplacement weapons, and doors exposed to hard vacuum in Imperial-style ships (with "oxygen bubbles" kept in with forcefields). A bit amusing, but there you are.


I guess I'm also theorizing this on the assumption that sealed power-armour is space friendly.

Yes. It should also be noted that Space Marines are also capable of operating in hard vacuum for a short period even without their armor's sealed environment. Of course by "short period" I mean just a bit more than normal people.

jfrazell
18-10-2006, 17:39
Both boarding torpedoes and assaults borne by thunderhawks are common methods to gain entry to ships in the fluff. Terminator teleportation is an additional method, but not necessarily the most common. So your home grown fluff should not have difficulty.

Interestingly I believe there is fluff that one method of Ork assault is to extend their power fields containing their ship's atmosphere over the ship being boarded, then they literally just leap out and float across.

BodhiTree
18-10-2006, 18:17
That has the potential for making a poorly manned chapter even more poorly manned very quickly, since just about everything in space combat moves faster than jump-pack equipped marines. You're right about that, I'll probably have to think up a way around that. I suppose the boarding torpedo notion is worth looking into, and it's probably not going to be problematic to keep the jump packs on during this, as they'd need them if they're working outside the ship, and even in larger areas of the ships interior.

I also didn't know you could teleport power-armour, thanks for letting me know. Although, somehow I'm not very fond of incorporating that into my stuff. EDIT: WTF, how did I forget Grey Knights?! But then again, they're a new Chapter, so perhaps getting that equipment would still be difficult.

So realistically, they'll have to prey on weak-points, like windows and air-locks, have amazing Thunderhawk pilots or just use torpedoes - buyable?

jfrazell
18-10-2006, 18:27
Here's some nice info from the BFG manual on boarding actions that mayb be helpful

BFG manual
http://www.specialist-games.com/battlefleetgothic/assets/lrb/2BFGadvancedrules.pdf

BOARDING ACTIONS
Boarding actions are bloody, desperate battles
between ships at very close range. The boarding
vessel manoeuvres close to an enemy ship and
sends a wave of armed crewmen across via
teleporters, shuttles, life pods and in pressure suits
to grab a foothold on the outer hull of the enemy
vessel. The attackers then blow breaches in the
hull and swarm in to try to overcome the
defending crew in vicious firefights and hand-tohand
combat. Boarding actions are dangerous for
both sides: even a victorious ship may suffer
critical damage in the fighting or a prospective
victim may explode with catastrophic results.

Assault Boats
Assault boats attack by clamping onto the outer
hull of an enemy ship and then cutting their way
through to allow their crew to attack inside.
Assault boats can be launched just like any other
ordnance from flight decks and move 30cm in any
direction in every ordnance phase. The ships
which may be loaded with assault boats are noted
in the fleet lists.

Boarding Torpedoes
Boarding torpedoes carry dedicated assault troops
and can be partially guided while in flight. They
punch through the armour of the target, disgorging
their cargo of warriors into the midst of the enemy.
Boarding torpedoes are launched like ordinary
torpedoes and ships that can carry them are noted
in the fleet lists. It is not possible to launch
ordinary torpedoes and boarding torpedoes from a
ship in the same turn.

Teleport Attacks
Ships which are close to their enemies may
attempt to initiate a small-scale boarding action
using their teleporters. However, active shields
interfere with the teleport beams, so such attacks
can only be made against an enemy whose shields
have been knocked down. Only the largest ships
have the teleport capacity to move enough men
onto their target to inflict the necessary amount of
damage and such teleport attacks require
prodigious amounts of energy from the ship’s
reactors.
A ship may make a teleport attack in the end phase
against an enemy ship, that has no shields, within
10cm. Ships on special orders and crippled ships
may not make teleport attacks.

BlackLegion
18-10-2006, 18:28
According to Battlefleet Gothic Thunderhawks and Boarding Torpedoes are used for boarding actions on spaceships. Teleportations too.

Puffin Magician
18-10-2006, 22:56
Something that Imperial warships have that hasn't been really covered are Shark Assault Boats. jfrazell mentioned rules, but those don't help.

