Saturday, October 19, 2019

Hexis: Airborne operations destroy chaos base

- air war over Hexis @100 (2)
- 84-35 (2pts to imperium)
- Second try 2pts to imperium
- 94-84 to imperium in bombing mission
- 1pt each
Chaos base destroyed.

Bree retaken by Federacy

- House Chardonnay vs. Hammers of Emperor
- Win to Federacy
- Bree overrun
- air raids on Dale take out defences

Chaos counter raids at Tarlius

Aether Striders vs. Imperial Fists
- 13-7 to imperium
- 3-1

Cadian 9th vs. Cybixx 
- Win to imperium

Imperium take Tarlius I

Aether Striders & nurgle vs. hammers of the emperor @2000
-  *draw*
- 1-1 (plus mods)
- Defence laser 
- -1 to chaos mods 

Cybixx vs. Lycannon @3000
- 18-4 to imperium 
- 6-1
- Build 
- Imperium clear mod 
- -2 to chaos

Operation Sledgehammer

- Background and prelude
- Martin Bessas and Kutuzov

Thursday, October 17, 2019

West Tarlius cleared by Hammers of the Emperor

The last phase of warfare in the Western Hemisphere of Tarlius II was conducted by the Hammers of the Emperor, who took on the responsibility of clearing forces loyal to Cybixx from their prepared positions. 

The astartes scouts managed to get close to Cybixx’s lines to monitor their enemy, before the Hammers launched their attack with a narrow armoured thrust. The mechanicum defenders quickly took out the astartes heavy tank support, but this gave the imperial devastator units time to deploy from rhinos and unleash devastating volleys of fire into the enemy robot constructions. 

Meanwhile the Hammers’ scouts dealt with Cybixx’s hover bike “constructions”, before the heretic forces unleashed their Onager Dunecrawlers into the heart of the Hammers’ lines. The astartes veterans responded, and a melee developed which overwhelmed the mechanicum walkers. 

Having broken the main enemy counter attack, the Hammers managed to finally claim their objectives, so that the following imperial guard could exploit the breach and shatter the remaining chaos resistance in western Tarlius. Both sides took significant casualties, and the commanders on both sides were killed, with the Arch Magus being annihilated by lascannon fire after the tank he was hiding behind blew up.

Some claimed this was Cybixx himself, but reports of his certain demise had been reported before, only for him to return at another location, sometimes light years away. As the chaos forces in western Tarlius were crushed, the loyalist mechanicum began to wonder whether Cybixx had strayed into the forbidden dark heresy of mind bio transference.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Imperial make gains on Tarlius II

Martin Bessas, commander of Imperial forces in the Foramen Interdictum was keen to continue recent advances in the Tarlius system. Avoiding the difficult task of unloading entire Imperial Guard armies and risking a chaos fleet intervention, Bessas relied on his elite forces to crush the chaos forces on the barren wastelands of Tarlius II, a world that had seen unimaginable horrors already in the previous years of fighting in the Foramen. The Iron Warriors had still not shown their hand, but rather than assault their fortress directly, Bessas agreed with his council of war that the other chaos forces should be dealt with first, in order to isolate Stahl's men in their citadel.

To this end the knights of House Corvus began the sweep west from the astartes bridgeheads, crossing the plains of Tarlius and hunting out areas of resistance. One industrial area, of the few that were scattered across the otherwise worthless planet, was clearly of strategic importance, and the knights were charged with capturing vital supply caches which would cripple the ability of the traitor forces to conduct effective coordinated operations against the imperium.

The knights did not know the exact location of the supply dumps, but began their move on the industrial area confident that their firepower would overwhelm their enemy. As the Death Guard appeared, along with a large number of heretical daemon engines, the mighty Castellan war engine opened fire. Unfortunately, its targeting systems seemed to malfunction, as the impact of the knight's initial volley was next to negligible, although one rocket did manage to land a damaging salvo on one of the enemy war engines.

In response, the Death Guard advanced, but they too suffered a number of equipment malfunctions, as their blight grenades appeared ineffective against even the smaller knights fielded by the Imperium. The Imperium however had the crucial stroke of luck which meant the engagement would end with victory for House Corvus. Their attack had - completely by chance - attacked from the direction of the main chaos supply caches, and the devotees of nurgle had hardly been able to react to the attack before finding that their supplies had been captured by the enemy. Facing the might of three helverins and a fully functional Castellan, it was always going to be unlikely that the chaos force would be able to recapture the cache without being obliterated by the Dominus class knight.

