Of all the regiments in the Imperial Combine's Mobile Air and Ground Assault forces (MAGA), there is none so infamously brutal as Tanker Regiment. Led by Colonel Catark Baiste, the regiment is an armoured fist of muscle and bone. Its sole purpose is to smash, batter, and devastate enemy facilities, neutralising opposing units as traumatically as possible.
Tanker Regiment arose in response to external threats which were difficult to counter using conventional approaches implemented by average humans. Finding that many hostile alien species utilised warriors who were bigger, stronger, and faster than humans, the Imperial Combine set about the task of assembling a task force of soldiers with extreme physiology, soldiers who would be willing to push their bodies beyond those extremes artificially.
Over time the benefit of this strategic resource was made clear repeatedly, and the initiative was expanded many times over. For administrative purposes, the soldiers involved in the programme were reorganised into a single unit. Thus was Tanker Regiment born.
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Although there are naturally large aliens such as Rodori serving in the regiment, most Tankers are modified humans. Tankers are recruited from amongst the largest of the serving MAGA troops, and there are few — if any — shorter than two metres in height.
Building on their natural stature, virtually all Tankers use extreme physical training to increase their size, strength, and stamina. They will generally enhance this regime with pharmaceuticals such as anabolic steroids, pro-hormones, human growth hormone, and other androgenic drugs.
Although they are not officially sanctioned under MAGA policies, it is not unusual to find Tankers who will also take advantage of methods such as cybernetic augmentation, viral re-writing of DNA sequences, controversial genetic patches, and controlled doses of amphetamines.
In the Imperial Navy, ships of which ferry Tanker units, rumours abound that Tankers will often request a specific deck or decks be dedicated to their purposes. It is speculated that this allows them to secure an environment in which the artificial gravity plating can be adjusted to produce a gravity field stronger than one standard. The purpose would appear to be that Tankers' muscles are constantly being worked harder than normal as they move around aboard ship.
It is virtually impossible to find a Tanker less than two metres in height, and they almost invariably have the width and weight to go with it. They are — quite literally — not to be taken lightly.
MAGA tends to turn a blind eye to the predilections of its blunt force weapon, and as such there is a great deal of personal freedom that goes with the role. Tankers will often capitalise on this by adopting body art which they otherwise would not be permitted to display. Consequently the average Tanker is an armour-plated, tattooed wall of muscle and attitude.
Tankers will often wear talismans on their armour, a practise which would be frowned upon in any other regiment. The talismans usually reflect their own personal beliefs and superstitions.
Some Tankers will adopt more sinister decoration. Sergeant Zolyn Feior, for example, glued the radius and ulna bones of a slain Viskr to the forearm gauntlets of his combat armour.
Attitudes and Disposition
Tankers can often exhibit aggressive and even irrational personalities. They are frequently stand-offish with outsiders — including members of other MAGA units — and can become uncooperative even with the senior officers of external commands.
The great benefit of the Tanker attitude, however, is an unwavering dedication to their objective. Give a Tanker some goal to achieve, and he will shoot, punch, and smash his way towards it, letting nothing stand against him.
The regimental motto is "Victoriam per Violentiam". The letters "VPV" are often seen stencilled on Tanker armour, helmets, vehicles, and equipment, along with a stylised fist emblem.
Tankers were first seen in action during the Second Liberation of Mibes, in List of the Dead. They later played a more significant role during Operation Keystone — on the surface of the Shaeld-occupied planet Guathelia — in The Ravening Deep.
In From Shattered Stars Tankers were crucial to the success of several military operations, including the assault against Forge Ruinous, the invasion of the city of Arroch, and the breaking of the siege at Damastion.