Imperial Navy Battlecruiser
Battlecruisers are a type of warship used by the Imperial Navy. Somewhat larger than regular Cruisers, the Battlecruiser fills the need for a heavily-armored yet high speed ship class capable of carrying Battleship-grade weaponry. They take over the roles of the Grand Cruisers as these venerable ships are gradually phased out or moved to the Reserves.
Although sporting increased firepower, Battlecruisers are often times no more durable than a regular Cruiser, due to the design compromises needed to maintain its high speeds. As a result, Battlecruisers try to avoid sustained assaults if possible.
Imperial battlecruisers are one of the few examples of a correct use of the term battlecruiser in sci-fi, where it's often simply a generic big ship term. A real battlecruiser is a ship carrying firepower of a battleship but with mobility of a cruiser at the cost of protection, thus allowing it to outgun anything it can't outrun and allowing it to outrun anything it can't outgun.
While still possessing the default weaponry of a Lunar Cruiser, the enhanced weapon systems and power relays added helped increase their range, with still enough power to spare to support a pair of additional Lance batteries.
On the flip side, all this additional equipment, plus the manpower needed to maintain them, and the supplies for the extra crew meant that the insides of the class were quite cramped. As a result, the Armageddon is not suited for operating independently for long periods of time.
- Length: 5km
- Mass: 30 megatonnes; approx
- Crew: 98,500 crew; approx
- Acceleration: 2.5 gravities max sustainable acceleration
A cautionary tale on not putting all your eggs under the decision making of a couple of sleazy bureaucrats.
A class designed to replace the Mars-class, the Dominion carried long-range Lances to compliment its payload of Assault Craft by the fleetlords of Bakka while also having Lance batteries to satisfy the "big-gun" lobby (Yes, we are as surprised as you are that lobbying still exists in the 41st Millennium). Would be a great platform for a nova cannon.
While it performed admirably as fleet support ships, especially during the First Tyrannic War on Macragge, they still suffered the same issues as the Gothic-class Cruisers. After several of these ships were lost, construction of the class has ceased as a result. Because Emperor forbid a ship need support from other vessels. What do you think this is? A fleet?
- Length: 5km
- Mass: 31 megatonnes; approx
- Crew: 95,000 crew, 17,500 pilots and support personnel; approx
- Acceleration: 2.3 gravities max sustainable acceleration; approx
Intended to replace the Exorcist-class Grand Cruiser as a fleet carrier and patrol ship, the Mars class didn't quite meet its designers' expectations, primarily due to its odd mix of weaponry. Aside from its Launch Bays carrying your typical mixture of Fury Interceptors, Faustus Interceptors, Starhawk Bombers and Shark Assault Boats, it features a Nova Cannon, plus short-ranged Macrocannons and Lance batteries. In theory, this allows the Mars Class to engage the enemy whilst out of range of their main weapon systems, or go closer to the enemy and use its attack craft to protect itself or make lightning raids against enemy ships.
However, in reality, the Mars Class is Skub reincarnated into an entire ship in-universe. Captains have a love-or-hate relationship with the Mars, with many thinking that its undergunned, but there's an equal number who respect its capability to operate at stand-off ranges (those guys should demand more Dominion-class ships then, with nova cannons). Still, enough people bitched about the design that the shipyards of Mars stopped laying down Mars Class keels some 1,900 years before the Gothic War. Only a handful of shipyards continue to produce Mars in limited numbers ever since.
- Length: 5.4km
- Mass: 33 megatonnes; approx
- Crew: 107,000 crew, 15,700 pilots and support personnel; approx
- Acceleration: 2.3 gravities max sustainable acceleration
An attempt by enginseers in the Calixis sector to create a heavily-armored Cruiser, the Chalice was, in the end, unsuccessful, due to a combination of weak armor and plasma conduits that had an unfortunate tendency to break during assault.
Despite this, many vessels of the class still serve in Battlefleet Calixis. Because for all its flaws, it does have supposedly impressive armaments and is fast. So, while it might break, it'll at least do a lot of damage first and if your smart you can keep them safe enough for them to be useful.
Also, is it really an ordinance boat? There looks like a pair of lance turrets on the top near the bridge in the Chalice-class's picture if you look at the image on the right. Come to think of it, this ship’s picture looks like an artistic impression of an Armageddon-class, so maybe it’s a purpose built version of that instead of an upgraded Lunar.
- Length: 5.1km
- Mass: 29 megatonnes; approx
- Crew: 98,200 crew; approx
- Acceleration: 3.4 gravities max sustainable acceleration
Another attempt at a fast, heavily-armed Cruiser, this time from the Tech Priests of Hydraphur in the wake of the Gothic War, the Long Serpent actually mostly succeeds at this task, thanks to being given what amounts to a Battleship engine on a Cruiser's frame.
