The Stormblade super-heavy tank is a variant of the Imperial Guard's Shadowsword Titan-killer tank. It is armed with a Plasma Blastgun instead of a Volcano Cannon, but it is still able to perform the role of Titan-hunter on the battlefield. Stormblades are built on Forge Worlds that lack the ability to build true Shadowsword tanks, and thus have to compensate by using different weaponry and other less advanced technologies than the original.
On the battlefield, the Stormblade's primary function is to blast Titans and enemy super heavy armour into oblivion, although unlike the Shadowsword, it is more of a medium-range heavy support vehicle than a pure Titan-killer. Unlike the Shadowsword's Volcano Cannon, the Stormblade's Plasma Blastgun is a less voracious consumer of energy and can be fired either at full power or in short bursts, granting the Stormblade a much greater tactical flexibility that the Shadowsword at the cost of some firepower. The Plasma Blastgun's multiple settings allow the Stormblade to engage both infantry and armoured targets with relative ease. Additionally, the photonic cells serving as onboard ammunition forgo the use of the capacitors which so hamper the Shadowsword, granting the Stormblade better speed, manoeuvrability and the capacity to sport 2 twin-linked Heavy Bolters and 2 Lascannons as secondary armament, enough to fend off any marauding infantry or smaller armoured vehicle. Like all super-heavy tanks of the Imperial Guard, the Stormblade's very presence on the battlefield is a potent morale booster for rank-and-file Imperial Guardsmen, and it is for that reason that some senior officers requisition a Stormblade to serve as their personal command tank. Such vehicles are outfitted with powerful Vox-casters and tactical arrays, allowing the officer to remain aware of the pace of battle while taking the field.
Although the Stormblade does not suffer from some of the disadvantages of the Shadowsword, it is still a slow and ungainly vehicle, whose fixed main gun requires the whole vehicle to be bodily aimed at the intended target. This precludes any front-line usage, for a fast opponent will be able to manoeuvre around the tank, while a canny one will aim for the tracks, preventing the Stormblade from adjusting its aim further. The Plasma Blastgun is also less efficient as a pure Titan-killer than the Shadowsword's Volcano Cannon, for it does not have the needed power to punch through Void Shields nor the extreme range of the larger weapon. Unlike the Shadowsword, which can operate as a lone Titan-hunter, the Stormblade must be supported by the other elements of the Imperial Guard to unleash its full potential.
The Stormblade came into being in a manner that demonstrates the feudal nature of the Forge Worlds and their relationship with one another and Mars. Certain Forge Worlds lacked the necessary STC imprints to construct the Shadowsword super-heavy destroyer and, due to internecine differences, were unable to secure them from the Red Planet. The magi of another great Forge World, Ryza, perceived a means of circumventing the issue and gaining power for themselves in the process. Ryza, known for its mastery of plasma technology, built the first of the Stormblades, a weapon to rival the Shadowsword, and ceded its pattern to those lesser Forge Worlds who would enter into mutually beneficial compacts with them. The elite Solar Auxilia of the Excertus Imperialis, maintained treaties of provender with many of these domains, and while Shadowswords were a rare commodity often reserved for the dedicated super-heavy regiments of the Imperial Army, Solar Auxilia Cohorts had ready access to the Stormblade.
The Legion Stormblade utilised by the Legiones Astartes was a variant of the Imperial Army super-heavy tank constructed on the Forge World of Lucius and equipped with a mighty Plasma Blastgun. This weapon occupied a tactical niche between the much heavier Turbolaser Destructor carried on the Shadowsword and similar, but lighter weapons carried on smaller vehicles. The Plasma Plastgun was simpler to maintain and supply than the Turbolaser, giving the Stormblade an extended operational range, and its Space Marine crew were a lot more resistant to the heat and radiation generated by its enormous reactor array than the crews of Imperial Army Stormblades. The majority of Legions maintained a stock of Stormblades amongst their super-heavy tank formations, though some only utilised them as Legion reserves and did not commit them to the line as a matter of course. The Iron Warriors and the Iron Hands had both been known to utilise armoured vanguards comprising Stormblades, often flanked by Predators and Sicarans.
