Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sentinel falls to the Eldar

Alarming news reached General Ritchie at his Sentinel HQ on 1605.012M42 as both his own scouts in the Librian 87th and the Space Wolves reported sighting mighty Eldar warmachines which could only be titans. This could only mean the Eldar were preparing a major offensive, and Ritchie gathered a council of war with the Colonels of his Librian and Praetorian regiments, the Space Wolves and the Red Angels, who still managed to field a company despite recent losses.

The strategic position was poor, with the main Eldar force apparently massing between the spaceport and the main Sentinel compound. If left unchecked, a determined Eldar thrust would be able to force its way through the gap and bisect Imperial forces. The loss of Sentinel would then be inevitable without significant reinforcement, and General Veers on Corticant was not at liberty to provide such rescue.

The senior staff on Sentinel discussed battle plans, initially favouring the plan put forward by the Colonel of the Librian 19th Armoured regiment. This plan would see the bulk of the Imperial tanks, supported by three super heavy vehicles, plugging the vulnerable plain and launching an all out charge on their enemy. Then the Space Wolves would drop behind the Eldar and take the spaceport. It was a high risk strategy which put the Librians at risk of having their tanks decimated, but the Imperial Colonel was adamant it would work.

In the end however General Ritchie baulked at such a risk. The titans tipped his decision in favour of a rolling defence. The Space Wolves would still drop in behind enemy lines to capture the vital spaceport, but the new plan was centred around a robust defence of the Imperial compound by the Praetorians. The Librians would be held mostly in reserve to hit the Eldar on the counter attack as they committed their forces.

On 1905.012M42 the final showdown for Sentinel began. As the Eldar appeared through the mist it was obvious the reports had been right, as the warhost was supported by two Revenant titans, which stalked over the battlefield like angry gods. As expected the Praetorians took heavy punishment, but Ritchie still had his reserves and the Space Wolves were waiting in orbit for the opportunity to strike.

As the day wore on, the Praetorians took more and more punishment from the Eldar, a situation not helped by the sudden appearance of the Shattered Silence kabal of Dark Eldar. Throughout the battle Eldar and Dark Eldar fliers dominated the skies, and Ritchie's army suffered greatly from a lack of anti-aircraft fire or air support. Gritting his teeth and with a scowl on his face, Ritchie called on the Librians to advance and take the Eldar in the flank.

Before the command could be obeyed, the Imperium was thrown off balance by a sudden flanking manouevre by the Eldar themselves. Wraithguard and Wraithlords suddenly appeared behind the Librian lines, wiping out much of the lead armoured elements and one of the super heavy tanks. Furious, Ritchie committed the first wave of his reserves. At first this was successful, as armoured fist squads quickly dealt with the Eldar flanking force. The two Shadowsword super heavy tanks however were totally outclassed by the Eldar titans and super heavy Lynx skimmers. Both succumbed to withering firepower before they could do much damage to the titans in return.

As night approached it was clear the Imperial forces were in trouble. The Praetorian defences at the Imperial Compound had collapsed, and Eldar were swarming all over the shattered ruins. In desparation Ritchie sent in his remaining reserves to help the hard pressed Praetorians, but his Hellhounds and Leman Russ were quickly annihilated by the fury of the Revenant's guns. The rest were torn apart by the Shattered Silence, whose sadistic killers were now butchering the guard squads as they tumbled from their ruined transports. The Praetorians died where they stood in disciplined ranks, and the colonel of the Librian 87th was cut down as he fled from single combat with a Dark Eldar lord.

Late in the day the Space Wolves enacted their part of the plan, successfully taking one of their two objectives. However it was far too little, too late. The Imperial guard had been annihilated, and the two titans now stalked the battlefield unchallenged. Ritchie's plan had utterly failed, and Sentinel had been lost. As his time ran out he blamed his own troops, his equipment, and the superiority of the enemy forces, but deep down he knew it was his plan. He should have been bolder and less intimidated by the titans, and it was a mistake which had cost the lives of thousands of his men, and his own. As the Eldar approached the Imperial HQ and the Space Wolves evacuated for the last time, Ritchie knew how he would die as he heard the sound of jackboots approach calmly behind him. The commissar had arrived.

No comments: