An Emperor's Children Contemptor-Cortus Dreadnought armed with a Heavy Conversion Beamer and twin-linked Heavy Bolters

The Contemptor-Cortus Dreadnought, also known as the Contemptor-Cortus Class Dreadnought, was a variant of the standard Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought that was designed to replace the original Contemptor Prime model in the field. It possessed more robust, but less potent, weapons and sub-systems due to its creation from salvaged components. The Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought is an ancient Imperial cybernetic combat walker used by the Space Marine Legions in the days of the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy, 10,000 Terran years before the present day.

Like the current patterns of Dreadnoughts now in service, the Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought served as a cybernetic sarcophagus for an Astartes who had been so badly wounded in battle that his only chance for continued service to the Emperor lay in being interred within the cybernetic sarcophagus of a Dreadnought. The Contemptor Dreadnought, like much of the technology developed at the dawn of the Imperium of Man, is larger and more powerful than its standard pattern counterparts.

This pattern of Dreadnought was once a key part of the earliest Space Marine Legion forces raised on Terra in the late 30th Millennium to initiate the Great Crusade. Such relics are sometimes recovered as archeotech by the Imperium in the late 41st Millennium and then used to supplement the forces of the present-day Space Marine Chapters. It is unknown if any Contemptor-Cortus Dreadnought variants still exist in the modern day Imperium, or if the Space Marine Chapters that may possess them would even know the difference between the Cortus and the standard pattern Contemptor.



An ancient pict-capture of two Contemptor-Cortus Dreadnoughts during the Horus Heresy

The Contemptor-Cortus Dreadnought was first created during the ancient Ullanor Crusade against the Orks, where it was used to replace the battlefield losses of Legion Dreadnoughts which had far outstripped supply. The Cortus Pattern was created from damaged or wrecked examples of the highly successful original Prime Contemptor pattern, and utilised many of the same base components. However, most of the more sophisticated systems and sub-systems were replaced with robust -- if less potent -- replacement systems that could be more easily fabricated in the field by the Legions. The result was a war machine with its own unique strengths and combat characteristics, but also with a reputation for instability.

The Mechanicum strongly disapproved of this ersatz design, and upon the conclusion of the Ullanor Campaign the Contemptor-Cortus Pattern was phased out almost entirely with surviving examples of the Cortus either being decommissioned or put into permanent slumber. Afterwards, the production of new Contemptor-Primes and Castraferrum Pattern Dreadnoughts met the shortfall. The Contemptor-Cortus Pattern was well on its way to being nothing more than a footnote in the annals of the Legiones Astartes, eventually to be forgotten altogether.

This would not come to pass, however, for shortly after the great triumph at Ullanor the Horus Heresy would set the galaxy ablaze, and the Contemptor-Cortus would see a resurrection in that grinding interstellar civil war. During the Heresy, many more Contemptor-Cortus Dreadnoughts strode into battle, either as newly constructed models or cannibalised from the remains of Contemptor Primes or Mortis Pattern Contemptors, salvaged from wreckage found all over the galaxy.



An ancient pict-capture of a Legion Contemptor-Cortus Dreadnought ambushing a Mechanicum Castellax-class Battle Automata

The standard load-out found on a Contemptor-Cortus Dreadnought is a set of twin-linked Heavy Bolters attached to one arm and a massive Dreadnought Close Combat Weapon on the other with a built-in twin-linked Bolter. Smoke Launchers and a Searchlight complete the standard weapons load-out. A Contemptor-Cortus' standard weapons complement can be replaced with a number of different weapons to suit different tactical needs, including a Multi-melta, a set of twin-linked Autocannons, a Plasma Cannon, a Kheres Pattern Assault Cannon, a set of twin-linked Lascannons, a power-leeching Heavy Conversion Beamer, and a Dreadnought Chainfist with a built-in twin-linked Bolter.

A Contemptor-Cortus can replace its built-in twin-linked Bolter with a Heavy Flamer, a Plasma Blaster or a Graviton Gun. It can also be outfitted with Extra Armour Plating and a carapace-mounted Havoc Missile Launcher. All Contemptor-Cortus Dreadnoughts are protected by an Atomantic Deflector, which generates a protective gravitic shield around the walker using an advanced Atomantic power core and which provides greater protection from both ranged and melee attacks for the walker. However, when damaged, the Atomantic power generator can overload and result in a devastating miniature atomic explosion that can badly damage nearby allied units.

Unit Composition

  • 1-3 Legion Contemptor-Cortus Dreadnoughts


A standard Legion Contemptor-Cortis Dreadnought is armed and equipped with:

Any Legion Contemptor-Cortus Dreadnought may replace their twin-linked Heavy Bolters and/or its Dreadnought Close Combat Weapon with any of these options:

Any Legion Contemptor-Cortus Dreadnought may replace their in-built twin-linked Bolters from the Dreadnought Close Combat Weapon with any of these options:

Legion Contemptor-Cortus Dreadnoughts may also have a variety of vehicle equipment such as:

Adeptus Mechanicus Technical Specifications

Contemptor-Cortus Class Dreadnought
Vehicle Name: Contemptor-Cortus Dreadnought Main Armament: One arm-mounted set of twin-linked Heavy Bolters
Forge World of Origin: N/A (Field Conversion) Secondary Armament: One arm-mounted Dreadnought Close Combat Weapon with inbuilt twin-linked Bolters
Known Patterns: N/A Traverse: 360 degrees
Crew: 1 interred Space Marine Elevation: -90° to +90°
Powerplant: Atomantic Arc Reactor Main Ammunition: Variable
Weight: 14.5 Tonnes Secondary Ammunition: Variable
Length: 2.1 metres Armour:
Width: 3.1 metres
Height: 4.5 metres Superstructure: 200 millimetres
Ground Clearance: N/A Hull: 75 millimetres
Max Speed On-Road: 12 kilometres per hour Gun Mantlet: 180 millimetres
Max Speed Off-Road: 7 kilometres per hour Vehicle Designation: N/A
Transport Capacity: N/A Firing Ports: N/A
Access Points: N/A Turret: N/A

See Also



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