- "Look upon these behemoths of iron, my kin, and give thanks they stand by your side this day. Their presence links us to our past, for once these lordly engines bestrode the same battlefields as our Primarch himself, cast fire upon the same foes as he, and shaped history itself as a smith bends otherwise unyielding steel to his will."
The Fellblade was a highly-advanced pattern of super-heavy main battle tank that was based upon the same Standard Template Construct (STC) design as the mighty Baneblade and Deathhammer super-heavy tanks that formed the mainstay of the vast armoured brigades of the Imperial Army during the Great Crusade and later, the Horus Heresy. The Fellblade was by far the more advanced design of the three, featuring many technologies that were unique to its construction, such as compact Mechanicum Atomantic Arc-reactor technology, a reinforced metaplas alloy chassis that provided protection superior to that of nearly all other Imperial armoured vehicles, and an advanced Accelerator Cannon as its primary armament.
Many of the technologies used in the construction of the Fellblade were all fruits of archeotech first developed during the Dark Age of Technology and restored to humanity by the later conquests of the Emperor of Mankind's Great Crusade. The Fellblade was most widely used by the Space Marine Legions, yet also saw limited use by the Imperial Army and other Imperial forces like the Mechanicum. Along with its sister tank, the Falchion, the Fellblade was one of the most powerful and most feared weapons used during this ancient time.
In this era, the Space Marines operated very differently than in the late 41st Millennium. The Space Marine Legions fought as the Imperium's front-line forces and used massive amounts of overwhelming firepower to achieve their goals, rather than acting as their modern-era counterparts who are primarily elite shock infantry that make use of surgical strikes against enemy weak-points as the much smaller Space Marine Chapters of the present era prefer. During the Great Crusade, the Space Marines fought on an unimaginable scale, fighting wars with tens, or even hundreds of thousands of elite warriors who could conquer entire planets in mere solar days, or even hours. These massive armies of Astartes were given the very best technology constructed by the Mechanicum of Mars, and one of the greatest of their works of war was the Fellblade.
The Fellblade was piloted by a trained crew of humans either from the Mechanicum or by Serfs of the Legion it was assigned to, but could also be fully crewed by the Astartes themselves. These war-machines were used as unstoppable line-breaker tanks, siege tanks, siege-breaker tanks, tank killers, and mobile command fortresses. It is thought that some Space Marine Legions, such as the Iron Warriors, Ultramarines, and Imperial Fists, made extensive use of the Fellblade, while others, like the Night Lords, White Scars, and the Raven Guard, who preferred hit-and-run tactics, may have eschewed their use altogether. During the Horus Heresy these tanks were used by both Traitor and Loyalist forces alike.
Once, such mighty engines of war were commonplace in the arsenals of the Adeptus Astartes, but since the Legions of old were divided into smaller Chapters during the Second Founding, few new super-heavy tanks have been brought into service. The Second Founding deliberately curtailed the power of individual Space Marine formations so that any future rebellion would be limited in scale and incapable of bringing the Imperium to its knees ever again. The need and scope for the use of heavy tanks like the Fellblade and its kin receded, but some Chapters, in particular those of the First and Second Founding, retain examples still. Such venerable engines of war see occasional use when the Chapter makes war against the most potent of enemy forces, in particular their erstwhile brethren in the Traitor Legions as well as the fallen Titan Legions. It is unknown exactly how many active Fellblades are still in service during the late 41st Millennium.
In the distant past of the Imperium, when the Legiones Astartes went to war in formations of many thousands, they did so accompanied by some of the mightiest engines ever wrought. One of the greatest of those legendary machines was the Fellblade, a super-heavy tank the equal of any foe up to and including the Titans of the Mechanicum. It shares certain similarities with the Baneblades of the Imperial Guard, but its armour, systems and weapons are substantially more advanced. It is possible that the two machines share a common STC ancestor, but if so, the Fellblade has been lavished with the rarest of systems in the machine canon, reserved exclusively for the legendary Adeptus Astartes. The Fellblade is believed to have entered service within the Legiones Astartes in the closing decades of the Great Crusade, and as such it saw action with both sides in the calamitous galactic civil war that drew a close to that portentous age.
Surviving archival fragments describe the mighty battles of that war, providing tantalising glimpses of an age of glory long since passed into history. It was an age when the Legiones Astartes fought in numbers the likes of which have not been seen in many centuries, and were supported in battle by massed formations of super-heavy tanks. When a Chapter was but a fraction of a Legion, thousands of Battle-Brothers deployed as one and as such had need of engines of war as mighty as the Fellblade. The tanks was able to spearhead such mighty assaults and advances, its fearsome weapons able to engage even the most potent of foes. What xenos-wrought machineries of death the Fellblade must have laid low with its deadly Accelerator Cannon must remain a lost memory, as must the battles it surely fought against the Traitor Legions and their vile allies during the dark days of the Horus Heresy.