Eventually House Corvus made good their malfunctioning ordnance, and the Death Guard took horrendous casualties as they tried in vain to dislodge the enemy war engines. After hours of hard fighting the remaining traitor forces quietly withdrew, allowing the Knights to secure a haul of promethium and ammunition which crippled the traitor forces' ability to defend the eastern plains of Tarlius II.

The Knights reported their engagement to Bessas and the war council, but on finding that House Corvus had not annihilated the nurgle force and it was now retreating across the western hemisphere along with daemon engines, the Grey Knights took matters into their own hands. Dropping to the west of the retreating enemy host, the expert daemon hunters ambushed the nurgle force and utterly destroyed it, punching a giant hole in the already stretched chaos defences. The remaining chaos forces on Tarlius II retreated to settlements and low hills in the west, where Arch Heretik Cybixx had prepared a defence line, or tried to get to the protection of the Iron Warriors' citadel which dominated the flat plains in the equatorial region. The remaining stragglers were mopped up by astartes patrols. The war on Tarlius had certainly now swung in favour of the Imperium.

Tyranid and Genestealer uprising on Hexis

For months the Imperium had been dealing with a "minor" alien infestation on their northern flank on Hexis, but in reality the expeditions into the wastes north of Menthoteph had barely scratched the surface of the reality of the growing hive mind on the planet. Bolstered and reinforced by an emerging Genestealer cult, dedicated to the worship of their god "R'Lyeh", the tyranids were now ready to put into action the second phase of their alien plan.

On 1410.019M42 a massive tyranid force surged out of the wastelands and immediately overwhelmed the Imperial Guard picketing force on General Konev's northern positions, while genestealer cults conducted spoiling raids across the Imperial lines. In one of these raids, an Adeptus Mechanicus patrol was overwhelmed near to the Nuclear Artillery, and critically the artillery was briefly overrun by the cult. Konev was now unable to turn the artillery on the attacking Xenos, and he appealed to the astartes for help in containing the offensive. The Ashen Sons chapter, a successor to the Salamanders, responded, and to the north of Menthoteph a critical engagement took place. For hours hive fleet R'Lyeh sent wave after wave of bio constructs and alien infantry against the space marines, and eventually the numbers told. Before Konev was able to set up a coherent defense line, the astartes defence had collapsed, and the Xenos were swarming across the plains to the east of Praxis.

Konev had no choice but to withdraw his forces in order to re-establish control and coordination. Gradually the tyranid advance ran out of momentum, but by the end of 1910.019M42 the imperial forces on Hexis had been cut in two. Konev's 1st army was now separated and cut off from Andreyivich's 3rd army in the south east, and the nuclear artillery had been lost. On the eastern outskirts of Praxis, the tyranids had reached the chaos lines, and the situation on Hexis had now become extremely confused.

Ork Air Force defeated on Hexis

Returning to the air once more, the imperial navy thunderbolts flew several sorties over the Haknur plateau in mid 10.019M42, in order to gather more intelligence, but also to deal with the emergent threat of the Ork air waagh that had now joined the forces of chaos. Given the distance of the new Ork air bases and chaos headquarters, Konev had been drawing up plans for a bombing campaign against these enemy installations, but first he needed to establish air superiority. 

Several of the sorties drew a blank, but eventually the orks were baited into fighting. This was an error, as Konev had made sure his most experienced navy pilots would be sent against the naive orks, and in the twisting air battles that followed, the orks found themselves at a disadvantage over and over again. Even when the orks did get clean shots at the imperial fighters, their shots were wild, or the rugged frames of the imperial craft simply shrugged off the impacts of heavy bolter fire. 

By the end of 1410.019M42 the air campaign was going well. Since this new phase began, no imperial losses had been incurred, although some craft had been damaged, while the orks had been cleared from the sky each time they engaged. However, this was only a prelude to the real objective, the bombing of the enemy bases.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Corticant: imperium probe eldar defences

Many months had passed since the Imperium and eldar forces clashed on Corticant, the world on which the very device holding the Foramen Interdictum open was in place. The eldar still held the device chamber and much of the planet was under the control of the Xenos. Instead of a standing army however, any attempt to move into the Aledari controlled zones was met swiftly by xenos attacks, and General Veers, starved of resources as the focus shifted to the Foramen itself and the war in the Hadron Expanse, was unable to conduct any meaningful offensives to change the situation.

In mid 019M42 the Hammers of the Emperor, now fully re-equipped and deployed at near chapter strength in the Aleph Sector, sent a company to Corticant. They knew they did not have the numbers to immediately take control of all eldar held territory, but they agreed with Veers that a series of engagements could gradually eat away at the eldar zones, forcing the aliens to decide just how much they wanted control of the device chamber. The eldar had not tampered with the device nor removed it, and it was unclear how hard they would fight to retain possession of it.

