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Horus Heresy: Vehicles

Greetings one and all,

In the last article, we covered the Assault Phase. In this article, we’re covering one of my favourite things in the Horus Heresy setting: Vehicles! So strap in, load up, and get ready to burn some rubber as we cover Vehicles and how they work in the Horus Heresy Age of Darkness.


We’ll start with the characteristics of Vehicles because as you might have noticed, they’re different from regular Non-Vehicles. For ease, I’ll be using a standard Legion Land Raider as an example.

M (Movement) - This is the maximum that a model can move. Looking at the characteristics of the Legion Land Raider, this means the Vehicle can move up to 12 inches. It’s important to note that measuring Movement with a Vehicle is done by measuring from the same point on the Vehicle's hull (ignoring gun barrels, dozer blades, banners and other extra bits), similar to measuring from the same place on a regular model’s base.

BS (Ballistic Skill) - This represents the Vehicle crew's skill with a Ranged Weapon. The Legion Land Raider has BS 4, so it hits on a +3.

Armour (Armour Value) - All Vehicles have three Armour Locations; these being the Front, Sides, and Rear. The Front tends to be the most heavily Armoured, followed by the Sides. The least well Armoured is the Rear. On the Legion Land Raider though, you’ll see that it has an Armour of 14 all over.

HP (Hull points) - These function basically like Wounds for other models. The Vehicle has a number of Hull Points which, once it has lost them all, it’s destroyed. The Legion Land Raider has 5 HP.

Type - Some Vehicles have Special Rules attached to them, such as Transport Capacity and the like, which give them extra abilities. The Legion Land Raider has Transport Capacity at 12, meaning it can carry up to 12 models.

So that’s the basics of each of the Characteristics. Next, I’ll go into some detail on other aspects of Vehicles.


As previously mentioned, Movement is the maximum stat that a model can actually move. But, Movement is different for vehicles because how you Move your Vehicle can determine what Weapons it can fire - for example, if an enemy is on your left but you can only fire with the Weapons mounted on the right, then you aren’t firing. Not even through your Vehicle.

Vehicles have three “types” of Movement:

  • Stationary - The Vehicle does not move and can fire all of its Weapons. (Note: the Vehicle can pivot, but it still counts as Stationary)

  • Combat Speed - The Vehicle moves up to half its Movement Characteristic. The Vehicle may fire all of its Non-Ordnance or Destroyer Weapons without penalty, but it may only fire one of its Ordnance or Destroyer Weapons. These must be done as Snapshots (BS1).

  • Cruising Speed - The Vehicle Moves over half of its Movement Characteristic, or up to its full Movement Characteristic. The Vehicle may fire one of its Non-Ordnance or Destroyer Weapons without penalty. The Vehicle may not fire its Ordnance or Destroyer Weapons. All other Weapons fire as per the Snapshot rules.

Difficult and Dangerous Terrain

Vehicles are not slowed by areas of Terrain, but do risk becoming stuck or damaged. Vehicles therefore treat all Difficult Terrain as Dangerous Terrain instead. If the Test to pass through Dangerous Terrain is failed, then the Vehicle suffers 1 HP in Damage and is Immobilised.

Movement and Models

Like other models, Vehicles cannot move through other Vehicles, or friendly units. (That means, no running over your own Marines. Which is a given, really.)


During the Movement Phase, any Vehicle can choose to Ram an enemy unit. It moves until it makes contact with the target unit; if the unit is an Infantry unit, it takes D6 hits at a Strength equal to the Front Armour value of the Vehicle halved. The unit being rammed has to take a Morale check; if they fail, they will fall back after all hits have been resolved.

If the unit being targeted is another Vehicle, then both Vehicles suffer hits equal to the Armour Value at the point of contact. Furthermore, you may add +1 Strength to the Vehicle that has the current higher HP.


Vehicles fire like most other units in The Horus Heresy, but the biggest consideration for Shooting with Vehicles are Firing Arcs. Certain Weapons can only fire under specific conditions and when facing specific directions, so you have to be aware of your Vehicle’s placement before deciding which Weapons you want to fire and which Weapons actually can fire.

Because of this, Firing Arcs for Weapons on Vehicles are determined by where the Weapons are mounted on the Vehicle, and are categorised as either; Hull, Centerline, Sponson, Turret, or Pintle.

