Leman Russ Battle Tank
Named after the Space Wolves’ primarch, the Leman Russ is the main battle tank of the Imperial Guard and of most Planetary Defense Forces. Rugged and dependable, the Leman Russ has been used for millennia and is the most widely deployed tank in the Imperium. The Leman Russ’ lengthy service is a testament to its simplicity and ease of production – millions of Leman Russes are produced on forge worlds and in hive world factories across the Imperium every year.
While fundamental changes in construction and appearance have occurred over the years, its capabilities have changed very little – allowing the Leman Russ to operate in a variety of environments and withstand punishing amounts of enemy fire while still delivering powerful blows
While slow in comparison to other Guard vehicles and lacking in advanced technology, its ruggedness, reliability, and ease of operation are the tank’s defining attributes.
The Leman Russ is crewed by a minimum of four, including a commander, a gunner, a loader and a driver. Side sponson weapons may be added, each of which requires an additional crew member to operate.
The sponson gunners are generally the most junior members of the crew, responsible for manning the cramped sponson weapons and otherwise aiding the other crewmembers in their tasks.
Above them sits the loader, responsible for loading the main gun and, as needed, manning the hull-mounted weaponry. Outside of combat his job will be to keep track of the tank’s logistical needs and ensure it has been re-armed and refueled prior to battle.
The driver is next in seniority; a highly technical job responsible for not only driving the tank but also overseeing basic maintenance of the tank’s running gear. When stationary the driver can also man the hull-mounted weapons, though this practice is discouraged by most since it leaves the tank immobile and vulnerable.
The gunner is tasked with firing the tank’s primary weapon, along with any co-axial weapons, and also functions as the tank’s second-in-command. Between battles his responsibility is to clean and maintain the tank’s weapons.
Lastly, the tank commander directs the other crewmembers and is responsible for maintaining an overall picture of the battle – keeping in contact with other units through external communication equipment, and manning any pintle-mounted weapons
Due to the Leman Russ’ simple and functional design it requires minimal training for new crews to become familiar with their vehicles’ operations.
Weaponry and Construction:
The main gun of the Leman Russ is a 120 mm smoothbore turret-mounted Battle Cannon which can equally decimate enemy infantry and armour. A water-cooled jacket surrounds the cannon while gyrostabilisers ensure accurate targeting while on the move.
Aiming the weapon is done through a dedicated periscope with a 45° field of vision with assistance from simple targeting gear such as laser-rangefinders. Auspex guidance such as landscape readers and crosswind indicators provide additional information to assist in locating and targeting the enemy.
Secondary armaments will generally consist of a Lascannon or a Heavy Bolter in the forward hull mount – offering additional killing power in the forward 90° arc.
Side sponson mounts are an optional part of the tank’s design, but can be fitted with a variety of heavy weapons for close-in defense including Heavy Bolters, Heavy Flamers, Multi-meltas or Plasma Cannons. These are manned by dedicated gunners and capable of a 90° field of fire to the front and sides of the vehicle.
The Leman Russ’ unsophisticated armour is practical and rugged, allowing it to weather the harshest of environments or enemy fire. The cast plasteel hull and turret are reinforced with ferro-steel armour plating, combining to make it proof against all but the most deadly attacks.
This armour is thickest on the tank’s front, with decreasing thickness along the sides and rear, to prevent the engine from overheating or over-straining of the transmission.
While a slow vehicle the tank’s track arrangement means it exerts a low amount of ground pressure which, combined with fine regenerative steering, allows it to perform almost balletic maneuvers. Hard-wound steel spring shock-absorbers provide added stability on the move.
Far from a sophisticated vehicle, the Leman Russ was designed and built with reliability and versatility in mind and can run on almost any sort of petroleum or promethium-based liquid fuel.