40k Tank Tactics for WH40k 7th Ed

Warhammer 40k Space Marine Landraider CrusaderIn this article we will have a look at tank tactics in Warhammer 40000.

Adding a tank or two to your army makes a big difference. As always, don’t over do it. Tanks that are not supported by friendly infantry are vulnerable to enemy infantry. Tank are most useful when there is less scenery, their weapons tend to be longer ranged and line of sight is needed.

Weapon Choice

Tanks often have several weapon choices. Sometimes this is the choice of the main weapon, often it is the choice of secondary weapons. This choice will have to be made at the time you build the tank. Think carefully when building your model, and think about ways to leave the weapon choice as flexible as possible. For example, can you fix the weapons on by Blutac, clips, or magnets so you can swap the weapons as needed?

Warhammer 40k Space Marine Landraider CrusaderAlso while you are thinking about what weapons to add to your tank, have a think about where they are placed too. Some tanks can have the guns forward or further back. As the range of the weapons are measured from the guns themselves I highly recommend placing them as far forward as possible.

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One Target

If you take a tank with several weapon remember that they all have to shoot at the same target. Decide if the tank will have a anti-tank or an anti-personnel role and equip accordingly. A tank with mixed weapons will be more flexible, but one set of weapons will be redundant each turn. If you are unsure take two tanks, one armed for each role.

Ordinance Weapons

Warhammer Imperial Guard BasiliskIn Warhammer 40k many tanks come with an Ordinance Weapon. These are great for making big holes in your opponents ranks, but make the tank less mobile. If you decide to take a Ordinance Weapon make sure that you set up your tank where it a has good field of view.

5″ Blast Marker

Most Ordinance Weapons use the nice large 5 inch blast template. This makes nice large holes in swarm armies.

Move and Shooting Ordinance

You can move and shoot ordinance weapons with the usual penalties.

Ordinance Damage Table

When rolling for damage you get two dice and get to pick the highest. This means that you will get a vehicle destroyed (roll 5 or 6 ) on a glancing hit 20in36 times simplified to 5in9 chances. This means that for every nine attempts you will destroy the enemy five times. When you get a penetrating hit this increases to 24 in 36 chances simplified to 2 in 3 chances.

Tank Formations

As Tanks are big and can block movement and line of sight, how you place your models can make a big difference in the outcome of the battle.

Tanks As Cover

Tanks block the line of sight. This means that if you hide your troops behind a tank they can not get shot (guess and template weapons, excepted). This is great if you want to do a ‘sneaking advance’, i.e. one of the slower armies (Imperial Guard, Salamanders, etc.) need to advance. The counter tactic to this is to use guess weapons that do not need a line of sight. Placed correctly the blast template would hit the weakest tank armour at the rear.

The down side of using tanks as cover is that they blocks the line of sight for your troops too. Also advancing tanks are susceptible to assault by Power-Fists and melta bomb welding maniacs.

Tank cause tank shock

This can be used to scatter your opponents formations just before your tactical squads assault. Yesterday I saw one player tank shock another Space Maine squad that was on the table edge. The squad failed it’s leadership test and ran clean off the table!

Transport Vehicle Tactics

Warhammer 40k Eldar Falcon Troop carrying tankWhen you are using transport vehicles, you should be asking yourself, ‘Why am I transporting these troops?’ and ‘Where do then need to go?’. If you realised that you do not need to move the troops, don’t bother with transporters and use the points for something else.

Common uses for transport Vehicles are for speeding up and protecting assault troops, rapid deployment reserves, ‘hit and run tactics’, and as bait for traps (see below).

Transport Vehicles can also be used as mobile bunkers as half the occupants can shoot from in side. Please note that if the Vehicle moves then the troops count as moving so they can not fire a heavy weapon.

Most Transport Vehicles have quite light armour as tanks go. Bolter’s can glance the Armour where the Armour Value is 10, and a Heavy Bolters and Heavy Flamers can cause glancing hits where the Armour Value is 11.

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Blocking Line of Sight

All Vehicles block line of sight. This is great if you want to advance your troops forward. Move the Vehicle ahead of your troops and your opponent will have limited targets to shoot at.

