The Jerulas Crusade was an Imperial Crusade launched by the Black Templars Space Marine Chapter led by High Marshal Ludoldus in 645.M39. The Jerulas Crusade saw the development of the Land Raider Crusader. Jerulas was a long-isolated star system, only rediscovered by the Imperium in the late 39th Millennium on the outer fringes of the galaxy. Attempts were made to integrate its worlds into the Imperium and return it to the Emperor's Light, but the system had long been prosperous and independent, and scorned Imperial interference.
The Adeptus Ministorum had sent missionaries from the Missionaria Protectiva to Jerulas to teach its people about the wonders of the God-Emperor and bring the system into the fold of the Emperor's realm. The first missionaries were killed and their ships destroyed, but more were to follow. When more Imperial missionaries arrived, this time they were accompanied by a strike force of the Black Templars to ensure that Jerulas no longer rejected rightful Imperial authority. Under the command of none other than the great tactician High Marshal Ludoldus, veteran of the bloody Vinculus Crusade, the Black Templars smashed aside all resistance as they pushed in towards the core worlds.
Siege of Jerulas
The surrounding worlds fell quickly to the Crusade, but Jerulas itself was a well-fortified Hive World, its many spires protected by formidable defences. Numerous besiegements were undertaken by the Black Templars - each incurring heavy losses and each promising no swift end to the Crusade. Despite this, it was only a matter of time before starvation and chronic water shortages on Jerulas forced the end of its resistance, but Ludoldus would have nothing to do with such a solution. At the Muster of the Castellans, he declared that the Crusade would only be ended on the blade of a Chainsword or by the roar of the Bolter. Faced by such formidable defences, it was not until the discovery of ancient techno-arcana in the long-forgotten depths of a captured hive that the tide of battle was to turn. Amidst the tattered scrolls and flickering holo-schematics, Marine Artificer Simagus discovered the means to develop one of the most feared battle tanks in the Imperium, the Land Raider Crusader.
With the development of this formidable line-breaking tank the Black Templars were able to plough into the entrenched enemy and those occupying highly defensible positions. With its expanded troop capacity they were able to safely disgorge a sizeable squad of Space Marines or Terminators into the heart of the traitorous hives and, against such lethal opposition, they could not possibly hold. Each of the treacherous spires fell upon the first escalade and within a month those hives that remained in enemy hands had surrendered, though the Black Templars proved to be merciless in victory. The Jerulas System was integrated into the Imperium of Man.
Following the success of the Jerulan Crusade, several other Chapters requested information regarding the remodelling of the Crusader as tales of its successes spread, and in 763.M39 the Crusader pattern became officially recognised by the Adeptus Mechanicus (a mere formality, since it is estimated the design had spread to hundreds of Chapters by this time).
- Codex: Black Templars (4th Edition), pg. 43
- White Dwarf 312 (UK), "Righteous Victories," by Graham McNeill and "Black Steel - Building the Land Raider Crusader," pp. 25-33
- White Dwarf 248 (UK), "Line Breaker"