Imperial Subterranean Vehicles are underground, tunnelling troop transports utilised by a variety of Imperial military forces and collectively known as "tunnellers" or "miners". These machines tunnel their way underground while the battle rages above, bypassing enemy troops and fortifications to emerge behind enemy lines. Tunnellers can move over the surface as well as underground, but as they only travel slowly overland it is more common to transport them to battlefields on huge, tracked transporter vehicles.
Imperial military forces appreciate the value of tunnellers as assault vehicles for overcoming both surface defences and subterranean strongholds, and often deploy them in large numbers. Many of the tunnelling vehicles used by the Imperium were obtained as part of the mutual exchange of materials and technologies between the Squat homeworlds and the Imperium during the Great Crusade of the late 30th Millennium.
Known Subterranean Vehicles
The following are the most common subterranean vehicles utilised by Imperial forces:
The Termite is used by the Adeptus Mechanicus as a subterranean transport vehicle. The Termite is the smallest of the tunnellers. It carries two squads of Astra Militarum troops and the various Termites are organised into squadrons for tactical purposes.
Termite squadrons all use the same tunnel, each following behind the other and branching to the surface only at the last moment. The Termite, as well as its counterparts the Mole and the Hellbore, use a phase-field generator to burrow through the ground, whereas the Hades Breaching Drill uses a more "brute-force" approach that applies physical drills.
The Mole is an intermediate-size tunneller vehicle used by the Adeptus Mechanicus as a subterranean transport vehicle, carrying a single platoon of Astra Militarum tactical troops. All Moles carry special communications equipment which allows them to relay orders to the troops they carry.
It is far larger than both the Termite and the Mole, and like them utlises a phase-field generator to burrow deep underground with its massive drill, carrying many units of Imperial troops safely far below the surface of the earth, beneath enemy fortifications and formations.
This allows the Hellbore to surface behind an enemy's position or the flanks of an enemy fortification at which point its troops disembark for close assault. This vehicle is equipped with Multi-Launchers and Heavy Bolters.
Hades breaching Drill
The Hades Breaching Drill is industrial equipment that has been used for both civilian and military purposes by the Imperium of Man. The Hades drill is normally used on Imperial Mining Worlds to help miners dig new tunnels in search of deposits of strategic ores and remove rubble and debris, but there have been several occasions where the Hades has been pressed into military service by the Imperial Guard.
When the Hades is used in a military role it is usually during a prolonged siege, where it serves as a breaching drill that can break into a bunker or through the wall of an enemy fortification. The Hades Drill is equipped with a forward-firing Melta-Cutter that can turn rock and metal into molten slag in seconds. Its massive drilling blades are tipped with Diamantine and can easily cut through most materials, be it rock, metal, or even flesh.
- Armies of the Imperium, pp. 32, 59-62
- Imperial Armour Apocalypse II, pp. 16-17
- Imperial Armour Volume Six - The Siege of Vraks - Part Two, pp. 98-99
- Imperial Armour Volume One - Imperial Guard (Second Edition), pp. 9, 209-210, 267
- Imperial Armour Volume Twelve - The Fall of Orpheus, pg. 195
- Ork and Squat Warlords (Warhammer 40,000 Epic Supplement), pg. 62
- White Dwarf 116 (UK), "Imperial Vehicles," by Graeme Davis & Jervis Johnson, pp. 10-11, 15
- White Dwarf 123 (UK), "Epic Battles - Space Marine War Machines," by Karl Tebbutt and Roger Gerrish, pp. 24-25
- White Dwarf 136 (UK), "Games Workshop Catalog: Imperial Tanks & War Machines," pg. 75
- Warhammer Community - Forge World Preview: Termite Assault Drill