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- "The galaxy is the Emperor's, and anyone or anything who challenges that claim is an enemy who must be destroyed."
A Crusader Squad is the standard tactical organisation employed by the Black Templars Chapter of Space Marines. The Black Templars are organised in a different manner to many Codex Astartes-compliant Chapters and do not follow the dictates of the Codex Astartes in many ways, notably in the recruitment, training and deployment of their warriors. The majority of Black Templars Battle-Brothers -- known within the Chapter as Initiates -- are organised into Crusader Squads, which form the backbone of any strike force unleashed by the Chapter. Many Crusader Squads have the honour of being led to battle by one of the Chapter's Sword Brethren -- Veterans whose deeds and example inspire the Initiates to ever greater acts of courage. Crusader Squads are armed primarily with the holy Bolter, though given the Black Templars' preference for fighting their foes face-to-face, many choose to carry Chainswords and other weapons more suited to the cut and thrust of close combat, epitomising the Black Templars' righteous zeal and their drive to defeat their foes in battle.
Before a Black Templars recruit marches to war as an Initiate, he must first prove his mettle as a Neophyte. Unlike other Space Marine Chapters, the Black Templars have no dedicated Scout Company in which its Aspirants are trained. Instead, the Black Templars' recruits train within a Chapter Keep and, once they are deemed ready by the Keep's Castellan, are transported to one of the Black Templars' fleets. Here, the Neophytes are put through even more gruelling trials as the Chapter's Initiates test their strength, martial skills and faith to the limits. Should a survivor of these trials impress one of the assembled Battle-Brothers, an Initiate may take it upon himself to personally mentor the Neophyte in the art of war. From that point on, the Initiate takes sole responsibility for his pupil's training and conduct. He swears an oath to prepare the Neophyte for his entry into the brotherhood that is the Chapter, teach him of its history, and guide him through its holy rites of worship to the Emperor. In return, the Neophyte pledges obedience to his master and vows never to bring dishonour to his name. Neophytes also act as servants to their mentors, waiting on them at the great banquets and seeing to their day-to-day requirements.
On the battlefield, an Initiate often stands beside his young pupil, teaching him through bloody example the way of Bolter and blade. In this way, the Neophyte learns first hand the methods of waging war and of destroying the Emperor’s enemies. After fighting as part of a Crusader Squad on several battlefields, it is common for groups of Black Templars Neophytes to be tasked together into independent squads, akin to a Codex Chapter's Scout Squads. These units are tasked with infiltrating enemy positions or fulfilling some other critical mission. For a Neophyte to be trusted so speaks volumes of his Initiate’s faith in his abilities, and the Neophyte fights all the harder, lest they show such trust to be misplaced.
It is the Initiate's prerogative to say when his apprentice's training is complete. Once he has proven his valour and skill, a Black Templars Neophyte submits to the Chapter’s Chaplains to undergo the final trials of purity before, in a ceremony of great reverence, he is elevated into the ranks of a full Battle-Brother of Initiate status and honoured with a suit of Power Armour. He is now truly a Black Templar, possessed of great power, and sworn to use it in the Emperor's service unto death.
- 5-10 Initiates
- 1 Sword Brother
- Power Armour (Initiates and Sword Brethren only)
- Scout Armour (Neophytes only)
- Bolt Pistol
- Frag Grenades
- Krak Grenades
- Chainsword (as replacement for Bolter)
- Power Weapon (any type; 1 Initiate in the squad only)
- Power Fist (1 Initiate in the squad only)
- Space Maine Heavy Weapon (1 Initiate in the squad only)
- Astartes Shotgun (any Neophyte only as replacement for Bolter)
- Melta Bombs (Sword Brethren only)
- Drop Pod, Rhino, Razorback or Land Raider Crusader - Any one of these vehicles can carry the Crusader Squad into battle.
- Codex: Space Marines (7th Edition), pp. 201, 307-309
- Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 119, 168