The Attack Bike, also known as the Space Marine Attack Bike, is a variant of the standard Assault Bike used by the Space Marines of the Adeptus Astartes. The Attack Bike is the most common variant of the Assault Bike and has been used by the Space Marines since the early years of the Great Crusade. The Attack Bike and Assault Bike were used by both sides in the Imperial civil war known as the Horus Heresy.
In the years following the Heresy, the usage of the Attack Bike by the Traitor Legions, now led by Abaddon the Despoiler, decreased, although they still make use of the standard Assault Bike. The Attack Bike differs from the standard Assault Bike in that it adds a sidecar to the left-side of the vehicle which is equipped with a heavy weapon such as a Heavy Bolter. Another Space Marine rides in the sidecar to fire the heavy weapon. The Attack Bike is used as heavy, yet mobile fire-support for Space Marine Bike Squads and infantry squads. The power and speed of the Attack Bike is so potent that many Space Marine Chapters field entire squads of Attack Bikes in place of Assault Bikes.
The Attack Bike, along with its Assault Bike variant, have been used by the Adeptus Astartes since the dawn of the Imperium. The Space Marine Legions that fought during the Great Crusade maintained deployed entire companies of Attack and Assault Bikes to use for lightning fast attacks on their enemies. These vehicles were deployed during the Horus Heresy by both Loyalist and Traitor Legions alike. During the Heresy many Bike Squads were used by the Traitor Legions to hunt down Loyalist survivors of the virus-bombing of Istvaan III, and the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V. During the Siege of the Imperial Palace on Terra, at the climax of the Heresy, the White Scars Legion and their expert use of Assault and Attack Bikes helped keep the Traitor Legions from the walls of the Imperial Palace, and after the walls were breached they were successful in capturing the Lion's Gate Starport and denying the Traitors many of their reinforcements as a result. After the death of the Arch-Traitor Horus, the Traitor Legions made a hasty retreat from Terra into the Eye of Terror, all the while being harried from world to world by White Scars Bike Squads.
The standard Attack Bike used by the Adeptus Astartes and sometimes by the Chaos Space Marines is armed with Twin-linked Bolters that are attached to the bike's forward armour cowling, fixed to fire in the direction of travel. The sheer amount of Bolter shells that can be brought to bear at whatever target that might stand in the way is often enough to make the enemy break and run before a Bike has even reached them. The Attack Bike mounts a heavy weapon on the vehicle's sidecar to be used by its passenger. This weapon can be either a Heavy Bolter or a Multi-Melta. While the Attack Bike itself is only lightly armed and armoured by most Space Marine vehicle standards, the vehicle's real firepower comes from its riders, who are always equipped with Frag Grenades, and can also employ Krak Grenades. The riders are usually also equipped with a Bolt Pistol and a Chainsword, and can optionally make use of Flamers, Meltaguns, Grav-Guns and Plasma Guns. Bike Squad Sergeants, and sometimes regular Battle-Brothers from very well-equipped Chapters, may also possess Plasma Pistols, Grav-Pistols, Power Swords, Powerfists, Combi-weapons, and Melta Bombs. During the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras of the late 30th and early 31st Millennia, Attack Bikes could be equipped with weapons that are no longer commonly used by the Adeptus Astartes in the late 41st Millennium, such as an Autocannon that replaced the vehicle's standard Heavy Bolter.
- 1-3 Space Marine Bikers on Attack Bikes
Each Biker in a Space Marine Bike Squad is armed and equipped with:
- Bolt Pistol
- Frag Grenades
- Krak Grenades
- Twin-linked Bolters (Attack Bike)
- Heavy Bolter (Attack Bike)
An Attack Bike may replace its side car-mounted Heavy Bolter with the following:
- Ravenwing Attack Squadron - The Ravenwing Attack Squadron consists of one Ravenwing Assault Bike Squadron or one Ravenwing Attack Bike Squadron and one Ravenwing Land Speeder Squadron or a single Land Speeder Vengeance. Dust clouds billow behind the Ravenwing Attack Squadron as it hurtles into battle. Striking swiftly, the 2nd Company huntsmen drive hard into the midst of the enemy, many foes falling before they even realise their danger. With massed firepower, the Attack Squadron mow their victims down in huge numbers. They plough a bloody furrow through the heart of battle, bursting from the foe's rear ranks before wheeling about and diving back into the fray once more. It is these high-speed attacks for which the Ravenwing are rightly feared, yet this is not the only trick they have to play. Should some vital quarry be sighted, or a mighty enemy strongpoint need to be purged, the hunters activate their Teleport Homers and -- amid a crackling storm of light -- summon the merciless warriors of the Deathwing to join the fight.
