Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Aleph sector current campaigns

ALEPH SECTOR: Lord General Thaddeus Roover


Hylas: A strategic backwater in the Zadoc subsector, the imperium are none-the-less keen not to let the orks overrun one of their bases in the Mabb Nebula. This is a battle between the orks and imperium, and one where the strategic situation (modifiers) is very unfavourable for the imperium. General Van Dorn presides over the Imperial defence.

Tyranteous: Of more importance is the agri world of Tyranteous. It is the last agri world left in the Zadoc subsector following the consumption of Alphe and Betor by Nemesis, and the subsector capital Zadoc is wholly dependent on Tyranteous for its survival. It has been simultaneously invaded by the Tau and chaos (led by Lorek), and the two enemies of the imperium briefly put their differences aside to force the imperium onto the back foot. The strategic position favours the tau, but only just. General Denham faces an uphill struggle to defend the rest of the imperial world.

Grimlock: The major world Grimlock has been invaded by Nemesis and the forces of chaos are struggling to defend their only major world in the Zadoc subsector. The strategic situation is balanced, so it looks like the tyranids will have a long war to fight.

Fort Sparcos: On the once imperial base of Fort Sparcos, the orks continue to frustrate Nemesis in the Zadoc subsector. The tyranids need to defeat the orks here before they can mount an invasion of nearby Kallack, but the more the attack the more orks flood into the system somehow.

New Cerberex: The tyranids have been sighted around the Imperial held New Cerberex system in the Mabb Nebula but so far no landing has been made by the aliens. Many feel it is only a matter of time.

PERSEUS DEEPS: General Veers

Ares: In the Perseus Deeps the war on Ares goes on as the eldar stubbornly refuse to leave despite having been ejected by the Imperium once already. Slowly the eldar are grinding down the imperium using hit and run tactics, and they now hold much of the strategic eastern portions of the inhabited sector, including the capital.

Parataea: The small tau colony of Parataea continues to hold out against the growing necron empire, but the Harakhty dynasty is slowly winning the war, despite the alliance between the tau and eldar. An alliance which has become all the more strained following the actions of the Shattered Silence kabal, who still hold a tau ethereal captive.

Minos: Imperial agents on Mordecai have determined that following the disastrous imperial attempt to invade Mordecai and the subsequent failed counter attack at Corticant, the master of Chaos, warmaster Stahl of the Iron Warriors, intends to lead his forces against Minos, the smallest and least well defended planet the imperium control in the Perseus Deeps. This plan is not certain however, as Corticant, though almost a fortres, would be a greater proze to the warmaster, and one which would unhinge Veers' defence strategy in the Deeps.


Zoggot: All that is known about Zoggot in the "perdita" Enceladus subsector is that it is currently ork controlled ant the catechism, showing their ability to reach great distances through the use of the chaos "device", have invaded.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Corticant comes under chaos attack

At the beginning of 03.013M42 the forces of chaos finally tried to take advantage of the imperial weakness in the Perseus Deeps and a large warfleet led by Admiral Traegan of Kendrenec arrived in the Corticant system on 0403.013M42. Over the next week the chaos fleet closed rapidly with the imperial world itself, and the ground commanders prepared for an invasion.

While General Veers prepared for an imminent attack, Admiral Jellicoe put into action his plan for Corticant's defence. Despite having had to divert several battlegroups to the Zadoc subsector, Jellicoe still had three left to defend imperial assets in the Deeps. Two of these the imperial admiral now directed to Corticant, although neither would arrive quickly enough to prevent a landing by chaos forces. Admiral Hector's battlegroup, lead by the mighty Oberon class battleship Apollo, and Admiral Somerville's force, led by Royal Sovereign, also an Oberon class, now raced from their patrol stations in the Perseus Deeps to the Corticant system.

Tragaen's force of fourteen capital vessels headed on into the heart of the Corticant system. Consisting of two battlegroups led by two large battleships, the force would overwhelm any of Jellicoe's battlegroups alone, and now Corticant seemed doomed. On 0703.013M42 the battlegroups split, with Tragaen himself leading Irredeemable Apostate and six cruisers back out into the outer reaches of the system, while the remaining battlegroup continued towards Corticant itself. Admiral Hector's imperial battlegroup had arrived and Tragaen was eager to give battle.

