|“|| USA armor division.|
- Crusader Tank leaving the War Factory
|“|| How 'bout a show of force?|
The original "Crusader" tank was well known for its sturdy but lightweight construction which allowed it to be rapidly deployed around the world, even via air drop. Its weight was still quite significant and its mobility was limited to terrain suitable for a tracked vehicle. Therefore, various US defense firms competed to develop a "hyper-mobile armored system" capable of carrying a similar level of armor and firepower to the Crusader but being able to travel over any terrain type and at a higher speed. In the end, only one design was able fulfill all requirements - Mondo Armor System's "Turtle Drive" hover-track system. This design took advantage of the fact that most of the time tank tracks are adequate for what is required of the vehicle - so in "traction mode" the vehicle travels on four small lightweight track units.
However, when extra agility is required the vehicles 4 track units, incredibly, all swivel into an outboard position to reveal large ducted-fan thrusters attached to them. These are powerful enough to lift the entire vehicle clear of the ground and in this "hover mode" it can cross any type of terrain and even water. In addition, it can reach speeds of up to 80 km/h, double of what it can attain while riding on conventional tracks. It was also discovered that firing the main gun rapidly while in hover mode could cause catastrophic destabilization of the vehicle, though by circa 2048, this issue was rectified, turning the already outstanding Crusader II into perhaps one of the most versatile war machines ever conceived, capable of traversing any terrain and striking the enemy from the direction they least expected and leave them paranoid, wondering from where the Crusader will strike next. This came at the cost of some of its armor, though.
At 2038, the light-weight Crusader II was officially introduced as the new expeditionary tank of the US military and was met with positive reactions from the Marine Corps for its amphibious features and rapid deploy ability while the original Crusader was sold to Mexico and Canada.
Call in a Starlifter
|Call in a Starlifter on the Crusader Tank.|
|Installs a hover drive on the Crusader, making it amphibious, moves 100% faster and take 70% less damage from land mines, but have 25% less overall armor.|
Costs $200 and takes 6 seconds to complete.
|Build a Battle Drone that follows the vehicle, engaging enemies with its machine gun and repairs the vehicle when damaged.|
Costs $200 and takes 5 seconds to complete.
|Build a Targeteer Drone that follows the vehicle, extending its sight radius and increases the vehicle's rate of fire by 25% (except for Avengers, WASP Hives and Microwave Tanks).|
Costs $150 and takes 5 seconds to complete.
|“|| Blow 'em wide open!|
- Crusader attacking
The Crusader is often viewed as the ideal balance of firepower, armor and speed - it packs higher firepower and armor compared to Chinese Battlemaster and GLA Scorpion MBTs while being faster and more mobile than Russian Kodiak and ECA Leopard MBTs. Improvements to its engine system have made a new hover system possible. The Crusader can transform itself from a strurdier but slower tracked tank into a high-speed hover tank, the latter makes it faster by 100% more and fully amphibious but at the cost of a 25% armor penalty. The Hover Drive upgrade also makes the Crusader 70% more resistant to mines, which means that not only can the Hover Crusaders can pass through natural obstacles like water but artificial ones like minefields as well; making it one of the best land units when it comes to suprising and harrassing the enemies' bases.
Based on its overall solid and balanced stats and its new hover system, the new Crusader has successfully taken USA's tried and tested "Shock and Awe" tactics to the next level. They can effectively launch fast, amphibious assaults on enemy positions from the directions the enemy expects them the least. Their high mobility enables them to excel as cavalry tanks while they sport enough firepower to tear through a moderately defended enemy base when properly fielded and supported.
Each Crusader can be individually upgraded with the ever reliable Battle Drones to provide light but often effective anti-infantry fire and on field repair. Alternatively, they can be upgraded with the Targeteer Drone, which "paints" the enemy unit the Crusader is targeting and provides a fire bonus to all units targeting that unit.
The Crusader is the 'jack of all trades' tank due to its cost and stats but they can be overwhelmed by superior numbers, firepower or both. The Composite Armor upgrade helps increasing it's survivability by increasing the Crusader's armor against all types of damage by 25%. The Advanced Training upgrade allows them to gain veterancy at double rate. Like all US vehicles, the driver eject system remains one of the most unique aspects of the Crusader. Once a veteran Crusader is destroyed, its experienced Pilot is ejected relatively unharmed and eager to take control of a new US vehicle to boost the vehicle's Veterancy to the driver's veterancy.
Being the United States' basic tank, it is only effective against other armored units and buildings. Crusaders can do somewhat decent damage against infantry with their coaxial machine gun and with Battle Drone but it is not enough when outnumbered by anti-armor infantry, and it has no defense against air units. Heavier tanks such as Sentinels and Overlord Tanks can easily take them out, but if they get their hover drive they have a trump card; speed. They easily become the fastest MBT with their hover drives and can outrun all other tanks, at the cost of armor and the ability to run over enemy infantry. But without that, they stand little chance against heavier opponents.
As with other basic units, its range is short and can be countered with artillery. Do note that if the Crusader has hover drives, it can outrun the artillery's attack and destroy it before it has a chance to reload, so protect your artillery with anti-tank units. It also has no air defense.
Behind the scenes
- Before 1.85 the Crusader could switch between a combat-effective tracked mode and a high-speed hover mode; the latter makes it faster and fully amphibious but the Crusader was unable to fire its main gun in this mode for balancing reasons.
- The Crusader Tank's new design was based on an unused concept art for the original game.
- Crusader tank present in original Generals was called Leopard tank in original game prototype.