The result is a powerful warship able to chase down the swiftest raider without that much difficulty, while delivering brutal firepower thanks to its 4 Weapons Batteries, single Lance battery, and Nova Cannon.
Unfortunately, since they're not any more armored than a regular Cruiser, bigger ships won't have that much trouble punching through a Long Serpent's defenses (So? It shouldn’t be fighting bigger ships), and what's more, the catastrophic detonation of Battleship-grade Warp Drives can also take out its Escorts. Despite this, small numbers of the class are now finding their way into other Segmentum fleets.
- Length: 5km
- Mass: 29.4 megatonnes; approx
- Crew: 97,000 crew; approx
- Acceleration: 3.4 gravities max sustainable acceleration; approx
Built upon request by the Tech Priests of Bakka (why is a planet named “stupid” so fascinated with weird ship desi- Oooh), the Mercury was yet another design that came in the wake of the Gothic War. Similar to the Long Serpent, the Mercury-class used a Battleship's engineering suite to boost its speeds so it could run down pirate vessels.
The broadside weapons batteries and dorsal lance turrets mounted on the Mercury have a range comparable with battleship, along with a Nova Cannon, allowing it to rapidly dispatch these smaller vessels. Its armor remained unchanged, however, so a Mercury is still relatively more fragile than other Battlecruiser classes. Which means nothing as its stupidly good armament means any cruisers will either be crippled by the nova cannon and finished off or just beaten to death by firepower and lances.
However, this speed is very useful even when not used as a battlecruiser. The battleship engine suite and all the requirements that come with it are likely the cause of its significantly increased length. This ship is a lot bigger than other cruisers. More like a smallish Grand Cruiser.
- Length: 6.4Km
- Mass: 35 megatonnes; approx
- Crew: 99,000 crew; approx
- Acceleration: 3.5 gravities max sustainable acceleration; approx
The Overlord-Class Battle Cruiser is a popular ship, both with Imperial Navy Captains and Admirals. Captains favour its long-range weaponry, good armour, and reasonable speed, whilst the Admirals like the fact it can dish out punishment at the range of a battleship, whilst being able to manoeuvre like a cruiser. It's more like a heavy cruiser than a battle cruiser but for some reason GW keeps heavy cruisers aside from the Cardinal class as a Chaos thing and battle cruisers are Imperial.
Descended design-wise from the Acheron Heavy Cruiser, the Tech Priests who designed the Overlord replaced the prow-mounted Weapons batteries with Torpedo launchers. This created a power surplus, which was then used to boost the ship's Lance array. The Overlord also incorporates respectable shield and turret cover, which allow it to survive incoming fire, and attack craft, respectively.
With this formidable firepower, it is often compared to the poor mans Retribution-class Battleship, and many Captains appreciate its ability to annihilate things at long range.
For some reason it does not have the Armageddon-class’s problems despite having twice as many manually operated weapons batteries.
- Length: 5.3km
- Mass: 31 megatonnes; approx
- Crew: 100,000 crew; approx
- Acceleration: 2.4 gravities max sustainable acceleration
In Battlefleet Gothic
Much like the Grand Cruisers before them, Battlecruisers come in as a cheaper and faster alternative to a Battleship.
While they carry better and longer-ranged weapons, they're still barely more armored than a regular Cruiser. Always keep that little tidbit in mind.
A Battlecruiser may be included in a fleet list for every two Cruisers.
In Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 1 & 2
Though you only have three options, Battlecruisers are a worthy addition to your fleet, able to mount stronger and heavier weaponry and generally much better-optimised for their intended roles than their standard cruiser equivalents. The addition of actual offensive turrets that allow 270-degree firing arcs is always welcome as well. However, this does come at a noticeable points bump.
The Mars is your carrier option, and arguably your first 'true' carrier. Thanks to its lance turrets it can still contribute to a fight when hanging back at carrier range, and these are the ranges where its Nova Cannon is a much better option than torpedoes. The only notably weakness is at close-range, where it's no more resilient than a normal cruiser and lacks strong direct battery output - but then, you shouldn't be taking fights at this range anyway. Against small ships that come after you, you can still defend yourself.
The Armageddon is the first of the two ordnance-boat options, and arguably your 'standard' battlecruiser option. In every respect, it's essentially an up-gunned Lunar, boasting the same weapons layout with improved damage and range. This is your most versatile option and arguably the truest to the overall battlecruiser philosophy, being able to outgun lighter vessels at close range and outrange many heavier threats, while still being light enough to outrun a losing fight.
The Overlord is your long-range option and everything the Tyrant wishes it was. With four plasma macrobatteries there's no wasted slots on mixed-range weapons, and the massive range on said batteries and its lance turrets means it can lurk well beyond the range of most enemy vessels and still contribute in full. Perhaps the only notably weakness is in its lack of a Nova Cannon, but that's a small price to pay for such an otherwise efficient sniper vessel.