Coldsight had hoped, rather than truly believed, that the asteroid field on his right flank would be an obstacle for the space marines, but the remaining three cruisers and host of attendant escorts navigated through them with ease, catching the Tau fleet from behind. Swarms of mantas and barracudas duelled with thunderhawk gunships as the Marine fleet fended off Tau ordnance attacks. However in the end the slow and ponderous vessels of the Tau began to succumb to the firepower of the space marine fleet.
Pinafore, the Custodian class which had withstood so much and gained such a reputation steered violently to the left as it burned, before vaporising everything within 5 miles in a huge plasma drive overload. As the Dark Angels closed in for the kill, this would be a taste of things to come.The details of the next few minutes of the battle remain unclear, but the Dark Angels fleet suddenly realised, too late, that the Tau had slowed and they were within just a few tens of miles of the badly mauled fleet. Rather than overshoot and risk being annihilated themselves the space marines closed to point blank range before opening fire with all their weaponry.Then the Tau logic became evident.
One by one the Tau vessels detonated as their plasma drives went critical.Bright Hope and Diligence exploded spectacularly, destroying most of the Dark Angels' escorts. The region of space around the crippled Tau fleet then disappeared in a flash of light as a Tau warp drive detonated... As the fireball expanded and cooled all that was left was one lone Dark Angels escort, speeding away from the carnage!
Later the debris field was searched and the Explorer class battleship found out of action but intact. She was boarded and all the remaining Tau crew killed by the returning Dark Angels strike cruisers. However, the Imperial Vessels soon found that Commander Shadowstrikes fleet had not been engage din the battle and the balance of power had still not been tipped totally in favour of the Imperium. The losses the Tau had suffered ensured that for now the Dark Angels had secured a bloody and costly victory over the aliens.