Friday, April 24, 2009

Nemesis Sighted

On 08.009M42 the loss of contact with Betor, a strategically insignificant agri-world, was finally investigated at the behest of an unnamed inquisitor. He was sent with a strong force of Imperial Capital ships to the Betor system, under the command of Admiral Doenitz. Shortly after his arrival the psykers in the system reported abnormal dreams, headaches and all manner of problems, and were unable to communicate with their uplink station on Tarsis Major. While the crews of the ships puzzled the Inquisitor ordered the fleet to stay in place, without informing the admiral as to the nature of the problems.

Five days later the psychic disturbances had spread to the planet of Betor itself, and Admiral Doenits demanded an answer. He got none, and was told to maintain battle stations. Three more days passed, then the tyranid hive ships appeared in the Betor system. A man of deep Imperial conviction, Admiral Doenitz immediately attacked, unaware of the tyranid bioships capabilities. Despite heroic bravery the fearsome short range power of these monsters became apparent as much of Doenitz's fleet was torn apart by claws, jaws, acid and spores. After an engagement lasting several hours, the Imperial fleet fled they system, abandonning Betor to its fate, as the Inquisitor made his reports.

Tau Broaden Horizons

During 04.009M42 the Catechism were not the only force looking to consolidate their holdings in the Aleph sector. The Tau too, following their scare over supply to the war on Tarsis, became increasingly aware of the need for more waystations and bases between Tau space and the Aleph expansion sphere. Their bases on Cernunnos and Lucardium in the Perseus deeps, while now large and efficient, could not be supplied quickly or regularly enough via the existing supply route through the Aurelis deeps, and a second, joining up with Melberg was desired by the Tau high command.

The Ethereals entrusted this task to the experienced and ageing Sunstrike, who was almost due for retirement, hoping his experience would be a match for the difficult logistical task. Shadowstrike however had a hand in the ground commander, while Admiral Swiftstar chose his protege Brightsun, to lead the expedition in space.

The operations started well, with the Tau fleet brushing aside Imperial and Necron fleets also present int he Deeps, allowing the Tau ground forces to mop up and establish a number of bases in the near Aurelis Deeps close to Melberg. Chaos forces were the most common foe, with the Norsefire Empire once again sending fleets out against the Tau, though Admiral Thok had left years previously.

While the Tau made good headway as they pushed a new route through the Deeps, they were being tracked all the while by a large Dark Angels fleet. They were tracked landing hunter cadres on the small world of Parnesh, and they were followed half way to the Tau Empire past the system of Voldemus. Then, in the dim glow of the red dwarf star Annulus, the Dark Angels sprung their trap.

The Dark Angels had chosen to pursue silently and, with their ground forces in action on Alphe in large numbers, knew destroying the Tau on the ground would be difficult. Instead, five strike cruisers and a multitude of escort vessels ambushed the main Tau fleet as they prepared to go into combat against a formidable Chaos force.

Using the system's gas giant to conceal their approach the Space Marine vessels didn't even bother to open fire, closing rapidly with the lumbering Tau vessels and boarding each in turn. By the end of 2604.009M42 Brightsun's fleet and the Admiral himself had been annihilated, with eight Tau capital ships left as drifting hulks, many of which crashed into the gas giant world.
The Chaos force, surprised at this, took the opportunity to punish the Dark Angels, inflicting serious damage and forcing the Space Marines to flee. However the Dark Angels had effectively thwarted the Tau attempt to open a second route to the Aleph sector and had destroyed a significant portion of their fleet. Though not entirely a failure, the accomplishments of the mission fell far short of what the Tau had hoped for.

Alphe Latest

Catechism Loot the Deeps

During much of 04.009M42 the Catechism, apart from continuing their war on Alphe, sent multiple expeditions into the Perseus Deeps in order to secure a wider base of manpower and natural resources to the galactic north of their existing Empire, and to scout out potential routes to Imperial Hub systems, without the need to use the heavily fortified and patrolled spacelanes used by Imperial shipping.

