Meanwhile the Chaos forces were about to strike north and west over the Great South River towards the strategically vital city of Rideau on the eastern side of the Great Villian Plains. At the same time Moonface was putting the finishing touches to his abomination in the city of Calormain. The populace of the city would now become the unwilling sacrifices to the hungry machine known to the Imperium as “The Device”. A similar one had been destroyed on Myrentas II but with a sudden shock which awoke all psykers in the system from their sleep the newly built machine came online, connecting the City, albeit intermittently, with the Chaos fortress world of Kendrenec. In one stroke the UFP blockade was rendered useless.
The strike north began on 1007.007M42. In the month since the landings the defenders had heavily fortified the marshy ground north of the Great South River and augmented the natural defence of the waterway with bunkers, pillboxes, trenches and obstacles on the far side. Mordock the Invincible, former leader of a Dread Legion grand company, was given overall responsibility for breaking the Imperial line and driving north to Rideau.
It would not be an easy task. Mordock had one remnant company of crack space marines under his command and three divisions worth of indentured slave trrops, armed with lasguns. Armour was hard to come by and the traitor leader had no obvious way of crossing the river, which was two miles wide in places.
Eventually Mordock settled on an amphibious assault using captured boats. They would offer little protection for the slave troops, not that he cared, but it would provide the defenders with something to shoot at while his crack company opened a gap for others to follow.
The plan was simple. The Chaos Marines would blitz through the Imperial line which was situated behind marshy ground north of the river while his supporting legions of traitor guard made diversionary and suicidal attacks on either flank. Then once opened the hole in the Imperial line would be widened and his traitor divisions race through. Mordock kept an armoured regiment in reserve to exploit the breakthrough. Now he just needed to break the Imperial line.
Army Group Centre, led by the able General Von Rundstedt, defended the Great South River and the approaches to Rideau. On the front line Demolisher siege tanks and Leman Russ battle tanks were concealed along with a number of heavy weapons platoons, waiting for the attack. In the month since the landings Von Rundstedt had seeded the defences with razorwire and tank traps, hoping to prevent any breakthrough. That line was about to be tested.
The Chaos attack began with a preliminary bombardment which cleared some of the razorwire and tank traps but otherwise left the defenders unmolested. Following the artillery strike the traitor guard units began crossing the river, with predictable results. The Librian 4th Regiment and the Cerberex 1st Guards regiment manning the defences were heartened as the boats were quickly sunk by a rain of Basilisk shells and heavy weaposn fire. Less than 50% of the attackers made it to the opposite side, where they were immediately pinned down in the marshes. This however was a cynical diversion…
Against this foe the Imperial defenders had real trouble, despite heroic attempts to hold the line. As a nearby Demolisher exploded in a hail of shrapnel, followed by a neighbouring Leman Russ, Colonel Akarev realised he needed reinforcing and signalled high command. HQ immediately directed more resources to Akarev’s sector where the fighting was intensifying.
Chaos Marin bikers were rushing around destroying the tank traps and obstacles while their tank support rolled up behind them. The land raider rushed forward, releasing its deadly cargo and cutting down the Librian stormtroopers who had found their Chimera immobilised by a lucky shot. The Chimera had the last laugh however, eventually cutting down the supporting Havoc squad whi had stayed in the marshes.
Meanwile Akarev’s left flank was taking a heavy pounding from a Predator, the Land Raider and its squad of Chaos Marines. Somehow, in a blizzard of incoming fire, his Missile Launcher squad held firm, firing back and disabling the Predator. Akarev knew reinforcements were coming, but needed to buy them time.
Sensing it was time to make a difference the Colonel charged into the fray, cutting down three marines single handed before being dispatched by a mighty Power Fist. He was later honoured for his bravery.
Unfortunately Akarev’s sacrifice was not enough to halt the Chaos assault. The Land Raider survived a charge from another squad of stormtroopers who were then cut down in turn. Basilisk shells ricocheted of the traitor tank’s armour, while on the left flank the Imperial defence collapsed utterly. Soon more wrecked Librian vehicles indicated that the line had been breached and Mordock called triumphantly for his armoured regiment to exploit the gap. It was his last command as at that moment a Chimera drove over the ridge he was sheltering behind and laid down a fusillade of multilaser and heavy bolter shots. Previously wounded from the Demolisher detonation Mordock the Invincible was killed, but he had opened the gap for his followers to exploit.