Tragaen's splitting of his forces appeared to be a tactical stroke of genius as Hector's battlegroup found itself split up after its short warp journey. Now Tragaen split his forces, and the engagement which followed began when the dauntless class Hippocampi and Helios were cornered by the more powerful Dark Omen and Unnatural Permutation. Rather than flee the dauntless class cruisers attempted a suicidal charge, but the arrival of the heavy cruiser Doombringer sealed their fate, and both were quickly knocked out of action.

Meanwhile the Dominator Morpheus found itself too far away to help, and looked on in horror as Erebos and Medusa were soon found by the chaos cruisers. Worse still the Irredeemable Apostate, Tragaen's flagship, now arrived on the scene anticipating another massacre. Fortunately for the remaining two dauntless class vessels, the timely arrival of Haphaestus and Hermes off the chaos battleship's starboard quarter led to a duel of giants, and the light cruisers quickly made their escape, although Erebos took some damage.

Hector's grand cruisers were soon in trouble however, as a squadron of Slaughter class vessels appeared directly behind them, and combined with accurate fire from the chaos battleship, both were crippled, then reduced to hulks, the chaos firepower proving accurate and deadly. The final destruction of the imperial grand cruisers was delivered by Doombringer and her carnage consorts, who now joined the fray.

The arrival of the Hades class vessel and the two carnage class vessels should never have happened. Mid way through the engagement the Apollo arrived, powering up her engines suddenly and taking Dark Omen and Unnatural Permutation completely by surprise. At frighteningly closs range the mighty Oberon class battleship fired left and right, but somehow the carnage class cruisers managed to take last minute evasive action, and they both appeared relatively unscathed from the storm of fire.

Worse was to follow for the Apollo. Just minutes later, a volley of long range fire from Doombringer, fired speculatively from her dorsal lance turrets, detonated the battleship's starboard ordnance fuel stores, causing a flash explosion which knocked out more than half the veteran battleship's power relays. This effectively crippled the imperial flagship, and she was forced to withdraw, leaving the grand cruisers to their fate.

The Morpheus, seeing the carnage, quickly reversed course. Tragaen had decisively beaten the imperial fleet and now looked certain to take Corticant, or at least land a significant army. Even if Somerville managed to arrive in good time, he faced a force twice his size, as Tragaen's forces had taken no significant damage in the engagement with Hector, while the imperium had lost four capital ships.

Tragaen's second battlegroup, commanded by admiral Hellbore, prepared to complete the landings on Corticant, but suddenly, appearing from behind an asteroid field, a force of Space Wolves, led by an astartes battlebarge, closed with the planet. Rather than give battle directly Erik Morkai was keen to get his forces on the ground. This his fleet did, but at the expense of tactical position in space. Hellbore was able to pour murderous fire on his enemy, and soon three strike cruisers were hulked and burning, while two others were badly damaged. The Space Wolves destroyed a large number of chaos escorts, but all Hellbore's cruisers remained intact. The Space Wolves however managed to unload three companies onto Corticant before rapidly fleeing. When Hellbore moved in to unload his own cargo, his generals soon realised their forces were now woefully inadequate to effect a meaningful landing. A small unit of Khorne bezerkers caused some damage on the ground, but the invasion of Corticant had been defeated.

By 0903.013M42 the imperial fleet had lost seven capital ships to none in return. They had effectively lost an imperial battlegroup and had an astartes fleet badly mauled. However the chaos fleet, intact and powerful, now realised it didn't carry enough troops to carry out an invasion. Use of the Catechism device was out of the question, as Moonface was still recharging it after operations on Zoggot, and Tragaen found himself attracting the ire of both the Iron Warriors and Lorek for his failure.7

Worse was to follow for Tragaen, as Hellbore's squadron was ambushed by the late arriving Admiral Somerville on 1103.013M42, as the chaos fleet attempted to make a crossing of the Corticant shoals, an area of dense asteroid fields and debris. Hellbore closed with the imperial battlegroup, but Somerville was able to cross Hellbore's "T", raking the chaos fleet with murderous broadside fire from Royal Sovereign, supported by Glorious, Warspite and Implacable, while the Conquerer and Aboukir provided support from the flank. During the battle the chaos battleship was crippled, as was the acheron class heavy cruiser. These early blows meant the chaos fleet was unable to return fire effectively, although Aboukir was heavily damaged in the engagement. Two chaos cruisers were destroyed before Hellbore disengaged, his fleet ravaged and scattered. These would make their way back to Kendrenec individually over the coming weeks.

