Saturday, November 26, 2016

Libria System: Current Status

Libria V: Controlled by Crusade
Libria IV: Controlled by Alliance
Libria III: Controlled by Alliance
Libria II: Controlled by Loyalists
Libria I: Contested Crusade/Loyalists

Libria III: Aftermath

The collapse of the crusade in Cartasia left the alliance with a simple job mopping up the genestealer uprising. However in east Cartasia the alliance forces were thinkly spread, leaving the genestealer cults in de facto control of Pardula Bay, Grabell and Berdysion Point. The crusade lost significant forces, as unable to evacuate, guardsmen and equipment in particular were left stranded on the world, while the alliance faced several months at best of clearing the xenos infestation, hoping that a tyranid hive fleet had not been psychically called...

The decisive battle for Libria III had left the alliance with the world, and control over Libria III and shortly Libria IV, as the loyalists launched their evacuation attempt. Meanwhile the crusade were left with Libria V and were fighting hard on the innermost planet of Libria I, against the loyalists, who controlled Libria II. The alliance had consolidated their position in the system, controlling the major world, and despite the intervention of the genestealers were now able to consider offensive operations against the rest of the imperial worlds.

Libria III: Assault on Canaur

The battle proper was joined on the Cartal plain, between the Cenaur hills and Cartasi Mountains. These two geographic obstacles effectively framed the battle, with the tau of commander Shadowstrike and Windgather backed up by rebel Librian and Lycaon guard forces. The crusade held most of the defensive positions, forcing the alliance to advance across open ground, but the Tau'Naur suits proved most effective, as did the eldar, who used the webway to close the difference and immediately strike against the mechanicum war engines.

Early fire from the crusade force was ineffective, and the alliance made up the ground well. However, commander Shadowstrike remained skeptical about the objectives the alliance attack had been set, as taking Cartal and all the installations on ther plain in the required timescales would be difficult to achieve. As the second day of the battle dawned, despite inflicting heavy casualties on the crusdade, with the tau super weapon proving its worth, the alliance had still failed to reach their key objectives on the Cartal plain. Shadowstrike prepared a behind the lines strike, but still had major reservations.

It was at this point that an unseen enemy appeared. Taking advantage of the war on Libria III, the tyranid xenos had been insiduously poisoning the populous within the crusade held zones. While the crusade priests purged the population of their heretical alliance with the foul tau xenos, they managed to miss the rise of genestealer cults, mascarading as flagellant redemptionist cultists. This oversight immediately crippled the crusade, as all over Libria III, responding to an unseen psychic call, the cults rose up in the major centres of population.

Genestealers, hybrids and other xenos abominations attacked behind the crusade lines, using the battle against the alliance as a distraction. In cities across Libria III the genestealers took control. In Cartasia the capital itself was rocked by savage closs quarters actions, and this allowed the alliance to quickly overwhelm the crusade forces, devastating their positions in Cartasia. Cartal fell to the crusade on 1811.016M42, and by 2211.016M42 the alliance had broken the back of the crusade, reaching the coast. Quattria, Aegon and Rhallor fell in a week and the crusade prepared to abandon the world. Those qwho could, fled. Those who could not, died.

Libria III: Preparation for battle

With the Crusade bogged down in a protracted war on Libria I, and the catastrophic naval defeat at the hands of the loyalists, the alliance realised that there was a narrow window of opportunity to end the stalemate on Libria III and claim the planet for the alliance. Shadowstrike contacted Windgather, and by using the webway portals of the eldar the tau commander and his xenos allies were able to reinforce the sepratist forces on the Cartal plain. Here, with the bulk of the crusdade forces, the alliance planned a decisive strike through Cartal and to the south coast, breaking crusade resistance in a short decisive campaign.

The crusade were well aware of the military build up in front of them by mid 11.016M42, but were powerless to reinforce their own positions. However, on 1611.016M42 unexpected help arrived. Springing forth from an unseen point of egress, a necron emissary from the Charnovokh Dynasty met with Vorushko herself. Despite her monodominant stance on Xenos, the Inquisitor lord was receptive to their overtures, as the Charnovokh requested nothing in return. Instead the necrons simply wanted the chance to crush their old foe - the eldar - who they knew had arrived with Windgather to aid the alliance.

Now the crusade was more than able to match the formidable force arrayed against them, and expecting the intervention of the Tau'naur battlesuits the crusade prepared their own defences. Mighty Warhound titans and Knights joined the lines, and the crusade prepared to rebuff the imminent alliance attack.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Libria I: Current Strategic Position

Libria I: Voscians retake Freeburg

While Zhukov continued a relentless push against the crusade in the east, in the west the Volscians counter attacked on 1611.016M42. The Space Wolves remained in the area, and responded immediately, realising that the loss of Freeburg would allow the Crusade to reconnect the cities of Selmer and Blaydon with the rest of the Crusade held territory, following their isolation with the loss of Ranch to the Novgorod advance.

The Space Wolves were unprepared for the ferocity and determination of the Volscian attack, and it was abundantly clear that by now the Volscians considered the Space Wolves themselves heretics, in line with the teachings of the Crusade Ecclesiarchy. In addition, the Volscian soldiers knew they were cut off and that this was their one and only opportunity to break out of their isolated pocket. Fighting hard, the guard regimanets managed to first blunt the Space Wolf counter attack, then inflict massive casualties on the astartes, forcing them to withdraw. By 2011.016M42 the link with the rest of the Crusade via the Ansonville road had been re-established and the crusade had bought themselves a much needed respite.

