"What I cannot crush with words, I will crush with the tanks of the Imperial Guard!"

— Lord Solar Macharius

A Leman Russ battle tank creeps across a bridge during an urban battle

The Leman Russ is the main battle tank of the Astra Militarum, and is also the most widely deployed tank in the Imperium. The tank is named after the Space Wolves Primarch, Leman Russ. Far from a sophisticated vehicle, the Leman Russ was 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 armour is strong enough to withstand the multitude of weaponry wielded by the enemies of the Emperor of Mankind. Its side and rear armour remains thinner to reduce the strain on the tank's engines. This characteristic does make the Leman Russ vulnerable to assault from these angles, requiring infantry support, other tanks or very careful operation to protect the vehicle. The Leman Russ can only perform to its optimum capabilities when all of these elements are combined during an Imperial armoured advance.

The Leman Russ main battle tank is an ironclad declaration of might made manifest. They are the mainstay of the Astra Militarum's armoured forces, lumbering slabs of armour and intolerance whose inexorable advance has ground a billion foes of the Imperium to bloody ruin.

What the Leman Russ lacks in speed, it more than makes up for in brute force and survivability. Enemy fire patters from its inches-thick armour like dust on the wind. Between its sponsons, hull and turret the Russ carries enough firepower to pound almost any foe into submission. The tank’s rugged simplicity and ease of manufacture ensures that the Imperium can field whole companies of Leman Russ with ease, burying the outnumbered foe beneath waves of irresistible armoured fury.

Dedicated Leman Russ tank companies play a key role in Imperial strategy, and the greatest Imperial tank offensives will see armoured formations many Terran miles in breadth sweep all before them in a rumbling tide. However, it is common to see armoured companies broken into squadrons to support infantry and artillery elements in the field.

The presence of even one Leman Russ can provide an enormous boost to the fighting strength and morale of Imperial Guard infantry, while a whole squadron of such armoured brutes wields serious destructive power. Leman Russ squadrons can be deployed to spearhead an all-out offensive, reduce an enemy breakthrough to a tangle of blood-soaked wreckage, or safeguard the thundering guns of an artillery company from attack. With its many common variants, the Leman Russ is a versatile and deadly tool in the arsenal of any Imperial Guard commander.

The Leman Russ is crewed by a minimum of four crewmen, including a commander, gunner, loader and driver. Side sponson weapons may be added, each of which requires an additional crew member to operate. The Leman Russ is simple to operate, but very loud and uncomfortable for its crew. Due to the noise, intravehicle communication is only viable by an enclosed intercom system, with the commander having access to an external Vox-caster.



A Leman Russ Tank in fierce night combat

The Leman Russ battle tank was first developed some time during the Great Crusade in the late 30th Millennium, but most of the information about the vehicle from that ancient time is missing or non-existent. The Leman Russ battle tank proved to be a reliable and proven armoured vehicle named after the Primarch of the Legiones Astartes Space Wolves in honour of his savage ferocity in war. Numerous sub-patterns mounted a wide array of weapons in service of the elite Solar Auxilia were often enhanced to the "Solar" pattern, fitted with supplementary survival and exploration systems. Leman Russ tanks in Auxilia strike squadrons were fitted with extended fuel reserves and their engines enhanced with forced induction chargers. These combined to increase the tanks' speed and operational range substantially, allowing them to make wide flanking advances in order to engage an enemy at the moment the infantry sections launched their own attack.

Leman Russ Assault squadrons consisted of heavily armoured variants of the Solar pattern -- re-configured for direct assault against fortified enemies. They lacked the speed of the strike Russ squadrons but were formidably durable. Their main weapons were comparatively short ranged in relation to the artillery batteries, but they were used in a direct assault role or in close support of the Infantry Tercios, in particular those mounted in Dracosan Armoured Carriers. The Plasma Destroyer mounted on the Executioner and the volkite demi-culverin with which the Incinerator was armed, were rare and highly prized weapons more commonly seen on the war machines of the Legiones Astartes, and they had to be painstakingly calibrated and intensively ministered to by Tech-Priests assigned to the cohort to ensure their continued operation.