Ten thousand standard years after the Great Crusade, the Fellblade is all but unknown in the arsenals of the Adeptus Astartes. It is thought that many were lost in the inter-Legionary wars of the Horus Heresy and the subsequent Great Scouring, having borne the brunt of the fury of those terrible confrontations. Possessed of such rare and potent technologies, it was perhaps inevitable that the Fellblade should fall from use as the knowledge and spirit that contributed so much to the Great Crusade receded, to be replaced with ignorance and superstition. Maintaining the Fellblade's advanced systems became ever harder as time went on and repairing battle damage all but impossible. In addition, with the mighty Legions of old divided into Chapters the need for such a heavy vehicle faded, the Space Marines refocusing on shock assault and rapid strike tactics. Later on, key Forge Worlds responsible for the production of specific systems uses by the Fellblade were lost, knowledge and expertise becoming ever more fragmented, a reflection of the fate of the Imperium itself.
As the 41st Millennium draws to a close, none can say how many Fellblades remain in existence. It is likely that most are sealed within the stasis-locked arsenals of the most venerable of Chapters. Some may not even have seen action since the Scouring, having been locked away against some future need no other war machines in the Chapter's reserve can meet. Others may have been placed in stasis having been damaged beyond repair, the Techmarines hoping that some future generation might be able to tend the wounded machine where they cannot. Still more may be retired from service and placed within a Chapter's reliquary, a much venerated reminder of a long lost age of glory.
Nevertheless, the Fellblade does still see service on the battlefields of the late 41st Millennium. Weapons locked away generations ago are increasingly being unleashed upon the numerous foes of Mankind. Fellblades that have not seen action since the Primarchs led their Legions in person now fight once more. Even a single Fellblade can turn the tide of the largest of battles and few foes can stand against such a noble engine of war. The appearances of such war machines is a sure sign of the desperate times facing the Imperium, for few indeed are the Techmarines still able to repair damage to their venerated system.
The Fellblade is armed and equipped with a panoply of weapons all but unknown to the late 41st Millennium. The tanks' primary weapon is a turret-mounted twin-linked Accelerator Cannon, a vacuum-based system that uses a complex overpressure mechanism to propel heavy shells with greater force than would be possible in a conventional cannon. So efficient is this system that very little recoil is produced, making the weapon extremely accurate and stable. Furthermore, the Accelerator Cannon is served by an advanced loading mechanism that allows the tank's commander to switch ammunition types at a moment's notice. The Accelerator Cannon fires two types of munition. The first is an anti-armour shell with a super-dense core that is capable of penetrating any known class of physical armour. The second, is a heavy, high explosive munition with a fragmentation core capable of scything down dozens of foes with single shot. Both shell types are targeted using a complex logis engine system slaved to the vehicle commander's strategium terminal, enabling him to track and switch between dozens of targets.
The Accelerator Cannon is far from the Fellblade's only weapon, for it mounts several more, any one of which would be counted a main weapon on a lesser tank. In particular, the vehicle carries a pair of side sponson-mounted quad Lascannons, a system held by many veteran commanders to offer the ultimate balance between rate of fire, accuracy and armour penetration. Or the side sponsons could have two Laser Destroyer Arrays mounted. In addition to the vehicle's sponson-mounted weapons, the tank was also armed with either a hull-mounted set of twin-linked Heavy Bolters or Heavy Flamers for anti-infantry fighting, and also a single hull-mounted Demolisher Cannon for destroying enemy fortifications. The Fellblade was always equipped with a searchlight and smoke launchers, but could be further upgraded with a Hunter-Killer Missile Launcher for added firepower or armoured ceramite plating for even better protection from enemy fire, especially energy-based weapons.
The vehicle could be outfitted with a variety of Pintle-mounted weapons, including twin-linked Combi-Bolters or other Combi-weapons, a Havoc Missile Launcher, and either a single Heavy Flamer, Heavy Bolter, or a Multi-Melta. There are some known variants to the standard Fellblade armament, such as replacing the turret-mounted twin-linked Accelerator Cannons with a Mega Battle Cannon and co-axial Autocannon such as those used by the Baneblade, and also replacing the sponson-mounted weapons with Heavy Bolter boxes. These were armoured pill-boxes with a Heavy Bolter placed on three sides. It is unknown if this was an officially recognised weapons loadout, a customised weapons loadout, or the result of field repairs which replaced damaged weapons with those from a Baneblade.
As advanced as its weapons undoubtedly are, the Fellblade's armour and other systems are equally as formidable. The tank's armour is constructed of a reinforced metaplas alloy matched only by the armour utilised on the god-machines of the Collegia Titanica, while its engine and systems are powered by an atomantic arc-reactor, a system the Adeptus Mechanicus has been all but unable to replicate for many generations. Additional heavy ceramite plating fitted to a Fellblade allowed it to withstand extremes of heat and radiation. Plating of this kind was commonly fitted to orbital strike craft to enable them to withstand the rigours of "crash" re-entry from space into a planet's atmosphere, and also to certain siege vehicles to protect them from thermal energy weapons.
