The Banehammer is a super-heavy tank of the Astra Militarum that is a variant of the Shadowsword Titan-killer tank. The Banehammer was designed to prevent the enemy's troops from assaulting Imperial lines before the massive bombardments unleashed by the Imperial Guard had their intended effect. The Banehammer is armed with a weapon known as a Tremor Cannon, the shells of which are fused to explode only after the force of their impact had already buried them in the ground. These shells not only cause a huge explosion when their fuses go off, but they are capable of creating a large shock-wave that can knock enemies off their feet, or at least slow them down enough for Imperial artillery pieces to bombard them into oblivion. The shock-wave itself is as lethal to infantry as any other heavy ordnance, and this makes a Banehammer's Tremor Cannon the perfect weapon to deal with large numbers of infantry.
Like all of the variants of the Baneblade, the Banehammer came into being as the solution to a specific tactical need. Like its counterpart tank the Stormlord, it is a dedicated line-breaker, designed to deal with large waves of infantry. Where the Stormlord is exceptionally effective against Orks, the Banehammer is especially potent against the horrendously fast-moving Tyranid swarms and their notoriously resilient larger bio-forms. The Tremor Cannon that replaces the original Volcano Cannon is a potent weapon adapted from a Squat design: it fires large self-propelled rockets with an incredibly hard tip which are designed to burrow themselves a set distance into the ground before exploding.
The underground detonation creates a powerful shockwave much larger than the shell's explosion, which will impede the progress of any unit caught within it. Infantry will be thrown down and shrouded in dirt, while tanks will become bogged down and trapped by the shifting soil. While the Tremor Cannon shell itself does relatively little damage, it is the side effect of the underground explosion that is invaluable, pinning the opponent in place and making him vulnerable to sustained bombardment by the other artillery elements of the Imperial Guard. Additionally, since the Tremor Cannon is much smaller than the original Volcano Cannon, the Banehammer possesses a large empty hold, which can be used to either transport a small platoon of Imperial Guardsmen, or house a cramped but fully functional headquarters equipped with powerful Vox-casters and tactical arrays from which the officer in charge can lead his troops.
Banehammers that use their armoured transport hold to carry troops are often used to protect elite infantry units from artillery and tank fire. The infantry are then unleashed once the battered enemy has moved within their range. Alternately, the Banehammer can plough forward and unload its troops in the face of the enemy.
On the battlefield, the Banehammer's place is behind the frontline, slowing the opponent down at medium range. The Tremor Cannon's impact will double as a targeting flare for rear echelon artillery batteries, and the Banehammer's secondary armament of up to three sets of twin-linked Heavy Bolters and two Lascannons will add their punishing fire to the overall volley. The Banehammer is also configured to transport infantry, providing a stable platform from which the embarked Guardsmen can add to the overall firepower with their own personal weapons, and the tank will often serve as a mobile bunker for heavy weapon platoons.
If necessity warrants it, the Banehammer will be fielded as an assault tank. While the shockwave of the Tremor Cannon is moderately efficient against heavily reinforced fortifications, it makes short work of lighter defences like trenches and similar earthworks, collapsing them outright and burying any enemy attempting to take shelter within them alive. Such assault-oriented Banehammers will swap some of their Heavy Bolters for Heavy Flamers, and carry one or two squads of Veteran Guardsmen in their hold. These assault-oriented Banehammers will rumble slowly forward through the no-man's-land toward their objective, collapsing the enemy defences with shots from their Tremor Cannon on the go. Once arrived at their destination, they will flush out the defenders with their Heavy Flamers and gun them down with their Heavy Bolters, allowing the Guardsmen they carry to claim the objective effortlessly.
As a dedicated line-breaker and anti-infantry tank, the Banehammer suffers from one major drawback, namely the lack of anti-armour weaponry. while it can attempt to fend off enemy armour with its two Lascannons, or even a direct shot from the Tremor Cannon, the lack of range of its weaponry leaves the Banehammer highly vulnerable to long-range anti-tank fire. When facing opponents that field tanks, the Banehammer will require support from dedicated tank-hunter units to fulfill its mission. Of course, the Banehammer also suffers from the drawbacks inherent to the Shadowsword and all its variants, namely poor top speed and maneuverability, and the fixed main gun that requires that the tank be bodily aimed at the intended target.
The Banehammer is armed with a single hull-mounted Tremor Cannon as its main weapon, but it is also equipped with hull-mounted twin-linked Heavy Bolters, up to two sponson-mounted twin-linked Heavy Bolters or Heavy Flamers with two additional top sponson-mounted Lascannons. The vehicle can also replace the sponson mounts with Extra Armour Plating or add an additional two sponson mounts identical to the first, giving the tank two more twin-linked Heavy Flamers or Heavy Bolters and top-mounted Lascannons. The Banehammer can also be equipped with a Hunter-Killer Missile Launcher, a Pintle-mounted Heavy Stubber or Storm Bolter, a Searchlight, or Smoke Launchers. Since the large capacitors for the Shadowsword's Volcano Cannon have been removed, the tank has enough room to transport up to 25 Astra Militarum infantrymen in a hold behind the main gun, and 10 of these soldiers can fire their personal weapons from the hold's fighting platform.
Like all super-heavy tanks, the Banehammer is capable of surging forward and crushing the opposing lines. However, where this metal behemoth truly excels is as a defensive anchor in the Astra Militarum formation. Those enemies not blasted apart by its lobed Tremor Cannon shells are brought to a crawl as the earth splits beneath their feet. The hobbled foe is then faced with a grim decision -- either fall back or push slowly forward against the punishing wall of Astra Militarum fire.
The Banehammer has proven itself extremely effective in dealing with the Tyranids, and is being heavily used by the armoured regiments of the Imperial Guard to fight against the swarms of Hive Fleet Leviathan. Tyranid bioforms have proven to be extremely resilient against all but the heaviest weaponry, but after a well-placed Tremor Cannon shell slows them down, they can be destroyed by massed laser or ballistic fire.
Adeptus Mechanicus Technical Specifications
|Vehicle Name:||Banehammer||Main Armament:||1 hull-mounted Tremor Cannon|
|Forge World of Origin:||Field Conversion||Secondary Armament:||1 set of hull-mounted twin-linked Heavy Bolters, 2 top sponson-mounted Lascannons, 2 sponson-mounted twin-linked Heavy Bolters|
|Crew:||1 Commander, 1 Driver, 1 Main Gunner, 1 Remote Gunner, 1 Comm-Operator, 1 Engineer||Elevation:||Unknown|
|Powerplant:||MR507 v18 Multi-Fuel||Main Ammunition:||Unknown|
|Weight:||310 Tonnes||Secondary Ammunition:||1600 to 4000 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:||Unknown|
|Transport Capacity:||25 Infantrymen||Firing Ports:||Rear Hold Fighting Platform (Room for 10 Infantrymen to fire from)|
|Access Points:||Rear, Open-Topped||Turret:||N/A|
- Codex: Astra Militarum (8th Edition), pg. 54
- Imperial Armour Apocalypse II, pg. 10
- Warhammer 40,000 Apocalypse (6th Edition), pp. 136-137