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.