The Imperial Gothic-class Cruiser is a powerful starship that is a familiar sight throughout the Imperium of Man, with numerous vessels of this common class operating in each of the Imperial Navy's Segmentum battlefleets. Only the Lunar-class Cruiser is more commonly deployed by the Imperial Navy. This class is also deployed by the Basilikon Astra, the naval fleet of the Adeptus Mechanicus.
The powerful Gothic-class Cruiser is a familiar sight throughout the Imperium and has a presence in each Segmentum battlefleet. The class carries one of the heaviest Lance broadsides in the Imperial Navy, making it a threat to vessels of equal or larger size. However, without the saturating fire of Macrocannon macrobatteries, Lances are often unable to destroy targets fast enough, meaning the Imperial Navy often pairs Gothics with other Cruisers or Escort squadrons.
These ships act to bring down an opponent's defences, allowing the Gothic to finish them off. A Gothic differs from a Lunar-class Cruiser chiefly in terms of power output. To construct a Gothic, Imperial shipwrights start with the Lunar-class hull and equip it with a Jovian Pattern "Warcruiser" Drive and possibly Auxiliary Plasma Banks from the supplement, Titanforge Lance Batteries in all port and starboard weapon capacity slots, torpedo tubes, and an armoured prow component. Note that the fearsome Lance arrays of a Gothic are hard to construct, meaning a great deal of effort is put into building the warship by the Adeptus Mechanicus.
A potent force in its own right, the class carries the heaviest Lance array of any Imperial Cruiser in the Gothic Sector, making it a deadly adversary for enemy vessels of all size classes. The Gothic's six torpedo tubes give it the ability to attack at long range and break up enemy formations, allowing it to get to close range where it can bring its devastating Lance armament to bear. However, as powerful as they are, the Gothic's Lances could not deal damage fast enough to win a one-on-one duel with an opposing vessel. This deficiency was most ably illustrated in two separate encounters of the Gothic War between the Gothic-class Righteous Fury and the Chaos Repulsive-class Grand Cruiser Bloodied Sword wherein the Righteous Fury barely escaped after suffering severe damage and inflicting few hits of its own.
With this weakness exposed, it was apparent that the Gothic-class Cruiser could only be successful when accompanied by other starships, calling for a change in tactics. Such a change was pioneered by Captain Hodge of the Righteous Fury, pairing Gothic-class ships with either a second Cruiser or a squadron of Escorts. In combat, the Gothic-class warship would engage the enemy broadside while its partner would race around to attack the foe from the bow or stern. The Gothic-class truly came into its own with these new tactics, as they used the Gothic's heavy Lances to good effect by knocking down the enemy's Void Shields and allowing the Gothic warship's consorts to attack while preventing the enemy from escaping the Gothic's partners. This allowed the Gothic-class to become a valuable Imperial asset in the later stages of the Gothic War, with the most notable such contributions being the destruction of the Chaos Cruisers Cackling Hate and Glorious Bloodbath.
Notable Gothic-class Cruisers
- Drachenfels - The Drachenfels fought and earned great renown during the Gothic War. The vessel's Flag-Captain, Erwin Ramas, became a legendary example for Battlefleet Gothic thanks to his kill tally, his tactical acumen, his volatile temper, and the fact that he continued to serve for years after being mortally wounded and encased in a Dreadnought-like life support system, directly linked to his beloved warship's systems.
- Emperor's Wrath - The Emperor's Wrath fought and earned renown in the Gothic War.
- Gethsemane - The Gethsemane is one of the many Gothic-class vessels that serve with Battlefleet Koronus within the Koronus Expanse.
- Invincible - The Invincible fought and earned renown in the Gothic War.
- Ogadai - Though close to four thousand years old, the Ogadai is the only capital ship that the Dark Hunters Space Marine Chapter possesses that is still spaceworthy. It is a vast starship which had been laid down before the Dark Hunters themselves had been founded. In its youth it had been part of the battle fleet of the White Scars Chapter. The Primarch himself, Jaghatai Khan, had travelled in it, sanctifying the ship with his presence. And ancient though it was, it still possessed enough firepower to lay waste to a planet.
- Pallas Imperious - The Pallas Imperious was assigned to Battlefleet Armageddon before its destruction. Its hulk would then be used as the basis for the Ork Battleship Slamblasta.
- Righteous Fury - The Righteous Fury fought in the Gothic War. It was nearly destroyed by the Chaos Repulsive-class Grand Cruiser Bloodied Sword on two separate occasions, and its commander Captain Hodge pioneered the tactical changes that finally made the Gothic-class a valuable weapon in the Imperial Navy's arsenal.
- Sword of Orion - The Sword of Orion fought in the Gothic War. It was one of five Imperial capital ships that participated in Admiral Mourndark's destruction of a major band of pirates in the Quinrox Sound.
- Battlefleet Gothic Rulebook, pg. 111
- Battlefleet Gothic Armada (PC Game) (Image)
- Vessels of Mars: Ships of the Adeptus Mechanicus, by Nate Montes, Robert Henderson and Ray Bell
- Rogue Trader: Battlefleet Koronus (RPG), pg. 25
- Dark Hunters - Umbra Sumus (Novel) by Paul Kearney