|For the Black Hand Elite Infantry, see Black Hand (Infantry).|
|“|| When we are crushing the black hearts of our oppressors, we will find our hands blackened. We cannot cultivate our garden without digging in the dirt.|
The Black Hand is an ancient order in the Brotherhood of Nod that was founded in 'times immemorial' with the blessings of Kane. They initially appeared to be a group specialized in covert operations and wet works, seemingly rendering them Nod's equivalent of an elite special forces unit. After the Brotherhood arose as a global power, the Black Hand was in fact revealed to be a feared and powerful cult of warrior-priests, being a secret society in Nod equally dedicated to the spreading of Kane's word and the enforcement of his will. Though Kane remarked that they once were comprised of the first humans to have followed him, the Black Hand's existence was only verified by the Global Defense Initiative during the late stages of the First Tiberium War. Nevertheless, many of Nod's devout have made hushed references to 'the most loyal of Kane's followers' having existed for millennia, watching over the inner workings of the Brotherhood.
|“|| Kane's word is all.|
- Black Hand Confessor
GDI's earliest confrontations with the Black Hand occurred during the last stages of the First Tiberium War, after they became aware of a secret society in the Brotherhood which appeared to be Kane's personal guard. GDI soldiers however learned the hard way that the Black Hand were in actuality Nod's elite troops, for they also served as special forces wherever and whenever the situation called for it.
It was discovered that the group additionally functioned as a kind of religious police within the Brotherhood, as the Black Hand were regarded by Nod's followers as part-elite force and part-priesthood. Despite the rigid lifestyle and harsh discipline, many soldiers of the Brotherhood would seek acceptance into its ranks, for it was viewed as a form of prestige.
As part of the initiation ritual, Black Hand disciples were thoroughly indoctrinated with Kane's teaching, and those who succeeded became true believers marked by an unfaltering piety. Upon passing the training's spiritual aspect, they were instructed rigorously in every form of modern Nod warfare. Once ordained as fully fledged members, they were granted access to the best infantry equipment the Brotherhood had to offer.
The outcome of these Black Hand rituals was nothing short of a well-equipped, highly trained cult of lethal zealots—whose lives were wholly devoted to Kane and the prophecy of Nod.
First Tiberium War
|“|| One Mission, One Purpose.|
- Black Hand elites
The Global Defense Initiative was at first oblivious to the unit's existence. However, disquieting rumours begin to rise when intercepted communications indicated that Far East Nod formations were communicating with an unknown Nod unit - the Black Hand. While most of the messages were still encrypted, GDI cryptologists managed to decipher enough to understand that operation "Silver Saber" was a success (possibly referring to the plan to capture GDI's top Tiberium specialists) and that the noose is tightening in Eastern Europe as planned. (Note: due to the similarities to the real life black hand, this may be a reference to the assasination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which started the First World War -the last real-life event in C&C canon.)
General Adam Locke dispatched Nick Parker to track the scientists. The commando encountered and killed many of the Black Hand and eventually killed Gideon Raveshaw, the first commander of the formation.
Prior to the last battle of the war, General Mark Sheppard debriefed the then commander James Solomon on Kane's main Temple, protected by Kane's "own crack militia". While there is no direct evidence, the "militia" protecting Kane is likely to the Black Hand.
The Black Hand had a radically different modus operandi from other Nod forces, as they cared little for civilian casualties - their deployments showed a 72% higher civilian casualty rate than that of mainstream Nod, which tended to avoid civilian casualties. Other activities included sabotage, assassinations, kidnappings, and terrorism.
Second Tiberium War
|“|| Commander, we are the Black Hand of Nod. WE are the salvation of Nod!|
- The Black Hand prelate Anton Slavik to one of his officers
It is unknown who became the commander of the Black Hand following the death of General Raveshaw at the hands of captain Nick Parker, but it is known that at the time of the Second Tiberium War the ancient order was under the command of its prelate Anton Slavik.
Slavik commanded a substantial force of these men, which allowed them to become a significant player in the struggle for power prior to the Second Tiberium War and allowed the rebirth of the Brotherhood, stronger and more resilient than before. Members of the Black Hand served as officers, advisors and commanders and following the destruction of Kane's Pyramid at the last moment by Commander Michael McNeil and the rebellion of CABAL were called upon to fight for Nod in the field, as their elite cadre status made them formidable soldiers.
By this time, the Black Hand had expanded its jurisdiction to become the wardens of the Brotherhood's religion. Along with spreading the prophesies of Kane, they were also preserved the spiritual discipline of Nod, even by the use of force.
Following the Firestorm Crisis, internal strife began to rise, even within the Black Hand, as Slavik's prominence as a general drew unwanted attention to his status as a Black Hand prelate, as well as the organization itself. Many began to believe that Slavik was a traitor to the cult. Tension grew between the Slavik loyalists and anti-Slavik groups, led by Brother Marcion.
Following the assassination of Slavik by Marcion, the Black Hand separated from the Brotherhood and became a splinter faction. The bulk of the cult's followers went into exile in Australia. Soon afterward, Nod shattered into various subfactions.
It is at this period that Marcion began radical changes to the Black Hand, trying to reflect himself as a "pure" religious figure. The Black Hand became a fanatical religious cult with a lot of military potential, both far and close to the original covert unit.
Despite his claims that Kane was a pretender, Marcion was brought back into the fold by Kane. With Marcion's "change of heart", the Black Hand rejoined the Brotherhood.
Third Tiberium War
|“|| Guidance for the masses.|
- A Confessor Cabal
After the internal conflicts were rectified, the Black Hand formed the core of the Brotherhood revival efforts, gathering support for them in the Yellow zones and procuring supplies and technology. They played a crucial role and soon their ranks expanded, to the point of them becoming elite infantry formations of the Brotherhood.
