"That bulkhead can't hold for much longer. Whatever comes down that corridor, I want you to meet it with a wall of las-fire. Ready... aim..."

— Gurnek, Voidmaster of the 3rd Deck Voidsmen-at-Arms squad of the Vengeance


Rogue Trader Elucia Vhane and a squad of her elite Voidsmen-at-Arms.

Voidsmen (sing. Voidsman), known officially as Voidsmen-at-Arms and sometimes as Armsmen, are the dedicated infantry of the Imperial Navy, tasked primarily with the defence of Imperial warships from boarding assaults.


The warships of the Imperium's vast navy are as varied as the shipmasters that command them, but inside their stout hulls, they all have one thing in common -- an armed military force ready and willing to respond to any threat.

Known formally as "Voidsmen-at-Arms," these naval personnel range from common ratings to gun-commodores in charge of vast broadsides and master officers who command entire armies of lesser Voidsmen.

Voidsmen-at-Arms are trained extensively in the use of the Lasgun -- the anti-personnel weapon that serves as the common armament of the Imperium's largest military force, the Astra Militarum. When grouped into a squad they are more than capable of laying down hails of las-fire capable of withering enemy ranks and keeping the foe at bay.

Although trained in close combat and protected by baroque patterns of Flak Armour, it is standard Imperial Navy tactics to keep enemies at arm's length and punished them with massed ranged fire power.

Yet battles do not often adhere to plans, and for close-ranged fighting -- such as that during boarding actions -- each Voidsman also carries a Laspistol.

Crowded ship corridors, with their sudden turns and enclosed spaces, are also the perfect environment for the Voidsmen's concussion grenades. These hand-thrown bombs carry a charge that detonates with a resounding explosion, a burst that is even more dangerous within enclosed areas.

Many a surging breakthrough attack has been halted with the judicious use of a few well-placed concussion grenades.


A Voidsman armed with a Rotor Cannon.

To augment a Voidsmen squad's firepower, it is common practice for one member to carry a heavier armament. The standard choice is the Rotor Cannon. With its multiple barrels and high rate of fire, the weapon has earned a number of monikers -- the "whirgun," "deck-clearer," and the "Emperor's chainsaw," to name just a few.

These naval soldiers are regularly drilled, both to keep themselves sharp during long voyages and also to ensure the indentured toiler-class of workers that service the many needs of the starship are kept in line.

Voidsmen form the last line of protection should their ship be breached, but are not just defensive in nature. They are trained to conduct boarding exercises and act as escorts to naval officers or specialists should they decide to make planetfall.

When a Voidsman-at-Arms is assigned to their host ship, there is no going back. From that day on they are part of that vessel, and that vessel is a part of them.


A Voidsman in Flak Armour armed with a Lasgun.

They partake of the ship's vital fluids in a solemn ceremony, drinking incense-laced oil so that the craft's essence flows through their bloodstream, just as they move through the arterial corridors and passageways of their new home.

Upon induction they swear an oath to slay, without hesitation, any force that threatens their ship, its crew or any Imperial dignitaries the craft might carry. This oath is held sacrosanct even when the Voidsman is on planetary leave or assigned to an expedition.

Much like their Imperial Guardsmen counterparts, it is not uncommon for Voidsmen to be requisitioned by vital Imperial agents, such as Inquisitors or Rogue Traders, for other assignments.

Their new duties might entail leaving their assigned voidship for solar months or even Terran years at a time, but their oath will still hold true -- they must defend their officers and fellows with steely determination, no matter the cost.

In many ways the Voidsman's life is a simple one, shorn of moral ambiguity and the doubt that haunts the higher ranks of the Imperium.

Their imperative is clear: the ship -- along with its crew, cargo and passengers -- must be protected against all enemies, be they Traitor forces, xenos pirates or even the daemons of the Warp.



A Voidmaster armed with Laspistol and Artificer Shotgun.

Voidsmen are typically led by experienced, non-commissioned officers promoted from within their ranks. These individuals are known as "Voidmasters," and are sometimes referred to in more archaic nautical terms as petty or warrant officers.

It is the Voidmaster who barks out commands and ensures discipline is maintained, whether the squad is in combat or simply running through another gruelling training regimen.

In place of a Lasgun, these officers carry an Artificer Shotgun -- a weapon that can be devastating in close quarters.

Voidmasters are noted for their practicality and gruff personas, characterised by their stern dispositions and unwavering adherence to Imperial Navy codes of conduct.

They uphold many of the traditions and rituals that have been in place since before the days of the Horus Heresy.

Whether on weapon-cleaning duty, deck polishing or volley-fire practice -- woe to the Voidsman that fails to live up to a Voidmaster's expectations.


See Also


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