Killer Queen (zabiják královna in Szerkasia's ancestral languages) is without doubt the best known Leman Russ Battle Tank fielded by the Szerkasian Blackhats- specifically the 20th Regiment and according to the legends told by Szerkasian refuges and their descendants her career lasted for well over a century- outliving many of her veteran crews and facing off against every enemy that the Szerkasian 20th met in battle.
She was built on Medici sometime in the 640s and was one of the few tanks not to be looted by WAAAGH Mukkrukka. She was thrust into battle almost immediately and according to legend she was destroyed during the invasion of Szerkasia by Hive Fleet Erebus more than a century later.
Szerkasia had no tradition of armored warfare and so her first crew had to learn quickly when they were forced into battle with Ork armored units. Her first crew(the names of all but one have been lost to time) were reportedly more used to tractors and farm equipment than war machines but they made up for it with superior local knowledge, reportedly catching an Ork unit in a landslide triggered by a well placed shot.
The first battles to defend Szerkasia also saw this tank earn her name. Someone remarked that The Leman Russ was the "Queen of all tanks" and after Killer Queen's crew laid waste to a formation of Killa Kans about to destroy a pinned down squad of regulars she earned the "Killer" sobriquet. It is from this period that the only surviving image of the tank appears- an appreciative Szerkasian infantryman gifted the 1st commander with a hand drawn image of his tank once the fighting was over.
The Liberation of Xomia
the 20th Szerkasian would go on to participate in the Liberation of Xomia serving alongside Medici tank regiments and units from the future Tricamerate Pact, using lessons learned fighting Orks throughout the Kashidaan and Kanye Clusters.
Their most notable battle during those months came when they were assigned to the ruined city of Sho‘rguzar which saw them fighting alongside Xomia PDF the famed Olea 22nd Infantry and several units of Khazamga Rough Riders.
The 22nd's orders were to rebuild several key fortifications as much of the wall as possible, giving Khazamaga Rough Rider units refuge and a base to strike from on the otherwise open plains. With the Szerkasian 20th were meant to protect them while they worked.
They came under attack almost immediately, but despite this they finished work on the central bastion in roughly a month,. Rough Rider units including the "Hard Chargers" flocked to the city due to a miscommunication- they incorrectly believed the walls had been completed as well. This was the constant attacks drew Olea infantry away fro their construction work and onto the battlefield, slowing progress.
Seeing such a large concentration of enemies in the same area one of the Warbosses saw an opportunity, throwing his WAAAGH at the city. The massive clash would last for 17 straight hours and involve tens of thousands of Greenskins. This forced the use of innovative tactics, bikers and horsemen would fight alongside armor, horsemen would charge into Ork units weakened by cannon fire, while armor would engage mobs weakened by Olea heavy guns or Khazamga lances, evacuating wounded or shoring up barricades and trenches, using their tanks and Chimeras as rolling bunkers.
The Imperium was victorious that day, the battle would later be seen as the perfect example of A tricamerate Pact victory- Khazamga and Olea fighting alongside Xomia- 3 distinct worlds working together for a single goal.
The warboss was among the dead- the crew chained the body to the front of Killer Queen as a grim trophy, while the Hard Chargers would drag the bodies of slain Nobs behind them as they rode around the city, showing off their part in the victory.
Brauvis and Oak Hills
This battle in and around the city its named for saw the Szerkasian 20th and the Khazamga 11th fighting against a fragment of WAAAGH Tikktokka sent to plunder the Kanye Cluster planet Philomena The Orks under the command of the Mech Boss Renchwhacka and his elite corps of Speed Freeks had the advantage of numbers, the fragmented records place them upwards of 15000.
But they lost this advantage when the Speed Freeks, driving their gaudy buggies rushed to engage. The city streets left them with no room to maneuver and were quickly destroyed. The experienced Ork hunters from these 2 regiments were able to carry the day after nearly 13 hours of further hard fighting, taking remarkably light losses but killing Renchwhacka.
The Orks still held onto a few of the hills surrounding the city and 3 days later they rallied and counterattacked, Ork Kommandos under the command of an Ork known as Grotkikka destroyed a crucial bridge cutting off their reinforcements and supply lines.
