Sunday, January 20, 2013

Catechism raid on Corticant fails

Following ongoing failed attempts to establish any kind of a bridgehead on Mordecai, General Veers knew his plans to take the fight to the enemy would have to be put on hold at least for the time being. Although Veers was now painstakingly readying his massive army, now that Bastien had finally been fully pacified, his logistics train had almost run out. His superior, Thaddeus Roover, was still dealing with the competing demands of Veers in the Deeps and Brooke in the Zadoc subsector, while toying with the idea of a campaign into the Enceladus subsector, now warp conditions had calmed somewhat. This led to insufficient forces all round for the objectives set for Roovers' generals.

By early 013M42 the political situation in the Aleph sector was changing. For many years the sector had had no overall political structure since the death of Cardinal Sheriden and the fall of the Aleph subsector. Since then the subsectors had run themselves and imperial high command had tried to meet the competing demands. On 0101.013M42 the new lord of the Aleph Sector was announced, appointed by the segmentum political hierarchy, who had finally found out the capital of the subsector had been lost. The new Lord Sector Commander would arrive sometime in the middle of 013M42, but little else was known about him or his priorities. Roover assumed that when he got here he would start making decisions about where to concentrate his military efforts. Until then however Roove continued as best he could with the forces at hand, responding reactively to new threats and frustrating Veers, who felt that a renewed push into the Perseus Deeps would wrestle the momentum of events back into imperial hands.

Veers expected an attack from the forces of Chaos following the raids on Mordecai. Lorek, the Iron Warriors and the Catechism had all regained their strength since their appalling defeats of the last few years, and with Moonface reportedly back in action once again, the general knew an attack on one of the Crusade's gains would be likely. On 2001.013M42 it fell on Corticant.

Veers had taken precautions. He knew that the imperial navy couldn't be everywhere at once and that the Catechism had access to the mysterious "device", so an invasion may come with little warning. As it happened it was Moonface himself who led the charge on Corticant, attacking outlying settlements on the imperial world and adding as many as he could to his cultist forces. While a raid, Moonface clearly intended to establish a bridgehead for a later invasion.

Veers' defensive plans meant the 85th Librian mechanised regiment were on hand to respond to the enemy presence, and the chimera borne veterans of the Bastien and Parthenope campaigns set off at first light, backed up by hellhound flame tanks and Leman Russ squadrons. In addition, Veers made sure the navy provided air support for the attack, not risking the loss of another regiment to insufficient air cover.

The tow forces met on the open plains of Corticant near to an oil refinery complex. Moonface split his forces, his mobile bike formations attacking the Librian right wing, while holding a defensive posture behind defence lines on the Librian left. On this wing the Librian armour was deployed, and their heavy shells caused havoc in the enemy ranks, particularly mauling the chaos spawn sent to deal with the armoured threat, especially once the imperial sentinels had outflanked the chaos position.

On the right, unsupported by the rest of his army, Moonface's bikes were quickly annihilated by the imperial strategic reserve of meltagun wielding mechanised infantry and hellhounds. Plasma equipped guardsmen were also deployed, but in a horrific turn of events all turned out to be equipped with a fault batch of plasma cells, the result being the total annihilation of all personell equipped with these unreliable weapons, as they overheated catastrophically.

The imperial air support made its own useful contribution, engaging in dogfights with enemy hellblades, while artillery support was provided by manticore batteries. The Catechism forces were taking a severe pounding from the Librian heavy guns, and Moonface knew he needed to remove them. Late on that day he decided to deploy his obliterators to remove the armoured threat. Unfortunately the gods decided not to favour their champion on this occasion, and the Catechism's entire host of obliterators failed to materialise, lost in the warp. With his reserve gone, Moonface realised the battle was lost, and disappeared without a trace, seconds before a demolisher shell landed where he had stood, obliterating his traitor legion retinue.

Abandonned by their leader, there was little the cultist forces could do, as they were mercilessly hunted down, burned or shelled to death by the Librians. None were allowed to live, and few managed to escape into the hinterlands of the planet. The chaos attack had been repulsed with only moderate casualties, and the threat of a full scale chaos invasion had been lifted, at least for now.

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