The missions were largely successful, establishing small bases and securing vital resources for the Catechism, only Ork warbands posing a serious challenge to the elite fighting forces of the Catechism. This diversion however meant that in the short term, progress on Alphe was slowed as forces were deployed elsewhere.

On 2304.009M42, in recognition of the recent Catechism triumphs and their continued successes over the Imperium, Tau and Eldar in the region, Moonface unvieled a 500 metre high statue, of himself, in the luxuriant capital of Priam, Moonopolis.

Catechism Assault Pryford

The month of 04.009M42 saw a major Dark Angels deployment against the Catechism on Alphe. More companies were deployed and fewer were left on their obscure missions in the Perseus Deeps. On 0804.009M42 the Catechism launched their newest offensive, rapidly pushing forward and encircling the important settlement of Pryford, meeting Dark Angels forces and treating them with contempt.

Moonface's best troops were arrayed against the Adeptus Astartes warriors, and the Dark Angels once again took heavy casualties and were unable to prevent the encirclement of the city. However on 1604.009M42 the Dark Angels counter-attacked, reaching the west coast, cutting through the Chaos lines at their weakest point and hammering their best troops with surgical strikes. They were able to create a corridor to the beleagured city, but by 2004.009M42 the Catechism were still present on three sides of the city and were preparing their next assault.

Imperial High command rapidly dug in, hoping to stall the Chaos advance long enough for Moonface to become disinterested, as intelligence suggested he would if the battle went on too long. This attritional strategy prevailed for much of the war on Alphe and was the overriding principal in Imperial strategy against the Moonface Catechism throughout the war. The Dark Angels meanwhile , once released from action, immediately headed off world, much to the consternation of the Imperial Governor and Imperial High Command.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Dark Angels Defeated – Eastby Falls

Imperial Commanders were dismayed as even the veteran Dark Angels were unable to halt the onslaught of the Moonface Catechism.As the traitor legion advanced towards Merridale, the loyal Space Marines took up positions on high ground overlooking the swamps that dot the southern hemisphere of the planet. The Dark Angels dug deep, inviting the Catechism to advance into their guns.
A tense fight broke out, as the Catechism advanced using the thick cover of St Methusula's Rose, a brightly coloured plant native to Alphe. By the time the traitor marines reached the loyalist lines almost no casualties had been taken. Here the Catechism's close-quarter expertise could come to the fore, as Dark Angel assault marines struggled against warriors dedicated to the Chaos god Nurgle, and mighty Daemon Lords rampaged through heavy weapons teams.

The Dark Angels were routed, and the Catechism pushed onwards to reach Merridale. The city is in a defensible position, with a supply route from Oldmere Island that the Catechism will be unable to cut off. The city of Pryford is not so fortunate, and with traitor guard spotted on the outskirts it is believed Moonface will try and surround the city before attacking.

One glimmer of hope for the Imperium came from an unlikely source. The Catechism were spotted fighting a force of Tzeentch Daemons just south of Merridale. Neither side were able to gain the upper hand, but both suffered heavy casualties which is a great hindrance to the Catechism's advance. Was this an attempt to control a Daemonic host gone wrong? Revenge on a broken pact? It is unknown, but Imperial commanders are debating how they might capitalise on the Catechism's struggles against Daemonic forces.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Orks in Retreat

By early 04.009M42 Nazghat’s Ork Empire in the Shadow Worlds was beset by enemies. With the Tau entrenched on Hylas and Memnon, supplying their armies on Tarsis Major, the Imperium had also been attracted to the Shadow Worlds. Rather than take the Tau bases in an immediate attack, without overall space superiority, the Dark Angels had already landed on Coronus and Tyndareous, attacking the Orks there. Now the Ultramarines landed over a company of Marines on Tyndareous, in an attempt to secure the planet as a springboard to destroy the Tau supply lines.

Nazghat was having none of it, and reinforced his possession with a new force of elite Orks, attacking the small Ultramarines force as soon as it landed on the planet. However, they had miscalculated. The Ultramarines had landed just half their strength, and refused to meet the Orks in a standoff battle.

