Friday, December 12, 2008
Bothorion had been fairly quiet for months, with the Eldar having ensured the Orks stayed away from their sacred sites and the Orks content to leave the Eldar in peace, given their numbers and the high cost of prosecuting a war on Tarsis Major. However on 0912.008M42 Warlord Nazghat returned, angry and determined, and ordered the Eldar to be removed from Bothorion so that the world could be geared up as a base of operations for the upcoming war in the Mabb Nebula.
The Orks were galvanised into action, and with Nazghat leading them a mighty Waagh! fell upon the sparsely defended Eldar positions. Surprised, the Eldar fell back but to their credit were able to respond with a meaningful counter attack late on 1012.008M42. However luck was with the newly enthused Orks and nothing the Eldar tried seemed to pay off, the Orks could not be stopped. Rather than continue the bloodbath the Eldar vanished via thier webway network, allowing Nazghat to begin construction on his new prize.
The Docks were defended by several companies of Adeptus Sororitas, who had prudently turned the entrance ways into mini fortresses, meaning that any attack would have to blast its way in. The Imperium hoped that the Docks were too unimportant to assault directly, but too valuable to destroy out of hand . So far this had proved true, as the Tau had not attempted to take possession of the Docks nor had they turned the big guns of their fleet upon it.
On 0312.008M42 the attack began, with scouts dropped on the facility followed by swarms of manta-borne crisis suits and skimmers. However access to the Docks would prove difficult as the Sisters of Battle refused to give any ground, and forced a battle in the near vacuum low gravity environment on the surface of the facility. Here the battle was deadly, as any breach in the suits worn by tau and human alike meant certain death. Infantry units found it difficult to maintain their footing and many tau vehicles were destroyed by small arms, the slightest breach causing catastrophic decompression.
Jellicoe immediately contacted Commodore Axtes, who commanded a substantial force of cruisers and whose battlegroup had been shadowing the Tau in the Tarsis system, wainting for an opportunity. Commanding from the bridge of the mars class heavy cruiser Illustrious, Axtes also had the dictator class Redoubtable and newly refit dauntless class Ajax under his command, along with an escort squadron. This powerful carrier force was now ordered to raid and destroy as much of the Tau fleet as possible, since the Tau heavy carrier Vigilence had taken heavy damage against Thok's fleet and was unavaiable.Axtes travelled immediately to the inner biosphere region where his forec quickly located a force of three Protectors and three escorts on an intercept course. Axtes slowed his fleet, launched a defensive fighter screen and engaged with Illustrious's Nova Cannon. Meanwhile the Tau began frantically launching waves of Mantas and torpedoes, while closing the range.
However in the ensuing engagement the Nova Cannon won the day. Excellent shooting from Illustrious first crippled one protector, then another, forcing the enemy fleet to disengage before they were even in range with their main weapons. Worse was to follow for the Tau as one of the Protectors, badly damaged, could not flee, and another precision shot from Illustrious blew her apart. Only Ajax suffered minor damage from torpedoes and manta waves, the fighters from Illustrious and Redoubtable doing their job protecting the big ships.
While on Tuva Chaos forces were retreating ate breakneck speed, and Maybourne was being liberated, the Catechism was concentrating on the Orks. Its best units were thrown against Nazghat's remaining forces, forcing the front line back towards the Ork landing zones. Then, at the appointed moment the daemons were released. The gibbering, capering monstrosities tore through the Ork lines before materialising amongst or even behind the greenskins' defences. In a very short period, less than a day, the Ork line, which had held strong for weeks against the best of the Catechism's troops, collpased catastrophically once they realised their leader and his best Nobz had "skarpered" to invade elsewhere.
By the end of 1212.008M42 the Orks had fallen back to their crashed Rok's which made up their landing zone, and were desperately trying to work out how to get off the planet!
Intercepted Ork “Press release”
“Following the cowardly withdrawal of Warlord Nazghat from Tarsis major, Warboss Snazzteef has declared himself Kaptain Snazzteef, Grand Bastard of Tarsis Mayja. Despite a succession of knockbacks in the fighting recently, Snazzteef remains
On 0511.008M42 General Cunningham launched his much expected major assault against Chaos forces on the southern tip of Tuva. With the recent arrival of strong Daemonhunters and Dark Angels units, Cunningham now felt he had the tools he needed to attack on a broad front, utilising the Dark Angels and other elite forces to crack the difficult nuts in the Chaos defence, while his own Guard forces would engage the weaker and less well equipped cultist legions.
The Catechism was off balance fighting Orks in the east, and the Night Lords had just recovered from the Tau attack on their base on Typhon, and significant resources had gone into their counter invasion of Rhesisus. Cunningham, Lord General Du Prez and the senior Commander of the Dark Angels all agreed that now was the ideal time to strike.
The Chaos forces on Tuva actually struck first, with Iron Warriors making progress on the north eastern end of the Barrier Mountains, before the major advance by Cunningham's army began. Then, as Guard units swept down to the sea, the Dark Angels encircled an entire Chaos army in Maybourne and wholesale slaughter began. The Daemonhunters too went straight for the city, intent on ridding it of the Chaos taint, and the two elite Imperial forces, their enemy surrounded them, hunted them like prey. By 1012.008M42 the defensive axis of Chaos on southern Tuva had been broken and the Imperial Guard had forced cultist forces back to the entrance to Sapphire Harbour.