Libria I: Enqvist and Zhukov take eastern cities

On Libria I General Zhukov continued his plans to drive the crusade forces out of the east of Libria I. His plan called for mass bombardments from orbit of Carteret, Kent City, Laureles and Ranch, softening up their defences before a massive Imperial guard advance by his Novgorod forces. To accomplish this Jellicoe released Admiral Enqvist, Novogord born himself, to take his battlegroup in system to the innermost world of the Libria system.

For many months no-one had meaningfully challenged the loyalist hold on the Librian system itself. The alliance fleet were still running convoy missions when they could, sometimes interdicted by Jellicoe's pickets, but with the departure of Apollo's fleet the tau and Federacy were unwilling to commit large naval resources to the system. Meanwhile the crusade, while having a "fleet" of sorts, found their many vessels spread out all over the Libria system, with most being protected from attack around the crusade controlled Libria V. There was a lot of system between Libria V and Libria I, and Inquisitor Vorushko, leader of the crusade - at least in theory - did not have enough ships. It was time, she decided, to change the playing field.

On board her Inquisitorial blackship - a modified heavy cruiser design - Vorushko approached admiral Barham's battlegroup patrolling the Perseus run. She requested an audience with the rear admiral and, escorted by several units of adeptus sororitas of the Order of the Crimson Veil, requisitoned the entire battlegroup in late 10.016M42. Barham, spineless and eager to please, did not object. He also agreed not to inform his superiors, so when his battlegroup arrived at Libria I on 1211.016M42 it took Admiral Enqvist completely by surprise.

The Novgorod admiral however took no chances, and it was fortunate that as soon as Barham's fleet began closing in attack formation, he judged them to be hostile. Unfortunately for Barham Enqvist did not hesitate or waver, and the headlong charge into the loyalist fleet resulted in catastrophic carnage for the crusade. In the space of just over an hour, the imperial ships exchanged fire with one another, but Barham, overconfident in his new "righteousness", came of far worse. The loyalists suffered one cruiser damaged, while Vorushko's new battlegroup was heavily punished. One cruiser was lost, while Barham's flagship Leviathan was crippled, along with two more capital ships. Barham quickly disengaged, and though shaken, the loyalist fleet continued its duty.

Admiral Jellicoe was notified of the incident, but fell short of reprimanding Barham. Instead he considered the admiral now a "hostage" of Vorushko, finally committing himself to the loyalist cause. On Libria I itself the Novgorod offensive went ahead as planned, and the massive bombardment from space seriously hampered the crusade's ability to respond. Lacking astartes help and now reliant on their requisitioned guard units, it was the cadian mechanised forces who suffered the most as the eastern cities fell one by one. By 1811.016M42 the operation had come to an end and all four eastern cities were now in loyalist hands.

Mordecai Tersius Strategic Position

Ultramarines counter-attack on Mordecai

Stahl revelled in Thok's victory, as he believed this now meant that he in turn would be able to blockade the Imperials over Mordecai Tersius. However, after unloading a reasonably small force of Khorne Bezerkers who had requested a chance to slay the hated Imperium, Thok simply left. Stahl ordered him to stay, but Thok merely replied that if the Warsmith had need of a naval blockade, then he might do well to use his own fleet. Stahl could not and would not leave Minos defenseless, so had to leave the space around the planet uncontested once more. At least, he thought, the imperial fleet would be unable to meaningfully intervene in his operations. Even so, he took precautions.

Instead of holding the line close to the Imperial beachhead at Voytein, as the Imperials would expect, Stahle retreated back to Crassen behind the protective high ground around Mt Harender. Here he began to fortify, planning the long war against an enemy he believed would not abandon the assault so easily as they had done in 013M42. No, the Imperial retaliation would come, and the Khorne Bezerkers would be the ideal bait.

The Ultramarines had been informed of the naval defeat at Mordecai and decided to intervene once more in the emerging war with traitor forces in the Perseus Deeps. Knowing Thok had left the area the astartes sent a formidable force in the form of two companies. Arriving by strike cruiser the imperial forces watched with awe as the marines carried out a spectacular full force drop pod assault on the chaos lines, believing they had Stahl's traitor forces in their grip.

Stahl meanwhile watched from a safe distance as the Khorne marines - ill equipped and hopelessly outclassed - were slaughtered in an orgy of frustration as the Ultramarines realised their intended prey had escaped. IT was a victory, of sorts, and one which boosted the morale of the imperial forces on the ground, but such valuable strategic resources had been squandered for such little gain, and the Ultramarines knew it.

Thok defeats Craddock at Mordecai Tersius

Thok received the "order" from Warsmith Stahl and was about to treat it with justifiable contempt. Although Thok regularly utilised the naval docks at Mordecai he had little interest in the petty imperial invasion of Mordecai Tersius. Stahl had his own fleet, he could come to the aid of his ground forces if he deemed necessary, why should Thok risk his vessels on a fruitless errand. However, Stahl's communication also included information about the imperial invasion which suggested the battleships Resolution was in orbit blockading the third inhabited planet in the Mordecai system. Perhaps, thought Thok, Jellicoe himself would be on board? Thok resolved to launch a surprise attack on the imperial fleet at Mordecai. Not for Stahl, but for revenge. He personally took command on the bridge of the now fully operational Gotterdammerung and set course for the Mordecai system.

