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"Releasing eleven barrels of HELL! All Guardsmen, FOLLOW ME TO GLORY!"

—Kronus 1st Liberators Baneblade Tank Commander on his external Vox-caster

Imperial Lucius Pattern Baneblade.

The Baneblade is the primary super-heavy tank of the Astra Militarum, and one of the largest and oldest armoured fighting vehicles in the service of the Imperial armed forces. The tank is a venerated Standard Template Construct (STC) design, with ten people needed to fully crew one. It is also one of the oldest STC designs in existence. They are often used as command vehicles by Imperial Guard commanders.

Bristling with armaments, a Baneblade is less of a tank and more of a rolling fortress. An unmistakable icon of the Imperium's armoured supremacy, a single one of these super-heavy war engines can serve as the mailed fist of an Astra Militarum offensive, or as the unassailable lynchpin of even the most desperate of defences.

Possessed of overwhelming and versatile firepower, exceptionally thick armour and a near-indefatigable power plant, the Baneblade has been deployed in many varied war zones throughout the galaxy. Wherever a Baneblade sees battle it quickly becomes the centre of the battle line. Guardsmen and smaller tanks shelter in its colossal shadow, even as the ranks of the enemy flee from it in abject terror.

Yarrick IV, Baneblade of the 70th Armageddon Super-heavy Armoured Regiment displaying its 10-metre long Baneblade Cannon.

The standard configuration Baneblade is a powerful main battle tank with no particular strength or weakness. It is best deployed in the role of heavy infantry support, where it can engage both infantry waves with its Heavy Bolters and Demolisher Cannon, while at the same time punish enemy armour with its Mega Battle Cannon and Lascannons.

The sight of a mighty Baneblade rumbling forward is a major boost for any supporting Imperial infantry's morale, and when correctly supported, the Baneblade excels at decimating anything smaller than itself with its large array of guns while crushing the remains of its enemies under its massive tracks.

This combination of inspiring presence on the battlefield and tremendous capacity for destruction explains why the Baneblade is favoured as a command vehicle by regimental commanders and even members of the Imperial General Staff who decide to take to the field.

Such Command Baneblades are specially equipped with powerful Vox arrays and tactical planning equipment, allowing the officer in charge to keep control of his troops while he participates in the fighting.

For all its might, however, the Baneblade is not perfect: it is slow, lacks maneuverability and is a very large target. Baneblades are also not as effective when facing dedicated anti-armour vehicles due to the relative short range of their weapons.

A single tank hunter like a Leman Russ Vanquisher can easily damage or even destroy a Baneblade long before it comes into range of the smaller tank. This is why the very adaptable chassis of the Baneblade has been used over the millennia to create more dedicated versions.

These include the Shadowsword Titan-killer which forgoes almost all other weapons to sport a Volcano Cannon; to the Stormlord line-breaker tank which gives up all anti-armour weaponry in favour of a Vulcan Mega Bolter, a greater number of Heavy Bolters, and the capacity to transport an entire platoon of Imperial Guardsmen.


A Baneblade providing infantry with cover.

The Baneblade ranks amongst the most recognisable super-heavy tank of the Great Crusade, produced in the tens of thousands for service with the Excertus Imperialis all across the ever-expanding Imperium.

The majority of Baneblades were produced on Mars, and the Lords of the Red Planet hold the Mars class vehicle as the inalienable iteration of the Machine God's vision and it galled them greatly that certain other Forge Worlds produced their own patterns.

To the untrained eye the differences between the vehicles appeared superficial, but the Tech-priests of Mars preached otherwise, furthering that many schisms that had developed between the various Forge Worlds throughout the final decades of the Great Crusade.

Regardless of its provenance, the Baneblade was a stately iron beast, its iconic turret-mounted Baneblade Cannon the bane of countless foes over the years. Its armour was nigh impenetrable and many of those in the service of the elite Solar Auxilia had been upgraded to the "Solar" sub-pattern and fitted with extensive exploration and survival equipment to allow operation in the most hostile of environments.

The Baneblade and its variants are amongst the oldest patterns of tanks still being used by the Imperium of Man in the 41st Millennium. It is rumoured that in the past there were entire divisions of Baneblades in service to the Emperor of Mankind but that number is severely diminished at present, like most of the more advanced technologies available to the Imperium.

There are two main patterns of Baneblade, the Lucius Pattern from Forge World Lucius, and the preeminent Mars Pattern, still manufactured on Mars itself. The Lucius Pattern Baneblade has a more heavily fortified chassis and larger amounts of armour plate and makes use of a more powerful engine to remain mobile with this added weight.

