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

Iron Warriors vs. Cadians & Lycaon Guard @2750 (5)
 - Narrow Imperial victory
Khorne Marines vs. Angels Repentent (4)
 - Wipeout to Imperium

Myrentas II Raid

World Eaters vs. Ultramarine Legion (@2000, WE left) (2)
 - Victory to Alliance

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Chaos plan raids on Corticant and Myrentas II

Iron Warriors, unknown Khorne legion +World eaters...

Genestealers identified on Hemera

Genestealers vs. Novgorod Guard @1500
 - massacre to Imperium

Libria IV: Ultramarines Legion halt alliance reverses

Novgorod Guard vs. Ultramarines Legion @2000
 - LOYALIST minor victory
Librian Guard (+ Warhound) vs. Ultramarines Legion @2000
 - Warhound one shot
 - 11-3 to ALLIANCE

Libria I: Loyalists push on to Hector

With the invasion a success the loyalists pressed their advantage, quickly pushing through the cities of Gratiot and Derwood and forging ahead towards the eastern cities. To assault these, the loyalists first needed to secure the Hector road, and while the Novgorod Guard protected the flanks from the northern strongholds, the Lycaon Guard deployed along the Hector road. Inevitably this meant coming under crusade attack, and once again it was the Angels of Redemption who led the crusade charge.

Lacking any real support in the way of organised guard manpower, the Angels struggled to dislodge the Lycaon, and suffered heavy casualties. The loyalists took the road and began their preparations for an assault on the eastern cities, but it was noted that ther were a number of Volscian guard units supporting the Angels of Redemption, although not in strength. Had Vorushko found another source of manpower?

Gamordal: Charnovokh begin purge

The Necrons were defending a run down city with a manufacturing facility which they hope to convert to their own use against a genestealer insurgence. Waves of humanoids akin to guardsmen broke out of the cover of the jungle, supported by a Chimera transport and a mighty Leman Russ tank. Identifying the Tyranid mutation instantly the Charnovokh were nontheless taken aback by the creatures' ability to pilot vehicles and Overlord Arakamen soon realised that his garrison of warriors and immortals was not enough to handle a threat of this scale. Reinforcement protocols set in effect as the eradicator cannon of the Russ laid down it's deadly salvo, blasting the Immortal phalanx. The Necrons relentlessly marched forwards, the teal of their Charnovokh pattern gauss weaponry lighting up the smoke, thudding metal feet rhythmically shaking the ground. With a soul wrenching screech a shadow flared over the war torn terrain and lightning lit up the Leman Russ as a Doom scythe ripped across the sky. Arcs of blue-green danced across the flank of the Chimera as Destroyers descended down on their displacement platforms - the reinforcements had arrived. Disoriented neophytes scrabbled out of the smoking transport and beheld what was left of their battle tank. Losing morale, the humanoids threw themselves at the advancing Necron gun line, falling prey to the flesh rending shots. Yet the Cult had one last trick to play. The Patriarch, a mighty sinewy beast with a pack of purestrain genestealers rose up from the shadows and threw himself at the vulnerable Overlord of the Necron armies. The genestealer knew that while victory was out of reach it could still severely cripple the Necrons by taking out their chief in command.

Letting out a terrible shriek the beast bashed against the machine, flesh and claws colliding with hardened Necrodermis - living metal. Razor sharp talons flashed and tore across the chest of the ancient being, spewing metallic tendrils and tubes across the ground. The necron took a step back. The Overlord shuddered and seemed to fail yet even as its machine brain was whirring the advanced self repair mechanisms were already working. Liquid metal pooled and restored fractured surfaces and all the while the scythe of darkest black gleamed in a circle of death. Once, twice the blade whirled, the machine tirelessly executing complex manoeuvres, going through routine protocols of annihilation. The beast stretched and went for another strike but came to a halting stop as a clean, calculated blow separated its head from its body. Arakamen glared at the carcass of his enemy before wrenching its spine from its torso, kicking away the dead meat. Many warriors had challenged him in the past, some even coming close to claiming his soulless life yet this beast was not one of them. He did not cast a backwards glance at the pile of flesh as he raised his arm and decided the fate of the rest of the vile beings.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Libria IV: Alliance suffer reverses

In mid 10.016M42 the battle on Libria IV for the capital Porthaven, began to swing decisively in favour of the loyalists. The arrival of the Space Wolves gave the imperial commanders in the city a much needed boost, both to morale and actual fighting force. It was the Wolves who led the assault on 0910.016M42, attacking the newly deployed alliance Ultramarine Legion, relishing punishing their ancient brethren who in their mind had now turned against the Emperor. The battle was bloody, with neither side willing to give ground, but the Space Wolves overcame their opponent's material advantage, destroying their equipment and taking back the Imperial HQ for the loyalists.

