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Another issue that I have heard contested, but never resovled, is how exactly the loader works for a heavy weapons team.
1. Some people say that he can fire his lasgun when the heavy weapon fires, and others say you can't.
2. More importantly, when a heavy weapons squad comes under fire, some say that you can take out the three loaders first without any loss of a heavy weapon. It is never quite specified in the codex.
I say yes to both of those. The dude actually firing the heavy weapon is usually the last to die for me.
The answer is defiantly yes. If you take a look at the classic range youâ€™ll see that gunner and loader are on separate bases. Furthermore, IG heavy weapons donâ€™t count as artillery so you donâ€™t have to allocate wounds switching between gunner and loader.
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The gunner and loader are 2 seperate models they are only put on a large base for movement convenience they can be used as 2 bases. There are FAQ's you can check.
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the whole idea of "gunners" and "loaders" is a hold over from the previous version of the IG codex. If you look at the current version, there is no mention/definition of "gunners" or "loaders".
simply two guardsmen form a "heavy weapon team". unfortunatly there's no definition of a heavy weapon team...
however, what we no for certain is that they do NOT count as a 2 wound model. they COUNT as two seperate models that can be put on the same base for modeling purposes.
so to answer your questions.
1. Yes, the model who is not firing the heavy can fire his lasgun. In fact if you go by the rules, the model firing the weapon ("gunner") is also armed w/ a lasgun, since it says nothing about either guardsmen replacing their lasgun w/ a heavy weapon. so techincally if you move, both guardsmen could fire lasguns (obviously you must have modeled a lasgun on both).
2. Yes, again they are not treated as 2 wound models. you can remove any model from the unit as long as that model is in LOS and within range of the attack.
this is why it's smart (if you use large bases) not to glue the "loader" to the base.
Simply put, you count a Heavy Weapons team as a Guardsman armed with a heavy weapon and a standard Guardsman. Two totally seperate models when it comes to casualties, shooting, ect.
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At my club we treat heavy weapon teams as one guy with the HQ and the other with whatever he has. His sole purpose is the extra wound he adds to the squad.