|This article is about the Imperial Crusade, for the Novel Series by William King see The Macharian Crusade (Novel Series)|
The Macharian Crusade (392-399.M41) was a seven year campaign (or Crusade) led by Lord Commander Solar Macharius. It took place on the far western edge of the galaxy, within the Segmentum Pacificus and leading into the Halo Zone. The campaign brought nearly one thousand worlds into the Imperium, and was one of the most successful crusades in its history. Since the end of the Crusade there has not been a crusade of such success, or size.
It all began on Macharia, now a Shrine World. Here Macharius rallied his troops before boarding the waiting transports in orbit above the planet. Then they set off to conquer planets right out to the Galactic Rim, and even beyond the reach of the Astronomican. Many of the planets had been lost in the previous chaos of the Age of Apostasy.[2a]
The first major battle of the crusade took place against the Cult of the Angel of Fire, which ruled over the Karsk System. Here the Cult was revealed to be a Tzeentchian front, and a wounded Macharius faced down a Lord of Change itself, rejecting its promises of power through Chaos and remaining pure.[5b] The Crusade ground on, and many alien and human civilizations were encountered. The most notable campaigns included:
- 392.M41- The Hive World of Persepolis is re-contacted by the Imperium after 5,000 years. Macharius joins Sejanus's army while they fight across the deserts of Gedrosia. Macharius finds the tomb of the ancient explorer Indijona the Vagrant and takes his helm for himself.
- 393.M41 - A battle against Chaos Space Marines on the world of Zaga IV. During the fighting, a Bolter round embeds itself in Macharius's chest but fails to explode. The Confessors accompanying the Crusade declare it to be a miracle and sign of the Emperor's grace.
- 395.M41 - The battle on Thoth. General Arrian takes the last enemy position on the planet after Macharius arrives with reinforcements.
- 395-397.M41 - General Borgen Crassus's invasion of the highly advanced human civilization on the planet Adrantis Five. Adrantis Five and its advanced technology held Macharius at bay for two years, with General Crassus's Army Group losing 90% of its men in the fighting. In the end, the Warmaster only defeated Adrantis Five after re-directing a comet towards the world.[2a]
- Date Unknown: The Crusade intercepts an Ork Waaagh!, whose Warboss inflicted debilitating injuries on the Warmaster himself.[2a]
- Date Unknown: The invasion of Goranna
Overall, in the first year of the Crusade, a hundred worlds fell. In the second year, three hundred fell. In the third, nearly seven hundred planets had fallen to Macharius' armies.[2a] Each of them was systematically wiped out or brought under the dominion of the Imperium, and in the wake of Macharius' conquering army came Missionaries of the Ecclesiarchy and Inquisitorial teams to reestablish the Imperial yoke on these reclaimed realms.
By the end of the Crusade, Macharius' armies stood undefeated and at the edge of the Western Galaxy, facing the Halo Zone and the limits of the light of the Astronomican. The region beyond was cut off from the Imperium and the home to civilizations that knew not of the Emperor. At this point, Macharius's generals and troops wavered. They pleaded him to reconsider advancing into the Halo Stars. His fleet would be slowed due to the difficulty Navigators would have in Warp travel beyond the Astronomican, and his Astropaths would be beyond the range of communication back to Imperial space. Moreover, his armies had simply run out of energy after many long battles. Many of his troops were also fearful of what lay beyond, most scout teams sent into the Halo Zone never returned and those that did told of strange phenomenon, of haunted stars and entire worlds inhabited by ghosts. Faced with this refusal to advance, Macharius became furious and accused his men of betrayal and cowardice. He locked himself in his state room, drinking himself to a drunken stupor.[2a]
When Macharius finally reappeared, he ordered his fleet to set course back to Imperial space. His soldiers cheered the Warmaster a hero, and his generals breathed a sigh of relief. However, Macharius was a broken man and his dreams of boundless conquests were shattered in the face of human frailty. His will broken, according to Imperial records on the return journey Macharius succumbed to a jungle fever he had contracted on Jucha in 400.M41. However this was just a coverup by Imperial authorities, and in truth an already-dying Macharius, riddled with plagues of Nurgle received battling the traitorous general Richter on the world of Loki, was killed by an agent of the Officio Assassinorum with cooperation of the Inquisitor Drake for unknown reasons. Despite their earlier refusal to continue the Crusade, Macharius's men deeply mourned the passing of their general and revered him as a god.[2a]
After his death, Macharius's body was returned to Macharia, where the Crusade had originally began. A massive funeral took place, which was attended by Adepts, ministers of the Ecclesiarchy, Tech-priests, and many other important figures wishing to pay their respect. A million men led the funeral procession, and a hundred generals laid their swords on his ornate sarcophagus.[2a]
- The 1st Army Group of Lord Solar Macharius himself[2b]
- The 2nd Army Group of General Sejanus
- The 3rd Army Group of General Tarka
- The 4th Army Group of General Lysander
- The 5th Army Group of General Borgen Crassus[2b]
- The 6th Army Group of General Arrian
- The 7th Army Group of General Cyrus of Larrentine
- Donian Imperial Guard
- 2nd Mordian
- 4th Catachan
- 5th Catachan
- 6th Catachan
- 12th Catachan
- 14th Catachan
- 3rd Tallarn "Desert Tigers"
- 4th Tallarn
- 5th Tallarn
- Tempestus Scion Regiments
- Death Spectres
- Doom Warriors
- Imperial Paladins
- Space Wolves
- White Scars - One Brotherhood
- Lord of Light - Emperor Class Battleship, flagship in the later part of the Crusade.
- Pax Imperium - Mars Class Battle Cruiser, flagship of the Crusade but destroyed at the Battle of Charaxdis.
- 1: Codex: Imperial Guard (5th Edition), pg. 13
- 2: Codex: Imperial Guard (2nd Edition)
- 4: Codex: Imperial Guard (3rd Edition, 1st Codex), pg. 7
- 5: Angel of Fire (Novel) by William King
- 6: White Dwarf 240 pgs. 32-33
- 7: Imperial Armour Volume Ten, pgs. 108-109
- 8: Fist of Demetrius
- 9: Codex: Militarum Tempestus (6th Edition) - Tempestus Millennium
- 10: Fall of Macharius (Novel), [Needs Citation]
- 11: Fist of Demetrius (Novel), Chapter 14, pg. 88-94
- 12: Codex: Space Marines (8th Edition) pg.34
- 13: Captain Al'rahem: A Tallarn Desert Raiders Special Character - Games Workshop via Web Archive