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Caestus Assault Ram

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A Caestus Assault Ram during a planetary landing

The Caestus Assault Ram is one of several types of assault rams used by the Imperium of Man. Assault rams are used for boarding actions during void battles and are capable of quickly placing boarding parties directly aboard enemy spacecraft. The Caestus Assault Ram is the most common assault ram used by the Adeptus Astartes, due to the craft's high speed and phenomenal durability, which makes it highly prized by many Space Marine Chapters. The Caestus Assault Ram is smaller than the Thunderhawk gunship but is larger than the Shark-class Boarding Torpedo, allowing more Space Marines to be safely deployed into enemy vessels. The craft can safely transport up to 10 fully armoured Space Marines into combat, wearing either Power Armour, Artificer Armour, or Terminator Armour. The Caestus was originally designed for ship-to-ship boarding actions in the void of space, yet the revolutionary anti-gravitic technology discovered by the Technoarcheologist Arkhan Land enabled the craft to be fitted with high powered anti-gravitic plating, allowing it to be used in high-velocity orbital operations, as well as operate as a heavy battle skimmer once it reaches the ground and deploys it cargo of Space Marines. The Caestus is a common sight on-board the ships of fleet-based Chapters, who spend much of their time fighting against enemy starships, boarding Space Hulks, or attacking enemy space stations or asteroid bases.

HistoryEdit

This honoured war machine has been in service as a ship-to-ship boarding vessel since the dim and distant Great Crusade, one of many different patterns used by the fleets of the Adeptus Astartes and the Imperial Navy. As a result of the seminal discoveries made by the acclaimed machine-arcanist Arkhan Land in the lost vaults beneath the Martian wastes, the Caestus was fitted with an array of anti-gravitic projection nodes that allowed it to operate within the gravitational field of a planet or similar sized body. This adaptation turned the venerable design of the Caestus from a pure spacecraft limited to operations in the cold depths of the void in high velocity direct orbital attacks to one capable of operating as a battle skimmer in support of ground operations when called on to do so. This allowed the Caestus to assault the most formidable of fortifications on a planet's surface, making it a vital weapon in the arsenal of many Space Marine Legions. In the current late 41st Millennium the Caestus Assault Ram continues to prove its worth as a valuable components of many fleet-based Chapters.

ConstructionEdit

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A Squadron of Caestus Assault Rams during flight

The Caestus Assault Ram, like most other assault rams used in ship-to-ship boarding actions during void combat, was designed for one purpose: to cross the void of space between two voidships at extreme speed and collide directly with the enemy vessel. The ram would completely puncture through the enemy vessel's hull and burrow into its superstructure, where it would unleash its payload of Astartes warriors to wreak havoc inside of the enemy craft. These missions are highly dangerous, as a single hit from an enemy heavy starship weapon can completely destroy most small spacecraft, an outcome that would prove grievous for Astartes, as they will be unable to retrieve the precious gene-seed of the fallen. The Caestus is one of the most well-armoured assault rams in the Imperium, yet it sacrifices little of its speed. The craft's front, which will bear most of the enemy's fire, is heavily armoured and protected with a heavy superstructure that is buttressed by inertial recoil compensation systems. These systems include a near-unique Misericordia system that is designed to interlock with Space Marine Power Armour or Terminator Armour, protecting a full squad complement aboard from any impact short of those that would destroy the craft itself. These systems, combined with the craft's high speed and extremely durable armour allow the Caestus to deliver a full squad of Space Marines right into the bowels of an enemy starship without casualty. With its anti-gravitic capability, the craft is also capable of directly deploying Astartes into the heart of a battle and then lending heavy support as if it were a heavily-armoured skimmer.

ArmamentEdit

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An ancient pict-capture of a squadron of Caestus Assault Rams in flight during the Istvaan III Atrocity

