Grandin's Crusaders(Redirected from Noble Order of Saint Louis on Hortense)
|Previous Designation(s)||Noble Order of Saint Louis on Hortense|
When Jean-Paul Grandin, Baron of Hortense was forced into exile in the wake of a revolution in 2995. The speed with which the Federated Suns government recognized the new democratic rule left no doubt that House Davion had sanctioned the baron's removal. Undeterred, the uprooted Grandin family resettled itself on Vaucluse and began preparing their return to power. Jean-Paul used his connections with the Outback-based Davion Warriors' Cabal to create an armed force of retainers to invade his former landhold once the opportunity presented itself.
Thus the "Noble Order of Saint Louis on Hortense" was born.
Noble Order of Saint Louis on HortenseEdit
The newly established unit was loaned out to Jean-Paul's fellow Cabalists to provide political muscle. It became customary for the loyalist families who accompanied the Grandins to Vaucluse to serve in it, but the chance of recovering their homeworld was gradually lost. Eventually, the exiled community largely integrated on Vaucluse, and the memory of Grandin's rule on Hortense faded. The Grandins stubbornly continued to serve as part of the "patriotic opposition" but found it more profitable to focus on business ventures in the Crucis March than to lead their private army.
Changes came to the Order in 3062 when the baron's heir, Pierre Grandin the third, returned from Sakhara Military Academy. He was given command of a largely ceremonial guard company and soon plunged into the murky world of corporate contracts. With the beginning of the FedCom Civil War, the market for small, deniable mercenary operators exploded, and Pierre took full advantage. The unit worked for both pro-Katrina and pro-Victor employers whose objective raids in the Outback destroyed critical economic assets, all in the name of "punishing treason" or "denying resources to the enemy".
Pierre soon grew bored with the small-time theater of the Outback and, over objections from his family, relocated the command to the tumultuous Chaos March. At the same time, he began heavy recruiting of AFFC deserters, without any consideration of their loyalties or past behavior. This influx of new personnel diluted the influence of the Grandin loyalists and changed the nature of the command to that of a more conventional mercenary organization.
Renamed as "Grandin’s Crusaders" and stressing its operational flexibility in negotiations with corporate brokers. the unit started a new career.
The unit accepted an action on Hall in January 3065 which involved securing the output of a uranium mine on Kinnock Island for a Terran-based mining corporation. The Crusaders rolled into the city of Chatham, where the miners had settled their families, and imposed martial law. With the town locked down, they went door to door, hunting down a list of anti-corporate "agitators" to be turned over to Emperor Baranov. When Wayland Minerals hired their own mercenaries to recover the mine, the Crusaders ambushed them and used the versatile skills of their infantry to take down the pure 'Mech force.
The surge of conflicts across the Chaos March sparked by the AMC's undeclared war on the Word of Blake offered many similar contracts. The Crusaders served both sides with equal readiness and prospered for their calculated neutrality.
Pierre's succession as nominal Baron of Hortense in May 3065 came without even a perfunctory visit to Vaucluse, though the influx of funds provided by his father's investment funds were used to upgrade the unit's 'Mechs. Conflict over the Crusaders' direction saw the departure of the executive officer, Pierre's cousin Jenna, in February 3066.
For most of 3067 the Crusaders had operated on Liberty, serving first as a cadre force for several of the planetary militias and later as security for an Interstellar Expeditions site, not accepting a contract offered by Wayne Waco.
The unit then took a side contract to Outreach in the middle of the First Battle of Outreach, while spending safeguarding IE property in the outskirts of Harlech, and extorting surrounding businesses for protection from the rampaging TempTown forces. The 'Mech lance intercepted a small combat group from the Fifty-first Dark Panzer Jaegers at an intersection near the Harlech Mercantile Building. The unit was able to distract and delay the other mercenaries and allowed the commando platoon a squad escort Blackwell Industries Vice President Dameon Guillome to a secure corporate headquarters. The Jaegers withdrew after an hour of fruitless pursuit to reinforce their command's efforts elsewhere. The Crusaders survived Condition Feral by immediately surrendering to the frenzied Beta Regiment. Baron Grandin did not forget that heavy-handed treatment from the Dragoons, or that the MRBC had refused to sanction them for attacking neutral commands.