Further south the Novgorod Guard pushed forward towards South Park, battering their way though the Federal defences. The Librians counter attacked, using their elite mechanised infantry divisions, but the Novgorod were waiting. An expertly timed flanking move by the elite of the Novgorod Guard turned the tide, although thousands of conscripts died defending against the initial Librian assault.

By 1510.016M42 pockets of the alliance army had been surrounded in the Commercia district and the loyalists looked likely to continue pushing back the federal forces. With no Tau reinforcements expected for several weeks, the alliance was now in a precarious position on Libria IV

Loyalists invade Libria I

The loyalists, now composed of the Imperial guard unified under general Zhukov as well as the Ultramarines and Space Wolves in force, wasted no time in making use of the Crusade's weakness following their disastrous invasion attempt of Libria II. Utilising their superiority in space, the loyalists quickly prepared an invasion of the neighbouring Libria I. With the loss of the Carcharadons and their allies, and following the catastrophic losses in the Librian theatre, the defences on Libria I were particularly thin, comprising of some Vannaheim regiments and their Sisters of Battle allies, as well as the recent addition of the Angels Repentent chapter of space marines. The rest of the Crusade force on Libria I consisted largely of religious zealot ad hoc militia.

THe loyalist strike was precise and devastating. Concentrating in the north east of the world, the Ultramarines paved the way with an orbital strike against the defences of Freeburg. The Sisters of Battle rallied in force, but were cut down by the Ultramarines firepower. THis action was followed by the Space Wolves, who landed and pushed east into Selmer, while the main force of Novgorod guard pushed south into the heart of the planet. In the north, the Space Wolves easily dispatched the Angels Repentent, securing the loyalist flank, while further south the Angels 2nd company suffered a major defeat at the hands of the loyalist infantry, whose artillery barrage made the ground shake under near continuous ordnance impacts.

The loyalists pushed south, realising that nothing now stood in their way. By 1510.016M42 much of the southern Tundra region was under loyalist control, and the crusade were desperately trying to gather a coherent defence.

Necrons find genestealers on Gamordal

While the Imperium self destructed over Libria, there were unsettling rumblings in the Perseus Deeps. Since their arrival the Necrons of the Charnovokh Dynasty had been introducing themselves (and trying - successfully - to establish hegemony over) to the lords of the necron empire ruled by the fading Harakhty dynasty. On Gamordal the new arrivals were greeted warmly, as the local lord had already lost more than two-thirds of his fighting forces to the strange reanimation protocol virus, and his "cattle" were showing some disturbing signs.

The cattle were of course the former human population of the world, forced into slavery and daily worship of the Harakhty lords. Recently however, the humans had started rebelling, and the Charnovokh agreed to put down the revolt, and add the world of Gamordal to their own dominion.

What the Charnovokh found deeply disturbed them, as not only were the "cattle" revolting, but they had themselves been infected by the insidious Xenos of the tyranids, in the form of a genestealer cult, something the Harakhty had overlooked, or misunderstood. The Charnovokh were used to tyranids, and had faced them before, almost to their own doom. They assaulted the genestealer cult with a cold thirst for revenge only the soulless can understand, and the lord of the necron force personally destroyed the genestealer magos in one on one combat. With the cult destroyed the necrons then set about a "cleanse" of the native population, and the great cull began.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Xenos activity in the Perseus Deeps

In early 10.016M42 the Perseus Deeps flared up once again into bloodshed. The Charnovokh Dynasty had arrived in the sector and had begun re-invigorating the necron empire in the Deeps. This the eldar of the Disciples of Y'nead could not tolerate, and they began their long slow campaign against the necrons once again, raiding the former ork world of "Zog" on 0210.016M42. The raid was over a key portion of the webway the eldar hoped to close off in order to prevent necron access to a number of eldar worlds, including Sentinel and Ares. After a long and bloody encounter, the eldar were successful, but at a grim cost in precious eldar lives.

