- "Versatile, enduring and uncomplaining -- truly is the Rhino a fit steed for a Space Marine."
The Rhino, also known as the Mars Pattern Rhino, is an Imperial Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) that is widely used throughout the galaxy by many different factions. The Rhino is a mainstay vehicle of the Adeptus Astartes. It has provided safe transportation since the days of the Great Crusade, transporting its cargo of Space Marines swiftly and safely to the forefront of battle. Robust and versatile, and able to resist the most hostile of environments, the Rhino has become the basic troop transport for Space Marine squads. It has also been used by many other trusted branches of the Imperial armed forces, including the Adeptus Mechanicus, Adepta Sororitas, Adeptus Arbites, Adeptus Custodes, and the forces of the Inquisition. Over the years many Rhinos have been captured for use by Ork warbands, and, during their flight from the Imperium after the Horus Heresy, the Traitor Legions took their Rhinos with them into the Eye of Terror. Altered by Chaotic iconography and the power of the Ruinous Powers, these Chaos Rhinos are still deployed by many warbands of Chaos Space Marines in the present.
- "As you are a knight in service of the Emperor, so is the Rhino your steed. Honour, respect it, see that its needs are met, and it shall serve you well through all the battles your must face."
- —From the teachings of Roboute Guilliman, as laid down in the Apocrypha of Skaros
The Rhino APC has been in the Imperium's service for over ten thousand Terran years, but its true origins stretch back further still, into the depths of humanity's past. Curiously, the surviving documents on the past of the Rhino APC are almost completely intact, and give an accurate early history of the vehicle.
Ancient records show that the Rhino originally began life as the RH1-N-0 Tracked Exploration and Multi-Purpose Defence Vehicle, for use by colonists and explorers as Mankind spread throughout the galaxy colonising new worlds. The Rhino was a Standard Template Construction (STC) design. The human colonists of the Dark Age of Technology needed a robust, tracked all-terrain vehicle, sealed against hostile environments and providing some measure of protection against potential hostiles. The first Rhino was field-tested on Mars, and proved to be a great success. As it was capable of being constructed from any locally available materials, and powered by nearly any fuel source, the popularity of the Rhino spread rapidly. Soon, Rhinos became common sights on Frontier Worlds all over human-settled space.
The Rhino's position of dominance came to an end with the Age of Strife, as Mankind's golden age of technology and interstellar exploration ended in bloody warfare that engulfed almost every human colony. By the end of the Age of Strife, and the emergence of the Emperor of Mankind, almost all of the complete STC databases from the Age of Technology had been lost or utterly destroyed. The remaining Rhinos were slowly wiped out by attrition. Only the work and dedication of the newly-formed Adeptus Mechanicus saved the Rhino and several other STC designs of ancient technology from being lost forever. The reliability of the original Rhino design meant that it has changed little over the intervening millennia.
Today, only the most trusted Imperial Adepta have access to the Rhino APC. The technology of their creation is too valuable to be risked with any but the most trusted of Imperial troops. The Adeptus Astartes, Adeptus Mechanicus, Adepta Sororitas, Adeptus Arbites, Adeptus Custodes and the three Ordos of the Inquisition all use Rhinos as their main transport vehicle.
The earliest known use of the Rhino in combat is recorded in the ancient Liber Armorum. According to this document, it was first used in combat by the human colonists of Torben's World against unknown indigenous xenos creatures who possessed only a primitive technological level. The Rhinos formed the spearhead of the human colonists' attack, against which the aliens' primitive black powder firearms proved of little use. The xenos were purged from Torben's World, leaving the colonists' settlement unimpeded.
Over the following 100 standard years, use of the Rhino spread to many human military forces. Early commanders adopted the basic chassis design as an armored fighting vehicle, fitting various new weapon systems to it and augmenting the vehicle's engine power. In time, the vehicle became the standard fighting vehicle of human armed forces across the galaxy. Recovered STC databases provided the early Imperial armies with Rhino variants still in use today, such as the Predator, Immolator and Whirlwind. There are many other variants, now lost to the depths of time only awaiting rediscovery.