With only 3 days of fuel left the Imperial officers in command decided it should go to the other vehicles reasoning that the Leman Russ needed only some sort of flammable liquid. The found it at the Oak Hill Winery. The battle ended up being named for the winery though the fighting was centered elsewhere in the hills nearby.
Battle of Serova
Her last battle would see her defending the city of Serova, containing Szerkasia's only real means of producing wargear. The Tyranids seemed to understand this and launched swarms numbering in the hundreds of thousands to destroy the foundries leaving only the 1000 men of the Szerkasian 20th and no more than 10,000 armed civilians.
They held for 114 days but Day 115 saw Killer Queen destroyed, leaving the Western Ramparts without armor support and a commander and they were quickly overrun on day 116 the Tyranids took the remaining fortifications surrounding Serova and by day 130 the planet as a whole was lost, causing the survivors to fall back to Medici.
Like all Szerkasian vehicles her camoflague was painted in varying shades of green with black stripes and splotches. All writing- such as her name on the turret and the large 20/4(meaning 20th Regiment 4th Company) on her sponsons were done in red to match the uniforms of her Blackhat crewmen. Her name was originally written in Szerkasian Low Gothic but a Medici tank crew inquired into the meaning and her first crew decided it was less work to repaint rather than continue to answer further questions.
There was nothing particularly unique about her- she carried the same weapons and armor as a standard Leman Russ Battle Tank but also what the Szerkasians called "beauty marks"- repairs meant to look shoddy and leave dents and scars in the hull as proof of the fighting spirits of their tank crews,
"I never really wanted to drive a tank- I had no idea of how, but you learn quickly when the options are either that or to die screaming."
Once a simple farmer he lost everything, including the family farm he'd worked his entire life when the Orks landed and burned his crops for no other reason than the simple fact that they could. He barely escaped the destruction of his farm and moved to Senova.
Wanting to defend his world and others from Orks, he very quickly joined the 20th Szerkasian. His truck driving experience landed him in the 4th company despite his protests- he could drive cargo haulers but he had no idea how to handle an armored vehicle. However he accepted his fate realizing that it was better than being an infantryman if only slightly.
One crash course in the subject of armored warfare later and her crew was rushed into battle and over time developed a reputation of driving like a madman. He took to armored warfare despite his early misgivings and in time rose in the ranks becoming Killer Queen's 2nd commander and from there one step further to becoming Vice Marshal of Armor in command of the entire 4th company, earning the "Emperor's Hammer" insignia which he wore on his hat. He died peacefully in his early 70s after more than 30 years in the Szerkasian Black Hats.
"You know what makes me dangerous? it isn't the fact I'm a loner, I spend my days around sweaty stinky guys crammed in a metal box. You wouldn't blame me for wanting to be alone would you?, What makes me dangerous is the fact I know how to put a bolt shell right between your eyes at 500 meters. "
A sponson gunner who served as part of Killer Queen 's third crew. He was mostly known for a psychotic grin and perverse joy for battle, one his fellow crewmen found unnerving. That suited him just fine, he preferred to keep his distance. This extended to stories about his criminal past. These were violent crimes, a fact that only became common knowledge when he was shot by his own commanding officer for the murder of a fellow Blackhat in an argument over a woman.
During a battle somewhere in Tricamerate Pact space in 744 he acted without orders driving through a building to save a squad of "Ragged Angels" under heavy fire. This action, despite crushing an Ork Nob and saving the squad, earned him a harsh dressing down from his commander Rostek Pantelic.
He saw it as a fair trade since it also earned him a brief relationship with one of the Ragged Angels he had saved, A fireteam leader named Ava Bloom. He would be killed at Serova the next year, escaping the doomed tank only to be killed by a pack of Rippers. According to survivors of the battle his last words were "Emperor Protect Szerkasia Emperor protect you Ava Bloom. "
The final commander of Killer Queen His crew is credited with killing a Hive Tyrant and countless lesser Tyranids across days of intense fighting, staying awake for close to a week. He more than earned his hero status when he took command of the Western Ramparts. He died as a hero as well, he fought until the last draining a laspistol when Tyranid Gaunts finally tore through the hull buying time for the rest of his crew to escape. He was posthumously awarded "The Emperor's Hammer".