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Grand Crusader (Star Crusader)

Grand Crusader (Star Crusader)
Grand Crusader
Production information
Manufacturer Gibson Federated BattleMechs,[1]
Krupp Armament Works,
Skobel MechWorks
Production Year 3053[2]
Model GRN-D-01
Class Assault
Cost 15,550,200 C-bills
Technical specifications
'Mech type Inner Sphere BattleMech
Mass 80 tons
Chassis Crucis-ES Endo Steel
Armor Maximillian 45
Engine Hermes 240 XL
Communications System O/P COMNET 210A
Targeting Tracking System Garret A99 with Artemis IV Interface
Heat Sinks 10 double
Speed 54.0 km/h
Armament
BV (1.0) 1,197[3]
BV (2.0) 1,758[4]


Description[edit]

The Grand Crusader was originally commissioned by Word of Blake Precentor Martial Trent Arian after he had assumed command of the Word of Blake Militia in 3052. The 'Mech was named by him for a passage in one of the works of Jerome Blake that states "those who fight to preserve technology and knowledge are the grandest crusaders of all". In spite of this, the name can cause confusion as some assume from the name that the 'Mech is an upgraded version of the venerable Crusader BattleMech.[5][6]

The Grand Crusader's development stems from the Blakists' need for military hardware after their flight to the Free Worlds League and Gibson. Though a number of Com Guard MechWarriors defected to the Word, few were able to flee the secular ComStar with their 'Mechs, with Trent Arian negotiating with Gibson Federated BattleMechs to produce new 'Mechs for the Militia with the promise of underwriting production and an agreement that it could be sold on the open market. Save for a few examples scattered through the Free Worlds League Military, most notably the 15th Marik Militia, the Blakists snapped up every example, with their First Division receiving the first models in 3053.[5][6]

Though considered Arian's signature BattleMech, the Grand Crusader received a dramatic refresh and refit under his successor Cameron St. Jamais following the Blakist capture of Terra. Seeking to fuel the expansion of the Blakist Militia, St. Jamais sought ways to increase the output of Terra's already overtaxed production capacity, reaching out to Vicore Industries' Giovanni Estrella de la Sangre to assist. Vicore's engineering teams suggested numerous ways of streamlining production while enhancing designs, making suggestions to improve upon the Grand Crusader while using equipment also utilized by the Vanquisher and Legacy to save money and resources. Expanding production to Skobel 'MechWorks and Krupp Armament Works, this new Grand Crusader II first rolled off the production line in early March of 3066, quickly followed up with six more production runs by late August of 3067.[7]

The Grand Crusader also served as the initial focus of the Word of Blake's efforts to develop OmniMechs for their military in the 3060s, research going into updating the chassis again with OmniPod connection points,[7] but the project ultimately foundered and was shelved instead for the Celestial series.[8]

Weapons and Equipment[edit]

The Grand Crusader has a massive barrel-chested profile that harkens back to designs like the Awesome or Mackie and lending it an almost steam-age appearance, reinforced by the large smoke-stack style sensor pylons rising from its back. Built to maximize its available space for weapons and equipment, the Grand Crusader uses a weight saving Crucis-ES Endo Steel chassis and a lightweight Hermes 240 XL engine that propels the 'Mech to a top speed of 54.0 km/h. The Grand Crusader is protected by 15½ tons of Maximilian 45 armor and, to handle the 'Mech's heat burden, the Grand Crusader carries 10 double heat sinks.[5][6]

The Grand Crusader is well-armed to engage an enemy at medium to long ranges. The primary long-range weapons carried by the Grand Crusader are a pair of Holly LRM-20 launchers fed from a combined six ton of ammunition, mated with an Artemis IV fire control system for greater missile accuracy. Gibson developed an innovative housing for the missile launchers, sliding up from the 'Mechs back to give the 'Mech greater firing range for its payload. For medium range combat, the Grand Crusader has two Tronel PPL-20 large pulse lasers and, for close range combat, the 'Mech has two Intek medium pulse lasers.[5][6]

For added protection against missile attacks, the Grand Crusader carries an LFN Lindblad Shotgun anti-missile system, mounted on a pivot point on top of the cockpit. This placement results in a noticeable blind spot on the sides of the Grand Crusader's lower legs and back that made using the Lindblad less effective to repel battle armor missile attacks. The Word of Blake's expectation that it would be many years before the 'Mech would encounter the Clans and their fearsome Elementals would give them plenty of time to correct this mistake.[5][6]

Variants[edit]