Black Hand infantry operate as shock troops, while supported by the numerous militia. Currently, the Black Hand wear full powered armor, fireproof cloaks masking their thermal signatures, and helmets with three horizontal visors. This equipment allows them to use their advanced flamethrowers effectively without harming their health as well as effectively clear out garrisoned buildings and decimate infantry. The Black Hand Chameleons were retired from service, the task of infiltration and sabotage granted to the elite Shadow Teams, who operated independently of the Black Hand. They also refuse to use stealth units as the Black Hand wishes to leave behind a visible example to any surviving witnesses to those who oppose Nod.
Along with its infantry formations serving in the regular Nod forces, the Black Hand's influence allows the organization to maintain its own military branch, essentially being a distinct subfaction of Nod. Instead of poorly trained Militias, its main infantry consists of elite Confessor Cabals, introduced after Marcion's ascension to the position as the Black Hand's leader. Commandos are available to a greater extent to Black Hand Commanders, allowing two battle-hardened battle sisters to be allocated to their forces-at the cost of their cloaking abilities. Also available is the Purifier, a predecessor to the Avatar Warmech; lacking it's more advanced counterpart's ability to commandeer technology, but with flamethrowers and subliminal projectors already installed. This unit is a pure example of the Black Hand's combat doctrine-headlong and ruthless. Replacing the stealth tank, the Black Hand developed the Mantis drone for defense against airborne threats, despite the organization's heavy objection to robotics.
|Confessor Cabal - An advance infantry for Nod but serves as a starting infantry for the Black Hand.|
|Militant rocket squad - Anti-tank unit, equipped with Airburst rocket launchers.|
|Fanatics - Suicide bombers who are willing to sacrifice themselves for Kane and Nod.|
|Saboteur - An engineering unit specializing in recovering husks, capturing and sabotaging enemy structures, or repairing friendly structures.|
|Black Hand - Anti-Infantry and Anti-Structure infantry unit of both Nod and Black Hand, uses flamethrowers.|
|Black Disciple - Black Hand troopers assigned to Confessor Cabals and Militant rocket squads, providing them with the firepower of a flamethrower.|
|Commando (no cloaking) - An elite unit specializing in sabotage. Two instead of one are available to Black Hand.|
|Mantis - Anti-aircraft unit exclusive to Black Hand.|
|Attack bike - Tier one scouting bike not only available to Black Hand but also in other branches of Nod. It specializes more in harrasing armored units.|
|Raider buggy - Tier one scouting buggy but unlike Attack Bike, its purpose is to dispose of infantries.|
|Reckoner - Armored Personnel Carrier of Nod.|
|Scorpion tank - Main Battle Tank|
|Advanced flame tank - Advance battle tank that can be upgraded by Purifying Flame.|
|Beam cannon - Advanced energy-based artillery.|
|Specter (no cloaking) - Artillery unit with its stealth generator removed.|
|MCV - Base provider.|
|Harvester (no cloaking) - Resource provider, does not cloak itself.|
|Purifier Warmech - a predecessor to Avatar Warmech. It can't be upgraded by gathering parts for Flame Tanks, Beam Cannons, and the like.|
|Redeemer - The ultimate war machine of Nod.|
The Black Hand does not use aircraft, but is willing to use Armageddon bomber airstrikes.
The cult survived into the latter half on the 21st century. Under Gideon, it has become more and more radical, up to the point where it broke off from the Brotherhood proper (again) and rose up against Kane under the brother's name. However, some of its members stayed with the Nod loyalists and fought for Kane. It is presumed that the Black Hand as a cult was brought back into the Brotherhood of Nod when Gideon was captured near the end of the conflict.
The Black Hand still used flamethrowers, which are effective against structures. The troopers explode into fireballs when killed.
Black Hand forces, when deployed into the field as a combat force, choose aggressive and swift, hard strikes against the enemy, and favor flame weaponry. The Black Hand infantry corps are superior to standard Nod troops: examples are the Elite cadre and the Black Hand infantry.
Despite their history of using Chameleons, under Marcion's regime, Black Hand forces currently shun the use of stealth and robotics, preferring to overwhelm the enemy head on. Interestingly, they still use the Mantis support droid for anti-air operations. Additionally, the Black Hand lacks air units, engaging enemies solely on the ground, though they are willing to call in airstrikes via Armageddon bombers.
Their Purifying Flame is so powerful it can prevent Commandos from going near Purifiers and bombing their legs and can even melt Mammoth 27s.
After being brought back to Nod's path, the Black Hand first aided in destroying GDI's Liquid Tiberium research facility, sacrificing all the troops assaulting the lab in the process. During the Third Tiberium War, the Black Hand were then sent to secretly kidnap GDI's top tiberium scientist, Alphonse Giraud. In the aftermath of the war, the 2nd Armoured Regiment of the Black Hand aided the Marked of Kane to help retrieve the Tacitus, despite their oath of never using soulless machines.
The Real-Life Black Hand
- Look up Wikipedia for the pan-Slavist group responsible for sparking the First World War
An organization named the Black Hand existed in real life as a secret society in Serbia. It formed around a goal to assassinate Aleksandar Obrenović, the last Serbian king of the Obrenović dynasty. They succeeded and the Karađorđević family replaced them. The Black Hand continued to work and exist on its own, and influenced its puppet organization called the "Bosnian Youth", which led to the assassination of archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo by the Bosnian Youth agent Gavrilo Princip on 28 June 1914.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Selinske, Joseph, and Amy Farris. Command & Conquer: Renegade: Operations Manual. Las Vegas, Nevada: Westwood Studios, 2002.
- ↑ Scorpion tank unit profile, commandandconquer.com