They're pretty much the idea of a spacebourne Thunderhawk used to specifically assault other starships. They're a fairly decent size and carry around a half-dozen defensive weapons, as well as powerful Melta charges and/or weapons mounted on the front and bottom of the hull. When the Shark "lands" on a starship, the meltas start their work and blast through the hull, allowing troops to enter through the hole.

Actually if you believe Fire Warrior...Which you probably shouldn't.
According to Battlefleet Gothic, Thunderhawks are used for boarding actions on spaceships.We know, but not how.
I believe this was discussed on B&C, and they concluded that most Space Marine wargear would function in spaceHmm. A site comprised solely of Marine players suggesting that Marine equipment works in space too? Who'da thunk it? What are Jetpacks, fusion ramjets? Power Armour is completely resilient to near-absolute-zero temperatures?

I think the biggest problem is that they are likely to get killed by the weapons fire between fighters, turrets, other ships and so onThat'd probably be the last thing I'd worry about. It's hard enough hitting dozen-meter-long snubfighters with defensive weapons, let alone a single Zero-G trooper.

Khaine's Messenger
18-10-2006, 23:55
Which you probably shouldn't.

I was just mentioning it for completeness' sake. I found it positively dreadful myself. The Imperium hardly seems the sort of civilization to depend on forcefields as opposed to big, solid bulkheads when it comes to this sort of thing. Especially after those wierd box-and-cable assault grapples. :angel:

Sai-Lauren
19-10-2006, 08:25
According to Battlefleet Gothic, Thunderhawks are used for boarding actions on spaceships.
We know, but not how.
I'd actually go with something like the original post suggested, the 'Hawk flies close, finds a dead zone in the defence grid, and opens the hatches - jump packs must be able to work in all atmospheres (and the lack of), so the chapter could well have variant types (marines are expensive, equipment relatively cheap).

Once they hit the hull, then it's melta bombs on portholes and hatches, power weapons chopping into hull plating to get at power cables and oxygen or fuel lines, and las cutters/phase field generators and similar being used by the Techmarines (or their servitors, under TM control) and/or Devastators - while the 'Hawk starts trench running anything it can go after with the fuel and ammo it's got remaining.

The 'Hawk can then either pick the marines up again on it's way back out, or they can hijack some local craft or escape pods from the ship they're boarding - of course, if they manage to take the Bridge and Engineering, then they don't have to, they've got a nice prize to take home with them.

As for Fire Warrior, I would have the main gun decks internal rather than the big carrier sized plates that level had (it could have been a landing deck with it's own defensive turrets though), heavily armoured, and exposed to hard vacuumn in combat - prevents explosive decompression and hits flashing back around unused shells and into magazines. The crews would have sealed suits (or in some cases, would have been modified to survive unassisted).

Malefactor
19-10-2006, 09:44
Do you remember Space Crusade? The whole jist of that was shipboard boarding actions. Those lads just wore their normal suits and they had no problem operating in power armour.

Mind you the Gretchin could get along perfectly well in shorts.

P.S. On a side note i believe that Ork Hulks are very rarely airtight and instead rely on that races knowledge of forcefeilds etc to keep a bubble of air arounf the ship.

Xisor
19-10-2006, 10:26
I did always like the idea of a THawk not being able to find a safe spot to land and just deciding to drop the Marines at the ship, from there incinerating their way into the hold and simply gutting them from the outside in...

But that's not very practical.

Instead...

The Thunderhawk Boarding Plan

Note: this could feasibly be conducted with Sharks and Space Marine Landers if they're strapped for resources.

Thunderhawk Squadrons approach a ship. Only a handful of the actual Thunderhawks will have a complement of Marines aboard, the others will likely be flying cover/distracting/holding back just in case.

Marines will have picked out a particular weakpoint well in advance. Such as:
- An unshielded/feasibly penetrable launchbay
- A weakpoint in defence coverage
- In amongst a weakly defended line from the main ship weapons (it'd be unwise, I suppose, to have a few Armageddon Class Ordinatus armaments [curiously called Nova Cannons ;) ]scattered around the close confines of a Lance Turret)
- A deactivated engine housing
- An open/malfunctioning torpedo launch cavity
- A side of substantial hull damage

From here the Marines would likely land or swiftly jump at extremely close proximity onto the hull, or in the nearest bit they can, proceeding from there through with their objectives and then making their extraction.

