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Earthshaker Cannon

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Earthshaker01

An Earthshaker Cannon with its crew preparing the weapon for firing

The Earthshaker Cannon is the standard heavy artillery piece used by the siege regiments of the Imperial Guard. Its shells are packed with powerful high-explosives that will destroy nearly anything within a sizable radius. Besides its field artillery companies, the backbone of any siege regiment of the Imperial Guard are its heavy artillery companies. The heavy artillery pieces used by these companies are the big guns, deployed well back from the front lines to provide a sustained bombardment of the enemy forces during a major set-piece engagement. Imperial heavy artillery includes the Imperial Guard's workhorse Earthshaker Cannon, and the aging Medusa heavy siege gun. Both types of heavy artillery fire sustained bombardments, box barrages to isolate a battlefield from enemy reinforcements, harassing fire during an enemy advance, counter-battery fire to suppress enemy artillery and destructive fire at selected enemy units, all spotted for by artillery officers who serve in the dangerous duty as forward observers on the front lines.

Capabilities

Earthshaker00

An Earthshaker artillery battery opening fire on an enemy position

The Earthshaker is a 132mm calibre gun, capable of firing a 38 kilogram shell over 15 kilometres at a velocity of 814 miles per hour. So a shell fired to the weapon's maximum range would take 19 seconds to reach its point of impact. The cannon itself is extremely reliable and consistent. It uses its standard five powder charges, but this can be increased with the addition of charges six and seven. This will increase the range of the weapon at the risk of the extra wear and tear on the barrel of the gun itself. Firing higher charged shots produces considerable strain and erosion on the barrel and the firing chamber, so that the weapon's breach seal fails, dramatically decreasing the gun's range and muzzle velocity and increasing the risk of a misfire. Because of this, the use of higher charge shells must be authorised by high command and the firing is recorded on each gun. No gun may fire more than 20 overcharged rounds. The Earthshaker can also fire different types of shells as the situation requires, including smoke shells, incendiary shells, illumination shells and diamantine-tipped armour-penetrating shells. While the Earthshaker is not as strong as the Demolisher Cannon in terms of brute explosive force, its remains an invaluable weapon thanks to its range. The Earthshaker Cannon is too large to be towed by a Centaur field utility vehicle, and the larger Trojan towing vehicle is needed instead. The Trojan can also carry the gun's crew and some of its ammunition as needed.

Siege regiments of the Imperial Guard are supported not only by their own heavy artillery companies but also by the overall army's bombardment corps. These are concentrations of heavy artillery pieces like the Earthshaker and the Medusa that back up the attacking regiments and are used to maintain sustained bombardments before the launch of major offensives against an enemy's entrenched, fortified positions.

Variants

There are several different variants of the Earthshaker Cannon used by the Imperial Guard's siege regiments. These include the following:

  • Phaeton Pattern Earthshaker Platform - This pattern of Earthshaker, which originated on the Forge World of Phaeton, is the most common variant of Earthshaker Cannon in use by the Imperial Guard. The Phaeton pattern uses four large, flat legs to keep the weapon stabilised during firing, and during transport four small motorised tracked devices are attached to the ends of the legs in order to help with the transport of the weapon over difficult terrain.
  • Lucius Pattern Earthshaker Platform - The Lucius Pattern, manufactured on the Forge World of Lucius, replaces the large stabiliser legs of the Phaeton Pattern with large metal wheels that can be locked into place during firing. These large wheels remain attached to the cannon at all times, allowing the weapon to be quickly towed out of a dangerous situation. The Lucius Pattern also lacks the large gun shield of the Phaeton Pattern.
  • Hellbreaker Pattern Earthshaker Platform - The Hellbreaker Pattern Earthshaker is actually a slightly larger variant of the cannon that originated from the Mechanicus Forges near the city of Broucheroc. It fires a larger and heavier munition by foregoing the standard shells used by most Earthshakers for explosives fired by seperate propulsion charges.

Deployment

The Earthshaker Cannon can be mounted either on a Basilisk mobile artillery piece or can be part of a fixed emplacement. The Earthshaker can be deployed in a fortification or used as a fixed positional unit, and in both cases will only be deployed well behind the Imperial Guard's front lines.