As the Orks advanced recklessly the tactically aware Astartes allowed the Orks to advance beyond the effective support of their air bases, at which point the Ultramarines counter attacked with overwhelming and devastating force. Rhinos and Land Raider borne forces linked up with direct drop pod assaults, annihilating half the Ork advance anf forcing the Orks to withdraw. By 0504,009M42 the Orks were in an appalling state on Tyndareous, controlling just one remaining fortified settlement.

Alphe Current

Friday, April 03, 2009

Aleph Sector on galactic map

Tarsis Major Current

Tarsis Prime Saved

The Dark Angel's strike cruiser Dark Dominion arrived in the Tarsis system in mid 03.009M42 in response to an urgent request for aid to repel the orks from General Du Prez. They deployed on the outskirts of Tarsis Prime using Thunderhawk gunships and began a mechanised assault into the city. On locating the main body of orks the Dark Angels established a fortified position within the ruins and drew the orks forwards onto their guns. Even so the speed of the ork assault surprised the Emperor's finest and the outlying fire positions were overwhelmed before a withdrawal could be affected. For a while it looked like the task force would be swamped before Chaplain Gabreal El'Zekial lead Assault Squad Korvos in a devastating counter attack that butchered the first wave of the ork assault and sent the enemy realing.

Bloody close quater fighting errupted with casualties mounting on both sides but then elements of the Ravenwing swept in from the orks rear, destroying their support with a vicious lightening strike and swining the battle clearly in the Dark Angel's favour. At the height of the fighting Chaplain Gabreal lead his brothers from their bastion and cut down the ork warboss, breaking the spirit of the orks. Only those orks providing fire support were able to escape the Emperor's Wrath and the Dark Angels cleansed the capital without mercy. However, much of it now lay in ruins.

Imperial Intelligence then noted only a fraction of 4th companies full strength was deployed against the orks in Tarsis Prime and that Captain Angelus, commander of the 4th company, did not take part in the fighting. Augers and Sensorium at Imperial High Command noted that several overflights and insertions were made by Thunderhawks into the remaining chaos held area in the north of Merrin. The Dark Angels however ignored all requests for information concerning these operations and continue to pursue their own agend, leaving Du Prez to wonder just who was in command on Tarsis. Many asked the same of him.

Space Marine Slaughter

After their success against the Porphyrian reserve regiments the Dark Eldar threat on Sartano was considered dire enough to call upon the Space Marines. The Scions of Ra answered the call. A scouting force stumbled upon what appeared to be a small contingent of Dark Eldar. The position was called in and the Scions converged to engage.

At first the battle went well, as the aliens were sent ducking for cover. However, this was not before some strange xeno tech was deployed. Suddenly a large force seemed to appear from thin air and descend upon the Scions’ line. Wyches leapt from raiders into tactical squads, supported by flanking Talos and Warp Beast packs. Vicious close quarter combat erupted, in which the Dark Eldar superior skill proceeded to overpower squad after squad. The alien Lord and her retinue met the Chaplin and Assault Marines head on. While the Space Marines were matching the Wyches blow for blow, the Lord was beyond compare. She cut down the Chaplin before taking apart the Assault Marines almost single handily, then moved on and cut down a Devastator squad before they could even draw their combat knives.

While the Scions had success in destroy the Dark Eldar Transports, their line faltered under the aliens’ assault and they were eventually defeated to a man. When reinforcements arrived they found the surrounding landscape in ruins and nearby villages empty, drenched in blood. Worst of all, they only found roughly a third of their battle brothers dead on the field. The remaining had been taken to Commorragh where they are assured to spend the rest of their lives in state of unimaginable agony.

Push along the coast

Elan Ro’s forces were exhausted. His Fire Warriors needed rest and the vehicles of his mechanised forces were in dire need of repair. Only his elite suits remained active. He wasn’t about to let this take him off the front line however. A study of intelligence reports indicated that prior to their capture the Porphyrians had had repeated success against Chaos forces. Upon discovering this Elan Ro devised a plan.