Thok arrived without detection, and using the asteroid fields that surrounded Mordecai Tersius, was able to get within weapons range before the imperial lackeys even realised they were under threat. Fooloshly, the imperials had believed the asteroids would provide a defensive obstacle, and had arranged their escort patrols and minefields accordingly. Thok was now in range and directly behind the imperial battleship. Only a cluster of asteroids stood between him and total victory.

The chaos admiral ordered the fleet forward, and was somewhat dismayed as the Acheron class Beowulf slammed into a large floating rock. His mood only worsened as the Beowulf reported herself too heavily damaged to continue, and became positively enraged as the pilot of the Gotterdammerung herself slammed the mighty vessel into another piece of floating debris, causing minor damage. After removing the pilot from his sight with a bolt shot to the head, the mad admiral ordered Beowulf to disengage and pressed on with the attack.

Meanwhile the sudden explosive flaring of shields in the asteroid field had alerted the Imperium to the presence of hostile forces. Admiral Craddock aboard Resolution ordered his ship and her consort Albion to power all weapons, and the escort patrols to fend off the chaos fleet for as long as possible, but it was to no avail. The Gotterdammerung's weapons batteries opened up on the hapless patrolling swords, and the rest of the chaos fleet did the rest. Already one of the two escort patrols deployed by Craddock had been vapourised and his fleet was still in no position to fight the oncoming chaos fleet.

Craddock attempted to wheel his capital ships around the planet of Mordecai Tersius itself, but after a few near misses from the traitor battleship's devastating main cannon, a direct hit crippled the Resolution. Albion, a imperial grand cruiser, had already been heavily damaged by the chaos fleet as their long ranged weaponry found the orbiting capital ship an easy target. Reluctantly Craddock ordered his remaining vessels to abandon station and slip into the black depths of space.

In the short engagement the chaos fleet had achieved total victory. At the cost of one crippled cruiser the Imperium had lost several escort vessels and suffered heavy damage to four capital ships including the Resolution herself. Only the light cruiser Daring managed to escape with no damage, and the blockade of Mordecai Tersius had been lifted. Thok however was not jubilant. He looked at the defensive precautions taken by the imperial fleet and their conduct in the battle and judged that no, Jellicoe had not been present. He had inflicted a defeat on one of his underlings certainly, but Thok wanted one thing above all else. Jellicoe.

The Battle of Mordecai Tersius

Warsmith Stahl, the Master of Chaos forces in the Aleph Sector, had become enraged with his fractious subordinates. The Imperial invasion of Mordecai Tersius had stalled Stahl's own schemes. Arriving on Mordecai Tersius he first vowed to break the backs of the Imperials filth soiling his world and then bring to heel the “incompetent fools” that had allowed the invasion to happen. In mid 11.016M42, having ordered the fleet of Admiral Thok to secure space from the Imperial Navy, Stahl coordinated the counter-attack against the Imperial invasion.

The Iron Warriors intended to decapitate the Imperial forces who had set up in defensive positions of a dense city ruin. Nereus and his Havoks volunteered to eliminate Tank Commander Cleitor, the overall commander organising their next big push. At mid day on 1211.M42 the Iron Warriors attacked in force. The defensive line of the Lycaon Guard was well prepared to protect their tank companies and Imperial Knight support against the armoured assaults Stahl's Iron Warriors were now famous for. In the opening moments the Iron Warriors' gambit struck. Having disembarked from their camouflaged Rhino, Sorcerer Oapius opened a tear in reality. Havoks stepped through behind enemy lines and executed Cleitor and his command tank with concentrated melta gun fire.

If the Iron Warriors were expecting their decapitation strike against the Lycaon Guard to collapse the Imperial defence, they were woefully mistaken. The Imperial Guard were utterly inflexible to the viciousness of the Iron Warrior assault and continued to lay overlapping fire into their enemy. Despite their resilience the unrelenting fire took its toll upon the Iron Warriors, with the Daemon Engines taking the brunt of enemy fire. As both sides settled into a battle of attrition, the Iron Warriors earned their old moniker of Corpsegrinders well, pushing through continuous bombardment from both sides. For hours the attrition warfare ground on, inflicting horrific casualties as both sides pressed on regardless.

Slowly the day wore on and the Lycaon Guard momentarily saw the battle more in their favour. However momentum was short lived as the violent destruction of Imperial Knight and Enginseers started to break the will of the Imperial defence. The Iron Warriors continued to grind down the Lycaon Guard with continual artillery bombardment and counter-attacks, Honourable Kupfer of the Iron Warriors held the right flank alone for several hours, having killed the the lieutenant who took command of the Lycaon Guard and Primaris Psyker who had coordinated the Imperial firepatterns. Finally as the day drew to a close Imperials ordered the tank company to retreat, while ordering infantry units to hold back the tide. In return, the Iron Warriors vindictively dropped ordinance onto the Lycaon infantry, leaving only Sergeant Euaemon surviving, Imperial propagandists keen to turn the defeat into victory have spread a tale of valour, saying his last words over the vox were “stand fast and die like Guardsman”; whether this is true is unknown. What is true is the Iron Warriors after a bloody day have turned the tide against the Imperial invasion.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Libria III: Cenaur taken by Crusade

For many months the front lines on Libria III had remained fairly static, as the crusade focussed on crushing the loyalists, then turned to defence on Libria I. Vorushko could not afford to mount any offensives on the most important world of all, as the three sides in the Librian war continued to jockey for the other four planets. By early 11.016M42 the loyalists had secured Libria II, the crusade had Libria V, Libria IV had all but fallen to the alliance and the crusade battled the loyalists on Libria I. On Libria III, the alliance and the crusade faced each other on many fronts, with typically up to a hundred miles of no-mans-land between them.