In the 41st Millennium, the Leman Russ tank is the mainstay of most Imperial Guard armoured regiments and is produced by the millions in Forge Worlds and Hive World manufactorums across the galaxy. The tank is also used by many other Imperial forces such as Planetary Defence Forces and the Adeptus Arbites.



Two Leman Russ battle tanks make their way across no-man's-land during the Siege of Vraks

The Leman Russ seems to be a crude, slow, and poorly designed tank, but it is an excellent benchmark for the abilities and advanced nature of Imperial technology. Despite being famed for its simplicity and reliability, the Leman Russ is an extremely complex and advanced main battle tank. The tank's frontal armour is 150 millimetres thick, meaning it can withstand all but the most dedicated anti-tank weaponry, yet its side armour is much thinner. With a range of 105 miles on just 360 gallons of fuel, a feature the later Land Raider would also possess, the Leman Russ can accept almost any sort of combustible fuel. Though its top speed is a mere 29 kilometres/hour, this is mostly because of extremely heavy governing of the tank's engine, as a properly tuned Leman Russ can reach speeds in excess of 70 kilometres/hour. The Leman Russ is also noted for its ability to turn on a dime, and its ability to reverse direction in only seconds remains a "signature move" for the vehicle. The Russ is equipped with a variety of high-tech scanners and Auspex systems, plus inertial dampening technology designed to provide better stability for the firing of the tank's main weapon.



A Leman Russ in support of an infantry regiment during an urban war

The basic and most common armament of the Leman Russ tank is a turret-mounted Battle Cannon and a hull-mounted Heavy Bolter. Alternatively, a Lascannon can be mounted on the tank's hull instead of the Heavy Bolter. The Leman Russ can be equipped with two sponson mounts, one on each side. The most common configuration for the sponson-mount is 2 Heavy Bolters or 2 Heavy Flamers. Leman Russ tanks that are a part of a well-equipped armoured regiment sometimes have 2 Multi-Meltas or 2 Plasma Cannons as their sponson weapons. The tank can also be equipped with Camouflage Netting, Extra Armour Plating, a Hunter-Killer Missile Launcher, improved communications equipment, a mine sweeper, a Pintle-mounted Heavy Stubber or Storm Bolter, a Searchlight, track guards, rough terrain modifications, a Dozer Blade, and Smoke Launchers.

Known Formations

  • Emperor's Fist Tank Company - An Emperor's Fist Tank Company is an armoured formation consisting of three squadrons of Leman Russ main battle tanks of any type, and a single Formation Leader. The three squadrons must consist of three Leman Russ tanks, of any type. This powerful phalanx of armour makes the perfect hammer for the Imperium's forge of war.

