Massed Fire: From the Napoleonic Era to the 41st Millennium

By Titus Villanueva

Let’s talk tactics. During the time of The American Revolution and Bonaparte’s campaigns in Europe guns were ineffective at killing. They took quite a while to reload and often did not hit their mark. In order for them to be effective weapons, people would have to stand in massive gunlines, shooting together in the hope that a few projectiles will hit their mark.

In the 41st millennium, guns have returned to their former ineffectiveness. Threats to humanity now range from aliens with impenetrable flesh and armor to the power-armored Chaos Space Marines. Not everybody had access to the armor-piercing handheld grenade launcher known as the boltgun. The men and women of the Imperium’s military arm only have lasguns, a lazer rifle equivalent of what is known as a submachinegun today.

The only solution is then to form a giant wall of guns firing at the same time. On the tabletop, this can be devastating. Each gun fires one shot a turn. At half range, it becomes two. A squad of ten men at half range can fire twenty shots. If given an order from a nearby commander, they can fire twice. If a company commander commands two squads of guardsmen, they dish out eighty shots at half range. That is powerful enough to mow down even space marines.

Last weekend I tried my hand at it, playing against a friend who brought a tank centered list. I brought my genestealer cult with a brigade of traitorous Imperial Guardsmen. We had no tanks. It was a completely infantry centered army.

Through sheer force of numbers and giant walls of guns, despite suffering so many losses, the infantry eventually overran the hulking beasts of steel.