The Spartan Assault Tank, sometimes referred to as the Land Raider Spartan, is a heavy-assault transport that was originally used by the Space Marine Legions during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy, and later by the Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes that still possess them in their armoury. The Spartan is a massive vehicle, and is one of the largest ground vehicles ever used by the Space Marines, smaller only than their ancient super-heavy vehicles such as the Mastodon, Fellblade, and Falchion. The Spartan also has the largest carrying capacity of all non-super-heavy vehicles, with the ability to carry 25 Power Armoured Space Marines or 12 Astartes in Terminator Armour. The Spartan is an extremely durable and completely sealed assault transport armed with heavy weapons and possessed of a high transport capacity, but the true genius of the Spartan is that the greater proportion of its interior space is given over to carrying capacity, and yet the vehicle's engine and drive system still allows it to travel at speeds much higher than that of similar-sized transports, such as the Gorgon used by the Imperial Army and the Astartes' own Mastodon. The Spartan Assault Tank was used by most, if not all of the Space Marine Legions during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy, and after the Legions were broken down into Chapters during the Second Founding many of the newly-formed Space Marine units retained several of these vehicles in their armouries. It is unknown if the Adeptus Mechanicus is able to build new Spartan Assault Tanks in the late 41st Millennium or if the technology has been lost like so much else from the Great Crusade era.
The Spartan Assault Tank was designed by the Mechanicum of Mars for the Space Marine Legions as a way to carry their Terminators into combat. This was because the Land Raider Proteus, the only Land Raider the Space Marine Legions had access to early in the Great Crusade, was unable to carry the bulk of Terminators and a way to carry these highly-effective warriors quickly into combat was needed. One tale says that the Spartan was designed specifically so that an Astartes strike force could cross a region ablaze with raging plasma fires, referred to as the Ring of Death. The Space Marines amassed their Terminators and used the first Spartans to carry them across this region, losing all but a fraction of the Terminator Squads. The sacrifice proved not in vain though as the battle was eventually won, and a new war machine was born in its aftermath.
The Spartan Assault Tank is heavily-armed with powerful weaponry, and is more than capable of defending itself from an attack. The Spartan is a powerful war machine in its own right, as it is fully capable of destroying entire squads of enemy infantry or tanks with its heavy weapons. The Spartan is armed with two sponson-mounted Quad-Lascannons, one on each side of the tank, and a single, hull-mounted, forward-firing twin-linked Heavy Bolter. The tank's Quad-Lascannons are able to make quick work of most armoured vehicles, and its twin-linked Heavy Bolters are used to provide covering fire for disembarking troops. The Spartan can replace its Quad-Lascannons for Laser Destroyer Arrays, which are useful against both enemy heavy armour and infantry. The Spartan is also always equipped with both a searchlight and smoke launchers, but can also be equipped with a Hunter-Killer Missile Launcher, an auxiliary drive system that can be used if the vehicle's main drive system is damaged or destroyed, a Flare Shield, an extra layer of armoured ceramite for increased protection at the cost of speed, and a dozer blade for clearing debris and mines. The tank can also be outfitted with a Pintle-mounted weapon, such as a Storm Bolter, a Heavy Flamer, or a Multi-Melta. During the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy, the Spartan Assault Tank could have been armed with other weapons such as a Combi-Bolter, another Combi-weapon, or a Havoc Missile Launcher. The Spartan can also have Frag Assault Launchers attached to its front, on either side of the front debarkation ramp, to blast the targeted area with shrapnel before its cargo of troops disembark. Like all Land Raiders and their variants, the Spartan Assault Tank is equipped with a powerful Machine Spirit, which is capable of taking control of the vehicle and its weapons if the crew is killed or otherwise unable to operate the vehicle.
The Spartan Assault Tank has several different variants, including the following:
- Typhon Heavy Siege Tank - The Typhon Heavy Siege Tank is a variant of the Spartan Assault Tank that was designed to be used during sieges and is equipped with a powerful siege weapon known as the Dreadhammer Siege Cannon. The Typhon was developed by the Mechanicum during the Great Crusade in response to a request by the Primarch of the Iron Warriors Legion, Perturabo, for an Astartes vehicle that could quickly deploy heavy, fortress-breaking firepower to the front lines, so that no time would be lost waiting for the Imperial Army's slow artillery batteries.
