Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tarsis Major - Imperial line collapses

Following the failure of operation salvation Cunningham prepared for the inevitable counter attack from Strongspear's forces. Now in control of two-thirds of Tarsis' industry, the Tau had plenty of supplies and were even able to build their own skimmers and military equipment by converting Imperial industry to Tau production. Although Sartano remained Imperial, Tau dominance in the air meant shipping supplies to the northern front was hazardous in the extreme, and only the industry in Coldside, fed by the Grenton mines, kept the northern front in the war.

Cunningham felt sure the next offensive would come across the Downstone desert and attempt to push across the South Ridge mountains and drive on Grenton. It seemed obvious as the next Tau target, so the Imperial General mustered his best forces, the remaining Corellians, Prozans and Librian 101st, as well as several hundred thousand PDF, in this area. To the north he deployed the remainder of III Corps, including the untried Groznian 1504th. Unfortunately for Cunningham, the Tau had no intention of following his battle plan.

Early on 1103.010M42 hundreds of Tau Mantas took to the air in a truly awesome display of military power. At dawn the whole Tau army in north Tuva was on the move, Hammerheads and crisis suits pounding the northern front line ocross the rolling north Tuva plain, while a huge force evaded anti-aircraft fire and landed well behind the Imperial front lines where the plain melted into savannah on the Calder Peninsular.

Panic gripped the Imperial forces in the north as the Tau appeared on the horizon. In the centre of the push the Groznians stood waiting for the attack, but word had got to them that massive Tau forces had landed behind their lines and they were surrounded. As the elite Tau forces send submunitions and smart missiles into the tightly packed ranks of Groznian infantry, the knowledge that they had no line of retreat cracked their resolve. En masse, sometimes units at a time the Groznians simply fled, or surrendered, despite the threats and executions carried out by regimental commissars. Often the commissars were simply murdered by the troops as discipline in the Groznian ranks collapsed.

General Cunningham was horrified at the reports as they flooded in, telling of the wholescale rout of his forces in the north. Desperately he scrambled for reinforcements but the Groznian collapse precipitated a general panic. Whole PDF regiments surrendered rather than attempt to fight their way out of encirclement, and by the end of the first day the Tau had netted the astonish haul of 300,000 men, almost a third of Cunningham's forces in the north. In a week Cunningham had re-established a front line, on the edge of the Calder peninsular, but without outside help, he knew the end on Tarsis was a certainty.

Imperial high command was furious at the defeat and insisted Cunningham restore the original front line. After hours of arguing General Roover, Cunningham's superior, accepted this was impossible, and the Imperial General on Tarsis avoided the unfortunate fate of execution. He was however, told in no uncertain terms, that he would eventually retake Tarsis, or die there.

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