The Imperial Dauntless-class Light Cruiser is a light scouting cruiser and Escort vessel like those that have always been a mainstay of the Imperial Navy's fleets throughout the Milky Way Galaxy. An ideal light cruiser carries enough firepower to drive off opposing Escorts and enough fuel and supplies to remain away from Imperial fleet bases for months of subjective time. The Dauntless is a popular class of light cruiser, as fast and manoeuvrable as a frigate but with a ferociously powerful frontal Lance armament for its size. The Dauntless-class is a vessel more commonly seen operating on its own or in squadrons in either deep space or planetary systems. It is a very reliable starship and the class has a long history of being a dependable and formidable frigate in times of war.
Application in the Imperial Fleet
Escort vessels are widely employed in the Imperial Navy to protect the more vulnerable capital ships of a battlefleet so that they will survive in combat long enough to bring their heavy weapons batteries to bear on the foe. The Dauntless-class light cruiser is an ideal heavy escort for most Imperial battleships. As well as its Escort role in the Imperial fleet, the Dauntless is also used as a fleet reconnaissance vanguard, acting as the eyes and ears of fleet commanders. Dauntless-class vessels often operate well in advance of the main fleet and use their Auspexes to glean information on the enemy ships that they then relay to the main fleet, which can determine where and when to engage the enemy that will prove most advantageous.
The appearance of a Space Hulk is one event that can put an Imperial star system in jeopardy. It is often a Dauntless-class cruiser that is the first Imperial warship to intercept and investigate these haunted leviathans because of their impressive speed and their role as scouts. The Dauntless-class light cruiser is also often the Imperium's first choice when it needs a starship to serve in a primarily non-combat role. For instance, Adeptus Mechanicus Explorators regularly use this type of starship as a way of exploring the galaxy in search of lost technology and new worlds for the Imperium to settle. This ideal light cruiser carries enough firepower to protect itself on extended missions and enough fuel and supplies to remain in deep space and away from naval bases for months at a time. It is worth noting that many branches of the Imperium other than the Imperial Navy have been known to use this class of ship, including several Chapters of Space Marines, including the Ultramarines, who make use of them in their large Chapter fleet. Some of the most powerful Rogue Traders have also been known to use a Dauntless-class light cruiser as their flagship, though only the wealthiest and most well-connected Rogue Traders possess the pull with the Imperial navy to acquire a warship of this type.
The Dauntless-class carries weapons that can finish off a crippled Battleship or Cruiser, making this Light Cruiser an incredibly dangerous starship for its size. The Dauntless-class' armament includes an average-sized port and starboard weapons battery as its primary weapon of engagement at short range. Enough firepower is contained in either battery to turn a hostile Escort vessel into a smoldering wreck or to cripple a similarly-sized enemy light cruiser. However, the real strength of the Dauntless-class comes in the form of its prow Lances. Located on the "wing-tips" of the vessel and on the prow where a ram would be, these Lances can make short work of any Escort and can ensure the Dauntless is a constant thorn in the side of any enemy Cruiser. Some Dauntless-class ships are not outfitted with Lances and have had them replaced with prow Torpedo Tubes instead. Dauntless-class variants outfitted with Torpedo Tubes are usually found accompanying the more common variants outfitted with Lances in small squadrons or in the battlefleet itself where they are expected to get close to the enemy. Neither of these variants of the Dauntless-class are any less capable than the other at carrying out their intended roles in a battlefleet.
Notable Dauntless-class Light Cruisers
- Abdiel - The Abdiel earned a commendation from the Imperial Navy for its service during the Gothic War.
- Aegis - Recently recalled from her quasi-exile at Damaris after thwarting a full-scale Ork incursion, Aegis and her fiery commander Lord-Captain Sylvia Locke arrived at Footfall for a new assignment. Despite disobeying a direct order, Lord-Captain Locke’s quick thinking and great tactical skill smashed the Orks at Damaris, and the Admiralty at Scintilla have given her the supposedly easy task of patrolling the Furibundis system while they decide what to do with this opinionated officer. Aegis is a Dauntless-class Light Cruiser fitted out as a long-range reconnaissance ship. After more than a millennium of service to the Throne, and the recent savage events at Damaris, she is a scarred and battered old ship, but still clear-eyed and dangerous enough in a fight.
