The Grand Crusade (officially "The First Grand Crusade") was a march against the Horde forces amassed in the Undercity.
Following the Queen's War, the House of Albrecht was once more poised for launching an offensive against the Forsaken. Queen Madelynne, having since ventured to Stormwind and renewed her faith, vowed to bring the Forsaken to justice for all they had done. After witnessing the violence within the hearts of her fellow men, she sought to direct their anger against a righteous foe: the Forsaken.
Through the entirety of the renewed war with the Alliance, the Forsaken had taken it upon themselves to extend into every possible direction. Southwest they attacked Gilneas, to the east they attacked Andorhal, and to the south they attacked Silverpine. In addition, the Horde's generally negative attitude toward them made it appear that they were largely unsupported in the event of open hostilities. Overxtended as they were, it was the prime moment for an offensive against the heart of the beast, rather than one of its many arms.
Seeking first the blessings of the Bishop of Stormwind, Johannes Moorwhelp, Queen Madelynne began a campaign of gathering those loyal to the Light and Lordaeron under a single banner. Though the body of the army was largely made of the Queen's Men, there was a general outpouring of support from valiant defenders of the Alliance.
Several plans of attack were proposed. Some advocated diverting the main body of the Crusade away from Lordaeron and striking Quel'Thalas, while others instead insisted they creep slowly through the occupied land. After considering her choices, Queen Madelynne chose to march directly against the Undercity.
The Speech of an Auspicious Day was given prior to the march beginning. After its conclusion, the Crusader Army beat a hasty advance from Elwynn toward Lordaeron.
Though many fought in the Grand Crusade, several Took the Trinity, becoming champions of the Crusade.
First Assault on the SewersEdit
Although the Crusader Army initially intended to launch a frontal assault against the Undercity, Queen Madelynne was made aware of a potential security liability by the commander of the Forlorn Hope, Lord Nikephoros Coldsorrow. Half way to the city, Lord Caliginous, a member of the Knights of Menethil, advised the queen to reconsider her course of action. With the vanguard in tow, she wheeled her army about and attempted to assail the sewage system as King Varian Wrynn had before them. Unfortunately, a confusion of directions caused the Crusader Army to divide, which allowed both halves to be easily defeated by the Horde.
Second Assault on the SewersEdit
Retreating as quickly as possible, the Crusader Army reformed itself at the mouth of the Sewers. The Horde, prepared for the assault now, marshaled their forces against the Crusaders. The attack was intended to divide the Horde so that bodies might be burned, with the secondary army led by Lord Chancellor Asuryan Caernough leading an attack on the Throne Room. What followed was a decisive defeat for the Crusader Army who were forced to pull back completely to the outskirts of Solliden Farm and then make a hasty retreat for Fenris Isle.
Infiltration of the ThroneEdit
During the chaos of the Second Assault on the Sewers, Lord Chancellor Asuryan Caernough took an auxiliary force mainly composed of mercenaries through the Undercity. Though expecting the Horde to have marshaled against the Crusader Army in full, they found that the Hand of Vengeance remained firmly entrenched and in waiting. The Lord Chancellor's efforts to assault the Banshee Queen were largely futile and, after suffering a harrowing defeat, he retreated back to the rally point that the queen had specified should his attack fail.
Retreat to Fenris IsleEdit
With their forces outflanked and outnumbered, the Crusader Army broke for Solliden Farm. Scouts, hot on their tail, were dispatched before a command was issued to double back south and take up position in the remains of the fallen Fenris Keep. This rally point became the area from which the final offensive of the crusade was launched.
Battle for the CourtyardEdit
With the Horde well fortified at the entrance to the Undercity, the Crusader Army decided to launch another attack, this time through the courtyard. Though a punitive force rose to meet them, it was quickly beaten back and the crusaders penetrated the entrance to the city. Abandoning any attack on the Orb of Translocation, the Crusaders pushed further into the city and eventually claimed the Throne Room, then met with the complex elevator system they had dreaded in the beginning. After another valiant showing, they broke into retreat after the Horde's main force rediverted and forced them to withdrawn from the campaign entirely.
The Grand Crusade, as a whole, was a disastrous campaign.
While it managed to galvanize a surprising number of patriots, the cost of this was all told dozens upon dozens of lives and countless hours of preparation. Queen Madelynne's action created a three way split between those that viewed the Grand Crusade: those that supported her fervor, those that wished she had not fought at all, and those that wished her dead for the action. The threat of civil war in the Alliance began to brew after the lines were drawn.
But there were positive gains to be noted, namely that the people of Lordaeron showed they would not stand idle while more perished under the Forsaken war machine. The Horde's victory also taught the Crusader Lords that they would need to be more strategic in their planned war, though tactically there was little that could have been done differently.
Queen Madelynne was forced to admit that it would take more than Lordaeron's gallants to overwhelm the enemy, which in turn led to a policy that was in itself extremely controversial and divisive.
A good number of soldiers were burned, but many more were left for the Forsaken to raise.
Question of SupportEdit
There were many that did not fight, choosing rivalry with the queen over supporting her cause. Though it has been argued that if they had added into the conflict it may have turned the tide of battle, little evidence supports this. Many of those that remained in Stormwind were underwhelming combatants who, though quick to draw quills, did not seem to have the wherewithal to actually draw steel.
In addition, while the Grand Crusade's lightning warfare tactics did allow them to mobilize quickly, it did not take into account supply lines beyond Fenris Keep. The surprise was also lost due to moles informing those of the Undercity of the upcoming attack, which doubtlessly reduced the effeciency of leading a lightly armored vanguard against an area that was defended by stalwart veterans.
Overall, the absence of the detractors from the campaign appears to have mattered very little. Both from their inexperience and their inability to fight, there was likely nothing that may have been added other than more bodies for the pyre or val'kyr.