On 0511.016M42 however the crusade mechanicus forces near Cenaur took the initiative. Without informing Vorushko the mechanicus force in the Cenaur Hills noted that the tau defences of the city had been whittled down to an absolute minimum. Now only a few of Skyfall's cadres remained, and the crusade mechanicus, led by five powerful Knights, led the chardge into the city. Skyfall's tau forces were ill-prepared to face this kind of superiority in war machines, and despite putting up a robust defence, the tau forces soon realised they faced annihilation if they remained. The alliance moved back to the Barrel mountains allowing Vorushko's forces to capture the imperial city. Overall however the strategic initiative remained the same, with neither side in a dominant position on Libria III.

Libria I: Loyalists inch forward

Ultramarines and guard assault Kent City. U-marines take ground but Angels Repentant counter attack forcing the loyalists out of the city after the U-marines disengage. Meanwhile Space wolves push back Crusade mechanicus in the north, taking Freeburg back from the Crusade.

The crusade had managed to stall the loyalist advance on Libria I by late 10.016M42, thanks to the timely intervention of the Order of the Crimson Veil and the Angels Repentant. Now General Zhukov was keen to regain the momentum in the war and retake the planet before the end of the year.

Zhukov had a large force of Imperial guard supported by the Ultramarines and Space Wolves, both of which had been instrumental in the loyalist resurgence in the Libria system. Zhukov agreed with the astartes captains on the general plan, and on 0111.016M42 the loyalists began their offensives both east and west. In the east, the Space wolves launched their attack on the recently captured cities of Freeburg, Blandon and Selmer. The Wolves didn't have enough forces to take all three in one operation, but chose the obvious target, the nearby city settlement of Freenurg. Another reason for this target was the knowledge that the crusade mechanicus forces were defending Freeburg in strength, and these were forces the astartes knew were best dealt with by themselves.

The Space Wolf plan went to plan, and the crusade mechanicus were swept aside by the astartes, with the loyalists reaching the Selmer sea by 0411.016M42. In the west however, the loyalists managed to secure a foothold in Kent City thanks to the Ultramarines, who once again found themselves fighting their brother astartes in the Angels Repentant. Unable to stay however, the Ultramarines withdrew and the imperial guard took over the recently seized positions. The Angels Repentant had no intention of giving up Kent city easily, and the crusade astartes mounted a second successful assault against loyalist positions, pushing them out of the city. The loyalists were still advancing, but the pace had slowed considerably since the heady days of 09.016M42, and wild optimism was replaced by a realisation that Libria I was far from within the loyalist grasp.

Alliance break resistance on Libria IV

After the decisive push into the heart of Porthaven by Shadowstrike's forces, the end wasn't long in coming for the loyalists on Libria IV. The imperial forces tried their best to reorganise their defence but just days later, as 11.016M42 began, the cadres of commander Skyfall launched a devastating attack on the Porthaven power plant. Knowing this facility was pivotal to the defence of the city, the Novgorod guard defenders fought tooth and nail in order to stall the tau advance.

The highly mobile tau force eventually managed to secure the Power plant, but losses for Skyfall were significant and the Novgorod managed to withdraw in good order. However the power plant had been lost, and the alliance now held all key installations in the city. The strategy of "picking off" key locations and abandoning the broad front approach had worked well, and now the remaining loyalists were out of power, water and general supplies.

While General Zhukov continued to lead the charge on Libria I, the alliance had finally broken the back of imperial control of Libria IV. Now the imperium scrambled to put together a rescue fleet, in order to retrieve the remaining loyalists from the planet, in order to reinforce their positions elsewhere. It remained to be seen whether the alliance would attempt to intervene.

Perseus Deeps: Imperial Invasion of Mordecai Tersius

Following the failed raids of the World eaters the Imperium once again looked to take the fight to the forces of Chaos. Minos, fortified by Stahl and of relatively low strategic value, would wait. There was no point in smashing the imperial armies against the Warsmith's well constructed walls and bastions. Instead the Imperium under General Veers, once again returned to the invasion of Mordecai.

Mordecai, along with Kendrenec, represented the last strongholds of independent chaos in the Perseus Deeps. Both Kendrenec and Mordecai boasted formidable defences and hosted vast space installations. However, While Kendrenc was rules by the tyranical Lord Tragean, and his forces were closely deployed around the main planet of Kendrenec itself, Mordecai was different. Mordecai's space fleet was absent, as the fleets of Shaidar Haran, Moonface and The Arch Cleric had long since abandonned the sector. Stahl's fleet patrolled near Minos. Tragean kept his at Kendrenec and Thok, well Thok was once again causing havoc in the Norsefire Empire.

