Basilisk Artillery Gun
"Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl."
- – Frederick II of Prussia
"Though my guards may sleep and my ships may lay at anchor, our foes know full well that the big guns never tire."
"SHATTER. THEIR. SKY!"
- – Basilisk commander from Dawn of War 1, about to fire the earth shaker round.
The Basilisk Artillery Gun is the iconic Imperial Guard self-propelled artillery piece. It is based on the versatile Chimera chassis, and it carries a massive Earthshaker cannon. It dates at least as far back as the Great Crusade, where it was used by the artillery batteries of the Space Marine Legions and Imperial Army; though they were too slow for the slimmer, faster post-Codex Astartes Space Marines, they could move at just the right pace to keep up with an Imperial Guard siege operation.
Of course, given its tremendous range, it doesn't need to move very fast to keep pounding the enemy, and it's not supposed to be at the front line -- rather, the Basilisk crews get told where to shoot, they launch great quantities of shells in that direction, and then they move away before they get hit by counter-battery fire.
- Standard Pattern
- You know'em, you love'em. The OG Basilisk with the famous gun shield. It is by far one of the most iconic vehicles from the Imperium of Man, let alone the Imperial Guard and stands equal with the Leman Russ Battle Tank, Baneblade, Land Raider and Rhino as most famous tank.
- Armageddon Pattern
- Because Armageddon is a
desert world irradiated, poisonous shitholeOrk playground, they developed a Basilisk pattern that fully enclosed the entire tank, sheltering the loading mechanism (and, coincidentally, the loader and gunner) from the harsh environmentretarded amounts of small-arms fire constantly filling the air. Kallin' Ork gunz small? I oughter give yer a stamp!
- Basilisk Magnus
- A variant of the Basilisk fielded by Vance Motherfucking Stubbs, which seems to be dug into an immobile concrete position. It's like a regular Basilisk, except it can strike targets anywhere within the Imperial Dussala Precinct base, fires an absurdly powerful Earthshaker shell, and has styrofoam for armor. However along with the 100 Baneblades, Stubbs lost the targeting matrix for the thing and so it requires a spotter every time it shoots. Its size compared to the turret and crew suggest it would also be as well proportioned for mounting on a Macharius tank chassis as a normal Earthshaker is on a chimera chassis. Dis gon b gud.
- Legion Basilisk
- Before the Codex Astartes reforms, the Space Marine Legions operated some artillery of their own, including the Basilisk. The gun shield and crew compartment looks beefier, and the engine exhausts run out the sides of the tank.
- Solar Auxilia Basilisk
- Like the Armageddon Pattern, the gun and its crew are entirely enclosed, but the chassis is built around a Leman Russ rather than a Chimera. The gun is placed to the right of driver's compartment while the engine is left exposed behind the driver's compartment like the Mars-Alpha Pattern Leman Russ.
- Vanaheim Pattern
- It's the same as the original Basilisk, with a less goofy-looking gun shield which offers additional protection for the gun crew from both the front and sides. Although its overall protection is not to the extent as that of the Armageddon Pattern or the Legion Basilisks.
- Basilisk Anti-Aircraft Emplacement
- It exists...don't ask us how the fuck it works. While the first assumption might be 'AAA' (Anti-Air Artillery), there's a reason such guns were entirely different from the regular howitzers and field guns. If a Basilisk was modified to act as an AAA gun, it'd require so much change to its system and design that it'd no longer be a similar gun. The Imperium seemingly forgot how to make surface to air missiles viable on emplacements, even though there are several artillery pieces that can make use of said surface to air missiles.
A Legion Basilisk of the Iron Warriors.
The Basilisk's Earthshaker has the longest range of any Imperial Guard weapon (the Deathstrike lost its infinite range and the Manticore's was cut to 120"), able to drop a shell anywhere within 20 feet (which is pitifully small when scaled up to real-world dimensions...but so are all 40K weapon ranges). That is enough range to target an enemy on the next TABLE and is more than enough even for apocalypse. Prior to 8th it was possible for a single IG army to have up to nine of these monsters (three per Heavy Support slot, times three Heavy Support choices) for just under 1000 points, which would rapidly turn the entire battlefield into a moonscape.
