Sunday, January 23, 2011

Imperial Advance against Chaos

While the newly arrived Space Wolves caused havoc with the planning section of the Imperial High Command, General Veers continues with the next phase of operations in his great crusade against chaos. Having conquered Bastien a large force of his Imperial Guard forces were now mopping up on the planet, aided by Inquisitors Hathek and Huron who were leading purges against citizens who had for too long been exposed to the corrupting influence of the dark powers. Over a third of the population would be "cleansed" in the operation to bring Bastien back into the light of the emperor.

With his forces stretched Veers knew he would be unable to launch a major invasion of any of the major worlds under chaos control. Mordecai was known to be protected by the massive fleet of Admiral Thok, while Calliden harboured the forces of the now dormant Shaidar Haran. Kendrenec, long the foe of the Aleph Sector boasted formidable defences and was still ruled by the cruel overlord Tragean. Taking this into account given the state of his supply lines, General Veers decided that the minor world of Ares would be the next target.

As Admiral Jellicoe readied the fleet for the invasion General Veers was visited by a strange and mysterious individual. Identifying himself only by his inquisitorial seal the hooded figure never revealed his identity nor showed his face, but made it clear to Veers that his campaign would be receiving the aid of forces under his control. It appeared the shadowy Inquisitor had plans of his own to defeat the forces of chaos and Veers crusade would profit from his arrival.

General Veers learned that the Inquisitor would be attacking vital installations on Blight on 2201.011M42 and with this information, planned his invasion accordingly.

The Groznian attack on Blight was an unqualified success, with the daemonic forces of the Anticross vanquished in the field. What the Inquisitor learned about the Anticross and its daemonic allies remained undisclosed to Veers, but the commander of the Perseus Deeps crusade hoped the eyes of Chaos would be elsewhere when his invasion force arrived at Ares. He was to be disappointed.

Jellicoe commanded the battlefleet which arrived at Ares on 2201.011M42 from his flagship Iron Duke. This massive carrier was backed up by the mars class Glorious, dominators Repulse and Black Prince, and the gothic class cruisers Aboukir and Cressy. Each vessel carried and entire regiment of Imperial Guard in its cavernous hold, Jellicoe being unwilling to risk troop transports on what was after all a short warp jump from Corticant.

The Imperial fleet arrived without incident, but as the fleet approached the inner biosphere and the planet itself a large warfleet loyal to the Claws of Lorek appeared from the opposite side of the planet. The fleet, which had remained undetected by using the mass of Ares itself as a sensor shield immediately attacked.

The chaos fleet consisted of a battleship and five cruisers and ought to have been a serious threat to the Imperial fleet, especially when the initial volleys of Nova Cannon fire proved little more than an annoyance to the chaos capital vessels. THe chaos ships were however apparently crewed by inexperienced men, or beasts, and were no match for the well drilled imperial crews or their commander. Very quickly a devastation class cruiser, isolated from her consorts, fell victim to the Imperial guns.

Having lost one of thier capital ships the chaos fleet split, the battleship and one escort heading into low orbit around Ares itself while the remaining cruiser rounded the planet threatening Jellicoe's left flank. Jellicoe realised this meant the chaos fleet would be landing troops on the planet and immediately ordered Aboukir and Cressy to proceed with all haste to low orbit in order to disembark their troops. The rest would follow once the Imperium had dealt with the remaining cruisers.

This the Iron duke and her consorts did with extreme efficiency, blowing apart two more cruisers and crippling the others with massed fire and waves of bombers from Glorious and the flagship herself. Again the chaos ships' fire was inaccurate and poorly grouped, and without the support of their battleship the cruisers were badly outmatched.

Jellicoe then ordered the rest of the cruisers to disembark troops while the Iron Duke stood watch over the planet. This almost caused a disaster as the chaos battleship and her escort suddenly appeared from the upper atmosphere directly aft of the Imperial flagship. Unbelievably the damage from the initial chaos volley was minimal as her shooting went wide. Using the gravity well of the planet to full effect the Iron Duke then swung round and dealt a fatal blow to the deveastation class vessel escorting the chaos behemoth.

Realising all was lost the remaining chaos vessels fled, leaving the Imperial warships free to disgorge their remaining cargo. The Imperial forces made swift gains on the surface, taking the settlements of Forbestown, Pallian and almost all of Hellebron. The invasion of Ares had got off to an excellent start.

Damage to the Imperial fleet had been minimal, while three chaos cruisers had been destroyed and another crippled. With the chaos Desolator class battleship also heavily damaged the fleet battle of Ares had been an overwhelming success for the Imperium and another great naval victory for Admiral Jellicoe.

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