This left Mordecai wide open for invasion. In addition the Lords of Mordecai were little more than petty warlords, commanding armies only over their own domain. Mordecai I and 2, the important inner planets, would take a gargantuan effort to invade, but Veers once again favoured the previous unsuccessful strategy. Take Mordecai Tersius. Establish a foothold in the system. Contest the space around Mordecai and deny the forces of chaos an easy base.

The initial invasion of Mordecai Tersius was uncontested, and the few cultist forces encountered on the march south only put up cursory resistance. The initial invasion was conducted by the Space Wolves, but the Volscian Guard were the main forces deployed to secure the planet. While the Volscians moved south from the bridgehead, Jellicoe's battlefleet remained in orbit along with a Space Wolves Strike cruiser. Nothing would get past the Imperial Navy.

Except Warsmith Stahl. He still had access to the "device", and upon learning of the Imperial invasion the Warsmith assembled an army to blunt the Imperial advance. Stahl didnt' want to fight a full scale war to defend Mordecai Tersius, but he did want to buy some time. If the invasion could be slowed, this would pin Jellicoe in place for Tragean or his own fleet to counter.

The force sent through the device portal was able to deal a powerful blow to the Volscians. Advancing over open ground the highly mechanised imperial forces soon found themselves under heavy artillery fire, before being assaulted rapidly by chaos bikes and spawn. The Iron Warriors force minimised the use of elite legionairies, and focussed on numbers and diverse firepower. This counter attack slowed the Imeprial march south, but could not stop it. Stahl was forced to withdraw before the vastly superior numbers of the imperium overrun his device position.

Satisfied with the tactical victory, Stahl withdrew. However the Space Wolves launched an immedite counter assault. Not finding Stahl's forces instead the astartes fell upon ill-equipped chaos forces. Despite summoning a host of daemons to help them, the cultists were routed and the Imperial push to the southern settlements of Mordecai Tersius continued.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Libria IV: Decisive Alliance push

With their position on Libria IV secured the Alliance felt it was time to try and land a knock out blow. Their offensive in the south had been highly effective, driving deep and drawing in the remaining Imperial reserves. Stretched thin the Imperium was in a poor position to react to a sudden change in focus.

Imperial HQ was a fortress, surrounded by rings of Aegis lines, bristling with gun emplacements and manned by crack regiments of loyalist Librian guardsmen. It posed a formidable obstacle for the Alliance who's military doctrine favoured mobile warfare and the destruction of the enemies ability to resist over petty territorial gain. Until now that had kept the Alliance focused on easier targets but now it was as vulnerable as it was ever going to be.

The Federacy unleashed its secret weapon. Long held in reserve, their existence long a strictly guarded secret legions of battle robots from the golden age of mankind marched implacably towards the defensive lines surrounding Imperial HQ. Impervious to light arms, incapable of fear and unquestioningly obedient the mechanical constructs could do what the other Alliance forces could not – fight a brutal battle of attrition.

The super human Adeptus Astartes might have been able to stop their advance but they were all in the south fighting the Alliance's thrust there. The Titan Legions of the Collegia Titanica could have blasted them to dust but they had been withdraw following the disaster inflicted by the Ultra Marines Legion. Mere men stood no chance and the Imperial defences folded before the relentless advance.

A company of Space Wolves was in position to attack the alliance mechanicum forces but their flanking assault was easily beaten off by the mechanised warriors. In addition the Space olves were forced to retreat to safer positions rather than be enveloped and destroyed by advancing alliance forces. By the end of 2810.016M42 the Imperial HQ had once again been seized by alliance forces.

With Imperial HQ secured the Tau launched a fresh offensive into the newly opened breach. Lightening fast mechanised units supported by suits and light skimmers thrust unopposed deep into the city, quickly securing the regions water plant. In a last desperate bid a company of the Blood Angel's Chapter was air lifted to Arbites HQ in an attempt to stop the advance but they were heavily outnumbered and had left behind most of their heavy equipment in the rapid relocation. Only a solitary knight supported them and although it wreaked bloody carnage on the Tau's most elite forces it was eventually surrounded and brought down, never seeing the Stealth team that ambushed it from the city ruins and fired a fusion beam into its reactor housing.

Arbites HQ fell to the Alliance. Their advance was now dangerously strung out, vulnerable to being cut off and encircled but the Imperium only had a narrow window to respond before the Alliance forces secured the main power plant and with it the last hopes for victory of the Imperium on Libria IV.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Genestealer rising "not a concern"

+++RECEIVED: Farport
+++DATE: 1011_016M42L
+++DUCT: Aleis Bogue
+++REF: HUR1610|Xeno1187#2
+++AUTHOR: Inq Huron
+++SUBJECT: Xenos threat; Perseus Deeps
+++THOUGHT: Suffer not the alien to live

Throughout the last few months I have been monitoring the growing reports of genestealer activity in the Perseus Deeps. Cults infecting the local populace have been idenfied on at least three worlds. The governor of Hemera has uncovered a particularly seditious group, which turned out to be led by foul Xenos. The Lycaon Guard were deployed at my behest and the cult annihilated. I took the extra precuation of monitoring other Xenos transmissions and have determined that not only are the Necrons suffering this plague among the indigenous population, the traitor forces on Mordecai have also had to deal with this problem. Once again it is my understanding that the forces of chaos had no problems in dealing with the xenos uprising.