The single Porphyrian regiment remaining under Tau control was placed directly under his command. He ordered a complete overhaul of the regiment. Squads were reassigned, deliberately mixing old ones to give improve the men’s skills at integrating with new allies. Each squad leader was issued with a pulse rifle, and so was the best marksman among each squad. Elan Ro issued each pulse rifle personally, impressing upon the men the honour that went with the weapon. The ratling snipers had their weapons replaced with rail rifles, and stealth field generators were issued to them in place of their camo cloaks. Finally, one of the regiments few remaining Leman Russ went under a partial rebuild, improving weapons, targeting systems and communications.

After a week of training to familiarise the men with their new squad mates and equipment Elan Ro deemed them ready. Along with the Porphyrians would be a large contingent of suits. All of Elan Ro’s elite units had volunteered to support the Porphyrians in their first battle against Chaos under their new organisation.On the battle field the Porphyrians set up a battle line, with Tau units in support position. At first things looked grim as the Chaos mechanised advance weathered the opening storm of fire from the Tau. However, upon disembarking the Chaos units inflicted minimal damage on Drone and Porphyrian units before being annihilated. Elan Ro was both surprised and impressed that the Porphyrian lasguns succeeded where advanced Tau weaponry had failed. The intelligence reports were true, these Gue’vesa really knew how to fight Chaos. There appeared to be a teleport malfunction as a large contingent of Chaos Terminators along with the Chaos Lord appeared well behind Chaos lines, far from the action.

With their first wave repulsed with minimal losses Elan Ro ordered the front line units that had borne the brunt of the assault to fall back, while his suits moved forward to mop up. The Chaos lost their long range support, leaving the Lord and roughly half the Terminators to withdraw. With the Chaos forces pushed back into the mountains Elan Ro advanced along the coast, claiming all of the lowlands south of the Mertock Mountains. His forces were within striking distance of the Chaos base. Plans were being drawn up with the aid of the Porphyrian commander to remove the Chaos presence in the north once and for all.

Catechism Reach Alphe

Chaos Marine chapter The Moonface Catechism have began a renewed attack upon the Imperium following a series of victories over the Tau that enforced Chaos control over the Rim Worlds. Imperial Tacticians believed the Catechism would probably invade Libria or Zadoc and placed PDF forces on these planets on full alert.

They were therefore shocked when the unpredictable Chaos commander arrived with troops on agri-world Alphe and swiftly attacked the southern city of Freywick. The methods of transport used by the Catechism to reach Alphe remain unknown, as no Chaos ship were detected in orbiting space. The threat of Chaos outside the gates of Freywick caused initial panic but order was briefly restored as Space Marines of the Scions of Ra chapter,who happened to be on training exercises on Alphe, arrived. Unfortunately for the Imperium the marines of The Catechism are well practiced infighting their loyal counterparts and obliterated the Scions. With little resistance, Freywick surrendered and the Catechism established a wide perimeter around their new capital on Alphe.

The advance of the traitor marines seemed to falter, as their reinforcements were slow in arriving. To consolidate their gains they summoned Daemons, a tactic used many times before. This time however Moonface had not reckoned on the rapid responses of an Armoured PDF force from Libria who had been mobilised immediately as the Chaos forces arrived on the planet. The mechanised squadron smashed into the Daemonic horde, who had difficulty damaging the armoured assault. Their grip on the world weakened, the Daemons fled back into the Warp and the Librians pushed back the Catechism perimeter despite their heavy losses.

Angered at the set back, and having amassed a sufficient assault force,Moonface ordered a counterattack. Porphyrian regiments, that have been stationed on numerous planets in the Sector, had been bought in to hold the territory taken by the Librian Armour. In a particularly bloody conflict the Catechism suffered heavy losses from the pounding Imperial guns, but ultimately won the day. A handful of Imperial men and vehicles limped away and the Catechism consolidated further inland.

The reasons for Moonface's invasion are unknown. Is it a simple attack at the Imperium he loathes? Or is it part of some greater plan? The Imperial Tacticians have little time to ponder motives and have been quick to dispatch the most effective Marine chapter in the sector, the Dark Angels,to Alphe. Will they finally be the ones to halt the march of The Moonface Catechism?