The Fellblade was at one time often crewed by Legion Serfs, many of them individuals who were rejected during the Space Marine implantation and indoctrination process, but who were nonetheless superior to the rank and file of the Emperor's fighting forces. In the late 41st Millennium, however, such venerated war engines are only ever crewed by Space Marines, invariably the most experienced and honoured brethren serving directly under the Master of the Forge. It is only ever at the direst behest and concordance of the Chapter Master and the Master of the Forge that a Fellblade is deployed, and only in the direst of circumstances, and in almost all cases, heavy damage is all but irreparable and the loss of a Fellblade a tragedy for the entire Chapter.
- Glaive Super-Heavy Special Weapons Tank - Armed with a Volkite Carronade this super-heavy variant of the Fellblade was designed to battle foul xenos and light vehicles with overwhelming firepower. Although all original Space Marine Legions were issued limited numbers of this tank, only the Dark Angels and Salamanders Chapters are still able to field these engines of war, the former due to seniority and honour as former 1st Legion and the latter due to their skilled arctificers that are still able to maintain and replicate the arcane technology. It is not known whether any other loyalist Chapters or Chaos Space Marine warbands are still able to field these ancient relics in the 41st Millenium.
- Chaos Decimator Super-Heavy Tank - After the end of the Horus Heresy, the Traitor Legions fled into the Eye of Terror, taking most of their vehicles and weapons with them. After thousands of years of Warp exposure, many of the Fellblades taken into the Eye of Terror are now warped, twisted, and tainted by the foul powers of the Warp and touched by the "blessings" of the Chaos Gods, such as the Plaguereaper of Nurgle. The Forces of Chaos still make use of Fellblades and Falchions that are blessed by Chaos Undivided in the 41st Millennium, though these vehicles are now designated as Decimator super-heavy tanks by the Imperium.
- Akhyls Astra - A known Iron Hands Legion Fellblade, Akhyls Astra, was part of the 1st Order of Clan Ungavarr. It was lost during the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V, its ultimate fate unknown. It is believed to have been taken as a prize by the Sons of Horus.
- Crakatavas - Crakatavas was a known Fellblade of the traitorous Death Guard Legion. This particular Fellblade took part in numerous armoured thrusts during the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V.
- Khatek - Khatek was a Fellblade that belonged to the Sons of Horus Legion during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy and fought during the Istvaan III Atrocity.
- The Imperial Reaper - The Imperial Reaper was a Fellblade that belonged to the Death Guard Legion during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy and fought during the Istvaan III Atrocity.
- Mori Drakka - Mori Drakka is a relic Fellblade of the Charnel Guard Chapter. This little known fleet-based Chapter, whose chronicle threads through many dark passages of the Imperium's history, is believed by some sources to date from the Third Founding. Evidence for this can be seen in the number of ancient war relics it is known to possess, such as this dread engine and at least two other super-heavy tanks of similar provenance. This vehicle was last seen during the Messallas Purgation Campaign in the 38th Millennium.
Adeptus Mechanicus Technical SpecificationsEdit
|Vehicle Name:||Fellblade||Main Armament:||1 turret-mounted Dual Munition Accelerator Cannon, 1 Hull-Mounted Demolisher Cannon|
|Forge World of Origin:||Mars/Tigrus||Secondary Armament:||2 sets of sponson-mounted Quad-Lascannons, 1 Hull-Mounted twin-linked Heavy Bolter|
|Known Patterns:||I-VI||Traverse:||360 degrees, -5/+30 degrees|
|Crew:||Commander, Driver & 2 Gunners||Elevation:||Unknown|
|Powerplant:||Uncodified Atomantic plasma hybrid-reactor||Main Ammunition:||42 rounds|
|Weight:||302 tonnes||Secondary Ammunition:||28 rounds/Unlimited feed cell|
|Width:||8.2 metres with sponsoons|
|Height:||5.8 metres||Superstructure:||130 mm|
|Ground Clearance:||1.5 metres||Hull:||120 mm|
|Max Speed On-Road:||32 kph||Turret:||120 mm|
|Max Speed Off-Road:||20 kph||Gun Mantlet:||120 mm|
|Transport Capacity:||Unknown||Firing Ports:||N/A|
|Access Points:||N/A||Vehicle Designation:||Undesignated|
|Addendum:||Less than 100 examples are known to have been constructed in the last 500 years.|
- Imperial Armour Volume Two, Second Edition - War Machines of the Adeptus Astartes, pp. 102-107
- The Horus Heresy - Book One: Betrayal, (Imperial Armour) pp. 54-55, 224
- The Horus Heresy Book Two: Massacre (Imperial Armour), pp. 32-33, 50-51, 70, 82-83, 177, 205
- The Horus Heresy: Collected Visions (Background Book), pp. 79, 94
- White Dwarf 120 (UK), pp. 8-13
- Know No Fear (Novel) by Dan Abnett, p. 144
- Epic Armageddon Black Legion Army List, pg. 16
- Forge World - Space Marine Legion Fellblade
- Forge World - Legion Glaive