  • Hull (Arc) Mounted - These are Weapons that can only fire in a single Arc, be it Front, Left, Right or Rear. This is usually a fixed Weapon and is determined by where specifically on the Hull the Weapon is mounted. For example, if the Weapon is on the Rear, then that’s where its Firing Arc is.

  • Centerline Mounted - These can only fire on targets in Front of the Vehicle.

  • Sponson Mounted - Normally mounted in pairs on the Left and/or Right of the Vehicle, they can only fire in their corresponding Arc. If the target of the Vehicles Shooting Attack is only in the Firing Arc of one of these Weapons, then the other Sponson can fire at a different target within its own Firing Arc instead.

  • Turret Mounted - Similar to Hull mounted, but these Weapons aren’t fixed and can fire in any Arc, be it Front, Left, Right, or Rear.

  • Pintle Mounted - Can also fire in any Arc, be it Front, Left, Right, or Rear and always count as a Defensive Weapon, regardless of Weapon Type or Statistics.

Once it has been determined what Weapons can be fired at which targets, make sure you take into account any restrictions due to Vehicle Movement, as covered above.

Other than that, they Shoot like any other unit.

Damaging a Vehicle

As you might have noticed, Vehicles do not have a Toughness Characteristic. So how do you Damage them?

In order to damage a vehicle with a Ranged Weapon, you must;

  • Select the target of the attack. For this example, we will be Shooting a Legion Rhino.

  • Select the Weapon you are attacking with. For our example, we will use a Missile Launcher firing a Krak Missile.

  • Confirm the Armour Value of the Vehicle you are firing at (Front, Side or Rear). Our Missile Launcher is hitting the Side Arc and so the Rhino Armour Value is 11.

  • Roll to Hit, taking into account all the factors that we covered in the Shooting Phase article earlier in the week.

  • Calculate Damage. When it comes to Damage, you take the Weapon's Strength and add a D6 to the result. If the result is equal to the Armour Value, the Vehicle takes a “Glancing Hit” and loses 1 HP. If the result is more than the Armour Value, the Vehicle suffers a “Penetrating Hit”, loses 1 HP, and makes a roll on the Vehicle Damage table on pg. 208 of the Main Rulebook. In our example, we rolled a 4 which means we add the Missile Launcher's Strength of 8, which gives us a total of 12. Therefore, our Legion Rhino suffered a Penetrating hit. As we have suffered a Penetrating Hit, the Rhino loses 1 HP and rolls D6 on the Vehicle Damage Table to determine how serious the Damage has been.

Vehicles are destroyed when they lose their last HP, or if they’re unlucky and roll the “Explodes” result of the Vehicle Damage table. But being at +7, this result is somewhat unlikely… But not impossible.

Close Combat

In Close Combat, Vehicles count as having Weapon Skill 1. Furthermore, Infantry uses the Rear Armour value for resolving Damage.

Vehicles never have to make a Morale Test (not being sentient) and do not full back. Also, Vehicles don’t count as being Locked in Combat. As such, they can drive away and shoot with few restrictions. This also means that the unit that charged a Vehicle also doesn't count as being Locked in Combat, so they can be shot at by other units without penalties while they’re busy trying to club that Tank up the rear.


Some Vehicles carry troops within their armoured hulls in order to get them to an important objective unharmed. Whether a Vehicle is able to act as a Transport Vehicle is noted in its characteristics, where the Capacity of its Transport capabilities is also given. As an example, we’ll refer back to that Rhino we blew up earlier which has a Transport Capacity of 12 models. This seems simple enough, but there are some restrictions for Transport Vehicles that need to be covered.

A vehicle can only carry a single unit, plus any attached HQ or Elites, as long as it doesn't go above the Transport Capacity of the Vehicle in question. It should also be noted that certain models with traits like Bulky (2) take up extra space, which limits the total Transport Capacity. For example, it can’t carry 12 models if they all have that Bulky trait.

And with that, we've covered the basics of Vehicles. It’s important to consider though that there are additional rules that apply to specific Vehicles (including a number of Vehicles capable of Flight). The two examples I have covered in this Article; the Legion Land Raider and the Rhino, both play a bit differently to each other, so it’s best if you take some time to familiarise yourself with your Vehicle's specific rules so you know what you’re able to do when you bring your Vehicles to the tabletop.

This article marks the end of this week-long look into the Horus Heresy: Age of Darkness. But, this is not the end; fortnightly articles will be coming out looking over; Units, Legions, missions and other armies as and when they come out. There is a lot to look at, so I hope you'll join me in the future.

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