The Land Raider (originally known as Land's Raider) is a heavily armoured personnel carrier and occasional heavy tank used primarily by the Space Marines and Chaos Space Marines, but also by the Adeptus Mechanicus[9b], Inquisition[4a], and even especially influential Rogue Traders.[11a] It is capable of operating in virtually any kind of planetary environment. Its hull fully isolates its occupants from the environment and provides life support functions, allowing operation on inhospitable and airless planets from complete vacuum to ocean floors.[11b]
The Land Raider is designed to move at a good speed while still carrying heavy armaments as well as a number of warriors within its armoured hull. It is a Standard Template Construct vehicle, like many others in the armouries of Imperial forces and has been modified several times since its rediscovery. The standard modern pattern of Land Raider however is known as the Land Raider Phobos[9a] which provided with none the less standard M32 "Cyclops" class battle cogitator.[11b]
The Land Raider has its origins in the Dark Age of Technology, when humankind expanded out of its home system. Its construction method was incorporated into the great STC system, allowing it to be built locally by colonists even if they lacked any great technical knowledge. With the widespread breakdown of human civilization during the Age of Strife, production of the vehicle was ceased.[4a]
During the Great Crusade the Land Raider STC design was rediscovered, allowing their manufacture once more. The discoverer is commonly believed to be the Techno-archaeologist Magos Arkhan Land who, at the very birth of the Imperium, is said to have rediscovered the STC designs hidden beneath the surface of Mars. These vehicles were incorporated into the arsenals of the Imperium's forces, used by both the Space Marine Legions and the Imperial Army. Such was the demand for the Land Raider that an entire Forge World, Anvilus 9, was devoted entirely to Land Raider production, supplying thousands upon thousands of Land Raiders to the Emperor's holy forces.[4a]
However, at the outset of the Horus Heresy, Anvilus 9 along with other Forge Worlds were seized by the Dark Mechanicum aligned with Horus, while others chose to secede from the Imperium and remain neutral. This would prove to be a terrible blow to the Loyalists as their supply of Land Raiders began to dry up, especially since, in sufficient numbers, Land Raiders can take on and destroy even Titans.[4a] With the dark clouds of the rebellion drawing closer to Terra, the Emperor ordered that all Land Raiders still in loyalist service were to be transferred and used exclusively by the Legiones Astartes, who were at the forefront of the fighting. The Emperor was never able to annul the order, and consequently, even after the Heresy, the use of the Land Raider remained exclusive to the Space Marines.
The Land Raider in the 41st millennium
Since its rediscovery over ten thousand years ago, newly discovered STC information and modifications to the original design have produced different marks and variants. Most of these variants have been recognised by the Priesthood of Mars. Some of these are the Land Raider Crusader, Land Raider Helios, Land Raider Prometheus, Land Raider Ares, Land Raider Redeemer[Needs Citation] and Land Raider Terminus Ultra.[11b]
According to the organizational guidelines laid down by the Codex Astartes, the Land Raider is only used by the 1st Company of a Space Marine chapter. However, some less orthodox or non-codex chapters are known to use it more widely. The Salamanders chapter uses an altered version of the Codex Astartes with 12 squads in the 1st company instead of 10, increasing the maximum number of Land Raiders available to 12.[Needs Citation]
The standard Land Raider is armed with a hull-mounted twin-linked heavy bolter and two side sponsons each with twin-linked lascannons. It may also be fitted with a pintle mounted storm bolter. Sponson weapons are controlled through a slaved remote targeting system, and aimed through multi-spectral optic periscopes located around the turret rings. The lascannons are of the Godhammer Kz9.76 design, requiring replacement barrels after 2000 shots.[4d]
The Land Raider uses a form of composite armour created by bonding layers in huge, high-pressure cookers, giving it a level of protection incomparable to most other Imperial vehicles. The first armour layer, in addition to structural supports, is constructed of adamantine. The second is a titanium/plasteel composite used to reinforce strategic locations, such as the assault ramp, front glacis and hatch doors. The next is a thermo-plas fibre mesh to absorb and dissipate high-energy laser weapons, followed by the first of two ceramite layers, designed to ablate against extreme heat and melta weapons.[4a] When combined, this armouring makes the Land Raider virtually immune to heavy artillery like Battle Cannons.
