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A Retribution-class Battleship

The Retribution-class Battleship is a heavy capital ship of the Imperial Navy. The class is one of the oldest patterns of Imperial battleship still in service, built in the Martian orbital shipyards of the Ring of Iron.

They are notable for mounting an all "big gun" armament, with a dorsal Lance battery. Battleships of this class mount the heavily armored prow and torpedo tubes of a capital ship.

Ships of this class are considered the backbones of the Imperial Navy and often serve as a fleet flagship, however, the lack of an enhanced sensor suite make the Emperor-class Battleship the preferred choice for this mission type.

The Retribution-class is employed in large scale engagements where the sheer weight of firepower spewed from the broadsides makes up for the lack of Lance batteries.

Due to poor maneuverability, however, these battleships require a large number of escorts to deal with fast-moving threats.


Schematic of Retribution-class Battleship

The Retribution-class battleship's traditional armoured prow and the distinctive multiple-tube plasma engines mark them as products of the Martian orbital shipyards.

Retribution battleships along with the Emperor-class are known to have a huge golden monument relating to the Imperium atop its bridge.

The final note on appearance is its engine fins. Emperor and Retribution-class Battleships have long fins to the port and starboard sides of the main engines sitting vertically with some additional thrusters built into them with a third vertical fin sitting in the middle between the engines.


A squadron of Retribution-class Battleships in formation.

The Retribution-class is able to deliver a devastating broadside assault on the enemy and is also equipped with impressive ordnance capabilities. The main armament of the Retribution-class are its rows upon rows of mighty weapon batteries lining the vessel's flanks.

These are able to fire a devastating spread over extreme ranges, crippling enemy starships before they even get within range to return fire.

If closing on an enemy vessel, torpedoes fired from the Retribution are equally capable of causing extreme damage. As with many Imperial battle craft, the ship is also equipped with a series of Lance turrets along the dorsal hull of the ship.

These are more accurate than the flank batteries, but their numbers are fewer. They are normally used for finishing off an enemy ship that the main weapons have crippled, or providing return fire when the battleship is closing on its foes.

Many a ship has fallen to the power of a close range broadside from the Retribution-class.

Void Shields

Retribution-class Battleship

Void Shields on Imperial vessels (and enemy vessels for that matter), are larger and more powerful versions than those found on Titans and other war machines. A Void Shield is created by a single generator that creates a sphere of Warp-based energy around the ship that protects it from direct and indirect enemy fire.

It prevents damage from energy weapons and prevents actual critical structural damage occurring on the ship. Any vessel large enough to be built with a shield generator has such a shield, but energy weapons can overload the generators, and once enough fire has been absorbed, the void shield will collapse.

The shield regenerates several solar minutes later assuming the ship isn't attacked again and that subsequent attacks do not damage the shield generator.

Ordnance like torpedoes and attacks from fighters are not affected by the effects of shields and can do direct damage to the ship unless engaged by turrets. The Retribution-class has four Void Shield generators.


A Retribution-class Battleship in port.

Every Imperial starship is equipped with a Plasma Drive for normal propulsion through the depths of realspace. Running up to a third of the ship's length, the aft section is a mass of drive tubes, engine compartments and plasma reactors.

Most Imperial Navy ships employ Warp-Drives to breach the barrier that separates realspace from the Immaterium and allow for interstellar travel. Implosion of these drives can lead to the creation of a Warp rift.