Meanwhil Inquisitor Huron found some alarming signs of genestealer and tyranid activity in the Deeps. Fearing a return of Hive fleet Nemesis Huron dispatched agents, including Deathwatch marines to a number of uninhabited and remote outposts. On one world the tyranids were found, narrowly defeated in a lighting recon operation, giving the Deathwatch enough time to gather vital Bio-intel about the Xenos. Huron was able to confirm the Nemesis genetic markers and quietly informed key Inquisition agents. Nemesis had returned.

Friday, October 07, 2016

Operation Sledgehammer: Initial assault

The Crusade attack, dubbed operation Sledgehammer came on 0110.016M42. Transported by the rag tag Crusade fleet, the usual element of surprise utilised by the Crusade was lost, as were the critical airborne capabilities of the Charcaradons and Minotaurs. Instead the Crusade landed in the desert, unopposed, then raced for their three key objectives.

The crusade had targetted the three main northern cities of Whitaker (the capital), Kaplinski and Wilhoughby. Taking these rapidly, the crusade reasoned, would quickly lead to the capitulation of loyalist resistance on the planet. To take the capital, the Cadian 9th regiment, supported by a small detachment of Grey Knights, would surround and cut off the city itself, which the crusade thought would be only weakly defended. Further west, the Cadians would be joined by the Sky Lords, in order to deliver a precision strike against the refineries of Kaplinksi, while in the east, Whiloughby was the target of the Vannaheim guard regiments.

The assault on Whitaker soon hit problems, with the Space Wolves and Ultramarines already in position to defend against an assault. The Space Wolves soon battered the initial Cadian thrusts into the city, and the arrival of the Ultramarines wrecked the Cadian equipment and quickly discouraged the Grey Knights from intervening by neutralising and capturing their initial recon forces. The Grey Knights, shocked by the astartes defending a supposedly seditious world, soon began to lose faith in Vorushko's crusade. The Cadians meanwhile followed their orders, but after the battle many Cadian survivors, especially officers, were handed over to Inquisitor Hathek's "re-education" units. By 0410.016M42 the crusade attack on Whitaker had been completely wiped out.

At Kaplinski, the Lycaon guard were ready and waiting for the crusade attack. First the Sky Lords' armoured push into the centre of the settlement was rapidly neutralised by overwhelming and frighteningly accurate firepower, supported by a particularly fired up Imperial Psyker. The Sky Lords took heavy casualties and lost all their vehicles as imperial artillery and tank fire took its toll. With no air support, the Sky Lords were pinned down and within 24 hours had begun to withdraw what little forces they had left. The Cadians, following up, soon faced the full might of the Lycaon forces, and despite being well equipped and highly mechanised, once again the Lycaon firepower had the desired effect, and the assault on Kaplinksi collapsed. The remaining Cadians surrendered to the loyalist forces, and Vorushko lost all the Cadian forces deployed on Libria I.

Willoughby, assaulted by the Vannaheim Guard, was similarly a disaster for the crusade, as despite making initial gains on the city, the Vannaheim soldiers could not do enough damage quickly enough against the numerically superior Novgorod forces. Again well entrenched artillery proved decisive, and the Vannaheim attack floundered. The crusade forces began an orderly retreat, as Vorushko ordered an evacuation, but a flanking attack from the Dark Angels delivered the coup-de-grace for the final crusade forces left on the planet. By 0610.016M42 the entire Libria II assault force had been wiped out, and the Crusade had lost nearly a third of its fighting force. In this one catastrophic invasion attempt, the Crusade found itself on the verge of collapse.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Operation Sledgehammer: Prelude to battle

Following on from the failed attempt to secure Libria II Inquisitor Vorushko called a meeting of her Crusade council. The Raven Guard refused to attend, stating only that they did not want to participate in any actions which could lead to more conflict with their "brothers", referring to their battle against the Space Wolves chapter. However, Vorushko realised she badly needed to shore up her Astartes support for the crusade. It was clear now that Inquisitor Hathek and the loyalist faction had secured the ongoing support of the Ultramarines and Space Wolf chapters of space marines, and she had intercepted a worrying transmission which indicated the Dark Angels had similarly sent forces to the system.

Vorushko could count on the support of the Sky Lords, a young chapter keen to prove themselves in the service of the emperor, but the Minotaurs and Apocalypse riders had withdrawn without communication, and the Carcharadons had notified Vorushko that following their encounter with the Space Wolves, who they did not believe were traitors, the chapter would no longer be participating in the "crusade". This was now an internal Inquisitorial affair and had nothing to do with them.

