The Land Raider Crusader is a variant of the standard Land Raider Phobos used by the Space Marines and the Inquisition. The Land Raider Crusader is rearmed to provide short-ranged, anti-infantry assault support for Astartes offensives. The Land Raider Crusader was originally developed as a variant of the standard Land Raider main battle tank by the Black Templars Chapter, but was eventually approved as an authorised design for all Astartes Chapters by the Adeptus Mechanicus due in no small part to its usage by the Ultramarines Chapter.
The Land Raider Crusader is intended to be an assault-based variant of the Land Raider that is a linebreaker without peer. The Crusader can smash through enemy formations, shrugging off small arms fire in order to disgorge a squad of Space Marines into the heart of the foe. In place of Lascannons, the Crusader is armed with Hurricane Bolters that cut down the first line of defenders before an assault is launched. A hull-mounted twin Assault Cannon adds to its formidable anti-infantry firepower, its Frag Assault Launchers suppressing the foe while the tank closes in. The Crusader also boasts an improved transport capacity by reclaiming the space normally given over to the Land Raider Phobous' bulky las-power generators.
It was originally designed during the Jerulas Crusade in 645.M39 by the Black Templars Artificer Simagus using recovered ancient techno-arcana in the long-forgotten depths of a captured Hive City. As tales of this variant Land Raider's successes spread, many other Chapters began to request information regarding its design. The Tech-priests of Mars officially recognised the Crusader Pattern of the Land Raider in 763.M39 assuring its survival, although this was a mere formality since the design had already spread to hundreds of Chapters.
The Land Raider Crusader is designed to utilise the potent all-round armour of the Land Raider against the heaviest enemy defences and fortifications. It is employed to smash into enemy lines before disgorging Space Marines into the heart of a fortified position as its weapons unleash a torrent of fire in support. It is a brutal tactic, well-suited to the Space Marines' role as peerless shock warriors. The Land Raider Crusader variant was first developed and deployed during the Jerulas Crusade by the Black Templars Chapter and as such is a comparatively recent addition to the canon of Land Raider variants. The Jerulas Crusader involved a grueling campaign of sieges of hive cities and the Black Templars invariably led the final assaults when the bombardment lifted. To aid their assault troops, the Chapter's Techmarines mounted Hurricane Bolters in each sponson and a twin-linked Assault Cannon on the hull. It was an immediate success and, as news of the Black Templars' magnificent victories on Jerulas spread, other Chapters requested the re-armament protocols and re-consecration rituals utilised. To this day, the Black Templars still make wider use of the Crusader than any other Chapter. As word of the Crusader's existence spread, a delegation of senior Tech-adepts arrived from Mars demanding an audience with the High Marshal, intent upon investigating the modification. It is likely that the Tech-priests feared a repetition of earlier instances of details of new patterns being deliberately withheld from their Order. In 763.M39, after long debate and testing, the Land Raider Crusader pattern was given Chapter Approved status by the Fabricator-General of the Adeptus Mechanicus and was officially recognised in the canon of machine lore. Yet even before its official sanction, the Crusader pattern had found extensive use in the armouries of numerous Space Marine Chapters.
The Crusader differs from more common Land Raider patterns in several ways. Both sponsons replace the standard Lascannon configuration with Hurricane Bolters -- six Bolters slaved to a single mount. Coupled with this are a Twin-linked Assault Cannon in place of the hull-mounted Heavy Bolters to provide a formidable degree of suppressing firepower as the Crusader closes in on its target. The final addition is a conversion of the standard turret ring Pintle-mount to allow a Multi-Melta to be fitted. The Multi-Melta was not included on the first Land Raider Crusaders, but hard-won experience taught the Black Templars that the Land Raider often needed heavy firepower to force open breaches in defences and to clear barricades or anti-tank obstacles as it broke into a position.
The other main adaptation in regards to the Crusader is its increased transport capacity. The removal of the large generators required by the Lascannon creates space for an additional six Space Marines. This gives the Crusader the largest transport capacity of any Land Raider variant -- sixteen Power Armoured Space Marines or eight Terminators. The Land Raider Crusader is crewed by three Space Marines and has its own Machine Spirit (Artificial Intelligence). The Crusader has one additional unique upgrade in the form of Frag Assault Launchers situated on either side of the front entrance/exit ramp. These are designed to fire shrapnel at an entrenched enemy to aid the transported unit's charge when they leave the vehicle. The primary role of this vehicle in combat is to serve as an armoured fast assault tank, capable of launching assaults into the heart of enemy formations where it can withstand a heavy amount of punishment and deal out more than its share of damage to both infantry and tanks. The Land Raider Crusader can also be outfitted with a Dozer Blade, a Hunter-Killer Missile Launcher, a Pintle-mounted Storm Bolter in addition to its Pintle-mounted Multi-Melta, a Searchlight, and Smoke Launchers.