However, the vast majority of Baneblades available in the Imperium were created in the forges of Mars. Every Baneblade made in the Imperium is transcribed with its own unique serial number and name and all the records of each vehicle's service and accomplishments in combat are reverently recorded on the Forge World of that vehicle's construction.


A Baneblade moving ahead of a Warhound-class Titan.

The Baneblade possesses a powerful set of armaments. The standard Baneblade complement includes a turret-mounted Mega Battle Cannon, also known as the Baneblade Cannon, which includes a coaxial Autocannon, three sets of twin-linked Heavy Bolters (one sponson-mounted set on either side, and one turret-mounted on the front hull slope), two turret-mounted Lascannons on either side, mounted directly above the side sponsons, and lastly, a fixed-forward hull-mounted Demolisher Cannon.

This totals eleven weapon barrels of various sizes and roles, giving full coverage in all arcs. The Baneblade can be further given a pintle mounted Storm Bolter or Heavy Stubber and a single-fire Hunter-Killer Missile Launcher, bringing the total up to thirteen. The vehicle can also be outfitted with a Searchlight and Smoke Launchers.

Baneblades are so rare in the present Imperial armed forces that some companies upgrade a Leman Russ tank, adding sponson-mounted Lascannons if they are short on Baneblades. The Baneblade is also in extremely high demand amongst Imperial Guard armoured regiments, meaning that most such regiments will only possess 5-10.

Baneblade Interior

The interior of a Baneblade has more in common with a fortified command bunker than it does with the insides of other, smaller armoured vehicles. Its weapons interfaces, operations points and data relays sprawl across several intermeshed layers of decks, which are connected by a warren of corridors and companionways.

Yet despite its enormous bulk there is precious little space for the numerous crew. Every surface is encrusted with sancti-wired Servo-skulls, draped with Purity Seals or pocked with munitions sconces, all of which are devoted to the steering of the Baneblade's raging Machine Spirit.

Before this ancient spirit can be awakened, each control panel and catechetical dial must be daubed with sanctified oils. When the engines do roar to fiery life, these oils quickly vaporise into an acrid fume. Many crews believe this represents the tank sharing its breath with those it has deemed worthy.

The clangour inside a fully active Baneblade rivals that of all but the most apocalyptic of conflicts. Thunderous blasts reverberate throughout the hull every time the primary weapon is fired. A high-pitched clatter fills the stifling air as an unending cascade of spent shell casings rains down through grills into collection receptacles. Even the scratching of quill on parchment is deafening as reams of cogitative data are hastily recorded by batteries of auto-scribes.

This is to say nothing of the mighty engine itself, the living heart of the Baneblade that thrums with fury as the mechanical beast drives into battle. Those crew manning the lower decks may hear the sound of lesser vehicles breaking beneath the Baneblade's adamantium tracks.

The metallic crunch echoes up through the base plates, as does the splintering of bones from any warriors unlucky enough to be caught in the beast's path. So constant is this deafening sound that many Baneblade crew members begin to lose their sanity when exposed to the relative silence outside of their mechanical cocoon for too long.

The hull of a Baneblade is composed of the most durable steel alloys known to the Tech-priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Even so, it is not completely impervious to damage. Baneblades are sent into battle against the most terrifying abominations in the galaxy -- gargantuan machines of eldritch design, towering xenos creatures and heinous daemons spewed forth from the Warp.

These profane war machines and apex monstrosities can deliver enough force to breach a Baneblade's hull. When they do, destructive shock waves are sent rippling throughout the interior chambers. The pressure surge is enough to pulverise those inside, caving in the skulls of those closest to the impact and liquefying their organs.

But the Baneblade is not dead. Hatches clamp down to contain burning plasma or daemonic bile, and the tank's neuro-couplings are quickly rerouted to the surviving crew members. Though scarred and scorched, the Baneblade can take an inordinate amount of damage without losing any of its destructive potential.

Known Formations

  • Steel Fury Baneblade Company - Steel Fury Baneblade Companies are often formed to face enemy Titans in combat, particularly if the Imperial forces present do not possess any Titans themselves. When such an occasion occurs the Tactica Imperium dictates that all available super-heavy vehicles be drawn together to combat the threat. The super-heavy vehicles will concentrate their firepower upon the enemy war machine, and once under fire from multiple Baneblades, even the mightiest Titan must eventually fall. These companies are usually made up of anywhere between three to five Baneblades.


