- "BOOOM! Hurr, hurr, hurr..."
Leadbelchers, the Ogre term for both the weapon and the unit that carries them, are the heavy artillery of the Ogre Kingdoms. Ogres have long been on the receiving end of artillery fire, and they have grown to respect and admire its tremendous killing power. Indeed such weapons are everything an Ogre admires; they are big, loud and have a tremendous ability to smash things aside if close quarter combat is prevalent. However, forging any kind of cannon is beyond the ken of Ogres and for years they had to make do with the salvaged remnants from battlefields, ripped off their carriages and carried by the massive brutes like handguns.
There are many Ogre legends about these early pioneers in the art of gunnery, like the tales of the Loose Tooth tribe and the army of Nuln, or the Ironstompers and the attack on Karak Unfirth are often the first to be told. Units baring such looted weaponry were unreliable, but produced enough spectacular results that Ogre Tyrants were always greedily seeking to get their hands on more artillery pieces. It wasn't until the Ogre Kingdoms began to regularly trade with the Chaos Dwarfs that specially forged barrels became readily available. Now it is rare to see a tribe without a unit of Leadbelchers. Their potential to cause destruction and the sheer joyful noise of their blasts is simply too great for most Ogre tribes to pass up.[1a]
Leadbelchers are a comparatively recent addition to the armies of the Ogre kingdoms. Few in number, these filthy and unhinged Ogres are equally obsessed with destruction and noise, and arm themselves with great portable black powder weapons called Leadbelcher cannons. These are gigantic guns either scavenged from the remains of enemy artillery or earned as a reward from the great forges of the Chaos Dwarfs. Although they diverse in pattern and are prone to deterioration by the coarse and clumsy hands of their owners, each Leadbelcher cannon makes as much noise as it causes damage - not all of which is confined to the target. In any right-minded Leadbelcher's opinion, it's well worth sacrificing a couple of fingers or an eye for the sheer destructive power these weapons provide.[2a]
It is easy enough to spot Ogres from a Leadbelcher unit, for their faces are scorched, they bare severe powder burns, regularly feature eye patches and often resort to protective metal plates hammered into their faces. This is the legacy of point-blank detonations and an imperfect, if not downright clumsy, understanding of black powder. Regardless, these hardy and noticeably deaf Ogres feel it is well worth sacrificing eyebrows, an eye or even a few fingers for the chance to level such devastating weapons at a foe. In fact, Leadbelchers without some scorching or disfigurement are looked down upon as novices by the rest of the unit until they manage to blast off a few chunks of themselves.[1a]
To fire their weighty guns, Leadbelchers fill the barrel with shovel-like fistfuls of crude black powder, metal shot, rusty nails, an assortment of wickedly bladed weaponry and occasionally an actual cannonball or similar sized boulder. The Leadbelchers go to battle with smouldering tapers pushed through the flesh of their scalps or held between their teeth. When a prospective target comes into range, they touch the taper to the spark-holes and let loose thunderous blasts of hot metal and pure concussive force. If all goes well, these shots will blast apart the target or shred it with a salvo of rusted blades. Entire ranks have been blown to smithereens before the hellish firepower of the Leadbelchers, but if it goes poorly, a volley will merely inconvenience the foe with hot wind, smoke and a pinging sound as small metal fragments fly out of the thick coils of smoke that momentarily hide the Ogres.[1a]
After discharging their guns, Ogres will immediately move to reload, scooping yet more scrap iron into the maws of their firearms. However, should the enemy close too quickly, Leadbelchers are not at all adverse to hefting up the iron barrels and using them as massive clubs to clobber their enemies. It was this muscle-bound technique that the Leadbelchers of the Bigclub tribe, a unit notorious for their poor aim, used to beat to death the giant mutated war beast that the ratmen of Crookback Mountain unleashed upon them. Although the Leadbelchers maintained that most of the damage was done at range, everyone present was far more impressed by their prodigious close-quarter prowess.[1a]
- 1: Warhammer Armies: Ogre Kingdoms (8th Edition)
- 1a: pg. 41
- 2: Warhammer Armies: Ogre Kingdoms (6th Edition)
- 2a: pg. 32