Most Transport Vehicles can be armed with weapons. Imperial Guard and Marine transport can be upgraded to have a Plintle Mounted Storm Bolter too. These weapon upgrades are recommended as they give a use to your Transport Vehicle once your troops have been delivered.

Move your vehicle around to the back of an assault, or through a squad that you are about to assault. If you can cause tank shock along the way, you have the chance to catch that squad in cross fire and wipe then all out.

Keep your Transport Vehicle in the general area of it’s assigned troops so they can pop back in to it and cause mayhem else where as a moments notice.

Bait & Run

Troops with a Transport Vehicle make excellent bait for traps. If you make the target look vulnerable your opponent may well move forward to attack it. At this point you could either withdraw just enough for him to follow you and then counter attack from an unexpected quarter.

If you are playing tactical objectives tanks and transported troops can race in and grab objectives.


Warhammer 40k Imperial Guard Chimera troop transpoterSince version 5 rules of Warhammer 40k, transport vehicles can pick-up and drop off other squads (if they can fit in). They can only carry one squad at a time, but it does mean that by investing points in one transporter, you can increase the effectiveness and value of several squads.


Imperial Guard Tactics for WH40k 7th Ed

WH40k Imperial Guard Basilisk mobile artilary gun

Imperial Guard Tactics, Imperial Guard Special Rules, Imperial Guard Regiments, Catachans, Tank Regiments, can all be found here.

In these pages I will be studying Imperial Guard Tactics for Warhammer 40k. These pages are written with the expectation that you own a copy of the Warhammer 40k Rulebook and the Codex Imperial Guard rule book too, and read them. Having played a few games might help too.

The Imperial Guard army is all about having hundreds of troops backed up by the biggest guns in the game. If you like to fields loads of troops and have mega-sized armies then the Imperial Guard is for you.

Imperial Guard General Tactics

In this section we will look at the tactics for the Imperial Guard army as a whole.

Safety in numbers!

The main advantage of playing Imperial Guard is that you can field so many troops. A standard organization chart allows over 300 troops to be deployed.

Hold Your Ground

The Imperial Guard work far more effectively as a stationary force. For this reason you want to choose the ground that gives defensive cover, but leave a good amount of space between yourself and the approaching enemy.

Take a tank or two

Warhammer Imperial Guard BasiliskThe Imperial Guard have the best tanks in the game. It will take a few games to decide which type of tank is best for your style of play. The standard Leman Russ is a good all rounder, and easy to convert to different variations if you change you mind in the future.


The 2013 Imperial Guard Codex allows the officers to issue orders to a troop squad. Tactical use of these orders will increase the efficiency of your Imperial Guard army.

The Orders are issued at the start of the shooting phase, but you may want to decide which orders you want to issue at the start of the turn so you get your troops moved in to the best positions before the order is issued.

Who to

The officer can pick a squad within an given distance. This distance varies depending of seniority. The officer can pick his own squad.

As the distance is quite short ( 12″ Senior Officers ) the officers are best placed in the middle of a formation so you have more choice about which squad to choose.

The receiving squad needs to take a leadership test to accept the orders. This means that orders passed to squads with a higher leadership will more likely be accepted. One way to increase a squads leadership is to add a commissar. Be careful with this, the more that a commissar lead unit has to take a leadership test, the higher the likelihood that this plan will backfire (literally!).

Orders Available

The orders that are available to a model depends on its seniority. Junior Officers can issue one order a turn from a selection of 5. Senior Officers can issue 2 orders from a selection of the 5 orders the junior officer gets plus 3 others. Most special characters have three rules, these are to of the regular rules and one extra one that is special to that character. The exception to this is Lord Castellan Creed who gets to issue 4 orders over a wider area out of a selection of 7 orders.

Each unit that receives an order needs to roll a leadership test, and there is a chance ( 1 in 36 ) that you will not be able to issue any more orders this turn. With this in mind you will want to order the most critical unit first. That way if a leadership failes on a double 6 you have already issued the most critical orders.


Impereial Guard Fast Attack Tactics Updated

Warhammer 40k Imperial Guard Sentinal

More details have been added to the Imperial Guard Fast Attack tactics page. The Imperial Guard are not known for being a speedy army, however with the introduction of tactical objectives, even the Imperial Guard need to break cover and claim those victory points!