The Minervan Tank Legions are the elite armoured regiments of the Imperial Guard that hail from the Imperial Civilised World of Minerva. Supposedly, they originally hailed from the Hive World of Armageddon, and are descended from settlers derived from the 1st Armageddon Steel Legion. The Minervan Tank Legions are highly regarded in the realm of armoured warfare and serve as a model for other armoured regiments within the Imperial Guard.
The history of the original Minervan Tank Legion has long since passed into legend, but the stories are still told amongst the Minervan Guardsmen of the Armageddon Steel Legion and their very first Colonel, Jeremiah Mantubb. There is some evidence to suggest that the 1st Armageddon Steel Legion, under the command of Colonel Mantubb, departed their homeworld of Armageddon to drive back the Chaos Renegades of the Sorcerer Lord Torvel the Deluded from the newly colonised world of Minerva in the 37th Millennium. The massed armoured ranks of the Steel Legion were able to completely overwhelm the Renegades in a matter of months and the war culminated with Commissar Orthos striking down the Sorcerer Lord in the midst of a pitched battle that was to set Minerva free from the domination of Chaos.
The 1st Steel Legion was granted Right of Conquest and settled on the world, under the benign leadership of Colonel Mantubb who became the world's Imperial Governor. Under his rule, Minerva was made into a strong world with a potent industrial base that soon turned its growing economy to the production of arms and vehicles for the regiments of neighbouring worlds. When the time came for the first Imperial Guard regiment to be founded upon Minerva itself, the roots of the new army were clearly based within Mantubb's old force, and the 1st Minervan Tank Legion rolled out of the gigantic Minervan weapons factories to greet the cheering populace outside. This is the story that many Imperial scholars use to explain the striking similarity between the Armageddon and Minervan Legions, though it may never be verified.
The Civilised World of Minerva has changed dramatically since the days of liberation by the 1st Armageddon Steel Legion. Its industrial base has increased exponentially as greater and greater demands have been placed on its manufactoria. Minerva has now reached the point where a full Tank Legion can be raised every four years whilst still fulfilling the obligations placed upon it by other worlds of its sub-sector. The vehicles and wargear of Minerva are renowned for both their innovation in the application of existing designs, as well as for quality, which is seen as second only to the finest machine shops on Armageddon itself.
Seven multi-layered cities now sprawl over the surface of Minerva, whilst the choking fumes of the manufactoria in between the civilised centres slowly reduce the wilderness to ash. This has prompted many Imperial scribes to speculate that, given a few short millennia, Minerva could well become a productive new Hive World. The more contentious of them have predicted that within this time frame, Minerva could well surpass Armageddon in strategic importance to the Imperium within the Segmentum Solar.
Minervan Tank LegionsEdit
Utilising both the men and women of Minerva in roughly equal proportions, the Minervan Tank Legions are often regarded as a model for the armoured formations of other Imperial Guard regiments. There is a high proportion of officers to the enlisted ranks, with the majority of the armoured vehicles being commanded by officers with the rank of Lieutenant, whilst the enlisted Guardsmen fill out crew and logistical positions.
The basic organisation of any Minervan Tank Legion usually follows a similar pattern to that of many infantry regiments, with each tank being considered the equivalent of a unit of infantry; up to five tanks form a squadron, up to five squadrons form a standard company and so on. Added to this are the many specialist artillery, mine sweeping and other support vehicles that are attached to formations on an ad hoc basis.
The machine shops of Minerva have gained a solid reputation for adapting existing vehicle designs, allowing the Tank Legions to engage in many forms of warfare, be it night fighting or desert assault. Fully one third of all Tank Legion vehicles have the conversion mechanisms necessary to make them completely amphibious within an hour, adding yet another tactical option for Minervan commanding officers.
- Third War for Armageddon (998.M41) - The vast majority of the three Minervan Tank Legions that were engaged in the land war phase of the Third War for Armageddon could be found on the Plains of Anthrand. Fighting alongside the Ocanon Phalanx Troops, both regiments complemented each other well in forming the South Primus Front to hold back the Greenskin forces of the Great Despot of Dregruk, Gazgrim. The trackless ash wastes of the Plains of Anthrand played well into the hands of the Minervan officers, allowing them to exercise their precise grasp of armour tactics as they manoeuvred their vehicles into combat with the Ork hordes. In conjunction with the Phalanx Troops, the Tank Legions were able to defeat the first attacks by Gazgrim's numerically superior force, granting the Imperium a welcome victory in this grinding war. The Plains of Anthrand soon became the scene of many running battles as the Imperial tanks drove the Orks into the equatorial jungles separating the Armageddon Prime and Secundus continents. The amphibious 217th Tank Legion was then detached from the main army to defeat an attempted Ork beachhead launched from the Tempest Ocean. Using the variable buoyancy of their armoured vehicles, the crews were able to partially submerge their tanks so only the turrets were visible, jutting from the surface of the water to form a cordon of defensive, but mobile, pill boxes. The armoured companies of the Minervan Tank Legions formed a formidable part of the Imperial defence of the hive cities located on the continent of Armageddon Prime. They headed on a course to intercept Gazgrim's War Horde as it moved into position on the Plains of Anthrand. Comprised in almost equal measure of men and women, the taciturn soldiers of Minerva were noted for their victories against superior numbers and their sound tactical manoeuvres.
Notable Minervan Tank Legion RegimentsEdit
- 10th Minervan Tank Legion - The 10th Minervan Tank Legion was one of three regiments sent to defend Armageddon from WAAAGH! Thraka during the Third Armageddon War. The 10th Minervan held part of the flank of the Imperial defences surrounding the Hive City of Death Mire. Taken by surprise and surrounded by Orks, their commander, General Belov, ordered a break-out to rejoin other Imperial forces defending the hive city. After five days of intense fighting the 10th finally broke out, but at a cost of over half their men and over three-quarters of their Leman Russ Battle Tanks.
- 217th Minervan Tank Legion - The 217th Minervan Tank Legion is an amphibious regiment which was also dispatched to protect Armageddon from the Greenskin menace. They fought with the other Minervan Tank Legions as well as the Ocanon Phalanx Troops on the Plains of Anthrand. They were instrumental in winning several stunning victories against the Ork horde of the Great Despot of Dregruk, Gazgrim, before being reassigned to the coast of the Tempest Ocean. A full third of the Minervan Legions, including the 217th, took up positions on those shores in the effort to contain the Orks attempting to form a beachhead on the Southern Coast. The 217th partially submerged its tanks to form a cordon of mobile pill boxes that successfully drove off the Ork assault.
- Codex: Armageddon (3rd Edition), pg. 32
- Epic Armageddon (Background Book), pg. 143
- Third War for Armageddon - Imperial Forces Disposition: Minervan Tank Legions