Cruisers make up the backbone of any starfaring warfleet. More maneouverable than a Battleship and more powerful than an Escort, they have the firepower and speed to be used for almost any sort of duty, including patrols, blockades, raids, and straight-up firefights. Cruisers are divided into many sub-types depending on their size and role. From Light Cruisers that are fast enough to chase off Escorts all the way up to the massive Grand Cruisers that are almost the equal of a Battleship, each Cruiser has its own part to play in achieving victory.

Imperial Navy CruisersEdit

The conduct of the Great Crusade required vessels by the thousands, vessels that could not only carry armies and bring apocalyptic destruction to bear, but that could also endure the perilous transit of Warp space and the titanic forces and hardships of the Empyrean and the Deep Void both. Military vessels were needed to replace losses and meet the ever expanding demands of the Expeditionary fleets, the Armada Imperialis and, on a lesser scale, the Rogue Traders and local navies. To satisfy this constant need, a bewildering variety of classes of warship were developed to fulfil an equally bewildering variety of roles. Light Cruisers and Heavy Cruisers are medium-sized warships, ranging in general terms between 4 km and 6 km in length and with an on-board complement of crew ranging into the thousands. They are intended primarily for independent military operations such as raids, outpost assaults, deep-range patrols and search-and-destroy missions, and for use as "workhorse" warships in larger fleets and squadrons. The difference between the two primary types of Cruisers is principally found not in general size (although this may also be the case) but role and specialisation; Heavy, or Armoured Cruisers as they are also known, are designed to favour defence and firepower (particularly over-gunned ships for their class may be referred to as Battle Cruisers).

A noteworthy but relatively uncommon type of warship, Grand Cruisers are "pocket battleships" -- something of a halfway house between a Battleship and a Cruiser in size and firepower. They were intended principally to be capable of operating on their own rather than as part of a larger fleet, however, and are often further specially designed either for range (which was to say duration of deployment without significant resupply or refit) or to mount a specialised weapon system which required particular tactics to utilise. Grand Cruisers make for formidable heavy raiders and could use their range and speed to catch targets unawares, as well as being powerful flagships for small fleets of cruisers and escorts. The Galleass of War is an equivalent vessel (often much larger physically), much of whose fabric is given over to freight and transport capacity, while still maintaining formidable armaments and defence. They make for ideal support vessels for deep-range explorations into unknown regions of space and as the flagships of the most powerful Rogue Traders Militant.

Light Cruisers sacrifice some of the favoured elements of Heavy Cruisers for greatly increased speed and manoeuvrability. Both however are more than a match for any warship smaller than themselves, and will be the death of any civilian ship it chooses to turn its wrath on. Just as with Battle Barges -- but on a smaller scale -- Strike Cruisers are modified designs used by the Legiones Astartes, optimised and reconfigured for planetary assault and boarding actions in primacy over other roles.

No Cruiser of any type can hope to match a Battleship in an open fight on equal terms, and so in any "clash of the line" between fleets, they are used in a supporting role for their side's Battleships and Battle Barges, their role primarily to use their speed to carry out flanking attacks, combine their firepower, and to harry and finish off wounded ships. Because of the flexibility of their hulls and their relatively smaller scale in comparison to a Battleship -- needing far less resources and material to construct as a mighty capital ship -- Cruiser-sized hulls are also used for a wide variety of rarer variants and specialised functions. As a result, minor classes such as siege monitors, attack carriers, pursuit cruisers, arvelasters, torpedo rams, claw-cruisers and shield-barques can all be found in the ancient Armada Imperialis order of battle.

Grand CruisersEdit

Galleass of WarEdit

  • Maelstrom-class Galleass of War (Great Crusade era)
  • Odysseus-class Galleass of War (Great Crusade era)

Battle CruisersEdit

Heavy CruisersEdit


Light CruisersEdit

Space Marine CruisersEdit

Chaos CruisersEdit

Grand CruisersEdit

Heavy CruisersEdit


Light CruisersEdit

Dark Eldar CruisersEdit

Eldar CruisersEdit


Light CruisersEdit

Necron CruisersEdit

Ork CruisersEdit

Tau Empire CruisersEdit



Tyranid CruisersEdit

See AlsoEdit


  • Battlefleet Gothic Rulebook: Ships of the Gothic Sector
  • Battlefleet Gothic Armada: Imperial Fleets
  • Battlefleet Gothic Armada: Xenos Fleets
  • Battlefleet Gothic Armada: Traitor Fleets
  • Battlefleet Gothic Armada: Necron and Tyranid Fleets
  • Battlefleet Gothic Armada: Tau Fleets
  • Battlefleet Gothic: Doom of the Eldar
  • Battlefleet Gothic Magazine #2, pp. 38-39
  • Codex: Eldar (4th Edition), pg. 12
  • Imperial Armour Volume Three - The Taros Campaign
  • Planet Killer Magazine #1, pg. 45
  • The Horus Heresy - Book Three: Extermination "Warships of the Great Crusade," by Alan Bligh, pg. 15

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