|Manufacturer||Gibson Federated BattleMechs|
Krupp Armament Works
|Chassis||Crucis-ES Endo Steel|
|Engine||Hermes 240 XL|
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. 
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 costs and an agreement that it could be sold on the open market. Save for a few examples scattered though 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.  
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 the 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's 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.
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, but the project ultimately floundered and was shelved instead for the Celestial series.
Weapons and EquipmentEdit
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 fifteen and a half tons of Maximilian 45 armor and, to handle the 'Mech's heat burden, the Grand Crusader carries ten double heat sinks. 
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. 
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 Crusaders 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. 
- By removing half a ton of armor, the Medium Pulse Lasers, and the Anti-Missile System, the 02 variant of the Grand Crusader has been modified to act as a dedicated long-range fire support 'Mech by adding two LRM-5 launchers, also linked to the Artemis IV Fire Control System for greater missile accuracy. BV (1.0) = 1,211, BV (2.0) = 1,702
- 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 surviability 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. BV (1.0) = 1,761, BV (2.0) = 2,276
- 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 a 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 an 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. BV (1.0) = 1,828, BV (2.0) = 2,292
- MUL online date for the Grand Crusader
- Combat Operations, p. 134
- Record Sheets: 3055 Upgrades Unabridged, p. 165
- ComStar, p. 102 "New BattleMechs - Word of Blake Grand Crusader"
- Technical Readout: 3058, p. 132 "Inner Sphere BattleMechs - Grand Crusader"
- Technical Readout: 3055 Upgrade, p. 100 "Inner Sphere "Phoenix" BattleMechs - Grand Crusader"
- Jihad Hot Spots: 3072, p. 134 "Rules Annex - Celestial Series OmniMechs"
- Record Sheets: 3055 Upgrades Unabridged, p. 166
- Record Sheets: 3055 Upgrades Unabridged, p. 167
- Record Sheets: 3055 Upgrades Unabridged, p. 168
- Total Chaos, pp. 90 "BINGE, PURGE, FLUSH"