Space Marine Weapons and Equipment

As the elite fighting arm of the Imperium, Space Marines are equipped with some of the best weapons the Imperium has.


The standard weapon of the Space Marines is the boltgun, also known as a bolter. A bolter is a heavy gun that fires rocket-propelled rounds with mass-reactive explosive payloads. Bolters are made in both pistol and rifle form, as well as the machinegun-like heavy bolter. Terminator Armor is often equipped with a double-barrelled storm bolter.

Assault Cannons

Assault cannons are the miniguns of Warhammer 40K, they are more powerful than the Heavy Bolters.


Flamers are basically Flame Throwers that shoot napalm. They come in three forms; one-handed, two-handed and Heavy-Flamers.


Unlike the Imperial Guard, the Space Marines don't make as much use of laser weapons. The major exception to that rule is the Lascannon, a heavy laser weapon capable of blowing holes in tanks with a single shot.

Plasma Weapons

The Space Marines make good use of the tempermental plasma weapons, in pistol and rifle form. Heavy plasma cannons are also widely used, particularly by the Dark Angels chapter. The Imperium's plasma weapons have poor cooling, and thus build up dangerous levels of heat with continuous operation.

Rocket Launchers

Rocket Launchers have a capacity to fire two types of missiles, krak and frag. Krak rockets are implosion-based warheads that can take out a single unit while frag rockets use a template and can thus take out multiple units. Rocket Launchers cannot be fired on the move.

Force Weapons

These powerful weapons are used by Librarians. They channel their Pysker Energies and emotions into the weapon for unimaginable devastation. Force weapons ranged from the Force Axe to the Force Swords that only high Librarians tend to use.

Power Armor

Possibly the most prominent feature of the Space Marines is their armor, a heavy suit of powered armor that enhances a Space Marine's already superhuman strength, as well as allows them to easily withstand fire than could kill a normal human.

Terminator Armor

Tactical Dreadnought ("Terminator") Armor was originally developed for boarding missions, and sports heavy forward armor. The First Company of each Space Marine Chapter uses Terminator armor extensively, and only those Marines who earn the crux terminatus are permitted to wear it.


Valiant Marines who fall, but do not die, in battle are often interred in Dreadnought Armor, a twenty-foot-tall walking tank, equipped with life-support systems to maintain the Marine indefinitely (at least one Dreadnought's occupant fell during the Horus Heresy and still lives in the 41st millennium) and an array of weapons. Like Terminator Armour, the Dreadnought is heavily-defended against frontal assaults.


A fast troop transport, a Rhino can hold up to ten Marines in cramped conditions. The Rhino generally mounts a single storm bolter and is lightly armored. The chasis of the Rhino is very durable, and serves as the basis for other Space Marine vehicles.


A Razorback is a variant of the Rhino that sacrifices troop capacity for firepower. Razorbacks are typically armed with twin-linked Heavy Bolters or Lascannons, and are excellent for adding firepower to smaller squads.


The Predator is heavily-armored variant that, rather than act as a transport, is instead a light tank. Armed with either an Autocannon or twin-linked Lascannon. It can also have Heavy Bolters or Lascannons mounted on side mountings.


Being a mobile force, the Space Marines have little need for artillery. However, when it is called for, they can utilize the Whirlwind, which is armed with a long-range missile launcher, and can bombard enemy positions in preparation for attack.


When attacking fortified positions, Space Marines use the Vindicator, which fills nearly the entire chassis with the massive, snub-nosed Demolisher Cannon, capable of blasting through the thickest walls. This weapon has proven so effective that the Iron Warriors Traitor legion makes it a point to scavenge these for their own use whenever possible.

Land Speeder

Incredibly fast, the double-seat Land Speeder ground-effect vehicle is used to attack enemy fortfications and heavy weapons from the air.

Land Raider

The Land Raider is to the Rhino what a Humvee is to a Jeep; equipped with superior armor and weaponry, the Raider can also mount a turret-based heavy weapon and act as heavy support to the Marines it carries into battle.

Land Raider Crusader

The Land Raider Crusader is the identical to the standard Land Raider but is armed with different weapons such as twin-linked assault cannons, and hurricane bolters (basically 9 bolters strapped together on each side).

Imperial Guard

This article is about the tank in the fictional Warhammer 40,000 universe. For information on the character in the same universe, see the Space Wolves article.
File:WH40K DoW DC Leman Russ.png
In the fictional Warhammer 40,000 universe, the Leman Russ is a main battle tank, named after Primarch Leman Russ of the Space Wolves. It is the main line tank for the Imperial Guard. Each Leman Russ tank is armed with a large main battle cannon, a hull-mounted lascannon or heavy bolter and optional sponson-mounted heavy bolters or heavy flamers. With strong front armour, it is designed to initially bombard large formations and then assault the weakened enemy defenses afterwards, weapons firing. It is the most commonly found vehicle in the Guard, and is the base of design for many tank variants.

