View Full Version : How many would it take? Our world vs 40k

Mr Mystery
09-13-2016, 12:46 PM
Mmm! Speculative fiction thread. You lucky Devils.

Dunno why, but once again the dark, dank recesses of my mind have dredged up a conversation once had on Warseer, or maybe even Portent.

In short, one poster was adamant that even a Space Marine Chapter couldn't take our planet - whether or not a miracle happened and the various armed forces all worked together. Now, I thought that was bunkum. I felt that the poster just wasn't taking into account how the Astartes wage war. I mean sure, in a stand up fight we've definitely got numbers on our side. Shame that a Chapter or even Strike Force would likely make good use of our complete lack of orbital defences, and promptly orbitallg bombard centres of military strength (Pentagon etc)

But it did get me thinking - how would we fare against the other races out there? And indeed Marines, no reason to leave them out :)

I'm hoping for fairly in depth posts here, rather than 'five Eldars kthxbai' :p

09-13-2016, 05:09 PM
I honestly don't think we would stand a chance against any of the big races currently. Aside from the fact that we have no orbital defenses, as you rightly point out, and would therefore be at the totaly mercy of any fleet, we just don't have the tech level, or even the numbers, to hold out. Take a single Guardsman, commonly taken to be one of the worst combatants in 40k. They are armed with a weapon that has the approximate hitting power of a .50 cal BMG round (although much less penetration), that has pinpoint accuracy without bullet dip or shot leading, a 100+ shot magazine capacity, a decent rate of fire and, importantly in a planet-wide war of conquest, excellent logistics with easily rechargeable ammo; their armour is capable of withstanding shots from that weapon, as well as the shrapnel from weapons that are pretty lethal to our soldiers- frag grenades and anti-personnel missiles; they have support weapons that make the armour mentioned look like paper; they come from a time where brutality is the norm, they have likely been recruited from a violent background, and they have no restrictions on the rules of war in the manner of the Geneva convention like we do, so they are likely to go that step further in order to acheive their aims. I think a single Regiment of Imperial Guard (somewhat Regiment dependent, as some are incompetent) is capable of bringing Earth into compliance.

Space Marines would be unstoppable- it would take huge weight of fire or anti-tank weapons just to take out one Marine, and the psychological impact of their style of warfare would be massive. Soldiers today do not expect melee combat as a routine part of warfare, Space Marines would force it upon them through the strength of their armour and the speed of their assault.

The only foe I think Earth would stand any chance against would perhaps be Tau, and only if it was a small force that for some reason was unwilling to use orbital assets to obliterate resistance. We would be technologically outmatched massively, but I feel this is a situation where weight of numbers and guerilla tactics could work, especially if Earth "joined" the Tau empire, but with the intention of secretly continuing a resistance movement. I don't think Tau forces are as logistically resilient as Guardsmen with their rechargeable ammunition. The fact the Tau offer one chance is the key difference with other alien factions here, the rest of the factions pretty much would just go for the throat straight away :p With Imperial forces, I guess the same could be said for feigning compliance, only to rebel after adopting Imperial tech.

Oh, we might be able to resist isolated Dark Eldar raids, but not a true attack with the intention of taking the planet (my source for this is the villager killing Dark Eldar with a bolt-action rifle in one of the Uriel Ventris books, so they are possible to resist with limited tech).

09-14-2016, 09:26 AM
We couldn't resist Dark Eldar style raids, we could just outlast the vast majority of Kabals. They swoop in and take a few thousand slaves every couple of months. We can outbreed that. When Dark Eldar decide to become rulers of whole planets, they keep the existing infrastructure intact and just lop off the head of governance and replace it with their minions, and Earth isn't united enough for that.

If they somehow decided they wanted to pacify it anyway - and usually that means there is something else interesting on the planet that they want, like if eucalyptus oil was a good base ingredient for a combat drug - they have a habit of culling the population to something they consider manageable first before putting in a governance structure and letting the population rebuild afterwards, knowing the young will be raised in terror of them. (Source: The Masque of Vyle.) Which they could easily do. They've got no qualms about dumping neurotoxins into every major city's atmosphere an hour after dusk in a wave circling the planet, then sitting back and letting the panic do most of the work for them.

09-14-2016, 09:48 AM
We're more than capable of killing a marine, our anti-tank weaponry could do the task and those saying we have no orbital defence appear to have forgotten all the ICBMs we have, which are by-definition capable of at least reaching Low Earth Orbit. They're slow and easily-intercepted though.

A Marine strike would hit major targets first and cripple our ability to fight. By cutting the subsea fibre optic cables and destroying our satellite networks, global communication would cease and thus an effective, co-ordinated response would be impossible. Additionally, it's highly likely that the objective would simply be to cripple us enough in the first strike that the will to fight evaporates. Most of our firepower comes on naval platforms, which would be incredibly vulnerable to an orbital platform, and useless for a defensive campaign in a city. Not to mention the fact that their range is limited.

We could probably get some good jabs back against them, perhaps flatten a Marine squad under artillery fire by luring them into a trap and sacrificing men. However most modern armies don't have the will to sustain the massive casualties necessary, and our belief, at least in NATO, in preserving lives over materiel would likely lose us the fight.

09-14-2016, 09:51 AM


Thread reported

09-14-2016, 09:55 AM
If I could like posts... :P

09-14-2016, 11:58 AM
Is a space marine not traditionally considered to be worth 10 normal humans? Given auto weapons (guns, pistols, cannons etc) are directly analogous to modern infantry weapons - and that auto-weaponry can penetrate power armour - I think the sheer amount of people under arms in RL would overmatch a chapter if it landed. I think the only chance they would have would be to simultaneously capture world leaders - company strength assault on a G20 conference or some such - whilst the remainder secures a nuclear arsenal.