From the sporadic nature of these uprisings I can only infer that they are not yet fully under the sway of the Hive Mind of Nemesis. yes, it is Nemesis. My own Magos biologis has proved this without doubt. The Hive fleet has sent out spores before it, and far from vanquished the vile Xenos are simply plying the void somewhere within the borders of the Harakhty dynasty. How long before the storm breaks I cannot say, but I have ordered General Veers to build up the defences of Bastien and Corticant. We will be ready.

Your ever faithful servant

Inqusitor Lord Huron


Shadowstrike intervenes on Libria IV

Imperial Intelligence had detected the deployment of fresh Tau forces into the northern districts of Libria IV. The site of recent Imperial victories the Tau hold in the north was tenuous and fragmented leaving the area ripe for the taking. Even more concerning were reports that the fresh Tau troops belonged to the Ksi'm'yen Sept, veterans of many successful campaigns in the Aleph Sector including Tarsis and Melberg.

Anxious to avoid the Tau securing their positions Imperial High Command requested that the Space Wolves re-enforce the Cathedral district, hoping to stall any Tau counter attack until massed Astra Millitarum formations could be redeployed to shore up the region.

The Tau offensive came sooner than expected, catching the thinly spread Space Wolves at their most vulnerable. Heavily outnumbered they were unable to control much of the area giving the aggressive and mobile Tau forces almost free reign to secure their designated objectives. Tau infantry was soon spotted stationed in the south but it proved to be a distraction force, the main attack fell in the north where Tau suites supported by Riptides bounded through the ruins and quickly overwhelmed the few defenders there.

Seeing the Tau success and temporarily left their distraction force unsupported and vulnerable the Space Wolve's commander decided that attack was the best form of defence. Hoping to turn the tide with a daring counter strike he teleported down from his orbiting Strike Cruiser hoping to crush the vulnerable infantry. But Shadowstrike had long taught that to defeat one's enemy one must first put yourself in the mind of that enemy. Picking up the energy spike from the orbiting cruiser the Tau were ready and jammed its sensors, flooding them with white noise. As alarms sounded in the teleportation chamber the Space Wolf commander and his elite retinue hung suspended in the warp for a moment before emergency fail-safes cut in and dumped them onto the planet far from their intended target and right into the path of the Tau attack. Helpless they were gunned down by the massed firepower of the Tau suites.

Unimpeded the Tau attack swept on, surrounding the remaining Space Wolves and cutting them down without mercy before pushing on deep into the city. It was a disaster for the Imperial cause and the Tau were able to secure large swathes of the north districts. Photo reconnaissance even picked up low quality and grainy images of Commander Shadowstrike himself supervising the attack although he must have long died of old age. Could Shadowstrike's prodigies be carrying on his tactics and legacy?

Libria IV: Loyalist advances swiftly reversed

After the destruction of the Warhaound in Porthaven, the loyalist forces quickly resolved to destroy the traitorous Ultramarines Legion and their crazed ideas about the imperial creed. Inquisitor Hathek was particularly keen that the news of the Ultramarines Legion joining the alliance was to be kept strictly secret, and the imperium began a campaign of propagada describing the Ultramarines as rebellious mercenaries and not true astartes.

Nothing could be further from the truth however, as many in the legion remembered the Emperor himself, and his edicts against religion, something whichthey could never forget. The Space Wolves volunteered to put an end to the Legion, as the Ultramarines chapter simply could not bring themselves to fight what were effectively their forefathers. The Space Wolves however almost relished the task, and put togetyher their most effective fighting force, dropping on the legion forces in the South Park area of the city.

A brutal fight developed between the astartes forces, as millenia old passions came to the fore. The savagery of the Space Wolves however could not be overcome by the equipment advantage enjoyed by the Legion forces, and the Ultramarines suffered severe losses. Withdrawing, the legion now had to consider how to add new recruits to its force, and where to base themselves going forward.

While the Astartes fought brutally in the southern region of the city, the alliance were already planning an outflanking move with the alliance mechanicum forces preparing elite forces in the Commercia district. Their advance took the Novgorod Guard vy surprise, and the loyalists found themselves pushed back once again. Porthaven was rapidly turning into a quagmire neither side appeared to be able to end.

Libria I: Crusade mount flanking offensive

With the crusade on the run on Libria I the loyalists could be forgiven for becoming a little complacent. Exploiting this the crusade forces, led by the Order of the Crimson Veil and the recently "recruited" Volscian Guard regiments, planned a daring attack which would, if successful, stop the loyalists in their tracks. Having lost hector, the crusade were now on the defensive in the west, but the cities of Careret and Kent City were in opposite directions and Hector was difficult to supply via the road to Novato. For now the loyalists were undertaking the massive effort of moving supplies and HQ units from the middle cities to Hector in order to continue the offensive. No immediate threat to the east and north east was detected. In the far west however, the cities of Freeburg, Blandon and Selmer looked vulnerable. While the loylaists looked west, the crusade husbanded their forces near Ansonville and planned to take the geopgraphically close Freeburg and Blandon, thus cutting off Selmer entirely.

