Attention Guardsman! The Imperium, and indeed the Astra Militarum, has a long, grand history, an unbroken line of memory from the distant days of Terra to the modern era.
While the study of history beyond great Imperial battles and the names of Imperial saints can, for simpler minds, raise heretical questions, we here at the Regimental Standard are committed to keeping you informed. Today, we look at the older predecessors of the Leman Russ in the first of our exciting History of the Imperium series.
We’ve enlisted Tech-Priest Kappa-Nu AX77446 to share some of the Adeptus Mechanicus’ valuable insights into the history of tank warfare.
Kappa-Nu AX77446: Greetings, Guardsmen. While many of you will never know the joys of replacing one’s body with an invulnerable augmetic shell, some of you may get to experience the next best thing – serving worshipfully in the belly of one of the Omnissiah’s war machines. For your edification, we have recovered records of three popular vehicles preceding the modern day Leman Russ, plucked from Terra’s history:
The Tyger tank was first seen in the so-called “Two World War”. This conflict seems to have been notable for only featuring two planets – Terra and Venus – making it a relatively small skirmish. Like the MULE used by the Adeptus Mechanicus in days of yore, the Tyger is probably named after an animal of Old Earth, in this case, large, nine-legged insectoids from the Yndonesian Bloc, bred as beasts of war. One early tank commander, Wilhelm Swordsworth, allegedly wrote war poetry about the prowess of this vehicle, but alas only fragments remain. The Tyger was apparently a large battle tank for its time, but is several measures smaller than a Baneblade, indicating the primitive nature of early Terran technology.
While we do not know much about the T54 tank (certain records have been suppressed by the Fabricator-General for unknown reasons), we know that it was relatively rare, with only around 100,000 units manufactured. Judging by the small size of the main armament, Fabricator-adepts believe that this vehicle probably used primitive energy-projection technology akin to the lascannon, designed to support larger vehicles.
As for what T54 stands for, the answer is obvious! T54 was clearly an adept of the Mechanicum in the early days of Mars, and discovered the STC for this vehicle, much as Arkhan Land (binharic praise upon his name) discovered the STCs for the Land Raider and Land Speeder.
While the Sherman superficially resembles Imperial designs, it has several disadvantages compared to the Leman Russ. Sloped plating is likely to deflect small arms munitions into nearby soldiers while proving ineffective at dispersing las-fire. Attacking the enemy with a cavalry sabre from the turret hatch would be all but impossible due to its awkward position, even if the crew drove the officer very close. Similarly, field simulations suggest that the treads would quickly become clogged after running over even a smallish squad of Aeldari Guardians.
As you can see, Guardsmen, the incorruptible form of the battle tank has been well in place for millennia – you can thank the tireless efforts of we servants of the Adeptus Mechanicus for our labours in improving the issues of size, armament and close combat efficacy, and for our ministrations and benedictions, which ensure that the machine spirits of modern tanks remain working even in the worst conditions*.
Thank you, Tech-Priest! Don’t miss next week’s instalment in our History of the Imperium, where we look at the long-distant past of the Space Marine Legions.**
Thought for the Day: ‘Knowledge is Power; Power Corrupts.’
*The few historical records we have show that pre-Imperial tanks were often stopped from working by such minor trifles as travelling through mud, crossing barbed wire, enemy fire, loss of crew and near-total destruction, none of which will stop a Leman Russ from continuing to devastate Mankind’s foes.
**Note: This article, the “Histories of the Imperium” series and all writers involved have been terminated due to unforeseen circumstances (for further information see Inquisition Case Logs Ref: RegStan//hereticus//beta//historius_traitoris)