Sgt. Hammer – Character, Abilities and Quotes Lore
This week we’re doing one a lot of people are probably a bit confused about, a Heroes original Sergeant Hammer. Partially this is so I spread out some of the less lore heavy ones, but also I think people would also like to know the history of her and the unit she’s pulled from. And plus, Hammer officially has made the jump from Heroes non-canon to full StarCraft canon (more on that later).
For those who wanted some deeper character lore, I’ll be doing either Tassadar or Zeratul next week in honor of StarCraft Remastered. This one’s a bit more experimental so any feedback is appreciated.
Also just a note, having someone else post this for me while I'm traveling, so I'll answer any questions either later that night or Saturday morning.
The History of the Siege Tank
After the Guild Wars between the two major terran governments, the Terran Confederacy and the Kel-Morian Combine, the Confederacy reassessed its combat doctrine, deciding to focus more on mobility. Heavy, hard-to-move artillery pieces became essential for extended sieges and “final defense” missions, but often these would be exposed and unable to move when ambushed by Kel-Morians. Using mobile artillery they had, the Confederacy decided to improve on their old design, creating a heavy artillery piece that could turn into an armored frontline tank. After some years of design, the Arclite Siege Tank was born.
This is the tank we see in StarCraft 1 (and Remastered, for people who are picking it up!). It had two smooth barrels that could fire plasma rounds quickly on the move. Its main advantage however was its 120mm Shock Cannon, which fired solid tungsten rounds at a massive distance and hitting a large impact area. Because of this, the tank had two modes, “assault,” where it served as mobile armor with a high rate of fire, and “siege,” where It would root itself as a static artillery piece. Due to the power of the cannon, stabilizers were put on the side to keep the tank from damaging itself in the recoil. When the protoss and zerg attacked, the terrans became experts at using bunkers and siege tanks in tandem to hold the line. Even the invaders from Earth, the United Earth Directorate, copied the siege tank’s design, though they did not field too many of them.
After the Brood War, the weaknesses of the Arclite Siege Tank became apparent. It didn’t have much firepower on the move, and its weak armor and slow set up time meant it would be destroyed without protection. Thus a new design, the Crucio Siege Tank was developed. This is what we see Hammer use in Heroes. The on-the-move plasma cannon was improved, and the tracks were separated into three modular sections on each side. This meant if the siege tank was damaged it likely would still be able to do a fighting retreat. Fast drying gel could also be deployed on its treads, allowing for quick repair if the tank took a disabling shot.
The Crucio came into use by the Terran Dominion (the main government after the Confederacy) and Raynor’s Raiders, both of whom used it both offensively and defensively. Unlike the Dominion, Raynor made use of the Arclite as well, and an advanced former Confederate mercenary group called the Siege Breakers helped him all through his fight against the Dominion. The Dominion meanwhile used a similar design for Mengsk's elite guard named the Bulwark Company, though they were not Arclites. Nova and her Covert Ops Crew also used a powerful variant which could boost up cliffs and deploy spider mines to defend itself. Advancements were also made to the Crucio, including a special Maelstorm shell that dealt more damage to a central area and a smart shell that minimized collateral damage against allied units.
So who is Sergeant Hammer?
Bama “The Hammer” Kowalski is a famed Terran Dominion siege tank operator, famous for her ability to land her shells just out of range of her allies, much to the displeasure of the marines they was fielded with. Her service record is unknown, but she became a well-known figure through the Dominion Armed Forces well into the fall of Emperor Arcturus Mensgk.
In the non-canon Co-op Missions, Hammer set up a fortress on the planet Char, the central zerg planet. However, a conflict with the fallen xel’naga (creators of the protoss and the zerg) Amon broke out in the sector, and Amon’s forces sent monstrous siege creatures named Void Thrashers to siege her fortress. Kowalski called on two allied commanders to help her clear Char of these Void Thrashers, preventing the destruction of her fortress.
Quotes from Tychus in Heroes hint that he knew her, and given that he was frozen for ten years that heavily implies she worked for the Terran Confederacy as well, possibly a veteran of the same Guild Wars Tychus and Raynor fought in. Given Tychus is rather well informed of events from when he was in stasis though that isn’t entirely confirmed.
Hammer was a character made for Heroes of the Storm, and was initially going to first be General Edmund Duke from StarCraft 1 and then General Horace Warfield from StarCraft II. Unlike Lt. Morales and Probius (to an extent, we’ll get more into Probius’s canon status later), Hammer shows up in the StarCraft Field Manual, making her jump from Heroes to a full StarCraft character 100% complete. She’s shows up in a footnote written in the margins by some marines, who talk about how much they fear her ability to land shots near them, leaving with the warning:
”Never trust a woman who paints her tank red.”
