Dreadnought (Warhammer 40,000)

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Dreadnought are vehicles that feature in Warhammer 40,000.



Dreadnoughts were a type of warmachine that was developed by the Imperium of Man and made specifically for use by their elite warriors in the Adeptus Astartes.


Even the Space Marines are mortal, and when the greatest of their number fall in battle, if there is a spark of life left in them, and they are experienced enough to be considered invaluable to the Space Marine Chapter, then their body will be transferred into the armoured sarcophagus of a Dreadnought. They are often mistaken to be huge armoured fighting suits or robots; they are similar to both and yet neither. Dreadnoughts are a combination of armoured walker and life-support system; their pilots are hooked straight into the Dreadnought's body, and are able to use it as if it were their own body, although they are permanently entombed until they are destroyed. Dreadnoughts are often thousands of years old.

The standard dreadnought carries a heavy weapon on its right side and the left arm acts as a close-combat weapon. The latter is usually a Powerfist with either a storm bolter or heavy flamer fitted below the forearm. Though it shares the same name, it is not at all similar to the melee weapons used by other armed forces of the Imperium. Unrestricted by size or weight, dreadnought powerfists are vastly more powerful than ones carried by all infantry, even Space Marine Terminators. The Dreadnought's powerfist is more effective as it does not force the user to strike last and (like the unwieldy infantry-borne Power Fist and Chainfist) it is deadly against heavy armour. This, combined with the Dreadnought's own impressive unmodified strength makes the fist deadly to all, even heavily armored foes ( A Dreadnought can easily kill a tough commander model like a Space Marine chapter master outright with one hit). Also, the Dreadnought's heavy vehicle armor means that even those that survive the initial assault can do little more than wait for the inevitable. The Space Wolves Venerable Dreadnought's melee weapon is a Lightning Claw with an underslung heavy flamer, though the claw functions the same as a powerfist for gameplay purposes.

There were various variant models of Dreadnoughts that included:

  • Hellfire : officially called Fire Support Dreadnoughts which replaces the Powerfist with a missile launcher giving up close combat ability for long range ability. The advantage of the Dreadnought's missile launcher over its Space Marine equivalent (which can only be fired when the marine stays still and brace himself) is that the former can run at full speed whilst still laying down a barrage of missiles.
  • Siege Dreadnought : designed exclusively for assaults against fortified positions. Its Inferno Cannon will devastate any infantry caught in the open, while its close combat weapon is modified with rock drills and an internal Heavy Flamer, allowing it to burrow through the walls of a bunker and roast anything inside in a single action.
  • Furioso : designed by the Blood Angels and their successors. It gives up the ranged heavy weapon for another Dreadnought power fist. This allows them to literally "tear apart" enemy vehicles when in melee combat. It is the antithesis of the Dark Angel's Mortis-pattern in this respect.
  • Mortis : almost exclusively used by the Dark Angels chapter and mounts two ranged weapons. Unlike the Hellfire variant, the Mortis has a considerably wider weapons selection, as the left arm strongpoint is not restricted to a missile launcher. It commonly mounts a pair of the same ranged weapon, commonly twin-linked Autocannons or twin-linked Lascannons.
  • Aegis : used by the Grey Knights Inquisitorial Chapter, is equipped with special warp resistant devices, and blessed armour that offer a degree of protection from psychic powers. Aegis Dreadnoughts are also able to use the powerful Psycannon in place of their standard range weapon.

Older Dreadnoughts are referred to as Venerable Dreadnoughts. Having millennia worth of experience, Venerable Dreadnoughts are even harder to destroy than their younger counterparts. However, as a trade off for their knowledge, they are armed with older, more volatile weaponry. Venerable Dreadnoughts are prone to malfunction and the parts needed to update them can no longer be manufactured. Some of these ancient behemoths no longer resemble the current mass production Dreadnoughts and are bulky and cumbersome. Others stand towering over their foes like elegantly crafted statues ready to smite their enemies.

Chaos Dreadnoughts are not revered for their wisdom like their Imperial counterparts but shackled securely when not in combat as the Chaos Space Marine within has been driven insane by millennia of being trapped within the cold sarcophagus. They are used as insane behemoths to trample the enemy and are regarded with caution, as the madman pilot can turn his wrath upon his comrades if there are no enemy units within range. Their weapons are configured in the same way as Imperial Dreadnoughts but have no specific designations. As they are not wise or even reliable by any means, they are usually designated as fire support or frontal assault units rather than elite soldiers as the Imperial Space Marine Dreadnoughts are. However, Chaos Dreadnoughts can be configured into more powerful versions of their Imperial counterparts by the use of special marks dedicated to one of the Chaos gods, imbuing them with unholy powers. Orks also have noticed the usefulness of dreadnoughts, particularly their shooty and stompy aspects. Orkish Dreadnoughts, or "Deff Dreds" as they are called, are a crude parody of their Imperial namesake. Ork Dreds are armed with massive amounts of claws and guns. Due to the meks being less understanding of technology most orkish dreads are simply controlled with an array of buttons and levers rather than the pilot being hooked up to the machine. Smaller variants, named the Killa Kan, also exist. These cousins of the destructive war machines are often fielded in squadrons of 3 and are just as devastating in combat as their larger cousins, except they have less armor.


  • Bjorn the Fell-Handed :


  • Dreadnoughts were created by Games Workshop and featured in the setting of Warhammer 40,000 universe.

In other media

Video games


  • Warhammer 40,000:

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