Lacking such powerful Astartes support, Vorushko had managed to secure additional forces however. Upon her request, she had managed to add several regiments of Vannaheim and now Cadian guard to her armed forces, and a small detachment of Grey Knights, fearful (incorrectly) that the "insurgence" on Libria was chaotic in origin, had joined her side. With these new forces at her disposal, Vorushko decided to invade Libria II.

Libria II is a desert world with eight major large cities, dispersed around the planet at the sites of the best ore deposits. Marshall Zhukov of the Novgorod Guard was appointed in overall command of the defence of the world, and unbeknown to the crusade he recieved significant reinforcements prior to the invasion. For a start the Ultramarines and Space Wolves had agreed Vorushko was in the wrong, and that Libria needed to be defended from the crusade, even if that meant fighting their own astartes brethren. They had tried communicating with the crusade astartes, and this had yielded the removal of the Raven Guard, Carcharadons, Apocalypse Riders and Minotaurs, at least apparently. In addition to the astartes Zhukov was able to deploy Lycaon and Novgorod forces to many of the major cities, where he knew the crusade would attempt to land and launch lightning strikes. Then on the eve of the invasion, the Dark Angels arrived, pledging their support and declaring the Sky Lords a rogue chapter.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Loyalists beat off attempted takeover of Libria II

Libria II, although officially "neutral" in the Librian war between the crusade and loyalists, became a target for both sides in the second half of 016M42. The loyalists had lost Libria V and Libria I to the crusade, and had been forced off Libria III. Libria IV was beseiged by the alliance, so without Libria II, the loyalist cause was all but over in the system. Inquisitor Vorushko knew this too, and on 1509.016M42 landed a significant force of Raven Guard on the planet, and "visited" the imperial governor in Whittaker.

Realising this coup would effectively end the loyalists control of the Libria system, loyalist Inquisitor Hathek appealled for anyone holding to the Imperial creed to remove the illegitimate invaders from the world. The Space wolves responded, and in a savage assault obliterated the Raven Guard force encircling Whittaker and "freed" the imperial governor. By 0110.016M42 the world was staunchly loyalist, and Hathek appointed General Zhukov to defend the world from any who would stand against his vision of Imperial law. Vorushko began planning her next move.

"Coalition" attack on Corticant fails

For years the Necron threat had been contained on Corticant, at least according to the Imperium. In fact, the Harakhty Dynasty as a whole had been suffering problems with its reannimation protocols, and since 011.M42 their armies had been gradually falling back into hibernation. Realising the dire thresat to there empire, the lords of the dynasty went over to the defensive, and appealled to help from any necrons able and willing.

Meanwhile the alliance, having become bogged down on Libria IV thanks to the overwhelming numbers of the Imperial fleet, had for many months planned to cut the loyalist supply lines by attacking the space lanes linking Libria to the rest of the Imperium. One such lynchpin in this supply line was Corticant, and the imperial base was within striking range of Federal and tau forces based in the Perseus Deeps.

On 2209.016M42 a large alliance force landed on Corticant, made up of Skyfall's tau cadres and recent additions to the Federacy, Ultramarines from the time of the Horus Heresy who had once again fallen victim to the strange warp anomaly which had trapped first Haskell then Appollo's Iron Warriors. However the first contact made by the alliance was not with the Imperium at all. Insteads, while the imperial forces, alerted to the invasion, prepared for the alliance assault, the alliance were contacted by a strange alien emmisary.

The necrons had reinforcements, and after a long and tense negotiation both the alliance and necrons agreed that their common enemy was the imperial presence on Corticant. They could no agree however the terms of a settlement after the imperial forces had been defeated, and this forced both parts of the "coalition", to keep significant forces in reserve, watching each other. This would prove to be a significant problem as the assault on the Fort Bastion commenced.

In defence, General Veers, still in charge of the Perseus theatre but losing prestige following the loss of Minos, had regiments of the Lycaon, Volscian and Novgorod Guard. In addition a knight detachment significantly bolstered the imperial fighting ability, and as the coalition forces attacked the battle soon became a vicious firefight in front of the fort proper. Far from sitting behind their defences the imperium had come out to fight.

The battle continued for some time, but eventually imperial numbers told, and the coalition forces were unable to take key objectives. By 0110.016M42 the tau were in retreat, and the necrons abandoned their attempt to retake Corticant, for now. Frustrated the alliance similarly cancelled the invasion of Corticant, seeking alternative strategies to disrupt the war on Libria. The battle resulted in a badly needed win for the Loyalist Imperium.