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 fuel. Though slow, its frontal armour is strong enough to withstand the multitude of weaponry wielded by the enemies of the Imperium. Its side and rear armour are thinner however, to reduce the strain on the engines. This does make it vulnerable to assault from these angles, requiring support infantry, other battle tanks or very careful operation to protect the vehicle.

The Leman Russ is crewed by a minimum of four crew, one each of Commander, Gunner, Loader and Driver. Side sponsons may be added, each requiring an additional crewmember. The Leman Russ is simple to operate, but very loud and uncomfortable (similar to the Soviet World War 2 and Cold War tank designs). Due to the noise, communication is only viable by intercom system.

While the information on the standard Leman Russ can be found in the sourcebooks for the Imperial Guard army, many of the game rules for the Leman Russ variants have only appeared in the Imperial Armour series of sourcebooks.[1][2]

The major Leman Russ variants, such as the Demolisher and the actual Leman Russ battle tank are available as plastic model kits from Games Workshop. In contrast, almost all of the variant tanks are only available as resin models kits from Forge World.[3]



One of the less common Leman Russ variants, the Conqueror is only produced in any significant quantities on Gryphonne IV, where the plans were originally discovered. 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 while firing on the move.

Conquerors come standard with co-axial mounted storm bolters and searchlights, removing the need to expose a crewmember to fend off 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 shells.

In the 39th millennium, the munition-adepts of Gryphonne IV unveiled a new shell type for use in the Conqueror. The Auger shells were designed to increase the tanks anti-armour effectiveness without sacrificing the mobility that made the Conqueror so valued. The shell contained soft explosives in a thin outer shell, designed to spread the explosive over the surface of the armour, before a microsecond fuse detonated the explosive. This causes the armour to crack and crater, as well as cause interior armour layers to break off and injure crewmembers (Essentially, a recreation of the modern HESH shell). The shell was considered a failure, and their production is no longer permitted.


One of the most common variants of the Leman Russ, the 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 the close distance it must be to the target to be effective. Demolishers are valued for close support by the Imperial Guard infantry, and can be equipped with the usual sponsons or Plasma Cannons and Multi Meltas to make them more effective against heavily armored units.

The idea for the Leman Russ Demolisher may have come from the World War 2 American 75 mm Howitzer Motor Carriage M8 or the World War 2 Sturmtiger as they too have a snub nose cannon on the Turret.

Destroyer Tank Hunter

The Destroyer Tank Hunter is a variant of the Leman Russ specifically for the tank destroyer role on the battlefield. Like historical tank destroyers, the Destroyer does not have a main gun mounted on a turret. Instead, its appearance is that of a typical (albeit turret-less) Leman Russ chassis with a long gun barrel protruding from the front of the tank. This gun is the long-ranged Laser Destroyer. Unlike other Imperial Guard armoured fighting vehicles, the Destroyer Tank Hunter does not have any secondary weapons. Game rules for the Destroyer were first published in 2001 in the Imperial Armour supplement for the Warhammer 40,000 game by Forge World. I has been retained in the 2006 release of the second edition of the Imperial Armour series.[1][2] So far, no boxed set exists for the Destroyer Tank Hunter. A resin conversion kit designed by Tony Cottrell for the plastic Leman Russ is sold by Forge World.[3]


A variant now produced only on the Forge World of Ryza, the Executioner is armed with the Plasma Destructor, a slightly more powerful version of the Plasma Cannon. A poorly understood and temperamental weapon, the Plasma Destructor is often criticized for its heavy 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 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 which willingly command these tanks are often seen as foolhardy, extremely brave, or insane.


This infrequently seen variant is armed with twin linked autocannons and is generally deployed in an anti-infantry role. Sometimes the Exterminator is also utilized as a stopgap measure for anti-air defense due to its rapid firing speed. 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.

