Sunday, May 06, 2012

New offensives in the Radeon Cluster

In early 05.012M42 the on-off war in the Vastrid sector once again erupted into life as General Pollack was keen to make progress in the Radeon Cluster. The cluster contained several key worlds which if held by the enemy, would provide them with a convenient "back door" to the vital worlds of Vastrid and Gateway.

The arrival of the Prozan Regiments in the sector provided Pollack with the fresh forces he needed to retake the initiative, particularly on the contested system of Gabriel's World. For months the planet had been locked in a stagnating war, with the Imperium controlling the lion's share of the habitable zones, while orks continued to infest the more rugged terrain to the north and south of the equatorial zone. More problematic was the Shattered Silence kabal, who had established a base in the cave system of Hadrada, only 100km from the main Imperial settlement.

Pollack decided to turn north and to defeat both his enemies in a simultaneous offensive. The Librian Guard he had were sent in to contain and destroy the Dark Eldar, while the Orks would face the wrath of the airborne Prozan Cavalry. The assault was a moderate affair, but important to Pollack. He yearned for a larger role in the campaign and hoped one day to take over from General Veers in the Perseus Deeps, a hope ignited by Veers' failure to keep up the momentum of the Crusade.

The Librians engaged the Shattered Silence in the ruins of an old settlement around the mouth of the cave system, before hellhound tanks could get their murderous muzzles into the caves themselves. The Dark Eldar attacked in a tight formation, driving a hole in the Librian line and threatening to split the advance in two. However the Librian armour was a difficult nut to crack, and concentrated fire from hellhounds and Leman Russ ensured that the Dark Eldar, despite their initial success, were unable to push the Imperials back. They came very close to a total defeat, but just as it seemed the Librians would mop them up, the aliens withdrew into the caves. Sometime later penal squads were sent in to investigate, finding no trace of the xenos. Clearly the Shattered Silence had decided against maintaining a presence on the world, now that Pollack had reinforced.

The attack against the Orks went less well. The Prozans flew into battle as heroically as ever, but the Orks responded by charging out of their defended positions towards the flying tanks. This ought to have sealed their doom, but the presence of a deranged mekboy quickly explained why much of the firepower launched against the greenskins seemed to have no effect. The Mek's kustom forcefield protected enough of the Orks for the Waagh! to take hold, and those Valkyries and Vendettas unfortunate enough to be shot down had their crews and passengers savagely butchered. The remaining Prozan troops eventually abandonned the attack after several hours of dogged fighting, allowing the Orks to occupy territory a little closer to the Imperial settlements. Pollack would need more than one regiment of Prozans to root out the greenskin filth and claim the world as pacified in the name of the Emperor.

While the Imperium was fighting on Gabriel's world, the Shattered Silence were once again trying to remove the Necron force from Drift in order to secure it as a base of operations. They had tried before and failed, and on 0805.012M42 they tried again, using the reinforcements from Gabriel's World to launch a major assault against the main Necron tomb complex. Once again they were defeated, as the Necrons implacably defended their stronghold. The irony was that the necrons weren't even particularly interested in the Vastrid subsector, as their major axis of advance was still centred on the Perseus Deeps and would be for some time. Perhaps defeating the Dark Eldar and scuppering their plans merely appealled to whatever was left of the Necron sense of humour.

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