The initial assault was led by the Order of the Crimson Veil. Lacking in guard defensive units, the rear guard of Lycaon and Novgorod Guard were quickly overrun, and the Space Wolves were unable to turn back the crusade push, while the Crimson Veil declared all Space Wolves "mutants" and heretics. The Astartes counter attacked but found themselves under too much fire from the zealots and were forced to abandon the settlements. Now the Volscians pushed through to Selmer and were astonished to find the city practically undefended. However, the loyalists then planned a counter assault in force. they unleashed the Ultramarines drop force onto the Volscians at Selmer, utilising the almost total air and space superiority still enjoyed by the loyalists, thanks to Admiral Jellicoe's fleet.

The drop on Selmer was intended to annihilate the Volscians. With the Ultramarines in control of Selmer General Zhukov would follow up from the east and force the crusade to abandon their recent gains or be caught with superior enemy forces on both sides. Somehow that didn't happen. Filled with righteous fury and denouncing the Ultramarines as "blind sheep" the Volscians held despite taking horrendous casualties. Not only did the Volscians not break, but the Ultramarines saw them working hand in hand with the Angels of Redemption, who they treated as gods or "true sons of the Emperor". In addition, the number of raw conscripts fielded by the Volscians was extremely high, and not all had functioning weapons. All however seemed to have an unshakeable faith in the crusade and its aims.

The faith, plus numbers, told very quickly, and the Ultramarines drop turned into a disaster. Valuable drop pods were lost as were Ultramarine lives, and the assault to retake the other two cities was quickly cancelled. The crusade had successfully managed to halt the overwhelming and seemingly unstoppable loyalist advance on Libria I.

Libria I: Hector falls to loyalists

Following the failed attack by the Angels of Redemption on the loyalist Guard forces stationed along the Hector road, the vital industrial complexes of Hector itself lay open to loyalist assault. Hectors garrison consisted of elements of the 16th Vannaheim Grenadier Regiment, supported by the 317th Vannaheim Heavy Artillery Brigade. Realising its importance, the Order of the Crimson Veil reinforced the garrison with its Convent of His Mercy, the few squadrons that could be spared from the very understrength 5th Vannaheim Armoured Brigade along with Knight-Warden Adalicia from the ecclesiarchy aligned House Xiphos.

Loyalist HQ wanted to avoid the meatgrinder that Hectors sprawling manufactories could become, knowing that the zealous, battle hardened Crusade forces would be almost impossible to dislodge in an urban battle. They instead sought to use the Crusades zealotry against them, to encourage them to leave the relative safety of Hector to be destroyed in the open by superior loyalist firepower. This difficult task was assigned to the 3rd Company of the Ultramarines, led by their Chief Librarian, Tigurius. On the morning of 1810.016M42, the loyalist operation began. Tigurius led small detachment of the 3rd Company along with Knight-Crusader Athanaric of House Gladius in a steady advance towards Hector. This force was spotted almost immediately by Crusade scouts, information that was transferred quickly to Hectors defenders. There was initial disagreement between the Crusade command elements about how to counter this threat. Canoness Sevilla of the Convent of His Mercy saw the apparently weak Ultramarine push as an opportunity to counter attack and break though Loyalist lines to retake territory lost earlier that month, whilst avoiding damage to Hectors industrial capacity an urban battle would certainly cause. The Commander of the 16th Vannaheim Grenadiers disagreed, believing that they neither prepared enough or had enough intelligence to attack, and instead should wear the Ultramarines down in urban combat, only attacking once additional forces could be marshalled against the Loyalists. Knight-Warden Adalicia, seeing a chance to test her abilities against another Knight, supported the Canoness, taking it upon herself to execute the Vannaheim Commander for cowardice and insubordination. With the dissent in the Crusade ranks squashed, their mechanised forces roared from Hectors relative safety, out onto the plains that surrounded the city. Instead of facing the Crusade forces, the Ultramarines instead retreated. The battle turned into a tail chase, with the Ultramarines refusing engagement, drawing the faster Immolators and Chimera’s away from the lumbering Leman Russ’s and Penitent Engines.

Mid-afternoon, satisfied with the situation, Tigurius called in his reinforcements. The rest of the 3rd Company thundered from the clouds borne by drop pod and Thunderhawk. Simultaneously, the Ultramarine ground forces turned and engaged the enemy, catching he crusade force completely by surprise. Immolators and Chimeras were blown apart by the storm of fire from the Devastator Marines that strode from the drop pods, the Sisters and Guardsmen inside hacked apart by Assault Marines that leapt down from the Thunderhawks that swooped overhead. Her communication lines and command structure decimated, Canoness Sevilla attempted to pull her forces back. The 5th Vannaheim Armoured Brigade did not receive this order, and blundered into the chaos. They were quickly turned back by vicious fire from the Ultramarines and Knight-Crusader Athanaric, whose Battle Cannon reaped a heavy toll on the Crusade Armour. Seeing her target reveal himself, Kight-Warden Adalicia charged forward, ignoring Sevilla’s panicked attempts at ordering her to retreat. She cleaved through a squad of Assault Marines and blasted apart a dreadnought in her charge but, bogged down in the carnage, she received Athanarics full attention. Her ion shield was breached by a deluge of bolt cannon fire, exposing her to a series of catastrophic hits from his battle cannon which detonated her Avengers Gatling Cannons ammunition supply. Blown in two by the explosion, the destruction of Adalicia’s Imperial Knight marked the transition of the battle from an ambush to a full rout.