Due to its STC roots, the Rhino can be built with any suitable locally available materials. Most Rhinos are constructed of a bonded Ceramite layer over a cast Plasteel hull, although others use composite carbon compounds or a conventional hardened steel, depending on their origins. A Rhino's engine is a work of genius. It is capable of running on almost any combustible material, including Promethium.
A Rhino is crewed by a single Space Marine driver who also controls the remotely operated Storm Bolter. In addition to this, a pintle-mounted Storm Bolter may be fixed to the APC's top hatch, which can be operated by an additional Space Marine serving as the gunner. All Space Marines inducted into an Astartes Chapter are trained to operate the Rhino as part of their training.
A Rhino is capable of carrying up to ten fully armoured Space Marines within its well-protected hull. It is probable that the Rhino is capable of carrying a greater number of normal humans, due to their smaller size compared to the massive Astartes. Access to a Rhino is gained via four doors and hatches. Disembarkation can be achieved through the hydraulic rear ramp and two side doors. There is also a hatch on the top of the vehicle, which provides its passengers with an opening from which to fire their weapons. It also provides a quick escape in the event of catastrophic damage, or if the other doors are jammed.
The Rhino is powered by 2 Mark II Mars Pattern adaptable combustion engines. Each engine runs a dynamo, which in turn runs two electric motors (and recharges the engine's batteries). Each dynamo is attached to its engine using a power coupling, and is independent of the other engines. Should an engine be damaged in combat, there will be a reduction in the APC's speed but the other motor will continue to move the drive wheel.
The engines are fed by a fan-assisted air intake, providing the oxygen for the combustion chamber. Each engine has its own fuel tank, and a separate oxygen supply. This means that if there is no oxygen, or if the operating environment requires the air intakes to be sealed, the engines still have the oxygen they require.
Rhinos can also be equipped with a number of enhancements, including dozer blades, extra armour plating, a Hunter-Killer Missile Launcher, improved communications equipment, a searchlight, and smoke launchers.
The Adeptus Mechanicus has established strict guidelines concerning the construction and maintenance of these valuable war machines. The purity and spiritual welfare of the vehicle's Machine Spirit is thought to be as important as the skill of the Artificers who created the vehicle. There are many rituals surrounding the construction, maintenance and use of the Rhino. They must be cared for using the correct Liturgies of Maintenance by the attending Tech-priest.
Like all Space Marine vehicles, the construction of a Rhino is akin to a religious ritual. At every stage the correct oils must be applied and incense burnt to sanctify the process and ward off daemons and gremlins from getting into the vehicle and working their mischief. As these rituals are cast, each armoured panel is inscribed with protective sigils to ward against damage and help protect the vehicle's future passengers. Components are checked and blessed before being installed. Finally, when the Rhino is complete, the Ceremony of Commissioning is undertaken. The Tech-priest calls upon the Spirit of the Machine God to fill the Rhino with its spiritual power. The final blessing is the Naming Ritual. Every new vehicle must have a name worthy of the great history of the Chapter it is to serve. This name is recorded, and some Chapters choose to paint or engrave it onto the vehicle's armoured hull.
Marks and Patterns
There are many different Marks and Patterns of the standard Rhino and its chassis in use throughout the Imperium, including the following:
Mark Ib Mars Pattern
The Mark Ib Mars Pattern Rhino is the oldest mark of the Rhino that is still in used by the Imperium. The Mark Ib Mars Pattern Rhino closely resembles the Deimos Pattern Rhino, but lacks its turret-mounted Bolters. The Mark Ib is no longer constructed in the 41st Millennium, as these vehicles are viewed as being past their prime, but are still maintained or sometimes even used by many Astartes Chapters as a sign of respect for tradition.
