Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Operation End Game

The first action in operation End Game saw the Tau hunter cadres move against the trapped Librian 57th regiment in the small town of Blatherwycke just a few miles east of Allentown. Against the under strength and poorly equipped Librians the Tau threw in their finest troops in an effort to impress the UFP. In that they were marginally successful. The Librian 57th put up a brave fight for a few hours but inevitably capitulated in the face of overwhelming firepower. Over three thousand prisoners were taken along with several hundred tanks and other vehicles.

Pleased with their initial success the Tau launched the second phase of their part of operation End Game, the air drop of several hundred Tau into battle around Gethsemane using Orcas. Initially the Tau had thirteen dropships for the assault but were restricted to twelve as one developed engine trouble. This was not the only operational setback.

The plan originally called for the Tau drop to be made at night or at dawn to maximize surprise, but the spring weather led to widespread fog forming in the Ornz valley. Eventually commander Lightfoot conceded that landing at night in fog was too risky and rescheduled the attack to occur in daylight despite protests from several of his subordinates.

Twelve Orcas, escorted by twenty barracudas and four tiger-sharks, left the Tau zone of occupation bound for Gethsemane. Flying low across the southern plains of the Ornz river valley it was hoped they would evade detection long enough to achieve the mission.

The Imperial defenders were finally alerted to the Tau presence by the Blood Martyrs, who immediately launched a thunderhawk gunship to intercept. It was joined by two wings of lightnings and a squadron of thunderbolts and battle was joined just a few miles from the intended drop zone.

In the ensuing aerial dogfight it became clear that the lumbering Orcas were vulnerable, and despite the efforts of the barracudas seven craft were shot down before they reached the drop zone, killing all on board. Two more were severely damaged and only three managed to get their full compliment of troops safely to the drop zone.

While the Imperial fighters concentrated on the Orcas the barracudas inflicted heavy damage on them, shooting down no less than nine lightnings and four thunderbolts. In addition the Blood Martyrs' thunderhawk was forced to make an emergency landing after taking heavy damage.

The Tau suffered too, losing seven of their fighters and three more receiving heavy damage. On the return trip two more were shot down before the Imperial fighters ran out of fuel.

The bloody aerial battle had cost the Imperium dearly, with more than a third of their total strength having been lost in the action, and in defending (unsuccessfully) radar stations in the north from chaos attack. On the positive side for the Imperium, the Tau only managed to drop in the region of one hundred troops, far less than the coalition had hoped.

A fateful decision was then made by commander Lenord. Though unaware the Hartak 7th Legion was about to launch their spring offensive, the general accepted the Blood Martyrs offer to clear the Tau from Gethsemane and did not change his defensive positions along the Ornz. When the Hartak 7th legion attacked they would find the defenders ready and waiting. The airdrop diversion had failed, though the Blood Martyrs' hand had been tipped early on. The UFP assault could now be sure they would not meet marines in the first day of the attack

Next games:

Librian 101st Regiment vs. Hartak 7th Legion*
Blood Martyrs vs. Tau**
Scyllian 8th Regiment vs. Sartosan Rangers***

*Blitz mission, Hartak 7th attacking
**Cleanse - Tau not allowed any vehicles.
***Recon in a swamp! Whole table difficult ground

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