Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Shadowstrike links up to Sapphire Harbour

Before the all important advance on Tarsis Prime could begin, Shadowstrike was acutely aware that the Tau sector on Tuva was split in two, and that the Imperium were able to take advantage of this, keeping pressure on Sapphire Harbour while also freely transferring forces between Sartano and the main continent. If the Tau in south west Tuva could link up with Sapphire Harbour, Sartano would be cut off and Cunningham's room for manouevre would be seriously compromised.

General Cunningham knew this as well as the Tau and had gone to some lengths to prevent such a link up. In late 05.009M42 he had transferred two regiments of Cerberex troopers to Tuva, sending the Librian 346th to Horn Island. The Cerberex regiments, well equipped and respected as tough opponents were deployed immediately opposite Shadowstrike's Cadres.

Cunningham had guessed right, thanks largely to an improvement in Imperial intelligence and a gradual understanding of the Tau strategy on Tarsis, and the Tau attacked exactly where the Cerberex forces were defending. A furious battle developed as the Cerberex troops threw in their airborne reinforcements to halt the Tau.
The battle quickly became an attritional one where territory mattered little and the destruction of the enemy's forces became paramount. However, with the recent acquisition of the Teranno industrial zone, Shadowstrike knew that within weeks the Tau would be able to build new equipment on Tuva, rather than rely on existing production facilities on Merrin or reinforcements from the Tau Empire. Tau lives however were less easily replaced and Shadowstrike was careful to limit physical casualties.

Eventually accurate anti-aircraft fire told and one by one the airborne assaults faltered, the wrecks of Valkyrie airborne carriers littering the fields to the east of Maybourne. By 1006.009M42 the Cerberex resistance had been broken, at a cost, and the Guard army was forced to retreat north. This allowed the Tau to push east, taking the Imperial defences at Sapphire Harbour from behind and linking up with their troops on the Island. Sartano was now cut off and the Tau now controlled more than 50% of the planet.

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