In the couple of editions leading up to 8th, the Basilisk was something of an awkward middle child between the powerful Manticore and the Infantry shredding Wyvern. The Manticore launcher could provide more destruction pound for pound if you just wanted to plonk 1 ordnance template on the field, whilst the Wyvern (or even mortars) were far cheaper. In 8th, the Basilisk truly shines as it is meant to be played: in groups. An economy of scale with 3 of these boys will cost just over 300 points, but every turn you will likely destroy at the very least a Leman Russ, and at the very best a Baneblade. The Basilisk must take a support role, but when aided with a Master of Ordnance and a cup of hot cocoa, it will make your army suited to dealing with whatever your opponent may throw at you. MEQs, tanks and even Terminators can not afford to scoff at shots that deal 2D6 (pick highest) S9 AP-3 hits with D3 damage (just don't expect to quickly wipe out blobs with a single gun). The Emperor's Wrath Artillery Company specialist detachment makes them even stronger, giving the option for a unit to shoot twice and really lay down the hate, or else suppress a target of choice, at a fairly low CP cost.
In Second Edition, where it first appeared, the Basilisk featured epic levels of bullshit since it rolled a D3 for damage to vehicles even if it didn't penetrate armour, and since the template usually hit every location on the vehicle it was statistically likely that anything hit by a Basilisk would be crippled or destroyed even if all AP rolls failed. Thanks to the preliminary barrage rule, it also got to fire a battle cannon round (somehow) before the game had actually started.
These babies were in Dawn of War 1 and BY THE EMPEROR they are awesome. They are one of the "must-get" units for the Imperial Guard faction because they make up for the Guards' shitty early game when they don't have more models and plasma gun upgrade, and they are one of the reasons people play IG (the others being THE BANEEEEEBLADE and the Commissar). They are best at blowing up infantry blobs and scattering them like frigging marbles for the Guardsmen to mop up. Most importantly, their Earthshaker round deals a fuck load of damage to ANYTHING.
- The personal attack vehicle/pet of Commissar Dan. Being the retard that he is, he uses the thing as a front line assault tank instead of a full-time artillery piece.
Why A Basilisk is The Best Place To Be In The Whole Goddamn Imperium
- You're ten miles from the front lines and whatever fanged horrors or berserk supersoldiers are invading the Imperium this week.
- You get to fire a MASSIVE fucking gun and blow shit up. It's one of the best artillery weapons in the galaxy, able to mow down whole swathes of armies in minutes. Thus, the Tyranids' numerical superiority is irrelevant.
- If your regiment is commanded by Creed, you're one of a select few that knows how it is possible to deploy a dozen pieces of mobile artillery inside an impenetrable Ork stronghold.
- All the commissars (save one) are also at the front lines, seeing as that is where the business of
executing cowa..erm upholding morale is most wanted.
- You can probably even get away with complaining about the High Lords of Terra and their general not giving a shit, seeing as there are no senior officers, no Inquisitors (since you're probably in a depopulated area far away from Inquisitorial interest), and no fucking commiss*BLAM*
- You're not at risk of being blown up when your commander tells the artillery to shoot right in front of his own troops. Though you will probably hear their screams over your vox-unit, and any complaints about your orders will get you *BLAM*'med.
- Canon says you're going to go deaf, but whatever right? Hearing problems are the least grimdark thing in the entire setting. Or just stuff your ears with wads from your Uplifting Primer-*BLAM*
- Not just anybody can drive one of these, therefore you are not as expendable as other Guardsmen, and Commissars are less likely to shoot you if you start fleeing (which is frankly what you SHOULD do if the enemy comes close to your art*BLAM*