The Deathstrike Missile Launcher is a mobile missile launcher of the Imperial Guard that is capable of firing the ballistic Deathstrike Missile which is often equipped with a warhead that is classified as a weapon of mass destruction. The Deathstrike Launcher is built atop a modified Chimera chassis to which a complex launching system has been added that is capable of firing a single Deathstrike Missile. The Deathstrike Launcher is becoming a rare sight on the battlefield due to Imperial commanders' concerns about its vulnerabilities, the danger it presents to friendly forces, and their preference for other, more mobile and flexible artillery vehicles such as the Basilisk. Deathstrike Launchers are only found on the most apocalyptic battlefields and are only ever used when the total annihilation of a key target is absolutely necessary, and only after the unit using it has been authorised to do so by Segmentum Command. The vehicle launches a single, inter-continental, solid-fuel ballistic missile, with an operational range of several thousand kilometres. When the missile detonates everything caught within the blast radius is instantly consumed by an immense thermonuclear fireball that can vaporize almost anything, including armoured units and buildings. A single well-placed shot from a Deathstrike Launcher is more than capable of destroying whole armies, due to the immense destructive capacity of the Deathstrike tactical nuclear warhead and the fact that it may need to be used whilst allies are still caught in the weapon's blast radius. Once a Deathstrike Launcher has been authorised for use, Imperial Guard regiments employing a Deathstrike Launcher usually assign highly loyal Commissars to Deathstrike Launcher batteries to ensure the weapon is fired, no matter the target or the consequences that will result for Imperial forces.
The Deathstrike Missile Launcher is armed with a single intercontinental ballistic Deathstrike Missile, which can be outfitted with several different types of warheads, including biological, tactical nuclear, and Titan-killers, but by far the most common is the plasma warhead, which is capable of vaporizing almost anything within a very large radius by unleashing a potent thermonuclear plasma reaction. The rarest warhead used by the Deathstrike is the ancient Vortex Warhead. This weapon from the Dark Age of Technology tears open an inter-dimensional rift to the Immaterium that rips its targets apart in a vortex of raging Warp energies. The Deathstrike Missile Launcher has an operational range in the thousands of kilometres that no other Imperial artillery piece can come close to matching, and the destructive force that can be unleashed by a single Deathstrike Missile is beyond the capabilities of any other artillery weapons used by the Imperium. The vehicle is also armed with a hull-mounted Heavy Bolter for protection, even though the Deathstrike usually will never move anywhere near the front lines because of its extreme operational range. The Heavy Bolter can also be replaced with a Heavy Flamer. The vehicle can be further modified with camouflage netting, a Hunter-Killer Missile Launcher, a Dozer Blade, Extra Armour Plating, a Pintle-mounted Heavy Stubber or Storm Bolter, a Searchlight, and Smoke Launchers.
Known Uses of the DeathstrikeEdit
- Battle for Entymion IV (Unknown Date.M41) - During the battle for the capital city of the world of Entymion IV, Consul Kelchenko of the Adeptus Munitorum, irritated at being relegated to carrying out artillery barrages far from the frontlines, took it upon himself to show his mettle to his Imperial Guard counterparts, and ordered a Deathstrike Missile launched at the presumed position of the Soul Drinkers. This proved to be a catastrophic mistake, however, since it opened a huge hole to the city catacombs, which served as a storage room for the Dark Eldar Prince Karhedros' reserve of Grotesques. These monstrous warriors were subsequently unleashed, along with hordes of Slaaneshi daemons upon the Imperial defenders.
- Battle of Baric VI (994.M40) - Ork Lootas infiltrated the 52nd Army Artillery Park and captured one of the three Deathstrike Missile Launchers that was stationed there and the weapon was later deployed against Imperial forces fighting for control of Baric VI from Ork invaders. The cataclysmic explosion of a Deathstrike Missile destroyed two armoured regiments and the command Baneblade, Steel Might, of the 278th Mordian Regiment. After a two-year investigation of how the weapon came to be stolen by the Greenskins, twelve Imperial generals were executed for dereliction of duty.
- Third War for Armageddon (998.M41) - During the Third War for Armageddon, the Deathstrike Batteries located in Hive Helsreach were able to assist in the defence of Hive Volcanus from the onslaught of Orks, even though they were located on opposite ends of the planet.
Adeptus Mechanicus Technical SpecificationsEdit
The technical specifications of this vehicle have yet to be released for public consumption by the Adeptus Mechanicus.
- Codex: Imperial Guard (5th Edition), pp. 55, 103
- Epic Armageddon, pg. 97
- White Dwarf 366 (UK), pg. 5
- Apocalypse Datasheet
- Crimson Tears (Novel) by Ben Counter, pg. 96