Sunday, February 10, 2013

Battles rage on Mordecai Tersius

General Van Dorn was considering his next move on Mordecai Tersius following the Catechism's key victory at Danythe. In early 02.013M42 this major battle had checked Van Dorn's advance on the chaos agri world, and now, though fully deployed, his army was stuck north of the city in the badlands, bottled up by superior forces holding Skrime and the Skayloss plains.

The general had three companies of marines nominally detatched for the Mordecai operation, and the respective company commanders of the Red Angels, Raven Guard and Apocalypse Riders chapters discussed moving the war on in several meetings with the general and his aids. THe three chapters suggested different courses of action, but eventually it was agreed that the astartes forces would ensure the imperial war effort got underway once more by executing a devastating three pronges strike, carried out simultaneously. This would daze the chaos forces and allow Van Dorn's guard regiments to roll over them in short order.

The main objective of the offensive was the key city of Skrime. If taken, the chaos forces would be denied a critical supply base in the west, and the capital itself would be threatened. The Skayloss plains would be taken and the imperial bridgehead made all but secure.

The operation saw the Apocalypse riders attack the Iron Warriors in the south, while the Raven Guard attacked the Claws of Lorek holding the northern portion of the chaos line. The Red Angels held the centre and were in position to ensure that should anything go wrong in the south, Skrime would still fall.

The attack on the Claws of Lorek went well, and the devastating Raven Guard attack broke the chaos army in the north, and the heretic forces abandoned their city early on on 1002.013M42. Meanwhile the Iron Warriors came under attack, the Apocalypse Riders speeding to battle on their familiar bikes. And then it went wrong.

The Iron Warriors, adapting to the imperial forces on Mordecai Tersius, successfully ambushed the fast moving loyalist astartes, catching them in an unfavourable position. This was mostly down to ruthless use of the enslaved population of the system, who the Iron Warriors uncaringly used as a human "speedbump", slowing down the Apocalypse Riders and causing them to arrive at the elite units behind in a haphazard fashion.

The result was a disaster, as any squad managing to hack and slash its way through madly capering cultists was ruthlessly shot to pieces by the Iron Warriors behind. After a few hours the imperial attack was first blunted, then annihilated. Just as the Raven Guard were taking Skrime itself, the Iron Warriors had turned north and were soon engaged in a furious battle with the Red Angels.

As darkness fell on the first day the Red Angels found themselves struggling to identify let alone shoot their enemy. Once again the shufflinf cultists were used to distract and divert the attention of their enemy, and the Red Angels struggled to engage the Iron Warriors in the darkness. In the end the battle degenerated into a large brawl, and one the Iron Warriors dictated on their turns. The Red Angels soon found themselves hopelessly outclassed, then surrounded, by the chaos legion. Very little was left of the Red Angels force by morning, and learning of the disaster to their south the Raven Guard hastily removed themselves from Skrime, which was re-occupied by chaos forces on the morning of the 1302.012M42.

The assault had not gone well. With superior strategic advantages the imperial front line had moved forward, but the main objective of Skrime remained in chaos hands, and the occupation of the Skayloss plains was small gain for the lives lost. Worse still Van Dorn had lost the initiative, and his armies were forced to go over to the defensive while the general requested reinforcements to replace the two badly mauled astartes companies.

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