Power for the Land Raider is provided for by a Mars pattern adaptable thermic combustor reaction engine, situated in the rear of the vehicle. It is kept cool by a nitro-ammonium cooling system, and protected from malfunction and Daemonic possession by Adeptus Mechanicus manufacturing sigils and purity seals. The engine provides power for all of the Land Raider's systems and can propel it up to an on-road speed of 55km/h.[4a]
Every Land Raider is equipped with automatic control systems known as a Machine Spirit. The Machine Spirit assists the crew in operating the tank and, in extreme circumstances, can operate the vehicle all on its own.[4a] Perhaps the most famous example of this was Rynn's Might which, despite lacking any crew, proceeded to kill an Ork Warboss and his followers before eventually being destroyed.[Needs Citation]
The Land Raider is hermetically sealed, allowing it to operate in outer space, at the bottom of an ocean and any other unusual environment. It also includes atmospheric sampling equipment, an air filtration and purification unit, and rad-counters for operation in hazardous environments. Each Land Raider also contains significant command and control equipment. The commander is able to monitor his unit's bio-status and other information through Individual squad status screens, using information transmitted by their power armour through the vehicle's communications dish. The commander also has access to a holographic tactical display and can directly interface with the Machine Spirit.[4a]
For security purposes, all controls are gene-coded to prevent their unauthorized use by the enemy.[4a] Other standard equipment includes a Searchlight and Smoke Launchers. Additional upgrades include Dozer Blades, Extra Armour, a Hunter-killer Missile, and a Multi-Melta.[Needs Citation]
Also the distinctive feature common to many patterns of Land Raider is the consecrated 'aquila' track links. The twelve consecutive track links standing for the twelve High Lords of the Imperium and the thirteenth bears the double-headed eagle symbol, that represents the Emperor himself. So during the campaigns of the Space Marines a planet's surface is repeatedly stamped with the authority of the Emperor as if he himself marched there.[11c]
The Land Raider has an impressive carrying capacity, either 10 Space Marines in Power Armour or 5 in Terminator Armour. Since it is hermetically sealed, the Land Raider has no fire ports for the embarked troops to use. The Space Marines can exit from three access points, two hatches located on both sides of the vehicle or a special front assault ramp for disembarking troops straight into combat.[4d]
|Land Raider Phobos[4e]
|2x Twin-linked Lascannons
|Forge World of Origin:
|Twin-linked Heavy Bolter
|From -32° to +42°
|Adaptable Thermic Combustion w/ Auxillary Reactor
|Max Speed - on road
|Max Speed - off road:
The Land Raider is fully submersible to around 36.57 meters.[4d]
Besides the standard Land Raider Phobos, many other patterns exist:[9a]
- Land Raider Achilles
- Land Raider Anvilarum
- Land Raider Ares
- Land Raider Crusader
- Hellfire Land Raider
- Land Raider Helios
- Land Raider Prometheus
- Land Raider Proteus
- Land Raider Redeemer
- Land Raider Spartan
- Land Raider Tartarus - noted as a basic pattern for the Land Raider Prometheus[4b]
- Land Raider Terminus Ultra
- Land Raider Excelsior
- Grey Knights Land Raider
- Deathwing Land Raider
- Venerable Land Raider
- MkI - Derived from the original agricultural tractor STC, this version is cramped, slow and under armed when compared to later models. It was quickly replaced by Rhinos and Predators prior to the adoption of the MkII models. Several variants exist, through none saw widespread service. Some models may still exceptionally be found in the arsenals of some Planetary Governors. It has been speculated that the Exodites surprisingly possess a few as well, used in their original role as agricultural vehicles.
- MkII - Considerably improved, this version sported twice the firepower and improved speed due to a more powerful power plant. This is the most common model still in use with the Traitor Legions.
- MkIIb - With the side gun sponsons placed in front of the side hatch.[4f]
- MkIIc - Command variant containing specialized communication and devotional equipment, usually converted in the field from the best Land Raiders in the company.
- MkII Spartan
- MkIII - Using the lessons learned from the Spartan, this version featured vastly improved lascannons and thicker armor, as well as a redesigned troop compartment better suited for Terminators. The increase in weight and size resulted in a slight reduction in speed.
- MkIIIc - Command variant externally identical to the MkIII.
- MkV - With the side gun sponsons placed after the side hatch.[4e]
Chaos Land Raiders
The Land Raiders in the service of the Traitor Legions are ten thousand year old machines, the same Land Raiders the Legions took with them when they fled into the Eye of Terror following the defeat of their rebellion. In place of the Machine Spirit is a daemonic force which assumes control of the movement of the vehicle in the event the crew are in some way disabled or even dead, as well as assisting in the operation of the weapon systems.
Named Land Raiders
- Cestus — Iron Hands.[4c]
- Eagle's Claw — Red Talons. Fought with Traitors during the Battle of Amion.[11b]
- Ghoulsheim — Sons of Carnage.
- Maximus — Ultramarines.[8a]
- Metallus Gravus — Iron Hands.[4c]
- Phraetus — Raptors Chapter. Fought in the Origo Blockade.[4g]
- Rynn's Might — Crimson Fists.[8b]
- Voltar — Space Wolves.[4h]
- The Land Raider strongly resembles the first tanks ever created which were designed and fielded by the British in World War I.
- The standard Land Raider (Phobos) armed with Twin-linked Lascannons and Heavy Bolters is sometimes referred to as the Land Raider Godhammer. It is so named for the Lascannons it mounts, which are known as the Godhammer pattern. This name is used mostly on online forums. In-universe, it is never referred to as such.
- 1: Codex: Space Marines (4th Edition), [Needs Citation]
- 2: History of the Land Raider on the official Games Workshop website (site no longer active, Internet Archive link)
- 3: Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition), pg. 36
- 4: Imperial Armour Volume Two - Space Marines and Forces of the Inquisition
- 5: White Dwarf 303 (US), pg. 21
- 6: Chaos Land Raider
- 7: Games Workshop
- 8: Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition)
- 9: The Horus Heresy Book One - Betrayal
- 10: Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition), pg. 177
- 11: Imperial Armour Volume Two - Second Edition: War Machines of the Adeptus Astartes
- 12: Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader, pg. 110
- 13: Workshop
- 14: Codex: Chaos Space Marines (8th Edition), pg. 114
- 15: Firepower (magazine) Issue 3, pg. 29