While in contract with IE, they were asked to send their envoy to join a WoB fleet going to New Avalon to celebrate the faction's expected entry into the ranks of the Second Star League, but when it was dissolved, the Jihad started. The initial landing of the Thirty-first Division on New Avalon was a fiasco. The Blakists had intended to pin the Tenth Lyran Guards in place with a thin screening force while the bulk of the division occupied Avalon City, but they were not fooled. At this moment Blakist commanders bypassed the IE representative to offer an on-the-spot contract to the mercenaries. Pierre Grandin's hate for House Davion still present made him say yes. So in the 12 of December 3067, Grandin and his officers had just enough time to deploy their infantry in the ripe grain fields of the McCarrel Farms before the Tenth passed through. Anti-Mech infantry was able to take down the two leading Guards 'Mechs while they were distracted by supporting fire from the unit's vehicles. This sudden infantry ambush stopped the momentum of the marauding company. The arrival of reinforcements from the Thirty-first Division allowed Grandin to wipe out the detached force, leaving the Crusaders unidentified by the AFFS. The Crusaders withdrew right after the battle, their mission for Interstellar Expeditions accomplished and the Blakist C-Bills in hand.
IE loaned Grandin's Crusaders to the DCMS to assist the evacuation of Ninyu Kerai-Indrahar, the severely injured head of the ISF from Dieron. So in the 8th of April 3068 they were dropped into the Scales of the Dragonet Mountains, where Kerai-Indrahar's convoy was taking a secret route to a secure DropPort. Unfortunately it was not so secret as elements from the WoB Eighth Division were detected in pursuit. Grandin led his 'Mechs in a series of stalling actions to buy time for his infantry to prepare a position at a narrow pass ahead of them. Once the convoy had a large enough lead, the Crusaders withdrew in an orderly fashion. They kept the Blakists at bay with light skirmishing until the convoy reached the DropPort. Once there they turned over defense of Kerai-Indrahar to the DCMS and made their own way off Dieron. The Word attempted to intercept the Condor-class DropShip carrying Kerai-Indrahar off-world and Grandin's DropShip, the Tonnant, was in a position to support the defense, and their IE liaison encouraged the Baron to do so. After driving off the Blakist fighters, they were commended for "volunteering" to assist the DCMS a second time and were rewarded with a choice of military equipment.
Next, the Crusaders were posted to guard a Colmar Myomics scrap facility in Minnacora on a subcontract negotiated through their IE representative. The arrival of the Twentieth Avalon Hussars on the 7th of July 3068 turned what should have been a choice garrison contract into a three-way battle over a pile of defective 'Mech parts. The AFFS commander ordered the destruction of the yard, and Home Guard forces moved to intercept the invaders but failed to coordinate with the Crusaders or adjust their IFF transponders. This forced the Crusaders to engage both Davion and Capellan troops. Creative use of the scrapyard's heavy engineering equipment helped funnel the two House forces into each other, and the Crusaders concentrated their own efforts on defending the facility's administrative offices, disabling or driving off any hostile 'Mechs that approached. It was only after Colmar executives ordered the Crusaders to support the Home Guard that Grandin took a more active stance. The Crusaders surged out from around the headquarters and engaged the Hussars, tipping the battle against them. It turned out that while there was no hidden ammunition dump, the site concealed an underground Triple Strength Myomer production plant run by Cortide Magnetics, an IE affiliate. Their allies in Colmar Myomics contacted the Davion command to "clear up the misunderstanding", and at least the Crusaders were dismissed to neutralize the facility, though negotiations ultimately failed, and shortly after the mercenaries left, a Rabid Foxes team destroyed the plant.
After several weeks waiting for IE to call them, the Crusaders began looking for their own side contracts. Grandin's Crusaders got a contract from the Capellan Confederation outside MRBC auspices. The job consisted of running reconnaissance on Kittery. The Crusaders landed their 'Mech force on the 22nd of October 3068 in the rugged jungles north of Can Fu City and probed the defenses of the capital, skirmishing with the First Kittery Borderers and the Kittery Training Battalion. The unit completed the request of their Capellan liaison by observing the fortifications around the capital city, gauge the militia readiness and conduct a series of quick probes at other sites that had been designated the CCAF. One of the areas of interest would later become the infamous RBMU 105 prison camp. Those probes failed to encounter any resistance, leaving the Crusaders free to leave Kittery. Somehow the information leaked or the contract was a fluke from the start as the Word of Blake made good use of the intelligence collected by the Crusaders, conquering the planet in November with little difficulty.