Via Teleport Attack

Strike Cruiser or Battlebarge, typically, though I don't think it'd be beyond belief to think that RSVs or Escorts wouldn't have Teleport Ability, only not enough for a BFG game to enter into it.

The ship pulls up close, unleashes with it's main weapons (a combo of Bombardment Cannons and Weapons Batteries is highly likely), and has already en-route prepared it's plan in concert. The Teleporters engage at the best time and when the enemy shields are down. The Space Marine strike team is in.

But what goes into a Teleporter strike team?

Suggested equipment, IMO, would come from this:
A Tactical Squad
A Devastator Squad
An Assault Squad (not jetpacks)

The Tactical Squad would do well to have a Melta Gun, Flamer or Multi Melta in any combination. The Assault Squad would be perfectly suited to having Melta Bombs and Flamers. The Devastator Squad would be rigged out in full Multimeltas. Any anti-personal weapons can be formed of Bolters, Bolt Pistols and Flamers. Melta Weaponry is a strong requirement I'd say. There'd also be a few Teleport Homers about too.

Once they're in they move to their assigned target from a point of ideally weak resistance. Any resistance encountered is either avoided, or accounted for. Should the main objective fail, it is highly likely a kitted out Space Marine squad as listed above would be perfectly capable of inflicting additional damage to an area of the ship such that they do an impressive piece of damage anyway. I'm thinking simply blasting out power relays, slicing open some blast panels and exposing to space from a larger inhabited cavity.

Failing that, an actual incision into, say, the Generatorium or the main weapon decks would be enough to cause havoc such that the whole thing is rendered inoperable or simply difficult for some time.

Having between 15 and 30 marines simply appear in your midst is not my idea of a fun day's work...

Boarding Actions

Marines mount into the Drop Pods, which are then fired right across to weakpoints in enemy ships. If possible boarding gantries and smaller assault shuttles would be used to transfer Serfs and non-Marine crews (Servitors mainly) across to the enemy vessels. Given the intensity of a boarding action it's highly likely the ships weapons would become dedicated to counter-boarding actions, and the aforementioned teleporters and Thunderhawks would all play their part in the action.

Given the relatively sparse crewing of Space Marine vessels and the comparitively burgeoning compliments of vessels such as Orks, Chaos and Imperials, it is of no suprise that a Lone Space Marine Strike Cruiser, with typically fewer than a hundred actual space marines, and a sparse crew already, should find it exceedingly difficult to simply try and board (in an all-out action), say, a regular-joe Lunar Class Cruiser of the Imperium.

Instead, Marines would focus largely on the application of hit and run attacks rather than prolonged ship-to-ship boarding actions.

Drop Pod Assaults against Starships

A last ditch attempt. Only fully utilised when it really is 'all cards on the table'. Implementing such an assault is generally wasteful, given the lack of returnability of the Marines you send across when viewing a typical starship battle.

And there you are!

Xisor

Sarge
19-10-2006, 12:22
Or instead of trying to invent an extreme methood to get into the enemy ship, you could just use the methood mentioned to destroy enemy weapon systems. After all, I doubt the ship will be able to wipe out a few dozen squads on it's hull, without sending out an equal or greater force of it's own. Which would give you the added bonus of finding any easy entrances that the enemy might be using, as well as slowly disabling the enemy ships defenses from a postion of no retaliation.

jfrazell
19-10-2006, 15:18
More matieral from 40K. I believe it directly applies to a thunderhawk boarding action as well:



Shark class
assault boats are built around a powerful central engine and an armoured troop-carrying compartment. The base of the
compartment is studded with powerful magnetic clamps and melta charges for blasting through the outer hull of a ship.
Once a breach has been made, assault troops swarm into the enemy ship and attack from within its own defences.

2_heads_talking
19-10-2006, 22:28
Personally I always liked the idea from Space Hulk, that a forc of Space Marines could be teleported on board and would have an objective to open, say a launchbay or even an entry bay. If these could be opened and the defensive weapons in that area silenced, then the Thunderhawks could swoop in, clamp to the side of the ship and disgorge their troops.

