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The Imperial Lunar-class Cruiser is an uncomplicated but highly effective Cruiser that forms the backbone of the Imperial Navy across the Milky Way Galaxy. It is an easily constructed vessel whose wide array of weapons load outs allows it to serve in a wide variety of tactical roles. The Lunar-class has also served as a baseline design for many new classes of Imperial warships over the millennia.
The Lunar-class Cruiser makes up the backbone of many Imperial Navy Battlefleets. There are over six hundred in service with the Imperium in the Segmentum Obscurus alone. Its (relatively) uncomplicated design dates back to the dawn of the Imperium, and it can be constructed at worlds normally unable to build a ship of the line. Its variety of weapons batteries, Lances, and torpedoes make it both a versatile combatant and a dangerous foe. Most Rogue Traders fortunate enough to acquire one of these potent vessels remove the torpedo tubes to add more cargo space instead. During the 12th Black Crusade, also known as the Gothic War (139-160.M41), more than twenty Lunar-class vessels took part in the fighting against the Chaos Fleet of Abaddon the Despoiler.
Perhaps its greatest strength is the Lunar 's ease of construction, since it can be manufactured even in orbit of Hive Worlds and Industrial Worlds with little-to-no shipbuilding expertise, a fact which is most ably illustrated by the manufacture of the Lord Daros, a Lunar-class vessel that was actually constructed by the barbaric denizens of an Imperial Feral World with no industrial base of any kind.
Whilst the Lunar-class does not have the range of larger warships, it can hold its own at medium-to-short ranges. It also possesses enough Void Shield strength and armour to enable it to get to weapons range relatively unscathed. Usually Cruisers operate in pairs, and the Lunar-class is no exception, as it allows twice the firepower to be brought to bear against the enemy, whilst at the same time forcing the foe to divide its own response between the two vessels. The standard tactic with the Lunar-class is to fire torpedoes when closing with the enemy. The disruption caused by this tactic in enemy formations will hamper attempts to fire upon the pair of Cruisers, and they will then close within range of all their weapons and turn their broadsides to face the enemy. From here, they will fire volley after volley into the enemy while circling at full speed.
While unimpressive individually, a properly-used Lunar-class Cruiser is, pound for pound, one of the most effective warships in the galaxy. It is simple in its purpose: break up enemy formations with long-range torpedo fire before turning broadside to savage enemies with their weapons batteries and Lances. Lunars become even more deadly when working in tandem, as the firepower of a pair of Lunars is truly staggering. This very firepower, in fact, proved to be the downfall of Abaddon's mighty Planet Killer during the Gothic War, as it was Lunar-class Cruisers that ultimately destroyed that nightmare vessel with repeated volleys of long-range torpedo fire.
Notable Lunar-class Cruisers
- Agrippa - A notable Lunar-class Cruiser that fought and earned renown in the Gothic War.
- Bansidhe - The Bansidhe is an ancient vessel, a Lunar-class cruiser that has served the Imperium long before the Armengardes received their Warrant. It is said the ship’s hull was originally constructed in the vast Jovian shipyards that share a sun with Holy Terra. Appropriately, the name Bansidhe is also said to originate on Terra, taken from the oldest legends of that sacred world. Not even the Armengardes know for certain how their dynasty obtained the ship, though they say it was awarded to them with their Warrant. Certainly, when the Armengardes fought in the ranks of the Angevin Crusade, they did so from the Bansidhe’s bridge. The Bansidhe’s armaments are largely unchanged from her original design. Her port and starboard sides both sport a powerful Macrocannon broadsides and hulking lance turrets, the standard weapon loadout for the Lunar class. However, her torpedo tubes have long since been removed for additional internal storage space, as has a great deal of the redundant armour plating of her prow. Even so, it maintains the distinctive profile of an Imperial warship, the prow topped with a 50-metre-tall statue of Saint Celestine containing the Bansidhe’s Gellar Field generator. Most starships are expected to remain at void for months or years, but the Bansidhe is singularly well-equipped in that regard. Vast supply vaults mean the ship is largely self-sufficient, and over the years the sizeable crew has evolved to become a true community. In fact, visitors often observe that the Bansidhe feels more like a small city than it does a starship, a point Aoife does not dispute. Various decks have evolved into markets and chambers into homes and businesses, including taverns, artisan-shops, galleys, and unsanctioned chirurgeons. One could live in relative comfort for years amongst the Bansidhe’s decks. In fact, it is said that there are many members of the crew who have never set foot on a planet’s surface, living and dying amongst the adamantium bulkheads. However, those who derisively assume the ship’s “city-like” aspect weakens it in a fight find themselves sadly mistaken. From the forward barrack-holds filled with mercenaries, to the grim charnel-halls of the ship’s reclamation facility, the Bansidhe is more than prepared for combat.
- Colossus - The Rogue Trader Bastille runs his ship like a military vessel, his years of naval training keeping her in prime fighting condition. A canny commander, he also frequently travels with an escort, the Firestorm Frigate Aberrant.
- Graf Orlok - A notable Lunar-class Cruiser that fought and earned renown in the Gothic War.