- Crusader Hailstorm Squadron - Hailstorm Squadrons are a formation of the Land Raider Crusader often deployed by the Black Templars Chapter. Hailstorm Squadrons are comprised of 3-5 Land Raider Crusaders which thrust fearlessly into an enemy battle line. They then proceed to lay down a withering hail of fire. Additional ammunition for each vehicle's Hurricane Bolters is carried in the transport compartment of the Crusader. This reduces the number of assault troops that the vehicles in the squadron can carry, but allows them to conduct a coordinated "hailstorm" fire attack that is capable of sweeping away dozens of enemies at a stroke, and tearing the heart out of even a heavily fortified enemy defensive position.
Notable Users of the Land Raider Crusader
- Black Templars - The Black Templars Space Marine Chapter were the original users of the Land Raider Crusader, having founds its designs in a captured Hive City during the Jerulas Crusade. The Black Templars make extensive use of the Crusader, and have used it in many battles, including the Third War for Armageddon.
- Astral Claws - The Astral Claws Space Marine Chapter made use of the Land Raider Crusader during the Badab War, where they rebelled against the Imperium.
- Doom Warriors - The Doom Warriors Space Marine Chapter made use of Land Raider Crusaders during the Battle for Truan City, where the vehicle's Hurricane Bolters were extremely effective against the invading Orks.
- Howling Griffons - The Howling Griffons Space Marine Chapter made use of the Land Raider Crusader during the Badab War.
- Imperial Fists - The Imperial Fists Space Marine Chapter made use of the Land Raider Crusader during the Purging of Genymede.
- Raptors - The Raptors Space Marine Chapter made use of the Land Raider Crusader during the Badab War.
- Salamanders - The Salamanders Space Marine Chapter made use of the Land Raider Crusader during the Badab War and the Third War for Armageddon.
- Ultramarines - The Ultramarines Space Marine Chapter made extensive use of the Crusader before it was officially recognised by the Adeptus Mechanicus, and many believe that the use of the Crusader by the Ultramarines was a major factor in the Crusader becoming an officially recognised variant of the Land Raider.
Known Land Raider Crusaders
- Fire Drake - Fire Drake is a Land Raider Crusader of the Salamanders Space Marine Chapter. Fire Drake is heavily decorated with the markings of their Promethean Cult.
- Talassar's Fury - Talassar's Fury is a Land Raider Crusader that belongs to the Ultramarines Space Marine Chapter.
Adeptus Mechanicus Technical Specifications
|Vehicle Name:||Land Raider Crusader||Main Armament:||2 Sponson-mounted Hurricane Bolters|
|Forge World of Origin:||Jerulas||Secondary Armament:||Hull-mounted Twin-linked Assault Cannons, Pintle-mounted Multi-Melta|
|Known Patterns:||II - XI||Traverse:||180 degrees|
|Crew:||1 Commander, 1 Driver||Elevation:||-32 to 42 degrees|
|Powerplant:||Adaptable Thermic Combustion with Auxilliary Reactor||Main Ammunition:||4,000 Rounds|
|Weight:||72.0 tonnes||Secondary Ammunition:||2,000 Rounds|
|Height:||4.11 metres||Superstructure:||95 millimetres|
|Ground Clearance:||0.45 metres||Hull:||95 millimetres|
|Max Speed On-Road:||50 kilometres per hour||Gun Mantlet:||N/A|
|Max Speed Off-Road:||41 kilometres per hour||Vehicle Designation:||0120-766-0724-PR 122|
|Transport Capacity:||16 Space Marines, or 8 Terminator Marines||Firing Ports:||N/A|
|Access Points:||2 Side Doors, 1 Front ramp||Turret:||N/A|
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Space Marines, pp. 91, 178
- Codex: Armageddon (3rd Edition), pg. 24
- Codex Blood Angels (5th Edition), pg. 37
- Codex: Black Templars (4th Edition), pp. 42-43
- Codex: Dark Angels (6th Edition), pp. 41, 79, 104
- Codex: Dark Angels (4th Edition), pg. 35
- Codex: Grey Knights (5th Edition), pg. 36
- Codex: Space Wolves (5th Edition), pg. 45
- Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 102-103, 177
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pg. 82
- Codex: Space Marines (4th Edition), pg. 40
- Imperial Armour Volume Two - Space Marines and Forces of the Inquisition, pp. 99-104, 208-209
- Imperial Armour Volume Two, Second Edition - War Machines of the Adeptus Astartes, pp. 30, 44-45
- Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part One, pp. 40, 63, 132
- Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War - Part Two, pg. 153
- Warhammer 40,000: Apocalypse (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 168, 369
- Warhammer 40,000: Apocalypse (4th Edition), pg. 115
- White Dwarf 312 (UK), "Righteous Victories" by Graham McNeill and "Black Steel - Building the Land Raider Crusader," pp. 25-33
- White Dwarf 248 (US), "Line Breaker"