Gunships are large flying ships that are employed by both the Horde and Alliance forces. First used in the War against the Lich King in the freezing area of Icecrown Glacier, they provided a means of mobile bases for the Alliance and Horde who were having an extremely difficult time securing a land foothold for their forces against the Scourge. These two ships, Orgrim's Hammer and The Skybreaker, were the first of their kind and have been the models for gunships to follow.
Since their inception in the frozen north, many more gunships have been created, used as heavy assault crafts against vital targets.
Alliance gunships are the more hearty of the two variants of gunships that are employed. Adorned with a brass Gryphon head with emerald eyes at the bow of the ship, Alliance gunships are heavily armed and possess a bulky reinforced hull that has been shown to be able to take a large beating. These ships are oft armed with many cannons along the side as well as a large bay below the ship that can be opened or closed for skydiving or, as seen with The Skybreaker, for dropping large bombs. They also possess several lifeboat ships with glider mechanisms in case of crashes, though many debate the safety of these lifeboats and they have proven useless in most crashes.
These gunships are held in the air by way of extremely large propellers, the most expensive part of the ship. These enormous propellers keep the gunships afloat in the air as well as propel them about. In order to steer these ships, it takes two navigators and one "Sky Captain" to issue the orders. They can be found in a large room that comes with a pseudo throne for the Sky-Captain and two steering wheels for the navigators. It sits high over the rest of the ship for ease of sight.
Aside from the armaments and engineering, these ships also come with various other sorts of commodities. A large war room can be found within the first layer of the lower deck, these rooms are often designed with ornate decorations and adorned with Alliance banners, as well as possessing a large table for deliberation on strategy while on the ship. Gunships also possess a canteen below deck for the crew mates to eat at, as well as an infirmary. Bunk rooms are not seen on many gunships, though the Skyfire may have been re-outfitted to possess one following its re-design after the fall of Deathwing.
The lowest accessible deck of the ship possesses several swivel guns along the sides of the ship. They are oft higher up on the hull and require large ladders for those manning the guns to reach them. This deck also holds most of the ammunition on the ship, including petty bombs and bullets. Guns can be found hung across the hull on all decks, likely for emergency situations. The lowest deck also possesses a small hallway that leads out to a balcony on the rear part of the ship. It is used for paratroop deployment, as it is unsafe to deploy off the deck it's self, lest one accidentally fall into one of the rotor blades.
Alliance gunships are designed to be able to survive sea crashes, as the hull is essentially similar to other boat designs. Should a gunship crash into the ocean, the glider boats can also double as life boats and are fully equipped for sailing as their gliders can be turned into sails.
The Horde gunships are the less armored of the two, possessing a large metal and wood deck that is barely armored and is made more for quick movements and heavy firepower. These gunships are adorned with large wolf heads that possess an extremely large cannon jutting from its mouth. It is kept afloat by two larger than norm zeppelins, held together by the upper most deck and large chains that keep it connected to the boat. The upper most deck is not the main deck of the ship, rather it is a large wire metal frame on the very top of the ship near the zeppelins that keep the ship afloat. It has no access points other than ropes that are thrown down to go up and down the deck, or by way of flying mount. It is up here that the navigators remain, as it is the only portion of the ship that is high enough up to see past the large cannon on the bow.
The main deck consists of the large Wolf head cannon and its ammunition which take up more than half the deck and the Sky Reaver's quarters, which takes up most of the other half. The Sky Reaver's quarters act as a war room and an over glorified throne room, as it is one of the few locations actually built into the ship rather than on top of it. Due to this, the Reaver cannot see anything past the deck of the ship and instead gives strategic orders based on information relayed from the navigators on top of the gunship. On the main deck also rests several Horde swivel cannons on the left and right sides of the ship.
The last deck of the ship is the lower deck which possesses the engineering bay and the main artillery of the ship. The frame of the lower deck is mostly wood, though the artillery room possess a large metal and metal wire frame floor. In this room, the artillery cannons are placed on large jutting platforms that can be raised to shut the rather large port holes that they jut out of, though this is rarely done due to the necessity of the guns at all time. Aside from the six cannons, the other main feature of this deck is the engineering room that is often manned by a rather sizable goblin crew. This room powers the large engine in the back of the ship which propels the gunship forward.
Aside from the mentioned, Horde gunships possess little else. It has been seen that Horde gunships have been destroyed with much more ease than that of Alliance gunships, and they possess no sort of crew comforts as there are no infirmaries, bunk rooms or canteens on board. The trade off to their low durability is their ease of production, though many have criticized that this is just a measure of goblin profiteering, as gunship destruction usually has a high death count.
Known Gunships Edit
Below is a list of known gunships, sorted by Alliance and Horde.
Alliance Gunships Edit
- The Skybreaker is the original Alliance gunship that was first employed in Icecrown. Following the defeat of the Lich King, the Skybreaker returned to Stormwind for repairs following a battle with Orgrim's Hammer, and for its design to be mass produced.
- Llane's Oath was an Alliance gunship sent into the earthen realm of Deepholme by the Alliance to serve as a sort of base in the area, similar to the Skybreaker's purpose back in Icecrown. It was infiltrated by Twilight Cultists and used to destroy the horde Gunship, The Storm's Fury, despite being there on neutral terms. It was later repaired and renamed The Onyxwing.
