Sunday, November 25, 2007

Dark Angels massacre Tau in the south

On 2411.007M42 the Dark Angels, having learned from previous encounters with the Tau, launched their latest operation, with the blessings of overall commander Lord Commander Lenord. The operation was to be limited in nature, intending to reopen the way to the Corona peninsular where the all important oilfields of Melberg lay.

It may have been intended as a limited attack, but the Dark Angels fell upon the Tau defenders with amazing ferocity, seeking out individual units and desroying them without mercy. It was clear as the Tau attempted to counter attack with their hunter cadres, that the Dark Angels had modified their tacics and chosen their equipment well. Each squad was now equippied with a lascannon, which put paid to Hammerhead and Devlifish attacks. Additionally the Space Marines utilised their scout and assault units well, bringing close assault to the Tau where they least wanted it.

Supporting the assault units were a number of recently refitted predators, equipped with lascannons to deal with Tau skimmers and crisis suits and sponson heavy bolters, which ripped Tau fire warriors to shreds. The Tau had no chance and despite some ferocious firefights the Dark Angels secured a badly needed victory. Later that day two companies were deployed to the snowbound city of Pelisium in Veraconia, after intelligence predicted that a Tau air assault was likely as soon as the blizzards lifted. Lenord would not be caught out again as he was at Coravus.

Eldar discover location of the "ball"

+++Agent 57 Communication+++
+++Subject: Eldar activity+++
The Eldar of the Saim Hann craftworld and another, as yet still unidentified origin have continued their relentless search for the Solar Enslaver. In their latest move the Tau found themselves under major assault as a large Eldar force emerged from the webway and slaughtered thousands. The attack seemed random at first but as the Tau defended their colonists a small force assaulted and destroyed the Tau science facility, leaving with several artifacts and most of the Tau research. The Tau have backups of their data, but it is now certain the Eldar have finally out the peices of the puzzle together regarding the containment unit or "ball". They have ascertained the device is located on the UFP world of Hartak.

It is my belief they will strike the UFP next.It will be intriguing to see how they attempt this. It is almost certain the UFP are unaware of what they posses, but removing the ball will be difficult for the Eldar. Hartak is a fortress ice world of several million hardy squats, who will not simply allow the Eldar to carry out excavations on their homeworld. Perhaps they will try to approach the UFP directly and negotiate for the artefact, but the UFP's primary obligation is to the Tau, who have been the target of the Eldar in recent activity. Perhaps they will try a stealth mission. Agent 43 is in position to keep us updated. I ask once again if now would be a prudent time to inform our allies of the Enslaver device?
+++Message Ends+++

+++EA High Command Communication+++
+++Subject: Re:Eldar activity+++
Update appreciated. On no account inform the UFP of what they possess. They are allies but will try to use the device. We cannot risk Tallaxian scientists meddling with Necron devices. They are not yet experienced enough in the ways of the galaxy.
+++Message Ends+++

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

C.H.E.E.S.E. Tau under pressure

+++Agent 57 Communication+++
+++Subject: Eldar activity+++
The Tau on Skera and Parius have come under attack from Eldar forces in two raids in the space of a week. The first hit the colony of Parius very hard, wiping out a Tau garrison before withdrawing. Commander Hawkeye's deputy was killed ant the Tau commander was distraught at the news. Hawkeye at the time was in transit between Parius and Skera, after several raids on that system had led El Shi to call for aid. Hawkeye landed with a small contingent and defeated the Eldar raiders who had lain waste to the colony. Hawkeye deliberately used Kroot "bait" to draw the Eldar into a carefully placed trap before ambushing the alien raiders. Skera was saved and Hawkeye returned to the smashed ruins on parius. However it seems the Tau are more concerned with colonisation now, their interest in the Solar Enslaver apparently secondary to their conquest of the Deeps.
+++Message Ends+++

Melberg Update

Cunningham’s “big push”
After more than a week with little more than sporadic fighting, general Cunningham prepared for his “big push”. Following his victory near Corunium the general, with Lenord’s consent, planned to use his strategic reserve in a narrow thrust towards the city, then fanning out to push the Tau away from the city. To help in this the Ultramarines chapter sent two companies, while the newly arrived “Emperor’s Justice” heavy tank division prepared to meet the Tau in battle for the first time.