A Baneblade is a massive war machine, requiring a crew of ten individuals to function properly. The functions of a Baneblade crew include:

  • Tank Commander - The Tank Commander is the senior officer on board the vehicle (with a rank of at least Lieutenant). The Tank Commander serves to coordinate the massive tank's responses to any given situation.
  • Tactical Officer - The Tactical Officer often serves as the tank's second-in-command and has to use the Auspex and Augury sensors of the Baneblade to identify roads, potential pitfalls, friend and foe, primary and secondary targets and assure the coordination between the tank and any other Imperial forces in the area. The position of Tactical Officer on a Baneblade is extremely demanding and requires a man or woman with a quick mind and nerves of steel.
  • Driver - The driver steers the tank, which, considering the massive Baneblade's weight and inertia, can be a daunting task. In battle, the Driver can also fire both the frontal Demolisher Cannon and twin-linked Heavy Bolters when the situation requires it.
  • Adept of the Mechanicus - Each Baneblade has a designated member of the Adeptus Mechanicus assigned to its crew who performs routine maintenance, the necessary rituals to placate the tank's Machine Spirit and various emergency repairs during combat operations. Depending on the age and importance of the tank, this Mechanicus representative be a simple Enginseer or even a full-fledged Tech-priest.
  • Primary Gunner - The Primary Gunner operates the Baneblade's turret, mainly the Mega Battle Cannon. The coaxial Autocannon is only used to perform ranging shots for the other weapon systems.
  • Secondary Gunner - The Secondary Gunner is in charge of the hull-mounted Demolisher Cannon.
  • Primary and Secondary Loader - The Primary Loader and Secondary Loader work in tandem in the Baneblade's magazine, carrying out the thankless but vital task of furnishing the Mega Battle Cannon and Demolisher Cannon with the necessary ammunition.
  • Tertiary Gunner - The Tertiary Gunner is in charge of all the secondary sponson-mounted weapon systems. If these secondary systems are not required in a given battle, the Tertiary Gunner assists the Tactical Officer and the Tank Commander by manning some of the Auspex sensor read-outs.
  • Tertiary Loader - Since the sponson-mounted weapons are fed automatically, the Tertiary Loader acts more as a mobile reserve within the tank, assisting where his help is the most crucial, whether this is firing some sponsons in tandem with the Tertiary Gunner, ferrying shells with the other Loaders, manning the Vox while the Tactical Officer is otherwise busy or even assisting the Tech-priest with repairs. New members of a Baneblade crew almost always start their career as the Tertiary Loader, as the position gives them the opportunity to quickly learn the rudiments of every other crew function in the tank.


There are several variants of the Baneblade officially recognised by the Adeptus Mechanicus that are in current use with the Imperial Guard. The Standard Template Construct chassis of the Baneblade is highly adaptable, and the Tech-priests have capitalised on this, furnishing the Imperial Guard with the tools of war it required without having to have the Guard field their own much harder to produce and maintain Titan Legions. These vehicles are mostly the result of an Imperial commander discovering an unmet tactical need that can only be accomplished by a super-heavy tank like the Baneblade. These variants are created by changing out the tank's standard weapons with those not usually found on a Baneblade. Known variants of the Baneblade include the following:

  • Hellhammer - The Hellhammer variant of the Baneblade replaces the original Mega Battle Cannon with a Hellhammer Cannon. This weapon is a variant of the standard Battle Cannon deployed on Leman Russ Tanks except that it has a shorter barrel with special heavy-gauge suppressors built into it that allows it to fire extremely high-calibre shells without ripping itself apart. This weapon allows the Hellhammer to engage multiple infantry and light armour units at once, due to the higher rate of fire that the Hellhammer Cannon makes possible.
  • Stormhammer - The Stormhammer is an extremely rare Baneblade variant that replaces the Mega Battle Cannon with a set of twin-linked Battle Cannons, and adds a second turret on the front hull with another set of twin-linked Battle Cannons. The Stormhammer also adds another set of sponson and top sponson mounts to the sides of the vehicle. A fully armed Stormhammer can deploy over 20 barrelled weapons at once, and is unsurpassed by any other Imperial armoured vehicle when it comes to sheer firepower.