Deimos Pattern Rhino
The Deimos Rhino is one of the oldest patterns of Rhino in use by the Imperium. The Deimos Pattern was first used by the Adeptus Astartes during the Great Crusade. The Deimos Pattern Rhino is equipped with two turret-mounted Bolters that are slaved to the vehicle's target-logis (Cogitator) systems. This pattern of the Rhino also has several different marks, such as the Mark Ic, which is the most prevalent. An unknown mark of Deimos Rhino chassis is used in the construction of older, lesser-known Rhino variants such as the Deimos Predator and its variants the Deimos Predator Infernus and Deimos Predator Executioner.
The Rhino chassis is used as the base from which many other Imperial military vehicles are constructed, including the:
The Razorback is a relatively new addition to the Imperium's arsenal. The Razorback replaces some of its transport capacity in order to mount a remote-controlled turret on top of the vehicle. The Razorback is usually armed with Twin-linked Heavy Bolters or Twin-linked Lascannons.
The Predator is the main battle tank for the Adeptus Astartes. The Predator is equipped with a turret-mounted Autocannon or Lascannon and two sponson-mounted Heavy Bolters, one on each side. The Predator loses its transport capacity in order to mount the turret and hold the ammunition or generators for its other weapons.
The Whirlwind serves as the Space Marines' primary long-range fire support vehicle. The Whirlwind gives up its transport capacity in order to mount a Whirlwind Missile Launcher on the top of the vehicle. The vehicle is capable of unleashing powerful missile salvos at enemy forces from long-range. The Whirlwind has several of its own variants, such as the Hunter and Hyperios anti-aircraft variants.
The Vindicator is used by the Space Marines as a siege tank, and is armed with a Demolisher Cannon which is used against enemy structures. The Vindicator is also commonly equipped with large dozer blades known as Siege Shields that protect the tank from enemy fire and allow it to move rubble and debris out of the way.
Damocles Command Rhino
The Damocles Command Rhino is used by Space Marines during large operations where the coordination of troops is handled using long-range communications. The Damocles is equipped with powerful communications equipment and is staffed by experienced communications officers that allows a Force Commander to communicate with his forces, even when they may be on the other side of a continent. The Damocles is also capable of intercepting and decrypting enemy communications.
Sabre Tank Hunter
The Sabre Tank Hunter is a powerful anti-armour tank. The vehicle is equipped with a forward-firing Laser Destroyer or Neutron Laser Cannon that is capable of immobilising or outright destroying enemy armoured vehicles. The Sabre is becoming increasingly rare in Imperial military use due to the difficulty in producing the tank's main weapons. A more common variant of the Sabre uses a Vanquisher Cannon instead of the more rare weapons.
The Immolator is a Rhino variant that is used exclusively by the Orders Militant of the Adepta Sororitas. The Immolator is equipped with a top-mounted manned turret that is armed with Twin-linked Heavy Flamers or Twin-linked Multi-Meltas. The Immolator is still able to transport troops and thus has become the Sisters of Battle's primary transport, having both a decent transport capacity and considerable firepower.
The Exorcist is used exclusively by the Adepta Sororitas as a long-range fire support vehicle. The vehicle gives up its transport capacity in order to hold the Exorcist Missile Launcher and its ammunition.
The Incarcerator is a specialised, non-combat vehicle occasionally used by the Adeptus Arbites, the Inquisitors of the Ordo Hereticus and the Sisters of Battle. It is essentially a combination of holding cell and execution chamber mounted on the chassis of a Rhino armoured transport.
The Repressor is used by both the Adeptus Arbites and the Sisters of Battle as a transport. The Repressor has an extended transport hold and a raised roof with firing slits. The infantry inside of the Repressor can fire out the firing slits at the enemy in order to stay out of danger. The tank is also equipped with a cupola-mounted Storm Bolter and a pintle-mounted Heavy Flamer.