In February 3069 the unit was contracted by the Magistracy of Canopus for "special operations" as they got their own DropShip. The loss of contact with the Magistracy had been a matter of concern to IE for some time, so Grandin's Crusaders liaison brought the contract to Grandin's attention and strongly encouraged him to accept. The mission: to escort MIM operatives in their Mark VII Landing Craft to Gambilon. The unit appeared at the planet's nadir point and started the insertion process. MIM had defined two of their Mark VII as decoys while the third one was to execute a HALO Drop to infiltrate the agents. So in the last day of February 3069 the mission was launched. Avoiding the system's Olympus-class Space Station, the Tonnant and the MIM Mark VII avoided the Thraxan militia and WoB mercenaries (at least one of those commands was recognized by the Crusaders as a Company Store victim of the Word) craft lifted off-world to engage the landing craft. The Tonnant received minor damage, but the contract payment covered repairs at an IE yard and some more. The unit learned afterward that the drop itself had been a distraction for an operation aimed at toppling the collaborationist local government.
While returning from Gambilon, the unit passed through Talitha in December 3069 and got directly contracted by WoB Precentor Ibrahim Ghazni to defend the HPG compound. Rates were very good as because of a WoB issue that December had left the compound without defense. No combat was expected, but things happen. The AMC, in the form of the Third Dismal Disinherited and Burton's Brigade merged into a single command after Hall made a combat drop right on top of the HPG Compound. Grandin's Crusaders were forced to fight alone until the militia arrived. Swarm attacks led by Mad Jack Cunningham brought down Disinherited commander John Marik-Johns and they were able to stall the AMC units until the arrival of militia reinforcements swept the remaining enemy mercenaries from the city. Grandin was repaid generously with salvage and came out at a new profit despite heavy damage to his 'Mechs.
A lack of available military assets forced the LIC to turn to mercenaries for backup when it came time to infiltrate Donegal. Thanks to IE recommendations Grandin's Crusaders got the job. So the unit landed during April 3070 and located the target convoy of VIPs trying to escape Blakist pursuit in the badlands of the Nag's Head Plains. The Crusaders landed near the Goblin serving as an escape vehicle and discovered that the VIP was Ruth Kirkland, CEO of ComPress. Then Blakist hunter-killer team including Manei Domini caught up with them. The unit's vehicle force was almost wiped out trying to stall them and Grandin was barely able to keep his 'Mechs from routing. It was only a suicidal stand by the unit's new battle armor platoon and aided by LIC personnel that bought him time enough to rally the company. Though the WoB forces were finally destroyed, they inflicted heavy damage to the entire command. The LIC obtained information about conditions on the planet, so they counted the mission a success.
In September 3070, the unit accepted a contract from Mr. Askai to join forces with the Dragon's Breath in a diversion attack on Sian as part of an alleged Federated Suns contract, though they thought it was indeed a Word of Blake contract. The unit accepted, but just in case they adopted the Breath's colors just in case. The mercenaries were ordered to attack the port of Beilin in hopes of luring away some of the Forbidden City defenses. What they found was Naomi Centrella with her Third Canopian Fusiliers and some Death Commandos coming out of a hidden base in the High Crysanthides Mountains. The Dragon's Breath folded under the pressure, breaking the command cohesion of the mercenary task force and leaving every small command to fend for itself. Grandin's Crusaders was able to escape the worst of the Canopian onslaught by fighting their way through Beilin rather than fall back and joining the WoBM in the assault on the Forbidden City rather than try retreating off-world. The Seventeenth Division made a push for the Forbidden City and found Warrior House Imarra and the Red Lancers. Both sides fought like fanatics, but with the arrival of the Twenty-fourth Division and Grandin's Crusaders with some other small commands shifted the tide of battle in favor of the Word of Blake. The Red Lancers were beaten back toward the Celestial Palace, and even the stubborn elements of House Imarra were forced to withdraw from their dearly-held positions. Only the arrival of the Third Canopian Fusiliers stabilized the defensive lines south of the Palace and brought on a temporary stalemate within the capital.
The assault toward the Celestial Palace began with a heavy artillery barrage that reduced vast swathes of the Forbidden City to rubble. Then the Twenty-fourth Division drove toward the Palace through oceans of debris and waves of fanatical Capellan militia. The Word of Blake had greater numbers, but grinding through the Capellan resistance proved a brutal and tedious task as more and more reserves were tossed in their way. Grandin's Crusaders were assigned to cover the western approaches to the capital. They intercepted several small Capellan commands rushing to join the battle and avoided the worst of the urban combat. The Twenty-fourth might still have won had it not been for the surprise arrival of the Blackwind Lancers. The suicidal assault checked the Blakists despite the near total destruction of the Lancers and the death of their commander, Warner Doles, while defending what appeared to be the Chancellor's Emperor. With their last chance to take the Palace thwarted, the Word began withdrawing shortly afterward, and Grandin's Crusaders with them.