Known Users of the Leman Russ Tank

  • Solar Auxilia - The Leman Russ was the mainstay of the elite Solar Auxilia during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras in the 30th and early 31st Millennium.
  • Imperial Guard - The Leman Russ is the basic and most common battle tank of the Imperial Guard, and is the mainstay of nearly all Imperial armoured regiments and companies.
  • Planetary Defence Forces - The Leman Russ is used by many Planetary Defence Forces stationed on Imperial worlds.
  • Adeptus Arbites - The Precincts of the Adeptus Arbites will sometimes have a small number of Leman Russ tanks at their disposal, though these vehicles are usually ancient and rarely, if ever, see any action.
  • The Lost and the Damned - The Lost and the Damned is the name collectively given to the multitude of beings that have turned to Chaos over the millennia, the vast majority of whom are the ordinary mortals who fight for Chaos. They are not a single coherent force, but rather a diverse and infinite collection of warbands and hosts under the leadership of Chaos Champions. These forces take their weapons and vehicles with them, and as many of them were former members of the Imperial Guard or Planetary Defence Forces, they make use of an uncountable number of Leman Russ tanks.
  • 17th Tallarn Regiment - Fought during the Taros Campaign against the Tau
  • 12th Tallarn Armoured Regiment - Fought against the Tau during the Taros Campaign
  • 3rd Tallarn Armoured Regiment - Fought during the Taros Campaign against the Tau
  • 61st Death Korps of Krieg Tank Regiment - Fought against the Traitor forces during the Siege of Vraks
  • Vraksian Traitor Militia - Fought against the Loyalist forces during the Siege of Vraks
  • 261st Imperial Guard Siege Regiment - Fought against Traitor forces during the Siege of Vraks
  • 7th Death Korps of Krieg Tank Regiment - Fought against Traitor forces during the Siege of Vraks
  • Tyrant's Legion - Fought against Loyalist forces during the Badab War
  • 14th Vaust Regiment - Aided the defence of Betalis III against the Eldar of Craftworld Mymeara
  • 6th Cadian Armoured Regiment - Fought during the defence of Betalis III against the Eldar of Craftworld Mymeara
  • 412th Cadian Regiment - Fought against Eldar, Ork, and Necron forces on the planet of Lorn V
  • 1st Kronus Regiment - Fought against enemy forces during the Dark Crusade
  • 252nd Kauravan Conservator Regiment - Fought during the defence of the Kaurava System against enemy forces
  • 85th Vendoland - Fought during the Second Aurelian Crusade against the Forces of Chaos
  • 14th Phyressian Armoured Regiment
  • 12th Vellurian Armoured Cavalry Regiment
  • 113th Mortant Armoured Regiment
  • Armageddon Steel Legion - Fought during the Third War for Armageddon against the Orks
  • 22nd Death Korps of Krieg Armoured Regiment
  • 13th Valstadt Armoured Regiment - Fought during the Lammas Campaign


The Leman Russ chassis is the basis for many other Imperial armoured vehicles, including the:


There are several different Leman Russ patterns used by the Imperium. Many of these differences between them are only cosmetic, but several offer increased interior room, better performance, or increased armour.

  • Mars-Alpha- The Mars-Alpha Pattern Leman Russ has a slightly larger chassis interior than any other pattern. The Mars-Alpha Pattern is commonly used for Leman Russ tanks that serve as squadron or regimental command vehicles, as the extra space allows for the installation of more powerful communications equipment and provides more room for a command staff.
  • Phaeton
  • Ryza
  • Solar - An ancient variant pattern, the "Solar" pattern was primarily utilised by the elite Solar Auxilia Cohorts of the Imperialis Auxilia. These Leman Russ tanks were retrofitted with supplementary survival and exploration systems. Sometimes they were fitted with extended fuel reserves and their engines were enhanced with forced induction chargers for increased operational range.
  • Gryphonne IV
  • Stygies VII


The Leman Russ tank can exchange its main weapon for a different weapon which changes the tank's designation and battlefield role. These variants include:



A Leman Russ Annihilator

The uncommon Leman Russ Annihilator variant replaces the standard tank's Battle Cannon with a pair of Twin-linked Lascannons. This is similar to the identically-designated Predator Annihilator tank of the Space Marines from which this variant of the Leman Russ takes its name.

This change requires the addition of extra power-cells inside the tank, but these use the space saved by the fact that the Battle Cannon's ammunition no longer needs to be stored. The Annihilator's twin Lascannons turn this variant into a true tank-hunter and it is in this role that the tank excels.

Of course, such sophisticated tactical planning is not regarded as important by the Death Korps of Krieg Imperial Guard regiments that have been the most common users of this variant of the Leman Russ. As such, where other regiments would regard this tank-hunter as a defensive weapon, the Death Korps uses them as offensive weapons to be thrown into the open assault across no-man's land during a planetary siege.


Leman Russ Conqueror

Leman Russ Conqueror

One of the less common Leman Russ variants, the Leman Russ Conqueror is only produced in any significant quantities on the Forge World of Gryphonne IV, where the Standard Template Construct plans for the design were originally rediscovered. Armed with the Conqueror Cannon, as opposed to the standard Battle Cannon, the Conqueror sacrifices outright destructive power in exchange for improved mobility and accuracy whilst firing on the move.

