Monday, June 25, 2012

Imperium position becomes precarious on Va'Doran

Ever since the destruction of the Imperial beachhead at Run'al 5 the Tau had held back from further major actions, instead content to take a steady toll on Imperial forces and wait for their supplies to become critically low. However, when Shadowstrike received intelligence from his fleet in orbit that an armoured column was making its way unsupported through the valleys beneath Mesme Tol the opportunity to inflict major losses was too good to pass up.

As the armoured column entered the outskirts of a destroyed settlement the Tau struck. Their ambush was perfectly timed and most of the Librian's APCs were destroyed in the opening salvo. Most would have retreated before such heavy losses, but the Librian Guard displayed suicidal bravery by continuing to press onwards. The Tau maintained their hail of fire and one by one the Imperial tanks detonated as hyper-velocity rounds punched through their armour as if it were paper.

As soon as they received the distress call from the armoured column a formation of Prozan Cavalry was dispatched in an attempt to save the company. When the Tau air cover picked them up on their scanners the ambushers retreated, their job done. The Librian company had been almost totally annihilated for near no loss to the tau, but their bravery and stubborn resistance had prevented a major Tau breakthrough. The Librian commander was posthumously awarded the Imperial Cross for his valour and resolve.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Catechism beset by threats

Although the Tau had halted their expansion plans for the time being they continued to keep a wary eye on emerging threats throughout the Aleph Sector. The sharp increase in activity by the Catechism indicated that the debased Chaos worshippers might be stirring from their long dormancy and Tau Intelligence was concerned that they might threaten the security of the Empire's new holdings in the Zadoc subsector. Anxious to acquire more information a small task force was dispatched to monitor the heart of Chaos activity at Grimlock.

It was simple bad luck that the monitoring station was discovered having only been in place for a few days. The operation was supposed to have been a covert one and the lone Fire Caste cadre deployed to the planet was insufficient to protect the installation from a major attack. The Tau began an immediate evacuation but the Catechism responded quickly and the Tau soon found themselves fighting for their very survival. Despite putting up a spirited defence they could not hope to hold back the Chaos forces for long. Although most of their personnel were evacuated much of their equipment had to be abandoned as Traitor Marines overran the base.

Any further ground missions were considered too risky, the Tau would have to monitor the Catechism from space from now on.

Meanwhile the Dark Eldar continued their raids, this time venturing further afield and attacking Catechism installations on the base of Aornis. Aornis had been fought over many times by Imperial, Tau and Chaos forces between 008M42 and 009M42, but the base's defences had been scaled back after years of "peaceful" Chaos rule, and with increasing demands for men and equipment elsewhere in the sector.

Never-the-less the Catechism were still deployed in force on Aornis when the Dark Eldar attacked. However the forces of Chaos were unable to match the speed and firepower of the pinpoint raid, and the Dark Eldar departed after causing significant damage and collecting a profitable catch of slaves to take back to Commorragh.

Ork activity increases in Mabb Nebula

Since the Tarsis Major campaign of 008-011M42 the Orks had not been all that aggressive in the Zadoc subsector despite having a large number of bases and a large populated world in Kallack. After the fall of Warlords Nazghat and Thrugnik after the abortive invasion Tarsis, the Orks had, for the most part, gone back to fighting with themselves and leaving the Tau and Imperium to argue over their holdings in the Mabb nebula.

Despite redeploying Battlegroup Alexander to the Mabb Nebula in 012M42, Lord General Roover had ordered his subordinate to focus his efforts against the Tau, believing the Orks to be quiescant. Then in 06.012M42, signs began to appear that the Orks were beginning to stir once more.

The Imperial Navy reported a higher incidence of pirate raids, and the sudden proliferation from the Ork Roks in the Bothorion and Kallack systems following routine observation patrols. The Orks were gearing up for war and making no attempt at subterfuge. However the Imperial intelligence gathered couldn't guess where the Orks were going to head, and had no information as to whether a new Ork warlord had risen to pre-eminance in Ork society.