Running escort operations for IE in the Periphery and taking the odd side job have helped the unit's recovery. And then, the unit was again contracted by the WoB. The missions was in Tharkad, so in June 3071 the unit landed there as was put under the command of the Lowbräu. Using the same paint scheme, they helped battle on the Tatyana Island Chain against Twenty-fourth Lyran Guards RCT and the Royal Guards. The Lowbräu spies failed this time, and the battle devolved into a chaos until Precentor Gregory Kishimoto ordered Grandin's Crusaders to salvage the situation. Baron Grandin ordered all units to stand down, and destroyed a Lowbräu Wolverine to make a point. Lowbräu commander Major Parker managed to spin the engagement into a minor victory based on damage done to the resistance cell, and the Crusaders were able to leave the planet with a good bonus.
Grandin's Crusaders' next contract was to blow up an agricultural processing plant in Mercedes. The contract's backer was unknown, but after some information, the owner of the plant turned out to be Kalvin Strauss, leader of the Democracy Now movement. The pay was suspiciously good, but the unit accepted nevertheless. So at the end of August 3071 the unit raided the place. Fighting against a local security force, some civilian defenders and supported by a network of AA platforms, the unit was finally able to take it. At that moment they discovered that the "agricultural complex" turned out to be an ammunition factory. Once the factory was secured, the Crusaders looted the ammunition with the intent of selling the surplus on the black market. After taking their fill the unit's engineers used the factory's explosive stores to demolish the facility as thoroughly as possible, leaving little more than a smoking crater in the ground. Grandin forwarded the pictures to his broker along with a sharp rebuke for lying about the target. Events afterwards (within weeks pictures of the devastated factory were circulating around Alarion Province, tied to a manifesto by Lindon Ashley denouncing the lack of militia readiness that allowed "pirates" free reign to destroy economic infrastructure) showed the unit that their contractor must have been Lindon Ashley himself or somebody from his close team, as their actions created and upswing of support for Ashley's radical faction of Democracy Now and a decline in the fortunes of Kalvin Strauss, the nominal leader of Democracy Now, who had lost significant income from the destruction of the plant and found himself with fewer resources to fend off his challenger.
The unit participated in the liberation of Donegal. When the Fiftieth Division emerged from secret positions and tore into the coalition forces, Precentor Martial Victor Steiner-Davion responded by sending his mercenaries to attack the HPG compound and relieve the pressure on the Wolves and Com Guards. Grandin's Crusaders, who got prior experience on Donegal and recommendations from the LIC, were a core command of the mercenary group and took point. The fighting inside Marsdenville proved nightmarish for the Crusaders. Their armored infantry found itself confounded by the superior Manei Domini of the Fiftieth Division, and they lacked the heavy firepower to plow through on brute force. Grandin resorted to grinding his way forward, calling up assistance from his fellow mercenaries and even begging the coalition headquarters for artillery support. While Steiner-Davion vetoed the use of heavy shelling to pry out the Blakists, the assault served its purpose. A renewed drive by the Com Guards and Wolves broke through resistance by the Eighteenth Division and forced the Blakists to retreat off-world. Their success even gave Pierre Grandin and Hilary Fletcher a place in the victory celebration.
David Styles, an IE Council member, pressured Grandin's Crusaders into taking a contract with Ashley outside IE auspices, even to the point of dropping veiled threats on the Baron. Grandin complied, but he was not happy. So the unit travelled to Novara where it joined other elements of the Democracy Now, in the form of Eriksson's Einherjar (a command formerly under Blakist contract in the Circinus Federation and some local units forming what Ashley was calling Democratic People’s Army. And in the 15th of August 3072, the planet was attacked by the Kaumberg Planetary Guard who were under orders from Erich Sheridan recently appointed as Kaumbeg's regional Archonette and sworn enemy of Lindon Ashley. The Crusaders and the rest of the forces had only to defend the movement's compound against a ponderous attack. The Crusaders sent out their allies to be slaughtered, making the Kaumberg militia overconfident as it approached the DPA headquarters, and the out of the sudden, they used their modern battle armor supported with an efficient force of 'Mechs drove the Kaumberg Guard back. When Grandin discovered that that Ashley had already fled Novara, taking the mercenaries' payment with him, they left the battlefield.