- Hammer of Thrace - The Hammer of Thrace fought in the Taros Campaign. It began the conflict protecting Imperial convoys, but was called away to help pursue the Tau Empire's Or'es El'leath (Custodian)-class Carrier A'Rho after the Kor'vattra (Tau Navy) arrived in-system. The Hammer of Thrace would ultimately be destroyed by the A'Rho at the end of the chase when the Tau warship finally turned and fought its Imperial pursuers.
- Hand of Redemption - A notable vessel of Battlefleet Koronus, the Hand of Redemption is under the command of Captain Keel. This Lunar-class Cruiser spent several standard years on "extended patrol" in Winterscale's Realm. Upon his return, his familiarity with the Koronus Expanse meant Battlefleet Command felt it was worth transferring him to the Koronus Passage Watch.
- Holy Flame - A Lunar-class Cruiser of Battlefleet Pacificus despatched to the Trail of Saint Evisser. Charged with the protection of the world of Volcanis Ultor,the Holy Flame was tricked into believing the Grey Knights’ Strike Cruiser Rubicon, carrying a reduced task-force under command of Justicar Alaric were in fact adorators of Chaos. With typical diligence taught in the naval academies of Hydraphur, the Holy Flame fired many broadsides at the already wounded Rubicon, but ultimately failed to destroy it.
- Iron Duke - A notable Lunar-class Cruiser that fought and earned renown in the Gothic War.
- Justicar - A notable Lunar-class Cruiser that fought and earned renown in the Gothic War.
- Lord Bellerophon - The Lord Bellerophon (known affectionately to her crew as the "Big Ruffian") served as the flagship of Rear-Admiral Rasiak, forming the backbone of Vraks' orbital defence during the infamous Siege of Vraks. A potent ship-of-the-line, she had been seconded from Battlefleet Scarus for the duration of the campaign. One of over 600 Lunar-class vessels in service across the Segmentum Obscurus, she bristled with weaponry and was able to outclass anything pirates, aliens or even most Traitor Marine warbands could use to threaten the Imperial supply lines to Vraks Prime. The Lord Bellerophon was constantly on-station or escorting the Imperial supply convoys as the convoy leader throughout that long, grinding conflict of attrition.
- Lord Daros - The greatest example of the ease of building a Lunar-class Cruiser, the Lord Daros was built at the Feral World of Unloth. There, the Imperial Planetary Lord influenced the tribesmen to mine and smelt metals to be "sacrificed" at "sky temples". After eleven standard years of collecting these resources at each vernal equinox, the tribes were treated to the sight of a new star moving across the heavens as the Lord Daros boosted away from the planet to join the Imperial Navy.
- Minotaur - The Minotaur is a notable Lunar-class vessel that replaced its prow torpedo launchers with a Nova Cannon.
- Pride of Scintilla - A notable Lunar-class vessel of Battlefleet Calixis, it took part in the First Siege of Vaxanide (410-412.M41) against a massive fleet of Ork raiders. By the end of the war, the Pride fell to overwhelming numbers, falling to the surface of Vaxanide in a blazing death grip with the Terror-ship Slicer.
- Retribution - A notable Lunar-class Cruiser that fought and earned renown in the Gothic War.
- Sirius - The Sirius is a stalwart Lunar-class cruiser, and is armed with a diverse and threatening array of weaponry. An "all-rounder," the Lunar is equipped to handle almost any adversary, a trait that makes it the backbone of Battlefleet Koronus.
- Thetis - The Thetis was a Lunar-class Cruiser in service of Battlefleet Orpheus. After having successfully annihilated a raid from Eldar corsairs on the world of Bessarion, the Thetis was ambushed and destroyed by Necron ships in prelude to the disastrous Orphean War.
- Tonnent - A notable Lunar-class Cruiser that fought during the Gothic War and was destroyed during the Battle of Helia IV.
- Hull: Cruiser
- Class: Lunar-class Cruiser.
- Dimensions Approximately 5 kilometres long, 0.8 kilometres abeam at fins.
- Mass: Approximately 28 Megatonnes.
- Crew: Approximately 95,000 crew.
- Acceleration: 2.5 Gravities max sustainable acceleration.
- Battlefleet Gothic Rulebook (Blue Book), pp. 94, 110
- Battlefleet Gothic Armada
- Codex: Eye of Terror (3rd Edition), pg. 13
- Imperial Armour Volume Three - The Taros Campaign, pg. 39
- Imperial Armour Volume Six - The Siege of Vraks - Part Two, pg. 7
- Imperial Armour Volume Twelve - The Fall of Orpheus, pg. 26, 27
- Rogue Trader: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 196
- Rogue Trader: Battlefleet Koronus (RPG), pp. 21, 23, 25, 56, 60, 64
- Rogue Trader: Edge of the Abyss (RPG), pg. 112
- Rogue Trader: Lure of the Expanse (RPG), pg. 138
- Relentless (Novel) by Richard Williams
- Grey Knights (Novel) by Ben Counter, in The Grey Knights Omnibus, pp.196, 207-217