The first real impacts of the growing Ork bellicosity were felt on Fort Sparcos, where the Prozan Cavalry had recently deployed to the hard won Imperial bridghead on the world. Alexander intended to retake the fort itself - at some point - so he could outflank the Tau bases on Hylas and Memnon. However he failed to take the Ork threat seriously, and in mid 06.012M42 all contact was lost with Imperial forces on Fort Sparcos. Despite reacting quickly to the Ork attack when it came, the Prozans were annihilated, and Alexander lost nearly a tenth of his fighting force in one fell swoop.

More attacks were to follow. While the Tau fleet was led a merry dance around the Nebula by Ork pirates, the world of Va'Doran, an active warzone between the Imperium and the Tau, came under attack from Ork aircraft dropping from a fleet which had arrived several days earlier. The Tau air cadre scrambled units to face the Ork threat, but found themselves out manouevred, out gunned and out fought, resulting in the loss of over a third of the Tau atmospheric aircraft strength. The Orks didn't press this attack however, and for now the Imperium and Tau forces in the Mabb Nebula were left trying to fathom what on earth was going on in the Zadoc subsector. At the same time, more worrying news from the Vork Ork Expanse suggested a massive buildup underway. A new Waagh was predicted to occur within the next five standard Terran years...

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Eldar launch abortive raid against Skera

During late 05.012M42, the eldar were once again in action. Following their combined victory over the Imperium and Chaos on Sentinel, the small world of Skera now became the focus of their attention. As they had on Calliden and Blight, the eldar sent a small force, this time of eldar corsairs, to test the defences of the world, and do as much damage as possible, in order to pave the way for the full invasion.

The eldar corsairs used the intact webway to navigate to the former tau colony on 2805.012M42. They found the world completely changed, with the necrons having turned it into a small fortress, parading day and night before their overlords in the newly raised tomb cities. Before long the eldar corsairs were spotted, and the necrons turned on the raiders with savage ferocity. Using alien war engines and phalanxes of automaton warriors, the necrons savaged the eldar corsairs, who quickly withdrew to their webway portal. Skera would take a serious invasion to shift the defenders, and on 0106.012M42 an enormous energy spike signalled the activation of a new powerful necron starbase in the Perseus Deeps.

Pollack regains initiative on Gabriel's World

General Pollack regained the initiative on Gabriel's World in late 05.012M42 with another attack by the Prozan Cavalry. By now the Orks in the north and south had linked up, following the defeats of the Imperial Guard and Red Angels earlier in the month. The Salamanders had held the line in front of Gabriel's Landing, and now the Ork horde was vulnerable, out in the open rather than hiding in the mountainous regions of the planet.

To take advantage of the confusion wrought by the Salamanders, Pollack ordered in the Prozan Cavalry once again, and in the more favourable terrain the Vendettas and Valkyries of the Imperial Guard were able to inflict significant damage on the Ork Warbands in the plains in front of Gabriel's landing, forcing the greenskins to once again flee to the more easily defensible hills. Of note was the appearance of yet another Ork warband known to the Aleph sector, bringing the number of discreet groups of Orks on Gabriel's World to three. Pollack was ordered to finish the job on Gabriel's World before it became the focus for a new Waagh!

Nemesis attacks Gamador

Although much of its strength was engaged in its ongoing consumption of Alphe or still travelling through the black depths of the void Nemesis continued to send probe fleets ahead of its main tendrils in search of vulnerable worlds. One such probe made its way into the Perseus Deeps and released spores into the atmosphere of Gamador. The Necrons responded immediately and deployed forces to the landing sites with the intention of exterminating the invading Tyranids before they could gain a foothold.

The speed and ferocity that had proved so effective against the forces of the Imperium failed to make much of an impact on the implacable Necrons. Some isolated swarms did break through the hail of fire and succeed in eliminating pockets of Necrons but the Tyranids were quickly cleansed from the planets surface. The probe fleet found that the Necrons were widespread throughout the Perseus Deeps.

The Hive Mind processed this information and determined that the barren tomb worlds of the Necrons were too well defended to justify such slim pickings.