The unit joined a coalition of units led by Regulan Hussars and several mercenary units because of the big paycheck behind it sent to attack Gibson in August 3073. The invasion force was shattered by the presence of the Forty-first Shadow Division, the Forty-ninth Shadow Division and the Fifty-second Shadow Division. Most of the Regular Hussars units were destroyed, and the small mercenary units, Grandin's Crusaders among them, only escaped thanks to the sacrifice of the Wild Geese and the 13th Stalking Horse.
The unit accepted a contract from Mr Askai to raid to Trasjkis in the Marian Hegemony, most probably for the WoB. The unit conducted a magnificent job, setting off-balance the defending IV Legio and routing them in several skirmishes. After achieving their objective, the unit left the planet in time to see the arrival of a Circinus Federation attack.
Following the disbanding of SAFE's elite Eagle Corps special forces, the Dark Shadows staffed the defenses of the "The Eyrie" facility on Wendigo, the moon of the Free Worlds League capital world of Atreus. A scathing online tirade under a flimsy cover identity by Anne-Marie McCormack, the unit's commander at the time, provoked Paul Marik into having the unit destroyed. On 23 April 3075 and under a contract liaised by Mr Akasai Grandin's Crusaders lured away from their base the Dark Shadows. Even though Grandin's Crusaders were severely beaten, the subsequent ambush from the 49th Shadow Division that was hidden there, destroyed the Dark Shadows to the last man. Precentor Dantalion condescendingly allowed the Crusaders to "pick the remains of the kill" but forbade them from disposing the SAFE pilots' corpses, who were left to root in the moon.
While resting on Atreus after their last contract and negotiating an extension of it, the unit was contacted again by IE to help Irtech in the fight on Irian. When they landed in December 3075, they united their forces with the HeavyHell Raisers and the two commands launched an attack against the massive BattleMech production complex underneath Soapstone Mountain against elements of Irian Corporate Security loyal to the WoB and the Irian Protectorate Militia. As soon as the Crusaders liberated the factory, they left Irian, though they saw the scorched earth tactics that the WoB militia unit used once it decided to leave the planet.
The command was back on Atreus when in 3076, Thomas Halas (formerly the false Thomas Marik), launched a raid, attempting to rescue survivors of the 1st Knights of the Inner Sphere. His forces included the 2nd Knights of the Inner Sphere and Romanov's Crusaders, and they saw action against the 15th Division and supported by Marik-Commonwealth forces of the 2nd Free Worlds Legionnaires and the 8th Free Worlds Legionnaires and mercenary support from Grandin's Crusaders themselves in a campaign that ran through Atreus City and into its southern suburbs. The battle ultimately left several million homeless and thousand dead. It left the city storied Interstellar Botanic Gardens and Technology Museum in aftermath of the conflict. Blakist and mercenary personnel scoured through the debris, dragging out the few survivors and shooting them on the spot. The involvement of Grandin's Crusaders in these executions led Captain-General Corinne Marik to cancel their retainer in a largely empty protest.
The unit was though able to grab a garrison duty contract on New Kyoto, near the Word of Blake Protectorate, were the unit was stationed on when elements from the Word of Blake Militia's Second Division attacked near the city of Yonei. Not only did they destroy the University of New Kyoto, they also targeted the massive Alessandro Hydoelectric Dam Complex, with the intention of destroying this vital piece of planetary infrastructure. The Crusaders pursued the Blakists and engaged the main body of the Level III before it could reach the dam, and were pushing them back when some of those troops broke through and delivered enough damage to the dam's integrity to collapse it. The unleashed water washed away most of the Blakist force, and would have done the same to the Crusaders had they not fled to higher ground in time. The rushing flood and rising water levels almost completely submerged an entire city district. Afterward, the Crusaders hunted down the surviving Blakist forces and assisted local responders with rescue and relief operations. Though politicians tried to blame the catastrophe also on the Crusaders, they fought that with their contract, and wound innocent. The WoB had no possible defense, and several of the prisoners Grandin turned over to the government were accordingly tried and executed.
The unit was blackmailed by the WoB to help them raid Marcus, though their contact Mr Askai promised they would delete all the records of their work with the WoB if the successfully completed the mission. So in August 3077 the unit hit Marcus as part of the DDD and engaged Twentieth Marik Militia. Grandin had adopted the colors of a Level III from the Second Division to fool the Marik defenders who believed they were attacked by a large force. And he had another surprise as the other half of the task force hot-dropped into the city and attacked the Militia from the rear. Caught between two mercenary groups, the Twentieth Marik's desperate escape attempt leveled much of the capital. After the victory, several pirate formations took the opportunity to loot the ruins. Enraged by this, Grandin responded by bribing the rest of the mercenaries with salvage rights and launched a second battle against those pirates, operating now in small groups, that destroyed them all. Grandin then turned the world over to an arriving Blakist relief force. Cameron St. Jamais later commended the Baron for purging the unreliable elements.
