Hello 40k (and 30k) fans! Chris Morgan, Chief Librarian of the Forge the Narrative Podcast, is here again with the next weekly segment of Tomes of the Librarius. Also, check the Tactics Corner for more great articles!
Well, folks, its 2019. What does this mean for us? It means we are back to the grind – so to speak – and that the time for work has returned. What would work be without the tools that we use to get it done? Well, my job in 40k is the holy purging of xenos, heretics, mutants, demons, and all enemies of the Emperor. With that in mind, today we will be highlighting the most iconic weapon in all of Warhammer 40,000: the Holy Bolter.
Origin and Function
Many weapons and pieces of technology date back to the Dark Age of Technology, but the boltgun is not among them. According to the lore I have found, the boltgun seems to be a weapon invented by the Emperor himself during the Unification Wars on Terra, and the first prototype was held by his own hand. Bolt weapons are anti-personnel in function, and are great at turning your enemies into red mist provided they are not inside a tank. Now, there are bolt weapons that scale from the size of a sidearm all the way up to the mega-bolters used by the Legio Titanicus. They all follow some similar core elements to their design, and it has to do with the type of ammunition they shoot.
The typical boltshell is a large caliber mass-reactive bullet. Mass-reactive means that it is designed to detect when it hits and penetrates its target, and then triggers the explosive located inside the round while within the target. This is a particularly effective and gruesome way of killing the target, as it kills them from the inside out provided the round itself didn’t kill them first with its sheer size by hitting a vital organ before the explosion. This makes bolt weapons different than your typical ‘stubber’ weapons that shoot solid ammunition. There are several kinds of specialized bolts as well that are typically used by elite infantry, such as the Deathwatch or other veteran space marines. These rounds can contain incendiary chemicals for killing enemies in cover, toxic ammunition that poisons biological foes, or Kraken rounds which can punch through heavy armor. Some are even attuned to psychic energies, such as those used by the ++REDACTED BY ORDER OF THE INQUISITION++.
There are many types of bolt weapons, but the most common is likely the mars pattern typically carried by the adeptus astartes. There are several other boltgun types that fall into this category, but they are all weapons designed for use by infantry. The weapons are large enough that a normal human cannot use one without assistance from either biological or mechanical enhancements, or the weapon has to be scaled down due to the tremendous recoil from firing the large mass-reactive rounds. The Heavy bolter is a larger weapon that fires higher-caliber rounds. There are also hurricane bolter platforms, which are several bolters fitted together that drop a withering hail of bullets on massed groups of infantry. These are typically fitted into vehicles like flyers and heavy tanks, but can be put on dreadnoughts as well. The Vulkan Mega Bolter is fitted onto titans, and the bolt shells fired by those guns are large enough to shred most vehicles and structures, not to mention the devastating effect on infantry formations.
A Weapon You Can Trust
Boltguns are some of the most reliable weapons available to humanity (just be careful if you are on overwatch in a space hulk). What is your favorite bolt weapon? Let me know in the comments!
And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!