A Combat Shield is piece of defensive equipment utilised mainly by the forces of the Adeptus Astartes, and is a lighter form of the Storm Shield often utilised by Space Marine Terminators during close combat assault actions.
During the Great Crusade era, Combat Shields were wrist-mounted shields or bucklers containing a small defensive energy field generator which enabled it to withstand great amounts of damage, while Boarding Shields were larger, bulkier versions of the same.
These were favoured by assault units employed by Legion Breacher Siege Squads for the additional protection they offered in the confined close quarter fighting of starship boarding actions and siege attacks. Although these shields' smaller size and weaker defensive field meant they offered nothing like the protection offered by the prototype Legiones Astartes Storm Shields that were beginning to enter service at the time of the Horus Heresy, they remained a valued part of a Legion's armoury.
Combat Shields are usually fabricated from plasteel, and incorporate a form of technology very similar to that of Imperial Power Weapons in the form of a miniaturised power generator which, when activated, emits a field of disruptive energy around the face and circumference of the shield. A Combat Shield is a compromise between flexibility and defence, trading the stronger field and physical protection a Storm Shield's size offers for a free hand.
A Combat Shield is small enough to be strapped to the arm, leaving both hands free for another weapon to be wielded. As such, Combat Shields are used by many Space Marines wearing normal patterns of Power Armour about to enter melee combat or ranged combat where they will face an unusually high intensity of incoming fire. Combat Shields are crafted in many different forms and shapes depending on the culture and requirements of the Chapter that uses it.
For example, the Crimson Fists use coffin-shaped Combat Shields, the Blood Angels prefer that theirs be shaped into cruciforms, and the Iron Fists' Combat Shields take on the form of an armoured gauntlet similar to their Chapter icon.
Notable Combat Shields
- Remembrance Shield - Roughly four hundred years ago, the Deathwatch was engaged in operations against the Eldar of Craftworld Ulthwé. The xenos had been launching sudden raids in the Slinnar Drift Star Cluster, then disappearing before a military force could be mobilised. However, when a Kill-Team secured information about a forthcoming attack, the Chapter was able to lay a trap. The next Eldar raid was met not by disorganised Guardsmen, but a large force of black-armoured Space Marines. The majority of the raiders were cut down, and the few survivors vanished back into their Webway portals. To commemorate this crushing victory, a Combat Shield was fashioned, incorporating a number of large, deeply coloured jewels (which, unbeknownst to the Astartes, were actually Spirit Stones) taken as trophies from the fallen xenos. The shield must offend the Ulthwé Eldar greatly, for there have been numerous attacks over the intervening years apparently designed to seize the shield and kill the one who bears it. So far, all have failed.
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pp. 100-101
- Deatwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 166
- Deathwatch: Rites of Battle (RPG), pp. 160-161
- The Horus Heresy - Book One: Betrayal, pg. 236
- The Horus Heresy - Book Two: Massacre, pg. 107
- Warhammer 40,000: Compendium (2nd Edition), "Index Astartes: Codex Imperialis - New Weapons & Equipment," pg. 137