Saturday, August 20, 2011
War in the Air
On Tyndareous, with the Tyndar Plateau secured, the Tau forces now moved to expand their territorial holding on the Imperial world, to prevent the Imperium from wiping them out with one concerted Space marine strike. Their next target was the remote region known as the Vallerander Heights, and several air drops using Orcas, supported by Baracudas, were drawn up in early 08.011M42.
The initial scouting landings went well, but soon follow up drops were intercepted by Imperial navy fighters based out of Arrenton and Burbeck Bay. The Tau pilots however showed their experience, as many had fought in the Tarsis campaign of 08/09, while many of their Imperial adversaries had never seen combat - certainly not against the Tau. The landings succeeded and the Imperium lost many fighters, and the crucial road intersection of Pardle Junction were secured by 1208.011M42. The Tau now planned to move on the rest of the central high ground to isolate Vallerander.
Frustrated by their losses, Air commodore Stewart requested pilots to be sent planetside from the carrier Intrepid, which had recently arrived in the system along with a number of other Imperial vessels, in order to find the Tau vessels which had initiated the invasion. Captain Dingemans agreed, and after a short orientation course on their new aircraft, the experienced fighter pilots of the Imperial Navy began to make a difference.
on 1708.011M42 the Imperium struck back, assembling a rather ad-hoc force of fighters and bombers to attack the newly constructed Tau base on the Vallerander heights. The Tau air cadre responded with force against the Imperial bombing mission, but this time the Imperial pilots were equal to them, and the Tau lost many Barracudas before breaking off. They did manage to inflict significant damage on the inbound Imperial wing, but the Tau base was heavily damaged. The Tau postponed their plans to take Vallerander. For now the Imperial air force had earned a stay of execution.
At the same time, another Imperial attack was taking place, an ill-conceived plan which saw a small force, including the Mars class battlecruiser Glorious, travel to New Sparta in the Rim Worlds. The Imperium considered the chaos defences of the world to be weak, and New Sparta ripe for the taking. Such a victory would see the crusade started with renewed vigour, and the weakened Catechism could be eradicated. In addition, a base in the Rim worlds would eas pressure on Caitlen Station, and allow more forces to be directed against the Tau in the Mabb nebula.
The first stage of operation Albatross called for the destruction of any chaos air power, though none was actually anticipated. The Imperium could not have been more wrong, The Catechism air forces appeared almost as soon as the Imperial craft entered the atmosphere, and attacked with gleeful abandon. Of the 300 aircraft sent in to defeat the Catechism, only 46 returned, and the operation was called off amid much embarrasment.