The Castellan Rhino was a variant of the Rhino developed during the Great Crusade by the Iron Warriors' Primarch, Perturabo. The Castellan variant featured unfolding armour plating and impact bracing that allowed the vehicle to be turned into a miniature bunker. The modular construction allowed multiple Castellan Rhinos to be linked together in a chain, forming a makeshift fortified line when materials for more permanent emplacements were unavailable or a defence had to be fashioned quickly. During the Iron Warriors and Emperor's Children's siege of the ancient Eldar fortress of Amon ny-shak Kaelis the Iron Warriors deployed over 400 Castallen Rhinos as their defensive line.
The Traitor Legions who escaped into the Eye of Terror at the end of the Horus Heresy brought their many Rhino APCs with them. The Rhinos used by the Forces of Chaos are a mixture of all marks and patterns, such as the Deimos Rhino, Mark Ib, Mark IIb, and the Mark IIc, and have all been modified and outfitted in innumerable ways, all of which are deemed blasphemous by the Adeptus Mechanicus. The vast majority of Rhinos in service to the Forces of Chaos are of the newer models, as these are both captured from Loyalist Space Marine Chapters or are ceded to Chaos forces when a Chapter has turned Renegade. Rhinos captured from the Imperium usually have all of their Imperial iconography and symbols of allegiance defaced or removed. Many times the crew of the captured vehicle, whether they are alive or dead, will be attached to the hull of the vehicle, usually by chains, hooks, and spikes. There are many Rhinos being produced by their hundreds everyday within the Eye of Terror on Chaos War Worlds and corrupted Dark Mechanicus Forge Worlds. Many smaller Chaos Space Marine warbands will scour Imperial battlefields in order to find and recover battlefield wreckage, and thus are able to add to the number of Rhinos and other vehicles they have at their service. The Forces of Chaos deeply enjoy looting and corrupting Imperial vehicles, and since Rhinos are easy to repair, they are favoured prizes. The Rhinos under the control of Chaos Space Marine warbands are usually armed with either Pintle-mounted twin-linked Bolters (Combi-Bolter) or other Combi-Weapons. Rhinos in use by Chaos and Renegade warbands that have recently betrayed the Imperium, or recently captured Imperial Rhinos, may be armed instead with a Storm Bolter or even a Hunter-Killer Missile Launcher. Chaos Rhinos can also be armed with a Havoc Missile Launcher, an ancient weapon system that has long fallen out of use in the Imperium. Chaos Rhinos can also be equipped with destroyer blades, Dirge Casters, dozer blades, extra armour plating, Chaos Icons or Marks, or Warpflame Gargoyles. They may also be possessed by a daemon, or have been bestowed with other "gifts" of the Chaos Gods. Like the Imperial Rhino, the Chaos Rhino is capable of transporting up to ten Chaos Space Marines, but is unable to transport Chaos Raptors, Terminators, daemons, Mutilators, or Obliterators. Up to two of the vehicle's passengers can fire their weapons from the vehicle's top hatch.
Ork Looted Rhinos
The Orks are masters of salvage and they are capable of turning a completely destroyed tank or other vehicle into a functioning heap of metal and weapons within only days of beginning work on such a hulk. The Rhino is a particularly favoured vehicle that many Ork Mekboyz and Lootas like to target. The Rhino's durability is highly sought after by the Greenskins, as it means it will be more intact when found on the battlefield. The Ork Meks will add many kustomizations to their vehicles, many times making them function even worse than when they were recovered as damaged vehicles. Looted Rhinos may be equipped with massive crushers, cranes, and a whole lot of Shootas.
Notable Users of the Rhino
- Adeptus Astartes - The Rhino is the main transport vehicle of the Space Marines and is used by all Space Marine Chapters.
- Adeptus Mechanicus - The Adeptus Mechanicus use the Rhino as their primary transportation vehicle for Skitarii regiments.
- Adeptus Custodes - The Adeptus Custodes use the Rhino as their primary form of transportation during combat engagements. During the Horus Heresy the then-Legio Custodes had access to an experimental anti-grav variant of the Rhino, though this variant has been lost to the Imperium.
- Adepta Sororitas - The Sisters of Battle use the Rhino as their primary transportation vehicle alongside the Immolator during battle.