The survivors retreated to Hector in disarray, hounded the entire way by the victorious Ultramarines. The bulk of the crusade force continued straight through the city and out the other side, having lost the will to present any further resistance to the Loyalists. In the chaos, the 317th Heavy Artillery Brigade did not receive any order to retreat, having been left in the city that morning to provide fire support for the Crusade attack. When the Ultramarines arrived at the city outskirts, they were forced into a desperate rear guard action. Resisting the Ultramarine advances for over 24 hours, they bought enough time for Canoness Sevilla to rally her forces and set up a new line of defence protecting Carteret and Kent City, preventing the defeat from turning into a massacre.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Corticant: Ultramarines response

While rushing to the Libria system to reinforce the Loyalist forces pushing against the weakened Crusade, Chief Librarian Tigurius of the Ultramarines received a distress call from the Imperial defenders of Corticant. There had been sightings and raids by an unknown force of Astates, led by a brutal giant of a man. Disturbed by this news, Tigurius changed course and set forth to identify and remove this new threat.

Thanks to his powerful psychic prescience, Tigurius had a shrewd idea of whom the mysterious Astates were and where he should deploy his forces for maximum effect when the 3rd Company strikeforce landed on Corticant. Swiftly moving into action, Tigurius deployed his forces on the edge of an old Imperial base, the valiant Knight-Crusader Athanaric of the House Gladius, oath-sworn to the Ultramarines 3rd Company, forming the anvil onto which Tigurius' hammer would fall.

As predicted, figures clad in the white-and-blue of the Heresy-era World Eaters stormed forth from the warp, intent on killing all that lay in their way. Screaming cries of hate and heresy, they set upon the unexpected Ultramarine defenders with a viciousness unmatched. Before their attack could make any real headway, however, Ultramarine drop pods slammed in from orbit, delivering Devastators bearing Graviton weaponry. Tigurius' hammer had arrived.

The Devastators made short work of the elite Terminators of the World Eaters, their heavy armour crushing them as its weight was exponentially increased by localised gravity fields. Knight-Crusader Athanaric went to work on the rest of the heretics, his Avenger Gatling Cannon and Battle Cannon showing their worth time and time again. Reinforcements arrived for the World Eaters, but too late. With the main force crushed, the Ultramarines could destroy the treacherous Dreadnoughts as they arrived by drop pod, one by one. The battle seemed to be won.

However, unforeseen by Tigurius, the warp shimmered once again and more World Eaters came through, led by an enormous man. Tigurius recognised him as the immortal form of Angron, somehow before his ascension to daemonhood. In the surprise of this vicious counter-attack, Angron threw Tigurius to the ground and proceeded to rampage towards the Ultramarine strike force. Thankfully for the Imperial forces, Athanaric merely saw Angron as another heretic to be slain in contempt, and laid waste to the assault, the force of his battle cannon throwing Angron to the ground as the earth beneath his feet exploded. As the dust cleared, he was nowhere to be seen and not one of the traitors still polluted Imperial air with their breath. The Ultramarines had taken minimal casualties, and the day was theirs.

Corticant Raid

The raid on Corticant also ended in failure, but here a much larger force of Iron Warriors faced determined resistance from the Lycaon Guard and Cadians. The raid soon turned into a slog, as the Iron Warriors, while not supporting the raid at all, carried out their task with grim determination. Fortunately the Cadians and Lycaons prevented the Iron Warriors from entering Fort Bastion, and the imperial complex was saved from destruction.

Meanwhile a force of marines dedicated to Khorne joined the Iron Warriors in the raid on Corticant. There was no planning or strategy involved in this however, and after the devotees of khorne had wiped out several unimportant small communities, the Angels Repentent fell upon them in the ruins of one such town. Unprepared for such an assault and recieving no help from the Iron Warriors (who couldn't care less) the Khorne force suffered heavy casualties and was forced to flee.

The raids on the alliance and the imperium had been a complete flop, and had only served to prove how weak the forces of chaos were in the Perseus Deeps, something the Iron Warriors under Stahl had been slowly and painfully trying to reverse. Now new and arrogant chaos leaders had arrived in the region, potentially undoing his patient hard work and causing the retreat of the ruinous powers as with Moonface, Lorek and the Arch Cleric. These three had appeared, made brief gains for themselves, ascended, and left chaos worse off. Stahl was not content to see this pattern endlessly repeat.

Myrentas II Raid

The raid on the alliance world of Myrentas II was conducted by the World eaters. This raid Stahl certainly wanted nothing to do with, and the World Eaters, expecting an easy vicotry, were shocked to find the Ultramarines Legion from their own era fighting in the name of the Federacy. Both sides hurled abuse at one another as they closed, blaming each other for events which had long since fallen into legend.

The battle itself was a bloody affair which ended with the World Eaters aborting their raid on Myrentas' installations. The raid achieved nothing, but the Ultramarines Legion realised that the warp anomaly which had seen them jumpt 10,000 years into the future had affected not only themselves, but the very force they had been hunting all those millenia ago.