Sunday, May 10, 2009

Breakout from Eastby – Merridale falls

After their defeat to the daemonic host just one week before, the Imperial army on Alphe suffered an even greater reverse in the Catechism offensive which began on 0605.009M42 and climaxed on 1405.009M42 with the fall of Merridale.

General Pervical, overall commander of the Imperial army on Alphe deployed the Porphyrian 16th Infantry in the city and held the Librian 84th Mechanised outside for a swift counter attack. Meanwhile the Alphe PDF were broadly responsible for the defence of Pryford and the surrounding country.

Moonface struck simultaneously in both directions, driving south and encircling Pryford, while attacking Merridale at the same time. The assault in the south quickly overwhelmed the poorly equipped PDF, cutting off the city and taking back the southern territory lost to the Dark Angels assault some weeks earlier.

However Moonface personally led his elite troops in the more strongly contested front at Merridale, units of Traitor Marines clashing with dogged Pophyrian defenders. At first the attack on Merridale appeared to be going badly wrong as anti-tank fire decimated the Catechism’s heavy armour (mostly Land raiders), and heroic hand to hand fighting saw many marines slaughtered and the banishment of the Daemin Prince who had allied with Moonface.

While the Catechism centre suffered, the flanks faired better. Percival, realising the breakthrough was about to occur, sent in his Librian reserves, holding the Catechism advance in the west with the deployment of Chimera borne transports. Here the Chaos forces suffered badly, losing many marines and a number of their irreplaceable terminators.

However at the same time the eastern flank of the city was collapsing spectacularly, helped by some heroics by a squad of Chaos bikers, who single handedly routed the infantry units guarding this route into the city. Carnage wreaked by deep striking Obliterators and Rhino mounted marines soon left the eastern flank of Percival’s defence untenable, and while he tried desperately to counter attack in the centre and west, the city could not be held.

Percival received some criticism for his late deployment of his reserves, though the ruggedness of the Chaos transport vehicles was noted as a crucial factor, many Rhinos suffering several anti tank hits but shrugging them off. In contrast, the Libiran Leman Russ and Hellhound tanks were often observed to detonate at the first penetrating hit.

The battle for Merridale sank all Imperial Imperial hopes for a swift victory on Alphe and consolidated Moonface’s hold on the planet. With Pryford surrounded and Eastby in Chaos hands, a prolonged war now looked certain.

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