The Hammers launched patrols along the Iron Road towards the abandoned town of Ironhaven, finding the wreckage of imperial equipment and buildings from previous engagements. At Ironhaven the eldar attacked. A mix of craftworld and harlequin forces faced the astartes, and the fighting was intense. However the eldar suffered at the hands of the emperor's finest and their initial attacking force was wiped out. The Hammers themselves took casualties, including their commander, but as the space marines prepared for a second wave, they received intelligence that eldar forces following up were now retreating back across the Arid Plateau. Clearly the Aeldari had decided that the Imperium could have Ironhaven, at least for now, but would the xenos forces become more resolute as Veers and his new supporting marines moved ever closer to the Device Chamber?

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Hexis Current Positions

  • Greghaz is cut off in Menthoteph as the Orks are pushed out by Imperial scouts and Tau kill teams
  • Chaos Pact base is rebuilt in the east after successful air raids and Death Guard skirmishes
  • R'lyeh remains a threat in the Imperial north east

Air war over Hexis

Having received intelligence that the chaos forces were constructing a new base of operations on the Haknur plateau, general Konev was desperate to receive accurate information as to the nature and strength of any new installations. The mechanicum had failed to infiltrate the chaos lines, having been massacred by the Death Guard, so Konev turned to the navy. 

The imperial navy were confident they could overfly the chaos base and gather information, as they were unable to penetrate chaos shielding and heavy cloud from their ships in space. They didn’t expect any serious opposition in the skies over Hexis, as no significant chaos Air Force had thus far been encountered. However as small squadrons of Thunderbolt fighters began missions to overfly the plateau, swarms of Ork Dakkajet fighters rose up to meet them, shocking the imperium with their speed and eagerness to engage their opponents. 

The first two missions to overfly the chaos lines met with disaster as the Thunderbolts were shot down by the reckless Ork fighters. Many Ork aircraft were shot down in turn, but there were always more. Eventually one squadron got through and sent back images to Konev. In the ruins of an old city on the Haknur plateau, the chaos base had been built anew, with fortifications and, to the concern of imperial high command, a fully operational Ork airfield. The chaos forces lacked air cover, but the orks it seemed were quite content to fight for the forces of chaos, so long as they were given a chance to fight an enemy.

Astartes take back ground at Palantir

With the defeat of Federal forces on Bree, the Hammers of the Emperor decided to go on the offensive in the Palantir system, despite the lack of strategic assets available to the imperium in the Hadron Expanse. Their target was Dale, and extremely sparsely populated world of farmers with little in the way of natural resources, but strategically significant in controlling the system.  Palantir’s jewel was Hobbiton, but the imperium lacked the strength to retake a world of a hundred million. The astartes however feigned an invasion of the major world, and this display of strength forced the alliance to concentrate on its defence, leaving Dale wide open. 

The Hammers easily took control of the critical locations on the world, but the alliance reacted quickly, sending in the highly mobile tau to remove the invaders. There was no front line as such, instead the two sides fought a series of running mobile battles across the rolling landscape of Dale in the first week of 10.019M42, but the astartes refused to play into their enemies hands, maintaining a defensive posture around the planet’s key locations. 

Eventually the tau were forced to conduct a frontal assault on the Hammers’ positions, and this suited the space marines force. Lacking their own fleet support, the alliance were unable to bring to bear overwhelming force, as they were still unsure whether the invasion of Dale was the main invasion or a diversion. The tau were defeated at a small settlement which passed as the capital of the world. The alliance made no immediate move to reinforce this difficult position, and continued to fortify Hobbiton until they could establish the strength of imperial assets in the Palantir system.

Skirmishes continue on Hexis

The front lines on Hexis had gone quiet following the recent imperial advance, at least from a strategic perspective, but all sides continued to conduct smaller scale operations as 0410.019M42 began. 

The largest engagement occurred in the blasted wastelands south of the ruins of Menthoteph as a squad of Ashen Suns astartes - new to the sector - began a sweep into the no mans land between the imperial and chaos front lines. South of Menthoteph, the orks - allied to chaos - still remained, and the space marines soon ran into mobs of roving greenskins. The orks weren’t alone however, as it soon became apparent that other creatures were lurking amongst the ruins. With lightning speed the xenos attacked, horrific hybrid creatures part Tyranid part human. Clearly the genetics of hive fleet R’lyeh had now mixed with those of man, producing a genestealer cult which the Ashen Suns had now discovered. In truth, for months the stream of deserters on both sides of the front line had been seduced by their new deity - R’lyeh - and now the Tyranids had found a more insidious way to spread their tendrils across the battered world. 

