I had decided to really dedicate myself to Imperial Guard in 5th edition, mostly because for the last 10 years, Ive always thought the Chimera was the best transport in the game. Better and more diverse weapon layouts, higher front armor values, the chimera seemed like a transport of choice. It wasn't until game 75 (I'm guessing the number, but it took awhile) into the new codex that I discovered a secret. While highly flexible in its role, the chimera is the vulnerable link in the Imperial Guards mechanized forces. In fact, it will cost you games against an experienced player that exploits this hidden weakness. First off, lets discuss the strengths of this unit.
Av12 front armor: A difficult value to break for the tons of missile launchers that we a lot of these days
Turret Weapons: Multi-laster/Heavy Bolter/Heavy Flamer. Stick to either the Multi-laser or Heavy Flamer. I prefer the multi-laser myself. (versatile, 3 shots so it hits, high str so wounds easy and breaks light armor (10), good range so it can shoot most of the game) These are free options!
Hull Weapons: Heavy bolter or Heavy Flamer. I prefer heavy flamer, because a chimera excels at moving allowing troops inside to fire, so only 1 weapon will be firing. If you plan on it being stationary, go ahead with the heavy bolter. These are free options!
Options: Hunter Killer for alpha strike forces, Heavy stubbers for chimeras meant to sit and shoot (with heavy bolter/multi-laster is 9 shots). Extra Armor and dozer blades also. Hint: Don't get carried away, keep them cheap. I prefer no more than a 65pt chimera.
Amphibious: This does come up, and Ive used it to an advantage several times.
Mobile Command Vehicle: This almost guarantees that your command units will have their own ride.
Firing Point: 5 models may shoot out of the top of this vehicle. Wow.
So the Secret. Your Chimera is the weak link to your mechanized force. I've said it, lots of you wont believe it, and now many of you will take advantage of it. Need some proof or evidence? OK. 5th edition is a game of objectives and very mobile forces. Marines in all varieties, even Guard are very very mobile. That armor 12 going to protect you? Yes, but a good general is going to be hitting your side armor and its only av10! And guess what, inside that av10 side armor transport are your valuable troop choices that you need to win the game. Don't take enough of them, and your weakness can be devastating. Even a KP game, lose the chimera and the easily killed troops inside, and there is a quick 2 kps. A chimera explodes...... a lot of your men are not going to survive it. Then make a pinning check (good chance of being pinned down in the wreck), and then make a leadership check to avoid falling back (since you just took 25%+ casualties.) Lets face it, breaking av10 is easy, and losing a couple or more chimeras in a round can turn the tide of the game quickly. Mobile armies (like all of us should be) can make short work of av10 vehicles.
Lucky for us IG players though, most people concentrate on the Big Shinnies (vendettas, hellhounds, leman russ's, etc) and I am more than happy to provide lots of them to my opponents. List design is a way to compensate on their weakness (remember my 23rd armoured company?), as well as being aware of your opponent and what he is capable of. Think of it this way. Your opponent shows up with an army of Av10 vehicles. You get get excited because you are going to blow up ton of easy to kill vehicles. The only catch... You simply have to move, which all 5th edition codex's excel at.
How do I use chimeras? My standard Chimera is simple. Multi-laser with Heavy Flamer in the Hull. This insures that I am using this vehicle as a mobile transport allowing the for guys inside to use it as a moving firing platform. So preferably I am using the Heavy Flamers. A wall of chimeras with heavy flamers is a nice when the opposing force is coming in fast. Don't mix and match your chimeras and troops inside. Meaning don't load it up with a Mult-laser and Heavy Bolter if the troops are carrying just assault weapons. If a chimera is meant to be on the move, set it up that way. If its a armored firing bunker, then set it up to be one.
Tricks of the Trade
*Round one moving heavy weapon squads with 3 heavies into an empty chimera. 3 Heavy weapons can fire out firing point. I don't do this often, but it's a ton of fun to do.
*It only takes two chimeras to give your 3 piece artillery batteries a 4+ cover save, as you only have to obscure 50% of the unit. I do this alot.
*Road Blocks. These make excellent road blocks against incoming vehicles. When you have lots of chimeras, pinning down a Land Raider full of assault terminators becomes possible. I've done it. You might be called cheezy though when you pull this off. I popped smoke and trapped it for 2 rounds.
*Important Rule. Keep your men inside the transport. Only get out if it's absolutely necessary get out. Orders can fail, shots can miss. Stay inside.
*Chimeras can really turn a clean battlefield into a mess quickly. Their wrecks all over the field, can make a hazardous and slow advance. I've even had Eldrad die against me, while charging over a wrecked chimera. lol
Chimeras are a great vehicle transport. They do have a weakness and Ive exploited it against people. Ive also had people exploit it against me. Personally I wouldn't leave home without them, and if you understand their weakness, you can force their strengths onto the field against your opponents. Sorry for the long post.