The world is then held ransom to compliance.

Beyond that, the only outright clear supremacy a chapter has is space based force - mebbe use the battlebarge/fleet to vaporise a few cities until the UN makes compliance happen?

Mr Mystery
09-14-2016, 12:21 PM
I think that's 'how many it would typically take in a straight gunfight' type scenario against well trained soldiers.

Then there's the psychological impact of fighting a 40k army. Space Marines and Chaos Marines? Every shot, one of your squad mates explodes, whilst your fire doesn't seem to do owt.

Likewise Eldar. I don't imagine a burst of Shuriken Fire is going to be at all pretty on the target. Dark Eldar? Arguably worse given they use a variety of 'entertaining' toxins.

Orks? Let's face it, we're screwed. Horribly horribly screwed. Likewise Tyranids and even Necrons, due to how they fight or arrive.

Pretty sure the sheer scale of an Astra Militarum landing would see us just sort of give up, even though one-on-one we could take them and their support for the most part (and don't underestimate the humble Lasgun. That's a horrible way to go. Flashburns, flesh vaporised in a local area. Yuck!)

But going back to Astartes, I think the single biggest issue is just how do you effectively combat them? Straight up fight? They've got the skills and toys to avoid any but those they want (and if they want, be very very afraid). Guerilla efforts are no good, as I just can't see us hitting them anywhere near hard enough with those!

09-14-2016, 01:12 PM
The thing is that I can see astartes smashing the absolute feth out of a conventional deliberate attack - a squad of ten would probably hold off up to an infantry battalion. At that level, the battalion special weapons would come into play. I don't think you can suppress the astartes but anti tank assets, .50 cal sniper rifles etc would start to attrit them.

Within close quarter they could murder almost anything but they can't dominate and hold large swathes of ground - essential for taking over the planet.

Orks - an ork horde I think would almost be more difficult.

Mr Mystery
09-14-2016, 01:18 PM
Astartes seem mostly about pacification than outright conquest, at least in the modern era.

I think we can all agree that it it was Great Crusade, we'd be squished and complianced soon as they hit orbit.

09-14-2016, 01:24 PM
Amen to that. Thing is in the 21st Century they couldn't just use a life eater on our moon colony and then sit back and ask for compliance or else.

09-14-2016, 03:16 PM
I wasn't saying we couldn't kill Space Marines, just that it would be really difficult and largely require anti-tank weapons (probably more than an RPG too, seeing as Power armour includes ceramite layers, which probably gives similar protection to RPG-proof Dorchester armour). Space Marines cannot hold a planet by themselves, but they can force the planet to surrender by simply taking out whatever the hell they choose until the governments either give in, or are destroyed. I don't think they need to physically hold ground when they can just send calls for surrender down from their strike cruiser and Thunderhawk/Drop pod in at their hearts desire to obliterate points of resistance.

I think Marines would be most devastating in urban environments, because they would find it much easier to get up close and personal, and I can't see many soldiers standing and fighting when they've seen their comrades literally sawn apart...

Also, an auto-weapon is not directly analogous, true auto-weapons are more sophisticated. There are some examples of fluff describing them as using caseless ammunition and the like. Stub weaponry is more analogous to modern day weapons. The weapons used by the Imperial Guard infantry are far superior to Earths.

09-15-2016, 01:53 AM
In the fluff you don't hold ground with a space marines - not an entire planet anyway. But there are also references to planetary unrest being quelled by the appearance of as little as a squad of marines.
Whatever action space marines are take it would be that brutal whether or not we can kill individual marines isn't the real question - if we had the will to take the casualties to do so is the real question.
I think any target they were determined to destroy they would manage.

09-15-2016, 07:57 AM
It would probably only take a 10-20 Space Marine to beat us all to be honest. They would have the ability to strike anywhere and take out whatever they liked. Yes maybe anti tank missles/tank guns could take them out but that isn't going to work against a Space Marine dropped into the Pentagon/White House/Kremlin. They'd take out the command infrastructure of our resistance very very easily. They aren't going to fight a battle against our Armies it'll be a surgical strike against our leaders and ability to respond and we won't be able to stop it.

I go into a bit of detail on weapon comparisons with real world weapons in my Lasgun thread and even the humble Lasgun is more powerful than any handheld weapons we possess (it basically a rifle sized .50 Cal HMG)and that's pretty much the weakest of 40K weapons. Also marines big as they are, are a lot smaller than tanks and whole lot more maneuvrable. Unless one stands stock still in the open I doubt we'd be able to hit it with any of the currently available weapons that could actually hurt it. Also by the time we'd been able to react to a strike with our planes/helicopters/tanks they'd have completed their strike and be on the way to somewhere else.

They also produce something they call Transhuman shock where by human troops are rendered physiologically unable to respond to an Astartes attack because of the sheer brutality of it a bit like shell and tanks shock combined.

It only took about 2 million of them to conquer the Galaxy and that was against much more sophisticated opposition than 21st Century Earth.

09-15-2016, 09:49 AM
...why is this thread in the Age of Sigmar section anyway?

Kharns bloody pants
09-15-2016, 09:53 AM
Who is to say the Genestealer Cult isn't already here.... Gribble gribble

Path Walker
09-15-2016, 12:01 PM
I can't think of a single army from 40K that even at an apocalypse game sized army wouldn't stand a reasonable chance of doing massive damage to us, to the point of defeat.

Almost every army in the Galaxy is capable of striking anywhere on our planet very quickly and we have no real way of stopping them (except possibly an Astra Militarum landing ship which might be slow enough for us to nuke, if we could get the country closest to agree to fire one of their nukes in time and to get all the other countries to agree not to retaliate for that one launching a nuke.)