"Those far distant, warp-beaten ships, upon which Imperial citizens never gaze, stand between heresy and the dominion of the galaxy."
- — Lord Admiral Zaccarius Rath
Battlefleet Bakka is a colossal fleet of Imperial Navy vessels charged with the the protection of the strategic Bakka Sub-sector within the Segmentum Tempestus. Bakka is the Sector Naval base closest to the Ultramarines Chapter's homeworld of Macragge and as such, Battlefleet Bakka played a major role in defeating the Tyranids' Hive Fleet Behemoth during the First Tyrannic War at the climactic Battle of Macragge in 746.M41.
Segmentum Tempestus is one of the five Segmentum Majoris, the great administrative divisions of the galaxy. It lies to the galactic south of Segmentum Solar, between Segmentum Pacificus to the galactic west and the Segmentum Ultima to the galactic east. Here, matter is scarce and the Segmentum is mostly a dark and empty void dimly lit by scattered stars. Segmentum Tempestus is organised into 200 light-year cubes called sectors. The Imperial Naval headquarter are located in a 15 light-year cuboid, Sub-sector Bakka, which is located on the man galactic star arm that passes through the east of the Segmentum.
Tempestus is mercifully free from proximity to a festering mass incursion from the Warp, such as the Eye of Terror or the Maelstrom. So Chaos incursion is usually a problem of raiders rather than the mass attack of a large Chaos Fleet of deranged heretics. However, Tempestus is notorious for infestations of Genestealers, and Ork and Eldar raiders. There has, therefore, been a tendency for Tempestus battlefleets to concentrate on small flotilla anti-piracy tactics rather than Grand Fleet strategy.
In the 36th Millennium, a group of Tempestus tacticians, sometimes called the Gareox Prerogative, because they were based at the Gareox Sector Base, came to prominence. This "Young School" proposed a complete change to fleets based on attack-craft carriers as such tactics had proved highly effective against pirate squadrons. The arrogant Prerogative eventually gained enough political influctence to control ship design and were able to order the construction of attack-carrier warships such as the ill-fated Despoiler-class Battleships.
This action brought them into conflict with the "Big-Gun Lobby" at Bakka. Political rivalry eventually led to outright civil war, the so-called Gareox incident (Inquisita Classificationae Purgata Secrata, level sextus). A series of fleet actions demonstrated the superiority of Lance-armed warships over attack carriers and the Prerogative was purged and Gareox cleansed. In their bitterness, many of their supporters in the fleet turned to blasphemy and fled into the Warp. Only three Despoilers were built out of the fifteen orginally ordered and all became traitors. This incident left a suspicion of attack carriers in Tempestus battlefleets and even today there is a tendency for such fleets to favour big-gun ships. This is particularly true of Battlefleet Bakka where the Big-Gun Lobby had reigned supreme.
Forge World Bakka
A young world, Bakka was colonised during the Dark Age of Technology by the restless agents of mankind who claimed it for their own, greedy for its abundant and available mineral wealth. The surface of the planet consists of black island rafts of basalt and granite that float on a glowing viscous sea of cooling lava. Every so often, turbulent flow or a meteorite strike causes fresh magma to burst through the thin skin on the surface of the orange seas and throw incandescent fountains of yellow fire into the sky. The atmosphere is hot, arid and very poisonous; oxides of nitrous, sulphur and sodium mix with ammonia in spirals of yellow, brown and red fog. Giant, tracked machines extract minerals when convective flow forces important ores near the surface of the seas. The loss rate among the lava workers is substantial and commonly penitents and heretics are assigned to the hazardous duty. The punishment for a penitent and a heretic is the same. Naturally, the Emperor rejoices at the righteous remorse of a penitent but the sin must still be cleansed by punishment.
Permanent installations are built on the black rafts. In the reinforced adamantium walls of the fortress-like plants, ore is processed into usable materials. Heavy laser batteries are mounted on the strengthened roofs of the squat, dark structures to blast away meteors, and the Emperor's foes. Most of the manufacturing facilities hang above the planet in geostationary orbit and here are also found the vast, sprawling dockyards of the Segmentum Tempestus Sector Naval Base.
First Tyrannic War
One of the most famous battles involving Battlefleet Bakka took place during the First Tyrannic War in 745.M41. When the Imperium of Man first encountered the dire threat of foul xenos known as the Tyranids and Hive Fleet Behemoth, they sent the entirety of the Bakka Battlefleet to help in the valiant defence of the Ultramarines Space Marine Chapter, who were being forced back, step-by-step, by the tide of alien horrors. Then, just when all appeared to be lost, the first squadrons of ships from Battlefleet Bakka began to arrive, to take part in the climactic Battle of Macragge. Its forces deployed on the planet's surface, the Hive Mind had chosen to withdraw its bio-ships from Macragge in order to lure the defending ships of the Ultramarines flotilla away and thus preventing them from coming to the polar fortresses' aid. Chapter Master Marneus Calgar took the Tyranids' bait, and pursued the Tyranid fleet toward the ringed world of Circe at the edge of the Macragge System. The timely arrival of the Imperial Navy's entire Battlefleet Tempestus from Bakka finally sealed the Tyranids' fate by catching them in a vice between the two fleets.