The Caestus Assault Ram is equipped with a forward-firing heavy Melta Weapon known as a Magna-Melta. This weapon is used to weaken the hull armour of an enemy ship or fortification wall before the craft's armoured prow crashes through the weakened area, creating a breach through which its complement of Space Marines can immediately deploy and advance. When the Caestus is used as a heavy skimmer during ground combat this weapon is extremely effective at close-range against enemy tanks and bunkers. Many Space Marine Chapters also equip their Caestus Assault Rams with twin-linked Firefury Missile Launchers, one launcher on each of its stabiliser wings. These weapons fire all of their missiles at once, completely saturating the area with a massive amount of firepower, which allows the assault ram to touch down and deploy its cargo of Astartes before the enemy can retaliate. The Caestus Assault Ram can be upgraded with several enhancements, including Frag Assault Launchers and a Teleport Homer. When a Caestus Assault Ram is upgraded with a Teleport Homer the craft can allow additional forces to be teleported to its location, which can greatly speed up the process of taking over or destroying an enemy starship or teleporting Terminators into a breach created during a ground conflict. During the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras of the late 30th and early 31st Millennia, the Caestus Assault Ram could also be outfitted with an auxiliary drive system and a Machine Spirit, and armed with wing-mounted twin-linked Havoc Missile Launchers instead of the Firefury Missile Launchers found on the newer craft.

Dragonfire Assault WingEdit

First recorded in the Libris Apollon as being used during the later years of the Great Crusade, the Dragonfire attack pattern of the Caestus Assault Ram relied on the combined use of three Caestus Assault Rams armed with Magna-Melta weapons, and the skill of their crews to fly these craft in a tight formation while firing their weapons with precise timing to create large breaches in enemy hulls and fortifications. Few obstacles can stand before the fury of this attack pattern.

Notable Users of the Caestus Assault RamEdit

Known Caestus Assault RamsEdit

  • Amaranth Fang - The Amaranth Fang is a Caestus Assault Ram of the Salamanders Chapter that fought during the Battle of Shaprais.
  • Burning Angel - The Burning Angel is a Caestus Assault Ram of the Exorcists Chapter that is attached to the Battle Barge Redeemer.
  • Gore Dagger - The Gore Dagger was a Caestus Assault Ram of the Space Wolves Chapter that was destroyed during the Battle for the Karina Nebula during the defense of the Imperial Mining World of Betalis III from the forces of the Eldar Craftworld Mymeara.
  • Sapphire Claw - The Sapphire Claw is a Caestus Assault Ram of the Astral Claws Chapter that is attached to the Battle Barge Seraph of Judgement.
  • Secutor Crimson - This Caestus Assault Ram has been in service of the Red Hunters Space Marine Chapter for at least two millennia and possibly for far longer. The Secutor Crimson appears to have served in many Inquisition-led operations, for its hull is etched with countless battle honours. Yet, key honours have been deliberately removed while others are unknown to the Red Hunters Chapter archives. What glories go unrecorded having been expunged from the minds of the Chapter's brethren, as well as redacted from such rolls of honour as adorn the armoured flanks of the Secutor Crimson must remain unknown forever more, for the sake of the Imperium and those who shelter within it.
  • Spectre of Death - The Spectre of Death was a Caestus Assault Ram of the Star Phantoms Space Marine Chapter that was destroyed during the Battle for the Palace of Thorns during the Fall of Badab Primaris.

Adeptus Mechanicus Technical SpecificationsEdit

Caestus Assault Ram
Vehicle Name: Caestus Assault Ram Main Armament: Dual-mounted Haephestus pattern magna-melta thermic cannon
Forge World of Origin: Mars Secondary Armament: 2 x Rocket Launchers
Known Patterns: I-XI Traverse & Elevation: 10 five second blasts
Crew: Pilot & Gunner Main Ammunition: 24 Missiles
Transport Capacity: 10 Space Marines Secondary Ammunition: N/A
Weight: 85 Tonnes
Length: 16.8 metres Armour:
Wingspan: 12.5 metres
Height: 6.5 metres Superstructure: 60 millimetres
Operational Ceiling: N/A Hull: 60 millimetres
Max Speed: 1,800 kph approx Gun Mantlet: N/A
Range: 22,000 km in atmosphere Vehicle Designation: 5463-028-7108-AR 016
Addendum: Anti-grav repellor requires Doctrina Primaris level propitiation Firing Ports: N/A
Access Points: N/A Turret: N/A

Also SeeEdit

SourcesEdit

  • Imperial Armour Aeronautica, pp. 30-31
  • Imperial Armour Apocalypse (2nd Edition), pp. 31, 35
  • The Horus Heresy - Book One: Betrayal (Imperial Armour), pp. 14, 28, 223
  • Imperial Armour Volume Two, Second Edition - War Machines of the Adeptus Astartes, pp. 142-142
  • Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War - Part Two, pp. 26, 27, 28, 82, 131, 137, 143-144, 191, 206
  • Imperial Armour Volume Eleven - The Doom of Mymeara, pg. 125
  • Salvation's Reach (Novel) by Dan Abnett, pg. 230

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