The unit was then sent to Chara, where they survived Operation SCOUR. While the bulk of the Word of Blake forces left Chara, a large portion of the Chara Protectorate Militia managed to escape into the wilderness while continuing to contest the advance of the coalition forces into the Myanmar Highlands and maintain control over the Scarlet Sea. Prompted by the Word of Blake ROM, the local Blakist forces used a natural disaster - a large earthquake which struck near the port city of Charon - to create a bastion from which the Protectorate forces could continue to operate. The recently deployed Chaffee Militia dispatched a relief column to Charon, but the Blakists, Grandin's Crusaders in disguise, intercepted and engaged the column, destroying it and the only major bridge connecting the coalition forces to Charon. The Word of Blake then endeared itself to the locals by flying in relief supplies on Karnovs and Planetlifters, securing their base of operations for the near future.
The Crusaders arrived to Liberty in March 3078, fresh on the heels of the planet's liberation by a pro-Liao uprising. The destruction of the planet's HPG compound allowed the Crusaders to masquerade as a Capellan-contracted unit to avoid conflict. When Stone's Coalition arrived and thanks to having restored some old Star League automated turrets, when forces from the Com Guards Fifth Army and the Stewart Home Guard they were able to disrupt Coalition efforts to storm their base of operations in Parris Island. A ceasefire was arranged, and Lin Murikami was dispatched to negotiate the retreat of the Crusaders. Baron Grandin soon handed over the world to the Coalition in the name of the Chancellor.
After defeating two assaults against Pleione, Precentor Martial St. Jamais withdrew the Blakist naval support from the Pleione system, redeploying the naval assets for the defense of Terra, but he ordered various small mercenary units including Grandin's Crusaders to support the Pleione Protectorate Militia. Grandin was able to use his position as the senior commander on Pleione to take on a leadership role in the defense of the planet, securing an equal partnership with the Militia. A third attempt to seize Pleione was launched on the 30th of May, and this time the Capellans used WarShip support in the form of the Feng Huang-class cruiser CCS Ilsa Hyung as well as extensive orbital bombardment as a part of their battle plan. Pierre Grandin convinced the various defending forces to follow his plan of allowing the Capellan forces to enter New Jericho, the planetary capital city, before engaging them at close range, thereby discouraging the Ilsa Hyung from firing on them. The defenders followed this plan when the Fifth Confederation Reserve Cavalry and the Fifteenth Dracon landed, supported by fire from the Ilsa Hyung; the two CCAF commands entered the approaches to New Jericho before being hit by a ferocious, desperate assault by the mercenaries and the Militia. The battle consisted mainly of brutal, close-quarters fighting in the New Jericho suburbs, with the brutal slugfest pushing up casualties on both sides. Grandin's Crusaders timed their entry into the battle carefully, launching a sudden attack from the hills outside the city that shattered the Capellan advance and which gave the Crusaders an opportunity to break through and race for their DropShips, even as the Capellan forces in orbit began a heavy orbital bombardment. The Crusaders managed to reach their DropShips and escape, leaving House Liao in possession of the ruins of the city.
Grandin's Crusaders had retreated to Terra where they had been ordered to defend Rio. When they saw the arrival of Stone's Coalition forces they knew their end was near, and that they needed a plan to escape. After bribing a slot for a JumpShip for the Tonnant, they prepared their positions to defend the place. The 5th Crucis Lancers led the way into Rio, landing on the outskirts of the city and driving inward toward Governador Island and the SDS command center. Painted in TerraSec colors, the Crusaders stopped cold the leading elements of the Davion unit. As the Davion unit could not force the pass, Marshal Jon Davion deployed the Excalibur-class Joyeuse to reinforce his attacking force. That disrupted and disgorged the Crusaders. That allowed the rest of the Crucis Lancers to arrive. Outnumbered, Grandin elected to fight his way free. He concentrated his forces in the historic Quinto de Bao Vista palace grounds and led them in a drive to the west, overwhelming scattered Coalition units off the main axis of advance. The unit was assigned after that to help in the capture of Devlin Stone in North America.