The Leman Russ Conqueror comes standard with co-axial mounted Storm Bolters and searchlights, removing the need to expose a crew member to fend off oncoming enemy infantry. The back of the turret houses an armoured ammunition access hatch, making re-arming the tank quick and easy. This hatch is also used to dispose of spent Conqueror Cannon shells.



Leman Russ Demolisher

One of the most common Leman Russ variants, the Leman Russ Demolisher is equipped with the Demolisher Cannon, and is designed as a short-range bombardment and line-breaker tank. The extreme power of this weapon is hampered by its short effective range.

Demolishers are valued as close heavy fire support vehicles by the Imperial Guard's infantry units, and it is the most common variant of the Leman Russ that is equipped with Plasma Cannons and Multi-Meltas on its sponson mounts in order to make them more effective against heavily armoured units.



Leman Russ Executioner

A variant now produced only on the Forge World of Ryza, the Leman Russ Executioner is armed with the Plasma Destroyer, a slightly more powerful version of the Plasma Cannon. A poorly understood and temperamental weapon, the Plasma Destroyer is often criticised for its high power requirements, limiting the tank's effectiveness in extended engagements.

The turret features emergency vents, heat shielding and coolant to both protect the crew and the weapon itself from damage should a plasma containment field failure occur. However, due to bad design, the coolant feed lines run outside the turret, and are prone to damage, rendering the emergency systems less than reliable. Crews dislike being made to work in the Executioner, and are prone to bailing out at the first sign of trouble.

Crews who willingly command these tanks are often seen as foolhardy, extremely brave, or insane. However, those crews who do stick to their tanks are among the best tank-killers in the Imperium, able to take out even the most heavily armoured tanks and buildings due to their powerful main gun. When the tank takes too much damage, the plasma containment field for the main gun can short out, releasing an expanding shock-wave of energy that can incinerate any infantry close to the vehicle.



A Leman Russ Eradicator

A simple, destructive vehicle, the Leman Russ Eradicator was instrumental in the urban conflict on Khai-Zhan. Its main weapon, the Eradicator Nova Cannon, gained a fearsome reputation as a powerful anti-infantry weapon. The weapon's heavy, high-calibre ballistic shells are capable of destroying both enemy barricades and any infantry sheltering behind them with a highly volatile 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 possessed of a longer range, the Eradicator Nova Cannon can effectively clear buildings of enemy infantry before they can even get a shot off.



A Leman Russ Exterminator

The infrequently seen Leman Russ Exterminator variant is armed with turret-mounted Twin-linked Autocannons and is generally deployed in an anti-infantry role. Sometimes the Exterminator is also utilised as a stop-gap measure for anti-air defence due to its rapid firing speed.

It is especially effective against lightly armoured horde armies such as the Orks or Tyranids, and when the tank is equipped with all anti-infantry weaponry, such as Heavy Bolters, it is capable of laying down a withering hail of ballistic fire. While the Twin-linked Autocannons have recoil dampeners 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 fielded by any Space Marine Chapter.


The Huntsman is a local variant of the Leman Russ exclusively used by the Planetary Defence Militia of the Knight World of Adrastapol. Amongst the Household armies of House Draconis and House Minotos, the Huntsman was primarily used as a mean to flush out the local macro-predators known as "gurghols" from the undergrowth on the Knights' many great hunts.

It has since found its way into Adrastapol's armed forces. The typical Huntsman eschews its turret-mounted Battle Cannon for the Inferno Cannon usually found on Imperial Hellhounds. Many a scientist has described the Huntsman as an attempt to retro-engineer the ancient Leman Russ Incinerator.


Leman Russ Incinerator

A Solar Auxilia Leman Russ Incinerator

Almost unheard of in the 41st Millennium, the Leman Russ Incinerator used to be one of the most devastating variants of the Leman Russ accessible to the regiments of the Imperial Army during Mankind's conquest of the galaxy. In particular, elite formations such as Solar Auxilia Cohorts fielded the Incinerator in large quantities as infantry support or to accompany armour-borne thrusts.

