Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Melberg - Dark Angels Escape

The first the Tau authorities knew of the Dark Angels attempted rescue mission was the detection of a strike cruiser dropping out of warp dangerously close to the planet. Immediately the fleet was ordered to intercept so the Dark Angels knew they had to work fast. The chapter had dropped the strike cruiser out of the warp as close as they could to the planet. The intention, to extract the remaining space marines from the planet and leave it to its fate. The chapter knew that while the world was now excommunicate traitoris, greater threats lurked in the Zadoc subsector, and the time and place to make a stand against the Tau was not on Melberg in 008M42.

The Dark Angels struck quickly by Thunderhawk on the northern shores of Terris Kingdom near to the border with Veraconia. At first the Tau were taken by surprise, shocked by the ferocity and suddenness of the attack and fell back. Then it became clear the air bases cut into the rocky ground of the northern peninsular were the target, and Tau resistance stiffened. The Dark Angels 4th company began to sustain heavy casualties, but their momentum was enough to carry them into three of the important air bases along the coast.

Hundreds of Tau aircraft were destroyed by the lightning raids while many more were evacuated to safer bases further south. This was the Dark Angels’ plan. Now that the Tau air caste had fled from the space marine ground attack the second phase of the operation could begin. Free from air attack thunderhawks quickly ferried Astartes men and equipment to the waiting strike cruiser while the captain of the vessel nervously watched the closing Tau fleet.

Seventeen hours after the beginning operation the 4th company broke off their engagement and extracted the survivors from the action. Casualties had been heavy, but the Tau’s had been far worse. Additionally, the casualties were far less than the amount of troops and equipment evacuated from Veraconia. Forces which could now be rapidly redeployed against the growing threat further north.

With the Dark Angels gone the Tau could at last start discussing peace terms without the threat of Astartes reprisals, but Sunstrike knew he had missed an opportunity to seriously reduce the combat effectiveness of his most implacable enemy. The Dark Angels had escaped and would no doubt return to face his forces again in the future.

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