- Mar 14, 2017
- https://warhammer40k.fandom.com/wiki/Exterminatusis the name of a terrible order in High Gothic given by the highest authorities of the Imperium of Man to destroy an entire planetary biosphere and all life upon a world. This action is only taken in those extreme circumstances where a potential or actual extinction-level strategic threat to the entire Imperium exists on the planet and might spread to other Imperial worlds.
Exterminatus is typically only used as a last resort, when the price of holding or retaking the world for the Emperor is deemed too high, or the threat of mutation, disease or Chaos heresy spreading to the rest of the Imperium is too great to contain by conventional means.
Thus Exterminatus has very rarely been used on vital or strategically valuable planets to the Imperium. Typically, the order may only be given by a high-ranking Imperial commander in the Astra Militarum, Imperial Navy or the Adeptus Astartes, or by a full member of the Imperial Inquisition.
An orbital bombardment from Imperial warships is the simplest means of carrying out an Exterminatus, as it can be done solely through the conventional firepower already available to the Imperial Navy. The power of an orbital bombardment can range from small precision strikes, not unlike that of modern surface-to-surface missiles, to the unleashing of full thermonuclear blasts.