Just as it was ten millennia ago, in the 41st Millennium, many Forge Worlds still lack the ability to build Shadowswords and instead build Stormblades. Even though it was never considered an official STC design, it does not lack in performance and thus is a very popular choice of super-heavy tank for the Imperial Guard when a true Shadowsword is not available. Most Stormblades, along with the Shadowsword and Stormsword, are built on the Arkurian Pattern chassis, although more conservative Tech-priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus view the rarer Mars Pattern chassis as superior.
The Stormblade is armed with a massive casemate-mounted Plasma Blastgun. Normally found only on Titans, this weapon is ideal for both anti-armour and anti-Titan roles. The potent capacitors and power generator used by the Shadowsword is replaced by large photonic fuel cells that power the Stormblade's main gun. The extra space that is left over with the replacement of the Volcano Cannon's systems is used to house a well-designed cooling system which keeps the weapon from over-heating while the tank's crew is protected from the heat by thick Ceramite heat shields. The Stormblade is preferred by many Imperial Guard tank regiments over the Executioner variant of the Leman Russ tank due to its cooling systems reliability and its overall firepower. The Stormblade replaces the Shadowsword's sponson-mounted targeters for two Lascannons, but retains the two Twin-linked Heavy Bolters. The Stormblade can also have a Hunter-Killer Missile Launcher, Improved Communications equipment, a mine sweeper, a pintle-mounted Heavy Stubber or Storm Bolter, and smoke launchers. The Stormblade is always outfitted with searchlights, which are used to highlight enemy infantry for attack with the tank's sponson weapons. At one time in the past these tanks could also be equipped with external Hellion Missile Racks, but these were prone to exploding catastrophically when hit by enemy weapons fire. After three Stormblades of the Phyressian 31st Heavy Tank Company were destroyed in this way, Hellion Missiles were deemed unsafe to be carried on these vehicles and were withdrawn from Imperial service.
Known Regiments That Use StormbladesEdit
- Solar Auxilia Cohorts (Great Crusade & Horus Heresy eras)
- Cadian 98th Armoured Regiment
- Death Korps of Krieg 1st Heavy Tank Company
- Death Korps of Krieg 61st Tank Regiment
- Death Korps of Krieg 11th Heavy Armoured Regiment
- Death Korps of Krieg 12th Heavy Tank Company
- Phyressian 31st Heavy Tank Company
- Sarenian 5th Heavy Tank Company
- Vaust 14th Regiment
- Huntsman - Vaust 14th Regiment
Adeptus Mechanicus Technical SpecificationsEdit
|Vehicle Name:||Stormblade||Main Armament:||Plasma Blastgun|
|Forge World of Origin:||Ryza, Lucius||Secondary Armament:||2 Lascannons, 2 Twin-linked Heavy Bolters|
|Known Patterns:||I - VII||Traverse:||2 degrees|
|Crew:||1 Commander, 1 Driver, 1 Main Gunner, 1 Remote Gunner, 1 Comm-Operator, 1 Engineer||Elevation:||-2 to 12 degrees|
|Powerplant:||MR507 v18 Multi-Fuel||Main Ammunition:||16 Shots From Fuel Cell|
|Weight:||310 Tonnes||Secondary Ammunition:||1600 Rounds|
|Height:||6.3 metres||Superstructure:||220 millimetres|
|Ground Clearance:||1.2 metres||Hull:||210 millimetres|
|Max Speed On-Road:||25 kilometres per hour||Gun Mantlet:||200 millimetres|
|Max Speed Off-Road:||18 kilometres per hour||Vehicle Designation:||0427-658-0251-SB04|
|Transport Capacity:||N/A||Firing Ports:||N/A|
- Imperial Armour Volume One - Imperial Guard and Imperial Navy, pp. 99–104
- Imperial Armour Volume One - Imperial Guard (Second Edition), pp. 8, 106-111, 267, 276-277
- Imperial Armour Volume Five - The Siege of Vraks, Part One
- Imperial Armour Volume Five - The Siege of Vraks, Part Two
- Imperial Armour Volume Eleven - The Doom of Mymeara
- Imperial Armour - Apocalypse, pp. 8
- The Horus Heresy - Book Two: Massacre by Alan Bligh, pp. 54-55
- The Horus Heresy - Book Three: Extermination by Alan Bligh, pg. 242
- The Horus Heresy - Book Four: Conquest by Alan Bligh, pp. 88, 288