Calgar watched in rapt attention as reality rippled in front of the shapes emerging from the Warp before parting like a curtain to reveal the familiar shapes of Imperial warships. Over 200 Imperial eagles emblazoned the hologlobe representing heavy cruisers, missile destroyers, battleships and including a gold eagle representing the huge Emperor-class Battleship Dominus Astra. The sense of relief was a palpable force aboard the ships of Ultramar. The hive fleet started to decelerate and turn back in-system, seeking to destroy the lesser Ultramar force behind them. The Ultramar fleet slowed and prepared to fight again as Calgar swiftly communicated with Lord Admiral Zaccarius Rath
Unfortunately, even with these additional forces the Imperial fleet was overmatched, for the Tyranids were too many. However, the Hive Mind's victory was short-lived. The battle would have been lost save for the heroic sacrifice of the great Battleship Dominus Astra. Charging into the heart of the Hive Fleet, the huge Emperor-class capital ship detonated its Warp-Drives, creating a Warp vortex that dragged both it and the entire Tyranid fleet to oblivion. With the Hive Fleet destroyed, Calgar's surviving starships came about and roared back to Macragge to try to save the beleaguered polar garrisons. Only a dozen other ships of the proud Tempestus fleet survived the battle near Circe. These vessels limped away towards Macragge, though the battle for the Ultramarines' homeworld would be long over by the time they arrived. The Tyranids drove straight forward against the Ultramar fleet and Macragge's defences, each successive foe was destroyed before it came anywhere near the planet. Hive Fleet Behemoth had been defeated.
Special Weapons of Battlefleet Bakka
- Fleet Defence Turrent - Battlefleet Bakka warships need to be well equipped with turrets because of the relative lack of fighter defences. A particular Bakka innovation is the fleet defence turret. This is a special long-rang turret fitted to special "flak" ships that can be used to protect other vessels in a near convoy.
- Psychic Cannon - The ancient cruiser Daemon Slayer is equipped with a unique prow weapon described as a Psychic Cannon, which is rumoured to have been forged by the master magicians of the Dark Age of Technology. A hit from this weapon can banish a Daemon back to the Warp. Hive Ships fair no better, as a hit from this fell weapon can knock out the synaptic control of the bio ship.
Notable Vessels of Battlefleet Bakka
- Dominus Astra (Emperor-class Battleship) - Commanded by Lord Admiral Rath, the Dominus Astra served as the flagship of Battlefleet Bakka. It was destroyed during the valiant defence of the Ultramarines homeworld of Macragge against Hive Fleet Behemoth during the Battle of Circe.
- Argus (Victory-class Battleship)
- Conqueror (Victory-class Battleship)
- Hammer of Scaro (Victory-class Battleship)
- Victory (Victory-class Battleship)
- Sebastian Thor (Cardinal-class Heavy Cruiser)
- Silent Fire (Cardinal-class Heavy Cruiser)
- Daemon Slayer (Daemon Slayer-class Cruiser)
- Dux Cornovi (Enforcer-class System Control Cruiser)
- Imperial Ghost (Enforcer-class System Control Cruiser)
- Emperor's Shield (Defender-class Escort Cruiser)
- King Horaxe (Defender-class Escort Cruiser)
- Starlight (Defender-class Escort Cruiser)
Notable Squadrons of Battlefleet Bakka
- Battlefleet Gothic Magazine 2, "Battlefleet Bakka," & "D'aynes Fighting Ships of Segmentum Tempestus - Battlefleet Bakka," pp. 30-35, 36-40
- Battlefleet Gothic Magazine 7, "Rath's Last Stand," by Time Driscole, pp. 6-8
- Battlefleet Gothic 10 (US), "The Defence of Macragge", pp. 6-10
- Battlefleet Gothic 15 (US), "The Ultramarines", pp. 16-23
- Codex: Grey Knights (5th Edition), pg. 16
- Codex: Tyranids (5th Edition), pp. 12-15, 57
- Codex: Tyranids (4th Edition), pp. 8-9
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pp. 32-33, 40, 87
- Deathwatch: First Founding, pp. 69-70
- Warhammer 40,000: Apocalypse, pp. 25-32
- Warhammer 40,000: Planetstrike (5th Edition), p. 54
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (5th Edition), pg. 129