Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tarsis: Prozan cavalry launch new offensive

The bitter fight for Tarsis Major had become yet another grinding stalemate against the Tau. Cunnigham’s forces had dug in to north of the Tuva Plains but Fish Face was beginning to play the Guard at their own game. It was well-known amongst the Imperial High Command that the Tau would rapidly adapt their equipment and tactic specifically to a chosen foe… but now they changed their entire ethos. They had fortified their positions, held their ground. Now the Imperial army was feeling the pinch.

General Cunnigham was intent on winning the war on Tarsis. This had become a grudge match between the two species. Echoes of Melberg and Myrentas were clear for all to see. The spectres of those grim and hard-fought campaigns lingered in the collective minds of the commanders on both sides of the conflict. This was less a war and more a matter of pride.

General Stonewall had been tasked with “renewing the momentum of the war” against the Tau. He and Cunnigham conceived of a combined attack to re-open the front. The Prozan Airmobile Cavalry would strike deep and fast across the Tau lines and secure forward positions. The armoured ground forces would then further open and exploit these corridors in an attempt to engage to Tau army piece-meal.

On 02.010M42 Colonel Moore had the honour of leading his 7th Cavalry Brigade across the Tuva plain. At dawn’s first light the bugle call heralded the flight of scores of Valkyrie assault carries, escorted by Vendetta and Vulture gunships, spearheading across the front. Their mission was to capture Landing Zone Alpha- a township that, though practically destroyed by the months of war, remained a viable strategic point owing to its excellent road networks that would allow the rapid advance of tanks and mechanised troops across the front lines.

The airborne assault took Fish Face completely off guard. In perfect co-ordination the 7th Cavalry swept down upon the town to ambush the Tau armour that was defending that area of the front. The Glory Boys had proven today that their bravado was not idle boasting. Using their grav-chutes they dropped into the midst of the enemy and despatched several armoured vehicles before rushing for cover. As one wave, the gunships and assault carriers bore down on the outnumbered Tau.

Ol’ blue skin was not about to give up without a fight. A detachment of Broadside Battlesuits, concealed within the ruins of and old factory complex, showered the incoming cavalry with railgun rounds. They quickly downed several gunships and caused heavy damage to many more. The Tau recognised the threat posed by the gunships and lent the greatest weight of their firepower to bringing these down first.

The cavalry was unperturbed and forged ahead to the landing zone. With much of the Tau armour neutralised only infantry were left to stand in the way. As the hardened veterans of the 7th dismounted to assault the enemy positions the Tau called in their reinforcements and counter-attacked in kind- a most unexpected turn of events given this species predilection for ranged warfare. More Tau reinforcements closed in from the east, battlesuits of all designations bent on eliminating the assault carriers before more of the veterans could reach their targets.

By 1700 hours the skirmishing for Landing Zone Alpha had degenerated in bitter close-quarter fighting. Gradually, with dogged determination, the 7th gained the upper hand and the Tau infantry were put to flight. The Tau reinforcements, having been on the verge of closing in for the kill, saw their comrades break. As they attempted to consolidate and regroup for a second attack the surviving gunships and carriers of the 7th rounded on them. Suppressed by the great weight of fire brought against them, and without any air support of their own to counter this new threat, the Tau were forced to concede the field. The pennant of the 7th cavalry was raised proudly over Landing Zone Alpha at 2000 hours.

Moore surveyed the field; dozens of blazing and wrecked flyers and enemy tanks littered the town. He had lost no small number of his own men and the Glory Boys had taken heavy casualties, having driven hard into the enemy’s centre ground. But today the 7th Cavalry had proved their worth.

“Sir, sentry detail is organised, sir.” Moore turned to see Lieutenant Briggs standing stiffly at salute. He was dirty and bruised and his left leg was heavily bandaged, though he seemed not to notice. “Look-outs are in position in the munitions factory and the tower block, sir”

“Good work, Lieutenant” Moore’s drawl instantly betrayed his Catachan roots. Many in the Prozan 7th hailed from that forbidding world. Growing up their had made them tough fighters, every man of them. Today they had needed it, and the fighting was only going to get harder from here.

“As soon as General Cunnigham’s boys get here you tell the men to saddle up- Next stop, Landing Zone Beta.”

No comments: