Only scant weeks after having defeated Sunshield's cadres and relieving the siege of Gwendelia, Colonel Jeffries was once again called in to defend Mellberg's second city. This time the newcomer, commander Shadowstrike, led his forces into the city. Shadowstrike succeeded where Sunshield failed by using pathfinders who infiltrated into the city overnight. In the assault that followed the Tau weaponry was guided to its targets with unerring accuracy, wiping out much of the Imperial front line before it had a chance to react. Shadowstrike followed up this initial success with an all out attack led by crisi suit teams and stealth suits. The fighting in the city then became bloody and desperate with units of Librian stormtroopers forced to flee before the Tau advance. Shadowstrike lost much materiel but by the end of 2608.007M42 the city of Gwendelia had fallen after three months of holing out.
Taves breaks Tau northern front
On the northern front Colonel Taves prepared to take the city of Narmala after weeks of planning. The assault that followed, preceded by a massive Balisilk bombardment, was extremely aggressive and saw the 14th AVR charge into the ruined streets with almost reckless abandon. However the gamble paid off. Stormtroopers mounted in Chimeras threw themselves into the attac, closing and destroying Tau hardware at close range. This tactic, coined "suicide squad" attacks, though brutal, succeeded in shaking the confidence of the Tau commanders who were unfamiliar with this form of disregard for life. The Tau withdrew from Narmala but Taves wasn't through. Rather than consolidating his victory the Colonel ordered a general pursuit. The armoured vehicles of the 14th AVR broke through the retreating Tau lines and the retreat soon became a rout as the disorganised forces of Commander Quicksword collapsed or surrendered.
Taves had scored a massive strategic victory and the Tau did not stop until they reached the Genidius border. Indeed the Colonel was only stopped when his troops and vehicles could no longer keep up with the Tau flight. As Colonel Taves paused for breath on the brink of destroying the Tau altogether, he received news from Atlas Prime that Lord Commander Lenord had promoted him general.
Jeffries approaches Genundis
Following up this success Colonel Jeffries was ordered to take the initiative on Taves' left flank. Immediately the veteran Colonel organised the Librian 41st regiment and began to advance on Genundis, bearing west to protect the now vulnerable flank of General Taves. Commander Longstride was soon on hand to slow the Librians, but the ferocious counter attacks by Longstride's hunter cadres were beaten off by the recently introduced heavy weapons squads and Sentinel Squadrons. Improved artillery fire from the Imperial regiment also helped, as did more accurate fire from the 41st's main battle tanks. It seemed that Jeffries' drilling of the troops had worked well and now it was commander Longstride who had to rethink his tactics.
Overall by the end of 08.007M42 the Tau invasion of Melberg stood on the edge of the Abyss. Despite overwhelming superiority in space the Tau could not seem to realise their potential on the ground. If the Imperial advance on Genundis could not be halted, the entire campaign on Mellberg would have to be abandonned.