- Adeptus Arbites - The Adeptus Arbites use the Rhino as a transport during riots and uprisings, as the vehicle's military grade armour keep them safe from angry mobs.
- Chaos Space Marines - The Chaos Space Marines use many Rhinos as transportation during battle, and many of their Rhinos date back to the Horus Heresy and were brought with them into the Eye of Terror.
- Renegade Space Marines - Space Marines that have left the Imperium but do not worship Chaos use the Rhino as their main form of battlefield transportation.
- Ork Clans and Warbands - The Orks are masters of salvage and it is common for them to salvage a destroyed Rhino, both during and after a battle in order to kustomize it to their needs. These vehicles are outfitted with many different types of Ork kustomizations and some are no longer recognisable as Imperial vehicles.
- Squats - The Rhino Transport was one of the vehicles given by the Imperium to the allied Abhuman race known as the Squats.
Notable Deployments of Rhinos
- Taros Campagin - The Raptors and Avenging Sons Space Marines Chapters used Rhinos in their fight against the Tau during the Taros Campaign.
- Anphelion Project - The Red Scorpions used Rhinos during the battles against the escaped Tyranids of the secret research facility on Beta Anphelion IV.
- The Siege of Vraks - The Space Marines of the Dark Angels, Red Scorpions, and Angels of Absolution Chapters used Rhinos during the 17-year-long Siege of Vraks against the Chaos Space Marines of The Purge, the Faithless, and the Berserkers of Skallathrax.
- The Raid on Kastorel-Novem - The Ork clans of the Death Skulls, Goffs, and Evil Sunz used captured Rhinos against the Raven Guard and other Imperial Forces who were invading the Ork world of Kastorel-Novem.
- The Badab War - The Loyalist Space Marine Chapters of the Carcharodons,the Exorcists, the Fire Angels, the Fire Hawks, and many others used Rhinos in their fight against the Secessionist Chapters of the Lamenters, Astral Claws, Mantis Warriors, and the Executioners during the Badab War.
- Defence of Betalis III - The Space Wolves used Rhinos during the defence of Betalis III against the Eldar of Craftworld Mymeara.
- The Third War for Armageddon - Many Space Marine Chapters deployed Rhinos during the Third War for Armageddon against the Orks of Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka.
- The Dark Crusade - The Blood Ravens Space Marine Chapter, and the Word Bearers Traitor Legion deployed Rhinos during the Kronus Campaign, also known as the Dark Crusade.
- The Kaurava Campaign - The Blood Ravens Space Marine Chapter and the Alpha Legion Traitor Legion deployed Rhinos during the Kaurava Campaign.
- The Aurelian Crusades - The Blood Ravens Space Marine Chapter deployed Rhinos during all three of the Aurelian Crusades against the Tyranids, Black Legion, and Renegade Blood Ravens, respectively.
- Nocturne's Hammer - Nocturne's Hammer is a Rhino of the Salamanders Space Marine Chapter, and is the oldest functioning Rhino in the Imperium of Man. It is said that this vehicle was used by Vulkan himself during the Siege of Devlin's Fastness, carrying him out through the gates and into the midst of the encircling Word Bearers Traitor Legion. The Hammer has been in service with the Chapter for over 8,000 Terran years and has its own special place within the Salamander's Reliquary. At the dawn of each new century, the Chapter's Techmarines gather in the Reliquary and the Master of the Forge strikes the vehicle's activation rune upon the vehicle's engine. It is said that if the engine does not start on the first time then doom shall befall the Salamanders.
- Barbarus - Barbarus is a Chaos Rhino of the World Eaters Traitor Legion that was reportedly present at the Battle of Terra during the Siege of the Imperial Palace, and has been identified on numerous occasions over the millennia since as being the personal vehicle of the Chaos Lord Kossolax the Foresworn.
