Saturday, December 27, 2008

Space Marine Aircraft: Fluff in the Clouds


Okay, so I got Tactica Aeronautica for Christmas, and I am looking through it and I start wondering once again about what I believe to be a hole in the Space Marine fluff: Aircraft/Spacecraft

So Space Marines have this wonderful thing called the Thunderhawk Gunship, BUT it isn't a very strong aerial vehicle from a fluff point

Issue #1: Pilots
So who actually flies these jet propelled bricks? Marines or Chapter Serfs? In one book, say the Space Wolf novels for instance, it is Marines who got flight training. In another, say the Blood Angels, it is Chapter Serfs. Well I for one prefer the latter fluff point. Why waste a good Marine in a cockpit? The ships are manned by serfs, why not a Thunderhawk. It is not like you have to worry to much about physical constraints, as the physics of flying a rectangle would not allow for it to pull extreme maneuvers. It has a Low rating in Aeronautica, while Lightnings have a Very High. I understand tanks being operated by Brother Marines, as they are on the Field of Battle, but Serfs should stick to flying. BL writers should get together and come to a general consensus on this little fly in the soup.

Issue #2: Turbolaser
Why is it on top? That's really all I got to say. Good in space I guess, but in the atmosphere, almost unusable. Like putting the bomb bay on top of a Marauder. And how can that effectively be used on aircraft? That's all I got on this one.

Issue #3: Top cover
So in the Fluff, and as demonstrated in the source of the Fluff: World War II, Marauders get nowhere without air cover. Thunderbolts or Lightnings have to accompany these lumbering beasts.
Now the Tunderhawk. A little more maneuverable, mayhaps, but not enough to avoid interceptors. Where are its escorts? Why don't Space Marines have a limited contingent of fighters (Thunderbolts and Lightnings)?

Arguments against this:
1- Drop pod assault should render the resistance crippled
2- The Imperial Navy wouldn't let them
3- The thunderhawk is heavily armoured enough

Well, let me just sink your little ships.
1- A drop pod assault is focused. That reserve airbase a few hundred Kilometers away would escape unscathed. Orbital Bombardment you say? Well, this doesn't always happen, and may rob the surprise of the Drop Pod assault.

2- Space Marines have Imperial Navy Ships (Cobras, Firestorms, Swords). They can get a hold of some fighter craft. Plus the Imperial Navy has no say over them, the Astartes are separate. And besides, in some places, the Space Marine chapters essentially control the Guard and Navy located there. Ultramar anyone?

3- How many books have you read where one of these flying tanks crashes? Plenty. I don't care what it is made of, enough hits will bring it down. It does not even have 360* weapons coverage, it can be shot down pretty easily.

Maybe I should paint up a squadron of Blood Angels Thunderbolts...

Poll Results
Who do you think should fly Space Marine Thunderhawks?
Chapter Serfs
10 (55%)
Brother Marines
8 (44%)

Should Space Marine Chapters have fighters in addition to Thunderhawks?
Yes! They need them!
5 (26%)
Yes. They could use them.
7 (36%)
Eh. Maybe?
2 (10%)
No. They don't need them.
2 (10%)
No! That goes entirely against the fluff of 40k!
3 (15%)