The Imperial reserves were not brought in from another system. Instead Mellberg had begun to produce its own armour and equipment, under the close supervision of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Mellberg already had a large industry and produced Leman Russ for the sector, but the new Baneblades took longer to get right. Cunningham new that his new vehicles were not going to be mechanically reliable, at least for a few weeks.

Meanwhile Imperial intelligence scouted out the Tau defences. All along the front lines sentry towers and gun emplacements, all remotely controlled, kept vigil around the city. Any flanking move would be immediately detectable. For that reason Cunningham ordered a direct assault, a straight, unsubtle and overwhelming concentration of force directed at the city. He hoped to give the Tau a stark and impossible choice. Commit to a battle of attrition or flee Corunium.

The Tau meanwhile were not oblivious to the massive build up around the city. They waited patiently, and quietly removed most of their forces from the ruins. Commander Eclipse, recently posted to the Corunium sector, planned to allow the Imperial armoured columns into the city. Once they were enmeshed in the ruins and rubble he would attack, ambushing the Imperial force and cutting its supply lines. The one thing Eclipse couldn’t know was that the Space Marines would also be taking part.

By now the Ethereals were becoming concerned at the cost of Tau lives to take Mellberg. Over one hundred thousand Tau had died and projections estimated another 200,000 would be killed taking the planet. Even so Sunstrike pleaded that the cost was worth it, as a secure base on Mellberg would be the ideal launch pad for the next expansion into the Zadoc subsector. Without it, the going would be hard, even if the plans for the “C’Tau’pult” came to fruition.

On the eve of 1611.007M42, some four and a half months after the initial invasion, two armies prepared for the attack on Corunium, which had been in Tau hands since the second day of the invasion. Victory of the Imperium would put the Tau on the back foot, with the valleys of Genundis open to Imperial advances. Should they lose, the Tau would surely sweep down from the mountains behind the city and burst into the coastal plains, trapping the Imperial Army Group Centre (or rather its remnants following the defeat of Jeffries).

Corunium retaken
The attack began well with a massive bombardment of the city, followed by the rapid progress of the Librian 57th and 101st regiments, including the new Baneblade super-heavy tanks delivered so recently. The Tau defenders ignored the lumbering giants, prefering to attack the faster moving tanks of the Imperial guard. At the same time the Ultramarines, led by Marneus Calgar himself, swept into the northern and eastern sectors of Corunium, easily displacing the Tau.

Tau air superiority made life hard for the Imperium, particularly for the Basilisk batteries of the Librian and PDF regiments, whose accuracy was as woeful as their reputation demanded. Nearly all the Basilisks taking part were put out of action by marauding Baracudas, but by midday on the 17th the Imperium had almost retalen Corunium and were sweeping west towards the river Stridius.

The Tau then launched their counter attack, bringing elite Crisis suit units into the battle. However Commander Shas'Ite was rather hesitant to use the elite Tau warriors in risky drops behind the front line, and this in the end cost the Tau dearly. Though the reinforcements slowed the Imperial advance, and contributed to the demise of some of Marneus Calgar's finest Terminators, the Imperial advance maintained its momentum, with its rear intact. Had the Tau dropped their troops behind the Imperial lead elements they would have found the Imperial defences relatively light. General Cunningham had gambled and won.

By 2111.007M42 the Ultramarines had reached, and crossed the Stridius, driving an almighty wedge into the Tau front line. Racing behind were the Whettis and Coronia armoured divisions while the Librian regiments encircled the city of Corunium and push the Tau back. At midnight on the 22nd the two pincers met. Corunium was cut off.

The city officially fell two hours later when the remaining Tau who could not escape surrendered. Thousands were taken prisoner and Imperial propaganda made much of the fact that they had retaken a city the Tau had held for nearly six months. However, their celebrations were to be short lived.

Dark Angels push North
While Cunningham made good gains in the south the Dark Angels, now up to the strength of almost half their chapter, launched their offensive aimed at cutting off the besieging Tau army around Corunium. Their advance was swift at first until hit-and-run tactics by lead elements of Shadowstrike's and Elan Ro's Tau forces slowed the Space Marines.