Somerville's action left his fleet largely intact, and with the remaining space marine vessels and Morpheus, the admiral now heade after Tragaen's battlegroup. Now the chaos admiral was outnumbered and outgunned, and the veteran commander quickly made his escape, using his vessels' faster acceleration to reach the jump point and head back to Kendrenec.

The Corticant invasion had been prevented by the imperium, but at great cost. The loss of seven capital ships was a tremendous blow to the imperial fleet. It also meant that on 1303.013M42, when a sizeable necron fleet arrived in the system, they were powerless to do anything about it. The aliens landed a sizeable force in the west of inhabited zone, and after a sizeable battle with the defending Corellian Storm Guard, the city of Fairmoor fell to the enemy. It seemed that the imperial losses to prevent the chaos invasion had been in vain, and a far more powerful enemy had taken advantage of the struggle in space to make their own bid for Corticant.

<< Hector takes on Tragaen

Imperial losses: - 7 capital ships destroyed, 5 crippled
3 Strike cruisers destroyed
Hermes, Hephaestus, Hippocampi, Helios destroyed
2 Strike cruisers crippled
Aboukir, Apollo, Erebos crippled

Chaos losses: - 2 capital ships destroyed, 2 crippled

Battles erupt on Tyranteous Minoris

The chaos tau "alliance" on Tyranteous was never likely to hold for very long, and Lorek knew full well that as soon as the tau, particularly commander Shadowstrike, sensed the moment was optimal, they would launch a surprise attack on his forces with the aim of total dominance over Tyranteous and the expulsion of chaos forces. This much was obvious, so in mid 03.013M42 Lorek struck first.

The tau may have been expecting such an attack, but not so soon, while the chaos and tau zones on Tyranteous were still small and vulnerable to an imperial counter attack. However, Lorek outwitted the tau. Instead of launching a conventional assault on the ground, Lorek instead summoned a force of daemons by secretly infiltrating small bands of cultists onto the moon base on Tyranteous Minoris.

Tyranteous Minoris represented the major logistics site for the tau invasion of the imperial world. With (thus far) total dominance in space, the base, although defended, did not expect outside attack and was not held by front line hunter cadres. In the end the attack came from within.

Shocked by the appearance of daemonic hosts the tau fell back, surrendering many areas of the base before the line was straightened and the tau began to vigorously fight back. Lorek then landed conventional troops - hardened veterans of previous campaigns both cultist and astartes, into the breaches made by the daemonic host. After two days of destruction the daemons vanished, sucked back into the warp, but their task was done. Lorek's forces now had a foothold on the minor world, preventing the tau from effectively using their logistics base and forcing them to deploy troops badly needed on the surface to the base just to prevent it from being overrun by chaos. The forces of chaos now had the upper hand on Tyranteous.

Soon after this shock came another, even more bruising blow to the tau in the Zadoc subsector. Just days after the chaos attack, a force of dark eldar raiders identified as belonging to the Shattered Silence kabal appeared without warning on Tyranteous Minoris and systematically ransacked much of the rest of the base. Tau forces responded but found it difficult to pin down the fast moving aliens or understand their objective. This became clear when to the horror of the tau they found their ethereal, visiting the base that same day, had been captured. The dark eldar force then conducted a skillful withdrawal leaving the tau in total shock in the ruins of their installation.