Thunderer Siege Tank

The Thunderer Siege Tank is another specialized variant of the Leman Russ infrequently used by the Imperial Guard. It is similar to the Destroyer Tank Hunter in that it lacks both a turret and secondary weapons and instead mounts a single, forward-facing weapon on the front of its hull. The Thunderer is armed with a single Demolisher Cannon. In the game background, the Thunderer was the result of field modifications made to Destroyer Tank Hunters that had lost their main gun in battle. The Laser Destroyer was replaced with the much more prevalent Demolisher Cannon. This changed the tank's role on the battlefield from a long-range tank destroyer to a short-ranged siege tank. The rules for the Thunderer appear in the Imperial Armour series of supplemental sourcebooks for the Warhammer 40,000 game.[1][2] As with many of the Leman Russ variants, Games Workshop has not produced a boxed set of the Thunderer. Instead, Forge World sells a resin conversion kit designed to convert a plastic Leman Russ kit into a Thunderer.[3]


A rare, more advanced variant of the standard Leman Russ, the longer-barreled Vanquisher Cannon mounted by the Leman Russ Vanquisher is capable of firing powerful anti-tank shells. In addition, a storm bolter is mounted coaxially to the main cannon. However, they are becoming increasingly rare due to the actions of the Ork Warlord Arrgard the Defiler, who scoured the Forge World Tigrus in M35, destroying the template for constructing the Vanquisher cannon in the process.

Since the loss, efforts have been made to reproduce the remaining Vanquisher cannons, with mixed success. The worlds of Gryphonne IV and Stygies VIII have enjoyed the most success, and are both now capable of producing vanquisher cannons in limited quantities. Other Forge Worlds continue their efforts, though it is a slow and complex process.

The two planet’s cannons are not exact copies of the original pattern. Instead, each possesses slightly different qualities. The Gryphonne cannons are longer than the Stygies equivalent, producing remarkable shell velocity to penetrate armour plate. Stygies cannons are shorter, and utilise a smaller calibre shell with no barrel rifling. However, the Stygies cannons have superior recoil absorption, allowing for superior accuracy with follow up shots.

The remarkable penetrative power of the Leman Russ vanquisher means it is a highly desired tool for Imperial Commanders. Not even a Titan is safe from their mighty cannons. This fact has not escaped the Imperium’s enemies, who tend to make Vanquishers priority targets.

Other Tanks

In addition to the abovementioned variants, there are several armoured vehicles in use throughout the Imperium that are based on the Leman Russ chassis, but are sufficiently different to the Battle Tank to be separately classified.

  • Atlas Armoured Recovery Vehicle - The Atlas utilizes the power and mass of the Leman Russ chassis to tow immobilized vehicles back to the rear lines for repair or salvage. Mounted with dozer blades, they can also be used for clearing paths through rubble and mines. It resembles the modern-day M88 Hercules.
  • Bombard - The Bombard is a heavy mortar carrier, armed with one of the heaviest mobile siege cannons in the Imperial arsenal. They are slow to fire and reload, and require dedicated ammunition carrier vehicles to supply them with shells. As such they are typically kept well out of front line duties.



Orks also have seen the usefulness (and amount of dakka!) within the Leman Russ and almost always grab and loot one should the chance arise. However the Orks' incompetence with ranged weaponry drastically decreases the effectiveness of the tank's guns. In Dawn of War the Ork player may build up to two Looted Tanks, which are a near identical copy to the Imperial Leman Russ (in both game terms and looks). It should be noted that within Dawn of War, the Ork version of the Leman Russ features "blast effect", shells, as opposed to the standard imperial shell.

See Also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Kinrade, Warwick (2001). Imperial Armour II (1st Edition ed.). Nottingham: Games Workshop. ISBN 1-84154-219-9. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Kinrade, Warwick; Tony Cottrell (2004). Imperial Armour: Volume 1 - Imperial Guard & Imperial Navy (2nd edition ed.). Nottingham: Forge World. pp. pp. 284. ISBN 1-84154-421-3. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Imperial Guard Tanks" (html). Forge World. Forge World. 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-21. 
  4. "Leman Russ Annihilator" (PDF). Forge World. 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-13. 


  • Priestley, Rick (1995). Warhammer 40,000 Codex: Imperial Guard (1st Edition ed.). Nottingham: Games Workshop. ISBN 1-872372-92-9. 
  • Chambers, Andy; Haines, Pete, and Hoare, Andy (2003). Warhammer 40,000 Codex: Imperial Guard (4th Edition ed.). Nottingham: Games Workshop. ISBN 1-84154-410-8. 
  • Kinrade, Warwick (2000). Warhammer 40,000 Codex: Imperial Armour (1st Edition ed.). Nottingham: Games Workshop. ISBN 1-84154-127-3. 
  • Kinrade, Warwick (2003). Imperial Armour Volume One - Imperial Guard and Imperial Navy (1st Edition ed.). Nottingham: Forge World. ISBN 1-84154-421-3. 

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