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Discussion Starter #1
I've always wondered why when the imperium wants to destroy an enemy it deploys the 'angels of death' instead of just screaming:
"NUKE THE BASTARDS!"

Just a thought:victory:
 

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Grand Lord Munchkin
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"Neutron bomb those bastards!" Would be more effective.
 

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Oh, I thought this was going to be one of those "why don't Imperial troops just shoot everything with super techy guns? I mean, this IS 38,000 years in the future, why do they even have swords and stuff like from the Middle Ages LOL!?" questions.

Baron answered nicely. Nukes are lame in WAR40k, Krieg was engulfed in 500 years of atomic war and it survived (more or less). There are much shinier and more destructive weapons.
 

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Grand Lord Munchkin
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Because the rest of you people would throw a shit fit if we glassed Iraq. Lol We don’t do what we do simply to kill, we do it because we are honestly trying to help people or defend ourselves. When we went into Iraq we wanted to take down a credible threat, or what we and most of the world thought was a credible threat, and help the people there by creating a stable government. But that’s a different story.
 

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Me thinks this thread needs to get back on topic or we're going to have a debate on war/politics/what is right and wrong.
And to answer the original question, if they want to kill an entire planet they just declare "Exterminatus"(SP). It's a bomb that turns all matter into a gas, then they throw in some bombs that light the gas turning the whole planet into a HUGE firestorm. All it leaves is bare rock and ash, there's nothing left. It pretty much makes the entire planet useless.
I'm sure that they could re-culture the planet eventually, make the plants grow again/bring some in, bring the people to live there, basically turn it into a living planet again. But it's deff not something that is going to happen over night after an attack like that.
Now they DO use this attack, but it's not something that is thrown down lightly. I belive (and I may be wrong here) that only an Inquisitor can order the attack. But it has to be for something HUGE, like a hive fleet taking over a planet.
 

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Grand Lord Munchkin
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An inquisitor, a high ranking imperial military commander, a chapter master(maybe), or a high lord.
 

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Well, I'll not comment much on glassing Iraq. This is a gaming forum, a gaming subject, though you do make a valid point about us not glassing others. It's simple. Nukes remove viable habitable zones. The radiation in the immediate zone won't diminish to habitable ranges for 25-100 years post detonation, and the fallout can kill many unintended civilians. The Imperium values its property, and people are, by far, the most valuable commodity the Imperium has... as a whole, of course, individual humans are worth about $0.0005 Imperial Navy, for example, doesn't think Imperial Guardsmen are worth much even that much =P

Nuking means area denial, and usually infrastructure damage that makes hives worthless slag heaps. The Imperium doesn't do this frequently in part because it is more often than not fighting on its own worlds, fighting against raiders, pirates and enslavers who come not to exterminate the population, but to steal souls for Chaos, their Archon or to sabotage Imperial efforts...

Admittedly, the Imperium does quite often blast targets from orbit, but this is more often with orbital bombardments for precision targets, not utter annihilation. A lance strike might be directed at a wall, tank battallion or some other worthwhile expenditure of battery power, but to outright drop extermination on a large scale is a bit much.

On the subject of weapons of the Imperium, they do utilize thermonuclear technology to an extent, but not in the way we could today. Plasma guns fire what is more or less an airborne fusion plasma ball. Sort of a blast of sun. Meltaguns fire a microwave-powered beam of fusion energy capable of cutting through almost anything natural or manmade. Meltabombs once again use a blast of microwave energy to supercharge hydrogen, and force it to go into a fusion reaction, which causes a bright, dazzling light and can incinerate the insides of tanks in milliseconds (BRB says so). Melta torpedoes are oversized meltabombs, which may be fired from orbit, and in most situations qualify as "nuking the site from orbit"...

On a much larger scale, in Nightbringer, Uriel Ventris calls down an orbital bombardment from the Bombard cannons aboard the Ultramarines strike cruiser in orbit. These massive cannons lob what the author terms as "magma bombs" onto the planet's surface. Magma bombs do some serious hurt, glassing entire city blocks with each blast. I would guess they equate to 5-10KT blasts, but as they're strictly hydrogen fusion reactions, none of these weapons leave behind the telltale fallout and ground-zero radiation patterns.

But, to the point of it, real nukes (not microwave-triggered hydrogen bombs) are unrealistic, as their fuel might expire before they are needed, and in the 41st millenium, who knows, Uranium and Plutonium might not even be readily available.

Also, there's far more efficient uses of the Imperium's arsenal space. A single warhead can kill all life on a planet, and turn it into a potential fireball. Virus bombs carry an engineered virus (molecular sized robots, which act like a virus perhaps), called the flesh eater. It simply attacks biomass and turns it into a gasoline-like substance. It's a bit hard to mop up the mess, as the virus tends to eat through anything organic in origin (rubber seals, wood, ocean life), and sending a thunderhawk or drop pod into the pyrotechnic sewage once the virus dies off (it eats itself after a while) would be suicide, as the heat from a drop pod's re-entry would spark the fumes before the pod even landed.

Cyclonic warheads, Vortex missiles and Seismic weapons of various sorts have also been included in exterminations.

