Sunday, July 20, 2008

Rhesius: Hawkeye assault Trebbian 9th Legion

Rhesius was next on the Tau battle plans. Since the raid by Admiral Thok the Imperium had made several changes to the system’s defence, but did not expect a full scale invasion. The Imperial fleet had been moved back to Caitlen Station, to protect the important Imperial worlds of the subsector, but the planet’s defence had been bolstered by the addition of the Trebbian 9th Legion, an inexperienced but well equipped Imperial Guard regiment.

Hawkeye was pleased to find no Imperial fleet to contend with and made his landings close to the main inhabited zone. He and his commanders prepared for a quick and surgical strike on the capital to take their second outpost in the Rim Worlds, but this time the Tau commander did not have things his own way.

The Trebbian forces had prepared well and as the Tau moved forward theu found themselves pinned down by ferocious mortar and Thudd gun fire, the first time the Tau had faced such formations in battle. Realising his attack had stalled Hawkeye sent his Kroot around the left flank, while he personally commanded the attack on the right flank, leading veteran crisis suits into battle.

The Kroot did well, rescuing the Tau left flank from scouting Sentinels, but on the right flank the Tau suffered a serious reverse. Although the crisis suits proved superior to the Imperial soldiers in close combat, when their opponents fell back the Tau came under heavy fire from close range Imperial weaponry. This led to the deaths of a number of Tau veterans, and Hawkeye, ruffled, ordered an immediate and ignominious retreat.

For a while it looked as if the Trebbians might hold off the Tau, but as the Tau left flank buckeld, the Tau centre found its strength and began to creep forward into the Imperial defences. Lacking sufficient heavy weaponry the Tau armour found considerable success, first destroying the Trebbian tanks and then using submunition on the Imperial infantry. Reluctantly, on 1907.008M42, after three days of bitter fighting, the Imperial commnder was forced to order a general withdrawal.

The Tau quickly moved in, taking approximately two fifths of the inhabited area of Rhesius. However, they had made a meal of their first assault and allowed the Imperial defenders to dig in in their remaining occupied zones. In addition, they had successfully called for help. Now the Tau would have to prevent reinforcement from space as well as consolidating their position.

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