Known Users of the Earthshaker Cannon

  • 27th Konig Armoured Regiment
  • 8th Valhallan Armoured Regiment - The 8th Valhallan Armoured Regiment made use of the Earthshaker Cannon during the Siege of Sallan's World
  • 98th Cadian Armoured Regiment - The 98th Cadian Armoured Regiment made use of Earthshaker Cannons during the Luxor Uprising
  • 132nd Balle Regiment - Th Earthshaker Cannon was a key weapon in the 132nd Balle Regiment's participation in the defence of Balle Alpha
  • 217th Tallarn Regiment - Part of the Tallarn Garrison Forces fighting close to the Cursus Portal
  • 89th Tallarn Regiment - The 89th Tallarn Regiment deployed Earthshaker Cannons during the Taros Campaign
  • 17th Tallarn Regiment - The 17th Tallarn Regiment also used Earthshaker Cannons during the Taros Campaign
  • Death Korps of Krieg - The multiple regiments of the Death Korps of Krieg deployed to Vraks prime made heavy use of the Earthshaker Cannon during the Siege of Vraks
  • Vraksian Traitor Militia - With its access to the massive Departmento Munitorum storehouse on Vraks Prime, the Renegade Vraksian Traitor Militia turned the Earthshaker Cannon against the besieging Imperial forces.
  • Iron Warriors Traitor Legion - The warbands of the Iron Warriors Chaos Space Marines use all types of siege weapons, including Earthshaker Cannons taken from the Imperial Army during the Horus Heresy and later recovered from the Imperial Guard.

Adeptus Mechanicus Technical Specifications

Phaeton Pattern Earthshaker Artillery
Vehicle Name: Earthshaker Cannon Main Armament: Earthshaker Cannon
Forge World of Origin: Phaeton Secondary Armament: N/A
Known Patterns: III - XVII Traverse: 360 degrees
Crew: 1 Commander, 1 Gunner, 3 Loaders Elevation: 0 to 59 degrees
Powerplant: N/A Main Ammunition: N/A
Weight: 21 Tonnes Secondary Ammunition: N/A
Length: 12.60 metres Armour:
Width: 12.60 metres
Height: 4.92 metres Superstructure: N/A
Ground Clearance: N/A Hull: N/A
Max Speed On-Road: N/A Gun Mantlet: 60 millimetres Gun Shield
Max Speed Off-Road: N/A Vehicle Designation: 0427-941-3011-BA02
Transport Capacity: N/A Firing Ports: N/A
Access Points: N/A Turret:

N/A


Lucius Pattern Earthshaker Cannon
Vehicle Name: Earthshaker Cannon Main Armament: Earthshaker Cannon
Forge World of Origin: Lucius Secondary Armament:

N/A

Known Patterns: I - V Traverse: 0 degrees
Crew: 6 Gunners Elevation: 0 to 68 degrees
Powerplant: N/A Main Ammunition: N/A
Weight: 14 Tonnes Secondary Ammunition: N/A
Length: 8.2 metres Armour:
Width: 3.7 metres
Height: 4.2 metres With Gun at 0 degrees Superstructure: N/A
Ground Clearance: 0.7 metres Hull: N/A
Max Speed On-Road: N/A Gun Mantlet: 60 millimetres Gun Shield
Max Speed Off-Road: N/A Vehicle Designation: 3284-3328751-EC65
Transport Capacity: N/A Firing Ports: N/A
Access Points: N/A Turret:

N/A

Sources

  • Imperial Armour Update 2006, pp. 54-55
  • Imperial Armour Volume One - Imperial Guard and Imperial Navy, pp. 184-193
  • Imperial Armour Volume One - Imperial Guard (Second Edition), pp. 186-189, 192, 194-195, 267
  • Imperial Armour Volume Three - The Taros Campaign
  • Imperial Armour Volume Five - The Siege of Vraks Part One, pp. 116-119
  • Imperial Armour Volume Six - The Siege of Vraks Part Two
  • Imperial Armour Volume Seven - The Siege of Vraks Part Three
  • Imperial Armour Apocalypse II, pg. 14
  • Fifteen Hours (Novel) by Mitchel Scanlon

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