The Land Raider Achilles is a heavily armoured variant of the standard Land Raider used by the Adeptus Astartes. The Land Raider Achilles was developed in the closing years of the Great Crusade during the 31st Millennium by the Imperial Fists Legion. The Achilles differs from the standard Land Raider in both its armament and its construction, as the Achilles is armed as a short-range siege tank that is capable of withstanding massive amounts of punishment. The Land Raider Achilles has become legendary for its durability, and the ancient and arcane technologies used in its construction are some of the rarest available to the Imperium in the 41st Millennium.
According to the last volume of the Liber Armourum, the Land Raider Achilles was first developed by the Techmarines of the Imperial Fists Space Marine Legion during the closing years of the Emperor's Great Crusade. The development of the Achilles was necessitated by the discovery of a mighty xenos empire in the far southern reaches of the galaxy. The name of these xenos, mighty as they may have been to necessitate such a drastic solution, have long since been lost or purged from Imperial records. The xenos empire required nearly the full strength of an entire Crusade arm to destroy it, and would have required more if the Achilles had not been developed. Designed and built by Imperial Fists Techmarines and the Archmagos Xan-Ebon, the Achilles' overwhelming close-range firepower and nearly indestructible armour helped crush the xenos and bring their worlds into the Imperial fold. The construction process of the Land Raider Achilles is one of the most guarded secrets of the Adeptus Mechanicus, and thus the Achilles is one of the rarest, if not the rarest, of the Land Raider variants. The Land Raider Achilles is most commonly found within the ranks of the Imperial Fists Chapter and their Successor Chapters.
The Land Raider Achilles is armed with a unique and powerful array of weapons, but this not why the Achilles has become a legend, the Achilles is legendary because of its extreme durability. The Land Raider Achilles is the most heavily armoured vehicle available to the Space Marines in the 41st Millennium. During every stage of the vehicle's construction layer upon layer of ancient electromagnetic incantations and ferromantic computational algorithms are etched into each part of the structure at a microscopic level using the most secret arts available to the Adeptus Mechanicus. The resulting armour is almost impossible to harm through the use of projected energy weapons, such as laser weaponry. The armour can only be harmed by massive kinetic impacts, such as those produced by powerful anti-armour, non-energy-based weapons, such as the Vanquisher Cannon. At the time of the Horus Heresy the methods and materials used in the construction of the Land Raider Achilles were far beyond the capabilities of all but the most supreme Master of the Forge or Enginseer Artificer to work, and thus this vehicle simply could not be mass-produced, even by the technologies available to the Imperium during the Great Crusade.
The Land Raider Achilles, like all Land Raider variants, is equipped with an extremely powerful Machine Spirit (Artificial Intelligence). The Land Raider Achilles is equipped with an enhanced Necris-Phobos Pattern Machine Spirit, and it is known to be one of the most warlike and frighteningly self-aware of any Astartes vehicle. As a result, the Land Raider Achilles is nigh-unapproachable by an enemy, or even a friendly who is recovering the vehicle from a battlefield. All personnel who will work in or near a Land Raider Achilles are warned to use extreme caution when dealing with the vehicle and its temperamental Machine Spirit.
The Land Raider Achilles is heavily armed for close-range siege combat, as the vehicle's armour can absorb most enemy attacks while the tank closes in for the kill. The Achilles is armed with two sponson-mounted twin-linked Multi-Meltas, one on each side, that are capable of making quick work of enemy armour and enemy fortifications. The Achilles' most unique weapon is its hull-mounted Thunderfire Cannon. The Thunderfire Cannon is a massive, multi-barrelled, rotary assault cannon that is usually mounted on a slow-moving, remote-controlled tracked chassis, and is used to provide heavy direct fire support for Space Marines during combat. The Achilles is thought to have been originally armed with a Viper Pattern quad-launcher, although most have been replaced with the more familiar Thunderfire Cannon. The Land Raider Achilles' troop-carrying space has been reduced in order to store the massive shells for the Thunderfire Cannon, and thus it can only carry up to six Space Marines, or three Terminators. Like all Land Raiders, the Achilles is equipped with a powerful Machine Spirit that is capable of taking over in case the vehicle's crew is killed or incapacitated. The Achilles can also be equipped with a pintle-mounted Storm Bolter, extra armour plating, a searchlight, a dozer blade, a Hunter-Killer Missile Launcher, smoke launchers and a Siege Shield.
