"What I cannot crush with words, I will crush with the Imperial Guard tanks!"
—Lord Solar Macharius
Leman Russ main battle tank
The Leman Russ is the main battle tank of the Astra Militarum and also the most common tank in the Empire. The tank is named after the Space Wolves primarch, Leman Russ. Far from a sophisticated vehicle, the Leman Russ is designed and built with reliability and versatility in mind. It can survive the worst the galaxy can throw at it and can run on almost any combustible liquid fuel.
Though slow, its frontal armor is strong enough to withstand the variety of weapons used by the enemies of the Emperor of Mankind. Its side and rear armor remains thinner to reduce the strain on the tank's engines. This trait makes the Leman Russ vulnerable to attacks from these angles, requiring infantry support, other tanks, or very careful operation to protect the vehicle. The Leman Russ can only perform at its best when all of these elements are combined during an Imperial armored advance.
The Leman Russ main battle tank is an ironclad declaration of power that has manifested itself. They are the mainstay of the Astra Militarum's armored forces, lumbering armor plates and intolerance whose relentless advance has brought bloody ruin to a billion enemies of the Empire.
What the Leman Russ lacks in speed, it more than makes up for in brute force and survivability. Enemy fire pelts off its inch-thick armor like dust in the wind. Along with its sponsors, hull and turret, the Russ carries enough firepower to bring almost any opponent to its knees. The tank's rugged simplicity and ease of manufacture ensures that the Empire can field entire companies of Leman Russ with ease and engulf the outnumbered enemy in waves of irresistible armored fury.
Dedicated Leman Russ tank companies play a key role in Imperial strategy, and in the largest Imperial tank offensives, armored formations will sweep across them many Terran miles in a roaring tide. However, it is common for armored companies to be split into squadrons to support infantry and artillery elements in the field.
Leman Russ Eradicator
A simple, destructive vehicle, the Leman Russ Eradicator was instrumental in the urban conflict on Khai-Zhan. His main weapon, the Eradicator Nova Cannon, gained a fearsome reputation as a powerful anti-infantry weapon. The weapon's heavy, large-caliber ballistic shells are capable of destroying both enemy barricades and any infantry hiding behind them with a highly explosive sub-atomic charge. This makes the Eradicator extremely effective in cities, jungles, or other dense terrain. With a blast radius close to that of the Demolisher Cannon but with a longer range, the Eradicator Nova Cannon can effectively clear structures of enemy infantry before it can even fire a shot.
Leman Russ Exterminator
The rarely seen Leman Russ Exterminator variant is armed with turret-mounted, coupled autocannons and is generally deployed in an anti-infantry role. Sometimes the Exterminator is also used as a fallback for air defenses due to its rapid rate of fire. It's particularly effective against lightly armored Horde armies like the Orcs or Tyranids, and when equipped with full anti-infantry weapons like heavy bolters, the tank can unleash a devastating hail of ballistic fire. While the twin-linked autocannons have recoil absorbers, they lack a muzzle brake or flash suppressor. The Exterminator is unique in that it is also used in small numbers by the Space Wolves, making it the only Leman Russ variant used by a Space Marine Chapter.
Leman Russ Vanquisher
A rarer and more advanced variant of the standard Leman Russ, the long-barreled Vanquisher cannon mounted on the Leman Russ Vanquisher is capable of firing powerful anti-tank shells. In addition, a storm bolter is mounted coaxially to the main gun. However, Vanquishers are becoming increasingly rare in Imperial service, due to the actions of the Orc Warlord Arrgard the Defiler, who scoured the Forge World Tigrus in the 35th Millennium and destroyed the only existing template for building the Vanquisher Cannon in the process.