WH, WH40K, and Crossovers
Basically anything to do with Warhammer or Warhammer 40K. Discussions about crossovers with other SciFi welcome.
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Seeing as how the vast majority of people are guessing on things like where the planets are it should be no big surpruse to me that people have truly no idea how IOM/Chaos ships size up to ships in alternate fandoms. I'm willing to ignore things like assuming that weapons yields are equal to or less than the yields of other ships but people, for the love of god, stop pulling size comparisons from where the sun don't shine.

So heres' the deal. I'm putting down the link to a site with some size comparisons based off the fluff of various series. Now I know it's not perfect, they mixed up the size of the overlord class battlecruiser (7.5km) with the size of a Retribution class Battleship (15km) but is otherwise perfect flufwise. (To be fair the Gods over at GW changed the fluff in the late 90's as they developed the game to make the Retribution, Emperor, and Oberon classes slightly larger which may have caused some slight confustion)

However so long as you bear that one slight hiccup in mind the rest of the chart should be perfect.

The site has ceased to exist... sorry


11/23/2007 . Edited 12/3/2007 #1

For some reason, I can't access the link, which is a tad irritating. However, having done a fair amount of research into the matter while I was writing Empires Collide, the conclusion I came to was that battleships were approximately 8 km long, escorts 1.6 km. Battle Barges were the subject of some speculation, but in the end I settled for 12, while Strike Cruisers are 4, which is the measurement I used for all the cruisers.

Admittedly I'd be hard pressed to come up with sources for these, but I thought that this was the accepted set of figures...

12/2/2007 #2
Rahvin Dashiva
Battlefleet Gothic gives most measurements. Battleships are around 15km long (give or take a couple), cruisers are around 7km, escorts are about 2 (ish). I'm not so sure about SM stuff.
12/2/2007 #3
A battle Barge only 12 Km long. LOL LOL LOL LOL A battle barge is a floating fortress of weaponry fully capable of taking on entire fleets at once and coming out on top. Abbadans Flagship is a battlebarge IT EATS PLANETS FOR BREAKFAST. It shoots straight into the core of the planet think a mobile deathstar with a bunch of spires sticking out of it. The Lord Solar Macharius Capital Ship which is a carrier is completly outsized by it. Lunar Class Cruisers are puny compared to this thing. 12 km is utterly laughable. The size is variable from Barge to Barge. But you can fit an entire Chapter in a battle barge. I forget which chapter it is but they have a battle barge as their chapter base and it has its large enough to house the largest ship in their fleet for repairs as well as Marine Quarters multiple chapels and support craft and crew.
12/2/2007 #4
I think its the blood ravens that have a collection of ships as their 'chapter house'
12/3/2007 #5
Rahvin Dashiva
SPECIALGUY, you're thinking of the Planet Killer (which in NOT a battle barge), and fortress monasteries (again, not battle barges). The Planet Killer was built in the eye of terror, and its sole purpose is, like the name suggests, to kill planets. Chaos Space marines don't use battle barges, strike cruisers, or anything else like that. They split from the Imperium waay before they were introduced. Chaos Marines use navy ships. Huge, old, daemon-infested, possessed navy ships.

Fortress Monasteries are usually located on a planet, as an actual fortress, but some chapters use them in space, either by attatching plasma engines to the monastery itself, which will have been constructed for space flight, or attatching plasma engines to the bit of rock the fortress stands on (Dark Angels, and the Rock - that's a bit of Caliban, their homeword that got blown up, with biiiiig engines attached to it). Crusading Chapters, which spend a majority of their time in space, such as the Black Templars, use Battle Barges, as they have no homeworld to set up said monastery on. Battle Barges are a set ship design, and are about 12km long. They are used mainly for orbital bombardment, and getting Marines down to the ground. Space Marine ships are not designed for space combat.

12/3/2007 #6
Its a pity that the site has ceased to work, it was a great reference. I'll e-mail the admin of that site about getting it working again as it has crapped out.

A space marine strike crusier is roughly the size of a lunar class ship (6-8km approx) though a bit wider.

A battle barge is over 15km large and the more space based chapters tend to have even larger ships than that. A Black Templars battlebarge will be well over 20km as it has to house that branch of the chapter for over 50 years at a time without the possibility of contact with supply lines or allies. For reference the executor was only 19km (approx 12 times the size of an imperial star destoyer).

Everything is bigger in 40k

12/3/2007 #7
It appears that that site is no longer being maintained, but this should be at least somewhat helpful.


Nowhere near as exact as the site was but should still be of some use.

12/3/2007 #8
THE PLANET KILLER IS A BATTLE BARGE. It is 1 of 2 the emperor designed. The one Horus had wan named something Tyrranus. Jeeze. A monastary Fortress is whatever the chapter housing is. For Wolves the monastary is the fang. Ultramarines is the Fortress of Hera etc etc. Battle Barges are Massive bigger than any other capital ship Bar None.
12/3/2007 #9
Umm.... Specialguy, on this one you are just wrong.