The tactics used by the Tau prevented the Dark Angels from bringing their full weight against the Tau, allowing the aliens to build up forces and automated defences which further held up the advance. While less than a third of the way to the coast the Space Marine advance bogged down and the attack was called off. Several towns and villages had been recaptured but the strategic situation in the north remained the same, with Terracon slowly starving to death as its food and fuel ran out. The Dark Angels were furious at the Tau tactics, calling them dishonourable and cowardly. It made no difference. It had become clear the Tau would not come out and fight the Astartes unless absolutely necessary.

Shas’Ite recaptures Corunium
Despite having lost the city of Corunium and been pushed back into Gwendel, Commander Shas'Ite was already making plans to recapture all the lost territory. The Imperium meanwhile were celebrating a great victory, however nothing could actually have been further from the truth. Rather than accepting a slaughter in the city, the Tau commanders had withdrawn, citing battlefield conditions as "unfavourable". Then, while the Imperial General raced east and north across strategically unimportant territory, Shas'Ite husbanded his forces ready for a swift counterstrike.

The attack came so soon after the city had fallen the Ultramarines and Imperial Guard were caught completely by surprise. On the right flank the Ultramarines were kept in contact by a smaller Tau force, preventing the Space Marines from disengaging while the Tau pushed there main thrust across the river Stridius against the Librian armoured and mechanised units. Here the fighting was more furious than any seen on Mellberg to date. This time the Tau pressed home their attack apparently disregarding casualties, and before long the Imperial lines began to crack. Hundreds of armoured vehicles lay burning across the Coronia plains. Almost half were Tau but the Alien attak had smashed a fifty mile hole in the Imperial front line.

The Tau now found the going very easy as the Imperial armies had not expected the sudedn counter move. Corunium lay completely undefended and by 2211.007M42 the city once again lay in Tau hands as the Imperial and PDF forces south of the city raced back eat in an attempt to avoid the obvious cut off manouvre down to the south coast. Meanwhile a Dark angels company was rushed in to hold the line to the south to prevent yet another Imperial collapse.

Elan Ro Defeats Cunningham and retakes oilfieds
With the Dark Angels in place south of Corunium the Oilfields of the Coronia peninsular ought to have been safe, but before the Astartes had chance to organise their defences the cadres of Elan Ro followed up Shas'Ite as he consolidated his hold on Corunium. Longstridepoured more forces into the gap in the lines and turned his armies south, all the while conducting spoiling actions to keep the Imperial defenders pinned on their front lines. Another encirclement trap was about to be sprung.

The only hope for the Imperial defenders lay at Jacob's Creek, a small town to the south towards the Southern Sea. Here the battered remnants of the recently victorious Librian 57th joined forces with the Dark Angels to repel and slow the Tau advance. Elan Ro's mechanised army then appeared across the horizon.

A bloody and intense firefight then erupted with the Imperial tanks bearing the brunt of the desctruction. The Space Marines defended doggedly but they could not destroy the Tau vehicles quick enough. Once again poor artillery fire from the Librians cost the army dearly, and investigations into the apparent failure of Librian Basilisk began in ernest. The Space Marines faired little better as the Tau tanks simply shrugged of lascannon and plasma fire.

As the Tau closed their lethal close range firepower tore into the Marines and destroyed most of the remaining Imperial Tanks. Jacob's Creek began to become a funeral pyre as Elan Ro's skimmers glided, scorched, through the black oily smoke. The Tau commander didn't stay long, immediately continuing the advance while human "Gue'vesa" stayed to take prisoners. The Dark Angels immediately contacted GHQ to inform them that the Tau had broken through, but they were far too late. By the time the orders reached the remaining 50,000 troops in the Coronia pocket, the Tau were in sight of the Southern Sea.

On 2411.007M42 the remnants of Army group Centre surrendered. The oilfields of Coronia nad the city of Corunium had been in Imperial hands for less than a week. It was a devastating blow to Imperial morale. Infuriated the Dark Angels decided to take action and fully half their fleet set off for the Mellberg system...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Eldar discover "Trumpet"

+++Agent 57 Communication+++


+++Subject: URGENT: Eldar discover element of Enslaver+++

My lords. It has happened. The Eldar have discovered and taken the "trumpet" part of the Solar Enslaver following a decisive action on Kendrenec. It appears the fortress world is no longer as strong without the Moonface Catechism. I fear the Saim Hann Craftworld and their unknown Eldar allies will soon have acquired the "ball" too. What they will do with the entire device is unknown, but it is unlikely to be benign...