The mercenaries joined the Twenty-first Division disguised as a brand new Level III. They fought against the 25th Arcturan Guards, 7th Pesht Regulars and Stone's Lament trying to kill Devlin Stone while he and his troops retreated from Hilton Head after failing to take it. After several days, the pursuit had stretched the Twenty-first Division ahead of the main Blakist force. That was when Stone opted to maneuver and strike the exposed division with a sudden counterattack aimed at the industrial city of Little Rock. The Crusaders were slotted into a reserve position south of Little Rock while more reliable Blakist formations took the brunt of the assault, but the collapse of one Level III after a day of ferocious assaults by the Twenty-fifth Arcturan Guards forced the Crusaders into battle. The unit hold the Ouchita River outside Arkadelphia, and disrupted the Lyran RCT's drive and bought time for the shell-shocked Blakist formation to withdraw. A midnight assault of Stone's Lament across DeGray Lake forced the Crusaders to abandon their position and fall back to Little Rock with the rest of the Twenty-first Division. The Seventh Pesht Regulars pushed and after crushing a Level III from the WoB division outflanked the retreating Blakists. That forced the weakened Twenty-first to retreat out of Little Rock, abandoning the city to the Coalition. Stone had survived and it was decided that both the Twenty-first and the Crusaders were later withdrawn to Beijing to serve as a strategic reserve.
When Precentor Jarvis McKesson, Blakist administrator of Singapore, contacted his superiors to launch a counter-attack in 17 September 3078, Grandin’s Crusaders were dispatched as a mobile and expendable force to answer the call. The unit took on the guise of the Word's Nineteenth Division and linked up with the TerraSec survivors and a small group of Manei Domini. Using terrorist car bombings by surviving guerrilla cells to throw the Coalition into confusion, they infiltrated via the underground rail line to Batam and assaulted the zones's Castle Brian. Thanks to the chaos the Crusaders seized the fortress as asked, but one of the Manei Domini accompanying them entered the self-destruct codes into its computer core. The Crusaders evacuated without delay, barely avoiding total destruction from the nuclear charges. The devastation spoiled McKesson’s attack on Hogarth and led to the deaths of millions inside Singapore.
In the 18 November 3078 the ancient chromosome at Baikonur was hastily reactivated in early October to further the escape of Blakist assets from Terra. The Thirty-seventh Division was doing its best to delay the inevitable, but it was outmatched and outnumbered, so Precentor Martial St. Jamais reassigned the Crusaders to assist, promising them a release from the Word's service and assisting their escape if they could hold long enough for the final evacuation to take place. Grandin was given support in the form of several Manei Domini from the Fifty-first Shadow Division already on site protecting an illustrious VIP. They fought the First Crucis Lancers and the Twenty-third Arcturan Guards. Conducting a fighting withdrawal along the Syr Darya River, they drew the command elements of the Coalition force into an ambush by the Manei Domini. That action bought the time needed to evacuate, and though on the 20th Baikonur fell to the Battle Corps mercenary unit, Grandin's Crusaders fled off-world that same day under cover of a heavy fighter sortie.
His files cleaned and thanks to IE backing, the unit got a short-term contract to investigate New Earth for a sweep of the world for hidden stockpiles of nuclear and biological weapons. The unit arrived there and during the 18 of March 3079 was finally able to corner elements of the New Home Protectorate Militia in the Great Spine Mountains. The battle ended with a victory for the unit. Several prisoners were taken by the unit, who confirmed the absence of Blakist WMD stockpiles on the world and provided valuable intelligence on the guerrilla movement. The unit though had to abandon most of their armor.
The Avarice ContractEdit
Kallon Industries hired the Crusaders to provide protection for weapons transfers on the disputed world of Nanking. On of their first missions was to handle the transfer of a large number of Partisans to a client in the former Free Worlds League in the end of 3080. Once the first group of Partisans passed the Kallontown spaceport, and attack began. Elements of a native mercenary unit, Aung's Chindits, emerged from the outskirts of the city and attempted to hijack the vehicles. The mercenaries coordinated their attack well, with an aerial and land attack. This forced the Crusaders to split their forces and nearly cost them the APCs. But with the appearance of several flybys militia aircraft scrambled to drive the mercenary fighters away, the Crusaders were able to defend the convoy. After delivering all the cargo to the DropShip Avarice, though the ship was later reported taken by pirates, which left Kallon reluctant to honor the contract.