- Bellerophon - The Bellerophon mutinied at the beginning of the Gothic War and attempted to join the side of Abaddon the Despoiler and the Forces of Chaos, but the Dictator-class Cruiser Lord Solar Macharius gave chase and ultimately recaptured the Traitor vessel.
- Freedom's Price - Recently purchased by House Feckward, Freedom’s Price is a Dauntless-class Light Cruiser that began life as Liberator. Initially laid down as a long-range scout and augur picket ship, Liberator served with distinction alongside her sister ship Aegis among the Drusus Marches at the end of the Angevin Crusade. She was sold out of the service hundreds of years ago, and disappeared from record until recently when she turned up at Port Wander in the fleet of a minor Rogue Trader from the Calixis Sector sailing under the name Freedom’s Price. A number of missteps and poor decisions on Port Wander broke the Rogue Trader, and he was taken into custody by the Arbites and his assets liquidated. Krawkin Feckward, recently set ashore and shipless after the disastrous events surrounding an ill-fated commercial venture in the far reaches of the Koronus Expanse, picked up Freedom’s Price for a scandalously low price, and has been using her to great effect in rebuilding his fortunes. He was delighted to find that at some point in her long, mysterious absence she’d been fitted with numerous systems of obvious xenos origins. In the short time he’s had her, he’s fitted her with even more heretical xenos technology, much to the chagrin of his colleagues and business partners.
- Hammer of Truth - The Hammer of Truth belongs to a Rogue Trader named Baron Djanko Scourge, and is as unsophisticated as he is. Once a swift Dauntless class cruiser, Djanko heaped it with armour and weapons until its much abused engines now struggle to drag it amongst the stars.
- Nihontu - The Nihontu is a fearsome vessel equipped with banks of lance turrets and heavy armour, and the pride of Sun Lee's Rogue Trader dynasty. Her paranoia over losing the ship in combat, however, prompts her to never leave port without an escort of three raiders.
- Uziel - The Uziel, alongside the its squadron mate, the Baron Surtur, were the first Imperial starships to detect Warmaster Khuzor's Chaotic fleet near the Formosa Cluster and these two Dauntless-class Light Cruisers' information allowed Imperial Admiral Sartus to successfully bring the enemy to battle.
- Vengeful Martyr - The lead vessel of Patrol Group 686, the Vengeful Martyr is an ancient and revered vessel, one of the ships that served in the Angevin Crusade and survived to form the core of Battlefleet Calixis. Broadly speaking, the Vengeful Martyr is somewhat more capable than the average Dauntless-class Cruiser, being slightly more resilient and significantly more manoeuvrable than most, and fitted with a rare but potent drive to power its forward lance battery. The Vengeful Martyr has gained something of a reputation in its long history for being an eager warship, unwilling to hide or retreat but always reliable and potent on the attack. A long line of commanding officers have found it challenging to rein in the animal ferocity of the ship, but those who have succeeded have achieved great things with it.
- Vigilant - The Vigilant was a Dauntless-class Light Cruiser that saw heavy combat and acted with grat valour during the Gothic War.
- Baron Surtur - The Baron Surtur, alongside the its squadron mate, the Uziel, were the first Imperial starships to detect Warmaster Khuzor's Chaotic fleet near the Formosa Cluster and these two Dauntless-class Light Cruisers' information allowed Imperial Admiral Sartus to successfully bring the enemy to battle.
- Guardian - The Guardian earned great renown serving in the Gothic War.
- Havock - The Havock earned great renown serving in the Gothic War.
- Hull: Light Cruiser
- Class: Dauntless-class Light Cruiser
- Dimensions: Approximately 4.5 km long, .5 km abeam at fins.
- Mass: Approximately 22 megatonnes.
- Crew: Approximately 65000 crew.
- Accelerations: 2.5 gravities max sustainable acceleration.
- Battlefleet Gothic Rulebook
- Rogue Trader: Fallen Suns (RPG), pp. 69-70
- Rogue Trader: Hostile Acquisitions (RPG), pg. 92
- Rogue Trader: Lure of the Expanse (RPG), pp. 136-137