Notable Users of the Baneblade

  • 9th Konig Heavy Tank Company - Attached to the 7th Mortant Regiment's 2nd Company during the Colonia Campaign.
  • 13th Krieg Heavy Tank Company - Attached to the 28th Death Korps of Krieg Armoured Regiment during the Galen V Expedition.
  • 11th Tekarn Heavy Tank Company - Served on the Death World of Denkari Minor, fighting the Ork WAAAGH! Grughakh.
  • 1st Death Korps of Krieg Panzer Division, "Emperor's Loyal Shield" - The 1st Panzer Division participated in the Cleansing of Radnar.
  • 98th Cadian Armoured Regiment - Participated in the Luxor Uprising.
  • 3rd Cadian Heavy Tank Regiment (also known as the 3rd Cadian Heavy Tank Company) - Attached to the 122nd Cadian Shock Troops Regiment for the Battle of Vogen during the Khai Zhan Uprising.
  • 12th Tallarn Armoured Regiment - Fought against the Tau during the Taros Campaign.
  • 409th Tallarn Heavy Tank Regiment - Fought against the Tau during the Taros Campaign.
  • 66th Death Korps of Krieg Tank Regiment - Fought against the Traitor forces during the Siege of Vraks.
  • 11th Death Korps of Krieg Tank Regiment - Fought against the Traitor forces during the Siege of Vraks.
  • 7th Death Korps of Krieg Tank Regiment - Fought against the Traitor forces during the Siege of Vraks.
  • 9th Tallarn Heavy Tank Company
  • 19th Teutonian Super Heavy Tank Company
  • 8th Valhallan Armoured Regiment - Advanced on Sallan's Point during the Sallan's World Campaign.
  • 12th Vellurian Armoured Cavalry Regiment
  • 1st Kronus Regiment, "The Liberators"
  • 252nd Kauravan Conservator Regiment
  • 1st Kovnian Tank Regiment, "The Black Knights"
  • 5th Cadian Armoured Regiment - Part of the Cadian Gate garrison force.
  • Tyrant's Legion - The Tyrant's Legion was the Secessionist Auxilia that fought against the Loyalist forces during the Badab War.
  • 44th Lavrentian Hussars - Used during the battle for the world of Pavonis.
  • 7th Paragonian Super-heavy Tank Company - The 7th Paragonian consisted of 2 Baneblades, the Mars Triumphant and the Artemen Ultrus, the Hellhammer Ostrakan's Rebirth and the Shadowsword Lux Imperator. The 7th Paragonian fought during the Imperial campaign against the Orks in the Kalidar System. Following the destruction of Mars Triumphant, the company was brought back to full strength with the addition of Cortein's Honour.

Notable Baneblades

  • Arethusa - Arethusa was the Baneblade commanded by Maximilian Weisemann of the 9th Konig Heavy Tank Company during the Colonia Campaign.
  • Artemen Ultrus - Artemen Ultrus was a Baneblade of the 7th Paragonian Super-heavy Tank Company that fought in the Indranis Campaign against Eldar pirates and the Kalidar Campaign against the Orks.
  • Black Claw Pride - The Black Claw Pride was part of the Tyrant's Legion of Traitor Guardsmen who turned against the Imperium alongside Lufgt Huron and his Astral Claws Space Marine Chapter during the Badab War.
  • Cortein's Honour - Cortein's Honour was forged as a replacement for the loss of the venerable Mars Triumphant and subsequently entered service with the 7th Paragonian Super-heavy Tank Company. Cortein's Honour's first commander was Honoured Lieutenant Colaron Artem Lo Bannick, nephew of Honoured Lieutenant Cortein after whom the Baneblade was named.
  • Draco Rex - Draco Rex was a Baneblade of the 12th Tallarn Armoured Regiment, and was deployed during the Taros Campaign against the Tau Empire. It was destroyed by a Broadside Destructor Phalanx during the Battle of Phyyra Heights.
  • Father Time - The Father Time is commanded by the Colonel of the 44th Lavrentian Hussars, Lord Nathaniel Winterbourne.
  • Fortress of Arrogance - The Fortress of Arrogance served as the personal command vehicle of Commissar Sebastian Yarrick during his sweep of the worlds in the Armageddon System in the wake of the Second War for Armageddon for Greenskin forces before it was disabled by an Ork attack on the world of Golgotha. Yarrick had formed such an emotional bond with the tank that he had its remains retrieved and restored by the Adeptus Mechanicus so that it could once again serve as his command vehicle during the Third War for Armageddon in 998.M41.
  • Malevolentia - Malevolentia was a Baneblade commanded by Lord General Raji Nethata of the Galamoth Armoured during the Purge of the Contqual Sub-sector.
  • Mars Triumphant - This Baneblade was manufactured on Mars in Baneblade Manufactorum CCIV in the Utopia Planitia region and was fully activated in 639.M39. Mars Triumphant was part of the 7th Paragonian Super-heavy Tank Company that fought in the Indranis Campaign against Eldar pirates and the Kalidar Campaign against the Orks. The Mars Triumphant was destroyed in 397.M41 on the world of Kalidar IV, during the Battle of Hive Meradon, in a suicide attack on an Ork Gargant, and subsequently written off as a complete loss for the company. The passing of this Baneblade was deeply mourned by the company's contingent of Enginseers.
  • Pride of Hera - The Pride of Hera was the Baneblade of the Ultramar Auxilia, the Planetary Defence Forces of the Realm of Ultramar. The tank met its fate when it was destroyed by an attack of Tyranid Carnifexes during the Battle of Macragge in the First Tyrannic War.
  • Steel Lord - Steel Lord is a Baneblade of the 89th Cadian Armoured Regiment.
  • Steel Might - Steel Might was the regimental command Baneblade of the 278th Mordian Regiment, which was destroyed by a looted Deathstrike Missile Launcher during the Imperial campaign for Baric VI in 994.M40.