The genestealers were quickly dealt with, caught in the crossfire between the space marines and orks, but the marines in particular struggled to hit their marks, and once the genestealers had withdrawn, they entered into a protracted and ineffective firefight with the greenskins. Then the tau struck. 

The appearance of alliance forces on the battlefield was a surprise, as the imperium had mistakenly believed that all tau and eldar forces had withdrawn with the federacy, but in reality small teams of tau and eldar had remained behind, intent on harassing their enemies and causing destruction out of proportion to their force commitment to Hexis - a world the alliance no longer had interest in. 

The tau attack swiftly dealt with the orks, clearing them from the field, before turning their attention to the remaining imperial forces. The astartes found themselves no match for the xenos special forces, much to the despair of their commander, and despite taking down the tau crisis suit, the tau forced the astartes in turn to retreat northward. 

The tau didn’t remain in place however. Satisfied at the disruption caused, the alliance force left, and the Grey Knights found no trace of the enemy as they followed up behind the Ashen Suns. Penetrating deeper, and cutting off a portion of the chaos forces near the old fort, the Ordo Malleus astartes did come into contact with a small team of heretic mechanicum, blasting them apart and securing general Konev’s southern front.

Further west, imperial intelligence suggested that the chaos forces were rebuilding their bases on the Haknur plateau, out of range of Konev’s nuclear artillery. Concerned at these reports, the mechanicum sent a force in order to investigate. However, the Death Guard responsed robustly to the infiltration by imperial forces, wiping out the scouting group. General Konev would have to find other methods to find out the extent of the new base being constructed by the enemy.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Grey Knights expand base on Tarlius II

Following their successful defeat of the Eldar on Tarlius II, the Grey Knights consolidated their position, sending out patrols in the immediate vicinity while waiting for the imperial guard to take over their positions. These patrols quickly identified a large chaos force approaching. Clearly the enemy had become aware of the imperial presence on Tarlius II and were taking action to prevent them getting established. 

The veteran astartes were more than prepared for the assault however, and rather than the Iron Warriors the imperial bridgehead found itself under attack from the Emerald Serpent. This turned out to be favourable for the imperium however, as the daemonic creatures summoned by the tzeentch sorcerers were the preferred enemy of the Ordos Malleus space marines. Relishing their opportunity to banish the enemy from beyond, the Grey Knights charged into combat. The daemons were no match for their hated opponents and the attack on the heights around the now defunct webway portal was quickly repulsed. 

The imperium now had a secure foothold on Tarlius II, but as the dropships of guard landed in the uplands, ahead of them they now faced hundreds of miles of desolate plains, before having to face the highly fortified city that was the main base of the Iron Warriors. This settlement and it’s even more formidable central keep would need to be brought low before the war in the system could be brought to a close.

Emerald Serpent recover artefact from Cybixx

Ahriman stared across the flat plains ahead of him. He knew the task ahead of him meant conflict with an ally, but tzeentch himself had ordained this path. Here on Calliden he would retrieve the necron gateway, which arch Heretek Cybixx had refused to hand over despite the generous terms the sorcerer lord had offered. No matter. If force were necessary then so be it. The thousand sons and his daemonic allies would make short work of the Mechanicum. If only the foolish Imperial Knightly Houses hadn’t interfered at Hexis. Now the corpse worshippers knew his plans and understood the threat. Ahriman smiled. They would not thwart him, not with his patron god and even Magnus himself giving approval for once. The planet of the sorcerers would be summoned to the Aleph Sector, and the total victory of chaos would be complete just as soon as all the elements came together. The chaos sorcerer lord consulted his list of items required for the summoning ritual, an esoteric assortment not easily collected. One step at a time...

The battle between Cybixx’s mechanicum and Ahriman’s daemonic and traitor astartes force was a bitter slug fest. Cybixx was angry at Ahriman’s demands for a valuable xenos artefact, and the chaos sorcerer had no business interfering in his plans. Cybixx needed all the alien technology he could lay his hands on if his new project was to come to fruition, and he found it illogical that the Emerald Serpent would want to obstruct his endeavours. 

The fighting was costly, and although Cybixx’s constructs banished a horde of plaguebearers summoned to Ahriman’s cause, the chaos sorcerer was not put off. The two sides fought each other to a standstill, but eventually tzeentch trickery outsmarted the traitor mechanicum logic, and Ahriman got his prize. The Emerald Serpent were now one step closer to fulfilling their arcane plot.

