Sunday, August 17, 2008

Thok attacks Imperial Fleet

The attack on 0608.008M42 by chaos forces was not an isolated raid. Shortly after, on 0808.008M42 another fleet was detected near Caitlen station, this time in the Caitlen system itself. Admiral Jellicoe was alarmed when the astropaths reported the signatures of at least five capital ships in the system. Hurridly, Jellicoe redeployed the fleet, moving ships from Zadoc and abandoning the Dark Angels on Coronus. Jellicoe’s redeployment shifted half his fleet to Caitlen, and the other half to Tarsis Major, following reports of Chaos and Tau incursions into Tarsis space.

This redeployment would take time, so on 1508.008M42 the fleet Admiral had only Tiger, the newly commissioned fast battleship, and the three ageing gothic class, Hogue, Aboukir and Cressy to meet the Chaos incursion, with an escort of three sword frigates. He hoped it would be enough.

Under the command of Commodore Dewar, the battlegroup approached the outer rim of the Caitlen system and formed up around their flagship. Using dense gas clouds and asteroid fields the Imperial fleet drew the faster Chaos vessels into the orbiting flotsam of the Caitlen sun, trying to use the gas and dust to their advantage.

The Chaos force immediately closed to give battle, their force made up of the fastest vessels in the Chaos warfleet, two slaughters, two up until now unknown light cruisers, and a fearsome Blasphemer class fast battleship, Ragnarok. Dewar feared he was outgunned.

The initial engagement saw Tiger concentrate her fire on her counterpart, conscious that she outranged the chaos vessel and that the Ragnarok was the greatest threat. It worked. Before the other Chaos vessels were even in range the blasphemer class vessel was burning, turning to starboard and limping out of the battle line.

Then came the Chaos response, as the slaughter class closed on the gothics. However the two slaughters, Ymir and Skoll, were unable to concentrate their fire simultaneously, and found the armoured prows of the Imperial vessels difficult to penetrate. Meanwhile the Hogue, Aboukir and Cressy were able to launch torpedoes on closing, damaging the nearest slaughter, and then fire their lances unimpeded through the gas clouds.

All the while Tiger provided support from further out, using her faster speed to get behind the Chao fleet, firing at the enemy crusiers in their rear aspect. The effect was devastating, and Ymir became the next Chaos casualty, exploding in a flash of light and plasma as she took multiple lance hits. Soon the heretic class light cruiser Skogul was reduced to a hulk and the remaining two Chaos cruisers were forced to flee as the Imperial fleet completed a wide arc around the rear of their battle line. Their position was hopeless and only a lucky shot from Hildr which crippled Cressy prevented a total rout.

The losses were overwhelmingly in the Imperial favour once again, and Commodore Dewar was hailed as a hero on Caitlen station when his flotilla returned. In less than a week the Imperial fleet had destroyed two Chaos capital ships and put three out of action for some time, for the loss of only two ships badly damaged. However, analysts still put the Chaos fleet with an advantage of 3 to 2 over the Imperials, and little did they know that the Chaos raid had been part of a much grander plan to smash the Imperial fleet in the subsector.

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