- Cerberus Heavy Tank Destroyer - The Cerberus Heavy Tank Destroyer was a rare experimental variant of the Spartan Assault Tank. The Cerberus was designed by the Mechanicum to use the massive internal space of the Spartan's chassis to mount a Neutron Laser Projector, a more powerful and unstable variant of the Neutron Laser Cannon that would later be used by the Astartes' Sabre Tank Hunters and the Valdor Tank Hunters of the Imperial Army. It is believed that the Neutron Laser Battery was scaled down to create the smaller, and more stable, Neutron Laser Cannon. As the Cerberus was used to field-test the first Neutron-based weaponry, they were not as widely mass-produced as the other Spartan variants.
- Land Raider Phobos - Although the Land Raider Phobos does not use the Spartan's chassis, many of the design features of the Spartan, and the older Land Raider Proteus, would be incorporated into the the first Land Raider that could transport Terminators. Sometime during the latter half of the Great Crusade the Mechanicum developed the Land Raider Phobos as the primary replacement for the Land Raider Proteus. The Land Raider Phobos takes the best of both the Land Raider Proteus and the Spartan Assault Tank's designs. As a testament to the robust nature of this design, the Land Raider Phobos is still used by every single Space Marine Chapter after nearly 10,000 standard years, and has even spawned many common variants of its own.
- Chaos Spartan Assault Tank - The Spartan Assault Tank was used on both sides of the Horus Heresy, and after the death of Horus at the hands of the Emperor the surviving Traitor Primarchs and their Legions fled Imperial space, most to the Eye of Terror. These Legions took their Spartan Assault Tanks with them, where they would be corrupted and twisted by the malign powers of the Warp. Spartan Assault Tanks used by the Traitor Legions are armed with weaponry no longer used by the Imperium, such as Reaper Autocannons, Havoc Missile Launchers, and Pintle-mounted Combi-Weapons. The vehicle's crew may even be permanently fused to the vehicle itself, or the tank may be controlled by Daemons.
Known Users of the Spartan Assault TankEdit
The following are the known users of the Spartan Assault Tank:
- Space Marine Legions - The Spartan Assault Tank was used by most, if not all, of the original Space Marine Legions during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. Some Legions, such as the Death Guard and the Sons of Horus, made especially extensive use of the Spartan tank.
- Second Founding Chapters - When the Space Marine Legions were broken up into 1,000 man Chapters during the Second Founding any Spartan Assault Tanks that survived the Horus Heresy and the Great Scouring were divided up and given to these newly formed Chapters. It is unknown if the present day Adeptus Mechanicus is able to build new Spartans or if the technology has been lost.
- Chaos Space Marine Legions - After the death of Horus Lupercal at the end of the Horus Heresy, the nine Traitor Legions either fled to the Eye of Terror or into uncharted space, taking any surviving Spartans with them. Chaos Spartan Assault Tanks are corrupted and twisted by their exposure to the Warp, yet this has not negatively affected the vehicle's performance or capacity for destruction in any way.
Adeptus Mechanicus Technical SpecificationsEdit
|Vehicle Name:||Spartan Assault Tank||Main Armament:||2 Sponson-mounted Quad-Lascannons|
|Forge World of Origin:||Anvilus XI||Secondary Armament:||Hull-mounted twin-linked Heavy Bolters|
|Known Patterns:||I - VI||Traverse:||180 degrees|
|Crew:||One Driver, One Gunner||Elevation:||-32 to 55 degrees|
|Powerplant:||Antomantic Core with Auxiliary Reactor||Main Ammunition:||Unlimited; cell power feed|
|Weight:||165 tonnes||Secondary Ammunition:||800 Rounds|
|Width:||6.1 metres w/ Sponsons|
|Height:||5 metres||Superstructure:||95 millimetres|
|Ground Clearance:||0.5 metres||Hull:||95 millimetres|
|Max Speed On-Road:||45 kilometres per hour||Gun Mantlet:||N/A|
|Max Speed Off-Road:||38 kilometres per hour||Vehicle Designation:||Unknown|
|Transport Capacity:||25 Space Marines or 12 Terminators||Firing Ports:||Unknown|
|Access Points:||1 Front Assault Ramp, 2 Side Doors||Turret:||N/A|
- Imperial Armour - The Horus Heresy - Book One: Betrayal, pp. 24-25, 32-33, 54, 57, 125, 135, 222
- Imperial Armour Volume Two (Second Edition) - War Machines of the Adeptus Astartes, pp. 24, 116-119
- Imperial Armour Volume Twelve - The Fall of Orpheus, pp. 54-55, 156
- White Dwarf 119 (UK), "Spartan: Land Raider Variant for Terminator Transport", pp. 60-64