Monday, November 21, 2011

Tau retake the initiative on Tyndareous

After a promising start the Tau invasion of Tyndareous had foundered. Many Cadres, veterans of the campaigns on Tarsis and Melberg, had been rotated out for much needed refits and re-enforcement. In place had been drafted in new Cadres under a fresh Shas'O and they had lost ground under the pressure of repeated Imperial counter attacks.

Shadowstrike implored the Ethereals to allow him to take command of the campaign. He explained that if Xanthus' faction were allowed to claim a victory on Tyndareous it would mean not only the loss of the campaign but also the imperilment of Tau colonies throughout the subsector as Xanthus' cause gained in credibility and support. Eventually the Ethereals assented and Shadowstrike began redeploying his Cadres to the beleaguered war zone.

The Tau position was fragile and Shadowstrike expected a concerted Imperial drive to remove the Tau base on Tyndareous once and for all. Sure enough, Stealth teams and aerial surveillance soon detected signs of large troop movements and the Tau prepared for the inevitable onslaught.

The assault was two pronged. Airborne Guard regiments swooped into Vallarender. Unsure where exactly the Imperials would strike the Tau were spread thin and an escalating engagement soon broke out in the suburbs of the city. The Valkyries and Vendettas of the Guard made repeated strafing runs of the Tau positions but each time they were met with disciplined and concentrated volleys of fire that forced them to break off and circle for another opportunity. With time running out and Tau re-enforcements arriving from all directions the Guard were forced to make ever more reckless attacks and paid the price. One by one the attack craft were shot down or crippled and the survivors broke off and returned to base, low on fuel and with little to show for their efforts.

Meanwhile a second attack targeted the main Tau base itself. The Tau easily picked up the armoured column of Space Wolf vehicles heading towards their perimeter and prepared a defence in depth, prepared to give ground and drain the attack of its strength with a withering onslaught of fire. They didn't notice the Strike Cruiser silently orbiting the planet until it unleashed its payload of drop pods. The attack was both audacious and risky. The combined orbital drop, mechanised assault and rear attack by infiltrating Wolf Scouts was impossible to co-ordinate with total precision but the brutality and surprise of the attack threatened to annihilate the Tau base. A less disciplined foe would have broken before the terror tactics of the Astartes, but hardened by years of constant campaigning Shadowstrike's Cadres displaying near perfect fire discipline. Not giving the Space Wolves time to consolidate and form a co-ordinated attacked they isolated each facet of the attack in turn. Astartes emerged from their drop pods, only to be gunned down without mercy by overwhelming firepower. The Space Wolves fire support succeeding in inflicting heavy casualties amongst the Tau and bringing down many of their armoured vehicles. Despite this the drop pod assault had failed and the Space Wolves had no way of holding the ground they were taking. Reluctantly they withdrew, saving their remaining strength for future fighting.

With the Imperial offensive blunted and their forces thrown into disarray Shadowstrike launched his own offensive. Airborne Cadres succeeded in securing Rainier Pass and Pardle Junction unopposed before Mechanised Cadres streamed into Tyndareous Base, destroying the aircraft based there and surrounding the Tyndar Plateau. Now the Tau had the advantage on Tyndareous and Shadowstrike intended to press it and finish this campaign quickly.

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