Rather than pull back and defend the capital, Bastien Primus, the Claws of Lorek and their allies had chosen to make their stand at Vaden, concentrating their forces in and around the city, and it soon became evident why. Massive power signatures from the centre of the city indicated the forces of Chaos had something special in mind for their guests.
The Imperial formations, led by the Lamenters chapter of space marines, approached the city over the rough scrubland around Vaden. The Chaos forces were sheltering in the ruins of Vaden, which had been mercilessly pummelled for hours by Imperial artillery. The super heavy detachments of the Librian and Corellian forces had an almost unrestricted view of the city which nestled in a broad valley, and they spearheaded an armoured column the like of which had not been seen together in many years.
As the Imperial guard of Corellia, Cerberex and Libria neared the city the expected counter attack from Chaos came. Obliterators and the daemons of Shaidar Haran appeared suddenly behind the main Imperial line, briefly causing anxiety and confusion amongst Imperial ranks. Special weapons squads and units of Grey Night terminators were on hand however as General Veers was quite aware of the pact between Lorek and the daemons of Shaidar Haran.
Exposed and appearing too far from their allies in Vaden, the daemonic hordes which appeared were quickly banished by overwhelming Imperial gunfire, and the forces of Lorek and the Anticross failed to take advantage of the brief halt in the Imperial advance. Lacking any long ranged firepower the traitor astartes were forced to watch helpless as Valkyries and Vendettas of the Imperial navy roared about the countryside around Vaden, annihilating the daemonic beings.
Lorek’s forces now prepared for a street fight. Here the Imperial tanks and guardsmen would surely be ill-equipped to deal with the legions of traitor marines defending the city. However Veers and Patraeus had expected this, and the roar of drop pods split the sky as the Lamenters descended upon Vaden itself. Engaging the marines in violent close quarter fighting the marines, though taking heavy casualties, allowed the Imperial guard units to make good ground, and in under a day the Imperium had surrounded Vaden.
Brutal fighting continued for days and the Cerberex regiments and Lamenters chapter took the heaviest casualties, but the massacre in Vaden was total. Thousands of traitor marines, some millennia old, were cut down, with the Claws of Lorek suffering particularly badly. On 1905.010M42, hopelessly surrounded by superior forces, the last remnants of the defenders, mostly from the Anticross faction, fled the ruins of Vaden.
After tha battle the Adeptus Mechanicus found the source of the energy signature. A mighty weapon which could have levelled the city, friend and foe alike, had been primed to go off the minute the Imperial forces had stepped foot in the city. However something had gone wrong and battle damage from shelling had meant the “doomsday device”, which would have wiped out almost a quarter of Veers’ men, had failed to detonate. Its charred pieces were taken away for study by the crusade’s tech priests.
While the Inquisition descended on Vaden, once again sorting the loyal from the heretical, ultimately leading to the deaths of over one million of Vaden’s citizens, the invasion of Bastien continued. While the hug set piece battle around the city had rages, separate forces were landed neer Gehenna and Bastien Primus. Had the battle of Vaden been lost these forces would have been annihilated, but with their lines of supply cleared across the vast wastelands of the planet, the Imperial assaults on both cities were over within just a week. Some mopping up was required but Lorek’s gamble at Vaden had seriously denuded his defence lines around the capital.
The Imperial success had come at a price, nearly 200,000 men had died and thousands of tanks destroyed. Losses on the Chaos side probably numbered in the millions amongst the poorly equipped traitor PDF units, and some of Lorek’s finest warriors had also fallen. Worse still the capital of Bastien had fallen, and the Chaos lord had himself lost face in front of his fellow Chaos commanders. Hastily a new front line was drawn up around the massive Hades hive city, as Veers’ crusade forces prepared for their next offensive.
“The skies are scorched and the air tastes of ash, but soon the darkness shrouding this planet will be lifted, the dawn will cleanse the land and the people will praise the Emperor with choruses of worship” - Unknown Corellian officer