One last note on nukes. If you're dead set on a fluffy use of a nuke to destroy a site from orbit, Imperial Navy flagships sometimes carry what is called a Nova Cannon. It's big, roughly the length of the ship, runs along the undercarriage, and is effectively a 500MT nuke on a railgun. The ship powers massive magnetic rails and vacuums the air from the chamber for the shot. The nuke flies forward at near-light speed, and tends to scatter quite a bit, but if you shot the moon square on, it would turn to dust (the momentum of the bomb could bury it inside the moon, too, making the shot more effective) and if a Nova Cannon ever fired on Earth, we'd have a bigger chunk than Caliban, but that's about it.

EDIT: Virus bombs are one of the few ways the Inquisition can fight the Hive Fleets. Dropping one onto a world that's being consumed can actually infect the hive, if you're lucky, and the engineered virus will work its way up into the ships in orbit that are siphoning off from the planet before the virus is isolated/stopped (their immune system is highly adaptive, what the Imperium needs is HIV - Hive Immunodeficiency Virus - bombs). Virus bomb a world, and you can burn it before the tyranids can feed, which in turn, makes them hungrier as they lost biomass in the fight.
 

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For every world the Imperium fights for, a thousand are glassed from orbit. Welcome to the 41st millenia boys and girls, it's an ugly place.
 

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Grand Lord Munchkin
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Well, I'll not comment much on glassing Iraq. This is a gaming forum, a gaming subject, though you do make a valid point about us not glassing others.
Hey, he asked. lol
 

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Grand Lord Munchkin
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Ok, planets don't get burned all that often. Lol they arn't totally retarded.
 

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I don't thinnk the Baron was trying to make any sort of political point. Rather, if I'm right, he's saying we should look at our own history where there has been a conflict between two forces and one has the ability to totally wipe the other out with, seemingly, not too much effort, but instead does it the hard way by sending in troops and hardware. If we can find reasons why this would be a better option for a present day armed force with a nuclear capability, then we probably find the reasons that the Imperium won't just nuke sites from orbit. Reaction of governments/populations of neighbouring planets might be a consideration- if, by nuking one world, you push 4-5 into rebellion, then it mightn't be a good idea, especially if it could be considered that the problem could have been fixed in a different, less terminal, way.
As for the Ground Zero of a nuclear explosion, I think it rather depends on a number of factors as to wether or not the area is rendered uninhabitable. Hiroshima and Nagasaki have both been rebuilt and people live right under where the air-burst happened; if it was a ground-burst, then I imagine there would be a period of time when it is too radioactive to be built on/lived in. Also, how many nukes are popped- more nukes (a full scale war) as opposed to only a few, scattered ones (a spasm war).

GFP
 

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Grand Lord Munchkin
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I know what he was saying but I felt asthough I should get a quick talking point in there to defend my boys, nothing more. Lol excessive application of force would do unnecessary harm to the infrastructure which would undo all efforts made to take the location so it would be counter productive to the goals of the campaign. Something to that effect
 

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That's more or less what the Inquisition worries about. They might occasionally exterminate worlds, but they also do everything in their power to bring in the SoB/GK/DW, and deal with the problem in a localized fashion. More often the Ordo Hereticus will launch a fullscale war with a rebellious world and burn half the population in pogroms than simply virus bomb it from space, because the half that's not dead will be faithful, if only out of fear (and surprise, and a fanatical devotion to the pope! NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION!)

Quite often, populaces facing such shock and awe tactics (SoB marching through your city blaring their litanies while chasing heretics with flamers... there's something about that smell of napalm that moves the mood of a crowd) will turn on their heretic leaders, realizing the hurt they'll be in for if they don't, and the world will return to a faithful, tithing state, which is what the Inquisition really cares about. So long as the Administratum gets its annual tithe of guardsmen, raw materials and priests, they don't worry too much about "loyal" worlds.

As to planets assaulted from without, like by orks, chaos or Eldar, these worlds often have valuable supplies or large populations (why else would they be attacked) so the Imperium is quick to preserve its property. In the case of Necrons, they usually do nuke the site from orbit, as a tomb world may span the entire planet, and there's nothing you can do about it, other than repeatedly hit the damn tombs with nukes until the necrons stop rematerializing, or until the world is pushed by the repeated blasts from orbit into the nearest star.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Why don't they do what chaos do with the doomsday devices: "let me sit in that throne or I press this button...":grin:
 

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Because Russia.
And you're on the same planet. Mutually Assured Destruction doesn't count for much when you're in orbit.

I know I'm probably invoking Godwin by mentioning this, but Nazi Germany. Thanks to a massive propaganda campaign, gestapo-enforced compliance and a totalitarian government, a lot of people where wholly complicit with the holocaust. It's nasty to say the Imperium isn't much different, but surrounding systems may not protest the virus-bombing of a world for fear of being branded as sympathisers to traitors.
 

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The imperium won't "glass" a forge world because they can't build the damn forges again, right? As in they forgot and have lost the gift of reverse-engineering (because it's heretical and whatnot)

Also, aren't Deathstrike Missiles nuclear? When I read "vortex-warhead" and "dark age o' technology", I take that to mean a nuclear devise that they have no idea how or why it works.

And do they have nerve-gas on the 41st millennium? I mean, that would be nasty for tyranids and orks, right?

I mean hell, the Adeptus Mechanicus are glorified housekeepers. All they do is dust off titans and keep the joints oiled right? Lol I'm kidding.
 
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