Expedition returns to Blackstone Fortress

Lucius Valcetti gazed out at the dark shape of the space station, its lightless exterior made visible only by its sharp contrast to the maddening riot of colour all around. Roiling eddies of technicolour light surged about them in colossal storm fronts light years across. Such treacherous currents were more than capable of ripping a ship apart, yet the area around the station itself was becalmed, as if the storm served to protect it. Known as the Rifts of Hectate this area of space had long been avoided by travellers. Situated beyond the unexplored depths of the Hadron Expanse its remoteness was almost as much a disincentive to explorers as the mortal peril of the storm itself.

It had been a joint Federal – Tau science expedition that had first uncovered the existence of the station. Keen to develop a better understanding of such phenomena the eager scientists had fired a series of autonomous probes into the chaotic tumult. Most had been ripped to shreds but one, guided by fate or simply random chance, had made its way to the heart of the storm where it broadcast a steady stream of sensor data and imaging.

The existence of the alien construct and the raging warp storms that surrounded it defied rational explanation and lay far outside the Tau and Federacy's limited understanding. Reluctantly they had turned to the Eldar, hoping that their ancient understanding of the immaterium could supply the answers they sought. In this they had been only partially satisfied. The Eldar had recognised the construct as an artefact dating back to the war in heaven, known to the Imperium as a Blackstone Fortress. As to its purpose and how it generated and fuelled the surrounding storm they were as baffled as the Tau and Federacy, although they did not care to admit it. The crazed maelstrom resisting any attempt at psychic scrying and it seemed to cast no shadow on the paths of the future, its influence noticeable only as a void of possibilities that should have existed.

The Alliance powers had agreed to mount a joint expedition to the construct, each sending representatives to oversee their interests. Lucius wasn't sure how he felt about the silent, forbidding Eldar Ranger chosen as Kel Sandros' representative, although he had to admit that without her guidance the Vanguard would never have made it intact through the fury of the storm. His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of gunfire and explosions over the open vox channel. It seemed the station was not as uninhabited as had been presumed. Garbled reports of hostile contacts filtered through as the landing party fell back to the assault boats.

This turn of events was not entirely unexpected, large vessels such as this invariably became home to an assortment of scum, outlaws and hostile xenos no matter how remote or formidable their defences. Lucius decided he would lead the first expedition himself. This station would give up its secrets to him, and quite possibly make him a very rich and influential man indeed.

It was over 2 years since the first expedition had penetrated the interior of the mysterious blackstone fortress. Rogue Trader and privateer Lucius Valcetti had been forced to withdraw his team after finding the interior infested with outlaws and chaos filth. On returning to Federal space he had lobbied the Federal government for the resources and funding to mount a properly resourced expedition into the Rifts of Hectate, complete with auxiliary support vessels, scientific specialists and a complement of armed mercenaries. After finally completing the long and tortuous journey through the Foramen Ancilla and the chaos, ork and necron infested space beyond they had finally returned to station, codenamed Pandora to maintain operational security. Despite losing 2 supply ships to the raging lightening storm surrounding the station they managed to set up base camp and docking facilities within the deserted outer reaches up the xenos construct.

Somewhat familiar with what to expect from his previous visit Lucius Valcetti decided to lead the the first expedition into the interior himself, accompanied by Kel Sandros' brooding emissary, a kroot tracker and the hulking form of a bodyguard robot supplied by their federal backers. At first resistance was within expected parameters but the situation rapidly deteriorated as fresh hostiles swarmed to the area, attracted by the sound of gunfire and explosions. The kroot tracker was almost disembowelled by a  hissing xenos monstrosity that leapt out from the shadows and Lucius himself was mortally wounded as corrupted deserters from the Imperial Guard swarmed over him from a passageway. Assault cannon blazing the bodyguard robot assigned to him executed its primary directive and strode into the fray to recover Lucius' bleeding body and carry him to safety.

The expedition had been a disaster. Two of their members had been seriously injured  and confined to a medicae facility for weeks and they had made no headway in penetrating the stations secrets. The limited haul of archeotech they had come away with looked like junk at first glance. It was only on closer inspection that it turned out to contain an ancient relic from the fall of the Eldar along with and an Empyrean Chronometer that was beyond priceless. Convinced of the haul of knowledge and ancient artefacts to be found deeper within the station the Alliance's representatives in the expedition were resolved to unlock the secrets of this place or die trying.