"The origins of the massive stellar vessel known simply as the Planet Killer are a mystery to Naval authorities. It bears no resemblance to any Imperial ship design and is assumed to have been constructed within the Eye of Terror by Abaddon’s forces, just prior to the Gothic War – in fact several of the Adeptus Mechanicus doubt whether its construction would have been physically possible outside of warp space. Only one Planet Killer is known to have been built. Built around a central energy cannon of immeasurable magnitude, the Planet Killer is also studded with numerous long range lances, weapons batteries and torpedo launchers."

Tyrranus was his flagship, but was not a battlebarge. Before the great betrayal space marines were trusted with mighty ships to rival those of the imperial navy. It was not till the loyalties of the chapters were brought into question that they were limited to the current ships available to the space marines and the imperial navy was put in someone else's hands.

12/3/2007 #10
Rahvin Dashiva
The Planet Killer is NOT a Battle Barge.

Here is a picture of the planet killer:http://uk.games-workshop.com/storefront/store.uk?do=Individual&code=99110802008&orignav=300808

And here is a picture of a Battle Barge:http://uk.games-workshop.com/storefront/store.uk?do=Individual&code=99110801002&orignav=300808

Battle Barges are just that: barges. They are designed to ferry marines from planet to planet, and provide supporting firepower when they get there. Take a look into Battlefleet Gothic if you don't believe me about this. I'd like to see your sources on this.

12/3/2007 . Edited 12/3/2007 #11
Shadow Point it is fluff but I am pretty sure it's accurate. I am only referencing what I've read. If you can prove me wrong I've got no problems with it
12/3/2007 #12
Rahvin Dashiva
I've read some of Shadow Point. Battle Barges are not that big, or that powerful. Check out Specialist-games.com, and try downloading the (free) Battlefleet Gothic rulebook. I think that might supersede Shadow Point.
12/4/2007 #13
Rahvin Dashiva
Actually, here is a link to the fleet lists of the Imperium, from Battlefleet Gothic. Should be handy for comparisons, etc:


Check out the background bit on page 26. That will give you some idea of comparative strengths of the various Space Marine vessels, and the way that they conduct warfare.

12/4/2007 . Edited 12/4/2007 #14
Uh question, I thought Horus's ship was Vengeful Spirit?

Uh oh I put the Mars Class Battlecruiser at 10KM thats okay isn't it, if it isn't I haven't posted the chapter yet.

3/23/2008 #15

Here's something of interest to me - there are a number of conflicting sources on the size of a regular Space Marines battle-barge. The line from this forum seems to be 12km or so, but i've seen a lot of different sizes quoted elsewhere, from 4-5km (the source i first found and indeed used, perhaps unwisely) to 8km (floating around forums and the like) to 15 and even 20 km. I'm not particularly naval-minded but the issue has been bugging me. Can anyone clear up the size with some verification, and perhaps have a stab at explaining why there is such variation? Thanks.

5/28/2009 #16
Rahvin Dashiva

The measurements are so imprecise because, as with a whole lot of 40k, Games Workshop hasn't actually said anything specific about them. They are 'kilometres long', yes, but exactly how many kilometres is up to us to guess. There really isn't any right answer, since the only people who could give one are GW, and they won't, so we're left with conjecture. We guess with what seems to fit both fith 40k's style and the in-universe reasoning of the Imperium. Somewhere about 6-12km seems about right for battleships, most people would say, and Battle Barges are in that class, even if they aren't actually intended to fulfill anywhere near the same role. Cruisers would be anywhere between 3-5km, and escorts hover around 1km. These measurements roughly align with 40k's aesthetic and its over the top 'bigger is better' mentality.

Basically, barring rough estimates, ship sizes in 40k are whatever is either convenient or cool. If they need to be big, an Emperor battleship will be 15km, even if in a different story, it's only 8.

I suppose an in-universe explanation would be that the Imperium is so screwed administrationally and logistically that even they don't know how big their ships are. One forge world could be churning out Lunar-class cruisers with another kilometre-worth of gun decks to the forge world a system over, simply because the schematics (which, let's not forget, are less schematics and more jigsaws filled with viruses) got jumbled somewhere along the line. Similarly, that Lunar could be of the same power level as the second, simply because the generators and engines weren't made any bigger to compensate for the unintended extra mass, so it's still putting out the same overall energy each salvoe, but spread over more guns.

Hope that helps a bit.

5/28/2009 #17

Good answer, in-and-out universe. GW's vagueness is both a blessing and a curse for fans.

The sizes seem more realistic than over-the-top to me - we are talking about an almost completely artificial world capable of supporting often thousands of lifeforms and shifting them between the stars. Plus armaments. Most true science-fiction stories seem to use kilometre-long ships. And the Imperium isn't particularly high-tech or efficient.

