The autocannon is also a human heavy weapon in the board-top miniatures warfare game Warhammer 40K. Depicted as a very chunky, long-barrelled, hip mounted weapon with a large magazine (usually belt fed).

Being a heavy weapon, it can only be carried by one member in a squad of Space Marines (the heavy weapon-rich Devestator squad excepted of course) or wheeled around by one fire team of Imperial Guard per squad. The autocannon is a rapid-fire weapon similar to the modern day machine gun. This produces a hail of bullets, evident in the fact that it uses (as of 3rd edition) 3 hit dice for determining hits, before assigning wounds.

Given that the autocannon uses high explosive bolts, it has a very low wound roll, making it quite deadly to massed troops. This means you can rip through any Ork mob or Imperial Guard platoon. Given its armor piercing capabilities, it also has a good chance of wiping out the tougher races - Chaos Space Marines and the like.

Coupled (finally) with the fact it has good range, it makes a versatile weapon on any battlefield. The only potential concerns are the points cost and relative obscurity, which can force people to revert to the heavy bolter as a relatively equal alternative.


Kalon's aside: I know this node is a bit thin on detail with regards to exact numbers like range, hit dice, wound levels, strength, armor piercing values and such, but they have changed the rules 4 times in the length that I have been playing. That and I don't have a 3rd edition rulebook ;-)
To clear the issues up, I will aid Kalon in the aspect of rules for the said weapon, and a brief description of its effects for those who don't play Warhammer 40,000.

Autocannon

Range:48"

Strength:7

AP:4

Type: Heavy 2.

Translation:

Range: Self explanatory. Unless the enemy model/squad is in range, you cannot shoot at it.

Strength: Each model type (Tau Firewarriors, Necron Warriors, Space Marines,etc) has a Toughness value, between 1 and 10, but for usual troopers it's usually from about 3-6. If the weapon's Strength value is twice that of the enemy model which is being shot at's Tougness value, then the said enemy, if it fails its armour save (On a six sided dice, most races need a 5+, meaning that only fives and sixes count as deflecting the incoming fire) then it is killed immediately, and not taking off the model one wound, as some models can have many wounds before it keels over and goes to visit the Emperor on his Golden Throne.

In shooting at vehicles, if a hit is scored, then a dice is rolled, and added to the weapon's strength. The autocannon can potentially therefore thwack down one of the new Chaos Defilers, and a writeup for the said Defiler will be coming shortly.

AP (Armour Piercing): If the weapon has an AP value lower than the target's armour save, then the target is wounded automatically, since in gaming terms the projectile just batters its way through the armour the target is wearing. With the autocannon, this means that broadly it can take out most basic squaddies of other armies, and certainly some of the beefier units as well.

Weapon Type: There are three types of weapon in the Warhammer 40,000 universe; Rapid Fire, Assault and Heavy.

Rapid Fire means that if the model bearing the weapon stands still, it can either shoot once at a target at its maximum Range, or twice at a target up to or below half its maximum range, and is the default weapon type for most army's basic troopers. If moving, only one shot at up to half range is permitted.

Assault weapons mean that they can be fired as many times as included in the weapon profile, even if they move or not. These sort of weapons are good for, well, assaults.

Example: I have a Storm Bolter on my Space Marine Captain in Terminator armour. I move him the maximum allowed (six inches a turn), and that puts me in range of my opponents Big Evil Thing Of Extreme Nastiness. I can now shoot at him with the full amount specified on the weapon profile (twice) but I had to move to get into range to shoot at it.

Heavy Weapons: These weapons can only fire if the model/s bearing them did not move that turn. Again, they can fire as many times on the weapon profile, be it twice or only once.If moved, unless on a vehicle, it cannot fire.

Consequently, we can see that the Autocannon is a potent weapon in the realm of Warhammer 40,000. Recommended uses are for infantry horde killing, however it will also serve as a medium vehicle killer as well.

Game on.

(Note: Details correct at time of posting.)

In BattleTech, the Autocannon is a rapid-fire weapon that fires tons of stuff to the general direction of the enemy, often hitting the enemy too. Calibers range from 30 to 120 millimeters. It is one of the few slugthrowers that are actually deadly against BattleMechs.

The autocannons can do damage, as designated, in 5-point increments, from 5 to 20 points, and is one of the few weapons that are capable of creating such devastation (LRMs and MRMs have longer range though).

Only the backwaters of the Inner Sphere use normal autocannons. There are two specialized forms of autocannons, developed by the Clans: the Ultra and LB-X models.

The LB-X Autocannons are, typical to the Clan technology, more expensive but they're also lighter and generate less heat. The LB-X models are also capable of firing cluster munitions just as easily - this makes the autocannon act more like a shotgun or a flak cannon. The cluster shots are indeed quite deadly against VTOLs, and when used against BattleMechs the clusters are capable of hitting multiple 'Mech locations.

The Ultra Autocannons, also appearing in IS units, are more or less like your average IS crap autocannons, but there's one additional advantage: They're able to fire at double fire rate if so required. In that mode it eats twice as much ammo, generates twice as much heat, and get two possibilities to hit - and also has a slight thance that the whole weapon jams.

Annoyingly there are no LB-X Ultra autocannons, though. Still, Ultra AC/20 is pretty annoying at double rate. "That hit me in center torso for how much?"

Sources:
Bryan Nystul. BattleTech Master Rules, 1998. FASA Corporation, 1998. ISBN 1-55560-352-1.

The term 'autocannon' is sometimes used to refer to fully automatic weapons with a caliber of 20 millimeters or larger. The largest caliber still considered an autocannon is somewhat arbitrary, though it is generally agreed that a cyclic rate of 1 round/sec or greater is required. Such weapons are often used for attacking lightly armored vehicles, defending against aircraft, boats and small ships.

Examples are too numerous to list exhaustively, but a number of well-known autocannons exist.

  • General Electric M61A1 Vulcan 20mm Gatling (USA, others)
  • Bushmaster Mk. 38 25mm belt-fed (USA, others)
  • Bofors Mk. 110 57mm naval gun (4 rds/sec. Sweden, Canada, others)
  • OTO Melara 76mm Super Rapide (2 rds/sec. Italy, USA, others)
  • Kalashnikov AK-630 30mm Gatling (Russia, others)
  • Grzayev-Shipunov GSh-1-30 30mm aircraft cannnon (Russia, others)
  • GAU-12 Equalizer 25mm 5-barrel Gatling (USA, Britain, others)
  • DEFA 30mm aircraft cannon (France, others)
  • Mauser BK27 27mm revolver cannon (Germany, Poland, Italy, others)
  • Kalashnikov AK-276 twin 76mm (3 rds/sec. Russia, India)
  • GAU-8 Avenger 30mm 7-barrel Gatling (Aircraft and naval versions. USA, Britain, Netherlands, others)
  • OTO Breda Twin Fast 40 (DARDO) 40mm twin (10 rds/sec. Italy, Argentina, Chile)

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