- The Skyfire was the most advanced Alliance gunship currently on the field. It was first used during Deathwing's Assault on the Wyrmrest Temple in Dragonblight. Unlike the Horde's gunship, Dragon's Bane, the Skyfire was not destroyed, though it was damaged. After the defeat of Deathwing, it returned to Stormwind where it was repaired and re-outfitted with much heavier weapons. Since then it acted as one of the Alliance's main weapons on the continent of Pandaria. It later resurfaced during the battle of the Broken Shore, where it was intended to be the final blow to the Legion before the Horde retreated. Used as an escape vessel, it was nearly destroyed until the heroic sacrifice of Varian Wrynn, allowing the ship and those aboard it to escape. It has remained in command of Sky Admiral Catherine Rogers since Sky Captain Swayze went MiA (presumed KiA) during the battle against Deathwing up until its destruction after being sabotaged during a battle with the Forsaken Navy in the Maw of Nashal.
- The Skyseeker was a ship sent out to aid Theramore during the Horde's assault on the island. It engaged several Horde ships on its way, and was being used to transport Horde prisoners. It sustained heavy damage and crashed by chance into the Wandering Isle, which brought about the Pandaren joining both the Alliance and Horde.
- Lothar's Blade was a ship sent out to the Isle of Conquest to aid with its capture. Despite the War in Northrend having ended, the Isle still possess an extremely vast amount of harvest able resources and remains in use on the Island to this day.
- The Wolfheart is a Gilnean-made gunship under the command of the Gilnean re-establishment order, The Blades of Greymane. It was built in the town of Karnsburg and was in use in the midst of the Siege of Orgrimmar. It was sent to Azshara to cut off the last escape route during the siege and was called back to be docked in an undisclosed location following the end of the Siege, though returned to active duty during the Legion invasions.
- The Vengeance is an immense, Skybreaker-class gunship that the Will of Iron procured during their escape of a deserted, but rather calming, oceanic island. The original name of this craft is unknown, for the vehicle was seemingly rogue and crewed by aerial pirates that engaged the fireteam. Now, it stands as the most defended airship in Willian hands.
- The Stormhawk is a gunship commissioned to the Stormblade Regiment of the Seventh Legion. It bears the same design as the original Alliance gunship, The Skybreaker.
- Lion's Oath was a gunship under the command of High King Varian Wrynn during their assault on the Broken Shore. It was destroyed after coming under heavy attack by demons of the Burning Legion.
- Sword of Dawn is a gunship that served under the command of Admiral Walsh during the Battle of the Broken Shore. It transported General Bret Hughes and a unit of Alliance Recruits to the battle.
- The Skyreaper was a gunship under command of Lord-Marshal Adroby Relindor of the First Regiment of the Stormwind Guard that was sent to Stormheim to aid the Alliance troops in the region. It was infiltrated by several demons and the engines were destroyed, sending it plummeting into the ocean to the east of the region where it was scuttled.
- The Skyguard is a gunship that was sent to the Seething Shore to recover newly formed Azerite deposits. It is captained by Grand Marshal Tremblade.
Horde Gunships Edit
- Orgrim's Hammer is the original Horde gunship that was first employed in Icecrown. Following the defeat of the Lich King, the Hammer was returned to Orgrimmar where it was dismantled and its design improved upon, though rumour states it may have been destroyed against The Skybreaker in battle. Regardless, the design was improved upon for future gunships, but success has been limited due to the amount of destroyed gunships.
- Storm's Fury was a Horde gunship sent into the earthen realm of Deepholme at the request of the former Warchief Thrall to help restore the realm's balance. The gunship was sent in on neutral terms and was carrying one of the Archstones of the World Pillar, but was destroyed when the gunship Llane's Oath bombarded it after it was taken over by the Twilight's Hammer.
- Dragon's Bane was a Horde gunship sent to Northrend to aid against the assault on the Wyrmrest Temple by Deathwing. The gunship was destroyed by Deathwing.
- Hellscream's Fist was a gunship sent to the continent of Pandaria by orders of the Warchief, Garrosh Hellscream. According to General Nazgrim, it was one of the finest weapons in the Horde's arsenal and was heavily armed. It was destroyed on its maiden voyage by the Alliance after arriving in Pandaria by the forces present at Twinspire Keep.
- Wolfsbane was a Horde gunship sent alongside the horde fleet during the Invasion of Gilneas. It was the Orc's largest contribution to the invasion but also ended up being one of the largest detriments to the Horde forces. Before the Gilneans evacuated their civilians, they boarded and commandeered the ship from the Horde and crashed it into the Forsaken forces that were breaching the wall, killing a large amount of them. The wreckage of the ship was later cleared out and reused for makeshift fortifications.
- Grom's Fury was a ship sent out to the Isle of Conquest to aid with its capture. Despite the war in Northrend having ended, the Isle still holds an extremely vast amount of harvest able resources and remains in use on the Island to this day.
- Darkspear's Might was a ship sent out to the Broken Shore, under the command of Sylvanas Windrunner. It was destroyed during the voyage to the area by the Burning Legion, having been attacked by infernals from the sky.
- Tempest's Roar is a gunship that served under the command of Warlord Zakgra during the Battle of the Broken Shore, serving as a transport for Horde recruits.