"Target sighted! Red Corsairs Predator, left of the bunker. See the repair seam on the turret? Steady. Fire! Good shot. Driver. AT mines, steer left now. Gunner! Enemy infantry in crater, eleven o'clock. High explosive, fire! Sponson gunners keep an eye out, there's plenty more where they came from..."
- — Internal comm log, Hand of Steel, Operation Retort (Second Assault on Fort Lycos)
Knight Commander Pask is a Tank Commander and one of the Astra Militarum's most renowned tank aces. A hero of the Imperium of Man and a constant presence within the armoured regiments of the Cadian Shock Troops, Pask is one of the most skilled tank commanders ever to grace a Leman Russ Tank. He has commanded these behemoths through hundreds of campaigns, with his reputation continuing to grow with each victory. Over the decades Pask has commanded all variants of the Leman Russ and has mastered them all. He knows the capabilities and limits of each and every weapons system these mighty war machines can mount and it is a brave fool indeed who strays into his gun-sights.
Knight Commander Pask is Cadia's best-known tank ace, and his grizzled visage has graced propaganda bills across the Cadian Gate for solar decades. Yet it is on the field of battle, amid the fires of war and the snarl of engines, that Pask is truly at home. Possessing an instinctive nous for armoured combat on any scale, Pask claims to feel the tank he commands as an extension of his own body, and has left the wreckage of foes uncounted blazing in his wake.
Pask's talents and uncanny abilities as a natural tank hunter were first demonstrated with the 423rd Cadian Armoured Regiment, when he was drafted to serve as part of the tank crew of the Leman Russ Tank called the Hand of Steel. The 423rd was deployed as part of the Imperial Army Group raised to repulse WAAAGH! Gutchutta on the world of Cyris. At the Battle of Genna's Rift the 423rd found themselves directly in the path of Gutcutta's final, massive armoured push. As the two lines of war machines crashed together, a lumbering Ork Battle Fortress ground its way over the Hand of Steel, crushing the tank's turret and commanding officer into a bloody pulp in the process.
Pask took the initiative and assumed command of the battered tank and ordered the rugged machine to be turned around to face the immediate threat. As the Orks' armoured assault continued to grind through the Imperial lines, Pask demonstrated his innate ability to see his opponent's weak spots and aimed his tank's main gun at the Ork vehicle's most vulnerable points. Noticing a poorly welded armour joint on the Bonecruncha's rear, a Lascannon shot from his Leman Russ struck the vulnerable spot, damaging the vehicle's crude engines, causing them to detonate. This sent the machine flipping over its own Deff Rolla in a blaze of fire and smoke. Under Pask's inspiring command, the battered Hand of Steel claimed another 14 confirmed Greenskin armour-kills during the ensuing battle, breaking the back of WAAAGH! Gutcutta's assault.
Hand of Steel
While fighting the Eldar on the world of Haytor's Hole, the repaired Hand of Steel was finally laid low whilst engaging a squadron of Fire Prisms and, despite the ministrations of the Tech-priests, was declared unsalvageable. Though Pask had achieved a great victory against the Eldar armour, his trusted tank was no more. Pask was offered command of a mighty Baneblade super-heavy tank in its place, but the Cadian commander refused and, in a ritual that he would repeat a dozen times since to show his solidarity with the other tankers of the 423rd, insisted on putting his faith in another Leman Russ battle tank, rechristening his new steed the Hand of Steel.
This ritual has been repeated on a dozen occasions in the decades since. Whether felling Chaos Titans on Saint Cyllia's World or battling bio-monstrosities amongst the Tyranid swarms in the Batran Traverse, it is a brave or foolish foe indeed that strays into the gun sights of Knight Commander Pask and his Hand of Steel
A Legend is Born
During the Saint Cyllia Massacre, Knight Commander Pask and his armoured company claimed no less than four Titan-class kills. Pask himself accounted for the destruction of the dreaded Chaos Titan Damnation Eternus when a single shell from the Hand of Steel's Battle Cannon breached the tainted core of its plasma reactor and caused it to meltdown. The daemonic war machine was consumed in a cataclysmic explosion that set the sky on fire.
Over the decades, Pask would continue to command all variants of the Leman Russ Battle Tank, mastering each one's particular capabilities and idiosyncrasies. Pask remains a superlative tank hunter for the Imperium, and there is not an armoured vehicle that he has not duelled and bested on the field of battle.
Fall of Cadia
Pask was not present on Cadia when it fell to Chaos in 999.M41. The 423rd were travelling back from the Damocles Gulf, the Imperium having dealt the T'au invaders of Agrellan a decisive blow, when the Chaos forces launched their attack. Though grieved by the loss of his homeworld, Pask comports himself as he ever did, and his armoured company has achieved many victories since that darkest of days. The shame he feels at not having fought and died alongside his compatriots is tempered by a cold resolve to bring ruin to the armies of Abaddon the Despoiler.
The Steel Tithe
Since the fall of their homeworld, the armoured regiments of Cadia have had to absorb depleted regiments from other planets in order to maintain their fighting strength. Having trained various Militarum Regimentos across the Imperium, the Cadians are no strangers to drilling troops from other planets to fight in the style of the Shock Troops. Still, these "foreign" tank crews are not true Cadians, and there is often resentment among these proud warriors at having to formally admit lesser soldiers into their ranks.
Amongst the ranks 423rd Cadian Armoured Regiment, Pask himself quashes such imprudent notions. Those Cadians he fights with are made to understand that Imperial victory is more important than insularity and nostalgic pride. Furthermore, the tank crews who come to serve in the 423rd are without fail amongst the most skilled in the galaxy. Rather than petitioning new recruits from the Departmento Munitorum, Pask evaluates the skills of the crewmen from other regiments he fights alongside. If a crew of Valhallan or Athonian tankers exhibits exceptional prowess in combat, they will be requisitioned by Pask himself for service in the 423rd. The tankers of various regiments vie for these summons, for to fight alongside the Imperium's greatest Tank Commander is an honour without equal. Regardless of their experience or accolades, all recruited in Pask's Steel Tithe are drilled as new recruits until they have become as tempered as any true Cadian.
- Codex: Astra Militarum (8th Edition), pp. 57, 89
- Codex: Astra Militarum (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), "Knight Commander Pask," "HQ - Tank Commander - Knight Commander Pask"
- Codex: Imperial Guard (5th Edition), pg. 58
- White Dwarf 366 (UK), "Spearhead (Expansion)", pg. 5