The Incinerator fields a terrifying twin-linked Volkite Demi-Culverine, a weapon system more commonly seen on Legiones Astartes vehicles. Like all Volkite Weapons, it produces a deflagrating attack, in which subsonic combustion caused by a beam of thermal energy is propagated through the target by thermodynamic heat transfer, so that hot burning material heats the next layer of cold material and ignites it. In this regard, the Incinerator's weapon-system only proved inferior to the mighty Volkite Carronade mounted on Glaive Super-Heavy Special Weapons Tanks of the Legiones Astartes, but it still remained more then capable enough for burning entire squads of enemy infantry to ashes in a blink of an eye.

Due to its painstaking calibration-process and intensive need in maintenance, the Leman Russ Incinerator has progressively vanished, the technological know-how and expertise required to maintenance its complicated and delicate weapon-system becoming ever rarer. In the armies of the 41st Millennium, the role of the Leman Russ Incinerator has since been taken over by the more versatile Hellhound, and only a very few venerable regiments must still maintain a couple of these rare but vastly powerful relic machines.



A Leman Russ Punisher

The Leman Russ Punisher is the most potent anti-infantry vehicle in the Astra Militarum, and amongst the best anti-infantry vehicles in the galaxy. Armed with the Punisher Gatling Cannon, a large, multi-barrelled ballistic weapon, it is known as one of the fastest-firing slug throwers in the Imperium's arsenal.

The Punisher can shred even the heaviest of infantry units with punitive ease, however, the Punisher can be outmatched by enemy tanks in a head-to-head fight, and commonly only works with other Leman Russ tank variants to make up for the loss of anti-tank firepower. The crews of Punishers have reputations for being very gung-ho and extremely trigger happy.



Leman Russ Vanquisher

A rarer and more advanced variant of the standard Leman Russ, the long-barrelled Vanquisher Cannon mounted on the Leman Russ Vanquisher is capable of firing powerful anti-tank shells. In addition, a Storm Bolter is mounted co-axially to the main cannon.

However, Vanquishers are becoming increasingly rare in Imperial service due to the actions of the Ork Warlord Arrgard the Defiler, who scoured the Forge World Tigrus in the 35th Millennium, destroying the only existing template for constructing the Vanquisher Cannon in the process.

Ork Looted Leman Russ


A Looted Leman Russ tank now used by an Ork mob.

Orks have also seen the usefulness of the Leman Russ and almost always loot one or more from a battlefield where they have faced the Asra Militarum should the chance arise. However the Orks' incompetence with ranged weaponry has drastically decreased the effectiveness of the tank's main weapons.

Looted Leman Russ tanks, and just about any other tank or vehicle, are very popular with the Death Skulls tribe of Orks who are very good at "liberating" enemy vehicles. The Death Skulls like to loot a vehicle, repair it, and then use it against the enemy during the same battle. Sometimes the Orks will "enhance" their looted vehicles with more weapons, armour, and garish paint jobs which match their "unique" aesthetic style.