On their own initiative, the Crusaders were able to track the hijacked DropShip to a supply depot on Nanking and mounted an assault to reclaim it. The Avarice was supported by a motley band of Coalition renegades and anti-Liao partisans. Though caught by surprise used the DropShip as a natural strong-point and savaging the Crusader's assault team. The Crusaders kept enough force to smash through the defenders with the Crusader's armored infantry storming the DropShip and forcing its surrender. Further investigation discovered that the "pirates" raid had been a carefully choreographed exchange orchestrated by one Kallon Industries division without the knowledge of the other half of the company, and with Davion involvement in the plot to sow disorder on Nanking and weaken Kallon Industries. The Crusaders sold the DropShip and the intelligence, which gave the unit big dividends and allowed the unit to relocate back to Vaucluse. Both the Filtvelt Coalition and the exile government enthusiastically greeted the Crusaders.
|Commanding Officers of the Noble Order of Saint Louis on Hortense|
|Commanding Officers of Grandin's Crusaders|
|Baron||Pierre Grandin III||3062 - 3080|
- The unit boasts one 'Mech lance, a short armor platoon (three armored vehicles), one aerospace fighter, and an infantry company of five platoons.
- Each of the five platoons maintains a specialty, from anti-'Mech training to commando operations, and personnel are rotated throughout the company to attain additional cross-specializations.
Since neither Grandin nor his men are willing to give their lives for a cause, the unit will always operate under Forced Withdrawal rules (see p. 258, TW), unless a track specifically prohibits it. The Crusaders gain a +1 bonus to Initiative when using combined arms tactics, defined as the presence of a minimum of three different unit types in play. If Grandin is designated a Commander (see p. 13), he has a Gunnery Skill of 3 and a Piloting Skill of 3, and allows the unit to Bank Initiative.
- Total Chaos, pp. 25-26
- Total Chaos, pp. 41-43 "ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER C-BILL"
- Total Chaos, pp. 46-47 "UNWELCOME GUESTS"
- Total Chaos, pp. 56-58 "RUNNING FROM THE DEVIL"
- Total Chaos, pp. 63-64 "FULL METAL PRESS"
- Total Chaos, pp. 69-70 "LEADING EDGE"
- Total Chaos, pp. 75-76 "SEED OF DISCONTENT"
- Total Chaos, pp. 83 "LIVING DEAD MEN"
- Total Chaos, pp. 86-87 "CLICK, CLICK, BOOM"
- Total Chaos, pp. 91 "CELESTIAL CALAMITY"
- Total Chaos, pp. 92-93 "SIGNS OF THINGS TO COME"
- Total Chaos, pp. 93-94 "FINAL STAND"
- Total Chaos, pp. 104 "REASSERTING AUTHORITY"
- Total Chaos, pp. 106 "OPPRESSION"
- Total Chaos, pp. 117-118 "CORPORATE TIES"
- Total Chaos, pp. 121 "GOING NOVA"
- Total Chaos, pp. 127-128 "DANTE’S DAYDREAM"
- Total Chaos, pp. 129 "ESCAPE CLAUSE"
- Total Chaos, pp. 133-134 "ROMAN CANDLE"
- Total Chaos, pp. 139-141 "SILENCING THE SHADOWS"
- Total Chaos, pp. 146 "IRON GIANTS"
- Jihad Turning Points: Atreus p. 5, Atreus - Thomas Halas (Marik)'s failed Rescue attempt wrecks Atreus City.
- Total Chaos, pp. 151 "RESCUE GONE WRONG"
- Total Chaos, pp. 152 "WE ARE YOUR FRIENDS"
- Total Chaos, pp. 156-157 "WAVE OF CONFUSION"
- Total Chaos, pp. 172-173 "BLOOD AND FURY"
- Total Chaos, pp. 176-177 "BRIDGE TO OBLIVION"
- Jihad Hot Spots: Terra, p. 61-62, "Chaos Eternal: Bridge To Oblivion"
- Total Chaos, pp. 186-187 "DEATH TO TYRANTS"
- Total Chaos, p. 190-191, "Pound of Flesh"
- Jihad Hot Spots: Terra, p. 73, "News From Pleione"
- Jihad: Final Reckoning, p. 59, "The Jihad in Review"
- Jihad Hot Spots: Terra, p. 89, "Chaos Eternal: Pound of Flesh"
- Total Chaos, p. 200, "BARRIERS"
- Total Chaos, p. 203, "SUFFRAGE OF SAINTS"
- Total Chaos, p. 210-211, "END OF DAY"
- Total Chaos, p. 212-213, "THE FINAL COUNTDOWN"
- Total Chaos, p. 230-231, "HEAVY METAL"
- Total Chaos, p. 235-237, "JINX"
- Total Chaos, p. 237-239, "SNOW JOB"