40k Close Assault Tactics

Space Marine unit with jet packs

Warhammer 40k Space Marine Assault Squad

Close Assault is where the two armies clash in hand to hand fighting. In this section we will look at the tactics that can be applied in Close Combat.

As with most of the Warhammer 40k game, the sooner you plan for an event the better it will turn out. Here is a plan of action.

In the army list design phase, design your army to have the right size of assault squad or squads, with the best weapons for the job.

In the game, split the enemy up so you attack small numbers troops with large squads.

Make use of assault weapons as you assault. The assault weapon type will not slow you down, and may thin out the target unit. One exception to this would be if there is a danger that you take out all the target unit. If you do this, you have nothing to assault, and may be left stranded in the open.

Assault in a formation that will give the best results.

Have an exit plan. Where are the assault squads going if they with the assault?

What Makes A Good Assault Squad?

There are certain characteristics that make up a good assault squad. In this section we will look at what they are.


Speed is an important factor in Assault Squad design. This can be split in to two parts, the Movement distance and the Assault distance.

If your squad can move across the table quickly then your opponent will have less chances to shoot at them. I include Infiltration and Deep Strike in this bracket.

Warhammer 40k Tyranid GargoyleA squad that has good Assault distance will not be as effective as a squad that has a good Movement distance. This is because you only use the Assault distance when you are in assault range. For example Tyranid Gargoyles (12″ move + Fleet of Wing + 6″ assault) will normally get in to combat before Tyranid Horagaunts (6″ Move + Fleet of Foot + 12″ Assault). Please note that a 12″ assault range ( plus your normal movement) is usually enough to ‘leap over’ rapid fire and flamer ‘kill zones’.


Ok, you could jump in to a close assault unarmed, but as we are on a tactics website, we’ll look at the smart options.

Assault Weapons

Before you close in on the enemy you should have one chance to fire your close assault weapons. Different armies have different assault weapons, some armies like the Tyranids only have assault weapons. When always have your opponent in mind choosing your assault weapons.

Close Combat Weapons

Power weapons are good for heavy armoured foot troops (ie. Space marines), Power fists are good for big tough targets.

Heavy Weapons

Warhammer 40k Dark Angel Deathwing SquadYes, some Close assault troops come with heavy weapons. This makes this type of assault squad a very flexible unit.

Assaulting to Enemy to reduce your casualties

When you assault the enemy you will want to do maximum damage to them and the minimum damage to yourself. This can be achieved by picking the right target, and picking the right angle to assault from.

Choosing the right assault target

The best targets to choose for an assault are those units that have a lower initiative value that you do.

Assaulting from the Right Angle.

By assaulting in to the flank of the target unit you will find that you can get more hits in than the target unit can reply with.


Remember that units in assault can not fire overwatch. This means that if you are going to assault with two units, then assault with the unit that can take the heat first ( tough armour, big units etc ), and follow up with your other elite units.