Monday, December 03, 2012

Grimlock: aftermath

The aftermath of the battle for Grimlock was felt across the sector, with the different factions profiting and losing very differently from each other, and even within factions their were winners and losers.

For the tyranids of hive fleet Nemesis the invasion had been a success. In just a few days of vicious fighting over half of the planet had been overrun by the aliens, and they were beginning to feed on the areas where they had first landed. Only a concerted push by the remaining chaos defenders would now be able to halt the xenos menace, although the planet had not been overcome just yet. The gestalt entity of Nemesis had been the decisive factor in its ability to coordinate its attacks so well, despite the presence of three other major factions on the world. Now the remaining forces of chaos would have to be overcome before the hive fleet proper could move in to devour yet another world in the Zadoc subsector.

Despite not achieving overall victory in the battle for Grimlock, the chaos/ork alliance, forged out of desperation, held its own, fighting off three enemy threats and stubbornly refusing to give ground. Although Lorek and the Stahl, as well as the host of ork warbands which turned up, lured by booty and the promise of a good scrap, didn't always see eye to eye in terms of strategy, they all refused to retreat. Attack was used aas the primary form of defence, and despite losing ground to the tyranid swarms, the chaos forces managed to recover from the initial losses to the Imperium in central Grimlock, recovering the vital region of Atlis and its fortifications. In addition the eldar and tau alliance were brushed aside wherever they appeared, allowing chaos to retain an important foothold on Grimlock, where they intended to hold out till the last...

Unfortunately nearly half of the combat effective forces on Grimlock fighting for Lorek and Stahl were greenskins. The chaos lords knew that if the orks abandoned Grimlock, particularly if they became bored of the fight, the tyranids would achieve victory. Somehow the forces of chaos needed to pursuade the likes of Krumpgutz, Snazgubbins and Da Verminator, that staying on Grimlock was worth the effort. In addition, they needed to work out how to get rid of the orks from the world once the tyranids had been beaten - although that was definitely a future concern. For now the chaos/ork alliance was holding firm against the tyranid threat, having seen off the invasions started by the eldar and imperium.

For the Imperium the battle of Grimlock was a defeat, but a surprising one with strange and unintended consequences. Initial success had then turned to sudden reversals, most tellingly against the forces of chaos. Ground was lost, but then recovered from the tyranids in the north east of the planet, but in the centre, where Veers hoped to land the decisive blow against chaos, the front crumbled, and with the important region of Atlis falling to chaos forces, the general knew to continue the invasion would be folly.

The appearance of the alliance had been a nuisance more than anything else, but one which diverted important forces away from the main fronts against Nemesis and chaos. where they were encountered, the eldar-tau alliance were smashed, but elite formations which could have been used elsewhere were unavailable. Overall the Corellian Storm Guard once again proved its ability and worth, easily crushing all resistance wherever it was deployed, overcoming all factions in lightning battles, often backed up by Bran Redmaw's Space Wolves. Veers used the Corellian formations as firefighters, quickly transporting them from one combat zone to another to counter emergent threats.

This policy of using the Corellians as a mobile reserve worked well, but meant other forces such as the Librians and other Space Wolf companies became embroiled in attritional battles they were ill equipped for. In addition several disasterous interventions via drop pod by the Grand Company of Erik Morkai led to some painful defeats. In general while Redmaw's company worked well with the Corellians, the rest of the Space Wolves suffered badly, even against the alliance.

The Imperial Fists company were similarly defeated, finding themselves ill-equipped to deal with a combined force of orks and chaos, while the Blood Martyrs failed to turn up at all. The Librian regiments involved in the invasion often found themselves encircled by the highly mobile battle, and at least three regiments were destroyed or captured without firing a shot. In one engagement the Space Wolves completed a successful tactical withdrawal without informing their Librian partners on their left flank, leaving them dangerously and eventually fatally exposed to the threat from Nemesis.

The shambolic invasion was eventually abandonned by Veers on 0312.012M42, and remaining forces were re-embarked for a return to Corticant. General Veers suffered as a result of this failure, but he was not replaced. No-one else had anything even closely resembling a successful record in the Aleph sector, and Veers' victories on Corticant, Bastien and Parthenope ensured his continuing leadership of the Perseus Deeps forces. However, since the invasion of Grimlock had failed, Lord General Roover decided to cancel the Crusade, effectively abandoning Grimlock to the tyranids. Roover began re-apportioning his forces, leaving enough to garisson the worlds already won in the Deeps, but reinforcing the Zadoc subsector against the threats now emerging there. The Imperial Crusade against chaos was ended at Grimlock.

The alliance had decided to intervene on Grimlock, initially to help the Imperium. By the end of the furious battle which then ensued, they might have wished that they had stuck with the original plan. The combined forces of three hunter cadres of Tau warriors, the Shattered Silence kabal, several minor kabals, eldar corsairs and craftworld eldar had been an impressive force on paper, and the eldar capability to use the webway to gain an initial foothold on Grimlock would have appeared to give the alliance a decisive edge in the battle for the planet.

The Rillietan were conspicuous by their absence however. It appears that this time the harlequins had disagreed with the craftworld eldar farseer, and had seen fit not to aid their plans. So when the alliance attacked, it was without their lynchpin. The tau were utterly decimated by the orks, imperium and nemesis, losing all their forces. Fortunately the tau had sent the minimum forces they thought they could get away with, as the tau high command themselves believed the invasion of Grimlock to be a fools errand, though they recognised that tying up the tyranids on the world would be advantageous, and that an imperial victory would threaten their holdings in the subsector.

the eldar also suffered defeats, although the dark eldar of the Shattered Silence did manage to come out of the campaign in profit, thanks to their successful defence of the webway portal late on in the short campaign. They were the last of the alliance forces to leave Grimlock, and they used their extra time to cynically loot everything they could from the chaos world, before sealing the portal behind them. Now the alliance became strained as their aims diverged. The tau wished for a quick tyranid victory, so that Nemesis would move on and away from the Zadoc subsector, clearing a dangerous chaos base from near their colonies, while the eldar desired the battle to continue to rage, consuming tyranid and chaos forces alike. Never-the-less for now the alliance held.

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