Sunday, August 05, 2012

Alphe defenders close to annihilation

Summerbridge Crossing falls. Imperial forces retreat to the defensive walls of Deepsnow and request evacuation. The Imperial navy begins mustering a fleet.

General Percival's forces received some unexpected help on Alphe in late 07.012M42, when the eldar arrived, unannounced, under a flag of truce. They gave away little in the subsequent negotiations, but did agree that the defeat of Nemesis was of paramount importance to both races, and that in defeating the alien foe all races of the galaxy would end up having to fight alongside one another.

Though mistrustful of his new allies, Percival sorely needed the reinforcements, and the eldar began arriving in strength near Deepsnow. Closer to the front line Percival's forces were still desperately trying to hold back the growing horde in the difficult lands of the Neck, but every day saw the Imperial hold on the planet slip further and further south, as Nemesis closed in on the last two centres of resistance on the world.

On 0208.012M42 Nemesis made a concerted push towards Summerbridge crossing, breaking through the weakened imperial line and attempting to encircle the city. Without warning or announcement another force of eldar suddenly appeared, heading straight for Nemesis. Identified as the dark eldar, the raiders moved swiftly to the head of the salient made by the advancing horde, but a combination of numbers and martial ferocity smashed apart the dark eldar as soon as they made contact with the tyranids. The capricious dark eldar fought bravely and died rather than give ground to the horde, but their efforts were in vain as Nemesis simply bypassed this action, encircling the city of Summerbridge Crossing on 0608.012M42.

The dark eldar were wiped out, and General Percival now found himself struggling to avoid encirclement at Summerbridge. In this he was largely succeful, but the defenders of the city knew that they would have little chance of rescue unless they held the Tyranids here. A regiment of Librians and a small company of Blood Martyrs took up positions at the cities formidable perimiter defences, while Percival readied a counter strike with the eldar.

Percival just needed the defences of Summerbridge to hold out while his forces were marshalled, but that was a big ask. The city was surrounded by millions of creatures all acting as one, and only a thin line of Librian and Blood Martyr's defendes barred their way into the city. After a few probing attacks the hive mind selected Fort Lenton as their main axis as attack, and threw in an enormous attack against the stalwart imperial fortifications as dawn broke on 0908.012M42.

The Imperial defenders opened up with a furious volley of fire against the tyranids, but the aliens still came on, wave after wave of creatures pouring across the shattered landscape, the screams of the larger beasts terrifying the defenders with an unholy and incessant shrieking. As the tyranids came on the Blood Martyrs deployed, selling their lives dearly while protecting the fortress walls themselves from attack, never flinching from the fight until the Recclusiarch of the Blood Martyr's 3rd company was brutally cut down in combat by a monstrous hive tyrant.

With the Blood Martyrs all dead the Imperial line began to falter. Reinforcements came into the battle piecemeal, and were cut down by rampaging monsters which had flown of tunnelled beyond the main fortress. Still the attacks on fort Lenton continued, as the Imperial commander in Summerbridge realised, belatedly, what the hive mind was trying to do. If they took fort Lenton they could access the power grid and destroy the defensive shield protecting the city. Summerbridge would fall.

The Librians in the fort fought hard and stubbornly, utilising the fort's arsenal of weapons against the attackers. Unfortunately the men detailed to man the missile silo were inexperienced with the weaponry, and the two times they did manage to loose a shot off, they failed to aim, resulting in the high explosive projectiles flying straight up, then back down on the fort itself, killing several guardsmen and two of the Imperial Colonel's personal retinue.

When the tyranids got in close, the Librians fought tooth and nail to hold on to the defenses, fighting with lasgun and flamer to deny the hive mind, but it wasn't enough. Gradually the tyranids made their way through the fort, scaling the walls or tearing them apart to get inside. There were simply too many, and as darkness fell on the 9th, the last Librian was cast down from the walls of the highest tower, a hive tyrant shrieking its victory across the battered landscape from the battlements. Fort Lenton had fallen, and minutes later, the defence shield of Summerbridge Crossing collapsed.

The city itself fell in an orgy of bloodletting over the next few days as the population were systematically exterminated. dangerous long range scouting flights by the Imperial navy revealed a transformation further north. Most of the reconnaisance missions were lost to floating spores or corrosive gases, but those that did get through took valuable images, showing the surface of Alphe being transformed into sludge by all manner of unholy beasts. The planet was beyond saving now, and using the strongest psychic booster left to him in Deepsnow, and aided by the eldar, General Percival sent out a distress call requesting the immediate evacuation of all remaining Imperial forces, some fifty divisions, from Alphe.

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