I like the in-universe explanation. Mostly because it allows me to use nearly any size i need and justify it as a variant, but also because it fits the generally disorganised image of the sprawling Imperium.

Thanks for the help.

5/28/2009 #18

I agree that there is no canonical explanation.

However the escorts are almost always said to be 1 to 1.6 kilometer long. Destroyers are said to be the smaller 1km variant, while Escorts are the 1.6km type. Now I looked on the art pictures about the GW free to download BFG rulebooks to supplement the book-based fluff.

Destroyers are said to be the smaller 1km variant, while Escorts are the 1.6km type. Planetary defense ships go in this category. Light/Strike cruisers are around 3-4km long. Imperial Troop transport ships most likely go in this category. Cruisers 5-6 km long. Battlecruisers 8-9 km long. Grand Cruisers 10-12 km long. Battleships and Battlebarges are around 13-15km long. The biggest Imperium ships that I know of are "Mass conveyors", 60 kilometer long transports that can be used for military transportation or civilian travel. There are also pictures in the rogue trader book about gigantic space stations that dwarf cruiser class ships like a marine dwarves a rat, with kilometer long statues on them.

But since Rogue trader is not that canon, I say take this with a hint of 'Goto'.

7/18/2010 #19

To add my 2/cents, I have the Rogue Trader RPG Core Rule Book that was released last year by fantasy flight games. For those of you who doubt if it's cannon, In the books credits it lists under the heading of Games Workshop a "intellectual property manager" named Alan Merrett, whos job i would imagine is to ensure the book remains cannon to Games Workshops view of 40k, theres also a Game Workshop Logo on the back cover.

In this book it give the length of several imperial vessels up to curiser's in size, as for lager vessel it states that although some rogue traders have grand cruiser's or battleships they are the exception, not the rule. I will give you the listed size for a couple of ships if you want more info I encourage you to buy the book.

Vagabond-Class merchant trader - 2 km Long/0.4 km Abeam approx-Crew: 18000 approx. weapon capacity: 1 dorsal, 1 prow. turrets: 1

Sword-Class frigate - 1.6 km Long/0.3 km Abeam at fins apporx-Crew: 26000 approx. weapon capacity: 2 dorsal. turrets: 2

Lunar-Class cruiser - 5 km long/0.8 km abeam at fins apporx-Crew: 95000 approx. weapon capacity: 1 prow, 2 port, 2 starboard. turrets: 2

note: weapon capacity does not imply a single gun but macrocannon batteries or lances althought lances on ships smaller then a cruiser must be mounted on the prow dorsal weapons can fire to the fore,port and starboard prow weapons on ships smaller then a light crusier can only fire fore, but on lager ships may fire to the fore, port and staboard while port and starboard mounted weapons only fire in ther respective arc, In the description of turrets its said that the number given is an abstract representation of said turrets not the actual number of them and that they are anti fighter and ordnance (torpedo) weapons that can be rapid-cycling multi-lasers, quad-barrelled auto-cannons or even vulcan megabolters.

Now while the fact that they have "apporx" does make the info a little suspect, its the best "offical" info i've got on hand.

On a closing note befor I bought this book I used this site: http://www.merzo.net/index.html for my 40k ship sizes, the tab with 40k ships is -10X which means that the images are all exactly to scale with each other and each pixel equals 10 meters, at least acourding to the guy who runs the site. I hope this helps.

7/25/2010 #20

A long post short to back up Willy's:

40k Canon rules go something like this all written material is canon except when its contradicted, more rarely is declared noncanon by GW.

So yes Rogue Trader is Mostly Canon information. In this case ship sizes are canon as this is what the concensus on ships have been for the sane crowd for a while.

7/25/2010 #21

I just said that remain cautious about rogue trader.

The weapon ranges are extremely short for instance, and extremely likely not canon.

Otherwise, it is mostly canon....but it is still balanced out like every game.

9/4/2010 #22

Rahvin Dashiva- the traitor forces (chaos marines) did have battle barges and they were introduced long before the Horus heresy, in the Horus heresy it is note for example at the battle of isstvan V or "the drop-site massacre" while corax was in the process of escaping his ship in orbit was targeted by a world eaters battle barge though its commander was killed by alpharius primarch of the alpha legion. the reason they don't use battle barges anymore is because they don't have any left, most of the chaos fleet for the chaos marines can be traced back to their origins and which of the legions they served with in the great crusade (and there are the numbers of ships that were corrupted post heresy) most of the traitors strength was destroyed during the Horus heresy as they fled away from Terra to the eye of terror. not to mention all the fighting among them selves in the warp before abbadon begun his 1st black crusade so the number will have dwindled down as time went by, as chaos forces are less likely to attempt to retrieve damaged then their loyal counterparts

1/7 #23
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