Meanwhile in Maybourne the last elements of Chaos forces, both traitor marine and traitor guard units, had been annihilated. Then the ugly spectre of "cleansing" by the Inquisition began. Maybourne had been a city with a population of 10 million before the invasion, and the 4 million who had managed to survive the Chaos occupation soon wish they hadn't, as a further 2 million were executed at the merest suspicion of being tainted. Even so the Imperium hailed the offensive as a great victory and the bells of Tarsis Prime were rang for the first time since the invasion.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
With this in mind a fleet of Tau warships exited the warp near to the planet of Typhon on 1711.008M42 and made their way to the Night Lords' base. Upon landing however it seemed as if somehow the defenders were expecting the attack, and soon after Commanders Hawkeye and Ores Kais had landed their Cadres, the Night Lords seized the initiative, advancing immediately on the Tau at their landing zone. Very soon the Tau found themselves pinned down in their beachead, and the bold plan became unstuck.
After several days of fighting on Typhon the Night Lords launched their final murderous assault, causing horrific casualties in the Tau defenders. Hawkeye and Kais, unable to manouvre and surrounded realised their task had become hopeless and began to evacuate. Less than half those who had landed returned, though casualties had also been high amongst their enemy's troops.
Late on 2711.008M42, as the battered armies returned to Tau space they received a worrying transmission. Without their normal defending strength and with the fleet away. a Night Lords Strike cruiser had penetrated the defences around Rhesius. There were fewer than 30,000 Tau on the planet's newly constructed base, and these were all slaughtered in a matter of hours by the marauding Chaos Marines. Changing course for New Sparta Hawkeye knew this was a bitter blow to Tau aspirations in the Rim Worlds, on Tarsis, and in the wider sector.
Imperial intelligence realised that the Chaos forces, their eyes fixed on Merrin and the more dangerous Orks of Nazghat, had left weaker forces in the region of Maybourne. On 2711.008M42 a force of Daemonhunters spearheaded an assault into Chaos territory, brushing aside weak cultist forces and only meeting real resistance in the form of a company of Nurgle Marines. These were similarly destroyed, but at a higher cost. Even so the move brought Cunningham's army to the south coast once more and cut off the city for the second time since the invasion. Upon hearing the news Moonface knew he would have to sort the situation personally.
On 2911.008M42 the Catechism launched their attack. Towards Maybourne the assault was lead by the daemonic hordes the Catechism were now routinely summoning for battle, though for the second time their handlers lost control and much of the region descended into anarchy as the daemons feasted upon any soul they came across. Very little of eastern Maybourne was left by the end of the month.
Meanwhile Moonface's most trusted troops led the assault against the Librians defending the newly liberated territory further to the east of the city. The Guard units had been unable to dig in, but the Catechism still found the going tough as they were ambushed heading west. Several troop transports were immediately destroyed, forcing the Traitor marines to advance on foot into a withering hail of fire. Many veteran marines were cut down but eventually the genetically enhanced warriors reached the Imperial lines and ripped the guardsmen apart in ferocious hand to hand fighting.
Skirmished like this continued as Cunningham fought a bitter fighting withdrawal north west, making the Catechism pay in blood for every mile. By the end of 3011.008M42 the chaos forces had been halted before they had taken back all the recent gains.
On 2311.008M42 Snazteef's attacks were unceasing. For weeks now the Imperial Guard had tried in vain to slow his advance but now the Ultramarines waited patiently to make their move. Subordinate commanders in the Imperial Guard were not informed and the Librian 34th Regiment in particular took heavy casualties on the 27th as Snazteef's main force bludgeoned its way through their lines, led by unstoppable Mega Armoured Nobz.
However later on the same day the ultramarines found a gap in the widening Ork lines and, combining a frontal assault with an orbital drop, neatly cut the Orks supply lines and opened a gap over one hundred kilometres wide in the Ork front line.
Jamieson immediately ordered his armoured units, including the 17th Librian heavy tank division, to exploit the gap and hundreds of tanks rushed north before deviating east to cut off the Ork line of retreat. With no supplies and communications the Orks in the pocket began to lose their co-ordination, but still fought savagely. It would be many days before the pocket was mopped up but once it had the orks had been pushed right back to the Tuva Bay where they had landed.
The final nail in the coffin at Montgate came on 2711.008M42 when the final battle for the city began. The Catechism employed their elite Legions as well as summoning another horde of daemons to complete the destruction of Corchorans North Merrin Army.
The combined power of the Traitor Legions and their daemonic allies soon swept aside any lingering resistance from the shattered remnants of Corchoran's Librian, Zadocian and Tarsisian divisions, but the real fighting erupted as a large force of Daemonhunters, recently arrived having heard of the daemonic incursions on Merrin, engaged with the main force of the Catechism's strength.
Once engaged the second part of the Imperial plan came into play as once again the Ultramarines utilised their drop pod capability, arriving right at the heart of the action. As 2811.008M42 began ans the Catechsims' cultists prepared to move into the city proper, on the outskirts the violent battle between the Daemonhunters and the Catechism continued without pause. The Ultramarines were initially successful following their drop, but gradually the Traitor Legions and the daemonic horde began to gain the upper hand. Late on 3011.008M42, just minutes before the daemons faded back into the work, the Imperial resolve fell and the Catechism's troops managed to outflank the Imperial positions, forcing the Daemonhunters, minus several good men including an inquisitor, and the Ultramarines, similarly battered, to abandon the city of Montgate to its fate.
Thousands of Guard died and those that were captured quickly wished they had too.