The shock soon turned to anger, and the tau vowed to rescue their revered ethereal. This event also seriously strained the alliance between the tau and eldar forces in the Perseus Deeps, where the eldar were told the tau would not accept the Shattered Silence faction as allies any longer, and that their presence, even if sent as an ally, would be fiercely resisted. They also asked for an explanation for the act, but the eldar, short of explaining that there were "unfortunate elements with undesirable tendencies" in their race, were unwilling to explain the full story behind the differences between the various eldar forces - themselves held in tenuous alliance by the power of the Rillietan. The tau were assured however that "everything possible" would be done by the eldar to return their ethereal and this "rogue faction" would be dealt with.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Imperium evacuates Mordecai Tersius

General Van Dorn continued to try to hold on to the imperial bridgehead on Mordecai Tersius as 02.013M42 came to an end, but he was facing an uphill task. The reduced imperial forces were finding it ever more difficult to hold the line as the forces of chaos, led by the Iron Warriors, continued to probe every section of Van Dorn's line, knowing that they now had overwhelming superiority in numbers.

By 0303.013M42 the situation had become desparate, as the chaos fleet, aware that admiral Jellicoe's battlegroup had been called away to regroup before heading to the Zadoc subsector, bore down on the agri world. At the same time warlord Stahl continued to throw in wave after wave of poorly equipped but numerous fanatical cultists while holding back his elite formations, waiting for any astartes intervention.

This intervention came swiftly on 0403.013M42, as Erik Morkai's grand company dropped into the system and immediately intervened to halt the progress of the chaos tide. Initially this was successful, but once the Space Wolves were committed, Stahl committed his Iron Warriors reserves.

Savage fighting followed, and the Iron Warriors took heavy casualties, however the Space Wolves were totally unable to match the enemy's threat from the air, and chaos heldrakes caused havoc among the astartes troops while hellblades kept the air clear of imperial navy fighters. The loyalist space marines realised they had got themselves into more than they had bargained for, and immediately tried to extricate themselves from their dreadful tactical position.

Meanwhile Van Dorn, aware of the Space Wolves' failure, requested a withdrawal. reluctantly Lord General Veers agreed, and the remaining surviving regiments on Mordecai Tersius were evacuated in just two days. Van Dorn kept his job, and his life, as the imperial high command realised he had been given an impossible task. However, Veers now saw his crusade in dire trouble. With losses on Mordecai, in a campaign lasting just 33 days, adding to the forces lost to the Zadoc subsector crisis.

Catechism and Da Verminator clash in the Aurelis Deeps

During 03.013M42 the inquisition discovered through its network of spies and deep space missions the alarming reach and scope of two of the Aleph Sectors most worrysome enemies. The events which took place in the region once known as the Endceladus subsector demonstrated that the imperium had underestimated the power projection of both the chaos entity known as "Moonface" and the ork warlord "Da Verminator". The forces of both were reported fighting each other for control of the minor world of "Zoggot", in the ork controlled domain close to the Aurelis Deeps.

Da Verminator
Prior to the observed battles on Zoggot, Da Verminator was considered a minor threat. A petty warlord who had seen little success, losing most of the ork domains in the Perseus Deeps and failing to have much impact in the Zadoc subsector, although his forces had joined with the other orks invading Hylas. Now his forces' ramshackle vehicles and infantry were seen alongside gargants on Zoggot, suggesting that Da Verminator's following was not a localised ork gathering, but that the warlord had forces scattered across the entire sector. It remained to be seen whether this was because his forces had become scattered following the orks' ejection from the Perseus Deeps, or whether Da Verminator's armies were deliberately deployed across the sector. Either way the sheer numbers of orks calling him leader was a cause for concern.

The Catechism
After the Catechism left Cerberex in 009M42, the forces of Moonface had some success in the Rim Worlds before the failed invasion of Tarsis Major put all the forces of chaos on the back foot. The invasion of the Zadoc subsector by hive fleet Nemesis and the imperial crusade against chaos critically weakened the traitor forces in the subsector, and the Catechism were enountered less and less in the imperial sectors. Some in imperial high command believed the Catechism to be a spent force, but their reappearance in 012M42 in greater numbers suggested the followers of Moonface had not been destroyed.