Q: Spider Mines – Spider mines are an Earth technology that the terrans kept, and has remained mostly unchanged since they salvaged how to build them from their prison ship's supercomputers. It's a burrowing mine that detects movement, then rises from the ground, running at a target before exploding. In StarCraft 1, this was usually deployed on vulture bikes as they could move ahead and scout positions. In StarCraft II (in a motion of Heroes moving to SC canon) Nova's siege tanks have the ability to upgrade themselves to deploy spider mines.
E: Siege Mode – The siege tank can switch between two modes, assault and siege. In StarCraft 1 and in the first expansion of StarCraft II, siege tanks had to research this ability from the factory's addons before it could change modes. Due to the newer streamlined design, Dominion siege tanks now come with this ability by default.
R1: Blunt Force Gun – A reference to the BFG, made famous by the game Doom (actually named Big F—ing Gun). The large bullet this shot uses has a very Goblin motif to it with the shark face, a design made more famous by its use as the Wowhead symbol.
R2: Napalm Strike – Upon impact, the eagle it leaves in the ashes is the symbol of the Dominion Marine Corps, commonly used as the symbol of the terran race.
Level 16: Graduating Range – Another example of something that made the jump from Heroes of the Storm to StarCraft, Graduating Range started in Heroes then made the jump the SC2 in its Co-op Missions mode. Nova gets access to an upgrade that lets her more powerful siege tanks do the same thing.
”Need something blown up?” – A select quote for the StarCraft II siege tank. As apparent by Hammer's kit, siege tanks have an explosive playload.
”Speak up!” – A select quote for the StarCraft II siege tank.
”What? This is my inside voice!” – All siege tanks are very loud in both games, and the drivers have a tendency to shout all of their quotes.
”Don't tread on me, partner.” – A reference to the old Colonial United States saying “Don't tread on me.” It's also a common saying used in the American South, which the StarCraft terran motif takes a lot from. Also it's a pun on the fact her siege tank has treads.
”I love the smell of napalm in the… well, pretty much any time.” – A reference to the movie Apocalypse Now, where the quote is “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.” It gets quotes a lot in StarCraft, also being one of the lines of the firebat and also showing up in the campaign (“I love the smell of roasted zerglings in the morning.) Also a reference to her napalm strike ult.
”Siege tank. Siege tank roll. Roll tank roll.” – A reference to “See Spot Run,” a children's book. “See Spot. See Spot Run. Run spot run.”
”Tank you sir, may I have another?” – A common expression in American military boot camps “thank you sir may I have another?” usually something a recruit is forced to say while being punished. A pun too since she drives a tank.
”Please, Hammer, don't hurt 'm! Well you can't touch this, because I am too legit to quit! Now you better pray, pray because here comes the hammer!” – All references to songs and albums by MC Hammer, "Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em," "Can't Touch This," "Too Legit to Quit," "Pray," and "Here Comes the Hammer" respectively.
”You know, I just realized – I don't know where the escape hatch is on this thing! There is an escape hatch, right? Right? Hello?” – Terran engineering, while flexible and ingenious, sometimes doesn't have the highest regard for the safety of the operator.
”The sieeeegggee tank. Soon I'll be firing my giant gun.” – This is actually a reference to a song I can't place my finger on, so if anyone knows I'll add it here.
”Nap time's over. Back to dispensin' some indiscriminate justice!” – One of the most famous siege tank quotes is the StarCraft 1 poke quote “I'm about to drop the hammer, and dispense some indiscriminate justice!” It appears again in StarCraft II, “It is way past time I dispense some indiscriminate justice!”
”Still can't quit you, siege tank.” – One of the StarCraft II poke quotes is “Why can't I quit you, siege tank?”
”What is your major malfunction? Stop clicking already!” – Another siege tank poke quote from StarCraft 1. Also a reference to the film Full Metal Jacket .
”Let me guess, you thought Sgt. Hammer was going to be a man. (burp) Jokes on you, kiddo.” – Traditionally siege tank drivers in StarCraft have been male. Also Hammer went through a few iterations during the development of heroes, initially being General Edmund Duke from StarCraft 1, then General Horace Warfield from StarCraft II before being changed to Bama Kowalski.
(General) ”Ready to roll out?” – The quote said when a siege tank is constructed in StarCraft 1.
(Tychus) ”Nice gun, compensating for something?” – Tychus uses a massive oversized minigun. Also a dick joke.
(Said by Stitches) ”You tank, me spank.” – Tank and spank is a common term for raid fights in World of Warcraft that don't have many fancy mechanics, and just involve the tank holding the attention of the boss while the damage dealers hit it. May also be a reference to the Patchwerk fight from Naxxaramas (another abomination) being one of the more famous tank and spank fights. In this case it's also a pun on hammer being a tank.
(Said by Tychus) ”Well, if it ain't Bama the Hamma. They still let you drive that thing?” – From what little canon information we know of her, Sgt Hammer is infamous among the Dominion Marine Corps for her ability to land tungsten shells within feet of the troops she's trying to support. As mentioned earlier, Tychus's recognizing her may also hint that Hammer served under the Terran Confederacy, possibly during the Guild Wars.
