Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Claws of Lorek expand Empire

In early 12.009M42 the Claws of Lorek were still reeling from the Chaos alliance defeat at Farport, but Imperial intelligence had overestimated the damage the faction had taken. The Imperium believed the Claws to be in rapid decline, a belief reinforced when reports came in that the Tau had successfully defended their outpost on Parius from a Chaos attack. It seemd the Claws were going back to raiding, and couldn't even manage that.

More intelligence on 0212.009M42 reported that a daemonhost, usually seen in alliance with the Claws, had fallen upon their forces on Sullidaan, badly mauling several elite formations as well as thousands of slave workers before finally returning to the warp. Now there could be no doubt, the Claws of Lorek were close to collapse and their Empire would be easily crushed by Battlegroup Apocalypse. The order was given and the fleet embarked for Sullidaan.

The battlegroup had at its disposal several regiments of Imperial Guard from Corellia, Porphyria and Grozny, as well as a company of Dark Angels, so their commander was confident of victory. The landings began in an orderly fashion on 1012.009M42 with 50,000 loyal troops establishing a bridgehead on the planet.

After establishing the location of the strongest forces the Dark Angels launched their attack, supported by GGroznian and Porphyrian units protecting their flanks. However as they advanced they soon ran into troops loyal to the Claws of Lorek, hidden in ambush on the road. Having chosen the place of battle, the Claws now threw in their elite troops against the Dark Angels at the centre of the Imperial line.

Here the fighting was particularly bloody, with both sides taking heavy casualties in a furious firefight which quickly disolved into bitter hand to hand fighting. Neither side was prepared to give an inch and by the end of ther 12th the two sides withdrew from contact to regroup. When the Dark Angels regrouped to their bridgehead however, they soon found themselves in serious trouble. While fighting the Claws of Lorek to a draw, the Chaos forces had driven into their flanks, devastating the Corellian Storm Guard and decisively beating the Groznian regiments. If they did not retreat now they would be surrounded.

The retreat to the Bridgehead was a bitter pill to swallow for the Dark Angels. They had faced a determined foe far more numerous and combat ready than had been expected, and their own Imperial Guard regiments had crumbled. The Dark Angels had barely evacuated the planet when on the 14th the Porphyrians guarding the landing zone were badly mauled by a surprise attack from the Claws. The Dark Angels escaped, taking with them as many Guardsmen as possible, but Battlegroup Apocalypse suffered a serious reverse, while the Claws of Lorek consolidated their power and influence not only in the Perseus Deeps, but within the ever changing and shifting hierarchy within the factions of Chaos.

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