An important realm of knowledge for Imperial soldiers in the field of battle has always
been the enemy's weapons. To that end, I have put together this report on the
weapons employed by the Tau.
By far the most common weapon in their arsenal is the pulse rifle. The pulse
rifle is able to fire a 'bolt' of galvanized gas over a substantial distance. The
galvanization process within the rifle is what makes it dangerous, as the molecules in the
gas fired by the weapon are excited to a lethally potent level. Each bolt has the
power to melt through armour up to and sometimes (though rarely) including power armour.
The range provided by the galvanization process allows the bearer to fire from
outside the distance of many of our basic weapons, affording him great security.
However, this range is only available while the weapon is held stable. While moving,
or snapping off quick shots, the galvanization process is disturbed. This has no
effect on the weapon's power, but it greatly decreases the effective range of the weapon,
reducing it by 60%.
To correct the shortcomings of the pulse rifle, the Tau introduced the pulse
carbine. This weapon has an improved galvanizer, allowing the gas to be excited
while the rifle is being quickly moved around. The tradeoff is an increase in size
and a 40% decrease in range over the pulse rifle, though this is hardly a penalty for a
weapon that can fire rapidly even while its user is running. Thankfully the Tau have
only been able to make a few pulse carbines, so they are assigned only to elite troops and
specially trained Fire Warriors.
The Tau use a plasma rifle similar to our own, but they have created a cooling
system based on a new gas that we have never encountered before. This gas is
super-cooled in a chamber surrounding the main firing mechanisms, preventing any
overheating from taking place.
The Tau also use flamers that are like our own. Though they are different in
appearance, the firing process remains the same. A small jet of fuel is expelled
from the weapon's barrel, which is then ignited from a spark fired by an ignition device
mounted on the end of the gun. When the trigger is released, the weapon quickly
expels a short burts of fuel and closes the firing chamber, preventing a backlash of fire
that would result in a lethal explosion.
The Tau's rapid-fire burst cannon is effectively a high powered multi-barreled
laser, able to cycle quickly and provide a high rate of fire with potent lasers. It
works on the same principles that our own lasers use, though the focusing crystals appear
to be of a better quality, focusing the beam tightly and allowing accuracy over greater
The rail gun is a long barreled gun that is lined with
several powerful magnetic accelerators. When the weapon is fired, these accelerators come
online and begin to apply massive amounts of magnetic pull to the weapon's
ammunition. A large shell is rapidly pulled down the vehicle's barrel, then
encounters an extreme shift in magnetic polarity, expelling the shell from the vehicle
with high velocity and force. The rail gun uses two forms of ammunition. These include
hollow point shells, which explode on impact and rain shrapnel upon an area, or solid
shells, which impact a target with such force that even the strongest armour is penetrated
as if it were mere paper.
The ion cannon is not as devastating as the rail gun in its
effect, but it is still powerful enough to cause damage to any target. The ion cannon uses
gas that is ionized in a special chamber and then expelled toward a target. The ionization
gives the gas explosive force, which is pushed outward upon impact with a target, allowing
a wide area to be affected to some extent.
The Tau use two kinds of missiles: smart missiles and seeker missiles. Both
are equipped with guidance software to allow them to home in on targets. Smart
missiles are the smaller of the two, able to fire rapidly from a rack of missiles.
Seeker missiles are similar in size and power to our own hunter-killer missiles.
This versatility in missiles has been a great aid to the Tau, allowing them to
simultaneously inflict casualties on our troops and damage our vehicles from afar.
The Tau use two types of grenades. This include the photon grenade and the
electromagnetic pulse (EMP) grenade. Photon grenades are usually thrown at an enemy
who is charging a group of Tau. The grenade releases a bright photon flash,
momentarily blinding the Tau's opponents and allowing the Tau to better defend themselves.
EMP grenades are used for assaulting vehicles. Once they hit a vehicle, they
emit a strong electromagnetic pulse, disrupting many of the vehicle's systems and
sometimes having disastrous results (such as a vehicle's weapons or motive power
APPENDIX I: Resources
This report was compiled from observations made from battlefield holos, testimony recorded
during debriefings of soldiers, and a number of recovered weapons. Again I was able to
gain a number of valuable artifacts from the Battle at Tyr Gorth. Many of the weapons
recovered from that battle were undamaged, allowing us to study them in an unprecedented
fashion. Field tests were conducted as per the regulations in the Modus Milia
Operandus, using a series of live-fire and static tests. It should be noted that
equal effectiveness was displayed by all weapons regardless of the target materiel
(plascrete, steel, wood, adamantine, etc.). This is probably due to the energy/gas
reactions used in the weaponry, and makes them well worth additional study.
APPENDIX II: Images
Appended to this report you will find some images recorded from battlefield observation
equipment. These images give you a rough idea of what the Tau weapons are in
appearance. They are very useful for helping our forces distinguish between the
different types of Tau weapons, so they can be better prepared to defend themselves.
Your obedient servant,
Magos Biologis Justov Thon