Famous Retribution-class Ships

  • Cardinal Boras - A Retribution-class Battleship which fought in the Gothic War, the Cardinal Boras is known to have led the ill-starred exploration fleet of Rogue Trader Ventunius into the northern rim and was one of only five ships to return. Subsequently it fought at the Battle of Callavell, Arnot's Landing and Korsk, where its bombardment forced the capitulation of the rebellious Regime of Iron. The Cardinal Boras is well-travelled vessel and has been assigned to eighteen different sector fleets over the past four millennia. It was finally assigned to the Gothic Sector over four hundred years ago.
  • Bloodhawk - A Retribution-class Battleship which took part in the Gothic War, this venerable vessel dates from the earliest days of the Imperium. The first records of the Bloodhawk state that it fought at the Battle of Merin where it was severely damaged by torpedoes. During the Age of Apostasy the Bloodhawk became cut off by the forces of the renegade Admiral Sehella while visiting the fleet bases at Hydraphur. Through heroic efforts and several running battles the Bloodhawk evaded Sehella's squadrons and eventually arrived at Cypra Mundi over eight years later, where it was adopted as part of Battlefleet Obscurus.
  • Dawn of Fire - The Dawn of Fire is a Retribution-class Battleship that served as the flagship for the Indomitus Crusade's Fleet Primus. It was the sister ship of the Embrace of Fire, which was destroyed in a plasma drive mishap caused by saboteurs. As the Dawn of Fire served as the Primarch Roboute Guilliman's flagship, the lord commander of the Imperium speculated that the saboteurs had intended to send him a symbolic message.
  • Embrace of Fire - The Embrace of Fire was a Retribution-class Battleship that served in the Indomitus Crusade's Fleet Quintus. It was among the warships gathered for the initial launching of the Indomitus Crusade, but the battleship was destroyed in a Plasma Drive mishap before the crusade's fleets departed on their various missions. The Embrace of Fire's death destroyed 6 other Fleet Quintus warships as well and Inquisitor Galen later discovered Imperial saboteurs were behind the battleship's destruction. As the Embrace of Fire was the sister ship of Roboute Guilliman's flagship for Fleet Primus, the Dawn of Fire, the lord commander speculated that the saboteurs were sending him a symbolic message by destroying the twin of his own vessel.
  • Glorious Age - The Glorious Age was the only Retribution-class Battleship to play a major role in the Third War for Armageddon, though it arrived some time after the conflict was already well underway.
  • Nolandia - Retribution-class Battleship that served the Loyalists during the Horus Heresy.
  • Ozymandias - Retribution-class Battleship stationed as part of the respond fleet at the High Anchorange of Lascal during the Horus Heresy. Destroyed by Death Guard Fleet circa 007.M31.
  • Pride of Fenris - Retribution-class Battleship that serves as the flagship of the Great Wolf of the Space Wolves.
  • Saint Augusta - Retribution-class Battleship that fought in the Battle of Callavell during the Age of Apostasy in the 36th Millennium.
  • Sceptre of Iron - Retribution-class Battleship stationed as part of the respond fleet at the High Anchorange of Lascal during the Horus Heresy. Destroyed by Death Guard fleet circa 007.M31.
  • Star Tamer - Retribution-class Battleship stationed as part of the respond fleet at the High Anchorange of Lascal during the Horus Heresy. Destroyed by Death Guard Fleet circa 007.M31.
  • Talisman of Grace - A Retribution-class Battleship that served in Battlefleet Orpheus and was sadly destroyed in 992.M41 during the Battle of Amarah. The Talisman of Grace was facing a Cairn-class Tomb Ship belonging to the Necrons of the Maynarkh Dynasty and identified as the Sun Killer when it was cleanly cut in two by high intensity Gauss-weaponry.

Application in the Imperial Fleet

The Retribution-class Battleship is best employed in one of two ways. Firstly, one can make use of its superior long range firepower, out-ranging the weaponry on most enemy vessels. Alternatively, one can close quickly and unleash a devastating broadside at close range, an attack which can cripple an enemy Cruiser in a single salvo. However one must be wary of making sudden changes of course as the ship is slow to maneuver.


  • Victory-class Battleship - The Imperial Navy's powerful Victory-class Battleship is suspected to be a modified Retribution-class Battleship. In its internal layout, the Victory-class greatly resembles the Retribution-class. It is possible that this design is the product of grafting Lance weapons systems onto a Retribution template in an attempt to replicate the successful Apocalypse-class Battleship. However, a key difference between the two classes of Battleship is the substantial number of Lance systems present on the Victory-class in place of the Retribution's large number of Attack Craft hangers. The Tech-priests of Mars refuse all requests for access to their records by historians of the Imperial Navy, so the origin of this class remains unclear, though one vessel, the Conqueror, is known to have particularly distinguished itself during the Great Crusade in the late 30th Millennium to bring the Emperor's light to the galaxy after the end of the Age of Strife.


  • Avenging Son (Novel) by Guy Haley, Chs. 19-20
  • Battlefleet Gothic Magazine 14, pg. 16
  • Battlefleet Gothic Rulebook, pg. 107
  • Warp Storm (Compendium)
  • Grey Hunter (Novel) by William King. pg. 107
  • Garro: Sword of Truth (Audio Book) by James Swallow
  • The Horus Heresy - Book Four: Conquest (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pp. 27-30
  • Imperial Armour Volume Twelve: The Fall of Orpheus, pg. 56
  • Battlefleet Gothic Armada II (PC Game) (Images)