Tau ground warfare is carried out almost exclusively by the Fire caste, while the Air caste is responsible for aerial and space combat, and providing transport between systems. The basic Fire Caste military unit is known as a Cadre, or Kau'ui, similar in size and role to an Imperial Guard Company, and is primarily made up of Tau from the same sept. Auxiliaries are drawn from the alien races within the Tau Empire, and can include Kroot warriors, Vespid Stingwings, and Gue'vesa, among other forces.

Battlesuit vs. Dreadnought: Who would win?

I see this question come up often, and I thought I’d answer it since there have been cases of such combat in the books

In Blades of Damocles:

This book documents the invasion by the Ultramarines 8th company of the major Tau Sept World of Dalyth. Farsight and his team of XV-8 Battlesuit pilots encounter a Dreadnought sent to back up the Ultramarines squad he was engaging.

The Dreadnought is equipped with close-range weapons so the Battlesuits mainly engage it from a distance. Even then, their weapons fail to penetrate the armor. It manages grab one Battlesuit from the air while it is attempting to withdraw and rip it to shreds.

Ultimately, Farsight and his team wears it down and manages to force it onto the path of a Thunderhawk, causing a fatal collision for the Space Marine Vehicles.

In Damnation Crusade:

In this case, the Black Templars Dreadnought easily takes out the XV-88 Broadside, suffering only minor damage. Though it should be noted that the Dreadnought’s inhabitant it an exceptional warrior.


One on one, the Dreadnought wipes the floor with the “mainstream” XV-8 Battlesuit or its derivative versions. However, a team of Battlesuits led by a skilled commander (such as Farsight) can take down a Dread by combining their firepower and hitting it from long range. This also works best if the Dread does not have long-range weapons. Once it gets into melee though, the Battlesuit has no chance.


Deathwatch Marines with a secondary heart of gold

So our GM has sent our party of 9 through half a dozen missions so far, featuring all the horrible gribblies and monsters of the darkest pits of hell and that one cultist who blew himself up on his own mine. and we were feeling pretty sure of our selves. (Well like 7 of us were, since our ravenguard techmarine got himself killed whilst berserk-charging a dreadnought, and my spacewolf scout could be killed by a slight breeze or fart)

We’d just got back from cleansing a space station of a chaos virus spread unwittingly by us, and were immediately sent on a mission to a Tau Sept world to “Wreck shit and cause mayhem. Oh yeah, and kidnap some ethereals.” Pretty simple. Our objectives were to kidnap at least 1 of the 5 ethereals and kill the rest and damage as much of their infrastructure as possible. It seemed like a perfectly simple mission, however we hadn’t counted on one thing.

When we landed on the Tau world we were immediately faced by what i considered to be the most horrific thing ever:

Tau Children playing with human children. Filthy buggers. For some reason half the team wanted to protect them and the other half wanted to burn them. So like all good space marines our Flesh Tearer tried to nom on one. Almost succeeded too, we had to keep him locked up until the time when we would strike.

We decided to nab the ethereals on the night of a festival, when security would be minimal. Most of it went well. Our Librarian actually strode into one ethereal’s home bold as brass, drugged the hell out of him and then walked out again. (There was a minor hiccup with one of them which involved a major car chase and a tracking role with 16 degrees of success but that is a story for another time.) And then we decided it was time to go damage some proper infrastructure.
I and the rest of the party had stocked up on a literal ton of demolition charges, thing was, most of the party didn’t want to harm civilians. God knows why. There were deals made and lots of deliberation and we finally agreed that we wouldnt blow up any civilians. The three of us that were willing to destroy civilians were sent to create a distraction whilst the others assaulted the nearby army barracks.

When the Tau forces gathered to stop us three they found us atop a pile of burning corpses. We had kept our word; not a single Tau had been killed by explosives.