Notable Users of the Attack Bike
The Assault Bike has been in use by the Adeptus Astartes since the Great Crusade, and the Traitor Legions took theirs with them after the Horus Heresy. In the 41st Millennium most, if not all, Space Marine Chapters make use of the Assault Bike in some fashion or another. Below are some of the more notable users of the Assault Bike:
- White Scars - The White Scars Space Marine Chapter make the most widespread use of Space Marine Bikes of all variants. The White Scars' homeworld of Chorgoris is comprised of large, wind-swept steppes and grasslands. The Astartes of the Chapter who are recruited from Chorgoris are taken from the savage horse riders of the steppes, and thus the entire Chapter is already adept at mounted warfare. The White Scars deploy Assault and Attack Bikes during nearly all of their campaigns.
- Dark Angels - The Dark Angels Space Marine Chapter make heavy use of Attack Bikes in their 2nd Company, the Ravenwing. The Ravenwing is a highly specialised unit that is intended to make use of mobility and speed to defeat the enemy rather than heavy firepower. The Ravenwing is made up of Attack and Assault Bikes, along with Land Speeders.
- Space Wolves - The Space Wolves Chapter gives the use of bikes over to their Blood Claws Neophytes. These Blood Claws, known as Swift Claws, make use of Attack and Assault Bikes in lightning fast hit-and-run attacks. Since Blood Claws are considered very headstrong, the use of an Attack Bike allows them to give vent to their need for wild, head-on assaults at breakneck speed.
- Ultramarines - The Ultramarines Chapter makes use of Assault and Attack Bikes for the purposes and in the manner dictated by the Codex Astartes.
- Black Templars
- Raven Guard
- Emperor's Children
- World Eaters
- Word Bearers
- Death Guard
Adeptus Mechanicus Technical Specifications
Technical specifications for this vehicle have not been released by the Adeptus Mechanicus.
- Codex: Ultramarines (2nd Edition), pg. 70
- Codex: Blood Angels (3rd Edition), pg. 9
- Codex: Dark Angels (3rd Edition), pp. 8, 10
- Codex: Dark Angels (6th Edition), pg. 47
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Dark Angels (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), "Ravenwing Attack Bike Squad (Datasheet), "Ravenwing Attack Squadron (Formation)"
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Dark Angels (8th Edition), pp. 43, 45, 109
- Codex: Space Wolves (3rd Edition), pg. 11
- Codex: Black Templars (4th Edition), pp. 40, 59
- Codex: Dark Angels (4th Edition), pp. 17, 26-27, 66-67, 85
- Codex: Space Marines (3rd Edition), pp. 12-13, 19, 28-29
- Codex: Space Marines (4th Edition), pg. 37
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pp. 68, 117, 140
- Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 84, 174
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Space Marines (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), "Space Marine Bikes", "Attack Bike Squads"
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Space Marines (8th Edition), pp. 74, 168, 170
- Codex: Blood Angels (5th Edition), pp. 30, 76, 93
- Codex Space Wolves (5th Edition), pp. 33, 60, 90
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 1st Codex), pp. 15, 24
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 2st Codex), pg. 33
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition), pg. 27
- White Dwarf 331 (UK) "Blood Angels Official Codex: Part II", pg. 22
- Warhammer 40,000: Apocalypse (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), pg. 173
- The Horus Heresy: Collected Visions (Background Book), pp. 22, 352
- Imperial Armour - The Horus Heresy: Betrayal - Book One, pp. 212, 237