+++Message Ends+++

Monday, November 05, 2007

C.H.E.E.S.E. More clashes see Eldar winning the race

+++Agent 57 Communication+++
+++Subject: Perseus Deeps Activity+++

My lords, the search for the Solar Enslaver continues, though it seems there are now only two major players in the investigations. The Tau have much information on all aspects of the Enslaver, but they remain distracted by Melberg and are unwilling it seems to cross into unknown territory in the Perseus Deeps. This may cost them as the Eldar, who attacked and laid waste to the Tau base on Skera last week, have now ample information on the "Trumpet" and have landed on Kendrenec.

The Dark Eldar too have entered the fray, though they are far behind their kin in their investigations. The Saim Hann eldar we know to have a large amount of information on the ball, despite the Kel Sandros Eldar trying to shield it from them. Soon enough I am sure they will know its wherabouts aswell. I fear there is little we can do to stop them and hope that the aliens will not do anything rash.

The Necrons seem to have returned to their long slumber, probably barely aware how close the Eldar are coming to discovering the entire device! The Imperium too, demoralised no doubt by recent defeats, seem to have abandonned the search, at least for the time being. Only the Tyranids seem to be increasing their presence in the Deeps, primarily seeing it as a source of nutrients no doubt. There is now increasing evidence that a splinter hive fleet, designated "Scylla" by the Imperium, is actively seeking information on the Solar Enslaver.

Why the hive mind would want such a device is unknown, but they have attacked in a pattern which can only suggest they are looking for information. Last week they fell upon the Templars Redemptus on Vorta, but after driving the superhumans away from the ancient Necron ruins on that world they then left a short while later. This is not usual Tyranid behaviour. The hive fleet has divided into many parts and the invasion of Libria has stalled. All this points to their attention be diverted by activity in the Deeps.

+++Message Ends+++

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Melberg: Cunningham smashes Elan Ro

Following the advance west by Cunningham’s armies the Tau detected and obvious weakness in the Imperial lines as their newly taken territory represented a vulnerable salient. At its narrowest point the area recovered by the Imperium was only one hundred miles wide, with the southern coast providing an obvious target for Tau forces in Corunium. If the Tau could push south to the ocean, a large proportion of the Imperial force would be trapped in a pocket in the Corona Peninsular.

General Cunningham for once had good intelligence from his agents but even without it he couldn’t fail to see that there was an obvious place to pinch out the Imperial advance. Lenord realised this too and gave Cunningham a significant portion of his strategic reserve, including the Librian 7th and 9th regiments to defend this part of the line.

Meanwhile the Tau had assigned Commander Elan Ro to lead the push south. A new commander from the same sept as El Shi in the Perseus Deeps, Shadowstrike and Longstride were hopeful that his “unknown quantity” element would catch the Imperial defenders by surprise. They were about to be disappointed.

When Elan Ro attacked on 0311.007M42 the Imperium were waiting. The Tau were extremely mobile, their fire warriors all in Devilfish transports, but the Librian Grenadiers were waiting. Cunningham and the other Generals had learnt the lessons of earlier Tau mechanised attacks and placed their anti-tank defences well. As the Tau rushed forward in their lunge towards the coast the Imperial gunners picked them off one by one.

The battle became known as “The Great Corona Turkey Shoot”, as one by one the xenos vehicles were shot to pieces. Few excaped the massed lascannon and battlecannons of the Librian Grenadiers, and for once the quality of the ammunition, so obviously lacking in earlier encounters, was up to the job. The Tau commander watched in horror as round after round penetrated and downed his craft.

There wasn’t even time for Elan Ro to make any strategic or tactical moves, the Imperial defenders were destroying his armour too quickly. Even his deep striking crisis suits found themselves isolated and unable to co-ordinate their attacks, and they were destroyed piecemeal despite initial early successes against the Librina Basilisk batteries.

In less than a day the attack had faltered and the Tau withdrew towards Corunium. Additionally Cunningham was able to keep Elan Ro within sight, forcing him to retreat further and allowing the Imperium to widen the salient “neck” to over 200 miles. In the south the Imperium now had the upper hand. However lack of fuel and equipment forced Cunningham to stop some thirty miles short of the city itself. Both sides now paused for breath.