Adeptus Mechanicus Technical Specifications

Mars Pattern Leman Russ Battle Tank
Vehicle Name: Leman Russ Battle Tank Main Armament: 1 turret-mounted Battle Cannon
Forge World of Origin: Mars Secondary Armament: 1 hull-mounted Lascannon or Heavy Bolter
Known Patterns: I - XXXIII Traverse: 360 degrees
Crew: 1 Commander, 1 Driver, 1 Main Gunner, 1 Loader, 2 Remote Gunners (if sponsons are attached) Elevation: -8 to 22 degrees
Powerplant: HL230 v12 Multi-Fuel Main Ammunition: 40 Rounds
Weight: 60 Tonnes Secondary Ammunition: Unlimited or 600 Rounds
Length: 7.08 metres Armour:
Width: 4.86 metres
Height: 4.42 metres Superstructure: 180 millimetres
Ground Clearance: 0.45 metres Hull: 150 millimetres
Max Speed On-Road: 35 kilometres per hour Gun Mantlet: 100 millimetres
Max Speed Off-Road: 21 kilometres per hour Vehicle Designation: 0427-941-1876-LR 657/514
Transport Capacity: N/A Firing Ports: N/A
Access Points: Top Hatch Turret: 200 millimetres
Ryza Pattern Leman Russ Battle Tank
Vehicle Name: Leman Russ Battle Tank Main Armament: 1 turret-mounted Battle Cannon
Forge World of Origin: Ryza Secondary Armament: 1 hull-mounted Lascannon or Heavy Bolter
Known Patterns: II - XI Traverse: 360 degrees
Crew: 1 Commander, 1 Driver, 1 Main Gunner, 1 Loader, 2 Remote Gunners (if sponsons are attached) Elevation: -8 to 22 degrees
Powerplant: HL232 v12 Multi-Fuel Main Ammunition: 40 Rounds
Weight: 60 Tonnes Secondary Ammunition: Unlimited or 600 Rounds
Length: 7.08 metres Armour:
Width: 4.86 metres
Height: 4.38 metres Superstructure: 180 millimetres
Ground Clearance: 0.45 metres Hull: 150 millimetres
Max Speed On-Road: 35 kilometres per hour Gun Mantlet: 100 millimetres
Max Speed Off-Road: 21 kilometres per hour Vehicle Designation: 0427-941-1876-LR0058
Transport Capacity: N/A Firing Ports: N/A
Access Points: Top Hatch Turret: 200 millimetres

Also See


  • Codex: Astra Militarum (8th Edition), pp. 50-51, 114
  • Codex: Astra Militarum (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), "Leman Russ Battle Tanks," "Heavy Support - Leman Russ Squadron"
  • Codex: Imperial Guard (5th Edition), pp. 48-49
  • Codex: Imperial Guard (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex), pp. 48-49
  • Codex: Imperial Guard (3rd Edition, 1st Codex), pg. 23
  • Codex: Imperial Guard (2nd Edition), pp. 29, 43
  • Imperial Armour Update 2002, pg. 14
  • Imperial Armour Volume One - Imperial Guard and Imperial Navy, pp. 14-31
  • Imperial Armour Volume One - Imperial Guard (Second Edition), pp. 9, 16, 21-24, 26, 30, 247, 250, 254, 267, 275
  • Imperial Armour Volume Three - The Taros Campaign, pp. 64, 86, 87, 89, 148
  • Imperial Armour Volume Five - The Siege of Vraks - Part One, pp. 26, 33, 36, 39, 81, 171
  • Imperial Armour Volume Six - The Siege of Vraks - Part Two, pp. 54, 106
  • Imperial Armour Volume Seven - The Siege of Vraks - Part Three, pg. 21
  • Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part One, pg. 198
  • Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War - Part Two, pg. 29
  • Imperial Armour Volume Eleven - The Doom of Mymeara, pp. 20, 46, 58, 97
  • Imperial Armour Twelve - The Fall of Orpheus, pp. 197, 203
  • Imperial Guard Collector's Edition 2003, pp. 54, 63
  • Only War: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 106, 140, 160, 215-216, 235, 267
  • The Horus Heresy - Book Four : Conquest, pg. 89, 246, 274, 278, 280
  • Warhammer 40,000: Apocalypse (6th Edition), pp. 126, 142
  • White Dwarf 366 (UK), pg. 3
  • Deliverance Lost (Novel) by Gavin Thorpe, pg. 420
  • Knightsblade (Novel) by Andy Clark, pg. 115
  • Nightbringer (Novel) by Graham McNeill
  • Forge World - Leman Russ Incinerator


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Vehicles DirtcycleWolfquadGoliath TruckGoliath RockgrinderAchilles RidgerunnerChimeraSentinelLeman Russ Tank (Leman Russ EradicatorLeman Russ ExterminatorLeman Russ Vanquisher)
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Start a Discussion Discussions about Leman Russ Tank

  • Leman Russ Pattern

    2 messages
    • Hello, one question: Which is the pattern of the leman russ tank from GW's models?
    • standard leman russ is leman russ with battle cannon every other pattern has a different form of main cannon and the GW models hold the ot...
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