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Targetdrone.gif This article is about the Imperial Term; for the Novella, see Crusade (Novella).

A Crusade is the Imperial term given for a very large-scale military campaign undertaken by Imperial forces in order to conquer several worlds in one offensive. Crusades are usually broad enough in scope to involve several worlds and many smaller-scale campaigns. They also often involve more than one branch of the Imperial military, in which case they are led by a Warmaster or an officer of sufficient rank to command multiple arms of the Imperial military.[Needs Citation]


Only the High Lords of Terra were able to declare a Crusade that could be any campaign from being a long, large-scale war involving many Space Marine Chapters or could be a short conflict that is resolved in a single battle with only a handful of troops. Crusades is one means of drawing contingents from several Space Marine Chapters and binding them together to fight an enemy. This serves as a way of not committing entire Chapters or involving the ponderous resources of the Imperial Guard. They can be declared against heretic Lords or even rebellious planetary governments that had turned against the Imperium due to their own selfish reasons. Crusades are also able to be launched against alien planets or newly discovered worlds that lay beyond the Emperor's light.[1]

To Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes, the contribution of Space Marine forces is a matter of honour and can see a squad or two of troops deployed when they are called upon to take part in a Crusade. Once won, the Chapter will add the battle honour to their standards as a mark of achievement and loyalty. Entire Space Marine Chapters can take part in a Crusade as an act of penance for failure or due to incurring the displeasure of the Emperor. Such acts are very extreme but are nonetheless willingly taken as completion means the Chapter earns the forgiveness of the Emperor thus allowing the Space Marines to return to their homeworld and be absolved of heresy.[1]

Black Templars' Crusades


The Black Templars chapter has been embarked on a single, neverending crusade since their founding, and their chapter is scattered across the galaxy in myriad smaller undertakings known as "crusades". A Crusade is the nominal unit of division among the Templars, instead of the more traditional Company in a Codex chapter.[Needs Citation]


The first Crusade is considered to be the Emperor's Great Crusade which created the Imperium. The Chaos counterpart to an Imperial Crusade is known as a Black Crusade.

After the Badab War, the Executioners and Lamenters were dispatched on a hundred year Crusade in order to atone for their part in the rebellion.[1]

Named Crusades