  • GRN-D-02 
    By removing half a ton of armor, the medium pulse lasers, and the anti-missile system and replacing with two LRM-5 launchers (linked to the Artemis IV fire control system for greater missile accuracy), the -02 variant of the Grand Crusader has been modified to act as a dedicated long-range fire support 'Mech.[6] BV (1.0) = 1,211;[3] BV (2.0) = 1,702[10]
  • GRN-D-02-B 
    This variant of the Grand Crusader uses a 320 XL engine. The loadout is the similar to that of the 01 model, but replaces the Large Pulse Lasers with extended-range models[9].
  • GRN-D-03 
    The 03 variant is a complete upgrade of the Grand Crusader, meant to bring it more in line with modern military hardware. The 'Mech is still built on an Skobel Template 8 Endo Steel chassis, but now carries a much larger Pitban 320 light fusion engine to give it a top speed of 64.8 km/h and a much greater amount of survivability than the XL engine carried by earlier models. The 03 variant also carries triple strength myomer to increase its ground speed to 86.4 km/h as long as it is running hot. The 'Mech has four CurtissJet 80 jump jets to further increase its mobility. The 03 variant carries fifteen tons of Aldis Plate armor protection and is armed with two ER large lasers as its primary weapons, backed up by an LRM-15 launcher with an Artemis IV fire control system. For close combat, the 'Mech has three ER medium lasers and a Streak SRM-6 missile launcher. The 'Mech also carries an improved C3 computer, allowing it to share targeting data with friendly units.[7] BV (1.0) = 1,761; BV (2.0) = 2,276[11]
  • GRN-D-04 
    This is a completely remodeled variant of the 'Mech. Dubbed the Grand Crusader II, the armor profile radically changed the 'Mech’s appearance. It was built using the same engine, triple strength myomer, and CurtissJet 80 jump jet combination as the 03 variant. The 04 variant of the Grand Crusader is built exclusively as a sniper 'Mech. The 'Mech's primary weapon is a Krupp Strumfurer light Gauss rifle that is effective at extreme ranges. This is backed up by a Blankenburg ER PPC that is capable of adding its firepower at long range. For close combat, the 'Mech has two Diverse Optics Sunbeam ER medium lasers and a Guided Technologies 2nd Gen Streak SRM-6 missile launcher. The 'Mech also carries an improved C3 unit to allow it to share targeting data with friendly units.[7] BV (1.0) = 1,828; BV (2.0) = 2,292[12]
  • Grand Crusader Omni 
    The initial focus of the Word of Blake's OmniMech Program, the Grand Crusader Omni was rumored to enter production in early 3070,[7] but ultimately development encountered issues and the project ended as the Jihad broke out.[8]


Design Quirks[edit]

The Grand Crusader has the following Design Quirks:[13][14]

The Grand Crusader II has the following Design Quirks:[15]

Notable Pilots[edit]

Related Designs[edit]

  • Star Crusader - The Scorpion Empire developed its first new OmniMech from Grand Crusader OmniMech schematics found in a Blakist supply cache on the world of Braunschweig.[9]

Notes[edit]

  • In German products, the unit's proper name was literally translated to Großkreuzritter. The model code was accordingly changed to GRS-S-01-KZRZ-T.

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ComStar, p. 102: "Word of Blake Grand Crusader"
  2. MUL online date for the Grand Crusader (Star Crusader)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Combat Operations, p. 134
  4. Record Sheets: 3055 Upgrades Unabridged, p. 165
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 ComStar, p. 102: "New BattleMechs - Word of Blake Grand Crusader"
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Technical Readout: 3058, p. 132: "Inner Sphere BattleMechs - Grand Crusader"
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Technical Readout: 3055 Upgrade, p. 100: "Inner Sphere "Phoenix" BattleMechs - Grand Crusader"
  8. 8.0 8.1 Jihad Hot Spots: 3072, p. 134: "Rules Annex - Celestial Series OmniMechs"
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Recognition Guide: ilClan, vol. 23, p. 10
  10. Record Sheets: 3055 Upgrades Unabridged, p. 166
  11. Record Sheets: 3055 Upgrades Unabridged, p. 167
  12. Record Sheets: 3055 Upgrades Unabridged, p. 168
  13. BattleMech Manual, Fourth Printing, p. 91: "BattleMech Quirk Table"
  14. BattleMech Manual Errata (Version 6.01), p. 9: "BattleMech Quirk Table"
  15. BattleMech Manual, p. 91: BattleMech Quirk Table - Grand Crusader II Entry
  16. Total Chaos, p. 90: "Binge, Purge, Flush"

Bibliography[edit]