Thursday, November 08, 2012

Tau battles in the Zadoc subsector

In early 11.012M42 the Tau finally came into contact with hive fleet Nemesis. The tyranids had been making alarming progress throughout the subsector following the collapse of resistance on Alphe, and many of the Rim Worlds had already been consumed. Another splinter fleet had made its way to the Mabb Nebula, but so far appeared to have become bogged down in a difficult war against the orks on fort Sparcos.

However, late on in 10.012M42 the tau detected part of the hive fleet moving close to Va'Doran in the Mabb nebula. Lacking the necessary fleet assets to make a meaningful stand, and mindful of attracting the entire hive fleet to tau held worlds, the tau commanders patiently waited for the tyranid vanguard organisms to arrive on the world. This they did on 0211.012M12, when a tyranid scouting force, largely made up of genestealers and larger monstrous organisms, was detected east of Run'Al 4.

Commander Fastblade, now in charge of Mabb Nebula defence while Shadowstrike prepared offensives elsewhere, used the recent experiences of Moonshine and other tau commanders, adopting a defensive stance and tricking the tyranids into attacking into pre-determined killing grounds. The firepower of the tau force was horrifying, and the smaller tyranid creatures were cut down in swathes, before tau railguns and crisis suits took down the larger beasts. A few determined organisms made it close to the tau line, but then faced a withering hail of pulse rifle fire from fire warriors sheltering behind temporary fortifications. Within a few days the tyranid vanguard force had been annihilated. Fastblade now had to wait and see whether the tyranids would return in greater numbers.

Meanwhile, despite setbacks the Tau continued to lay the groundwork for an invasion of Tyranteous. The Zadoc Expeditionary Fleet under Kor'O Pureheart had succeeded in bringing to battle and defeating the Imperial battle group operating in the region. For a while at least the Tau were able to operate freely within the Mabb Nebula. The Tau's next priority was to secure a strategically important moon base on the fringes of the Tyranteous system. Currently overrun by Orks, in Tau hands it would provide an ideal mustering point and fleet base for the forthcoming invasion.

Shadowstrike favoured misdirection over a direct brute force attack that would put the Imperium on full alert. The provide cover for the attack a squadron of Castellan class escorts torpedoed a freighter making its way to Tyranteous, drawing the attention of the system's defence ships before withdrawing into deep space. With the Imperial navy distracted the Protector Salvation was able to sneak into the system unnoticed and land troops on the moon unchallenged.

The Orks reacted predictably and in the only way they knew how – by charging headlong at the invaders firing randomly. The Tau had anticipated this, practising the doctrine of Kayon, the Patient Hunter, to draw the Orks into an ambush. As the Orks rushed forwards Stealth Teams and Kroot auxiliaries outflanked their attack and prepared to close the trap.

The Tau commander had arrogantly underestimated his brutish foe. Showing crude “kunning” the Orks intercepted the flank attack and the battle devolved into a head on clash, one in which it seemed the Orks brawn would see them through. Rather than hold firm and be overrun the Tau fell back, giving ground and whittling down the Orks in a disciplined display of fire and movement. Eventually the Ork attack was repulsed, aided by strafing runs from Barracuda flights launched from Salvation. With the main resistance crushed a the Tau began the business of securing the moonbase for the next stage of the invasion.

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