The inquisition well knew that as well as a moderately sized warfleet, the Catechism possessed the arcane and heretical item simply known as "the device", which enabled warp portals to be opened between two locations. In 013M42 the presence of the Cateshism in the Enceladus region suggested, alarmingly, that the reach of the device was far greater, or had been improved over that which was previously believed. In early 013M42 the inqusition submitted a report on the Catechism, suggesting the faction was present across the sector, in the Rim Worlds, the Perseus Deeps and more importantly in the largely non imperial Enceladus and Aurelis Deeps regions. Therefore they were unable to accurately assess the forces at Moonface's disposal, but the presence of large forces and even titans on Mordecai in the Perseus Deeps and Zoggot in the Aurelis Deeps was worrying indeed.

The Battle for Zoggot
The battle for Zoggot itself was a violent affair. Catechism forces appeared without warning amidst the ork settlements which clustered around ancient imperial constructions, a reminder that once the entire sector had been under the dominion of the emperor's armies. Utilising the device, the forces of chaos circumvented the ork orbital defences, and fell upon the orks. Both sides employed heavy equipment, and the battle saw direct combat between one of Da Verminator's gargants and a titan of the "pale forge". The battle almost turned on this titanic engagement, as the orks, who had been penned back by weight of fire, roared their approval as the mighty gargant in one swift move ripped off the titan's head with its chainsaw. Fortunately for the Catechism the weight of chaos artillery fire took a heavy toll on the massed orks and the clans broke, leaving only the gargant on the field. The orks having retreated, after one day of savage fighting the Catechism now controlled half the minor world of Zoggot.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Hylas; victory and defeat

The breakout of a major war on Tyranteous had an almost immediate effect on the strategically less important world of Hylas as 02.013M42 drew to a close. General Gault was stripped of several imperial guard regiments as well as two companies of space marines from the Raven Guard and Salamanders chapters, and secretly wondered how long it would be before his defences crumbled.

The ork breakout happened on 0203.013M42, with warlord Uzfangs elite "nobz" leading the charge against the imperial guard defenders of Berkeley. The dawn attack, led by fanatical boar riding orks, infiltrated the outskirts of the city during the dark, with a significant number of ork "kommandos" managing to slip through the imperial lines overnight, which cost the Librian regiments dearly in the following day's battle. Despite being well equipped with chimeras, hellhounds and Leman Russ battle tanks, the Librian defenders found the boarboyz a difficult and tough nut to crack, and they were unable to deal the orks a decisive blow before the greenskins closed the range and charged the librian lines.

Brutal hand to hand fighting engulfed the city, with the kommandos assaulting from behind. Eventually the infiltrators would take horrendous casualties, but by then they had already neutralised the imperial mobile infantry. As the day wore on the Librian casualties mounted, and even a precision air strike by imperial navy thunderbolts was unable to turn the tide. By now Uzfang's nobz were in amongst the Librians, and only the ork supporting units could be targetted by the imperial aircraft.

General Gault tried to stabilise the situation but soon reports were coming in of waves of greenskins moving north around the eastern portion of the city. Where the Salamanders and Legio Griffonicus had saved the situation before, there was now just Hylan PDF, and these fled before Uzfang's offensive. Rapidly the imperial general ordered the Librians to abandon Berkeley, and by 0503.013M42 the Imperial line was in full retreat. Much of West Coast had now fallen and the imperium was in danger of being cut in two in the north.

Further west however the imperium was advancing. Just as Uzfang broke through the "Berkeley Gap", between the Sump Sea and the central massif of the Hylan plateau, a full four companies of Dark Angels arrived in the system. To take the pressure off the imperial defenders they immediately launched a swift assault against Da Verminator outside Tennyson. The fast moving Dark Angels force immediately put an end to the siege of Tennyson and the front became mobile once more. Da Verminator's forces inflicted casualties on the astartes, but soon found their trenchworks and defensive positions around the city untenable, and were forced to retreat hundreds of miles across the Birego plains, with the astartes in hot pursuit. Just as the orks had made one breakthrough they had suffered a setback. Despite the lack of imperial war resources, the war was not over and opposition to a greenskin dominated Hylas would continue.