Adeptus Mechanicus Technical Specifications
|Vehicle Name:||Rhino||Main Armament:||Storm Bolter|
|Forge World of Origin:||Mars||Secondary Armament:||N/A|
|Known Patterns:||I - XXXV||Traverse:||360 degrees|
|Crew:||1 Driver, (1 Gunner If using non-remote-controlled turret)||Elevation:||-65 to 45 degrees|
|Powerplant:||Quad MkII Adaptable Thermic Combustor Reactor||Main Ammunition:||800 Rounds|
|Weight:||30 Tonnes||Secondary Ammunition:||N/A|
|Height:||3.6 metres||Superstructure:||60 millimetres|
|Ground Clearance:||0.44 metres||Hull:||60 millimetres|
|Max Speed On-Road:||70 kilometres per hour||Gun Mantlet:||N/A|
|Max Speed Off-Road:||55 kilometres per hour||Vehicle Designation:||0120-766-0724-PR113|
|Transport Capacity:||10 Passengers (cannot carry Astartes in Terminator Armour or with Jump Packs)||Firing Ports:||1, Top hatch|
|Access Points:||1 Rear hatch, 1 Top hatch, 2 Side hatches||Turret:||50 millimetres|
- Chapter Approved 2001
- Chapter Approved 2003, pg. 66
- Chapter Approved 2004, pg. 50
- Codex: Black Templars (4th Edition), pg. 38
- Codex: Blood Angels (5th Edition), pg. 35
- Codex: Blood Angels (4th Edition), pp. 11, 25
- Codex: Blood Angels (3rd Edition), pg. 8
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 54, 99
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition), pp. 42, 96
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition - Second Codex), pg. 25
- Codex: Dark Angels (6th Edition), pp. 4, 38, 78, 100
- Codex: Dark Angels (4th Edition), pp. 32-33, 55
- Codex: Grey Knights (5th Edition), pg. 33
- Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 98-99, 169
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pg. 76
- Codex: Space Marines (4th Edition), pg. 35
- Codex: Space Marines (3rd Edition), pg. 11
- Codex: Space Wolves (5th Edition), pg. 40
- Codex: Ultramarines (2nd Edition), pp. 35, 70
- The Horus Heresy: Collected Visions, pp. 22, 69, 115, 139, 170, 251
- Imperial Armour Volume Two - Space Marines and Forces of the Inquisition, pp. 12-25, 198-199, 220-223
- Imperial Armour Volume Three - The Taros Campaign, pp. 54, 131, 153
- Imperial Armour Volume Four - The Anphelion Project, pp. 57, 67, 69, 109, 123
- Imperial Armour Volume Five - The Siege of Vraks - Part One, pp. 57-58, 64, 146-147
- Imperial Armour Volume Six - The Siege of Vraks - Part Two, pp. 57, 86, 128, 170-172
- Imperial Armour Volume Seven - The Siege of Vraks - Part Three, pp. 24, 58-59, 72, 78, 94
- Imperial Armour Volume Eight - The Raid on Kastorel-Novem, pp. 16, 28, 39, 139, 187-189, 211
- Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part One, pp. 18, 59, 77, 88, 93, 104. 110, 130, 155
- Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War - Part Two, pp. 26-27, 45, 68, 82, 92, 97, 121, 139, 157-163, 185-186, 195-197
- Imperial Armour Volume Eleven - The Doom of Mymeara, pp. 58, 123
- Warhammer 40,000: Apocalypse (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), pg. 154
- Warhammer 40,000: Index Astartes - Rhinos (Digital Edition)
- White Dwarf 379 (US), "Codex: Sisters of Battle" (5th Edition), pg. 101
- White Dwarf 380 (US), "Codex: Sisters of Battle" (5th Edition), pg. 89
- White Dwarf 275 (UK), "Index Astartes: Beasts of Steel - Chaos Space Marines tanks - The Rhino"
- White Dwarf 103 (UK), "Rampaging Rhinos" by Rick Priestley
- Know No Fear (Novel) by Dan Abnett, pg. 34
- Angel Exterminatus (Novel) by Graham McNeill, pp. 221, 282, 287, 290, 292, 300, 282, 289, 290, 388, 412, 417, 436-437, 466-467