Adeptus Mechanicus Technical Specifications

Mars Pattern Baneblade
Vehicle Name: Baneblade Main Armament: 1 turret-mounted Mega Battle Cannon, 1 hull-mounted Demolisher Cannon
Forge World of Origin: Mars Secondary Armament: 1 Co-axial Autocannon, 2 turret-mounted Lascannons, 3 twin-linked Heavy Bolters
Known Patterns: I - X Traverse: 360 and 6 degrees
Crew: 1 Commander, 1 Driver, 3 Gunners, 3 Loaders, 1 Comm-Operator, 1 Engineer Elevation: -2 to 28 degrees
Powerplant: MR507 v18 Multi-Fuel Main Ammunition: 22 Rounds and 18 Rounds
Weight: 316 Tonnes Secondary Ammunition: 300 Rounds and 4000 Rounds
Length: 13.5 metres Armour:
Width: 8.4 metres
Height: 6.3 metres Superstructure: 200 millimetres
Ground Clearance: 1.2 metres Hull: 200 millimetres
Max Speed On-Road: 25 kilometres per hour Gun Mantlet: 180 millimetres
Max Speed Off-Road: 18 kilometres per hour Vehicle Designation: 0427-658-0435-BB018
Transport Capacity: N/A Firing Ports: N/A
Access Points: N/A Turret: 220 millimetres

Lucius Pattern Baneblade
Vehicle Name: Baneblade Main Armament: 1 turret-mounted Mega Battle Cannon, 1 hull-mounted Demolisher Cannon
Forge World of Origin: Lucius Secondary Armament: 1 Co-axial Autocannon, 2 turret-mounted Lascannons, 3 twin-linked Heavy Bolters
Known Patterns: I - IV Traverse: 360 and 6 degrees
Crew: 1 Commander, 1 Driver, 3 Gunners, 3 Loaders, 1 Comm-Operator, 1 Engineer Elevation: -2 to 28 degrees
Powerplant: MR503 v18 Multi-Fuel Main Ammunition: 22 Rounds and 18 Rounds
Weight: 319 Tonnes Secondary Ammunition: 300 Rounds and 4000 Rounds
Length: 13.5 metres Armour:
Width: 8.4 metres
Height: 6.3 metres Superstructure: 210 millimetres
Ground Clearance: 1.2 metres Hull: 190 millimetres
Max Speed On-Road: 25 kilometres per hour Gun Mantlet: 180 millimetres
Max Speed Off-Road: 18 kilometres per hour Vehicle Designation: 0427-658-0435-BB010
Transport Capacity: N/A Firing Ports: N/A
Access Points: N/A Turret: 220 millimetres


Every Baneblade made in the Imperium of Man is transcribed with its own unique serial number and name. In real life every Baneblade resin kit includes a unique Forge World Certification Number.


  • Codex: Astra Militarum (8th Edition), pp. 52-54
  • Imperial Armour, pp. 20-21
  • Imperial Armour Volume One - Imperial Guard and Imperial Navy, pp. 79-90
  • Imperial Armour Volume One - Imperial Guard (Second Edition), pp. 8, 90-99, 253, 267, 271-272, 281, 283, 287, 289
  • Imperial Armour Volume Three - The Taros Campaign, pp. 56, 88, 91, 261, 263
  • Imperial Armour Volume Five - The Siege of Vraks - Part One, pp. 15, 48, 53, 77, 183
  • Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part One, pg. 198
  • Imperial Armour - Apocalypse II , pg. 59
  • Only War: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 219-220
  • The Horus Heresy - Book Four: Conquest, pg. 284
  • Warhammer 40,000: Apocalypse, pg. 104
  • Warhammer 40,000: Apocalypse (6th Edition), pp. 135, 151, 269-270, 330, 366-367
  • Baneblade (Novel) by Guy Haley

See Also