Known Users of the Land Raider Achilles
The Land Raider Achilles is one of the rarest vehicles used by the Chapters of the Space Marines. Even during the Imperium's height, just before the start of the Horus Heresy, the use of the Achilles had not extended far beyond the Imperial Fists Legion. It is known that several of these vehicles were delivered as gifts to the Dark Angels, Thousand Sons, and Salamanders Legions. In the 41st Millennium the Achilles is mostly found within the ranks of the Imperial Fists and their Successor Chapters, yet other Chapters also possess small numbers of them. It is believed that the Ordo Reductor of the Adeptus Mechanicus also has access to the Achilles design. The Land Raider Achilles is a highly sought-after prize and there are many tales of wrecked or dormant vehicles being discovered on forgotten battlefields. Such a rumour is enough in itself to divert entire Space Marine strike forces in an endeavor to reclaim it.
Notable Users of the Land Raider Achilles
- Imperial Fists - The Imperial Fists Space Marine Legion, and later Chapter, are the original developers of the Achilles, and they possess the most in their armouries.
- Minotaurs - The Minotaurs Space Marine Chapter have made use of the Land Raider Achilles during campaigns such as the Badab War.
- Ordo Reductor - The Ordo Reductor of the Adeptus Mechanicus is believed to make use of the Land Raider Achilles.
- Dark Angels - The Dark Angels Space Marine Legion and its later Sucessor Chapters are known to have had a small number of Land Raider Achilles' in their possession at one time, gifted to them by the Imperial Fists before the Horus Heresy.
- Salamanders - The Salamanders Space Marine Legion and its later Successor Chapters are known to have had a small number of Land Raider Achilles' in their possession at one time, gifted to them by the Imperial Fists before the Horus Heresy.
- Thousand Sons - The Thousand Sons Space Marine Legion is known to have had a small number of Land Raider Achilles' in their possession at one time, gifted to them by the Imperial Fists before the Horus Heresy. The Thousand Sons Traitor Legion may still have access to these vehicles, though they will have been warped beyond recognition by the power of Chaos.
- Imperial Fists Successor Chapters - It is known that the Successor Chapters of the Imperial Fists have higher concentrations of the Achilles than any other Successor Chapters.
Adeptus Machanicus Technical Specifications
|Vehicle Name:||Land Raider Achilles||Main Armament:||2 Sponson-mounted Twin-linked Multi-Meltas|
|Forge World of Origin:||Mars / Gryhonne IV||Secondary Armament:||Hull-mounted Thunderfire Cannon|
|Known Patterns:||II - IV||Traverse:||180 degrees|
|Crew:||1 Commander, 1 Driver, 1 Ordnancer||Elevation:||-32 to 42 degrees|
|Powerplant:||Adaptable Thermic Combustion / Magon-Infusion Reactor||Main Ammunition:||30 one-second bursts|
|Weight:||76.0 tonnes||Secondary Ammunition:||48 Rounds (can vary)|
|Height:||4.11 metres||Superstructure:||100 millimetres|
|Ground Clearance:||0.50 metres||Hull:||95-115 millimetres|
|Max Speed On-Road:||50 kilometres per hour||Gun Mantlet:||N/A|
|Max Speed Off-Road:||40 kilometres per hour||Vehicle Designation:||Unknown|
|Transport Capacity:||6 Space Marines, or 3 Terminator Marines||Firing Ports:||N/A|
|Access Points:||2 Side Doors, 1 Front ramp||Turret:||N/A|
- Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War - Part Two, pp. 27,147-148, 194
- Imperial Armour - The Horus Heresy - Book One: Betrayal, pg. 218
- Imperial Armour Apocalypse (2nd Edition), p. 30