Although, the idea of just launching space marine sin boarding torpedoes is the most fun. They smash through the hull, decimating the interior and killing dozens, and those unfortunates still alive look up to see the front of the torpedo open and a number of power-armoured monsters annhilate them with bolter and flamer/plasma/melta blast!

wascloud
19-10-2006, 23:33
in one of the ultramarines trilogy books, nightbringer i beleive, the thunderhawk clamps on to the hull, and used las cutters and drilling tech to break into the dark eldar ships hull, then the marines just jump right in.
wascloud

Puffin Magician
20-10-2006, 00:38
...power weapons chopping into hull plating to get at power cables and oxygen or fuel lines - while the 'Hawk starts trench running anything it can go after with the fuel and ammo it's got remainingFirst off I can't see Power Weapons actually being feasible boarding weapons. You're going to hack your way through the hull of a starcruiser with some fancy glowing sword?

I also don't see Thunderhawks being sent on attack runs if their primary mission is as an assault transport. They'd probably be configured to carry more fuel and less ordnance, so would likely suck at posing as a bomber. I think they'd work like a simple Shuttle - fighting their way to deliver the Marines and fight it's way back to it's 'mother'ship. They aren't as expendable as Furies or probably even Starhawks so wouldn't be ordered to share duties with them.

Are there any known diagrams of a Boarding Torpedo? I've always imagined them visually as a Termite-type drilling machine that has a huge rocket at the back. Is that the case? Is the 'nose' filled with explosive shaped charges, or are there other technologies at work?

jfrazell, please read the thread before replying.

Sarge
20-10-2006, 03:16
"@Agrab: Boarding torpedos don't shoot through ships' hulls, they latch on, drill/melt/blast through, and then the passengers unload. The torpedo creates a seal before it breaches, so no pressure is lost."
http://www.bolterandchainsword.com/lofiversion/index.php/t95540.html

Seems a few players beleive that Boarding Torpedos have different methoods for breaching enemy hulls, so whatever works best for the fluff is fine I guess. However, no pictures as of yet.

Sai-Lauren
20-10-2006, 08:37
First off I can't see Power Weapons actually being feasible boarding weapons. You're going to hack your way through the hull of a starcruiser with some fancy glowing sword?

No, not through the hull. But even with all the armour and hull plating, there's still going to be systems lying close to the surface which an attacking force can gain an advantage by destroying - whilst the specialists with the Las Cutters burn their way in.



I also don't see Thunderhawks being sent on attack runs if their primary mission is as an assault transport. They'd probably be configured to carry more fuel and less ordnance, so would likely suck at posing as a bomber. I think they'd work like a simple Shuttle - fighting their way to deliver the Marines and fight it's way back to it's 'mother'ship. They aren't as expendable as Furies or probably even Starhawks so wouldn't be ordered to share duties with them.

Active words in that sentence - primary mission. What about secondary missions? ;)

I'm thinking mainly of WW2, when allied pilots flying escort missions were basically told not to bring any ammo home, and to go and find targets of opportunity once the bombers were safe.

Marine ships don't carry Furies or Starhawks, so they have to do multiple roles. Plus, they're not going to turn around and go home, or just sit there, holding position above the hull as the marines break in so they can extract them if needed, if they can go and attack some target which will either aid the boarding parties, or the rest of the marine fleet.

Also, the BFG rules basically state they have decent armour and significant fuel (as their stands aren't automatically removed after contacting other ordanance - same as the Eldar fighters), so presumably they do have enough fuel to reach the enemy vessel (coasting most of the way, only using fuel once inside the defensive turrets sphere), trench run some target, return to pick up the marines if needed, and return home again.

Marines work by mounting surgical strikes, preferably several at once to keep the enemy off balance, running around trying to keep up. So it's quite easy to see them have marines fighting a boarding action and trying to get to the bridge or shield controls, thunderhawks going after external fire control systems or shield emitters and the strike cruiser or whatever that launched them targetting the vessels engines in order to cripple it - all at the same time.

Edit:

Boarding torpedos don't shoot through ships' hulls, they latch on, drill/melt/blast through, and then the passengers unload. The torpedo creates a seal before it breaches, so no pressure is lost."

And Space Hulk had them punching through the hull - although Dreadclaws work on the latch/melt/storm method.