(Said by D.Va) ”You call that a tank? Let me show you what a tank can do.” – In Overwatch D.Va's MEKA suit appears to be the equivalent of mobile armor. It's also a reference to her role in Overwatch and Heroes, where she has the role of a tank, while Hammer is a literal tank.
(Kerrigan) ”Ding dong, the witch is dead.” – A reference to the film The Wizard of Oz. Kerrigan is also one of the most infamous figures in the Koprulu Sector, having killed billions during the Great War and Brood War. So she's compared to the Wicked Witch of the West.
(Warfield) ”Warfield! You magnificent bastard I read your book.” – For those who don't recognize the name, General Horace Warfield is a character from StarCraft II who has yet to show up in Heroes (but was, in an earlier stage, the siege tank character for the game). This hints he may show up in the future. The quote is a reference to the movie Patton, from the line “Rommel, you magnificent bastard I read your book!” Both are in reference to how the two did tank warfare.
######Killing Hammer Quotes
(Dehaka) ”Terran shell of steel, no match for claws.” – A reference to a conversation Dehaka has with Kerrigan in Heart of the Swarm on the evolved claws of the Primal Zerg going against the metal tools of the terrans. Here Dehaka is saying that he has proven that his evolved claws can overcome their metal tools.
(Gazlowe) ”Oh man, it hurts to bust up something so beautiful.” – Gazlowe is a tinkerer, so he appreciates the technology of the terrans. Goblin and terran technology is very similar as well; very much focused on big guns and big explosions and less so for safety.
(Stukov) ”I've never been a fan of siege tanks.” – Back in StarCraft: Brood War, the UED (Stukov's faction) had an AI that would focus on building different units from the Terran Dominion. The UED would build heavy air attack forces and marine/medic teams, and shy away from building siege tanks, while the Dominion would use heavy amounts of marine/firebat/ghost and a large number of factory units like siege tanks.
(Tyrande) ”Not even gnomes would create such an abomination.” – In the Warcraft universe, gnomes are the inventors of the Alliance, creating massive machines and mechs to better their lives and the lives of the Alliance. Tyrande meanwhile is all about nature, and sees this technology as a perversion of the natural order. Interestingly enough the closest thing Warcraft has to siege tanks (steam tanks/siege engines) aren't of gnomish design, but rather drawvish.
”Fueled up and good to go!” – A reference to the quote when a siege tank is built in StarCraft II, “fueled up and ready to go!”
”Awww, scared of a little terran ingenuity?” – A reference to the quote from Jim Raynor in the mission “Belly of the Beast” when he uses his sniper rifle “Alright, let's introduce the zerg to a little terran ingenuity.”
”(hums Ride of the Valkyries)” – If you wait on the shop screen when Hammer is purchased she'll eventually do this. This is a reference to the StarCraft 1 siege tank, who had a poke quote of him humming a few verses of the same song.
Raider Hammer – This colors her tank blue, the same color as Raynor's Raiders. Raynor's Raiders was Jim Raynor's group of former militia, Confederate soldiers and Sons of Korhal members who rebelled against Arcturus Mengsk after he destroyed Tarsonis and founded the Terran Dominion, and sought to bring him to justice.
Umojan Hammer – The Umojan Protectorate is one of the three terran nations of the Kopurlu Sector. They are not quite as militant, focusing instead on science and art, and using their network of spies and psychics to disrupt the other two nations to keep them from expanding into their territory. This lead to a rather expensive cold war between the Umojans and the Dominion, causing events like the Spectre Rebellion. Umojans reguarly are shown with a white color scheme.
Master Sgt. Hammer – A play on words, as Master Sergeant is a higher rank than normal sergeant, and the skin description stated that Hammer gave herself a promotion in the Nexus. A bit of a holdover from when all Master Skins were just called “master.” On this skin set, the tattoo on her shoulder becomes the symbol of the Terran Dominion.
Renegade Master Sgt. Hammer – Another Raynor's Raider recolor. Raynor is regularly referred to as a “renegade commander.”
Moebius Master Sgt. Hammer – The Moebius Foundation was a massive research founded by Valerian Mengsk and run secretly by a xel'naga shapeshifter named Emil Narud (or Samir Duran). He manipulated them into working with Arcturus and making a race of hybrid of protoss and zerg as an army for his master Amon. After the hybrid were released, they seized control of the minds of the Moebius security division Moebius Corps, who fought alongside them as mindless thralls in their quest to wipe out all life in the universe. Their color scheme was black and red.
A bit of a short one, but I've been typing this up as I travel with spotty internet so getting Hammer out of the way is good this week. I apologize if this goes up late. Let me know how you feel about the more unit-heavy ones, while there's not a lot of lore for the characters there's still a bit that can be said but I'd like to know if you'd like to keep this up for Morales and Probius (or the other Heroes originals that are inevitably coming). I know some people have said they wanted a list of previous “Lore of” episodes, I can't this week but I'll have a google doc of all of that up next week. Let me know what you think and I'll see you all next week!